Link Love: Pregnancy Weight, Running + CrossFit, Life Skills

Happy Wednesday!! Looking for a way to get through the Hump Day? Try these three reads for something a little different.


Pregnancy Weight Gain-Number on the Scale (Creating a Better Today): This post hit the nail on the head for me. One of my negative feelings towards pregnancy is the weight gain. I’ve felt so conflicted about gaining weight so early in my pregnancy–five pounds in the first 12 weeks, mind you. For someone who has worked hard to lose weight and get stronger, to see yourself suddenly gaining weight while you’re working out just the same, eating more (but trying to eat healthy), it’s so frustrating. I applaud Sarah for her positive attitude, and I desperately wish I had just a smidgen of that.

Why Runners Should do CrossFit (PopSugar Fitness): I am a huge propent for doing CrossFit and running. While it’s hard to find the right balance of how much of each to do, it’s so worthwhile to change up your workouts. I can’t tell you how much stronger I feel on my runs now that I’ve been doing CrossFit at Man O’War CrossFit for more than a year now. Plus, I’ve had less injuries and recover much better.

49 Life Skills Every Modern Woman Should Have (Huffington Post): This is an eclectic list, y’all! I have to say, I am not good at negotiating much, especially when it comes to salaries. I really need practice on CPR and the Heimlich, but I can change the truck and horse trailer tire (with the horse still inside) with no problems (thanks to my daddy!). I don’t know how to open a bottle of champagne gracefully, but I don’t really drink the stuff (unless it’s in a mimosa) anyway. 😉 How many of these skills do you have?

Your turn: What’s something interesting you’ve read this week?


Runner who CrossFits, or CrossFitter who Runs?

A year ago, I would have answered this question easily: I’m a runner who does CrossFit for my cross training. I started doing CrossFit in April 2013 as a means of cross-training to overcome my injuries from training for a half marathon. I knew I needed to do more cross-training than running to prevent the repetitive use injuries, and I was always intrigued by CrossFit thanks to reading Lindsay and Tina’s blogs.

A year later and I have more miles under my wrist wraps than I have in my running shoes I think.

I basically stopped running last summer, but the urge to race never died. I got back into running in the early Fall and hit the Race for the Cue for my big 5K personal record.

But now I’m trying to get back to running, but I still want to stay active in my CrossFit box. I know there are CrossFitters who still run half, and full, marathons–they’re just diligent about their nutrition, rest days, and athletic scheduling. So I need to be the same.

For right now I’m sticking with hitting Man O’War CrossFit four times a week, making Friday a complete rest day (minus a long dog walk for the pups). Tuesday evenings, when I can, I’m going to continue running with the West 6th Brewing Running Club (3-4 miles), and then Saturday mornings I’ll get in my long training runs with the Striders. Sundays will be recovery days.

I have been really lax on my nutrition lately, which is frustrating and unfortunate. Because of that, I’ve gained five pounds in the last couple of months, so I’d really like to get back down to my manageable weight. I know they say you don’t go through half marathon training to lost weight, but I would have to beg to differ because I know that if I weigh less, that’s less stress on my joints/knees when I’m pounding the pavement.

Your turn: Are you a CrossFitter who runs? Or a runner who CrossFits? If you have any advice, or nutritional programs you like to follow, I’m all ears!

Spin Doctor

Last night I visited an old friend that I later realized I had been missing a lot–the spin bike.

I used to spin at least once a week and always loved it, but lately I haven’t been too inspired to attend a class, nor did I know the schedule. While I was home for lunch I happened to look up at the group fitness schedule and noticed Wednesday spinning had been moved earlier to 5:30–perfect! (And I also noticed that they are now offering spinning at 5:45 am twice a week?? Score!) So I packed my gym bag with capris and a tank, perfect for the sweat session I had been needing.

Spinning bikes

I was a little concerned about the wear that spinning could do to my legs, which is part of why I hadn’t been doing it with my half marathon training. But I wanted needed a good sweat session without much thinking, and that’s what spinning is best at. So I reminded myself that I controlled the resistance and to not overly challenge my legs (afterall, it was my first class in like a year, plus I had a long, hilly run coming up this weekend).

Fifty-one (yes, the instructor had our class last 51 minutes…) minutes later, I was soaked with sweat with a clear, relaxed mind. I did a set of push-ups (really focusing on my form in the push-ups) and some ab exercises before stretching. I find it really important to get in some core work when you’re doing spinning because you might forget about your form on the bike.

When I started spinning a few years ago, I was lucky to have had a couple of instructors who really helped me learn about proper form and how to get the most out of the workout. (I’ve found that the instructors at my current gym don’t focus on that very much, which is a shame.)

I’m going to try to incorporate more spin classes into my cross training now that the classes are being offered at more convenient times for my schedule. And I hope I can get M to rejoin me on a bike (he went a couple of times last year).

Your turn: What workout have you realized you’ve been missing lately?

Going for a Spin

A couple of years ago I decided to try the one class that made me nervous, and now I love it. Have you tried it? I love spinning. I love how you’re in control, and while they say no one really knows how hard you’re working, I still get competitive and want to work harder than my neighbor. I love how you can get your heart rate sky-high, then bring it back down and surge it back up again…all within a few minutes. And I come out of there soaked, tired, but happy.

I love the pounding music, too. Although some times I’ve had instructors play rock music that just seems like it drones on and on, the ones that play the best beats bring me back to their classes.

Now I’ve heard a few instructors suggest doing a few separate exercises for those that spin often, mostly to work on strengthening your core. Here’s my typical spinning workout:

  1. Stake out a bike and set it to the correct position for me (if you’ve never gone to a spin class, be sure to ask your instructor how to do so), then leave my water bottle and towel at my bike.
  2. Warm-up: I usually walk/run a half mile around the track in the gym at an easy pace, just to get my muscles warm.
  3. Light stretch, concentrating on my legs and my back for the most part.
  4. Ab workout: this may consist of straight leg raises (lower abs), bicycle crunches (obliques), raised leg crunches (legs raised either 90* or straight up, I’ll reach up towards my toes to lift my shoulder blades off the floor), etc., etc. I tend to do this for about 15 minutes or so, depending on how much time I have before class.
  5. Plank: I try to fit in at least a 45 plank on my forearms. If I have time, I’ll do side planks on each side as well.
  6. Light stretch again, then head to the spin studio for class.
  7. After class, I stretch more than the instructor has us do in class. I focus on my calves, hamstrings, and the outside of my hips.

I always make sure I drink plenty of water throughout the class and afterwards, because you lose a lot of water in those 45 minutes. When I come home, I usually drink a some Powerade Zero to help replenish a few minerals as well.

Tonight I participated in probably my last spin class for quite a while. I’ll start my 12-week training schedule, and I’ve been warned about doing much spinning while training. I don’t want to risk any undue stress on my hip flexors. So, I won’t be doing much spinning while I’m training.

Are there other activities that you’ve had to give up while participating in your running training programs?

Work-Outs: How Much is Too Much?

My workouts this week (Jan. 2-7): 13.83 miles running (treadmill and outside), 5.65 miles on the elliptical,  8.25 miles walking (with the dogs), plus weight training, one spinning class, and 30 minutes of yoga via DVD.

Friday morning I woke up for my usual 5:30 am dreadmill run with friends and was surprised by my how much glutes and hamstrings were killing me. The day before I had done the 5.65 miles on the elliptical in the morning and a 45-minute spin class that evening. I made the decision not to run, but did a 30-minute yoga DVD (Jillian Michaels) in the living room instead.

I was told by my friend Adrienne, who has run in quite a few half-marathons and her father has run in many marathons (at least one in 49 states so far, and he’s aiming to finish that tour in Hawaii in 2013), that I’m running too much right now. I officially start my half-marathon training program the first week of February, and I’m planning to use the Hal Higdon Novice 2 program, since I already run four miles in the morning.

 So I wonder how much is too much?

I have to cross-train...but I have to run... Halp!

I can’t be the typical runner–I like to run, but I don’t like running long distances all the time, especially when it comes to the treadmill. Right now, my body won’t let me go past 5 miles due to some hip/IT band problems. I know I have to get long runs in for my training, that’s perfectly fine.

However, I get bored easily. I like cross-training. I love taking different classes at the gym–cardio kickboxing (though I love kickboxing and would love to get back to training for it), spinning, interval training classes, etc. And I love making my own HIIT workouts in time frames of 30-60 minutes.

I’ve been working out twice a day a few days a week lately because of running in the morning and then hitting the gym after work. If I don’t go to the gym in the evening I feel lost. I feel like I am slacking on my workouts and my weight loss. (Remember I have a wedding dress to look spectacular in!)

Am I crazy? How much is too much?