The price of fitness…

A few posts ago I talked about the expense of running, and for awhile I’ve purposely remained blissfully ignorant of the price I paid every month for CrossFit. CrossFit is a workout style I love; it forces me to get up in the morning, I’ve found I can do things I never even considered, and it was fun. Unfortunately my current contract expires on Friday and renewing my contract would mean renewing at new prices. The price before was already steep for me (I’m not saying they are super expensive, I’m just really poor) since I basically live off of my grad student stipend. I never count on gig money for basic living expenses because that money isn’t a guarantee every month and since I had a signed contract, CrossFit was budgeted as a basic living expense. But as I crunched the numbers on the new price I knew it wasn’t smart to sign a new contract. So right now I’m pretty sad. 

Today was my 2nd to last workout and clearly the fates wanted a good laugh and picked 3 of my least favorite/weakest exercises. Power snatches, toes to bar (or knees to elbows for me), and burpees – actually bar facing/jump over burpees. I KNOW that is pretty accurate:
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But I still hate dislike burpees, which obviously means that when I work out on my own I need to keep doing them. 

However, I’m trying to find the good in this. One of the great results is that I can move around my workouts in my schedule more freely. Another also forces me to get back into creating my own routines (and maybe sharing them with you all!). I’m definitely glad I can follow the workouts of my favorite CF gyms and have all the workouts I’ve been saving for/sharing on fitness Friday. Following other fitness bloggers is an amazing thing. 

Be on the recipe lookout!!! 
Tomorrow night Ben and I are going to have dinner with friends and they asked if we would bring dessert. Ben has been talking an awful lot lately about my great-grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe that I make for him so I think I’m going to make that. But I’m going to hunt for a new, healthier frosting/topping that doesn’t negate the healthy components of the cake itself. I don’t even like cake normally (especially chocolate cake I know I’m a terrible female) but I LOVE this cake.  I will be sharing BOTH of those recipes tomorrow – BE READY. SO DELICIOUS. 

Mileage – CrossFit, yoga for runner’s video

QOD – It is health that is real wealth, not pieces of gold or silver. 

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Sunday Grubday…on Monday (Whoops!) with a Recipe!

On Saturday, Ben and I had a little treat and I bought salmon fillets for dinner and cooked them in my absolute favorite way – FOIL PACKETS. These savory fillets are so good and I had to share! 

Salmon and Asparagus Packets!
Ingredients 
2 salmon fillets 
1 lb asparagus 
1 lemon 
1 tbsp butter 
1 tsp Herbs de Provence 
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil + extra for coating foil
2 tsp white wine 
2 tsp capers 
salt and black pepper to taste 
Aluminum Foil 

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and set out 3 foil sheets (approximately 1 sq foot each)
  2. Rub a little olive oil (or non-stick spray) on each of the sheets. 
  3. Place the salmon fillets on 2 of the sheets and the asparagus on the 3rd. 
  4. Drizzle the asparagus with 1 tsp of Olive Oil and season with salt and black pepper to taste. 
  5. Cut the lemon in half and two thin slices from the middle, squeeze the outer lemon parts over the salmon fillets. 
  6. Put 1/2 tbsp of butter on the center of each of the fillets and top with a slice of lemon.
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  7. Top each of the salmon fillets with half each of the remaining ingredients (1 tsp white wine, 1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence, 1 tsp of capers) and then salt to taste. 
  8. Fold the 3 foil sheets up into packets. Make sure the sides are folded up and wrapped in so nothing drips in the oven. 
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  9. Place all 3 packets on the center rack of the oven and cook the salmon for 15 minutes and the asparagus for 15 – 20 depending on the texture you prefer.  
If you’d like serve with bread, pasta, rice or some other starch, the sauce tastes amazing on anything! And I’d definitely recommend a glass of wine 😉 This is one of my favorite meals to make for a weekend night especially because it doesn’t dirty any dishes!!!
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Two meals I made today were a delicious Tex-Mex ground turkey salad and an amazing soup from my Giada cookbook with ground turkey, kale, carrots, and brown rice. I CANNOT WAIT to try this tomorrow! It is my lunch everyday this week! 
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Today was BRUTAL in CrossFit mostly because it was hot outside today… in January… and we ran. I don’t mind the running at all. We did a lot of shoulder to overhead or ground to overhead which always bothers my wrists. And in general it kicks my ass. My arms are the weakest part of my body and these days always crush me. I am doing some serious upper body stretching tonight because I have A LOT of bass playing to do tomorrow. 
 
Mileage – CrossFit, yoga 
 
QOD – You are what you eat. 

Yoga Recovery and Soup Sensations!

Yesterday at CrossFit we did a fair amount of heavy back squats, squat cleans, and rowing but there was one move that KILLED my legs, front rack lunges. We did 3 rounds of 14-20 front rack lunges, I only had 55lbs and it was a brutal welcome back to CrossFit. I knew it was going to be rough this morning so I stretched out and foam rolled a bit last night before bed, but that did not help as much as I hoped. It was brutal today, my quads, glutes, and hamstrings are seriously sore today. I guess I need to spend more time on lunges on my own, I’m a big fan of squats but I don’t always balance it out so this workout may have been a little bit of karma. I was going to run today, but figured I’d recover and I’ll run on my usual off day of Friday instead. This is how I felt after yesterday’s WOD coinciding with the first day of classes:
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Last night I finally went grocery shopping and started my cooking for the week and let me tell you, this new tomato basil recipe that I decided to try is AMAZING. It is on GimmeSomeOven and it is…wow. I did not use the onions since I’m allergic and I STILL think it is fabulous. I definitely recommend seasoning with salt – but the flavors are just perfect. I would most definitely make a double or triple batch of this next time just to have some soup on hand. I can’t rave about it enough! Tonight is Ben’s first time trying the Spicy Korean Beef/Turkey which has already been taste tested by my family so it should go over well. I “splurged” a little bit and we’re having salmon on Saturday; being from the east coast Ben and I are both huge fans of seafood but good quality fish and shellfish can be hard to find/expensive in central Texas. Luckily the salmon fillets were on sale and it costs virtually nothing to give them amazing flavor – lemon, butter, capers, dash of white wine all bundled up in foil and BOOM! delicious salmon. 

This is the yoga video I use sometimes when recovering – HERE. The reason I like their page is because the videos are usually less than 30 minutes in length and they have yoga for all sorts of people and needs (even hangovers?). It’s great to do in addition too some of my other favorite yoga poses like pigeon or double pigeon which I will add on at the end. BUT SOON hopefully I could be taking yoga at the new yoga bar that is going in next to the CrossFit gym where I work out! 

Mileage – Yoga, foam roll 

QOD – No pain, no gain. 

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At Home Workouts!

So it’s been chilly freezing cold the past few days – in case you didn’t notice – and that seriously decreases most people’s workout motivation. I love running in the cold, but not 2 degrees cold. In all honesty I didn’t pack enough of my cold gear to withstand these temperatures. So I’ve been going to the gym with my mom when I can OR I’ve been cramming in my workouts at home.

On Saturday my family drove up to Philly to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art so I didn’t have the time to go to the gym before we left. Instead I walked the dog early, did jumping jacks, and this quick but brutal CrossFit inspired workout:
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Today, I don’t have a car and it is still less than 10 degrees outside, so I decided to try another CrossFit at home workout. This one I LOVE and it is a little more intense then the one above.
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I love these kinds of workouts because I can do them in my apartment if it is too cold or too hot, or if I just don’t have the time for a full-blown workout or run but still want to get my heart rate going/work my muscles. I have a board of these workouts as well as some cool “One Song” workouts on my FITNESS pintrest board if you want to check them out! Workouts like the Feisty 50 and other body weight exercises are a great way to track progress too. Just time yourself doing the Feisty 50, keep up the hard work for a month, then do the Feisty 50 again in a month and see if your time has improved! 

Mileage – CrossFit Circuit, foam roller 

QOD – Nothing burns like the cold. 

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2014 Goals! (Resolutions are so dramatic!)

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions…for those of you that do them – GREAT! But since my world still revolves around school, I tend to look at the start of each new semester as an opportunity to revamp my habits. This semester I feel like I’m already going in strong, so I’m not changing too much – although I am considering getting a juicer (thoughts anyone?)! I’m actually probably going to meal plan my first 3 or 4 weeks of school before I even get on the plane back to Texas because I have a gig, mini tour, group recital, and 2 major concerts all within the first 2.5 weeks of classes and another extended tour in February. Oh, and I’m taking 2 more credits than last semester while preparing my thesis prospectus and 2nd recital. I just keep telling myself I’ll make it out alive. 

Despite all the craziness I do like to set goals to accomplish each year. Goals don’t necessitate immediate change, or even require changing really. They are just new things to reach for. I set both musical goals and fitness goals along with a few some financial goals too.  

FITNESS
My running goal for 2014 is to run: 

775 miles!

According to my Nike+ I ran 374 miles at an average distance of 3.5 miles and average pace of 10:18 in 2012. In 2013 I ran 563 miles at an average distance of 3.9 miles and average pace of 9:47. So I’m just aiming to continue the pattern and up my mileage to 775 miles with an average distance of 4.5 miles. My average pace goal is going to be probably 9:20, because my other goal is to run 3 half marathons and 2 full marathons (plus other races of course). I think my marathon pace will sit closer to a 9:40 (to sneak below 4:15:00) while I’d love to get my half marathon pace between 9:00 and 9:15 to get a sub 2:00:00 half time eventually! 

My non-running fitness goals mostly pertain to CrossFit. I’d like to be able to do 5 handstand push-ups. I have to re-evaluate some of the others, but that’s for certain. Currently I can only hold handstands (about 45 seconds – 1 minute) so I’d really like to be able to move towards the push-up part. Right now when I try I can barely bend my elbows, and when I do bend them, I usually lose my balance. 

MUSIC
My musical goals for this year are to perform 3 recitals; while two recitals are required for my Master’s, I’d like to give another recital in Maryland where more of my family and friends can see me perform since I haven’t performed on the east coast in almost 2 years. I also have a goal to be accepted to a minimum of 3 music festivals/camps for this summer and be able to finance attending them on my own (this is more difficult than it may seem because several I am auditioning for require flying to Europe).

I have a few other musical goals but sharing details of my bass playing/practicing is very difficult for me sometimes as I see it as a very sacred and personal relationship. I know that sounds weird but music is where I store, release, and experience many of my emotions and it can be hard to share those things with others – I’ve gotten better, but it is still very intimate for me. 

Do you have any goals?!
Of course I’ll recommend running a half or full marathon to anyone because those experiences changed my life – and I even have a few friends who are registered for their first half marathons this year already (you go girls!). And if you so choose to do that (everyone should HERE’S WHY) here are 2 great training resources: 

1) Hal Higdon Training Programs – HERE 
2) 16 week Marathon Training Program – HERE 

Everything in the article about 26.2 reasons to run a marathon is true. That experience changed my outlook on life and despite injuring myself in the race I wouldn’t have traded it for anything (plus it means my 2nd marathon and probably even my 3rd will most definitely be PRs haha!) 

Mileage – Treadmill interval workout, squat cycle, pull-up work, foam roller 

QOD – What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
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Finals Friday! (with 2 recipes!)

I know I promised a delicious recipe last week…and now I have TWO for you guys. Both are healthy and pretty dang delicious. The first one that I originally promised is – Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. 

 Yes you read that right.  Alfredo sauce MADE OUT OF CAULIFLOWER.  My mother will tell anyone about my bizarre childhood (and somewhat to this day) dislike of tomato sauce. I didn’t like spaghetti, I have and never will like lasagna, and even red pizza sauce isn’t my jam. So when I discovered Alfredo – it was love at first taste. However it’s one of the worst foods on the planet for you made with massive amounts of oil, heavy cream, and butter. I found this way healthier recipe on Pintrest and waited ages to try it. I tried it last Friday and it was a hit. It was filling, delicious, and made almost too many leftovers. 
 
HERE is the recipe for the sauce. 
 
I topped my Fettucine Alfredo with some Italian seasoned chicken breast chunks and it was perfect. I did have a few issues which I will mention:
  1. Do not burn the garlic or brown the butter too much, it will discolor the sauce. 
  2. I had no idea how to chop cauliflower (I’d never worked with it before)  
  3. It didn’t all fit in my blender in one go. 
  4. My kitchen smelled like cauliflower for a week. 

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Recipe number 2 is CROCKPOT CHICKEN FAJITAS! 
This recipe is right up my alley. I love crockpot meals – especially ones with so few ingredients. 
 
Ingredients 
1 sweet onion (chopped)
2 green peppers (sliced) 
1-2lbs chicken breasts or breast tenders 
3/4 cup salsa (I used spicy tomatillo) 
2 TBS butter 
1 packet fajita seasoning 
 
I layered 1 TBS of butter and the onion on the bottom, then the 2nd TBS of butter and the green peppers – which looked like this: 
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Then I put the chicken on top and covered it with the fajita seasoning and salsa – which looked like this: 
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I cooked it on high for about 4-5 hours and then shredded the chicken with a fork and BOOM chicken fajita deliciousnesssss. 
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Just throw the chicken, veggies, extra salsa, and whatever toppings you would like in a tortilla and you’re ready to go. The meat would taste amazing on a salad too. 
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Yesterday night Ben and I went for a run and he noticed at one point while he was behind me (which is almost never) that when I’m running slower, I move my torso and it probably wastes energy. So now I have a new form concept to work on while I’m running! 
 
Also while Ben and I were running we got behind a gaggle of girls jogging together (2 of them were clearly runners, 2 were not) and we watched a girl run into a sign. I’m not going to lie it was pretty hilarious. 
 
Today I turned my Power Clean 1 rep max into a 2 rep max! Alas I couldn’t quite get to a new 1 RM in the allotted time, but I was close… I’ll get it next time. 
 
1 final tonight, 1 final Monday and then I will be officially halfway done my Master’s degrees. Uhm what? 
 
Mileage – CrossFit, foam roll 
 
QOD – Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. 
 
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The Injury Break is OVER.

Yesterday I ended my self-imposed 2 week break for knee pain and a toe injury. I cancelled my CrossFit for the last 2 weeks and didn’t go running. This was a little difficult for me to do and it actually leaves me feeling way more tired then usual, but my toe feels totally normal and my knee pain is gone. 

I decided to go with an elliptical and kettle bell workout for my first 2 days back. The elliptical is easier on my knees but I still get my heart rate going, plus I always do intervals on the elliptical which is great speed training, and the kettle bell is a full body workout. I usually use two different weights in a kettle bell workout – 15 lbs and 35 lbs. The lighter weight I will do more reps per set, while the heavier weight will be 8-10 rep sets which are integrated with squats, lunges, and calf raises. 

I plan on doing a short run and A LOT of foam rolling tomorrow morning. I’m going to be doing CrossFit 3x a week instead of 2x for the next 2 weeks to use the classes I cancelled for injuries  – this will be a new experience so I’m looking forward to seeing if I can handle it haha. 

Thanks to the injuries I’ve decided against running the full Miracle Match Marathon in January. However I can run the half-marathon or 10k instead! I haven’t decided which distance I’ll run but I’ve also still got the Bearathon (which is a half) in March – so I still have a lot of running to do! 

Now that I’m off “bed rest” and the semester is winding down be on the look out for lots of recipes and workouts! 

Mileage – Elliptical Intervals, Kettle Bell, Foam Rolling 

QOD – “Injury taught me I need to learn how to face challenges.”

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Rain Running and Other Badass Activities

I totally forgot to mention yesterday that I joined Run Eat Repeat’s Pile on the Miles challenge for November. I set my goal pretty low considering I’m starting marathon training, 40 miles this month (haha yes I know I will run more than that), but I figured I should aim for something I know I can achieve. Plus it gives me a reason to run over Thanksgiving break, when I KNOW I will be eating a ton of delicious foods. 
 
I also forgot to mention my training schedule still involves CrossFit every Tuesday & Thursday at the crack of dawn, of course. Even better, not only did I get INTO a handstand at CrossFit but I managed to hold it for 40 seconds last week. It was pretty awesome for me….won’t lie. And there is some great evidence as to why CrossFit can really help runners, read about it HERE! 
 
Yesterday it was drizzling during the morning run and I must say, this photo is totally right. 
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 I feel SO bad ass when I’m running in the rain. Thankfully it was only a light drizzle really, because when I opened my front door it sounded AWFUL. But it wasn’t that miserable in the end. It was however my first run (other than sprints in CrossFit) since the race and there was a fleeting moment where I thought to myself “Holy crap, I ran 13 miles? Why? This is miserable” followed by “Get it together, you’ve got less than 12 weeks to get your butt ready for 26.2” And yes, I frequently have conversations with myself in my head. Actually somewhere around this time Ben was telling me things and goes “Don’t worry, you don’t have to talk”….guess I looked like I was struggling. 
 
Not sure what my long run will entail on Saturday. I’m thinking 6 might be a  good re-building point. Depends on how my poor legs feel. After a stretch of only CrossFit and walking/biking, I think they are in shock today going back to the back-to-back run then CrossFit days. 
 
Mileage – CrossFit, yoga 
 
QOD – Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy. 
 
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Exciting Musical News! (And an epic running fail)

Let me tell the epic fail first! Today at CrossFit we were running sprints, which involved going off a curb, crossing the street, and going back up. I’m booking it, almost as fast as I can amongst a small cluster of individuals, and in my efforts to find space I miss the sidewalk ending and face-plant into the middle of the road. LUCKILY,  I did not injure my face at all, however I landed hard on my hands and knees. Oh and then I finished the last 2 sprints with my class. So my knees I could care less about okay I care a little bit about my knees… but my hands are VERY important. Thankfully my left hand had barely a scratch and my right hand has a few scrapes and bruising but nothing that affected my bass playing. 

This brings me to part 1 of my exciting news. I LOVED my tone out of my instrument today – and not just the tone of someone else playing it, but MY tone. I’ve been struggling to find the sound I want for a long time, and I think after a mini-lesson on Friday and a lesson today I had some sort-of breakthrough. I’m sure making the sound consistent, especially when the music is difficult, will take some time. But it wasn’t just once during my lesson, I played….beautifully…for most of my lesson. It was an amazing step in the right direction…

AND THEN I received my official acceptance to be a dual Master’s student in Performance and Music History. I am so relieved to have that acceptance in writing and begin my journey towards recitals, a thesis, and 2 degrees that will give me the start on a career path in music. I’m so glad all my hard work has paid off. I was already excited about my paper for my American Music seminar and now I’m just over the moon to be doing it from the perspective of part of my degree program – I’m writing about Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, and the absorption of national Latin American rhythms into United States jazz music. I’m not joking, talking about this topic gets me crazy excited!

So overall I think today was a winning day….and my busted up knees just give my knee caps a little more individuality! 

Have any of you ever had a running or work out fail like mine?! Share them in the comments! 

Mileage – CrossFit, ice, stretching, foam roller 

QOD – It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.

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First Week Craziness!

This semester….actually this whole year….seems like it will go at lightning speed! I can’t believe the first week is over. It’s given me a false sense of time of course since all my classes didn’t meet this week, giving me plenty of extra time for homework and practice. But we’ve already had readings for my one academic class and it’s been nice having my schedule back  – I really love the structure of school, haha, hence why I’m staying in college for 7 years straight! 

It’s also been my first week back at CrossFit and I’m so glad to be back. It’s nice to have the coaches there correcting my movements, after being home for the summer I’ve returned to or created a couple bad habits and I really enjoy getting the feedback. Plus I workout harder when I’m at the gym and I know it will help me build strength for all my races this season. HOWEVER, my legs feel totally torn up and I’m so glad tomorrow is my rest day. 

Actually…..I had some serious knee pain, just above the joint, this morning so I’ve been icing my knee and kept it wrapped and elevated this morning. I actually switched around my practice time so I could give my knee some recovery time before biking to campus and keeping my knee bent all morning. 

Since my running is in the morning to avoid the heat, I’ve switched my CrossFit classes to early in the morning rather than at night. I’m trying to make myself a super morning person….I’m getting there….slowly. 

I think today is a day for a double dose of tea since I woke up at 5:15am – I fell asleep watching the U.S. Open last night and I’m sure I will do the same thing tonight. School is exhausting but I’m so happy to be back making music with all my colleagues here at Baylor. My auditions didn’t go as well as I was hoping for, and I will be exploring some new avenues to prevent my severe performance anxiety, there’s always something to learn from mistakes and failures. It is incredibly inspiring to be back with the bass studio here, all the talent and hard work in our studio is such great motivation! 

Mileage – CrossFit, yoga, foam roller 

QOD – Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. 

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