Dealing with Stress 101: Crossfit/Running, NyQuil and Pray for a Snowday

Transitioning back to work after a long vacation is always hard but this week was MUCH more difficult than usual.  And I am to blame for this terrible transititon because I didn’t really make a dent in my massive workload that I planned to tackle over vacation.  I have a pretty large, and important portfolio due tomorrow and it was REALLY stressing me out earlier on the week.  I tried to remind myself that IT WILL GET DONE.  It may mean pulling an all nighter on Thursday or skipping crossfit for a couple days but I am the type of person that will find a way to get things done.  Isn’t that what I went to college for??? Learning to procrastinate and then learning to get out of that hole you dug…yup that was what my $45,00 tuition got me  But no matter how many times I reminded myself of that, I just couldn’t shake off the stress.

That is where running and crossfit come in.  The second I walk into Crossfit or head out for a run, my stress just seeems to dissipate.  At Crossfit, I have 60 minutes where my energy is focused solely on my lifts and my mind is in completely in the zone.  When I am running, I don’t necessarily tune out the stressor but I start to think about it with endorphins running through my body and I can think clearly about how I will tackle the problem.  That is why I love being both a runner and a crossfitter.  Running is what helps me sift through my thoughts and find answers to problems and crossfit allows me to just break free from the thought in general and focus my stress and anger on a great lift.  Oh, and then their is yoga where all thoughts just disappear because I am just trying to breathe/survive in the high temperature

So Tuesday morning when I was wide awake at 4:30 am because the stress was keeping me awake, I just laced up and layered up, and head out for a couple morning miles to clear my head.

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Maybe my brain was just frozen, but it certainly felt like it helped with clearing my thoughts.

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I also could not believe that my ‘throw on as many layers as possible in the dark’ outfit somehow managed to match.  That’s a first.

And this oatmeal bowl also contributed to my positive vibes.  How can frozen bananas, cacoa nibs, and coconut on top of warm oatmeal not induce instant happiness?

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After an evening crossfit session, I was able to make a pretty big dent in my workload.  I rewarded myself with a giant sip of Nyquil and an 8:30 pm bedtime.  9 hours of sleep never felt so good.

Another great way to manage stress is to pray for a school cancellation.  I can’t guarantee it will work all the time (perks of being a teacher) but I am pretty thankful and lucky that it worked for me today.

After yesterday’s crossfit session , I quickly whipped up my favorite dinner before another night of shipping away at my work…

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This dinner was great for two reasons.  1.) It was my first time baking cabbage which is now a newfound love.  2.) While consuming this meal the news added my school to the list of cancellations.  The thought of having ALL day to work on my portfolio had me smiling from ear to ear.

However, I can’t say I had that same ear to ear smile when reading today’s WOD at 5:30 am…

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Even with work cancelled, I figured it was best to get up for 6am crossfit for 2 reasons.  1.) I wanted the entire day revolved around my work. 2.) All those burpees hanging over my head until the evening classes would have just added to my stress. ha ha.

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And of course, another post workout oatmeal breakfast bowl.  For those of you who are sick of my constant oatmeal posts, you are in luck!!  On Monday I will be starting a 6 week Paleo Challenge that my crossfit box is putting on.  No oatmeal for 6 weeks! I am thinking some savory sweet potatoe omlettes, maybe banana pancakes!

Time to wrap up this post because I have a massage to get to. Yup, that is the reward I am giving myself for (almost) surviving the week and for completing my portfolio.  Putting that college tuition to use..

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Oh Man.  This vacation was wonderful.. fast… but wonderful.

But just like the title says, all great things must come to an end.

I think I also said that line after we polished off our wonderful plate(s) of Indian and then again after my final spoonful of froyo last night…what can I say, it is a great phrase.

While I am on the Froyo topic, it was a sad day yesterday.  Our favorite Froyo place that we go to every Saturday night went out of business on Friday.  Another sad moment was when we found out that they were giving out free Froyo on Friday and we missed it.  Actually that is probably for the better.  Free froyo is code for a massive bowl and massive stomach ache.

And because I promise I don’t eat Froyo and Indian every day…I will move on to today’s post Power Yoga breakfast. Oatmeal cooked stove top with Maca powder and almond milk and topped with pumpkin seeds, frozen berries, goji berries and shredded coconut flakes.

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Power Yoga was rough today.  I just did not feel fluid, flexible and focused.  I am not sure if it was a result of all the overindulgence over vacation/holidays or because of the “Cindy” WOD yesterday.  A whopping 140 push ups, 70 pull-ups, and 210 squats will not make any activity the following day easy.

As for the overindulgence, the nightly glass of wine with dinner will come to an end as soon as vacation is over.  And that is not until tomorrow 😉 so tonight’s first crock pot chicken meal will certainly be accompanied by some Apothic Red.

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This is also much-needed after sitting at Barnes and Noble for 6 hours doing work that has been procrastinated over vacation.  And the Fajita Crockpot chicken was much-needed after two meals that looked like this…

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They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. What about two apples?  Because this is pretty much what my day looked like (TWICE) since my oatmeal.

I need to elaborate more on this Fajita Crock pot Chicken because it was amazing, easy, AND the first time I used a crock pot.  It was a big day for me.  

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Before I left to conquer my pile of work, I quickly chopped up 1 yellow pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 red onion, cilantro and 3 gloves of garlic.  I poured 1 cup of Salsa in the crock pot (look at the labels on the salsas in your grocery story and find the one with the least amount of salt..I use Green Mountain), placed 3 chicken breasts on top of the salsa, added the veggies, and added a variety of fajita seasonings.  (Chili power, onion powder, cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes, Himalayan pink salt, black pepper) Then you just cover, set the crock pot to Slow Cook on low for 6-8 hours and take on your day!

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Let me tell yah…it was fabulous not having to come home and cook dinner after a long day! Oh, and it was delicious. On top of a bed of brown rice..perfection.

As much as I love blogging, I want to embrace every last minute of this vacation so it is time to wrap this all up!  Have a great Sunday!

Christmas Craziness

Holy Moly.  I can’t believe my last post was Christmas Eve, 5 days ago!

I am pretty sure today was the first day I actually knew what day of the week it was since then.  The holidays were absolutely wonderful but man, I am excited to get back to a normal schedule.  I am still on Christmas break for another week so I guess MY schedule is not normal but I am OK with that.  I can feel routine simply by having other people’s schedule being back to normal.  SO, I thank all of you who are at work because it makes me feel routined 😉

My workouts may have been the only thing that remained normal this past week.  I think I depended on my crossfit WODS and my Hot Yoga sessions to keep me sane..and to work off those holiday indulgences…

Christmas morning looked a little something like this…

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The best thing about running is it is always Open, you don’t have to worry about those limited holiday hours.  My 6am Christmas morning run was especially open, the roads were dead….thank goodness because my outfit was ridiculous.  A winter hat to keep my hair dry from the sprinkling rain, a tank top because it was somewhat warm, and spandex pants.  Yup. I think I was sending a sign to Santa to bring me new workout clothes 😉

Despite the perfect running weather, the run was not all that great. It was the first time running after I decided to take a week off for my tibia tendon pain. It felt fine for the first couple of miles but that did not last long.  After mile 2, it went downhill fast. Mile 5 was a fight against my body and my emotions. It was one of those runs where you are fighting to hit your mile goal even though you know that it is not worth it. But of course, I can type the logical thing to do but in the heat of the moment I wanted the miles. So, although I completed 6 miles before Christmas brunch, I knew that it would be the last run for some time.

On a brighter note, Christmas brunch with my boyfriend’s family was absolutely wonderful.  Eggs, bacon, toast, and a delicious fruit platter.  After breakfast and presents we headed over to my parents house for more presents.

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Speaking of presents, check out this bad boy! A Ninja crock pot from my boyfriend’s parents.  We can’t wait to try this out! I have never really used one but have heard so many great things about them and have come across some really simple and delicious recipes using crock pots.  The idea of being able to start dinner in the morning and have it ready by the time I get home from Crossfit sounds pretty awesome.

How adorable is my mom!  She sewed my boyfriend a stocking that looks just like each of the family member’s stocking so he can “feel included”.

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After some family fun, we were in dire need for a Christmas afternoon, food-induced nap before we were back at it for another family dinner.

One of the many desserts consumed at dinner just happened to be the revealing of the sex of my boyfriend’s sister’s baby!

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IT IS A GIRL!..and a delicious cupcake.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were just filled with morning workouts/yoga, healthy meals throughout the day, lots of naps, and evening celebrations.  Last night I heard the line, “my waist is expanding like the national debt”…well said, ha ha.  I think many of us can relate to this…me included.

Although I am on vacation and allowed to sleep until late in the day, I decided to go to 7am Crossfit this morning.  I didn’t particularly enjoy waking up at 6:15 but I also did not want to have to wait to workout until the next class at 5:30 and it gives me the possibility to go for a walk or bike ride later in the day. YUP, a bike ride! The weather has been oddly warm, I was able to take my bike out for an afternoon ride on Friday!  One ride and my butt was sore..goes to show how biking activates so many different muscles.

However, that is NOT how this afternoon is being spent.  After a WOD that consisted of 100 overhead squats this morning and the realization that I haven’t taken a rest day since last Monday, I think it is time to rest up a bit.  No doubling up today.

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Just one workout and one delicious bowl of oatmeal for me today!

Oh and one large Americano of course….

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Running to a Podcast and Some R&R

 Hi!  Let me fill you all in on some things that are pretty great right now…

1.  It is almost Thursday therefore the weekend and Christmas break are getting closer! Awesome

2.  This is my current view/situation as I type this. There is something about Christmas lights that make everything better

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What was not as relaxing as this view was listening to a murder story Podcast on my morning run in the 5am darkness…lets just say I was a little jumpy.

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There has been much commotion amoungst my friends about this Serial podcast so I figured I would give it a listen on this morning’s quiet run.  I never listen to anything BUT music and often wonder what it would be like to run to a book or story.  When it comes down to it, I never want to give up my 98 Degrees and NSYNC pandora (yup.  My station of choice) for a boring book so I have never tested out my curiosity.  However,  today I gave it a shot and actually really enjoyed it.  The podcast is suspenseful/engaging, you kind of just drift off into the suspense of the murder story and don’t really focus on the miles…or pace. Whoops. Kinda slow.  However, I think I would have enjoyed the run much more if my shin/interior ankle tendon was not hurting…

It is hard to not become immediately frustrated when this ongoing aggrivated ankle tendon just won’t go away.  But of course,  I expect it to go away yet decide to run 9 miles onSunday..smart.

I think it is time to do what needs to be done and take a break from running for a good week…

Though my passion for Crossfit, running AND hot power yoga can be challenging to balance, it has also been my savior when it comes to injuries.  It is great to know that when I need to take a break from one thing, I have something else to focus on and help steer me away from dwelling on the rest.  I may not be running this week but you bet I will be working on my strength at crossfit and really connecting my breathing and muscle movement while at Yoga.  Sometimes you need a break from one thing in order to grow at another.

I cannot stress enough how great it has been incorporating power yoga into my weekly exercise.  My muscles are getting the stretch they need/deserve, I have a space to sweat (profusely) the toxins out my body and I have 90-minutes where I can focus on nothing but connecting with my body and mind. On top of all that….IT IS HARD AS HELL.  For a strong individual like myself, there are many moments where it takes every ounce of willpower and fight to stay in a position.

After a week starting with deadlifts, 300 double unders yesterday and this morning’s run…tonight’s yoga really tested my ability to not let my mind pull me out of certain holds.  The pain was there but the perseverance was stronger!

And on an even better note, I had a delicious meal all cooked up when I got home..

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I am a pretty lucky girl.

I guess that is what I get for cooking up a delicious stir-fry last night

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which also served as a wonderful leftover at lunch today. Double win

In case you were all wondering, which you’re probably not…my oatmeal game continues to remain strong.

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Just a lovely Cinnamon Maca Chia oatmeal base boiled/cooked with a Sugar Cookie tea bag to add some flavor.  Topped with whatever I feel like throwing on from my shelf full of superfood toppings…goji berries, unsweetened coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, raw cacao nibs, almond slivers, hemp hearts.

That about sums it all up!  Hope  you all enjoy these last few work days before the Holidays 🙂

Snazzy Snacking and a New Addition to the Schedule

Happy Hump Day!

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I can’t say my cooking has been superb in the last few days but thankfully I have a wonderful guy who had some delicious dinners waiting for me after Crossfit and night class.  My dinner game may not be on point this week but my snack and breakfast game has been superb.  Let me just let you in on what’s been happening when I get home at 3pm ready to eat my fist…teacher problem #1: absurdly early lunches

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Ezekiel bread topped with Nuttzo, 1/2 banana, and raw cacoa nibs (benefits of cacoa)

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Ezekiel bread with Nuttzo and an organic cage-free egg

Tuesday was an ambitious morning with a 4:30am wake-up for 5am Crossfit.  I had a 3 hour night class in the evening so I figured I would get it out of the way in the morning.  But of course..the school had a 2-hour delay so while everyone was hitting the Ignore button on their alarm, I was about 40 front squats and 200 double unders deep in my day and already home cooking up some wonderful egg-white oats.

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This right here is a glorious bowl of superfoods:  oats, egg whites, cinnamon, maca powder, goji berries, hemp seeds, raw cacoa nibs, unsweetened coconut flakes, and frozen organic strawberries.

Okay. Enough with food.  Lets talk about new and exciting changes in my already busy schedule!  This winter I will be helping out with coaching the high school indoor track team in the town I teach in!  This is even more exciting because I actually attended the high school when I was a kid/teen.  After years of playing basketball, I quit my sophomore year to join the newly launched indoor track program.  To go back and help out a program that grew me as a runner and an athlete is extremely rewarding.

However, when I first got asked to help, the mere thought of adding another thing to my schedule had me terrified.  I am a creature of habit…the thought of change immediately freaks me out.  I need to learn that every time my schedule changes, I always manage to make the adjustment just fine and it rarely interferes with my training.  In fact, this will actually HELP my training because I will be training with the girls… which means SPEED! It is time to incorporate track workouts into my training schedule!  Speaking of time, this also means I will be doing more 5am Crossfit rather than evening classes.  Hello 4:30am.  Like all things, it will be a little rough in the beginning but with time, it all becomes routine.

Today was the first practice and there was a rush of emotion being back on the same track I was on 8 years ago.  It was also extremely strange running with people.  I always run on my own with my lovely little iPod.  It was so nice to run and chat…man those miles just fly by when you’re talking. 

With another fitness related addition to my schedule, I need to really make sure that I take care of my body and listen to the signals.  The balance of Crossfit and running is always a bit of a struggle and takes tons of self-awareness and self-discipline to ensure that I don’t do more than my body can handle.  Sometimes it means skipping runs or skipping workouts but in the long run, it always beats an injury.