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The last two months have been insane! I’ve got a “Part 2” blog post for the holidays coming up, but wanted to share a brief recap of our trip to California!

Mid November, I joined Bob while he was out in San Diego for a work trip and we did a little exploring together. It was a MUCH needed trip because I felt like we hadn’t spent any time together since the beginning of October when school started. I loved San Diego, (so warm! so sunny!) but we only had a few days so we still have a lot more things to explore in the future. He’ll be going out there a lot for work, so I’m hoping to join him at least once more… we’ll see!

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the trip:

Farmer's Market in Little Italy

Farmer’s Market in Little Italy

La Jolla -- gorgeous area

La Jolla — gorgeous area

Unlimited mimosas at brunch overlooking San Diego skyline

Unlimited mimosas at brunch overlooking San Diego skyline

In La Jolla -- rooftop bar

In La Jolla — rooftop bar

Sunset on Coronado Island

Sunset on Coronado Island

Altogether, it was a nice respite from a busy life and we enjoyed the several days together uninterrupted by work or homework. So nice.

Have you had a quick getaway recently? Where’s your favorite place to rest?

2014!

Hi friends!

It’s been quite awhile, I know. Between a quick vacation to San Diego, traveling for holidays, and my masters classes, I’ve been swamped. The first thing to go, unfortunately, was this blog.

Our house decorated for Christmas

Our house decorated for Christmas

I’ve missed it, and I’ve missed you, and I plan on updating at least once or twice a week now that things seem to have settled down a bit. I’ll give a quick picture recap of our trip to San Diego, of our holidays, and of what else is going on in our lives, but for now, I’d like to share my 2014 non-resolutions.

First, let’s look at last year’s. I’ve crossed off the ones I completed.

Beat my half-marathon time by running a second half.  Complete a single pull-up. Write down one thing every day that makes me grateful. Lose a few inches around my stomach and tone up. Not worry about my weight but instead worry about how my pants fit. Write down why I love Bob every day. String together 20 double unders in a row! See my best friend more often than once a month. Re-paint our bedroom. Make the bed every day. Start volunteering somewhere. Read 12 books. Run a 5k. Run for the pure joy of it. Keep the bedroom clean. Light candles often.  Treat myself to nice undergarments from Victoria’s Secret. Learn how to wear scarves. Meal plan weekly. Go away somewhere fun for my birthday. Try a new recipe every other week.Visit Nashville. Launch a mobile website for my company. Go to CrossFit 4-5x per week. Throw an awesome baby shower for a dear friend. Clean out the office and guest room closets. Donate or trash items in the basement that haven’t been used for over a year. Complain less.

Bob & I after the "It's a Wonderful Run" 5k

Bob & I before the “It’s a Wonderful Run” 5k

I think I did okay. I ran out of time for the half marathon training, and because my attendance at CrossFit since I started classes had decreased dramatically, my pull-up didn’t happen. Pretty sure I didn’t lose any inches (although I didn’t have measurements.. that was dumb). Also, I managed to see Cassie (my best friend) often, but once classes started, I stopped seeing people for the most part. And I cleaned out the office so I could make it warm and inviting for schoolwork, but ignored the closet.

Cozy corner in the office to read.

Cozy corner in the office to read.

This year’s non-resolutions?

I’m keeping them pretty simple. And taking a few from last year.

Work out 4-5x per week. CrossFit 2x per week. Weightlift 2x per week. Run for stress relief. Enjoy schoolwork. Learn from my classmates. Launch a responsive design website at work. Clean out the office & guest room closets. Complain less. Do something fun at least once a week. Take more bubble baths to relax. Eat clean 85% of the time. Be more like Pollyanna. Love my husband more than myself. Walk (or run) the dog once a week. Journal more as a way of de-stressing. Go to church more often and enjoy the community there. Update the blog 1-2x per week.

This time next year, I’ll only have one more month of classes until I graduate. 2014 will go fast, between the schoolwork, regular work, and Bob traveling for work (more on this later). I want to enjoy every minute, and keeping calm & joyful will be my priority.

What about you? Any non-resolutions? 

LuRong Results

This will be my last post about LuRong this year (and I just realized that I’ve been spelling it wrong for two years, it has a capital “R” in the middle – whoops). I just wanted to give a quick update on the results from the challenge.

For those of you who don’t know – yesterday was the final day of an 8 week challenge of strict paleo eating. It also had a performance aspect to it (10 workouts that were scored throughout the 8 weeks), goal setting, and other miscellaneous tasks (i.e. submitting  a written testimonial). I successfully completed the entire 8 weeks without a single “cheat” (so, no food other than vegetables, fruits, meats, and nuts/seeds). I also hit 5 of my 6 goals:

  • I want a new PR on my back squat (shooting for 20#)

Yes – #20PR on my back squat on Wednesday this week. I also had a 20# PR on my front squat earlier in the challenge, and a 45# PR on my CrossFit Total on Wednesday.

  • I will drink 1 oz of water for every 2lbs of body weight (so about 100oz/day)

Yes – although I had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom a lot more often!

  • I want to give up alcohol completely for the next 8 weeks

Yes

  • I will work on my squat mobility at least 5x a week

Nope – I didn’t get this one – only 3-4x per week for the second half of the challenge.

  • Continue to work on my relationship with Meg

Yes – the specifics of this goal were private, but I achieved it.

  • No cheats for the entire challenge

Yes

Not only did I hit all of these goals, but I had some big improvement scores. As I wrote about last week, we did three benchmark workouts at the beginning of the challenge, and redid them again at the end. I improved on all three by a considerable amount – 29% on the first, 5% on the second, and 28% on the third (I redid all three again this past week and improved my second two even more from my update last week).

Finally, I got my final measurements done yesterday to compare to the beginning of the challenge. As I wrote about before, I let myself go a little bit too much before this challenge started, so my beginning numbers are higher than they should have been. But, nonetheless, I lost 20 pounds and here are the measurement results:

  • Chest: lost 5.25″
  • Left and right arm: lost 1.5″ on each
  • Left leg: lost 1″
  • Right leg: lost 0.75″ (maybe I use my right leg more than my left?)
  • Waist: lost 5.25″
  • Hips: lost 3.5″
  • Total inches lost: 18.75″

I don’t love these photos, because I still have a LOT of loose skin around my belly from the last two years of weight loss, but I still wanted to post them to show the difference a clean diet for 8 weeks makes:

Before and after - I can START to see my abs for the first time in my life!

Before and after – I can START to see my abs for the first time in my life!

Now, I know that I may be perceived as a paleo evangelist, but I really don’t want to be. Paleo works for me. And, truth be told, if many people eliminated alcoholic beverages and sugar from their diet for 8 weeks, they’re going to see similar results, regardless of the consumption of grains and dairy (not allowed in paleo). But, I have found that for me, grains and dairy are not good for me. My body does not react well to them, and I have tried incorporating them back in before and it’s just not optimal for me. If you’ve never tried to eliminate some of these foods from your diet, I’d encourage you to try it. But I really hope that this isn’t me trying to force paleo on other people – I’m advocating eating whatever it is that works for you. For me – it’s paleo.

As I wrote about before, I do think this will be my last formal challenge though. Assuming I can find a way to eat like this all year long, while allowing some limited indulgences, I’d like to make this a more sustainable lifestyle. And, if you keep reading this blog, I’m sure you’ll find out how I do!

Fitting it all in

I’m struggling to get up to 2x per week at CrossFit. I love it once I’m there, and always am glad I went, but GETTING THERE continues to be an issue. I was supposed to go yesterday but when the alarm went off at 4am after a restless night of dreaming about getting a C on my final paper for this class (I haven’t even turned it in yet… oh, dreams), there was no way I was getting up.

I did make it there today, however, and am planning on going tomorrow.  So even though it’s at the end of the week, at least I’m going to get it in twice. I have a lot more motivation to go if I’m going with Bob (like this morning) because I consider it a little bit of time spent with him.

I have been working out on my own over lunch, however, at work. Believe it or not, I’m actually exercising as much as I did before I started class. This week I’ll have hit 5 out of 7 days.  Don’t be too impressed, though, because one of those days was our Barbells for Boobs event at our gym (which was AWESOME).

Photo taken by Barbells for Boobs. And yes, this is my first "real" CrossFit picture. I'm psyched.

Photo taken by Barbells for Boobs. And yes, this is my first “real” CrossFit picture. I’m psyched.

See this picture above? I was clean & jerking 75 pounds. Last year, I clean & jerked 45 pounds. (Let’s ignore the fact that my overhead squats were the same weight at 45 pounds…).  That progress (however slight) is what I don’t want to lose while I’m only making it 2x a week during the next 15 (a month down!!) months.

Which is why I’ve started “New Rules of Lifting for Women” — a book my parents gave me for Christmas and I didn’t need then because I was going to CF so often at the time.

NROLFW

It’s split into 7 stages and is a 6ish month long progression at 3x per week. I’m planning on doing twice a week, so the program will be a few months longer for me. It incorporates heavy lifting and interval training, both things I love about CrossFit. Not going to lie, when I saw that deadlifts, back squats, and thrusters were part of the routine, I knew this would work well. 🙂

The first stage has high reps (2 sets of 15) and works down to heavier weights at lower reps (8) over the course of 16 workouts. I did the first two workouts at 15 reps but am skipping 2 workouts and going down to 12 reps at slightly heavier weights. The first stage is FOREVER (16 workouts vs every other stage which is 8) and I am sure it’s to get people unfamiliar with lifting, familiar with it. I’m going to follow the rest of it as prescribed, however, and just make sure the weights are challenging enough.

The first stage doesn’t have any interval training, but I’m throwing my own in there using CrossFit Endurance workouts posted every week in our CF group. My original plan was to do these CFEs on the opposite days that I lift but this week has been a bit crazy so I’ve just tacked them on at the end of the weight lifting. My lunch gets a little long because of that (ran close to an hour and a half yesterday), but I also spend weekends tweeting and Facebooking and Instagramming for work, so I’m not worried.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m settling into a routine, I’m making exercising a priority, and I’m just taking it one day at  a time as promised.

Furthermore, Bob has been INCREDIBLE as I’ve figured out all of this. He’s doing most of our grocery shopping, he’s been cleaning the kitchen while I’m in class, he’s taking care of other things like installing a hot water heater while I slave away over homework, and he has just been all around wonderful. So I know it’s a little bit of a husband brag, but it needs to be said that he is amazing.

Have you ever followed a weightlifting program? What has worked for you?

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