Thursday, October 31, 2013

3,295 - Booyah

The squat challenge is officially over and I now consider myself a master of the universe...okay, maybe just master of this challenge.  After 30 days of squats, do I feel any different?  Not really.  I can tell the squats became easier over the weeks, but I don't notice anything beyond that. Maybe if I would have added a little more cardio into the mix, I would see some additional changes. All I can say is, I have steel under all the fluffiness now!

Total number of squats completed: 3295.  I started out with 50 per day and finished with 250 on my last day.  The first couple weeks were pretty easy, but the last week or so was difficult just trying to get in the total number of squats I needed to complete each day. If I ever did another squat challenge, I would probably do a smaller range of squats consisting of 100-150 in 3 day increments over a month instead of the increments in this one, but it was fun to complete anyway. 

So, what's in store for November?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Grandfather Mountain and the Swinging Bridge

As I mentioned yesterday, we spent Sunday in the mountains, cruising along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Along our journey, we came upon the entrance to Grandfather Mountain (on my NC to-do list) and had to stop.  Now, unlike many of the sights along the way, this area is not free.  There is $18.00/person charge for adults and $8.00/kid or you can purchase a season pass.  We went with the single day admission since we never know when we'll be in the area again.  Well worth the money, peeps.

 The sign for Grandfather Mountain
 Brian standing under The Sphinx Rock

 They had animals up here.  Here's one of the otters...
One of the bald eagles...they were a bit camera shy
 The black bears, just hanging around
 A view of the winding road halfway up the mountain
 Pic from halfway up the mountain
As you can see, there are quite a few visitors here.
There is also a fudge shop and museum where the animals are located and then you continue to the top of the mountain where the gift shop and Swinging Bridge is located.
 See it in the middle? That would be the Swinging Bridge from far below
 A view from "almost" the top
A pic with my nemesis
Side shot of the bridge...don't be fooled by it's tranquility

So, you can hop in the bridge and cross on over to the other side, where there are trails and great views for more pics.  I'd love to show you some but, alas, I never made it across.  Want to know why? Cuz it was windy as hell up there.  There were 30+ people crossing it most of the time. And, the damn thing swings. 5282 feet in the air. Swinging. 80 foot fall before you would hit rock below.  I tried peeps, I really did.  I made it about a quarter way across and when I felt and saw how bad it was swinging, I bolted back to safety.  Yep, that's right. The girl who can jump out of an airplane was bested by a bridge. I know it is all in my head, but that damn thing was scary.  I also know I'll be back and will get across it in the near future.

Other than my traumatic moment, it was a great visit and worth the money to see it.  I figure we'll return when some of our family members make the trip here for a visit. Then I will be ready for a rematch, and next time, I'll win.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cars, Wine, and Mountains...oh my!

I'm a little behind with this but seeing as I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday, I chose to spend my free time with a nap and some shows instead of computer time so here we go..a couple days later.

Friday night was pretty laid back, as usual around here.  After work, we went out for some delicious Mexican food (super sized chicken burrito for me and beef burrito for hubby) and then came home and caught up on some of our tv shows.

I chose to take the day off from swim lessons on Saturday so I got to enjoy some early morning quiet time reading and enjoying a cup of coffee before Brian and I headed out to the Good Guys car show at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  This year didn't seem as crazy busy as last year, maybe the "cold weather" deterred some people.  Some of the sights there:

 The big and small version of this one
 I could ride around in this limo
 Got to love a shiny black truck...
 A little pastel never hurt anyone..
Best. Hood ornament. Ever.
After about 4 hours at the car show, we decided we'd had enough (that and I was hungry) so we stopped for lunch where I enjoyed some delicious chicken tortilla soup and a lettuce wedge

This was so yummy and just the right amount of food
After a full stomach, we drove around a bit and ended up hunting down one of the many vineyards here in the Charlotte area, Rocky River Vineyards, and stopped in for a drink.  This place is very low key compared to some of the other vineyards I've been to, in fact we thought it was just someone's homestead when we first pulled in the driveway.
Brian's wine slushy: peach bellini (scrumtastic) 
 Several of their award-winning wines
 Everyone needs a wine bottle tree...
 The barn area
The pavilion
There was a wedding taking place later in the evening and we got to see the bridal party take some of their pictures while we walked the grounds.  We also walked through the orchards and got to taste some of the grapes which were fantastic and tasted exactly like the sweet red wine I chose.  Overall, this place was pretty cool and is located right next to a golf course, which clearly works to their advantage as one group of guys stopped their golf cart to pick up a handful of wine slushies as well.  They are delicious! I'm sure we will make another trip out there sometime.
Sunday was a long day as we decided to head to the mountains to check out the leaves, and it's a good thing we did because the further north we got, the more bare the trees became.  Some sections were already bare but the cool mountain air and the gorgeous views were still worth the trip.

These are the days I enjoy living in North Carolina.  The mountains and waterfalls are truly beautiful to see and only a couple hours away!  We also made a special visit to Grandfather Mountain, which I will save for another post.  Needless to say, we were tuckered out by the time we got home.  Busy but very enjoyable weekend.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Weekend Update

Although it feels like it passed by like a flash, we had a pretty good weekend here.  Friday night we went out for dinner at Chili's where I scarfed down some delicious chicken fajitas along with chips and salsa.  Afterwards, we stopped at the store for my Friday cupcake treat (scrumtastic) and headed home for some wonderful couch time catching up on all the shows we haven't had a chance to watch during the week.

Saturday morning I took Wilson for a walk around the neighborhood and did some blog reading before heading to OWA to teach swim lessons.  I teach eight classes on Saturday mornings, so by the time I leave around 1:30pm, I am giddy with chlorine fumes and downright famished.  Brian and I usually grab something to eat when I get home and then I did some laundry, cleaning, and reading while he put up the Halloween decorations (pics to come later).  He did a great job this year and it looks spooky and a bit scary, just the way we like it!  By the evening, we were both pretty tired so we stayed in and caught up on Season 4 of Dexter.

Today, after a hearty breakfast of Belgian waffles, pancakes, eggs and coffee, we visited two different flea markets in the area, one at the Metrolina (not much to talk about) and the other just across the border in Fort Mill, SC which was crazy busy and had everything you could imagine buying from fresh vegetables to appliances, household products, clothes, shoes, etc., probably similar to The Swap Shop in Florida, but in a better neighborhood.  After our flea market excursions and a stop for coffee at McD's (I just can't help myself!), we headed to Aw Shucks Farm to check out their pumpkin patch.  It is definitely a fun place for kids to hang nieces and nephew would love it!  More on that in a later post.  After a couple hours there, it was back home where I left Brian to his football and Wilson and I headed to a park nearby for a 3.5 mile walk.

Now, after a stop for some fall beer flavors and the Sunday paper, I am ready for some down time before another work day approaches.  Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

For the Love of Squats - Halfway Done

A wee bit late on the post but it's better late than never.  Week 2 got me into the triple digits, starting from 100 going on up to 140 a day.  The pattern is good for me: 3 days on, 1 day off, rinse and repeat.  Each day increases by 5 squats and after a rest day, they usually jump either 10 or 20 and continue on.  This evening I have 150 to do and the biggest thing with this number is just getting them done.  Today, I split them up into groups of 50 and did 50 this a.m. followed by 50 when I got home and I have my last set left this evening.  After a couple weeks doing squats, I can say I do feel pretty good about them. Little bit tighter here and there, and most of the initial soreness has vanished, so now I focus on improving my form, making sure to do deep squats (otherwise they're kind of pointless) and have started adding some weights to the sets.  A little over halfway done and still getting them done!

Unfortunately, I haven't had much time (or desire) to get a whole lot of cardio done.  Work has been bru-tal these past two weeks with lots of "firm restructuring" (yeah, I've heard that one before), so between the stress and craziness at work, plus swim classes 3 days a week, I have found myself enjoying some tv time and snacks in the evening a little more than I should be.  I think a good run is in store for this weekend or at least some extra time on the exercise bike.  At least tomorrow is Friday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday everyone! Here's my five for the day:

1.  Did half of my squats this morning and will complete the remaining of them this evening. Now that I'm in the triple digits, it's nice to split them in half and do some in the morning and evening.

2. I got out and ran 2 miles yesterday then followed it up with a walk with Wilson for a total of about 3 miles. The weather is so nice right now that running is enjoyable again.

3.  Today I should finish my 52nd book of the year which means I completed my 52 book challenge ahead of schedule. Yeah! Now I can spend my spare time doing other things I love, or just read more.

4.  It's coffee and cupcake Friday! Woo hoo!  I started cutting down on my iced coffee in the a.m. but always allow for one on Fridays. I get a cupcake for getting through the week without punching anyone :-)

5.  Nascar is in town this weekend so our area is madness already.  Hopefully it doesn't affect the commute home too much. And hopefully they all leave early on Sunday...yeah right.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

For the Love of Squats - Week 2

I have made it through the first week of the 30 Day Squat Challenge. What do I have to say for it?  Eh...that wasn't so bad.  At first, I thought 50-100 squats would be difficult but it wasn't that hard at all. Most of the time I either had some music playing or was watching a show while doing them so it never really felt like it took that long to get through them.  Plus, behind all my fluffiness lies legs of steel. I do feel the soreness from working the glutes and quads most of all, but it's been a pretty good challenge so far.  Maybe 200+ squats in one day won't be so bad after all.

I have also been enjoying riding my exercise bike again. I usually spend my time reading while I'm cycling but every once in awhile I prefer to watch a program instead. I've been watching Homeland lately, which works perfectly as I like to cycle for at least 45-60 minutes and that equals about one episode. Catching up on tv programs and cycling...such a multi-tasker!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Pool Time

This afternoon, I had to head to the pool for some swim training. It being a Sunday, I was not happy about spending several hours in the pool but figured I had to show up regardless so I could either be pissed about it or just suck it up and get through it. So, I stopped off for an iced coffee and headed to the pool.

                                             Pic of the pool at OWA

Once I got in the water and swam a few laps, I was ready to get on with it. This training as all about swim team training and going over all the minute details within each swim stroke as well as IM racing, flip turns, starts, racing dives, and working on endurance swimming.  I look at this as another way to build on my previous training and continue to grow as a swim teacher.

I have some other training planned in the near future and am also looking into some dive training as well. Yep, I am definitely a water baby for life!

*Picture courtesy of Open Water Adventures

Saturday, October 5, 2013

TV, Cupcakes, and Running...oh my!

Since we have switched over to Direct TV, we received the 3 months of free HBO, Showtime, etc.  So, of course this means new shows to enjoy such as Homeland, Boardwalk Empire, the remaining seasons of Dexter we haven't watched yet, and a few others I haven't even had a chance to look into yet. Some of these shows are great so I'm trying to get in as many episodes as possible before our 3 months are up since I really don't want to pay extra to keep these few channels...yet.

Last night, after a delicious dinner of chicken flautas and chips/salsa, I picked up a cupcake for the fall evening. I am such a cake person, I think I could eat one of these every day if I allowed myself to as I just love a good cupcake after, well, anything.  I went with the fall look to go with the season:

So Pretty...

As usual, it was magically delicious, although I don't think I have found a cupcake that I didn't enjoy.

To burn off some of those residual cupcake calories, I was up early this morning and ran 3 miles before the sun came up.  The air was still chilly and there was no humidity so it was easy to knock out those 3 miles.  I kept a very slow pace, but it wasn't about speed so much as just getting out there and getting the miles in.  I'd be happy to incorporate some running a couple days a week if the injuries remain in hibernation as we are now approaching the best running months of the year. 

This afternoon, we are headed across our backyard to join our neighbors in a pig roast and picnic complete with pool table, corn hole (bags), and volleyball.  My only wish is that the 70 degree weather from last week was still here as we are climbing close to the 90s for today. If we only had a pool....but at least there will be plenty of beer! Speaking of beer, we picked up some Redds Strawberry Ale today and, although not quite as tasty as the apple ale, I do think it is a good contender for a warm fall day like today.   Happy Saturday everyone.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

For the Love of Squats

Because a fitness plan always deserves challenges along the way, I have chosen to start with the 30 day squat challenge. Cuz I love squats. And it pairs nicely with doing my biceps and triceps exercises. And I can do them in front of the TV too....multitasking!  Here's the plan:

Day 1 and 2 are complete. A look ahead at days 2-12, not so bad. Days 13 on (minus the rest days), ummm.....yeah. That's gonna hurt a bit.  The key to squats is, of course, good form.  That I have down pretty well and can handle doing the reps with weights. Enjoying 100+ squats a day and more? Hmm...we shall see.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Focus on Fitness

I don't have a whole lot to say about September. Mainly, I spent the majority of the month focusing on learning my new job responsibilities, reading, teaching lessons, and watching tv/movies.  Not a really productive month in terms of any goals or big plans, but sometimes it's nice to have those months too.

But, alas, we are in a new month again (damn!) and with cooler temps creeping in our area...finally...I feel the need, the need to sweat.  That's right, peeps, I don't exercise for summer swimsuit season, I exercise for fall and winter wonderland season!  The temps are now getting cool enough to enjoy some long walks in the neighboring parks, which Wilson is totally loving, and some upcoming hikes on the trails. Maybe there will be a trip to the mountains coming up at the end of the month...giggity!

So, after months of sloth (for the most part), I am going to try and embrace fitness once again.  Ah, sweat, tired legs and sore arms, I miss you! Okay, maybe not so much the sweat part but the rest sounds good to me.  Since I'm still watchful of the foot injury, I am starting slow with lots of long walks and working up to some short jogs, hopefully getting up to a 3 miler at least.  I also have some DVDs that can be resurrected and, oh yeah, a gym membership that's been collecting dust somewhere I think.

Today, I did some stretches, biceps and triceps curls, exercise bike for 30 minutes, and a 2 mile walk with Wilson.  Not too strenuous but beats my recent couch time!

Replace Girl Scout cookies with cupcakes and it's me!
Time to enjoy a couple shows and some reading. Until next time...