A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Lunchtime Routine

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This is my lunchtime routine on a work day...
(If you missed my morning routine you can check it out here!)

My last class of the morning ends at 11:45 am. At that point, I have all the students lined up and I start putting my materials away from their lesson and start getting materials out for my class after lunch. Once their teacher comes and picks them up, I sink into my desk chair and check my email. I just kind of zone out for a few minutes, relishing the peace and quiet.

If I have any "personal" business to attend to, I do it now. I'll text Paul, pay bills, comment on a blog or two... whatever. I just need to veg!

Around 11:55, I trek upstairs to the faculty lounge. I get my lunch out of the fridge. I either have chicken and broccoli, chicken and sweet 'taters, or chicken, broccoli, AND sweet 'taters. I don't mind having the same thing each day. I am so hungry that I couldn't care less.

I warm my lunch up in the microwave and relax with the other teachers that are eating their lunch. Most of the time I just listen to them chat. I know, I know, you are probably thinking- wait a minute, you are a big mouth, why aren't you talking!? Well, my lunch time changed and I now eat with teachers I don't know as well, so most of the time I just listen.

At 12:10 I usually clean up, fill up my water bottle, and head back downstairs to my classroom for my 12:15 class. If I manage my time well enough, I even have time to stop at the bathroom!

And that is my exciting lunchtime routine!
Tell me about your lunchtime routine!

Friday, February 27, 2015

I finally did something about this whole "I can't sleep" thing...

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I know it is annoying listening to people complain about not being able to sleep. I probably mention it from time to time on my blog, but if you were my Facebook friend, you would probably be over it. "Megan didn't sleep last night? What else is new!?"

Sometimes I can't fall asleep and sometimes I can't stay asleep. It is not uncommon for me to wake up at 1:30 and then not fall asleep for the rest of the night. It feels like I can't turn my brain off. I tried melatonin and over the counter sleep medication, but I didn't know the exact dosage I'm supposed to take and whether or not either one is safe, habit forming, or good for long term use.

I wanted some answers, and since I have been having a sleeping problem for months now, I decided it was time to see a doctor.

(Side Note: Can I just say that it's sooooo annoying arriving for a doctor's appointment and then having to wait 45 minutes past your appointment time to actually see a doctor? You see, this is why I have been going to Urgent Care and not my actual doctor for the past several years. It just puts such a bad taste in my mouth. I hate when my time is wasted.)

Well, after my 45 minute wait in the littletinyroom, the doctor finally came in. She was really nice and I liked her a lot. I explained my problem and she asked all the right questions. She actually talked to me for about a half an hour, which was nice considering my long wait and the fact that my copay went up this year. (Not her fault, just pointing out it is getting more expensive to go to the doctor and you usually wait in the littletinyroom for longer than the time you actually get to talk to the doctor.)

Here is what I found out:

Melatonin: It's okay to take 4-6mg of it to fall asleep. It's fine for long term use and is not habit forming. She is okay with me taking this. However, since it has only been helping me fall asleep and not stay asleep, she offered another suggestion...

This stuff really knocks me out but doesn't keep me asleep.

Tylenol PM or a similar over the counter sleep aid: Again, totally safe to take. I told her I have the extra strength stuff and it makes me sleep the whole night and THEN SOME. She said that dosage is probably 50mg and I could find a lower dosage- like 25mg or 12.5mg. I would have to do some testing, but I could possibly find a dosage that could help me sleep soundly for 8 hours.
Yah, 50mg is way too much for me!

I of course mentioned that I totally know the cause of my lack of sleep. Worry/anxiety about work and of course, Paul. She suggested I watch this Ted Talk about taking care of your emotional health.

I didn't watch it yet, but I plan to!

Do you ever have trouble sleeping?
Have you seen the Ted Talk?
How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Weekly" Workout Recap!

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My leg felt great most of the week! Oddly, it was 2/22 and 2/23- days I didn't even run- that it was aching. I am glad I am documenting my workouts so I can figure out what works, what doesn't work, and what I need to do more of to stay strong and healthy!

Also, I do mobility work 6 days a week but I don't always mention it. But don't worry, I am still being vigilant with it!

2/18- 8 miles on the treadmill. You can read all about the horrible adventure here!

2/19- Lifting back/legs at Planet Fitness. I am so glad I can lift lower body again, but dang it is hard! I experienced major DOMS for four days after lifting last week.

I forgot to include the step ups with a knee tuck and backward lunge I did! I don't feel like making this image again, though!

Also, I realize my leg stuff is not that impressive. I am just getting back into legs and I am weeeeeak!

2/20- I had intended for today to be a rest day because I was fully expecting to be sore from lifting. However, I was not sore at all! And I heard we were going to be getting snow the next day, so I figured I should get a run in while it was still safe to drive to the gym! (Temperature was -25 with the wind chill this morning. I was not going to run outside!

I played around with the speed, and even ran a mile and a half at a 6:58 pace! It was uncomfortable but I think it is important to push yourself once in awhile. Don't worry, I cooled down with a nice long walk.

2/21- Well, I ended up running today anyway. The snow didn't start coming until a little after 10:00, and thanks to my kitty cats, I was up at 7:00. That means I did my entire workout and mobility exercises and was showered and warm on the couch before it started snowing!

It was 8 degrees. What does one wear on a run that is 8 degrees?
I'm so glad you asked...

2/22- My knee was hurting a little the night before, and honestly I was doing too much running. However, I had some ANGER I needed to get out, so after I did my lifting and mobility work, I just had to do my Snow workout 4 times. Burpees are a really good cure for anger. 

This workout is specifically designed for runners who are stuck inside and can't run but are CRAVING a cardio high. After doing this 3-4 times, you won't have any energy left to worry about the fact that you didn't run!

2/23- I was feeling "homey" and wanted to really rest my leg, so I lifted back at home.

2/24- 45 minutes on my spin bike! Did I ever tell you I have a spin bike?

2/25- 5 miles. Outside. In temperatures which were way too cold! Accuweather lied to me! They said it was 21 degrees. It was NOT 21 degrees. It was so cold my mp3 player stopped working and I had frozen sweat on my eyelashes and upper lip. I did an 8:06 pace because I couldn't wait to be DONE!
Quite a plethora of different types of workouts this week!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oh yeah, I have a spin bike…

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I could not figure out what I wanted to do for a workout on Tuesday morning. It was -2 degrees, so running outside was not an option. I did not feel like driving to the gym and running on the treadmill. I wasn’t due to lift, I did some HIIT about two days before, and the day before I took a lower body rest day… I was kind of stuck and didn’t know what to do! (AKA I was being a high maintenance princess.)

Suddenly, it occurred to me- Wait I minute! I have a spin bike!

I use to spin all the time. But a little over a year ago, before I had knee surgery, spinning really aggravated my knee. I think it was due to the repetitive motion. I haven’t gotten on the spin bike since! For over a year, my spin bike did what most exercise equipment does… It collected dust in my guestroom and served as something to hang my clothes on!

I figured it was as good a time as any to test out spinning and see if it aggravated my leg. I always get bored on my bike so I made sure to break up the workout with a warm up, some steady riding, a couple intervals, and a cool down. It wasn’t as intense as a spin class (those rock my world!), but at least it was something!

The good news is my leg felt fine the rest of the day, and now I have another option for those mornings when I need to do cardio but am being super high maintenance about the temperature!
Do you have any exercise equipment that collects dust?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Time to fess up!

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I looooooooooooved drinking diet sodas, diet teas, diet juices, diet ANYTHING. If it had zero calories and a shit ton of chemicals, I was all for it!

A couple summers ago, I gave up fake sugary drinks cold turkey. It was really hard at first, but it got easier. I even got to the point where I could have one on a special occasion and not get addicted again.

Sure, I have fallen off the wagon. Particularly when the diet stuff finds it's way into our house. I don't buy it, but once in awhile, my husband does! And when I see it in the fridge... I am not strong enough. I drink it... a lot of it.

On Friday night, Paul bought a 12 pack of Diet Twist Up at Wal-Mart. I'm writing this post on Sunday night and all 12 are GONE! I drank 6 of them. At least!

The wreckage.

What can I learn from this? Well, I already knew I don't do well when it's in the house! I just have to pick up and try again. I'm going to the grocery store to get some seltzer water tomorrow. The carbonation really helps satisfy my craving and sometimes I put some cranberry juice in it if I want some sugar.

What's your Kryptonite that you can't keep in the house?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up!

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It was a snowy weekend in Central PA!
I had fun mostly just chilling at home with Paul.
Here is what I was up to...

Friday started with a two hour delay! The best part was that we got the call the night before, so I knew I would have extra time in the morning. The reason for the delay? The crazy windchill temperature! Is was about -25!!! Seriously, when I left the gym after my treadmill workout, my hair was still wet. Within ten seconds it was frozen. I am not joking!

I messed with the speed a little bit! Worked my way up to a 6:58 pace and hung there for a mile and a half. Then I worked my way back down. It was uncomfortable (not my knee- BREATHING!) but I did it!

Friday night was wild and crazy. It included a trip to Wal Mart, a new kind of boxed wine, and an entire season of Survivor rented from the library. The Michael-Cooneys really know how to live it up!!!!

What!? A Friday night in our robes? No....

Thanks to an early morning wake up call from the kitties, I was able to get a run in before it started snowing!

It was 8 degrees. What does one wear on a run that is 8 degrees?
I'm so glad you asked...

I spent most of the day researching and booking hotels for a vacation we are taking this summer. More on that, eventually! I don't want to jinx it. Remember the Hawaii fiasco? Yeah, that's one of the things I think about when I lay awake all night. 

We ate dinner while watching Survivor. Mine was a salad with a turkey burger on top with a side of sweet potato fries!

The cats woke me up dark and early. It was okay, I was sort of excited to start my day. Drink coffee, relax, shovel some snow, get a good workout in...

I started off with some lifting and mobility work.

I ran entirely too much so far this week, so to grab some endorphins and let off some steam, I did my Snow workout 4 times. I took substantial breaks in between to gear up for the next round because this workout is NO JOKE!

Here are my splits...

Round 1- 7:56
Round 2- 7:13
Round 3- 7:03
Round 4- 6:27

The kitties hijacked my towel during one of my breaks.

That afternoon we went to my brother's house to play games. Check out my niece, Clementine, doing the Macarena...

That night we had dinner and watched more Survivor. In case you care, it's Season 3- Africa, rented from the library. I saw it when it originally aired 14 years ago, but forgot a lot of it. It is a really good season! Our definition of a really good season is when there are people you like and people you hate. It's almost as fun to root against someone as it is to root for someone!

Oh, I wanted to leave you with a beautiful video... Feeling stressed? Feeling anxious? Need your heart filled with warmth? Watch Christmas clean himself. It will soothe all of your ails.

Tell me something fun about your weekend!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Warming Up Before You Lift

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A lot of times, when I post my workouts, I don't include my warming up or cooling down exercises. After reading the book Ready to Run, I have begun every run with at least a 5 minute walk and couch stretch. My cool down is at least another 5 minute walk, couch stretch, and some mobility exercises to ultimately help my knee/IT band. Doing all of this has really helped! I am not experiencing pulsating pain in my IT band like I used too! In fact, if I do feel warmness or throbbing, it is now only in the knee area- which is a good thing. At least it is centralized and not going to other parts of my body. Still working on getting back to 100% but I'd like to cautiously say I am about halfway there. BIG IMPROVEMENT!

Even though I was slow to join the whole "warming up and cooling down" train when it came to running, I have always warmed up before a weight training session. I don't always include it in the little images I create to show my workout, but believe me, I do it!

When you're lifting heavy, it's not safe to just jump right into it. You need to get your blood flowing and let your muscles know what you are about to ask them to do.

Here are some examples of exercises you can do to provide your body with a dynamic warm up before you lift:

Jumping Jacks
Jump Rope
Leg Swings
Shoulder Rotations
Arm Circles
Air Squats
Push Ups

I am sure there is more to add to the list! Any ideas?

After your dynamic warm up, if you are lifting with heavy weights, be sure to do a couple light sets before you do your heavy sets. When I bench, I always do a set with just the bar before I start adding weight.

I know some people think lifting is time consuming to begin with, and then adding a warm up on top of that just drags it out even longer. But my guess is that if you are reading this, you want to be an athlete forever- healthy, strong, and injury free. To do that, we have to be nice to our bodies.

Be nice to your body. Warm up before you lift!
What kind of warming up do you do before you lift? Share your routine and give us some ideas!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Things I've Learned From Being A Teacher

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  • Kids are really freaking funny. Sometimes they're trying to be funny, sometimes they're not. Either way, they make me laugh every day.
  • Kids will tell you the truth. I can't tell you how many times I have been told, "You look weird, Mrs. Cooney." Gee, thanks!
  • If I act like I am excited about something- it doesn't matter what it is- the kids will be excited for it too. Example:

Me: Boys and girls, today is Yankee Doodle Day!!!!!!!
Students: Yay!!!!!!!!!! (And various other cheers.)
Me: Do you know who Yankee Doodle is?
Students: No!!!!!! (But still cheering.)

  • I need to consciously choose to be patient. I am not a patient person by nature. But it's sort of a requirement when you teach elementary school. When I get to the point when I think my head is about to explode (hello, we've all been there!), I have to take a deep breath and remind myself to just be a little more patient for a little while longer, you can do it!
  • And then of course, this....

This ALWAYS is a good reminder to be patient!

Teacher friends, what have you learned from being a teacher?
Tell me about your favorite teacher!