Monthly Archives: January 2013

Pool Critters: Summer’s Swimmers

It has been quite warm here lately!  The weather reminded that I had several pictures of rescued animals that I had not posted from during the summer.

Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)

Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)

Virginia metallic tiger beetle (Megacephala virginica)

Virginia metallic tiger beetle (Megacephala virginica)

Eastern narrowmouth toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Eastern narrowmouth toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Southern toad (Bufo terrestris)

Southern toad (Bufo terrestris)

The pool is covered for the winter, hopefully well enough that animals can’t wander into it.  And now back to your regularly scheduled cold weather.


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January fitness update: 1/1-1/15

How am I doing so far with keeping fit and healthy in the new year?  Here’s what I’ve done so far:

1/1/2013 – Weightlifting
Barbell Deadlift (BB-DL): 65 lbs 3sX5r
Barbell Overhead Press (BB-OHP): 40 lbs 5sX10r
Barbell Squat (BB-S): 65 lbs 5sX10r
Dumbell Side Bend (DB-SB): 15 lbs 5sX15r

1/2/2013 – Weightlifting
Barbell Bench Press (BB-BP): 70 lbs 3sX5r
BB-DL: 75 lbs 3sX5r
BB-OHP: 45 lbs 3sX5r
BB-S: 45 lbs 1sX5r and 75 lbs 3sX5r
DB-SB: 15 lbs 3sX15r

1/3/2013: Weightlifting
BB-DL: 80 lbs 3sX5r
BB-OHP: 45 lbs 3sX5r
BB-S: 80 lbs 3sX5r
Dumbbell Bicep Curl (DB-BC): 15 lbs 3sX10r
DB-SB: 15 lbs 3sX15r
Russian Twist (RT): 20 lbs 3sX15r

1/4/2013: Rest

1/5/2013: Running
4 mi: 38:54

1/6/2013: Rest

1/7/2013: Running
4 mi: 40:06

1/8/2013: Rest

1/9/2013: Running and Weightlifting
4 mi: 40:32

BB-DL: 85 lbs 3sX5r
BB-OHP: 50 lbs 3sX5r
BB-S: 45 lbs 1sX5r; 85 lbs 3sX5r
DB-BC: 15 lbs 3sX10r
Dumbbell Row (DB-R): 20 lbs 3sX10r
DB-SB: 20 lbs 3sX10r

1/10/2013: Running
3 mi: 29:53

1/11/2013: Weightlifting
BB-BP: 70 lbs 3sX5r
BB-DL: 90 lbs 3sX5r
BB-S: 90 lbs 3sX5r
DB-BC: 20 lbs 3sX5r
DB-SB: 20 lbs 3sX10r
RT: 20 lbs 3sX15r

1/12/2013: Running Fail, sick!

1/13/2013: Weightlifting
BB-DL: 95 lbs 3sX5r
BB-OHP: 55 lbs 1sX5r, 55 lbs 1sX2r, 50 lbs 2sX4r
BB-S: 45 lbs, 1sX5r, 95 lbs 3sX5r
DB-BC: 20 lbs 3sX5r
DB-SB: 20 lbs 3sX10r
RT: 20 lbs 3sX15r

1/14/2013: Running
5 mi: 55:07

1/15/2013: Running
3 mi: 29:31

Total achievements for the first half of January:

BB-BP: 70 lbs -> 70 lbs (No Change)
BB-DL: 65 lbs -> 95 lbs
BB-OHP: 40 lbs -> 55 lbs
BB-S: 65 lbs -> 95 lbs

Running: 23 miles

Progress towards 2013 fitness goals:

BB-DL: 77% of BW
BB-S: 77% of BW
BB-BP: 57% of BW

Running: 2.3% of 1000 mi goal (I am a bit behind on the running goal, but I am not terribly concerned.)

Oh, and I have some new lifting shoes!

Totally digging the socks too!

Totally digging the socks too!

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Plans for 2013! More Monthly Challenges!

2013 has arrived!  So, what is on the spreadsheet for this year?  Yeah, I actually do have a spreadsheet for this sort of thing.

Yeah, It has banded rows for easy reading and everything...

It even has banded rows for easy reading…

Here’s what I’m thinking:

January: Habitual Cleaning
February: Chainmail
March: No Sugar
April: Volunteer
May: Games
June: Exercise
July: Frugal
August: Try it! (Experience new things)
September: Pen Pals
October: Sleep
November: Photography
December: Reading

Some of these are repeats from last year: Chainmail, No Sugar, Exercise, Photography, and Reading.  For the Chainmail month, I am going to focus more on learning patterns rather than weaving a specific piece.  No Sugar is fairly the same as 2012, I just want to put it in again this year to keep my occasional sweet tooth in check.  I am not sure yet what form my Exercise goals will take, but I know that this year will include running and weight lifting!  Photography and Reading will be similar to last year, but I will try different things in both.

For the new goals, I will talk about those as the months come to pass.  I am pretty excited about some of the new goals this year.  Most of the goals this year will allow me to have more time, since last year had me traveling all over to go to festivals and for running and I also spent a lot of time in the kitchen and recipe researching.

As far as an overall, year-long fitness goal, I’m going to do something a little different.  I want to spend more time lifting weights, but I don’t want to lose the cardio fitness that I’ve worked hard to build-up.  There are running goal ideas all over the internet, last year I ran 530 miles and really only started putting up some serious mileage (more than 3-4 mi per run) in mid-July.  I think that this year I can double that!  I am going to try to make it to 1,000 miles in 2013!  That means that I need to average about 20 mi/week over the year, not taking into account races and the training thereof.  I am going to cut back on the races I enter, as that becomes expensive over time!  I spent a lot in 2012 on registration, gas, clothes/equipment, and, in the case of the marathon, food and hotel.  This year, I would still like to run at least one half-marathon and one marathon.  I have also already (back in Sept.) signed up to run the Spartan Sprint, which I am planning that to be my only obstacle course run for the year.

For my weightlifting goals, I really want to get stronger.  That is a vague “goal” so I am going to put numbers to that.  I’ve previously discussed my adoration for fitocracy.  One of their features is the “Achievements” badges, which are awarded whenever you hit certain fitness milestones.  For strength exercises, their achievements are awarded:

Pull-ups (3/set, 8/set, 12/set)
Bench Press (Dumbbell [DB]: 26% bodyweight [BW], 34% BW, and 47% BW.  Barbell [BB]: 60% BW, 80% BW, and 110% BW)
Standing Shoulder Press (DB: 18% BW, 28% BW, and 36% BW.  BB: 40% BW, 55% BW, and 80%BW)
Deadlift (BB: 100% BW, 140% BW, and 200% BW)
Squat (BB: 80% BW, 120% BW, and 160% BW)

Back when I didn’t really know how to properly, and safely, perform an squat, I “achieved” the 80% badge.  I backed off on the weight, corrected my form, and am building back up.  So, this year, I want to get as many of these achievements as I can.  My specific goals are:

BB Squat – 100% BW
BB Deadlift – 150% BW
BB Bench Press – 75% BW

I also love doing shoulder presses, and will continue to do that exercise, but I am not going to make a specific goal for that exercise.  I’ve been training specifically with the barbell, but every now and then I’ll jump on the dumbbells for Bench Press and Shoulder Press to see where I am in those achievements.  I’ll up date a couple times a month with my progress and post any personal records I set and if I hit any achievements.

Running and strength goals, am I biting off more than I can chew?  We shall see!

Here’s to 2013!

Contemplative owl is contemplative

Contemplative owl is contemplative


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A Review of 2012 Challenges

I set out with a specific list of goal for 2012.  Here’s a recap:

January: Cleaning and Organizing the House
February: Blog
March: Festivals
April: Exercise
May: No Sugar
June: Reading
July: No processed food (making something I would normally buy pre-made)
August: Snappy Dressed
September: Chainmail
October: Photography
November: Ethnic Dinners
December: Sewing

I also had an overall fitness goal for the year: participate in a running or cycling race every month.

My best months for sticking to my plan were: January (Cleaning), February (Blogging), May (No Sugar), June (Reading), August (Snappy Dressed), and November (Ethnic Dinners).  For the most part, I was able to complete each weekly and the overall month’s goal for those months.  My favorite months were March (Festivals), May (No Sugar), October (Photography), and November (Ethnic Dinners).

Yeah, I was surprised that I liked May’s goal.  I thought it would be hard, but once I decided to cut out sugar, it was almost easy to turn it down.  My cravings for sugar have been pretty low the last couple months and when I do crave something sweet, I can satisfy it with some fruit.

Months that I didn’t meet my goal: March (Festivals), July (No Processed Foods), and December (Sewing).  I missed a couple of festival weekends in March due to weather and a party.  I didn’t get a chance to make one of the things I wanted to try out for July and I didn’t sew ANYTHING in December due to all the holiday madness.

My overall fitness goal for the year turned out great!  I didn’t end up doing any cycling races, but I did run a race every month.  I ran five 5Ks, three Mud/Obstacle Course runs (generally 5Ks), one 8K, one 10.2K, one half-marathon (13.1 mi), and one marathon (26.2 mi)!  I’m pretty proud of myself and am looking forward to next year.

2013 goals will be a little different…

Broccoli from the garden

Broccoli from the garden

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December Challenge: Sewing Failure!

December was supposed to inspire me to get out my sewing machine and make a few things.  Well, this was a lofty goal when I was planning things out last year.  Not necessarily because I have serious sewing talent issues, but because I underestimated how busy I would be in December.

I want this goal to carry over to 2013 as I have a bit of a fabric and pattern collection and would like to finally do something with it.  I had planned to make something different each week: a shopping bag, a skirt, a dress, and a shirt.

So, what did I do this month?  I made a lot of food!  One of the best things I made this month was persimmon spice cake.

Persimmon spice cake

Persimmon spice cake

I’ve made this three times and have received several compliments on it.  I’ve made it a couple different ways, once with all-purpose flour and twice with white whole wheat flour.  The all-purpose flour produced a much fluffier, puffier cake, whereas the white whole wheat flour didn’t rise as much and was a bit denser and moister, like a banana bread.  I preferred the white whole wheat flour cake, mainly because it was moister.

In December, I also made: candied orange peels, chocolate covered pomegranate clusters, apple pie cookies, persimmon puff pastry tarts, butter, cucumber sandwiches, rosemary flatbread, feta salsa, and pears with goat cheese and prosciutto.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of any of these things!

I had a few other adventures, which I will cover in the next few posts!

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December Race: Prance for Precious 5K

After the first weekend, there were very few races showing up on my normal race website haunts.  I finally found the Prance for Precious 5K a few days before it was scheduled.

There were only a few dozen people there, so it wasn’t too crowded.  I didn’t see any of the regulars I have come to recognize in passing at events in the area, as they had probably attended the 5K the weekend before.  Overall, it was decently organized and there was one water stop along the way (typical for the 5Ks I have run).

A slight confession… I had only run 3 times (total of 13 miles) between the marathon and this 5K.  Luckily, I still had a fair amount of fitness carry-over in the month between the two runs.  So, how did I do on the last race?

Not a personal record, but still pretty good!

Not a personal record, but still pretty good!

2nd place in my age group!

2nd place in my age group!

I placed 2nd in my age group!  Granted, there were not very many runners in attendance. There were many age groups that didn’t even have many people running.  However, I believe I also placed 15th overall.  I finished in 28:02, not too bad for someone who has only been running for about a year.  Especially since I haven’t been training for speed over this distance.  I’m pretty pleased with the last race of the year, I’ll do a summary of all the races in a post soon!

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