Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday card swap, training week recap (Dec 7-13)

Good morning! I hope everyone had an enjoyable, restful weekend. The holiday season is definitely hitting overdrive mode. I've got a lot on my calendar in the next several weeks, so I am trying to relax as much as I can now.

Lacey and Meranda over at Fairytales and Fitness organized their second annual blogger holiday card swap. What a great idea! As soon as I heard about it I knew I wanted to participate.

The way it works: Each participant secretly gets the name/address of another blogger to send a card and a little something. Then we each receive a surprise card and little something from someone else. It's basically a Secret Santa with holiday cards and mini-gifts.

Last Friday, I received a lovely card and Starbucks gift card from Deborah. Thank you so much, Deborah! There's something so special about receiving a handwritten note in the mail, yes? Deborah also co-hosts the monthly Ultimate Coffee Date link-up in which I've joined in the past. It was really nice to get to know her a little bit more through the card swap. Here's her fabulous blog header:

On my end - I mailed my card to my secret recipient last Monday. I am anxiously awaiting her to let me know she received it. After she does, I'll let you all know who my recipient was. =) In the meantime, I will share that I sent a sample of chocolate nut butter as the "little something." I hope she likes it!

OK - time to recap this week's workouts. Here's how things went:


After running a combined 19.3 race miles last weekend, there was no doubt in my mind this would be a rest day.

Yoga class - 45 minutes

Even when I'm not running, my hips, glutes, hamstrings, and calves are almost perpetually tight. It felt great to stretch things out. I tend to hold my breath during the tough poses, so I'm trying to focus on maintaining a constant breathing pattern.

Zumba class - 50 minutes

Due to various schedule conflicts, I haven't done any Zumba for several weeks. When I got back this day, I could feel the difference. I was out of sync and some of the moves felt awkward. It was a reminder to me that pretty much every type of fitness can deteriorate when left dormant for awhile!
Warm-up - 10 minutes on the stationary bike
Lift - approximately 45 minutes

3 sets of 8-10 reps for each of the following:
Chest fly with dumbbells
Bicep curl with barbell
Tricep cable pressdown
Shoulder raises with dumbbells
Single-arm bent-over rows with dumbbells
Assisted pull-ups, first set focused on slow "negative" motion
Romanian deadlifts
Seated leg extension
Single leg squats with dumbbells
Squats with barbells
Hanging leg raises, front and side

Erin suggested more back work might be helpful towards my goal of doing an unassisted pull-up. Thanks to her expertise, I added the bent-over rows and "negative" pull-ups, e.g. trying to lower myself as slowly as possible.

Today, I tried to speed things up with the routine. Instead of full-out resting in between sets, I alternated upper/lower body sets.
Yoga class - 55 minutes

Starting a few days earlier, my throat had been feeling a little scratchy. I was hoping it was just due to dry winter conditions, but unfortunately I did develop a cold. This was the first day the symptoms were apparent - I had a runny nose and felt lethargic in general. The inverted yoga poses are awkward when your nose is dripping. =( At the same time, I was sore from the prior day's lifting, so it felt good to stretch out. 

On top of yoga, I had considered activating my Pure Barre membership this day, too. Since I wasn't feeling great, it was an easy decision not to.
Plan: Barre class - 55 minutes
Actual: Rest (but lots of walking)

Day 2 of my runny nose and general lethargy.

My mom came to visit. She, Adam, and I spent the entire afternoon walking around the city and enjoying the holiday festivities. The weather has been unseasonably VERY warm by Chicago standards, which helped a lot.
The annual Christkindlmarket
Plan: Barre class - 55 minutes
Actual: 30 minutes on stationary bike

Day 3 of my runny nose and general lethargy. At this point, I'm going to wait until next weekend to activate my Pure Barre membership. I still wanted to get some kind of activity in, though, so I did an easy 30 minutes on the bike. It was hard to get started, but once I got momentum going I felt better. 

Adam and I went to the Blackhawks game last night. I arrived at the stadium armed with four pocketfuls of Kleenex (no exaggeration - I thought I would draw suspicion when I went through security). However, my runny nose temporarily dissipated during the game! I'm sure it's all psychosomatic, but hey...
Flashback from 2013

Linking up with HoHo and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap.


  1. Bummer about the cold! But I'm glad you were still able to get out and enjoy the warm weather. Was the market crazy busy?

    1. Thanks Erin - my cold is starting to improve today. I'm not going through Kleenex by the boxful anymore today, thankfully! OMG - the Christkindlmarket was INSANELY busy. You couldn't even walk! I've NEVER seen it anywhere that packed!

  2. I had to hold my breath during my medical massage. Hold my breath and try to stay relaxed. When I do yoga on my own, I use breath counts to hold each pose, so I have to breathe.

    1. Ahhh, I know that feeling, too! When I got PT massages on my IT band, it hurt so bad that I was doing the same thing. My yoga instructors always tell us when to inhale or exhale during our poses, but I'm not always able to follow their flow!

  3. Thanks Karen! I've found it can make the poses even tougher if I try to breathe through them! You're right, isn't it weird how breathing can suddenly be so tough during those moments? Oooh, I hope your recipient likes what you sent her, too!!! The waiting is so hard!!!

  4. to your blog. I enjoyed reading your weekly wrap up post. Hope you can visit my blog sometime!

  5. Glad you are enjoying the card swap! I still haven't sent mine out yet cus I was looking for the perfect card. I wanted a Disney card but could not find one. -M

    1. Thanks Meranda! Thanks again for hosting with Lacey, the card swap is so much fun! I can certainly imagine Disney cards can be tough to find on a year-round basis unless you live near WDW or Disneyland. =)

  6. Great week minus the cold! On the way to the Bel party I looked at the Christkindle Market longingly. Wish we'd have stopped. Go you on that strength training and all the best with your quest toward the unassisted pullup!

    1. Awww, bummer you weren't able to go to the Christkindlmarket when you were in the city for the Bel Party! Likewise - go YOU on your strength training, swimming, and tri-training, too!!!

  7. I so want to go to Christkindlmarket but I can't get my husband motivated to go! This would have been a great year to do it, thanks to our warm temps!

    1. Wendy, if your husband isn't motivated to go, then I saw let's grab a bunch of our runner friends and go! Although, I will caveat the warm temperatures have caused the market to be PACKED beyond BELIEF - which is both good and bad!

  8. I'm in the card swap too. I mailed my card and am relieved to know the recipient received it. It was a blogger I was familiar with. I hope your cold will not last long. At least you'll have it over with by Christmas. The Christmas market looks fun. I've been scrooge-like and just haven't done anything holiday related. Aren't these warm temps crazy? That could be why everyone seems to be sick too. I appreciate you linking with us Emily. Here's to a healthy week!

    1. Yay for the card swap! Would love to hear the details on who your recipient was and what you decided to include as the little something! Thank you, my cold is already pretty much over so it is nice that it won't interfere with Christmas (assuming I don't catch a second cold before then, heh). Thanks again for co-hosting the link-up and I wish you a healthy week, too!

  9. I am so glad that you liked your card and please enjoy a cup of coffee. Hope we can continue to connect this year! happy Holidays

    1. Thank you again so much, Deborah! I look forward to connecting more this upcoming year! Happy holidays to you too, happy 50th to your husband, and I can't wait to hear about your weekend jaunt to Vegas!

  10. I so hate I missed the deadline for the card swap. I was out of town when I got the notice and I could kick myself in the rear for not making me a reminder. :( Sounds like you got an awesome gift and also gave one! Ya know I have never ever been to a hockey game. I'm going to have to change that. Thanks so much Emily for joining us in the Weekly Wrap! I hope you have a great week!

    1. Awww, bummer that you weren't able to participate in the card swap! Next year. =) Thanks, I am still waiting for my recipient to acknowledge her card so I am hoping it didn't get lost in the mail. Goodness, live NHL hockey games (in my opinion) are so addicting. The action and skill is nonstop! They are one of the sports where I think it's much better to watch in person than on TV. =) Thanks again for co-hosting the link-up and I hope you have a great week too!!!!!!!