The first two months of 2015 have seriously been a blur.
Between a car wreck (I am okay!), a trip home to Minnesota, some cold weather issues with our rental duplex, the absence of my husband for five weeks, and a cold streak that almost drove me to insanity…
Let’s just say I’m glad it’s March on Sunday!
Working out and eating healthy was fairly sporadic for me in January, but February has been significantly better. I’m hoping warmer weather, less snow/ice, and the amazing news we received last week will continue to motivate me through March.
After some confusion about what to do regarding fitness, I have somewhat of a routine down that is maintaining my current weight and keeping me in shape. I’m not right where I want to be, but I’m content for now.
I am hoping to do a few 5K’s and a 10K before we leave Alaska, so this is running oriented. This schedule is straight forward and can be done by anyone with a simple gym membership (Planet Fitness, Gold’s Gym, etc.).
Cardio: 3x Runs + 1x alternative cardio day / Week
1 run for distance
Currently averaging 4 to 5 miles currently, working my way up to 6, 7, and 8 mile runs by this summer.
1 run for time
Currently a 5K as fast I can run it. 26:40 is my time to beat.
1 interval run
At least 3 miles doing various interval runs. Example: Run 1 minute at 7:30 pace, then walk 45 seconds at 15 min pace.
1 cardio day using stair machine, elliptical, or stationary bike
I prefer the literal stair machine with the moving stairs you have to climb. Do that for 20 minutes or 100 floors. You will be covered in sweat.
Strength: 3x / Week –
In combination with any of the above cardio days. Leg day consists of squats, deadlifts, abductor/adductor machines, leg press, etc.
In combination with any of the above cardio days. Arm day consists of dumbbell workouts, bench press, dips, holds, push ups, etc.
Nike Training App Day
I can not say enough good things about this app. It’s easy. It shows you how to do every movement and you can pick workouts to target body areas. I do either one 30 minute workout, or two 15 minute workouts focusing on certain areas of the body. This app is GREAT for days I can’t (or won’t) get to the gym.
Yoga: 2x / Week –
I pair yoga with Nike Training App days and active rest days to give me a little more movement and flexibility on days I’m not going to the gym! Yoga by Adriene is my favorite YouTube resource for yoga practices.
Active Rest Day
Skiing/Hiking/Excessive Yard Work or Walking
I try to workout 5 times a week. Occasionally I hit six days, but more often than not I sub a gym day for an active workout day. I rather go hiking or skiing with my husband than hit the gym anyway, so I’m more likely to take these days when he’s home!
Once a week I tend to do nothing. And by nothing, I mean nothing. It’s usually the day I’m the most sore or in the worst mood.
The most important thing I have learned from creating my own workout schedule again and not going to classes with other people is NOT to schedule each workout on specific days. I never say to myself “Mondays are long run days” and “Tuesdays are leg days”. I used to get so disappointed if I didn’t achieve the workout I had planned – so I approach it differently now.
I think about everything I need to do that weeks: 4 cardio days with at least 3 runs, 3 strength sessions, 2 yoga practices, 1 active rest day. Then I cross it off as I go. I let my body decide what it’s ready and willing to do each day from that list. Sometimes I get my least favorite things out of the way first, and sometimes I save them for the end to torture myself.
I know this isn’t a conventional workout plan if you’re running a race in the near future or preparing for some weightlifting competition, but I’m not currently focusing on one goal. I am just trying to stay in shape and enjoy fitness. I will force myself to work harder closer to that 10K and when we leave for Washington, but for now, just maintaining is good enough for me.
In mid-January, I brilliantly planned a trip back to Minnesota. I say brilliantly because January in Fairbanks, Alaska is literally the worst place on earth. Additionally, the husband was gone for training for 5 weeks so I was suffering through -30 alone.
The trip could not have come at a more ideal time.
I could go on for days about Minneapolis, Minnesota and my hometown area. They are the only two places I have ever lived outside of Fairbanks, AK and both hold a very important place in my heart. Even if I never move back, Minnesota will always be home.
I took an overnight flight on January 15th and for the first time ever – SLEPT THROUGH MY FLIGHTS. This is monumental people. I have taken at least 5 other red eye flights out of Fairbanks and the flights have been mediocre at best with me arriving completely unable to function at my destination. This time I averaged about 5 hours of solid sleep through all three flights, sleeping almost the entirety of the longest flight between Anchorage, Alaska and Denver. Winning.
The first weekend in Minneapolis was filled with friends, food (GLAM DOLL DONUTS MINNEAPOLIS FRIENDS – JUST GO NOW), shopping, an NHL hockey game, and bar-hopping.
After three days in my favorite city ever, it was time to see the family. To say I was slightly emotional when seeing my niece for the first time in almost a year is an understatement. She is an actual genius. Two years and three months old and she was practically giving me full sentences and professing her love for “Auntie Cami”. MELT. That little cutie, her baby brother due in July, their adorable cousin in Wyoming, and my in-law’s two boys have my whole entire heart. I adore being an auntie to all five of those monsters.
I spent the week in my hometown shuffling between my parent’s house and my sister’s brand new house built my amazingly talented dad. We did make it up to Duluth, Minnesota one day – a gorgeous town overlooking Lake Superior and worth the visit in the summer – and ate at the Duluth Grill. Phenomenal food.
Besides our Duluth trip I spent the week baking cookies, watching Frozen on repeat, chasing after my niece, watching half a season of The Fosters on Netflix with my sister, talking to my mom and dad, seeing friends I haven’t been able to see in my last two visits, and reminiscing on growing up there. It was a good, calm week.
I’m so thankful for a supportive family who is eager to see me when I’m home, but happy for where life has taken me. Although they told me I’m not welcome home again unless I have my husband in tow….I told them once plane tickets aren’t a grand a pop from Alaska, he’ll be around to visit too.
I was also lucky enough to spend both weekends with my best friend. Saying goodbye to her is the worst, like a punch to the gut every time. We’re honestly soul mates. Whoever told you the only soul mate anyone has in life is their significant other, lied. I have always had two.We have big plans for 2015 though.
Reminiscing on this trip makes me so thankful and full. It was the perfect start to 2015. The only thing that would have made it better is Michael being there too. But I’ll get my fix of traveling with him very soon. Along the lines of a 40+ hour car ride…man, oh man this is about to be the best year yet.
It’s not news to most that our time in Alaska is drawing to an end this summer, and it’s not news to anyone I talk to regularly that I’ve been patiently
HAHAHA waiting for our next destination…
Well, it just so happens we found out what it’s 95% likely to be last night.
(Nothing is guaranteed in the military. Nothing. So I’ll try to be realistic despite my excitement.)
Neither of us expected the answer so soon, so when Michael offered to check his e-mail after dinner I barely noticed his suggestion. I’ve been eagerly waiting for months, so why would last night be any different? That was until after a long pause he slammed his laptop closed and launched up from the couch because….
We’ll be trading parkas for umbrellas permanently this summer. We will be headed to the Pacific Northwest just south of Seattle, Washington (Fort Lewis)!
To say I’m excited is the understatement of the year! This was on our wish list and the list of highlights is endless. WARM WEATHER. More urban. More job opportunities. More shopping. More organic grocery shopping options. More cities to explore in a reasonable driving distance. Warmer weather. More ocean. Still have mountains to hike and forests to explore. More beaches. Did I mention better weather?!
After 23 winters, this Minnesotan living in Alaska is so ready for an average January temperature of 41 degrees. FORTY-ONE. That’s above freezing y’all.
So stay tuned as I document the next crazy few months of moving preparation, and our next adventure in Washington!
The title is slightly misleading…
I haven’t actually found a way to beat them.
But I do know A LOT about dealing with them. Thanks to twenty-one winters in Minnesota and now two in Fairbanks, Alaska I consider myself an unofficial expert on the winter woes.
Mine generally start with irritability, followed by feelings of hopelessness, and then lots of tears and lashing out angrily. No, I don’t have Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). I just turn into a cynical, angry, incessantly bitchy gal when it gets too cold out.
I simply hate cold weather.
You’re probably asking, “why on earth have you endured it this long?!”
A series of unfortunate circumstances involving my parents raising me in Minnesota, me only being able to afford in-state tuition (also I fell in love with gorgeous, perfect Minneapolis), and then following my heart all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska. The latter two were self-inflicted so I expect a lot more sympathy than I truly deserve.
Don’t be mistaken – I’m no “it’s 50 degrees I need a parka” girl. I can endure cold weather right up until that point when it hits the negatives either in wind chill or temperature, or when the snow will not disappear off the ground in April and May. Those two factors drive me into serious pouting mode. This morning is one of those examples. I moved from my bed to the couch and have yet to move. I am striking against the fact that it is -44 FREAKING DEGREES OUTSIDE.
Negative forty four. According to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration I can get severe frost bite in just 10 minutes going outside with exposed skin. 10 minutes and I can lose a finger.
So how do I stay upbeat & beat the blues in this weather?
It’s almost impossible, but there are a few things that never seem to fail me.
1. Pancakes. Honestly comfort food is a god send. It is pointless to get obsessive about my weight or working out in this weather. My car practically won’t even make it to the gym and no one can catch a glimpse of my stomach or thighs under 78 layers. Eat all of the comfort food. Maybe it’s cookies or pizza for you. For me? It’s pancakes. Dripping in peanut butter and syrup and fruit
2. Yoga, light cleaning, or simple workouts. Eating comfort food isn’t a ticket to not care about your body at all. A little bit of movement on the rough days not only gets my heart rate up just enough to make me feel better about myself, but can give me a rush of happy endorphins if I do enough. Runner’s high and that feeling you can take on the world after a workout are very real
3. Reading. Delve into another world. A warmer world. A world without ice fog, subzero temperatures, and air particle warnings. Live someone else’s life for awhile without staring at a screen and shoving your face with food. You have to keep your hands busy while you read and you’ll feel more accomplished after finishing a book then you will after finishing a season on Netflix. (I know, I know that’s debatable. But trust me on this. I’ve done both during sub zero weekends.
4. Gratitude Lists. Helpful during any rough time in your life, but for me, an especially good reminder during the winter blues. This morning’s would look something like this:
I am thankful for
– The most fresh, juicy oranges I’ve ever purchased in Alaska sitting on my kitchen table
– No plans so I don’t have to go out into this weather
– A house full of food so I don’t have to worry about going hungry
– My education because I’m currently reading, “I Am Malala” and discovering what girls in Pakistan go through to earn their educations is heart breaking
– A husband that comes home very soon
– An awesome family who answers every pathetic, miserable phone call I send their way
– Only about 6 months left in Fairbanks
All of those things remind that life really is just fine. It’s just a crappy day, not a crappy life.
5. Hobbies. If you don’t read, try writing? Singing? Playing guitar? Knitting? Cooking? Baking? Do something that makes you feel good while you’re doing it. It’s easy to resort to television or mindlessly stalking everyone with better weather on social media, but I’ve tried these methods and all they do is distract. When they’re finished, I often feel worse. Do something today – despite the shit weather – that tomorrow your self will thank you for. I tend to write and cook. Both activities make me feel accomplished.
6. Brighter Days To Come. When all else fails, I just remember that nothing lasts. Not even this weather. This is probably my least favorite to resort to because it means taking the present day for granted and only focusing on the future. But sometimes that thought process is the only one that pushes me through without crying all day…
-44 can not last forever, Cami.
Even when Fairbanks stubbornly tries to make it seem otherwise.
“If you are going through hell, keep going.”
― Winston S. Churchill