Saturday, January 21, 2012

Flaking out

It's official: Winter has arrived.

After flirting with us, with its chilly temperatures and dusting of snow, Old Man Winter dropped 4 or so inches of snow on Fort Wayne.

It was quite a beautiful sight ... until I realized that the snow could very much bury my plans.

L and I were all set to go for our weekly Body Pump class, with a side of Zumba because we're crazy like that, but I wasn't so sure about the gym. I had seen cancellation after cancellation scroll across the bottom of the TV the night before and it would be just my luck that my baby-free workout would be snowed out.

"What are you going to do?" Mark asked as I fretted about the living room.

I ran through my options - go to the grocery and hope for a run later, lie on the couch or pull one of my exercise DVDs and head down to the basement.

Let's see ... You know as much as I LOVE the grocery, I figured that I could at least do something for a half  hour. Before I had to convince myself that yes, I could do Bob Harper's "Total Body Transformation" for the second time this week (it kicks my butt every time), I realized that nothing was canceled this morning.

Body Pump and Zumba it would be after all.

The classes were a bit smaller than usual, no doubt because the neighborhood roads were still yucky, but they were fun nonetheless. Lunge track killed me, I remembered not to go crazy on the weights during biceps and I managed to do one real push-up.

Oh, I even think I had the hang of Zumba ... for about 5 minutes.

How is your weekend shaping up?

Friday, January 20, 2012


I knew it was coming.

A few days ago, the web editor for Woman's Day emailed me and asked about the rights to the before photo the magazine used in my weight-loss story. More specifically, she wanted to know whether Yahoo! could have permission to use the photo as it wanted to publish the story on its site.

"Sure," I thought. "No biggie."

And then this.

Me, my photo, my story, was on the main page.

Wow. Just wow.

I know there are many of you visiting because of that story and Yahoo!, and I want to thank you for not only stopping by but sticking around. Feel free to explore Healthy Strides, taking note of my About page, before and after photos and the story of my journey.

I never expected to be the center of so much attention.I am truly grateful and humbled by the comments and emails I have received.

I hope to respond to each email over the weekend and answer any questions left in comments in an upcoming post(s). If you have a question, do not hesitate to email (my address is on the right side of the home page) or leave a comment.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts and words with you.

And for those of you who were here before ... I heart y'all and always will.

Hand it to me

Note: I wrote this post yesterday but forgot to post it. Probably because I nominated myself for mother of the year when I turned my back and "let" Miles fall off the bed. Don't worry, though, the only one to suffer traumatic injuries was me.

I tried something so unexpected, something so new this morning – a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter, banana slices, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.

Wait. What am I thinking? Such a “dish” – if it even qualifies is that – is not new. However, I will say that it has been a long time since I made myself PB&B (&CH) toast in the morning. Lately, even pre-run, I’ve been eating plain instant oatmeal with a teaspoon of peanut butter, a tablespoon of raisins and stevia. So good.

Anyway. Back to the new.

On Sunday, after a 7-degree 6-mile run and a marathon shopping day at the mall, I decided to head to the running company to check out their new digs. I ooh'ed and aah'ed at the extra space, combed through the clearance and was about to leave when I saw a display of gloves.

Yes. Exactly what I needed. Especially as I have been wearing $1 Target knit gloves, which can be warm, but don’t breathe and make me feel all hot and sweaty.

There were gloves from every big name – Mizuno, Saucony, Nike, Asics – and gloves in every price range. The low end was $20 and the high end was $70. I really felt like going for one of the higher end pairs – Mittens! Base layer! USB light thinger! – but my frugal side (aka Mark) won out, and I selected a pair of Nike Thermal gloves, size small, in an attractive gray and pink. 

With a word like “thermal” in the product description, I feared that the gloves would be too warm when I headed out this morning. It wasn’t as warm as it has been but 28 degrees in mid-January is a welcome temperature. Upon stepping out on my front step, I realized that I needn’t worry. If anything, I should have feared the opposite: my hands being cold despite wearing gloves. The breathability Nike touts means, at least for me, that the cold air could come inside the gloves. Brr!

I thought briefly of going inside to grab my cheapo gloves but we were all ready to go, and I thought I’d see how it went. And it went … OK. I noticed my hands less and less as the run progressed, and my hands never got clammy the way the do with the cheap gloves. However, I did find myself flexing my hands at stoplights and street crossings to keep the blood circulating.

After finishing 3.5 miles (which required me to run past my house and down the block), I found myself at the front step. I took off the gloves and went to unleash Deanli. My hands were cold but mobile - a win ... sort of.

Nike Dri-FIT Lightweight Women's Running Gloves

Product description: Keep your hands free of cold and sweat in the Nike Dri-FIT Lightweight (Small) Women's Running Gloves, a breathable stretch design with the safety features you want for a hassle-free excursion.
  • Dri-FIT fabric to wick sweat away and help keep you dry and comfortable
  • Rib cuffMesh fabric between fingers
  • Reflective pattern at outer handKey compartment at palm
Pros: handKey compartment - the gloves might not be the warmest but having a spot for the house key was awesome; and they are machine washable.

Cons: Not very warm. These would be fine for those in a more mild climate but for the temperamental Midwest, I think I'd want something better. Also, if you are an iPod user, these don't have the smart feature that allows you to do touch screen stuff.

Parting words: I might not love these gloves but I'll keep wearing them. They are better than my $1 gloves and, at $20, not something I'm just going to toss in the back of the closet. I think I might look into some running mittens (hi, Asics) to wear over the gloves for the very cold days.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lessons in night-time treadmill running

1. Search the interwebs for a structured (and challenging) interval workout so you know exactly what you’ll be doing, making it less likely that you’ll just hang on for 20 minutes

2. Do not eat dinner – like dinner dinner – an hour before you plan to run. That is, of course, assuming that you don’t like burping up pork “fried” brown rice for half your workout. If you like that sort of thing, carry on.

3. While sitting on the couch with a bowl of Turkey Hill’s light cookie dough and watching “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” seems like a better alternative, it’s not.

4. Find an acceptable Pandora station on your phone before starting the workout in an effort to avoid stopping several times in the warmup.

5. Creating a “Bye Bye Bye” station on Pandora does not guarantee that you’ll hear “Bye Bye Bye.” You will, however, hear “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake. Though “River” is no power “jam,”  the thought of Timberlake will help you push through a tough interval.

A moment of silence, please.

6. Listening to a ’90s pop station will remind you of a better workout song than “Bye Bye Bye”: “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera.

7. A drink of water is an acceptable reason to stop the treadmill after a tough interval. If anything, it might help get rid of the flavor of pork “fried” brown rice.

8. Pausing because you’re afraid that you can’t keep up? That is not an acceptable reason to stop. You will only run as fast as you let yourself. #OpHardcoreFit in full effect.

9. It’s a smart idea to grab a towel from the laundry pile – even if it is the dirty laundry pile – to keep next to you. It will come in handy when the sweat is literally dripping down the backs of your legs, past your ankles.

10. The bowl of ice cream that sounded so good doesn’t sound so good 41 minutes and 4 miles later. What does sound good is peppermint tea and a hot bath.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Off my chest

It was everywhere.

On the bed, in laundry baskets, on the floor.

Clean laundry was everywhere I turned, demanding to be put away. Normally, I'd tell the laundry to hold the phone until Saturday but I found myself with a "free" hour this morning as my BOB run got rained out and Miles decided to take a nap after spending 15 minutes screaming in his crib while I took a shower.

I began separating the mountain into piles - Mark, Miles, Kim, Kim's running gear. As I made some headway, I made a shocking discovery: I have more work out clothes than I do actual work clothes.

And what's so sad about the situation is not that I end up wearing the same handful of outfits to the office. Nope. It's that my tech tees, tights and wicking socks are relegated to the most unfortunate of places.

A paper box on a shelf next to the chest of drawers.

Mark and I are in desperate need of a sizable, quality dresser (have been since we got married) and are currently sharing the chest of drawers he had ... as a child. I have two small half-size drawers and three mediocre-size drawers that are just enough to store tank tops, knit shirts, T-shirts and leggings. I would love to have room for my workout wear in the chest but I just don't have room.

Or do I?

Seeing as a complete revamp of my clothing organization system was the best way to spend my "ohmygodmilesisnapping" time, I dumped the contents of my dresser on the bed and quickly began working. Underthings were put in a basket on the shelving system, tank tops and pajamas were moved up to their spots.Any top with a sleeve was hung in the closet, and T-shirts, which I rarely wear, were thrown on a chair. Because, you know, that's where they belong.

I did have to make some room in the closet for the new additions. Anything deemed "outerwear" was moved to the hall closet downstairs.

I now had three drawers to put all things wicking - and let me tell you, I needed them. Tanks and bras in one, short- and long-sleeve tops in another and pants and socks in the last one. The only items that didn't fit were running jackets/half-zips and I figured they could count as outerwear, shipping them downstairs.

The box of shame was empty. Giving me somewhere to put my T-shirts.

How do you organize your workout wear? Do you find that you have more Nike Tempos than Nine West pants?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend warrior

It all started with a missed workout. Actually, it started with a blog challenge. Wait. No. It started with an email. Or the discovery that the gym where I took boot camp.

Shit. I don’t know where it started. All I know is I showed up at the gym at 8:30 Saturday morning and didn’t leave till 11.


After boot camp finished up in December, L and I were excited to learn that the gym was going to offer Body Pump in the new year. I know this class isn’t new to about 90 percent of the world but Tumble X is only the second gym in the area to offer the class and the other one is about a half-hour drive. Arg.


This week was our second class and let me tell you – I was excited. It’s challenging and fun all at the same time, and I find that my competitive spirit helps me push a bit harder than I would at home.


It’s just hard not to feel hardcore and not want to work when you are lifting a barbell and weights. Of course, sometimes like my stomach, my eyes were bigger than my muscles.


There were a couple tracks where I had to stop in the middle and reduce the weight. Just gotta give myself a place to work up to!


After class, it was time for Zumba.

Now let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am not really a dancer. Sure, I move on the floor but I usually reserve such activities for times when I can consume alcoholic beverages. L had wanted to try it, though, and I’m all about giving things a whirl.


And I’m glad I did. It was a lot of fun though it was clearly evident that I’m no Zumba superstar. I spent a good part of the class following L’s advice: when in doubt, move your hips. Of course, that’s how I got myself into trouble …


Anyway … 45 minutes of Zumba later, and we had finished two classes.

While two fitness classes in one weekend is more than enough exercise, I still had a run to fit in.


I am training for a yet-to-be determined spring race, and I’m following a run less, run faster approach. As the runs are about quality not quantity, it’s important not to skip one.

Even if it’s 7 degrees.

The weather Sunday morning was against my principles (aka the 10-degree rule) but there was no wind and a lot of sun.


And Denali was on my last nerve. God, that dog gives me a reason to run even if I don't want one.

We logged  6 snow-covered miles, and I felt surprisingly good. I had tried to keep the pace on the slow side as it was a "long" run but Denali kept it honest. (I think I watched too much of the Olympic Trials yesterday.) Thankfully (and surprisingly) my body responded, managing a 9:38 average - a pace that hasn't been seen much, if at all, since I had Miles.

It was a perfect way to wrap up such a movement-filled weekend.


Scratch that.

Shopping at the mall and getting two pairs of sweats and a new workout tank ... for $24 total ... was the perfect way to end my weekend.

How did your weekend shape up?