Saturday, January 28, 2012

Go random or go home

I think I'm a little late to the party but I was tagged by a lovely gal to share 11 random things about myself. As there's a lot of new followers out there, I thought this would be a great way to share more of myself. (Sorry, no bikini pictures!)

1.  I spent my entire pregnancy worried that I wouldn't know I was in labor and, as it turns out, I still don't know what labor feels like. The doctors decided to induce me at 39 weeks because they thought Miles was too small but we had some heart rate issues and I had a C-section.

2. I keep a pair of tweezers in my car so that I can pluck stray eyebrow hairs at stop lights. I find the visor mirror and natural light create the optimal environment for grooming.

3. I had a benign tumor in my foot when I was 13. When they did the biopsy, the doctors found a small piece of a toothpick.

4. I know there are built in undies but I always were undergarments with running shorts.

5. I have never been to Las Vegas and, to be honest, the idea of spending a trip gambling bores me to tears.

6. I have watched every episode of "Sex and the City" more times than I can count and I often find myself referencing the show at very random times. Also, I recognized the one chick from "Two Broke Girls" because of a guest appearance on SATC.

7. I hate winter. The cold temperatures, winter coats and snow.

8. But I kind of like shoveling snow. Maybe because I know it's a good workout?

9. I did not brush my hair before Body Pump this morning. I did, however, brush my teeth.

10. My BP pants were far too long and I spent the entire class (+Zumba) rolling them up. I really should hem them ... and I can. My grandma taught me how to sew when I was young, and I have made all sorts of things - dresses, skirts, curtains, pillow cases.

11. I went shopping this afternoon at Marshall's and picked up two dresses, a tank, a chiffon open cardigan thingy, an Asics short-sleeve running top and a pair of Steve Madden wedges - all for $50. Holla.

As part of this dealeyo, I'm supposed to answer some questions from Lisa.

1.  If you could change your first name, what name would you choose? Umm ... I have no idea. Maybe Stella.
2.  Do you have siblings?  If so, how many? One brother. Jim. Or Bubba. Or Van Halen.
3.  What's your favorite flavor of ice cream? All of them. More specifically, anything from Graeter's in Cincinnati. Still not good enough, pumpkin from Graeter's.
4.  Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Milk
5.  What's your dream job? Working in the marketing department for a race group.
6.  Do you take compliments well? NO.
7.  What is your favorite physical attribute? My fingernail. The right pinky one.
8.  Which article of clothing do you own that always makes you feel beautiful? I always feel fantastic in a good pair of heels.
9.   Dogs or cats? Dogs
10. Have you broken any bones?  Which ones and how old were you? Nope
11. Absolute favorite vacation spot (or dream vacation spot)? Savannah, Georgia

I'm supposed to tag people but Miles is getting squirmy and I'm hoping I can shove some sweet potatoes down his throat.

And a random question for the moms out there, any tips on getting a little guy to eat solids? Miles could care less about cereal, fruit or veggies. He just wants formula, which is so awesome because it's so affordable. Not. Maybe I shouldn't have quit breast feeding ... ARG.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Perks of being married to a teacher

1. You can say things like, "This summer, I think you and Miles should take a 'Mommy & Me' swim class," and the response you get is: Will we need water wings?

2. Early dismissal times mean he has time to go to the grocery and pick up lettuce, tomatoes, Diet Coke and sweet potato fries.

3. You still get to go shopping for school supplies. Lisa Frank folders for everyone!

4. You can feel good knowing that he is shaping the minds of young children ... by assigning "The Hunger Games."

5. You finally get to fill that longing to be a teacher's assistant and help grade papers with an iron red pen. You used the wrong form of "it's"? No points for you!

6. Two-hour delays offer a break for you (and not for him). After ice prompted the district to call a delay yesterday, I got to get in my interval workout on the treadmill, shower in peace and get dressed - all without worrying that Miles was going to fall of the bed.

7. When a 2-hour delay turns into a day off, you find yourself with a lunch date with Mark, Jimmy and John.

As I'm a lady, I first greeted Mark.

And then ravaged Jimmy & John.

I was feeling particularly healthy so I ordered some paper ... err ... a #12 Beach Body Unwich.

Turkey, provolone, avocado spread, cucumbers, sprouts and tomato (hold the mayo) - OH YEAH. This baby clocked in at 199 calories and 9.78 grams of fat (healthy fats, mind you). I would be lying if I said that I didn't miss the bread but I got the things I love most at Jimmy John's - sprouts and avocado spread.

I also had a giant pickle (no, I'm not pregnant) and split a bag of Thinny Chips with my main man, Mark. By the way, those sneaky guys at Jimmy John's should be reprimanded. The bag of Thinny Chips was actually two servings. Had I eaten the entire bag, which would have left no room for the cookie we split, I would have eaten more calories in chips than I did unwich.

What do you get when you go out for a workweek lunch date? Do you have a favorite place?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Planning an invasion

It was the "no plan" plan.

For weeks - really since the December Huff,  I've been following a very loose training plan. The goal was to keep a respectable base and (hopefully) pick up some speed as I looked toward the Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans half marathon relay. As I'm doing an 8-mile leg, I needed to keep up my Sunday long runs but didn't have to fret too much about weekday mileage.

After the March race, it was my plan to train for a spring half marathon. I had set my sights on Cincinnati's Flying Pig, which was my first half, but found myself less than thrilled by the $80 entry free. Nevertheless, I set a loose schedule based on the May race date. I planned for three days a week running, per my "survive winter" plan, and I would keep up with the twice weekly strength sessions.

Of course, that all changed when I registered for the Martian Invasion of the Races half marathon on Tuesday. The Martian race is April 14, nearly a full month before the Flying Pig.

Some things would stay the same - the three days a week running and my scheduled runs ahead of RnR NOLA - but I would have to redo the long run schedule. Based on plans by Hal Higdon and one I found on, I came up with something that will get me to the starting line strong.

*Note: I totally flipped a week. My Fanny Freezer 5K is Feb. 11 - not Feb. 4.

As I'm running just three days a week, it's important to have quality runs so I'll be incorporating one speed day. The Runners World three-day plan had one tempo run and one interval run each week but I don't think that's feasible for me fitness-wise nor schedule-wise. Seriously, who wants to push a jogging stroller for 8x400? Not me.

I kept the strength training and Zumba, as well. I find that resistance workouts build muscle and help reduce weak joints thus reducing the risk of injury. Zumba ... well, it's just fun. (I never thought I'd say that!) I think that explosive-type cardio, like Zumba, should help work different muscle fibers and maybe ones that help with speed. Of course, I'm more than likely just making that up and the statement has no basis in reality.

I do have Fridays open in the event that I decide to add a fourth run during the week. I know a fourth run will do a lot to improve my base, stamina and speed but I felt overwhelmed running four times a week when I was training for the Huff. I'm sort of going to see when spring arrives and what sort of schedule Miles is on.

What is your preference when training - 3 days of running or 4? Or, are you crazy and do 5?

Working out with Miles

Go for a barefoot run.

Do some core work, starting with side planks.

Move onto traditional planks, downward facing dogs and pushups.

Boot scootin' boogie to finish up.

Monkey leotards coming soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Outside the gym

I guess I just can’t stop believing in Santa.


Or maybe I just can’t stand someone as good looking as Dolvett not to come out on top.


Either way, I found myself rooting for the red team to win last night’s weigh in when, in fact, I was really hoping for the black team. I wanted them to prove to America that you don’t need a fancy gym to lose weight.

And I’m proof.

I haven’t had a gym membership for going on three years. Initially, it was a financial decision. Mark and I weren’t visiting the YMCA enough to justify the $60 monthly fee. Later, it was because of Denali. I didn’t want to pay to walk on a treadmill when I would only have to go home and walk the dog, too. Now, it’s both. Denali still needs a walk, Miles needs a nap and the $60 would be better spent on diapers.

It is true that my passion for running helps me forgo the gym but that’s only three days a week.

Here are my tips for gym-free workouts:

Scope out your local library. My library has TONS of exercise DVDS, and it’s a great way to try out a disc before you even buy it. I’ve found plenty of Jillian Michaels, “Biggest Loser,” Denise Austin and Firm workouts. I found the library particularly helpful when it came to yoga DVDs because I’m not one who enjoys the spiritual side of practice and dislike 90 percent of the workouts. I got to play Goldilocks until I found the one that was just right for me. (I am a fan of the Crunch DVDs with Sara Ivanhoe.)

Trade off. After two months of Yoga Booty Ballet, you find yourself ready to throw a ball through the TV at that stupid drummer. Well, your friend feels the same way at Billy Blanks. So why don’t you trade?

Make a small investment in you. For less than $20, you can get everything you need for a heart-pumping circuit workout. I have a jump rope and hand weights – all from Target – that I like to use if I only have 15 minutes to exercise. Jump rope one minute, perform an upper body exercise for one minute and follow up with one minute of squats or lunges. Repeat five times. This workout is great, too, if you want something to do during commercial breaks.

Don’t be shy. Everyone (well, except for me) seems to have an exercise bike or elliptical that is only collecting dust. Tell co-workers, family, friends that you are in the market for some exercise equipment and you might be surprised what turns up. Our treadmill was a hand-me-down from my in-laws.

Project analysis. Maybe you have a bedroom that’s more storage locker than guest room/office or a basement stacked with storage boxes. Take an afternoon and tackle a project – whether it’s painting, moving boxes or building furniture.

Free pass. The yoga studio where I went for a month or two when I was pregnant offers a free class one Saturday a month. Some gyms offer one-week passes. You can use these when the weather outside is frightful or you need some motivation via friendly competition from other people working out.

Drop on by. I do take two group exercise classes a week on a drop-in basis at a tumbling gym in town. In the past, I also got a punch card via Groupon.

Friendly competition. People always say to exercise during commercial breaks, which can be boring. Mark and I have been known to challenge each other to push-up and crunch competitions.

Explore the outdoors. Many cities have fantastic trails and greenways. Get an upclose look at how your taxpayer dollars are being enjoyed.

Get dirty. It might not be the right time of year but tackle your yard. This summer, I worked up a sweat hacking at an invasive honeysuckle. It might have been because I was 9 months pregnant (I didn’t nest in the traditional way) but I don’t think so.

No excuses. It’ so easy this time of year to want to stay inside and drink hot chocolate on the couch. And I do. Sometimes. I also walk the dog and baby as long as it’s 25 degrees or warmer, and I’m willing to run as long as it’s in the double digits.

What are your tips for living without a gym membership?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coming up short

You know what the problem is with owning just one pair of running tights?

You own just one pair of running tights. And sometimes (but only sometimes) you discover that said tights are in the laundry basket and smell like ... you know ... and you only make that discovery minutes before you hope to be out the door.

Or does this only happen to me?

I had 4 miles planned for today, and I did not want to cop out just because of something so minor as a pair of pants. Not that pants are minor but ... you know what I mean. So I did what anyone would do - made do with what I had.

A pair of Old Navy active capris paired with a pair of knee socks = makeshift running tights. 

Note: I had a pair of running socks underneath so as to not get any blisters.

As it turned out, my haphazard outfit was the least of my worries. The temperature was an acceptable 31 degrees but the wind ... oh, the wind., which I looked at more closely after my run (doh!), said there were gusts from 15 to 25 mph. Eek! Factor in that I was pushing the stroller through a hilly-ish area, and it is undeniable that I had my work cut out for me.

I paused when I could, catching my breath at street crossings and when Denali had to pee, and I made no bones about not running as fast as I could. Even still, as reached my second neighborhood, I had to summon every ounce of #OpHardcoreFit I could and not cut the run short. I knew that if I could push through that I would feel better about the day and myself.

Oh and a little better about this.

After months of "researching" spring half marathons, I finally put my money where my training plan is and signed up for the Martian half marathon on April 14. Maybe it's the awesome medal or the chance to maybe meet the Megans, but I'm super stoked.

What are you looking forward to? Any spring races?
P.S. I'm deeming next week W.O.W. (Words of Wisdom) Week. I saw a lot of questions in comments after the Yahoo! story so I thought it might be good timing. I'll answer any questions you might have - whether it's weight loss, my eating habits, running, etc. Just leave me a comment or shoot me an email!

Monday, January 23, 2012

All syrup super squishy bender

These were it.

The it boot of my middle school years. I think every girl in my grade had a pair of the Nike hiking boots ... except for me. My shoes came from Kmart or Payless - and nowhere else. It didn't keep me from lusting after them, though.

Even 20 years later.

I couldn't help but think of those boots, and how useful they would be, on my walk this morning. The weekend's snow was turned a slushy river overnight by rain and mild temperatures. The retired Mizunos I wear for recreational use just aren't cut out for such weather but those boots ... OH YEAH.

Monday is typically a rest day but I figured a jaunt in the slush would do us all some good. And by all I mean Miles and Denali. Miles was up at 4:45 a.m. and a walk would guarantee him a much needed nap, even if only a short one. The ever jealous Denali has been acting out lately but his behavior is usually better when he has some exercise.

So I got everyone together - Denali leashed up and Miles bundled - and we went for a casual 2.7-mile walk in a neighboring addition. And by casual, I mean I took the travel system stroller so I could bring along a cup of coffee.

So good.

Also good - Miles stayed asleep long enough for me to not only make breakfast but eat it with both hands free.

I had some leftover shrimp and avocado-tomato salsa from last night's Shrimp Quesadillas, and I realized that I could make a version of one of my favorite make-it-over restaurant meals. A California omelet for unseasonably warm temperatures - perfection!

How are you starting off the week?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rock it out

You know what happens when you get called out of bed at 5:45 a.m. on a Sunday?

A lot.

By 7 a.m., you'll have fed the baby, fed yourself, fed the dog, paged through the Target ad from the Sunday paper and made a pot of coffee.

Oh, and you'll have spent 20 minutes of your life (which you can never get back) watching an infomercial for the Rhythm Rocker.

Just what you need, right?

The Rhythm Rocker is a crunching, rolling workout system that promises to help you "melt away" weight. It allows "you to create your own level of resistance by leveraging your body weight against the tilting action of the seat."

Or, from my perspective, it allows you to learn how to give a lap dance. Just what everyone should be thinking about at 7 a.m.

I'm sexy and I know it/ I'm sexy and I know it/Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle yeah /Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle yeah /Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle yeah /Do the wiggle yeah

Of course, this is coming from the girl who spent too much cash on the Carmen Electra Strip Aerobics DVD set. I hang my head in shame - especially because I used it all of five times. I just felt sort of silly gyrating in the living room of my empty apartment.

And I think that's what will happen with the Rhythm Rocker. Iit seems like one will seem turbo awesome when you're sleep deprived and feeding a 6-month-old but when you bust it out, it all seems a bit hokey. And you won't even dare try to use it in front of your husband for fear of being laughed at (or allowing him to get the wrong idea). It will sit in the living room for a few weeks, becoming a spot to stack diapers and eventually it will go in the basement next to the deep freeze full of Lean Cuisines.

If you use it, though, I'm sure it will work. Why don't you give it a try for three payments of $33 and let me know how it works out?

As for me? I'll be spending my $100 on Body Pump, drop-in Zumba classes and a new pair of gym sneakers (not running shoes - they are different).

What about you? Have you ever ordered a fitness system online? How did it work out?