Monday, December 13, 2010

Whats New?

So after a full week of no blogging, I owe you girls and guys an update!  Like everyone else, I have been consumed in Holiday stuff and endless work deadlines and obligations that tend to come at the end of the year.  So in a brief recap, here is what you have missed!

A week ago Saturday:  Power yoga

A week ago Sunday:  Jingle Jaunt 5K.  Froze my butt off.  Got a sucky time despite running super hard due to a bottleneck effect at the start.

Last Monday:  Ran a warm-up mile and lifted weights.  I have also developed a new weight lifting plan - details to follow!  No yoga - heat broken in studio - BUMMER!

Last Tuesday:  4 Mile speed run on the treadmill.  Torture in the best sense.  Still no yoga!!

Last Wednesday:  No cardio but an hour long weight workout.  Yoga studio up and running and I was the only student Wednesday night!!  I requested a mix of power and restorative yoga and got exactly what I was looking for...ahhhh.

Last Thursday:  Rest Day (planned - client lunch)

Last Friday:  Rest Day (unintentional - got stuck at the office)

This past Saturday: 'Long run' with Meri.  I use the phrase long veeerrrrrrrry loosely.  45 minutes of weight lifting in the afternoon.

This past Sunday:  3 mile run

Today I have planned a 1 mile warm-up followed by weight lifting and yoga tonight.  I am a bit stressed about yoga.  Cash is tight right now but the studio is calling...we shall see blogfans, we shall see.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Calories Burned

After a conversation I had this morning, I decided to 'give' you all some tools for determining the calories burned in your activities.  One is this calculator from Glamour.com, which I fully admit is not an exercise expert.  But I like this calculator.  Here is one from Self Magazine.  Here is another on from my.calorie.counter.com...I don't find this one as easy to use, but its helpful to note that the results are similar.  There are a million calorie calculators out there and the results vary ... which I think is natural since everyones efforts vary - Think of it this way - the harder you work, the bigger the payoff.

Now, when looking at the calories burned, I want you all to keep in mind that muscle building exercises such as weight lifting (and to an extent yoga) may have a lower 'burn'; however, muscle building stokes your metabolism, leading to more of a 'burn' over the course of a day.

Here are some examples for a 150 pound person:

"Yoga" (90 minutes) which I assume to mean Hatha or Gentle Yoga: About 268 calories


Weight Lifting (45 minutes) Vigorous Effort: About 321 calories

Stationary Bike (60 minutes) Moderate Effort: About 500 calories


Swimming (60 minutes) Moderate Effort: About 500 calories

Rowing (60 minutes) Moderate Effort: About 500 calories

Running (60 minutes) at 10 minute miles: About 714 calories

Jumping Rope (60 minutes...god help you) Moderate Effort: About 714 calories

Power Yoga (90 minutes): About 718 calories

Swimming (60 minutes) Vigorous Effort: About 785 calories

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Surviving Winter

If you are anything like me, winter can get you down.  Way Down.  Like bottom of the barell, there is no meaning to life, everything sucks down.  I hear this has something to do with the lack of sunlight - and I believe that to be totally true.  For me, it also has to do with being cold.  I hate being cold...and I am cold pretty much constantly in the winter. 

So if there a point to that suck-fest rant?  Of course!  Here is a list of ways to beat the winter blues...or grays, as it often feels:

1)  Eat or drink something citrus.  Yup, I am talking clementines but also maybe lemon or lime in your water...or how about some lemon tea?  The burst of citrus will wake up your senses and also remind you of happy, sunny times.

2)  Get moving.  You knew that was coming, right?  Winter often makes us want to hole up where its warm and not move, but getting in some kind of exercise will make you feel better and, in the end, warm you up a bit.

3)  Think warm veggies.  Its winter and a cold salad is hardly appealing but that is no reason to skip your veggies.  At lunch you can have a (low sodium?) veggie soup, you can microwave some frozen veggies, you can zap up some spinach and make a warm spinach and (insert protein here) wrap.  Whatever - just eat them.  The vitamins will make you happy.

4)  Go to a heated yoga class.  It is warm there and your soul will be happy.

5)  If its sunny, get outside.  Now, if you are locked in an office with no windows, you may not get to see if there is sun.  Check weather.com - they'll tell you when to expect some sun.  Once you find some sun, bundle up and get in it.  Take a wake.  Drink a coffee or tea outside.  Go for a run if your schedule permits.  Just DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT let that sun go to waste. Yay vitamin D!

I lived in Cleveland, Ohio for a few years and let me tell you, the thing I missed most about New England (other than shellfish) was the lack of sun in the winter.  Lake effect winters suck - gray, gray, gray with more gray.  Here is New England we are fortunate enough to often have sparkly sun afternoons - try and take advantage!

If you all have any beat-the-winter-blahs tips, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thankful

Hi All!  I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving - for me, Thanksgiving this year was perfect...but it certainly wasn't shaping up that way!

Flashback to last Tuesday around 3:00pm.  Me sitting at my desk making big mental plans involving just how many brussel sprouts I could eat come Thursday.  Suddenly my throat tightens and gets a little scratchy.  Huh - weird.  I decide to solve that particular discomfort by getting my gazzilionth cup of coffee that day - because nothing soothes a throat like acidity! 

4:00pm.  No good.  Entering "Where the hell did this sore throat come from" territory.

4:30pm.  Panic.  A little fuzzy in the head.

5:00pm.  Actually fall asleep at desk from fuzzy-headed-ness.

6:10pm.  At home explaining to Bill that I simply cannot go to yoga - I feel like crap and just need to lay down.

6:12pm.  Bill telling my that yoga will make me feel better - it always does.

7:58pm.  Me laying in savasana at the end of yoga class wanting to cry my throat hurts so bad everytime I breathe in.

Wednesday 3:30am.  Wide awake with burning throat.  Haven't slept a wink.  Get up to find medicine.

5:00am.  Get up - not sleeping anyway.

7:00am.  Invade CVS for Dayquil and Vitamin C.

7:45am-4:30pm.  Sit at desk, pray for work to be over. 

6:00pm.  Thank the Dayquil gods that I am still standing, make broccoli casserole, stuffed dates and cranberry pie.

Thursday 6:45am.  Up before the alarm because I can't breathe.  Take a miracle cocktail of coffee, Dayquil, Vitamin-C and a banana.  Pull on race clothes and pack yoga clothes.  Fumble to the car in 29 degree weather.

8:00am - Race time!  By now I am so hopped up on meds and Thanksgiving-ness that I am ready to run!  Do not be confused, I did not feel great but a race is a race is a race.  And the Tiger Turkey Chase is my favorite race!

8:01am-8:50am - Ran a great race!  Meri and Chrissy, for reasons I do not know, decided to hang with me for the first 4 miles of the race.  We pulled off solid 9:40s-9:50s for those miles.  They took off in the last mile but I kept up reasonably well, finishing only 20 seconds behind for a 49 minute and change finish - almost tying my best time on this course and hitting my goal time for 9:40ish pace.  WooHoo. 

9:00am.  Eat a banana.  Suck on inhaler.  Go to yoga.

9:30am.  Down dog.

10:30am.  Way pleased with myself for pulling out a great yoga practice.  Seriously, I actually participated in most of the power class - no problem. 

12:00pm-5:00pm.  Fantastic Thanksgiving with friends and family!!!  Happy to be warm and fed, thankful for a body that can run and stretch.  

Friday 3:00am.  Wake-up, Coffee, Dayquil, Vitamin-C.  Shop, Shop, Shop!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Festivities

Hi!  Remeber me?  I'm the girl who used to write this blog...way back last week or so!  I am finally (computer) virus free and ready to rock and roll.

So here is what you have missed - a spattering of yoga and a great 7 mile run.  I have been doing what I can to fit in miles in preparation for the Tiger Turley Chase 5 Miler - my all-time favorite race!

I also have really exciting yoga news - Revelation Yoga has a limited Thanksgiving schedule, one of which is a Power Yoga class at 9am on Thanksgiving. 

Now, I know what you are thinking: 1) there is no way I can run the Tiger Turkey Chase and make it to yoga on time; and 2) I am going to die if I try to get through a power class immediatly after a race.

And Blogfans, how right you are.  There is no way I will be on time and there is no way I will make it through a power class.  Which leads me to why I love Revelation and Kim so much.  Here's how it went down after Gentle Yoga last night:

Kim:   Are you coming to Thanksgiving Yoga?

Me: No, I'm running a race that morning and power yoga will kill me.

Other Yoga Student A: Oh, are you running Easton?  Me too!

Kim:  Wait, wait...[Yoga Student B's Name Here] is running that race!  I want to run it too!

Other Yoga Student C: Kim, you'll never make it here in time to teach class.

Kim:  I'm always late anyway...I really want to run!  Okay, everyone should run the race then come here after...people that run the race can just do a gentle class while I teach power...you all pay for the classes anyway.

And so the Post-Race-Mixed-Style-Yoga-Class was born.  And I could not be more excited!!  Seriously, I cannot think of a better day than a good race, a great yoga class and my favorite holiday all combined!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Virus

Guess whose computer has a virus and can't be on the internet for more than 30 seconds at a time? 

Times Up!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Still Alive Bonus Post

Boy, if the rest of the holiday season is like the past few weeks, I apologize in advance!  Things have, as usual, been a little crazy and this blog has suffered.  You should be happy to know though that my fitness has only suffered slightly.  I have been living it up in the yoga studio (5 classes in 6 days - woot!) and I managed to actually lift some weights, so overall I'm feeling pretty good.  And I managed to make all my scheduled runs with the exception of 2 miles though they have been lacking in quality (worst 7 mile run in history). 

Which leads me to one of my favorite sayings - Perfect is the Enemy of Good.  Sometimes, if we want to be good at many things (and enjoy them!), we must stop trying to be perfect. 

I like to run.  I like to run less when I feel guilty for missing a few miles.

I love yoga.  I like yoga less when I injure my wrist trying to support a perfect posture.

I like writing this blog.  I like it less when I feel guilty for missing a few posts. 

For more on Perfect versus Good, check out this article.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yoga Splits (for runners)

I think that everyone has been feeling a little bit of the winter blues lately – I know I have! The last two weeks were a bit of a wash – I was living at the dentists and I had a ton of post-work events to attend. I squeezed in a few workouts where I could and did my best to make it to the yoga studio. But alas, last Wednesday I realized that (with the exception of one class) it had been over a week since I last saw a glimpse of my yoga mat. When I don’t get to the studio, I really feel it…I am talking achy, cranky nastiness. It is an awful thing, this yoga dependency.


I had to make some big decisions and, though it did pain me, I skipped a big wine tasting event (for which I had actual tickets) to go to power yoga last Wednesday night…No time like the present right? And it was a FANTASTIC class – I immediately felt better. Thursday was another schedule disaster but I made it to Friday's vinyasa class, I got in another 6 miles with Meri on Saturday, made it to Sunday's power class AND went to gentle yoga last night. That’s 4 out of the last 6 days and man do I feel a million times better. And tonight, I’m going again…and hopefully Wednesday night. Thursday I am taking the day off because I am so not into yoga/step/dance class right now, but I have a vacation day Friday and plan on hitting up Revelation's 2.5 hour yoga block on Friday morning and dragging my butt to power yoga on Saturday. Big yoga plans going on here.

I know what you are thinking “Wait, isn’t she supposed to be running?” Ah, so very true. And I am, for the most part, entirely on schedule with my training plan. Actually, I was finding that the lack of yoga was hurting my running – these muscles need to be stretched! I could feel my hamstrings, glutes and hips tightening to the point where it was painful. Kim must have had some kind of bizarre sixth sense because on Wednesday she suddenly introduced ‘yoga splits’ to our class. What is a yoga split? It’s a regular old split…except if you can’t do it you prop yourself up on blocks, balls and whatever else you can grab from your mat. These splits – though they kind of suck and hurt – are really working on my hamstrings and hips! In fact, I think all runners should be doing yoga splits…though really, I just think all runners should be doing yoga in general!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baby Carrots

You have heard me ramble on before about how I do not really like baby carrots.  And I don't - they taste funny and they are wet.  And they appear to last way too long in the refrigerator.  Basically, they creep me out.



But alas, they are a cheap, convenient snack and I often resort to them with the basic idea of  'If I'm not hungry enough to eat baby carrots, I am not that hungry.'

So this week, I am eating baby carrots and I am miserable.  I want celery, peppers, apples, pears, grapes, clementines.  But baby carrots it is - my budget allows me pretty much one 'snack' fruit or veggie a week.

I decided, out of sheer boredom, to figure out exactly what a baby carrot is, why it is slimy and why they seem to last forever.  Now, I am not going to give you a bunch of links (okay, well, here is one) - I literally typed the questions into my google search bar and read the first few relevant web pages that came up...this is not a scientific research page people...just a blog by a chick that doesn't like baby carrots but eats them anyway. 

Here's what I found out:

What are baby carrots?  Baby carrots are made from big carrots that look too funny to sell in the grocery store, so they make them into baby carrots...or, as I found out, 'baby-cut carrots.'  No shocker there - onto the more intriguing stuff.

Why the heck are my carrots always wet and slimy?  Okay, this surprised me a little.  This is because the manufacturers add water to the bags of baby-cut carrots because...wait for it...people actually prefer their carrots wet.  Okay - eeww.  And if I am offending the wet carrot lovers of the world, sorry.  But really, eewww.

And finally, why do they never go bad?  Now, I clearly prefer big, normal carrots but I find that they go rubbery pretty quick.  So what is the deal with baby-cut carrots?  Why do they last so long?  Okay, this took me a little longer to find the answer to and it has me a little skeeved.  The carrots are rinsed in a bleach solution to preserve them.  Bleach.  Okay...so apparently this is perfectly fine and harmless and whatnot.  But...

I think I am officially over bad tasting, slimy, wet bleach carrots forever (as soon as I finish my current bag).

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Real Run

It was a Halloween Weekend Running Miracle.  Meri and I had an actual, successful long(ish) run! 

So lets get some perspective here, okay?  If you are new to running, or training for a 5K or some other shorter distance, any miles that you log are fantastic...I do not in any way want to downplay those miles with this post.  I can still remember, clear as day, the first time I ran 4 miles.  It sucked...until it was done and all I could think was "Holy crap, I'm a runner - I ran 4 miles!!"  Those 4 miles were nothing to sneeze, wheeze or cough at.

Flash forward a ways to when I was training for my first, second and third half marathons.  Long runs were 10-13 miles...those are the long runs where, now, I can really pat myself on the back.  I have not had a long run of that distance since last January or so. 

For me, there is a certain threshold to cross before real distance training begins...it is the magic 6 mile mark.  The first 3 miles of any run suck - it takes at least 3 miles for my legs and head to start working together.  Once my body figures out that its running, it begins to cooperate for miles 4 and 5.  Those are pretty good miles.  But oh to get to mile 6...by mile 6 you are in rhythm...and once you are in that rhythm, miles 7 and 8 feel pretty good.  So the threshold is to complete the 6 mile run...then tacking on miles gets a little easier.

This Saturday morning, Meri and I completed our first 6 mile run in a long, long time.  And it was great!  We felt like runners again!  I still have a hard time calling 6 miles a 'long' run.  But I have no trouble calling 7 miles a long run.  So here we go miles - I have crossed the threshold - bring it on!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chips Can Be Good For You!

Okay, so lets be clear...Chips are not usually considered health food.  But neither is chocolate and we all pretty much still eat it - in moderation right?  That is how I feel about chips.  In fact, a lot of Fridays all I have for dinner is Sweet Potato chips and guacamole.  Thats all I want and thats what I eat.  It is a (high calorie) indulgence.  I make myself feel a little better though by choosing all natural chips with few and recognizable ingredients.  One of my absolute favorites in the brand Food Should Taste Good.  In fact, here are a few pictures from this fall trip to the Long Island Vineyards featuring the Sweet Potato and Olive flavors:




Hungry yet?  Lucky you!  Because right here is a link to get a coupon for a FREE bag of Food Should Taste Good Chips.  WooHoo!

** FYI, the link brings you to Facebook, where you have to "like" the company....I love Food Should Taste Good Chips, so I have no problem with "liking" them on Facebook **

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still Here

Hi All - Just a quick post to let you all know that I am still alive.  This week has been exceptionally busy, which has resulted in not only missed blog posts but also missed workouts.  In fact, with the exception of gentle yoga Monday night, I have had unintentional rest days since Sunday.  Eek!   The result is that i am cranky, tired and achy.  More achy than anything.  I am hoping to get a lunch break at some point today and hit the treadmill...I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Evolution of Butternut Wontons

Okay Blogfans...this weekend I braved (among about a million other events) my very first food blogger event.  Now, as I mentioned before, I do not necessarily consider myself a food blogger...I mean, I do not even own a stand mixer, recipe cards or a camera...but my friend Amy, along with Jennifer, was hosting, so food blogger I was.

I decided that I was going to have to make something a bit more fancy than a smoothy for this event, so I put on my fall food thinking cap and decided I wanted to make something similar to my summer go-to appetizer of Caprese Salad Skewers.  What are Caprese Salad Skewers?  Only the easiest appetizer ever that actually looks impressive.  Heres what you do:

Caprese Salad Skewers

Get:
Mini Mozzarella balls
Mini tomatoes
Fresh Basil Leaves
Long Party Toothpicks

Put: One of each Ingredient on a Long Party Toothpick

Mix:
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Present Skewers with Balsamic dipping sauce.

Easy right?  I also do a chicken version of this where I soak the Toothpicks for awhile, skewer the tomatoes and roast the tomato/toothpicks together until the skin on the tomatoes just start to pucker.  Then I pan fry or grill some chicken, cut it into bite sized pieces and VERY CAREFULLY (because the tomatoes are delicate) but a piece of chicken on each skewer.  Maybe add a piece of basil or something if you want.

So, I really like those skewers, but they scream summer, not fall, and this was a fall food fest.  So, as I was saying a long time ago, I decided to try and make a fall skewer.  I decided that each Skewer had to have a cube of roasted butternut, a piece of fried sage and a golden raisin.

Can you see the problem here?  Not only would it be impossible to skewer fried sage without it crumbling everywhere, chances are the butternut would slide right off the skewer.  Disaster.

So I decided that I needed to come up with a different vessel to combine my desired appetizer ingredients.  My idea - wonton cups.  Now, I had seen this done before and it seemed pretty easy - you just buy wonton wrappers, push the wrappers into a mini muffin tin and bake.  So I did that.  It was very easy.  Next I did the following:

Butternut Cups

Bake: Butternut squash cubes at 450 degrees until browned

Fry: Sage in a little canola oil

Combine: ricotta (or mascarpone...I tried both) with maple flavored agave syrup (I was out of maple syrup)

Put: Some of each plus a few golden raisins in a wonton cup.

I was pretty pleased with this effort.  I made six as practice the weekend before the food fest and called it a day. 

The next night I had a ton leftover wonton wrappers and roasted butternut...so I decided to try my hand out at butternut ravioli.  Ready?

Butternut Ravioli

Combine: Roasted Butternut, Ricotta, Chopped Fresh Sage, Tarragon, Pepper, Salt, Cinnamon, Nutmeg to taste (lets call this "Butternut Mixture")

Wet: Each side of a wonton wrapper with water

Put: About a tablespoon of Butternut Mixture in the middle of the Wonton

Seal Up: the Wonton (I did this a variety of ways...just get it done)

Put: Wontons in boiling water until they float to the top (this was about 2 minutes...its fast)

Toss: Wontons in olive oil, garlic and Parmesan cheese (I also tossed in some roasted broccoli)

These.  Were.  Awesome.  WAY better than the Butternut Cups (which were still good but not awesome).

I wanted an awesome food blogger recipe.  I also wanted a portable, appetizer like food.  Thus, the Butternut Wonton was born.

Butternut Wontons

Roast: Butternut (I forgot to take a picture of this)

Lower: Oven temp to 350 Degrees

Combine: Ingredients to make Butternut Mixture



Wet the sides of each wonton wrapper and put a little Butternut Mixture in the middle



Seal Up the Wonton




Oil or spray cookie sheet (I actually forgot this step and it was a bit of a mess getting the wontons off the sheet whole...Bill actually saved the day here helping me get the wontons unstuck) 

Dab: Some egg white onto each Wonton for shine (you can totally skip this step)

Bake Wontons until crisp - about 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them.

Mix: Mascarpone Cheese with some Maple Agave Nectar or Maple Syrup to taste.

Serve




I think it is safe to say that these were a hit at the event.  I heard unsolicited comments such as "These are incredible, who made them" and "Seriously, these are addictive...I am going to be thinking about them when I'm on the couch watching tv later."

So feel free to try them out - they are not hard to make just a little time consuming.  At the very least, I hope this post has inspired some of you to get in the kitchen and create.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bonus Post!

This is a great list of foods to have on hand published by Weight Watchers.  I would say that my house has all of these at any given time except the lean ground beef and chicken...though there is usually chicken in the house once or twice a week.

Also, I have been living on frozen vegetables and chicken sausage this week.  Throw a good heap of mixed frozen veggies (I like the Bird's Eye Broccoli Stir-Fry blend) in a pan with a little oil, slice an Al Fresco Chicken Sausage Link up, toss in pan.  Season.  Cook until done.  Easy.

Here is the link if you didn't catch it above:  http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=43331

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bad Yoga

As you are all aware, I am picking up my running mileage in the hopes of racing a solid 10 Miler in February.  If you read about running at all - or train - you know a little bit about 'speed work' and 'tempo' runs.  Now, as you may have guessed from the title, this is a yoga post NOT a running post, so I am not going to go into the mechanics of speed work or tempo runs, but here is the basic idea...you run faster than normal for set periods of time or distance.  Yesterday I did my first tempo run in ... oh ... a year maybe (4.5 miles total, 3 miles at 10K pace).  I've also added about 5 miles onto my weekly total the last few weeks.

Now, these additional miles and single fast run may not seem like a lot, but to tired, hardly running at all legs, it is a lot of extra work.  Enter the bad yoga.

I am amazed that I can practice yoga as much as I do and still wake up with hamstrings so tight I can't reach my toes.  Actually, these added miles and workouts are destroying my hamstrings (I also really, really need new sneakers).   Two Fridays ago I went to Victoria's Vinyasa class, then that Sunday I ran 5 miles with Meri and then went immediately to power yoga.  The next day I went to a (medium) power class at Revelation....and it was a disaster.  My hamstrings and hips were a nightmare and I actually had to pull out of a pigeon pose that I was barely in.  The only thing I could come up with was the triple header of power yoga with the 5 Miler in the middle was too much.  This past weekend I tried to learn from my mistakes - I went to Victoria's class on Friday, Ran 5.7 with Meri on Saturday then went to power yoga at Revelation on Sunday.  The  elimination of the Saturday morning long run/yoga double header seemed to work and I had a good run on Monday.  All was good.  Until yesterday.

Yesterday I did the previously mentioned tempo run at lunch then went to power yoga at night.  Wednesday night power yoga is usually medium hard but for some insane reason Kim was killing us last night.  And my legs and mind just could not keep up.  I must have fallen out of Eagle at least 4 times AND I almost threw up in Revolved Triangle from the combined heat and painful hamstrings.

Now, I am seeing a pattern here - are you?  Longer/harder runs and power yoga apparently do not mix.  Which is unfortunate because I do not see that combo going away anytime soon.  Eventually the Saturday double headers will have to stop because the long runs will get longer...but the Wednesday quality runs combined with Kim's power class...I may be able to tweak the schedule so they are not combined...or I can hope that I get stronger.  We shall see.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Training Schedule

I have to tell you, it feels great to be back on a training schedule.  For me, running with a focus or a goal is so much more productive.  I like to have a plan and, essentially, a training schedule is nothing more than a running plan.

So whats so great about a training schedule? 

Well, for one, it tells you that you have to run.  Unless I actually have to make a certain amount of miles, I'll just squeeze in a run here and there.  A training schedule says "You have to run 3 miles on Monday, 5 Miles on Wednesday, 3 Miles on Thursday and 6 Miles on Saturday."  I love that - Here is your plan, go do it!

The more often you run, the better your runs feel.  Granted, there will still be bad run days.  But in general, your legs, lungs and mind will get used to the miles as you gradually pile them on.  Having good runs is way worth the extra miles.

The other thing about being on a training schedule - it forces you to re-prioritize.  Now, maybe you think that that is a bad thing...but really, its not.  I think a shake up to the schedule is good - it keeps things exciting and forces you to change your routine.  The downside here is that, when you re-prioritize, something usually looses its rank on the top of the pile.

So here it is, I have had to re-prioritize my workout schedule to fit in all of the runs.  I was contemplating taking spin classes, but that idea is shot.  The other thing that is losing its rank is weight lifting.  Now, do not freak out.  Really, relax.  I am still lifting weights.  For the time being, I am still following New Rules two days a week.  BUT come Christmas time, I am only going to have an hour and a half per week to devote to lifting - an hour Tuesday and a half hour on Thursday.  This is necessary in order to fit in a few miles and weight lifting at lunch on Thursdays.  Some sacrifices have to be made.  I am not overly concerned with this change in schedule as I generally go to Power Yoga 3 times a week, which is 60-90 minutes of supporting your own body weight, which is a weight lifting routine all of its own.

So there you have it.  The new schedule will be running 4-5 days a week, lifting 1-2 days a week and yoga 5-7 times a week (schedule permitting).     

Monday, October 18, 2010

Yoga Championships

This Saturday was the New England Yoga Championships.  I went into the Championships a little hesitant...I wasn't sure what to expect exactly.  I was afraid it would cheapen the art of practice, that it would destroy the art of staying on your mat, of calming your mind.  I am happy to report that the Championships in no way hurt yoga and in fact, I am glad I went.

The Championships did not feel competitive at all.  Here is the deal - though there are certainly talented yogi/nis in the Championship, there are also competitors who are doing it for themselves.  There was one woman who previously had back surgery for three herniated discs and, through yoga, had managed her back pain and had gotten completely off pain killers.  She was competing because she could, because she was thankful for yoga.  There were numerous competitors that were clearly there for themselves - not to prove that they are better than anyone else, but to challenge themselves.  In fact, it is encouraged for yogi/nis of all levels to compete, to get on stage and challenge themselves.  There were some super yoginis up there, yes.  But there was also an array of body types and personalities.  As far as 'sports' and 'chamionships' go, it made me proud to be a yogini.

With that said, some pictures complements of Steven Schwartz Photography: http://stevenschwartz.smugmug.com/event/YOGA-NERYAC

Friday, October 15, 2010

Be Careful Bonus Post

This is a link to a blog I read daily, written by a very experienced runner...who was hit by a car yesterday crossing her street.  Just a reminder to be careful out there - running, walking AND driving. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lots Going On

I have somehow booked myself for an extremely busy and an extremely exciting October 23rd!  Here's what happening:  Aside from Book Club that morning for brunch, I have been invited to my first food blogger event AND its Revelations Yoga's Holistic Festival

The first big problem here is that the Food Blogger Event and the Holistic Festival are at the exact same time...in different towns.  My plan is to get to the food blogger event almost on time and leave it slightly early in time to make it to Revelation for 3:30/3:45 or so.  I plan on kicking around some of the activities tents for a bit (dream interpretation anyone?) then going to the 4:30 Yoga Breathing and Aromatherapy class.  I encourage anyone curious about yoga to attend the 4:30 class...my understanding from Kim is that it will be a nice introduction into yoga in general. 


The second slightly bigger problem is that I am not really a food blogger.  I mean, I throw some basic recipe and food ideas at you guys and I can hold my own in the kitchen, but I don't really have any recipes beyond my standard tomato mixture.  Well, to be more precise, I do not have many recipes that I created on my own beyond the standard.  I do know what flavors and textures I like though and I am in the process of brainstorming what I think will be an interesting, healthy, seasonal and flavorful dish.  I plan on giving it a a test run this weekend.

And speaking of this weekend, Saturday the New England Yoga Championships are at Showcase Live at Patriot's Place.  Now, I have very mixed feelings about the idea of yoga as a sport.  Yoga is not supposed to be competitive, you are supposed to be on your own mat etc etc.  BUT I do think it will be cool to see these yogis and yoginis in action, so I am going to go.  As of right now I am going alone, so if anyone is interested in coming with me, please let me know.  I will most likely go running that morning with the girls, drag myself 10 minutes late into Power Yoga at Revelation, drive home and take the quickest shower known to mankind and head up to Foxborough for noon or so (the championships are 10-2:30).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Big Things

As I mentioned before, fall weather is perfect for running. Which, of course, makes me think more about running and racing in general. On my ‘long’ run with my sister-in-law Meri last weekend, we discussed – and were somewhat amazed – that we used to manage 8-10 mile long runs. Our ‘long’ runs of late have dwindled to barely 6 miles…which, really, is not a long run at all.


I miss the feeling of accomplishment of an actual long run. I miss how miles 4-8 feel easy once you have pushed past the 9 mile mark. I miss preparing for a big race.

So here I am making the announcement that I will be facing my nemesis again this year – The Foxborough Old Fashioned 10-Miler. As I mentioned before, I came in last the first time I ran this race. I ran it again the next year and my nerves totally got the best of me, my stomach cramped up around mile 6 knowing the hellish hill at mile 7 was coming up … leading me to essentially stumble through the remaining 4 miles (though I did not come in last). The next year I went back to face the race again, lost my nerve and ran the 5K instead…which is really a cowardly move, though I have to say that if you are looking for a flat, easy 5K, this one is great. It is particularly easy if you have trained to run a 10-Miler.

As of October 25, 2010, I will begin to train for battle once again, with my trusty running partners Meri and Chrissy by my side.* If you think I am being overly dramatic…well, I am. Except that I’m not. I know how tough this race is and how much it scares me. I know that more than being physically tough it requires me to be mentally tough.

I also know that my training schedule is going to throw a serious wrench in my life. I just drafted it up and put it in my calendar/blackberry. I sent a copy to Meri and Chrissy. And it is a toughie which will require me to fit in 8 -10 mile runs on weekdays. If you have been following along, you will know that: A) I am not a fast runner; and B) I run on my lunch break at work. Basic lazy runner math will tell you that there is no way I can complete a 6 miler at lunch never mind an 8 miler. My choices then are to either run before or after work. Neither of these are appealing…I can never drag myself out of bed early and I will have to sacrifice yoga classes to do the night runs. The first time I trained for this race I would run 8 miles on the treadmill at 7pm after work. It was as awful as it sounds. This time around I am going to attempt to run 8 miles on the treadmill at 6am instead…which will require me to leave my house by 5:30am.   Why the treadmill? I find it dangerous to run in the dark in the morning or at night on icy sidewalks…and that’s that. I can just see Bill shaking his head right now because he has both seen the disaster that is me trying to run on snow and ice in the dark AND he knows that it will be a total miracle if I even pull myself out of bed on a dark, cold morning to go running.

But miracles can happen. Right?


*Tammy – Meri knows that you girls may not be able to actually run the 10 Miler but she is going to train anyway with an eye toward a March or April half marathon. NOT New Bedford.*

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tribal Drum Dance Yoga

I had various work demands this week that caused me to miss Monday and Wednesday night yoga...which meant that I was looking at class Tuesday and Friday only...unless I braved Internal Muscle Shift yet again!

So I went.  I carried on and on to Bill before this class about how I hoped it wasn't step aerobics for the first part because step aerobics reminds me of a dance class and I am awful at coordinated anything.

Well, it wasn't a step class.  IT WAS TRIBAL DRUM DANCING YOGA WHATEVER.

Eesh.  I am being totally honest when I tell you that any kind of dance related class scares the hell out of me and makes me very uncomfortable.  This is directly related to being kicked out of dance class when I was around 6 years old because I would ruin the rehearsal.  True story. 

Now, Kim is a former dancer and gym instructor, so dancing anything comes naturally to her.  She led us through some kind of squat sequence in time to drumming.  Not surprising at all, when everyone else was squatting and swaying to the right, I was swaying to the left.  Basically thats how the whole class went for me until the yoga portion.  Now, what is frustrating with this is that I was not really getting a great workout because I was too focused on being in time with everyone and not looking like an idiot.  I could feel my jaw tightening up and my head spitting out all kinds of awful words.

Then I told myself to stop.  Just stop it.  No one else in that yoga class cares if I am swinging my arms the wrong way - heck, the class is in a dark room and everyone else is too focused on themselves not looking like an idiot.  And truth be told, we all looked like idiots.  It was tribal drum dance yoga...for non-dancers. 

The class went much better after I got over myself and my hang ups.  Its funny how a memory, an old fear, can absolutely destroy you and your confidence unless you confront it, see it for what it really is - wasted energy holding you back.

* * *

This Monday is a holiday and Revelation will not be holding their regularly scheduled yoga classes.  Instead, Kim is cancelling the Awakening Yoga, Power Yoga and YinYang Yoga and is instead holding a 2 hour class at 9am.  I am assuming that this will be a mixed style class, but no promises.  If anyone would like to join me, please let me know!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Easton 5 Miler

Last Sunday's race was not actually called the Easton 5 Miler...I think it was the Harvest 5 Miler or something similar to that.  Whatever it was officially called, that race rocked!

My sister, sister-in-law and I got there pretty early and the weather was cloudy with hints of sun and chilly...PERFECT race weather.  Really, if you race or even run, you live for running weather like this.  In New England, we get about a month of it...maybe a month and a half, so you have to make it count.

I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous going into this race.  My long runs have been topping out at 5.7 miles and I have had few miles in between.  Really, I have basically sucked at training in general lately.  The night before the race Bill asked me what my goal was and I told him 10 minute miles.  I think I used to run 5 milers at 9:50 miles, so that seemed about right.

And I was (almost) dead on!

My sister-in-law Meri and I ran almost all of the race together, which was a treat for me because shes about 30 seconds per mile or so faster than me.  We hung out together and got to chat and race, which made miles 2-4.5 fly by.  Mile 1 was actually a little painful due to our pre-race dinner of wine and pizza...and wine.  But after mile 1, we were good to go!  We paced the first 4 miles at steady 10:10s.  I felt great!  Meri left me at the 4.5 mile mark to burst ahead and I finished strong at 50:34, which put me around 10:07 miles. 

I have to tell you all, I am pretty pleased with this effort.  The weather was beautiful, the company was good, the course was pretty and I felt like I ran a smart (if not a teeny bit conservative) race.

I also had a great run at lunch today, which leaves me contemplating my next race.  I would love to hear some ideas!  I am looking for a pretty 5 Miler or 10K...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bonus Post!

So things have been a bit crazy this week.  I am going to try and do up a 'race-recap' post from my 5 Miler this past weekend sometime later today, but in the meantime, something to tide you over...

Thid email was sent to me this morning from Bill's Mom.  Now, I do not know who this Molly person is, but I agree with what she has to say.  Here you go:

"Why Women Must Lift Weights


I don't want to scare you, but I will.

If you're 25 years old, congratulations! If you're older than 25, you've passed your prime. The prime I'm talking about is your level of peak strength. This doesn't mean you can't be stronger at 35 than you were when you were 25, but you have to strength train to reach this goal.

The Facts

After you hit your peak, your strength levels plateau between the ages of 35-40. The bad news is that after 40, you begin to experience an accelerated loss of strength. By the time you're 65, if you're the average person, you will have lost about 25% of your strength.

If you lost that much strength overnight, you would struggle getting out of bed and wonder why you felt so weak. The problem is this: we lose strength at such a slow rate that we don't really notice the effects of getting progressively weaker over time.

Then there's the Big C. No studies show that lifting directly lowers your cancer risk. But studies have shown that strength training fights obesity, including abdominal fat, and that has been shown to lower your cancer risk, especially for older women. It's one key part of your overall healthy lifestyle that you don't want to skip!

Excuses

When I design exercise programs for women, the majority of them don't want to lift weights. Most women want to lose weight (even if it's as little as 5 pounds) and think the only way to lose weight is through cardiovascular exercise, not strength training (we'll discuss this in a minute).

These misconceptions have turned into excuses over the years. Take a look at some of these excuses (and the truths behind them) and see if you've ever used one:

"I don't want to bulk up." This is the one I hear the most. You see a female bodybuilder on a magazine cover and you don't want to look like her! Don't worry about that. These women train 3-5 hours per day, and many admit to taking steroids and other 'growth' substances. Besides, we can't bulk up like men! Men have 15-20 times more testosterone than we do, which is why they are physically stronger (as much as I hate to admit it).

"I'm strong enough to do anything I need to do." Remember, if you're over 40 and not strength training, you're losing muscle mass. You may not feel it now, but you will. Trust me.

"I have a bad back and don't want to aggravate it." Inactivity is the worst thing you can do for a bad back. By doing appropriate exercises to make your back as strong as possible, you will be less likely to suffer from relapses of your existing problem.

"I train for marathons - that's enough strength training!" Training for marathons is hard! But what about the rest of your body? Your arms, back, shoulders and core shouldn't be left out. Your body will love you more (and you'll better protect your joints) if you include strength exercises into your marathon training.

"I only have time for cardio workouts." Do I even need to respond to this? I talk to women who get on the treadmill for an hour (an hour!) and tell me they don't have time for strength exercises. The solution? Split it up: 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength. An added bonus is that you only need to strength train 2-3 times per week.

Get Strong & Stay Strong

Getting stronger means a lot of things.

You'll be leaner and you'll burn more fat, so your clothes will fit better.

You'll be more resistant to injury.

You'll have more stamina as you get older.

You'll be better able to manage chronic conditions (such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, depression, and back pain).

You'll sleep better.

You'll be more confident.

You'll probably even look taller because you'll have better posture!

So get on the path of getting strong and staying strong. Think about how you want to feel when you're 75. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Be strong,

Molly



Molly Napolitano has over 20 years of experience in developing medically based fitness and rehabilitation programs. She earned her master's degree in Exercise & Sports Science at the University of Florida in 1989 and went on to specialize in exercise prescription for the elderly."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Yoga Everywhere

On Wednesday I found myself hanging out on the padded area in front of the mirrors in my gym.  Usually this is a stretching spot, but that day, for me, it was my New Rules lifting spot.  For a variety of reasons that are very unimportant.

So there I was, on the mats doing a gazillion squats and a girl to my right goes up into the most amazing upward facing dog.  I watched her for a bit then went to find a lat pull down machine.

When I came back, a guy was doing ab exercises in my spot.  I grabbed my stuff and huffed over to a new spot (I HATE when someone takes my workout spot at the gym).  I looked back to give him the evil eye and he was in a fantastic fish pose.  Then shoulder stand. Then up to warrior one.  Seriously?  How can I give the evil eye to some yoga dude?

As I was packing up my stuff I happened to look into the group workout room.  It was empty except for one guy in pigeon.

All of this happened in a span of about 5 minutes.  Right there, in the middle of my noisy, sweaty gym, I was surrounded by yoga...and I wasn't even practicing.

Which makes me wonder, before I became yoga obsessed, was it always around me?  Was I just oblivious to it?

Pay attention - let me know if you spot some yoga around you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Biggest Fear

Is everyone (anyone?) watching Biggest Loser this season?  Well, whether you are watching or not, here is what happened last night - no spoilers I promise! 

This woman was running on the treadmill, her legs got tired and she went flying off the back of it.  Afterward, she said that was her biggest fear, to fall off the treadmill.  Bob the Trainer laughed and said something along the lines of "Well, thats out of the way now."

And it is so true.  People come up with all kinds of exercise related fears.  I might fall off the treadmill.  I will look stupid trying to figure out the weight machines.  I won't be able to touch my toes in yoga class.  And the biggest fear of all time:

What if I come in last in the race?

When I started racing, that was my number one biggest fear.  What if I come in last?  Will people laugh at me?  Will the world open up and swallow me whole?  Will it be posted on YouTube?  Will I be a loser?

My first distance race - a 10 miler - it happened to me.  It was my third race ever, I had trained hard and I did my best.  But I came in dead last.  By a LOT.  My family had been waiting to cheer me on at mile 8 and I was so behind everyone that they started to worry.  In fact, I was soooo very last that they took away the course, I almost got lost and if my cousin Chrissy hadn't been waiting at the finish line, I would have been all alone at the end.

So what happened when I came in last?  I was tired and I kind of felt like I never wanted to run more than 3 miles ever again ...  ... ...

But then, a few nights later, I told my sister and cousin that I wanted to run a half-marathon.  What is the worst that could happen?  I had already come in last...that fear was gone.

I did not let realizing my biggest fear defeat me....instead it strengthened me.  I had raced 10 miles.  I had trained and I had finished.   I had experienced the worst and it wasn't that bad.

All of these Biggest Fears - they are just holding us back.  If they actually happen, it turns out that they are no big deal.  It is not the end of the world if you come in last.  No one is going to laugh at you if you can't touch your toes.  If someone does laugh at you...well...laugh with them and get over it. 

Facing your biggest fear - and possibly realizing it - is all part of the process. 

Bonus Post

Because more than one person has actually asked me if I have/am joining a yoga cult: 

http://www.yisforyogini.com/2010/09/8-things-muggles-non-yoga-people-dont-understand-about-us-yogis-yoginis.html

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Skipping Ahead

As I mentioned previously, I have been pretty bored with New Rules.  I still think the program is great, but three sets of four reps (Stage 5) was boring the life out of me.  Now, I know that there is probably a very good reason for this stage.  In fact, I am positive there is.  But here is the thing...if I am bored with it then I am not giving it a good effort.  The obvious answer to this dilemma is to get in there and give it my all.

That is so not what I did.  I skipped the rest of Stage 5 (about 1.5 weeks).  Yup, I just skipped it.  I was over it, I was bored and ... well, I am not perfect. 

With Stage 5 behind me, I moved onto Stage 7.  That's right blogfans, I blew right past Stage 6 too.  Here is the deal with Stage 6 - they say right in the book that it is optional.  The only reason to do Stage 6 is if you want to be able to do a chin-up.  Do you all think I give a hoot about being able to do a chin-up?  Ha. 

Truth be told, I never planned on doing Stage 6.  Its just not my thing. 

So here I am at Stage 7.  The last Stage.  Stage 7 is either 6 or 12 workouts (last 6 are optional).  I plan on doing all 12...but let me tell you, these workouts are hard!  Stage 5 was a total of 12 repetitions per per exercise.  Stage 7 is around 80 repetitions per exercise.  Yup, you read that right.  80Eighty

For the first time in awhile, I was exhausted after a New Rules workout. I could barely keep my eyes open last night and today it took a great effort to walk to my office.

That is the feeling I was missing...and I am glad to have it back!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Overbooked and Underwhelmed

I have been noticing a trend on a lot of blogs lately: Everyone is overbooked. The result is that no one is enjoying their activities as much as they should be because they are exhausted. People are simply spread too thin.


I do not know how to solve this problem, but I do know that certain priorities have to be set. Now that we are full swing into fall and trying to re-invent our schedules to fit in all of the chaos that revolves around the holidays, we need to focus our energy where it counts. Yes friends, things are going to start to get crazy. You are going to have 8 gazillion Halloween Parties, Sporting Events, Cookie Swaps, Holiday Get-Togethers, Shopping Trips and the like. Just thinking about it makes me excited and terrified at the same time.

So we have to start prioritizing and organizing. Below is my list of priorities. Now, you will notice that spending time with Bill, family and friends are not on that list. This is not because spending time with loved ones isn’t a priority in my life…it is because it is a fact in my life. I wish I could see friends more but I know that that will happen naturally in the next few months through shopping trips, birthdays and holiday get-togethers. What I am talking about here is organizing the time when I am not out being social into productive time, doing things I enjoy that will keep me sane and healthy.

Here is my list:

1) Yoga - as much practice as possible

2) More veggies and protein in my diet

3) More quality miles in my running workouts

4) Increase my long runs to 8 miles

5) Start to love weight lifting again

6) Spend more time working on this blog

I would love to add 7) Read more books; 8) Practice Sanskrit; 9) Train for a half-marathon etc. to that list. In truth though, like everyone else, I have felt spread a little thin. It is time to pare back and focus my time on what matters, to bulk up the quality of my time and make it really count.

I do not want to go through the motion of fitting in as much stuff as possible – I want to choose which activities make me happiest and healthiest and really live in them and enjoy them…I want to be overwhelmed by certain good things, not by too much of everything.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bonus Post!

Okay, so every once in a while I come across a blog post or an article that I really want to tell you all about...and then forget.  So I have decided that I am going to start sticking in "Bonus Posts" which are basically links to stuff I think you all would enjoy.  I am also adding them as a side-bar feature called "Interesting Reads" - check it out!

Ready?  Here is your first one:  Head over to Michelle's site and read this article on fats.

Mixing It Up

To continue with my theme of completely ignoring New Rules for the week, yesterday I hit the weight lifting circuit machines again.  They were fine and I lifted weights for about 35 minutes. 

Can you sense the boredom there?  They. Were. Fine. 

Not exciting, not invigorating, not energizing...just fine.

You know what was better than fine?  The twenty or so minutes of yoga I did after!  Due to various obligations this week, I was unable to go to yoga Tuesday or Wednesday night which is a total bummer.  So while my mind was going numb lifting weights my eyes were focused on the empty 'group exercise' room at the gym.  I looked at the clock and since a class wasn't scheduled for another 30 minutes, I grabbed a mat and hit the solitude of the room.

Now, you may think this was strange...that I looked strange.  You are probably right - I am sure people thought I was a whacko - particularly the tour group that walked in when I was in shoulder stand.  But it felt great and I wasn't bored!!

I made up my own little practice and it went like this:

Mountain Pose, Swan Dive Down, Pike and Release, Swan Dive Up with arms extended in back bend (5x) to warm up...Lets call this "Reset" okay?

Then Swan Dive Down to Crescent Warrior (Repeat other side)

Reset, Crescent Warrior with Twist (Repeat other side)

Reset, High to Low Plank, Up Dog, Down Dog ...lets call this "Flow"

Chair Pose with Twist, Reset and repeat other side

Warrior 1, Warrior II, Reverse Warrior, Extended Side Angle, Wide Leg forward fold, Horse with Eagle Arms

Reset, Flow, repeat Warrior/Horse Sequence on other side

Reset, Flow, Jump Through to seated

Spinal Twist Each Side

Shoulder Stand, PlowFish

Overall this practice was brief, energizing and full of my favorite poses...and sooooo not boring!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Snacks

I am a snacker. Its funny because back in high school and college, I was not a snacker…I was a three meals a day kind of girl.  But alas, the long hours and tedium of a desk job has made me a snacker. I have found that the only way to control this snacking is by making good choices at the right times. So here they are:


Anytime Snacks

I have 2-3 of these a day…generally 1 mid-morning (which for me is 9:30am), one around 2:30 or 3:00pm and one after dinner.

Unsalted Almonds (palm full)
Unsalted Peanuts (palm full)
Homemade Granola Bar
Kashi Bars
Glass of soy milk (regular milk if that’s your thing)
Yogurt (personally this isn’t really high on my list but in general it’s a good snack)
Fruit
Veggies
Quaker Squares (Try a fourth cup mixed with a tablespoon or so of unsalted peanuts!)
Cheese stick wraped in turkey
Iced latte with skim milk or soy milk

Substantial Snacks

So these are my more serious snacks. I tend to workout on my lunch break or at dinner time…which means I eat lunch and dinner way late and I need something to push me through the workouts. These snacks clock in at around 200-300 calories and can be considered mini-meals.

Bigger helping of Quaker Squares with Peanuts
Whole Wheat Crackers with natural peanut butter
Tube of Barney Butter (for light workouts) or Tube of Justin's Nut Butter (for tougher workouts)
Rokit Fuel (I just tried this stuff and I love it! All natural and it has the consistency of muesli with milk…but in a tube)
Homemade Granola Bar with Almond Butter
Big Spoonfull of any kind of nut butter
Banana and peanut butter
Half of a Peanut butter (or almond butter) and jelly sandwich


I would love to hear your ideas for portable, healthy snacks!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Traitor

I have a confession to make.  Lately, I have been bored to tears with New Rules.  My sister and I discussed it a few weeks back and we both came to the same conclusion...the later workouts just don't feel challenging.  Now, I am still seeing results and I am going to continue with the program but I have been doing it for a few months now and am craving some variety.

So for sanity's sake (mine that is) today I switched it up a bit.  I went to the gym and I did the circuit machines for two sets of 8-12 reps each maxing out on the weight I could lift.  I did the sets quickly with about only 30 seconds of rest in between.  Then I did 2 sets of twenty squats with a weighted bar and 2 sets of walking lunges in a dark, scary hallway...followed by some planks.

If you have been following New Rules or even read the book, you know I basically threw the plan out the window.  No free weights, limited reps, little rest time.  Trust me, I felt like a total and complete traitor.

I also felt free and interested in my workout.  I was not bored.  It felt great to be a traitor!  In fact, I plan on doing it again Wednesday!

Now, before you all go freaking out, I will be back on the New Rules program next week...I just needed a little break from the monotony of lunges and lat pull downs.  I know it is an effective program and I plan on finishing it.

Truth be told, I think this little stint of mine will be good for me...it will probably make me miss New Rules.  Hopefully it will throw my muscles a curve ball.  But most importantly, it will keep me engaged and interested in going to the gym.  Working out is tough - doing a work out you don't enjoy is even tougher!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Right Way

I know a few of you have begun practicing yoga and it is inevitable that you will (or have) practiced under different yoga instructors.  Once you have practiced regularly under a few different instructors, you will notice that you are receiving different instructions and your instructors will use different words.  Oh yes fellow blog readers, no two yogis are the same.  Here is a brief example of the different instructions I receive from Kim and Victoria:

1)  Chair Pose/Awkward Pose/Lightening Pose - 1) knees apart or 2) knees together

2)  Warrior anything - 1) Front foot should intersect the arch of the back foot or 2) your heels should intersect

3) Breathing - 1) soft stomach when you breathe in or 2) tight stomach all the time

4) Eagle Arms - 1) thumb to center of forehead or 2) forearms up and out

At first this mish mash of directions freaked me out.  Which way was the right way? 

I believe that the answer is simple - the right way is whichever way your body is telling you to move on that particular day. 

Truth be told, I tend to practice which ever way I am being told to just to challenge my body and to not become too comfortable with any one style.  The different instructions give me a great chance to explore the different poses and see how my body and mind react.  In fact, I think it may be very beneficial to seek out different instructors, not only for different variations of poses but for different focuses and sequences.  One of my vinyasa classes features a lot of high to low plank, balancing poses and back bends...the other of my classes tends to hang out in crescent warrior and chair pose for minutes on end.  Those classes combined allow me to experience a full range of motion and poses and have taught me what I love and loathe about particular poses.

Now, I know that I am constantly urging you all to give yoga a try...but if you already are maybe you should consider trying out different instructors and styles, see what fits you best.  Explore your practice.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eeyore Yoga

It has been no secret around this blog that I have been a little off lately - in a funk, feeling bad, basically just walking around with a giant Eeyore cloud.


Now, do not get me wrong.  For all intents and purposes I am fine - I just have a lot on my mind.  And while I was expressing all of this mind-stuff to a friend Tuesday night she offered some sage advice: "Meditate or Medicate."

This was said in jest, but it was like a slap to the head.  I hadn't practiced yoga in a week!  A Week!!  Its no wonder I felt drained...I needed time on my mat.

Needless to say, I dragged myself to Power Yoga at Revelation last night...and I do mean dragged.  This lack of energy thing is killing me.  But once I walked through the door, it was like my Eeyore cloud had lifted.



(Yoga Eeyore!!)

At the start of class, Kim asked us to really feel what our intention was, not to think about it.  The only thought or feeling that came to me was to breathe.  My intention was to breathe slow and deep and to focus on that breathe.  We ended up having a medium hard class and I was able to really focus on my breathing and the result was a calmer mind and a better mood!  In fact, last night I slept better than I have in days and I woke up this morning in a great mood.  I'm so glad to be practicing again, I may even put myself through the torture that is Internal Muscle Shift class tonight.

It is really easy sometimes to forget the habits that make us happy...I'm just glad someone reminded me of mine!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Negative Energy

I have been in an on and off again disagreement with one of the trainers in my gym.  Without getting into the overly long and ridiculous details, the basic problem is this:  I do not want a trainer.  This particular trainer is insistent that I need his services and has tried to bully me, sweet talk me, embarrass me and harass me into using his services.

His last display of downright unprofessionalism (think making an example out of me to his client such as "she would have better results with me right? You would never waste your time with those workouts" and publicly discussing my financial situation with his client, loudly, in front of about 8 other people) I decided to take action.

What kind of action?  I filled out a comment card.  Yup, thats it. Who knows if anyone even read it.  But ever since that last exchange and the comment card, things have changed.  The harassing has stopped.  What has also stopped is my being polite.  I tend to be friendly with everyone in the gym but now I make a point of giving him dirty looks, of avoiding his area of the gym and of not saying hello.

I hate how that feels.  I cannot stand negative energy and make it a point to avoid negative people...and it bothers me immensely that this person has driven me to be negative.  Negativity and anger really drain your energy, they bring you down.  They are useless emotions.

Today instead of doing my New Rules workout up in the big boy gym (Yay Stage 5!) I stayed down in the regular gym.  I finagled some open space and basically created my own workout station.  As you can imagine, this sucked up a ton of time.  And I felt bad for avoiding the big boy gym.

So basically, I feel lousy for all the negative energy and I feel lousy for avoiding the negative energy.  Awesome. 

I could smile and be nice like before...but that has previously just led to more advances despite my clear message that I am not interested.  The only answer I can come up with is to remain neutral and not angry.  To not let this person destroy my downtime in the gym.  To not be beat down by my own mind and the imaginary situations (and infinite screaming matches) it creates.  This trainer, I suppose in a way, has created a unique opportunity for me to practice all that I preach.  To not be controlled by my mind and to not be controlled by my emotions.

On Thursday I will go up to the big boy room.  I will remain neutral.  I will not be afraid.  And I will have a good workout.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Normalizing

I am back from vacation and had a great time!  Hopefully there are pictures to come soon! 

Usually at the end of any vacation - even a 2 day one - getting back into normal eating and fitness habits is tough.  Here are my tips for getting out of vacation mode and back into normal mode.

1)  Put away or give away any leftover vacation food. In my case, I gave away two boxes of snack cakes and brought a box of cookies to work.  You are probably wondering what I was doing with the items to begin with?  V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N ... it sometimes includes junk food.

2)  Make your next meal SUPER healthy!  My afternoon snack yesterday was Quaker Squares mixed with plain unsalted peanuts - satisfying and healthy.  My dinner with grilled chicken and eggplant along with roasted broccoli.

3)  Do not deprive yourself.  I usually go for something sweet after dinner (usually a scoop of dark chocolate peanut butter or a handful of sweet potato chips).  Last night was no different...except it has half of a leftover cookie.

4) Get a good nights sleep. It makes everything easier.

5)  Get back into your weekday food routine...plus added snacks if necessary.  If you are like me, you maybe eat a little more when on vacation.  I think that that is normal.  Now, what happens is you show up at work the next day armed with a granola bar, some almonds, a peach, tuna and salad...not bad.  But you are going to be hungry...you need to ease back into your normal routine or you are going to be cranky and may crash and burn.  I added some crackers and peanut butter to my usual lunch.

6) Get to the gym.  Go for a run.  Do SOMETHING to burn some calories and get rid of that vacation-is-over funk.

7)  Drink water - TONS.  You probably ingested a ton of sodium over vacation.  Flush it out.

By the end of your weekday, you should hopefully be back in your normal routine and not craving bizarre vacation food and drinks.  In fact, you should be feeling lighter and have a bit more energy.  I personally have a few more of these steps to complete before I am normalized!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Revelation

Yoga is often perceived to be a calming but no-nonsense practice.  I think that people are often scared away from yoga classes because they are afraid to mess up, they think no one falls and no one laughs and it is all very, very serious. 

These people have clearly not hung out at Revelation Yoga.

Now, do not get me wrong.  Kim is very serious about her practice and the practice of her students.  And, as they should be, her gentle classes are very gentle and her power classes are very tough but Kim herself is light and fun.  Her classes always have music, from earthy and flowing to tribal to bursts of hip-hop that seem to come out of no where.  You try holding Goddess Pose with Black Eyed Peas as your background music - you cannot hold a straight face.

That to me is what yoga should be.  It should be serious as far as learning poses and pushing your body and steadying your mind, but it should also be light and fun...its so much less daunting, less judgmental that way.

Class last night was small - just three of us - and tough physically as a Power Class should be.  But it was also light and fun.  No heavy hearts, no heavy souls.  There was laughter and easy discussion of the poses and what we each needed to deepen our practice.  There was a feeling of community in the class that I truly appreciate.

Interested in practicing at Revelation?  The studio is having its One Year Anniversary on September 14th...I'll keep you posted on developments as far as a ribbon cutting or other Happy Anniversary happenings

* * *

Just wanted to drop you all a note that Run, Lift, Chant, Breathe is going on a long weekend starting at 5:00pm today - a long girls weekend get away - WooHoo!!  See you all when I return!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Rules Update

It has occurred to me that I have not updated you all on my weight lifting in quite some time. Remember when I was coming back from my wrist injury and was devastated that I had lost so much strength? Well I am happy to report that I was almost back up to full strength about a week later and I have gained back my confidence in the weight room. I have also officially completed Stage 4 of New Rules and I feel great.


I know that a bunch of you are following the New Rules program so I thought that I would give you an overview/list of random thoughts associated with it. Ready? Here we go!

1) When I first started the program, I was STARVING the day after lifting. I have to admit that the program still makes me pretty hungry but it has calmed down now that my body has adjusted.

2) I make my recovery/protein shake before heading to the gym, keep it in my locker, and chug it as soon as my workout is finished. I find that this aids in recovery and keeps me from searching out a pizza come lunch time.

3) In general, I crave protein more. Usually I eat vegetarian during the week (with the exception of tuna or sardines at lunch) but now by the time Friday night rolls around I am seeking out some serious meat…usually chicken but sometimes beef.

4) My body, particularly my legs, are tired all of the time. They are exhausted after lifting…then I put them through torture in power yoga…then I make them run. I do have a rest day once a week and I have subbed out a power yoga class for a gentle yoga class, but still my legs are tired.

5) Stage 3 is really boring. Really, really boring.

6) Stage 4 will destroy you, particularly if you do all 3 sets (you get a 2 or 3 option). This destroying is due in large part to the return of the Reverse Lunge with Forward Reach (I really, really tried to find a video of this torture…but couldn’t). Ouch.

7) Underhand Lateral Pull-Downs are what hurt my wrist. I must go overhand despite what the book says.

8) Planks for 2 minutes do not exist. At least not in my world.


I would love to hear any thoughts or questions those of you trying out the program may have!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Walpole Road Races

Yesterday we (Tammy, Meri, Chrissy, Libby and I) ran the Walpole Road Race and oddly enough my time was almost identical to the Butterfly 5K.  Which means that, all course and weather excuses aside, I am simply running 10-15 seconds slower per mile than I used to...and I pushed during this race. 

I felt like I started out strong - good pace but not winded.  I hit the first mile marker in 9:30 seconds.  I was less than thrilled - I like to pass the first mile at between 9:18 and 9:20.  See?  10 seconds.  Then I passed the second mile marker at around 19:15 or so...so mile 2 was 9:45 seconds...hmph.  And really, I felt like I was going at a good little clip.  I finished up in 30 minutes and change.  Now, this course was challenging.  The last half mile or so feels like its pretty much uphill.  Really, you turn a corner and your stomach drops.  I thought I was going to puke running up that hill and all I could think of was finding an orange to regulate my blood sugar.  And the end result was a less then stellar finishing time.

Which leads me to this - So what?

I ran hard and felt that I could not have put in anymore effort - I did not quit and I earned every second of that race result.  I am slightly slower than last year but I am lifting weights more vigorously and I am spending all my free time in the yoga studio.   I am also 15 or so pounds lighter than this time last year.  Which leads me to believe that I may be a slightly slower runner but that I am healthier all around. 

This does not mean I don't want to improve my running times.  My sister-in-law and I are already cooking up big plans (HA!) to increase mileage.  I would like to get back to racing 9:30s.  But I am not going to get so caught up in shaving 45 seconds off my time that I sacrifice my weight training or my yoga.  It is not reasonable to expect to be perfect at everything you do, but trying hard at everything you do is totally reasonable and should be expected.

Congrats to Lib for taking 1st in her division again!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Practice

If I practiced running with nearly as much energy and intention as I practice yoga, I could be a superstar. Seriously.


Yesterday afternoon I went for what I can loosely call a run at lunchtime. It was 95 degrees but not humid, so I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Riiigght. Basically I jogged from shade patch to shade patch for around 30 minutes and called it a day. I was not even tired from the exertion, but my soaked running clothes told me it was enough.

Last night, when all I wanted was to lay in the air conditioning, Bill convinced me that what I really wanted to do was go to Power Yoga. And you know what? He was totally right…yoga always makes me feel better. Actually, Bill always encourages me to go to yoga and I really appreciate that extra push out the door.

There were only two of us in class (apparently I was not the only one inclined to sit at home in the air conditioning). As I have mentioned before, I love small classes. I like the energy of a large class, but I love the personal attention of a small class. And trust me, I need that personal attention.

I think that people assume that because I spend hours each week practicing yoga that I am some super bendy yoga master. This notion is laughable…really, it is. I have made strides in my practice but my postures are far from perfect, my stomach muscles are less than strong, my shoulders are still tight and I cannot, among many other things:

1) ‘Float’ (jump lightly from downdog to the top of your mat); or

2) Go to low push-up with dropping my knees.

And this is why I love small classes…they provide the opportunity for an hour and half of almost personal instruction without paying the $75-$100 it usually costs.

Last night, when Kim instructed us to ‘float’ to the top of our mats for about the 15th time I found the nerve to speak up “Um, I don’t float…I land like a frog.” It is very unsightly, me trying to jump lightly to the top of my mat. And I suspect that many other people have this issue, but man did I want to solve it. As luck would have it, the other girl in the class needed help floating too. Enter a 10 minute floating lesson. Yes!! Granted, I had to use several props, but I floated! (to almost the top of my mat).

We then finished up the class and Kim led us through my favorite end-of-class series of Shoulder Stand, Plow, Deaf Man, Fish before savasana…she as clearly indulging me.

After class, I took the opportunity to talk with Kim about strategies to get me into low plank without dropping my knees. Kim showed me some basic moves and told me she was going to be watching me next class to make sure I was practicing.

Practice is ongoing, it is never ending and it is a source of learning and growing...which is exactly why I love it. Practice.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Waiting

Lately I have been living every second of my days with a sense of anticipation, of waiting.  I blame autumn in New England - the ingrained excitement for the school year to start, for the leaves to turn, for the air to be chilly and to wear sweaters and jeans and make chili in the crockpot. 

I also blame myself because I often crave change and find myself looking for it around every corner.  The worst of it is when I try to bring about change and I am left waiting to see if my efforts have paid off.  Will I be able to lift more weight?  Will I be able to run faster? Will my twists be deeper? Will I be thinner?  Will I be more successful?

Will my life be more satisfying? 

Yup, thats the ultimate one.  We provoke change to make our lives more satisfying.  And that is not a bad thing.  The problem arises when we are so busy waiting for our lives to change that we cannot focus on having a satisfying life now, with no change.

I spent some time looking through Yoga Journal online to help me learn to be satisfied with my life now and to stop looking to the future for fulfillment...when I realized that of course I know how to achieve that.  I have to find satisfaction with where I am now and not where I will be...the same as I am constantly preaching.  But it is oh so hard to practice what you preach.

I have decided that I need to embrace this waiting.  I need to accept that the waiting is my now and instead of looking forward, enjoy the feelings of uncertainty and the process of change.  I ask that you all bear with me...this is not an easy task.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Funk Holiday

I am in a funk this week. Funk. Funk. Funk.


When I am in a funk it comes complete with laziness, tiredness and an overall sense of boredom. Generally, the only way to get out of a funk, for me, is to do some kind of physical activity. The problem is that when you are feeling lazy, tired and bored, the odds of dragging yourself out the door and on a run or to the gym are slim. What is a girl to do?

My rule is this – if you are truly in a bad mood and just do not want to workout that day (even though you KNOW it will make you feel better), go ahead and give in. For one day. That’s it – that is the deal you make with yourself. You get one day of funkified self-pity and then you move on.

So yesterday I gave into it…I just wallowed in my nasty mood. I was just plain bored all day, didn’t even try to take a break at work, skipped yoga and basically did nothing other than clean the cat litter…because nothing helps drag you out of a funk like cat poop, right?

It would be very easy to wallow in it (the funk, not the cat litter) today as well…it is easy to be lazy, tired and bored. Being healthy takes work.

But I already used up my funk holiday, so today I will drag myself to the gym and do a New Rules workout. And I will go to yoga tonight – either Victoria’s vinyasa class or Kim’s YinYang class, depending on my mood. And I know that when all is said and done, I will feel better for having been active and having worked toward living a healthy life.

Being healthy sometimes means giving yourself a break, giving into what your body is telling you. Giving yourself a break from the constant stressors of daily life. It is okay to be in a funk…but only for a little bit.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Exhausted

With all illness, injuries and vacation time behind me, I got back into the full work-out routine this week.  And let me tell you - I am exhausted.

On Sunday I ran that sopping wet 5K.
On Monday I did New Rules Stage 4 Workout A and went to YinYang Yoga.
On Tuesday I rested.  Because I was exhausted.
On Wednesday I did New Rules Stage 4 Workout B, which kicked my butt, ran a 15 minute speed workout and went to Power Yoga
On Thursday I ran 3 miles.
On Friday I went to Victoria's Vinyasa Class...where she decided to punish us with a grueling standing split series.

Tomorrow I am running 5 miles at the crack of dawn with Meri and going to Power Yoga at 9am.
Sunday I am hoping to get in an afternoon home yoga practice and am going to Sanskrit class that night.

When I look back at the weeks activities, it does not look like a lot to me.  I feel dissatisfied with my overall performance...which is insane because I know I completed a lot of quality workouts this week.  And my body feels like it has been run over by a truck...in a good way.  If that is possible.

I think the feeling of dissatisfaction comes from missing 3 days of yoga this week!  Victoria was asking me today if I have been practicing and my first thought was 'of course I have' but then when I though back...this week has been seriously lacking in mat time.  Right now, I just feel exhausted.  Exhausted and anxious which is a direct result from failing to calm my mind and center my energy.  I am hoping that after Power Yoga tomorrow and possibly Sunday ... and Sanskrit class Sunday night ... I will be feeling more like myself ... which tends to be exhausted ... but exhausted and calm.