Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Take-away Wednesday

Hubs and I had to have a talk last night.

One of those talks where he complains about everything she's not doing to keep things *ahem* interesting the relationship, and she reacts with a concise list of all the things she does throughout the day and how when she comes home from work at 12:30 AM and sees that all the laundry she did still hasn't been put away, it's hard for her to focus on doing anything "interesting" for him.

Something that he said to me, however, that was a point I hadn't considered before and clearly needed to, was that he felt like he was playing second fiddle to everything else I do. He says I'll set my alarm to get up for a run, plan all these things that I want or need to do when the daughter takes a nap, but I seem to struggle to find time for him.

And he's right... this is something I have to work out.

I did say in my defense, though, that on paper I work 32 hours, but in reality the time I spend in the restaurant does top out near 40, so if we're both working full-time then something's gotta give around the house. I understand that men are pretty content with the state of their abode so long as they have clean underwear, but what about when I run out of underwear?

So something's gotta give on both sides. He has to understand that I just can't relax when there's a consistent to-do list that seems to never, ever get done. I have to understand that if I'm going schedule time to keep up with my training, then I also need to set aside time elsewhere to keep up with my husband.

Kind of makes me miss the days when we'd duck out of the local coffee house early to go park his car somewhere, then we'd sneak back to our respective houses where his mom did his laundry and my parents lived in such a mess it didn't matter if I even tried to keep my room clean. The only thing I put off to hang out with my boyfriend was sleep. And sleep is SO not cool when you're in high school.

before wedding, came prom

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Night Spin -- let's talk about resistance!

An important thing to remember about exercising on any piece of cardio equipment is that your workout is what YOU make of it. Outside, whether you're walking, running, biking, or skating (apparently yes, rollerblading IS still a thing), you'll encounter varying resistance in the form of hills or changes in terrain.

Just about every class, I remind my spinners that there is no such thing as downhill when you're riding indoors. You can certainly take all the resistance off and pedal your little heart out, but that's about effective a workout as frantically waving your arms around. So during my class, I encourage everyone to always ride with resistance on. Even if they only turn up the dial to the point where the wheel just barely starts to catch, it's better, and safer, than just free-wheelin' it. Same goes for the treadmill and elliptical. On the treadmill, you want a .5%-1% incline to accommodate for the give of the machine. Otherwise, you're just running one very long, low-grade downhill that might very well work your quads, but could easily fry your knees. On the elliptical, you need enough resistance to balance out your own weight- again, to keep those knees safe. The resistance should be equivalent to walking up a hill.

Also- think about it this way: What ARE you going to the gym for? If you find yourself settled into a routine of doing the same 30 minutes of cardio followed by the same 5 resistance exercises, you should really consider mixing up your routine! Many a study have concluded that variety is key in maintaining an active lifestyle. So challenge yourself! You feel like you're just cruising along? Time to dig deep and turn it up!

9/27 -- Rolling Hills

1. warm up - flat road - "Rollover DJ" Jet
2. cont'd warm up - add a gear - 30s. position 1, 30s. position 2 (standing job), 30s. position 3, repeat - "Weapon Of Choice" Fatboy Slim
3. climb with standing bursts - medium resistance, speed up in pos. 3 - "The Golden Age" Asteroid Galaxy Tour
4. seated sprints - flat road+ (add a gear for control and extra challenge), sprint on the chorus - "Rebel Yell" Billy Idol
5. climb with standing bursts - start at med resistance, add a gear each time you get to pos. 3 (chorus), push through and even try to speed up - "Rolling in the Deep" Adele
6.  heavy seated climb - make it heavy enough that it's really hard, but not impossible (no pedal mashing), try to stay in your seat but you may stand for relief or to mix it up - "Dream On" Aerosmith
7. seated flat - fast, push the pace for 2 minutes as you speed down the other side of the hill - "Bleed it Out" Linkin Park
8. hovers - medium res, "hover" over the saddle on the chorus and focus on pulling up with the hamstrings - "Mercy" Duffy
9. long climb (choreographed, time intervals are approximate to changes in the music) -
                       0-1:00 - medium
                       1:00-2:00 -add 1 gear (med.+)
                       2-2:30 - medium
                       2:30-3:30 - add 2 gears (heavy)
                       3:30-4:00 medium
                       4:00-5:00 add 3 gears, pos. 3 (heavy+)
                       5-5:30 medium
                       5:30 - end add 3 gears, pos. 3, 'til 6:30, optional 4th gear in last minute (steep)
                               - "You Can't Always Get What You Want" Rolling Stones
10. foothills - don't take the res. all the way off, dial it back to medium and stay up, take it off to sprint on the chorus, but it back on and recover in pos. 3 - "Raise Your Glass" Pink
11. standing runs - light resistance, alternate seated recovery and standing run, go with the flow of the song - "Lancaster Gate" Enter the Haggis
12. run it home, seated flat - take it easy the first minute to recover and get ready to run it out, pick up your pace as the music picks up, hold a steady 85% effort to the end - "Walk" Foo Fighters
13. cool down - flat road, slow it down, breathe deep, enjoy this moment - "Chasing Cars" Snow Patrol

Don't forget to stretch!

total time: 54:15

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Funday

9:00 - 6ish miles at Kennesaw Mountain.

10:45-1:30 Play with this adorable goofball without any worries of when I'm going to clean or do laundry.

2:00 - Late lunch at La Fonda. Alexis has taken a sudden liking to salad and raw veggies and has insisted on helping mommy with her mango pork salad.

4:30 - Naptime + Football :-)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Becoming a morning person at 2.13 an hour

Runner's World published an article in their October issue designed to help us average Joes and Janes develop the right habits and routines to transition to working out in the morning. I can certainly speak to the benefits of getting a workout in before breakfast, but one thing RW failed to acknowledge is that for some of us, it's not as easy as turning in 10 minutes earlier each night until we're turning off the lights at 10:00 PM. What about us 2nd-shifters??

Besides downing several big-ass cups of coffee, I got nothing. I'm loving working out at 7:30 but when that alarm goes off thirty minutes earlier I want to throw it at the wall.

I wonder if I can enter some sort of meditative state (think "Office Space") in which I'm working, but I don't feel like I'm working, or care that I'm working, thus conserving some amount of energy for the run I have scheduled the next morning.

Although I have to say (and I'm sure I've said before) that I am certain running improves my energy and focus at work, and the work improves my stamina during a run. It's like, during a long run I'm glad I'm not working a double and scrambling to stay out of the weeds. During a hectic shift, I'm glad to be getting somewhat of a workout without completely busting my ass.

I'll tell you one thing, though: While we're all working for different reasons, it's annoying as HELL when you hear a 21-year-old complain about her feet hurting her. Especially if you spent your morning running, chasing a toddler and taking care of chores. I'm sorry? What did you do all day before work? Oh, that's right, you skipped your morning class because you were hung over, spent the entirety of your next class text and Facebook-stalking your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend, made yourself late for work because you just HAD to catch up with the Kardashians, and now you're frazzled because you've been here for, what, 4 hours and you're tired and ready to go home? Yeah. Talk to me when you have real problems.

OK, I know it's not fair to uphold everyone to my ridiculously high standards, but I do think dragging my ass out of bed at the crack of dawn is more than just a fun way to develop an "Intervention"-worthy caffeine habit. I think it builds character. And it doesn't matter who you are or what stage of life you're in; we can all benefit from a little personality workout. Especially servers!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Take-away Wednesday

Last week little miss and I visited a teammate from Team Challenge. If you are just stumbling upon this blog or you simply haven't checked out my donation page yet (link to the right), please go look and at least check out what Team Challenge is all about.

This teammate is in the hospital right now with multiple abscesses - caused by Crohn's - awaiting possible surgery and then hopefully, if she is infection-free, treatment to help with the barrage of symptoms that can go with this disease. She is a cool, tough-looking chick complete with faux-hawk, piercings, tattoos and colorful language. We talked a lot about what she's going through, but also the importance of Team Challenge and the significance of trying to make it to Las Vegas in December.

A lot of people when sick, automatically look to celebrities or athletes in the limelight who have gone through major challenges publicly. Think about that movie that's coming out, "50/50" in which Seth Rogan says to his friend, "You're gonna be fine! Lance Armstrong keeps getting cancer and look at him," or something to that effect.

I think the problem with that, though, is that we often look at people like Lance Armstrong, or Oscar Pistorius, or Bethany Hamilton, or the dude who cut himself free from the bolder, and think, "well, I'm not a seasoned athlete, so I can't do ____." What people don't realize is that there are normal, every-day people who must juggle the demands of daily life with the complications of a chronic ailment who still find the strength to face each day. Some days are better than others, but I can imagine that if everyone went in with an all-or-nothing attitude, a lot of people would just lay down and let disease take over.

My teammate understands she will be faced with physical limitations, so she's certainly not out to PR on a Half-Marathon. Instead, she says, "If I can't run it, I'll walk it. If I can't walk it, I'll crawl it. One way or another, I'm getting across that f****** finish line!"

What I challenge you to take away from this little anecdote is to find your finish line, and f****** cross it. Sometimes we set lofty goals for ourselves, but that shouldn't stop us from accomplishing them. Set reasonable landmarks that you can reach along the way and know that maybe the way you anticipated getting there might wind up being very different from what actually happens. All it takes is one unpredictable variable to throw off even the best-laid plans, so roll with the punches and find your own detour.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Night Spin

My playlists are essential to a successful spin class. I use them to energize my spinners and drive them to push themselves. Sometimes, though, I have to cherry-pick from other instructors' lists and workout ideas when I am lacking motivation or inspiration. So in return, I also want to share my delightfully masochistic indoor cycling workouts for anyone else who wants to put together a high-intensity, kick-ass workout. Today's class uses the same playlist I put together last week, which received a lot of positive feedback in the form of everyone spinning their little butts off.

Since I don't always instruct on bikes with monitors, I ask my spinners to gauge their resistance on a simple scale: flat road, light, light+, medium, medium+, heavy and steep. It's up to the rider to find what they determine to be "medium" or "heavy". Steep is as hard as they can set the resistance and still be able to pedal smoothly. Flat road is NOT no resistance, it's the point at which the rider first feels a hint of resistance when adding gears.

I ride in three positions which I call out during class by number: 1) Seated, hinged forward, hands resting where comfortable on the handlebars. Position 1 is for seated runs, climbs, and recovery. 2) Standing, hands light on the handlebars, hinged forward just slightly. This is mostly a recovery or transition position. 3) Standing, hinged all the way forward (flat back), hands at the end of the handlebars. This is for standing runs and climbing. The important things to note in any position is that the spine is neutral, not hunched, the knees to not come out past the toes, and the seat height is adjusted so that the legs do not lock out straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

Now that I've gone through my basic intro, here's my first playlist to share. Enjoy!

"You're an animal!" Playlist (55 minutes):

1. warm up --flat road, position 1 -- "Animal" Neon Trees
2. warm up continued -- light resistance, position 1 verse, 2 bridge, 3 & run on chorus -- "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" Jet
3. climb with standing bursts -- medium resistance, pos. 1 verse, 3 & "burst" on chorus -- "In The End" Linkin Park
4. endurance run -- light resistance, pos. 1, easy run for first and last minute to recover, when the music picks up speed it up and maintain a fast run (NOT a sprint -- about 85-90%) -- "Brasileiria" Veron & Praia Del Sol
5. jumps -- light+ resistance, pos. 1 and 2, jump to the count of 8, 4, and 2, repeating sequence twice during the song -- "Jump" Flo Rida featuring Nelly Furtado
6. climb with standing bursts -- medium+, climb in pos. 1, "burst" in 3 -- "Seven Nation Army" The White Stripes
7. seated climb -- increase from medium+, to heavy, to steep, standing once it's too hard to sit and pedal smoothly -- "Feeling Good" Muse8. climb down -- gradually decrease from steep back down to medium with each change in position: start in 3, take off res. and sit, take off a gear in pos. 2, take a gear off in pos. 3 and run (on chorus), repeat sequence -- "The Dog Days Are Over" Florence and the Machine
9. recovery run -- flat road with optional bursts (if you recover quickly, add a gear back in half-way through the song!) -- "I Wanna Be Sedated" The Ramones
10. hovers -- medium resistance, pos. 1 verse, pos. 3 bridge, then take your butt waaaay back over the saddle (as if you're about to sit, but don't) on the chorus -- "Mysterious Ways" U2
11. standing runs with a twist -- medium resistance, alternate between pos. 1 and pos. 3, running fast (85%); keep your momentum going! Music slows and it's time to add resistance on last time, so crank your gears and make it STEEP! You're only going to climb for a moment so make it count. As the music picks back up take off the resistance and run it out in pos. 3 -- "Lancaster Gate" Enter the Haggis
12. endurance run with sprints -- flat road (or more resistance if you need for control- no bouncing), the first minute is to recover before the music picks up, start at about 60% effort, then wind it up and get ready to GO, hold your pace at 90% until the music drops out, recover and repeat -- "Sandstorm" Darude

Always make sure you allow for at least 10 minutes at the end of your workout to recover, bring that heartrate back down, and to stretch.

Friday, September 16, 2011

How not to defend yourself with your face.

Once again:

My Team Challenge Fundraising Page

I have a loooooooong (+ a few more "o"s) way to go to reach my fundraising goal. Online and off, I have about $70 so far. Just $3670 to go! A little goes a long way and is greatly appreciated, but if anyone out there in the blogosphere has suggestions for generating more revenue through donations, please feel free to share! I'd love to ask Mr. Turner, but I'm pretty sure he only donates to his own fundraising organizations. I could be all like, "Really? I'm sure Captain Planet would like to rid the world of Crohn's and Colitis!" and he'd just look at me cross-eyed.

In other news:

Signed up for a free week at a martial arts gym, getting a crash course in Muay Thai in an effort to toughen up after an incident last month in Greenville. The Hubs and I were downtown on a very quiet Tuesday evening, enjoying a couple anniversary beverages together. The key detail to note here is that we had 2 drinks each. So, NOT drunk. We hung out for a while at a bar owned by a former colleague of his, talking about work, life and the company he used to work for. No big deal. We left just before midnight and the streets were dead quiet except for a few kids walking toward us. We passed each other going in opposite directions but after pausing for a few beats, the kids turned around and started following us.

Hubby and I exchange glances as if to say Great, what are they gonna bug us for?

We cross quickly to the other side and they soon follow suit, calling after us, "Hey, man, got a cig? Got a smoke? HEY? You hear me??"

One guy positions himself in front of my husband, the other, in front of me. Their waify, presumably high or cracked out female friend just stood over to the side. Next thing you know I hear "Give me your fucking purse," as I take a blow to the face.

Ow! I think. Then, He's not punching right. Still, I don't have the presence of mind to hit back. Only to continue to duck my head and keep stepping back and spinning away. Nevermind that I only have $5 in cash on me, I had pictures of my baby on my phone and I was stupidly guarding my purse instead of just handing it over. Hubby was easily fighting off the retard attacking him (he is 6'4", mind you) and quickly ran over to me and threw my attacker to the ground. The first guy then started to run at me and quicker than I realize, I had my cash out of my purse, in my hand, and was throwing it at him. They took it and ran.

They got away with five bucks, bruises and a bad limp. I got away with a bruised face and neck. Apparently, at some point the guy had his arm around my neck. I don't remember this, and am even more pissed that I couldn't properly defend myself. At least I can take a hit ... the punk actually seemed surprised I didn't go down.

The moral of this story: trust your gut. I know we want to be all politically correct and non-assuming or some bullshit, but seriously, if it seems like a group of kids is up to no good, they probably aren't. The mistake we made was thinking, they're just kids, they're not gonna mess with us. I should know better; I've met 9-yr-olds bigger than me so a wanna-be thug teenager would definitely look at me and think he had a clear advantage.

Hense, Muay Thai classes.

Check out this chick, Gina Carano. Next time some asshole takes a swing at me, I want to be able to duck and come up with an uppercut to the jaw.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Team Challenge

LOOK OVER THERE ------------------------> (go to link. donate. thanks!)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's that time of year again!

With the welcome change in temperature and humidity - however brief it may be - it's time to start thinking about my fall running and what my big race with be this year. I'm skipping the marathon until the spring because, frankly, I just won't feel like running for more than 3.5 hours. But the half-marathon, that's more than doable. In fact, I think I'll do two:

1) Atlanta Half Marathon, November 24th. I wanted to run this last year but we had just moved into our townhouse not two weeks before the event and prior to that, were busy with working and packing for said move. This race will essentially be the 1-year mark for us living in Atlanta. Considering how miserable I was in Newnan, this is a huge thing. What's really fun is that I'm still learning neighborhoods and discovering places to run / take my daughter to the playground, so this race I'm sure will give me an opportunity to learn more of this city.

2) Las Vegas Rock n Roll Half Marathon, December 4th. Now it might be a bit much to run two Halfs, two weeks apart but the 2nd one isn't my race, it's my sister's. We both signed up to raise money for Team Challenge which supports the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. My sister has been coping with Crohn's Disease for several years how and not able to keep up a regular training regimen because of its impact on her health. Thanks to our stellar health care system (sarcasm intended), it's also very difficult for her to receive timely treatments, especially if she changes jobs and insurance providers. I hope that raising funds for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation will help move them closer toward their goals of finding answers and providing support to help better treat these diseases, and that doing this race with my sister will create a special and lasting memory.

If you are one of the 2-3 people who already "follow" my blog, please keep coming back as in the next week or so I plan on having my fundraising page set up and will rely on this blog to get the link out there and raise money. If you're not on blogger, no worries, I'm sure I'll find/stalk you on Facebook :)

Keep coming back, too, as I update on my cross-training endeavors. The weekly spin classes continue and I think I'll start posting my playlists as well as looking for theme ideas as we move into the colder months and more people move indoors to work out. Also, I picked up a free week of Muay Thai classes starting next week. Why? Self-defense can NEVER be overrated. And if someone is ever going to say that I hit like a girl, I think it ought to be from behind their arms, covering their face and head.

Happy Running and Training!