Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gym Schedule

Before the week gets too hectic (too late!) I'm posting a gym schedule so that I don't cop out.

Tuesday - Off
Wednesday - Morning weights, evening run
Thursday - Morning Run, Evening Spin
Friday - Morning weights
Saturday - Off
Sunday - 20-20-20 AND Spin (double gym day! holla!)

The hardest part is going to be getting my butt out of bed for the rest of the week. Telling myself that I'm going home after the ball game and going straight to sleep.

3 weeks til the beach...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Secrets to Health

I don't have a lot of health secrets--I think the majority of what I have to say and what works is what everyone just chooses to avoid: it's a lot of honestly, discipline, and work. Calories in, calories out.

But everyone has tips and tricks for how to deal with poofy under eye circles or how to cure the common cold. Here are mine that I just drummed up (none of them did I learn on my own, various people over the years passed on this amazing knowledge)...

1) How to stop a cold from becoming a sinus infection:
- Sleep.
- Drink water--lots of water.
- Sleep.
- When you must be awake, drop an Emergencee in OJ.
- Use a netti pot at least twice a day, Afrin 1x a day (careful you don't get addicted).
- Sudafed every 4 hours.
- Sleep.

2) How to brush your teeth. I actually have an amazing dentist who retaught me all I know.
- Start with flossing and don't jam the floss up your gums--C shape around each tooth and scrape.
- Brush with the softest brush in existence (or use an electric brush), work gums to teeth. Go in circles. Pull out each cheek and brush the insides of your cheeks. Same with lips. Don't mash the brush down--bristles should always be straight.
- Brush your tongue (if you breath out of your nose, you won't gag).
- Pop a bit of toothpaste on the back half of your tongue and rub it against the back roof of your mouth. (This and your tongue are what cause bad breath).
- Gargle with scope or some such.

3) How to avoid sun damage: sunscreen 20 minutes before you're outside (give it time to sink in), and always use at least an spf 30. Reapply every hour.

4) Poofy under eye circles: everyone has something different that works for them, but my trick is R+F eye cream, twice a day. Also, tons of water.

5) Back pain
- Immediate relief: hang your heels off of a step, curb, anything. It's more than likely if you stretch out your hams and glutes, you'll have some relief.
- Long term strategy: at least once a day, do 3 minutes+ (it can be in sets if you life) of glute lifts. Lay on the ground, feet on the ground, squeeze your butt and raise your hips towards the ceiling. Hold. You'll strengthen your back, improve your posture, and reduce back pain.
- Oh. Stop slouching.

6) Tame Grandmother guilt:
- Have her address readily handy.
- Buy stationary you love, a funny post card, anything.
- Once a week, jot down a note in 5 minutes. Know that monday morning status meeting that sucks so badly? There's your writing time.
- Topic? 2 events from the week, 2 events upcoming, ask about her plans, one friend, and mention a memory you have of you two when you were growing up.
- Always have stamps handy (wallet), or pre-stamp and address a bunch of note cards for quick sending.

7) Drink enough water. This one is easy. Buy a water bottle you love. I don't care if you spend 40 dollars on it. Find the perfect one (my boss has taken almost a year to find one, no joke). Double points if you get one that has a clip (mine can ride along with me on my purse, gym bag, etc.).

What are your tips and tricks?

Ps. Just took nyquil and it's kicking in. Excuse all typos.


Well. I finally did it.

I'm sick.

This happens about once a year where I over dedicate, under sleep, and boom, I get that weird scratchy thing at the back of my throat, try to blame allergies, and then have to give up and admit that I've got a cold.

I'll talk more about Ragnar New England later (but I'll just let you know now that it was AWESOME), but now, I'm posting a promise to myself so you guys can hold me accountable.

I will rest. I will relax. I will take care of myself.

This means:
- I will eat 3 meals a day (at least)
- I will drink my 3 bottles of water a day (at least)
- I will get 8 hours of sleep a day (at least)

Those demands aren't really all that hard, are they. And I bet if I'd done those for the past couple of months instead of running on fumes, snack food, and coffee, I'd not be sick right now.

Time for another round of emergencee and another bottle of water...

As a result, I won't be able to teach my running group tonight. But since I have to go, I figured I'll just make them do hill repeats while I sit at the bottom of 16th street and giggle. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

80's Spin for the Win

I promise I'll be short, but this is the most awesome playlist I've ever made for spin. I was really fortunate that I had the boys club come to my class (a bunch of random dudes in town for business in their 40's) and they took my karaoke request VERY seriously. Guys...I made an 80's spin class. I wore a side pony tail and it was awesome enough for Aria to join me (come take her class before mine at 6pm on Tuesdays!)

Awesome 80's Spin:
Warm Up: Still Alive (Theme from Mirror's Edge)
Warm Up/Transition to working flat: Open Your Eyes/United States of Electronica
Running: Love is a Battlefield/Pat Benatar
Jumps: Sweet Dreams/Eurythmics
Seated Incline: Rock You Like a Hurricane/Scorpions
Standing Incline: You Give Love a Bad Name/Bon Jovi
Working Flat: Stay Up Late/Talking Heads
Seated Incline: Photograph/Def Leppard
Running with resistance: Sweet Child O'Mine/Guns N' Roses
Increasing Incline: I Hate Myself for Loving You/Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Jumps on an Incline: Down Under/Men at Work
Seated Incline: Hit Me With Your Best Shot/Pat Benatar
Standing Incline to Burnout: The Final Countdown/Europe
Cool Down: Your Love (cover)/Midtown
Cool Down/Stretch: Your Long Journey/Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Mothers Day and Moving On

 As I write this, I’m making two glorious mistakes: I’m writing while listening to sad music (cue Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, a heartbreakingly beautiful combination) and drinking. While flying in turbulence. I’d count that as three mistakes if I was in charge of the third problem, which I am clearly not.


I had intended to write the first part of this post Sunday, but decided the time was better spent with my mom, poolside, enjoying a glass of homebrew after a long run. Life was pretty rough in Florida, let me tell you.

Part 1: My Mom, My Role Model.

My mom is totally awesome. Aside from how creative she is (If you haven’t seen her work, shameless plug, go check it out here: www.niftyartgirl.com), she’s an incredible mom. It’s not uncommon for me to prefer spending Friday night drinking a glass of wine and talking to her on the phone. I do this to Katie, too. Basically, my mom is one of my best friends. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve shared our thoughts and feelings as only you can do with your mom. I remember spending hours at night walking with her (to wring out our little dog’s bladder…RIP Queenie) and talking my mouth off. From having my heart broken by my first real boyfriend to concerns about college, internships, my first period, my first kiss, all that. We’d walk and I’d spill. I’m sure she knew that “Mom, Can we go for a walk?” really meant “Mom, I gotta talk to you.”

My mom often sends up a box (without telling me) filled with post-race goodies from bath salts to chocolates and fuzzy socks. Nothing better than coming home from a marathon or Ragnar to a box, addressed to me, with that familiar handwriting. I learned how to anticipate people’s needs from my mom.

I could fill an entire blog with how awesome my mom is, but what I really wanted to talk about how I got into aerobics and how my mom was a big part of that. I grew up in San Antonio and remember many mornings, afternoons, evenings, spent in a little nursery/play area with my best friend, playing with dolls and trains and whatever else was around, and occasionally, getting lucky enough to have the woman who watched us lift me up to watch my mom through a window while she did honest-to-God 80’s/Early 90’s aerobics. You guys, this stuff is the aerobics of my dreams. Leotards, tights, leg warmers….it was epic. And I remember thinking how cool it was that my mom could do that.

I had an aerobics birthday party for my (6th?) birthday. I HAD A LEOTARD, Y’ALL.

People ask me every now and then how I became an instructor. I can tell you how I did it (a course at GW taught by the very talented J. Skarka), but the real reason is why: aerobics and fitness was in my life from a very early age. My mom has always told me how important it was and how good it felt to work out and be active. So, thanks, Mom!

Part 2: Leaving Home (Dear Mom, please don’t read this. I am excited about the move to Atlanta).
I know they say you can’t go home again. I just had to come back one last time. Ma’am I know you don’t know me from Adam, but these handprints on the front steps are mine. Up those stairs, in that little back bedroom is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar. And I bet you didn’t know, under that live oak, my favorite dog is buried in the yard.

Whew. More stupid songs to play on the plane.

We moved to Florida right before my 8th grade year. What I remember the most about that move was how little I cared that I was leaving Texas. I don’t think anyone believes me when I say I quite literally cried once: when I realized I would never ride my favorite horse regularly again (I was lucky enough to go back once and ride). Truly, I loved Florida. I loved my new school, my new friends, my growing-up-ness. I had a wonderful high school experience growing up in Florida. Going home for the summers in college, while maybe not the highlight of activity, was still a very peaceful and happy time for me.

When my parents called last fall with the news that they were moving to Atlanta for my dad’s job, the information took a while to wash over me while I sat in the Boston airport.

I cried when I got home to DC, my head in Chadd’s lap. This is increasingly a unique activity for me. My emotions seem to be pretty tapped out by the time I get home from work and teaching.  Event by event of my life came up in my mind over the coming weeks:
-       My first day at Trinity
-       My birthday party at the Red Bug Lake park where we played football for hours
-       The pool parties we had that summer (there must be pictures, but I refuse to try and find them…I thought board shorts were a good idea at the time)
-       Long walks with mom and the dog
-       My parents hosting a homecoming dinner for all of us in 9th grade
-       Re-doing the kitchen and burning a cake in the oven the first chance I got to use it
-       Slumber parties with Lily and Jessie, my high school best friends
-       Throwing my AP US book across the living room at 2 in the morning because I’d had enough
-       The first time Chadd picked me up for a date and how I made my dad open the door for him
-       Christmas every year in the living room
-       Running errands for Kimberly my senior year
-       Packing for college after the hurricanes knocked out our power
-       Painting my room during college with Chadd to feel more “grown up” and crying a little when I painted over the lyrics I’d written in pencil on my wall
-       Training for my first marathon
-       Staying up till all hours with Will during vacations

The list quite literally could take hours and hours to write. That’s 12 years of memories to record.

But as sad as it made me, the economy in Florida has been pretty crappy and the housing market is even worse. I was able to pretend for another holiday season that my parents weren’t moving, that nothing would ever change, and I could revisit my childhood whenever life got to be too much.

The news came early last month: there was an offer on the house. I told Chadd this and he said “well, when are you going to go back?”

Naively, I believed I could avoid the topic all together. Almost every weekend in the coming two months was booked, except for the weekend before they intended to move. “We have professional packers and movers, you don’t need to come home to help,” Mom said, “we’ll just have them pack everything and you can go through it later.” This was a very tempting proposition, not because I didn’t want to see my folks, but because I am terrible with goodbyes. You can ask Chadd. I used to lose my mind the day before he’d go back to college or when he’d go back to Americorps. I was in no mood to say goodbye to 12 years of what I’d called home.

But, as is usual in our house, Chadd was right, “You know you’ll regret not going back one last time,” he said, “Remember, I didn’t get a chance to do that with the apartment I grew up in; I suggest you make some time.”

My bosses are good about letting me work remotely, so last Friday morning, I got to the airport at the ungodly hour of 5:45am and flew home.

I tried to relive every moment of Florida.

I took the afternoon to run to my old high school. I walked around campus and saw all the changes and it was just like reading a much-loved book you haven’t read in a long time. You know how it all goes, but you love it, even though it will never be new—but it’s never quite the same as it was. Like a different life that you once knew.

I came home on the same training route I used when I first learned to run.  I still remember running 9 miles for the first time. In totally inappropriate running gear (in case you didn’t know, Victoria’s Secret shorts = chafe city. Bad news), in the pouring rain, I finished my 9 miles and felt total victory. I hurt like hell the next day.

I sat at the kitchen table with my family most of the time, or lazed about outside (something I should have done a lot more of).

I went to the place where we buried my two childhood cats.
I walked through every room time and time again and did what I hate to do: say goodbye. I always have to remind myself that goodbye hurts in the moment, but I usually bounce back pretty quickly afterwards.

I got to DC where Chadd picked me up, drove me home and made me dinner. The house was clean, the cats wrinkled their noses at the smell of Harold then promptly demanded my attention. I fell asleep with my head on Chadd’s chest as he played video games and the cats slept at our feet.

I realized that the things I loved about Florida have never really gone anywhere. The items that trigger memories, sure, the house held many of them, but where that was, a new house will be with new memories. My family, my friends, my boy, they’re not gone.

And I hear Atlanta is pretty cool anyway.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Real Health

For the first time in a long time, I finally had a full thought. Not like--I finished a sentence or completed work...I just finally had a clear head this morning while on the plane. Things felt manageable. I know that sounds almost impossible to comprehend, but I've been doing myself a disservice. I've been running myself ragged.

I fall asleep in less than 5 minutes every night, always feel hungover when I wake up (booze or not), and I can't remember the last time I relied on my water bottle as much as I do my cell phone.

In short: I've taken a pretty serious fall from health.

Part of the problem is that I've put it in last place--I work out a lot, but it's a lot easier to pick up crappy food for lunch, or swing by BGR with Chadd at night.

But for the next three days, I'm at home in Orlando with my folks and while I had to work most of the day, this afternoon is the picture of exactly what I need:

After I finished up work, I threw on my running shorts, and headed out with the intention of 4 miles...which turned into 6 after I realized I was really here to relive my time in Orlando since my parents are moving. So, I ran down to my high school and back (which, apparently, is 6 miles), I came home with the dream of jumping in the pool, but because it was freezing, I wound up reading on a deck chair in the sun.

When I trained for the marine corps marathon the first time around, I worked here over the summer and between the law firm and O'boys BBQ, I would run to Trinity and back. What a surreal feeling--I saw the benches where Chadd and I used to sit, the classrooms I used to go to, the giant rock in campus, etc. It's like revisiting a much loved book, but not at all like I used to be a chubby yearbook editor who ran her fastest mile (without stopping!!) in 15 minutes. To put that in perspective, at the four courts four, I did my 2 mile split in 7:28.

Mom, Dad, and I sat outside after I showered and had wine, ate cheese and crackers, and unwound.

One of the biggest parts of health (aside from nutrition) that I have been ignoring is my mental health. I'm overwhelmed, over committed, and over stressed. I've had a number of friends tell me lately that I need to learn to say no to activities and find a way to enjoy doing nothing.

It's not been in my nature to not do something/be fully committed. I'm OCD to the max in many ways; I need to switch focus when I get bored (which I do easily). It's why I like my job; if I hate what I'm doing, I can switch to a different client project then go back when I'm not tired of it.

But I need to learn to relax because otherwise, I will implode. Chadd will tell you that the warning signs are there; I've been short on temper, moody, depressed, and prone to forgetting things more than usual.

So. Here's the taking care of yourself. Trying to go back to four bottles of water a day, and thinking before I eat.

And by the way--how do I manage to hit the gym as often as I do? Make yourself your own client. Would you break an appointment with a client? Nope.

My gym schedule:
Monday: Running Group
Tuesday: Teach Spin
Wednesday: Morning gym
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: Run
Sunday: 20-20-20

I get into trouble Wednesday through Saturday because Im not required to be anywhere. Everything else, I'm paid to do or I do with friends. I suppose that's the real trick. Having outside non-negotiable responsibility.

It also never hurts to have a billion-ty races scheduled...one of them being Ragnar New England, which I am so stoked about. Boston, here we come.

So, back to the bottom line...I need your advice. How do I make myself take time off? Suggestions needed.