I think I skipped a week. I think no one cares. Let’s move on.
Last week was the final week of the Mama Beasts’ winter challenge and I’m sort of disappointed that it’s over. I think I’m going to start giving myself imaginary points for workouts, non-Cheeze-Its dinners and routine “me” time. Points are weirdly motivating.
They also distract (sort of) from the actual work — the past few weeks flew by and I’m left with some pretty solid good habits. Like eating breakfast. And staying tuned in during workouts at home. And being a bit more mindful of my tendency to snack when stressed.
Last week’s workouts | 003
Monday: The Name Game – Class was canceled due to snow, so we were given a “name game” workout to complete at home. Each letter of the alphabet had a corresponding number and exercise (for example, E = 50 squats). There were extra points awarded for completing your first, middle and last name… I got through E-L-I and considered whether or not I could legally change my name to Eli Smith… or something even a letter or two shorter than my ridiculously long name. When it was all said and done (I broke it up over the course of the day and it took me until almost 10 PM to finish), I completed:
25 power burpees
90 second wall sit
50 biceps curls
100 high knees
90 second high plank
90 second low plank
300 mountain climbers
50 plank jacks
50 triceps extensions
900 swear words
You could easily come up with your own “name game” workout and use random (or not so random) words instead of names. I’m definitely holding onto this one for future use.
Tuesday: Plyo pyramid (another at-home workout)
Wednesday: Class with Mama Beasts
Thursday: Yoga (Happy Hips + Hearts flow from OneOEight.tv), “Booty Burner Pyramid” from a past MB challenge
Friday: Class with Mama Beasts; Class (and the challenge) ended with a Beep Test (it has a bunch of other names — more details here thanks to the Internet). This was my first time running a beep test and admittedly, had no idea what was going on… so I am looking forward to redeeming myself at the next opportunity. Also, I downloaded a beep test app and fully intend to train under the cover of darkness in our driveway. Or whatever.
Saturday + Sunday: Rest (I think I was still sore from the name game).
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Monday was a long day. I was awake (and mostly functioning) for 21 hours straight. When you’re up and about for that long, you’re bound to see some shi things.
4:00 AM Nick was planning to take an early class at CrossFit Southie, so when I woke up for no reason, just an hour before his alarm would go off, I knew my chances of falling back to sleep were slim.
5:45 AM When my alarm went off as Nick was heading out the door, I wrangled the Frenchie and took him on an extra long walk through the neighborhood. We saw not one, but two dead pigeons. That seems to be happening a lot lately. It’s a bit concerning.
7:40 AM I was off to work in record time, and about to turn the corner to my office, when the biggest rat I have ever seen came sprinting towards me. It was as big as, like, my dog. Or Splinter from TMNT.
The last time I was that close to a rat (this is gross, but I am going to tell you any way), it had been run over and flattened next to my car. It was winter time, and the puddle that the flat rat came to rest in eventually froze over. It was there for weeks. I had to find a new parking spot. When the ice thawed, and my overwhelming fear of that dead rat waned, I went back to my normal parking habits. Little did I know, the dead rat was still there. One evening, after I had locked up the office, a strong gust of wind lifted the rat and hurled it straight at me. I think I blacked out, because I don’t really remember what happened after that.
Anyway, Monday’s rat was very much alive and, fortunately, never made contact with my body. I couldn’t help, however, but to enter a spiral of irrational fears. What if the rat came back while I was out grabbing the newspaper (I am an old man) at lunch? Maybe it would catch me by surprise, and bite my ankle, and then I’d have to miss my soccer game. And probably, I would get rabies. Or something. Once I start worrying, and my imagination takes over, it’s hard to stop.
8:00 AM – 5:30 PM Fortunately, my workday was productive and largely uneventful. Mostly because I skipped my lunchtime walk and stayed firmly indoors. Two dead pigeons and giant rat? I was not taking any chances.
5:45 PM I got home just in time to give Clark’s talons a quick trim, his coat a quick brushing, and his ears a quick cleaning. The little dude has to look his best when he’s making his therapy dog rounds.
We spend an hour and a half visiting some great kids at a local hospital. I don’t think either of us wanted to leave when our time was up. It’s so incredibly moving to see children– up against so much– delight in rubbing Clark’s ears and crouching down on the floor to kiss his wrinkly face. They were curious about his missing tail (perhaps he is, too), whether or not he could fight a lion (I suspect not), and what he keeps in the pouch on his therapy dog vest (treats, obviously). Clark was in his glory. I likely would have only been awake for 20 hours, but I had to stay up an extra hour to tell Nick all about it. I can’t wait for our next visit.
7:30 PM I contemplated taking a nap before my soccer game, but instead I watched half an episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey. Why do they wear so much under brow highlighter? Puzzling.
8:45 PM I was about to head out the door for soccer, when I received a very important FaceTime call. From my three week old niece. When an infant calls, you answer.
11:30 PM Though we lost our playoff game, we had a great 11 v. 11 season. It was nice to play on a big field again. I won’t miss being out so far past my bedtime, however. I had to employ my very best “stay alert and awake” tactics for the ride home (Call Me Maybe at full volume, a handful of Haribo gummy bears, and the AC cranked as high as it would go).
When I finally made it back to my warm bed, I felt like I had been awake for 400 hours. In truth, it had only been 21. And that was plenty.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I’m not joining the Army; I don’t fancy they would want me and my peace moccasins. I am going to Ultimate Bootcamp, though. And I am quite excited. Kristen, who does PR for Ultimate Bootcamp, reached out to me earlier this year and connected me with Peter Lavelle, one of the program’s co-founders. We met this morning at Boston Common, just as the rain stopped, to get some base-line measurements before my session starts next week.
After taking me through a warm-up and some dynamic stretching, Peter had me run between two lamp posts (nearly 50 yards apart) for two minutes. People strolling in the park weren’t sure what to make of the situation, but they stayed out of my way, which was greatly appreciated. Following the sprints, I held a plank (which, had I am been staring at the clock per usual, I am certain I could have held for longer), and completed as many push-ups and squats as possible during a one or two-minute period. I’ll add in Sunday’s 5k time, as well as my current weight, BMI and body fat percentage, as additional benchmarks.
If this morning’s testing was any indication, I am going to love bootcamp. I imagine it will be quite challenging, but I know I will be good hands with the trainers. Peter was really encouraging, and clearly knows his stuff. I am looking forward to getting stronger, faster, and smarter with regards to training, and will be sure to share my experiences over the course of the four weeks. Did I mention I am taking the early morning class? I will become a morning person yet. Hopefully. We’ll see.
Disclaimer: I was invited to take a four week session of Ultimate Bootcamp classes at no cost. You can expect my honest assessment. The good, the bad, and the ugly (i.e. my attitude at the crack of dawn).
Also On Tap for Today:
One last wedding meeting… plans are shaping up beautifully 🙂
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]The always inspiring Kelly Olexa recently encouraged me and my fellow FitFluential Ambassadors to share our favorite fitness tips for people just starting out, or getting back in the game. As December kicks off, some of us may already be thinking about making New Year’s resolutions tied to fitness or overall well-being. Rather than wait a whole month, why not start today? Start small, but for Pete’s sake! start now.
After busting a foot, but still finishing the ING NYC Marathon, I found myself sitting on the sidelines for the few weeks after, wallowing and pouting. Now that I am feeling better, I am taking my own advice (for once) and starting small, starting now. No more waiting ’til Monday. Or January. While I may be taking some time off from marathoning (likely not a word), I need not take time off from the things that I love doing (and that don’t, um, hurt my little body)– boxing, shorter races, soccer, yoga, long walks with the bulldog, strength training, and some good old fashioned jump roping (also likely not a word).
If you’re starting a fresh fitness routine or bouncing back from illness or injury, I humbly offer (as a true non-professional, so please don’t sue me if a weighted ball falls on your big toe) 7 tips for starting small, starting now:
1. Schedule a physical. And, like, go to it.
This is a serious case of do as I say, not as I do, seeing as I would rather poke myself in the eye than go see my doctor. But I can promise you this: I am on the hunt for a new PCP, and as soon as I find one (who doesn’t routinely loose blood work, paper work, and appointment books), I will schedule that physical. And I will go to it. It’s important to see your doctor before starting any new routines. Why? Because it says so at the beginning of all fitness DVDs. And also, because it’s important to know where you stand on the overall health spectrum. It’s important to know your numbers– not just weight, but iron levels, cholesterol, and BMI for example. Your doctor can help you determine healthy targets and a plan for hitting them. A physical is a great starting point.
2. Set specific, attainable goals.
I find I am lost without a goal to work towards. Whether it’s finishing a 10k race, or practicing 21 days of yoga, it’s important to be very intentional about setting specific goals. We could all say, I will get healthier, but it seems like we humans are destined to be perpetual works in progress. We can always be getting healthier. Having a clear outcome and timeline in mind keeps me motivated. The goals don’t have to be grandiose. They just have to be something you’re willing to commit to, and work towards. You can certainly start small when it comes to goal setting, just be sure to not limit yourself. A few goals I am currently working towards:
I will attend 12 boxing classes during the month of December
I will run a 27 minute 5k before St. Patrick’s Day
I will set aside time for prayer or reflection each day during Advent
One of my favorite tools for goal setting (and goal getting) is my fitbook. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love their “write it down, make it happen” approach. Being able to see the big picture really helps me to stay on track with the small steps.
3. Know your motivation.
In addition to knowing what you’re working towards, I think it’s important to also know why you’re working towards those goals. Is it to improve your overall health? To have more energy to play with your kids (or Frenchie)? Know your motivation, and come back to that whenever you’re faced with fear, doubt, or thoughts of throwing in the proverbial towel. Internal motivation is a powerful thing. It helps fitness feel less like a series of tasks, and more like a lifestyle.
External motivation can be a great help too. Perhaps there’s a special event on the horizon? Or you’ve got an awesome pair of yoga pants just dying to make their debut at the gym? Or perhaps it’s the gym itself– paying an arm and leg for my gym membership is motivation in itself to maximize my time there.
4. Starting small doesn’t require buying a whole bunch of crap equipment.
Truly. You don’t need a lot of stuff to get fit. I 100% advocate getting fitted for shoes, especially if you’re going to be running in them. Specialty run/walk stores are a great place to find the shoe that best supports your unique feet and running patterns. I used to buy running shoes because I liked the colors. And because they looked cute. If I was a game show hostess, my name would have been Vanity White. Bahahaa. And then I got some sense knocked into me, and actually found shoes that fit. And that supported my training. I’ve learned my lesson.
Other investments you might consider making:
A yoga mat comes in handy for, well, yoga… and also stretching, foam rolling and weight lifting. We have concrete floors, a little extra padding is always welcome.
You might want to wear a pedometer to track your daily steps. It’s recommended we log at least 10,000 daily; find out how many you log in a normal day, and work up from there. I wear a teeny, tiny fitbit and love trying to top my “personal best.” It also serves as a good reminder to get up and move during the day, whilst working to bring home the imitation bacon bits at the office. There are plenty of inexpensive options available on Amazon, and local sporting goods stores (I felt like an old person when I typed sporting goods store… that is what they’re called, right?)
A weighted ball is great for ab work and toning, plus they double as a home security system. No robber I know would want to get clocked in the head with one of those. But, um, for the record: I don’t know any robbers.
Resistance bands are perfect for toning and stretching, easily packable for working out on the go. Check YouTube or Fitness TV for workout suggestions.
A set of free weights might be helpful to have on hand– I grabbed mine at Target in 5lbs, 8 lbs, and 10lbs. Not all at the same time though. They don’t make bags sturdy enough for that purchase. Soup cans, and jugs of water work too.
And last, but not least, I recommend a jump rope for getting your heart rate up and working on balance and coordination. And pretending that your in 3rd grade gym class again.
Some of the most effective exercises for me, though, require only my body, something I conveniently bring with me wherever I go: squats, lunges, squat thrusts, and planks.
5. Celebrate your accomplishments. Every single (big and small) one of them.
You don’t need to climb Mt. Everest in order to warrant a good pat on the back. Or a new iTunes jam. Or a pedicure. Or a really long nap. Celebrate each step you take towards those goals. I spotted a great article in Self Magazine this month about treating yourself. Many of their suggestions take only a few minutes, and cost $free.99 (my favorite price).
Let your friends and family share in your successes and hard work. It’s okay to brag a little. I try to limit the number of days I wear a race medal to work (3 out of the 5 worksdays/week, generally), and when I moved up a level in boxing recently, I only told Nick 16 times instead of 17.
6. Try something new. Maybe something a little scary.
Getting stuck in a rut can be frustrating. Once my car got stuck in an actual rut, and when it got unstuck, the frame was cracked. It spent a few days in the auto repair place (to the tune of $1400+) getting fixed. As soon as it was fixed, though, it ran like new. Did that real life metaphor do anything for you? Mostly I was just venting, but perhaps there is a real life application there.
Getting unstuck, and shaking things up a bit, does a body good. Boxing has been the ultimate shake up for me. I am largely terrified every time I walk down the alley to the boxing gym. Once my hands are wrapped and the music is blaring, though… it’s on.
7. Find something you love, and get out there and do it.
Sure, life is full of unpleasantness. But most of us are lucky enough to have choices and options. We may not be able to choose to hire a minion to complete such tasks as scrubbing the bathtub, but if we can choose to incorporate fitness into our lives in such a way that makes life more pleasant… welp, we’ve done something right.
Please stop reading and start… starting. Start small if you wish, but start now.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false] I like to think of myself as a peaceful person. I tend to gravitate towards balance and calm, and shrink away from hand-to-hand combat. Fighting on television, in movies and in real life (obvi) makes me extremely uneasy. Magical violence is especially terrifying because there are totally no boundaries. I missed most of the last Harry Potter movie because I was hiding behind a throw pillow.
In addition to being a peacemaker, I like to think I have street smarts. Street cred, however, is another story. I know that you’re not really supposed to hang out in back alleys and abandoned warehouses. When you see a man with a neck bigger than Jason Giambi’s coming at you with fire in his eyes, you’re kind of supposed to cross the street.
For the past month or so, I’ve found myself going very much against my natural inclinations and instincts. I have been busting my bum, learning how to fight in a sort of dodgy part of town. Twice a week, I’ve been gloving up at my local boxing gym, sweating like a man, and throwing punches with all my might (right now they’re more like limp high fives to the heavy bag, but whatever).
I’m sure I look like a complete dingo, but I am having the time of my life. I find myself squaring off in the mirror, Googling things like “are my hands supposed to feel partially broken when I wrap them?” and wondering what sort of hairdos female boxers keep under their helmet things. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating.
Something about a high stake athletic event makes me want to retreat to the kitchen. Fortunately, I can see the TV from there. Oddly enough, I can also see the TV from the shower. Who wants to choose between seeing the Bruins crush it and maintaining a normal standard of hygiene? Not me.
In celebration of our Boston Bruins’ being in the Stanley Cup Finals, I made some edible hockey pucks. They may not be the prettiest things, but man, were they good. I added a teaspoon of fresh lime zest to the filling for a little extra kick. These little guys are tastier than Patrice Bergeron’s finger.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Happy National Running Day! And Happy 1st Day of June! I’m sure there are plenty of other things to be happy about… so Happy Everything Else, too! I always love the start of a new month (and clearly, exclamation points). With the big focus on running today, I’m looking forward to a summer (and fall and winter) full of races. What’s On Tap for the rest of 2011 race-wise?
Basically, if I didn’t register for 50 million races, I would never run. Ever. I would just sit on the sofa at watch Masterpiece Theatre. I ran my first race 4 or so years ago, at Nick’s encouragement. I saw how hard he was training, and the pride he felt with each new PR. I regularly ran on the treadmill at the gym, though without much purpose. I’d watch the timer tick down from 30 and be done. Running with a goal in mind– finishing a race– was a whole new ballgame. I found myself wanting to run further, run faster, and run longer.
My first trip across the finish line wasn’t pretty, but that feeling of accomplishment and relief coupled with overwhelming desire to either take an immediate nap or drink a celebratory beer was instantly addictive. In just a few short years, I’ve gone from wondering if I could run a 5k to knowing I can run a marathon. I’ve saved every single race bib and medal (the ones shaped like bottle openers are especially useful), and will soon be featured on a special runners edition of Hoarders. Just kidding. Unless that’s a real thing, in which case… producers, call me.
A (pained) smile made for television, don't you think? No? Maybe? What if I promised to shower first?
I am not especially good, and I am not especially fast. Sometimes I take walking breaks. Sometimes I forget to charge my iPod and after a mile or two, I want to commit criminal acts. I am not a zen runner. I spend more time starring at my watch than I should. I don’t always stick to the plan. I have been known to skip a workout here and there. Sometimes I worry too much about who’s faster than me or what I am wearing. But other times, I just run. I don’t run like the wind; I am more of a slight breeze. But when I am caught up in the moments, rather than the minutes, I am unstoppable. And if I can be unstoppable, you can be unstoppable too.
Whether you’re a veteran runner or thinking about getting started, the National Running Day website is packed with great information. A few links worth exploring:
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Please file this post under,
Do as I say, not as I do.
Here’s what I say:
If you get drilled so hard in the face by a soccer ball that your contact lens falls out, and an hour later, you can’t remember the word for post office, you should go to the doctor.
If you decided to get back out on the field (this is the game that decides whether or not you go to the championship bracket, after all), but you feel a little weird and have trouble seeing out of the eye that didn’t lose a contact, you should go to the doctor.
If you get home, and all you want to do is eat mint chocolate chip ice cream, but you’re having trouble doing so because you’ve lost feeling in one of your arms, you should go to the doctor.
If you worry that you might have a concussion, and remember learning in health class that you shouldn’t take an unsupervised 7 hour nap with a concussion, you shouldn’t take an unsupervised 7 hour nap. You should go to the doctor.
If you call your younger brother (who has had several confirmed concussions) to describe your symptoms and he tells you, “As long as you didn’t throw up, you’re okay. Just take it easy,” remember this: he is not a doctor. You should take it easy, and you should also go to the doctor.
If light finally dawns on Marblehead, and you call your doctor’s office, describe the scenario and symptoms, and the nurse asks, “Have you’ve eaten anything strange, like shellfish perhaps?” you should get a new doctor.
One more thing: you should skip boxing tonight. You really should. And if you don’t, your family, friends and loved ones should freely slap you in public if you ever… ever… complain about possibly having a concussion again.
We clear, people? Good. I need to go find my boxing gloves. And a bunch of under-eye concealer.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Today, instead of devoting 58 minutes to trying on five thousand work outfits, and subsequently forming a Mt. Saint Helens of clothes on our bedroom floor, I went for a run. What brought about this deviation from my normal routine of wasting time, you might ask?
...this is partly why I stuck to the treadmill this morning.
I’ve been slacking. Big time. The problem with being important busy, is that there are never enough hours in the day. I start the day with the best of intentions, a bunch of things happen and suddenly it’s time to go to bed so that the bags under my eyes stay on my face, and don’t migrate any further south. I’ve let running take a back seat. With a half marathon on the schedule in just a few weeks, my longest run has been 8 miles. In other words, I sort of blew it.
I could give you a bunch of excuses (I have a really good imagination), but I’d rather take responsibility for my under-training, and let the past’s mistakes inform the future’s successes. Whoa, that sounded good. I wonder if I made that up? I spend most of the afternoon yesterday speech-writing… where was that gem when I needed it? Anyway… I’ve emailed the race directors and asked if I can switch to the 5 miler. They were happy to oblige.
Why have a miserable 13.1 miles and risk injury, when you can have a fun 5 miles and be done in time to cheer on Nick and the rest of our team? I have a half marathon On Tap in early August, hopefully the Falmouth Road Race (though I likely used up all my good race lottery juju already), and most exciting of all, the New York City marathon in November. That’s two, possibly three, chances to stick to my long distance training plans, ramp up the intensity a bit, and make changes where I need to.
Change #1: Work out in the morning, if I know there’s even a chance my evening will get consumed by work, life, or Jeopardy!. No excuses, play like a champion. That first change precipitates a second change: Safety first. Running in the wee hours means I’ll need two things: a plan (which I will communicate in advance to Nick and Clark) and reflective gear.
I don’t want to get hit by a car, but if I do, I’d like someone to find me before I get hit by another car. Or the MBTA bus. Those things have no regard.
Also On Tap for Today:
I scored a goal last night… on our team’s net. Whoooops.
[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]For the past three years, my pals Kristine, Christie and I have run the Revlon Run/Walk for Women in New York. Prior to the marathon, this was easily the biggest race I’d participated in, with tens of thousands of runners and walkers tackling the course from Times Square through Central Park. There’s confetti and celebrity hosts, and the race raises critical funds in the fight against women’s cancers.
But I’m never doing it again.
After dodging packs of walkers, weaving to avoid backpacks and strollers, and finally reaching a point where most people were running, the race was over. There was no Mile 3 marker, because there was no third mile. The course organizers unceremoniously cut the course to 2.7 miles (or 2.9? or 2.3? I heard a few versions) due to alleged construction. Had this been announced before we crossed the finish line, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me. But when you register for a 5k, you expect to get your money’s worth of pavement, even if it is for charity.
Next year, I’ll avoid the crowds and confusion and make a donation instead of running. There’s a last time for everything. And there’s a first time for everything too, including popovers.
After our faux 5k, Kristine suggested we visit Popover Cafe. I’d never had a popover before, so when some sort of muffin-pastry the size of my car arrived, I wasn’t sure what to think. I tend to avoid eggs, so it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it’s always good to try something new. Especially when you’re with pals.
Someone tweeted me Julia Child’s recipe; I’m tempted to try an eggless version (with ground flax, my usual substitute). I have a feeling it won’t work (I think egg is required for the actual popping over part), but there’s only one way to find out. Get out the safety goggles.
Also On Tap for Today:
Holy cow! It’s May! And holy crap! I need to get my car inspected!