Friday, December 31, 2010

Catching Up Part 2: Photography

I reaaaalllly  want one of those SLR cameras.  But I really want a lot of things.  And the fact that I say "one of those SLR cameras" without having any idea exactly what kind of $1000 camera + lens I want doesn't make me feel, deep down, like I should be running out to purchase one just because I reaaaalllly want it.

What I should be doing is research and learning.  Learning how to use the features that my camera already has and researching what kind of SLR camera I want.  I haven't gotten too far on the research part.  But I did take a stab at using my camera to see what I could get.  Here's some of the highlights of the past few months.

This is my darling cousin who wears pink glitter shoes, picks grandma's flowers behind her back and ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS has to have her purple purse.

Here is two variations of the same picture.  I was pleased with my artistic prowess :)  This is from a weekend in early September when we go pick my grandma's apple tree.  That's grandma.

 Here is one of my cousin beating up a girl at his Brown Belt Ceremony.  She looks utterly terrified!
And this one of him sparring with his teacher.  Or dojo or sensay or whatever.

The karate shots, not that you could tell, were tricky.  Because a the lighting was all wrong for autofocus.  I adjusted that all my myself!  Ok - I picked the incandescent light setting, but still, I had to knooooowww to pick that.  Also to get the good action shots I used the multi-shot setting.  I got probably about 25 with my cousin and instructor and a few of them were perfect!  That was slick.

I feel that my shots in general have been improving.  I've been looking at  a lot of baby pictures online because I want to capture that perfect, creative photo of our child to put on the announcements.  I've been noticing lighting, angle, backgrounds, poses....just trying to do what I can to identify what I like about a photo so I can recreate it.  What I usually like most about each photo is just the baby.  I'm ready to see our baby!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Catching Up Part 1: Baby News

I want this baby to be here!  Most people I hear start saying this towards the last 2 weeks when things are unbearable and they can't take it anymore; I'm at 33 weeks.  I just want the baby here because I can't wait to stare at it for hours and hours!  I can't complain about pregnancy.  98% of the stuff I read and hear others talk about as changes and side effects happening hasn't happened to me.  I could do this for a whole year! (mothers out there, ask me again how I feel towards the end of January)  Except I want to SEE THIS BABY!

I never got into prenatal yoga.  I never got into anything physical really.  I'm starting to see how this whole labor thing is going to be a big endurance test.  How long can you be exhausted and tolerate the pain.  Can't I compare birthing to running a marathon even a tiny bit?  I'm not saying easy-peasy just because I ran, but somewhere in me I like to think that I've learned how to dig deep, to persevere and just. keep. going.  So hopefully some of what I've learned running coupled with all the birthing classes we've done has prepared me the best that one can be prepared for something that's no less then an absolute miracle.  Still, lesson learned - keeping up some sort of physical regime to maintain stamina will prove indispensable.

First we started with Hypnobirthing and I cannot say enough how much I loved this class.  Get past the weird sounding "hypnosis" stereotype that you may be thinking about (I was) and it's really this wonderful way of relaxing and just letting go.  Breathing, visualizing and remaining completely aware of your surroundings and body.  The only con was that I thought they portrayed "medical births" in a somewhat negative light; like the big bad hospital will make you do it this way!  On the other hand, knowing the most drastic scenario helps us prepare for anything.  When we got to the hospital classes on childbirth, they actually start with, and cover in length, natural child birth and a lot of the same techniques: breathing, relaxation, visualization.  The impression I got was that they offer choices including being supporting of natural child birth plus  any number of options for those who wish to start with interventions (epidurals are interventions).  Hypnobirthing was just the how-to of what the hospital also recommended.  

Not to get on too much of a tangent, but I've just always thought I would do the natural thing.  At any rate, I'm glad we have learned about all the options, so I can make informed decisions when things don't go according to plan.  The only thing I'm 100% sure of is that I don't know how things are going to go down, but we will be able to make the right choice at the time even if that means veering from the plan.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Piano Lessons

I had my first piano lessons last Thursday.  I've said it several times, but I know how to play notes.  This teacher is going to help me learn how to play music. Case in point, the first week I'm working on scales.  C Major, G Major, D Major, A Major, and E Major.  C Major has no sharps.  Starting with G Major you add 1 sharp at a time from C# to F#, to G# to D#.  So E Major has 4 sharps. 

That doesn't matter.  I just wrote that out to prove to myself that I have it down.  I assume these are good things to know.  I even picked a song to practice in A Major and identified it as such.  Not now - I had to look that song up again.  But at the time I did.

I asked my teacher:

"At least how much a day should I be practicing?" (this is a delicate questions because I didn't want her to think that I was already planning to do the bare minimum, but at the same time I want to make a true effort towards my commitment and my money)

"30 minutes a day at least." (reasonable I thought)

So far for the week I might be up to an hour.  Maaaaybe.  Shoot.  I can already see that this is going to take a lot more effort.  Luckily I pick up scales easily.  And I have been doing a lot of visualization at being great so that should help out.

She told me to pick one song from each book I brought.  Here is what I picked.

Number 4 is just for show.  It's the last piece I was practicing before I quit at 18.  It's a beautiful, fun Gershwin piece.  Note all of the penciling.  I could hardly read the notes anymore.  Hey, I didn't say I was good at it, I said I was practicing to be good at it.  But still, I've got a lot of work to go before this piece will come out again.

Really looking forward to week two.  And practicing 30 minutes a day.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Organized Life

The organized life is an efficient life.  A place for everything and everything in it's place.  I long for that life, and am decluttering, donating and tossing with that vision in mind.  And I don't want to buy storage boxes and new crap until I am exactly sure how I am going to use something.  But then how do I organize if I don't get new things to organize with.  It's a vicious cycle that I am sure only comes with experience.  Anyway, in keeping with the goal of total organization (sounds like total domination, or maybe total control) I decided to downsize my lip gloss collection.

What girl can resist a shiny new tube or the latest great smelling lip balm, that new hot color for fall or the PERFECT for you red that you've been searching high and low for, but then after a week or so turns out to not be it either.  Not this girl.  And therein lies the problem.

Step 1) Organize into logical color grouping.

Step 2) Try on and toss.  Which is not so easy because your lips really start to get dried out and the color never truly comes off between back to back applications, so it's hard to tell exactly if that is a perfect color or not.  And I was not going to keep anything that was not perfect.  Also, the lighting was bad in the bathroom and it was cloudy outside so lighting was bad everywhere.  Which are all excues as to why I ended up with this:

I know - it doesn't loooook like that big of a difference, but I bet I got rid of 15 tubes.  (The pile on the left is NOT the toss pile.  Continue to Step 3 for what that pile is)

Step 3) Since I only got about 3/4 of the way through before my lips were swollen and puffy and some of the look-alike colors I couldn't decide which I like the very best, I made a 3rd pile of try-on-later-and-decide.  This is the pile that sits on my counter and when I pull out my usable bag I see if there is anything better in the try-on-later-and-decide pile.  If yes, it can stay and something similar from the usable bag should go.

(Notice I said something similar should go.  I haven't actually tossed anything else.  Nor have I really tried this out, but I am trying to rotate and use the stuff I did keep)

I've also gone through the pen/pencil box, cookbooks, non-fiction books, and general bathroom beauty products (hair gels, shampoos, lotions, perfumes etc.).

Today at Lowe's while I was buying baby latch gates so the dog can't get up or downstairs - oh and I suppose the baby too at some point - I found a nice modern looking basket that we are going to use for our cards throughout the year.  I stole the concept from the neighbors.  From Jan 1-Dec 31 after we are done displaying birthday, thank you's, anniversary, Easter, thinking of you, etc. cards we will place them in the box.  At the end of the year, we'll go through them, decide which ones are sentimental and keep for eternity.  That way we can get more than one read out of them if we want to look back at the year.

Speaking of the keep-this-card-for-eternity box.....perhaps that should be next on the list things to organize.....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cooking Success

Kale-alulia - dinner was a success. I tried the whole baked kale thing and it was much MUCH better than collard greens. Collard greens are yucky. My friend told me so, so it must be true. And she's from the south so she would know. If only I had known before dinner last night.

Collard greens are too chewy and to potent of a flavor. Kale is light, slightly chewier than spinach with a slightly different flavor, but mild and something I can swallow.

I also found a magazine recipe keeper. Chicken with Dijon sauce or something. I went TOTALLY crazy and added mushroom which were not in the original recipe. I know. I should write a cook book.

Then for dessert I modified a recipe for apple crisp into individual cups and used peaches instead. Dinner was so good and warm. I guess I just gotta keep trying.

Here's what's also on my mind. I signed up for a pasta making class in November (1 night only). We have birthing classes every Wednesday in October, piano lessons on Thursdays (which start tomorrow - yiy), regular exercise to fit in and a house to clean. Oh and I'm busy at work. I've really wanted to get a big girl camera (one with a lens and manual/automatic operations) and learn how to use it but 1) they aren't cheap so I better be serious and 2) can I afford the time to take a 2-5 lesson class on using a digital camera? I think this is going to have to be an at-home-study for the time being.

This leads into pictures. I want to start experimenting more with picture taking and angles and interesting views. I have a photographer friend who takes AMAZING pictures. While she's a professional and I'll never be at that caliber, I want to take interesting, beautiful, memorable pictures of my future kid. So I need to learn how to use my camera better, perhaps get a new one all together and also learn how to be creative so I can see the "good shots".

Look for these "good shots" or horribly bad -aka learning experience- shots. Practice should help.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cooking failures

I'm so discouraged. I've been enjoying cooking meals at home and trying new recipes from magazines and such and new foods. And. *SIGH* It just doesn't always work out. Recipes from magazines and books are so hit or miss it discourages me from trying new foods and recipes.

Like tonight. I made collard greens. With pine nuts, raisins and balsamic vinegar and oil. Collard greens have a strong flavor. I waaaaaaannnted to like them, but I didn't. Same with bok choy. I tried making it, but I don't get it. I forget the exact recipe, but they also have a certain flavor. 2 strikes on the leafy greens that are supposed to be so good for you; I want to like them. I don't know. Maybe I just haven't found the right recipe. Next up is a bunch of kale for dinner tomorrow. I gotta say: there isn't much hope :(

Also, tonight I tried a vegetable medley couscous dish. I can pretty much sum up the experience in one word: BLECH. Again, so healthy: carrots, zucchini, squash, onion. I think it was the saffron I didn't care for. First time using that too. Maybe my buds are too old to try new flavors. My husband said it was good. Anytime I like something he doesn't and vice versa. Good thing because somebody has to eat all the leftovers.

Guess I just have to stick with hamburger helper, chicken nuggets and corn my whole life.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

End of Season Report

And my running season has officially ended with the Blubber Run 5k. Not much of a running season really, but none the less there are no more races for 2010. I ran for maybe 10 minutes tops and not all at once even during the 5k. Which made me REALLY glad that I didn't attempt the duathlon a few weeks back.

That was really hard, not doing the duathlon. Especially since it was an expensive race and I went to pick up my packet with my husband anyway just to get the spoils. You feel the excitement and see all of the prepared athletes and just want to be a part of it; knowing that I could have been part of it, that I once was part of it. It was tough. But after the 5k yesterday I know there is no way it would have been a fun or good event for me. Good choice; albeit difficult.

Walking has been good. I haven't been to the aqua aerobics class since that first time. Just letting other things get in the way I guess, but I intend to go back. Everything is going great with the baby. We had our ultra sound and we're still on for end of January; ready or not. Pregnancy has been a good time and a learning experience, not just about babies and such, but about myself as well.

In my opinion balance is the key to life. (I know I changed the subject but stay with me - it's relevant) You take the good, you take the bad. You take em both and there you have.....What I'm saying is dealing with the bad helps you really appreciate the good. When I am working the right amount, exercising the right amount, cleaning the house the right amount and doing other fun things I enjoy the right amount, etc. life is better. And pregnancy is sort of like having a bye-week for a few months to understand how the diet and exercise components fit in. No you can't be a sloth and eat crap (that's not balance) but you let yourself indulge more and relax more about diet and exercise. Which makes me remember when I could push myself and challenge my body without worrying about the effects on another being. I think about how good that will feel again in 6-9 months to do again. But I can't always be focused on that because then I'd miss out on the fun things now. So it's balance. You get off a specific plan - rearrange things a bit so you remember why you liked to do the things you did.

Because I'm letting my diet go - something I've always pretended to try and do - I'm actually getting to the point where I don't want ice cream sometimes. Or french fries. I can eat a salad and think, no I just want this salad. Even free food has little appeal when I'm not in the mood for it. Maybe there is something to the whole listening to your body thing, I've just never trusted myself long enough to indulge sans guilt believing in myself I would level off.

Which gets me to a whole other topic. I've decided the best way to teach is by example. I should be everything I want my children to be and secondly correct their behavior when they go astray. So how do I teach them emotionless eating and exercising for enjoyment when I still don't have those things figured out yet. Maybe my kids will help me be a better person because I'll try harder for them. Men (my husband in particular) has never had these issues. He eats fruits and veggies because it keeps him healthy and fit. Simple as that. No - I don't feeeeeeel like an apple, I want a cookie. He just does it. What a concept. What happens that men grow up without the emotional baggage that women have? And how do I get my kids to be like that?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Earthly Pleasures

1) MAC. I love the MAC stores. Not the ones in department stores. Those are usually nice too, but the actually stand alone stores.....wonderful! The employees are so super nice and always willing to help with a new look and you can get palates there. In the department store ones you can only get the eyeshadows in their own case thing. They never make me feel frumpy there even if I go in in sweats. LOVE MAC.

2) Coffee. And boy do I miss it. The smell of a brewing cup. Pressing down on the coffee press. The warmth, the taste. Yes the caffeine is a pick me up, but just the full bodied smell is enough to make me perk up.

3) Sweaters. Being cozy and warm is a top priority for me. Sweaters are both and also fashionable. I love a layered look. Sweater season is HERE and I am happy!

4) Punch pizza. I can only assume this is what pizza taste like in Italy. It is by far my favorite pizza although sometimes I do like the regular American kind. This come piping hot out of a wood burning oven with tons of fresh tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella cheese. And don't get me started on the rosemary focaccia. Yum, yum, yumm.

5) Beethoven. I;m not sure why it started, but I always have loved his music. I walked down the aisle to Romance in F. Absolutely beautiful. I found my Essential Beethoven cd and have been listening to it on repeat for the last week.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bring on Fall

I love that I live in a location where the seasons change. There are new things to look forward to with every year. A change in wardrobe, a change in scenery, a change in fresh foods, a change in activities.

In the Fall, I look forward to the changing leaves, fires, sweatshirts, running/walking outside in good weather, squash and apple pie, football...

SIDE NOTE: Before anyone calls foul on me for that one, yes I am not a big football fan. But I like what football season means and that is hanging out with friends during the game, the food, Sunday's being lazy and laying on the couch, fantasy football with friends and tailgating. If I happen to catch some of the game during that, we llthen bonus.

But what I really look forward to most has just arrived!!!

My two favorite fall companion guides

The Old Testament and The New Testament otherwise known as Vogue and Lucky.

I was a subscriber to Vogue for over 10 years through high school, college and beyond. Then I let it pass deciding that I could get by on the Spring and Fall issues alone. When Lucky came out it was the perfect balance of wearable, somewhat sensibly priced (better than Vogue anyway), easy to find fashion. I've kind of been off magazines in general for a while because I feel they are too predictable and too frequent for my lifestyle. But I can still enjoy a good read like these twice a year!

I usually take 2-4 hours thumbing through EVERY SINGLE PAGE making notes, ripping out pages, using the handy-dandy "YES" and "MAYBE" stickers provided by Lucky for items that I want, nay, NEED to add to my wardrobe for the next season. This year is all fanciful dreaming since none of that stuff is going to fit. But maybe I can fandangle a few ideas into some cute maternity outfits.

Either way I can't wait until this weekend when it will just be me, the magazines and hope for a wonderful fall season.

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Wardrobe

I'm wearing my first pair of maternity pants today. I must say they are mighty comfortable. I balked for YEARS at elastic waistbands when I was struggling with my weight. But with my regular clothes getting snugger and so uncomfortable, I put on a pair of high waisted maternity pants and it's pure BLISS!!! I even wondered why I didn't wear pants like this all the time! These are my turkey eating pants.

I think the pants make me look farther along than I am so I'm posting a "regular clothes" picture for comparison. I'm just past 4 months.

I might not have been running much lately, but that hasn't stopped my running gear shopping! I bought this neon green Nike shirt that I once saw someone wearing and wanted for my own. I couldn't pass it up even if I don't need it at the moment. It's not like I bought a new pair of shoes. I've already planned my triumphant return to running next year though (for which I will need gear). I'm going to sign up for the Women's Running Camp through MDRA this April. This was the first running group I was ever with and I loved it. I thought the begging running group would be perfect for me to get back into the swing of things.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

cha-cha-cha-cha-cha Changes

I've been blogger-absent for a while. Things have changed. MY HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED!!!

Priorities. Lifestyle. Interests and hobbies.
Running has come to a scrrrreeeeecching halt. Which in a way has opened up my life for more things. Like cooking and cleaning and evenings.
I guess I should get to the changes right away:

1. I'm pregnant. Thus the screeching halt to the running. My doctor told me not to. No - that's a lie. I always envisioned myself at the pinnacle of my running career, getting pregnant and then parlaying that into an awesome pregnant running career where I could brag to other runners as I passed by that there is a "Baby on Board" with a big old belly and a smile. But who am I kidding. I've never passed anyone. That's probably the biggest flaw in my dream. Seriously though, I was in no condition to start up running again after I hadn't been running before getting pregnant.

I ran the Lumberjack 5K in Stillwater on July 25th; I was 13 weeks. Busted my butt to finish in 39 minutes. It was pretty enjoyable though. Felt good to be running. Until the end when I thought I could make one last push to cross the finish line. I can't explain it but it's not the same. My "push" at the end took a lot out of me. It was all just a lot harder than I remember. I'm opting out of the Minneapolis Duathlon at the end of August. I can't remember the last time I worked out for 2+ hours. I don't think I will start now.
So running is on hold, but I'm enjoying walking, swimming laps and I even took a water aerobics class! It was a little strange that Louie the 85 yo water aerobic veteran was helping me out, but the folks are nice and I felt comfortable in the water and felt it was a good workout for me.

2. I'm taking piano lessons in September. This I am SUPER-DE-DUPER excited for. Going to start with 1/2 hour lessons once a week. I played for years until I graduated high school. Now that I'm an adult, and paying for my own lessons (sorry mom and dad) I feel more serious about it in a way; more focused.

3. I'm cooking more and more. I started getting into Indian dishes. This was my best creation. It was some kind of peanutty chicken with rice and lentils and chapati bread. Very good. For Christmas I got a subscription to Cook's Illustrated. I can't tell you how much I love this magazine. Each recipe is a 2 page spread that talks about how and why the recipe was developed to get it just perfect. It's all the mechanics of a recipe which I love because I am much more of a direction following, if this then that, in the box type chef. I'm not the creative one who just "knows" what happens when you beat an egg white before adding it to the recipe and maybe I'll throw this in to give a pop of texture. I like to read the science behind it all.

4. Now that I've been thinking baby, I'm thinking CLEAN HOUSE. I can't have a toddler looking like a French lady with hairy legs because they've been crawling around the house picking up all the dog hair. It's going to have to be an everyday process that I'm still trying to figure out how to fit it all in. I used to just do a vacuum on the weekends with every other weekend being a move-the-furniture vacuum. The Swiffer vacuum thing is my new best friend though as I'm using that daily and still vacuuming on the weekends. I'll probably go psycho on the cleaning in about 3 months when the "nesting" sets in. Who knows.

So it's on to new endeavors! I'm looking forward to blogging about fitness other than running, and hobbies other than dieting!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Workouts abound

This week working out has been good.

Monday: 30 minute walking intervals on the treadmill - what a workout for walking! We started at an incline of 5 @ 3.5mph and every minute increase the incline by 1 up to 15 and then back down. 3 times. Except I only did up to 10 and back down twice. Then we did about 5 minutes of abs.
Tuesday: 30-40 minutes of kettle bells. My friend is teaching me the way of the bell. It's fun.
Wednesday: 20 minutes on an elliptical, 5-10 minutes of abs, 1 hour of kickboxing at night
Thursday: 20 minutes of kettle bells, about 30 seconds of abs. We were beat. 2 hours of shopping in the evening.

For week one we did pretty good. I'm sore all over today. Kind of petered out towards the end, but we worked out at 6AM every day. We did something at least. Next week I sense greater success!

The only somewhat sad part is that I didn't run at all. I was busy most nights so wasn't able to get out. I'll run on Saturday and/or Sunday. I've enjoyed my no-goal-oriented running. That's why I'm only somewhat sad that I didn't run. All the other workouts were fun and good.

I'd like to go to this class called STRIKE on Monday nights at the gym, I'd like to incorporate at least 1 weekly yoga session, the perfect amount would be to run 3X a week, I'm interested in the kickboxing I did on Wednesday - doing that once a week, continuing with the 6AM workouts is a must, an occasional spin class would be fun and I'd like to get back to the abs workout class on Saturdays or Sundays. Oh and swimming - one or two sessions of swimming would be fun! And bike riding; I like to bike ride. And that's it. Obviously all of that is NOT going to happen. So how do I schedule it all, or plan for it all to happen occasionally? I guess I have to prioritize and rank. Like spin, STRIKE, swimming might only be a once a month kind of thing.

The most important thing is that I have a positive outlook towards working out again. That's a step in the right direction.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Onward and upward

I was in somewhat of a time crunch on Saturday so I ran a little over 4 miles instead of 5. My goal for next weekend will be to make it around 2 lakes. This morning I went to the gym before work and it felt really good. A person really does motivate themselves by doing. If I were to sit around and wait for the motivation to strike, I'd probably still be sitting. Over the past 4 months I have attempted countless times to start a new regimen, only to "seriously this time" start again the next week. I feel like I've been trying to stand up after lounging in a super cushy papasan chair or something. I tried to hoist myself up and out so many times, and many times when I fell back in I just thought - OK, I'll rest up and attempt to get out later. Other times I would try several times in a row, only to fall back into the cushion in frustration.

I feel like I finally made it out of that chair though. So that's the struggle with motivation. You just have to keep pushing and pushing and believe that one day you will get out again. I just keep thinking it's not over yet. I'm only a quitter when I quit trying.

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's going

Monday: ran 3 miles
Wednesday: Walked Lake Calhoun
Thursday: ran Lake Calhoun

Saturday: Run 5ish miles

I am pleased. Not tickled, but content. It's not easy, but I just keep reminding my self to enjoy. Enjoy the outdoors, enjoy running and the sites. Just have fun. Because if I don't have fun, I get tired and think about how far back I am and how I just want to be faster, better, stronger. Instead, just be. As I am just doing, just be. And that is going well.

I can't remember the last time I just exercised simply because it felt good. For the past 3-4 years I've had a goal. To run this race or that event. When I first started to lose weight I exercised for weight loss. Then I had goals. But what about running because I just like it. I just want to. I have enjoyed running these past years or I would have stopped long ago, but still - there has always been a goal. So in the tradition of letting go, not being afraid to lose, I'm just running and exercising focusing on the feel good aspect of it. For the sheer enjoyment.

This is not easy. I don't always WANT to go to the gym or go running. But I'm trying to remain focused on why I am doing these things. Goals are great. They give you the extra nudge you need to keep going. Don't give up on goals. I'm not. I'm just trying a new angle. Which, when I think about it is just another method to keep me going.

Serioulsy though, did the change the distance around Lake Calhoun? What is it, 3.5, 3.8 miles around now? I don't remember it EVER taking me 38 minutes to run it. But it did yesterday. Huh. No change? It's me? Huh.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Finding my footing again

A part of me is embarrassed to start posting again; ashamed that I have been gone for so long. Not running for so long. Not doing much of anything for so long. How could I forget how great I feel when I finish running for 2 hours. How strong I feel when I can do 20 push ups (could I really do 20 push ups?) I was looking at pictures of races from the past 5 years. How could I not see the shape I was in. I totally took it for granted.

But here's what it comes down to. You do or you don't. There is not try. There was a long string of didn't, now is the time to do.

Two things I know. 1) I need more lean muscle mass. Kick-ass mass, haha. 2) I need to log some miles. I've been interested lately in the shorter races again. Thinking that I can work up to long runs ranging from 10-13 miles, but focus on the shorter distances for racing. 5 and 10K. I still am not in a huge hurry to map out an entire race season like I did last year, but I open to a few things. The Minneapolis duathlon being one. Biking is grand.

Something I just thought of, I would like to challenge myself to be uncomfortable for a race. When people 'race' a race they push themselves to the brink to get the best time possible. I'm more of a distance challenger. I don't like to be uncomfortable. For one, I'm afraid of failure so I often times don't even start. But this year. I think I could try one 5k where I set a goal and if I blow out at 2.5, well, I tried. Try again later. Eventually I would get there.

The time has come to stop blogging about the plan and start blogging about the progress. I've been pounding sand for too long.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Goat Milk and More

I hear goat milk is good for you. I bought some. You know how pheasant (or any wild animal) tastes a little gamey? Well, goat milk tastes like......crap. It's so gross. It has this overwhelming flavor of "stink" that no amount of Nestle Quick can cover. I've tried. If it didn't have a flavor I might be able to get over it, but all I can picture is a dirty old goat being milked. And who milks a goat anyway? It's like milking a cat. Sick. Why? No. Wrong. This guy at work told me that in India they milk water buffalo; that the milk has the highest level of vitamin D and calcium. Um. No. Don't think I'll be trying that one either even if it was available in the US. I think it's cow or nothing for me. Like I said; I tried.

In other successful news my friend and I signed up for rock climbing classes. We go to Vertical Endeavors in St. Paul. A few months ago I thought I might rock climbing. Actually, I think I like the body of rock climbers. Lean, muscular. With that image in mind I DEFINITELY want to be a rock climber. After a few attempts at a more difficult spot on the wall (more difficult for a non-climber) I tried an easier spot. I made it all the way to the top. I loved it. I still felt like I was tough, using all my muscle groups but also it felt achievable. I much prefer something a little easier to climb than only being 4 feet off the ground and getting stuck. Can't wait for this class next week! Plus, it's only $15/day. Plus you have to rent the harness, shoes and caribeener (sp?) but that's minimal. I suppose it's like a day of snowboarding.

Speaking of snowboarding, I'm dying to go!! Haven't been yet this year, and I'm going to go at least once before January closes. Better hurry!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

14 Days of Classes: Day 9, 10 and ?

I forgot. While the blogging fell to the wayside, the workouts continued. I forgot how I finished out my week. I think I only got in 12 classes but I did have fun and found some classes that I will go back to(at the SLP Lifetime). Those classes include STRIKE! which is a program developed by Everlast. High intensity, muscle building. Fun. Core I loved on Saturday's and Sundays. Even Studio Ride on an occasional Sat/Sun I would do. And the first class I did on Saturday morning January 2nd - 8AM barbell strength. Those were my faves.

I'm ready to begin running again, but I don't know how to get back into it. The simple answer is: run. Novel concept. So yes, I need to just start already. 2 miles here and there on the treadmill, 4 outside on a Saturday would at least be a start. I'm planning my next race to be the Minneapolis 1/2 Marathon on June 6th. Not too much pressure yet. I vacillate between setting goals to slowly build my miles, starting with nothing too intimidating or just committing to run 3-4 days a week and see where that gets me. It's clear that I do need a plan, but is my 3-4 day commitment enough. I don't want to hate running and feel disappointed by not getting my 15 miles in or whatever. I need a little less conversation, a lot more action.

Monday, January 11, 2010

14 Days of Classes: Day 6 Supplement

I forgot about Day 6. I went to a class called Fluid Strength. It was a light workout, although I'm a firm believer that if something is light, you can always make it harder for yourself or you just aren't doing it right. Take pilates. Half the time when I thought something was easy, I discovered I wasn't doing it right. Do it right, it's tough. Anyway, it was low impact and most of the moves were sweeping side to side lunge type things that just killed my left knee. It was painful. I'm sure if I could have gotten into the position more, it would have been a better workout.

The class consisted of several series of postured and poses (mostly yoga) repeated in fluid flowing movements. I would go to this class again if I wanted a gentle cardio workout in the 'fat burning' zone. It wasn't one of my favorites, nor will I be attending regularly. But as always, it was good to experience.

14 Days of Classes: Day 7 and Day 8

This is my report for classes on days 7 and 8 of my challenge. If you are following along at home you will notice that the days aren't adding up. That's because on Friday, I went to no class. It was nice to stay home.

On Saturday I went to the club and ran 1.5 miles. I think the best way to get back into running is to just run. Novel idea I know. But I don't need a plan yet, I don't need a rigorous schedule. I need to get my body back in the habit of running 3-4 times a week whatever the distance. If I can fit in a run or two this week with my class schedule I will, otherwise I'm going to lighten the class load next week and pick up running again. All I'm going to commit to is scheduling 3-4 runs a week. No particular distance, just go with it but get back in the groove. I can worry about distances in February.

After my light run, I went to Bruce's Core class again. I'm keeping this one in my routine for sure. My core is one thing that is so important to everything else in my body and the one thing I neglect more than anything else.

Sunday I had a choice between Bruce's cycle class or yoga & meditation. I thought I probably could use the cardio workout, but I chose yoga & meditation. And it was HEAVENLY! The poses feel so good, it's just one big giant stretching class with relaxation afterwards. A very nice addition to a Sunday along with church and some good coffee.

So while I don't have any new classes to report on from the weekend it was nice to be at the gym. It's not quite as busy so I like it better. Tonight, I am going to try for a new experience at 6PM.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

14 Days of Classes: Day 5

Stage 1: Excitement
Stage 2: Focus
Stage 3: Doubt
Stage 4: Anger
Stage 5: Acceptance

Before I began this challenge I was really excited. I thought it sounded like such a great idea. As I stepped into the first class I was focused. Ready to give my body a well needed workout. After the second class, I wasn't sure I could keep up this daily classes schedule. Going into Day 5 I was angry. Angry at the gym for allowing too many people, angry with the people for getting in my way, angry with myself for thinking up this stupid idea. I was so sore and so tired and so ready to quit.

But I went to The MIXX last night. Line out the door just to enter the gym. NO LOCKERS. I had to lug all my stuff into the classroom. 30 people waiting outside the class to get in when the current class finished. Despite my attitude I went in. I gave a half hearted attempt to keep up. In fact performance has been on a steady decline since the spin class. It was NOT one of those times, where I finish and was glad I went.

Then I woke up this morning starting to feel a little better. My body doesn't ache as much and I think I have moved through the worst and am on my second wind. Who would have thunk it! I'm ready again to work hard.

I'll recap yesterday's class a little. The MIXX with my fave instructor Katie. Again, she never ceases to blow my mind with the shape that she is it. Incredible energy! The MIXX is part kickboxing, part dance, part step. Really, it's a lot of jumping and punching and moving back and forth. It was a lot of high intensity repetition; not the most exciting moves, but with Katie and the music she plays, the time passes quickly.

Hopefully the hardest (mental) part is over. I'm looking forward to Medetation Yoga on Sunday!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

14 Days of Classes: Day 3 and 4

Last night for class number 3 I went back to an old standard. A class I hadn't been to in over a year, but one that I always loved. It's called Dance Jam and is taught by the absolute best, most energetic aerobics instructor I have ever met. And what I like even more about her, is she's not rail tight and ripped looking. She looks completely curvy and soft, but don't let that fool you, she's not soft. Firm, strong, quick....woah. I can't keep up with her. Even at my best. The gist of this class is that you learn segments of a dance and then do it start to finish performance style at the end. A year ago I had the thing down cold. This year, she's changed it up and I was back to paying super attention, missing half the moves and trying to find the beat. But it was a great workout! It's about a 90 minute class. I left after 60 minutes because at that point she usually switches it up and teaches a harder choreographed shorter piece. They build that piece out for about 4 weeks. I had about all I could learn and keep up with in 60 minutes. Sorry I left Katie!! But you killed me kiddo!

This morning, I had to go to a 6AM class because I've got plans with friends for dinner. The hardest part of this class I thought was going to be getting up at 5:30. That was hard, but the class was much harder. It was Yoga Vinisya II - whatever. It was a semi heated yoga class - about 85-90 degrees in the room, and it really focused on fluid poses cycling through different movements. I would put it in the fitness category. I'm really worn out from not giving my muscles a break so I totally flopped in class. I thought about leaving after a half hour because I wasn't doing well. But I stuck it out. I would go back again for a workout yoga class. But today I was hoping for more of a relaxing yoga class. I've liked other classes better, and the time of day is not really my style.

The reason I wanted to do this challange was to try new things, get a jump start on working out again, have fun. I am accomplishing all of these, but I'm not so sure 14 days in a row is the best idea I've ever had. I am happy that I am maintaining a commitment, something I need to learn how to do again and I am feeling good about exercising. But to do well in any of these classes, a break in between would be better. I'm resigned to just doing the best I can, knowing that my best now will not be my best ever.

Monday, January 4, 2010

14 Days of Classes: Day 2

SueBob made a comment on yesterdays post that 14 classes (mostly new ones) in 14 days sounded like a lot of sore muscles. And after only Day 2 I tell you she is RIGHT. It's only Day 2 and whew! I'm beat. Because up until this 14 day challenge I was on 2 months of basically nothing. It's a shock to the system. I do have some yoga classes and 30 minutes classes scheduled into the mix so hopefully that will be a rest. And I'm trying not to do the same type of class twice in a row.

Sunday I went to Studio Cycle at 4PM with Bruce. I've only been to 1 maybe 2 cycling classes ever and everything I thought about cycling classes was confirmed once again. I hate them. I like the instructor. A LOT actually. He was kind of like the Rev. Jesse Jackson/Mitch Hedberg of spin. "You gotta beeeeelieeeeve!" I liked the imagery and the people and the room and almost everything else about it. But what trumps all of the things I like about this class? It's SO MUCH WORK. Oh man does it ever kick my butt. I'm more a path of least resistance girl and there is much resistance in cycle classes. I hate to admit to myself, but cycling are great classes and if I went more regularly they would help improve my fitness a lot. I'll go again. Reluctantly. But it's good for me. One thing I did like about the class is that he helps you visualize going up a hill by the height of his arms. For example we had 1 minute of a hill left and he started out with his arms in the air, standing up. Buy the end of the "hill" and the minute he was crouched on the floor with his palms touching the ground. And we were done.

After cycling I joined Bruce again for 30 minutes of core. He's a hoot! At one point he had us doing crunches on a body ball with one leg crossed over the other. When he could see all of us falling and flailing about he said maybe we should practice more at home. He said we can get the body balls at any local Target. But DO NOT get the blue one. Because they are too big? Because they don't hold up well? Because they are to firm??? No. Because they won't go with A THING in your house. Get white or red :) Ha! I like Bruce. The core class was great because it wasn't 500 sit-ups. We warmed up with pretty standard continuous sit-ups but then we did core work. Planks, twists, balance. So much more that abs. I need this class.

Today I am completely sore from head to toe. My glutes and hamstrings took the brunt of the work on Saturday and Sunday so they are especially screaming. Day 2 finished with 2 more classes that I really enjoyed. I need more cross training in my life.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

14 Days of Classes: Day 1 (really)

This morning I got up at 7am to go to Barbell Strength which started at 8. I didn't know what to expect from the gym parking lot or the class so I showed up a solid 25 minutes early. Course I parked right away and walked right in. I think it might have had something to do with the fact that it was 11 below 0! Good. Weed out the slackers. I can't say that with any conviction though because more often than not I am that slacker.

The class started out with a million and two squats. With weights and stuff. And everything on my body was shaking. I must have registered at least a 5.0 on the Richter. It was good though. I'll definitely be trying this class again because it worked all of my muscle groups. By the end even though we moved on to different muscle groups, my body was just tired so even the triceps at the end were difficult. She gave us a pretty compact yet solid ab workout in the last 5 minutes too.

I'm so stiff already. But as I said, it was good.

Friday, January 1, 2010

14 Days of Classes: Day 0

As one may guess, no blogging = no running. I guess that's not entirely true. I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving. Once or twice I ran 3 miles on a Saturday morning with the MDRA Polar Bear group. I chugged out a few miles on the treadmill here and there. I've probably averaged about .82 miles per week since the Monster Dash on Halloween. Coincidentally that's probably how many pounds I have averaged gaining each week since the Monster Dash too. And that is entirely true.

But that is was New Year's resolutions are for. Nay, not just a new year, a new decade! I don't really have any resolutions for the long term. I always have plans and goals. But I do seem to gain a little momentum at the changing of the year.

My race plans are on complete month by month basis. No scheduling the entire year in January. I've got the road map worked out for January to get me running 15 miles a week again so I can maybe try to start running with the MDRA spring marathon training program. That doesn't mean I'm training for a marathon. But by the time I get there - who knows!

So getting back to the momentum of the new year and starting fresh and trying new things I decided to do 14 days of classes. I plan to go to a class a day at the gym in the hopes of trying something other than running, building my fitness base back again, and having some fun. Starting today! January 1. So what class did I go to today? Well, um yeah. About that.......

I started the day at 11AM running the Polar Dash 5k. It was and ok run. Saw a friend there to run with which always makes it better. I planned on hitting yoga at the gym at 5:45. I thought I should double check the schedule just to be sure. After all, it is a holiday. Apparently I should have checked earlier because there was no 5:45 yoga class. And the last class I could have gone to for the day started in 5 minutes. Big time bummer!!! Yes, I could have checked at a different gym for their schedule, but I didn't. So Day 1 was a bust. But I'm not disheartened. I still did something good for my body. And my ego, as we got HUGE medals. For a 5K! :) Seriously the medals make me want to run the whole Team Ortho challenge thing and get all 4 medals. Darn you Team Ortho! How you suck me in with your discount offers on the marathon and fancy schmancy hats and gloves and promises of medals and shiny plaques. You almost make me forget that I still have to run A MARATHON. But I won't be trixied that easily. Did I mention you get a plaque for all your medals if you do all four races???? What was I just saying about not planning my racing year out? I forget.

14 Days of Classes will start tomorrow at 8AM with Barbell Strength.