Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions/Goals for 2010 & The Perfect 10...

I know. I know… everyone is inundating the Internet with resolutions and goals for 2010. It like an endless barrage and you are SO tired of it all ready. Well, sorry to say here’s one more of those. If you don’t want to read any further, I will understand perfectly. Enough is enough is enough and believe me I know because I’m there myself. But for those of you that continue on, there are reasons that this occurs. The success of these goals and resolutions are greatly improved if you follow a few fundamental steps…

1) Make it public! The accountability factor does amazing stuff, and well, that’s why there are so many stating it out on the Internet like I will be below some where here.
2) Write it down. Just by forming it into actual words on paper, it clears up the ideas and narrows it down that resolution or goal.
3) KISS! Keep It Simple Stupid! Don’t get complicated and make it hard on yourself.
4) Celebrate your achievements. You’ve worked hard towards them, and you deserve to reap the rewards!
5) Make reasonable resolutions/goals. They should be close enough to be attainable but still enough out of reach to challenge you.

Follow those above and you have managed to beat the odds of success. Don’t and you might as well be flipping a coin.

Normally, I’m not a resolution type of person. I tend to be goal orientated, and once I have set that goal I tend to be stubborn and tenacious like a Pit Bull with its jaw locked on something. So with that in mind, here’s my list…

1) Save more money, honey! Last year in August, I accomplished a financial goal that I’ve been working on for two years. I became debt free. Now, I want to start putting that money into savings that I’ve been using for paying off these debts with. I have a number in mind, but for fear of being hit up for a loan, I will not state that number here.

2) Run a half marathon. I want to run in half marathon in the Salt Lake City Marathon this Spring, and maybe even give the Park City Marathon a whirl too. Who knows maybe even push myself towards a full marathon in that one but lets get the first one under my belt first. Then we’ll see…

3) Do at least one century on my bicycle. Last year, I only did an 80 mile ride at the Little Red Riding Hood Ride, and that was as close as I got. Two years ago, I did 8 centuries on my bike. Maybe I can manage a happy medium in there somewhere?

4) Participate in the Slow Salty Dog Tri (70.3) and see if I can do better than 10 hours and 25 minutes.

5) Conquer Little Mountain and then Big Mountain, and back on my bicycle. I want to make it up and over and then back up the other side and down. I’ve managed ¾ of this but the backside is a climb that can prove relentless even for someone that likes to climb like me. (I usually climb a canyon once a week during the cycling season.)

6) Participate in the Perfect 10-- For the first 10 weeks in 2010, I want to give this a real go for the money. AND here’s my list for the goals of my Perfect 10…

(1) Lose 10 lbs over the 10 weeks. I think this is doable.
(2) Build up to 10 miles running in under 2.5 hours. I think this will help me train towards doing the half marathon.
(3) Do exercises at least twice a week that work on my balance. For all of you that have read my Boot Camp blogs, you know that I have some MAJOR balance issues.
(4) Make it to the gym at least 3 times a week. I bought that gym membership, and I need to make sure I get my money’s worth.

If you would like to learn more about or participate in the Perfect 10. Here's the link...

So there! That’s my list and for those that are still reading this posting. I ask for your help in encouraging me and holding me accountable to these. Thanks and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Year in Review 2009...

I think it’s always interesting to look back over the year, and see what you’ve done and where you’ve been. I think it was someone famous that once said,” You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” Or maybe that was a line in a movie I saw once? But I think that there is some truth to that, and so here I am looking over the past year.

I’m not sure how to organize this last year and so I’m thinking (as I look out over a newly snow-covered landscape) that I’ll do it a month by month organization with just a quick list of the hi-lights from each. So here we go on my memory stroll of 2009…

January was a month of new beginnings—I started blogging (thanks to Diane in getting me started) and tired cross country skiing for the first time.

February was a social month with the 2nd Annual Black Widow’s Valentine’s Dinner Party and the Sunday Gras Baby Shower Drinking Party.

March had Lent, Yurting, and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

April was the celebration of the Popette’s 76th Birthday and a Potluck goodbye as I stepped down from being the Choir Director at St. Joe’s after 5 years.

May arrived with a piece of my artwork on display in the Salt Lake City Gallery Roll and a fun Gift card Day.

June came and I served as a Road Marshal for the Little Red Riding Hood (Utah’s Woman Only Bike Ride) and then in what I believe was an act of insanity I agreed to do the Slow Salty Dog Tri (70.3).

July proved to be a trying month as I stumbled through starting to train for the Slow Salty Dog and joined Face Book.

August was training and more training for the Slow Salty Dog.

September sprung and before I knew it I had survived the Slow Salty Dog Tri and had a wonderful Park City vacation with the interesting Iron Villa Cook Off.

October came and so did one of my favorite holidays—Halloween! I held my 3rd Annual Tricky Treat Costume Bike Ride, where over 20 fellow cyclists participated.

November proved to be an athletic minded month with “Fun Runs” such as the Chasing Tail and Cold Turkey and then I managed my way into Boot Camp.

December came at last and I actually survived the Boot Camp, Sang “O Holy Night” Duet, and sold some artwork.

I want to thank everyone who came into contact with me over the year. You helped to make this a wonderful year for me and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2010 holds.

Happy New Year to you all and I hope that 2010 proves to be a wonderful fortuitous year for you!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Coming Down Off After Christmas...

It's a little like coming down off of a high of a drug, or I imagine it as such. I wake up the day after Christmas and look at my tree. A bit of a sadness enters my heart, as I realize that Christmas is done and over with. Now I need to see about taking down the Christmas tree; along with all the rest of my Christmas decorations. It's deflating, and I all ready miss Christmas.

I guess part of this "deflating" feeling is that the whole of Christmas season (that started barely the day after Halloween) is building in anticipation to one day. All of this worrying about selection of gifts, purchasing or making of gifts, then the worrying of delivering said gifts. It gets some of us rushing to the point of not knowing what end is up, then BOOM! The day is here and within under an hour, all of those presents are opened up, and the day seems over. Its unfair that all of this preparation goes into one day.

Another part of this sadness, is that after I take down all of those Christmas decorations my apartment is going to feel barren. I traditionally take down my Christmas decorations the first weekend of January. Though, one year I left it up until almost Valentine's Day. Some neighbors really thought I was strange that year. (They even thought they might have to have a Christmas decoration intervention for me.) It's strange how you can hooked on decorations in a month and half's time. ( I usually put them all up the day after Thanksgiving.) I'm unsure if I really want to take them down this next weekend. Though, I will feel like I have tons of room in my apartment now... BUT we shall see what happens. Who knows maybe I'll push it till at least February 1st??!?
Another part of Christmas that I will miss, is that it always seems as though some people are nicer than the rest of the year. It's like that grumpy neighbor down the hall... he actually smiled and waved at me just before Chirstmas! Then, there's those people that you may only see or talk to twice a year, unless there's a funeral. Either you've been too busy or they have and you actually get to do a little catching up with them. It feels good to do that, and you realize that you miss them. But life resumes, and everyone gets busy again after the holidays. It's sad but oh so true.

Christmas was wonderful. I received some very nice gifts, and got to visit with friends (and some relatives over the phone). The duet of "O Holy Night" went off well at the Mid-Night Christmas Mass at St. Joe's. Father Carley even managed to embarrass me a little by announcing about the Crucifix painting that is currently the acting as a Crucifix in the parish hall while the new church is being rebuilt. (I wanted to be 2 inches tall as everyone in the choir was pointing out who he was talking about.) I TRIED to sleep in the next morning, but no--- I was up by 7AM. I opened my two wrapped presents ( most of my presents I had received before or were gift cards) that were under my tree. Afterwards, I made my Christmas calls, went for a walk out in the winter land weather, then, went to my friend Diane's house for an amazing gourmet-like spread of a Christmas dinner. I finished the day, working on a new oil painting. A wonderful day!
But BOOM!! It's over with, and I'm feeling a little blah because Christmas is over with. Darn it!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Annual Collections Booklet for YOU!

Dear Friends & Loved Ones:
It’s been 8 years that I’ve been doing these little Collections booklets that have my art and poetry in them. (Pictured Below is the cover of this year's ...)

On the Allgood Art Blog site( ) you can see an electronic edition that I've put together of it. If you would like to have a pdf format copy of this please drop me an email at --

Let me warn you that it is about 5Mb large. I would be more than happy to email you it. I make little changes each year that hopefully are improving the quality of these booklets. This year you will find more changes. I’ve cut out the recipes this year, and added more poetry, and a few new paintings. I hope you enjoy what's included in this blog post and I look forward to any comments that you may make. Please accept this as a gift to you for this Holiday Season.

May you have a Merry Christmas,
a Happy New Year,
and the time to enjoy others!

Thank you --- J. Allgood

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Think Skinny Mantra...

My goal over this holiday season has been to maintain and not gain any weight. Well, I’ve gained two lbs overall but considering what it could have been I don’t think I’m doing too badly. Two lbs., huh? You might think that’s pittance and I’m trying to keep it right there and hold! No more, no more~! I say to myself.

It’s all easier said than done during this time of year, and it almost seems as though the deck the halls strategy is stacked against me! This morning I received my 3rd box of homemade chocolate truffles. Last year, I did not receive any thing close to this and wasn’t focused on trying to lose/ maintain anything; other than my sanity. This year, here I am trying to focus on losing some weight, or at least maintaining, and I’ve got chocolate truffles squeezing out of the woodwork! What’s up with that?!? Is this Murphy’s Law working against me?

On top of it, I have all these social events for the Holidays. It seems that everywhere I go there’s food; or maybe it could be that I’m just noticing it more this year? Food is every where and it’s tempting me. Every morsel, tidbit, and scrape out there playing the song of the sirens; luring me into a land of high calories and fat.

I’ve started saying a mantra over and over to myself. I call it my “Skinny” Mantra. As I’m sitting at a social event where there’s food tempting me, I repeat over and over to myself---“What would a skinny person do?” It’s helped me to hold (so far) to the 2 lbs.

“What would a skinny person do?” I say it as those cute decorated Christmas cookie bars sitting in the middle of table are calling my name. But I don’t reach for them! Nope! Instead, I reach for some more coffee to fill my coffee cup, or I refill my water glass. I don’t want those cookies, desserts, crackers, chips-n-dip to win. This is a war on fat and high calories! Meanwhile, I’m suffering a bit from being water and caffeine logged. Gee, maybe that’s what’s accounting for the 2 lbs.? A little water weight? Yeah, dream on girl! It’s really those darn homemade chocolate truffles that you couldn’t resist this morning with your cup of joe! Yikes! I blew it before 9am this morning!

“What would a skinny person do? … What would a skinny person do?” Hmmm… Go to the gym I guess?!!??!! I think this could be a vicious cycle…

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rubber Duckies, & Christmas Carols...

"Rubber Ducky, your the one!...." The tune has been going on over and over in my head since the other night when I went to a Christmas Concert put on by Voice Male. It's a 6 all men A Cappella group that performance covers contemporary popular songs as well as traditional Latter-day Saint music and some original material. It was my birthday present from Laura. I never know what to expect with her and her presents. Last year, my birthday present was indoor skydiving. (Did I mention that I have a fear of heights?) I had never heard of this group and was unsure as to what to expect... after all this was a Laura present. You need to expect the unexpected! What can I say the woman helps make my life an adventure!
The concert is in a barn at Thanksgiving Point. A barn?!!? Oh, how quaint?! But it wasn't that bad at all. Yes, it is a barn but it's a newly built barn that has a stage and seating. Thanksgiving Point for those of you not familiar with it-- It's a local place that's known for their wonderful gardens and golf course. I've atteended a couple of beautiful weddings that have been held there.

So here we are 4 Catholic woman in the middle of a crowd that was 90% LDS. With my mini skirt, high heeled black boots and low cut shirt, I was definitely a fish out of water. But it was grouping of families that sat around us. The strange thing that I didn't understand until later were the groups of people coming from the concession stand with rubber ducks in hand. They were selling rubber ducks at the concession stand? What the HECK?!?(A Utahn phrase.) Was this some other attachment that the Utah LDS had? I know about them loving ice cream, and always showing up at picnics/BBQ's in tow with the green jello and carrots. But was this another cultural attachment that I hadn't caught onto in the 20 years that I've been living here? I know, I have my slow moments...

The lights go down. The Christmas lights on the trees and some blue lighting on the stage is the only light. A voice comes over the sound system and starts talking in a series of different pitches and sounds. It states that what we are about to hear has no instruments, and continues on with other funny comments like making sure to turn up the volume on your cell phones so that stage members may assist with answering. Then, 6 men walk out on to stage and begin a Christmas Carol. It was amazing hearing the voices blend, and even more amazing was the combination of the singing with the sounds that they made. It really sounded like there were instruments. Some of the traditional Christmas carols had different voices or had newer made up verses. It was funny and very entertaining.

Now the rubber ducks came in about half way through the show. One of them said that this next song has become a staple of every concert that they do, even though it was not a Christmas song. Then, one of the guys sang in a Ernie from Sesame Street voice the rubber ducky song. Meanwhile, everyone that had a rubber ducky was throwing it up on to stage. The kids in the audience was just going wild by this time.

Later in the show, they did the "short" version of the chipmunk song. Three of the members got down on there knees and sang in the high chipmunk voices. Everyone was cracking up. Then, they started talking about the original version of the chipmunk song was quite a bit slower before someone decided to speed up the record player. Of course, they made a comment about anyone know what a record was in the audience. Then with all of them standing and swaying side to side in slow motion they sang the song starting REAL slow and then singing it normal by the end of the song. It was a wonderful and entertaing experience. I could easily see it as a Christmas tradition to go see.

Voice Male formed at Utah State University in 1994 as a nine man group, but over the next two years several members of the group left, and auditions were held for replacements. A short time later a couple more members left leaving the group with six members. Voice Male was runner up in the 2006 Contemporary A Cappella Society awards in the holiday album category for Jingles 2, as well as the holiday song category for O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Members are... John Luthy, vocal percussion/bass; Mike Willson, bass; John Huff, baritone; Phil Kesler, baritone; Mike Bearden, tenor; Richard McAllister, countertenor. You can hear snippets of their music on their website...

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's a BAD Attitude MONDAY!!

Ever have one of those days when, you REALLY woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Well, that's how today is going, and I almost ready to plead for a "DO-Over" but not to the extent like the movie "Groundhog Day" when he re-lives the same day almost 30 times over. Though, I will admit there's somethings in that movie I wouldn't mind giving a whirl...

So, I wake up at 4:45AM and hit the snooze a few times. My body just didn't want to get up. It's the first day of giving 24 Hour Fitness a chance at being the gym of choice. Last week it was Curves, and this week it's 24 Hour Fitness. Diane, Sofia, and I are on our second gym in this month's rounds.

I FINALLY decide what to wear to the gym. It's funny, because I worry about what I wear when I know there's going to guys at the gym. It's silly! I know, but I don't care how I look when it's just women. I also didn't know what to expect as far as the locker room because I didn't see it when we took the tour on Saturday afternoon. I wanted to make it so, I didn't have to use a locker room just in case. If that makes sense?

I pull into the parking lot of the gym, and it's a skating rink. I almost did the splits without even trying to when I got out of my car. I managed slowly across the parking lot, then across the street and up a short flight of stairs to the door. Inside, I show my temp pass at the desk. I pause. Now what? Do I go to where they have the class? Do I go check out the locker room? Or should I see if I can find Diane and Sofia some where on the floor? It's not even 6AM and I'm trying to make decisions? Yikes! A REAL silly thing to be stressing over, I know, but it's one of those days when it doesn't take much to throw me for a loop.

I looked out on the floor while I send off a text message. Trying to look cool but I probably looked like a dweeb! Nope, no sign of the gals, so off to the locker room. Here's where I discover that I needed to bring quarters for the lockers to lock. Good thing I dressed for not needing the locker room. But QUARTERS?!??! This bugs me!! This is more like a bus station or airport thing than a gym locker room. But then again, it's been awhile since I've really been in a fitness facility locker room. I guess times of bringing your own lock or just taking the risk of throwing your stuff in a locker and hoping that it'll still be there when you're done is not the way they do things anymore? Hmmmm...and in my present mood, I'm rather pissed that people pay memberships and then have to pay to lock up their stuff in the locker room.

I head to the class, and there's the gals basically set up for the class. I was surprised it was fairly crowded. So I stake out my spot on the floor with a step bench, a pair of smaller weights(4 lbs.), and a bar where I put my own weights on. I put disks on each end that equaled 3-1/2 lbs. for a total of 7 lbs., and whatever the bar may weigh. Class starts and I quickly discovered that it requires some stepping coordination/motor skills that I lack. But overall, it wasn't too bad except that 15 min. into it I discovered my left knee is not happy with one of the lunging with dumbbell moves. The teacher saw that I'm struggling and comes over to give me another option of the exercise. Which was very helpful and I thought very thoughtful on his part.

Later on, as we were doing bench presses with the bar weights while lying on the step bench, he corrected my hand position on the bar weight. I needed to spread my hands out farther to work a different group of muscles. This was good, to least this way I knew what I should be doing. Then, later on we are on our step benches again doing triceps curls with the bar weight. I'm sweating it out, and here comes the teacher again to correct me, yet again. Elbows in, straight arms all the way up, and go as far as I can. He's straddled over me while he lightly directs me where I should be. He's also dripping sweat on me. Not that I really mind a good looking muscular guy sweating over me. It's just I would prefer it to be in another position doing something else than this... and I know this is BAD of me.

Class finishes, and both, Diane & Sofia, are like they really liked the class, and looking forward to seeing what the class is like on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, in my present mood all I could complain about was my left knee was bothering me. Ugh! It was like I was whining!

I rush home, to get ready for work. The class starts at 6AM, and doesn't allow me as much time to get ready for work. So, rush, rush, rush, and I get to work. A co-worker that usually gets there early, has called in sick. It's a Monday and I wonder about whether the other co-worker is going to call in sick too. It's just how things go here. I also realize I forgot my breakfast and lunch too. Not that I really want to eat a great deal today because I've got the company Christmas party tonight. Which is kind of another thing that I'm not really thrilled about. I see these people at work. Do I really want to see them while I'm having dinner at a nice restaurant too? So this Monday just gets better and better!

I skip breakfast and just have coffee. I steal a few pistashios from the president's office jar, and that's lunch. Then, I wonder why this afternoon I have a ever-so-slight headache? Gee woman! It would help if you ate properly and if the phones would stop ringing! But so, that's my MONDAY, and how is yours going? Better I hope!
P.S. I'm sorry to be such a whiner, and complainer.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tis the Season--- Snow and Stress...

I woke up this morning to a glowing white outside. It was snowing! Yes! I was SO excited! Snow! Finally some white stuff to help put me in the mood for Christmas. Sorry, I guess I'm a bit of a traditionalist... dreaming of my white Christmas. But it just helps me to have some of this white stuff. Not even the commute into work could dash my spirit of enjoyment! SNOW! By the way, I LOVE driving in SNOW! (It's another disease that has no cure!)

You would think that I was a skier or snowboarder living in Utah for all of this excitement over snow. Well, you would be 50% right. I've never tried downhill skiing in Utah, but last year I did try cross country skiing a few times. I didn't do too bad with the cross country skiing. Though, I did have some issues with the going downhill part with the cross country skiing. It makes me think I could be very dangerous with actual downhill skiing. But maybe some day I might give it a try.

But my excitement over snow? It's funny; for I can't really explain it. It's a combination of the season, and a few things that I like to do in the snow-- like snowshoeing, sledding, and snow ball fights. I also enjoy the look and color of the landscape with the white stuff. I guess it could be the artistic side of me.

Here I am excited over snow and at the same time experiencing the maximum stress of the season. I'm trying to put together my Christmas collection booklets ( my art and poetry-- 50 copies), trying to plan for a Christmas Open house to display some of my artwork (this Friday- hopefully I'll sale some art too), trying to get some of the annual Christmas cards out to relatives, and then trying to get some singing practice in for a duet of Holy Night that I'll be singing at the Christmas Midnight Mass. Then, trying to get some exercising in so I can keep in shape. Oh, and I then need to also get Christmas presents for those on my list. I can't help but think... Why am I doing all this to myself!??

I guess it could be worst. Last year, I was the choir organizer. I'm glad I stepped down. But I should have more free time because I'm no longer doing that position. So what happened to that free time? The nearest I can figure is that it went up the chimney in smoke.

So, I find myself going to workouts at 5:30AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday-- this week at Curves. Diane and I have a plan of taking advantage of some free week offers at different gyms to see where we would like to go. (Sounds like a plan Stan!) On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'm still getting up at the same time and working on my lists of things to do. Then, I'm planning errands on my way home from work to get things to do my lists. These are not just your average errand runs either. Last night, I ran by paper store, then a craft store, then a second hand store, then grab dinner through a fast food... and wham! bam! Thank you mamm! I'm finally home for the night to work on the lists some more. Oy Vey! I've even been working on part of the lists when I should be having lunch at work.

I organize myself with lists. My current main list is almost two feet tall. I kid you not! Then, I have side lists that are specific for some of the things that are on the main list. I know! It's kind of a strange way to organize. But I then check or cross things off the list as I manage to get things done off of the list. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, and keeps me focused on what I need to do. It also helps me to manage my stress level, because the lists break everything down to manageable levels. Because Lord knows, I would be a basket case without my lists! So thus, I put my blinders on and focus on the lists, and I can get everything done. Well, that's the theory anyway!

So if you'll excuse me now, I've got more lists to work on....

Friday, December 4, 2009

BOOT CAMP--Day 12- Graduation!!!

WOW! I made it all the way through a 4 week- three days a week Boot Camp session. I will admit that there were some moments where I was really wondering about my sense of insanity. I'll admit I probably was not sane to begin with especially considering how I felt after the first class and then I agreed to stick with it?? Yikes! I should consider having a therapist on-call!?!

Here arrives day 12! Graduation day! It's almost a version of being a Senior and lasting through the 12 years; only this was just 12 days. (Thank God!) As we arrived for our final Friday circuits session, Diane asked if we got an award for surviving the month. The teacher did not give out any awards. But I will here.... Diane, and Sofia--- how about chocolate versions of graduation hats on a stick. (See Photo) I think over the 12 days we have burned enough calories to earn these! Enjoy girlfriends!! We did it!!

Circuits today were very similar as the last two weeks but with a few changes in the stations. We started with the usual warm ups of the high knee run in place, then the knees out to side run in place, then the butt kick run in place. I'm still having trouble getting my knees up very far, and my but kicks are still kind of lousy. But I've made a little improvement over the 12 days.

Then, of course, she had us all run in place while she went through the stations. I'm actually adjusting and remembering what she does at each station; that by the time I get around to that station I know what to do. Maybe I'm getting use to being semi-alert at 5:30AM or I'm becoming "Old-Hat" at knowing what to do. Nawh! Couldn't be true!

So I start at the station with the figure eight exercise band wrapped around my tennis shoes and do my back hamstring curls to the beat of the music. Of course, I'm also alert enough to be singing along with the music. The teacher just laughs, and I think she's surprised that I know so many words to the songs.

" 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1... Switch!" Announces the teacher as we all make a move to our left. Now it's bicep curls with an exercise band. Then the next station is suppose to be jumping jacks around the ladder. My left knee was not happy with jumping this morning. So I ended up doing another fancy foot work dance around the rope ladder that was lying on the floor.

Next was the NASTY station! Or I wanted to call it such. You put your feet up on a lower balance beam that's about 2 feet off the floor, bend your knees flat on your back, hands off to side, and you lift AND squeeze your glutes up. WHOOAA!! I could really feel the burn on this one. When it was time to go to the next station I had to roll gently to my side, and almost crawl a bit to the next station.

Then, back to the triceps lift and then, the sit ups station. Jump rope was the next station. I jumped for a bit but my knee still wasn't cooperating so I did a little run in place instead. Next, it was on to the squats with weights. Well, you were supposed to hold two 15 lbs. weights off to your sides as you squatted down and barely touched the blue mat behind you. I just used one of the 15 lbs. weight up front as I did this station. Yeah, I'm still relatively a whimp. I'll admit it!

Then the break station--- the trampoline! Bounce, bounce, bounce! Yahoo! Then, for the last station it was a vertical row with an exercise band. Feel those upper arms... burn, baby, burn! "30 second break! Get some water before the next round", calls out the teacher. I walk over to my water bottle. Then, we go back to the station we start for another round of fun! We did three rounds all together.

For the last bit we all came back to the mat and did a little stretching. Class was then over. It seemed anti-climatic! So Audrey (the teacher) I have a theory for why you take the month of December off..... See below.....

Yeah! Admit it's your December side gig! LOL!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BOOT CAMP--Day 11- Yoga with a Cat, Cow, & a Windy Tree...

I have really amazed myself with getting through this Boot Camp intact. I've made it 11 out of the 12! Wow! My second round of Yoga in Boot Camp. I will say that I fared a little bit better this time. Part of the reason is that over the last weekend they had replaced the mat where the Boot Camp takes place. The new mat was not as cushy as the old mat. I think the other part of why it did went better this time is that I knew a little more of what to expect. Lesser is the devil you know?

Here it was 5:30AM and there were only three of us; plus the teacher. I was standing alone next to the mat in my sock less feet when the other two filed in at 5:27AM. Where was everyone? Normally there's 6 or 7 at least. I guess I wasn't the only one that had issues during the last time we had Yoga? Or maybe they read my last blog about yoga and ended up getting totally scared off? I wouldn't blame them. It requires quite a bit of balance, flexibility, and you have to think about how to get your body into each pose. And well, at 5:30AM-- I don't think many would be up to this sort of thing. But what really stuck with me after the last yoga was that I just felt SO much more relaxed during the rest of the day. It made for a rather nice day.

So, it begins, with the child's pose. Then, we start, again, with the mimicking of animals and furniture. One question that comes to me... why are there not any food orientated poses? Or are they only for the well advanced? Hmmm... So it goes... Table, Cat, Cow, Table, Cow, Cat... Stretching those back muscles out. We moved on into a downward Dog. Then bringing up a leg through the center, we flowed into the Warrior one pose. Well, some of us flowed. I sort of felt like a drunken sailor stumbling in at the last minute being the ever so graceful person that I am. (ha-ha!) Then, it was Warrior two and reverse Warrior. Here I was starting to have just a bit of my balance issues. But not too bad, and I continue to plug along at it; or should I say I tittered along?

There were a whole series of more poses that we went into. None of which I can really remember the order of, after all it is 5:30AM in the morning. But also, there was the added issue of trying to balance and figure out how to get into these poses.

Among the poses, there was a side split where you face off to the side, spread you legs out as far as you can with you feet straight forward, and reach down with you hands on to the floor. Then, one step more-- try to walk your hands back through your legs at the same time trying to bring your body closer to you legs. Believe me it's not as easy as the teacher made it look.

Then, there was the airplane (or that's what I called it) where you're trying to stand on one leg with one leg out behind you (straight) with your back (straight), and then you could either put your arms (straight) out in front of you or you could put them straight out to the sides to help you balance. I bet you can figure out what I did. I was also tending to have some straight issues, too! I will admit that I managed this one for almost a full 30 seconds before I lost my balance.

Shortly after this came the dancer pose. Another one of those one legged poses where you grab the ankle with the same hand and well you can see what I supposed to do in this photo. I didn't even come close to this one. Just goes to show, grace and me don't arrive at the same destination.( Photo: Dancer pose.)

Another pose was called the open moon, and no this wasn't one of those moons where you pulled your pants down around your ankles. This was like raising both your arm and your leg on the same side while trying to stand on one leg. And for the life of me I'm not sure where the other arm went to or where for sure my body was supposed to be. I was lucky just to manage a quick 15 seconds at having both appendages up in the air at the same time.

Now I am happy to admit I did manage to do the Tree pose. Granted it was a rather an unsteady tree where my arms were flailing everywhere in hopes of maintaining my balance. The teacher was showing that there was all kinds of ways to have the branches on your tree, and I said my tree was experiencing a windy day. (Photo: Tree Pose)

Then again, there was the pigeon pose. I asked the teacher why it was called a pigeon. It certainly doesn't look like the bird. She said maybe it was the way the knee was positioned, and it kind of looks like a wing. I tell you this is one HELL of a stretch through the hips! Owwww! And then we went into the Screaming Pigeon! Well, on one side I did manage to grab my foot and bring up into a some what likeness of the pose. BUT the other side--- FORGIT-A-BOUD-IT! I knew that my foot was back there some where, but darn if I could make my hand connect with my foot.

A new one thrown at us this time was the Crow pose. When the teacher first said the name, I was like what?!?! Crow? I'll probably be eating Crow before I can manage it if its anything like that other bird pose called pigeon. You put your hands on the mat about shoulder width apart, bend you arms at the elbows, and then put your knees on your elbows. Then, you lift your feet off of the mat so that all of your body is on your hands. Well, I got into the beginning of this pose, and could only manage 5 seconds of having one foot off of the mat. (Photo: A properly performed Crow pose.)

Eventually, we worked our way into the Plow pose again. I still think a backhoe is needed to get my butt off of the mat. Try as I might I still couldn't swing my butt up. I was also concerned that if I built up too much momentum to get my butt up there that I would continue to the point where I would go over completely and snap my neck. I didn't want risk a chance of this happening. I do have some semblance of self preservation.

Lastly, we went into the Yoga Ball, as I call it, where you contract every muscle in your body. Squeeze them toes and work all the way up to scrunching the face muscles. Then, from that you lay out flat on your back with your arms out and palms up. You concentrate on relaxing all of you muscles from your toes to your face. I almost could have fallen asleep this was so relaxing, and felt oh so good! And so, now I just have one more day of Boot Camp... Friday Circuits, here we come!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cold Turkey, No Turkey, & Buns of Love...

Thanksgiving Day arrives clear, and cool. A beautiful day! At the start of the Cold Turkey Run it's a brisk 29 degrees. I can do this I think. I did a 4.25 mile run in 22 degrees a week and a half ago. Hey, this is balmy compared to that, and the temperature is suppose to get up into the low 50's before the day is out. Wait a minute! Low 50's at the end of November in Northern Utah. Freaky weather, but I won't complain.
(Photo: Myself, Diane, and Holly with State Capitol behind us.)

So, Diane, Holly, Luke(Holly's Son), and myself carpool to the start of the run. Parking is always an issue up on Capitol Hill. We arrive a little early and take some pictures with every one's cameras. Then, sit a bit in the heated car to stay warm as we wait for the run to start. We shortly head over to the start and the mass of people. I mean mass in a small place. They had almost 1200 plus runners registered for the event.
(Photo: Mass before the start of the run.)

Before I know it everyone is running. I heard someone with a bull horn talking but as far back as I was it sounded like the teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon. No sound of a gun to mark the start. Just everyone started running in front of me, and well, because they were I followed suit. ( And no Mom I wouldn't follow suit if it was off a bridge... you taught me better.)

(Photo: Me with my fav hat on before the start.)

So I set a nice even pace and start off. My thighs feel kind of on the heavy side, as I go along. The nearest I can figure is the Boot Camp Pilates yesterday. But I muddled through anyway. Before I know it the run turns and starts going up the City Creek Canyon. The general course is to run up part of the canyon and then turn around and run down all the way to Memory Grove Park at the bottom. I tell you that running up hill is not my forte. At some of the steeper areas, I was just walking a brisk walk because running was too much. As I'm still a ways from the turn around, a male runner is all ready running back down the canyon. Then another male, and another. A gal that was running in the group around me was yelling out cheers and stating," first male runner, second male, third male..." Then, there came a guy dressed up as an Indian. He had to be cold. All he had on was a feathered head dress, and a pair of shorts with a little leather like outfit over it. Brrr-rrrr!

(Photo: The runners run up and down the City Creek Canyon.)

The gal yells out," First Indian!" Then comes a yell," First female, second female..." Then, I see a man running down with a stroller, and me being ever the vocal one. I yell," First Stroller!" There were chuckles around me, and the gal stopped yelling out from then on. OOooopps! Did I do something wrong?

About 1/2 mile from the turn around I see Holly running the down, Holly cheers me on and then about 1/4 mile from the turn around I see my friend Vena, and her husband Mike, running down. Vena gives me an at ta girl. I get to the turn around-- a orange cone that has a sign at the top that states--Turn Around Point. Then, its all down hill from here. YES! I'm half way there. This I can do! I pick up my pace just a bit because it's easier to go down hill. About a 1/4 mile after the turn around I see Vena's friend Leah, who barreled past me at the end of the Chasing Tail run earlier in the month. Hmmmm... maybe I'm improving a bit since that run? I try to pick up my pace a little more and then about 3/4 mile down I run past Diane as she's coming up the canyon. I yell and cheer her on.

As I head down a little further I'm keeping pace with another gal. She ends up taking off her head phones, and we chat as we run down. Before I knew it we were at the end, and I could hear Holly screaming and cheering me on. My fellow runner said," It sounds like you have a cheering section!" I thanked her for hanging out and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving and then picked up my pace. I sprinted across the finish line, as the timer said 48:28. Almost 13 mile minute. But not too bad considering! Then I grabbed some water and waited to cheer on Diane as she showed up. It was definitely a fun way to spend a Thanksgiving morning!
(Photos below: Diane approaching the finishline, and Diane crossing the finish line.)

Later on in the day, I met up with my friend Laura. We had decided to go the low stress way this year and go out to a restaurant to have our Thanksgiving. Besides, I've never been into the whole turkey big meal thing. So, we were hoping to have a local German restaurant open, but nope. No such luck for us. We ended up at Village Inn. They had a Turkey Special meal deal going on but I ended up having an Rio Grande Mexican Omelet with pancakes. No turkey for me, and no pie either. I figured the pancakes were enough of a dessert and let it be.

After dinner, we headed off to the theater to catch a movie. Wow! The theater was packed! I was glad that we had purchased our tickets earlier in the afternoon. There was all ready a line for the seating to get into the theater that was showing Blind Side. We ended up sitting in the third row off to the side. But I definitely would recommend the movie. It was very good heart warming flick. Perfect thing to see during the holiday season.

And oh, if you are still reading this far.... here's those "Buns of Love" as Diane and I named them. If you look closely these cute shorts have Love and hearts all over them. Gee, I wish my buns looked as good as these. Right now I wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of shorts like these...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Boot Camp- Day 8—Pilates & High Heels…Happy Thanksgiving too!

This morning, being Wednesday, was Pilates at Boot Camp. Oy! My glutes are feeling it today! Today’s class was like a video for How to get Buns of Steel! The focus seemed to be the glutes, thighs, and those thigh muscles that help you balance when you leaned to the side. Well, as you all know I have lousy balance—so those thighs muscles were really getting a workout.

So a bit of experimentation has gone on today. The experiment? To see if I can manage to wear my new black high heel shoes all day after a Pilates class. Well, it’s almost 4 pm and so far so good. Of course, I haven’t been doing circuits around the office like I normally would but I'm managing. (Photo- my new black shiny new heels… aren’t they cute?!!?)

I was not the first one to class this morning. I’ve been focusing on my collections booklet (my poems, my paintings, and what not) that I give out each year as Christmas presents. I lost track of time and was a little speed demon in the car on the way to class this morning. (Thank goodness, there were no cops.) So I get there and roll out my sickly green exercise mat. Lay down on the mat and away we go… This was not Aladdin’s carpet ride—darn it!

So we do a Superman. Lying on stomach with arms out in front off the floor and lifting feet and possibly thighs (if you can manage that) off of the floor too. Then, you raise opposite arms and legs at a time. Then, hold everything up for a minute. You know, sometimes, a minute can seem like a REALLY long time. Hey, and then we get to do roll-ups! I actually managed to do 5 of them total. A sign of improvement! YES!

Next, we are impersonating a table (again- like in yoga last week). From the table pose, we brought one knee in and up towards our chest and then kick your leg out straight behind you. We did this for about 50 times. Then, hold you leg out behind you raising your leg straight up as far as you can. Keep doing this until the teacher counts down …5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. Now you get to bend that leg at the knee and try to curl it up into your behind. Lucky you! Okay, now is the fun part. You touch that knee behind your other knee that’s on the floor and then raise that leg back and up as far as you can. Then, for the encore… you get to pretend you are a dog watering a fire hydrant. I couldn’t resist not making the comment that the last I checked we were all females here. Raise that bent knee up, and out to the side as close to 90 degrees as you can. Oh, feel that burn… in both thighs! Now repeat to the other side.

Then it was on to the balance beams. No, we did not try to balance on them. We just used them to lean on a little as we swung our legs (one at a time) to and fro in all kinds of different combinations. I was surprised that I was starting to feel the burn in my outer thigh that was standing still. Well, I happen to discover those muscles that attempt to compensate and balance. Obviously, they hadn’t worked in quite a while. OUCH!

But wait! There’s more….we took it back to the mats~! (As close as I’ll ever get to taking it to the mattresses—[The Godfather]). We do some bridges and squeeze those butts up and in. Then, hold your butt up there, and while still squeezing push your knees out wide and back in. Jane Fonda eat your heart out! We now end up doing a series of abs exercises. Work those stomach muscles with legs in the air, then the bicycle legs. Then, you do opposite elbow brought up to opposite knee with the one leg crossed over the other. Then, bring that crossed over foot to the ground, and do alb crunches towards the ceiling. Now do everything for the other side. Then, we do some “In and Outs”. These are like doing a sit up and at the same time raising your legs towards your stomach at the same time. YIKERS! Then, we finally get some good stretches in and the class is finis! Yes!

Also, if you have read this far into my blog… I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope it’s a wonderful restful food fest filled holiday for you! I am planning on doing the Cold Turkey Run in the morning, later a dinner at a restaurant (not sure what’s open—an adventure for sure), and then catching a movie—Blind Side, hopefully!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend Review, Boot Camp(Day 7), and Birthday Reflections...

The snow held out and didn't show up until late Sunday night. That worked beautifully for me. I managed to get a good run in on Saturday morning. I kept to my average of the 12 minute mile on a relatively flat course of 5.75 miles. I had planned on running 6 miles but I cut it a bit short because I felt that pebble in my shoe. Yes, a little blister(again) on my inner sole of left foot. Darn it! I've powdered, and Vaselined my feet but I still get these blisters. It's like I get to the 5 mile marker and my feet say," Blister Time!" (Maybe they're working in cohorts with my mouth, and it's a version of my body saying,"Miller Time!"?) I would like to figure out something to get past this mark. I'm really wanting to go for a full marathon late this summer. I think my body could work up to the full but my feet might be another story all together. Anyone have any suggestions out there? I would love to hear them. (Photo- A beautiful sunrise I took a couple months back.)

Saturday night, I had a really nice co-birthday party with my cycling pal, Jay. Jay's birthday was on Saturday and mine is today. Jay's a musician. He plays guitar, piano, and drums. He had all kinds of musician friends that showed up at the party. You could hear all kinds of live music from classical guitar to an interesting version of Metallica. It was pretty cool. One of his musician friends handed me the drum sticks and told me to just get in there. So much to the chagrin of the other band members, I pounded away on drums. The bass guitarist kept on saying," 1, 1, 1! No, 1, 1, ..." He was getting very frustrated that I just wanted play a little too much for his liking. Oooopps! But I was just having too much fun and had never done anything like that before. It was a fun party. There were friends from the cycling club, a friend from my church ( Thanks- Not-So-Good!), and Jay had friends from his work and elsewhere too. It turned out to be a nice mingling group.

Yes, today is my birthday. But I really felt like I celebrated on Saturday night. So, this morning I got up and went to Boot Camp (Day #7). Yes, I know I could have slept in, but I didn't want to start making excuses now. So I get there, and the teacher right away is wishing me a Happy Birthday. I thought that was cool. She announces to the class that's it's my birthday and then teases about having everyone sing to me. Oh, no! Please no! If it's one thing I can't stand is having that done; especially at a restaurant!

The Boot Camp starts with the usual warms up-- high knee run in place, knees out to side run in place, then the butt kick run in place. Get that heart rate up there! Then it's lunges. Then, we move into the workout. We did some more lunges but with our weights out to the side and we are trying to put one knee as close to the floor as we can, and then back to the starting position. OUCH! Then, repeat to the other side. Next thing, I know we are grabbing figure eight exercise bands and doing the lateral pull downs. Feel those muscles burn! Next, put your feet in the exercise bands and it's hamstring curls up to your butt. Then, back to the weights some squats-- regular squats and center squats with your toes pointed out. In between repeat cycles of all this, we are to do 20 Burpees. All the teacher had to say was Burpees and most of us were groaning. The next cycle, it was Burpees again. Then, the next we do push ups for the next two cycle ends. Then, lastly we do the plank and hold it for a minute. OMG! Yikes! Then we do a side plank, holding your hip off of the floor. Double OMG! I was struggling with the short/easy and bend your knees version of this. I could only manage 30 seconds once I got into the pose.

Birthdays... I really feel like I've been the same age since I was 26. Here I am in my low 40's(that's as close as I get to revealing an age) and I still feel I'm the same. Is it that my mentality is stuck on 26? Maybe I never grew past that point? It's strange. I know I'm older, and of course, my body feels older, and I've been coloring over the gray hairs for awhile now. But... yet I feel the same 26. You could ask me why 26? I don't know. It's not as though anything HUGE happened during that year. I like to think that it's my way of keeping young at heart. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking with it! So here I am a Wacky 26 year old minded individual that just turned another year in the low 40's.

Friday, November 20, 2009

BOOT CAMP--Day 6- Still Among the Living...

Wow, Day 6!
I have managed my way through 2 weeks of the Boot Camp, and I’m living to write about it too! Cool! This morning was the Friday Circuits. For the most part it was the same as last Friday but there were a few changes. But the most evident change was that I did not have the fear of the unknown, and no nightmares the night before.

We started out with the usual warm ups: knee high run in place, knees out to side (Hee Haw!) run in place, then the kick your butt with you heels run in place. Then some lunges to stretch out. The teacher had us run in place again as she showed us each of the stations of the circuit. There were still ten stations on the circuit. Quite a few stations stayed the same like; the trampoline, cross vertical rows, side butt kicks, jumping rope, triceps lift, and sit-ups. There were three new stations this class. They were…

Squat with weights—on this one there were two 15 lbs weights that you were to hold at you sides as you squatted into a sitting position and just lightly tap your behind on a folded mat that’s setting behind you. Well, I couldn’t manage the two 15 lb weights BUT instead the teacher suggested I use just one weight and hold it in front with both hands. This was perfectly feasible.

Sitting Twist with weighted ball — (It kind of sounds like an Indian name I had in a former life?) There were two rubberized weighted balls choices here. There was a small ball and a larger one. Sitting up right with legs out, off the floor, and slightly bent; you hold the ball with both hands and twist to the sides and touch the ball down on the floor on each side of you. You go back and forth from side to side. I could feel the muscles getting a work out on the sides of my waist on this one; as well as my arms too. I, of course, opted to use the smaller ball.

Lateral pull downs with exercise band—This station you would take a figure eight exercise band and holding above your head pull the band out and back behind you while straightening you arms to shoulder high. OMG! This one hurt just attempting to do it. I ended up bending my elbows, and I had to start it lower with the band pulled out or there was NO WAY JOSE!! I just didn’t have the upper arm strength. Something I need to work on, I guess.

The jumping around the ladder station was still there but there was a new and improved variety. It was still too much like walking and chewing gum at the same time for me. It was one foot in, other foot in, then one foot out, and then the other foot out and behind with bent knee. Repeat for each square and try to increase your speed. The teacher had to show me how to do this one, and walk me through the first time. Memory, speed, and coordination are just not my forte.

We did three rounds of circuits this class. There were 1 minute breaks between rounds where most of us were grabbing water to drink. Each circuit round the teacher would encourage us to try and do more reps at each station, and she would also encourage us to be pulling our belly buttons to our back spines. (Which when you think about it kind of sounds warped—belly buttons to our back spine, hmmm?) But I got to tell you I was working up a pretty good sweat doing this today. At least I’m hoping I did to cover for the big lemon poppy seed muffin I had with my morning coffee. Yummy! (Oh and did I happen to mention that I'm down 5 lbs?)

This weekend, I’m hoping the weather holds out. There's a snow storm predicted for Saturday. I would like to get in a good 6 mile run in and maybe a nice bike ride, preferably Saturday during the day since Saturday night I have a joint birthday party with my cycling bud, Jay. I might be doctoring a bit of a hangover on Sunday…?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

BOOT CAMP--Day 5-- My First Yoga Experience?

It’s a

Yes, we are back to my balance issue. This morning I found out that good balance is a necessity to doing yoga properly. Of course, the teacher did point out that the floor we are on (which is a semi- hard cushion matted floor- ideal for gymnastics ) is making it harder to balance than a normal situation where quite often there’s a hard wooden floor and only your exercise mat for cushion. Well, at least there was a cushion if I fell.

Before we began, the teacher and a fellow class member suggested that I remove my shoes and socks. “It prevents you from sliding.” I was told. Okay, I remove my socks, and before I know it we were imitating furniture and animals. It was table position, then cat position, and dog position…cat, dog, table, cat, dog, cat, table. It was a cat and dog fight around a table! LOL! Oh my!

Somehow we ended up in a warrior position of which there are three different variations. Warrior—1, 2, and 3 (one pose shown with ocean background) with certain smaller variations all were basically a lunge position with arms out. I was starting to notice my balances issues by this point. From here on out, and most of the class I found myself tittering to stay upright. We moved on to a great deal of other positions. The order of these positions I couldn’t remember because all of them seemed to be flowing into each other, and I was struggling to figure out just where each part of my body was supposed to be in each position. Some of the positions were called names like; triangle(shown in photo at top), tree, wave, upward dog, downward dog, swan dive, the splits, and the pigeon. Gee, all we are missing were the lions and tigers! Oh, my!

The tree position (shown at left) proved just how lousy my balance was. You start by standing upright with feet together and your hands at the “center” (in prayer at chest height). From there you TRY to put the bottom of one foot against the thigh of your other leg while still maintaining an upright position. Then once you have achieved that you reach you arms up towards the ceiling while looking up at your hands. Okay, then you slowly lower the one leg and repeat it on the other side. Here I am still struggling to get my first foot against my thigh; while the rest of the class seems to stream on by. Magnificent trees up against my attempt at a bush?

The pigeon? Don't ask me where they got the idea to call this position after a bird. I couldn't see any resemblance but then again my form was so BAD I was probably the ultimate garbage pigeon. In this position your hands are on the floor shoulder width apart, one leg is stretched out back behind you on the floor, and the other leg is folded across in front of the other leg with the front calf against the floor. Owwww! But wait there was more to this position... We go from regular pigeon to SCREAMING pigeon. You got to be kidding! Any position that starts with SCREAMING when my muscles are all ready SCREAMING can not be a good thing. (photo-outline of the SCREAMING pigeon pose.)

The SPLITS!??!? Here I ended up slipping on the exercise mat, and twisted my ankle a bit. After that I took a bit of care with trying this position. The teacher was amazing and was completely in the splits---Oh, to be that young and limber again! But no worries though, my ankles are doing fine now in the 3-1/4 “heels I’m wearing at work. Yes, I can wear high heels like these and stay balanced, and walk; but I can balance my own body for half of the yoga positions this morning. Boggles the mind!

Eventually, we worked our way into a plow position. Gee, I think I would need a backhoe to plow my butt off of the floor by this point. I couldn’t seem to manage to swing my legs together, over my head, and pull my behind off the floor at the same time. You were supposed to go on and support your back with your hands and elbows. This position was similar to a head stand which I haven’t attempted since I was in elementary school. I just laid there and watched every else do it.

Lastly, we did what I can only refer to as a Yoga Ball. You hug your knees to your chest and then you concentrate on squeezing every muscle from your toes to scrunching your face. After you do that you lay flat on your back arms wide, and go through and relax every muscle. AWwwwwww! I felt pretty good, surprisingly.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cold Runnings, Biking, and Boot Camp- Day 4

8AM on a Sunday morning where it was a chilly 22 degrees but sunny. I couldn't resist not giving it a chance to run in the colder weather when it was so crystal clear out. Plus, I thought that it would be good preparation for the Cold Turkey Run that takes place on Thanksgiving morning. So out I went with two layers on, a pair of liner gloves and donning my new tech material hat.

(photo of my new SUGOI hat! I'm in love with it! Isn't it funky!?!)

I started out by walking a couple of blocks then broke into a slower run. I kept my eyes focused on the pavement a few feet in front of me. There was some patches of ice in a few places where I had to be careful. I finally got the last bit of chill out of my system as I just passed the 2 mile mark. Oh, it felt so good! I was surprised as I was about 3 miles in and I still had energy to push for another mile and a quarter. Traffic was light and I very rarely had to stop and run in place. I felt good as I rounded the corner to my place. I did a little stretching and then headed on up my 3 flights of stairs.

I had to laugh when later in the day I was set to lead a bike ride of 18 miles and people were calling me and asking if I was still planning on doing it. I guess another cycling member had cancelled a ride earlier in the morning. Yes, I ran 4.25 miles at 8AM when it was 22 degrees out, and I was planning on riding my bike in the afternoon when it was a balmy 35 degrees. The roads were clear, why not? Well, I only had one other cycling club member that braved the cold temps to join me. Her and I did the entire route of my bike ride, and couldn't understand why no one else showed up. Yes, we were both bundled up in our winter gear but it was gorgeous out. The temp even got up to 38 degrees as we finished the ride. But then I've been told that I'm crazy for cycling year round.

Then, this morning I went to the Boot Camp. Day #4 and I was feeling a little bit of yesterday's run and bike when I started out. But what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger, right? Or so, I've heard anyway. The teacher started us out with the usual warm up... high knees running in place, knees out to side(Hee Haw!), and jumping jacks. Still working on getting my knees very high but I think I'm improving some, maybe.

Then we get into the routine of the day. First off, is lunges. Wow! My balance seems to be improving. I wasn't risking falling over as much on these. Then, she has us doing squats with our feet together on the exercise bands and doing arm curls at the same time. Next grabbing the weights, we were to point our toes out towards each corner and then squat at the same time doing chest presses up with the weights. "Try to get down to where your thighs are at a 90 degree angle at your knees." The teacher would say. I was struggling with doing the presses on top of the squats, so she had mentioned that we could just let the weights hang in the middle with our arms down or you could just do one arm and then the other. I let the weights just hang there for the most part. Then, she asked us to stay down in the squat and do little pulses up and down. OUCH!! I could really feel that burn in my thighs.

Then, after that we were to do 10 push ups. I did "girlie" push-ups on my knees instead of the full body. I'm such a whimp! Then, we were to do 20 of the "Burpees". After doing 15 of these the first time through I had to stop because I was getting light headed... lack of oxygen? Or could it be that I cut back on eating after 7:30PM? (Something I started since, I discovered two days ago I'm up 10 lbs since the end of Sept. YIKES!) We then repeated doing the lunges, right on through to the "Burpees" again. The last set of "Burpees" I was down on my knees just throwing my hands up. Diane just cracked up at me. I just couldn't do the full thing. I just didn't have it in me.

Then we do the "Inch Worm"; which you stand with feet together, reach out as far as you can in front of you to the floor. Keeping your legs straight and your hands on the floor, you move your feet towards you hands as close as you can. Then, repeat the process all the way across the mat. OMG!! Charlie horse hit my upper thigh, and I rolled to the side of the mat. OUCH!! I rubbed and stretched while all the rest of the class went slowly from one side of the mat and turned around and came back via the "Inch Worm". One gal was noticeably in the lead. She had been taking the Boot Camp since May. Wow!

Then we did stretching the last little bit. This was good and what I needed. But when we got to a part where we were to do a "plank". I couldn't hold it even with my knees on the floor. The easy version even proved too hard for me. So thus, the day was finished with more stretching and I was feeling that I was still in over my head. I'm hoping to work towards managing more of the class as time wages on. I'm hoping that my body's learning curve will kick in sometime soon!

Friday, November 13, 2009

BOOT CAMP--Day 3-- A Nightmare Deflated!!

I did not sleep much the night before. Between the concerns about surviving Friday’s Boot Camp and one of my paintings going up on a live auction block on Friday night, I found I just could not sleep very well. I had this recurring nightmare where I got to part of the “circuit” in the Boot Camp where I had to do 20 roll ups and EVERYONE (in the class, from my office, and the bike club) was waiting for me to finish them. I could not seem to even manage the first one, and everyone was getting rather surly with me; and the crowd was getting larger as time went on. I woke up just before 4AM almost 45 minutes before my alarm would have gone off.

This morning, I was the first at the place where the Boot Camp is held. (It’s a disease this being early stuff. I’m currently looking for a support group, and considering taking pills.) As the teacher was turning on lights and unlocked the door, I sat in my car and tried to think Zen thoughts. I tried to calm myself. I thought I have a choice on how this day is going to be. It can be a really stressful day or I can just go with the flow; or at least manage something in between (which is most likely).

Class started at 5:30AM sharp. We start with getting our heart rate up; back to the run in place with high knees. I still can’t get those knees up very far. Then the legs out to the side (Hee Haw!), and then some kick butts where you run in place and try to kick your butt with you heels. My heels don’t even come close to my butt. As we run in place the teacher goes through all of the stations in the circuit and what we will be doing at each station. As if I can remember all of these this early in the morning. I kept on looking at the next person at the station to know what to do next. The teacher timed us at each station then counted down from 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1. Switch! Here I go from where I started…

Station #1—Dead Drop Weight- I chose the 10 lbs rather than the 20 lbs. You hold the weights, one in each hand, at you waist and then drop them down to your toes. Keep the back flat and push your butt out and back towards the wall. I managed this one.

Station #2—Weight Push Ups/Presses?- There were two choices of weights- 5 or 10 lbs. I was keeping it easy and chose the 5 lb. weights. You push the weights up from your shoulder to a fully extended up arm. Okay, I could do this one.

Station #3—The Trampoline! Yeah! This was the FUN break. It had been years since I had been on one of these and this was fun. It was fun watching different people jump around while you were at other stations. A couple of times I yelled," Careful! Don't bounce off the wall!" ( I tend to wonder if anyone got my humor this early in the morning.)

Station #4—Cross Vertical Row? I'm not sure what to call this. There were two different choices of exercise bands (one harder, one easier) that you put your shoes together in the middle of then cross the handles. Bending over you pull the handles up and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Do it in controlled movements.

Station #5—Side Butt Kicks! Putting your shoes in each end of a figure eight exercise band (two different band choices) you kick your feet up and out towards your butt. I started doing a little dance with this one. The teacher just smiled at me.

Station #6—Arm curls with the exercise bands (two choices of bands again). Put your feet in the middle of the band and grab the ends then curl your arms up. I did a little variation with this doing arms singularly and together. My arms were starting to feel the burn.

Station #7—Jumping around a ladder on the floor. This was a challenge because it required coordination that I don’t naturally possess. The teacher of course made it look very easy and some of the other members in the class also managed to make it look easy too. Along comes the natural klutz (Me) and here I go… Jump in first box, jump with legs off to side of ladder, jump back into box, (jump back into box one up that’s what I was supposed to do-- but …) then jump one box forward. Repeat until at end of ladder and turn around come back. The first circuit I barely managed to get to the end.

Station #8—Triceps’ lift? This was almost a sitting squatting position with your back next to a bar that was about 2 ft off the floor. You have you hands on the bar and slowly lower your butt almost to the floor. Then raise yourself by straightening your arms. Owww! I could really feel the burn!

Station # 9-- Sit Ups! On a foam triangle with your knees being the highest part of the body, and all the blood rushing to your head! It was supposed to be that you were supposed to sit up all the way into a sitting position. I just couldn't do this! I ended up doing just stomach crunches.

Station #10—Jump rope! Now this was something I really could do, and I enjoy doing it. I just whipped right along on this. The teacher commented on how fast I jumped along. What can I say??-- Jumping rope is me in my groove!! Cool! All those PE classes in elementary where I would win the jump rope contest finally paid off!

5, 4, 3, 2, and 1... The first circuit was done, and WOW! I'm still standing! Gee, I got all concerned and worked up for no reason. The teacher had the class take a short one minute break. Then come back to the middle mat area for a couple of exercises. One was like a push up position where you lifted one arm and rotated your body reaching for the ceiling with the other arm. ( Repeat 10 times for each arm. See photo.) Then the other exercise was on your back up on your elbows legs out with scissor legs. Abs-- Can you feel that burn?

Then one more circuit around the stations; trying to do more reps at each station. Then after that take a minute rest and then back to the middle mat. We finished off with some stretching, and we are done. I'm up right and I actually feel pretty good. Cool! Now let's see how the rest of the day goes... And at least I'll be up to wearing heels tonight during the auction!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

BOOT CAMP--Day 2-- Concerns About a Lame Duck Session...

Waking up this morning I REALLY had concerns about managing the Boot Camp. After all, it only took me 5 minutes to get out of bed. Most of yesterday my muscles were still screaming. Yesterday my mind was playing to the tune..."Ice, Ice, Baby..." as I attempted to apply ice packs and ice bags to every part of my body when I got home from work.

It explains the ever slight soggy mess that I woke up with this morning. I went to sleep with an assortment of ice packs and ice bags last night. This morning discovered that one of them had sprung a slight leak. Ugh! I never imagined myself as an adult waking up in a wet bed. Ahem! But at least it was just water.

So I managed to get out of bed, and dressed. The socks and tennis shoes were the real challenge. Then I drive up to the place where the Boot Camp is. Well, I wasn't the first one there but I still had time to spare. I mentioned to Sofia after I struggled to get out of my car that I wasn't sure what I could manage this morning. My whole body felt like a stiff board, and I was concerned about my lower back still being sore. I was not sure if I could manage any of the class. I was just barely managing to show up, and believe me, I was questioning why I was there.

I mentioned the lower back to the teacher just prior to class and she said quite often that was common because those muscles probably haven't been used in a while. She said to just take it easy, and make sure that you are doing each of the exercises properly. She said that the lower back pain should disappear over time, and I should feel better and more flexible over time. Overtime?!? I REALLY could use a little bit of instant gratification right now!

So class starts and we are doing Pilates. Okay, so I get to finally break out my brand new exercise mat. It's rather like a sickly green slightly foamy pad. I lay it out and end up turning it over because it started to try to roll up. (Guess I need to get it out more often?) So everyone gets down on their mats on the floor with the teacher up front. It took a little doing to get my body down there but I managed it. We go through the Pilates routine that the teacher had worked up, and it's not to bad. It seems to focus more on the legs and abs. I didn't have to worry about balance. Bonus!

So we are lifting our legs to the side, then lifting them out, and back. Then the teacher directs us to point our toes and do circles. Well, I've discovered that I don't seem to have the coordination to point my toe, raise my leg and then move my leg in a circular fashion. It's like walking and chewing bubble at the same time. I just can't do it. So I rest my legs while everyone else in the class is twirling their legs and forming circles in the air. Then, we repeat the other side. I ended up resting again when we get to the twirling your point toe in the air. Which rather worked out well because some of the leg muscles were feeling the burn!

Next we are directed to do what's called a roll-up. It's coming from a flat on your back to a sit up reaching for your toes position. Well, this was a problem. Because if I had been able to do it this morning; it wouldn't have taken me 5 minutes to get out of bed. So I got up into a sitting position and stayed there. I did some stretching instead while everyone else in the class was doing the roll-ups. It was a bit embarrassing that everyone else in the class but me could manage it.

Next there was some more stomach crunches with variations of legs up, scissor legs(??), and bicycle legs. Ooooooh! Feel that burn! At this rate if I lose a little weight I could maybe dream of a 6 pack stomach? Dream, baby dream! Then we were on to some much needed stretching. Wow! I was actually feeling better towards the end of this class. My muscles were still screaming but at a MUCH lower volume! Yeah! I made it through another Boot Camp class.

Next this Friday morning.... Boot Camp Circuits??!!? I don't know. I heard some nightmare stories about these. Yikes!