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!

Monday, November 9, 2009

BOOT CAMP--Day 1-- Balance Issues?

This morning I discovered just how lousy I am with my balance. It's a mystery how I am able to balance thousands of miles on skinny bike tires but I can barely stay upright with both feet on the ground trying to do lunges with 4 lb. weights in my hands. There were more than a few moments during my first 5:30AM Boot Camp that I almost toppled over. I was actually glad when we went to the floor and started doing what felt like 5000 sit ups; at least I didn't have to worry about falling over in front the 7 other com padres.

I being the ever prepared and never want to be late person that I am set out early to where the boot camp was being held. I was pumped, and was wearing my new tech t-shirt from the Chasing Tail 5K Run. But maybe I was being prepared and pumped a little too much? I even showed up before the teacher! I showed up at 5:10AM with not a soul in the parking lot. 5 minutes later the teacher showed and unlocked the door. The teacher said she never slept before a first class. It's like the first day of school; she told me. I laughed and told her that I had to force myself to go to bed at 10:30PM last night so that I could be up early but I still found I couldn't sleep past 3:30AM. I'm an insomniac at heart. She laughed and we chatted until the more of my "classmates" started to stumble in around 5:25AM.

She had us start by high knee running in place. Try as I might I couldn't get my knees very high. Then, running with our knees out to the sides. Now this I could do very well. Though, I'm sure I didn't appear very lady like while I was doing this. I felt like I was pretending to ride a horse; all I needed was the cow girl hat! HEEHAW! We then proceeded into a couple of more exercises to get the hearts beating. With that very well accomplished and sweat running down my forehead we proceed into the squat/lunges routine, and I discovered I have no sense of balance. I kept looking at Diane and mentioning that I was having "balance issues". She laughed. I couldn't help but laugh and continue to make comments (in between trying to JUST breathe) about how do I manage to balance on a bike. The physics were astounding! The teacher even chuckled a little.

I did manage all the way through my first Boot Camp. Though I will say I was taking the easy versions that she was showing us as the class went on. She would show us the middle ground of the exercise, and then the extreme variety of it that would require real strength and REAL balance (which I would just roll my eyes at Diane about--as if ever I could do that.) Then She would show us the easy version. Towards the end of the Boot Camp, all that I could manage was the EASY version. I really felt like I was out of shape after surviving that class.

I had spoken to the teacher a few days prior to this first Boot Camp, that I had never done something like this before. I mentioned that I had concerns that I might not like it. She said that if after the first class I didn't like it; that she would refund the whole amount I paid. So here I was after class, barely standing upright on solid ground, and she asks what I think. This would have been the prime time to venture out of the situation, and dumb me! Nope, as I'm feeling every muscle in my body scream. I say I'll see her Wednesday morning. What the H&*@*^^# was I thinking!?!??? I'm blaming a lack of oxygen to my brain... But so there will be more torture in my future. Wednesday's Boot Camp? Yoga and Pilates! Yikes! ( I hope most of which are on the floor.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Like a Virgin and Chasing Tail....

This Saturday during the Chasing Tail 5K run I was like a “virgin” (as my friend Jeffy said) heading into unchartered territory. This is the first time I had actually done a real registered run. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I got there early thinking about the long lines that can occur before a registered bike ride. Boy was that every an overkill on my part. The lines at the registration table never did get very long and they had plenty of wonderful volunteers to help out. In the Activity Barn at Wheeler Farm they even had an area set up with coffee, bagels, and fruit. It was nice.
(Photo: Lucy and Me before the run.)

Dogs! Dogs! There were dogs everywhere; all varieties from a little chow-wow puppy to a huge lovable St. Bernard. But there seemed to be quite a few golden retrievers and golden labs. Which the logo for the Squatter’s Pub Chasing Tail Beer has a golden dog in it. A coincidence? Or maybe, these are just the most popular breed of dogs in the area? All these dogs and not a cat in sight; I could just imagine the chaos that would ensue if a cat did show!
(Above Photo: Who's walking whom? Zeus and Mike.)
I managed to get my lucky number for my runner’s number. Lucky number 13!! The gal at the table asked me if I might want another number which I thought was rather humorous. No, I told her this IS my lucky number. With the registration packet I got a white tech Short sleeve t-shirt. Cool!

It was cold when I arrived at Wheeler Farm. I ended up grabbing a hoodie and a pair of my biking winter gloves. Just before the run, it started to warm up a little. The high of the day was predicted to be in the mid-60’s; just a glorious sunny day! I put my gloves in the car but kept the hoodie on, as all the runners headed over to the starting line. The route would be two laps around the farm with an ending that went towards the center of the farm near the Activity Barn. It was a crowd of about 500 plus people; some with dogs. (Photos: Vena putting Mike's number on. Lucy, Diane, and Annie before the run.)

Bang! The gun went off and everyone started. A mass start can get a little hairy, I discovered. Some of the runners that were up front took off very quickly and as you headed back into the mass there were slower runners and walkers. People were running past me as I was running past others but as we headed into the first turn it kind of started to separate out and thin. I started slow and started to build in speed as much as I could. It was a nice cushy dirt path that we were running on. It was a pretty route running through fall colored trees and among rustic barns. About a half mile along, I had to take off the hoodie and tie it around my waist.

At the one mile mark, they had a water station and another guy that was calling out times with his watch. As I passed, I heard him call 12:15. I grabbed a paper cup of water. I quickly discovered that it’s near impossible for me to drink water out of a paper cup and run at the same time. Quite a bit of the water ended up down the front of me. A lesson learned! I walked until I finished what was left of the water and then started running again.

At this point I started to notice a pair of girls that were running in front of me and were really setting a nice pace. So catching up quickly to them I set in behind and matched their pace. I asked if they minded, watching my P’s and Q’s. (Maybe I should get a running etiquette book?) They said they didn’t mind, and that their only goal was to finish before the pregnant ladies. They continued to chatter on at a good pace while they ran, and I just hung back and listened. I couldn’t run and talk to them at the same time. I was concentrating too much on keeping the same pace.
(Photos: Leah, Mike, and myself after the run, and below-- Diane after the run with the finish line in background.)
The second lap and before I knew it I was at the water stop again. The gals continued and didn’t take any water but being thirsty I stopped running and I took a paper cup from a volunteer. No water down the front of me this time! There was no guy this time announcing the time. I’m guessing that those that were out here now didn’t really care about their time? Just prior to the last turn before the water stop there was a group of faster runners that went whizzing by me.
Just before the last turn into the finish, Vena (all ready finished) was off to the side and cheering on runners. She yelled my name out as I ran by. Into the last turn I ran, and Vena’s friend Leah sprinted past me. I tried to step it up but as I got closer to the finish line she got further in front. Then another girl sprinted past me and I tried for all I can to speed it up. My finish time as I crossed the line—38:39! Basically a 12 minute mile average speed; not too shabby. Shortly afterwards, I spotted Diane crossing the finish line. As we grabbed water bottles and ice cream bars near the Activity Barn, I thought to myself. I would like to do this next year and see if I can beat my time. A beautiful day and a beautiful run!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

An Indian Summer & Finding My Mojo

Aww... it's so hard to work on days like this! It's 73 degrees, a bit of a breeze, and a few clouds. The song "I want to ride my BICYCLE!" from Queen drones on in my head as I wish I had one more of those 12 vacation days left. "BICYCLE! BICYCLE!" This is the ultimate " Indian Summer" day with all the trees turning those glorious fall colors --oranges, yellows, reds; all of it against the back drop of the snow capped mountains. Oh, the amazing beauty of it all, and here I am stuck at my desk! Ugh! I TRY to focus on work, (BICYCLE!) but I'm really finding it hard, and darn it I'm to honest to come down with an quick version of sickness that's enough to get me out of work this afternoon. So I sit here at my computer day dreaming about riding through local areas on my bike, and hopefully in the process I haven't hung up on too many customers in the wake of my lack of attention.

Last night I finally managed to get in a run after work. It was only a quick 2 miles but it felt SO good. I found myself inspired yesterday by a fellow blogger who spoke about a wonderful early morning run. (Thanks Actionbell writer of the Growler--her links at right on this blog.) It had been a whole month and 1-1/2 week since I had my running shoes on. I was getting a bit concerned about managing a 5K that I signed up to do this Saturday. I know I could probably walk it, but it's the sheer idea that I would rather be over prepared than under prepared. If that makes any sense. I guess you could say that I'm a bit of an over achiever? But the run was wonderful last night. It was just warm enough with a slight chill to make it really comfortable. While I ran, I enjoyed the sunset as I watched rushed people try to get home in their cars. I'm so glad I only have a 2 mile commute home!

You could say that I'm finally getting off of my duff! I'm finally feeling like I'm finding some motivation to do things. It's like my "MOJO" is back! Yeah, finally! This afternoon I signed up for a Boot Camp that Di had suggested. Three days a week for 4 weeks at 5:30AM. I'm a bit nervous. I've never done a Boot Camp before but I'm willing to give it a whirl. So I guess I better stop staying up until 2am reading and try to go to bed a little earlier, huh? Start doing early mornings instead of late nights-- no problem as long as I get my 5 hours I'll be fine. Awww... the benefits of being an insomniac!

Monday, calls were being made for the annual yurting expedition. It looks like that will be going down in March. Last week, I also signed up for a Cold Turkey 5K run that's on Thanksgiving. You could say the wheels are finally turning in this dense skull of mine, and I'm playing with some ideas.... maybe hitting a half marathon this Spring, and maybe trying for a full marathon later in the summer. We'll see what happens, who knows? I often come up with things at the last minute or opportunity. After all, I started training for September 70.3 Tri at the end of June, and I hadn't ran in 20 years! I can still see that incredulous look that the running shoe salesman gave me. But we'll see what the future holds, after all I like to tool around a little on the path of life and just see what crops up. That's what makes life so much of a fun adventure!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Fun & Some Ragged Ann Downtime!

One of my favorite holidays!
I've been preparing for a few weeks for this day. In the morning I hosted the 3rd Annual Tricky Treat Costume ride. There were over 20 riders that showed up for the event. I think the beautiful weather helped. It was sunny and in the mid-50's! I went around in my Ragged Ann outfit greeting everyone, offering a treat (from a black pumpkin that had assorted mini clift bars and sports gels), and everyone got a ticket for the drawing prizes. I had some good prizes lined up for a 1st through to 5th place for the costumes.
(Photos: Myself as Ragged Ann with the Genie doing the Door Prize drawings, the whole group, the Hockey Player with color print, Lovable Ralph the dog, Laila as a witch, Janice getting the Applebee's gft card, and Kim with Di in her black-n-white outfit.)

After almost everyone got signed in for the ride. I did the drawings for door prizes-- I had an Applebee's gift card, a color print of my Halloween Bike Ride painting, inner tubes, and a nifty little wine opener. Doug, costumed as the Genie, helped with the drawing. (I really thought he was teasing me about coming as me.) Janice(a witch) won the Applebee's gift card, Tonya ( a tough hockey player) got the color print, Penny (pj'd and rollers with her lovable Ralph in tow wearing a santa outfit and loving the attention) received one of the tubes, Rich ( another cyclist) received the other tube, and then Jay (Mr. Tin Man) received the nifty wine opener.
(Below- Doug as the Genie in all his glory!)

(Above photos- The Wizard of Oz trio, Mr. Tin Man doing his strut!)
Then it was on to the Costume Strut Contest as I had everyone clap and yell as each costumed rider strutted their stuff in front of the other riders. Some were shy; and some not so shy. First place went to Jackie. She was the construction safety cone. (I tell you I've never seen a safety cone signal before!) 2nd prize went to Doug who was dressed as an Aladdin Genie. 3rd place went to Dorothy (as played by Kim C.) and he companion the Scarecrow (as played by Steve H). 4th place was the third of the Oz trio-- Mr. Tin Man (as played by Jay). 5th place was claimed by Wonder woman (as played by Dana). But there were more costumed individuals than prizes but all were wonderful and very creative.(Picture below are the Costume Contest winners with me)

After the Costume contest, we headed out for the bike ride. We headed to the downtown area of Salt Lake and we received quite a bit of attention from everyone as we went along as a group. People yelled, or waved, or honked as we passed, and I felt like I was in a parade as we went down the one way street at the Gateway Mall. It was fun! There were a few moments where we had to regroup. It became the phrase to "wait for our safety cone"; as Jackie was wonderful enough to bring up the rear of the group. We wouldn't be safe without our safety cone! Following the ride, we had a get together where I served soup, cobbler, hot cocoa, and hot chocolate. A great deal of the riders hung out and visited for about an hour after the ride.

(Photo: Di's Neighbor, myself with doll, Anny, and Di.)
Later on in the afternoon, I went over to my friend Di's place and hung out the rest of the afternoon getting a little visiting, trick-or-treating, handing out candy, and a spot of her neighbor's spook alley(their garage). It was fun but by 9PM I was more than ready for bed.

(Photo- Di's neighbor and the entrace to her Spook Alley garage!)
Sunday I figured I deserved some Ragged Ann downtime, and I hung out on my loveseat with my ragged ann doll (made by my Mom years ago)watching some movies. One of which I would highly recommend... Henry Pool is Here. A black comedy movie about a sad depressed man who moves new into a neighborhood. His house that's newly stucco'd has a water stain that a noisey neighbor is convinced is the face of Christ. Things tend to happen and the situations get rather funny too.
(Photo of Ragged Ann Doll my Mom made me.)