Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just Passing Time

I am the world's worst blogger. I am sorry.

I have actually been active...kind of. Yes, I'm doing a lot less than running 2 miles 3 times a week, but I'm doing something. I'm averaging 1 2-mile run a week and 1 alternative activity (yoga so far). And I have plans for more.

I'm still going to take advantage of ice-free above-freezing evenings and weekend days to get outside. I'm going to do at least one in-home activity a week, and I'm looking into local fitness classes. In fact, I'm taking my first Zumba class this Saturday with my cousin, April. Yay! I really likes the class environment when I belonged to a gym in 2009. I think this will also give me something to look forward to week by week and help me get through my winter blues.

Back to the ice topic. I totally bit the dust on Wednesday morning after slipping on a huge sheet of ice at the foot of my stairs. I landed on my left butt cheek and right knee, both of which are bruised but not damaged. Have fun picturing that. :)

So yeah, there goes my fall-free streak. I had JUST told someone on Monday that I hadn't fallen this year, too. Yup, I brought it on myself.

In summary, please bear with me as I battle through this cold weather. I don't have exciting running tales to tell, but I do have some great mental images for you.

First is me wiping out and landing sprawled uncomfortably on the sidewalk amongst my laptop bag, tote, purse, and bagel (landed in the snow).

Second, big girls just can't do some yoga poses the way they were intended (the fat gets in the way). But, I did attack the shoulder stand AND plough positions. I almost suffocated beneath the girth of my chest and belly, but I totally "stood" straight AND kept my toes on the floor in plough. Booya!

Later dudes!

UPDATE: Here's an image I found that kind of shows how I landed on the ice. Nice, huh?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Silent But Deadly: A Triumphant Return

What better way to follow up a post about beans than to post one with this title, huh? Well, fear not, no beans or gas in this post.

In case you weren't fortunate enough to listen to me complain about it in person, or read about it on Facebook, or be one of the lucky recipients of my germs, I'm just getting over a bout of the plague.

Frankly, the timing couldn't have been better. If I had gotten sick any earlier, I would have missed out on some good times with my best bud when he came back in town and some other great friends. If a major project at work hadn't been postponed a week, I would have spent 2 overnights spreading my germs and being miserable at a video shoot. If I had gotten sick a week later, the same scenario with the overnight shoot would have happened but this week instead of last.

On top of all that, I had already planned on taking a week off from running when BAM, plague-a-go-go. Sore throat, congestion, coughing, sleeplessness and sleepiness. No fun.

Speaking of taking a week off, it was actually 11 days, including some warm winter days that I'm so bummed I missed out on. I also went through some guilty moments and some fearful moments. Guilty for feeling lazy and fearful about getting out of the habit and never getting back to running again.

Irrational? Maybe. But I won't discount the way I felt. I'm glad I went through those emotions. Without them I'm not sure I would have been so eager to return. I'm also glad for my most recent issues of Runner's World. Right in the pit of my fear and guilt about taking a break, and frustration with being sick, I read a blurb in the magazine about taking a break. It said it's not a bad idea to take a week or 2 off every year. Then I realized that this was the only break I had taken since I started running nearly a year ago. I think I was due. Guilt erased. Kind of. I still feel pretty bad about getting 2 of my co-workers sick. Oops!

Well, I did return to running today. I had the day off following 2 grueling nights of working third shift, so I took advantage of the last day before the White Death visits Cincinnati again tomorrow. The temperature was hovering right above freezing and my parking lot was clear of snow and ice thanks to the last few days of rainy weather.

Since it was still daylight, I knew I couldn't rely on seeing headlights to keep me safe from cars in the parking lot. I decided to leave the headphones at home so I could hear the approaching cars instead.

I ran without noise for the second time and, unlike my first experience, I LOVED it!!!

Not only did I stay safe, I got to hear how much my breath control has improved since the days of gasping and choking--well I still choke, but not for lack of breath (allergies). I knew I was improving, but wow.

The funny thing is, in the same magazine-reading moment I mentioned above, I read that if you don't work on varying your speed and run on hills (neither of which I do), you're JUST going to improve breath control.

JUST? Really?

Like that's not a huge deal? Uh, people, that is the HUGEST deal for me. Breathing is what's held me back from being active for so long. I've spent the last 10+ months working on my breathing so I can run longer, and it worked. That warrants more than a "just," don't you think?

I also enjoyed getting lost in the rhythm of my breathing. For the most part it stayed really steady. It only really changed when I walked for a bit and then started again. I had a hard time getting back to "in 1 beat, out 3 short beats" pattern.

But it felt really good to run today. My legs were ready to go. Considering my 11 days off and the fact that I spent the last two nights standing in virtually one spot for 7 and 8 hours, I'm surprised I could even walk.

I planned on trying 3 laps (3-ish miles) but stopped after 2. I have some kind of mental block on anything more than 2 laps; I need to get rid of that stat.

I also threw in a few short bouts of "fast" running. I keep reading how it's important to do that to work different muscles and to just get the practice, so I tried it out. Not bad! I actually liked it! I think I'll do that from now on and maybe one of these days I'll get faster (right).

So, consider this my triumphant return. Just in time for the city to freeze over. Fabulous.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beans And Yoga And Netflix

"No beans!"

Up until the last two-ish years, you could find me at a Chipotle on the east side of Cincy, feverishly exclaiming this to the burrito assembler behind the counter. "No beans!" (I'm so over Chipotle, by the way.)

I never liked beans. I may have when I was little-little, but it's probably one of the few foods that I became picky about as I got older. I have no idea why. I don't remember a particular bad bean incident and I don't remember experiencing a bad taste when eating them. Maybe it became a texture thing for me. I'm not sure.

So, I lived a no-beans lifestyle until just recently. Sometime within the past few years I decided I could eat them, but only as an ingredient in something. Early last year when I decided to be a vegetarian (read a little about that adventure in my first blog entry and in another entry where I gave it up for good), I started eating them a bit more. Again, only IN foods, not by themselves. And get this: even more recently I enjoyed a 4-way with beans at Skyline. Big step, people.

But then my friend Anne devoted an entire blog entry to the magical fruit (yes, Anne, I'm 5 years old too. I was horrified when she said she could eat beans straight out of the can. How disgusting! Why? Not in something? Just ... raw? Blech!

Well, I just committed the ultimate no-bean felony. I just ate a kidney bean fresh out of the can (after rinsing, of course), and then I ate another one, and another one! WHAT THE HECK?! They were good and I can't believe I just said that.

I'm still a little shocked.

Good thing I'm in a Zen-like state after doing a lovely yoga workout.

That's right, I found my yoga DVD! (I don't actually remember if I told you I misplaced it, but I did.) I first mentioned the DVD back in August when I canceled my cable service and had high hopes of trying out some exercise videos instead of wasting my brain cells on meaningless broadcast television. Ha! That worked really well. But I'll get to that in a few.

I'm going through a bit of a lull in the running right now. I ran on Friday morning, thanks to a vacation day. It was cold. My leg muscles never warmed up and I felt like I was running with stones under my skin. (That's not real comfy, folks. And if you have pointers on how to get rid of that sensation, please let me know.) And it's just so stinking cold! To top it all off, Snow-mageddon has arrived here in Cincinnati and pretty much everywhere from the Mississippi River east. Therefore, the grass is covered, the pavement is covered, and it it will likely stay covered until the next heat wave and rain storm join forces to wash the sadness--er--snow away. Sigh.

I have somewhat resigned to the fact that I will not be running outside much for a little while, and since I hate the treadmill with every fiber of my being, I will probably not be running much at all. This means I will likely fail the "30 miles in 30 days" challenge, as I anticipated.


So, what's a girl to do? Watch movies of course. Oh, and force myself to explore some fitness video options.

This is actually one of the reasons I signed up for a free trial of Netflix this weekend. (That and since I don't have cable, I have to use rabbit ears, which are disappointing me hugely right now.) I'm already pretty much addicted to Netflix. It's terrible. It's amazing. I'm in love.


Last night, in lieu of getting one more outdoor run in before the 3-inch blizzard hit, I sat on my couch and loaded my Netflix queue with fitness videos. So, those combined with my newly re-discovered yoga DVD should help me maintain some of this stamina and leg strength I've worked so hard for over the last 10 months.

This brings me back to yoga. I've done this video before and I imagine on the spectrum of yoga difficulty, it's probably a 2 out of 10. There are levels to chose from. I, being the beginner I am, chose the fully modified version. Yay for having a yoga block and belt (though I need a new yoga mat since mine is a piece of crap from Goodwill). The more difficult levels in the video are probably a 3, 5, and 7 on the difficulty scale, but I'm just guessing.

Despite it's low level of difficulty, I specifically remember my muscles really struggling at certain spots in my previous attempts. Holding your body weight is tough stuff, especially when you weigh as much as I do. I've always had crazy strong legs, but there are certain poses that make me shake (anything with "warrior" in it is pretty much a guaranteed leg workout). Tremors are supposed to be a sign that you're really having to work. So yeah, lots of tremors in the past.

Tonight? Not so much.

Not that I didn't already know this, but it's now pretty obvious that this running business is really strengthening my legs. I was also able to squish down into poses that I struggled with before. Less fat to get in the way? Yeah, about 40 pounds less. (Okay, maybe 35 right now, thanks to the FRIGGIN' SNOW!) But it was kind of cool to feel the difference in my body that way.

I'm looking forward to working on this video a bit more. I wouldn't mind getting some flexibility back. I just have to get over the boring factor of yoga in general. (Ohmigosh it's boring.)

So, this is already an enormously long blog entry, but I'm just making up for my lack of posts lately. Instead of an eloquent wrap-up, allow me to bullet.
  1. I like beans now
  2. I'm going to try this fitness video thing
  3. Running = difficult when it's so cold and snowy
  4. I'm likely going to fail my "30 miles in 30 days" challenge
  5. My yoga DVD may be a little too easy for me, but I'm going to keep trying it
  6. This yoga venture has allowed me to feel the difference in my body, not just see it
  7. Namaste, y'all

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Challenge: 30 Miles In 30 Days

Well, I just signed up for something a little crazy. And it's goal-oriented, too, which is SO not me. The good thing is there isn't anything to lose. If I fail, it's no big deal.

That being said, I'd like to see if I can pull it off. Hopefully it doesn't make me angry or depressed, which happens to me if I start to fail at something. Thus the aversion to goals.

Anyway, here it is:

Banner from

I got an email this morning from, inviting me to join in the 30 in 30 Challenge. I did some quick math and figured that 30 miles in 30 days is not a whole lot more than I do now. I could totally pull that off, right?


If the weather cooperates. Unlikely.

If the weather cooperates and I can do another lap on my weeknight parking lot runs and maybe another lap or two on any daytime weekend runs, then yeah, I can do it. But if it snows or gets really cold (like it is right now), I could be out of luck.

Yes, I have a treadmill to fall back onto if the weather gets bad, but there's no way I can go longer on that thing. I hate it so much it's hard for me to stay on it for 20 or 30 minutes, let alone 40 or 50. Gah! Hate it! Patooey!

Oh. Sorry. Focus ...

But then I got to thinking of the positives of the challenge. It could really be a chance to get some longer distances in. I could be ready to fully run a 5K when the first one comes around in March. I could be putting myself in a good position to train for the half-Pig. I could lose some weight. I could get through January a lot faster (only to face friggin' February after that).

Interesting ...

So, despite all those ifs, I went ahead and signed up anyway. I wanted to post about it 1) so you all could check in on me and 2) in case any of you would be interested in the challenge. They have running, walking, cycling, and exercising challenges -- take your pick. Check out the NYE Challenges here! If you complete the challenges, you get entered to win stuff. Plus, if you haven't already made use of that website, you need to get on it. It's pretty great, as is its App on the iPhone (and maybe other devices).

So, wish me luck! And please do some anti-snow-and-ice dances/rituals/praying/bargaining. Let's work together to keep winter away, folks!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

No Cavity And More Redeeming Runs

Good news! I don't have a cavity! Turns out it was just a particularly pesky piece of food. Gross.

Thus my first ever New Year's resolution: FLOSS EVERY DAY.

So far, so good. I have flossed every day this year! WOOHOO!

On to a quick running update. I've had one not-so-hot and two good runs (including this evening) since my last post. It's hugely helpful that we got a bit of a heat wave here in Cincy. The rain and heat got rid of all the stupid snow just in time for a few days off after Christmas and for the New Year's holiday. Tonight was the first nighttime run I've had in a long while. I kind of missed it, in a strange way. When it's dark, it's easy to not get wrapped up in how much distance you have left to cover. It's easier to stay focused on what's right in front of you. Step by step by step.

I was battling some sore feet tonight, but the discomfort lifted somewhere around mile 1.5 (out of about 2 total). I wish that would have gone away earlier, but oh well.

Let's see ...

Oh, I may have been talked back into signing up for the half-Pig. And I may have, in turn, talked that person into doing it as well. It'll be a huge step for both of us. I'm still scared though. I don't like being so close to the possibility of failing. I just need to come up with a race-day plan. A good, solid plan and not a semi-winging-it plan. Any help you can offer on that kind of plan would be greatly appreciated.

And now, I'm going to try to ward off my post-run-shivers with a hot shower. Brrrr!

Oops, almost forgot ... Congrats to my pal, Matt, for completing the first day of Couch to 5K (and hopefully the second day tonight)! Yay Matt!