Thursday, January 26, 2012

Strong-Arm It

I have determined something and I wanted to share it with you all. Oh, and brace yourself for some bicep pictures.

I've decided to try to accomplish something within a certain period of time. Some people might call that a "goal," but we all know how I feel about goals. Most people would also figure out a way to measure that "goal" to determine success. But since I'm not setting a goal, I will not measure anything, at least not in the technical sense.

See, for normal people, goals should be SMART. That's S-M-A-R-T:

Kindly borrowed from

 This thing I've determined won't be entirely specific. I'm not going to measure it, per se. It's attainable, for sure, or I wouldn't even try (because I'm just that driven). It's realistic (see last point). And it's going to happen before a specific date--May 12, 2012, to be exact.
If I did set goals, this one would probably sound something like this:

Decrease the circumference of my biceps by x inches by May 12, 2012.

But NO! No goals! No measuring! Otherwise it will not happen. I balk at goals--we know this.
So, what I've determined is this:
There is absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be able to make these lifeboat-sized arms of mine smaller before I have to don my beautiful navy blue bridesmaid dress for my friend Sarah's wedding this May. No reason at all. 

Let's look at some pictures of my bulging (for all the wrong reasons) biceps before moving on, shall we? (Ooh, something shiny...)

Flappy! This was taken after the first 5 days of my first boot camp.

Those wings could "lift us up where we belong."
Dude, that girl is pissed. Probably because her arms are so huge. Those ripples are not muscles, folks. And the answer to your question is, "Passionately singing along to 'Hold On' by Wilson Phillips at my friend Anne's wedding."

Same pic from another angle! Sarah, the bride in the upcoming wedding, observes my arms in horror from behind. "Those things are going to hurt someone!"

My arm has it's own boob.

One of these things is not like the other. Guess which arm is mine. And the answer to your question is, "Yes, I was wearing a zebra-print tank at a New Kids on the Block Concert."

And that, folks, is why I've determined what I've determined.

So, why should this work? Why should this non-goal be a non-failure? Because it's easy, that's why.

I have, in my possession, two sets of hand weights, a gym membership until the end of March (with rowing machine!), a newly purchased set of wrist weights and an also newly purchased set of resistance bands. Most arm-strengthening workouts do not require sweating, so the excuse of "I don't feel like getting sweaty today/tonight" is out the window. So is the "I don't have time" excuse. I don't need a full-blown workout to work my arms a little. Hell, I'd be content to do 3 sets of 10-15 for maybe 2 arm exercises a day. I also plan to play my Just Dance Wii game with my new wrist weights attached.

And another reason this is going to work: because I have low expectations. I don't expect Jillian Michaels arms. I just want mine to be smaller. To look better (as determined by me) in my sleeve-free dress.

My dress.

Three cheers for terrible Photoshopping (not by me, thank you)!

So, that's what I've got for you. A non-commitment to a non-goal. I will also give you promise to get pictures of my arms in the dress come May. Just pester me in case I forget.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Theory Confirmed

Second night in a row with the rowing machine = AMAZING!

I did 10 minutes and after watching the how-to video last night, it was much easier to get lost in the rhythm of each stroke.

I jumped on the treadmill right after and felt like I could've run for an hour. Too bad treadmills are boring. I only lasted for another 20 minutes.

But NO leg cramps and my back and knees felt wonderful.

I'm in love.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Cure For Shin Splints


I found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Nay, nay...

I found the double pot of gold at the end of a double rainbow.

Even better than that, I have found the cure for shin splints! I still need to do some more tests to give my discovery a bit more weight, but I believe it. 

I hit the gym after work tonight and started my latest running workout regimen. (5 minute warm up, run 5 minutes, walk 90 seconds, repeat 5 or 6 times, cool down.) My shins were doing the usual cramping, but nothing huge. I got through 2 intervals and had to take a little break for...something.

When I came back, I decided to give the rowing machine a go. It's always intimidated me and it's right in the middle of everything and I don't like being watched while I'm doing something unfamiliar. (I've gotten over my aversion to being watched while running on the treadmill. I would prefer that someone not watch my fat flop all around, but I figure the "Wow, that fat girl is running...impressive" factor wins out over the "Look at all the jiggling!" factor.)

So, here's a rowing machine:

LifeSpan Fitness Rowing Machine. Image from

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the proper form is to start from all squished up (legs bent, arms forward), drive with your legs then pull back with your arms. Then you pull yourself back up into a ball and start over. 

Actually, here's a video showing proper movement:

So, when you pull yourself back up into the ball at the end, you use the straps around your feet to pull, thus using the shin muscles, along with others I'm sure. IT' TOTALLY STRETCHED MY SHINS OUT!! (Something I've found very difficult to do.)

After my little rowing experiment, I hopped back on the treadmill and felt like I had new legs. "New legs, Lieutenant Dan! New legs!"

From, of course.

No shin splits whatsoever. Too bad I had worn myself out on the rowing machine and doing a few arm thingies. And too bad I just wanted to go home. I could have run for ages after the miracle machine took away the shin splints! 

I'm a miracle worker. 
Oh, what did you do tonight?
Hmm...not much. Just did a little running and, you know, found the cure for shin splints!!!! OMGGGGGGS!!!

And that's all I've got. I'm freezing. Time to drink some tea and eat some cookies.  =)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Is This Thing On?

Hello world!

Yes, I am here.
Yes, I've missed you.
No, I haven't abandoned you.
No, I haven't fallen off the running train.
No, I haven't quit running.
No, I haven't quit working out.
No, I haven't given up on this blog.
Though I thought about it. Giving up on the blog, that is. 

Not because of you, though. In fact, you're the primary reason I'm going to try to get back into the swing of blogging. Some of you have told me that this blog helped you in some way, shape or form, and the idea that someone might miss out on something because I've become too lazy and maybe jaded is unacceptable to me.

At one time I needed this blog for me. I needed it to keep myself going, to hold myself accountable and to see that there's a big community of runners out there--however nontraditional those runners might be--who want to share what they know and who want others to feel the joy and feelings of accomplishment that come with running.

I need this blog less now. Running has become part of who I am. When I stop running for a period of time, I know something is off. When my knees hurt too much to pound the pavement or the treadmill belt, I have no doubt that I will be back on the pavement or treadmill belt as soon as my body lets me.

I do miss talking about running, though. At my previous workplace I had developed a small group of running mentors and buddies who I could turn to with questions or just thoughts. Those folks helped me be the runner I am today. For the most part, they're still in my life and I can still go to them when I need to, but they're just a little less accessible.

I miss talking about running so much that I find myself talking to perfect strangers about it. I was at the Apple store yesterday and had quite a conversation with the Genius (is that what they call the associates?) who helped me. She was just getting started with running and seemed eager to hear the tips I had to offer about arm bands and running apps and even about how to start slow, take it easy on yourself and do run/walk intervals. (BTW, if you're reading this, hello! Thanks for your help, and good luck!)

So, this has already turned into a longer post than I expected. Old habits, eh?

What I came here to say is that I didn't go anywhere. I also want to start writing here again, but I'm not going to make any promises about how often. That's a really grand idea, but I tend to balk away from goals and anything that feels like an obligation. Because I'm a responsible adult.

I will tell you, however, that me and three of my gal pals are on the cusp of signing up for the 4-person Flying Pig relay. I'm tickled pig-pink to get to be a part of this event again without having to do the half-marathon.

I also want to say thank you to an old friend, Amy (P)H., who recently signed up to run the Flying Pig half marathon, committed to some weight loss and fitness goals, and set up a blog to hold herself accountable. I thank you because you made me realize I need to get my butt back on here. Girlfriend has 2 young children and she's about to rock the running world. Watch out!  =)

So with that, see you soon!