I’ll admit that I have fitness ADD. I find something that tickles my fancy and I engross myself in it until I really can’t stand it any longer. Actually – I’m that way with a lot of things. When I was in 7th grade, I asked my mom to make me salami and cheese sandwiches for lunch EVERY DAY. I ate the same sandwich EVERY DAY for lunch, Monday – Friday, for 7 months before I decided I was on another kick (peanut butter & fluff). I haven’t eaten a salami and cheese sandwich since. No lie. Anyway, when I first moved to Indiana I didn’t have any friends and I had left my family back in Pennsylvania. So naturally I immersed myself in the gym scene where I accidentally stumbled upon Zumba. I instantly fell in love. After the first class I found myself rearranging my schedule so that I could make it to every evening class that was available during the week (that also was taught by my favorite instructor). That love turned into me pursuing my group fitness certification and eventually teaching my own classes. This love affair with Zumba lasted for about 4 years until I decidedly became officially burnt out and it was no longer fun for me. I was dreading going to teach class and after teaching my own class and aside from taking classes from a select few, I found it hard to be part of the class again. So I was on to the next thing. Enter running.
I officially began running in 2011 while I was still in the midst of my Zumba phase. But as I was becoming more serious about running and training, Zumba began to take a back seat. In fact, after Lifestyle Family Fitness became LifeTime Fitness and I lost all of my LesMills classes (BodyPump, BodyAttack, and CXWorx), I really stopped enjoying group fitness all together. The classes at LifeTime Fitness (I only speak of the facility I was a member at, not the company itself) just didn’t measure up to what had been the caliber of classes and the instructors when it was Lifestyle. So I just focused on my running and lifting weights here and there.
Now I’m 3 years into running and while I still enjoy it – I’m looking to add something else to my weekly line up. I want something that is fun and engaging as well as promote long, lean muscles. My friend suggested Pure Barre. I’ve had a few friends now who have tried Pure Barre and absolutely LOVE IT. They rave about it. I also did some research about it and I decided to give it a shot. A nice thing about this company is that your first class is absolutely free so there is no risk in giving it a try. That is a major plus in my book!
I always go in to new workouts and classes with an open mind and try hard not to be biased. After my first Pure Barre class, here are my thoughts:
- The facility is really nice and clean. The front lobby area reminds me of a little boutique where you can buy accessories and Pure Barre gear.
- The front desk gal was super nice and welcoming. She gave me the short tour and a welcome goodie bag.
- The actual workout room is large and spacious. Everything looked clean and smelled clean (which is huge in a fitness facility). There was plenty of equipment (mats, balls, weights, and bands) for everyone.
- During the actual workout – my arms felt like they were getting a good workout despite the light weights, my legs were definitely shaking from time to time during the bar workout (hello plie squats!)
- Although I didn’t sweat, I felt like my major muscle groups got a pretty good workout.
- The instructor didn’t do the workout with the class. She walked around to check form (which I totally can appreciate), but she gave directions on the microphone which was about the same level as the music so it was sometimes difficult to hear what she was saying. Also, because she wasn’t always demonstrating, being new to the class and new to the lingo, I had NO IDEA what was going on.
- The lady next to me took my equipment instead of her own, so I was always 2 moves behind everyone else while scrambled to where her things were so I could also have equipment. That lady was so clueless, she had no idea that she even took my ball in the beginning. So that automatically threw me off from the start. For future reference, stand next to someone who looks like they know what they are doing.
- It was super crowded (good for them, not for me) – so I felt like I was going to hit the person next to me during the upper body weighted segment. Also – it was so crowded that when the instructor did do demonstrations on the bar, it was at the opposite end of the room and her back was facing the group (no mirror) so I still had no idea what she was doing. I tried to look around but the people in the class were all doing different things so I wasn’t sure who was doing it right.
- If you haven’t been going for a while, some of the directions make no sense. Her idea of a pulse and what I call a pulse are two different things. What in the world does pulse, freeze mean?
- The instructor didn’t ask if anyone was new in the beginning of class so when she finally came around to inform me that I was doing it wrong (which I already knew), I had to tell her that I was new and had no clue what she was talking about. After that she did a better job of circling around more to help when I obviously looked lost. Actually, I felt pretty dumb in this class and who likes to feel dumb? Not me.
- I checked my watch every 15 minutes – that’s not a good sign. It seriously felt like the longest hour of my life.
- It just didn’t have that spark for me. If I’m not super into the class within the first 15 minutes, I’m probably not going to come back. I do my best not to leave class in the middle because I don’t want to offend any instructor, but I was seriously ready to go after 20 minutes.
- It is SUPER EXPENSIVE. Even with my teacher discount, it is still $140 a month. Thats a bit pricey for only 1 type of class every day.
All in all – I can see why some people really enjoy this. My instructor was nice, she knew what she was doing, she was rehearsed, and the music was okay. I can tell I will be sore tomorrow because I used muscles that I don’t normally use in my regular workouts, but sadly this workout just isn’t for me. I just couldn’t get into it and for that money, I need to be addicted.
As I say goodbye to 2013, it’s nice to take a look down memory lane and remind myself that although there were some of the rough goes that each year brings, there were also some high points too. It is so important to keep these high points in your memory to remind you that life isn’t that bad and when you are feeling down and out, you can always pull on your best memories to keep yourself in check.
So more as a reminder to myself when I’m feeling bad about my nutrition (or lack thereof), how I’ve fallen off the workout wagon (I will get back on soon, I promise), or how I continuously make excuses why I’m not making it to the gym (it’s freaking cold outside!) – I can take a look back at my 2013 and know that if I did it once, I can do it again, and if I stick to it I can probably do it better.
Without further ado – my top 10 2013 fitness highlights…
1. I climbed 36 flights of stairs. That’s 780 steps and 500 feet straight up in 7 minutes and 6 seconds coming in 3rd place in my age group and 206th out of 1,068 people. Not bad for my first try and not training.
2. I hit a new personal record for my 2nd half marathon. I ran the OneAmerica 500 half marathon in exactly 2 hours, which of course was my goal. I’m so proud of that number and I’m hoping to maybe hit a new PR in 2014.
3. I placed 3rd in my age division at the KeyBank 8K during the Carmel Marathon Weekend. This put me in the running for the Triple Crown Series.
4. I placed 3rd in my age division along with my husband at the Geist 5K this year and we ran the 5 miles back to the car in the rain. It was definitely a memorable race.
5. I won 1st place in my age division in the Triple Crown Series 8K events (KeyBank 8K, Eagle Creek 8K, Hoosier Park 8K). The first time I’ve ever placed 1st in anything!
6. I placed 1st in my age division at the Noblesville Fit Fest 5K. The second time I’ve placed 1st in a race and it was in the same year!
7. With the support of a few friends, I completed my first Whole30 program without any cheats or having to start over. Through this program (and a lot of testing and doctor visits) I was able to determine that I have a gluten and dairy intolerance that was causing some undesirable effects on my body. I have now since remedied those and I am feeling WAY better.
8. I was able to help a friend run in her first half marathon and ensure that she reached her goal of finishing in 2 hours and 30 minutes or less. There were times where she wanted to stop but together we pushed through and we ended up beating her goal by a few minutes. I am truly blessed to have been able to be a part of that experience with her.
9. I tried many new fitness activities in 2013 including CrossFit, SkyZone Skyrobics (trampoline exercises), Insanity, Hip Hop Abs, and Boxing to name a few. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone allowed me to realize that there are some activities that I really enjoy that I never thought I would and others that just aren’t the right fit for me and that is COMPLETELY okay.
10. I had a 2013 goal to run 12 races in 12 months and I met my goal. I used to be that person who said, “The only way I would run is if someone was chasing me,” or “Look at those people running outside. They look miserable.” I never thought I would have enjoyed running as much as I do and I look forward to keeping up with this fitness adventure in 2014. Perhaps 14 races in 2014 should be my next goal. What do you think?
Happy New Year!
The Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon was my 2nd half marathon for the 2013 running season and my last race of the running season as well. Yes – I’ve hung up my running sneakers until the weather gets warmer again (metaphorically… we all know I still workout during the winter months, I just don’t pay to run in the cold). I’ve never run in the Indy Monumental half before, but I’ve run two downtown races so I figured it would pretty much be the same thing.
For this last race, I ran with my friend, Alyssa. Alyssa decided to run the half marathon (her first half marathon) to raise money for Joy’s House, an adult day service in Indianapolis for adults who need assistant and cannot provide for themselves. She had a goal of $200 and a finish time of 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Where do I come into play you might be thinking? My job was to be her running buddy, to keep her motivated when she wanted to quit, to help her with her pacing, and to let her know she was doing a good job. I was able to run with Alyssa a few times prior to our actual race day but nothing more than 8 miles. In fact, neither one of us ran more than 8 miles before the race. (To be honest, I didn’t train as much as I should have for this race but I was in the middle of moving from my house into an apartment and then from an apartment to my new house… it was quite a hectic month for me). I wasn’t too worried for myself, however, knowing I had run 13.1 miles earlier in the year and I run quite often. I know how to pace myself for longer runs without over doing it in it the beginning.
Race day arrives and we get to the start line. There is no race coral and no one is really pushing to be up towards the front. I find this oddly refreshing compared to my last downtown half marathon start. It is very relaxed. The music starts and we are off.
We ran most of the 13.1 miles with a couple of walk breaks and lots of water breaks to ensure hydration. In the end, not only did Alyssa exceed her $200 fundraising goal, but she also finished her very first half marathon in just 2 hours and 24 minutes (6 minutes under her goal). I am so proud of her and I’m so glad I was a part of it! Way to go!
The Ghost and Goblin 5K has got to be in my top 5 favorite 5Ks to run, most likely because I get to see a bunch of my students participating plus the proceeds benefits my school district. But it is also a really fun course to run. It takes you through downtown Carmel and over to the Monon trail for some great fall scenery before taking you back to the high school.
Ever since I was hired by Carmel Clay School District, I have run in the Ghost and Goblin 5K. In fact, this race was my very first 5K I ever ran in back in 2011. It really does hold a special place in my heart.
This year it was unusually brisk out for an October run, 33 degrees to be exact. Luckily I had my long pants, long sleeve running shirt, and running gloves to keep me warm. I can’t say the same for my supportive husband who had all of his jogging pants in storage (we were in the process of moving and the majority of our stuff was in storage). He toughed it out in a pair of gym shorts, long sleeve shirt, and a thin jacket. I’ve certainly got myself a good man!
We headed out for the start line with 5 minutes to spare and took off. The great part about repeating races is that you are familiar with the course and so it is easy to pace yourself. Plus the cold is motivation for you to run a bit faster so you can get warm quicker. We took off, set a solid pace, and simply enjoyed the run. It was over before I knew it and I was back at the high school looking for my students to congratulate them on a job well done!
Anything coconut is all the rage these days. As I’m sure most of you know, coconut water has many health benefits. The first thing (which is the sole reason I tried drinking it in the first place) is that it is filled with natural electrolytes. It is a great way to replenish your electrolytes after an intense workout without any added sugar, preservatives, or ingredients you can’t pronounce. It is all-natural and who doesn’t like that? Drinks that are filled with natural electrolytes, like coconut water, are a great way to help lower your blood pressure. For all of you people out there who watch your carb intake, it has low sugar and carbohydrate levels. Plus it helps promote healthy skin, fat loss, and weight loss. If those aren’t reasons to start drinking coconut water, I’m not sure what is.
Naturally, I went out and started buying up coconut water. Who knew that there were so many coconut water options out there? I certainly didn’t! I’m not going to lie, the first time I took a swig of the cold, refreshing drink I about spit it out all over the place. NASTY! Eventually, I branched out a tried other brands. Some are better than others and I haven’t tried them all, but here is what I’ve found.
So now you know – if you know of other brands please feel free to add to the comment box. I’d love to know what brand you love (or hate). If you’ve never tried coconut water before, I challenge you to go ahead and give it a try. Your body will thank you for it!
Today was just one of those days. I was sleeping so well and I didn’t want to get out of bed so I snoozed… now I’m running 10 minutes behind schedule. I opt for my morning coffee with coconut milk and rush out the door with the plan of eating breakfast at my desk. One thing leads to another and I’ve forgotten to eat and the kids are coming in for the day. I’m hungry, I’m irritable… I’m HANGRY and the kids notice. I quick eat a Lara Bar that I have stashed in my desk drawer to hold me over until lunch. But the tone has been set for the day…. It’s an especially long day just because right after school I rush to tutor for an hour and I don’t typically get home until around 5:15 (I know that doesn’t sound like, but I leave the house at 6:25 AM).
The heat index is reading 102 degrees outside. YUCK! Thank goodness I’m not scheduled to run today but I’m in desperate need of lifting. I haven’t lifted in who knows when. But all I want to do is sit on the couch and turn on the TV. So what do I do? I call my trusted best friend to give me a little motivational pep talk. She told me about her supersets, how I can get it done in 30 minutes, and be on my merry way. That was all it took. As soon as I got home, I put on my workout clothes so I had no excuse. I was out the door and off the to the gym. And you know what? She was right. With the use of supersets, I was in and out (warmup and stretch included) in exactly 30 minutes.
I’m so thankful for friends who not only promote healthy habits but live them as well instead of justify sitting around and being lazy. Thanks Kimberly!
Today’s Workout: 4 sets of 8 reps per exercise
- Superset 1 – Weighted barbell squat, Dead lift
- Superset 2 – Dumbbell step up (8 per side), 1-legged Dead lift (8 per side)
- Superset 3 – Dumbbell Walking lunges (8 per side), Dumbbell Sumo Squats
- 25 pushups
- 50 abs exercises
- 25 pushups
- 50 abs exercises
Saturday, August 17 started just like any other race day. My alarm went off about an hour before I needed to leave. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, put some tinted SPF on my face, pulled my hair back, and got my race gear on. It was a brisk 48 degrees that morning, but just like a nice fall day (wait a minute… it’s August), it was scheduled to warm up a bit later on. So I opted for my Nike capris, pink top, and long sleeve pull-over. I checked the clock, 6:45 AM and we need to leave in 15 minutes in order to find parking, get to the packet pick-up table, get our race bibs, timing chips, and put the bag of goodies in the car all before the race starts. Guess who was still sound asleep in bed? That’s right, my husband. I gently shook him on the shoulder to get him awake. Meanwhile, I let the dog out and put food and water into his bowl so we could get out on time. I have anxiety about being late…
Being an inaugural event, you never know what to expect, especially because the Noblesville Fit Fest wasn’t just offering a 5K, but also a Sprint Triathlon, Sprint Duathlon, Sprint Aquabike, Aquathon, and a Kids Aquathon as well. That’s A LOT of races to manage in one event. The race was located at Forest Park in Noblesville. It is probably one of the prettiest parks I’ve been to in the area and it is HUGE. It boasts a mini-golf area, carousel horses, skate park, playground equipment, baseball diamond (with bleachers), and a pool with a serious high dive. I’m sure I’m missing quite a bit (like the beautiful surrounding nature) but you get the point.
The 5K was first up in the race events. The course was simple, just running a straight path over the bridge and onto the trail. Now let me just say that this was my kind of trail run. Paved trail wide enough for 4 people across to run next to each other if they wanted to (although no one did) and all around you were beautiful trees, plants, and the river. If I wasn’t running in the race, I would have definitely stopped to survey my surroundings.
It was also a fairly flat course so I made pretty good time. My husband, the loving supportive man that he is, ran next to me the entire time… until we reached mile 2. We came up on a little boy no more than 10 years-old (and that’s pushing it). He was running his little heart out, speeding up, slowing down, not really having a specific pace in mind. So naturally, I sped up and passed him as did my husband. We kept our pace steady. And wouldn’t you know that little kid sped up, passed us, and then slowed down again right in front of us. Well, my husband didn’t think it was so cute anymore so he simply took off leaving both me and the kid in his dust. Real nice, sweetheart, real nice. So now I’m left trying to push myself to get around this kid. My music on my phone wasn’t doing me any favors. Every time I would get close to him, he would hear my music and speed up. Not to mention this kid was running back and forth closing any kind of gap that I could possibly pass him with. I was getting frustrated because I was also speeding up and slowing down so I didn’t trip over him. I saw an opening and decided to go for it, I sped up ready to pass him on the left and wouldn’t you know the minute I started to gain on him, he started drifting that way. Nope – sorry kid. Not this time. I put my hand out and touched his arm and said, “On your left.” And that was it, I took off to put some space between us before I slowed back down to my comfortable pace. That kid didn’t try to pass me again. I was finally free.
My husband was no longer in sight… so I just keep trucking along picking off people to pass in front of me. At this point, I’m pretty sure my lungs are ready to collapse because I’m seriously booking it. And of course there is that pesky hill at the end… always a hill at the end. I swear they plan it that way. I round the bend and the finish line is in sight and I can hear people cheering, “Way to go, Joel!” Joel?! Who’s Joel? I turn to look over my shoulder and I see this guy creeping up on me getting ready to pass me. Well now my competitive side has kicked in and you better believe I’m not going to have someone pass me in the last 0.1 mile of the race. I put my best sprint forward and cross the finish line where the fresh bananas and bottled water are calling my name.
I found my husband relaxing on a bench nearby. He told me I did a good job. I wanted to smack him because I ate a good dinner, went to bed early, and ate breakfast while he ate a crappy dinner, went to bed at 12:30 AM, and woke up 15 minutes before we had to leave with no breakfast and he STILL beat me. Some things are just not fair. It’s a good thing I love him!
He came in 3rd place in his age division while I placed 1st in mine. Another PR set for me. It is the first time I came in 1st place in my age division on any given race. I’m pretty proud of that. We collected our prizes and called it day. All in all, it was a fun race, great scenery, and the race coordinators did a great job. I look forward to participating in it again next year.