Monthly Archives: January 2010

Today I Googled “Motivation”

This Sunday started out like most Sundays tend to for me these days. Eyes open around 8am and it’s hello hangover. The usual thought is “Well alright, this is fine, I’ll just drink a cup of coffee and recover.” But really, it ends up ruining the whole day. Actually “ruin” might be a really strong word, but it definitely swallows a chunk of productive/activeness I can’t get back.

So as I sat on the couch this morning, I realized this cycle was in play. And I wanted to stop it, especially after half a week sick in bed, but I couldn’t get my ass up! Why couldn’t I motivate? What is the deal, mel?

When in doubt–Google it.

So I googled “How to motivate” (how sad) and read this article. The wise man who wrote this, no doubt he has a long white beard, laid out 3 high level steps to kick shit in gear:

  1. Boost your confidence–yes, you can
  2. Develop a tangible focus–what do you want?
  3. Develop direction–make it actionable, how will you get there?

the old wise man. sweet sweater.

I love these steps. Yeah, it’s pretty simple and a little captain obvious, but it’s helpful. I read into it not just to help me get my butt off the couch, but to apply it to my goal of getting back in shape since these illnesses screwed me over took hold on my life.

I immediately emailed a friend of mine to tell her I was going to make a plan. Though it’s not one of the wise man’s 3 steps, telling someone your goal will help keep you accountable. I know what I want (better health & fitness), I’m confident I can make it happen, and now I need to make a plan to get there. Without a plan the goal will just float in a pretty cloud over my head for months as that thing I’d like to do. And that’s just a waste of a cloud.

So this week I’m going to figure out a schedule to get myself back into shape. I’m thinking I shouldn’t dive in head first because I probably owe my body a little more time to recover from this week’s flu ordeal, but then I’m all in. GET BIG!

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Me, Runner? Maybe

Today I got an email from a friend I used to work with with a mysterious link in it. No message. No “whatup mel?!”. So I clicked on the link. And it brought me to this book on Amazon.com:

It’s been possibly a good 2 months since I’ve ran. I’ve documented this no-running phenomenon (can we call it that? we can. a phenomenon.) as I dabbled in workout DVD’s, ventured to the gym, and discovered spinning class.

Since that last spinning class entry I battled a 2 week cold, one week of finally thinking I was recovering, and then BAM some kind of flu madness. WTF! One might ask “Hey Mel, why are you getting sick so much?” And I might answer, “Hey guy, I do not know”. Although.. I think I do know:

  • not enough sleep
  • alot of late nights
  • working with people who have very young (always sick) kids
  • I am being smited

Anyway. Regardless of my stray from the original sport, and my illness frequency, all of my friends & acquaintances still think of me as a runner. This is encouraging. One of my other good friends is debating challenging herself to a marathon and wants me to run with her while she trains. Another calls me an “athlete” (I haven’t corrected her; I like it).

I believe in the long run–pun definitely intended–I will get back to my A game. I’ve done the comeback runs before, and have never regretted it. I imagine the first outside run will take place end of February on an unusually warm day, and I will attempt 3 miles. It will be hard, but I’ll finish. Kind of like life? Too deep?

So until then, once I’m 100% back from this last flu deal, I’ll be sticking with non-running activities, maybe even getting back into yoga. Maybe writing more often. That would be neat.

P.S. For all you NYC people–groupon.com has 50% off one month of Bikram yoga today. Wahoo!

The Poor Runner’s Guide to Nutrition: Legumes

May I introduce Sofia of Crunchy Granola Gal. An awesome local lady who I date from time to time. She was so kind to write up this guest post for She Runs Brooklyn, and may be making an appearance more often if I have it my way ;).

The Poor Runner’s Guide to Nutrition: Legumes

I recently quit my administrative job at a law firm to go back to school. Soon after, I had an important and rather obvious realization: I ain’t makin’ no monies no mo’. I’ve toyed with the idea of a part-time job, but am going to wait until I settle into my schedule of classes, field work, internship and half-marathon training before I fill my Moleskin planner with yet another weekly responsibility. The problem this creates is that I have the metabolism of a thirteen year old boy and need food every three hours or so. Therefore, I am trying to base my diet on cheap, nutritious, fiber and protein-packed foods. The answer: soup, more specifically of the legume variety.

Who doesn’t like legumes? The word alone is perfectly puzzling, frequently mispronounced and has a fascinating background. According to Wikipedia, the intellect’s guide to random facts that make one seem cultured and sharp, legume stems from the latin word legumen, from the verb legere, to gather. So, on a lovely rainy Sunday, I decided to legere the ingredients hanging around my cupboards and refrigerator to put together a cheap soup. When poverty strikes and hunger calls, I’m willing to get down, cheap (and dirty?) in the kitchen. The result? Some kick-ass soup.

Lusciously Low-Priced Legume Soup

serves 3-4

Ingredients:

-1/2 large white onion, diced

-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 teaspoon curry powder

-1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

-1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

-1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

-1/2 cup dry yellow split peas, soaked for at least two hours

-1/2 cup dry red lentils

-1 sweet potato, pre-roasted/ boiled/ microwaved until soft and chopped into one-inch cubes

Preparation:

1.  After soaking the yellow split peas, rinse and combine with rinsed red lentils in a bowl. You don’t have to soak the red lentils — these babies cook fast, unlike split peas.

2.  Pre-heat a large soup pot with olive oil. Place chopped onion, with powdered spices, in oil. Let sizzle until browned.

3.  Place legumes and parsley in pan and stir continuously for a minute or so.

4.  Add a lot of water to the pot… maybe five cups? Six? Use your noggin here. There’s not a ton of science behind soup, folks. Throw in the pre-cooked sweet potato, stir and bring to a boil. Then cover and cook on low for fifty minutes.

5.  Ladle soup into bowls and serve. I found blue corn tortilla chips a favorable dunker with this soup, but any kind of cracker would work too.

Note: my sweet potatoes were pre-seasoned with a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and some olive oil. Might want to throw a chili pepper or some a powdered spice with a kick into the soup at step number two.

That wasn’t too painful, now was it? A bit time consuming, what with the pre-soaking and all, but honestly, you can soak some legumes early in the morning, go for a rainy run and laze around your apartment all day in a piano key necktie t-shirt and boy shorts. These are normal Sunday activities that one must partake in in order to successfully make lusciously low-priced legumes come together into a lovely concoction.

Keep on eating, running and rockin’ in the free world…

-Crunchy Granola Gal

The Non-Running Runner: Spin Class Kicks My Ass

I used always view spinning as a wimpy class. Why? Because you’re sitting on your butt and just using your legs. This is not running (nothing is as good as running–see where my mind was at?). Well, in a continued effort to find new workouts since it’s too cold for me to run outside comfortably, I gave the class a shot last week.

The spinning class at the NYSC near my office offers a 6:30am class 4 days a week, and my first go was Jan 4th. My first day back at work in a week, I figured I’d kick my ass beforehand to make it a little better ;). Waking up at 5:30 wasn’t as bad as I remembered it being, and I got to the gym with 5 minutes to spare before class.

The instructor asked if anyone was new right before we started and I waved my hand. He came over and adjusted my bike for me.

Two things I learned about proper spinning bike setup:

  • When you push one leg all the way down, your knee should not go over your toes, just like when doing lunges. Your lower leg should be in a straight line.
  • The handlebars should be in-line if not a tiny bit higher than the “saddle” (the seat).

Once set up, the class started. Holy. Man. It was an intense workout. My first mistake was not brining a water bottle because my lips and throat were burning. But besides that, I haven’t worked that hard in a long time. My thighs were definitely fatigued after 15 minutes, and my breathing was very fast. The “jumps” (where you stand up and sit back down repeatedly) were a good challenge, and of course increasing the resistence was like torture. In my head I was thinking “I will kill you! Make it stop!”. But then before I knew it the class came to an end and we were stretching.

Why did spinning kick my ass so much if I’ve been running for 10 years? Because it worked my muscles differently than I ever have. I think if it was between running for 45 minutes or spinning, my body would need more energy to spin since I’ve never built up my muscles that way. Also noteworthy–I didn’t get the mental treadmill ‘going nowhere’ feeling on the bike. Probably because I rarely ride a bike outside, so I didn’t have a different environment that I was wishing for.

Now I currently have a new found love for spinning. I’ve been going three mornings a week, and am going to stick with it until I get bored…. or until spring comes and I can run outside again :).

NYC Blogger Lunch Invite

Hey blogging team out there. A few of us are meeting up this Sunday Jan 10th to grab some late lunch in NYC. If you’re interested in joining (of course you are) hit me up via email. Wahoo!

Non-Running Runner Adventures: Billy Blanks Tae Bo DVD Review

Continuing on my non-running regime (bummer), I bought another DVD to try out for morning when it’s too freaking cold to walk to the gym at 6am–“feels like” 4 degrees?!–but I want a butt kicking. I find that I feel a lot better all day with a little butt kicking under my belt, and If I could get one everyday that would be sweet. I miss my morning runs alot at this moment in time.

Short slightly unrelated to the DVD story: Before embarking on said DVD purchase, I was feeling down and out about having such a wimpy workout regime and started looking for solutions that would keep me accountable and get me back in shape as soon as possible. Kinda like magic. I came across something called the Pure Power Boot Camp in NYC and thought it looked perfect: a military trainer will kick my ass four times a week for six weeks. I will be buff, I will pump. you up. I called them to inquire about the cost since it’s nowhere on the website. They got back to me–over $900! WHAT! And this is where the story ends.

So. I bought a workout DVD to do in the comfort of my small Brooklyn apartment bedroom in the morning before work. It cost $15, a much more affordable investment. The Billy Blanks Ultimate Tae Bo workout.

The DVD has an option to do an hour and a half of Tae Bo, or there’s also a shorter condensed butt-kicking option. I opted for the condensed version. The one thing that’s cool about working out in your room alone is that you can wear whatever you want, i.e. pajamas. Sweet.

Review: The pumped up condensed workout was about twenty minutes long, which was maybe a little short, but kinda perfect if you have little time in the morning. I honestly didn’t think my butt was being kicked that hard, but I was doing upper-cuts, high kicks, speed bag, jabs and more Tae Bo type moves. The routine was definitely not boring–it was fast paced and changed very frequently to different routines and different muscle groups. Billy Blank is ripped, by the way. One of his thighs is bigger than both of my legs put together. Bigger than an anaconda who just ate something really big and still has it sitting in it’s snake stomach. Wasn’t that a weird analogy? I’m leaving it in.

I didn’t think the workout was anything spectacular as far as cardio–my heartrate never really soared. But I have to tell you, I am sore today and I did not expect it at all. My arms and my back are definitely in pain. That’s pretty cool because I’m pretty sure I never (ever) workout my back.

Thanks Billy. You did some things for me. I’m sure the hour and a half version is like running a Tae Bo marathon.