Monthly Archives: February 2010

She Plays Guitar Take 2

Hey friends.

Remember a few months ago when I wrote that I was taking guitar lessons? And then I posted a Life List, and on that list was the hope to write a song? I did. I wrote a number of them actually. I’m so happy I found this outlet! Wahoo for doing what I always wanted to do (you should, too).

I wrote this in October actually, a month after I started. It’s called “the news” and it’s about (and for) a friend of mine. I didn’t go to spinning class yesterday, so I thought I’d sing to you instead. I really don’t know what else to do with my songs! And it feels nice to share them:

P.S. I realize this is completely unrelated to running

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Really Early Wake Up Calls = Mel the Blob

Let’s took a look at the workout plan sched (skej) for Wendesday:

Looks pretty innocent. Just some “spinning”. No big deal. Oh wait, it’s at 6:30am at the NYSC gym 35 minutes from my apartment. AKA I had to wake up at 5:30am and book it there. Through the cold, frozen, sidewalks of Brooklyn. Pity me yet? No?

Waking up actually wasn’t too bad, and I got out of my apartment in 20 minutes. I stopped at Dunkin Donuts right before hopping on the L train and got a shot of espresso to pick me up (a regular coffee wouldve been too much liquid to have to drink in 10 minutes). I also got a lowfat blueberry muffin, ripped one bite off the top and threw out the rest. Strange behavior.

I got to the gym with 3 minutes to spare, threw my stuff in a locker and hopped on a bike. The bike I chose was really out of alignment for my height, but I couldn’t get the seat to move up and the class was already starting. So I did the whole class with my knees coming up way higher then they should have. Bad form, but good effort?

The instructor was an awesome blonde chick who was engaging and positive. She also played good music which is rare. We did speed a lot of speed intervals and my thighs burned pretty much the entire time. My favorite part of the workout though was the hot shower afterwards :).

I’m glad I did it, but really the whole rest of the day I was a blob. Rolling along throughout my office leaving trails of slow blobbiness everywhere.

blobby.

I need to solve this blobbiness issue if I’m going to keep these 5:30 spinning classes in my schedule. Anyone have a cure? My appetite was also bonkers (who says bonkers?) but I guess that part makes sense–more energy expenditure = my body saying feed me more, yo.

Day 4 = success, if a little slimy.

When the Goin Gets Tough Remember To Take Care of Yourself

Normally, I love my job. I work with great people, and we make cool things happen. Today, however, was not a good day at work. Just one of those days when too much needs to get done in not enough time, and things get a little hairy. Today was like cousin it.

my day at work, but i'd throw a few curls in

I ended up working until 7pm, and needless to say when I finally shut down my computer I did NOT want to go to the gym and to complete a workout. Had this been any other time in my life when I didn’t have a workout schedule I would’ve been on the train pining for sweatpants and my bed ASAP (and chocolate. definitely chocolate). But you know what? I’ll be damned if a bad day at work will take over my attitude and have me put myself last. I changed my mindset to focus on putting my personal goals first, and taking care of my needs! Sounds so selfish, but I’m really just comparing my wants to my career pressures. So this is okay :).

Today’s workout plan:

I arrived at the gym at 7:15 which unfortunately means I missed the 6:30 ab class I penciled in, but something is better than nothing. I hit the dreadmill treadmill and got in my 2 miles. They started out powerful–“I am strong! Damn the man!”–and ended with staring at the mileage on the clock as it creeped towards 2. Torture. I kept bumping up the speed for 2 minute intervals so I could reach the distance faster and get the hell out of there. Unplanned speed work, sweet. Once I hit the big 2, I slowed down and walked on an incline for 4 minutes. Then I hit the road.

When I got home consumed a large plate of steamed broccoli and red kidney beans + a spicy black bean veggie burger. Glory. glory. We are the champions.

My friends.

Stick To Your Plan From the Get-Go (i think i can..)

This morning was the first “workout before work” day with my new regime, so it was important to me not to miss it. I think once you start to make concessions and allowances with decisions/rules/whathaveyou, it automatically sets the tone for not taking it seriously. And I’m trying to be serious here. (get big, right?).

So I set my alarm for 6:30 giving me enough time for the 40 minute workout + whatever time I need to get ready for work. No matter what the temperature was going to be, it’s just 2 miles that I need to complete.. that’s doable. Just 20 minutes! Cmon mel. No big deal.

Out I went at 7:15 (where did the time go? oh, checking email before I left. stupid.) and I got in the mileage along this route here. After mapping the route on mapmyrun.com–if you’ve never used that site check it out, it’s pretty sweet–the distance is only 1.84 miles. I shouldve known that because it tooke me less than 20 minutes. Next time I’ll map the route before I go… ha.

The run today felt better than yesterday and it was sub-30 degrees out there, too. One mile in I was warmed up and felt strong, it was nice. I’m so happy to be getting back into my runs! I didn’t get the ocean in my chest feeling today, and my breathing was level.

I got back to my place and jumped right into Tae Bo with Billy Blanks, the 20 minute amped up workout. Somehow it was longer than 20 mins.. which is weird.. so I had to cut it off due to being late for work. BUT–I like his workouts. They don’t feel that impactful as you do them, but I’m always sore in hard to target places the next day, especially abs and back. Secret butt kicking takes place. Nice.

I am sore from yesterday’s workout, by the way, in my arms and chest. Glory in the making. So far, so good.

The More Out of Shape Your Are, The Better You Can Become. Win!

Shortly after sharing my new workout schedule challenge yesterday, I embarked on day 1. The workout planned was 2 miles of cardio + Level 1 of the 30 Day Shred DVD (if you’re not familiar with this DVD just imagine a 20 minute total body workout class).

I of course treated my 2 miles as a run (wahoo! finally!) and donned my fail-proof cold weather workout gear. I headed out around noon and it was surprisingly warmer than I remember it being last time I ran this month. It was 35 degrees–funny how everything’s relative.

The 2 miles weren’t that bad. On the last half mile I began to get that ocean in your lungs, pain in your teeth feeling which really indicates how much I need to work on my cardiovascular system. My lungs are pretty weak right now. But I was really happy I made this plan, and stuck to the 2 miles. Without it I know I would’ve tried for more, and felt too much pain. Also by keeping my mileage low to start I’m avoiding a bout of runner’s knee which I get every time I come back too hard. And it felt SO FREAKIN’ GOOD to be running :).

Once back at my place, I walked up and down the block a few times to catch my breath and then headed in and got out my weights.

That’s when level 1 of the Shred DVD kicked my ass. Seriously. From the first strength move I was shaking. Specifically my shoulders, biceps, and triceps were all maxed out from the reps she instructed (an average doable amount). And I was only using 4 lb. handweights. My butt muscles also strained with the side and static lunges. It wasn’t nearly this challenging last time I did this workout months ago.

I was really surprised how out of shape I am! But you know what? I’m actually excited that I’m weak and at the bottom right now. Let me put it into perspective for you. When I’m in peak shape, running 4 miles a day, 5 days a week–that’s where I feel pretty good–I wonder “How am I ever going to get better? What else can I do?? Run more miles? Run twice a day? Eat more protein??”.

Right now, knowing I’m at the bottom of my physical condition means every little thing I do will have a result. Even a short 2 mile run. Score. More of a reason to stick to it.

I Have A Workout Plan, Stan

Dear Stan,

Two weeks ago I blogged about getting my ass in gear and making a workout plan that will get me back into my A game. Since that time, I never made a plan, just took it day by day like I usually do and hoped for the best. What happened was… nothing much happened. Bullocks.

In general, once I reach the two week mark of not working out, I scare myself daily about ideas of how out of shape I am and how hard it will be to start up again. This mindset is such a downer because clearly you can’t get back into it unless you take a step to get there. After a week full of waking up at 6am and planning to do some exercise and failing almost everyday (snooze button greed), I finally decided to pull it together and make a plan.

So, here’s the plan (stan):

Now let me explain the strategy behind this a little bit. I have three goals:

  1. get my running capacity back up
  2. incorporate toning exercises
  3. lose about 5 pounds in the process

To hit goal #1, I kept the mileage at 2-3 miles throughout the whole month. I also wrote “however I want”, meaning if at the beginning I need to walk or slow down, that’s cool, just reach the mileage. Or if I’m at the gym and choose the elliptical instead (fat chance knowing me) that’s okay as long as I meet the 2 miles. Basically I made this plan to allow myself to ease in and not get scared of how out of shape I am. The spinning classes will give me a change of pace during the week and help get my cardiovascular system rockin. Note: I didn’t schedule any days off because I know they’ll happen on their own.

Spinning is also a key element for goal #3. To be completely honest and bare it all (ah) I am at the highest weight I’ve been. Before you flip out and tell me I’m not overweight–i know this. I don’t think I’m overweight and I think I have a pretty healthy view of my body. But, that being said, I reserve the right to want to be in the best shape I can, and I feel a little more comfortable at about 5 to 6 pounds lower than where I am at the moment. I’m not going to obsess over this at all, but it’d be nice.

Now I’ve never had a problem (per se) getting a run in when I want it, but weight training/toning is a weak spot for me. Enter goal #2. I have the strength of a 10 year old girl and pretty much never do any type of workout besides cardio. I’ve dabbled here and there with DVD’s, gym classes, and yoga, but I never really stick to it. If I did, I’d be pretty kickass at this point. Too bad. So, throughout the workout sched* (pronounced skej), “Level 1 Shred” is a 20 minute total body workout from this Jillian Michaels DVD, and 20 mins of Tae Bo is a quick workout from this Billy Blanks DVD. I also threw in that ab class from the NYSC gym. Let’s see if I get ripped.

This is the first time I’ve made a legit schedule for myself. Today is day one, and I’m actually excited about this whole idea. I have to be my own drill sergeant. Although I’m still taking applications for someone else to kick my ass, so email me if you’re up for it. Or if you want to join me, let me know. 🙂

Love,

Mel

P.S. you’re such a good listener stan.

*Does anyone else make themselves a sched?

Non-Running Adventures: Abs + Jump Ropes. What?

Last night I got a little wild, wild!, and decided to try some new classes at the NYSC gym after work. The first class was at 6:30–Club Abs, and then directly after at 7–Cardio Rope Circuit. I had no idea what cardio rope circuit meant, but what the hell.

wild.

I got to the gym a little early for the class, so I was one of those people who stand in line outside the room of the class until it starts. I hate those people. So eager to be first in the room and get your spot. Calm down people! But, that wasn’t my motivation. Just early.

As I sat there watching the rest of the gym sweat it up on treadmills and ellipticals, two things happened. 1) I started to wish I could just leave the gym, go outside and run. Just straight up run wherever I want for as long as I want on my own schedule. I’m really starting to miss that freedom. 2) I started to fall asleep. I was nodding forward every few minutes, and it was a little ironic to be sleeping in a gym. Funny.

Anyway, on to the class reviews.

Club Abs:

Let me introduce the 14th St. NYSC nazi trainer. I don’t know his name, but he’s very serious about kicking your ass. Three minutes into class my abs were burning and threatening to tear. I rarely get that feeling when I do ab workouts (read: I never do ab workouts). We did a series of crunches in the standard crunch position and he really had us focus on our form and breathing. The key is to suck your bellybutton into your back (that sounds gross, but you know what I’m saying) every time you’re about to come up into a crunch. This engages your muscles hardcore. He would reprimand the room on everyone’s form, but realized at one point he was really just talking to me–apparently elbows should not be past your ears. Got it. We did some targeted oblique moves, and bicycle crunches. He motivated us to keep going and give it everything we had, which helped me push through. The end of class was rounded out with a lower back series to strengthen the body’s core holistically. Well thought out ab master. I will try to do this class every week. Maybe I’ll get some definition. That would be saweet.

Cardio Rope Circuit:

Re-enter ab nazi, and give him a jump rope. Really, same guy. As soon as we started warming up, I couldn’t keep the jump rope going. I was tripping, and then restarting every 5 jumps. I feel like I needed a personal warm-up window where I could mess up for 10 minute until I got the hang of it better, and then I could’ve maybe rocked it. But, that didn’t happen. When the real workout started I put the rope down and went SANS ROPE in the jump rope class. It’s not like there were other people doing that too, more like I was the lone loser with an invisible rope. But you know what? That’s cool.

Even sans rope (I really like the word sans) this class was a really, really good workout. The combo of jumping up and down non-stop and using your shoulders and arms to keep the jump rope going is a one-two punch. I had my hands going in the motion the whole time as if I was keeping my rope in motion–when I stopped my hands it wasn’t nearly as good of a workout. I was definitely sweating too, which is a good sign of butt kicking. We did different kinds of jumping techniques–twisting our legs side to side, scissor landings, jumping forward and backward. There was a chick in front of me who was crossing her jump rope and jumping double high–like really getting air. Clearly a past gymnast. Damn.

Halfway through class we put the ropes down and did some circuit training: pushups, scissor jumps with our hands on the floor, side jumps w/ hands on the floor (I’m sure there’s a proper name for these) followed by more pushups. Then finished up with 15 more minutes of jumping. Ultimately, I don’t know if I’ll seek this class again with a passion, but I’d do it again maybe.

Today.

I am sore. And I love it. Let’s see what comes next on this fitness mission.