Comrades in Classes

A couple of years ago I was enjoying belonging to the most fun gym ever! Since they took things in a different direction I have been wandering aimlessly trying to find the fun again. While I am not there yet I do feel like it’s getting better. I have to face facts, nothing will ever be as much fun as Just Results.  Unlike most gyms where everyone pretty much does there own thing without even a “Hey there”, Just Results was a family.  We laughed and cheered and clapped and yelled and moaned and groaned together. We lifted each other! (literally and figuratively). If someone was struggling to push the sled, we would wait for you. If someone dropped a weight ball, we would pick it up and hand it right back to you, because you were going to DO THE WORK like it or not. When we heard the “Sally Song” come over the speakers EVERYONE would groan in unison because we all knew that meant Wall Squats! UGH!

Now that I have landed at a gym not far from home I am doing my best to find that camaraderie, that fun. I realize it won’t happen in the pool, that is a solitary event. It also won’t happen in the cardio room where everyone is wrapped in the cocoon of their own machine, be it treadmill, elliptical, or what have you. I thought about signing on with one of the personal trainers and I still may. I have been watching them periodically while I workout and so far they all seem to remain individually bland. My hope is that I may stumble into a group, that could be cool.

I have deduced that what I need to focus on if I want to find the fun are the group classes. I have been spinning my way through those different classes and instructors searching for that right fit. An instructor can really make or break a class.  I took one class where the instructor would have been better suited to teach yoga. She had NO energy! I think she was trying to portray a calming presence but it was brutal, I could not take my eyes off the clock. Doesn’t it figure the 5:30 am class has a good instructor, the only problem is I have to set my alarm for 4:30am which is just so darn early, even for this bird. Now the Sunday morning class is really good!  There is a good mix of people, 50/50 men and women. They all chat and exchange ideas. The woman on the bike next to me this morning was singing with the music, Yes!  ENERGY!!! In addition to the group dynamic, we rode through a bunch of different exercises, some I had never tried before, it was great! I will definitely continue with this class as well as the 5:30am class one day a week….I can do one day a week…yes I can!

There is another class offered at my gym called “Group Fight”.  The write-up makes it sound really intense which has me wary.  I have been trying to sneak peeks through the glass when it has been happening.  I think I have enough intel now and I am going to plan on jumping in this week….there I said it now I have to do it!

Hey, have you ever done this? Plank with the stopwatch turned over so that you can’t see it.  Just hold that plank for as long as you can.  When you finally crash down check your time, you may surprise yourself!  I typically just hold a plank for one minute.  For some reason the other day I flipped over my phone and this happened!

 

Screenshot_2017-05-06-12-16-42
Don’t Peek, that’s cheating!

Here is one of my guilty pleasures.

 

20170507_101727
Don’t judge!

It’s true, I buy my eggs already hard boiled.  It is just so handy to have them all ready for whenever I want them.  Sometimes I grab one or two before that EARLY spinning class.  I don’t want to go on an empty stomach and these offer such good protein. I also use them to make Egg and Avocado salad.  You heard me.

 

20170507_102310
It may not look pretty but it tastes oh so good!

I chop up six eggs to one avocado.  Then I simply add about a tablespoon of mayo and one to two tablespoons of mustard, whatever you like. You can also add pepper but try to stay away from the salt. YUM!

Speaking of Yum, have you ever sautéed tomatoes? I like to chuck a handful in with my green beans just to warm them a little.  Try it, go, now, try it.

 

20170510_184645
Just a dash of pepper and your good to go!

 

Spring has officially begun here in New England.

 

20170513_130725
Before you know it, it will be Summer….probably next week!
  • Do you prefer to work-out alone or with someone? Or in a group?
  • Any quick and easy food/meal ideas? Please share 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Be Smart, Be Safe

I recently changed gyms. You may recall that I was less than enthusiastic about the gym that I had chosen after the one I belonged to for years changed hands. Once I realized that months (plural) had passed between visits I decided it was time to make a change!  I concluded that I should just bite the bullet and shell out a little more mullah for a better facility. You get what you pay for right? Now I have the luxury of a gym with a pool…Yay!

Anytime you join a gym you will most likely receive a couple of complimentary sessions with a personal trainer. Last week I had my second session working with the very nice man who was trying to kill me.

Trainer

I had actually worked with this dude a couple of years ago so it was in reality my fourth session with him. The dude is the senior trainer at the facility, Score! We spent time discussing technique and proper form. One thing that I have going for me is that I can interpret directions into actions. “Place your feet like such, pivot at the waist, lift your back heel slightly, turn your shoulders forward, square your hips, etc, etc, etc….” I can do that!

Near the end of the session the dude looked away briefly then very quietly said, “Look in the mirror, do you see what’s going on in the back of the room? That’s scary stuff!”. It was scary! I watched as a young, new trainer stood by as his client, a man a little older than me I imagine, swung a heavy kettle bell over his head, back and forth with no stopping, YIKES!

 

Kettle Bells
These bells do not ring!

The client was obviously losing balance and trying to correct his stance while continuing to swing the bell. Folks, this is not safe! If you are not in complete control of what you are doing then you are risking injury! In this scenario it was the young trainer who was risking injury not only to his client but also to himself, the mirrors, the windows, and anyone within a ten foot radius. Guys, if it doesn’t feel safe then it probably isn’t.  Challenge your trainer and ASK!  You are trying to improve your health not risk it, be careful!  If you are not confident with your trainer then switch, you are responsible for you! Okay, hopping off my soapbox now.

I went to the Dentist this week and got an A+ whoo hoo!

20170420_090314
I save these for travel.

My dentist recently changed from Oral B brand to Colgate, this makes me sad. The Colgate brush feels like it is falling apart when I brush. Now I go buy my own Oral B brush and save the Colgate for when I travel.

Yesterday when I pulled the mail out of the box the flag fell apart and hit the ground!

20170421_144727
Couldn’t have picked a warm sunny day to mess with me?!

Naturally it was raining at the time.  No worries, I was able to rebuild.

I am currently working on this puzzle.

Puzzle
I know, the excitement level is off the charts!

Am I the only person left who still enjoys a good jigsaw puzzle?  You never hear anyone talk about them. I like the 1000 piece puzzles, that’s my jam! Of course when I spread everything out on the dining table I wasn’t thinking about Easter. We don’t really celebrate but it was a good excuse to get everyone together. Fortunately we managed to balance our meals on our knees so no pieces were harmed!

  • Jigsaw Puzzles? Yay or Nay?
  • What is your toothbrush preference?

 

 

 

Catching Up

Remember that blog that I used to write?  I pretty much stopped writing it because, well, I guess I felt like ‘who really cares what I have to say?’  I am not a professional runner or trainer by ANY stretch of the imagination, it is simply something that I enjoy and have a little bit of experience doing. Many of you have asked me to start writing again so I guess you are interested, and I truly appreciate that!

My plan is to try to give you one or two posts a month (maybe more). Some posts may not have anything to do with running or fitness and others will. Cool?

Let’s catch up!

The Fitness Front:

I changed gyms. It’s true and I am not thrilled about it believe me!  I had been going to Lori and Sue’s gym for years but between some changes that they had to make and some that I had to make it was no longer convenient.  I am not going to share the name of the gym that I am currently using because frankly, I am not crazy about it.  I do however enjoy the ‘Bodypump’ classes that they offer and I love being able to workout with my buddy Nancy!

I had stopped running for a while because I was battling allergy induced asthma.  I won the battle and am back on track!

20170115_113419
“Hey There!”

How do you feel about layers?  There is such a fine line to having the right amount that will keep you warm and not so many that you start to overheat. I think I was right on the money today!  The temps were in the low 30’s so I went with a thick tech sweatshirt and running vest along with both a hat and gloves.  I don’t really like wearing hats or gloves but some days require them. The rule of thumb is to dress as though it were ten degrees warmer than it is.  I ran a little over two miles with zero breathing issues Yay!

I hope to enter a couple of races this year.  I have not run a race in over a year and I sort of miss it.  Just to be clear, the only person I am racing is myself!

As I mentioned above I have been taking ‘bodypump’ classes.  If you are not familiar ‘bodypump’ is a weight lifting class set to music.  Nope, not dancing around the room with weights on our shoulders, get that image out of your head. The music is there mostly to keep the tempo of the lifts and time the sections ie; legs, arms, back, etc.  I have been wanting to build my upper body strength for a while now and this class does the trick.  I am still using relatively lite weights but I have seen improvement.

I have also managed to make it through a few ‘Zumba’ classes without hurting myself or anyone around me.  ‘Zumba’ is nuts!!

In Other New:

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Phoenix for business.

20170111_145124
Cacti

I had never been to the desert before so this was an interesting trip for me. It is very brown. I saw a lot of lovely conference rooms!  Really though, the resort that we stayed at was beautiful!

20170111_074912
Lazy River

The food and banquet facilities were equally wonderful.

20170110_200747
Thirsty?

This was the first time I had ever seen cacti in their natural habitat!

Although I have seen palm trees on many occasions, these were pretty impressive.

We finished up the week with “Western Night”.  We all donned our plaid flannel shirts and jeans and sat down to eat some tacos!  It really was a fun night watching a bunch of Insurance Geeks learn to rope and such!

 

arizona
For tonight’s theme….PLAID!

All in all it was a fun yet busy week. I got to know some of my co-workers a little bit better and was able to put faces with names.  The best part is always hanging out with my buddies who just make me laugh all day long!

The bunnies are all well, here is Felix watching tv with us one night.

 

20170105_190453
Snuggle Bunny

 

There you have it!  That is the teeny tiny nutshell of what I have been up to.

  • What’s new with you?
  • Have you been to the Desert? 

Thanks for dropping by!

 

 

 

 

Ride Along

To paraphrase Snoopy, “It was a hot and muggy morning”. Apparently it is Summer here in New England!

As much as I enjoy taking myself for a run it is just to warm.  J-Dawg and I have been biking about once or twice a week.  At least on a bike you create a breeze.  Plus, there is the added bonus of traveling through lot’s of scenic landscapes.

20160723_104609
This will be even more beautiful in the Fall

We typically travel South for a little more than seven miles. We then turn around to round out our ride at 15 ish miles.  Yesterday however we decided to head North and explore the great unknown.  The ride consisted of many comments such as, “oh, I know where this comes out” and “oh, this is near…”.

20160723_112923
That tunnel goes under a super busy road, I never knew this picnic area was here!

One of the benefits(?) of travelling North was that we were required to climb a few more substantial hills than we are used to.  While the flat, shady stretches are the preference (really downhill is the preference) the hills are what build muscle and stamina, and I’m all for that!

20160723_111723
Ironically, heading towards Florida involved MORE uphills than Maine!

While much of the trail is shady, there are intervals of sunshine.  Once we start moving into Autumn and the days grow chilly I am certain we will be relishing those sunny spots.  Yesterday however we were embracing any shade we could find!

20160723_110551
Hey J-Dawg wait up….I’m taking a picture…wait!!

Because of the high heat and humidity yesterday we shortened our ride to 12.5 miles……WITH HILLS!  Burning calories and enjoying nature, that’s how we roll!

Random News:

I had to miss boxing class two weeks in a row due to various obligations and let me tell you I am really anxious to get back to it!  I introduced another buddy to boxing a couple of weeks ago and she fell in love with it too!  Such a great workout, de-stressor, class!

20160724_094059
Sue does NOT approve of my gloves 😦

Riding and punching is not all I have been up to however!  My friends at work have gotten me hooked on “Game of Thrones”.  I have only just begun but I can sort of follow along with conversations now…sort of.

20160716_085442
Does this make me a “Gamer”?

Do you like sushi?  I want to, I really do!  It is a healthy, cost effective meal and I keep trying it but honestly….ick!

20160703_120037
I want to like you!

On the other hand…Mangoes!!!!

20160724_105219
True Love!!

 

 

  • Do you watch Game of Thrones?
  • Sushi, yay or nay?
  • Mangoes?  Please say Yay!

 

 

Protection and Prevention

We have all heard the warnings about making sure we warm up before working out, but have we heeded them?  I know that I am guilty of just jumping in without always properly warming up.  Lately the warm up has proven not only necessary but also a bonus.  I think I realized it most dramatically when I took myself for a short run following spin class last week.

Having had many bouts of bronchitis in the past and even walking pneumonia once, my respiratory system is not what it once was….which really bums me out.  Now when I start my runs, especially in colder temps, I wheeze for a while…sometimes more than a while.  It is something that I have become resigned to.

As I was driving home from Spin last week I was feeling super energized and decided I had time to bang out an easy mile just to burn a few more calories.  I parked at the High School and took off down the road.  Having not planned this particular run I was flying sans music.  I quickly realized that I was not wheezing AT ALL.  Because I had just completed 45 minutes on the bike my lungs were already warm and clear.  I didn’t even miss my music because I was so thrilled to be running comfortably.

Warm-ups have definitely been added to my routine!

In addition to warming up properly we also need to cool down.  Again, guilty of rushing or even skipping the cool down.  We all know that stretching is boring and once the hard work is done we just want to get on with the day.  Let me ask you a question.  Have you ever regretted a workout?  The answer is “No” isn’t it?  The same goes for the cool down or stretch after the workout.  I am sure we have all found ourselves in mid-stretch thinking that feels good.  You know you have.  Let’s face it, stretching really doesn’t take long at all.

My Spin instructor Corrine was counseling me recently about some foam rolling exercises that will not only help the muscles that I just worked out but they will also help with my neck problem.  Everything is connected.

This is my foam roller.  The center comes out so that I have three different levels of firmness.
This is my foam roller. The center comes out so that I have three different levels of firmness.

Taking a few minutes to roll and ease so many potential pains is a no brainer!

I also roll my feet on frozen golf balls, you heard me.  As a runner my feet take a pounding, literally.  I keep a few golf balls in a plastic container in the freezer so that I can just grab them whenever I need them.  It is nothing to sit and read, watch tv, solve the world’s problems…whatever, and roll my feet over these frozen gems.

FOUR!
FOUR!

The Randoms:

The weather in these parts has been gorgeous lately!

It's so nice to have Spring come early this year!  ;-)
It’s so nice to have Spring come early this year! 😉

Every year my grocery store gives out coupons for a significant amount off of a Thanksgiving Turkey.  I got my coupon when I went shopping this past weekend.

It's getting real.
It’s getting real.

We are “past peak” as far as the Fall Foliage is concerned.  I still think it is beautiful!  Here are some pictures for those of you who don’t get to experience Autumn in New England.

Enjoy!

DSC05832

That tree positively glows, the camera cannot capture all of it's splendor.
That tree positively glows, the camera cannot capture all of it’s splendor.

DSC05849

There's that birch again.
There’s that birch again.
Oooo....Ahhhhh.....
Oooo….Ahhhhh…..
  • Do you warm up? Cool down?  Do you have a best tip?
  • Are you ready for the Holidays?
  • How is the weather in your part of the world?

Thirteen Chilis

My girl Jo and her Man Jeff had a Housewarming / Chili Cook off on Saturday and it was a blast!  Phil and I swooped over to pick up J-Dawg then headed on up the hill to the “Big House in the Woods”.  Short trip, easy parking, great weather….perfect!  I myself am indifferent to Chili so I decided not to enter the competition, that’s all I needed was to win on a fluke and start a riot.  I did however take part in the judging of the 13 different chili’s.  Yes, THIRTEEN!

Crockpots for days!
Crockpots for days!

This beautiful lady won!  Her entry was named (by Jo) “Engineer me some Chili”.  Can you guess what she does for a living?

Congratulations Chilli Queen!
Congratulations Chili Queen!

Here is the second place winner and his lovely wife.

Cheers to you too Chili Prince!
Cheers to you too Chili Prince!

It got tense for a minute when there was a tie for second but they battled it out…no blood was drawn.

The kids enjoyed the fire pit.

We see you....
We see you….

The adults enjoyed the glow bands.

Girl Power!!!!
Girl Power!!!!

Notice we are all wearing BLUE.  Apparently this was the most coveted color among the kids.  We were warned to stay alert!

Best of all there was LOT’s and LOT’s of laughter.  I didn’t know any of these people when we arrived and now I can’t wait to see them all again!

I like your mustache kind stranger.
I like your mustache kind stranger.
Shhh....voting is happening, this is serious stuff!!!!
Shhh….voting is happening, this is serious stuff!!!!

Hey Jo and Jeff, could you make this an annual event please?

The “Sunday Spinners” reunited on….wait for it….Sunday!  Our amazing instructor Corrine was out of state all Summer so we had to fill the void as best we could.  Now she is back and we are hitting the road…you know…metaphorically.

Corrine is all about proper form, she doesn’t want anyone to get hurt.  After dealing with the bulging disc in my neck I am on board with proper form as well!  It is so easy to be careless with form, especially if you are feeling good.  Once something rears up to say “hey, pay attention to me” then you become cognizant of what you are doing wrong (and right).  Corrine also gave me some foam rolling tips to help ease the annoyance in my neck. We still have a lot of fun while riding properly.  I love that Corrine uses the disco lights!!

Boogie on down!
Boogie on down!

Once the lights go out these colors really pop!  We should ALL use disco lights at work…why not?

Did you know that Tuesday was National Beer Day?  I didn’t learn about it until it was too late to celebrate.  Note to self: get your “National Days” straight ahead of time!

umm...yes!
umm…yes!

Wednesday…National Chocolate Day!!  Yes Please!

ooooooooo........
ooooooooo……..

Phil forgot something at work so I rode over with him to take care of it.  While he was taking care of business I was wandering around in the parking lot.  The trees are just so beautiful right now…Go Autumn!!

Autumn for the win!
Autumn for the win!

Thanks as always for stopping by!  Here is another New England in Autumn picture for you.

You're welcome
You’re welcome
  • Have you been to any great parties lately?
  • Chili Yea or Nay?
  • Are you down for Disco lights at work?

Win…Win…Win!

Whew! I think I have finally turned the corner!  I am really feeling like myself again!  Did I just use three exclamation marks in my opening line?  I DID!  As many of you know I have been trying like mad to figure out what exercises will work for me and my bulging disc.  I have been struggling to get back that feeling of not only wanting to workout but enjoying it as well.  Here is what I have figured out so far:

  • Running – YES! Even if my neck is bothering me running does not aggravate it and once I get warmed up it even starts to feel better….Win!
  • Spinning – Yes! As long as I let my head drop down on occasion to relieve the disc then Spinning works out just fine for me. Win!
  • Road biking – Nope, the head position combined with the bumps on the road…I can’t even talk about it.
  • Boxing – Yes! I just need to be careful about some of the exercises that go along with it, like sit-ups…sadly sit-ups can aggravate the disc.
  • Mix-Fit – Kinda sorta. Some of the exercises are tougher on my neck than others. I love mix-fit so I am going to pursue it with caution.
  • Yoga – NOPE! Yoga is by far the worst!!  Too many twists and turns for my neck…not doing it and you can’t make me!  I am not sad about this, I never really enjoyed yoga to begin with. Win! 😉

For the past few weeks I have been feeling….well….blech.  I have been trying and trying to find the Anne from before the whole disc fiasco.  The Anne who loved to workout and never skipped a class or a run if she could help it.  That Anne went away back in June when my neck started hurting like mad.  Even as recently as this past Monday I wasn’t feeling it.  I made myself go for a run Monday afternoon and now I feel like I have turned a corner!  The run itself wasn’t great.  It was chilly which makes me wheeze but that’s okay.  I did it, I got out there, I got the endorphin’s flowing.  Now I just need to grab on to that momentum and keep it going!

First sleeves of the season.
First sleeves of the season.

Tuesday was Boxing with Sue.  I really dig this class….usually.  This past Tuesday no one was in sync.  The energy level as a whole was low and I myself could not find a rhythm with my sparring partner.  It was a mess!  Still, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work.”….or something like that.  I maintain that it is the bad days that make the good days that much more awesome.

The bags won!

The rest of the week got mixed up.  I had planned to run on Wednesday and take Thursday off because I had an appointment after work.  Then my Thursday appointment got moved to next week so I decided to take Wednesday off instead and run on Thursday.  While I was driving home on Wednesday I felt like I really wanted to run so I seized on that feeling and went for a really good two miler.  Nothing fancy or far, just a good solid run that felt good.  Now that Thursday was open I thought about heading over for another boxing match but then realized I needed at least one day with nothing to run to.  Not to mention I wanted to get this post written because what would you do without all of my ramblings?  You’re welcome:-)

The Randoms:

I needed stamps so I went to the post office since that’s where they have them.  The woman at the counter asked me if I wanted the “Peanuts” stamps.  Since Snoopy is my guy that was a no-brainer.  I was laughing while walking to my car….they are Christmas stamps!!  Love it!

My Man Snoopy!
My Man Snoopy!

New England continues to Autumn.

Go New England!
Go New England!

Why are the lights on in the middle of the day?

I don't understand....
I don’t understand….

I came across this picture of a Christmas tree made from vintage jewelry.  Now I want to make one!

Love!
Love!
  • How do you mix-up your workouts?
  • Snoopy for Pres?
  • Have you started Holiday shopping yet? (I have)