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?
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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)

Sounds Like a Plan!

I read a headline recently, I believe it was from Women’s Running online? It said “Worrying About How Slow You Run Could be Holding You Back”.   I believe this.  When I started running it was part of my never ending effort to lose weight.  Once I completed my first 5K (3.1 miles) I was hooked.  My time for that particular run was 34:34 (11:08 minutes per mile pace) not bad for a first timer.  Since then I have been chasing the elusive sub 30 5K.  In other words, I really want to finish a 5K in less than 30 minutes (10:00 pace).  The closest I have come to this was a couple of years ago when I completed those 3.1 miles in 32:04 (10:34 pace).  Now I find that when I train I am more focused on pace and less on total time.  I know that for weight loss I should be running for longer periods of time and not focus so much on pace.  This past June I completed my first 10K (6.2 miles) in 66:58  (10:31 pace).  That was by far my favorite race!  I felt great the whole way.  I think a big part of that was because it was my first 10K so no matter what time I pulled in at it would be a personal record (PR).  I was running at a comfortable pace which ended up being faster than I had anticipated.  I was also running for a longer period of time than I normally do…66 minutes vs. 32.  At the end of the day, that is where I am going to see a bigger calorie burn and isn’t that what I wanted from the beginning?

Where does this leave me in my training plan?  Should I continue to chase the sub 30?  NO.  Let’s face it, I have an injury that is not going to go away. (If you are just catching up with me, I have a bulging disc in my neck.)  Until I manage to lose a significant amount of weight I truly do not believe I can improve on my pace.  It sounds like a “Catch 22” doesn’t it?  Run to lose weight, lose weight to run.  So here is my plan, are you ready? Can you guess?  I am going to do my best to increase my distance which in turn will increase my workout time which will help me to lose weight and then MAYBE one day I will break the tape before the clock strikes 30.  Who’s with me?

The Random’s;

Phil said something the other day that made me go “Awwwww”.  The Ford commercial came on with Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” playing.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB8QyCkwAGoVChMIg9Tgxa6xyAIVhnE-Ch0hFAvF&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dxo1VInw-SKc&usg=AFQjCNGgHvLbi9nrR9u1xhzc2bXtU5ZzFg&bvm=bv.104615367,d.cWw

Phil said, This song makes me think of you.  I have had some obstacles to overcome in my life…who hasn’t?  Phil explained that when he hears “Fight Song” he thinks about how I took charge of my life and learned to thrive.  How flipping sweet is that?!

I had my bi-annual Dental check-up earlier this week.  I am happy to report, no problems there!!

Dental Goodie Bag!
Dental Goodie Bag!

Oddly, now all I can think about is a caramel apple!  What the…?  I don’t even really like caramel all that much.  Why is it that now I feel like my life won’t be complete if I don’t chomp into a caramel apple and soon?!

An Apple a Day?
An Apple a Day?
  • What is your current goal(s)?
  • Dentist, love? Hate? Meh?
  • Caramel Apple, Yay or Nay?

what? what?

Saturday started strong with a spin class at “Just Results”.  I hadn’t planned on spinning this week but late Friday J-Dawg emailed to say “Let’s go spinning tomorrow.”  So I went.  I spun.  Spinning is weird for me.  I really LOVE the workout but because I don’t hear well (one of my eardrums is backwards.) it is a real struggle for me to hear the instructor.  At one point she was talking to me directly and I didn’t even realize it.  Ugh!  One of the best parts about spinning is the awesome workout music played loud.  Sadly I cannot hear two things at once and the music takes precedence.  I don’t always catch the timing for the jump sequences but I do ok…I think.  I am not going to stop spinning, it’s too much fun.  In fact, I am considering investing in spinning shoes so that I can “clip in”.  Any recommendations?

Phil, Bonk and I watched “What If” on Saturday afternoon.  It’s an Indy film starring Danial Radcliffe (Harry Potter).  We all liked it, there was enough humor to keep it moving.

"What If"
“What If”

Sunday was supposed to be a run day but my stupid neck was throbbing…sigh.  When it gets that bad I really can’t do anything physical without a lot of pain.  I started the day grocery shopping and doing laundry, jealous?  Then J-Dawg texted asking if I was free for lunch….um YES!  We went to our favorite, the “Cruisin’ Café” which is part of a local antiques store.

No rubber biscuits here!
No rubber biscuits here!

They serve the best food there, you can’t go wrong.  The antiques store always gets dressed up for the seasons and holidays.

Happy Halloween!
Happy Halloween!

Right now Autumn and Halloween are making an appearance.

Remember that pulled calf muscle from last week?  Well I didn’t!  Not until I started running on it again.  Monday’s plan was just an easy 2 miler.  At about ¼ mile that darn muscle started to knot up good!  I pulled over and gave it some extra stretching but by then the damage was done.  I kept on going telling myself that once I got fully warmed up it would loosen up again…never happened.  Oh well, it’s all part of being a runner, we learn from our injuries.  I know that I need to rest my calf more so that it will mend completely. That said, I have decided to bail on the Apple Harvest 5K this coming weekend.  This particular race is just not important enough to me to risk re-injuring myself.  I am calling it a season.  It was a tough one for me, mostly because I was only able to get in two races due to injury.  At the same time, it was also a really great season for me!  I ran my first 10K at a very respectable time and buoyed my desire to push myself even farther.  My sights are now set on the “Surftown” half next Summer….doing it!  Now I just need a training plan.  I hope you will stick with me as I try to figure it all out .

The Goal

Tuesday was National Coffee Drinkers day!

Just pour it in a cup.
Just pour it in a cup.

I got myself back to Sue’s boxing class on Tuesday evening.

The bags won!
The bags won!

I had not been since JUNE, Yikes!  Needless to say, class won!  J-Dawg met me there, it was her first time ever in this class and she can’t wait to go back!  You should come with us next time!  Not only is it a fantastic workout but it’s FUN!  Sue and Lori keep us laughing while still providing tons of instruction and support.  Plus, there is usually a super cute puppy wandering around…nothing wrong with that!

What the heck kind of yoga pose is that?
What the heck kind of yoga pose is that?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

  • What is your favorite movie?
  • Current goal(s)?
  • How do you mix-up your workouts?