Friday, March 30, 2012

Still Breathing!

I know, I know, it's been forever since I've posted a blog and I'm truly sorry to my loyal readers!  It really has been a hell of a week, well and weekend before that.  I started last Friday off well, making an all time PR  running 4.23 miles in 38 minutes ending up with an average of sub 9 minute miles!  I was shocked, but I really pushed myself (and paid later with knee pain  >.<).  Then I took all the kids to the library and then to get Subway for lunch to take a picnic to the dog park.

Bella had a blast, too, she was worn out after the excitement!

I spent last Friday night at the hospital with a loved one and then he was in and out of the hospital a couple days this week.  That has been a tremendous stress, but luckily it was not related to his more serious health problems as we had originally worried.  The situation will be resolved fairly soon we hope, and that stress has been eased for the time being.  After the hospital I had to finish cooking (we left midway through cooking dinner), then go home and decorate Isaac's birthday cake because we had his birthday planned for Saturday.  I think I got to bed close to 4:00 am.  I then got up around 7:30 to finish party preparations.  We picked up some friends and took the kiddos to play laser tag and they had a blast.  They played arcade games and ate pizza and cake and it was an all around enjoyable event.  I was so thankful when everything was done and over with and we could go home so I could relax.  Until I realized we were bringing a friend home to spend the night and that we were taking the boys to see "The Hunger Games" at 10:00 pm.  So much for the early night!  I was, by the way, super excited to see this movie, but I was so severely disappointed in the movie that I am currently listening to the book again to revive my soul from the sensation of absolute destruction of all things good that I experienced from seeing that movie.  They spent 2+ hours on the movie and did not even give a decent character development.  I'm not going to go any further with this because I just do not have the energy to put together a well formulated review.  Anyway, so after having my heart crushed I went home and passed out.  My knee pain probably started sometime on Saturday and I was too busy to notice at the time.  But by Sunday the pain was almost unbearable so I spent a good part of it with my knee propped up with an ice pack on it.  Towards the end of the day I did a bit of Zumba practice, but that did not last too long due to my knees, I ended up staying up way too late working on laundry and doing last minute Monday preparations.
Monday, I felt wrung out and world weary.  I made it through the day and made it through Zumba and ran by the store afterwards to pick up some glucosamine and a knee brace.  Tuesday I ended up leaving work early to check on my sick loved one and ended up taking a two hour nap along with getting some severely needed rest.  I skipped my workout for the night due to my knees.  I'm petrified of seriously injuring my knees and not being able to run again, so I have really been trying to go easy on my poor knees.  Mark got a raise and took me out for dinner and then for a few beers to celebrate.  I definitely needed a night out.  Wednesday I felt 10 times better after getting a couple hours of extra sleep and getting some time out time, but my knees were still pretty achy so I took another night off of working out.  Thursday again was better during the day and later that night I taught my Zumba class and attempted to run 2 miles on the treadmill afterwards, but threw in the towel after half a mile.  I figured best not to push myself too hard.  Today I got up and drank coffee and relaxed until noon.  Then I took off for my long run, I made it through 10.1 miles with an average of 10:23 per mile pace.  Not my best, but after breaking from running for a week, I was not too terribly upset with the pace.  My knees are pretty sore right now, but nothing like before!  My sister came over and we went grocery shopping and went to Academy.  I was looking for Zumba shoes and workout shirts with longer sleeves.  Either half or three quarter length sleeves to help me with my arm issues.  We left empty handed and only slightly bitter.  The next stop on the list was a thrift store because I'm needing some new clothes.  I feel like I've been wearing the same outfits over and over again.  But the one I intended to go to was shut down, bah another epic fail!  So basically I spent plenty of time driving around with good intentions, but accomplished very little today.  I got some awesome sister time, though, so I still consider it a successful and awesome day!  Mark took me for a ride on his bike this evening, it was lovely weather for it and a beautiful ride!  Then I came home and spent two hours cooking dinner.  I had my little tablet in the kitchen with me watching Netflix while I cooked; the perfect cooking situation!  I made a casserole with spinach, ground meat, rice, tomatoes, mushrooms and topped with feta and mozzarella, I can post half a recipe if anyone is interested, but I failed to measure.... well pretty much everything.  It was a success and I served it with freshly sliced cantaloupe and steamed broccoli, it was oh-so-yummy! 
So there was a summary of my week, now I'll get into some of the details.  For example, the fact that I was not working out or more specifically could not run in the midst of a shit stress storm was driving me mad all week long.  I have found that my most effective stress relief methods include working out or going for a run.  I learned that I have got to be careful and take proper care of my body because not being able to be physically active would kill me!  I have to admit, I really did not try when it came to the eating this week.  I ate healthy where I could, but I did not count anything or make any extra effort to eat in calorie deficit.  The scale reflected my attitude, too.  =/  I actually saw 135 at one point this week.  I almost flipped when I saw this, for 135 is my panic weight, the weight that I get serious about losing weight again when I hit it.  I did not drink water like I should, I kept forgetting to take my vitamins and I felt lazy and bloated.  But this morning I weighed in at 128.2!  I almost got to my knees and thanked God when I saw that.  I think a high sodium intake, beer on Tuesday, and the lack of water consumption combined is what the weight gain can be attributed to.  But right now, at this exact moment in time, I am completely satiated with my weight, my eating for the day, my run for the day and my water intake for the day.  Cheers to day one of getting back at it!  Now I'm going to relax and maybe ice my knees again for a little bit before hitting the sack!  Hopefully I'll have a blog post about less stressful things and more positive developments next time.  :)  Ttfn!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Week of Recovery - Getting Back on Track

Last week was kind of rough.  I had a lot of problems getting back into the normal routine after my big race.  My body was craving nutrients so I kept overeating.  I can be thankful that at least it was healthy foods that I was eating: chicken, turkey, milk, whole grain cereals, fruit, veggies and nuts/nut butters(I tried to moderate this!).  I am about 85% sure that I was iron deficient.  I took an iron supplement Thursday since I keep getting a low reading when I go to donate platelets and I was scheduled to donate Friday morning.   By the end of the night Thursday, I felt better than I'd felt all week; especially after I taught Zumba which probably metabolized the iron.  Then sure enough, Friday morning my iron level was perfect and I felt great the rest of the afternoon, even after running several errands.  I  also think it makes sense to assume that I was craving protein to repair the muscles I had worked so hard (hence the soreness).  I plan to go ahead and get a physical early this year; my body has over gone a major transformation these past two years and I want to make sure my body has adjusted accordingly.  This is especially the case since diabetes and other serious diseases run rampant through my family.  Anyway, to sum it up I had a long, tiring, overeating week last week and I felt incredibly bloated by the end of it all.  And I still say running long distance is worth it, I just wasn't properly trained to run 15.5 miles yet.  I was trained enough to accomplish it and run the entire time with an average pace of 10:25 :D, but not enough to do it without consequence.  I feel that if you work a training plan through and through, you will build up endurance, strength and recovery abilities over time.  This is why I still hope to run a marathon before my 27th birthday.

I did most of my usual work out routine last week:  I taught Monday, I did Body Pump and Zumba Tuesday night, then I felt so utterly shitty on Wednesday that I called in sick.  I had mild congestion and a sinus headache and then felt all around ill, so I went for a 3.5 mile run in hopes of sweating it out.  However, I think it was the lacking of nutrients and fatigue that were my real problems.  Anyway, so I missed Zumba again Wednesday night.  :(  I'm definitely going tomorrow because I really miss that class.  Thursday I taught Zumba, then Friday I got up early to run a couple of miles before donating platelets and counted that as one of my rest days.  Saturday I lazed about the house quite a bit, did a little cleaning and cooking, but mostly just enjoyed being at home!  It's been awhile since I slept in on a Saturday and stayed at home most of the day!  I tapered down my training schedule so I could focus on speed before the half marathon at the end of April, and had a long run of 7 miles scheduled for Saturday; so I headed out in the afternoon while the boys were mowing the lawn and doing yard work.  The wind was kinda bad and it was a hilly route, but I had my music playing and the temperature was lovely.  I started off on my usual route until I hit a fork in the road.  I got to a point where I had the option to continue on my route or go down this other trail and I suddenly felt adventurous and really wanted to explore.  I figured that even if it was a shorter route and I ended up not having enough mileage that I could just double back and continue on my regular route and do just a bit extra.  So off I took!  I took one new trail after another and really explored the park, I was enjoying myself so much that I'm pretty sure I ran nearly 10 miles.  I don't have the mileage since I deterred from my planned route, but I ran for an hour and 43 minutes so I'm thinking at least 9.5 miles because my pace was slow, but still decent. I love that two years ago the thought of running a 5k was almost too large to wrap my head around, but now a 5k is easy for me!  I love that "fun" for me is going on an impromptu 10 mile run!  And I honestly felt great afterwards, too!  I rested Sunday, did a tiny bit of Zumba practice, but not nearly as much as I should have.  =/  It will be hard to fit in all my training, I know this, but I think it will just take some more time to get everything in a routine and then it will be much easier, especially now that I've recuperated from my big race.  (I love typing that out!  :-P)

This week started off great.  I got my eating under control Thursday and have stayed strong on that end.  Over the weekend I made two soups, Chicken Tortilla and Lasagna soups.  They were healthy, full of veggies and very satisfying.  Score 1 on the eating side!  I made some of Katie's granola from runsforcookies, and changed it just a bit by adding raisins and cinnamon and substituting the Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for regular brown sugar, you can find this recipe on my Recipes page.  Katie notes that her favorite way to eat it is with peanut butter on apple slices, so of course I had to try it!
De-freaking-licious!
My absolute favorite way to eat it though is like this:  1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 chopped banana, 1 teaspoon of honey and 1/4-1/2 cup of the granola.  This is OMG good!
Seriously, who needs sex?
I taught Zumba last night, then did 3.25 miles of speed work on the treadmill.  I actually feel pretty good about myself after that!  I stayed at a base pace of 6.3 mph (or 9.5 minute/mile) and did two minute intervals of 7 mph (or 8.5 minute/mile) dispersed randomly throughout.  My average pace ended up being 6.4, so I probably should have thrown in more intervals, but I'm cool with it.  Wednesday after Zumba I have a 4 miler scheduled at race pace, so I'll try and run the distance at 6.4 mph the entire time.  Tonight I did Body Pump and Zumba.  I'm feeling great so far, my eating has been between 1200 and 1500 calories the past few days, I've been drinking tons of water and the bloating from last week has eased.

Honestly, it's easy to say that my weight does not bother me and that I'm focusing on fitness related goals, and truly I am trying!  But the lack of change in my weight and size niggles at me in the back of my mind.  I try to get over it and ignore it, but it's been a persistent little fucker and refuses to truly leave me alone. The other day I was reminded of what pushes me on and what helps me get back on track. Awhile back, I met a young lady and we got to talking about weight loss. I decided that I wanted to try and help her lose weight, if by nothing else then by just being there to talk to about health and such. One day I was feeling especially glum about my lack of improvement in size and weight, when I got on Facebook and saw a post thanking me for being motivation to this young lady to run and push herself to do so. I was revived. I remembered that a big part of my passion stems from my desire to help others achieve their health and fitness goals. I am so proud of this lady, she has come so far just since I've known her. She came from not running at all to running a good portion of two miles in just a few tries! Then I started thinking about my little sister and how proud of I am that she has started trying to eat healthily and has started running, too. I am lucky to have the opportunity to try to help my friends and family with the same issues I have had, I only hope that I really can make a difference.  I am truly blessed to be witness to these young ladies as they begin their journeys, and I cannot wait to see their progress! This also helps get me back on track, if nothing else then to be a good example for others that I am trying to help. These last few pounds will perish, one way or another! Anyone else find your drive to push forward from people that you've inspired?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jack Rector Beacon 25k Run

Saturday ended up being a decent day.  I woke up around 6:00 and tried to go back to sleep for another 30 minutes when my alarm would go off, but I finally gave in and rose around 6:15.  I hurriedly got ready and even put makeup on, I think that I discovered that a nervous tic I have is to stick to routine when I get to feeling anxious.  I only ever wear eyeliner so it's not like I dolled up or anything, I just never put makeup on when I'm going to straight to work out, particularly on race days.  I sat and drank coffee and ate a rather large breakfast a little over an hour before the race started.  I had a bagel thin with Weight Watchers cream cheese, and a half a cup of Fiber One cereal with half a banana and almond milk;  I think I ate too much out of nervousness.  I was full, not necessarily uncomfortably so, I just tend to usually eat very lightly before a run.   
     My SIL cancelled on me Friday night, she had a situation, but my coworker and I met up before the race and started off together for maybe the first 5 minutes; then he took off!  I wore my winter gear running clothes which turned out to be perfect with the wind, I sweat so much I would have been freezing without my winter gear.  The pockets really came in handy, too; I had room to stuff 5 Gu packets in my pockets, chap stick, tissues, gum, my phone and my IPod.  I had my electronics in Ziploc baggies in case of rain.  I felt heavy duty and hardcore.  I looked, on the other hand,  like a stuffed chipmunk.  ;)  They had water stations every 2.5 miles with a porta-pottie, which was just about perfect for me.  I took my first Gu around mile 4 or so.   I'm pretty sure I kept at a 9.5 min/mile pace the first  7 miles of the run, then right before the turn-around I really started slowing down.  Once we were running right beside the lake the wind started blowing against us, and then on the way back the wind was really blowing against us!  I thought surely since we were running against the wind on the way up that it would be working for us on the way back; this was not the case.  I drank water or Gatorade at every station I came across, the last thing I wanted was to dehydrate, but I ate my second Gu around mile 7.5-8 and my stomach started aching pretty strongly, so I opted not to eat any more of them and to just pick Gatorade at the rest of the drink stops.  Shortly after that, I started getting a somewhat sharp pain in the top of my left thigh, my left knee started hurting too (it's my bad knee, no surprise there), but luckily my feet did well pretty much the entire time.  I had to pee from mile 5 and finally caved at mile 10; the combined aches were getting to me and something had to give.  Besides that quick stop and the couple paces I walked through the water stations, I ran the entire time.  I think around mile 11 the sharpness in my thigh wore off and the pain in my knee dulled.  Around km 22, I really started getting that "man, I'm getting  close, when the hell am I going to be done" mentality.  Around km 23 I got about a minute of adrenaline and energy that rushed through me and by km 24 I was dragging again.  The last little bit of the run was ridiculously slow, and whoever planned it out was fucked.  I mean, I guess whoever did it may have just found no other way to make it exactly 25 km without doing it the way they did.  However, when you have to run past the finish line twice with less than a mile left of and every step literally hurts your legs, your stomach and your knee, and you're really wanting to just stand still if only for a minute, but the knowledge that you're so close is pushing you forward, then that particular choice in route is just torturous.  My chip time ended up being 2:39 and some seconds (I can't remember the exact amount), making my average mile time 10.25 minutes.  My coworker passed me around mile 6.5 or so, and finished in 2:27 or 2:28 or something like that, so I felt like I did really well for a race that I really had not trained for.  He usually runs quite a bit faster than me, but he has not been training either, so we were kind of in the same boat.  At the end of it all we were both just really glad to have finished.
See how glad?
Okay, really, we were glad.
And we have proof that we did indeed finish:

Mark was waiting for me at the finish line with the camera, he could not get a good shot of me because of a man running beside me, I slowed for about a pace while I made the split decision to say screw it, I don't want a running shot, I want to be done!  So he got a shot of me right afterwards.

Then we found my buddy and celebrated the survival of the past 2.5+ hours.  And Mark's sister called me about 6 minutes after the finish line and we had a mini phone celebration.  My stomach was killing me at this point and my coworker was not feeling too well, either, so we opted out of food and drinks afterwards. 
I  went straight home to get in a bath with two Aleve and a very mild muscle relaxer.  When I got out of the bath, I got dressed in pajamas and Mark had a Blue Moon ready for me with an orange slice. 
Yum!

I was home by noon probably and my stomach hurt up until about 5:00, at which point I became ravished.  All afternoon we hung out watching movies and sipping on beer.  My stomach's pain had been hovering but when the pain finally stopped and the hunger began it was like I had not eaten in days.  So we went to a great joint right down the street to pick up a to go order where I got a bacon cheeseburger, broccoli salad and fried green beans (I definitely should have taken a picture!).  I ate almost the entire thing and I was stuffed!  I was also satiated.  I continued drinking beer and watching movies until about 10:00 at which point I had finally dozed off on the couch and decided that a nice comfy bed sounded fabulous.  And that was my Saturday!  Very exciting and fulfilling!

I'm also kinda convinced that  I want to run a full in November.  But we'll talk about that later after the 10k and half marathon that I plan to do in April.  :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Two Rest Days in a Row, Whaaaa???!!

Yup, that's right, I took last  night off, too!  I felt mildly guilty Wednesday, but I felt really guilty last night.  Boo!  I think that is indicative that I'm becoming obsessed/addicted.  So I'm trying very desperately to squash that guilt.  Also, the fact that the scale has not changed has become a tad bit annoying.  I weighed in this morning and 130.2 is what it read.  >.<     Another bizarre thing:  my butt is getting bigger (my sister verified this!), yet my pants are looser than ever!  Even all my size 2s were pretty loose this week.  So I guess maybe my fat is redistributing?  My sister and I think that it's getting maybe rounder and perkier, so this could be a good thing.  I really don't understand how I can weigh 130 pounds and be in a size two, yet so it is.  Anyway, these matters are trivial at this point.

Last night I left work and stopped at my sister's on the way home to work on her laptop.  Then I went home and we took the kiddo out to Chili's for his birthday dinner.  His party is not for a few more weeks, but we wanted to do something special for him on his actual birthday... He's 14 now, yikes!  He's taller than me and lanky with braces and so cute in that gangly teenager way.  I keep thinking back to when I met him at age 8 and he was so tiny with these adorable chubby cheeks.  He was a lot smaller than the kids in his class and we wondered if that indicated that he would be short later on; I have the sneaking suspicion that he will not be vertically challenged after all.  Right now he's in oral surgery to get the rest of his baby teeth removed and another tooth that will cause him lots of problems in the near future if not removed.  Poor guy.  This is the first time he has been put under and I'm actually a bit nervous; I'm sure he will be fine though, he's perfectly healthy. 

When we leave here, we'll go fill his prescriptions, see how he feels and I told him I'd make him some mashed potatoes for lunch.  Then today I have a list of things I need to do to prepare for my race tomorrow.  I need to go pick up my race packet (and my SIL's), stop by a running store and maybe Academy to see if I can find a running belt (I somehow managed to break the one I have) and weatherproof running jacket in case it rains, get my playlist ready, run 2-3 miles to loosen up my joints and muscles, get a bag of clothes and supplies ready to go (ie: clean/dry clothes to wear after the run, GU, a towel, etc.).  I also need to make sure I have plenty of tape to tape up my feet tomorrow (my plantar fasciitis is still a nuisance).  I want to go ahead and clean the house and do laundry and such, because I am quite certain that cleaning house is the last thing I'll feel like  doing after my run.  I need to run by the grocery store to pick up a few items and I would like to see my dad, but he can't leave his house because he has people working on his bathroom.  I suppose I have quite the full day planned!  Luckily it's only 9:30 and I think I can knock most of that out pretty quickly. 

I was finished with this post, but I got interrupted by the nurse coming to let me know that they were done.  If you want to experience one of the most bizarre/hilarious experiences ever, then take your kid for any kind of procedure that requires them to drug him/her up.  I do not by any means condone teens doing drugs, but seeing the kiddo come off of the anesthesia was definitely a memorable experience!  I was cracking up and the nurse had to come in and tell him to calm down because there were other patients to consider, he was being so silly!  I don't think I've ever seen him be so goofy!  Anyway, I have lots to do!  Tomorrow, race and pictures!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Finding a Happy Medium

I'm writing this Wednesday evening, but I don't plan on posting until Thursday morning.  I really like this method because it gives me a chance to review what I've written in an almost incoherent state of exhaustion with a fresh, clear mind!  I am a bit of a grammar nerd (albeit not nearly as bad as I was in college) and the thought of making simple/silly grammatical errors makes me cringe.  So from here on out, let's just assume that I've written my post the night before!

 So I guess I ought to start with a quick weekend update.  Saturday I got up early and hit the gym for Body Pump and Zumba, I did a couple songs and stayed up front for the rest of class.  I went to donate platelets after that, but my iron count was too low.  Phooey!  They don't even take the iron enriched part of your blood on platelet donations!  So I went home and did a little cleaning.   Later we hung out with friends where I tried for the first time, tacos from a taco truck!  A real taco truck!  And yes, I felt dirty and was a little apprehensive before trying them, but they were sooooooooo good!  And I figure since I haven't had a rest day since..... well to be honest I'm having problems remembering when my last rest day was  Sunday, February 19th (I had to look it up), that I have earned the right to be a little bad with my eating.  That, my friends, is 16 days of working out straight.  No wonder I've been so exhausted!  I took tonight off, I was dressed out sitting in my car in the parking lot about to walk into Zumba, when I spoke to my sister on the phone and she said, "You should come see dad and I", I really only had to think a second before I realized my poor aching body could use the break, not to mention I was hungry and there is always food at dad's house.  So, I bailed.  And yes, I did feel pretty guilty later, but I think that's a defect in my head because I really have needed a rest day!  I haven't decided what kind of workout I'm doing Thursday yet, I really don't want to miss Body Pump because I will miss it Saturday and I can tell a difference in my muscle composition when I don't do Body Pump at least twice a week.  But at the same time, with a big race coming up on Saturday, I probably really should rest both days.  The problem is I'm having a really hard time finding a happy medium in my workouts.  I need Body Pump at least twice a week to keep me feeling good.  I will be teaching Zumba twice a week, and then I want to attend other instructors at least twice a week, if not three times a week.  I can double up my Zumba and Body Pump days, but that only leaves me two-three days in the week.  If I use one as a rest day, that only leaves me two days to run.  And when training, two days just doesn't cut it.  So here is my tentative plan:

Monday: Teach Zumba (only a 50 minute class), run 4 miles
Tuesday:  Zumba, Body Pump
Wednesday: Zumba, run 3-4 miles
Thursday: Body Pump, teach Zumba
Friday:  Long Run Friday (w00t!)
Saturday:  Rest
Sunday:  Run (short to mid-length distance, ie:  3-6 miles), practice Zumba for teaching

That gives me four run days, five Zumba days and two Body Pump days; I think this might be manageable.  On the plus side, I've been shrinking again.  Nothing extremely noticeable, but all my 4s are definitely way loose now, and all my 2s are definitely comfy now.  I weighed in on Friday (after my long run to be fair) and I actually saw 126 on the scale!  w00t w00t!  Alas, I'm sure at least 2-3 pounds of that was probably water weight.  Still, it was sure nice to see. ;)  Otherwise I really haven't seen a scale change, I plan on weighing in again on Friday and see if it's a good number, but I don't think it will be, my body composition is definitely changing, but I haven't seen the scale really move in weeks.  In fact, I saw an old friend not too long ago and he commented on my weight loss.  Mind you I saw him back in October or roundabout, but I was in either an 8 or a 10 back then.  I've only lost 10 maybe at most 15 pounds since then.  And my eating... well... it really hasn't been the best.  I've gotten to the point that while I do want to lose these last pounds, my ultimate goal and focus right now is centered around training and I need to eat enough to fuel the kind of working out I've been doing.  So while I've been  tracking and counting calories for the most parts, there have been a couple days that I just didn't bother counting (ie: Friday, when I ran 12.5 miles), though I still try to focus on eating healthfully.  I love knowing that I've eaten a healthy meal full of fiber and protein and that I've picked the best options.  I actually feel icky if I don't eat enough vegetables and protein, therefore fitting them into my diet still isn't an issue for me when I don't see the numbers.  

Another situation that I'm having difficulties with is finding a happy medium on the pace of my Zumba class.  I know it's only been two classes so I'm not too worried yet.  But while my first class was primarily Zumba newbies, Monday's class was mostly seasoned Zumba enthusiasts.  In anticipation for a class full of new Zumba-ees, I had dropped my class down a bit by switching some of my higher paced songs to slower songs.  Apparently this did not suite well with some of my participants.  Now this part is a long story, so I'll summarize the conversation.  Basically a guy at the front desk very rudely told me that I had "a lot of complaints"; after digging, it came out that a couple (or few, I can't remember exactly how he phrased it) asked if the class was going to get any harder.  To me that has a helluva lot of a different meaning than "you have a lot of complaints".  Anyway, I digress about that particular aspect of the situation, perhaps I misunderstood his intent (me guilty of being hypersensitive? Never!! *note sarcasm here*).  I had a class of about 20 people, and it appeared to me that most of them were having fun, so I shall not stress too much about this.  I will rearrange my list (again!!!), and add a couple of my faster songs back on there and take off a couple of the slower songs.  I also intend to be a lot more communicative with my class and to let them know that I encourage feedback and will do my best to accommodate the class to try and reach a happy medium for everyone.  I will let them know that I'm new and that trying to find a good pace for a class is entirely new grounds for me, but that it will get better!  I sympathize all the more with my instructors now.  I remember all the times I was so frustrated because I didn't feel like the class was as fast as I needed and now I realize it was ten times worse for the instructor trying to figure out how to make the class happy!  In the past months I've realized that it must be harder on the instructors than it looks, but actually experiencing it has really opened my eyes.  Anyhoo, I just got back from a Thunders game and I'm ready to go pass out!   It was an awesome game, I hesitated when my awesome friend, Fida, asked if I wanted to go (because I've been so tired lately), but I sure am glad I did!  I had a blast and it was pretty close game, very exciting!  Go Thunders!

Friday, March 2, 2012

First Zumba Class

I had initially made this post a part of my next blog post "12.5 Miles and Running Revived!", but it got so long that I decided to split it up into two entries.  On this post, I'll give you guys a summary of how my first Zumba class went, and on the next post I'll go into new developments involving running. Monday evening, I got to the gym about 15 minutes before it was time to start and noticed a few women standing around outside the group exercise room. I thought, "Great, at least I have a few students here!". I rushed to the ladies room and returned and there were now about 10 women standing around. I quickly invited everyone in and got my iPod ready to go. The director came over to show me how to use the stereo equipment and by the time I turned around the class looked fairly full, there were 20 ladies present! I asked the class who was new to Zumba and thanked God when about 75% of the girls raised their hands! I grinned and said "Great, I'm pretty new to instructing!" I proceeded to tell them that I had some experience in other classes, but that this was my first class of my own and that we would grow together!... Or something along those lines. I trembled a bit as I looked out at this group and then I got started, and had a blast! I just tried to enjoy the Zumba and focus on that and doing it to where everyone could see what I was doing. I focused on being less bouncy and more clear on my movements, and genuinely having fun so my smile would not look fake. I was so much less nervous than I had been teaching songs in other instructor's classes; I think the fresh faces definitely helped! One of my instructors made it for the majority of the class and another came in near the end and it meant so much to me to again have some of my mentors show up to show their support! Their verdict was that I did well and did not appear nearly as nervous as I had before. I had their approval! w00t! It helped to have one of my instructors there to look at the couple times I froze/fumbled. After getting my first class over with, I could definitely tell how things will get easier and go smoother the more I teach. The 25% of the class that did not raise their hands very obviously had Zumba experience, and a couple of them were rude enough to do everything their own way and to completely ignore the way I was showing them. But that's okay, I've seen it before, and I'm not innocent of being completely free of Zumba snootiness. Yes, I have been cured of that disease and I figure they will too, or they will move on to someone they enjoy better. I do not think I've ever been that bad, but whatever, I'm really not worried about them. I'm excited to see how my newbies get better and turn into Zumba-lovers! Two ladies that obviously had Zumba experience made a point to visit with me after class and compliment me about my class, my style and the level of workout they received, that pretty much made my day along with the positive report from my Zumba mentors. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well the class went and I cannot wait to make this class truly my own!

12.5 Miles and Running Revived!

So, aside from my Zumba adventures, some new developments have begun on the running side of my fitness orientated life.  A couple of new events have revived my motivation to run!   Last Wednesday, Katie, from RunsforCookies.com, contacted me to invite me to run the Ragnar Relay in Key West next year as a part of a team she's creating of 12 individuals that have lost large amounts of weight while becoming runners along the way!  Does that not sound amazing?  To meet twelve strangers that understand and have faced the same kinds of situations that I have and then run with them!  I'm super pumped!  At first I hesitated because of the cost of something like this since this is the first year of my and Mark's 6+ year relationship that we've decided to take a vacation.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really wanted to do this and Mark kept saying that this was an amazing opportunity and I just realized I couldn't pass up the adventure of it!  We haven't actually planned anything, so after discussion we decided we would turn my participation in the Ragnar Relay into a vacation for us, stopping in Arkansas, and Tennessee and sight-seeing in Florida after the race!  So, I responded to Katie with a definite "Yes!", w00t, w00t!  That also gives me 10 months to work on my race pace.   Then there is speculation of maybe doing a race in San  Antonio in the fall, the prospect of which I'm starting to get excited at.  A mini vacation to hold us over until the big one in January comes around would be perfect!  I kinda like this team's video of the 2012 Ragnar Relay:

The second event that has suddenly spurred me into a running revival was when my amazing SIL texted me to ask me to run a 25k with her on.....  wait for it.... March 10th.  She texted me on Wednesday, February 29th , exactly one week from when Katie texted me.  I immediately balked.  The past two or three weeks I've been focusing primarily on Zumba, throwing in a 3 miler here, four miles there, two here, six there...  I have not been training at all for even a half marathon, much less 15 miles!  My last couple of long runs have been 8 miles (again at least two weeks ago) and before that I had a 10.75 mile run.  I would have to be crazy to consider running 15.5 miles.... right?  Well, call me crazy then.  This evil (yet awesome) lady aka said SIL insisted that though tough, I would be able to handle it; and magically, I suddenly wanted to.  So I hedged, and told her I'd wait until hereby named Long Run Friday, and see if I could run 12 miles without dying, if this was manageable I would run with her on Saturday.  About two and half hours ago I registered for the race.  I ended up running 12.5 miles in 2:24:00, although I honestly think I ran 13 miles, but the map I was used was sketchy so I'm not certain and I'd rather guess at the lower end than higher.  It was so slowwwwwww!  I had planned my route out prior to leaving and left my water and GU in my driveway and intended on swinging by at mile 7 to eat a packet and drink some water.  About mile 6, I decided to do my route a different way and changed course.  I think I probably would have been faster if I'd had supplements and water.  I  had a plan in case I felt like I really needed water, but I only really started regretting  my decision at about  mile 10.5.  My legs were hurting and I was thirsty!  I stopped to stretch my legs a couple of times, but otherwise I ran the entire time!  I was so proud to even have finished that distance, slow as I may have been.  It was also windy as fuck the first 7-8 miles, I felt almost wind burnt at the end of it all.  And that made it feel all the colder and slower.  When I got home I let out Bella and stretched barefoot on the sidewalk in front of my house.  The cold pavement felt so good on my aching feet.  After showering and realizing that I did not feel like death and that I actually made it, I made the decision that yes, I was going to run a 25k next weekend.   So now, my SIL, I and a coworker have very quickly made the decision to run a 25k and we're all registered.  My coworker made the decision based on his policy of not being "beaten by a girl", I laughed.  Great, the more the merrier!  Then food and beer afterwards!  Food and beer have never tasted as good as they do after a good long run!  Speaking of, after my run today, I got ready to head to my dad's and we decided to go to the mall for pretzels for lunch.  It had been a couple hours since my run and I was starving!  I really wanted to go to Whole Foods for dessert, but things just do not always follow my plans!  I even failed to get a pretzel, instead I ended up with half a meat and veggie Stromboli and half a spinach, onion and tomato Stromboli.  I by far preferred the spinach, onion and tomato one, but I ate some of the other one to make sure I got some protein so my appetite would be satiated.  Then I got a small mango pineapple smoothie:
De-freaking-licious.

And on the way out I saw this sign:

And I remembered how much Katie loves Mrs. Fields cookies, and I just had to try something!  So I got a Walnut Chocolate Chip cookie for me and each of the kids a chocolate chip cookie and this for us all to share because it looked so freaking good:
Peanut Butter Dream Bar -  Yummy!

For dinner I got a six-inch tuna sub and an apple for a snack later tonight so my poor choice of eating earlier today will be balanced out.  Besdies that why not use long run days to enjoy things I don't normally indulge in?   I plan on spending the rest of the night cleaning the house and relaxing with the family.  And tomorrow I have a workout on the agenda along with a platelets donation and some horror event, I'm not exactly privy to the details, but it sounded fun!  Ttfn, I hope you all have a great weekend!