Tag Archives: exercise

I came, I saw,… I’m not going back to crossfit

24 Nov

I love a good health trend.  From novelty races like the Color Run to switching to agave instead of honey in my tea, I find that while health and exercise trends might not actually make a huge difference in my life, it’s fun to change things around now and then to keep myself energized.

So I was ready to love crossfit – to have some reason to shell out $200 a month for a new gym, to make some new friends, to stretch some new muscles.

And I hated it.

I write this from the morning after a free crossfit demo in Boston’s Back Bay, courtesy of City Sports.  I can’t move most of my body, so I guess that’s supposed to mean that I had a good workout.  But really, it just makes me mad.

Mad that during the hour-long session, we got lectured for half the time about how crossfit is going to help us with all aspects of our life, like “reaching for flour at work” (are we all bakers??)… something I can’t even do in my soreness.  Mad that it was marketed as being about your own strength, your own 100%… but the rest of your team isn’t allowed to go on until you finish those burpees.  Mad that when the small medicine balls ran out, we had to use one that was double the size, and just deal with it.  Mad that when I asked for an adjustment because my hip flexor was killing me, the trainer said “There’s really no substitution… I guess you could do push-ups if you really needed to,” implying that instead I should just tough through it.  And REALLY mad that after an exercise session that was supposed to be about working brand new muscles, we were given zero minutes to stretch after – no instruction, no finale, no warning about how important it is to properly cool down these new muscles, just “Don’t forget to check our onboarding program!”

That was your chance to wow me, crossfit, and you blew it.  I’m going back to Zumba, boot camp in the park, and 5ks where costumes are required – at least they don’t hurt me.

All the colors of the wind

30 Jul

Second annual Color Me Rad – check!  Compared to last year, this year’s run at the Brockton Fair Grounds was:

  • More crowded, with waves starting from 8 AM through the afternoon
  • Better organized, with good parking options and clearly marked areas
  • More flexible – they actually invited you to start whenever you were ready instead of making you stick to a certain wave
  • More colorful – the color felt a little bit more spread out than last year, but we got more of it early on and felt like we were really getting the point without trying too hard (no rolling around on the ground this year thank goodness – that stuff took forever to get off of my stomach!)
  • Less crowd-focused at the end – last time, we all finished together and then had a giant party.  Here, there was a host and people dancing constantly, but there wasn’t an all-out bash with group color throwing like there was last time.  Hence, it would have been nice to have a slightly larger team together.
  • Slightly more athletic – this was less winding through a parking lot and more of an actual course.  It felt really easy though (other than mom’s blisters), probably because we were still in good share from our half marathon training.
  • 50% more rad – the mirrored sunglasses, the knee socks, the music – it was all quite fabulous.   Also hoping that their new instructions for keeping the color in actually work (last year they said soak in vinegar and it failed – this year they recommended spray adhesive.  Fingers crossed!).

Onward to next year, and to seeing if I can get this dye off of my shorts!

Color Run 2013

Starting summer strong

5 Jun

Summer opens up a million new ways to soak up the sunshine – even as work stays intense, weekends are filled with weddings and traveling, and patios serve up delicious food and drinks.

So I’m keeping moving this summer with some new, some old, and some totally free practices.  Here’s where you can find me this summer:

  • Playing softball with Social Boston Sports – we started the season as a group of free agents, but now we’re “Loose Change,” the friendly, talented, and generally awesome softball players who hit the fields by the Charles every Sunday evening.  After the season ends in two weeks, we’re moving to another field to keep the fun going as a real team!
  • Biking for the first time in years.  just got my biked tuned up and practiced riding it up and down the street today, without worrying about what my neighbors might think about a 27-year-old going in loops like a kid.  Next up, taking it on the bike path (once my lights come in!).
  • Free boot camp and outdoor exercise at Post Office Square – this is the awesome free one that I want to see YOU at!  Sara and I went today and it was awesome – basically group training, if not personal training.  The downtown location is perfect for me, the 7:15 start time gives me time for breakfast and a shower before work, and the trainers are really nice.  Not near you?  How about one of these other awesome outdoor exercise classes throughout the city?  
  • Running!  Just because our half marathon is over is no excuse to stop running.  I have two 5ks coming up, including Color Me Rad in July.  I also got in a good sunset mile run around my neighborhood last week – when the sun stays out so long, I might as well join it!
  • Dancing the night away.  I think I got about a year’s worth of exercise at Katey and Sal’s wedding, between all the shimmying and shaking and grooving.  So much fun, and dancing just makes me want to dance more… more… more!  Let’s dance!

What are you doing to keep moving this summer?

Baby, we were born to run

16 May

This spring has been anchored in running.  Run because you’re strong.  Run because you want to feel better.  Run long because you’re sure as heck not running the Boston marathon.  Run in honor of those who were there that day.  Run in the cold.  Run on the bike path.  Run on the rail trail with mom on the weekend.  Run run run run run.

On Sunday, we finally had the run we were waiting for: my very first half marathon.

The start line at the Cox Providence Half Marathon was gray and overcast – we had lots of company at the 14:00 mile marker, including lots of cops in riot gear.  When the race finally started (late), we started out under cloudy skies.

Cox Start Line

But the next three hours got brighter and brighter, metaphorically speaking, as mom and I ran.  Even though the first half was entirely uphill, it was spotted with awesome sights (thanks, dude playing a banjo on the porch!), beautiful houses, our awesome family and fan club who we got to see SIX times between the start and the finish, some friendly competition with some other gals who were running at the same pace as us, and more.

It wasn’t always easy – the hills were killer, and the downhills made my knees ache even as I was grateful for a change.  We got super hungry halfway through (working out for hours can do that to you!) and it rained for a bit.

And yet.

Through the race, I felt stronger with every footfall that reverberated off the pavement.  With every inch behind us, we got closer to this amazing accomplishment.  The area by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s water stop was paved with inspirational posters that literally brought tears to my eyes – notes about how we run because they can’t, how we run because they can, how we run because they – survivors, patients, loved ones – once did.   Because of the 20+ names on my back that spoke to just how much blood cancer can touch a life.  And because 15 years ago this spring, I was a sick, bald kid in a hospital bed who wasn’t sure I would live to have my first kiss, and today I was a successful woman, running a stellar, challenging race.

When we passed mile 10, I took one step further than I’ve ever gone in my life.  And it got better – the final leg of the race course merged with the full marathon course, and we go an extra boost from finishing alongside some quite fast marathoners.

As we got near the finish, we could see the crowd ahead.  All up and down the sidewalk were fellow runners, family members, neighbors, friends, and students, all out to cheer us on.  Their cheers built into a roar of bells and applause and screeches to push us across the finish line.  You might have thought that the area around that yellow line would be a little less populated this time around, but you would be absolutely, delightfully, overwhelmingly wrong.  Instead, people showed the best of themselves, and passed it on to everyone else around them.

Mom and I crossed the finish line at 3:05:50 – much faster than we expected, with an average pace of 14:11 (including a bathroom break!).  We ran into the arms of our loving family – Kat, Dad, and Wes – and smiled through our sweat.  “We actually did it,” we said to each other, holding our weird anchor medals in our hands.  “We finished!”

Half marathon May 2013

This was my first half marathon, but it’s certainly not my last.  This confirmed the one thing that I was actually afraid of in this whole process – the concept that I can truly do anything.  And now, I have no excuse not to try.

Thank you for all your support this year – I can’t wait to tell you about the next adventure… just as soon as I decide what it is!

IMG_4321

Getting ready to save the world

27 Aug

This = the way I see life.

 

And if I can also fit into a smoking hot dress for Kat’s wedding – even better.  Mostly I just want to live to be 100, and have an awesome, healthy, world-changing time doing it.

A colorful life

15 Jul

Alternative titles:

  • Colors of the wind
  • Color me awesome
  • Color-issa explains it all – rad and in action
  • This is why I’m blue

This dye is never going to come out of my ears, my socks, and the space behind my knees – and I couldn’t be happier.  My mom, friends, and I just finished Color Me Rad 5k at South Shore Plaza in Braintree, MA.  This Color Run knock-off was a rip roaring good time, and not even that much running, for better or worse!  But really, it’s a story better told in technicolor photos:

The crew before the race

The aftermath, as seen in my hair

The scene, with my teammates

Me and Mom – Color Me Rad racers extraordinaire!

The team post-run – we’re a colorful bunch!

Mom shared her lessons here, if you want to hear more about the logistics of this mayhem.  Bottom line though: if something sounds crazy, and messy, and athletic, and outdoorsy, and you can do it with your friends, AND you can be home in time for brunch – do it.  Always and forever.  You won’t regret it, though your car door might be a little blue for a while (sorry Mom!).

Happy Sunday!

Weekend victories

3 Jun

The highlight reel:

  1. Finished the Tory Row 5K  with mom in less time than we predicted – AND not being last!!!
  2. Got all my herbs and tomato plants into the ground before brunch
  3. Snagged the last three seats at brunch at Highland Kitchen (beignets = best recovery food ever!)
  4. Went on a shopping spree with Katie and bought everything we ever needed, and very few things we didn’t (that hat was too good to pass up)
  5. Finally used my Christmas bonus to buy myself an awesome new camera – expect to see lots more pics soon!
  6. Explored new shops in Harvard with Beth despite the rain
  7. … and still snuck in a two hour nap in our newly-cleaned living room

Now THAT’s what I call a weekend!

The numbers game

22 May

The life of a woman in 2012 often feels like a numbers game.  The number of calories in each granola bars, the number of times per week you go to the gym, number of ounces of water you “need” to drink each day, the number of hours you sleep each night (and what time that sleep starts, even!) and the ultimate number: your weight.

I’ve been working for years to see beyond the numbers.  When I was on the crew team in college, it became abundantly clear that the sleep number mattered most (though it was thoroughly unattainable), and the calories and number on the scale needed to cease to matter – only with this view did I turn into a strong woman with broad shoulders (I literally had to go out and buy new shirts) and strong calves.  But in the post-college world, I’m surrounded by numbers again, and seemingly ridiculous ways to reach them.  Why give up running if it’s your passion, just because it’s forcing your weight to plateau?  And can you really live a life without chocolate (who would want to??)?

Recently, Alice Randall penned a New York Times Op-Ed calling for black women to commit to setting a new standard for curves and getting under 200 pounds.  I don’t disagree with her health-based reasoning – I operate on the idea that you should avoid every kind of cancer you can (because they might sneak up on you anyway) and that theory can extend to other diseases.  But what I really love about her writing is the blow-back it’s gotten and the debate it started.

All the opinions are interesting, especially the way they question stereotypes about fat and thin people, but the message that I really love here is that instead of focusing on any one number, we’re bringing it back to health.  How much fat do you have around your heart, rather than how much weight is around your hips.  How often you dare to take the huge staircase at work instead of who wears an XS top and who’s in an XXL.  And who is moving, shaking, and living their life, and going to get more out of it as a result.

This is my goal: to feel strong, and hot, and like I can take on anything without starting to wheeze.  To look good in my clothes no matter what size they may be.  And not to punish myself with ill-fitting clothes because I’m striving to be a perfect size __, and still working every day to be a better ME.  And doing it in a way that makes me happy – Hunger Games gym classes, post-work swims, and everything in between, no matter what parts of me get overly muscular and what parts stop shrinking.

Because what really matters is the life that these numbers help you live – and at the end of the day, isn’t it better to enjoy life than to stop and measure?

What do you think about Randall’s article and these responses?

Revelations

1 May

Since I last wrote, I’ve been to California and back, moved offices, helped with a successful fundraiser, and had good times with lots of friends.  Here’s what I learned along the way:

  • The San Francisco airport is awesome – my terminal had a yoga room, vegan food, and only compost and recycling options, they don’t create real trash!
  • Even if the first 5 people at Verizon are kind of nasty to deal with, the last one might be nice and finally install your office’s internet and phone lines.
  • Listening to The OC’s soundtrack while driving to Newport Beach is pretty close to living in a dream.
  • I have some amazing friends, whether they’re coming in from out of town, the last person I say goodnight to, or the ones who left work early to help fundraise for an organization they’re not a part of yet
  • Working out in the morning makes for a great day – and may even leave you ready to return at night!
  • Along those lines, spinning is awesome, as long as you’re wearing padded shorts.  (Ouch ouch)
  • It’s ok – maybe even preferred – to have an educational book to read on the train ride to work and a trashy romance novel for the way home.  It’s a zero-calorie reward for a job well done!

More on everything later, including some great pics from the West Coast, videos I’ve been meaning to post, and a further recap of life’s musings.

What’s up with you?

Exercise Fail

21 Oct

You know that phrase, “You never know until you try?”  I could have used a reminder of that over the last week and a half.

Since I hurt my ankle in the race two weekends ago, I have been laying low.  I walked around NYC a bit with my sis, strolled around the square, walked in the park with my bf.  But I didn’t lift a finger to actually exercise because I was trying to give myself time to heal from than injury (and then from tripping and falling really hard in the middle of the road during the bookfest.  It would have been much cooler if I had been reading at the time.)

This morning, I finally returned to the gym, good old Planet Fitness.  And after a good workout, I looked around and said, “Why did I wait so long?” Only then did I remember that my foot was supposed to be hurting me.

If I had just taken the time to try something other than walking – in tevas no less – I think I would have realized my ability a lot sooner and would feel a lot better about my body this week.  Next time, I am going to stay off the couch rather than letting something – even an injury – keep me from moving.

Lesson learned!

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