Saturday, January 31, 2009

Can You See Me Now?

I promise to explain the blog move soon. Right now I'm testing things out. I hope you can see this post and that my old content has moved successfully. I still need to fix the sidebar stuff.

You're going to have to follow this blog specifically if you want to keep reading. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kick in the Abs

My core has traditionally been very weak. With the Sexy Six-Pack challenge going on, it seems like a good time to talk about ab work. This post is mostly for myself, to document where I'm at and what I'm doing. And for the record, I do focus on more than just abs in my core workouts, but this list is abs-specific.

Contained in Yoga DVDs depending on the DVD
* kundalini stretch pose - legs and head 6 inches off floor held for a target of 60 secs.
* one of the 5 tibetan rites - leg raises bending at the waist - doing these for about a minute
* something I don't know what it's called (helpful, huh?) but you do it laying on your back and bend knees and move the legs slowly up toward the chest then slowly straighten them back out
* plank - 1 set target of 60 secs

Included in my routine for strength days
* 3x20-25 bicycle crunches with ab roller. I want to get to the point where I don't need the roller, but right now I do.

How I will measure ab strength progress
* plank - 3 sets of X secs. Started off only able to hold for 20secs.
* slow ab roll ups with knees bent. Aiming for 3 sets of 15 unassisted. Started off unable to do any without assistance (get stuck rolling up).

I am fairly motivated right now to improve my core strength. We'll see what progress I can make with this routine and/or what modifications I need to make to see faster progress.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Group Run - Take 2

I did Yoga in the morning and had a weekday group run on my schedule for early evening.

It was particularly chilly today due to 20-30mph winds. Brrrrr. I definately would have skipped it if left to my own devices, but I showed up to run because of the group.

The plan was 30 mins easy. My Garmin battery was dead, so I'm really not sure if they slowed down or I sped up, but somehow I managed to stay with the group this time. It was nice to be running together (rather than alone) as it got dark when the sun went down.

We'll be running easy for a few weeks, then speedwork starts. Ick.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Impressions from my new Yoga DVDs

About three weeks ago, I mentioned that I had decided to buy some Yoga DVDs. Well, I've had them for awhile now and am ready to share my thoughts.

What I bought:
I started with an order for three Ana Brett & Ravi Singh DVDs. Specifically: Ultimate Stretch Yoga Workout, Yoga Beauty Body, & Warrior Workout. Ultimate Stretch was backordered, so I ended up adding Kundalini Yoga for Beginners & Beyond to my collection as well. I've liked most of these well enough to order another one (Dance the Chakras) off ebay but I haven't received it yet.

General comments:
- I was initially surprised by the combination of flexibility, strength, and cardio contained within these workouts. It's more challenging that I imagined.
- I chose to use these as my six-pack challenge work. There is definately a lot of core included. I'm doing better with the ab stuff as I continue working on it.
- This is way different from the Yoga I have done before.
- These DVDs are really aimed at women. I have a hard time imagining that a man would enjoy these specific ones, but I could be wrong.

What I like:
- These have the "Matrix" option which allows you to customize your workout from a menu of the various components, or you can just run it start to finish.
- I find this yoga style to be engaging and fun, not boring.
- Something about yoga is also relaxing. I feel positive and upbeat afterwards.
- I enjoy the music track on most of theses DVDs.
- The instructions are fairly clear and they give modifications for many poses.

What I don't like:
- Ana needs to wear more clothes. Seriously. Most of the time I have my eyes closed while I do this, so it doesn't bother me as much as it did at first.
- The "tune in" and "mediation" sections are too new age for me, but I use the Matrix options and have been skipping these sections all together
- Ravi makes some health claims that see outrageous to me. I choose to ignore much of that.

Comments Specific to each DVD:
- Yoga Beauty Body - My favorite of the bunch. Includes "the magnificent seven". I like both yoga sets on this one. I'm guessing that I choose this one every other time that I do yoga.
- Beginners & Beyond - I've been going straight to yoga set 2 (Five Tibetan Rites) after the warm-up. Good stuff. Set one is just so-so.
- Warrior Workout - Super challenging. Even the warm-up is challenging! I haven't made it to the 2nd yoga set on this one yet. I'm going to have to work up to this one.
- Ultimate Stretch - My least favorite. Can't put my finger on it, but this one just doesn't do it for me. Might give this one away at some point; maybe someone else will enjoy it.

Overall, I'm glad I spent the money on these. I've been doing them at least 3 times a week, look forward to doing them, and feel that I'm seeing results.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2009 Season Running Group Kick-off

Today was the first group run of the new year for our running group. I think eight of us showed up. The options were 30mins, 40mins, or 50mins easy. I opted for 40mins easy.

I started off with some others, but fell back after about half a mile because they were going too fast for my easy pace. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to show up to run with a group since most of the time I end up running by myself, but it definately helps to get me out the door and I enjoy chit-chatting before and after running so it's all good.

My stats for today:
* distance: 3.68miles
* avg pace: 11:19min/mi
* elevation change: +280/-275 ft

Knee is still doing well. That's good news. I'm also feeling some pain relief in my low back/right hip that I attribute to the chrioprator. Good stuff.

All in all, a successful run in my book.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Simply Fabulous

I was tagged by Marlene from Mission to a(nother) Marathon with the Fabulous award. Thank you, Marlene.

The rules are to share 5 addictions and tag some others. Addictions, huh?

1) Marshalls. I mentioned earlier in the fall about the new Marshalls near me. Let's just say that the store manager made a point to let me know personally that they were having a special sale yesterday. Let that sink in for a minute. Um. yeah.

2) My Morning Coffee. I quit coffee for 9 months in 2007, but then started again. I'm very particular about it. I make it half regular, half decaf and use lots of half and half. I've been known to bring a french press and my own coffee when we travel.

3) Loose Leaf Tea. I make loose leaf tea and sip on it practically all day. At work, I'm rarely seen without my cup close by. Right now I'm particularly hooked on peppermint leaves. It's quite tasty and no caffeine.

4) The Blog-o-sphere. No surprise here. I love reading your blogs, commenting, posting, and receiving comments. For the most part I find this to be a truly supportive environment. So I'm considering this a healthy addiction.

5) Exercise. I was going to say running, but my addiction is bigger than that. It includes gym workouts, stretching, the events that I go to, even swimming and cycling when I'm triathlon training. Can't go too long without it before withdrawl sets in. Another healthy addiction.

And there you have it. As for tagging other, I'm going to pass on that because I don't know who has done this already and I'm really bad at narrowing down to a short list of names. I want to tag ALL of you. So consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quick Post of a few Firsts

The little gym that I go to at work had the lights replaced for the first time in over 10 years. It's much brighter in there now, almost too bright. If you compare this photo to previous ones you can probably tell the difference.

I think this is the first time I've posted a photo of me in the shirt Husband made for me last year with my bike silouette on it. Pretty cool, huh?

This morning I went to a Chiropractor for the first time in my life. I've avoided it due to skeptism, but have a few nagging issues and I finally decided to try it out. After x-rays and diagnosis, he determined two spots needed adjustments. The first one startled me a little, but wasn't too bad. The second one provided instant relief. I know it takes a while to reprogram your muscles to keep things inline, but I'm now hopeful for some improvement.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recipe for a Gym Queen

I've gotten several questions over the past few months asking what exactly it is that I do at the gym. I can never remember the names of things, so I usually can't answer, but today I took the time to look things up and will give it my best shot.

My current routine is as follows.

All of these are 3 sets of 8-12 reps unless otherwise stated, and my goals is to do this 2-3x per week (Mon, Wed, Fr mornings). That is very doable now, with running added in Tue/Thu/Sat but it will be challenging when I add swimming and cycling back in for triathlon training.

Upper Body
- Cable Seated Rows
- Incline Bench Press
- Shoulder Abduction (?)
- Bicep Curls
- Tricep Pull Downs

Lower Body
- One legged squats (although I've seen them called one legged lunges)
- Squats
- Stiff legged dead lifts

- Bicycle Crunches w/ ab roller (3 reps of 20-25)

Things that I've dropped over the past few months because of time limitations that I'd like to add back in at some point:
- pushups (real ones, not modified. goal is 15, 12, 10)
- plank (goal is 3 sets of 90 secs)
- rocking v-ups

- I also do at least 15 mins of stretching and use the foam roller almost every day. I usually do this at the gym.
- I've added in Yoga DVDs (they take about an hour) 5 days a week, but probably will have to cut that down to 3-4. This is done at home, but somehow seemed worth mentioning. Not sure why.

One last comment. If there are any women who read this and have been thinking about doing strength work at the gym but are intimidated for some reason, I highly advise working with a Trainer at least a few times to make sure you are doing things correctly. With a little guidance, it doesn't take long to gain confidence. In addition to the physical benefits, I find working out at the gym to somehow be very empowering and good for self esteem (an added bonus!).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Frantic Friday

Ever have one of those days where you wonder where the time went? That was me today.

Day started with an appointment with Trainer Guy this morning. He reviewed my form on the upper body stuff first. He had some minor form corrections, but generally gave me positive feedback. Next we spent time on lower body stuff. I showed him my one legged squats. Those are difficult, but apparently look good. He added regular squats and stiff legged deadlifts. Aye carumba! Tough stuff, but I'm up for the challenge.

Came home and did some yoga with one of my new DVDs. I've actually been working through those DVDs almost every day for a week. In another week or so, I'll write a detailed post about all of that.

Showered and jumped in the car. I needed to drive downtown to pick up my bling. What? I forgot to mention that? Oh yeah.

Well, apparently the event on Sunday was small enough that I actually placed in the women's division for the 5K. Which means the "woman" with the chihuahua was actually a "youth female" And I still think the chihuahua cheated.

Next, I was off for some beautification at the salon. I hadn't had my hair color freshened up since September and it was really bugging me. It looks much better now, if I do say so myself.

Then a quick late lunch so I could head over to friends' house to see their new dogs. Cute!!

Rushed home after that to get Daughter so we could go b'day shopping for Son who turns 17 on Tuesday. Mission accomplished. Whew.

Back home to finally get the Christmas tree out of the house. After Christmas, I couldn't get our tree back into the box, so I ordered a storage bag for it. Meanwhile, the tree partly in the box and partly out of the box has been sitting in the great room. The storage bag finally arrived yesterday, so I was able to get it into the garage and out of the house. Yay.

Now I'm sitting on the couch for basically the first time all day. Ahhhh.

Not for long though. It's just about time to make dinner.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

My New Toy

First, thanks for all the insightful comments to my last post. I'm still not sure if 36 hrs is enough, but the general consensus was "listen to your body." Can't go wrong with that!

I've mentioned the desire to monitor my weight and body fat together, rather than weight only. Well, I finally decided on and purchased something for this purpose, the Omron HBF-500, and was able to order it online for under $70 including shipping.

I've had it for about a week now. Here are my thoughts.

I believe the weight is both accurate and consistent. I've stepped on and off the scale and had it return nearly identical readings, better than our other scale. It also returned a number close to the reading from a nurses office earlier in the week when I first got it. And as long as I step on it at the same time each day, I'm getting consistent readings day after day. For that matter, I consistently get a higher reading at night than in the morning. For my own purposes, I've decided that the scale is cranky in the evening and shouldn't be bothered. I now only use it in the morning after it's had a good night's sleep.

The body fat feature is a little tricky at first. It works for up to four users. You have to program in some data before first use and if you want the BF measurement, you have to remember to tell it which user you are before you step on the scale.

I'm not sure how accurate it is, but again, it is consistent. It measures my body fat within a single percentage point each time. It is, giving a reading about 4 percentage points higher than the reading from the nurses office the week I got the scale, but I don't know which reading is more accurate. I figure it doesn't matter if the absolute number is correct. If the scale is consistent, I should be able to tell if I'm making relative progress in the desired direction.

Other features include visceral fat level, skeletal muscle percentage, resting metabolism, and body mass index, but I haven't used any of those at this point.

Overally, I'm pleased. If anyone is considering buying a scale with BF feature, I'd recommend considering this one as you are making your decision.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rest, how muich is enough?

During the summer, part of my schedule looked like this:
* Thu - speed work with group
* Fri - Rest
* Sat - long run with group

On the surface, it looks like a legitimate rest day sandwiched between two run days.

However, Thu speedwork was 7pm on Thu and the long run was 7am on Sat. That means only 36 hours between workouts.

Is that enough to truly count as rest?

Because today I realized that I could achieve the same thing (36 hrs between workouts) without actually taking a day off.

* Mon - weight training 7AM
* Tue - Run 7PM

See? It's got the same 36 hrs break in between workout, no off day.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Up & Running 5K Race Report

Today was a local race called "Up & Running" which had a 10K and a 5K. It started on the walking bridge over the Rio Grande and had an out and back down along the Bosque Trail along the river as shown by the map below:

* It was a great excuse to get out and run on a cold Jan morning.
* They set up some tents on bridge & played music. It was a very festive atmosphere.
* Packets were put together in reusable shopping bags. We'll get a lot of use out of those.
* Race venue was very close to home, maybe 6 miles from my house.

* Start time 8:00am on a cold January morning. I much prefer a later start time (9am or 10am) during winter.
* Weren't set up to accept online or mail in registration. They expected people to drive downtown to the BCPR office while it was open (mon-fri 8-5am). I called and asked if I could mail my registration in and they let me do it, but it was an exception. I believe they would have had a bigger turn out if they had an easier way to register.

It was about 22 deg when we left the house. The sun wasn't quite up over the mountains either. Brrrrr!! I was going to take a self-portrait with my cell phone, but my fingers were just too cold.

They started the 10K first and started the 5K runners ten minutes later. The first half mile was mostly downhill. The middle was mostly flat. Then uphill at the end.

The field was small enough that there were only a few people between husband and I after mile one, so I could see him up ahead. I tried to keep him in my sights on the way back, but just couldn't keep up.

No worries, I told myself, I was out there to run my own race anyway.

Near the end of the race, I was passed by a woman and a chihuahua. I didn't mind being passed by the woman, but a chihuahua!?!? That's actually pretty depressing if you think about it.

Here's the graph of my splits, courtesy of Garmin. Official results will be posted by tomorrow afternoon. Garmin says I ran 30:31, average pace of 9:55.

If I could run the whole 5K like mile one, I would be a very happy woman. Guess that's something to work toward this year when I actually start training.

Also, while I'm pleased that I had some energy to kick it up a notch at the end for that final stretch, I can't help but wonder if maybe I could/should kick it up a bit sooner...

All in all, it was fun little event. Something I'll consider doing again next year.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Treadmill Run

[Second post in one day. Sorry about that! If you haven't already, you can find out the result my random act of kindness and congratulate the winner by referencing my earlier post from this morning.]

So remember yesterday how I was going to do a treadmill run, then I wasn't?

Well, actually I did.

As I was driving in, I remembered that I had an appt with Trainer Guy today and wasn't sure if we were going to work upper body or lower. I didn't want to be in the situation of running after a lower body workout, so I figured I should just do the treadmill run as planned.


But I tried to make it interesting and devised the following workout. Thirty minutes, broken down by alternating 2 minute thirty second intervals of walking (0% incline 3.8 mph) with running (3% incline 6.0 mph). It was actually a decent workout and something I could do again without too much dread.

So this morning I met with the Trainer and we did upper body. So I probably could have done the outside run today afterall, but better safe than sorry.

By the way, he has me doing five exercises. Two of them are things I was already doing so mostly he just checked my form on those. Three are new to me. I don't know the names of things, so I'll spare the detail of me trying to describe it all. I'm pretty sure I'll be feeling this tomorrow. I meet with him again next Friday. Cool.

Happy Friday everyone and have a good weekend! I've got a 5K fun run planned for Sunday morning. Eek! Expecting temps of about 22 degrees at race time. We'll see just how fun *that* is.

The winner is...

I did this the old fashioned way. Put all the names in a hat (except for a few that asked to be left out of the drawing for one reason or another). Closed my eyes. Mixed them up. Pulled one out.

The photo is a little fuzzy, but as you can see, the winner is JoyRuN. This is what she shared as a learning from 2008:

"Biggest thing I learned in 2008 is that I AM capable of running a marathon!"

Congrats, Joy! Please send me your address and I'll get the DVD out to you. Hope you enjoy it. I've sure enjoyed everybody's learnings.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Quick Updates

* If you want a chance at my Random Act of Kindness, please comment on that post today. I'll be chosing a name tomorrow. Watch this space!

* Spent more time on the phone with the insurance company and finally got somewhere. As of yesterday afternoon, they told me that the claim will be reprocessed and paid. Yippppeee! I'm feeling victorious.

* Another treadmill run on the calendar today. I'll be trying to find a way to make it into a game, but I haven't had enough time to plan a strategy for that. Sigh. EDIT: I'm on my way out the door and I've just decided to skip the treadmill run today and run outside tomorrow instead because I have the day off! Win-win! I'll do lower body stuff today instead.

* I am giddy like a school kid because Husband & I are *trying* to plan something very cool for our upcoming 20th anniversary. More on that later...

Gotta' run. Happy Thursday folks!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

* I've really enjoyed the comments to my last two posts. I'm feeling encouraged about trying out the yoga DVDs. It's also interesting to read about all of your learnings from 2008.

* I'm having blood drawn tomorrow at 6:30am for the annual health for life program at my work. They actually encourage us by giving us $$ to have some bloodwork done, meet with a coach, and use the mayo site. It's a fasting blood test, so my plan is to bring an apple and some milk with me so that I can snack immediately after the labs and then head to the gym before work.

* How's this for a bunch of crap. A few weeks ago I got a bill from an emergency room visit back in August of 2007. The bill says that there records show that I'm uninsured, self pay. But I also notice that there was some sort of coded comment from November regarding my insurance (so clearly they know I have insurance). Called the insurance company and they told me that the emergency room submitted this portion of the bill in Oct 2008. Since it was over a year from the date of service they denied it. So now I'm stuck with the bill?!?! Anyway, after a lengthy discussion they said they'd reprocess the claim. We'll see what happens, but this is really frustrating.

* Three times now I've done those evil one legged things that Trainer Guy showed me. Not really getting easier yet. Sigh.

* Today I'm scheduled to do a short treadmill run. Yippee (yes, that's with sarcasm). It just gets harder and harder for me to stay motivated on the treadmill. I'll be a lot happier in a few months when I'm running outside in the mornings or evenings again.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Act of Random Kindness

Almost all my readers are runners. I'm sure you'd each like to know how to:

· Expend less energy to run fast
· Begin using your body’s natural shock absorption
· Distribute running workload optimally to avoid fatigue in any one muscle group
· Minimize vertical displacement
· Avoid “braking” with each step
· Utilize elastic recoil for “free speed”

Well here's your chance. I'm feeling generous and decided to perform a random act of kindness and give away a slightly used "Evolution Running" DVD to one lucky commenter to this post.

Simply leave me a comment letting me know one thing you learned in 2008.

The fine print
* only comments to this specific post are eligible
* if you win, you will need to provide your mailing address so I can ship it to you
* leave only one comment to this post or I may remove your name from the hat entirely
* please understand that I'm doing this out of the kindness of my heart, not because I'm sponsored. The DVD is used, but good condition
* drawing will be held on the morning of Friday 09-Jan

Saturday, January 3, 2009


So as I've mentioned before, I've tried Yoga several times and basically hated it. I had basically written it off.

But then earlier this week Trainer Guy said to me "You're really tight. Yoga would be good for you."

"No I don't think so. I don't like Yoga"

"Why not?"

"It's too slow. Boring. I don't like it."

"You know, there are different types of Yoga, maybe you should try one of more active types."

For days I've been mulling this over. Really?!? There are different types of Yoga? I thought Yoga *was* a type. A slow boring type.

So I looked into it. Apparently I've done Hatha Yoga. I am certain that I don't like that Hatha Yoga. But perhaps I may have been premature on writing off Yoga all together.

Without much more than that to go on I did some research and ended up ordering the following DVDs from "Ultimate Stretch Yoga Workout", "Warrior Workout - Kundalini Yoga", and "Yoga Beauty Body"

Who knows. I may hate all of them too, but what have I got to lose?

The three DVDs together cost about the same as month at the gym with a pool. I wasn't planning to renew my membership there until February (using the work gym for free) so worst case its costing me the same as a month at the pool.

Seemed like a reasonable investment.

I'll let you know my thoughts after they arrive and I've have time to try them out. If you've used them and liked it, let me know. Or really, let me know anything and everything that you like about Yoga. I could use all the encouragement you have to offer!

Friday, January 2, 2009


As I was laying out my plans for 2009, I couldn't help smiling. Sure I'm slow and my race schedule isn't all that challenging. But I've come a long way, baby!

Allow me to elaborate.

In the middle of 2005 I made two life changing decisions:
1) that I would celebrate every day that I was blessed with good health by getting up off my rear and moving my body and 2) that I would complete a sprint triathlon the following year.

Unlike many of you, I was not an athlete in my younger years. I couldn't swim across the pool, didn't own a road bike, didn't have a decent pair of running shoes, and had spent the better part of 40 years sitting on my rear.

I bought some running shoes. I took swim lessons. I bought a road bike. I started off slowly and gradually built up my distances. It was challenging, but I never gave up. If you've ever wondered why I use the Slow&Steady moniker, now you know.

This morning I plotted out three things: the number of events that I competed in, my longest run, and my longest bike ride. I wanted to include something about my longest swim, but I couldn't easily find that information, so I left it out. It starts with all zeros in 2004, but shows progress year on year. For that, I am truly grateful.

You've got one life. Live it and enjoy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Tentative 2009 Race Schedule

Happy New Year everyone!! We started ours off with a trip to the gym while the kids were sleeping over at friends houses. Might go for a run later, we'll see.

This is the year of good health and fun and that's what is reflected in my race planning.

I'm confident that my knee can handle 5K and 10K distances, so that's what I'm eyeing this year. Plus a few sprint triathlons and a couple cycle events. I'm still wanting to add in a few trail races when I find out more about what my options are.

Of course, it's all subject to change, but at this point I'm ready to let the games begin!!

- Up&Running 5K Goal: Have fun!
- Sweetheart Run 5K Goal: Baseline performance
- tbd

- maybe Spring Fling Tri (5k run/30k bike/400yd swim) but I don't like reverse tri's and it's Easter weekend.
- Johnny Rocket 10K Goal: Baseline performance
- Run for the Zoo 10K Goal: 10K PR!
- maybe Cherry Garcia 10K it's an evening race, not my favorite
- Albuquerque Century Goal: finish 100K or 100 mile ride

- Women's Distance Festival 5K Goal: PR!
- Socorro Sprint Tri (400m swim/12.5 mi bike/5K run) Goal: Have fun!
- Nike Human Race 10K Goal: Have fun!
- Chips&Salsa 10K Goal: PR
- Patriot Tri (400yd swim/30K bike/5K run) Goal: PR!

- maybe Chase the Balloons 100K ride
- maybe Duke City Half Marathon, knee permitting
- maybe Hobbler Gobbler 5K depends on whether or not we stay in town for Thanksgiving
- Jingle Bell 5K - Goal: Have fun!