Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lunchtime Hatha Yoga...Don't Forget to Smile

So, my work has enacted this really awesome 6-week lunchtime physical activity program. Each Wednesday, we do something exercisewise. The classes have been full, but on Monday, they announced that they got a bigger room to accommodate all the people that wanted to join in on the "fun." And yes, it is fun. Today was my first day and it was Hatha Yoga taught by this 72 year old German lady named MT (I couldn't remember her long name, but she said everyone calls her MT...not MG).

We started out with standing poses in an abbreviated version of her class (she mentioned this a few times). She talked about how the yogis named things after nature and humans; however, I'm not sure about the names of most of the poses. I do remember that we had to be a tree for a period of time. Some of the poses were hard to balance and hold, but man, did it feel GOOD. We then spent the last 20 minutes on the mat just stretching. There was one pose that my back said, "WHOA NELLY, back off on the twist." However, it still felt good. I like the corpse one the best, because you just get to lie there and breathe. I think at one point, I fell asleep or maybe I was just so in to my breathing that I didn't hear any outside distraction. Yeah, that's right. I did that all spiritually. But the one thing I took from that class is too just keep smiling. And I did smile, while trying to concentrate on breathing and balancing and stretching. Okay, sometimes, I looked like I was about to lose it, but I smiled everytime she reminded our class.

Yoga is about stretching your physical body, your mental self, and your spirituality. I did feel it everwhere at the end even if it was a short class. I start my first yoga class with Happy Belly Studios next Monday (but I'm on the waitlist for these two classes this weekend: Beginners Vinyasa and Yoga for Athletes). I can't wait.

On a side note, this morning, I did 50 front crunches, 2 sets of 30 second bicylce crunches (yowser), 2 sets of 25 situps (not sure, but I had major trouble completing this routine), and 2 sets of 30 second planks. So, at least I'm getting my cross training in even if I'm not running all the time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Walking the Dogs

Last night, I had a thought to run the loop around my apartment, but I just couldn't get myself to do it. Snce my Lady LooLoo has been sick and with eye issues, I haven't taken them (not fair if just Remington plays ball) out to play ball. So, last night, I decided to walk them the entire loop around my apartment as if I was on the run.

I would like to point out that if you are in need of fast paced walk training during your runs, then look no further. I found your answer and they are called Lady and Remington. They are excellent walk training tools to get you to push faster when taking your rest. They had me walking so fast that I thought I was going to trip over my feet. As a bonus, Lady pulls so hard, because I am obviously not keeping up with her pace (I'm trying), that it nearly takes my arm out of the socket. Then, add Remington who constantly moves from side to side in which Lady moves from side to side to counter him, it's a heavy arm workout, as well as a leg workout.

I still haven't calculated how much the loop is, but I'm pretty sure it's at least a mile. This is not so bad for a Monday evening walk. And I love my area, because everyone is out walking their dogs and have such sidewalk etiquette. I guess they see me with the two tasmanian devils and decide it would be easier to get out of tmy way.

Of course, Lady slows down to calm walking on in the end of our walk. It was a great exercise and good to get out with the pack. They were tired and panting at the end; I was sweaty and feeling it in my legs and my arm.

Lady in her favorite thing, the pool. Look at those strong legs and determination to never quit that will help any up and coming runner.

Drill Sergeant Remington poised for action to take on any runner that tries to wuss out!

On a side note, I did 50 front crunches, 30 side crunches (each side), 2 sets of 25 situps, and 2 sets of 30 second planks on Monday morning. I read Runner's World (yup, still reading it) and it gave me another suggestion. So, this morning, I did 50 front crunches, 2 sets of 30 second bicycle crunches instead of the side crunches (much better), 2 sets of 25 situps, and 2 sets of 30 second planks. I'm feeling it in my tummy now.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Damn Girl

This weekend was not good for me and my exercising. I planned to run all weekend, especially on Saturday with Mal. However, due to Friday night outings, we just couldn't make that early morning run. I did have my mind set on running on Sunday morning and by golly, I did. I took out the dogs for a quick bathroom break, drank half a coke, hydrated with two big glasses of water, and decided that I was going to walk up to Hermann Park for my run. Of course, by the time I did actually set tennis shoe to pavement, the sun was peaking out just a little bit more than when I took the dogs out making it slightly hotter.

I got dressed, hooked up my ipod, stretched, and headed out the door. I was fiddling with my playlist when I went too far and noticed that my ipod has a Fitness button on it. It's so cool; it's a pedonometer, which calculates how many steps you took and the calories burned. I put the music to Play All and walked the 1.8 miles up to the park. For the first time, I took in the sights of my walk. Last time, I was walking with Mal and you know...we girls like to gab alittle. Okay, really I just like to keep my mind off of the fact that I'm running or walking. This time, I took some pictures.

The Wainerdi Bridge I cross to get to Hermann Park from my apartments.

Looking at the Medical Center. You can see the hyperdermic needle towers they call St. Lukes Hospital.

Looking out on the mini bayou.

I dropped in on the running trail as soon as I crossed the road. I love this park, because it's all shaded and pretty much a great scenic run. Plus, Hermann Park has the nice running path that is easy on the knees. I called it pee gravel in other posts, but it's not. However, I do pass by the zoo and you get the occasional zoo poop smell. It's not always nice, but you move by quickly. I also noticed that this park is under construction like Memorial Park. Consequently, there were parts that I couldn't run. At one point, I had to go down a ditch hill just to get to the open area and then dodge golf carts.

I ran the 1.5 mile loop around without stopping and felt good. I did slow down to an almost walk to change the music on my ipod to an actual album, because I got hit with 3 slow and depressing songs in a row that really got me out of the mood. So, I put it on Unknown Album that I got from my old coworker, which is mostly club, upbeat, hip music, things like K$isha (or however you spell it), Lady Gaga, Lil' Wayne, etc. I sped up my run when the music started. In fact, at the end of my run, the song (not really sure what the name of it actually is) that I call Damn Girl, Yousa Sexy Bitch came on the ipod (why my post is titled Damn Girl). It pumped me up. I mean the lyrics are basically saying, "People think you run too hard," "You ain't like any other girl," something about the nice ass, and of course, "Damn Girl, Yousa Sexy Bitch." I mean it's not hard to think that you are a running diva sent down to tread on all those other peon women runners out there. It even made me think, "Hey, sexy bitch, why don't you run around another loop?" I really did think it, but by the time I got to my stopping point, I realized that my knee had an ache and I still needed to walk the 1.8 miles home. I checked out my ipod fitness tracker (accidentally stopped it so I have 2 items) and I burned 347 calories and 60 calories on the next one. I don't have it with me so I can't remember how many steps I took, but I know I took at least 6,000 steps (or was it 9,000) on the first one.

Instead of stretching in my apartment when I got done with my run, I decided to head to the pool and stretch there. It feels good not only to have the cooler water on my skin after a run, but it just feels so good to stretch in there. I tend to have longer, fuller stretches.

After this run, I think I'm ready to take my running to the next level and really push it with more mileage. I need to quit pussyfooting around. Depending on the end of my day today, I'm going to try to run. It's been a rough and anxious day for me and I might need to get some energy out even though, Monday is supposed to be a rest day. We shall see.

On a side note, I took out my doggies for a 1 mile walk around my apartment last night. Not only is this more walking, but it's an arm workout. Lady is like a speed rocket blasting full power as soon as the gates open. I used to think it was the fact that she hadn't pooped yet, because she always pooped on our way back home (always a calmer walk). This time, I realized I was wrong. She pooped within the first 100 ft of leaving my apartment. She didn't let up until we turned around. It's like she knows she's going back home and wants to spend as much time outside as possible. She's sniffing around, checking out the sights, hitting every spot she can, yelling at me, "But're going too fast."

I didn't bring my ipod with me to check out how much calories I burned, but it was some much needed bonus exercise. Kudos to me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Could Memorial Park Be Anymore Packed?

Thursday is Mal and I's day to exercise, no matter what happens (Harry Potter showing, unexpected early visitor, etc.). Since I'm dealing with a sick dog, I didn't want to go out to where she lives (our normal Thursday outing) and stay late over there (we always celebrate) and she didn't want to come all the way out to me (coming out today for girls' night, sleepover, and run tomorrow morning). We were going to meet at Terry Hershey Park off the Beltway, but she wanted to go to Ikea after our run since Ikea closes (so we thought) at 9 p.m. Well, Ikea is really close to my favorite running park (so far since I haven't run all the parks in Houston just yet), Memorial Park, and she agreed to go there. The plan was to meet Mal at the adult playground in Memorial Park sometime after 6:30 p.m. She doesn't have a consistent work stopping time, because she is a vet tech intern (and I know how dealing with vets have been this week). I decided to head up there at 6:30-6:45 p.m. so I can do some exercises before she got there. I just didn't realize how long I was going to have to wait.

As I drove the one-way part, I noticed alot of open spaces and figured that I wouldn't park so far out...see what's out there. When I got to the two-way part, it was packed with wall-to-wall cars. I realized that they took out half of the parking lot, which is why it was loaded with cars. Luckily, I found a spot by the adult playground, put on my ipod, stretched, and got to my pre-run exercises. I love working out here, because I can do so much on their equipment and benches. I decided to forego doing squats, because I think that is what is causing my knee issue (noticed it on Wednesday morning when doing my exercises). I did 2 sets of 10 pushups on the higher bar since it is so much easier on my wrists, 50 front crunches, 30 side crunches (each side, but should have done it better...forgot), 4 sets of 25 scissors, 2 sets of 25 arm dips, and 2 sets of 30 second planks. I would have liked to have done 50 situps, but the bench hurts my back when I do that and instead did 50 half crunch/half reverse situp starting from the up position. I stretched some more when I finished and just waited...and waited...and waited. I saw that weird guy that looks like he runs 50,000 miles a day, but this time, he had a yellow hat instead of a red hat. I wondered if he has a girlfriend or if he's gay or if he's just asexual. I wonder if he found a person to be with, because he's so freaky looking. Then, I saw this very good looking man in at least his 60s, with a very nice built body. Everyone was watching him, because he was built like some of the younger guys out there; he was obviously in very good shape. I hope that I am in good shape like that when I'm older barring that I don't have any more injuries. This is what happens when I'm waiting and have a crowd to watch.

Finally, I saw Mal drive by waving at me in her big redneck clunker of a truck. Then, I saw her drive by again waving. On the 3rd drive by, she stopped waving and just threw up her hands in disgust. On the 4th time, I felt like I was in that movie, Twister where they kept seeing cows fly by when finally someone said it was the same cow. I got up to start walking in her direction and called her to tell her to keep on going to a parking lot way out. I ran to meet her (which means I got a head start on my running) and finally she found a spot.

We immediately started running when we saw eachother (I put away my ipod). FINALLY! Since we chose this spot for Ikea, we decided to just run a half mile/mile and then turn around instead of doing the full 3 mile loop around. Our time was running out. We ran until the 1 1/2 mile marker when we turned around to head back to our cars (Mal would run to my car to give her a little more exercise). I had to stop on the turnaround since my knee was hurting. We picked up the run again and then a quick walk. We ran again until we got to the Becks Prime. I thought my car was closer and I wanted a cooldown. It was not...oh well. I ran/walked 3 miles (mostly ran it) and I'm content with this exercise. I have decided to run on pea gravel paths like this one and Memorial Park until this knee thing goes away. It's just much easier on my knees and I didn't feel it as bad as when we did that run on a regular track.

Afterwards, we headed to Ikea to get things for Mal's trip back to Grenada (sniff...sniff...SNIFF!). I also bought some things and found a really cool painting that would be awesome in my living room, but I didn't buy it just yet.

On a side note, I did 2 sets of 25 squats, 2 sets of 30 second planks (loving these), 50 front crunches, 30 side crunches (each side), and 2 sets of 25 situps on Tuesday or Wednesday or both (can't remember). Tonight, I get a 60 minute reflexology foot massage. Oooh, I can't wait. After the week I have had, I think I deserve it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Saturday was about the craziest and greatest day of the week for my exercising. I started out the morning with a run around my apartments. I really wanted to walk the 1.8 miles to Hermann Park, run one lap (1.89 miles) around the running trail, and then walk the 1.8 miles back to my apartment, but the storm clouds, they were a brewing. And since we have had some crazy storms lately, I didn't want to be caught 1.8 miles away and forced to walk home in the rain. If you have read previous posts, I'm not one for running in the rain. So, I decided to just run the loop around my apartment again, which should be 1 mile.

This time, I went counterclockwise starting with the heavily exposed side to the sun first so that I can end up with the shaded area for the last part. I did some quick stretching, turned on my ipod to play all (using one ear and turned lower than usual), walked to the stop sign by the gas station, and then started the run. The sky was cloudy, which made for a cooler than usual run...if you can actually say that during the Texas Summer months. Again, I tried focusing on my form, correcting my posture and stride. I also tried to calm down my breathing by taking deeper, more relaxed breaths as I ran. Before I knew it, I was to the main street and passing another lady that was running slow. I couldn't believe I thought that about another runner, which makes me think that I'm finally FINALLY picking up my pace like it used to be back in the day (last year). I began to get a pep in my step, thinking that I could actually finish this loop in a decent amount of time if I had a watch to tell how much time I'm running so I'm not just kidding myself. Unfortunately, I'm not like Mal who can tell how much time it took us to run X amount of miles just by looking at her feet. Yeah, that's right, I called you out Mal.

I ran all the way back to the stop sign where I started and then walked back to my apartment. I wanted to run another loop around, but the storm clouds moved fast to cover my apartments. So, I played it safe and decided to cut my run short. However, it never rained and I felt like a moron. I guess better safe than sorry.

Normally, I would stretch when I got home, but I wanted to try something new. I have been reading Runner's World magazine since it's a special edition for half marathon training (go get it if you haven't already and maybe I should get a subscription). There was a section about stretching in the water, which increases flexibility and prevents soreness. So, I put on my super tight one piece swimsuit that felt like it was cutting off my circulation (yeah, I haven't worn this in a while) and headed to my pool. I brought the magazine with me, because some of the stretches were new to me. I did each one twice (the first two, I didn't quite get the first time around). Boy, did those stretches feel good in the water. I felt relaxed. I even did some butterfly swimming without using leg support; I only used my arms to swim 4 laps in the pool. It was a workout for sure. I felt invigorated.

But the day wasn't over. I mean you have to wonder why I titled this post BOUNCE! BOUNCE! BOUNCE! I wasn't going to title a post about what my chest does during a run with a bad sports bra (unless I just bought a running sports bra and wanted to review it). Well, my niece's third birthday party was held at Bouncing Bears, which is a place that has a whole lot of inflatable bouncing objects for all levels and all ages (okay, mostly for kids, but it didn't say I COULDN'T bounce). The first time I hopped on an open bouncing mat, I felt weird since I was the only adult on it. But really, I'm a kid trapped in an adult's body and the lady at the security line in Grand Junction did say I didn't even look 18. Shouldn't that count for something?

I brought out my youngest niece and carried her in my right arm, while I bounced away. I didn't even bounce full blast, because I had a 1 year old in my arms and my brother had already threatened to kill me if I dropped her. Plus, the kids that were all around me got a little rowdy when they were bouncing making it hard to bounce and balance myself. By the end of the first session, my legs were burning and I was sweating. I didn't realize that this was exercise. It never felt like that when I was a kid, but then again, they never had these great places when I was a kid. We just got 1 big inflatable thing for a school carnival and then it's basically survival of the fittest with 50,000 other kids all jumping at once. I took on the boys, of course. They weren't going to kick me out.

I got back in to another inflatable thing with my 1 year old niece, but this one was a closed in one with slides. We bounced for about 30 minutes in which I have only seen my niece get this excited and that was for balloons. She was giggling and talking and fist pumping (I know for a fact that my brother watches Jersey Shore and I suspect this is where she got it from). At one point, I tried to sit my big butt on the inflatable tool looking thing. It deflated pretty quickly. I swear those damn kids made it looked easy and stable. So, I kind of slid/rolled off of it into a sit position, gracefully placing my niece in front me also sitting and then looked around like, yeah, I meant to do that. And then, I just bounced with her in sitting position.

After about 5 minutes, I was trying to come out (not graceful at all since the hole is small and kids were just piling through) and my stepdad wanted to see if she would bounce standing up. I took her back in and then we bounced for another 10 minutes, while kids were crowding around us. I handed that baby off with jelly legs and arms and completely covered in sweat.

After we did the opening of presents (which took awhile since my niece could care less...she wanted to bounce just like her auntie), I went back out on the open one. My oldest niece would see me and just run at me, headbutt me, tell me to grab her arms so we can jump together, and then fall. She loved it and had the time of her life. Then, her friend saw this and wanted to do it, too; she latched on to me. We jumped and held hands and went higher than usual. I noticed that other kids gravitated to the adults mainly because they knew they could bounce higher with a bigger person's wake so to speak. So, it was funny to see these little kids just shoot up in the air and slam on to the matt. I was never even in full bounce. This little girl (my niece's friend) told me that I was her friend now, especially since we had the same socks and that I was the coolest aunt ever. That tugged at my heart strings. I kept bouncing with her as her mother is giving me the "I'm sorry" look. I didn't care. I was bouncing, too.

When it was time to go, I was tired, sweaty, and complete jelly. I never realized how much those bouncing things are a great workout and I needed it for all the sweets I ate when I was there (Damn you M&Ms and cupcake cakes). Plus, I made a new friend. I couldn't beat this great day. However, by Sunday, my arm and legs were sore. I could barely lift my right arm, because I was carrying my niece a good portion of my jumping time. Those babies aren't light. I say, if you have kids, find out where one of these things are located and get to bouncing. I will volunteer everytime to go with my niece if I get to BOUNCE! BOUNCE! BOUNCE!

This is the only picture I could get from the party. See how my little niece's hair is just blowing, which denotes jumping. I'm not sure what my other niece is doing...praying to the jumping Gods maybe. This photo is courtesy of my awesome photographer mother, Kandace Heimer at No, I wasn't paid for this advertisement, but I should!

On a side note, this morning, I tried something new with my morning workout (some from Runner's World suggestions on cross training exercises after a run): 2 sets of 25 squats, 2 sets of 30 second planks, 50 front crunchs, 30 side crunches (each side) and 2 sets of 25 situps (whoa! hard!). I tried to do lunges like it suggested, but it didn't feel right. I will try again another time. I liked adding in the planks. I'm probably not going to run tonight, because it's raining (expected to all day) and I have an early dinner to go to with a friend. So, hopefully running will happen Wednesday through Sunday. Plus, I just bought 12 bootcamp sessions for $30 from and a month of unlimited yoga for $45 at I'm committed now!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Muggles Can Run Without Magic

Yes, that's right, I got hit with the Harry Potter fever after my run with Mal on Thursday. Don't judge me.

I wanted to get to her area by 6:15 p.m., so we could run a decent amount and have enough time to clean up and get to the movie theater early enough for good seats for both Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2 (at midnight). However, this was the one day of the week where I got swamped at work until the last second I turned off my computer and headed out before anyone else grabbed me. I didn't meet up with her until well after 6:30 p.m. And since I didn't have a magic broom to whisk me there quickly, I had to rely on my car and navigating through traffic. So, our planned run of 4 laps total, maybe 5 was cut short. I called her to tell her that I wasn't going to make it on time and to head to the park to start without me. The run is a 0.75 mile lap. I pulled in just as she was running right next to my car (good timing if I don't say so myself...yeah, it could've been magic). I didn't stretch all that much and we got to the walking for a quick warmup. We ran all the way around and stopped at my car. I did notice that my right knee was hurting, which was strange. I also noticed that this run was less sun painful due to the storm clouds brewing all around us (nicely shaded and cooled). Could this be Voldemort coming to get us?

We walked some more on the second lap, which was more of a walk since Mal was tired. We picked up the run again later. I didn't make it far (about the water fountains) before I had to stop again due to my knee. We picked up the run again, but I only lasted about 100 ft if that since my knee just hurt. It felt like it was about to snap. It didn't hurt on the walk, only while running. During our short stint of running, this kid was riding his scooter thingy (not sure what to call it) and everytime we tried to pass him, he would speed up to get in front of us. Punk kid. Our final part of the lap ended with walking to my car (Mal to her car) and then we drove back to the house to get ready. There was no stretching.

Now, we didn't get a full run in like we planned, but some exercise is better than none. Plus, we didn't sweat all that much requiring a shower, which is good since we were out of time.

We both felt alittle sick about eating theater food or fast food after our workout; therefore, we wanted to eat healthy. Mal had made us turkey sandwiches on this small pita looking bread and packed up carrots, apples, and seaweed to take to the movies. I brought apricots, sesame seaweed cookies, and these large kiwis (forgot the knife, so Mal peeled with her fingertips) for both of us. And I'm happy to report that even with one of our friends loaded with all sorts of sugary chocolate goodness and the wonderfully divine smell of popcorn, we stayed away from the bad. I guess we had a touch of the Harry Potter strength or it could have been the fact that Mal would yell at me like some nun at Catholic school if I even hinted at bad food and the line for the popcorn was so long causing a delay in our midnight showing. The only thing we bought was a big bottle of water and just filled it up at the water fountain each time we went to the bathroom. So, not only was it a cheap trip to the theater, but it was healthy, too. First time in ages.

Now, on to the magical goodness of the last movie, Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2...and the sights. People were dressed up and people of all ages were there at midnight. This one lady had a Got Potter? shirt, which Mal plans to get for her boyfriend, who we call Potter. The movie was awesome and kept me on my toes. The snake alone made me jump out of my seat. But I'm still a Star Wars fan and will always be one. They are just way cooler.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Second Annual Galveston Sand Crab 5K/10K

Today, I signed up for the Second Annual Galveston Sand Crab 5K, which is a night time beach run on Saturday, August 13, 2011. This year, I decided to do the 5K instead of a 10K (what I did last year), because I am not even close to the same condition (I can barely run a mile) that I was in last year (could run 6 miles without injury and had one during this run). I am also going with my coworker Amy (different Amy from last year) who I have run with a couple of times out at Memorial Park. I wish Mal could be there with me, but she's leaving for Grenada the week before. Okay, that just made me sad writing it.

The race start time is at 8:30 p.m. this year instead of 9 and the packet pickups are at multiple stations in the days leading up to the race. The big issue last year was that everyone was getting their packets starting at 7 p.m. (because that's when they opened) and it caused a huge line, which further caused a start time of 10 p.m. So, I'm glad they are going to start earlier this year.

It's a fun race, but hot and hard running in the sand. And with a start time of 8:30, I might not have to use my head lamp. Plus, it has free beer at the end of the race. Last year, they ran out when Jodi and I finally made it to the front of the line. However, we were running a 10K and this year, I'm running a 5K. So, I better get my beer!

On a side note, I have been a nazi on my 2 sets of 25 squats, 50 front crunches, 30 side crunches (each side), and 20 situps. I did this yesterday morning and this morning. Both times, I was running late and didn't feel like doing anything. So, I'm glad I forced myself, especially since I didn't run those days. But I'm running tonight with Mal and then off to see some wizard action.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Things Go Bump in the Night

Last night, I was watching TV on the couch and feeling upset that I had made a crappy dinner (except for the grilled rosemary potatoes...delicious) that smoked out my whole apartment (poor doggies and Tucker). I looked outside about 8:30 p.m. and saw that there was still some light. I calculated how much time had passed since that awful dinner and said, "Screw it. I'm going running." What could go wrong with smoke in my lungs and a crappy dinner in my belly?

I quickly got dressed, did some light stretches, and put together my running belt (with ipod). I haven't been able to use my ipod, because Mal has been with me on all of my runs. However, this time, I would use it. I've been reading a lot of running articles (and a book) lately to help motivate me. Yesterday, I read an msn article (can't find it) about how ipods are being discouraged during a run, including New York trying to ban technology on the streets. For instance, you can't use your ipod when biking or running or text while walking across the street. For ipods, the danger is that you would be so distracted by the loud music, you wouldn't hear the car coming at you or the attacker waiting behind the tree. Well, I hope that my eyes would be on the lookout for the car and me heading in to a street with a car coming at me, but I get the attacker part. So, I put one headphone on and turned down the music so that I could hear outside noise, as well. This is something I learned with snowboarders. The other issue is that the fast tone of the music will get you so in to it, you will miss cues about what your body is trying to tell you (like that your knee is really hurting) and slower music might make you want to slow down, almost dragging.

My plan was to do a quick run around the loop (like what Mal and I did on Sunday), because it was getting darker every second. I also didn't want to really be on the streets at night alone even if I had my mace on my running belt. I set my musak to play all and walked to the stopsign where I picked up the light jog. My goals were to actually run the whole loop without stopping and if I can, work on form.

Another item that I am reading (mostly at night) is a book called Complete Book of Woman's Running.

Right now, I'm in a weird gray area of jogging to running, but can't quite do the training plan they suggest. However, the training plan that I can do is more for people who are starting to walk for the first time. I proved that I can walk, walk for miles and miles without worry. I'm just having issues running, mainly because of the heat. Their suggestion is to forget about the miles right now and focus on the minutes until you build endurance; the training is to walk 10 minutes, run 30 minutes, and then walk 10 minutes for cooldown. However, I'm going with whatever the loop allows. I started at 8:40 p.m. See above comments about running alone in the dark.

I also wanted to work on my running form using the suggestions from the book. It says to keep your arms at 90 degrees, relax them, and don't have them above your chest (that I already knew thanks to Jillian). I had to be reminded about heel strikes and moving your foot forward. I also focused on my body. It suggests to keep your back straight, with just somewhat of a lean forward (not too much, because then you have bad form). I didn't quite understand the visual, but you are supposed to imagine that a helicopter is above you, dangling a hook at your forehead (or something). Now, you have to line up your body with the hook. Yeah, I didn't get it either, but I got the basic idea. Fixing my stride will have to come later once I get used to running a mile without stopping.

Even though it was still quite heated at 8:40 p.m., it was much more pleasant than my Sunday run during the daylight hours. I was alittle scared to run in this area by myself, but there were runners everywhere, running the same loop that I was running. Some of them were solos, some of their were pairs. And it made me feel good to be out there running instead of sitting on the couch wishing that I was running. What's great about my area is that I'm near the Medical Center, which is really quite pretty at night with the lights. So, it was a nice bit of a scenery for my run.

One thing I noticed was that all those runners I saw came from the other direction. I understood why when I got to the last stretch; there were hardly any lights. So, it's best to start in that direction (going left out of my complex) when it's still somewhat light and then end up on the other side where there are lots of lights to run in the dark. I will remember to go counter clockwise next time (not sure when that will be again).

I also tried to listen to my body during the run. When I got a heave in my breathe, I slowed down. I picked up the pace when I felt comfortable again. So, the music didn't hinder me in that way. Although, I did notice that when Nina Simone came on, I felt like slowing down. This prompted me to change the big deal. I was also very aware of my surroundings, looking back every so often to make sure that the boogie man wouldn't get me (or Kavin's henchmen).

This turned out to be a great accomplishment run for me, because I ran all the way (without stopping) back to the stopsign where I started to run. I understand that night running has a lot to do with this accomplishment. I remembered being in high school and I was supposed to pass the running test (run a mile under 9 minutes) in order for me to be on the basketball team. I couldn't pass it (minimum of 13 minutes). So, my mom and I spent every night running the truck to prepare me for my next test. I could finish that mile in 7 minutes at dark, but I couldn't during the middle of the day in September. It was the heat. I just finished another article from Runner's World (this month is all about Half Marathons) about running in heat (will reference that in future posts). This guy ran the Hottest Half in Dallas (August) and barely could finish it, but it made him stronger when he tried to run in the East Coast during the summer months (what he originally thought was hot). I just need to get out there and run during the heat...easier said than done.

I walked back to the apartment complex with Kanya West's Golddigger playing. I decided to use this to my advantage (another good reason for ipod usage) by tightening my ab muscles and adding a shake to my walk (think Shakira). I was tired when I got done and a little sore, which worried me at first, because the book says that you shouldn't be sore immediately finishing a run. I realized this morning when I was doing my mini workout that the soreness was caused by the squats that I did the previous morning.

It was 9 p.m. exactly when I stopped running, which means that I didn't run a full 30 minutes (or hell, didn't walk 10 minutes), but it was something. I got back in to my apartment, finishing my workout at 9:04 p.m.

Also, on a side note, I did two sets of 25 squats, 30 front crunches, 30 side crunches (each side), 20 situps, and 20 pushups. I'm not good at pushups, mainly because it hurts my wrists. I need to find something better for an arm workout. Any suggestions?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Easy Weekend Exercising

Okay, my whole plan was to run all weekend long. Really. I swear. I even brought home my ipod earphones just for this reason. However, when Saturday rolled around, I just didn't feel like running in the morning. It was even cool, but that was due to the storms coming. Yes, I blame it on the rain just like Manilli Vanilli.

Mal came over again on Saturday to have a girls night and spend the night for a Sunday morning run. It seems that I look forward to our sleepovers every weekend (too bad, she's leaving me this weekend). When she got there, we took the dogs to the big open field to throw the ball for a bit. It's a great mile roundtrip (roughly...okay, maybe not really, but the mile police won't get me) walk. Plus, I get an arm workout by throwing the ball for the kiddos. The problem is that my dogs only last about 10-15 minutes. As an added bonus, I get more of an arm workout on the walk, because the dogs are everywhere on the leash, pulling my arms. Lady was absolutely horrible this weekend. She pulled my arms so much. Thank God, Mal was there to take 1 dog and take both dogs when I had to clean up their business.

Later on in the evening, Mal really wanted to go running. She was jonesin' for it. However, I just spend almost $80 for a really great pedicure and was not about to put my cleaned up feet in tennis shoes and take a chance of wrecking them during a run. So, I compromised in walking after our delicious Asian/Texan dinner. We also decided to take the dogs again on the walk, which included walking to just past the Kroger's. This is a great distance and also included an arm workout. Did I mention that Lady was awful on the leash this weekend?

On a side note, we were walking back and this really creepy truck making this creepy, squeaky sound slowly drove by us. That put us on a alarm and I grabbed the mace. This area is not the greatest after dark, especially if you are a woman. He pulled in to the driveway and turned around, heading back to us slowly. I said, "Should we run?" We were close to the entrance to my apartments. So, we did. And then we stopped running when we saw that he was picking up someone at the nursing home. As I was slowing to walk, Lady ran right in front of me and slammed in to my bad ankle. I limped all the way home. It's still hurting. I don't care if we looked like scared morons and received an injury for really nothing, you should always be aware of your surroundings and be prepared.

Sunday morning, I woke up Mal. I should have woke her up earlier, but she looked so peaceful sleeping. Unfortunately, it was getting hotter. So, at almost 9 a.m., we stretched and headed out the door. We walked passed the main stop sign and then started running. As we neared the main intersection, I said, "Let's run around the block since that's a mile and we will have more shade." And we did. We ran and ran and ran, but I forgot the back part, which was all sun. I had to stop for 20 ft of walking before we picked up the run again. As we reached the Texaco by my apartment, I stopped, but Mal yelled at me to keep up the run until we got to the entrance. So, I did.

Mal this whole time was not very motivated to run. I had to get her to walk to the stop sign so we can get more of a cooldown. And then she started wittling down. She agreed to keep walking to the bus stop. When we got to the bus stop, she agreed to go to the main intersection and then, she agreed to go around the block again (but walking). I was okay with walking. However, some where along the last part, I started to run again and we did all the way to the entrance.

High-fives all around for us. We did two loops around the block (which is really longer than a traditional block). I was sweaty and tired, but felt good. I need more of those types of runs.

This morning, I tried to do Jackie's Extreme Abs, but the cable guy somehow messed up my DVD player hookup. It was too early to figure this out. So, after my shower, I did 2 sets of 25 squats, 50 front crunches, 30 side crunches (each side), and 20 situps. I really need more exercise though.

Next up, Mal and I are running on Thursday (for real this time) and then off to see the new Harry Potter flick. Wish me luck with all the nerds.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Walking is Considered Exercise...I Swear!

Mal and I had a plan, a big plan to run yesterday. We planned it all week. We would run by her house, she would cook me a delicious healthy meal, and hten we would go to the country bar to get some more exercise (but really to drink back on the pounds we just removed). However, our plans didn't quite go so well.

Fearing that I would have a repeat of almost heat exhaustion like the last time we running by her house, I was relunctant to get there very early. Needless to say, I got there by 7 p.m. and our other friend that was going to join as the country bar was already there. She was not planning to run and Mal already had food going since I was later than usual (even though I told her that I would be there between 6:30 and 7...whatever, I digress).

So, the plan changed. We would have dinner and then walk and then go dancing. We had food and it was not very good (not Mal's fault). Then, we went for a walk hitting the outer loop first and the inner loop second. It was a nice after dinner walk and it's still exercise.

Afterwards, we got all gussied up and went to the "trendy" country bar where the men only saw a farm on a television. I got to dance and sometimes fast and spinning. I was out of breath and sweaty. So, it's still a workout regardless of what you think. I had fun. I can't wait to do it again, but plan to go somewhere else.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Running on Independence

This weekend was the time to celebrate our country in its fight for independence against England (tyrants...yeah, I said it) to become our own country (July 4). Thankfully, July 4th fell on a Monday and even better, we had the friday off. So, I had a 4 day weekend and a plan to run a lot. Yeah, it didn't happen quite like I wanted, but not as bad as it could have been. Normally, I'm drinking and skydiving all weekend and then watching fireworks.

Thursday evening (at 6:30 p.m.), MaloRee and I ran by her house. We walked up to this little area that had a pond (one side was closed off) and ran the outer loop, then the inner loop. Mal thought it was the uglier side, but it could've been worse as far as scenery goes. It was also a nice, quick warm up to get the muscles heated. However, our main goal was this 0.75 track a mile or 2 away from her house. The plan was to run it 3 times...yeah, 3 times. So, we walked over to the high school where the track is and there was a lot of people around playing soccer, hanging out, or stupidly doing what we were doing...running.

By this time, I am getting really hot, but I didn't think much about it since it was 7 p.m. when we got there to start our run. The theory would be that it should be cooling off at some point. Well, yes, it did cool off for areas that had shade. We didn't have the finer things in life since most of our run was directly in the sun.

As soon as we hit the track, we started running. I was feeling the heat and wishing I had sunglasses to ward off the sun that was directly in my face, but I kept on running. About halfway through, I had to stop for water (while waiting for this considerate lady to move out of the way so that I can get my water...note very high sarcasm). We picked up the run again after we walked from the water fountain to the corner. We ran until we reached the point at where we started. At this time, cue dying, heaving, and stopping to save my life. Gosh, it was so very hot. We walked for a while before we picked up the run again. I stopped for water, we ran, and then we stopped to walk again quickly thereafter, because I felt dizzy. Heat exhaustion was on its way. So, we walked the rest of the way to the starting point and then headed home.

Overall, it was a good workout (even though, I felt like a wuss for not making it around twice). Plus, we got catcalled at, stared at (the guy almost crashed in to the gas tanks), and honked at on our walk home, which any form of flattery no matter how annoying is a good thing. That night, Mal made us apricot pork chops that were delicious and then we went to see Bad Teacher (had only 1 beer). It was not a good beer nor a great movie.

Friday was not a typical exercise day, because I WENT SKYDIVING. YAY! I had finally had enough keeping out of the sky and went with my friend Simon to jump. It was different going to a dropzone that was not my home; however, under the circumstances, it had to work. Even though we only got 2 jumps in, they still felt great, awesome, almost orgasmic even. It's been a LONG time. And it's always a good arm and leg workout. The first one was just a freefly jump where we docked a couple of times and I got used to doing all this again. The second jump sucked, because it was an emergency exit (supposed to be a 5-way freefly jump). The 3 guys in front of me pulled out the door and so did I. Simon kept on going and I was wishing that I did the same thing instead of playing with my canopy for 10,000 ft. I've done that enough. We tried to get on another load, but it didn't happen.

Mal came over, because we planned to go out to dinner with some friends that night. She turned to me and said, "Want to take the dogs for a long walk, get some exercise?" I couldn't say no. So, we took the dogs to the big open field (about a mile roundtrip) and threw the ball. Naturally, they only lasted maybe 12 minutes. It was good to have an extra hand to help with the dogs. And it was a good little walk.

July 4th Running
Since Mal stayed the night, we had a plan to run in the morning. Little did I know that it would be me making this happen. I woke her up at 8 something in the morning. The temperature was hot, but not unbearable like on Thursday. We got dressed, stretched, and then headed out the door for our run. Now, I have mapped this run out on google maps, but I haven't yet run it since it's been so hot. It's 1.8 miles to Hermann Park from where I live and the Marvin Taylor Exercise Trail at the park is 1.98 miles.

Mal and I walked the 1.8 miles to the loop in the park (and yes, Mal, it is 1.8 miles...I checked again). As soon as we hit the park, we started running. The track is a nice pea gravel type of track, which is easy on the knees. They had the rest of the loop blocked off and then we started running inside the park by the golf course. There was mass confusion, because there were no markers or loop this way signs. We almost ran in to a building area that prohibited runners. We had to circle back and then went this other way, which cut the loop in half. I had a quick stop when we probably got to a little over 1 mile, which was AWESOME. I ran a mile without stopping or dying or a combination of both. I even said, "Let's run again til we get to our starting point." And we did. Since we didn't do the full loop, we probably only did 1.25-1.5 miles. Without markers, we are not completely sure. Wait, I take that back. I just I looked at the map and it is 1.5 miles total for half of the loop.

Then, we walked back for another 1.8 miles. When we got close to the street that we turn on to get to my apartments, I said, "Let's run to the street." And we did.

What a great run/walk it was and then we rewarded ourselves with a well deserved swim in the pool (doing water exercises in there, too) and a nice, healthy breakfast with egg whites, asparagus, onions, and feta cheese. Yummy.

Our plan is to run again on Thursday night, have vegetarian fetticini, and then go out to Whiskey River for some country dancing. I am going to try to run beforehand or at least do my Extreme Abs video. Something.