Monday, September 30, 2013

September Foodie Pen Pal

The Lean Green Bean
It's Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day! Lindsey tried something new this month and that was to match the same people together. So, you are giving a present to the same person that is sending the present to you. It's really cool and allows for more interaction between the people.

My pen pal this month was Elise from Utah. We had a lot of back and forth emails about what we liked and disliked and what we do for fun or a living. I don't think I would have gotten that with the pen pals doing it the old way. My first pen pal to send me a gift is a person I still talk to on a regular basis, but I have never heard from the person that I sent a package to after the last email. So, we shall see!

I sent Elise homemade power protein balls to help with her workouts and Sun Butter that Mary sent to me in my first ever package. I also sent her some nutmeg syrup from Grenada. My friend lives there and she always brings me jars. I had plenty and she seemed really interested. 

Elise sent me 16 grain pancake mix, hydro flavored powder to keep me hydrated during long runs/rides, AgaveStix (delish) that are easy to transport, and some wonderful tea with chocolate....that's right, I said TEA WITH CHOCOLATE. I loved it! Pancakes are the only thing I haven't tried yet. She also sent a cute little card. 

Thank you again Elise for a wonderful package from Utah.

If you want to join next month, then visit The Lean Green Bean.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tour de Tacos Bike Ride

This post is better late than never and I will try to remember all of the details. I have just been so busy with a work trip, preparation for Jim's return, and vacation. I haven't even biked since this trip...tried to in San Francisco and while Jim was here, but just didn't have the time.

In other news, I am feeling rather flabby and out of shape.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. After a Facebook reunion with a high school friend (Very awesome to see you Erik last night and wished we got a pic together), I was informed about Crucial Matter (check them out on Facebook). They have more rides throughout the month, including a Tour de Tacos on the first Friday of every month. Tacos...beers...bikes...SOLD! Their slogan is REP, which stands for Ride. Eat. Party. Um...yes! The idea is to meet at Market Square downtown (the new place for bike meetups I guess) and then head out to three different spots where taco trucks are stationed. It didn't take me long to convince Evan, although I feel bad for making him wait so long when I had to pick up my bike at my parents' house (don't ask).

We decided to bike up there, but took a different route than the bayou. We discovered on the last Critical Mass that parts of the bayou are still under construction and not always safe for the bikes or at least for Evan's bike. The only issue was carrying the bike up the stairs and over the bayou to another drop location, which was hard on my back. But I survived.

We got there rather early, which was also my bad, but it gave us a chance to meet some other CM folks. They immediately talked to us and have to give shout outs to David (wished I remembered the other girls' names) for being especially friendly. I immediately noticed that as people showed up, they would introduce themselves to new groups, including Evan and I. You don't see this at Critical Mass. I found out later that Crucial Matters encourage people to get to know one another.  This is just my kindof group.

You get my full dorky bike ensemble, but my new biking shorts rock 

Evan and I waiting to go...he's getting better.
After a bike fix, we were off to the first stop at West Alabama Ice House, which was coincidentally right by my parents' house. If I had time, I would have told them to get out there to say hello to us cyclists, but I didn't. This bar is so cool, with an outside area and a love for dogs. I was especially thankful to the bartender for letting me spray myself with her last bit of mosquito repellant. Holy smokes the squitos were bad.

On a side note, I was surprised to know that I didn't get malaria that evening. 

Evan waiting for the first tacos.
I grabbed the beers and Evan got in the long line for tacos. We apparently didn't learn from our last mistake to switch up the responsibilities. Evan only got my tacos and not his and then I ended up sharing; I was okay with this since we had more taco joints to hit. The taco was good, but hate cilantro. Oh well. And then we were off like a thief in the night to steal the entertainment at the next stop, which was TacoKeto. This happened to be our halfway point on my first Critical Mass. We got the Carne Guisada Tacos...freaking yummy and Evan got beer. It worked out perfectly.

TacoKeto....need more.
Carne Guisada Taco with limes.DELISH!

I was thankful that someone let me use their mosquito repellant, because the squitos were swarming at this place and my previous repellant attempt did NOT work. I had to use the hard stuff to douse myself. Tacos...beers...bikes...Repellant...An excellent fragance to make any man or woman swoon.

Finally, we turned on our lights and headed out for the last bar, Underdogs Pub on Washington, which was another cool outdoor bar. Their food truck was Aztecs where we had another round of carne guisada tacos. These were more tender than the last ones. Ivan, the Crucial Matter Ride Organizer came to talk with us a bit and I thought that was pretty cool.

We said goodbye to some people and headed out. I really enjoyed this group of cyclists and the fun events they have put on since I joined up with them on September 6. I just wished I hadn't been so busy to join some more. I dressed as nerdy as I could at last night's Critical Mass (JL's first Critical Mass), which will probably be the last bike ride I do before my surgery (Oct. 2)...unless there's a ride on Monday or Tuesday.

Did you go to last night's Critical Mass? YES, but it was alot of stopping and the group seemed more dispersed throughout the city.

Have you rode with the Crucial Matter folks? Just DID...BOOM!

Would you rather be biking to Tacos? YES

Is there a Monday night bike ride planned and could you please invite me?

With a squeeze of a lime on some juicy have Heaven. By the way, I loved the taco memes leading up to this event. Here is this gem.

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's a Workout Nirvana

Sometime in April or May, I thought about going to the Fitbloggin Conference in Portland and began looking up roommates. I stumbled upon Suzanne. We formed an email friendship. Unfortunately, I just couldn't make the conference, but I found out that Suzanne is a Virtual Personal Trainer. Her wonderful site is called Workout Nirvana. Isn't that a catchy name? Yeah, I thought so, too.

I made it a big goal of mine to strengthen my back after the initial injury, but I couldn't start right away. She was patient with me and then finally, I signed up for the six weeks program when my back felt great. I looked at all the packages and decided on the one for $150. This included a 30 minute Skype session to talk about personal goals and where my body was at, unlimited email interaction, the program itself, and food and nutrition help. There are other packages for cheaper, but this one suited my needs. I knew I would be a needy client!

After the Skype session, she got my program ready within a week and I was good to start. She sent me a Clean Eating Guide, Workout Guide and the Exercise Guide, and all of my worksheets for each week. Suzanne had links to how to do the exercises (properly) and encouraged me to join her youtube playlist and create my own playlist. The exercise links came in handy when I just couldn't remember what to do for that day.

My program was for three days a week focusing on back strengthening and stability; one day was arms heavy and one day was legs heavy. I also had a warmup and a cooldown, which I thought was important. Each program will vary depending on the person and his or her goals.

At the end of each week, I would send her my completed worksheets so she can evaluate what I did or maybe ones that were difficult. What I loved about Suzanne was that I could email her at any time to say that this exercise didn't work for me and she immediately came up with replacements. When the doctor said that he didn't want me doing squats or lunges, she was ready with new ones that were just as effective. She would get on to me about my diet, but not in a way to make me feel bad. She would get on to me about trying too hard to fast. For instance, I felt like the warmups were too easy when I started, but she said they are just supposed to warm you up. Suzanne always found a balance between not letting me walk all over her and not being too drill sergeant about things where I was discourage to continue.  In the process, she became a friend and I now look forward to talking to her about mundane life stuff. I can't promise you that the same connection will happen, because I'm pretty awesome, but it could.

I saw improvements after a week or two by being able to lift 10lbs instead of just 5lbs or 5lbs instead of no lbs. I felt stronger and signed up for Phase 2. Unfortunately, my back took another tumble through no fault of her exercises; it was a combination of things, including me getting too aggressive too quickly. We even talked about plans for a workout, while I'm down for my surgery. Yes, you read that for me again on October 2 to remove the bunion on my other foot. I'm not looking forward it since it was the most painful recovery that I have ever experienced, but it has to be done. I will need some encouragement!

Anyways, I totally recommend Suzanne at Workout Nirvana. Plus, I really love her blog posts.

Have you ever tried a virtual personal trainer program? I loved this program the best. It worked for my crazy schedule.

Have you tried a regular trainer? I have tried them at the gym, but I feel like they are too pushy as if they can be salesmen. Although, sometimes, it is nice to have someone there to count so I can focus on breathing.

Random do you get your dog to bring the ball all the way back when he is 10 years old, never really played before, and can get barky? Also, encouragement doesn't work and neither does just waiting there until he brings the ball to me.