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Friday, October 28, 2011

I really am here!

Wow, it's pretty much been a week since a post.  But I'm back.  I will apologize in advance for the fact that this post will probably be pretty random.

I'm back on the east coast and couldn't be happier.  Business travel (to this specific location) just doesn't do it for me.  Some highlights...
  • Only in this town does a dinner at Ruby Tuesday's get me so excited!  In a town that normally puts french fries on their salads, a menu that offers mashed cauliflower and spaghetti squash is off the hook!
  • One night I went for sushi with a coworker.  Fine.  They give you the full sushi menu where you mark off what you want.  Lots of offerings, nice.  They also give you a menu, OK.  I open the menu and the first two items I see are gnocchi and chicken parmesan.  WTF??  Yes, the menu was pretty much all Italian.  Thankfully the sushi was good, but I was a bit scared.
  • On my last night I drove back towards the airport and stayed there.  Hello civilization!  There were tons of restaurants, granted most were chains, but it was still a vast improvement.  I went to Smokey Bones for my first time.  LOVED it.  Is it really good or had I just spent too much time in rural-ville?
  • My flight yesterday was at 6a so I had to set my alarm for 4:30a.  Ugly, but do-able.  However, around 2:30a I started hearing weird noises at odd intervals.  Then my phone went off. I got up to check it and the noises started again, coupled with some moaning.  Yup, you guessed it.  Gross!  So on went the TV and out the door went my hope of a good nights sleep.
The early flight was because I had an appointment for a physical, which as you may know is booked way in advance.  I went for my blood work last week and when she took my blood, my right arm ran out of the blood towards the end and my hand started tingling.  I've had blood taken a billion times so this concerned me.

At my physical I mentioned this to the doc and was relieved to hear her say that it was due to the person taking the blood from me and her technique, not me.  Phew.  Overall the physical was good, I believe she said "perfect".  There's nothing like a great physical to let you know that everything is OK.  I wasn't expecting anything, but you just never know.

I do think it's important to go just to get everything checked out every year or so. I'm trying to impart this believe on Don Juan, especially since he has some risk factors in his family history.  Why do men not get it?

And now spinning...
I taught last night which was just what I needed after days away.  Decent turn out, still no energy but at least the bodies were there.  Mid-class someone starts pedalling backwards.  UGH.  I've pretty much had it with the fact that this happens so I called him out...on the mic.  I felt bad and said that I just didn't want him to get hurt.  I then followed up with that I know one instructor has you do this, but it is WRONG WRONG WRONG.  I really need to talk to management about this.  Hopefully the guy I called out doesn't hate me, but if he does, at least he won't hate me and be injured. :)

Halloween ride tomorrow, need to do some sprucing up tonight on it and will then post it.  I'm dressing up as another instructor, who no one likes.  He's one of those guys who dresses like he's about to ride the Tour de France and then doesn't even sit on the bike.  He's odd.  Hopefully I don't run in to him but if I do, I'm just a "cyclist".  Mean or no?  DJ thinks it's mean, I think it will be funny, and I will not name names.

OK, thanks for reading my ramblings.  Sorry I don't have any fun photos to show you.  I'll work on that.

Have a fabulous Friday and a fun weekend.  Be safe with all the Halloween festivities!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm not missing

Sorry I've been bad with posting, somehow the days have gotten away from me.

I'm currently on the road for work but will try to get a post up in the next day or so.  Until then...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Smile for today

Each year I love to get the Halloween forwards with dogs in costumes.  I have yet to receive that this year so I found some fun pictures on the internet and figured I'd take a moment to share them.

Sometimes distractions are such a wonderful thing.

OK, that's enough.  I could seriously do this all day.  Have a good smile!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Germ season

It's that time of year when everyone seems to be getting sick.  It's this time of year that often makes me want to walk around with a mask and rubber gloves on.

I'm not a germaphobe, not even close, but still...

In most spin classes, you're told to wipe down the bike after class.  That's all well and good for the next person, but if you're concerned for yourself, try wiping down the bike before class.  You don't know who touched those handlebars before you and while they should have wiped them down, they may not have.

I had to run to Staples today.  I walked up to the cashier who was hacking a lung up in to her right hand.  Gross.  No antibacterial, no tissue, nothing.  But I had no choice, she was the only cashier.  OK I thought, that's the hand she's holding the scanner gun with so it won't touch my stuff.  Half way through she started coughing again, this time using her left hand.  Really?  Did you not learn the "cough in to your arm" concept?

I meant to wash my hands the second I got back to my office but I forgot.  I'm just hoping that in that time I didn't do any damage.  It grosses me out just to think about though.

It's that time, so be careful!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Some food and some spin

Happy Tuesday!

My work computer has the "google" virus.  Does anyone else have this?  I guess there have been a few articles about it.  You do a google search and then when you click on the results you get taken to some spam-y website.  It's very frustrating.  Thankfully I can just avoid google and all is good.

I'm all over the place today but figured I'd share some random things today.

Around 5pm yesterday DJ decided to roast a parsnip that we had bought at the farmer's market last week.  Some woman there said they were DELICIOUS, so we gave it a go.

Not a fan
Yesterday I went to the cycling studio again.  This instructor is billed as former military and former DJ.  Interesting combo, right?  I was definitely excited to try his class.  The verdict?  It was OK.  Good.  Not amazing which is what I was expecting.  I thought his music would be remixed and fade from one song to another (which I love!), but it was just music.

Speaking of fading, do any of you have software that you use and would recommend for that purpose?  Please let me know if you do.

The class again went by soooo fast.  He did the strength part as the first song, so we got it out of the way early on.  I'm still mixed about lifting on the bike since I think that the angle of the body when sitting up straight in the saddle just isn't right for weights.  Anyone?

After class it was home to relax and have dinner.  DJ came up with this cabbage concoction.  It's pretty much just cabbage and some bacon with all the fat trimmed off.  It's pretty and tasty.

Pretty and tasty
This morning my breakfast was a masterpiece (if I don't say so myself).

You're probably thinking "but wait, I thought you were watching what you ate".  I am!  Those are healthy pancakes!  Big shout out to Julie at Peanut Butter fingers for her Banana Bread Protein Pancakes.

So good!  The recipe is on her page, but it's just old fashioned oats, cottage cheese, mashed banana, and an egg (I used egg beaters today).  Add some sliced bananas and sugar free syrup and that is a breakfast for a champion (or me!).

These are my newest obsession.  They keep me full longer than other breakfasts and are a good source of protein and whole grains.  I made them yesterday too which meant that I set my alarm extra early so that I'd have time to make pancakes before work.  Crazy, right?

I'm off to lunchtime TRX today, fun times!  Happy Tuesday!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Got my head spinning

Good morning and happy Monday!

I'm definitely not ready for it to be Monday (yet again) but I'm going to fake it.  Come on caffeine, kick in!

How were your weekends?

Mine was nice.  It was low key but with enough going on that it didn't feel like a waste, or leave me feeling like a lazy bum.

It was a rather spin-centric weekend.

Saturday I taught my usual Saturday morning class.  I used the ride from Thursday night.  I had planned on cutting it down to 45 minutes but after much thought decided to keep it just under an hour.  My class is the last spin class, so there was no issue in running late.  It went well.

Sunday morning I went to the new spin studio in the next town over.  DJ and I had originally signed up for a 7:30a class on Saturday but then decided Friday night to cancel.  To make up for it, on Sunday we signed up for an 8:30 and a 9:30 class.

The studio was nice.  It's a small retail space with one spin room.  The spin room is tiered.  There are 3 levels and there were 30 bikes.  They were Schwinn's.  The room had adjustable lighting, two mounted rotating fans, and a nice sound system.

Apparently all classes there include an arms workout.  At the beginning of class you are instructed to grab a mini-body bar.  At some point during your spin ride, you take a break, sit up straight in the saddle and go through low weight, high rep exercises with the body bar.  The first class did this at the very end, the second class did this about 3/4 of the way through.

Both classes were good, but different.  The instructor of the first class was very much about proper form (which I liked). His music was varied (some good, some just OK).  The instructor for the second class was very high energy.  However her personal form was horrible and she did a few contraindicated moves.  But her music was good.

Each class runs 50 minutes and they flew!  There's no clock in the room and I didn't have a watch so I don't know how long we actually spun for.

I'm going back tonight for a class with an ex-military guy who is also a DJ.  So curious!

The last spin related thing this weekend happened at a bar.  I was out with two friends (a couple).  They told me that that morning they had taken a class at one of the clubs I teach at.  They then told me that the instructor had them PEDAL BACKWARDS FOR AN ENTIRE SONG, INCLUDING SPRINTS AND ISOLATIONSWHAT?!?!?!?!?! When she told me this it was like someone had stabbed me in the stomach.  I was furious.  However now I know why I've seen people pedalling backwards more at this gym than at any other.

What would you do?  I was thinking about talking to management.  But first I need to be sure that Keiser doesn't support this.  Anyone?

Now go have a great Monday!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

TGIF and a spin ride!

Happy Friday!

This has felt like the longest week ever!  Work wise I have a few things to take care of today but I need to get them done ASAP since I'm spent.  My motivation is gone for the week!

Here's a neat little spin related video
It's a commercial for something but it's in French so I have no clue what it's for.

After all my comments the other day about my Thursday night class, I was very pleased to have a great turn out and some decent energy.  The guy who teaches the class before me (happens to be a friend of mine) but he said "this place is dead, I only had 13 people, your class is going to be empty".  Is it bad that I got some satisfaction out of him being wrong?

I threw together a new spin ride, going in to class a bit unsure as to how it would fare.  It was very straightforward and I was worried that the riders would be bored.  Well, I can't speak exactly for the riders, but I loved it!  It was go-go-go for the entire hour.

I found this ride on pedal-on but like to think my execution made it a bit more "Jessica-style".

Without further it is...

Having just typed this up, I realize that it looks pretty confusing and complex.  It's not that bad, but it does require a timer or stopwatch of some sort.

It's essentially a pyramid or a ladder.  You do the same movements every time, but the length of each movement changes.  The first round is :30 seconds.  There are 6 "moves" so that comes out to 3 minutes.  The end of every segment has a :30 surge (pick up) which stays at :30 regardless of the segment time.

I tried to match the music to the duration as best as possible but sometimes it didn't work, therefore you have to adjust a bit.  If the song was longer than the segment I let them use the extra as a brief recovery before hitting the next hill.  In all cases I coached them that the first part of each segment (on the flat) could be used as a recovery if needed.

Resistance is added for each movement (except the surge).  I played around with the variations here and just how heavy the hill ended up being.

I'm teaching my 45 minute class on Saturday and am going to try to shorten it a bit. I will let you know the modifications that I make.

Enjoy and happy riding!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Farm fresh

On Sunday, Don Juan and I tried to go apple picking.  However, this particular orchard has one road in and one road out and everyone else seemed to have the same idea.  It was a zoo!  After sitting in traffic for a while, we resorted to back roads, made it there, saw how packed it was and said "nope!".

On the way back to the highway we hit up a farm stand I used to visit regularly.  It was on my commute home a few years ago and I loved being able to stop there weekly.

We loaded up...
fingerling potatoes
white eggplant
butternut squash
fresh eggs

It was great!  In to the produce drawer it went and I told DJ that we needed to use something in that drawer every night.

So far we've been pretty successful.
fingerling potatoes  baked a bunch on the grill, still have a few leftover
tomatoes  gone the first night, tomato and basil salad
basil  see above
white eggplant
butternut squash
kale  used on sandwiches and made in to kale chips
cabbage  made stuffed cabbage last night (recipe to follow)
fresh eggs most of these were boiled

Butternut squash has a long shelf life, so that's good.  Just need to get to using the eggplant, turnip, and the remaining potatoes.

Normally DJ does the cooking.  He's really really good at it and enjoys it.  Yesterday he commented that he wanted stuffed cabbage but didn't know how to make it (the shock!).  Then he let me know that he had two softball games at night, so dinner responsibility would fall to me.  Bring it!

In addition to helping you track your foods, Weight Watchers has a really solid recipe collection.  So instead of searching online, I just searched WW and found a recipe for turkey stuffed cabbage.

Considering that this is a "healthy" recipe, it came out pretty well so I figured I'd share it.
1 head(s) green cabbage (medium)

12 oz uncooked ground turkey breast
1/2 cup(s) onion(s), diced (chopped)
1/2 cup(s) cooked brown rice, regular or instant
1 large egg(s)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth

Remove 8 outer leaves from cabbage; place leaves in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover leaves; set pot over high heat. Bring water to a boil; boil until leaves are pliable and soft, about 10 minutes. Drain; when leaves are cool enough to handle, cut off thickest part of vein from bottom of leaves, leaving leaves intact.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine turkey, onion, rice, egg, garlic powder, salt and black pepper; mix well.

Place a small amount of turkey mixture (enough to fit in the palm of your hand) onto center of each leaf. Fold in sides of leaves and then roll up tightly from one end to other, making sure filling is fully covered by leaf.

Pour a small amount of tomatoes into stockpot so a thin layer covers bottom of pot. Place cabbage rolls in pot, packing them tightly to prevent opening during cooking; pour in remaining tomatoes and broth. Set pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer 45 minutes more. Remove from heat and serve hot. Yields 2 stuffed leaves and about 1/4 cup of sauce per serving.

Note:  I found the sauce to be too thin so I mixed together a rue (flour and water) and then whisked it in to the sauce, thickened it right up.  I also seasoned it a bit with Adobo because as the recipe is written, some might find it too bland.  If you have extra meat or cabbage that rips, just make meatballs and throw the torn cabbage leaves in the pot.

Do you like cabbage?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I don't get it

Yesterday at work was NUTS, and as a result I couldn't find a spare moment to post.  But I'm here now.

I did a search for low-energy spin and this came up.
So pretty, I just couldn't resist!
 I subbed a class last night.  I subbed the same class the week before.  I did that intentionally, to give the members a bit of consistency.  Thing was, aside from two of my friends, there were no repeat riders.  I could take this personally, but I'm not, because honestly, I don't think that was the case.  I think it's a bit more indicative of how weird this particular gym is.

I get NO sense of community at this gym.  Having taken spin for years before teaching it, I saw how friendships and camaraderie develop in spin classes.  In some classes, pre-class chatter is almost annoying because everyone wants to talk to and say hello to everyone else.  Not at this gym.  I honestly wonder if people even talk here.

I figured word of mouth would help me get the class going, and while that's still possible, I'm just not sure that anyone at this gym has other gym-friends.  I've been teaching my class at this gym since June, so that's about 4 months and not much has changed.  The only constant is how inconsistent the class attendance is.  Of course we'll see what happens now that the weather has cooled down, but it still strikes me as odd.

And class energy?  Not here.  Yes, I've taught a few classes where I could feel the energy of the class, but it's rare. 

While it may sound like I'm complaining, that's not my goal.  I'm just puzzled by this.

Have you (as an instructor or a member) seen this?  What is your gym like?  What is your personal gym-style?

Monday, October 10, 2011

What not to eat at work

Good morning!

Breakfast today consisted of 3 hard boiled eggs (only at the yolk in one).  While it didn't bother me, I'm pretty sure that this is one of the top foods that you should never eat in an office you share with other people.

Normally I'm here solo, but today I'm not.  I was not letting this stop me from eating my hard boiled eggs for breakfast.  I hope they didn't mind.  I didn't put the shells in the garbage though, they're in a sealed container, so maybe that helps.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I was planning a re-vamp of my eating habits.  Well, that revamp officially started this morning.

After much thought, I decided to join Weight Watchers.  Aside from on this blog, I'm not publicizing this because I'm just doing it for me and don't want to hear what others have to say.

Technically my weight is in the healthy range.  However I feel that losing a few pounds would be ideal.  Since I workout regularly, my issue is really just food.  I love food.  I know what I should eat and shouldn't eat and while I usually stick to that, I don't always.  Lately I've been more flexible than I should be.  I chose weight watchers because I hope that it will keep me accountable.  By having to share my eats and my weight with something (I'm doing it online), I can't just expect to overindulge without consequences.

I did Weight Watchers about 9 years ago and loved it, so I'm hoping for a similar experience.

Since I don't have many readers and those of you that do read aren't at all judgemental, I'm hoping that no one criticizes me for this choice.  But since I do talk about food and share recipes here, I wanted to provide full disclosure.

Nothing will really change since I always make my baked goods predominantly so that others can eat them. :)

In other areas....

I mentioned that I bought a Living Social coupon for a local cycling studio.  My first class there is next Saturday and I'm soooooooo curious.  Seeing as each class is normally $25 I'm expecting it to be great.  I really hope I'm not disappointed.  Full review post-class.

OK, time to get to work.  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What a difference a year makes

Tomorrow marks a year since I've been dating my boyfriend.  I'm not writing this post because that is all that significant, but rather because it made me think back to how things were then, and how they are now.

Last year...
I was single.
I was out of work (with the exception of teaching Spin).
I taught 5 classes each week.
I lived in a one bedroom rental.

This year...
I'm quite happy with my boyfriend.
I have a job, actually 3 (1 full time, 2 part time).
I teach 2 classes each week.
I bought a 2 bedroom condo.

Yes, I know that there are plenty of things that didn't change, but those are some big ones that did.

In some ways a year feels like a looooong time and in other ways it feels like a few months.  I think in general it's just interesting to pause and take stock of where you are now, versus where you were.

I still like to think everything happens for a reason, so I guess we will see what the future holds!

I'm hoping the immediate future (i.e. tonight) holds some new spin rides.  :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Running slogans?

My sister is once again running the NYC marathon this year.

Last year she ran with a friend and their slogan was "Real Athletes Run Like Girls".

This year she's in need of a new slogan.  I hit the Internet and came up with the following...

Run, Eat, Sleep, Repeat.
Sweat + Sacrifice = Success
If you can read this...we're just warming up.
No one ever drowned in sweat.
We've got more legs than a bucket of chicken.
(front) Seen by spectators (back) Seen by the competition
We have the best set of legs in town.
My mom told me never to chase boys, so now I leave them in my dust!
We're not pretty fast, we're pretty and we're fast
Got toenails?
Our workouts are longer then our shorts

I'm not sure she's in love with any of them but figured I'd put a call out for any clever ones that I may have missed.

Stay away from her!

Good morning and happy Tuesday!

Last night I went to the gym after work.  On the to-do list was 15 minutes on the stairs from hell followed by a 2 mile run and then some light weights work.

What actually got done? 13 minutes on the stairs from hell, 75 squats, 15 push ups, and 10 cross fit push ups.  Then I went home.

(What is a cross fit push up?  I saw them on the ESPN Cross Fit Competitions.  It's a pushup but you start out lying on the ground, extend your arms fully, then come back to the ground, lift your hands for a second, and repeat, or at least that's how they did them on ESPN.)

What happened you ask?  Well that's a good question.
The stairs always get my heart rate up and leave me out of breath, but within reason.  Yesterday however I really couldn't breathe.  My heart rate was sky high and my chest was burning.  I tried to hang in there for those last 2 minutes but really couldn't.  As soon as I got off the machine I started coughing.  First just a little cough here and there but within minutes I was fully hacking up a lung, to the point where it almost sounded like a lung was going to come up.  I was able to get things under control after about 5 minutes but the burning still lingered so I didn't dare go near another cardio machine.  If someone was coughing like that near me, I'd surely run the other direction.

I'm guessing it was chest congestion so I did those few other exercises and then sent myself home.  I thought maybe it was a warning of a cold so I called it an early night.

I feel fine now but am off to TRX in about an hour and we'll see how that goes.  Plus, I'm subbing tonight, so another test.

This reminds me of one of the first times I tried to run.  This had to have been at least 15 years ago.  I ran (maybe) a quarter of a mile to end up at home gagging over the toilet.  Nice, right? 

Going back to the planned run, I found that a certain segment of one of my spin rides is perfect for banging out 2 miles at varying paces, so I wanted to share it.

Warm up - I usually walk around 3 to start, moving up to 3.5 or 4.0 for about 5 minutes.  For this I'll just keep my ipod on shuffle.
The run....
The Bongo Song Live (8:38) - This song has a solid beat and two parts that are very conducive to sprints. I'm slow so I usually start at 5.5, working my way up to 6.0 and then hitting 7.5 for the sprints.  Whenever I really need to recover I go back to 5.5 trying not to stay there for too long.
Dog Days Are Over (4:13) - Get to 6.0 and keep it steady there, bringing the pace up to about 6.5 or 7.0 on the chorus.
Have a Nice Day (3:49) - Try to stay between 6.0 and 6.5 with accelerations on the chorus if I feel like it.
There's one more song but I'll have to add it in later.

Overall it's about 20 minutes and just over 2 miles of running (obviously depending on your speed).  Perfect!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy October!


I do love October, but I'm really not OK with the whole fall thing that's happening right now.

And while this cooler weather does make me want to run more, it's yet to happen.

Last month I wrote about making a bunch of changes to my eating and working out habits.  I then followed up saying that those changes just weren't going to happen and that I'd try again in October.  Well, it's October now and I'm ready.

Full disclosure here:  I'm fit and i'm healthy but I could probably stand to lose a few pounds.  I'm not unhappy as my happiness isn't driven by that sort of thing, but I just want to feel like I'm at my best and I think by making a few modifications that can happen.

My goals (yet again)
  1. Re-vamp my eating habits (more on that in another post)
  2. Work out regularly
  3. Cross train
  4. Run more
That's it.  Seems doable to me, espeically because I've succeeded at all of these in the past.  I think that this year life just got in the way.  So many things happened that other things had to fall by the wayside.  Yes, it was always temporary, but now I want to make those things non-negotiable.

I'm ready.  So here we go again.  I will keep you posted and share any things I learn plus I'll continue to share my spin rides as I'm also really hoping to find some more time to make more rides.