Another Snow Day…

UGH!  It’s Thursday, and we’ve been to school a little over one-half day this week.  We are now going to be going after Memorial Day, and from experience, I know the kids are finished long before the holiday weekend.  Keeping them on task after Memorial Day is like herding cats.  Teachers should probably start stocking up on Motrin now.  I have cleaned my house, finished laundry (or so I thought until I discovered the stockpile of towels the girls were hoarding), and spent several hours on school work.  I can’t leave my house because our hill is covered in ice, and I won’t even walk down it, let alone drive.  And so here I sit.  Writing about nothing particular.  Just writing.

I am not going to go into my rant on Indiana’s government wanting to change our constitution to forever ban same-sex marriage, but I do want to let you know that almost 2000 people viewed my blog when I posted about gay marriage.  To put that in perspective, the most read blog I wrote prior to that post was about the Ironman, and it had 270 views.  Thanks to all of you who shared the post, and helped educate others that this is a real cause affecting real Hoosier families.  Normal, Christian families.

Oh………I lied.  I read something that annoyed me this morning.  The Russian president, who is clearly an ass, said they would not protest gay athletes, but that they – the gay athletes – should ‘stay away from the children’.  Really?  Because homosexuals are always perverts?  This makes me sick.  Just because a person is gay is absolutely no indication that he or she would be a child predator, no more than being heterosexual makes a man a rapist.  Why was Russia chosen to host the Olympics?  Thus far I have seen nothing positive that supports their selection.

Fitness.  I am really working to return to my former running self.  Last night I made tremendous progress toward that goal.  Since knee surgery in August, I have struggled to regain fitness and lose the weight I gained.  These snow days don’t help because I am stuck at home with my new Kitchenaid mixer screaming at me from the kitchen, We can make cookies!  Breads!  Cake!  Let’s stir things up!  I have ignored the calls so far (if you don’t count the mashed potatoes I made last night), but I don’t know that I can resist today.  Perhaps if I focus on last night’s run and the progress I made, I can ignore my mixer.

Last night I accompanied my husband to the gym; I was anxious just to get out of the house.  I planned to run three or four miles on the treadmill while he taught spinning.  That distance has pretty much been my max the past couple of months, and for anyone who has run on a treadmill, you know there’s a limit to how long one can tolerate the boredom.  I much prefer running outside, but this winter has made that nearly impossible.  And so I hit the ‘mill.  Everbody’s is busy on Wednesday evenings, so there were people around to chat with, and I had my playlist cranked up.  Someday I am going to forget I am not alone and bust out singing.  Last night I just mouthed some of the lyrics (I don’t think any sound came out), which I am sure could have made a great video.  As I listened and chatted and watched ESPN, I just kept running and running and running….six miles I ran!  I don’t know that I have ever made it six miles on a treadmill.  It might not be a big deal to many runners, but it gave me hope that I might be able to continue to increase my distance, which just a month ago seemed impossible.  I was resigned to just getting in short little runs to get my running fix.  Half marathons?  A thing of the past.  Today I think that I just might be able to once again run 13.1, maybe not as fast, but just finishing would be a thrill.  Stay tuned…

Oooh…There it is!  I love my mixer!  Listen…it’s calling me….

Summer Workout(s)

ImageAs I write this post, I wonder where summer 2012 has gone.  My windows have not been cleaned, my cabinets are still unorganized, I haven’t made that trip to Indy to visit Bethany and Erin, and yet there are only three short weeks left of break.  I spent all day Tuesday at school getting my classroom ready, and have been reading some books at home to prepare for the new batch of inquiring minds that will be walking through my door soon.  I had a total of three weeks that I didn’t go into school this summer.  Addison feels the same as she had six weeks of being at the high school at 7:30 am four days a week for endurance training.  That ended yesterday, and band camps begin Monday.  And what have I done?

I have worked out.  A lot.  Gary is participating in the Biggest Loser competition at Everbody’s, our local gym, so he has a membership for three months while the competition takes place.  Since Addison has been lifting weights and working out, she also wanted a membership so that she doesn’t lose everything she has gained.  So now, we all have memberships.  Since I am supposed to begin teaching Zumba classes there at some point, it makes sense to belong and get to know the members.

Gary has been running, doing the weight machines, riding bikes and walking with me, and even going to a spinning class.  He has lost almost 30 pounds since he started changing his habits in the spring.  His dedication and Addison’s newfound knowledge of working out has rubbed off on me – or just made me feel guilty and lazy!  I have long envied Michelle Obama’s arms, but was never willing to work to get my own set of well-toned biceps.  I am finally taking steps to beef-up my wimpy arms (maybe my next challenge will be bodybuilding!).  I found that I like the machines at the gym.  I am also working on putting together my Zumba class, and have included a great deal of arm work in my choreography.

Because we have all of this going on, I have been working out two or three times a day.  I need to keep up on my running, so I am running in the mornings when I drop Addison off in town.  With this nasty heat we have had, I am running slowly, and taking many walk breaks. After my run, I sometimes head to the gym to do weights.  In the afternoon, I have to work on my Zumba choreography.  I have to have 11 or 12 songs choreographed and ready to go in order to teach a class, and am realizing that memorizing the moves is the toughest part!  I have everything choreographed (at least what I haven’t ‘borrowed’ from my friend and instructor Laura); now I just have to make sure I know each song well enough to teach.  The problem is, working on my class means working out, and Zumba is very high energy.  But it is fun!  I really do love it, and I can’t wait to begin teaching.  I am working to get a class started for the community through the Perry County Wellness program.  I am still attending Zumba class in Hawesville a couple evenings a week, and they have been kind enough to begin letting me lead a song or two so that I can get comfortable before teaching on my own.

Gary and I have also decided to make Friday nights our bike-ride night.  While good exercise, bike-riding is something we enjoy doing together.  It really has been fun working as a family to get fit.  We are trying to eat healthier; Gary has amazing willpower – I do not.  I am doing much better, but good nutrition has always been hard for me.  I cannot say I am not worried about how we will work everything in once I go back to work and we are heavy into band season.  I wish I was dedicated enough to workout at 5 am.  I used to run a couple days a week at that time, but just couldn’t stick with it.  I love to sleep.

As summer winds down – and hopefully takes the temperature with it – I appreciate the time I have had.  My house might not be spotless, and there is always, always sweaty, smelly laundry to do, I am stronger and healthier, and oh, so much happier.  What about you?  What do you do to feel strong?  What small change can you make in your life to live healthier?  Give yourself the gift of 20 minutes a day to become a better you!  You are so worth it!

Another First…

I have never belonged to a gym.  I didn’t think I would be dedicated enough to spend the money, and I could run outside with no cost (other than shoes and clothes for every season and a GPS watch and an Ipod…).  That all changed this morning.  Addison and I got up early, went to town, and joined Everbody’s Fitness Center.  There were several reasons for my decision.

First, Gary has a three-month membership because he is participating in their Biggest Loser competition this summer.  This is a great program for our community, and apparently 85 people agreed; that’s the number of participants.  Gary is working hard for his ‘blue’ team, and is very dedicated to his weight loss.

Another reason is that Addison wanted to join.  She has been participating in the strength and endurance camp at the high school, which is four days a week, two hours a day.  They have a ten-day break for the holiday week, and she was afraid she would lose what she has worked so hard to gain if she did not weight-lift.  I was going to wait until later this month when the camp was over, but since they are on a break, we decided to go ahead and get started.

My final reason to join the gym is that I am going to teach Zumba classes there at some point.  I was trained in April, but it is taking some time to prepare my music and choreography.  I am working hard to create movements that will provide a good workout for participants, and do not want to rush the process.  And at my age, remembering all the moves is taking some time!  I have told my husband that it isn’t like I can work all day on preparing; every time I work on choreography, I am working out.  I get tired!  I had planned to join the gym when I begin teaching, so I just got a jump start.

My hope is that if I do weight work and build up some muscle, I will be a stronger runner.  I know I will be able to get to the gym in the summer while I am off school, but I am going to have to make it a priority during the school year, while at the same time trying to maintain a running routine.  Really, I just don’t have time to work!  My dream job is to do what Kristen Armstrong does; she is an author.  If you don’t know who she is, she is Lance’s ex-wife, but more importantly, she is a runner, writer, and motivational speaker.  She has time to workout during the day, and then works on her writing from home.  I have read a couple of her books, and am in awe of her career.  She has a strong faith, an extremely supportive group of friends and workout partners, and a brother who steps in and helps out.

So, today it started.  Once Addison and I filled out the paperwork, we got to work.  Since she has been learning how to properly use the weights, she led and I followed (with much lighter weights!).  I have no upper body strength, though for years I have said I wanted ‘Michelle Obama’ arms.  I just haven’t been willing to put in the work to achieve those buff arms.  Maybe now is my time.  I just don’t like to do anything that hurts, and sometimes lifting weights hurts, or at least it is umcomfortable.  When I began running and it became uncomfortable (like when I took that first step), I would tell myself that if it were easy, everyone would do it.  That became my mantra, and it got me through some miserable runs.

I don’t know what machines I did; I just had Addison show me what to do, and did about ten reps per machine.  I didn’t hurt when I left, but we went outside to play badminton, and I could just tell I am going to be sore.  I guess that  is the only way I am going to make progress.  I also plan to try some classes.  I am particularly interested in trying spinning.  My niece – who is in great shape – went to a class, and said it was killer.  I will give it a try – I just hope I don’t start crying in the middle of class!  I am excited to begin teaching Zumba.  It is so much fun and a great workout.  I also like it because anyone can do it.  In the class I go to, there are women of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels.  Everyone does the workout in her own way.  As long as we are all moving, it’s fine.

Now, to get my eating under control…