“Do You Ever Feel Like Pulling the Covers Over Your Head?”

Recently, I was asked, “Do you ever feel like pulling the covers over your head?” My response was, “Yes.  Often in 2016.”  Sometimes, we find ourselves in places that we didn’t ever imagine being.  Life events happen (and often accumulate), yet despite all the positives, we can’t shake heartbreak.  Ignoring it, trying to replace it, moving forward with a fake smile… eventually it all catches up.  Fortunately, with time and support from others you find yourself no longer pulling the covers over your head, but throwing them off and racing to start the day.  I’m here now.

With that being said, I’ve been promising to add this or that to laps.lunges.leather and I’m ready to fulfill my promises. Thank you to those who have been patient with me and have been there for the ride.

everything

Race (and Life) Recaps

Wow!  Have I been the biggest blog slacker IN THE WORLD?!?!  Now that the new year has started I guess now is just as good a time as ever to catch up.  I’ve been busy running, not drinking wine (#SoberJanuary), and awaiting spring by perusing fashion sites and magazines to make a list of my must haves and wishes.  Here’s the scoop:

LAPS |

In December, I went on a family trip to Rome.  This trip was so full of site seeing and family that I only ran ONE day.  The funny thing is that I didn’t stress about not running, which is really not normal for me.  I knew that upon my return to the US that it would be full speed ahead for the Boston Marathon in April.  On the one day that I did run in Rome, it was through the gorgeous Borghese Gardens.  How could you not have a great run when the park is in the shape of a heart?

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Ignore the graffiti… this was all over the place, unfortunately.

Once I returned from the trip, building miles was in full effect.  My speed sessions included hills… which are “speed in disguise,” so I’m told.  I also had some steady state runs which included a 10 minute warm up, 30 minutes from 6:44-7:03, and a 10 minute cool down.  Not going to lie… I knew from the first hill that I had a long road ahead of me after the downtime in Rome.  Plus… El Niño was hitting with full force leading to some runs on the dreadmill.  By the time my first long run rolled around, my legs were EXHAUSTED, but I had my Sushi Club girls to pull me through since we had plans to take Sushi Club to San Francisco for the Hot Chocolate 15k.  RAM Racing‘s Events are always a ton of fun and combining the race with girlfriends that love running and sushi is a combination that can’t be beat.

 

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Sushi Club (L to R – Claudia, Laura, Marian and LLL) Next Meeting: 1/3/16

 

*** Sushi Club Notes:  It is our mission to eat at EVERY sushi place in Santa Cruz County.  While we hit nearly all of them in 2015, we weren’t organized.  In 2016 we have a rating system and plan to document the awesomeness that is Sushi Club.  Sometimes we have a “special guest” join us, but most often, it’s just the 4 of us.***

The plan for the Hot Chocolate 15k was to actually run 13 total miles.  My coach didn’t have any speed guidelines, the goal was to just get the long run done.  Race morning we took an Uber to the start and hoped for a quick warm-up, but that didn’t quite happen.  Claudia and Laura teamed up to run and Marian and I teamed up to run.  Marian and I said that we would go out around 8:00 minute pace knowing there were a lot of hills.  Wishful thinking… we ended up running in 1:10:39 (7:34 pace).  Actually, we were a couple minutes faster, but SF weather is tricky.  We didn’t anticipate that the sun would come out and it would get uncomfortably warm.  By the time we passed the 5k mark, we knew that layers needed to come off.  Since we were in this race for the sole purpose of fun, we stopped to undress… which is the exact reason why my results don’t come up.  I stuffed my top into my awesome Oiselle Aero Tights and that was the end of chip timing for me.  We had a good laugh at the time that we were pulling such a rookie move, but by the time the race ended, we were happy to have all our layers since it was freezing!

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Race Expo Fun… This event was really well organized and despite the large number of runners, we were in and out in a jif.

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With bellies full of chocolate we were all smiles at the finish… My guess is the photo bomber was just as happy since he looks pretty smiley himself.

Boston base miles continued through January knowing that each week was better than the week before.  In order to keep the training fun, I am planning to jump into some half marathons just to get the miles in.  With marathon pace miles starting, this is a great way to simulate a race without all the nerves that come with an actual race.  That is exactly what I did on January 30.  The Rotary Club in San Juan Bautista puts on the Mission 10 Miler each January, and this year, they added a half marathon.  With lots of climbing, I felt it was a perfect opportunity for doing an 18 mile run.  My Santa Cruz Endurance teammate, Benoit, is also training for Boston and he jumped at the chance to go with.  My plan was to run up to 6 miles at marathon pace (MP) and then settle into a comfortable pace for the remainder.  With all the climbs, I decided to do some of the miles at the beginning, go for effort on the hills, and then finish the MP miles.  The plan worked really well and between the MP miles, the warm-up and a slower cool down (with the company of Benoit and my pup Rosie) the average was 7:30 pace.  I’m really proud of this run for two reasons.  First, I executed my plan despite being tempted to be a bit more competitive (old me would have thought more about competing versus looking at the big picture).  Speaking of old me, on January 31st, 2015 I ran 6 miles at an 8:19 pace.  The doctors said I would probably be able to run 3 miles by the end of January.  With hard work, I surpassed that, but remembered the difficulty of that 6 mile run.  I seriously finished feeling happy/sad.  I was happy that I did 6 miles, but sad thinking that above 8 minute miles was going to be my new normal.  What a difference a year makes!  Being humbled has it’s perks because it makes you relax and appreciate the present.

Now that it’s February, I’m back to track workouts and tempo runs.  Plus… my first 20 miler is THIS weekend.  In regards to races to jump into, my MIL is visiting for most of the month so we have kept the calendar kind of open.  The one thing that is for sure in February would be that I am going to LA to watch the Olympic Marathon Trials!!!! This girl is really, really excited to meet up with my Oiselle Volèe teammates to cheer on Elites and the regular folks that are going to kick butt on Sunday at the LA Marathon.

LUNGES |

BodyPump 96 was released at my club a couple weeks ago.  Holy cow is this a tough release!  My favorite track is probably the Lunges, but that may be just because I have a great fondness for Peanut Butter and Jelly.  I wish I was joking… in our home PBJ makes many appearances at lunch, dinner and snack time.  For the first time in a long time, each track either has a good song or just kicks your butt so much it’s hard to find anything not to like.  With New Year’s resolutions in full effect the club has been PACKED!  While the regulars always have complaints that their “spot” has been taken or they can’t even get into the class, I hope to provide gentle reminders that we were all once new to Group X.  I’m also happy to report that classes are still pretty darn full.  Here’s the trailer for BP 96… if you haven’t checked out a class yet DO IT!

In the personal lunge department, I started the year off with a Functional Movement Assessment/Screening at Paradigm Sport.  I’m sad to report that I didn’t do so well.  Seriously, I made it through grad school not once, but twice with a 4.0.  In addition, I somehow managed to exit undergrad with honors despite drinking my weight in Maddog 20/20 and Amaretto Stone Sours each weekend (don’t judge… we all had a dumb college drink).  If you haven’t heard of a FMS, here is a little blurb from the internet:

“The SFMA is the movement based diagnostic system, designed to clinically assess 7 fundamental movement patterns in those with known musculoskeletal pain. The assessment provides an efficient method to systematically find the cause of symptoms, not just the source, by logically breaking down dysfunctional patterns and diagnosing their root cause as either a mobility problem or a stability/motor control problem.

This systematic process allows clinicians to clearly match their intervention to the main problem of the patient. This model efficiently integrates the concepts of altered motor control, the neurodevelopmental perspective, and regional interdependence into musculoskeletal practice.”

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The 7 exercises…

Here’s the thing… each exercise is worth 3 points for a total of 21 points.  This girl scored a 12… yep… a 12!  I knew that I’d have some trouble, but I was surprised at just how imbalanced I was.  The only exercises that I performed well on happened to be the Reaching and the Push-up.  I now have a plan from a trainer to work on these imbalances.  The plan includes some great stretching and core work as well as a variety of strength moves that use the TRX, tons of glute activation (bridges, step-ups, deadlifts), and general upper body strength builders (I can do 4 band assisted pull-ups.  Give me time and that band will go away!!!)  It’s been really motivating to see my weaknesses and know that each rep is getting me one step closer to being a better version of myself.  I’m 41 and if I want to run and be active for a long, long time, it’s best to take care of these imbalances before an injury keeps me down.  Been there… done that!

LEATHER |

Thanks for sticking around this far.  Spring items are starting to pop up and there is really  just one trend that I am really in love with.  Give me time and there will be more, but for now, I’m eyeing the Statement Heel.  Color and patterns are everywhere right now and adding a crazy heel is just one way to make an outfit POP!  Since my post is getting so long, check out Fashionista’s post on the spring shoe trends.  You will also note that sneakers are still in fashion… which is great considering it’s marathon time again.  In the meantime, I’ve been in love with the pop of color that a fun heel can add to the simple jeans and tee or the LBD.  These blue shoes all catch my eye, but if I had to choose one it’d be the Ruthie Davis’… did you see the spike on the end??? Sexy!

Until next time (and hopefully that next time isn’t 5 months later)… Happy Laps, Happy Lunges, and may your Leather be comfortable!

SeaWheeze Race Report

Remember when you were a kid and your parents would talk about how time flies?  As a kid, I had a completely different opinion.  Growing up in the country, the sunshine seemed to last forever and my siblings and I played outside all day long.  There were cornfields to get lost in, a pool for relieving the Midwest heat and humidity, and lightening bugs to be caught (and grotesquely made into jewelry or stored in a mason jar as the 80’s version of a DIY nightlight). But now… here I am writing a race recap for SeaWheeze weekend and starting another school year wondering where the heck the last year went.

The best part of SeaWheeze was that I made it safely to and from Vancouver without breaking my leg.   Yay!  Success.  I have nothing more to report.  Just kidding… besides the success of staying on my two feet, Lululemon did not disappoint at this year’s event.  Here’s the scoop…

This year, Michele and I decided that we would do an Air BnB instead of a hotel.  Last year, we only stayed for a night and this year we wanted to spend a little more time in Vancouver.  We looked into booking the Hyatt like last year, but through Air BnB, we were able to get two nights for slightly more than the one hotel night would have cost.  The place we stayed was in a beautiful, brand new building in the False Creek neighborhood.  There were plenty of restaurants and breweries nearby, a market, and the Skytrain was just a couple of blocks down the street.  There is a ton of construction going on right now so I can only imagine how much the cool factor is about to go up. The only sad thing about our place happened to be the lack of a coffee pot.  The Canadians are not in need of java as early as the Americans (I’m assuming) because we couldn’t find a coffee shop in the area that opened before 6 AM.  There was a McDonalds near so that was the coffee that provide the kick before the half.

Cute Air BnB... and the water pressure was tops!

Cute Air BnB… and the water pressure was tops!

After flying into Seattle to meet Michele, we rallied over the border to get to packet pick-up.  Last year, we got a later start and missed most of the party associated with PPU.  This year, we got there earlier, grabbed our packets which included our chips, a wristband to get into all events, a water bottle (much higher quality than the 2014 version), and a cute bag to use at bag check on race morning.  There was also a coupon for a free cup of coffee from JJBean.  The store was much better stocked than last year and I picked up some wild and crazy shorts as a sweet memento.

Check out the pre & post run swag…

As for the race itself I gotta hand it to SeaWheeze.  Like 2014, the whole event was incredibly organized with the fans cheering and volunteer support being  dynamite.  Because this race was my last long run before the marathon on August 23rd, my instructions were to run within the 7:49-8:19 zone.  The day before, Michele said I could drop to 7:39 if it was comfortable.  In the end, I averaged 7:35 for a time of 1:39:33 which felt really comfortable and controlled throughout.  However, at the finish line I thought, “Oh wow… I have to do twice that next week?!?!”

Like I mentioned earlier, this year we came to PARTY at the SeaWheeze Festival.  Now… when you reach your 40s, the word party loses some of it’s luster, but we did stay out until after midnight.  We’re hip… don’t be jealous!  The festival is in the gorgeous Stanley Park and once again, Team Lulu was really organized.  From the festival shuttles, to the music, to the wine and beer a blast was to be had.  We didn’t get to the festival as early as planned since we met some pretty interesting ladies at dinner and struck up a really fun… and did I mention interesting… conversation.  Long story short, when I am old, I want to put on my best clothes, bright lipstick, and toast the night away too.  Now, my sister just needs to move to California cause I’m not doing that on the farm.

Once again, I left this event knowing that I would be back for 2016.  The registration for SeaWheeze 2016 opens on September 16th.  Keep your eye on the site for more directions.  In the meantime, go get the fastest internet speeds money can buy because this one sold out in 33 minutes last year.  My fingers have been crossed since I left.

Did you run Seawheeze this year?  What did you think?

 

Catching Up….

In late June of 2014, I had big ambitions in regards to my blog.  Typically, I’m a pretty prompt person – Hello Virgo – but what can I say… life got complicated.  Each week, I had posts in mind but I just kept putting it off or would find some other task to tackle instead.  After a bit, I thought, “Ugh… I should just quit because it has been so long since my last post.”  However, I do enjoy sharing this and that with those that come to my classes, are seeking some run love, are daring enough to try a recipe that comes across this blog – let’s face it… my husband and I have differing opinions on food so I like when you all agree with me – and finally, is there ever enough input in the fashion or beauty department… never.  Now I am at a crossroads and have decided that it’s onward and upward.  The whole purpose of this post is to simply, catch up.  Here goes…

The Fitness Department:

In the Laps department, my mantra has been “Comeback, not setback.”  There really is great truth to that.  When I posted last, I had just been given the green light to start running again.  It. Was. Awful.  Seriously, running is hard!  But… it is a lifesaver.  Coming back from an injury and another health issue I was at one of the lowest points in both my emotional and physical state.  Running, while it was slow and painful gave me a sense that with each mile all would be okay.  It’s true.  The more I ran, the better it got and the better I felt. On the last day of January, I had hit the 6 mile mark (the doctors said I would be able to run three).  February was another setback month, but somehow, I finished the last day of the month with 7 miles.  And then in March… the fire was started.  For most of March, I just focused on running 5 days per week.  Just for the fun of it (and because it is put on by a super rad lady), I entered the She Is Beautiful 10k.  There wasn’t a race plan for this 10k, but I had high hopes to run under 8 minute pace.   Honestly… my Garmin didn’t track but a few miles at that pace since August so I thought it was a good place to start.   Somehow or another, I averaged a 7:03 pace.  I’d like to say I didn’t know where it came from, but that wouldn’t be true.  This is one of the first times that I ran with only my heart.  When I finished the run, I had tears in my eyes.  I knew that I was on my way back, but this time around, I vowed to not forget that running is fun, it makes me happy, and while healthy competition is to never be overlooked, letting the competitive balance tilt too much will make your running outlook suffer… a lot.

Check out the smile on the face of the cutie in the tutu!!!

Check out the smile on the face of the cutie in the tutu!!!

After SIB, I called my running coach and told her I was ready to train.  For what, I wasn’t completely sure, but I was ready to start doing something.  Between then and now, I paced my friend and coach, Michele, at the Miwok 100k (Ultra runners are BAD ASS), ran the Surfer’s Path Half Marathon for fun… in fact I was in such a fun zone that my friends and I started the race five minutes late cause I forgot my bib… really… who does that???

SCE after the Surfer's Path Half Marathon.  Photo courtesy of Nancy Z.

SCE after the Surfer’s Path Half Marathon. Photo courtesy of Nancy Z.

In June I ran the Tahoe Relays with Santa Cruz Endurance which leads me to the now.  I’d been increasing my mileage and as I had witnessed my paces dropping I started to toy with the idea of a marathon.  Some of my friends are going to Boston for the first time ever and I thought I might want to go for support.  Knowing Boston qualifiers last for two years, I figured my 2014 qualifier at Boston would get me into the 2016 Boston, but it doesn’t since the window is September to September.  So… I needed a BQ and have now set my sights on getting one at the Santa Rosa Marathon on August 23rd.  In Tahoe, I ran my leg of the relay and added on to get to 18 miles.  I told myself if I could run in the altitude – that far – with part of it at race effort – that I would sign up for the marathon… and I did.  Stayed tuned for the rest of the story…

The Home Department:

Since drifting away from the blog, I wish I could say that I’d been spending my time scouring cookbooks and reading food magazines cover to cover, but I have been super, duper lazy.  This is another reason that I wanted to get back to my blog.  I love discovering new recipes, trying them out and sharing them with others.  When life gets complicated, exerting extra effort for things like grocery shopping and cleaning up messes becomes even more daunting.  Thanks to some advice from my boss, I started to go to Dream Dinners. I have to say… it’s pretty awesome.  Check out their site for some details, and really, I promise I will write a post about it after the next time I go (which will be in September).  Over the course of the summer, I have really started to look at our diet and have started up the grill and have ventured into cookbook land once again.  I guess marathon training inspires one to eat some healthier meals.

Other than that, my husband and I have stayed busy with a trip to the Midwest for family fun, taking advantage of the beaches here at home, and discovering different places to eat around town.  We also got on an organizing kick and now have some pretty cleaned out closets.  In fact, I took my husband’s drill and with a little help from The Container Store, I have a new pantry.  Guess what’s in that new pantry?  Finally… I purchased emergency supply kits because my mother-in-law and mother frequently remind me that the whole West Coast is bound to be destroyed by an earthquake any day now.

With much uneasiness, my husband handed the drill over.  It's been 3 weeks and the shelves are still holding strong.

With much uneasiness, my husband handed the drill over. It’s been 3 weeks and the shelves are still holding strong.

The Fashion Department:

Do you remember that I said I was training for a marathon?  Right.  As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time in my running clothing.  Fortunately for me, Oiselle has had some super cute running attire and I now seem to have a pair of distance shorts for each day of the week.  It’s been a warm summer in Santa Cruz so I’m most often running with my sports bra.  Next weekend, I will be in Seattle and hope to go to the one and only Oiselle store.  I think this shirt would be an appropriate purchase.  Speaking of this company… I’ve been a superfan for a long time.  Recently, they opened up spots on their team and I (much to my surprise cause I was finishing up a 22 miler when the window opened) got a spot.  I’m pretty excited to get to know the other ladies of The Flock.  1,2,3 Oiselle Volée!!!

When I’m not wearing running gear, I’ve been obsessing over boyfriend jeans, tees and heels.  It’s been a pretty laid back summer style wise and I’m just now starting to feel like it’s time to add some fun to my fall wardrobe.  I sound like a broken record, but stay tuned…

Pretty much me every evening (and day) this summer.  Thanks asos for the picture.

Pretty much me every evening (and day) this summer. Thanks asos for the picture.

One thing that has changed my life however, is the Sarah Potempa Beachwaver.  Seriously… I have super thick and heavy hair so it best lends itself to a ponytail unless I have tons of product and endless time to attempt a style… that will last for maybe the walk to the car.  That is until this little curling iron caught my attention.  Seriously, I can curl my whole head into some sexy waves in about 15 minutes tops.  Even better, I can do so with very little product.  After getting out of the shower I put a bit of Kevin Murphy Smooth Again in my hair.  After it dries, I spray it with a bit of Style Sexy Hair 450 Headset and then I go to town with my curling iron. I’d like to take all the credit when I get compliments on my hair, but I can’t… this iron was a game changer.

Thanks for following along during this super long post.  I am really motivated to post away and not let the craziness of life keep me from taking time to do the things I enjoy.

Hoping your week is full of joy and the chance to do something extraordinary!

Saturday Snippets: The New Year, the Comeback & the Dress

The New Year:

Hello 2015!  You will be a GOOD year!  I haven’t been one to make a New Year’s resolution for quite some time.  My hat is off to those who do make them, because it is always a good thing have goals and improve.  For me, I like to think of the New Year as a time to do more:  more clean eating, more me time, more sunscreen, more personal bests, more books, etc.  The one thing I won’t do more of in 2015 though… breaking bones.  If I were to make a resolution, it would most certainly be that.  Here’s to hoping that we all have a 2015 full of all the things that make us feel happy and alive.

The 2015 Mantra...

The 2015 Mantra…

The Comeback:

The last time I blogged, I was just returning to my life as an athlete.  I wasn’t running by far, but the time in the gym was becoming a reality.  From October to the beginning of December I went to weekly physical therapy through Kaiser Permanente Hospital.  I was really fortunate to get a physical therapist that had an athletic background.  Often times, when PT is delivered in a general hospital/clinic setting it is more rehab based.  Of course, I needed the rehab, but the rehab I was looking for was not to return to normal everyday activities, I wanted to return to running.  My therapist knew this was my goal and said that I would be running starting January 1st.  Talk about a huge blow, but I told myself that I would come back smarter and stronger so I vowed to listen.  I did the weekly visits, made time to do the exercises, and for one of the first times in my PT history, I followed the rules.  Each week, I felt stronger, was able to walk longer, and the pain was getting less.  Things were looking up! And then…

On November 1st, our insurance changed.  This wasn’t really a huge deal as I chose the program that would make the most sense for our family.  I continued to go to PT and pay the extraordinary cost that counted towards our deductible.  Until… I got a letter from work saying that our insurance was going to change again.  All the money that I was paying towards my deductible would just start over on February 1st.  I figured that if I was having to pay and the deductible was no longer in my favor, that I would use that same money to see a PT that all my friends in the local running community raved about.  What did I have to lose?  It was going to cost the same, if not a bit less.

On December 9th, I had my first appointment with Dr. Jeff Moreno from Precision Physical Therapy and Fitness.  We chatted prior to the appointment and he asked that I come ready to run.  Say what?  The last time I had worn my running shoes was on August 26th… he wanted me to run?  Indeed he did, and indeed I did.  I arrived for my appointment terribly nervous…. Would running hurt? Would I fall? Would I suck wind so much that I’d be defeated in a minute?

We started with a few of the normal range of motion and strength tests.  Dr. Moreno then asked me to walk, skip, squat, balance on one leg and then RUN!  We did this for quite a while and just when I thought that session one was coming to a close, he put me on the treadmill.  I got to run, and I survived.  Dr. Moreno gave me some exercises to complete pre and post run and then he handed over just what I was looking forward to most… a Return to Running Program that spelled out in detail just how much running I could do.  He cautioned me to not get carried away, but to listen to my body.

With my plan in hand, I called my pal and running buddy Meg and said I had a green light to run.  She said she would be there for my first run and that she was.  The first run included a 1 minute run followed by a 1 minute walk repeated 8 times.  It was only 8 total minutes of running, but all 8 minutes were run with the biggest smile on my face.  Check it out…

Celebration picture after my first run...

Celebration picture after my first run…

Since then, I’ve moved along on the schedule and today I completed an 18 minute run, 2 minute walk, 12 minute run.  Of course, I’m not a speed demon by any means, but I’m running with purpose, better form, and an enormous amount of gratitude.  This year, I don’t plan to “race” a single race.  I’m going to enter a few of my favorite races as a participant and just do what Dr. Moreno says over and over… Enjoy the Process.

No speed records, but I am RUNNING!!!!

No speed records, but I am RUNNING!!!!

On December 30th, I had a follow-up appointment and I was officially DISCHARGED from PT.  My ankle is in good shape and with continued care and exercise, I will return to my former self… just better.

I can’t help but thank my husband, my family (especially my Mom), and all my friends that have been a part of this comeback.  I’m looking forward to logging the miles.  Thanks to my friend Elise, I have the perfect journal to connect with the process.

Awesome journal from an awesome pal...

Awesome journal from an awesome pal…

The Dress:

Fingers crossed that my husband misses this post because he hates it when I show off something that he has purchased for me.  I tell him it’s hard to not show something off when he has such amazing taste.  Enter the most recent addition to my dress collection:  The Alice and Olivia Checked Print Dress has been on his radar for a long while and it finally went on sale.  Lucky for me, it wound up in our house and was planned for a New Year’s Eve date.

The dress... H.O.T.

The dress… H.O.T.

Unfortunately, after lots of travel and feeling kind of lame… we nixed a hot date on NYE and settled for a nice dinner at home and a movie.  But… tonight is sexy date night and this little number is coming out.  First, I have a big decision to make.  What shoes?  These are the three that I have it narrowed down to.

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions, decisions…

While I’m back to running, I can’t say that I’m back to walking in heels without looking like a newborn deer.  While I am not looking like a super model when I walk, I don’t really care what other people think.  This new walk is my current personal best so I will rock on.  What heels would you pick?

That’s all for this week (and hopefully, I can find myself blogging more than the past two months).  As always, hoping your Saturday is full of joy and the chance to do something extraordinary! Enjoy!

Saturday Snippets – Google be Damned

Google be damned.  The Saturday Snippets have been a bit MIA the last few weeks, and I blame it all on Google.  The last time I blogged on a Saturday, I was all upbeat about how I was going to come back from this broken leg mishap stronger than ever.  That was the plan (and still is the plan), but when I googled “recovery from broken fibula,” “returning to running after broken fibula,” “exercises while recovering from a broken fibula,” and such, I didn’t find anything positive… at all. I searched out positive articles, but they were all negative.  Counter these articles with the daily struggles of adapting to life on one leg, and you get one huge pity party.  Seriously… it was my birthday month and all I could come up with was Eat. Drink. and Be Angry.  Sad, but true.  As a result, I was bad company and became the queen of good energy sabotage.  I felt that if I blogged anything, that it wouldn’t be a reflection of my true feelings so I decided to stay mum.

I finally turned a corner last week when I got to return to Body Pump.  Mind you, I am teaching with my knee on a chair and using very light weights, but I have a mic on, I have my members with their smiles and hard core attitudes, and I feel… just a little… my heart rate on the rise.  Last week, I also got a walking boot.  It isn’t made for walking just yet, but by the time I write my snippets next week, I should be able to walk a bit.  It was quite the site, but I even went to a couple of barre practices.  Getting to exercise makes me feel like the return to my former (but better) self is near.

Thanks @peglegmeg for the picture

Thanks @peglegmeg for the picture

When this broken leg ordeal is finally over, I plan to write a lengthy post on the real recovery from this type of injury.  It will include the good, the bad, and the ugly, but the good will be the main focus.  Have you ever had a major set back?  How did Google help or hinder you?

While I’ve been digging out of this funk, some really good things have happened.  To begin, I turned the Big 4-0.  While it wasn’t exactly how I had planned to spend my birthday, it turned out pretty gosh darn good.  My husband (who has the  Husband of the Year award won hands down) planned a sweet surprise party with some of my girlfriends.  He, and my friend Meg, should look into careers as secret agents.  They had me fooled completely.  I am really grateful for all of the friends that made my BIRTHDAY MONTH one to remember.

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Most of September, my diet consisted of cake, wine and more cake.  There were also a couple (um… lot) of trips to the all you can eat sushi place too.  Besides all this sugar and sushi, I did explore a couple of new recipes.  Two that turned out to be super delicious came from Iowa Girl Eats.  If you haven’t checked out her blog, I urge you to take a peek.    Maybe it is because we don’t have typical seasons in California like back home, or maybe it’s just that her recipes and insights are just my style, but I feel like I can experience the comforts and seasons of home in my little sunshiny beach town.  IGE has changed to gluten free recipes, but don’t let that stop you… everything is delicious and my anti-GF husband asks me to repeat the meals time and time again.  Okay… so here are the two recipes that you have to put on your fall menu:

The first is the Smoked Sausage, Kale and Cider Quinoa Skillet.  As a recovering vegetarian, I only eat chicken so instead of the smoked sausage, I used Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausage (the casing is pork, so you can just take that off).  The rest of the recipe I stayed true too and it was delicious.  Adam thought is could be a little more flavorful, but he also ate before I had dinner made.

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The second recipe (which was awarded more “Oh Wows!” than the first) would be the Kale and Wild Rice Bowls with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette.  I followed the ingredients exactly as they were written (with the exception of leaving the almonds off of Adam’s dish) and oh holy goodness!!!  I’m making it again this weekend.  The only thing that I changed, and believe made the whole process easier, was that I made the rice in my rice cooker.  This was perfect because I was able to mix everything into rice cooker during the final steps, which freed up a dish.  This dish was a whole pile of cheesy, flavorful awesomeness.  We’ve had really warm weather in Santa Cruz lately, but this transported me right back to a cool Midwest day.

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While the warm weather has made transitioning to Fall a tad more difficult, it has really helped in the fashion department.  I’m limited to what I can wear because of my not-so-fashionable cast.  However, I am counting down the days until I can put on a pair of jeans and rock them with some killer boots or stilettos.  One denim trend that I’m thankful for being around this fall would be the updated boyfriend jean.  Let’s face it… with this lack of exercise I’m not feeling my best in skinny jeans.  One look in particular that I’m loving is this one from Madewell.  Hey teachers (and students)… did you know that Madewell offers a student/teacher discount?  They do!  Anyway… I am picturing these jeans with a white t-shirt, blazer & scarf.  Shoes are TBD…

Photo courtesy of WhoWhatWear

Photo courtesy of WhoWhatWear

For more denim trends for Fall, check out the site WhoWhatWear.  I’m slowly becoming a fan of the patchwork denim, but I’ll have to look for those at Nordstrom Rack or Saks Off 5th.  I have a difficult time buying trendy jeans at full price.

Now that I’m getting back to the gym, it helps to have some cute shoes.  I stopped at the Nike store the other day to grab my husband a new pair of LunarGlides.  Lucky me… these babies jumped out in front of me and I had to buy myself a set of LunarGlides too!  I love all things animal print, so scoring a pair of gym shoes with PINK and ANIMAL PRINT was like hitting the lottery!  What do you think?  Maybe I’ll return to running fast like a cheetah?

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As always, hoping your Saturday is full of joy and the chance to do something extraordinary! Enjoy!

Are You Ready to Meet at The Barre???

I know the blog has been a bit silent lately (more on that to come later this week), but one thing that I want to shout out loud would be the opening of The Barre Studio in Capitola.  If you have never done a barre class before, now is your chance to try a class for FREE… that’s right… FREE.  If you have done a barre class before, then you know how incredibly awesome the workout is (and you can try for FREE too).  Keep reading for all the details…

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If you’ve checked out the About section of this blog, you know that I’ve been a fitness instructor for a long, long time.  In this time, many trends have come and gone, but one thing that is here to stay would be strength and flexibility.  This happens to be just two of the benefits of a barre class.  If these don’t have you convinced, let me tell you more.  According to Jessica Von Duerring, a certified Pilates and Barre instructor, barre is:

  • hard on the muscles, but easy on the joints
  • beginners have no fear… barre is for everyone
  • it’s a full body workout (but, hello sexy butt!!!)
  • work muscles to failure (sounds scary, but it’s all good)
  • your muscles will become more flexible… and they will thank you for this
  • it’s fun
  • you’ll lose weight and inches
  • increased range of motion (which transfers to other sports)
  • results so fast your friends will wonder what you’ve had done

Still not convinced… read the whole article 10 Benefits of the Barre

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In the last few years, I’ve started to notice several imbalances in my body from doing the same exercises time after time.  Don’t get me wrong, I love running, teaching my classes, and subbing for others, but muscles have memory and if we do the same things over and over, we start to develop weaknesses in some areas while overdeveloping other muscles.  Over time, those weaknesses can turn into injuries or lost range of motion and tightness.  When exploring options for workouts that can turn my weaknesses into strengths, I kept winding up at a barre class.  It was shortly after that a friend of mine had this idea to open up a barre studio.  This girl raised her hand quickly and said… “I’ll do anything you need.”  Soon, I will get to join an awesome group of instructors to bring this amazing class to Santa Cruz County and beyond.  We have all been certified and have practiced over and over to bring you a top-notch barre class.  And if you recall… you get to try the class for FREE!

Now… just one more thing before I give you the details on the studio and those FREE classes.  If you are new to barre, it can be scary to enter into a studio.  The good news is that most people in class with you will be brand new too.  Even better news is that I’m going to tell you what to expect in a class.  Here goes:

EQUIPMENT:  You will be told what to grab at the beginning of the class.  This will/may include a mat, weights, a ball, a strap, or a band.  The studio will have a barre mounted to the wall.  One piece of equipment you will need to have for class would be those sticky socks.  They will be available for sale at the studio if you don’t have them already.

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CHOREOGRAPHY:  Fun, uptempo songs will keep you moving throughout the class that will include a warm-up, upper body (oh… you will be asked to grab weights or bands here… don’t be cocky… this is hard and even going without weights will make your arms burn, baby, burn), butt and thigh work at the barre, flexibility after you make those legs shake (and burn… big time), core work, more flexibility and a cool down.  Here’s the key… most moves are done about 16 times.  Just when you think you can’t keep going, remember that you are really, really close to being done.  Breathe and keep pushing… your goal is to work the muscle to fatigue.  You will be rewarded greatly for doing so.

LANGUAGE:  Barre is a descendant of ballet.  You will hear some ballet terms like relevé, arabesque, and plié.  Don’t fret if you haven’t a clue what they mean… you will learn, and with this new knowledge, you will slowly start to adopt these words as a part of your everyday vocabulary.  Before long, you will feel like a dancer and your body will become graceful like a dancer, your posture will improve, and of course, all will start to ask for your tips on looking so fine.

TECHNIQUE:  Open your mind to a completely new experience.  Other than the warm-up, there are very few large movements in a barre class.  Muscles are worked through very small (one inch most of the time) movements.  You may hear the word “pulse” or “micro movement” during class.  It’s very important to understand this concept because this is what will give you the results you are seeking.  Don’t be alarmed if your instructor gives you a little tap or puts a hand out to help make your movement smaller.  You will be grateful when you slide into your skinny jeans.

CLOTHING:  Like I mentioned before, you will need sticky socks for class.  Other than that, there isn’t a barre uniform, but you will feel most comfortable in leggings or capris.  It is best to wear a top that is somewhat form fitting in the beginning.  This will allow the instructor to see that you are aligned properly during the movements.  The Barre Studio will have a clothing boutique with so many clothes that are too cute for words.  Bring some extra dough because you will want some for your next class.

CALORIE BURN:  A typical barre class (when done correctly) can burn between 300-500 calories, and you will continue to burn calories for hours after class.

Now that I hopefully have you convinced that this is a can’t be missed workout, taking advantage of a FREE class is a must do!  The Barre Studio opens on Saturday, October 18th and you can sign up for FREE classes on Saturday and Sunday here.  After you try out the workout (and you’ve fallen in love with the workout) the studio is offering a 1-month unlimited special for $99.  You have nothing to lose but inches and some lbs.

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I’ll see you at the barre!