3 Ways to Improve Your Workouts

I’ve been working out consistently for just over a month now. That’s a month of my whole life, so I don’t have much experience to draw from unless I also pull from way back in my childhood when working out was not a thing I did, but playing was. As an adult, I have been a terrible role model thus far and definitely no one you should trust for fitness advice. However, I’ve learned a couple things recently that I would like to share with you, and I am also going to pull from way back in my childhood.

1. Eat a healthy diet.

nawlinsDo you want to know why working out sucks SO bad and you hate it all the time always and hate everything that exists in the world while you’re exercising? It’s because the food you’re putting in your body is not fueling your body properly so that it can work out. At least that was true for me. I barely had the energy to change into workout clothes, but I forced myself to work out because I knew I should. And I kept waiting for the day when I would look forward to it, when I’d feel sluggish if I missed a run, not if I went on one. That day never, ever came, and eventually I gave up. Even when I didn’t give up (remember that time Amaris and I did a half marathon?), I didn’t lose a single pound because I didn’t change my eating habits. They may, in fact, have gotten worse. I lacked the energy I needed to train, but I trained anyway. Then to get the energy back that I needed to finish out the day, I would eat a ginormous plate of pasta because dangit I had EARNED it.

Some of you are shaking (or smacking) your heads at me right now, and you are correct to do so. Looking back, I know it didn’t make sense, but I didn’t know any better. Now I do, and y’all, I am not kidding when I tell you that I didn’t get to work out yesterday, and I was disappointed. If you give your body what it needs, it will return the favor. Get rid of the sugar and fried foods and as much of the refined and processed foods as possible. Eat your veggies. Limit your grains (not to the extreme, but probably half as much as you would like). Report back to me on your workouts.

2. Make a plan to change things up.

I get bored pretty easily, so doing a different workout every day helps me to keep it up. But I also need structure. I hated going to the gym because I would walk in, look around, wonder what I should do, not have any good ideas, and end up doing the same thing. Planning what you’re going to do, though, allows you to feel in control and ready for your workout while also preventing you from getting bored with it. It’s the same with diet. If you plan to eat different things every week, you’ll get to eat new things but also not find yourself in the kitchen staring into the fridge wondering if you’re actually hungry.

3. Play!

I have workouts that I do with a DVD throughout the week, and they are not the most fun, but I do them because I must, because they’re different every day (which keeps me from zoning out), because they’re planned for me (structure), and because doing them is FAR healthier than watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. But on Sundays, I’m going to a Zumba class up the street, and that is FUN. I look forward to it. It makes me excited about exercise (most weeks) because it doesn’t feel like exercise. When I was a kid, I was in great shape because I was on a competitive jump rope team. Have you tried jumping rope lately? Good luck going for more than a minute. It is no joke. But when I was a kid, I didn’t think about it as exercise. I just loved doing it. What do you love doing that gets your heart rate up, makes you sweat, and works your muscles (keep it clean, kids)? Dance (Zumba, swing, contra (!!), Just Dance), play a sport, jump rope, run as fast as you can down a hill, ride a bike, play in the ocean, walk/hike with friends, go to a playground and climb on the jungle gym, get some buddies together and play tag (or any other childhood game that won’t make you feel like the fat kid in gym class). HAVE FUN!

Oh, and if you are giant nerd and you know it (you know it), I just found this. Enjoy!

Is Recuperation Like Mourning?

I’ve been to the gym exactly twice since we got back from New Orleans. Yes, that gym that I pay to be a member of. Twice. And while I’m starting to feel a small tinge of guilt for the money that’s being wasted every day that I don’t go, I don’t want to go.

I’m actually supposed to be over there now for a meeting of the “Wellness Challenge” group. I can’t remember if I’ve told y’all about this or not, but basically, we all set individual goals six weeks ago. Then they broke us up into three groups:

  • people who LOVE exercise
  • people who like exercise ok
  • people who would sacrifice limbs to get out of exercising

I’m in the last group. I mean really, they can’t actually expect us to keep showing up at the meetings, can they? We are self-proclaimed haters of all things exercise-related, and that includes the gym. If they wanted us to meet weekly, they should have held the meetings at IHOP.

So instead of going to the meeting, I’m blogging about how I’m not going to the meeting. But also, Amaris and I were talking yesterday, and we agreed that we’re just not ready to start exercising again. In the month or so leading up to the race, we were SO gung-ho about it, so focused, so determined. Then we got there, and it was all fun and exciting. Then we got back, and our bodies had to just keep going because we had obligations to fulfill.

We’re pretty sure we were running mostly on adrenaline until a few days after we came home. Then we started to come down off that high, and we needed a break from all non-essential activities. I’m still taking that break.

I’m starting to have thoughts here and there about going for a run, but I’m not yet to the point of being excited to put my running shoes on. I think it’s a little bit like a mourning period.

  1. First, there’s denial. Nope, nothing’s sore. I feel great! I’ll be at the gym tomorrow!!! (Now let me go to bed. Is it 8:30 already?)
  2. Next up, anger. Why won’t these stupid blisters HEAL ALREADY?! I NEED TO GET BACK OUT THERE!!!
  3. Bargaining: Maybe if I “take care of” these blisters, they’ll heal right up, and I’ll be able to run by the weekend.
  4. Depression: What’s the point? I’ll just give up running forever and spend the rest of my life on the couch watching 3rd Rock from the Sun on Netflix.
  5. I’m not sure how the acceptance phase is going to play out yet as I’m not quite there, and I think the parallels start to break down there anyway, but I hope it will involve running.

The plan right now is to (at some point soon) start back up with Chubby Jones and finish that Couch-to-5k training. Somewhere in there, I want to sign up for a 5k so I can have a new goal to shoot for. Once I get there, I’m going to work on 10k training and ultimately work my way up to finishing a 1/2 marathon in three hours, running/walking regular intervals (3:1?) the whole way. In a tutu.

I just don’t feel like it yet. Maybe when I’m 31.

Back in the Saddle Again

If you haven’t heard, there’s some very excited talk of me going (with about eight of my favorite gal pals) to run next year’s Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon. Tutus, good. Tiaras, good. Friends, good. Running, if we must. So I’ve decided that in order to be better prepared for this one than I was for the New Orleans Rock-n-Roll one, I should start training now. Therefore, I went to the gym yesterday. It was the first time I’d been since I got back from New Orleans, and it was awful. Everything was hard, and I didn’t feel well at all. I was kind of dizzy and feverish, and that is not the kind of thing you should just “push through,” so I walked a few laps around the track just to have done something, and then I went home.

Today, I watched about five episodes of 3rd Rock from the Sun, ate half a bag of Hint of Lime Tostitos and cleaned out my car. That’s basically the same as going to the gym, right?

I’ll get there. I just feel like I’m still recovering, mostly from the traveling. I played catch-up all last week with lesson plans and sleep, and I want a full week of normal before I start my training in earnest. But when that week is over, I’ll be at Intense Cardio Dance on Saturday at 12:30, so please come and join me if you can. It’s awesome.

And until then, watch this drunk baby.

Aaaaaaaand stretch

I’m pretty much out of words for the month, so forgive me if this is short, stilted, awkward or otherwise unreadable.

New Orleans was GREAT. We had a fantastic time, we had the best cheerleaders ever, we ate a lot of really good food, and we completed all 13.1 miles of the 1/2 marathon. We actually did really well with our running/walking intervals for the first 10 miles, and then we both started having joint problems, so we decided to walk the last 3 miles. However, somewhere around mile 11 or 12, I looked at Amaris and said, “You know we’re running across the finish line, right?” to which she responded, “Oh, yeah. Of course.” So when we got to the end and saw the boys, we picked up the pace, and JBeau was able to catch it all on film. I was pretty pleased to see that you can’t really tell how much pain I was in, and the cheering drowns out the sound of me going, “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow” with every step.

I came away with a new running shirt, a Mardi Gras medal, a slight sunburn a blister on each heel and memories to last me a lifetime. Plus, I took lots of fun fisheye pictures. Have a looksee:

On Friday, we went to the convention center to check in for the race and pick up our goody bags. We took this one right after we left there while we were waiting for the streetcar to come. We spent roughly 40% of our time in New Orleans waiting for streetcars to come.

Saturday morning, we went to Camellia’s Grill, which is an extremely popular diner on the St. Charles line. It only has about 30-40 seats inside, and there are two small couches for waiting, so the line goes out the door and down the sidewalk. While we waited, the fellas went down to a gas station and picked up some snacks. We finished the snacks, waited another 20 minutes or so, and then finally got into the building where we waited for another 10 minutes to get seated and eat. It was totally worth it.

I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of the long exposure thing. When you’re using this camera inside, you pretty much have to leave the shutter open longer to let in enough light to see what you’re taking the picture of. This one worked out nicely. I just wish we could have gotten one of our waiter, Marvin, whose name tag said, “Word,” as did he.

Once again with the long exposure. We went to this record store on the recommendation of “Al, he sells records” from the Edwin McCain song, “Alive.” My friend/coworker, TeacheRisa, see, is a bit of an Edwin junkie, and she was in New Orleans for a show one time when she met Al. They still keep in touch, and although he no longer sells records, he told us about this place, which was pretty cool. I believe it was called the Louisiana Music Factory. It was on Decatur, just a block off of Canal.

A guy in the park offered to take this of us when he saw us trying to do a self-portrait. The great thing about the fisheye camera is that it takes great self-portraits because you can get SO MUCH in a shot. All four of us could fit comfortably in an arm-length picture (see Camellia’s Grill above). However, there’s a lot more freedom to do what you want in a picture taken by someone else rather than trying to just squish all together to make sure you all make it into the self-portrait. As you can see, though, I still got squished.

My favorite thing about this picture is that the guy who took it took my camera, looked at it very perplexed for a moment, and then said, “What the…? What is…? Is this a FILM CAMERA?? Man, you guys are hipsters.”

I don’t actually have any race photos, but they’ll be along shortly. Amaris is apparently editing them right now, which means they’ll be on facebook tonight, which means they’ll be coming your way soon thereafter. Get excited!

Non-stop Fun?

I feel like I’ve packed two weeks into this week already, what with laundry and writing sub plans and making a sassy Mardi Gras running skirt and movie Tuesday and working out and this and that and the other thing. I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday, but on the other hand, I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday. Holy crap, y’all, it’s already Wednesday night, which means at this time TOMORROW, I will be en route to New Orleans!! I should pack. And print out my e-ticket, and print out the info about where we’re supposed to go and when for the race, and maybe print out a map to the hotel from the airport.

And go to bed. Whew. I’ll try to update from the Big Easy, but if I can’t, keep up with me on Twitter. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of tweetable moments to share.


Y’all. Whew.

The semester is over. It’s over, and a new one doesn’t start for almost a MONTH! And in that time, I have so few plans, it’s ridiculous. And the plans I do have are as follows:

  • Spend this weekend in VA with Rachel and Annabelle shopping and baking.
  • Bake cupcakes.
  • Write/edit some articles.
  • Put up my Christmas tree (finally).
  • Go Christmas caroling.
  • Spend Christmas in Charleston with la mia famiglia.
  • Spend New Year’s…somewhere. I don’t know where yet. I have some options.
  • Watch movies.
  • Run.
  • Eat.
  • SLEEP.
  • Start thinking about what to teach next semester. Maybe make some copies.

Oh it’s going to be FABULOUS. If you’d like to join me for any of these things, let me know. I’m open to company for most of them.

This productivity is wearing me out.

Well, it’s been a very productive few days full of fun, friends, surprise visits and getting things done. Rock-o-Ween was a huge success. The only thing that didn’t happen the way I wanted was that my hair didn’t turn blond despite the fact that I left the dye on it for at least a full ten minutes longer than I was supposed to. Oh well. I think the costume worked anyway.

Yesterday was beautiful, and I got to hang out with two out-of-town friends. I also got a lot of work done and did my weekly grocery shopping. BOOM. Productive.

Today, I figured out how to change the light bulb in my headlights. I also got my oil changed and my tires rotated. Now I’m blogging. See? Productivity. But the big news is that L-Josh and I registered for the 1/2 marathon yesterday!!!

So the race is ours to run, and now we just have to prepare for it.

TWIT (This Week in Training)

Well, friends, after three weeks of Week Four training, I am now in Week FIVE!! L-Josh and I went last night and did the first day. Now, let me explain to you how Week 5 goes. The first day, not including warm up/cool down, we run for five minutes, walk for three, run for five, walk for three, run for five. So it’s actually less running than Week 4. Sounds good so far, doesn’t it? But then they switch it up on you.

Day 2 of Week 5 changes. I’ll be running for EIGHT minutes, walking for five, and then finishing it out with another EIGHT minute jog. Holy crap.

And THEN on the the third day, I just run for 20 minutes with no walking whatsoever.

So theoretically, I’ll be jogging for 20 minutes at a time by the middle of next week. Theoretically. I haven’t decided yet whether I want to just do each day once like I’m supposed to or do each one twice to give my body more time to get accustomed to it. I mean, I know I WANT to do each one twice. I just don’t know if that’s necessary, or if it would even be helpful. Your thoughts?

In related news, I got new running shoes!!! After getting fitted and having them watch me walk, and then after trying on about eight different pairs, I ended up with a sweet pair of Saucony Rides. I have to admit, I’m a tad peeved that the store didn’t have them in pink like the website does, but I’ll get over it, and hey, in a few hundred miles, I’ll need a new pair, and then I can just order them online in whatever color I want.

I inaugurated them last night, and I’ve got no complaints so far. They definitely feel different from my old shoes and make me use different muscles (or the same muscles in different ways), which made me get tired, tight and sore in different places. But I can already tell that they’re better for me, and that’s all that matters.

I’m told that the next few weeks are the hardest to get through, soooooo…any encouragement you want to give in that time would be more than welcome, and I’ll keep you updated along the way!

Runnin’ Shoes

Y’all. I’ve never thought this much about shoes. I very rarely do research on products I want to buy, but the running shoes I buy need to keep me and my joints safe and healthy for many, many miles. I’m taking that seriously. I’ve had the same shoes since the Washington, DC Avon Walk in 2008, and although I really haven’t used them very much since then, it’s definitely time for some new ones. First of all, the ones I’ve got have already gone a lot of miles, and second, they don’t really have enough cushion for running.

I tend to under-pronate a bit, which I’ve just learned means that my feet don’t really rotate from outside to in very well. They just stay on the outside edges. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. I just need the right kind of shoes for it. The internet tells me that means I should get neutral shoes with lots of cushion. I also have pretty decent arches, so I need really good support there.

I tried on several pairs this evening, and none of them really blew me away, so I’m coming to you for advice. If it sounds like you and I have similar feet in any way, and if you have running shoes you love, please, please, please leave me a comment with some advice as to which ones will get me through training for and running a half-marathon.

Thanks, Internet!!


I swear, y’all, time has sped up exponentially today. I don’t know what’s happening. The weekend felt all slow and lazy, which was amazing, and then this afternoon has flown by at warp speed, leaving me with MUCH to do and very little time, so here’s a quick rundown of what I was going to say more elaborately if I had more time:

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DLF!!!!!!!!!!! I’m SO glad I got to catch up with you today. I will try to make my life more interesting for next time. (Note to self: Travel the world. Make appointments with highly respected musicians and ambassadors. Also, find boyfriend asap.)
  2. Dear WillyMac, I am very slow in my training, so although your math skillz are, I’m sure, quite good, I’m still on Week 4. I’m going to do it one more time before going to Week 5. Wish me luck.
  3. I went running on Saturday. I hadn’t had enough water, and it sucked. My legs felt like lead. Lesson learned: Drink plenty of water before going running (and also, pee immediately before going).
  4. To everyone who’s been concerned about my hair since Friday, it’s much better now. MUCH. It’s still settling into its groove (or whatever that thing is that hair does for the week or so after you get it cut), but I think the cut is respectable. We’ll just have to work on Dayle’s styling techniques.
  5. L-Josh and I started working on our Halloween costumes. I can’t tell you what they are, but suffice it to say that they’re extremely awesome so far.

The end.