Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Mishmash - California Edition

But first...please allow me to shriek like a little girl:
Far right...Close up...

Sweet Kristina Mastrocola from Woman's World magazine contacted me a while back, asking for my(!!!) opinion on flavored bottled water - and I was thrilled to be able to plug my favorite, VitaCoco. I really do love this stuff - my (currently not working - oh yeah, that's been fun) fridge always has several boxes in it. Ok, on to your regular dose of mish.

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I had a great vacation - I swear, I stepped off the plane and we never stopped moving the entire time! My first night there, we were just sitting around after the delicious, stupendously-healthy dinner that Barbara had prepared (gotta love having a friend who is into the whole eating-right thing), when the subject of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk came up. Theresa was finally tall enough to ride the Giant Dipper for the first time a couple of weeks ago and, of course, loved it. She was ready to go back, and as it was dollar-ride night, off we went...and I rode it! I haven't been on that ride since I was a teenager - on all of my recent visits, there was no way I could have fit on the ride. But things are different now and I am saying yes to a whole lot of living, including riding a rickety old wooden roller coaster! Let me tell you - it was fun and scary! Barbara told me at what point to smile for the autocamera, but I couldn't stop screaming enough to do that.
Also please note deathgrip on front of car, lol.
This roller coaster first opened in 1924 - click here for more fun facts!

We also rode Kite Flight, which mimicked hang gliding over the beach. Pushed my motion-sickness luck with that one and was a little green by the end of the ride. Still, what a fun, spontaneous thing to do on my first night there!

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Barbara has been one of my biggest cheerleaders since I've started losing weight, but on Monday it was my turn to cheer for her as she reached her "free" weight at Weight Watchers - two pounds to goal means that her meetings are now free! Woohoo - looking good, my friend!
Celebrating - she's freeeeeeeee!!!!!

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Fashion Friday should really be called "Dressing Room Friday" because everything featured was from our shopping trips. I promise I'll have a real outfit or two next week, but for now, let's take a peek into a few selections (oh, and sorry for the yellow hue - dressing room lights, what can I say?).
First up - THE DRESS. Barbara brought this into the dressing room - we were trying on almost everything that each other had picked out. I was shocked - shocked! - when this sheath dress fit me! This style never worked on me back in the olden days when I was thin. Not sure what the difference is - maybe the workouts have changed my body shape? Anyway, I loved it.

Donna Ricco silk dress - originally $158; on sale for $47. I can see this going for both summer and winter depending on what I wear with it. Around the collar and waist is pleated black grosgrain ribbon - it just feels like a classic dress to me. Hope I can accessorize enough to do it justice!
Next up we have white jeans - I've been wanting a pair, and loved these. The brand? Not Your Daughter's Jeans. The price? $98. Not This Forty-Something's Jeans, either, lol. But they fit great, and I'm hoping I can find them on a really good sale someday. Btw, Theresa is wearing a skirt as a dress - she's quite the inspired fashionista!

We scored big time at the Ann Taylor Loft sale - I got several cute tops and a pink and cream cardigan, which I can't wait to wear. I also scored a cute white cardigan from Barbara's sister, Sandi! Hopefully the next few weeks of Fashion Friday will be fun with the new clothes.
Here we are in our "twins" outfit. I liked these boyfriend jeans on Barbara (and she bought them) but on me the size 8 was too big and the size 6 too small. Boo. Loved the black tee - I bought it, while Barbara bought in in gray to go with some gorgeous gray pants. I did buy a pair of curvy bootcut jeans (size 6, what was up with that when the boyfriend jeans wouldn't fit?) that were not a dark wash. I had a hard time thinking that they looked ok - all I could see were my hefty thighs. But Sandi was with us on this trip (hi, Sandi!) and she said that I was looking at myself through my "old eyes" - so I took her and Barbara's word, and bought them. Plus they were marked down from $59.50 to $4.88 - even with hemming, I'll still come out ahead! I'll feature those jeans once I get them back from alterations.
I believe Theresa picked out this dress - we all tried it on and I have to say that interestingly enough, we all looked fabulous in it!Had to throw this in here...since I tried on my wedding dress a while back, Barbara had me try on hers as well. I could actually zip it all the way up - too bad we were so busy doing "bridal portrait" poses that we forgot to take a picture of the back!

All right, I'll stop torturing you now...but if you look below, you'll see one more item that I bought - a white Levi's denim jacket which was on sale for $26 - love, love, love it!

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On Sunday evening, Debby came to Santa Cruz and we met up for, what else, some frozen yogurt and good conversation! We fell right into talking - love that about bloggers...we pretty much know each other even when we've never officially met. I had to laugh when one of the first things she said to me was that I was shorter than she imagined...and I was taller than her!
Debby posted a similar picture on her blog a few days ago and I loved that many comments said that we looked like sisters - I always wanted a sister! I have to tell you that she is so pretty, and if we really had grown up together, I would have been jealous of her!

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A few more random California pictures:
Look - a whale (and it's not me!) - Monterey Bay Aquarium
Pedicures! And new flip flops for me...and yes, I *did* match my nail polish to the flip flops!
Recipe for disaster: Orange juice, tequila and sushi. Seen while at the Safeway buying Laughing Cow cheese and more importantly, getting cash back. No ATM fees for me! :)
I'll leave you with the man walking around Natural Bridges with a live bunny on his head. Santa Cruz, what can I say? Gotta love it!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wharf to Wharf 10K Recap

Barbara and I - after more than 30 years of friendship, about to run our first race together!
Pre-race picture right near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk - I love this area!

I survived the Wharf to Wharf 10K! It was a lot of fun, but definitely not a "running" race - there were just too many people to be able to consistently run, unless you were an elite runner and got to begin at the start of the pack.

We chose the front of the 10-minute-mile pace area to start...after that it was the walkers. What, nobody runs an 11 or 12 minute pace? Or maybe they just ran out of signs. Yeah, that must have been it.

Anyway, due to my experience at the Armadillo Dash of it taking about 30 minutes to get into the park for the start of the race, I was a bit anxious to get to the race early. Barbara indulged me in that, so we arrived around 7:40 am - her husband dropped us off quite close to the starting area (thanks, Dave!). Holy mackerel - there was a ton of people there! I knew that the race was capped at 15,000, and it was full, but wow. That was something to see - just a wall of people all around us.

People in front of us......and people behind us.
While we were waiting for the race to start, gigantic beach balls came tumbling down the street where we all were waiting. Music was being played - it was a party atmosphere for sure! Getting closer to crossing the start line!

Around 8:30 am the race started and we were off! ambling toward the start line - it was pretty funny to see some people try to run...really, that just wasn't happening. I was surprised that just as we crossed under the rainbow of balloons marking the start line that we were actually able to run - now it was getting exciting! Whoops...spoke too soon - exactly half a mile in, the four lanes converged into two AND started to curve and we came to a dead stop. Time for a photo op, right?

Half a mile in - still fresh as daisies!

This was when I realized that we were just going to have to go with whatever the race threw our way...stop, go, climb a hill, whatever.

There was a ton of entertainment all along the way, ranging from:

kilted bagpipers and drummers, to ukulele players,to the Santa Cruz chapter of the San Jose State marching band alumni (I have a soft spot for marching bands what with Sam and Jeff both having been in one)

There were also a lot of bands with ages ranging from kids to some really old people. The course was full of spectators - this felt like the social event of the year!

This is the first time I've run with my camera - we had fun taking pictures along the way:

First water stop - 2.5 miles inI ignored the sign!
There was a really cool peace sign (which I am successfully covering up) next to the "2010" drawn in the sand (the glare plus sunglasses made it difficult to see what you were taking a picture of - we were lucky to get as many good shots as we did).This place used to sell homemade fudge and all kinds of candy when I was a kid...now it's a cafe.
Click on this picture to see the line of runners - it's really amazing!
Loved this shot of the encouraging sign, along with the two runners who had not only finished the race, but picked up their goody bags and were heading back to Santa Cruz!

Then we crossed under the official photo op camera and found Barbara's daughter Theresa and her sister Sandi! We ran over for a quick picture - Theresa was in the middle of making us a sign and was a little disappointed that it wasn't finished...

Quick shot and then it was downhill to the finish line!
Done! We finished in 1:19 (Ricky Bobby time) - not too shabby considering all the stops (forced and voluntary, lol)

After we crossed the finish line, we had to keep going to the beach, where we picked up our goody bags with the OFFICIAL FINISHER'S SHIRT. Now, I have to tell you that this shirt was really promoted on the website - along the lines of how exclusive it was, only runners would get it, etc. So we both opened our bags right away to look at the shirt...and it was the same one as they were selling at Fleet Feet before the race! What the heck??? I tell you, I was getting fired up! I mean, seriously...what happened? Then we realized that in little letters below the logo, the shirt said "Runner 2010" - the other shirts just said "Santa Cruz" - so fine, it was an official shirt. I guess we were both expecting something proclaiming how awesome we were to have run from Santa Cruz to Capitola...hmmm, high expectations, ya think? LOL
The "Official Finisher's Shirt"

We put our shirts on, went and watched the announcement of the race winners (the fastest man, Shadrack Kosgei of Kenya, finished in 27:01!) and then headed back up the hill to find Theresa and Sandi. Our sign was finished, so we got to take some pictures while other runners were still finishing the race behind us!

"Peace Out, Peeps" - the official phrase of our visit, thanks to Theresa. :)Runner's pose!
Our gorgeous sign! Thanks, Theresa - we loved it!

In case you haven't gotten enough of this crazy race, you can click on this YouTube link to see more (and get a sense of what it was like to run with so!many!people!)

It's so funny to me that the last time I visited Barbara, in April 2007, the idea of me walking, much less running, this distance was not even in the outer corners of my mind. I was well over 250 pounds and was living a completely different lifestyle. It's times like these that make me realize just how much I have not only turned my life around, but opened myself up to doing so many more fun things...all because I took that first step on May 14, 2008, toward losing weight and getting fit. Best decision of my life, really.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Quickie

Super busy still - the Wharf to Wharf was fun and I'll have a full recap, along with lots of pictures, later this week. This vacation has been a blast! Two more fun-filled days await before I have to fly home on Wednesday. Thanks for being patient about my lack of updates...things will be back to normal soon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Mishmash

It's our custom on Friday nights to go to our local hamburger joint, split a cheeseburger basket, then run to Sam's Club for fruit, veggies and yogurt (I swear, ours is usually the healthiest cart in the checkout line) and then we go to Red Mango for frozen yogurt. So yeah, we're kind of "regulars" there - think Cheers and Norm but without the beer (tell me I'm not going too far back). They change up the flavors every day, and list them on their Facebook page...imagine my delight when I saw this last Friday:

Red Mango College Station: Today we have Blueberry, Summer Melon, Pomegranate, Madagascar Vanilla, Cocoa, Original, Black Cherry, Cinnamon, Raspberry, and (since it's Friday) a certain customer's favorite, Coconut.
That's me! They know I love the coconut flavor, and the few Fridays that I've been there and there was no coconut...well, they got my sad face. I absolutely love that they indulge me like this!

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I'm in California and missing Paco the Wonder Dog, so I thought I'd share with you one of his many talents - he brings in the newspaper every morning! And sometimes, if the neighbors aren't quick enough, he'll bring us theirs as well!
Paco the Wonder Dog earning his breakfast!
"Are you following me, Mom?"
"Open the door - I have a paper to deliver!"

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The weather is so cool here - it gets down into the low 50's overnight! I went for a run on Thursday morning - my friend Matt drove over to run with me, which was very sweet as I had talked about how nervous I was for the upcoming race on Sunday. People, we ran four miles! By the beach! It was the best run I've had - that cool weather really made a difference, and Matt was a lot of fun to run with. Plus he kept me from being run over by bicyclists on the path - clueless Joe here had no idea that the little "ding" coming from behind meant that a biker was wanting to pass and I should MOVE TO THE RIGHT! There is a huge difference between running in a California beach town as opposed to a park in Texas. Glad I had a guide...thanks, Matt!

After the run, we went out for smoothies (of course!) - while we chose fairly normal flavors, there was one that we wanted to order for the grossness of it, but of course didn't - it was an Avocado smoothie. Ingredients: avocado, milk (could subsitute soy!), sugar and lime juice. You know you are in California when an avocado smoothie is on the menu!

I have a picture of Matt and I that I'll post next week, along with pictures of us as 14-year-olds. And just as I suspected, we haven't changed one bit. *wink*

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Barbara and I have been going ninety-to-nothing since I arrived in California on Tuesday afternoon. It's been a blast, as usual, and I will share many pictures and stories next week when I'm back at my computer - Barbara's computer and Blogger are not getting along very well and the formatting is getting messed up, plus I couldn't move around the pictures I uploaded. So no Fashion Friday this week - but we HAVE been shopping and I've gotten some super cute things - can't wait to show you!

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OK,that's it for this mishmash. Next time you hear from me, I will have run my longest race yet - the Wharf to Wharf 10K on Sunday!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update - Vacation Edition!

Sunday: Set out for a five mile run. Times I thought about quitting before five miles? Eleventy billion. Times I took an extra rest (aside from the 30 seconds Ricky Bobby let me have every mile)? Three. Times I yelled out loud at Ricky Bobby to hurry up with the miles? Two.

My first three miles were good - 11:51, 11:32, 11:34 - but the last two were 13:30 and 13:27. Geez, I really slowed down! The weather was actually decent - well, the sun stayed behind the clouds, so that was nice. It was still nearly 80 degrees and humid, of course...what would you expect at 6:55 am? Ah, Texas...gotta love it. Hopefully Tuesday's run will be better.

Monday: Linda was kind enough to give me a going away present in the form of a killer workout in cardio today. I was kind enough to only pretend to punch her in the arm when she kept upping the speed on the treadmill. The workout was called The Countdown, and it went like this:
  • 100 calories burned on the treadmill
  • 90 squats
  • 80 lateral pylos
  • 70 butterfly sit ups (since I can't do those at the moment, she substituted two 2-minute plank holds)
  • 60 burpees (made it to 40 and she had me move on so I could wrap this up in 30 minutes)
  • 50 calories burned on the treadmill (this would be where pretend punching occurred!)
I can already see the burpee-bruises forming on my knees - I'll look super cute on my vacation with them, I'm sure! If that weren't enough, Brad had a contest in the gym where we had to "call" the number we thought we could hit on each set. This was a "push" day. Wednesday will be a "pull" day - oh darn, I'll miss it! Anyway, I did ring push ups, leg presses, punch push ups, tricep extensions and this lunge/press using an exercise tube. Between each set we had active recovery with mountain climbers, jumping jacks, some funny cheerleader knee kicks, and squats. I ended up being the winner by one. I know, aim high, right? Anyway, the prize was a t-shirt, but they didn't have my size, so I picked one for Jeff and Brad is going to have "Pit Crew" printed on it, as he's the one who holds everyone's keys, wallets, phones, water, etc. during our races. So that will be a fun surprise for him.

Tuesday: Tuesday's run was not better than Sunday's. For me, I think I was just plain tired - my alarm goes off at 6:00 am on the days I run - combine that with the fact that I don't sleep very well anymore, and eventually something had to give. And on Tuesday, it was that run. We ran about 1.6 miles, chatting all the way, before I had to stop and catch my breath. Jenny woke up all congested and was not feeling great, so she was good with stopping the run. We ended up walking a few laps, where we planned out our August training (we watched a class from A&M run hill repeats and *lightbulb moment* - hey - we need to be doing those, too!). So. Not a stellar run, but as I've learned, they can't all be winners, lol!

Wednesday: I'm in California! Looooong day yesterday and I'm still tired, so I'm going to give myself a break and not run today, although I can run to the beach from Barbara's house, and plan on doing that in the next day or two. Today I will get my exercise by shopping!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Coming Clean

Last week I finally did it. I let my past life and my current life co-mingle. You see, I’ve done my best to not let old friends know what I had become. Luckily, I didn’t join Facebook until I started losing weight, so my profile picture wasn’t me at my worst. I live 1500 miles away from where I grew up, and whenever I went back to my hometown for a visit, I never got together with any of my old friends, except for Barbara – she’s known me through all of my incarnations. Every visit, she would always offer - “do you want to give so-and-so a call?” And I’d say no. A big reason was because I really wanted to spend the most time I could with Barbara on these all-too-short visits, but I could have spared an hour or two. Except that then my secret would be out…and the shame and embarrassment at what I’d let myself become would be too real. I am quite the expert at pushing feelings into the deep dark recesses of my mind, where they stay just under the surface 99% of the time. That’s what made it possible to get up and face each day – avoidance and denial.

But it changed last week. Reconnecting with my old friend Matt, sharing memories of our childhood – it brought me back to such a good time in my life. And honestly? It felt wrong to not be open with him about my life and what I have been doing the past two-plus years. So I sent him the link to my blog. Admitted my embarrassment that I had let myself go so badly in that email, but strangely enough, felt ok about it. The next morning, I logged onto Facebook to read this email from Matt:
Shelley Thank you Thank you Thank you for sharing your blog/website with me. That is completely amazing. What you have done is unbelievable. You are beautiful. I am totally inspired. I am going to go back and read more of your amazing work. You made me cry and laugh. I love it. Your writing is very real and appealing. I see great things for you in the future. I am so so so so happy that we reconnected. Really looking forward to seeing you in person.
Wow. I was stunned - and a little teary, I'll admit. Who knew honesty could bring about such a neat result?!? I could have very easily pretended to him that I never got fat…this is strangely liberating and I feel like I've broken out of a secret life. So thank YOU, Matt - I'm walking a bit taller and I haven't been able to stop smiling. My world feels a lot bigger now.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Mishmash - and Sof Sole Winner!

First things first...the winner of the Sof Sole Training Package is:


Congratulations! Email me your mailing address AND shoe size, and I'll pass the info on to Whitney at Sof Sole. Hope you enjoy everything!

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Speaking of running (oh, were we?), I did get up early this morning and went for a quick redemption run - I wanted to do a fast (for me) one mile run just to make sure I really could run at a decent pace, after Wednesday's incredibly slow run. Plus I need to get in the habit of running on Fridays, even though I have to work. Anyway, I did a mile in 11:16 - could I do five miles at that pace? No. But at least I know I still have a little speed in me! Plus I exercised before work - a first for me - woohoo!

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OK, so if you read about my mental vacation that I took in the last post, you will remember that I mentioned looking up an old childhood friend on Facebook. Well I did, and we have reconnected! It's been nearly 30 years since we last saw each other...Matt was my buddy in our sailing club - our family joined when I was 8 years old, and as there were very few girls in the club, and we were the same age, we palled around together for years. Our families, along with many others, camped a lot together - Easter was spent at New Brighton beach, Thanksgiving at Pismo Beach, weeks in the summer were at Pinecrest - we went all over. It was a great way to grow up, and we had a lot of freedom to roam around and swim and sail (many times doing both at once!) and fish and just be kids. Matt is the nicest guy - he's been married for almost as long as I have, has five cute kids and a beautiful wife. We've been emailing like no time has passed (although email wasn't even invented last time I saw him, haha) and have spent the last few days catching up on everything. I've had a big grin on my face all week - what a joy this has been. And the best part? We plan on meeting up sometime next week while I'm in California! We all go way back - my best friend Barbara, whom I will be visiting, used to come sailing with us and knew Matt as well. I'll be sure and get a picture of us and post it alongside one from when we were kids...I'm sure nothing has changed - ha!

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My grocery store finally has some of the new Laughing Cow flavors in stock...sadly, not the bleu cheese, as I've been wanting to try that, but they did have Queso Fresco and Chipotle, so I bought it and took an arty picture:
Ooh, look at that food styling!

My verdict? Too tame (as my Grandmother would say) - not enough kick for me. It was good, but I kept thinking about sprinkling it with some Louisiana Hot Sauce. I didn't - that would have entailed getting up, and as I was eating this for lunch after Wednesday's workout, sitting down was working just fine for me!

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So my flight for California doesn't leave (well, the one with me on it, anyway) until Tuesday, but I've been throwing things into my suitcase all week. Excited? Why yes I am! And apparently the weather is cool out there - imagine that! I'm not packing sweatshirts or anything, though. Why? Because, for the first time in the history of our friendship, Barbara and I are the same size!!! I can borrow her clothes - how amazing is that?!? Plus, I need to leave room in my suitcase in case for when I buy some new clothes. And running gear - they have running stores out there, yo! And bras - of course we will be doing our annual bra shop. This will be so much fun - I can't wait!

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I am by no means a good photographer, and half the time when I get my camera to do something that I want it to, I can't duplicate it. But I did manage to get a neat shot of the flowers that are currently blooming on our Texas Mountain Laurel shrubs:
Look - it's clear in the foreground and soft-focused in the background...almost like I meant to do that! This was the only one of about ten shots that came out that way - naturally, the one I like the best is the most elusive to take!

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And now, it's another exciting installment of Fashion Friday! All I can say is that's it's a good thing I will be doing some shopping soon, because repeats would be on the schedule otherwise. I wanted to wear my Merona Fit skirt to work on Thursday (ok, mainly so I could wear my super cute cork wedge sandals - I love these shoes!), but I've been challenged to come up with tops that work with it. Most of my stuff is a little long and loose, as that hides my strange stomach blob. They don't work with the skirt, and tucking anything in doesn't do my stomach any favors.
I know brown is a little dark for summer, but it's all I have. I threw on the pink and orange necklace (it belonged to my Grandmother and I used to play dress up with it) and then tried on my old orange cardigan.
Way too big - it's a large - one of the first pieces I bought from a "regular" store after I had lost enough weight to shop outside of Lane Bryant. What to do, what to do. It's made of silk, cotton, nyon and spandex - label says to wash on delicate and air dry. Since it's unusable to me at this point, I tossed in the washer on "hot" and then into the dryer. Et voila - it shrunk enough for me to wear!
Granted, it's still too big, but it worked for this outfit. I do love the color so will have to hunt down another orange cardigan one of these days.

Eagle eyes may notice the discrepancy in my hair between the two sweater pictures - I tested out this outfit Wednesday night (good thing, since I was able to remedy the too-big cardigan). Like my non-styled hair? It's my lazy hippie look for the summer...yeah, I'm definitely relaxing my style when I don't have to work.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update

Sunday: The alarm went off at 6:00 am - remind me again...what the hell am I doing, getting up this early? Running? Whose stupid idea was this?!? I even had to sneak into the park - the gates were still locked at 6:45 am...apparently normal people do not have the need to go to the park so darn early.

Still, Ricky Bobby and I set off at 6:49 am, and ran for 1 hour and five minutes. My goal at this point is distance, not time - although when I had a tenth of a mile left, I sprinted, pretending I was running toward the finish line. Guess what I found out? A tenth of a mile is a long way to sprint, especially at the end of a long run! Which reminds me, I need to download the theme from Rocky for my long runs. How long did I run, you may be wondering...well, after getting this comment "...either that or I dare you to do another 5 this weekend..." on the last WWU post, I took Helen's DARE and ran with it - and I'm proud to say that another five mile run is in the books!

I called Jeff over to keep me company on the last mile...I was dying, mentally. He rode his bike alongside me while I ran, chatting about I don't know what...but it kept me going. At one point he was ahead of me by maybe 10 feet, and I pretended that there was a rope tied from his bike to my waist and he was pulling me, then I remembered how when I was a kid, a boy named Bruce tied one end of a rope to a car's bumper, wrapped the other end around his wrist, and had someone (probably one of his older brothers) tow him while he rode his skateboard. Broke both his arms doing that. Bruce was a daredevil and as a result, seemed like he always had a cast on some part of his body. Then I wondered about his brother Matt - he was my age and we were buddies growing up in our sailing club. I should check him out on Facebook. Matt and Bruce were part of a family of five boys and there was someone for every age in our sailing club - the littlest brother, Chuckie, was pals with my brother. Oh wait, I'm almost at five miles! That was a nice mental vacation!

And that's how I got through the last mile of my five mile run. Whatever works, right?

Newest statue in "my" park - a Revolutionary War patriot...strangely enough, wearing sunglasses ;)

Monday: Although I was a little worried coming into this workout after running five miles (have I mentioned that enough yet?), I did ok. Hit all the machines in cardio, plus some ball slams and mountain climbers. In the gym, we practiced our form - squats were the biggie, with a pvc pipe that Brad had numbered levels next to the cage. The lower your squat, the higher the number of points. We had to hit 300 points. Oh, and we had the bar with weights on our shoulders, just to make it more challenging fun. Jenny went first and knocked out her 300 points in just 12 squats - girlfriend hit 25 every time! I was next - um, I think I hit 25 once or twice, but it was mainly 10's for me...that was a lot of squats! We rotated around the gym doing other isolation exercises until it was time to do the squats again. Of course, Brad added extra weight to the bar, and once again it took me a while to hit not 300 points, but 350 - he upped that as well! All in all, not a bad workout.

Tuesday: Up at the crack of dawn again. Met Jenny at 7 am for our run. We were slower than molasses - don't know what was up with us, other than being a bit sore from Monday's workout. I wore my new Camelbak backpack (bought for the amazing price of $20 - a local store was discontinuing them) filled with VitaCoco coconut/pineapple water. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't bother me to have this on my back while running, and it worked out really well to take sips at every mile. Only thing is that I think I drank too much - I poured in two containers of the coconut water, which was 23 oz. - and I drained the entire thing! That seems like a lot of fluid for a four mile run (notice how I buried that in here...we wanted to do five miles, but it wasn't happening). Runners, what do you think? I had a bit of a stomach-ache right at the end of mile four, but I think that was due to the cup of coffee I drank before we started our run. Is nearly 6 oz. of fluid per mile a lot? Keep in mind that it was 82 degrees and of course, humid as hell.

Wednesday: Spent the entire hour in the gym doing the Filthy Teammate workout...yes, Brad expanded on the standard Filthy Fifty by having us team up to do a combined total of 200 reps per exercise. Plus he threw some new ones in there for us...things that looked deceivingly easy (and fun) but ended up being a killer.

Michelle and I were teammates ("the Chelles") - we did thrusters with a 45 lb. bar, chest presses with 15 lb. dumb bells, calf raises on the leg press with 225 lbs., T-bar rows with 10 lbs., hip pops (where you have a rubber tube around both ankles and pop one leg out to the side), these crazy crunches involving a 6 lbs. weighted ball - hard to describe - it looked simple enough but ended up being a killer, and tricep hops (not really the name but I've blocked it out) - this looked fun when Brad demonstrated it, but holy crap, it was hard! He has this cage contraption that is mostly used for ab work, but in this instance, he put a Bosu ball under it (for us shorties...the tall people didn't need it). You stood on the Bosu ball, put your hands on the bars and jumped up, held yourself in a locked elbow position for one second, and then back down. Up and down...my triceps got a workout and then some! Michelle and I did 100 reps each of every exercise except for the tricep hops - somehow she had gotten ahead of me, so Brad had us split the last 50 - she did 25 of them while I did 50 tricep dips. I can tell you right now that I won't be lifting my arms above my head later on today, and it's not looking good to wash my hair tomorrow morning, lol!

What a crazy workout week...I am going to try and force myself to get up early on Friday morning and go for a quick one mile run in my neighborhood, just to get a speedy mile in. I feel like I need to redeem myself for such a slow run on Tuesday. This would be a first for me - running before I go to work. Hopefully now that I've put it out here, I will actually do it. We'll see. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sof Sole Review and Giveaway!

Airr (I want to add some extra "rrrr's" and talk like a pirate when I see the name of these) insoles and Coolmax Trainer socks!

I was very excited to get an email recently from Whitney at Sof Sole, offering to send me free products because I am a runner - you know that my ego practically exploded and I couldn't say "yes" fast enough! She sent me a pair of Airr shoe insoles and a three-pack of Coolmax Trainer socks to try out.

The Airr insoles feature air chamber technology in the heels and arch, with a Coolmax cover. I've always wondered about performance insoles but never felt that I really needed them (and therefore didn't want to spend the money), so this was a nice opportunity to give them a try. First, I matched up the insoles from my Brooks running shoes and trimmed the Airrs to fit. Then I tried the shoes on...and boy was that a tight fit - too tight for me. My running shoes are Forrest Gump thick, and I don't think that they are made to have such a cushion-y insole. Next, I tried them in my old Asics workout shoes and hello, that brought those shoes back to life! Having just retired those shoes, I can see being able to wear them again - the extra cushion felt great, and I gave my feet a true pounding with box jumps, burpees and some treadmill time. I'd recommend these, but with a bit of caution - if your shoes are already pretty snug, you may not have room for the insoles (and of course you know that you remove the insert that comes with the shoe before putting in the Airrs, right?).

Onto the socks. These are super soft - in fact, I felt like I was surrounding my feet in cotton batting when I put them on. They do have some cotton in their makeup - 30% - and I was a little concerned about that since I've read that cotton socks are a no-no when it comes to running. Anyway, I gave them a try on a run recently, and while the cotton didn't bother me, they were a little low cut and might have slipped down on my heel a little...all I know is that my shoe rubbed the back of my ankle, and that doesn't normally happen. I took pictures with both the Sof Sole Coolmax Trainers and what I usually wear, which are Thorlo Experia socks. You can see the height difference - again, it could be partly due to my running shoe style.

Coolmax Trainer socks barely start out above the back of my shoe.
Whereas the Thorlo Experias have more room above my shoe, which protected my ankle.

So while I wouldn't run in the Coolmax Trainer socks, I would use them for normal use with sneakers. Keep in mind that this is just my experience with them - your mileage may vary.

Now onto the giveaway: One lucky person will win, courtesy of Sof Sol, their Training Package, which consists of several pairs of socks (Coolmax Trainers and Anti-Friction) and a pair of insoles! To enter, just go to www.sofsole.com and then leave me a comment letting me know which product you would like to try. That's it - easy as pie! Open to U.S. residents only. One entry per person - I'll have random.org draw a winner Thursday night and post it on Friday, interwebs-willing. Good luck!

FCC Disclaimer: Giveaway will be fulfilled by Sof Sole, who sent me socks and insoles to try. Review of said products is all my opinion.