Winter White

Snowy Sand

One of the perks of snow at the beach: Snand

That’s what I’ve been channeling lately. Winter white skin, winter white snow, winter white skin because of the cold that comes along with winter white snow. Seeing where we’re going with this? It’s still cold. Really cold. Cold enough that 30 degrees and sun seems almost like a summer day. What the hell, Mother Nature? It doesn’t seem like she got the memo that the closer you are to the equator, the warmer it should be.

I’ve since decided that running in this weather is unnecessary. Call me a wimp, but it’s just a little much. Even though I’ve got some trust issues with gyms these days, they sure beat running outside with the wind whipping at your ears and the bitter cold air sticking to the inside of your lungs. Or slicing the inside of your lungs, is more like it.

One day I’m sure I’ll find this type of weather invigorating to run in, but today is not that day. Yesterday wasn’t and tomorrow’s not looking good, either. Brr.

Bring a Lock

Who steals car keys?

For real.

Maybe this will go on the Con list for working out inside. This week at my local gym I put my jacket (complete with my phone and keys) in a locker, as always. Now, I have a lock at home but I haven’t used it since high school and I don’t remember the combination, so my locker was unlocked. I’ve never had a problem before, I also like to think the best of people. Well, a girl who saw me walk in, took my keys out of my jacket (as I sat in the sauna nearby) and proceeded to use them to open my car and get inside. The battery on my automatic door-opener thing died, so she actually had to put the key in my door handle to see if it would open in order to figure out which car was mine. After confirming she did in fact steal my keys right out of my jacket pocket, I followed her to out to my car, and there she was, just getting comfy in my front seat. wtf. She saw me walking up to her and was out of my car before I got there (she didn’t seem to take anything), handed my keys back to me, and apologized, saying she thought the keys belonged to her friend. Kids, I drive a very bright car. A car very few people drive. Nobody gets into my car accidentally.

Long story short, a police report was filed and I’ll be investing in a lock for my locker.

Inside vs. Outside Running

Outside!

Prescription sunnies are the beez kneez!

I’ve been an indoor runner this winter. I can tolerate running in anything above 30 degrees, 20-30 is doable, but below 20 is just terrible. It’s never below 20 degrees in a gym. Plus, the sauna is only steps away when I’m finished. But sometimes, the temperature gets into the 40’s or 50’s and the sun is shining and it’s really nice to just be outside. Today was one of those days (well, 36 degrees was close enough to 40). So I layered up and hit the pavement. Then I made a list comparing the two (because who doesn’t like a list?):

Inside Running:

Pros

  • Ellipticals are my best friend. They’re easier on the knees.
  • I can breeze through reruns of Castle while logging my miles.
  • Tank tops all day long, no layering needed.
  • The sauna is close by.

Cons

  • Smelly workout neighbors (guys, I’m lookin’ at you).
  • People. Everywhere.
  • Fighting for a spot on one of the two ellipticals I like if I happen to show up at 5:30pm.
  • While I get my heart rate up and break a sweat, sometimes it doesn’t feel like I’m doing a whole lot of work. (On certain days, this is under the Pros list.)

Outside Running:

Pros

  • Ahh fresh air. (Unless is trash pick-up day.)
  • Variation, baby! Sidewalk, sand, forest; the options are endless!
  • When the weather is nice I can work on my tan. Well, I can get tan arms, at least.
  • Running with a buddy is way better outside.

Cons

  • The elements. Going for a run in the winter? Let’s put on every single article of clothing I own. Summer? Some days any clothes are too many clothes. Rain? Better use that shirt as a tissue unless you enjoy blowing snot rockets down the street.
  • Everything about running outside hurts.┬áHoly sore legs, Batman.

(I really think those two things should count as two bullets each. The extra effort and the weather are the only Cons I can think of for running outside, but they’re biggies.)

Well, there you have it folks. If you were looking for an accurate portrayal of running outside vs. running inside, it has been spelled out for you.

Happy Running!

Spandex-esque Pants

I received a few new working out wardrobe pieces for Christmas and wanted to continue adding to my collection because sometimes it’s nice to have new gear. I recently went on a hunt for skinny black running pants at my local, friendly TJ Maxx. I was there for a long time…that actually had less to do with the pants. I tried looking for workout stuff during the holidays because, well, some people like working out and they might appreciate a working out related gift. Alas, TJ Maxx failed me; but I did find a lot of chocolate baskets there. You might say, “Why not try another store?” Unfortunately, I don’t live in a town conducive for selling tons of athletic gear, unless you plan on surfing. Then you’re in luck. Since the holidays were a bust, I knew the New Year would bring about athletic gear, it always does. So I ventured out and was rather impressed/exasperated with the abundance of black skinny pants. I just wanted black pants. That’s it. After guestimating my approximate size, I meandered down the Activewear aisles and began my quest.

For starters, I give you: The Built-In Tramp Stamp

A Little Bling in the Back

Rear End Running Fashion

Not all black pants are created equal, and if you’re looking for a little something for others to see (since this area isn’t easily visible by the party wearing it), this is the way to go. I was not looking for something extra, so I kept searching.

In line with silver accents, we have: The Silver Stitch

For when you want to accent you buttocks.

For when you want to accent your buttocks at each step.

This is a fun design. The silver stitching runs down the length of the leg and meets a reflective zipper, for when you need a little air circulation in the ankle area. (All joking aside, ankle zippers are part of the trifecta of awesome spandex-esque pants.) I love silver as much as the next girl, but a silver line straight across the middle of my butt isn’t exactly my style. So I kept looking.

Next up: Fancy Ankle Designs.

Because black is boring.

Because plain black is boring.

These actually fit really well and I thought the ankle design was fun. But when I squatted, the pants ended up being see-through. Why?? Why would they make see-through pants? (Side note: I suggest a few trial squats in all exercise pant selection quests. I also suggest being aware of the size of your dressing room when you do this. I bumped into the door behind me repeatedly.)

I finally found a pair of all black pants, only to try them on and discover they suffer from: Excessive Unnecessary Seams.

Criss Cross Apple Sauce

Criss Cross Apple Sauce

So it’s a weird angle, but really, what’s with all the seams? If they serve as some kind of built-in kinesio tape, I could get on board. But I really think they’re just there to make my legs itchy. Pass.

After many see-through, uncomfortable, ugly, and thin try-outs, I finally found the perfect pair of pants.

The winner!

The winner!

I took them out for a trial run today. They not only kept me warm during my trail run, but they kept me cool during my indoor cardio class. They come with small silver reflective designs on the side of my legs, ya know, in case I’m running in the dark and a car needs to see me. They also appear to be made from a simultaneously insulating and sweat-wicking material. Magic, I think.

I am thoroughly pleased with my purchase and will continue my quest for the perfect pant. Because I’ll likely want another pair and this time I’m in search of the trifecta: Ankle zippers, knee vents, and a wide waist band. Bonus points if there’s a small pocket.

Holiday Season

The best way to spend a day.

Coffee and Chocolate

‘Tis the season to skip most of your workouts apparently.

At least that’s what I’ve been doing. The last few weeks have been spent traveling, seeing friends and family, and turning The Boyfriend into The Husband. Things are slowly getting back to normal- as normal as the holiday season is, at least. And since The Husband and I are on the same gym membership now, he’s been peer pressuring me to run more often. Well, ‘peer pressuring’ isn’t accurate, he doesn’t do anything of the sort, but I can’t exactly feel good about my choices if he sweats it up for 2 hours at a time while I sit at home drinking organic coffee (an awesome wedding present) and eating homemade Reese’s peanut butter cups (true story: they came from the neighbor and they’re delicious). So I go, and I sweat, and I mentally check out while simultaneously watching the Kardashians and elipticizing. It’s not the worst.

One day I will be my own running motivator. Today is not that day.

Sprints

Ready for the gun!

100 meter dash memories

I’ve been dabbling in Cross Fit lately and thus have been introduced to a new way of working out, which is pretty cool. The other day, to kick off the weekend, instead of lounging around drinking Doc’s Pumpkin Apple Cider and celebrating Flannel Friday, we did sprints. 100 meters, 10 times, with a 1-min break between each one. I was pretty pumped because I don’t really sprint anymore. For some reason I’m trying to turn myself into an endurance runner (does that switch ever happen?), so while I throw some sprint intervals in my runs, I generally stick to a slow (as in dial-up internet slow) pace. I was excited to sprint again.

To summarize:

  • Sprint 1: Awesome.
  • Sprint 2: Still awesome.
  • Sprint 3: Oh God.
  • Sprint 4: Why was I excited about this?
  • Sprint 5: I wonder if anyone will notice if I throw up.
  • Sprint 6: Lungs shouldn’t feel like this.
  • Sprint 7: I wonder if anyone will notice if I leave.
  • Sprint 8: Okay, if I go slow on this one, I promise to run fast again for the last two. (As if I hadn’t been trying to run fast the whole time.)
  • Sprint 9: We were distracted by a boat in the way, so all of a sudden it was time to run and I was surprised, so I just took off and ran faster than I had since Sprint 2. I almost beat The Boyfriend for this one…possibly because I got a head start.
  • Sprint 10: I don’t have to do this again!

The thing about being a sprinter is that in all the races I’ve ran, I’ve only had to sprint once; twice if I was unlucky and got sucked into the 200m dash. But usually, just one time as fast as I could. Then I could go home and eat dinner. None of this 10-times nonsense. After the sprinting, we did three planks and tried to hold them for as long as possible. I didn’t hold them very long but was still super proud of myself for the sprints.

The thing about sprinting is that it’s fun. It hurts, horribly. But it’s fun.

Foam Roller

Result of Cross Fit

Foam roller to the rescue…kind of.

The love/hate relationship to end all love/hate relationships. This is simultaneously the best and worst thing ever. The instant and excruciating pain followed by the eventual muscle rejuvenating benefits are certainly a paradox. You think your muscles are sore after a workout? Use one of these babies and really feel that fire burn. But you know what? The next day isn’t so bad. As in you don’t have to walk around like a zombie, trying not to bend your knees while walking down stairs or just not bending your knees at all. Eventually, you can even sit down on the toilet without your quads feeling like the fire of 1,000 suns.

So the way these things work (as told by my Google searching experience and this guy), is you use your body weight to massage your muscles after a workout. For example, you start out by lying on the floor on your stomach, with the foam roller under your leg and positioned above your knee, then slowly move your body backwards so the foam roller moves along your quad up to your hip and then you reverse the move. Repeat as necessary. I actually cry out in pain when I use my foam roller. The most agonizing spots? Anything that’s sore, but most notably: my quads and chicken wings, whatever those are really called. Another muscle group to presently add to the list: The muscles between my armpit and the front of my shoulder. I should take an anatomy class.

Regardless, foam rollers are not for the faint of heart; they are for the brave, the bold, and/or the stupid. It’s Heaven and Hell, all rolled (ha!) into one little object.

Growing Pains

Warm up

Photo courtesy of jumpusa.com

You ever take a break from running/working out/not napping, and when you do finally return to exercising your body goes through a host of emotions? This happened to me recently. I took a Cardio Circuit class and just warming up (hopping from side to side like an ice skater/pro-bowler) elicited surprising pops and cracks I didn’t even know where possible. Turns out the whole not-moving-thing let my joints just settle into themselves. Lovely. The popping lasted longer than I thought it would, but then quickly transitioned into whatever survival instinct kicks in once you realize you’re violently gasping for air because your body is moving faster than it has in weeks. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

After that came the realization that I’m not as strong as I was the last time I did this. That’s sobering. So as I struggled through what seemed like hours of planks, where my knee rested on the ground more often than I’d like to admit, I conceded that this got harder. I lived for the part were I could do an ab workout because that meant I wasn’t standing or lifting anything…I was just lying down trying to breathe through the pain.

Somewhere during this hour, though, things got fun. The music was upbeat (Meghan Trainor, anyone?), it felt good to be moving again, and as badly as I was out of breath and as hard as it was, it turns out my muscles didn’t all turn to mush. I got home, happily devoured some pizza (it was Pizza Night, after all), and was super excited to be back out there!

The next morning, however… The soreness of every single muscle outweighed the excitement I felt the night before. Did you know your love handles can get sore? Because I didn’t.