Wednesday, December 17, 2014

24 Hour Relay for Aaron (Runnin With Spidey)


 
 
 
24 Hour Relay for Aaron (10-11pm Hour)
70 Laps, AKA 6.36 miles
Estimated Team Pace 9:26/mile
 


This past Friday, I walked into a room full of strangers and ran in memory of a man I never met.

When I say it like that, it seems incredibly odd. Why would someone do such a thing?  And the truth is, when I was put on the spot about it upon my arrival, I realized it was truly a weird thing to do. 

Let me back track a second. 

I wasn't really put on the spot, and it wasn't entirely a room full of strangers. First off, I had a friend in tow who was going to run with me. And second, I was technically just asked:

"So, how did you know Aaron?"

But that simple question stuck with me the rest of the night. Because I didn't know Aaron, and would now never know him, and yet ... there I was. So I started asking myself why. 

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Walking into a room full of complete strangers is always somewhat awkward. Even more so when you sort of know someone in the room, but they don't know you at all. I say this because I've been reading the blog Steve in a Speedo for about a year now. So showing up at this event gave me some sort of weird stalker feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even though his presence had nothing to do with my participation what so ever. In fact, I was kind of hoping he would have gone home for the night before I arrived. But no such luck. 

So there I was. With my friend, but feeling incredibly awkward and introducing myself to Steve.

And internally asking myself why was I doing this.

Oh, and also feeling EXTREMELY slow. Seriously, WTF. The relay group the hour prior to us was running mile paces of 5 and 6 minutes. And they were making it look easy.

At least the mood lightened a little when the guy who just ran a 5:08 mile asked where the bathroom was.  Because when he returned in what felt like 30 seconds, someone mingling on the track said "Geeze, he even goes to the bathroom fast."

To which someone else snarked to his wife girlfriend (see correction in comments below) "Soooo... how is he in bed?"

The conversation ended with a perfect response from her "I wouldn't know, we're just friends."

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Before I knew it, it was time.  The 9-10pm team was KIILLING their last lap at warp speed, and my partner was queuing up to take the baton - er, Spiderman action figure (which was the size of a Barbie doll).  Yes, it's true.  No, I'm not kidding.  That was our "baton".

Thank goodness my partner had volunteered to run the first mile, which was actually per my request given my stupid sore feet and not having run since the Mankato 10K back in October.  I had suggested she start because I wasn't sure how fast I'd be able to "run", or if I'd end up walking, and I wanted to maximize our average speed.  So I figured if she started, we'd at least be able to get 5 miles in total: 3 with her, 2 with me.

Unexpectedly, this plan appeared to have worked out huge in my favor, as it meant I would not have to show my mad slow running skills to this group of elite runners.  Or at least I thought.

(And say what you want, but if you can run a 5-6 minute mile, that's elite in my book.)

Anyway, my friend ran her first mile in something like a 8-9 minute time.  But shit.  The fast runners hadn't left yet.  God damn it, I thought to myself.  I guess that means I have to pretend I can run sort of fast.

And I again internally asked myself why was I doing this.

But there was no time for hesitation, I was committed and I had to do it.  So, I grabbed the Spiderman and away I went, with a little pep talk of course: move fast, light on the feet, don't make an ass of yourself now...

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Aretha Franklin.  Stevie Nicks.  The Spiderman "baton" telling me I "have a face only a mother could love".  I was being assaulted by sounds I had never heard while running, and would likely never hear while running again.

But mixed into the chorus of sounds?  Cheering. Encouragement.  From the fast people.  They were encouraging me.

And I again internally asked myself why was I doing this.

But before I could contemplate it too long, I was done.  Somehow, I cranked out a mile at just over 10 minutes.  How, I don't know.  It was some sort of voodoo magic, that's all I could figure.

---

Eventually, the fast folks left.  And although I could sense some hesitation from Steve, as it seemed he wanted to stay all night, he eventually left as well.  It was down to my friend and I. 

Not too slow, but nice and steady, we tallied up lap after lap. 

And I again internally asked myself why was I doing this.  So, on my turns running, I thought about how young Aaron was, and how much it sucks to know someone in their 30's could die so young ... and leave their wife and child behind. 

I thought about a friend of mine, also in her 30's, who fought melanoma of the eye last year just to find out the week after Thanksgiving that it has resurfaced on her liver. 

I thought about the odd coincidence that on the morning of this relay, two more deaths had entered my life: my husband's uncle died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack, and my relay partner's long time family friend was laying in a hospital bed, brain dead from a terrible fall in her own home.

Despite these thoughts spinning in my head, I couldn't help but smile too.  How could I not?  My partner and I looked ridiculous.  And we were running/dancing to an odd compilation of doo-wop and 70's rock which was being piped into the gym below where they were cleaning up after a gymnastics event.  Not to mention, we were running in continuous circles carrying a talking Spiderman doll.

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Somehow, the miles were flying by.  I completed my second mile, our fourth as a team, and handed off to my friend.  Shortly after our transition, the 11pm-1am group showed up (they had a large head count and were going to fill two hours worth of the relay). 

Oh great.  I realized it was another group of EXTREMELY fast runners, and it was my time to run again.

And I again internally asked myself why was I doing this.  But before I could even doubt myself - cheering, encouragement.  From another group of fast people.  They were genuinely excited to see the baton passed, regardless of my speed.

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Finally, our time was winding down.  The clock was showing 10:56.  My partner took Spidey for one last time.  At 11:00.16, she finished her 4th lap.  At 11 laps per mile, and three full miles covered by each of us individually, with her last 4 laps we had hit 70 laps total.  Something I thought was inconceivable not even 60 minutes prior.

And then there it went - the Spidey doll had left our hands, and the entire group of runners took off for their first lap, welcoming Spidey into their possession.  And instead of running, we cheered.  And took photos for them.  And cheered some more.

But alas, it was well after 11pm, and my bed was calling.  So we wished them luck, waved goodbye, and headed for home.

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The next morning, as I lazily climbed out of bed and started getting ready for my day, I again asked myself why I did this.

And I realized something.

Here's why.

Because I guarantee you read this whole post going, where the hell are all the pictures she usually posts in her recaps? 

In the thousands of words above, I could say a million things.  I could have good intentions to the heavens and back.  But until I show you I actually did it, does it really mean anything?




Team Skin and Bones.  We did it.


And yes, we DID do something.  We found out that something shitty happened to someone.  And we tried to make a difference.

We didn't just sit at home and click like on a Facebook status.

We didn't just say to ourselves "Gee, that's too bad."

We got up off our ass and said - they are asking for help, and we can offer it.  So we did.

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So now I ask you - what are you going to do?

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/24-hour-relay-for-aaron/270922
 

Monday, December 15, 2014

200 Calories of Various Foods

Awhile ago I did a post comparing food plates - IE how many calories you could get if you ate a fast food meal versus a whole food meal.  This is just a portion of the post, but to get the idea, it looked something like this:




Around the same time, I also did a post about healthy snacking, and how to enjoy a 250+/- calorie snack that doesn't come from a bag.  IE, something like this:


 VS


When you compare those two examples above, it's kind of scary how the calories and portion sizes break down, no?

Anyway, recently I stumbled across this article comparing various foods at 200 calories.  A couple of my favorite comparisons:





It's such a drastic difference!!  I mean, an entire overflowing plate of celery versus one pat of butter?!

Imagine how full that plate of celery would make you feel all day long.  Not that I'm saying you would have to eat the entire plate of celery or eat that way every day ... but what if you had that and the half of the burger even just once?  That would be a decently healthy meal, aside from the fact that you'd be eating your weight in celery...  but you'd have a full stomach all day, and still just intake 400 calories for your meal.

With holiday eating in full swing, it kind of puts in perspective what we should eat and what we do eat. 

And maybe this is just enough to give you some ideas on how to offset some of those cookies and egg nog treats you're enjoying right now...?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Repost - Recipe: Kale Chili

On a post a few weeks back, I mentioned I like to eat kale chili. 

For some reason, I thought I had never posted the recipie.  I guess I had, but for some reason it doesn't show up in my search engine when I try to search this blog.

Anyway, here it is again... in case you were curious about it.

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With the current cold weather we're having, I've been in a total soup mood.

That being said, I thought I'd share with you one of my current favorites - Kale Chili.  I found it here.  Although, be warned... it's not chili in the traditional sense since it's more brothy.  I consider it more of a soup than a chili.

My favorite part about this soup is that you can load it up with cooked kale, which is actually better for you than raw.  Not to say raw is bad, since I do eat that too, but eating too much raw kale can actually be bad for you.  (What else is new, am I right?  Seems like everything is bad for you for some reason or another - shoot!  At least eating too many vegetables is a different kind of bad than eating too much fried food.) 

Anyway, when I make this, I always use twice as much kale and canned tomatoes than what the recipe calls for, since I figure why not?!  And one time, I forgot to buy the chilies, so my husband switched out the tomatoes and chilies for a couple cans of Rotel, and it still tasted great.  So, keep that in mind if you find yourself short on ingredients.

Also, my favorite way to serve is with a side of hearty whole grain bread and some hot sauce.

Well, that's it.  Check out the recipe below, and let me know if you end up trying it!!

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Turkey & Vegetable Chili Verde


 
 
 
BTW, love this website for recipes.  Check out what they also provide:
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Obesity World Wide

Earlier this year, I wrote about obesity in the USA, its impact on children, and where trends were going globally.

While I always thought we Americans were really outdoing ourselves and the rest of the world, this week I stumbled across a couple of articles talking about obesity on a global scale. 

Let's just say, those articles shocked the pants off me.


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Starting with this article, here are a few quotes for you to chew on:


- Obesity is now blamed for around 5 percent of all deaths worldwide and has a similar negative effect on the global economy to smoking and armed conflict.

- It is predicted that almost half of the world's adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030.

- Obesity now costs the global economy $2 trillion in healthcare and lost productivity -- or 2.8 percent of global GDP -- $100 billion less than both smoking and armed conflict.


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And then there was this article.  We'll keep this one simple with just a summary:


Rank Country Overall Obesity % Women's Obesity Attributed to…
10 Venezuela 31% N/A Healthy food shortages & high prices
9 Syria 32% "Soaring among women" Self home quarantine due to war
8 United States of America 32% N/A (I think we already know)
7 Mexico 33% N/A Readily available processed/calorie rich foods  & lack of nutritional literacy
6 South Africa 33.50% N/A A growing fast food market
5 United Arab Emirates 33.70% N/A A growing junk food market, longer working hours & increasingly sedentary lifestyles                             (Interestingly, last year the government launched a weight loss challenge that rewarded loss with gold)
4 Jordan 34.30% 2:1 ratio      (women vs men) No details noted
3 Egypt 35% N/A Prevalence of affordable fast food coupled with an increase in per capita income
2 Saudi Arabia 35.20% Over 37% Conservative lifestyles that tend to shy away from physical activity
1 Kuwait 42.80% Over 50% A rapid rise in national prosperity


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So ... what should we do about this?  Well, I have a thought...


 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Barre Blend

A few weeks ago, I took some CECs (continuing education classes) for my group fitness certification.

Just to get you up to speed:

(1) Yes, I am a certified Group Fitness Instructor
(2) Every two years, I have to complete 20 credits worth of CECs to stay certified

In the last year or so, I have completed (or am in the process of completing) credits involving a range of topics such as: boot camp planning, body composition analysis, and pre/post natal exercise modification.

Yeah.  That's military inspired fitness, body fat calculations and pregnant lady stuff.  I suppose I couldn't get more of a mixed bag than that, huh?




Given my ADD in choosing CECs, it should only make sense that I continue that pattern... as such, my choice du jour for my last few CECs was ...


***DRUM ROLL***


BARRE BLEND!  TA-DA!!

If you are totally new to barre, which I was, essentially barre blend is a ballet inspired workout.  That you do with no shoes.  (As you can tell, this disturbs me a little.)  And you mix in some strength and cardio moves as well to get a full body workout.

And - very important here - a portion of the workout involves holding poses for isometric muscle work.

To explain using pictures instead of words, it's basically:




and




Looks like medieval torture fun, no?

And yes, you are required to wear the Michelle leo & sweatband.

Just kidding. 

Maybe.

Anyway, I actually came into the barre class being pretty excited.  Since I've read and heard a lot of great things about the barre format, I thought this class would be a blast.  Unfortunately, though, I was a little disappointed.

Let me back pedal for a second.

I wasn't disappointed in the class concept itself.  I was more disappointed that I didn't try barre in a real studio first, BEFORE learning the theories behind it, and how to teach it as an instructor.

Rather than pick apart my training, let me just simply state what I think the real problem for me was: by jumping the gun and going straight into exercise theory, I missed the opportunity to find the joy in the barre workout.

I found that I spend much of the class picking apart what each exercise did for the body and a particular muscle group.  And I lost focus on the most important part (to me) about an exersize:

WHAT MAKES THIS THING FUN?!

Because, let's face it - if it's not fun, you're not going to keep doing it in the future, right?!

So that being said, today I'm looking for recommendations.  Have you been to a barre class in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area?  Do you have a studio recommendation, or a class you think I should try?  (Bonus points if they offer a first week free promo to try it out).

Let me know.  Who knows?!  Maybe YOU will inspire a future blog post!!

So ... go!!  Comment below!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Normal Barbie - FOR SALE!!!

Just over a year ago, I posted about artist Nickolay Lamm and his "normal" Barbie

If you forgot what "normal" Barbie is, in a nut shell - she's a doll made to match an average 19 year old's body type (per USA CDC reports). 

Here's a photo of Barbie next to "normal" Barbie, from my previous post:




Yes, the body type difference is a stark contrast, no doubt about it.

Anyway, my point in bringing this article back to life is that I found out last week - "normal" Barbie went out for crowd funding, was successful in raising funds, and is now for sale!  Check it out here... or just keep reading...

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Here's the scoop - for $25.00 you can get "normal" Barbie, now officially named Lammily.  She looks like this:






Aside from the fact that she looks fabulously healthy and NORMAL, check out these action shots of her:





A girl's doll running AND doing a perfect plank?!  I died.

And that's not even the best of it.  Check this out:

 
 


PLUS!!  You can even buy stick on tattoos, freckles and scars, you know, for when she has a totally gnarly wipe out.




LOL!  I can't stand it.  A doll that promotes a healthy body image, an active lifestyle, and still offers plenty of fashionable clothing options...






Too bad I don't' have anyone to buy one of these for.  Maybe I should ask Santa for one myself? 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Please Donate: Aaron Purmort 24 Hour Run

I had life all planned out this week.  Blogs were lined up, all ready to publish and everything.

And then shit happened.

And I was inclined to do something about it.

If you click on the link above, you'll see that one of my favorite run bloggers, Steve in a Speedo, decided to organize a 24 hour charity run for Aaron Purtmort - someone I had just heard of a day or two before thanks to this awesome obituary:




Truth: I never knew Aaron.  But when someone mentions one of his last conversations with his wife going like this:

I’ll always be with you. He says.

Always?

Unless you’re peeing. That’s gross. Also, please start shutting the door when you pee. I mean it. No more peeing with the door half open - it’s fucking disgusting.


...well, seems kinda like Aaron and I could have been friends.

So I felt compelled to do something.  Which means team "Skin & Bones" was born.




Yep.

Anyway - will you consider contributing to the cause?

Why?  Because why fucking not help Aaron's wife support their young child after his passing in his 30's - that's why!! 

Besides, life comes and goes.  Even Aaron knew that:

But we are stardust, and our bodies are just vessels to help us navigate this earth and to eat Taco Bell.

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Read more about Aaron here.