Archive for the ‘Exercise can’t be this fun!’ Category

Five runs in five states

In Exercise can't be this fun! on November 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Don’t let my lack of posting fool you, I have been a busy girl.  As I looked back at my last post date, I wondered myself what I have been up to. Then I realized, A LOT!

October was a low month for mileage for a couple of reasons. The first was that I was busy traveling. My sneakers went with me thousands of miles and to every major coast and a few stops in between.

First Stop…The Poconos

October kicked off with a quick run in the Poconos, PA. We were there for the big guys for 70.3 Half Ironman.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity to run in fall foliage in PA, I slipped on my running shoes for a quick two miles of hills.  The Poconos knows hills and unfortunately due to the remote location of our resort, I was confined to their parking lot and their entrance with a mamouth incline. Perfect for hill repeats.

Texas Quick Step

Twelve hours after arriving back home, I was on a plane to the great state of Texas for a business trip.  A tight work and travel schedule had me weary, but I was able to squeeze in a bout of sunset speed work one evening.  I was very thankful for an extremely flat terrain. No hills in Houston for sure!

New York State of Mind

I returned home for a week and volunteered at the Team in Training water stop for the Mohawk Hudson River marathon. I was signed up for the full marathon, but I cancelled after I received a last minute bib to the Nike Women’s half marathon. I could not pass up my dream event, nor handle several trips and two major events in 2 weeks.

I opted to volunteer at a water stop. Our water stop won best water stop! I think it was the tutu 😉 I must say, if you run you must take the opportunity to volunteer for a major running event once in your life. It is really an amazing experience to be on the other side of the event.

Team in Training Tutu

California Dreaming

A few days later, I was back on a plane. With two layovers in Chicago, I wish I had a little extra time to claim a run in the great state of Illinois, but I had bigger things to do. I was heading to California for one weekend to do one thing…run my DREAM race, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. It really was one of the best moments in my entire life!!!

The Empire State

Finally I was back home, in my own comfy bed for a few days. With all my traveling during peak fall, I was convinced I was going to miss the best fall foliage runs. But New York held out and I was home for the best of it. Meanwhile, I was struggling with a horrible pain in my foot.  It was beginning to put a damper on my running. Yet I managed to get in two back to back long runs before it did me in.



Yup, I can squeeze in one more…

Well, somehow the big guy ended up with a bib to the Marine Corp marathon. I did my dream event, why not let him have his dream event, right? So we headed off to D.C. to squeeze in one trip to close out October. Now by this time, my foot hurt so bad, I could barely walk. A trip the morning of our departure to the doc revealed plantar fasciatis. So no running for me, until a visit to the PT when I arrived back. I still brought my lovely pink sneakers and took them on a stroll around the National Mall.

And that my friends concludes October with 50 miles, 5 states and one pair of shoes.

❤ Jennie

PS. I will update this post soon with more details on some of these awesome trips 🙂

Dunkin Fun Run – Best Way to PR a 5k

In Exercise can't be this fun! on September 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm
Dunkin Donuts logo

Dunkin Donuts logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past weekend was H-E-C-T-I-C to say the least.  Here is a breakdown of our task list for the weekend:

  • Organize and coach a 20 mile training run.
  • Two  2 hour baseball games
  • Run a 5k
  • Work in my own 20 mile training run.
  • Two children’s fun runs.
  • A bike training route for Jeff.
  • BBQ with friends
  • 5 hour shift volunteering at the Hero Rush for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to receive a $500 grant.

Well the best laid plans do not always work out right. Really, A LOT of things bombed that weekend. I ended the weekend in tears. Needless to say my own 20 miles and Jeff’s bike were out the window. We were too strapped for time, we had a car battery die, some things did not go as planned and I spend the entire volunteer shift passing out medals in billowing smoke.

I still had the Dunkin’ Donuts 5k where I could get a run in.  As I pasted this logo, I had to giggle at the slogan “America runs on Dunkin”.  I did run on Dunkin on Sunday :).  But I digress from my quirky sense of humor. So, I threw caution to the wind and went for my 5k.  I decided to run hard enough to feel winded but not toss my cookies (or donuts). Silly, I didn’t have a donuts, I went to Dunkin’ Donuts before and ordered an egg and cheese wrap and a Dunkachino–because that makes more sense 😎 ???

It paid off!

I shaved off 1 minute and 47 seconds off of my 5k and set a new personal record!!!! My official time was 27:11 or an 8:45 pace. I came in 18/85 in my age group in a really competitive field.  Still far from my high school race pace days but at the end of the race I still had a bit left so I know there is room for growth.

Peer Pressure + Giant Coffee Cup + Flat Course = PR!

A few things helped. It was a flat course, the pace car had a giant coffee cup strapped to the back, and it was a USATF  Championship event.  Nothing like peer pressure and chasing down a coffee cup on a flat course to get me going.

Will run for coffee.

Why do it?

The swag was great, super cute long sleeve tech shirt, large bright orange water bottle, munchkins and coffee galore and a fun kids race to include the entire family. The weather turned out to be much cooler than our unseasonable hot weather in days prior so it was a good day all around.

From now on I am going to train by chasing a car with a driver holding a giant Starbucks Iced Vanilla Latte out the window. Now that is motivation!

❤ Jennie



Snooze alarm quick draw

In Exercise can't be this fun! on August 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Dear Future Grandchildren,

This is your grandmother at the age of 38. If you wonder why I get up naturally at 4:30 in the morning, there is good reason. I once slept in until 10 am where my only marathon was the Real World marathon playing on MTV on Saturdays.  Getting up early then was 7:15 to make it to work by 8 am.  Then I had children, worked full-time, picked up real marathons as a sport, organized a running group and had to start getting up at 4:30 am in the morning to get it all in.  I became the fastest snooze alarm pusher in the east to savor that extra few seconds of sleep. I used my legs to run charity races and I raised thousands of dollars in charity over the years while raising your dad and uncle. After years of pre-sunrise wake up alarms I am assuming by the time you get to know me, I will have permanently ruined my capacity to sleep in.   Hopefully, I am still running…

 Love your future grandmother,


Donate to Team in Training (any amount counts)

Honor a Hero ($39 donation = 1 dedicated mile)

39.3 Miles Goofy I am Doing It

Dear Nike, Please send running skirts, Love Jennie

In Exercise can't be this fun! on July 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Last night I broke down and headed to Dicks to buy a much desired Nike running skirt.  I needed a little extra motivation for these 4:30 am wake up calls to exercise and I had yet to reward myself for completing my first marathon. I was also in dire need of a few more summer running outfits since my training schedule is increasing for my upcoming events.  If you do not know about my latest challenge I am shamelessly promoting to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, you can read about it here >>>Goofy Challenge.

I had to sit through a dinner at Cici’s and  purchase of a new super frisbee, but I won my hour at Dick’s Sporting Goods. My little guys are good negotiators to say the least.

Where did you get that skirt?!?

Now, I am somewhat known, maybe quite to the embarrassment of my friends and relatives, for chasing people down on the race courses to find out “where did you get that skirt!”.  I stopped a girl on an airport runway on a Bahama island, awkwardly interrupted a conversation, and even raced ahead to look like I was casually running past someone to ask the question (only to pretend to stop at a water stop, to hide my need to collapse in an out of breath mess). It is a problem. I admit it.  Although I have little or no fashion sense, I have secret dreams of looking like one of those sweat free running girls on the cover and ads of magazines. My event photos always seem to contradict that. But what if, I was dressed like them, maybe, just maybe I could look that good? A girl can dream.

Running is an expensive sport!

 So off I went to the Toy’s R Us of adult sports, Dicks Sporting Goods.  I headed straight for the women’s Nike running section, which was conveniently located right by the front door, and went to town.  One hour and 22 minutes later I walked out with the single most expensive bottoms I now own.  No cute pair of jeans with sparkly back pockets for me, I instead drop $55 on a running skirt. I tried to get one in purple to match the Team in Training colors but I just fell in love with this green color.


Now please note, there is not a frivolous bone in my body when it comes to fashion. Every article of clothing to this point has been purchased on super discount with multiple coupons. I shop at outlets, use my free running shirts from events and purchase the remaining outfits at Marshalls or Target. But I spend so much of my time in athletic wear, just once I wanted to buy my dream running outfit.  I think the purchased worked for motivation sake. I leapt out of bed this morning at 4:30 am to try out my new outfit, but alas, it was not my morning to go. Jeff and I switch off on mornings so we can both get our rigorous training plans in. His is for the 2013 Lake Placid Ironman, and mine for an upcoming Mohawk Hudson marathon in October and the Goofy Challenge in January. It was his morning for early morning training.

But I could not get back to sleep. I felt like a little girl again on the first day of school, needing to go through my new backpack and school supplies. I pulled out my new running outfit and examined it. The skirt had an extra inside running pocket I missed when I tried it on, and a back zipper pocket. 

Maybe the Nike running skirt will keep my from looking like this guy!

The tank had a small loop in the back to help control headphone cords. Maybe I will not look like the Modern Marathoner in this blog picture.  I could not resist, I put the outfit. I had secret hopes of sprinting out in a quick run before work the second Jeff came home from his morning workout.  But alas, scheduling, heavy rains, a sick child home with a rash put my trial plans out the window.  But the outfit feels so fabulous, maybe I will just savor this awesome goodness and work in it all day. One of the benefits of telecommuting 😉

So Nike, if you are reading this, and you have a few extra skirts lying around you do not need, I am happy to take them off your hands. This hard-working mom of two really wants to dress pretty on the course and I am afraid I will need a promotion to continue this habit.

Love,  Jennie

Disclaimer –  please note that Nike, Dick’s nor any of the companies mentioned above solicited me to promote this topic. This blog is just a shameless attempt to draw attention to my current goal of raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In January 2013, I will run 39.3 miles in the Disney Goofy Challenge. You can read some back ground HERE>>>Goofy Challenge or about my most recent fundraiser HERE>>>My Hero Fundraiser. Or if you would like to make a donation of any amount, you can go to Jennie’s Team in Training Fundraising page.


My first donation!

In Exercise can't be this fun! on July 26, 2012 at 11:55 am

I cannot believe it has been two weeks since I signed up for the Goofy Challenge. It has been a whirlwind few weeks and I am glad I have an early start since life sometimes gets in the way.  If you want to know more about the Goofy Challenge and my back story you can go here–>>Disney Goofy Challenge 39.3 Miles, I am doing it! 

My first donation

I received my first donation this past weekend while I was away on vacation. It was a wonderful surprise and the $39 amount was perfect! 

My training

Training is going great! I have not started following an official Goofy Challenge training plan yet. I have a marathon coming up the first weekend in October and so my training right now is designed around that.  The Mohawk Hudson will be my second marathon and 17th long distance event (with 15 half marathons before that).  I signed up to have another marathon under my belt before I run in the Goofy Challenge.  My crazy mind wants to squeeze in one more half marathon before then so that the Mickey Marathon will be my 20th event (since it is their 20th anniversary).  Crazy, I know, but the financial analyst in me cannot ignore the numbers.

So what have I been doing since signing up?

July 14, 2012 – Headed out for a 12 mile run only to hit a bad thunderstorm at 2.5 miles.  Run aborted and operation rescue mission ensued.  Thanks to Jeff, three of my fellow runners and I were picked up under a church awning.  Here is a lovely picture just post rescue. I was kind enough to cut out the other runners in this photo since we were all a wet mess. 🙂

July 15, 2012 – 3 miles + 1.6 miles. I managed to work in a 3 mile run. I then picked up the boys and we headed out for mini-triathalon training. I chased them on their bikes and then ran/walked with them for a total of 1.6 miles.  Rain, heat and other activities forced any plans for a make-up 12 mile run out the window.

July 16, 2012 – One hour of boot camp class!

July 17, 2012 – Speed work at my indoor track at the gym. That night it was still around 90 degrees at 7 pm so I opted for a cooler indoor option.  I ran a warm up and then 6X60/60s.

July 18, 2012 – One hour boot camp class.

July 19, 2012 – 4 mile early am run with a friend. 

July 21, 2012 – 11.18 miles. We took our family vacation to Lake Placid for the Ironman weekend so Jeff could sign up for 2013.  I headed out for my long Saturday run on our vacation in Lake Placid. This was by far the best run of the week. I ran several loop around mirror lake and started in the early am before the bustle of the town made running straight lines near impossible.  One of my friends caught me on a few loops and ran 5 miles with me. It was heaven. I posted a few pictures from my run.

Mirror Lake

July 22, 2012 – 2.70 mile run. It was a late day run and rather warm. After Jeff finished is volunteer shift for the Ironman, I ran over to the bike/run course to watch some of the runners compete.  It was very motivating! These participants work hard, it was hard to see extremely fit individuals walking a course. It tells you just how hard it is to complete and Ironman. July 24, 2012 – 2.0 miles.  Quick 2 mile lunch-time run.  I did not have a lot of time to take a break but needed to step away from my computer for a bit. I opted to take a 20-minute me break and head out for a quick run.  My legs felt like lead. July 25, 2012 – Boot camp + 4 mile run. I headed off to my early morning boot-camp class and cut it a little short to meet a friend for a 4 mile run.  That run felt great and I was back at my 10:15 pace.  I was burnt out for a while and this is the first time I have run that pace comfortably in almost 2 months. Also, this week I became hooked on the Myfitnesspal app! I have been searching all over for a food/exercise app that gives me everything I need and helps me keep my carb/protein/fat balance in check.  This may just be the app for me! As you can see I have a strong committment to not only raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society but to also finishing the Goofy Challenge strong! If you have a moment, please consider making a donation on my fundraising page. 

Do you have a hero you want to honor? You can also find out how to dedicate a mile at my fundraising link or at My Hero Fundraiser.


My Health Assessment

In Exercise can't be this fun! on January 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm
  • My health assessment for January 2012

I sort of have a love – hate relationship with the scale. Well “sort of”  does not really cut it. I saw the 120’s two times in the last decade. Both times about 2 minutes before I decided to take a pregnancy test, both of which turned out positive. I figured if I was seeing a 12x then Murphy’s Law would reign and I would be pregnant. I was correct.

 I have been stuck at 137 +- 1 lb for a year. That can be annoying. I should be happy because I was stuck at 144 for years before that and the 7 pound loss is certainly welcome.
But I know that weight alone is not an accurate measure of health and fitness so when I saw that my gym conducted free health assessments every 8 weeks I decided to jump in.
Prior my assessment I was given a few instructions:
  • No exercise before the assessment.
  • Stay hydrated
  • Do not eat salty foods.

The assessment began with a check of my heart rate and pulse, followed by body composition analysis (pinch test, bioimpedence, waist and hip measurements), treadmill test, strength and finished with flexibility.

In total the assessment took about 40 minutes and my results were better than expected.  First, my home scale measures my fat anywhere between 33-35% so I was thrilled to see a healthy (although not super trim) 27.2%. My range should be between 21-33%. Ranges vary by age and gender.

The metric I was most interested in was my VO2 Max which is a measure of oxygen intake. This was measured by tracking my pulse rate on an inclined treadmill during intervals of increased speed.  My VO2 Max result came out very good for my age and gender.

My health assessment baseline vs current

Baseline vs Current assessment tracks my weight and health management over time. This is my first assessment. When I return in about 10 weeks I will have a comparison.

Why do it?

  • Most health clubs offer free health assessments to their members.
  • It contains a better baseline for overall health and fitness compared to a scale alone.
  • You have a way to track your overall fitness.
  • It is easy.

Goals for the next assessment

I set a few personal goals for myself for the next assessment. By the next assessment I will have completed another round of boot camp and tabata classes and also completed another half marathon. My goal is to test the week of March 26.

  • Decrease my body fat by 2%.
  • Decrease body weight by 5-7 pounds.
  • Increase VO2Max
  • Increase push ups to 50


Exercise 30 Minutes a Day

In Exercise can't be this fun! on January 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I am studying for the ASCM Personal Trainer certification. Last night I was reading a chapter on the importance of exercising 30 minutes a day.  Then this morning on facebook, a friend posted this wonderful YouTube video titled 23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing you can do for your health?  It is a wonderful twist on the 30 minute a day recommendation for exercise.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following:

  • All healthy adults aged 18 to 65 need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes five days per week, or vigorous activity for a minimum of 20 minutes three days per week.
  • Combinations of moderate and vigorous intensity exercise can be performed to meet this recommendation.
  • Moderate-intensity aerobic activity can be accumulated toward the 30-minute minimum by performing bouts each lasting 10 or more minutes
  • Every adult should perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance a minimum of tow days each week.
  • Because of the dose-response relation between physical activity and health, persons who wish to further improve their personal fitness, reduce their risk for chronic diseases and disabilities, or prevent unhealthy weight gain may benefit by exceeding the minimum recommended amounts of physical activity.

From the ACSM’s Guildelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription Eight Edition.
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Gyrotonics Dropout

In Exercise can't be this fun! on October 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Well I placed another notch in my Groupon addiction and purchased 3 one on one sessions for Gyrotonics. I had no clue what Gyrtonics was when I purchased the Groupon. All I knew was three things:

  • It was one block from my house.
  • I could not resist the economics. $17 a session for one hour of one-on-one training.
  • My friend swore by it. Although it may have been secret revenge after I conducted a bait-n-switch move with a Barre class. (She though she was walking into a relaxing yoga class.)

Gyrotonics was developed by Juliu Horvath after a herniated disc and torn Achilles ended his dancing career.  He ran off to the Virgin Islands and developed a system of movement initially called Yoga for Dancers. Something about the whole thing sounds very fun and whimsical. Run off to a remote island, spend days moving, dancing and doing yoga under the tropical sun and emerge with an idea that takes hold in the exercise world. Add a few pina coladas and it sounds like a dream! I went to my favorite place YouTube to see what I could find.

The Gyrontonic Expansion System looks something like a zen Bowflex home system.  There is a bench, pullies and weights in addition to some rotational discs all in a slightly inviting wooden machine. The movements are much more fluid than your standard exercise class. It looked like a fantastic way to stretch and build strenght. I was also drawn to the rythmic flowing movements. I have a secret desire to be graceful like a ballerina and so I picked up the phone and made my first appointment.

I arrived to this flowing artistic dance of yoga and pilates. The instructor was an “apprentice” instructor and not yet certified. I was her guinea pig. Athough I was certaintly not her first student, she seemed lost in thought, uncertainty and a few text messages. We stumbled through it a little awkwardly. I did my best to listen and to go with the “flow”. But alas, I am no dancer. Nights watching Fame, stretching and dancing in my parents living room, begging to be enrolled in dance class never yeilded one dance class. And yet even though my mother would take disco classes at night, my dreams were dashed with an endless stream of “nos”. I am awkward with no rythm and a serious lack of balance. My overly long arms on this short body look like shoots of bamboo then a willow blowing in the wind.

I tried dance in college. I enrolled in a modern dance class thinking “modern” meant some sort of hip hop that would land me as an extra on In Living Color. My gross lack of intellect in the arts meant I was taking some class I had no connection with either the movements or the music. A semester of grunts, missteps and frowns from the instructor landed me a generous “C” in the class. I was sacrificing a G.P.A so I moved on to swimming and running. I am a linear athlete, I move forward. I cut throught the right and left planes with my arms and legs. I run! But I digress….

It was not quite “me” and the wicked migrane that followed officially made me a Gyrotonics dropout 😦 

Where: Check your local Pilates or Yoga studios for Gyrontoics and Gyronkenisis (mat based).

Why: Despite my lack of love for this exercise it claimes to be excellent for individuals recovering from injury or illness.

Who: All ability levels but note that it may take a few sessions to get the hang of it. It is more controlled and precise than yoga.

This Barre doesn’t serve martinis!

In Exercise can't be this fun! on October 6, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Unfortunately, I should have paid more attention in eight grade English class. After this week’s barre class, I may have had a bright future as a writer for Saturday Night Live. A skit on “Barre Virgins” played in my mind as I attempted this muscle perfecting workout. I of course would be the misfit star fumbling awkwardly through class with Kelly Ripa as the guest star teacher.

Sentences with the word ‘bar’ in it typically yield a Pavlovian type response to fun and friends in my psyche. But alas, this ‘bar’ and its alternate spelling “Barre” prototype are polar opposites.

There are several variations of Barre classes but it is basically a microsculpting workout that incorporates a ballet bar, small weights and methods of dance conditioning. And let me tell you, my appreciation for dancers has grown. No longer will I curse the perfect figures of Dancing with the Stars coach partners while downing a bag of Cheetos. You earned it girls, flaunt it!

In lay terms, a bar class will have you stand on your toes, in a squat, while squeezing a dodge ball between your legs. Pictures of myself exercising myself in a bikini could have been dancing in my head. Unfortunately, I was focused on preventing a small catastrophe. Visions of a rubber ball shooting out from between my legs across the room while I was squeezing, rocked my anxiety ridden soul. But it did have me reduced to giggles between gasps of pain. Fortunately, I made it through with my ego relatively unscathed.

A few moves had me convinced that save for my lack of natural enhancements (aka boobies), I might have extra earning potential at the Night Move’s haunt down the road. And heck, I may actually be able to go bare in my own home after a few of these Barre classes. But in all seriousness, was a great class and a fantastic workout!

Why do it?
It will kick your a$$. My boody stood out like a Kardashian mountain of wonder among the seasoned flat bottomed devotees. But at least I burned enough to treat myself to a skinny margarita at the real bar.

Pain Scale
It is hard. I would rather run a half marathon, do an Insanity tape or give birth to a child.

Start with 2 lb weights. You (and your muscles) will thank me later.

Local gyms, pilates or yoga studios. The local eStudio Hot yoga studio offered the class for $10. I also purchased a deeply discounted punch card on Groupon.

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