Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 in Review

As I will be leaving for the Midwest super early in the morning so that I can spend Christmas at home with family, this will likely be my last post of 2012. I have had so many new, great, strange, and funny experiences in my endeavor to be an active person this year, and I have chronicled them here on my blog for everyone's enjoyment. I have been very sick, so my activity has declined recently, so I thought I would take the time to do some reminiscing and post my favorite memories, books, and supporters of 2012.

Year at a Glance

1) "Anything For 10: The background story," is the first thing I ever posted on my blog, and it is a synopsis of why I started running, and a recap of my first half marathon experience.

2) "It's been a long week," is one of those posts/weeks that pops into my head randomly, and I can't help but start laughing every time it does. It really is ridiculous that all these things actually happened to me.

3) "Running Mates," is one of my very favorite stories from this year because it has been a big year for me. I got engaged and moved across the country with my favorite person, and we even ran another race together despite the craziness that is described in this post.

4) "Big Wheel," is a great because this year I branched out to expand my fitness horizons, and it was an interesting year of experiences indeed. My introduction to spin class is just one of my new experiences.

5) "Keep the Connection," is one of those posts that I read over and over again. I have had so many personal growth experiences throughout 2012, and this is one of the concepts that I plan to bring with me to the new year.

Thanks to Supporters

I am so thankful to my brother Joe and his wife Katie. They are two of the people who will talk to me and let me talk to them endlessly about running. There have even been months this year when I called my brother on a daily basis for running advice or complaints.

My fiance, Matthew, although he doesn't always want to hear about my running, has been drug to races this year with me, and he puts up with me on a daily basis. He has even reluctantly taken pictures of me at races and whatnot so that I could put them here on my blog. He also allowed me to put my bibs and medals up on my closet despite my saying repeatedly that our apartment is not a dorm room.

The regular readers of my blog are amazing. I get messages of encouragement from friends and readers often, which is one of the things that helps me to keep moving forward in meeting my goals. I hope that you too can benefit from my experiences and encouragement.

And I wouldn't be writing this blog at all if is wasn't for my Anything For 10 Sister, Grace. She is awesome. She is always telling me that I can do anything I really put my mind to, and she has been an amazing support to me even when she was halfway around the world. I am so glad she challenged my family to start running.

Favorite Running Book of 2012

Now my favorite book of 2012 isn't a book that was published in 2012, but it is a book that I have read in 2012 that has been inspiring to me. I recently read Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong, and I must say that I plan on buying it so that I can read it over and over. It is a running book geared at women, sorry gentlemen, and I am so motivated by her stories and insights. It is a must read for any women who run, not just marathoners.


Friday, December 14, 2012

You can bet against me if you want, but I'm Helen's granddaughter, so I wouldn't.

I haven't posted anything in almost a month, but it's not because I haven't been busy. In fact, I have been extremely busy in the past month. So I will give you a short rundown (pun intended), and then I will let you in on the big scoop.

Update

I shared in a post in August entitled Let's Get Real. In that post, I divulged the bulge. I admitted that since moving to Philly, I had gained quite a bit of weight, and that I intended to lose that weight. I have lost weight over time, but I am still not where I'd like to be. In September, I wrote the following in a post.

As I have mentioned before, my grandma has recently lost the ability to walk. She has, for my entire life, been the pentacle of independence, courage, strength, and  grace. My grandma has lived her life with a strong yet graceful dignity that I admire, and I know that I should always utilize the abilities I have because I could lose them at any time. I do value my ability to walk, run, and be active, so I know that I should take full advantage of those things.

I am oddly both happy and sad to say that my Grandma is no longer an ALS patient. She passed away last week, but I know now that she is no longer in pain, and I know that she is in Heaven. More and more I thought about the promise that I made to myself right after I finished my first half marathon. I vowed to myself that I would run 26.2 before I turned 26. After seeing my grandma lose her mobility, I started thinking about a charity or organization that I could raise money for that would help people regain their mobility. And after she passed away on my 25th birthday, I knew that I wanted to run it in her memory.

The Scoop

Was my grandma a running junkie who would be pumped that her granddaughter has officially signed up for her first, and likely only, marathon endeavor? No, but my grandma believed in me with a pride and confidence that most people, including myself, often do not. If you've read the Anything For 10 Background Story, then you know that I kind of only dedicated to running my first half because most of my family said I couldn't do it. I am honestly let down and annoyed beyond words that once again my family has denied me the support that I wanted in this journey. 

My Anything For 10 Sister is standing behind me, and she will be running beside, or likely ahead of, me on race day for the 2013 Williams Route 66 Marathon. I'm not sure if the rest of my family is trying to be clever in attempting to push me to prove them wrong again, or if they just really don't believe in my strength, but I am Helen's granddaughter, and I have had the best example of strength and courage that any person could have, so I will run this marathon in her memory despite them. I am officially registered, and I am already beginning the mental preparations because I know in this journey that I will have a lot more to deal with than my family telling me that I can't do it.

In the coming of the new year, I will be posting more about the organization I have chosen to raise funds to help, and how you can support the cause and my first marathon attempt. I also encourage you to take advantage of whatever mobility you may have. You never know what you've got till it's gone.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

GMA Workout

With winter suddenly showing up, I have found it is much harder to make myself get out in the cold to run or go to the gym. I have also been indulging in some Good Morning America while I wake up and skip the gym, but I decided that I needed to get up off the couch even when I don't go to the gym. After seeing Harry Potter inspired workouts on Pinterest, I decided to try my hand at a GMA workout. I have attached it below, and when something comes on that doesn't fall under the category listed, then I just walk in place or whatever keeps me moving.

National Weather: 5 push ups
                -Anchor Change: If Ginger Zee is in for Sam Champion, then up it to 10 push ups

Local Weather: jumping jacks

Mention of Robin Roberts: Do a basketball defensive slide across the room and back to honor her time in the WMBA

Play of the Day: Chair Dips

Celebrity Interview: 1 minute plank

Pop News: Body weight squats
                -Pop Quiz: If you get the wrong answer, then do 5 burpees

Concert/Performance: Dance break!

Commercial Break: walk in place and drink break

Dan Abrams: bicycle crunches or Tae Bo cross leg lifts
              -Dan Abrams VS. Nancy Grace: 10 burpees


Person in Time Square from your state: 10 lunges, 5 on each leg

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Hustle

I know that the holidays can be busy, and that there is also an abundance of delicious food at-the-ready, so it is easy to pack on the pounds. I am going to go on the record saying that it is ok to pick some splurge time. It is crazy to think that us Average Joe types can make it through these very social times without enjoying Grandma's pie or warm buttery rolls. So I am going on the record as a supporter of the holiday splurge. With that being said, I do have some guidelines as well.

When I say the holidays, I mean the holidays proper, and not so much the greater holiday time-span. If you are a Christmas fanatic like me, then you may already have your tree trimmed, stockings hung with care, and even a few presents wrapped. What can I say, I really love Christmas. This does not mean that it is time to splurge. A month or more of splurging that begins at Thanksgiving and then usually lasts through the New Year is generally what people fall victim to, but the splurging should be kept to the actual time you plan to spend with family or friends. It doesn't mean gorge every time you have a gathering either, but have a slice of pie or an extra roll. And most of all, be honest with yourself about how much you are willing to work, or how much ground you are willing to temporarily lose.

Get moving! Holidays are very social times, so start a new tradition of doing a family turkey trot, playing some football, ice skating, or just take a walk after dinner instead of settling in on the couch for a snooze. It is fun to get the whole family involved, and it is a great way to promote an active lifestyle for kids or family members you may want to see in better health, but aren't sure how to help them get going. I did a pilgrim run last year with my family on Thanksgiving, and this year Matt and I did a Turkey Trot on Saturday. If you go to visit family or friends away from your home, then spend some time walking around to see the area's sites or museums. Matt and I stayed with friends in DC this year and spent all day Friday walking around the National Air and Space Museum. I think that probably made up for the turkey trot I made him do the next day.

All in all, I think most of us focus in on family, food, and fun during the holiday season, but don't forget to add the fourth F: Fitness! Even if it's only for 10!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Runner's Rants, Raves, and Rambles

I am getting to the point in the year where I don't want to run outside much anymore because it is dark and cold when I can run, so I have been doing lots of treadmill running and taking advantage of "warmer" late morning and mid-afternoon runs on the weekends. I've had some time to think, try new things, and people watch, so it's time again for Runner's Rants, Raves, and Rambles.

Rants: I hate running on a treadmill in general really because I'm not really going anywhere, and I have a stupid clock ticking away in my face. I've tried covering up the display, but that annoys me even more, so now I just let it taunt me while trying to distract myself with people watching.

For some reason, I am both intrigued and perplexed by the high number of muscle head men I see walking on treadmills these days. A lot of those guys skip cardio, so it's good that they are doing it, but I just think to myself, why aren't they at least jogging? I feel like they should be able to, and I wonder what's the point. Don't get me wrong, I think walking is great, and everyone should do whatever they can. Plus, I know that not everyone likes running, but it just seems strange to me.

I am thoroughly annoyed though by the middle aged women who set it to the highest incline, grab a hold of the machine and "walk" uphill for the entire time. If you are a person who does that, please explain the rationale to me. I just really don't get it, and for some reason, it really annoys me to see people do that. So just let me in on the secret.

Rave: I had never really thought of listening to anything other than music or the background noise of the roads while I run until I saw the AT&T commercial with Ryan Hall listening to audiobooks. That got me thinking. I then read a tip in RW about switching up your workout by listening to a podcast or audiobook instead of music. I decided to try it out, and I have found NPR podcasts of Tell Me More, This American Life, and Fresh Air to be great soundtracks for both treadmill and road running.

Ramble: I tried out a new route today, and I encountered an animal that I have not yet encountered on a run. I ended up, somewhat accidentally, running through a giant flock of Canada Geese. I hear  Canada Geese is the correct term even though I often hear people call them Canadian Geese. Anywho, they started hissing at me, and I had to tiptoe around thousands of piles of poop, so all in all, I think I will try to avoid them in the future, but the small lake that is rather like a pond was a nice backdrop for a late Sunday morning run. I was also able to get some hills, which will hopefully come in handy for the 5k I am doing next weekend that promises to be fairly hilly.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Michelle Takes on The Loop

Boathouse Row
The Schuylkill River Loop is a great area for runners, joggers, walkers, and cyclists in Philadelphia. The full loop covers 8.5 miles of prime Philadelphia scenery as it winds past the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Boathouse Row, Falls Bridge, Strawberry Mansion Bridge, the Fairmount Park sculptures, and of course the Schuylkill River. It's a beautiful route, and it is a great runner's getaway for a virtually uninterrupted run in a big city where traffic would normally be a problem. Today, I took on the 40th Annual Schuylkill River Loop Race.

Philly Fall
I was a bit out of my league, and I definitely got my butt kicked, but it was a good butt kicking. This race is for serious runners. As runners mingled before the start, they talked of their excitement for the upcoming Philadelphia Marathon. The crowd was small, and the runners were fast. The course record is 40:08. This was a group of serious runners. I am not going to lie, there are times that I feel judged by the running community, and this was one of those times. I put myself at the very end of the starting lineup.
Elmo and Cookie Monster

I started out pretty strong, took in all the sights, even the unexpected ones, and I held my head high. I focused in on a man in front of me, and I didn't let up on my pace until I reached him. I told him that he really gave me a run for my money. He was one of those runners I always enjoy meeting. I love runners who are kind and encouraging. It is great to come together as runners to encourage and push each other. We paced each other for quite some time, and then I hit the point of technical difficulties.

Dr. Bob was a great impromptu partner!
The race website noted that water and Gatorade on the course, but it turned out that there was one water station. I should have worn my hydration belt, but I was misled by the website. I was also misled by the weather man who said, "Sunny skies and warm temperatures!" It started raining during the race. The last technical difficulty was the biggest blow to my race today. I have read and heard about running being a natural laxative, which is why I always take some Imodium before a long run or race. It may not be the best for my body, but I definitely prefer it to the discomfort I had today. It slowed me down, but in the end, it turns out that I finished with roughly an 11 minute mile pace, which isn't too bad when it's all said and done.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Miracle Worker

I am so happy right now. It may be a bit of runner's high again, but I have not experienced one in a while due to the terrible shin splints that I have had lately. I have tried to rest, and I have tried to run, but I wasn't very successful with either one, which only led to more pain and sadness. I would try to run, but then get sad because of the pain that made me stop. I would then try to rest, which would make me stir crazy.

I tired so many things to get rid of the pain so that I could run again because I am supposed to run an 8.4 mile race a week from today, and I haven't been able to keep my distance up because I haven't been able to run. I tried tying plastic wrap on the point of pain, epsom salt, arnica cream, ice, yoga, and athletic tape. Nothing worked. After my second week of rest, I tried to run today, but at half a mile, I turned around and hobbled back home literally in tears.

I decided that I had tried everything else, so I would try one more option. I called a local GNC to find out if they carried KT Tape, and to my satisfaction, they did. I went to the store and bought a roll. When I got home, I immediately applied some in the pattern for shin splints. The residual tightness from my attempt at running this morning went away as soon as I applied it. I couldn't wait any longer, I had to try it out. I left home a little bit excited and a little bit nervous. Early on in my run, I realized a huge smile was plastered to my face, and it stayed there the whole way. I wasn't in any pain!!! I hobbled home in tears, and then a few hours later, I was running with a smile on my face! The best part of all was that I ran my fastest 5k ever!! EVER!! No pain and a new PR!

I am so glad I bought KT Tape, and I am going to get more right away because it is seriously amazing!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fit Lit Chat: Keep the Connection

I have hit a rough patch in my training. It seems that I have developed terrible shin splints, which is not something that I have really ever had to deal with before. I've tried rest, ice, stretching, icy hot, and I just can't seem to shake them. This is normally the point where I'd give up on my goals that I set after achieving some success with my 10k. As some of you may have gathered, I tend to use books and articles to keep me motivated and informed. I did a Fit Lit Chat about a couple books that I used to keep me engaged in becoming more physically active over the winter. I have just started reading, Keep the Connection by Bob Greene. I never read Make the Connection, his first book, but I have already been struck by a point in this book, and I'm still on the first chapter.

"All too often, people attempt change without really knowing who they are, what they want or why they really want it." -Keep the Connection by Bob Greene

This concept has been plaguing me lately. I really want to invest in my personal health on the physical and emotional level. I made a slight career shift in order to reduce the stress in my life, which was also one of the reasons I took up running and yoga. Another reason I took up running, was to prove that I could do whatever I put my mind to, even if there were people who didn't believe I could do it. Maybe I could even say especially because people didn't think I could do it. Even with my successes and failures along the path to physical and emotional health along with my career shift, I still  find myself contemplating who I want to be and what I want to do. I always thought those questions had more to do with my professional life than my personal life and quest to better health. I see now how intertwined they are.

Photo: Run it out.
I recently saw this picture, and It is sort of how I feel when I run. When I am running, I do a lot of thinking about who I am, and I also feel like I can be anyone. I feel like I am still defining who I am. Even though I have committed myself to running, I know that there are still so many people in my life who view me as lazy or weak. I absolutely hate that am I thought of in that way. There are two other things that I know. 1) I am the only one who can choose whether or not I live the life of an active and strong person, and I mean strong both figuratively and literally. 2) I don't have to define myself by other people's opinions of me.

There is one more revelation that I'd like to share. I get to choose who I want to be. I get to choose if I am going to live an active, healthy, strong lifestyle, but the catch is that I have to choose and not just once. I have to make the choice to be active on a regular basis. I have to make the choice to let go of other people's ideas of who I am or who I should be. I have to make the choice to put my health before my immediate satisfaction sometimes in order to gain long-term satisfaction. I have to make lots of choices, and I have to make them every day. I have made bad choices in the past, and I will still make bad choices at times in the future, but the beauty is that when I make a bad choice, I can also choose to let it go and start moving forward again. I don't need to beat myself up, and I most definitely don't have to let other people beat me up. I will just remind myself of who I am and who I want to be. It is time for me to decide what I want, and why I really want it in order to attempt at some real changes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Getting high leads to bad choices and overdoing it.

I have slowly been coming down off my runner's high from Saturday's race, but I have not been able to stop talking about or thinking about running for the most part. I felt so good on Sunday, which was nice because I would normally be recovering from a half marathon's  aches and pains. The 10k was a great choice. I have been talking with my brother Joe quite a bit, who you might remember ran my first half marathon with me, and finished under a minute after me on our chip timing, but I won't let him live it down because I will never beat him again. If you haven't read my background story, I encourage you to do so now. Joe has perpetuating my addiction to running by telling me to keep training and racing as much as I can now when I have fewer commitments to compete.

I decided my brother was right, and I threw myself on a treadmill for a short interval run on Sunday afternoon. When I stopped the belt at the end, I thought I was going to have to have Matt carry me out of the gym. My left shin was in some serious pain. I went home, iced it with a large bag of tater tots, and took some ibuprofen. Monday morning, I did some yoga, and I took a rest day.

This morning was rough for me because I didn't sleep well last night despite feel exhausted when I got home from work. Joe had also encouraged me to mix up my playlist, so I slowly woke myself up with a cup of coffee and some serious playlist revamping. I started getting excited for my run, and I got all decked out. I had on my tights, an old 5k shirt, my Nike Bowerman's, hydration belt, sunglasses, running watch, and a brand new playlist at the ready. I could feel the tightness setting in with my first steps. By the end of mile one, I was emitting small shrieks of pain. I stretched out again, and walked a bit, hobbling in pain. I stretched again. I hobbled some more, and then I resigned myself to giving up for the day. I turned back in the direction of home.

Now I know I said you need to check your shame at the door recently, but it is hard to do when you are hobbling back all decked out, complete with hydration belt. There are times when I like to go for a leisurely walk, but I do not wear my running gear because I feel dumb wearing it when I am just walking. I know that passersby probably aren't really paying that much attention, but it's hard not to think that they are. They don't know that I can and do run. They don't necessarily know that I am in pain, but it was disheartening to say the least.

I am going to attempt to take it easy for a few days, but I can't wait to hit the pavement again because I have signed up for another race in a couple weeks. It is really easy to get down on yourself, but in the end, a little bit of exercise is better than nothing and trying is better than giving up before you start. Nobody ever said that running, getting fit, or staying fit would be easy. Giving up is easy. Don't take the easy way out.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Amazing Race

Pre-race with Matt
Today marks one year since my first half marathon, so what better way to celebrate than with a race? After the Joplin Memorial Run Debacle of 2012, my Anything for 10 Sister advised me to take some time off, and sign up for a 10k this fall. I did just that when I found out that I was moving to Pennsylvania and lived close enough to do the Runner's World Festival 10k. I posted a 10k 6 week training program on my blog, but due to life getting in the way, I ended up just running about 2 5k's a week for three weeks and calling it even.


I was pumped when we got to the starting line because the 5k was finishing, and Bart Yasso was up on stage with Dean Karnazes, and I was just a few feet away! I was too excited at the time to realize that I should be taking pictures, but no fear; I saw Bart again. It seemed as if the sight of them had sucked my energy because I felt like I was dragging when I started running. Matt, my fiance, quickly pulled ahead of me even though I didn't let him get too far out of sight. The fact that he had only run two times total to prepare for this race also weighed heavy on my runner's psyche. At the end of mile two, I was then passed by the overall winner who was finishing mile four. It seemed that was the last straw.

Immediately after the blow of a steep hill combined with getting passed by the winner, I decided to let myself walk part-way up the even steeper hill I suddenly found myself climbing. I looked over and there was Matt! We spoke briefly through our huffing and puffing, and then I realized I needed to get ahead of him right then, and find away to push myself to still accomplish at least beating him. It's not that I didn't want him to do well, but at the time, it seemed like all I had to hold on to, so I clenched on to that thought with all my strength. I focused on the things I'd written earlier this week to help dismantle that mental wall.
Scenery: Oldest continually operating bookstore

At the 5k mark, I looked down at my watch to find that I was at 35 minutes! Holy crap! There was still a chance that I might be able to finish in a decent time! This was also the point where I started wondering how they had managed to make a route that had only uphills. It just didn't seem topographically possible, yet I also knew that I had only had one slight downhill that was nothing in comparison to the uphill I had to trek to get it. That's when I heard someone say, "What goes up, must come down." And I knew that person was right. I kept pushing even though I wanted to walk.

Finisher's Medal
In the end, I may not have met my original goal, but I didn't let it get me down or ruin my race. I am the type runner, who in the past, I let little bumps in the road completely destroy my confidence. I consider this race a major victory for me based solely off the mental obstacles I overcame. After my 1:10:45 finish, I am ready to start preparing for the Delaware Half Marathon even though I have till May. I have never claimed to be fast, but an 11:23 average pace is something that I personally am proud of, and that's what's so great about running; each challenge is your own, and nobody, not even the first place finisher, can take that away if you don't let them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dismantle the Mental Wall


Many times the hardest battle we fight when it comes to getting fit is the mental battle. I know by the fact that I have completed two half marathons that my body is capable of so much more than my mind gives it credit for. I have had runs and workouts where I have essentially given up as soon as I have started, but I have also found some ways to dismantle the mental wall brick by brick when I am running.

Practice Pacing

Pacing is important. I used to think that because I am not fast I didn't need to worry too much about my pacing. I have figured out that I am very wrong. When my pace is all over the place, then I run the risk of depleting my energy too quickly causing the wall to knock me flat on my rear. If I find that my pacing is off, I will focus in on my steps to fall into a bit of a rhythm. And even if you enjoy music when running, it is very important to turn it off for a few runs if pacing is a problem. I have also found that listening to music on my phone without using headphones and only the phone's speakers keeps me from pacing to the beat of the music too much.

Michelle's 3 M's

The three M's of running that I use to stave off the mental wall are Moment, Mantra, Meditate. It is very important to be in the moment when running. I do this by focusing on the little things around me that I wouldn't be able to take in if I were driving down the same street in a car. Sound dumb? I urge you to take a jog down a street you drive often; it might surprise you what you've missed. Look at the plants, animals, bumper stickers on cars, decorations on porches. Say hello to people you pass, wave to cars, and make it fun! Give yourself a mantra to keep yourself going. Anything for 10 seems like a good one to me. Running can also be a time to meditate, in whatever manner that may appeal to you. Maybe to you it means clearing all thought, focusing thoughts on problems you've encountered, or praying. 

Important tip: Plan ahead; don't think ahead! If you know you need or want to go a certain distance, plan your route ahead of time and memorize it so that you can stay in the moment instead of thinking about where or how far you have to go or have already gone. Put the distance out of your mind during the run and worry about that before or after.

Pump it!

Occasionally I will realize that my legs are beginning to drag. I usually realize it when I nearly trip due to stubbing my toe due to the dragging. When it feels like your legs are full of lead, start pumping your arms faster. I have occasionally told myself, "Come on, Michelle, one foot in front of the other," but this is the wrong idea. Body mechanics show that your legs will follow your arms, and it is much easier to focus in on pumping the arms faster than it is to focus in on the heavier legs.

Hold your head high!

My last tip has two parts. It is easy at difficult parts of a run to let your head drop or to begin looking at your feet. This is a bad idea because you are partially restricting your airway when you let your head drop, so hold that head high! This also goes to say that it is not the end of the world if you have to stop, walk, or just have a crappy run in general. Just know that you are trying, and even a bad run or walking is better than nothing at all. Just keep moving. You can do anything for 10!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Check your shame at the door, people!

I think that both runners and non-runners alike can agree that it takes a certain level of crazy to be a runner, and that level of crazy increases as the mileage increases. Another universal truth of running is that you have got to check your shame at the door. Literally. I personally have found this to be especially true when colder weather moves in. It takes guts to run in the cold, and the temperature isn't the biggest factor in that statement.

photo.JPG
Owl Hat!!
I know that I personally look like a lunatic when I run in the cold, and I am perfectly fine with that. I have a running beanie that is moisture wicking and has a ponytail slot, but sometimes I just want to force myself to have fun on a run, so I will throw on my owl hat. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like, a hat that looks like an owl. Today, I forgot to wear my sunglasses when I left. Sunglasses are important for me when it's cold because I'm one of those cold air criers. I always have been. The glasses help to block the cold air, or at least make it harder for passers-by to notice the crazy-steady tears streaming down my face. It is fun to see the very concerned look on their faces though when they see a crazy lady running down the street who appears to be hysterically crying.

It is important to get over the social norms about different bodily functions that may or may not be appropriate for public, as well. I am very glad to say that at this point in my life, I have never had to squat in someone's bushes for a pit stop, if you know what I mean. There are many, many runners who have, but I hope not to end up there. But with the cold air, I can say that sometimes you just have to spit. When you breathe in that cold air, it is inevitable that the mucus will start to run. So you can let it run down into your lungs and hack all day, or you can spit it out as it you are running. Snot rockets are also an acceptable alternative, but I don't think I'm coordinated enough to keep the snot rocket from hitting me while I am running, so I just spit.

photo.JPG
No shame! I took a picture to prove it. Haha

And whether it's cold, hot, or in between, I always sit down in the parking lot at my apartments and stretch when I get done running. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you run, you sweat...everywhere. There is almost always someone passing by or standing around when I stand up. I'm sure that they are judging the butt-sweat print that I left on the pavement, but I don't really care anymore.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Go Green! Tea, that is!

I have been hooked on green tea for about a month now, and I love it. I have, for so long, been afraid to try green tea. I remember tasting some that a friend was drinking at work once, and I thought it was terrible. I was 16 then, and I tried it again for the first time about a month ago.  I have heard all kinds of different things about how great it is for you, but I decided to look into it myself. I am going to share the benefits and helpful tips to going green.

Green tea is full of antioxidants, which have natural anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidants in green tea are called catechins. These are thought to fight free radicals, which can help prevent different types of cancer. Some experts are skeptical of this aspect of the benefits of drinking green tea, but there are still many other benefits that most experts agree on. Green tea lowers LDL, increases HDL, and reduces the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes. It can also help to relieve some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Now if all that wasn't enough to get you to go green, how about the digestive health properties of green tea? Green tea helps to clean the digestive system of toxins, which aids in the digestion of food helping your body to properly absorb more nutrients, with the exception of iron found in fruits and vegetables, which green tea can block. This can be solved by adding lemon to green tea, balancing the digestive properties back out to absorb iron from plant sources. Green tea also oxidizes fat cells, which can make it seem like it's given a kick start to your metabolism. The important thing to remember about all the possible benefits of green tea, is that it is merely a supplement to a healthy diet and active lifestyle!

So, what do you need to know before you start downing the green stuff? First, to reap all the benefits of green tea, you should start by consuming the actual tea and not just a supplement. There are many green tea supplements on the market today claiming to be a magic weight loss pill, and let me tell you, there is no magic pill because there wouldn't be so many people struggling with obesity if it were that easy. Next, you should always drink the tea right away. The tea contains the most antioxidants when it is freshly brewed, so don't let it sit for hours, and skip the pre-bottled stuff. Next be ready to use the restroom more often than you may be used to because it is also a diuretic. Diuretics are substances that cause the body to release sodium and water. My last warning is that you should not drink green tea on an empty stomach. You don't have to eat a meal with it every time, but I have learned from experience that it can make you feel very sick if you haven't eaten.

I still start my day with a good old fashioned cup of Joe, but I have started drinking green tea through out the day to keep me alert. It does contain caffeine, but it only contains about 40mg of caffiene, where as a cup of coffee generally starts at around 100mg. My favorite brand of green tea is Tazo Zen green tea. It has a hint of spearmint, lemon verbena, and lemongrass. It is so yummy, but Tazo teas can be a bit pricey. It is one of my splurges, but I am sure that there are other brands that are way cheaper. Also, I am not the biggest fan of hot tea, so I drink mine iced. I was afraid of green tea for so long, but I wish I had tried it again sooner because I feel like I've been missing out.

**I am not a health or tea expert. I researched all this information just like any other person would. I got my information from WebMD, Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Publications, and the Mayo Clinic.**

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Michelle's Favorite Things

I am not going to start throwing pairs of my favorite running shoes to my readers yelling, "You get a pair of shoes! You get a pair of shoes! YOU get a pair of shoes!" like Oprah, but there are some things that I have been enjoying lately, and I thought I would take the time to share. I am going to tell you about some websites and products that I think would be worth checking out. I am going to cover gear, tips, relaxation, and charity for your workouts.

Gear
Who doesn't love new gear? I know that I love it, but my wallet doesn't always love it. I have found a solution to my problem. The website, The Clymb, sells name brand discounted gear. I am so glad that my sister told me about it and invited me to join. You have to be invited by a member, but then you can browse to your hearts content and score some major deals!

http://www.theclymb.com/invite-from/MichelleCurtright

Free Tips!
I have never had the benefit of having a personal trainer. I would love to, but considering that I am buying discounted gear, I obviously can't afford it. I do love to read magazines and books about fitness to enlighten myself. I am pretty pumped about a new website that is a collaboration of writers at Prevention, Men's Health, Women's Health, Runner's World, and Fitness. There are all kinds of great tips, tricks, and motivation on the website from experts.

http://www.fitbie.msn.com

Smartphone App
I have not been able to try this app out, but I would love too. My phone doesn't support this app, but my phone also died today, so maybe I will be getting a new phone that will. Yay! Charity Miles is an app that uses gps to track the miles you run, and they donate money to a charity of your choice for the miles you run.

Relaxation
I am a member of a website called influenster, and they send out products to try and review. I recently tried some gum called Bach Rescue Remedy Natural Stress Relief gum. I chewed a piece as I was winding down to do some Hatha yoga, and I could feel the tension melting away before I even. I am definitely try more products from this company. It's all natural and it works.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Audience Participation Requested

Ok, so I know that there has been much debate about the First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy lifestyle campaign called Let's Move because people don't really want to be told how they and their families should live or what they should eat, but The President's Active Lifestyle Award is something that I want to work on.  I mean, what's so terrible about saying that we want the individuals in our society to happy, healthy, active people? I have absolutely no issue with that sentiment. I have decided to sign up to take on the President's Challenge!

On the website, there is a section to log physical activity of all sorts. It isn't just about running or weight training or whatever activity that you may or may not find absolutely torturous. There is a way to log your house work, playing with your kids, or steps from a pedometer if you prefer. The site also has nutrition goals to choose from like drinking more water or choosing whole grains, and you get to pick a different goal each week. Below I will copy the official guidelines to earn the PALA for adults:

            Adults (that’s anyone aged 18 and older), your goals are:

  • Physical activity. You need to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks. As an alternative, you can count your daily activity steps using a pedometer (goal: 8,500).
  • Healthy eating. Each week, you’ll also focus on a healthy eating goal. There are eight to choose from, and each week you will add a new goal while continuing with your previous goals. By the end of the six weeks, you’ll be giving your body more of the good stuff it needs.

There is also a Presidential Champions Award for people who are already very active or for people who want another challenge after earning the PALA. I am one of those people who really struggles with staying active in the winter, so I have decided to do the 2 month PAL challenge first, and then I will use those first two winter months to push myself to keep active with the Champions Challenge. Besides, who doesn't want to get more awards? I will put the guidelines for the Champion Challenge below:

Here’s how it works:
  • The goal is to be more active more often and see how many points you can earn.
  • You’ll earn points for every activity you log in our free online activity tracker. Points are based on the amount of energy each activity burns.
  • The more points you earn, the sooner you’ll reach the point total required for your desired award: 40,000 points for bronze, 90,000 for silver, 160,000 for gold, and a whopping 1 million for platinum.
Let's get started on earning our awards! First go to the official website to register. Then choose your challenge, and while you are there, make sure to join the Anything For 10 group! I have created a group for us to motivate and challenge each other to meet the individual goals we have set. The group is called Anything For 10, and it is a public group so feel free to invite your friends and family to join even if they don't read my blog. Just go the the groups tab on the website after you have made an account, and then search for the group name, Anything For 10. I have selected a mantra for our group beyond the Anything For 10 mantra of my blog. 

Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Peacemaking

I am supposed to be training for a 10k right now. I even posted a 10k training schedule on here, but my life is sort of in a state of flux right now. There are so many things that have been thrown at me from different sides lately, and I have not been able to pin down any semblance of a routine or schedule. I am the type of person who needs a routine or schedule to stick to an exercise plan. I need to at least know the general time of day that exercise will fit into my day, but I haven't been able to pin down a time, and with all that I have been doing lately, I haven't made enough effort to make it a priority. This has really put a damper on my mood and my training.

I caught a break today, so I took some time for me. I slept in, caught up on my Tivo, and went for a short run. It was a beautiful morning, yet I found myself doubting my abilities basically from the first step. I had already decided that I would just do a 1.5 mile loop right by my house, so I knew that I didn't have far to go at all, but I just still felt negative about the whole thing. As I ran, I thought about how I ran two half marathons because people told me I couldn't, but then there I was telling myself I couldn't run 1.5 miles.

As I have mentioned before, my grandma has recently lost the ability to walk. She has, for my entire life, been the pentacle of independence, courage, strength, and  grace. My grandma has lived her life with a strong yet graceful dignity that I admire, and I know that I should always utilize the abilities I have because I could lose them at any time. I do value my ability to walk, run, and be active, so I know that I should take full advantage of those things.

I also realized how thankful I should be about my life in general. I live in a beautiful state, in a wonderful country, with my amazing fiance, and I have family and friends who love me very much. I am so lucky to have all of those things on top of my physical capabilities that I should not take for granted. If I don't take care of myself, then I could lose those beautiful things and wonderful people as well. I need to be in good health not just for myself, but also for those people who are important to me.

Needless to say, the irritation and pessimism I felt in the first steps of my run were gone by the time I got home. It is amazing all the things God, nature, and introspection can show you on such a short run.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Being active doesn't always mean working out!

photo.JPGI know that I haven't posted in over a week, but I have had so much going on in both my personal and professional life right now that it has been hard to find time for anything. I was so happy to finally have a weekend that I could spend relaxing with my fiance, and we decided that we weren't setting an alarm to make it to spin class today. If we had been up in time, we would have gone, but we got up around the time it was starting. We didn't go to the gym, but living an active lifestyle doesn't always mean hitting the gym or pavement each day.

We spent a lovely afternoon at Valley Forge National Historic Park. I love going to museums and historic sites. I especially love presidential libraries even though I have only been to two so far. The thing about museums, historic sites, and state parks is that you really can get some good exercise! At Valley Forge there is an 8 mile walking/biking path that connects the whole park together. We didn't go the entire distance today, but we are excited to go back and bike the whole thing very soon!
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Another great thing about going to a state or national park is lunch! Just because you are taking the kids out for the day, or you are out on a date, doesn't mean you have to grab happy meals or eat an over-portioned meal at a sit-down restaurant! We packed a picnic lunch that was healthy. Plus, I just love picnics! Those who know me well probably wouldn't peg me for a picnic kind of girl, but I love packing up my lunch and hitting a trail.
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It was fun to see the artifacts, preserved buildings, and monuments at Valley Forge, but at the same time, it was good for our bodies! Next time you are looking for something to do with friends, kids, significant others, or the whole family, check out the state and national parks in your area! These places are usually free of charge! Some states charge parking fees, but even that would be less expensive than paying for movie tickets for everyone. Most parks and historic sites have websites detailing all the necessary information to make your day planning easier. Having a degree in education, and working in the education field, I find it just as important to work your brain as it is to work your body. Why not do both at once? You might be surprised just how much fun you and your family have!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Favorite Workout Songs

In a recent post I admitted to my top five most embarrassing work out songs. I was more and more ashamed of myself as I wrote the post, so I vowed at the end to give you a list of 5 great work out songs that I am not at all embarrassed to admit to listening to. I chose from a couple genres, so hopefully you will be introduced to at least a new work out track, if not an awesome band or artist to fall in love with. Here are five great work out songs in no particular order:


1. My Body by Young the Giant This song is an awesome work out song for the middle or end of a workout. When you start to think that you can't go on, you can kick it up a notch to the up-beat tempo and perfectly fitting chorus. The chorus goes,"My boy tells me no, but I won't quit cause want more."

2. Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder Firstly, I freaking love Stevie Wonder. He is the most amazing harmonica player, and a great vocalist. I love him...for real. I highly recommend you check out as much of his music as possible. I like this song as a work out song because it is very upbeat and peppy. And although he wrote the song about his daughter's birth, the lyrics get me thinking about how I should consider myself lovely throughout the journey to better health and fitness, and not just to look toward the end.

3. I will not bow by Breaking Benjamin This is the perfect song for when you want an angry type work out. This is one of those songs that will really get you pumped to fight out the work out that is tough to get through. The lyrics and pounding beat of this rock song will really get you moving. Breath and Until the End by Breaking Benjamin are also a great work out songs that are a little less angry.

4. Only Ashes by Something Corporate This song doesn't really have any motivating lyrics, but for some reason every time I hear this song it makes me want to get moving.

5. Square Peg in a Round Hole by Wakey Wakey This is a great band when it comes to work out songs. Once again, the lyrics aren't super motivational or anything, but they have a ton of songs that just make me start hopping up and down in place in a very indie kid way every time one of those songs come on, and this is one of them. I super love this band, and this is one of their ultra peppy beats.

Well, I feel as if I have sufficiently redeemed myself. What work out songs do you love? I am always looking for new songs to get me moving!

Monday, September 3, 2012

10k 6 Week Training Schedule

In a recent post, I announced that I am going to run my first 10k. I am gearing up to start my training program, and I looked around to figure out what training plan would be right for me. I am not a big fan of speed work, so I decided to adapt some plans and make on that would work best for me. My goal for this race is to do the whole thing without walking at all. When I run half marathons, I do a run/walk system, so I am looking to build endurance this time. Training starts next week, so here's the plan!

Michelle's Couch to 10k Training Schedule

Week
Run 1
Run 2
Run 3
Run 4
Total
1
2
2.5
2
3
9.5
2
3
2
3
4
12
3
4
3
2
4
13
4
3
2
4
5
14
5
5
6
3
7
21
6
6
4
3
race
19

If you have been thinking of getting in shape, or beginning running, but you don't know where to start, then this is a great way to get going. Running is good because you probably already own the necessities. Throw on shorts or sweats, a t-shirt, and some tennis shoes and hit the pavement. If you want to track how far you ran, or plan a route that is a certain length, then check out mapmyrun.com! And if you are just using this for a guide for personal fitness instead of training for a race deadline, then take it at your own pace and repeat runs or weeks if you don't feel confident that you can complete the next step yet. When I started running, I could only jog a quarter of a mile before I had to walk, but I walked the rest of the way, and eventually I was able to run for farther distances. I am not fast, and I never will be, but I am moving, and that's what counts.

I also have a post with my half marathon training schedule for beginners. It doesn't have any speed work or specific tempo runs, but it helps to build distance.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Michelle's Super Simple Chicken Salad-- NO mayonnaise!

I have found that the best way for me to eat healthy meals is to make them ahead of time. If I leave my lunch or dinner up to chance and my fridge, then I probably end up eating something I shouldn't at a time when I am really hungry. It is ludicrous to think that driving or walking a few blocks from my house to wait in a line to get food is faster than making something myself, but I (and maybe you too) have justified many a poor decisions by saying that I am too hungry to wait long enough to cook something to eat. That is why I am trying to make my lunches at the beginning of the week. Sunday night I will make lunch and possibly snacks that need to be prepared in order to keep me on track. I made chicken salad this week, and I am going to share the recipe below!

Michelle's Super Simple Chicken Salad

10oz can cooked chicken breast meat
3 1/2 tbs plain Greek yogurt
2 1/2 tsp spicy brown or Dijon mustard
3-4 tbs chopped raw unsalted almonds
3-4 tbs finely chopped or matchstick carrots
3-4 tbs dried cranberries
dash of salt and pepper

Directions: drain and finely shred chicken, then mix all ingredients together. It's that simple!!

I love this because it is super simple, easy, and quick to whip up! I didn't cook the chicken myself, but it is most certainly an option, and I would do it that way any time I am already planning to cook a chicken dish that would allow me to cook all the chicken at once and pull some out. It is super yummy, and there is NO mayonnaise!! And if you think you don't like Greek yogurt, don't worry because you seriously cannot taste it! I am not the hugest Greek yogurt fan, although I am working toward it, but I seriously couldn't even tell.


Today I ate my chicken salad on a single piece of whole wheat bread, but it is also delicious on crackers, a tortilla, Granny Smith apple slices, or leaf lettuce! For other mix-ins, you could put boiled egg, grapes, celery, green pepper, onion, Granny Smith apple pieces, walnuts, pecans, or pineapple tidbits! I made mine with my favorites, which just also happened to be what I already had on hand!



Take the recipe, and make it your own! And if you are anything like me, make it ahead of time!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Let's Get Real

Ok, it's time to get real. I really did not want to run Tuesday night. I ate way too much for dinner, and I just didn't want to go, so I whined all the way out the door. For a split second, I thought about not going, but then I remembered that I promised to check in with a friend and reader from back home. I knew that I would feel so guilty if I messaged Hannah at the end of the week knowing that I didn't do all my workouts. There are so many reasons I didn't want to run, and I kept finding all kinds of things to complain about in my head as I ran. Some of them are legitimate downfalls to running in the area I live in, but then I decided that I needed to start making a list of the things I love about it here too. Today you will get an accurate picture of what my life is like, and a list of pros and cons for the area I live in.

First of all, I am slowly on the decline from the heaviest weight I have ever reached in my whole life. This spring I tipped in at around 165lbs.  I remember thinking I was so fat in high school because I was constantly comparing myself to the other girls at my school who were all so tiny, but looking back I realize how stupid I was to think I was fat when I weighed 130lbs. Now, I will share a picture of myself shortly after moving to Philadelphia, but I will admit that there are two contributing factors to how terrible I look. 1) The picture was taken at a terrible angle because Matt was at a lower vantage point than I was, and 2) I was wearing a shirt that I have had since high school. It is a fact that nothing that fit you when you were 30lbs lighter actually fits you when you are 30lbs heavier, even if you can still put it on.


165lbs with street art by GetUp
in Center City Philly.

Now I started gaining the weight before I moved to Philly, but I can say that living here has not at all helped my cause at all. However, I do know that it is not the area, but rather my lack of self-control that is currently causing me to pack on the pounds. If you were unaware as I was, I am going to drop a bombshell on you right now, but Philly is the land of Phood! I have eaten the best foods ever since I moved here, but of course they are all super bad for you, and I have been indulging like a tourist instead of acting like a townie. I am going to do something strange for a fitness blog and show you some of the best foods I've had here.

        
My first and second Philly Cheesesteak, the best thing ever: Grilled Cheeseburger, and CRACK-like chips!
And let me tell you, this is only the very tip of the iceberg! I didn't even show you any pizza!

This brings me to the first thing that sucks about running here. When I started my running journey in Missouri, I lived in a rural community, so traffic was not something that I really had to worry about. Now that I live in an urban area on the outskirts of Philadelphia, I have to worry about all that comes with that from the second I start out on my run. I start on a very busy street that runs from where I live, all the way into the heart of Philly. The cars speed by at speeds more than double the posted speed limit, which more than anything just messes up my pace in the most annoying way. It also sucks because I have to run right by pizza parlors, sandwich shops, bakeries, hoagie and hot dog stands, and a drive-thru grocery store all on just the first two blocks of my route. Seriously.

Now along with the hustle and bustle of living in an urban area, comes locked buildings. I did not have to carry my keys with me when I ran in MO, but I can't even get in my building, let alone my apartment, if I don't have my keys with me. I thought I had come up with a way to carry my keys on my shoe, but it ended up being super annoying, so I just carry them in my hand now.

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Before I moved to PA, I always pictured a beautiful fall scene with gorgeous trees turning to autumn golds, reds, and oranges. Trees was definitely the correct picture to have in my head. There are even trees everywhere in the city! I love the tree cover because I can run at night without the heat billowing up from the black pavement like it does in the evenings in Missouri. I also use the trees as a way to take my mind off of wanting to start walking. When I feel the mental barrier kick in, I start reaching up as I run under a tree to see if I can grab some leaves. This game is way better to play as an adult than it was as a kid because I can actually reach most of them now!

I am far from reaching my goal weight at this point, but I am working. There are still times when I indulge in those delicious Philly Phoods, and there are weeks where I don't loose a single pound, but I am going to keep working. I know that I can meet my goals if I am willing to put in the time and effort. This is one of those goals that will take a lot of time and effort, but I know it will be worth it in the end. 

Thanks for reading and motivating me to stay on track, and remember that you can do anything for 10!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

When in doubt, bling it out!

Ok, so I will admit that ever since my fiance, Matt, and I moved in together, I have been telling him repeatedly that this is not a college dorm room. He of course doesn't see the need to decorate or any of that jazz, but I have broken my own decorating rule. I taped some things up on my closet door, and he doesn't know it yet, but I taped something up on his closet door too. I know that he will say something about the college dorm feel when he sees it, but I needed some motivation because I have signed up for my next race!

For those of you who don't already know, my last race was a disaster to say the least. You can read about that gem of an experience here if you haven't already. My sister wisely suggested that I take some time off from running, and I agreed that I should most definitely not run a fall half this year. I recently had a debate with Matt about whether or not I could run a 10k within a few months, and he thought it was crazy that I wasn't sure if I could do it. That got the wheels a-turning in my head. Then I got the final push when that same crazy, Anything for 10 and take a break sister, called and asked if there were any 5k's in the area during the weekend she is planning to come visit me in October. Well, I did her one better, and now she, Matt, and I are running the Runner's World Festival 10k. I am pretty pumped because I have never done a 10k in terms of an organized race, but I am also nervous since I have taken so much time off from regular running.

The nervousness is what spurred the college-like decorating spree in my room today. I had actually just written out a training schedule and inspiring quote I saw today before I talked to her about the race, and then once we made solid plans, I went super motivational on my closet so that I will hopefully be on top of my running to ensure a much better experience at my 10k than I had at my last Half. Here's what my closet doors look like right now.


I am one of those people who needs constant reminders and motivational tools to keep working toward a goal that I might not always feel like working toward or that I might have times when I doubt by ability to reach the goal. So right where I will see it every single day, I have hung my two half marathon bibs (top), a training schedule that I made myself and a quote that I need to commit to memory (top middle), three bibs from 5ks that were important to me (bottom middle), and my two half marathon finisher's medals (bottom). The quote just happens to be from one of the best experts at Runner's World. Bart Yasso, RW Chief Running Officer, once said said in an interview, "Don't ever doubt that you are a runner just because you are slow. I hear people all the time say, 'I'm not a real runner.' We are all real runners, some are just slower than others. I've never met a fake runner." I super love this quote because I am super slow! I have never been fast, and I most likely never will be, but I have made it to the finish every time, and that's what counts. And in  two months from today, I hope to be making it across the finish line of my first 10k, thanks to my motivation and determination.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Top 5 Most Embarrassing Favorite Workout Songs

Growing up, music was a pretty big part of my life because I come from a very musical family. My grandfather taught the 19 time Grammy winning artist Pat Metheny to tune a guitar. Not only do various members play instruments, but I have a brother who once went two weeks without speaking a single word because he wanted to see how long he could go around singing everything that came out of his mouth, and I have a sister who is an opera singer who has sung in England and Scotland. You are probably wondering what this has to do with fitness, and I am getting there, trust me. I myself played a couple instruments, and was in show choir and musicals. I was also a cheerleader, and as a young kid I took dance lessons. You would think I would be able to pick up the beat in a song pretty easily, but that is apparently not the case when you throw me on a spin bike. My sister-in-law and good friend, Rachel, would be so sad considering they are music teachers who have probably had more success teaching rhythm to kindergartners than my spin instructor did with me today. We did an interval class based of the beat of the songs as the changed, and for some reason I just could not pick up the beats today.

Now sometimes, music is the most important part of a workout like the instructor tried to make it today. Music can really pump you up and get you to keep pushing when you just really want to give up. I am somewhat ashamed to say that there are times when I listen to songs when I am working out that I would not normally listen to. I am an indie/piano band kind of kid for the most part, so you would not normally catch me listening to any kind of country, rap, or pop music. I did admit in my last post that I occasionally get pumped up to Garth Brooks of all things, but today I will share the top five most embarrassing songs (in my opinion) that I listen to when working out. The songs and an explanation are listed below from least to most embarrassing.

5. Good Feeling by Flo Rida: I had really hoped that I could have gone my whole life saying that under no circumstances did I ever like a song by Flo Rida. Darn you Flo and your Good Feeling! Although I can't stand rap music, I am putting this song at number 5 because if you are ever really struggling in a workout, this song turns that struggle into a good feeling for about 4 minutes.

4. Just Dance by Lady GaGa: I really don't want to like her music in general because she is freaking crazy, and I don't think it's good to indulge people who are nuts. Now, I can justify this by saying that although this song is all synthesized, she really is very talented and a great piano player. Check out her acoustic stuff, and you might be surprised and sad that she doesn't just stick with that...I was. BUT Just Dance has a pretty peppy beat, and it gets me moving at the beginning of a run.

3. Toxic by Britney Spears: Oh Britney, you may have gone absolutely crazy, but this song is one of those that just makes me want to dance along to the beat...when I can find it. Now, this song really sucks because of it's dance factor. I may or may not have been pulled into accidentally doing a little bit of really crappy white girl dance as I was on my recovery lap at the HS track the other day... and no, I was not alone. I haven't really been back to the track since then...

2. Bringing Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake: And along with the nostalgia of Britney pre-freakout, there is Justin Timberlake. Now, I don't really like his music at all, but the one thing that draws me to this song during a workout is that I like songs that have a small single message that I can turn into a mantra for my workout to remind me what I am working for. That's all, and I REALLY wish I didn't like this song. And I do not listen to this if I am not working out...just to be clear. 

1. Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry: I seriously hate Katy Perry with a passion, and I am so happy to say that I still hate this song even as it plays during a workout, and I am even more delighted to say that this one is most definitely NOT on my ipod. This is a song that my instructor plays during spin class sometimes, and I am always so sad to hear it because I know that for some strange reason it will push me harder on a tough hill, but I just don't want it to because I would like to continue hating it on every level. It is perfectly fine for you to disagree with me, and you can love her, her music, and her videos, but I just can't get behind someone with crappy lyrics and crap shooting out of her boobs in every single music video she does. Why does this have to be a good hill climbing song, and why does the instructor have to play it..ever?


I am so sad after writing this post that I have decided that I will be writing a post in the near future listing my top 5 favorite workout songs from the music I would actually listen to without being embarrassed. There will be redemption, but for now, you can have a nice laugh.