Sunday, September 30, 2012

Foodie Penpal Reveal Day

The Lean Green Bean 

So this month for Foodie Penpals I was paired with Blogger Tania who did a fabulous job selecting some awesome vegan goodies.  First she sent a great questionnaire aimed at finding out more about my food preferences and why I joined the program.  Then once the box arrived I could totally tell she really thought about her choices and I really appreciated how careful she was with selecting only vegan options.  So here's what was in my box:

Lots of great snack and lunchbox items: raisins, pita chips, and seaweed snack chips.  I also told Tania I love trying local items and she included a bag of local coffee and some local hot sauce that I will surely try.  But my absolute favorite item was these super cute Little Soya soy sauce packets in the shape of fish...I mean so cute right! I can imagine countless lunches of homemade sushi or Thai lettuce wraps being accompanied by these little fish guys - thank you Tania you did an awesome job Foodie Penpal!!

If you are interested in joining Foodie Penpals here are the details:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for October, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chances to Help

I wanted to post a quick message for anyone that might be interested in helping two awesome charities that mom and I totally support. 

#1 - I will be running my 8th marathon in Philadelphia in November and decided to run it as a charity runner for Girls on the Run.  This is a fabulous organization that creates after school programs for girls in grades 3rd-8th that feature exercise, promoting healthy body images, and team work.  I was a coach for a local site last year and was blown away at how much the girls grew in just a few short months.  If you would like to learn more about this great organization and possibly help me in my fundraising here is a link to my page: Girls on the Run Fundraising

#2 Another vegan marathon runner has decided to run the Rock n' Roll Las Vegas half marathon and is also fundraising for the ASPCA.  She has created an awesome raffle with great prizes (including a vitamix!!!).  So if you are interested in joining in here is a link to her post: Vegan Weightwatcher Raffle

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Make it By Midnight - Race Review

A perfect example of how an idea can seem perfectly sane...5 months previously... In February,  after a long training run in the freezing cold,  Lindsey and I were sitting around bitching about the cold and surfing the internet looking at potential races for the spring.   Somehow... Lindsey finds this race in Macon GA,  the weekend of my 54th birthday... which is in July.. and it sounds great..  Gated community,  you run 4- 6.6 mile loops for a full,  2- 6.6 mile loops for the 1/2 marathon.  The bonus.. the whole idea is you can start whenever you want after 3pm... you just want to try to finish by midnight!  Bonus number 2.. it is a very inexpensive race to run and they have cute T-shirts and pretty unique medals.  Sign us up!

Fast forward to summer 2012.. we didn't plan for the kinds of heat and humidity that have been hanging around the mid west this year.   So planned weekend long runs of 12 or 10 miles,  got cut short to 10 or 8..  Week day runs got supplanted by workouts with the Mason Manta swim team... great cardio.. but not great preparation for the hills and humidity awaiting us in Georgia...

So we left Cincy on my birthday, Friday the 13th...duh..duh..duh....(horror movie music...)   Had a great trip down to Atlanta.  Got to hookup with Dan and Rami and see their new Condo (SWEET DIGS!)  and on Saturday morning,  we ran around Northern Atlanta to the REI store and hit up a Running Spot store.  Then went to Revolution Doughnuts to get an amazing Vegan Coconut Cake Donut and a cool coffee mug - then picked up some Vegan Cupcakes at Dulce Vegan Bakery (the Chocolate strawberry were amazing!)  and had their excellent Chicken salad sandwich.   The baked goods were safely tucked away in the cooler as a celebration of both the completion of our run,  and as a birthday treat for you know who!  Hell yes we run to eat!

Then we drove the hour and 1/2 down to Macon and checked in to our hotel to relax for a little while.   The race director had sent out an email reminding everyone to throw time goals out the window..  plan on running / walking slower than you ever had before because it was hot and hilly!  See elevation profile below... yes it felt just like you were constantly climbing up or down stairs!

 Lindsey thought she would be okay starting around 5:30 and we left the hotel about 4:45 to drive the 20 minutes over to the race venue.  Sat in line to get through the guard house at the community and then drove to their clubhouse where the race would start.  We got out of the car and the humidity was like walking through water.  98% according to the weather channel.. and no breeze.. I mean..NONE!  92 degrees out when Lindsey started her run.. I headed back to the hotel to hang out and await her text message on when we could hook up for the last 2 laps.

She text-ed after the first loop was done, and I could tell by the time.. she was moving slow.  But then not too much longer she sent another saying she just passed 10..what!  I was still lounging around in my pj's ,  so I pulled on my race clothes and jumped in the car to drive over as well.   I didn't have long to wait before she headed down the hill to where the start line was..looking like a drowned rat .. she was ringing wet.    Her only comment.. "This sucks..Put on bug spray".   Off we went around 8:15.   We headed away from the clubhouse to make a quick run by the lake.  The only view of the water that you get during the race.    I tried asking a few questions,  but I could tell from talking to her that she was in a little trouble.  She wasn't making sense when I'd ask questions,  she was laughing and staggering off the road some.. okay.. time to walk for a while.   Good decision as we started the first of many long climbs this race has to offer.  I think you forget that Georgia is that hilly , we have all read the signs on 75 for Stone Mountain... We made it to the half way point in the first loop,  and the ladies at the aid station were ready.   They were handing out water,  gatorade,  salt,  pickles,  pretzels..   I opted for salt and ate about a teaspoon straight out of the cup. It tasted wonderful!   Lindsey went with pickles and pickle juice.   It worked for her too.. after about 10 minutes.. she started feeling better and was able to run again. By now the sun was going down and we had to go on flashlight power.   They had given us handheld flashlights in our check in bags,  so I started with that.  It worked... kind of..  but since I was carrying it in my hand the light moved around a lot,  and I had to keep pumping the flashlight handle to keep it powered. Plus , when we got back to Cincy we realized I was doing it that was why the light kept dimming..Duh.  I switched over to a headlamp for the last loop... which added a different issue.

This neighborhood had about 3 street lights ... so when it got full was DARK and noisy!  Cicadas ,  crickets,  bull frogs and barking dogs ... but you couldn't see past the light that was coming from my forehead.  Moths, mosquitoes, and gnats kept flying into my eyes to get to the headlamp.. Great.. I think I ate a few bugs.  Every time I tried to talk to Linz,  I about blinded her by turning my head lamp right into her eyes. On the plus side.. you really couldn't tell how far you were in the loop ,  or how far you had to go,  because you only had the circle of light to head towards.. so you just kept moving.  (Go into the light... All are Welcome..)    One more stop for more salt and pickles  and we kept plodding along.    2 other racers passed us saying 40 minutes to get 3 miles done...  Lindsey knew by checking her watch,  we weren't going to make it.   We had to walk the uphills and could only run the down hills and the flats,  and even those we had to slow down for ,  because she was still a little shaky and the pavement was uneven enough,  that we both tripped in the dark a couple of times.   Not worth face planting, so we just stayed steady and finished up a few minutes after midnight.  

Neither one of us wanted to stick around and socialize or eat,  we just wanted to get back to the hotel, pull of our soaking wet clothes and socks,  take a shower and cool off in front of the air conditioner... besides... we had birthday cupcakes waiting us!  

This definitely was an unusual race.   They limit the runners to 150 registrations and only 116 showed up this year,  and since everyone starts a different times,  you are often running on your own for long stretches.   We were both glad we had each other for company when it got dark.   There were 5 houses that provided encouragement throughout the route whether it was little boys in lawn chairs cheering us up a hill,  or little girls handing out glow stick necklaces,  or the family that handed out the most delicious frozen grapes,  our pickle juice stop,  and the men who dragged a freezer out to the street corner with the longest extension cord.. to hand out cups of ice cream!   But other than these amazing people..  the rest of the neighborhood was quiet and did I mention DARK.   
I know, I know... who thinks to run in Georgia in July????    But     we definitely made some memories on this one!   And I got a shirt.. and a medal.. and a Tiara.. damn it!  And yes I was tired in this picture..

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Foodie Penpals Reveal Day

The Lean Green Bean

In a random hour of computer surfing I came across this great website last month, where a blogger has organized a foodie exchange between over 1,000 people.  I decided to join this growing exchange and signed up for June.  I sent a package with Cincinnati favorites to a very nice gal, Tiffany in Texas, and I hope she enjoyed the goodies.

I was super excited when my own package came from Kiri, also a fellow Ohioan, and opened it to find a whole host of vegan friendly goodies including a bag of quinoa (one of my favorite grains!), a fruit leather (great item for packing lunches or traveling to marathons), and a coconut/chocolate bar that I will definitely be trying soon.

But the most intriguing item was this jar of sesame "candy."  Kiri explained that she loves international foods and that this product, while labeled candy, isn't your traditional American candy bar.  I had to try some and found it to be a very fun treat.  Put on a spoon it had a somewhat powdery consistency but when you placed it on your mouth it melted and had a great pistachio and light sesame flavor. 

Finally she also included a box of Teatulia teas that was a sampler of several flavors.  While I haven't tried them all I did brew up a cup of the Peppermint and loved it!  Mint teas are my favorite evening treat and this blend had a great minty fragrance and strength. 

Thanks again Foodie Penpal Kiri!!

If you are interested in joining Foodie Penpals here are the details:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penpals is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Race Recaps and Ramblings

So last fall after two enjoyable marathons at Marshal and Indianapolis, I cooked up a half brained idea for 2012 that included 7 marathons in an 8 month time span.  The reasoning (if you can call it that) was that I would like to complete the 50 states challenge of running a marathon in each state by the time I turn 40.  In order to do that I figured I could quickly ramp up and have 10 states under my belt and then do a much more "realistic" 4 marathons a year for 10 years.  Fast forward to last weekend and you found mom and I running in 85 degree heat in the hills of Kentucky/West Virginia at the Hatfield McCoy marathon.  Three weeks earlier I had an awesome marathon experience in Vermont.  It was hilly, it was hot, and it was my slowest marathon time yet, but I loved almost every minute of it!  Vermont had beautiful scenery and some of the most positive people I have seen on a marathon course in a good while.  Running you got to see scenes like this:
Yes we did run that hill in the background

I knew going into this race that it was definitely hillier than pancake flat Champaign Urbana and a few days before the run I took a peak at the elevation profile and may have peed my pants a little bit. 
While the course and conditions were tough the marathon ended up being a great experience and huge kudos to the people and volunteers behind this race who pulled off one heck of a good run.

Coming off of Vermont I had three weeks to once again recover and prepare myself for the next one in Kentucky.  This time around mom was going to be joining me for the half and so we headed down to feudin' country to tackle the hills of Eastern Kentucky at Hatfield Mccoy.  We knew once again that this was a hilly course, but I didn't compare the elevation change to Vermont until after the race when I was surprised to find that this one was actually hillier - I think willful ignorance is a good racing strategy don't you? 
Boy would we feel that Blackberry Mountain around mile 6

Looking back, and talking with mom's, we definitely had some mixed emotions on this race.  The marathon has excellent reviews and runners all over the United States proclaim this as one of the best races they have done.  That high praise may have led us to have too high expectations and I found this one to be enjoyable, but also containing some problems.  Number one was lodging.  Surprise, surprise but Holiday Inn and Hilton don't build hotels in way off the grid Williamson, Kentucky.  Having 500 + runners invade these backwater towns led to some creative hotel arrangements.  The local firehouse offered runners air mattresses in a florescent filled hall and some local families agreed to take runners into their homes.  Planning ahead I had managed to score us one of the scarce rooms in a local B&B in Matewan, WV where the half marathon ended.  When we got there we were greeted with this sight:
Yup - this plus about 10 more buildings was the whole town

This gives you an idea of how close our building was to the tracks
Good news - we were staying in what was definitely the nicest place in Matewan and were greeted by a very upbeat and friendly innkeeper.  Bad news - our room was literally built 10 feet from a very active railroad line with trains that ran throughout the entire night - surprisingly it didn't interfere with our sleep too much!  The race itself started off without a hitch and cooler morning temps led to a good race through about mile 10.
 Mom had a great half marathon and we managed to keep our pace for the first half within a few minutes of Illinois - impressive given we had to go over Blackberry mountain during those miles.  Coming into Matewan you could feel the heat start to rise and mom was glad to give me a high five and a wave as she crossed her finish line and went on to stretch, cool down, and hitch a ride back to the finish line.

Leaving the half-marathoners I always get a little surge as I feel like its at this point that the marathon really "starts."  Unfortunately it was also at this point that the road conditions quickly started to deteriorate and I was soon running on dirt ATV trails with mega gravel chunks punishing the bottom of my feet.  I could tell I was developing a blister from the combination of crappy socks and crappy roads, but just kept pushing through the pain.  Along the way I met some great "50 staters" and Marathon Maniacs (of which I am now one!!!) and had some good conversations about their favorite races, racing tips, and everything else marathon related.  However, I was very happy to see these two gentlemen at the finish line and take off my shoes (CAUTION - ugly blister photo follows). 
Good Ol' Devil Anse Hatfield and Randal McCoy high-fived every runner at the finish line

No I do not have six toes - that is my blister
Road conditions, hotel accommodations, and some transportation mishaps that mom had to suffer through, made this at times a frustrating experience and while there were good parts I think mom and I are glad to have both West Virginia and Kentucky now off our racing calendar and can start looking forward to other our next challenge Macon, GA in July (what the hell were we thinking!). 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Vermont - Who Knew?

So we headed to Providence on May 19th to attend Abbey's Graduation (great weekend...I'm .so proud of my baby girl!)  and of course when your attempting to do the 50 marathons in 50 states,  as Lindsey is.. you look for a marathon.  Just so happens the same weekend was the Shires of Vermont in Bennington VT.    Marathon Guide gave it thumbs up last year (it's inaugural running...)  so away we go!  No half marathon option,  so this time I got to be a spectator and supporter.  Very happy as it ended up being in the 80's and HILLY (aka Mountainous) . But I was jealous as I drove her to the start line, that I could not join in this weekend.  Lindsey can do the race recap.. this post is just to comment about how lovely the state of Vermont is.

I had no idea.. having never been to this area of the country before.  Vermont.. if you didn't get so dang cold in the winter,  I would love to relocate..

First you get views like this...I mean this is what you see everywhere you turn.

Next you meet some of the nicest people.  From the hotel manager,  to the ladies at the pizza place that we ate that evening.  VEGAN Pizza in a small town in Vermont??? Where were we?   And you know how we have the painted pigs all over Cincy? Well they have painted Moose!   I forgot.. or didn't know that Moose lived in Vermont.   Check them out!  They were too cute. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Roses are Red... and a 26.2 Sticker for my car!

So I get to check this off my bucket list,  and while yesterday on the way home I was saying NEVER again.... 24 hours later ,  kind of like child birth,  I'm saying...okay maybe one more time.  

The week prior to the race was not exactly what I had planned for (aka..relaxing)  I had an unexpected trip to Florida tossed in,  no real sleep,  or normal meals for 4 days and a 2 am flight back get the picture.  But maybe it wasn't all that bad..I didn't have a chance to obsess or worry about what was coming up.  

We headed over to Champaign, IL on Friday afternoon.  First was a stop at REI in Indianapolis.  Cincinnati is getting one of these stores this fall,  and we wanted to check it out in person.   Very nice indeed.  Picked up a few extra nutrition bars and back in the car to head to downtown Champaign for packet pickup and the Expo. 

The Expo was small,  not too many vendors,  but the Jazz Apple people were there handing out apple samples and a free apple cutter.  Very cute!  Lindsey had mapped out a back route to our hotel which was 1/2 hour south of the city. This was the closest hotel we could find... but first..on the way out of town we grabbed some lunch at Atlanta Bread Company.  (Remember when we used to have these in Cincy?  I always liked them more than Panera!) 

On the way to the hotel,  we passed signs like the old Burma Shave signs posted by a place called They were very entertaining! Like 

but our favorite....

Hotel was comfortable and a quick trip to the IGA provided salads for dinner.  10:30 came around quickly and we needed to be up by 5:30 am to drive back to Univ. of Illinois campus and park.   It was after dinner I realized.. my phone was missing.. GRRRR  searched the rental car,  searched the room,  called the Expo and Atlanta Bread Company... bingo.. they found it and said they would lock it in the safe until I could return after the race.   But in the stress of running around looking for my phone,  I managed to eat an entire packet of Raisinettes..and I didn't even realize it???  

We woke up to rain storms and 40 degree weather.. Ugh.. but by the time we got to the parking lot,  the rain had stopped Yeah!  It was chilly out,  but the rain held off all day and it was actually perfect running weather.  

Kudos to the entire city of Champaign Urbana for an extremely well run event.  Great crowd support,  water stations every mile,  music on course , happy police protecting the street crossings....all of this made the running a little easier.   At the point where the half marathoners split off from the full marathoners I got a little emotional.  I had always left Lindsey at this point and headed in to finish my race.  The thought of doing another 13.1 scared the shit out of me!  Lindsey stayed with me  until mile 18, motivating me and reminding me to look around and enjoy the journey.   I was starting to drop behind her and while she was very willing to hang in until the end with me.. I knew I just wanted to be alone with this.  I popped in my head phones and tried to use that as a distraction from the pain that was starting in my back.  

I had run 20 miles during training but at 21 things got bad.  My back seized up and I was reduced to walking.   I panicked a little, started hyperventilating, and spent the next miles talking to myself and remembering to just breath.  Once I got to 23 though I knew this was in the bag... I mean.. I only had a 5K left.. piece of cake right?  I was able to start mixing in running with the walking.  

Lindsey was waiting at the finish line and snapped a picture .. of me with my classic running pose of my head down on the ground... Is it any wonder my shoulders and neck are killing me today? 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Relentless Forward Progress

3 years ago,  we started down the path of weight loss.   2 years ago we ran our first 5K.  For someone who NEVER thought running could be an enjoyable past-time,  I looked at it more as a marker of fitness,  a box that needed to be checked off,  to say you can do this.   It took me almost 45 minutes to finish,  but felt amazing... and something clicked.   Running could be fun.  

Fast forward 2 years... and several 10K, Half Marathons,  and 2 Tri-Athlon's later... and for the past 4 months we have been training for my first Marathon.  My first....and my last... I have already decided.   While Lindsey enjoys this ,  and has the admirable goal of becoming a 50-50'r  (1 marathon in each of 50 states....)  I just want to finish one.  To say I did it,  to check another box off the list,  to know I was willing to put in the effort required.   But I'm not enjoying this...  my body is too old... and to screwed up to take the pounding without some serious damage... I fear.   So after this one.. I'm going back to Half Marathons.. and will wait at the finish line to cheer my crazy daughter as she works on her goal.  

But the funny thing is through all this training...  where 3 miles used to feel like the impossible.. now 6 miles is a comfortable Saturday run.  10 miles is a work out... but not a hated distance,  and the occasional 13.1 feels like the perfect thing to make sure I keep my fitness level up enough to continue to accompany her.

So yesterday was my last long run before the big event.  20 miles. My longest distance so far.  16 miles went well... 18 miles made me cry... I was terrified of 20... and they all say if you can do 20... you can do 26.2...because the last 6 you run with your heart... not your legs.   I understand that more now.

First off the prep work..
Can you believe all the crap you have to have to go run for 20 miles?
Paper towel.. for blowing your nose,  gloves (it was cold when we started and I wore these the first 10), water bottle,  wet wipes (in ziplock bag)  in case I needed to take an emergency bathroom break in the woods..yes you do this....Spibelt to carry snacks (you have to eat every hour),  Ipod,  and a cooler with a water re-fill. 

  So our plan was to head to the Loveland bike trail and park in down town Loveland.   Run south for 5 miles,  back 5 miles to the car... refill water ,  grab more food if needed... use the bathroom that we knew was open...  then run north 5 miles and return to the car.   And off we went.  

 Issue number 1... 5 miles in... where we normally take our first fuel break.. I realize I left my spi-belt in the car and I had no food with me.   Lindsey is able to use Gel packs and has no issue with them... they kill my stomach,  so even though she had an extra one,  I was reluctant to try , and decided I would just wait until I got back to the car to eat...  by mile 8,  I could tell I was running out of energy... and starting to "bonk".   My brain gets goofy and it makes it hard to think...but we have a system,  where Lindsey runs to my left and I tend to watch her legs moving out of the corner of my eye... so I focused on watching her... and made it back to the car in good time.    I wolfed down 1/2 of my espresso bonk bar in 2 bites,  refilled my water,  quick trip to the bathroom and hit the trail..   

The north bound trails is a lot busier than the south,  so that helped to distract us through the next 5 miles.  That and Lindsey's catching my up on the last 2 episodes of Tabitha.  At 15 miles though it was time to put on the head phones and focus on getting back to the car.  I waved Lindsey off (she is faster than I am ,  and at this point I need to just go into my head and figure out how to ignore the pain. )     Mile 16 and 17 wasn't horrible,  but by 18... I was forced to throw in way more walk time than I wanted.   Everything hurt,  and I was ready to be DONE!   By 19 though,  I looked at my watch and my goal was to finish in under 5 hours...and it was going to be close...  So I picked it up  and shuffled my way to the end.     

I honestly don't know if I have 6.2 more in me...  I guess I'll find that out in 3 weeks.  But I want the damn 26.2 sticker for the back of my car... and I'm hoping the marathon atmosphere will help me along the last couple of miles.   And I'm going to remind myself that I'm NEVER doing this again. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter Musings..

So last Saturday we did our long run in the cold rain.  11 miles and the last 3 were pretty miserable.. Both of us are wondering why we live in Ohio?  I ask myself this every winter.  I don't understand why I choose to remain in a place where I am miserable 3-4 months out of the year?   This Saturday,  we have 12 miles on the schedule and right now the weather is predicted to be in the high 20's with wind chills near zero and an inch of snow on the ground???   WTF ?  But if you want to do a spring marathon,  you have to put the miles in and 12 miles on a treadmill is mind numbing.  So the plan.. for now... is to run to Blue Ash Rec center which is just about 4 miles away... go in and do 4 miles on the treadmill to warm up.. and then run home...  We shall see..

But before I looked at the weather,  we had planned on going up to Buckeye and run with the group up there.  Since Valentines day is around the corner,  I wanted to make cookies for after the run.. so VEGAN sugar cookies it is!  I have made this recipe 5 times over the last year for different events, and this is my new favorite thing.   These turn out perfect,  taste amazing,  the dough is EASY to work with,  and start to finish I can knock these out in a little over an hour.    Aren't they cute?

And yes.. I have already eaten several.. so I need to get them out of the house!  I will deliver them to Buckeye today,  in case I'm not brave enough to run up that way tomorrow.  For some reason it's about 5 degrees colder in Mason than Blue Ash???

And another random note..I am a Converse shoe addict.. I don't know what it is about these dang things but I love them.  Here's the deal,  I wear a size 12 woman's shoe.  Given my shoe size and the size of my hands,  if I had been born a man,  let's just say I would be the envy of the locker room...  But I digress... As a person who wears size 12 women's shoes.. my options are pretty limited most of the time.   I can spend a hundred bucks and find cute flattering shoes,and I do stalk Nordstrom Rack,   but for cheap shoes I pretty much have Payless as my only outlet.  Enter Converse.. almost all of their shoes are uni-sex,  and like Nike,  you can customize your shoes and make a pair that no one else has.  Every time I wear one of my 5 pairs of Converse,  to work.. with dress pants mind you... I get complements..

So 2 years ago,  Converse came out with a line of Dr. Seuess shoes.  I didn't find out about this until a year later,  and sizes were limited...I found the cutest pair for my new nephew.. but I couldn't find the ones I wanted in my size.. Until last week!    Now I can't wait until next December, when I am pretty much going to be wearing these for one whole month...  ta da!    

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Row, Row, Row Your Boat (WOW #3)

So after ballet class and pilates, mom and I decided we would try a new fitness class offered by the Cincinnati Rowing Club.  Billed as a low impact cross-training class, we went in with a little familiarity with rowing machines having used them for warm-ups during cardio workouts. 

The gym itself is a pretty low key building.  It shares the space with an Irish dancing company and when we entered were greeted by the site of 10 year olds jigging like crazy.  The No Limits Rowing class is a combination of rowing drills, weight training, and core work and we started with a short warm-up followed by intervals of weight lifting and then rowing.  This was overall a pretty good workout.  As total newbies the instructor did give us some minor corrections in regards to form which really helped in getting a smoother pull and release.  I kept waiting for the sound of a drum and a little skinny pirate guy with a whip to come out and yell "row ye bastards."  Alas no such luck.  

By the end of the hour our shoulders were burning and I'm sure if we kept up with the class we would start looking like these guys....

All in all a good workout and definitely something different than our usual running routine.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Workout of the Week (WOW) #2 and Resolution Run

Well its a new year and these two bloggers were definitely ready to bid 2011 goodbye.  Aside from some great goals that we accomplished on the fitness front, our personal and family lives have been less than stellar.  So like many others out there we both are hoping that 2012 is a better year for everyone!  But before the ball dropped I coned mom and sister into joining me for round two of new fitness classes and we went to a local workout studio called Pure Barre.  This place provides Barre classes which according to the website is a technique designed to "lift your seat, tone your thighs and burn fat in record-breaking time."  Using the ballet barre you perform small movements that are designed to work your whole body and build lean muscles.  They call this "intelligent exercise"  but all three of us felt pretty stupid at some point during the workout.  Luckily it was an early morning class and we were the only three participants.  Yet while we laughed at our inflexibility and weak core movements (must work on this!!) and sometimes flat out fell (okay that was just me) we all REALLY enjoyed the class. Angela our instructor was very patient and the workout was amazing.  Who knew that squeezing a small ball between your legs while doing squats and leg lifts would burn so much!!  We also all felt this class the next day further proving that Barre workouts are not BS.

However, once the calendar year flipped to 2012 it was back to running so the three of us hit a local running store Buckeye Running Company which was hosting a New Years Day brunch run.  Amanda over at Run to the Finish  had posted a virtual Resolution Run for the start of the year so I signed mom and I up for this and we headed out to Buckeye for a free breakfast and a quick 3 miles.  It was super windy with 40 mph gusts so the first mile which featured a slow uphill and was run right into the wind was our slowest.  Mile 2 we picked up some steam and really got moving for the rest of the run as the wind was at our backs and literally pushed us back to the store.  If you ever visit Cincinnati and need running apparel think of heading over to Buckeye.  Steve is the nicest store manager and really caters to runners needs!!  Bagels, muffins, fresh fruit, mimosas, red wine, and more greeted us once we got inside so between drinking and shopping we had a great New Years morning.  Hope everyone else enjoyed their holidays and had a wonderful New Years....our journey continues in 2012!