Back In Business–A Playlist To Beat Laziness

I almost gave in to laziness and fear and sleepiness and ridiculousness this morning–but I didn’t.  Ladies and gentleman, I went for my first post-Buffalo Trinidad run!  And to celebrate the occasion, there’s a new playlist involved…

When the alarm went off at 5:45, I was all “Hells no.”  I hit snooze.  When it went off again, I hit snooze, wanted to cry at the prospect of leaving my cozy bed, and negotiated with my half-asleep self that I’d run in the afternoon instead.  When it went off the third time, I decided I was not going to feel any better about this first run back in Heat Central, shook off my ridiculousness, and went out for the damn three-mile run.

One word for it:  amazing.

I thought the heat would be unbearable, as it was when I left in May, and I was concerned that the sun would be a bit much for my late-ish start.  No such thing.  It was sunny but not frying weather, there was a breeze (which was actually cool!), and the mosquitoes weren’t nearly as nippy as I expected them to be.  I broke a sweat before I was even breathing heavily and was practically exuding a river as I ran, but it actually felt great to sweat so quickly; it was like running in my own personal shower bubble.

So yes, I had to sacrifice about twenty seconds per mile of speed compared to my Buffalo times, but it didn’t matter in the least.  It was too awesome of a run for me to care.

And did I mention the scenery?  It was breathtaking on my route, now that the rain has pounded the island and greened up the mountains and trees and bushes, and I could smell all kinds of seasonal flowers all along the way.  It was as idyllic as running in Trinidad gets.  This picture is not of the route, but you get the idea:

Those are the mountains I see on my morning run

Misty gingers of the kind I see on my morning runs

So, in honor of today’s awesome run, I’ll give you my Guaranteed Laziness-Busting Playlist, which is sure to generate big-time badassery at even the ungodliest hour of the morning:

  • Rihanna–Hard
  • Bajah and the Dry-Eye Crew–Laba Laba
  • MIA–Stepping Up (*her entire new album kicks and thumps, I can’t recommend it enough)
  • Mapei–Public Enemy
  • Anjalie–Boom
  • DJ Waxfiend/Busy Signal–Sound of Sirens
  • Lazerproof–Tigerlily
  • Lady Gaga–Dance In The Dark
  • MIA–Born Free
  • Bajah and the Dry-Eye Crew–Bondo Kallay
  • Thunderheist–Jerk It

There’s no way you’ll be able to sit still through this mix, I promise.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

The Cheapskate Product Review: Old Navy Tanks and Target Shorts

Important message:  In all my cycling frenzy of the past few weeks, I may not have noted that I’ve kept running (and Zumba-ing).  Let it be noted that I’ve run (less on days that I’ve cycled hard, more on the others) and I’ve Zumba’d.

Having run and Zumba’d, I’ve also had the wonderful opportunity to test out new gear for such undertakings.  And, so intent was I in ensuring total honesty in these two product reviews, that I enlisted the help of my “good friend”–can we call her Lola?–for an even more frank review of one of the products.

Now, a little info on Lola:

She is exactly the same as me in height, weight, and build.  She runs every single run with me and shakes her booty at every single Zumba class.  She actually has the same voice as me and thinks the same thoughts–how uncanny! We look the same, have the same birthday and horrendous eyesight, are both terrified of snakes, and have husbands with the same name. Sometimes, just sometimes, an innocent observer might possibly be deceived into thinking that we are, in fact, the same person.

Rest assured:  Let me tell you that we’re not.   Because she talks about stuff that would make me raise my eyebrows and blush.  Lola will tell it like it is, talk about icky stuff that I couldn’t bear to even think about, and put aside her classiness for blunt sassiness (and assy-ness)–all for your sake, dear reader.

So we did rock, paper, scissors to see which of us would test which product.  It took a while to get it right (being pretty much the same person, we do, after all, make the same exact moves as each other every single time, which makes for a VERY long match of rock, paper, scissors), but in the end it was decided that I would review the top and she would review the shorts.

Since she’s extremely camera-averse, I modeled both for us:

Onto the top, then!  I bought this running top from Old Navy a few weeks ago when it was on sale for $4.99–with shipping for two shirts, each one came to about $6.00, which is–cha-ching!–a bargain for a technical-material top.  When they arrived, I ripped open the package, beamed at the look of them, and took in the pleasant aroma of synthetic sweat-proofing.  Ahhhh….. I then proceeded to wear the top on a run.  Here’s the lowdown.

The pros:

  • I love how it looks and fits.  I’m not into baggy anything, much less in exercise clothes, so the snug fit was very much appreciated.  I felt all sleek and full of the running business.
  • I think the print rocks.  You may have noticed that I love me some crazyprint.  And if that crazyprint should be educational to little children (or keep them away from me as I run, as well they should), then my work in this world is done.
  • I felt as dry as a lizard crossing the Sahara for the whole three-mile run (on a nice, breezy, 70 F afternoon) AND for the subsequent Zumba test (in the still, warm, who-knows-how-hot YMCA studio).

The cons:

  • The length is really nice.  However, that same nice length conspired with the snug fit to ride up as I ran, despite the fact that it wasn’t small on me.  It’s something that happens to me a lot, as it must to other girls whose hips are THATWIDE compared to their waists, but it was still annoying.  Then again, I was trying to hide my Spibelt underneath it, and that may have been a factor in the whole ride-up business.  Either way, it detracted from the run, especially from the whole people-watching and looking-before-crossing-busy-intersections aspect of it.  When I wore it to Zumba, it stayed in place a bit better.  Maybe it just doesn’t get along with the Spibelt?  Shame.
  • It has a built-in bra.  I seriously despise built-in bras.  Come on, manufacturers!  It doesn’t matter if we have A cups or DD cups:  we should ALL be wearing sports bras while we exercise.  After all, what is the point of having sick thighs if our bosoms hang nice and close to them?  Not only do I hate that built-in bras encourage women to sport inadequate support, I hate that it provides an extra layer of fabric.  My bulletproof sports bra has enough layers of fabric as it is for me to need more material to sweat on, thanks.  So I may be doing some scissor surgery on that.

Overall, I give the Old Navy running tops four out of five coconuts (one being “rag-worthy,”  five being “I wish I were Paula Radcliffe so I could wear this ALL the time without being a dork.”)

I wore the shorts, too, but I’ll leave it to Lola for the review of the Target bermuda workout shorts, which we both snagged for $14.99. (Separately, duh.  We wouldn’t share running shorts.)

The pros:

  • They look sexy, she says, like she stole a hot golfer’s shorts and nipped them in to make them fit her.  The length is perfect on a shorty like her, and she appreciates that they let her knees stay cooler than her capri-length running pants do.
  • They are very, very soft.  She noted that she wishes her pajamas were made of such soft–yet strong–material, though of course she would not actually sleep in these shorts, EVER.  We both agree that workout wear is for workouts only, for us–that, and the occasional watering of the lawn or collecting of mail, but only if no one else is around.  (She knows that neither of us is Paula Radcliffe–and feels the same as I do about such things!)
  • She said they kept her as dry as an armadillo crossing the Mojave.  Seriously, seriously dry during her run and Zumba (in the same conditions as my run and Zumba, of course).  So dry she could have taken them off and used them to swaddle a squeaky-clean baby–0r a prized pet puppy.

The cons:

  • They look less sexy when worn with a knee sleeve, like she does (and as I do too).  She thinks it draws attention to her knee, makes people think she’s gimpy, and draws their attention to her knee when she’d much rather they direct her attention to her toned booty (she’s rather vain, I know.)
  • They’re entirely black.  She looked online for the link to provide for y’all and saw that they were available with nifty colored waistbands and almost broke her foot when she stomped on the ground in frustration.  What can I say?  She too loves the bright colors and prints, like me.
  • She was rather disconcerted at some, er, unflattering business that the shorts created in the booty and nether regions as she ran.   They fit fine around the waist and hip and rear, yet they still managed to ride up in an unseemly fashion, despite being seemingly seamed to prevent such ridings-up.  Basically, she was distraught at the fact that she may not have kept her hoo-ha to herself during her run on a very busy street at a very busy time, and that there was no place to discreetly rectify the problem, since the shorts are so snug that it would have been VERY obvious–not to mention difficult–to prise the shorts from the affected regions without being questioned by police for indecent behavior. ( I’m not sure what she’s referring to.  I have no knowledge of such issues.  I just take her word for it, not that it could possibly ever happen to me.  They were fine for Zumba, mostly, not that I’d ever tell y’all of such problems.)  She thinks the problem may have been a matter of the Spibelt and shorts not being compatible, and I might have to agree with her.

Overall, Lola gave the shorts three coconuts out of five. It’s probably a generous score, but she thinks that the pros outweigh the cons and doesn’t mind risking a bit of feminine indiscretion.  Mostly, she hopes the seams will stretch a bit in a wearing or two so that the three coconuts can be based on comfort as well as on looks. I hope it works out because I know that deep down, she truly does value her modesty.  (As do I.  Duh.)

_______

See?  Lola and I will try anything to help you out in your sporting pursuits!  We just need to convince her to show her face on the blog–just don’t hold your breath on that one.  She might tell you about her hoo-ha, but she’s otherwise quite shy…

Food Pilgrimages: The Bulk Shopping Excursion

Remember when I went on a wild goose chase for real oatmeal last month?  Today, I went on another pilgrimage, braving traffic and rastas selling all manner of cheap goods on the highway, straight across the island and out west…

This time, to Pricesmart.  Because today was ALL about the canned tomatoes.

Let’s back it up for some context, shall we?

Though my student days are over, my cheap budget days never will be.  I used to be motivated to penny-pinch by shoe lust; now, it’s fabric-mania and Target trip lust that keeps me and my wallet on our toes.  So, when I moved to Trindiad, I was more than ready to do as I had done everywhere else, and shop in a few different places to make sure I got all my deals.

In Trinidad, that means:

  • Sunday farmer’s market (at least twice a month):  for 90% of my veggies, plus fruit
  • Dodgy roadside veggie man:  for mid-week vegetable top-ups or for full veggie shopping on weeks when I’m too tired/lazy/hungover to get up early on a Sunday
  • Supermarket: for basic dry goods, eggs, etcetera once a week (if I’m organized).  I vary between two:  one has lower prices and frozen spinach/berries and HUGE lines to park the car, get through the damn store, and pay, plus I always seem to catch them on Very Surly Cashier Day.  The other one is closer to home and I don’t usually have to wait for a parking spot, but it has terrible selection and lots of freezer-burned items; also, they really hate packing my stuff into reusable bags (but get most surly if I try to pack them into the damn bags myself.

And then…. There’s Pricesmart.

The first time I went with The Most Fabulous S, it was love at first sight.  How could I have lived without a 10-lb. can of corn before?  And how did no one tell me that the way to buy beer, toilet paper, and deodorant was by the dozen? Oh, be still my heart.  We walked out of there like we’d just seen the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus all rolled into one and they’d commanded us to shop till the back of the car dropped.

However, after subsequent visits, I realized that buying my vanilla creamer in liters was not exactly cost-conscious, unless I planned on drinking it straight up with every meal before it went off (or didn’t mind using three-month-old creamer, beating the lumps out, and risking food poisoning in the process).  Nor was buying 25 apples that went mushy AFTER I ate them raw/in oatmeal/in cobblers/in muffins/in my sleep.  And the corn?  Let’s just say that a ten-pound can (or ten one-pound cans) were actually the same price as buying (cue gasp) ten one-pound cans at Freezerburnmarket.

WHAT?

Yes, my friends, I was a victim of the Blind Bulk Buy Syndrome.  EVERYTHING seems like a deal when it’s in army-feeding size—but it not always is.

Since then, I taken a very good look at what I buy in bulk by weighing the cost difference between the bulk and smaller packages and by asking myself if, really and truly, it’s worth plunking a big amount of money down for a product I may not use all that much or really even need.  I’ve finessed my cheap-girl, bulk-buying habits to a beautiful, artful science and I even did enough math to make my head spin and reach for a whiskey to show you!  I’ve listed TT amounts; if you’re curious about how much that is in USD,  just divide the TT amount by six.

  • Canned tomatoes (10 14-oz cans for 56 TT=7 TT a can, as opposed to 11 TT a can at the supermarket.  That’s a whole 54 TT less at Pricesmart.  54 TT gets me enough fabric for a skirt—a very nice one.
  • Pasta:  32 TT for four boxes of any pasta, or 8 TT per box.  Much better than 13 TT per box at the supermarket.  Twenty TT gets me enough phone credit for a month (I don’t talk much, granted) or two lovely, bright n’ garish nail polish bottles.
  • Olive oil:  A gallon goes for about 120 TT.  A half gallon goes for that much at the supermarket.  120 TT gets me enough fabric for a shirtdress with a flouncy skirt, or a manicure (should I ever go back to the mean yet competent manicurist).
  • Shampoo:  same case as the olive oil.  I get twice as much of a good brand as I get of the paint-stripping cheap kind I (admittedly) buy otherwise. I told you, I’m CHEAP.
  • Cranberries:  Same as olive oil and shampoo.
  • Oatmeal:  OMG, I hit the holy grail today!  Steelcut oats, in flood-protecting-sandbag size, was finally found.  The price doesn’t even matter.  I’d give away my future firstborn (and my favorite red wooden platform sandals, the ones I can barely walk in but still kiss each day) to have non-mush oatmeal again.

All in all, I went in with the definitive list and came out with a few extra great deals (did I mention wine?  Decent wine for the price of the grape juice fermented in a microwave that passes for wine at the supermarket?  Yeah, I got wine!).   Best of all—I didn’t make the back of the car drag down low:

The Most Fabulous S would be proud indeed.

_____________

In other happenings around here:

I had a pretty good 4-mile run!  I didn’t die, didn’t swallow any mosquitoes, and even ran into a few friends on the way.  Might this be a signal that 5 miles are coming soon?  And should I just keep that to myself so I don’t set myself up for embarrassment when I make it into the local papers for fainting/biting a dog/drinking out of the rain gutters from run-induced desperation and mania?  Oops.  Y’all know how I can’t keep these things to myself… So yes, expect me to log five miles soon.  (Just don’t expect me to live and tell the tale).

I tried my hardest not to look like a West Moorings housewife (read: expat white, filthy rich, deathly bored) by going channeling Puerto Rican charm (I hope) in a ruffly and booty-hugging getup today:

Blouse Kohl's, jeans Old Navy, shoes Target, earrings from street vendor in Salamanca, Spain

And I reveled in the freedom of working from home by making muffins this morning—apple and dried cranberry, full of (quick) oaty goodness:

Muffins plus mango. Plus dog--Umbi ALWAYS has eyes for breakfast.

So what if I forgot the sugar?  I gave them the slightest swipe of maple butter and that was more than enough.  It goes to show that most recipes call for WAY too much sugar (for my taste, anyway).

And, for the grand Cinco de Mayo dinner, an old favorite came out:  Drunken Bean Tamale Pie!

Carib beer isn't Corona, but it'll more than do...

So tasty.  It’s been too long, my old friend.

How do you food shop?  How do you determine what’s worth getting in bulk/paying more for/traipsing halfway across the city/state/island to get?

Big News!

Oh my dear peeps, I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.  But it’s now official…. I’m a Hollaback Health blogger!

When I first came across Hollaback Health (from Rachel’s blog, I was most really impressed that a group of bloggers–and some of my favorite ones–were getting together to talk about how to improve health blogs and be better bloggers. I really wanted to join from day one, but I  honestly wasn’t sure I fit the “health blogger” profile.  I mean, I write about my workouts and my recipes, but beyond that, I don’t do the information posts that these ladies do so well, nor do I think of myself as a “health blogger” per se   I haven’t come across any other health bloggers that wax rhapsodically about a blouse turning out or the wonders of their new pins.

However, after following HBH for a few weeks, I came across a post that generated quite a stir, in which Elisabeth (one of the Hollaback bloggers) spoke out about feeling different from other health bloggers. The post launched a bazillion comments and started what became, ultimately, a really valuable discussion on how bloggers perceive the blogosphere and their place in it.  And wouldn’t you know, but most of the numerous comments it generated were along the lines of  “I feel different from others too” and “I’m glad I’m not the only one to feel this way.”

Without going into my own response to the post (which I commented on in the post itself),  Elisabeth‘s HBH post made me realize that I wanted to be a part of HBH for sho’,  and that the fact that I don’t write only about health issues doesn’t make me any less of a health blogger.  In the end, I run and I swim, I do pilates and the occasional Core Fusion workout, I eat new foods and I’m concerned about what I eat and how I feel after eating it (goodbye, pastries, don’t need the bloat you give me), because I want to be healthy and feel great and live to a ripe old sassy age of 100.  And the legs/stomach/muscle tone that I get from healthy pursuits and living definitely keep me motivated to sew and dress well and generally show off what I’ve worked so hard to achieve.

I also know what I like about blogs and what will keep me reading one (and going back to read the blogger’s entire archive), and I want to improve what I put out for y’all to read.  On top of that, I think a Puerto Rican girl with a big booty and a full passport could add to the discussions that HBH generates and provide yet another different perspective to the already multidimensional, diverse, and intelligent group of ladies on the blog.  And, finally, I want to be forced into looking at how I’m blogging and how I can make it better–for me, true, but mostly for YOU.

So I took the plunge, asked about joining the blog, bounced some ideas around… and the rest is history.

Don’t worry, I’ll still write up a storm, and write about the stuff that keeps my typing fingers tapping.  I just hope to make it better and engage with you, and with the rest of the blog world, in different ways.

_______

As for minding my p’s and q’s today, I had a short morning run (2 miles) and a wonderful 40-minute lunchtime swim, plus I threw in a 10-minute Core Fusion arms workout, in which I admit to doing some swearing and, um,ladygrunting during the last bit of tricep work.  If this doesn’t get me Michelle Obama arms, I don’t know what will.

I wore real clothes again (so what if I did it because the water pump repairman was coming?):

Skirt by me, anonymous tank top, Target shoes, Most Fabulous S-given necklace

And ate some pretty tasty meals, such as a lunch egg wrap with spicy BBQ sauce:

And coconut curried rice noodles with bok choi, green beans, carrots, onions, and plenty pepper sauce:

This week is shaping up to be one of the best food weeks ever!  Stay tuned for some (hopefully great) Cinco de Mayo eats tomorrow…

An Open Letter To My Nike+

Dear Nike+,

First of all, I’m sorry I haven’t named you yet, though I do call you a million different things (like, “c,mon, dogball licker, tell me it’s been four miles already!”–not that you’d call that a name or anything).  My bad.  I’m sure we can find a suitable name together.

On to the business.

Since we first joined forces in December, we’ve been inseparable.  You arrived, fit right into my green ipod and told me to send Google Maps packing.  Thanks to you, I know when I’m being fast (for me, which is seldom) and when I’m being slower than a turtle dragging a trailer (which, lately, feels like always).  You’ve reassured me through 112.5 miles since January.  As in, wow!  I’d never know that if it wasn’t for you.

You have been so cool I defended you to all the doubters (ie Husband) who wee jealous of my attachment to a tiny bit of plastic.  Had I not heard “halfway point” in your suave, debonair voice, I would’ve been tempted to desist on quite a few runs and just walked the 1/4 mile between said point and home.  I’d never know that my current, normal, not-dying-but-still-feelin’-it pace is 9:50 min/mile, nor would I have the ability to track each and every walk break, whether mean-dog related or not.

However, I think we need to take a hiatus.  When I’m a bit tired and dragging–yet still drag my unfabulousness out for a run–and finish a run that was OK but not AMAZING, I get discouraged when I look at my stats, which you so kindly provide in hairsplitting detail.  I don’t really want to know that, at the exact moment I was contemplating throwing myself into the gutter for the promise of cool (or plain old wet) water, I was clocking a 10:10 mile.  I’m not sure how I feel about you knowing that my pace has gone down a smidge (10 seconds, which feels like an age and a half) in the last three weeks while I adjust to thumping heat and running four miles, and I really wish you wouldn’t tell me.

In short:  I’ve worked hard (as in, I’ve worked a third of my ass off) and I will continue to do so, and I don’t need to be discouraged by you tracking each and every stat so I can obsess over seconds lost and gained.  I don’t kneed to compare myself to times that others set, and I mostly don’t.  But I also don’t need to compare myself to times I set when the temperature or humidity were lower, or my hamstring didn’t pinch, or when I was trying to go faster before I was ready (and injuring myself in the process), or when I was running from weird ogling gardeners and their staring eyes.

It’s not you, it’s me.  It really is.  (Ok, it is you a little bit–seriously, you had Lance Armstrong congratulating me on my longest run after a three-miler a week ago?  Inattentive.  But whatever.)

So how about we just see each other less?  Maybe twice a week is enough for us.  I think I can use some quality one-on-one time with the iPod (and let’s not get into how you won’t let me listen to the radio–we can discuss your exclusivity another day), and you can certainly use more sleep.  Plus I know you’re embarrassed to be seen with me and the Clico hat and secretly think I look like a knobhead with it–which I do, I’ll admit it, but sweat and glare gets in my eyes and, as you have no eyes, you wouldn’t understand.

Don’t cry!  Don’t beep!  This reduced-outing schedule need not be final!  If I can manage to stop obsessing over my stats after Friday’s run, you know that on Monday we’ll be cool as ever, chillin’ like villains down the road, and as meant to be for one another as we always have been.  But if not, please let me deal with the mathematics obsession on my own until I’m not going fractious over fractions.  I promise I’ll come back to you–after all, you ARE my first and only pacekeeper.

Plenty love,

Me

PS–I’m sorry a 5k 31:32 time, 10:03 min/mile pace this morning had to kick off these proceedings.  It’s been a long time coming, but hopefully it’ll be a short time going (and don’t laugh at that pitiful quip–you know you’re not any wittier than I am.)

____________

Signed. Sealed. Delivered.  Moving on.

In keeping with the goal of wearing self-made every day until I quit my day popstand, I threw on this dress this morning:

Multi-tasking--modeling, clearing backyard debris, and enjoying pizza crust afternoon snack

I made this dress a year and a half ago and I’ve been thinking about taking in the sides and amending it to fit better, but I don’t think my sisters would approve if I brought it home and they couldn’t wear it (I have the narrowest ribcage and shoulders of the four of us).  So it remains a bit off.  Then again, I am a serious overfitter when it comes to sewing, so I should just let it be.

As for the day’s culinary delights, let’s just say that a nice homemade dinner was trumped by coming home to no water coming out of the faucets, turning on the water pump, and hearing awful grinding sounds (still with no water coming out of the faucets).  I guess I had been secretly hankering after Chinese, so it could have been a blessing in disguise?  Either way, I’ll take it–and eat it fast, as I finished Core Fusion pilates and arms and a twenty minute pilates youtube session to the sounds of growling hungry stomach:

Chinese gingery and garlic vegetables, vegetable fried rice, black bean fish--all fresh and delightful

Please cross your fingers that I have water tomorrow and that I can get over the running stat issue.  Do you ever feel like running gadgets do you more harm than good?  If you have a Garmin/Nike+/heart rate monitor, do you use them each time you work out?

Gadgetry Discoveries: In Which I Slap My Forehead and Go “Duh”

I tentatively planned a run for today in hopes that my bruised and scraped toe would be kosher for it after a day off yesterday.  I plastered it with Band-Aids, gingerly put my socks on, and crossed my fingers before taking a step.  All signs were go!  So go I did.

Now, I realized after the last few runs that I could get more accurate mile splits with my heart rate monitor watch’s chronometer function than I could with Nike+, which gives me a good average pace whenever I press the info button but not a mile-by-mile breakdown.  I don’t know why I think it’s more important to know this now that the usual run is four miles as opposed to before, when it was three miles.  I suppose it’s mainly because I want even more numeric proof of my mile-four suffering  (which I suspect is all in my head and not in my mile splits–but that’s another story).

So off I went.  I tapped the chrono function button at the beginning of each mile–so glad I remembered!–and proceeded to sweat it out in the most uncomfortably hot, glaringly sunny run I’ve had since my arch-nemesis Newsday 5K race back in September.  Holy hell.  I was sweating before I had even closed my gate and stuffed the extra water bottle in my mailbox, and no wonder–instead of the usual balmy 80F,  it was already close to 90F at 6:30.  Yikes.

I sped up in the first half of the run because I was desperate to get out of the sun and then worried that this would make me run out of steam by mile 3, but I took my chances and took a few extra walk breaks, trudging on.  As I was nearing the end of mile three, I realized that I was near the house and my fresh bottle of water, and decided that, if I picked it up, I’d make myself do the last mile.  Maybe it was masochist–ok, it definitely was–but it kept me going, and despite a few short walk breaks, I finished the four miles in 40 minutes.

I was a bit stumped when I saw my time.  I mean, 40:49?  That’s my usual time with minimal walk breaks, and I’d taken quite a few more than I usually did, especially at the last mile.  Um, what was this about?

Thankfully, my heart rate monitor came to the rescue!  I checked my mile splits and saw this:

Mile 1:  9:35

Mile 2:  10:08

Mile 3: 9:59

Mile 4: 11:59 (pleeeenty walk breaks, due to heat and to mean evil dogs spotted)

Which makes perfect sense!  Not only that, but there was a  tiny little number hovering above the mile split number, and guess what it was?  My average heart rate for that split!  And for the entire run!  And the heart rate high!  And the heart rate low!

Yes.  This is why normal people get heart rate monitors.  This is how normal people use their heart rate monitors after reading the manual.  This is clearly something I just haven’t gotten down with–particularly shocking given my exercise-stat obsession interest.

Oh, Heart Rate Monitor Watch, you are once again so fresh with possibilities!  Whatever else might you wondrously do for me?  I’ll be making your instructions my bedtime reading, just to find out.

____________

On this roastingest of roasty days, I boiled in my own skin wearing this at work:

Top from Kohl's, cardigan New Look, skirt H and M, shoes Target

Neckline detail--stripes AND polka dots!

And then boiled in my own skin in this when I got home:

Old Navy shorts and flip-flops, T-shirt from Amy's place, an old Buffalo restaurant fave

Please eat at Amy's Place (see address)! And suppor them by buying their shirts! (T-shirt neckline cutting optional)

Since I was already a sweaty hot mess, I figured I might as well keep being one and made a wok-firing dinner tonight:  Korean bibimbap (rice with tons of veggie fixings and a zesty sauce).  I put the rice on and it happily cooked while I got my ingredients out and my chop on:

3/4 contents of my fridge, at the ready...

Bodhi, or long green beans...

Then I got my fire on (literally and figuratively):

Then I got my hungry sweaty eat on:

Bowlful of happiness, Korean-style

The whole concoction had, in the end, green beans, carrots, bok choi, mushrooms, a fried egg, and Korean marinated beef, plus kimchi and a spicy sauce with gochujang paste substitute and sesame oil.  I made this once before and it took forever, but this time it was a snap.  Maybe it was because I was happy that I wasn’t the only one charring around the edges?

As for other food goodness had today, I had a veggielicious lunch of homemade broccoli soup, whole wheat roll, and carrot and cucumber batons:

Plus a marshmallow Peep–me eating that bunny would make my dad super proud:

The lunch scored 90/100–had I remembered to pack a little pat of butter for the roll, it would have gotten a 100.  Oh well–that just means I have to have it again soon, doesn’t it?  Indeed.

Swim + run + life = exhaustion.  I’m going to catch up with my sheep now.

Fitness Firsts: In Which My Core Gets Fused

Ridiculous but true:  one of the main reasons I exercise is so that I can look all tough and hardcore to others.

That includes the adequately fit but non-athletic husband.  I love few things more than coming in from a morning run and shaking sweat off like a dog shakes after a bath, lunging around to show off what a badass I am for running, and reveling in the occasional lady grunt or breath-catching dramatics.  Some days, when I feel wimpy, I just imagine how athletically crazyfit me and my tomato-face must seem to the non-sweaty onlooker and that can be enough to make me feel better about any over-10 minute miles or other such perceived wimpery.

Last week I was getting a bit down on myself for not doing enough strength training.  Though strength training doesn’t create the rivers of sweat that I love to lord over the Husband, it does give me that “frenzied muscle machine” feeling, and it looks pretty impressive to the houseful of sweet Chinese neighbors who sit out eating chicken wings while I do all kinds of planks and leg lifts.  However, I have gotten a bit lax in the strength training department since the post-Christmas knee glitch, when I cut out any moves that would basically move my knee, and even though my knee is (knock on wood, please!) 100% fine now, I’ve kinda lost the habit.

Now, I know my shape and genetics and have resigned myself to accepting a jiggle quotient.  I mean, were I to get a rock-hard booty, I would find it difficult to walk from the cumbersome size of the boulders behind me.  But I still want a bit more definition–and, more importantly, I do NOT want to get injured.

Long preamble short:

I tried YouTube Core Fusion today.

Mind you, I’d rather eat a handful of worms in soap soup than do an exercise video, as a general rule.  I hate the studio settings, the lame music, the panning camerawork, the fake smiles of every exercise video I’ve seen.  I hate the cheeriness and gentle zen-like composure of the demonstrators/gurus, and I hate being asked to feel my energy and such nonsense.  If my leg has been pointing to the ceiling for over a minute and my butt is shaking like flan being wiggled out of the pan, the last thing I want to hear is a reminder to feel the muscle working–bitch, I KNOW it’s working, and it’s about to stop so I can turn the damn DVD off and send you off to oblivion.  If presenters must speak, I’d rather they barked and told me to feel my pain/burn.  No surprise coming from a woman who has pulled on a dentist’s tie during dental procedures;  stuff hurts and I just want to keep it real, y’all.

However, I decided to put all my deeply-rooted and ridiculous misgivings aside and try the Core Fusion because everyone is agog about it and, most importantly, plenty of 10-minute segments are available on YouTube.  Perfect!  I could  watch once, sketch out stick figures of each move, and do them independently without ever having to watch the stupid Good Chi People and their impossible abs ever again.

As I had no clue what kind of fool I’d look like doing goodness-knows-what moves,  I took over the office, closed the door, and then resigned myself to exercise video hell.  Because, you know, I have an image to keep up.

Safely locked away, I started with Core Fusion Pilates Plus, then did Body Sculpt and ended with a short Ab-Sculpt exercise (2:13 minutes of it was all youtube had for me today).

The lowdown:

I did not die.

I also did not fling the computer across the room, though I did give the instructors the finger whenever they talked about how good it felt to feel your muscles work, nor did I start laughing at the cheesiness of the video and turn the thing off.

I was not totally feeling the Pilates Plus at the beginning because I’m like a coddling mother towards my knees and didn’t appreciate the kneel-and-lean-back business, but the donkey-kick-like exercises were good, and I most definitely felt them working.

I really liked the ab exercise I found, and my arms “got got,” in Wire-speak, by the arm segment; they got got so good, in fact, that swimming might be a challenge tomorrow.

As for my legs and soon-to-be-boulder-ass, I’m sure I’ll be groaning delicately as I get up from chairs tomorrow, but I felt that way already after today’s 4-miler, so we’ll see.

The verdict:

All in all, the Core Fusion gets a B in my book.  Combined with a most excellent four mile run this morning–where I not only didn’t die, but sang to my music during the last mile!–I think my muscles are going to wonder why I decided to pay them any attention and wish I’d left them alone.  After all, it’s not like they get much attention in dresses like today’s, where they can safely hide:

Made by yours truly about a year and a half ago

Then again, what do those lazy muscles don’t know about belts and shorter hemlines? [Cue evil laugh].