Monthly Archives: January 2013

Locker Room Rules

My rules for being in any locker room. Anywhere, any time of day, any locker room.  I’ve had to revisit this list since I’ve started swimming once a week.  The pressure!!!

  • Wear some sort of flip flops.  My feet are important to me.  I don’t want to get fungus or give any.  I don’t think I have any but the point is, it’s a wet environment.
  • Don’t be self conscious.  We’re all women, we all have the same parts.  Yes, we do look at each other but not in a creepy or sexual way.  In my opinion it’s because 1) women are beautiful and unique and we’re curious about each other even if we don’t admit it; 2)  We’re looking at each other and critiquing ourselves.  Women are their own worst critics.  Seriously, we should get over it and just embrace who we are and work on the things we aren’t as happy with.
  • Pretty panties are a must.  I love the whole bra and panty, lacy, pretty, make you feel good to have it on under your clothes even if no one else knows it’s there.  Love it.  I feel pretty and sexy knowing what’s on UNDER what’s on.  In the locker room everyone DOES know what’s on under.  Similar to being in an accident in dirty underwear maybe????  You’re in the gym to look better, so wear pretty under things.  Trust me, it makes a difference.
  • Keep your area cleaned up.  We all have stuff.  Those of you that take over an entire section of the locker room aren’t “sorry” – if you were sorry you’d pick up a little or take up less space.  It’s called sharing.
  • Say hello, strike up conversation, ask questions.  A lady asked me the other day if I was training for a triathlon.  Maybe.  She was my moms age and told me of her experiences doing them and strongly encouraged me.  It was wonderful.  I enjoyed her insight and experience.  Yes, we chatted in our underwear about triathlons.  Do it.  You never know what you could learn.
  • If you see someone new that looks clueless like I still do – hey I just realized they provide shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the showers but have no idea where the towels are so I bring my own.  Yes, really.  For someone so outgoing I haven’t asked anyone yet.  I just keep bringing my own

I’m sure there are more rules and regs for the locker room, but that about covers it.  We’re in this fitness thing together so be kind, courteous and helpful

 

Healthy Eating

I very rarely post pictures of food. I know most running or fitness bloggers do but I’m not sure why. Personal accountability?? To show healthy eating?? I don’t show pictures because I don’t like looking at them. Unless I’m following a recipe, I just don’t really enjoy looking at a plate with what you ate last night.  I’m an oddity in that I have no food issues.  I’ve never eaten due to a mood – anger, depression, etc…  I’ve never gained a lot of weight or fought to keep my weight down.  This isn’t a conversation I bring up – I know I’m the exception to the rule.  All I know is that we all face personal trials and food isn’t one of mine.  I eat because I need to eat and I thoroughly enjoy good food.  That’s pretty much it.  I’ve been told I’m “lucky” but I firmly believe that if we all walked out on the street, lined up and showed what our personal struggles are, we wouldn’t trade with anyone.  We’re all just unique in our battles.  SO, I’m attempting (by request) to showcase some recipes.  If I get really wild and crazy I might have a link on here just for recipes…..  Don’t get excited.

There are some traditions food wise that my kids have grown up with.  Here are a few:  We have pizza and soda night about twice a month.  My son Taylor who is now 14 used to burp all the time.  I would tell him it wasn’t an appropriate time to burp in public, at the dinner table, etc…  One day when he was about 6 he looked at me and said, “When IS the appropriate time to burp?”.  Man these kids are smart!!  So I declared pizza and soda night a burping free for all.  We compete now and sadly, I’m not usually the winner anymore…..  It’s not BAD to indulge in unhealthy food and we always have – in moderation.  When you’re raised like my kids were with predominantly healthy food, maintaining a healthy diet is just part of your lifestyle.  Other traditions:  I bake all their birthday cakes.  Almost every single one.  My older kids sometimes bake them and a couple were store bought, but 99% were made from scratch.  I cook most of our food from scratch actually so the kids have grown up in the kitchen with me (many times driving me a little crazy, but “helping” none the less).  Now they take turns cooking and some of them have a forte.

Gabrielle likes to cook muffins.  Surprise muffins to be exact.  She makes them regularly and they’re never around for long.  She got a wild hair to improvise the recipe – I love when they get creative – and tried it yesterday.  Instead of jam in the center, she used dark chocolate chips.  Delicious.  Next up???  Peanut butter!!

Great book for kiddos in the kitchen.  My kids like having their own books to cook from and the recipes are easy

Great book for kiddos in the kitchen. My kids like having their own books to cook from and the recipes are easy

The recipe

The recipe

Gabi pulling her special muffins out of the oven

Gabi pulling her special muffins out of the oven

Showing off her new creation which were amazing!!

Showing off her new creation which were amazing!!

YOU WANT A PIECE OF THIS???!!!

YOU WANT A PIECE OF THIS???!!!  And yes, it’s a picture of food….

Digging Deeper

Last night I met my teammates and coach(es) for a hill run. I know these hills now. Intimately. Painfully. At the end of the second one mile hill repeat, the faster members of my team were waiting to cheer us all on. My coach was positioned a little below the top of the hill. “Let’s go!!! Dig deeper!! What’s in your soul??!! Push it to the top!! Push, push, push!!!”  So I pushed, I dug and I was faster up the last of the hill.  As has happened many times in my life, this made me wonder:  “How much more do I have inside?  If I really dig, how much more could this be??”  Not just with running, or lifting weights, swimming or riding a bike.  In life, if we bared our soul and dug deeper, how much more could we be??

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9.5 miles later and seriously exhausted, the only thing I was contemplating was food consumption, a shower and a fire roaring in the fireplace.  That’s exactly how it went down.  Dinner with Chris, a long, hot shower and a lovely fire burning.  We cuddled on the couch and watched a show we had recorded until – as per my usual – I fell asleep.  I do keep in mind, however, that there’s more inside me that I have yet to release.  That I can dig deeper, I can be more.  Sometimes, you just need a little push.

Me, my shower head and my roaring fire!!!

Me, my shower head and my roaring fire!!!

Race Outfit Ideas….

Ideas for running costumes.  We’ve had a lot of them.  I like loose fitting tank tops the best, then t-shirts paired with my black basics.  Target and Walmart have shirts for every holiday, add matching socks (Scheels has the biggest selection I’ve found so far) and you’re good to go!!  Add Halloween items – hair clips, headbands, wings, etc… for an outfit that’s lightweight, not cumbersome to wear and festive!!!  Have fun with it!!

To Run Or Not To Run???

What a silly question!! Run, of course. Unless it’s 25* out with winds of over 27 mph…. I was planning on making this mornings short, slow run another training run with Kalley. I was excited about it. Then the wind woke me up this morning half an hour before my alarm was scheduled to go off.  I woke up disoriented, curled up in a ball for too long and cramping with my right sinus blocked….

Wake up!!!  I was not smiling when I heard the wind this morning....

Wake up!!! I was not smiling when I heard the wind this morning….  Geez, I’m looking not so sexy…..  Sure, we’re all really pretty until you see what we look like when we wake up!!!!

I always, always vacillate when it comes to weather.  I know for the most part, once I get out there I’ll be glad I went.  Really there are very few times I thought, “Well that was dumb!!” because it feels so great to just get out.  Every winter, however, there are a few missed runs due to weather and this morning was one of them.  It was only a 3 mile run at HR zone #2.  Not that those aren’t important, but if I miss it it’s easy to make it up.  The 14 milers, not so easy.

I used my time to do a strength workout in my living room.  Back, resistance bands, triceps, planks and squats.  Kalley was a really big helper…..  I finally fed her to keep her occupied so I could finish.  Strength training is not cuddle time.  I guess the point is – do something.  I elected not to brave the wind this morning – definitely not with a puppy, but also not on my own.  It’s never fun to switch gears – sometimes it’s a total bummer – but instead of giving in to the funk, do something!!  I don’t own a treadmill, didn’t end up riding the stationary bike but did get a workout in….  I know tonight when I meet my team, I’ll be there regardless of how awful the wind is so this morning it was no big deal to do something else.

You don't even have to look good to work out in your living room!!  Just get something done!!

You don’t even have to look good to work out in your living room!! Just get something done!!

Monday Motivation

I needed this today. I missed yesterdays run – and it was a long, tough one – due to icy roads. Several of us that have to drive missed it. It just throws off my game….. I like my game.

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I AM SO POPULAR!!!!!

This morning was supposed to be a 2 hour timed trial run. I was really looking forward to it in an excited/anxious kind of way. It’s a tough course but I always want to beat my time. HOWEVER, it snowed, it’s very windy and the roads aren’t good SO most of us can’t make it. I’m sitting on my couch, half dressed in running gear, ponytail ready and not able to go. Sad.

Whatdaya gonna do???  Hopefully take this sexy look out later!!!

Whatdaya gonna do??? Hopefully take this sexy look out later!!!

Now, for last night!!!  We were invited to two parties on the same night.  Honestly, for people that are mostly homebodies, what are the odds???  First up was our friend Kelly’s surprise party.  She just earned her black belt in Gracie Jujitsu.  She’s the first woman in history to EVER earn this through Gracie.  Anyone who follows UFC will completely understand the honor.  She trains many camps of UFC fighters, trains kids classes locally with a Gracie Academy as well as at Camie Cragg Fitness.  She’s just an amazing woman with the greatest energy and I just adore her.  It was so fun to surprise her – she laughed, she cried, she hugged.  A lot.  My pictures were awful but at least I got something!!!

Kelly at her surprise party!!!

Kelly at her surprise party!!!

Camie and her little guy with me.  I send everyone I can her way!!

Camie and her little guy with me. I send everyone I can her way!!

Chris and me in the same picture!!!!  We had a ball at the party

Chris and me in the same picture!!!! We had a ball at the party

We left a little early to go to my Endurance Reno team party.  One of our assistant coaches is Frank.  At nearly 69 years old, with dozens and dozens of races under his belt, he now passes all that knowledge down to us.  Still running ultra’s, he’s a wealth of information.  Part father figure, part dirty old man, part friend, confidant and coach.  The party was labeled, “Dress Like Frank” and Frank dresses – well, like Frank.  Short shorts even in the cold, everything always tucked in to his waistband, bright colors.  Frank is a Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine!) and a retired police officer up in Alaska’s interior.  We give him grief about his clothes, his amazing legs, his dancing skills and pretty much anything we can think of.  This is the thing about Frank.  He cares deeply for all of us, would do anything for us, always listens and has an analogy for any situation.  He yells at drivers to slow down, stays with any of us who are struggling and always offers encouragement.

Since it was “Dress Like Frank” I brought clothes and changed in the car while Chris drove.  Felt like high school all over again!!  I dressed more like Frank would have if he had been a woman.  Most people used fake blood (Frank tends to fall a lot), black eyes, short shorts, band-aids and camo.  Hanging out with my team when they were loosened up was a window into an entirely different side of them.  Although we didn’t stay too long – hey I”m not a night person and I was focused on my timed trial this morning – we had a ball.

Frank and Olivia who had a "bloody wound" on her butt reminiscent of Frank getting bit by a dog on a run.  Where did Frank get that shirt???  Seriously first someone made it, second someone bought it!!!  He used a safety pin for a nipple piercing.....

Frank and Olivia who had a “bloody wound” on her butt reminiscent of Frank getting bit by a dog on a run. Where did Frank get that shirt??? Seriously first someone made it, second someone bought it!!! He used a safety pin for a nipple piercing…..

Frank probably telling me something I don't want to know.....

Frank probably telling me something I don’t want to know…..

Sarah and me!!!

Sarah and me!!!  We were GANGSTA’S!!

Another picture of Chris and Me together IN THE SAME NIGHT!!!  Thanks to friend and teammate Diana for taking these!!!

Another picture of Chris and Me together IN THE SAME NIGHT!!! Thanks to friend and teammate Diana for taking these!!!  I’m totally dressed like Barbie!!  You can borrow the outfit. 

 

It’s A Balancing Act

I got an email from a lovely woman the other day.  This is the most common question I’m asked:  Balancing Family and Fitness.  Pretty much it’s just a lifestyle – something we do together, but also something I do on my own.  Here’s our conversation:

Hello Jennifer,

Help!!

I was reading facebook this morning around 5:30am and could swear I saw a post from you that you posted an hour prior to. Please…tell me your strategy, motivation….anything that helps you get up at that hour and start working out. You posted a word not too long ago that keeps floating around in my head…weakest link! I don’t want to be the weakest link either and want to get to that point of being able to somewhat keep up with my teammates while running on Thursday nights. I try very hard to get up at 5:00am and get at least 30 minutes of running or cycling in before my day starts. However…it doesn’t happen often enough. Call it an excuse, but I have an “almost 3” year old who is a very restless sleeper and has been since the day she was born. I maybe have one night out of seven where I get a solid 6 hours sleep with no interruption. I have to imagine you’ve struggled with sleep issues in the past with your children. My point is…you have 13 children…I have two!! What is the key to your success of having that balance and fitting in exercise for yourself when I know you have a ton of activities involving your children, work, and the normal daily activities.

Thank you Jennifer…I appreciate any suggestions you may have!!

Jana

Wow, my head is going a million miles a minute right now!!! I wrote for Fitmark last month about balancing fitness and family. I’ll try to add the link. First of all, it’s morphed since the kids were smaller. I do get more sleep now than I did then. I think you just tackle what’s in front of you because what’s your option?? So my first bit of advice is going to be a common thread. Don’t compare yourself to others. Getting advice or suggestions is great, but your story is unique. When my kids were small I was a stay at home mom and had a home gym that was quite nice so I used that. I’m a morning person so if I’m awake, I might as well be productive with my time. With little ones I had to stop, start over, etc… to get my workouts in and be more flexible. NOW I can look at the family schedule and my team schedule and work with it. 3 of my workouts don’t interfere with anything, 1 I have to have dinner ready and set for the family prior to leaving the house and 1 is Sunday morning so I know when I get home I’ll be making brunch. First I think it’s being compulsively organized, second it’s prioritizing – I miss some workouts for family things and I had to learn to let that go. It’s not a failure or an inadequacy, it’s a priority. Next I have to say I feel so blessed to be able to live this healthy lifestyle, to get those runs in or that swim in that when I return to the chaos of my life I really don’t care. I’m glad my family is waiting for pancakes and wants me to hurry up, or the house is a mess and I’m overwhelmed with the thought of cleaning it. That’s the balance of taking that time for myself. With older kids, I know how soon they’re moving out on their own so I cherish these crazy times.

http://blog.fitmarkbags.com/2012/12/20/family-fitness-and-everything-in-between/

So first, don’t compare your story to others, Second, change your attitude to fit your story (not that I’m saying yours is bad). Third – being the weakest link. That’s relative. On my team there are elite athletes. A couple that are going pro and my coach was pro until 2 years ago but chose to stop, have kids later in life, be a coach, etc… So, again, that’s relative. I’m not saying that as a put down to myself. I’m completely OK with where I’m at because in all honesty, I’m truly only comparing myself to me. Do I use them to push myself?? Absolutely. Do I want to continue to improve?? Absolutely. Will I run in sub-zero temps, wake up at 5 am to swim at 6 am for an hour, do night hill repeats?? Yes, because if they can do it, so can I. Still, I don’t expect to beat some of them or even be able to keep up. It’s really not about that. We do a lot of timed trials – run this course for 2 hours and see how far you get – and I’m only concerned with my times, but I’m proud of my teammates times even though they kick my ass. So I guess, third would be: Stop being so hard on yourself. 1 child or 50, you’re still constantly being pulled in several directions at a time until you wonder if you’ve lost yourself forever. For years I wondered if I’d ever have a bra without flaps, if I’d tuck in a shirt again, wear a belt or invest in high heels. I enjoyed those years but I felt moments of complete and utter loss. Of my sanity, my life, the woman that I was. This is what I’ll reassure you. This too shall pass.

  • Don’t compare the story of your life to other people.  Take suggestions and figure out what will work for you with your family, spouse and children.
  • Only compare yourself to YOU.  Allow others to push you to be better, but not to feel like the weakest link.  You are exactly where you should be
  • Have a positive attitude.  Kids, spouses, STUFF gets in the way.  Breathe.  It’ll be OK.  With small children you have to be flexible.  It’s hard.  It will pass.  You will miss these times.
  • You are not alone.  Remember everyone out there running with you is pushing themselves and probably feeling some of the same things you’re feeling.  They’re just doing it at a faster pace.
  • Try to get sleep when you can.  Sleep is a huge issue.  You need it.  You’re not crazy – it’s hard.  Again, breathe….  Even laying down and resting for 20 minutes makes you feel better.  Take it when you can get it.  Establish “cuddle time” in the afternoons with the kids.  Whatever it takes to get a break.

Yesterday I had a 4 year old in my chair getting his hair cut. He talked a mile a minute, told me everything about his life, was enthusiastic about everything, used the word “love” uninhibitedly. He genuinely thought someday he’d be spiderman. I got home and recounted my conversation with my husband and we decided, although we don’t want to have more kids or go back in time, there are things we miss about the kids being little. It just zooms by so fast – even when you’re clinging to the moments.

Get your kids involved and enthusiastic!!  When things don't go as planned, remember this too shall pass

Get your kids involved and enthusiastic!! When things don’t go as planned, remember this too shall pass

 

I’m A Poser

The closest I'll get to NYC for fashion is my hat.  Seriously wrong....

The closest I’ll get to NYC for fashion is my hat. Seriously wrong…. Like the puffy winter jacket and the lack of botox???

I love fashion.  I adore high end clothing and shoes and anyone who says quality doesn’t make a difference either hasn’t tried it or is in denial.  I’ve been accused of being a snob which may very well be true although I never want to look down at anyone else and I shouldn’t – because I am a poser.  A high end fashion wanna be.  A diva living in a city too small to understand true fashion.  And I’m broke.  Don’t get me wrong, I work hard and I make money but I also have 9 of 13 kids living at home and I do make less than I used to.  Stupid economy, losing my job, going back to school and starting over……

I like outfits that are casual and funky with higher end mixed with lower end items

I like outfits that are casual and funky with higher end mixed with lower end items.  The shoes, jacket and sweater I got second hand,  BodyRock Sport Sophie bra I got on sale and Moto leggings I got as part of my winnings for Family Of The Year.  The leggings and bra work double duty for running.

Part of my drive to stay in shape and be healthy is to have longevity, to age gracefully, to be an example to my kids.  With that drive and subsequently being in shape is the ability to wear clothes and look good in them.  I can’t wear anything I want to and I constantly have to alter my style with my age but because I stay in relatively good shape, I like the way it feels to wear nice things.  It’s a reward for my hard work.  To attain quality clothes, I shop second hand.  Over the years I’ve accumulated a large closet with a variety of items – everything from Walmart to high end specialty stores.  Shopping at thrift stores means I get a lot more for a lot less but it also means you have to take what’s available.  I keep a list in my purse of things I’m looking for and always search for those first.  With this blog and the writing I do I’ve gained a small amount of exposure and have been able to trade my writing for products which also amped up my closet with nicer items.  I have an Ebay account that I use regularly and “watch” things that I want to see if they’re available for the price I want at the time I’m able to purchase them and I sell anything that’s worthy of being sold.  In my house we don’t use getting rid of things as a punishment, it’s just giving it a new life.

I at least like to try to look my best

I at least like to try to look my best.  Skirt and shirt were hand me downs, BodyRock Sport bra on sale, Gucci purse took about a year to watch on Ebay before I could get one and my shoes I got on clearance at Old Navy

My career as a hairdresser encourages me to stay looking my best.  It’s an offshoot of the fashion world to work in my profession which I love.  I have control over wearing what I want when I want and change my style with my mood.  Yesterday was a leather pants kind of a day, today is a skirt and pearls day.  I have friends who are legitimately IN the fashion world in both LA and NYC and I live vicariously through them.  They are my alter ego.  My inspiration.  They channel the passion I feel.  Until all my children are out on their own, I’m making more money and I’m able to travel to LA and NYC, I’ll just plan on being Okay as a poser.

Who’s Up For A Swim???

You know why I'm smiling in this picture??  Because I have NO idea what's coming....

You know why I’m smiling in this picture?? Because I have NO idea what’s coming….

I’m not necessarily training for a triathlon.  I’m not necessarily opposed to it either.  I have an opportunity once a week to swim with my team and I take it.  Fortunately I know HOW to swim, but doing laps is something I’ve only 3 times now.  Time 2 (when this picture was taken) I asked coach out of curiosity how many laps in the pool is a Sprint Triathlon.  30.  No freaking way.  I can’t imagine 30 laps.  In a row.  On the same day.  This week we did the warm up, we cajoled, we had fun.  He said, and I quote, “For those of you that are new to the swim, do a 400.  The rest of you do an 800.  This is a timed trial.”  OK….  Math….  400 is 16 times, 800 is 32 times….  16 times???!!!  With a timer???!!!  I stood there in the pool wondering.  Can I do it??  Can I swim 16 laps without stopping??

There’s no time to really think about it.  The timer starts and you go.  Worst case scenario??  I don’t finish.  Best case?? I prove that I can.  I finished the 16 and said, “Coach I”m done with 16 what’s my time??”  He replied, “You have over ten minutes left, do 16 more”.  I stopped and gave him the blank stare my kids give me when I ask if they cleaned their rooms….  WHAT???   So I went.  I got to lap 28 when my lane partners hit 32, so I assumed I could just stop.  Right???? One of my favorite teammates who was sharing my lane – Olivia – looked at me in all of her bubbly awesomeness and said, “Do it girl!!!  Finish the 32 – it’s only 2 more laps!!!  You can do it and then you’ll know what your time is for next time!!””  So I went.  Amazing how on our own we think we’ve done enough, we think we can’t, we don’t push it as hard but when someone looks right at us and says – of course you can!!!  We do.  So I did!!!  I finished my 32 laps in 21 minutes.  I’m such a beginner I don’t have any clue what that means but I do know a couple things.  I have a fantastic Coach that pushes me more than I thought I was capable.  I have teammates – like Olivia – who I so genuinely care about that I don’t remember how I did it without them.  I have a starting time for the 800 and I can do it and finally….  I could swim a sprint triathlon.  Makes me wonder…  What else could I do????