Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fitness Bucket List

FitFluential is a group of fitness bloggers who recently posed the question:
What is on your fitness bucket list? 

Which got me thinking....What would I like to achieve? Why just wait for life to happen? It's time for me to take control and guide my path through life. Here is what is on my bucket list: 

Run a Marathon: I know it seems strange that I have completed an Ironman, but I have never registered for an independent marathon. My plan is to run in the Chicago Marathon next October. Goal: 2013

Trail Running: I am not a call of the wild kind of girl, but trail running just sounds fun. The natural obstacles provided by God's grace sound like wonderful distractions for the mind instead of just pounding the pavement day after day. Goal: Incorporate trail running in my training regiment in 2013 and maybe even run a trail race or two.

Mountain Biking: I have a little bit of trepidation over this one. I would like to try mountain biking, but I fear I will be one of those unfortunate souls who flips over my handlebars and breaks my clavicle. Add in the fact that I have to purchase a mountain bike and this goal may take a little bit longer to achieve. Goal: 2013, maybe 2014 depending on how many race funds get re-routed.

Learn to Belly Dance:  To me, learning to belly dance would offer a great opportunity for me to improve my core by exercising muscles which have been long forgotten. I have the name of a belly dance studio in Peoria where I can take classes. The problem? Finding a class which fits into my own schedule. Goal: 2013, but let's face it. It may take even longer. 

Disney Coast to Coast: Combine Disney & running and you have pure magic. Disney puts on some of the best races year after year. In order to achieve the Coast to Coast challenge, you have to complete 2 Disney races: one each in Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year. I really don't care which combination of races I get to do. I have several friends who want to do the Princess Half Marathon in February in 2014 which would mean going to Disneyland in September. However, 2014 is also supposed to be the year for my next Ironman and I don't think I can afford to do all three in the same year unless I displace Jillian Michaels on The Biggest Loser and in all likelihood that's not going to happen. What little girl wouldn't want to do the Tinker Bell in January and Princess in February? Let's face it. We all have a little princess hiding inside of us. Possible Goal: 2014, but we'll see what happens with a reality check as we get closer. 

Disney World Races
  1. Disney Marathon (January)
  2. Disney Half Marathon (January)
  3. Goofy's Race and a Half (January)
  4. Disney Princess Half Marathon (February)
  5. Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon (November)
Disneyland Races
  1. Tinker Bell Half Marathon (January)
  2. Disneyland Half Marathon (September) 
Scuba Diving: Every time we go on a cruise or Caribbean vacation and I see the excursions for scuba diving I am saddened that I do not have my scuba diving certification. Fortunately, even though we are not surrounded by gorgeous beaches, we do have a local company where I can get my certification. Now, however, it's a matter of planning to get my certification prior to our next beach extravaganza vacation. Goal: 2015

Warrior Dash: Who wouldn't want to army crawl under electrical fences and climb obstacles while covered in mud? This bucket list item should be relatively easy to attain, right? Goal: 2013

Rock climbing at Upper Limits

Indoor Rock Climbing: A few years back I went indoor rock climbing with friends at Upper Limits in Bloomington. The experience was challenging and exhilarating.  I would love to try it again now that I have much more upper body strength and even learn how to belay. Once again, finding time to take a class will be the challenge, but it would be a great activity for the winter of 2013. Goal: 2013

Outdoor Rock Climbing: Now really, once you have the skills to complete rock climbing indoors why would you not want to take out to nature? Maybe a nice vacation somewhere out west? This one will definitely take some time and planning. Goal: 2015

Fly on a Trapeze: My inner gymnast really wants to be recognized. To fly on a trapeze - or better yet fly through the air without being attached in anyway to anyone - would probably be the most exhilarating challenge on my bucket list. Goal: Oh good golly, who knows.  

Learn to Surf / Go Paddleboarding: Being a Midwestern Girl all of my life has left me very few opportunities to take on my water challenges. I would love to spend a week on the ocean learning to surf. The amount of balance and strength required would definitely create a challenge. Goal: Unknown. Let's just put it out there.  

Canoe & Hike the Grand Canyon: One of my favorite vacations as a kid was visiting the Grand Canyon. What an awesome sight to behold. The grandeur of the canyon carved into the red rock creates an endless majestic view. Goal: 2016

White water rafting: My family went white water rafting in 1997 in Galveston, TX. I, however, was left back at the resort since I was 5 months pregnant with kiddo number 2. I've always wanted to try white water rafting. The saddest part is that I won't be able to go with my dad who at the age of 70 had no qualms about picking up the paddle and jumping in the boat. My sisters went white water rafting last year. Maybe I should see if they are going again next year. Goal: 2013

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Some things are worth the wait

Some things are worth the wait. Anticipating a big moment can lead to a boost of happiness which can last up to 8 weeks especially if you've been looking forward to an event as long as I have.

And now it is 14 days away.....

Two weeks from now we will be flying out to Orlando for Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.


We signed up for this event a year ago. I had to bribe my dear husband to go playing on his guilty conscience and reminding him that we will be celebrating 19 years of marriage on November 6th. So, why not celebrate in a big way and go to Disney for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon again this year?

His response???? But honey it's hunting season.

Me: (crickets)

I am so sorry, dear, but if you would rather spend the weekend in a duck blind with the boys you can go right on ahead. I will be in Disney lapping up the sun, enjoying the most magical place in the world, tasting some of the best food from all over the world and sipping wine to my little heart's content.

Luckily, he saw my point of view and decided he should come along with me.

In 2010, I participated in the inaugural Wine & Dine Half Marathon with Awesome Cheryl. Instead of participating in the half marathon, Jeff taunted me saying he would be at the finish line with a beer in hand. While this may be true, he missed out on opportunities to have his picture taken with Jesse, Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse and many other favorite Disney characters. P lus, his ticket for the after party cost almost as much as the race registration.

So when registration for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon opened last March, Jeff decided he was going to run and join us in the magic of running a Disney Half Marathon.

Little did he know I had more plans for him.
Prince Charming & Cinderella

During the week, my dear husband wears business attire. On the weekends especially in the winter much to my chagrin, he wears camo. Luckily, I could not think of any Disney characters who wear camo...well until a friend mentioned the hunter who killed Bambi's mother.

Instead, I found this costume idea for us. Prince Charming and Cinderella. I mean how much sweeter could we be??? Of course, Jeff thought he should go as Gaston because he already has the physique.

Hmmm, we'll just let that one go.

So maybe I haven't found the perfect costume yet. I'm still looking. Any ideas?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Call Me Martha, maybe

If there is one questions which can rankle me more than any other, it is the age old question,"What's for dinner?". While some deluded youth in this town say I resemble the domestic diva, Martha Stewart, I beg to differ. Martha and I are, in no way, shape or form, twins separated at birth. We are truly worlds apart.

Take today for instance. The meal plan? Roast and carrots in the crock pot. The reality? Well, we will get to that but let's just say the plan was thrown out the window.

It all started last night when I received a text from a fellow Pump instructor asking if I could cover her 5:30 am Pump class. After checking with our other instructors, I came to the conclusion that I had no other choice than to teach the class. So my morning started at 4:50 am with the alarm buzzing at me trying to get be out of bed. Most mornings I have a hard time forming sentences let alone directing body parts and their correlating movements, but in this morning I rose to the challenge and so did my class participants.

Track 7 is the lunge track with my favorite song of the release, "Turn The Tide". The track concludes with a set of pulsing jump squats followed by 8 single jump squats. Since I was feeling the need to push my class participants, I challenged them to reach for the ceiling during the single jump squats. My class stepped up to the challenge trying to out jump me as we tapped the ceiling with each jump squat.

Following Pump, I returned home to get the girls off to school and get some breakfast before returning to the fitness center to teach Body Flow. My favorite track for this release is the balance track which is to the song, "Somebody that I used to know". The track is quirky and fun and concludes with a standing split stretching the hamstrings before walking hands out to a three-legged dog.

Straight from Flow I had to take Abby to a plastic surgeon in Peoria to have a cyst on her chest looked at for possible removal. On the way home, she complained about her stomach hurting. Unfortunately, this issue has been going on since her birthday earlier in the month. When we arrived at the school, I went in to talk to the nurse because when I was in the 5th grade I didn't like science and whenever Mr. Chapman would walk in the classroom I would suddenly feel ill and go to the nurse. Abby is my mini-me. Maybe she's having the same type of issue. When I spoke with the nurse, I discovered she wasn't leaving during one particular time period. I  am still confused on whether it is a physical issue or maybe some tween anxiety.

I called her pediatrician when I got home and spoke to the nurse for a while and then it was time to go teach Zumba. It was after Zumba that I suddenly thought, "Guess who forgot to start the crock pot." Yes, this is exactly when the menu plan went out the window.

I looked deep into the refrigerator trying to use all of my super powers to conjure up some wonderful and dynamic for dinner. We could go with my usual sweet and sour meatballs, but we were out of pineapple. We could go with tacos, but we are out of shredded cheese and who can have tacos without shredded cheese? Not my kids. This was going to take some creative Martha ingenuity.

You see it's not that I mind the cooking. It's the planning, shopping, preparing, cooking and THEN the whining which makes me dislike the entire process so much. My husband and oldest daughter will try just about anything I put in front of them from quinoa recipes to my most famous disaster, purple chicken. However, my two youngest children are difficult to please and seem to like the exact opposite foods.

As I perused the Ziploc containers on the shelves, I discovered we had enough food leftover from previous meals to create a smorgasbord. Well, guess what! It's time to clean out the fridge. Leftover smorgasbord it is.

Menu planning continues to be the biggest stressor in my every day life. It's not that I wouldn't love to be a Martha wannabe. It's the constant negative feedback which drives me to the looney bin but have no fear. I will persevere. I am an Ironman and as my friend, Kent said I need to become Ironchefman.

Now, it's time to step up to the challenge.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

20 years of Attack

This is for my dear friend, Michelle, who I apparently insulted when I said Body Attack reminded me of 80s aerobics.

Then she made me feel REALLY guilty by coming to my Zumba class the other night which I know is out of her comfort zone.

Sorry, Michelle, my dear, dear friend. I promise: When Body Attach 64 launches, I will go with you and you can make fun of me while I fall apart during all of the high impact of the class. My promise to you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

T3 Fall Finale

As the weather begins to cool, races option become fewer and farther between. This year T3 offered a new race, the T3 Fall Finale, with a duathlon or 5k race option. T3 puts together an excellent triathlon every June, the Tremont Sprint Triathlon; therefore, you know the race was going to be put together well.
Race Director, Chris Kinsey
Add in a Race Director who I call Mr. Triathlon Encyclopedia and you know it will be a great event. Chris' attention to detail means the race will be safe and efficient.

Water Girls
Of course, we also have a great team of volunteers who help make sure everything runs smoothly.

Waiting to race
The turn out for a first time race was pretty good. Unfortunately, the weather this week may have scared off some last minute entries, but overall we probably had about 80-90 competitors, many of whom were racing in their first major race.
Nick - back in action after missing most of the tri season
The gun went off and the race began. Many racers were anxious about testing their abilities in a multi-sport event. Others, like Nick, were happy to finally compete in their first race of the season after allowing racing to take a back seat to other things, such as, oh, a job.

One of the most positive people I know
I was excited to see some of my favorite people get out and race. When I managed the fitness center in town, I had the honor of meeting one of the most positive people around, Mr. Dick Flier. In his early 60s, he always has a smile on his face and a greeting for everyone he meets. Of course, the fact that he loves to talk about fitness, yoga and running only makes him more endearing to me.

Add caption
I did have to take a little bit of harassment this morning from my hubby and T3 teammates. At all of my races, Jeff's always there making sure my tires are ready, my bike is properly racked and my gear is in order. Today was all about Jeff. After taking the last 9 months and making it my Ironman season, today was a day for me to volunteer at the event and cheer him on instead. However, because I was also bringing Annelise up to the event to volunteer, I didn't get there in time to help him get all set up. Poor Jeff had to prepare for the race without his road crew, but I think he survived ok without me. Cue the teasing remarks.

Jen is ready to battle
My friend, Jen, who went to the Les Mills Quarterly with me last weekend, was fired up and ready to tackle the duathlon. With each race she completed this year, she felt stronger and stronger as she re-claims her healthy lifestyle. She's been an inspiration to watch this year.

Mike Dillard - the best man to lead transition
My volunteer assignment was to work the transition...and to take a lot of pictures. Fortunately, I got to work with someone who always puts a smile on my face, Mr. Mike Dillard. Mike always finds a way to inspire and motivate every person as they come through the transition. As the day grows later and some racers may be feeling slightly discouraged, Mike is the right person to help lift their spirits. As the bike racks cleared and the final runners came into T1, Mike told one racer pointing to her bike, "You have a rocket there. Go get them." I'm sure his faith in her abilities helped her fly through the first few miles of the bike route.

Do you need water? Annelise is your girl. 
As a part of graduating from Tremont High School, all students must complete 40 hours of community service work. Annelise and her friends used their Ninja super powers to hand out a few hundred cups of water to the racers and mark off a some community service hours all at the same time.

Preston - amazing on the bike
As the racers took off on the bike, I noted the positions of the first few runners. Knowing how strong T3 member, Preston, is on the bike I knew the return to transition would be different. As expected, Preston came back into transition in the 2nd slot. Preston had the fastest bike split covering the 14.4 mile bike course in 00:37:02.7, an average of 23.3 miles per hour. His bike skills are amazing and someday when I grow up I want to be just like him.

Batman and Captain America
The bike route is similar to the Tremont Triathlon bike portion. However, this fall T3 brought some of the IMLOU spirit home and provided some inspiring characters as they raced up Superhero Hill. IMLOU finishers, Ed & James, dressed up as Batman and Captain America to help motivate some of our racers. Even though Ed said he did feel slightly silly, I think it had to be a great thing for all of our new racers who were feeling challenged heading up the hill on the bike route. Who wouldn't want to be distracted from their discomfort into thinking about these goofy characters who were yelling and running next to you? It worked for me at IMLOU. Why not here in Tremont?

One more transition for Jeff
As the bikers returned from the bike course, I worked the final turn into the transition area which gave me a great opportunity to get many pictures of the racers. Due to traveling the first 15 days of October, Jeff was not looking forward to the duathlon. Cold and rainy Northern Ireland didn't provide many opportunities to train and while Florida may have been great for running, his bike did not make the trip. As a matter of fact, I think the last time he was on the bike was BEFORE IMLOU. Uh oh. That adds up to a less than joyful behind at the end of the day. 

Cheering on their mom in her first race

One of the things I enjoy most about racing is seeing all of support racers get from their family members. I put together a training plan for my friend, Renee. According to her, my Ironman inspired her to try the duathlon. However, if you ask me, it's the new racers like Renee who are inspiring. They are stepping out of their comfort zone and trying something completely new. Watching her push through the race rejuvenated me making me ready to set some off season goals.

First big race for Sandy
Sandy was inspired by watching her husband, Glen aka Mr. Muscle, at IMLOU as well. Glen, like me, had a fabulous race. When everything comes together at any race level, you find inspiration. I'm not sure Sandy will ever sign up for another multi-sport race, but at least she gave it a try. And who knows? A couple of days rest and she may decide this form of torture wasn't so bad after all.

Jeff crosses the finish line
While other members of T3 were posting their finish time goals, Jeff admitted he just wanted to finish.  In my book, a finish is a win. It does not matter how fast or slow. You just have to GO!

Renee and her entourage 

You don't have to be speedy. You just have to step outside of your comfort zone and give it a try. Get off the couch and enjoy being outside on a beautiful fall day.

Monica placed in the 5k race

Many of our T3 members placed as an age group finisher in both the 5k and duathlon races.

Preston and Dick
Preston and Dick each took home first place finishes in their age groups for the duathlon.

The Nieukirks kicking it
And sometimes winning runs in the family. Tom finished first in his age group in the duathlon while his daughter, Olivia, took first place in her age group for the 5k run and 3rd place overall. Quite impressive for such a young little lady.

An amazing woman
However, the most inspiring runner of the day was 58-year old Bonnie. I watched Bonnie all day long. She had multiple friends & family members participating in the race and many more standing on the sidelines waiting to cheer her on. As she took off on the bike, she told Mike Dillard, "Don't hold the awards up for me." and as much as you hate to hold the awards ceremony without all of the participants across the finish line, sometimes that's just not feasible. As we waited for Bonnie to come back in from the bike, I heard her story from some of the volunteers. Bonnie contacted RD Chris earlier this week to let him know he really didn't have to wait for her to hold the awards ceremony. She was not sure how the day was going to go since she had just started chemo treatments earlier this week. How inspiring! She did not want to give up her goal of participating in the duathlon. Not cancer could deter her.

While we did not hold up the awards ceremony, no runner crosses the finish line alone. Everyone poured out of the facility to cheer her on. With her family and friends running beside her, Bonnie crossed the finish line to the cheers of T3 rooting her on. While her journey with cancer may not be complete, she has the satisfaction of knowing she is not going to let life just happen. She is taking control of her health with every single step.

Thanks, Bonnie, for providing inspiration to everyone who watched you cross the line. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The sun will rise

My favorite season of the year is fall. Maybe it's the colorful landscape which arrives with the turning of the leaves. Maybe it's because my birthday is in October. Maybe it's because the temperatures have cooled and my hives have finally disappeared.

It's definitely not because of the rain we've experienced for the last week. The constant onslaught of precipitation has disrupted just about all of my plans this week including tonight's last home football game for the Tremont Turks.

THS Dance Team
The cooler weather meant it was time to layer up for the game. After donning running tights under my jeans, three layers of tops, gloves and a scarf, I was finally ready for the game. I was ready for the cold, but not the rain. As I walked toward the football field, a soft drizzle started to fall. Unfortunately I did not have an umbrella with me which left me unable to take pictures for Sam's last regular season dance routine. Thankfully I was able to snap a picture of the dance team during a brief break from the rain.

The dance for the night was a Pom routine. As luck would have it, the choreography required the team to land a jump on the ground, twirl around on the soppy turf and fling their Pom poms side to side which in the end meant they were soaked & frozen from head to toe.

William Sonoma Hot Chocolate
As soon as the dance routine was complete, we booked it back to our car. Sorry Turks. I realize this is the first time you've made it to the playoffs since 2007 and I should be very excited that this class of seniors who I've watched grow up has taken you to post-season play, but let's call it like we see it. I'm a fair weather fan and it was time to head home.

Once home and in dry clothes, it was time to get warm with a little William Sonoma hot chocolate, my Sherpa blanket and a fire in the fireplace. Ok so maybe I added a little something extra to the hot chocolate, but it didn't take long for the warmth to spread and feeling to return to my toes once again.

Chilling by the fire
Sipping on my hot chocolate, I reflected on the week. Abby is still struggling with something. The doctor is treating her for gastritis, but she continues to visit the nurse's office at school daily. My week has been consumed with worry over what my baby girl is fighting. Virus? Anxiety? Hormones? Samantha, on the other hand, is excited about the future. She attended a college fair and has found 4 new potential candidates for college. How can she be ready for college already? And Annelise? Well Annelise triggered the smoke detectors trying to light a candle in her room. Needless to say that isn't happening anymore.

As for me, I was able to get in 2 short runs this week & launched Body Flow and Body Pump in Tremont. Tomorrow is the Tremont Duathlon and I'll get to see many of my fellow Ironman/T3 friends who will be competing or volunteering at the event.

With all of my worrying this week, I found a quote on Pinterest helpful:

Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning for the future, stop trying to figure out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens.

Life is an adventure. Tomorrow the sun will rise and we will breathe. You never know what the day may bring.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Les Mills Quarterly

Every quarter we have an opportunity to attend a Les Mills Quarterly where Les Mills instructors get to drink the Les Mills Kool-Aid. At Quarterly, you can chose to take as many or as few Les Mills classes that you want. As a bonus, the classes are led by Master Trainers who truly inspire you to become a better instructor.

Sheldon McBee

Last March I was able to meet Body Pump Program Director, Glen Ostergaard. I was absolutely beside myself getting to actually meet the man behind the empowering Body Pump program. This weekend I was all about Sheldon McBee, National Program Coach for CXWorx and GRIT as well as Master Trainer for Body Combat and Body Pump.  I mean we have so much in common! I love every program he teaches. If he only taught Body Flow, we'd be like twins!

Kelsey, Michelle, me, Melida and Jen
Add in the fact that I was getting to attend quarterly with some of the best people in the world and it was the making of a fabulous weekend. Spending time with people who are passionate about making the necessary lifestyle changes to be fit and fabulous just has a way of motivating you!!
Motivational T-shirts
I love attending the expo to see all of the latest programs and gadgets in the fitness industry. Of course, then there's the motivational t-shirts you can buy. These are a few of my favorites. I bust mine to kick yours is probably the best reflection on my 2012; however, I want my mantra as an instructor to be RESULTS NOT EXCUSES. I do get tired of hearing about the TV programs everyone has time to watch, but not the workout they were able to complete today. Let's flip that around, OK?

Body Pump  Tricep Track
We started out the morning at 7:30 am with Body Pump 83. Nothing like starting off your day with over 800 reps to create lean muscle.

Jill getting her step on. 
Then we moved on to Body Step. Here's a picture of my niece, Jill, who teaches Body Step, Body Jam and Sha'Bam at Gold's Gym. She's a fantastic dancer. If you have a chance to attend one of her classes, you should. Jill didn't even know I took this picture until she saw I had tagged her on Facebook. She was too busy watching her Step Hero, Amanda Scales. Yes. Fitness. It's a family business.

Next I was able to participate in the new Les Mills GRIT Strength program. There are actually three different GRIT programs: Cardio, Plyo and Strength. Each program is 30 minutes in length and uses HIIT (high intensity interval training) to send your energy level through the roof. I immediately fell in love with the program which pushes your heart rate as well as your muscles to the limit. The small sample of the class we participated in reminded me of a Cross Fit type of program. All I kept thinking was how tough the training for any of the GRIT programs would be. I really need to get into shape for that one.

Next I participated in Body Flow 58. Body Flow is the first program I got certified in. I signed up to become a Body Flow instructor just to get something started in my small gym, but quickly fell in the love with the program. Even as the instructor, I finish every class feeling centered and relaxed and as a result, I will never give up Body Flow.

Sheldon and Mysti Oglesby
After a one hour break for lunch, I came back psyched up and ready to go. It was time for my absolute favorite program: Body Combat. The program is based on martial arts and draws from various disciplines such as karate, boxing, taekwondo, tai chi and muay thai. I went to Combat training last November; however, after I signed up for IMLOU, I decided I couldn't put the energy into completing another certification at that time. After this weekend, I am again contemplating getting my Combat certification. The class is exhilarating and exhausting! And if you are looking for a shoulder and core workout without sit ups, you will love this program.

With burned out shoulders, I couldn't get down in proper position for Firefly.
As I've already established, I was excited to watch Sheldon lead the Combat class; however, he now has some new competition....and this one is a woman. I fell in love with Mysti Oglesby during GRIT Strength. I loved her tough exterior, but when she approached participants about correcting their form, she professional and informative. I found her to be inspiring and motivating.

By the time we got to the core track of Body Combat, my shoulders were fried. I tried, I really, really tried to have good form doing the Firefly, but I just couldn't get down in push up position and hold it while driving my knee to my elbow. Wow. I guess I have a new goal. I need to work on that one.

After Combat, I sat down to chill for a bit. My friend, Michelle, loves Body Attack. I, however, cannot stand the high impact of Attack. I feel like I've stepped right back into the 80s. There are certain things about the 80s that I loved and would give just about anything to experience again. The high impact aerobics of the 80s? No, thank you. So while Michelle jumped, leaped and bounded around the workout room, I sat my derriere down to catch up all of my Facebook messages.

The last class of the day for me was CXWorx, again led by my main man, Sheldon. CXWorx is a 30 minute class which tightens and tones the core. I know that in the next few days my stomach muscles are going to scream "Ouch". After all of these classes, I am going to need a massage to relieve all of the tension and muscle soreness. Anyone know a good masseuse?

Caramelized Mango Chicken
After CXWorx, everyone was ready to head out for a nice hot meal at PF Chang's. Nearly every meal for me at PF Chang's has to begin with calamari. I also ordered the Caramelized Mango Chicken. Yummy. Anything mango makes me happy.

A little birthday celebration
What better way is there to finish a meal at PF Chang's than with a free birthday dessert? I'm not sure what all they crammed into this little cup, but I am sure my blood sugar hit the roof.

My Trader Joe's Purchases
After dinner, we made a trip to Trader Joe's. Sadly, we don't have any Trader Joe's in the Central Illinois area. I was a little surprised by my first trip to Trader Joe's. I guess I thought it would be much bigger, but I loved all of the incredible selection that they did have. I picked up some Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup, a Hummus Quartet and Mango butter. Mango - it always finds its way into my shopping cart.

My new BFF, Art

While waiting to check out, Michelle mentioned to the cashier that it was my birthday. Suddenly, he took off running and came back with a bundle of flowers for me. My new BFF, Art, wished me a Very Happy Birthday and actually made my day with his random act of kindness.

We arrived back home a little before 11 pm sore, tired, and ready to hit the sack. Les Mills Quarterly is a great time to get rejuvenated as an instrutor. Even though I was tired and sore for my Monday morning PUMP class, I felt like I could have motivated anyone to make a change toward a healthy lifestyle. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ICC Group Fitness Sampler

On any given day, I am typically a fairly laid back person. I don't let the little things stress me out; however, there comes a time about once a quarter where I majorly stress. 

Quarterly Launch Time. 

Add in participating in a launch at a facility where I've just begun teaching classes and haven't met any other instructors besides the GFM and you have me majorly stressed. On October 6th, I participated in the group fitness sampler and Les Mills Launch at Illinois Central College. where I would be participating in the launch for Body Pump, Body Flow as well as Zumba. For the launch, all of the instructors were asked to wear black in order to create visual consistency. 

The morning kicked off at 7:30 am with the RPM launch. A little after 8 I was finally up. My first track to teach was the squat track from Body Pump 83. The song, a classic - "The Summer of 69", really pushes the legs with lots of bottom halves. Body Pump is such an empowering class. While all of the repetitions fatigue the muscles, the feeling of empowerment from Body Pump can carry you a long way. 

After participating in the Body Step sampler, I went to change while everyone else participated in CXWorks. If I get another Les Mills certification, I'm pretty sure it will be this program. Who wouldn't want a 30 minute class to work their core? I know I do.

"Indian Moonshine" a Bhangra Folk Fusion song
While Body Pump is empowering, Zumba is uplifting. Even if you arrive at Zumba in a bad mood, you will not leave that way. Zumba is colorful, loud and alluring which is why I had to change out of my all black garb. It was time to bring some la especia into the day. 

"Fuera de Control" - Reggaeton
Zumba is a based on 70% of the music being international rhythms. Each instructor can determine the mix of songs which can range from typical Latin rhythms such as salsa, cumbia, merengue and raggaeton, but also African dance, techno, and Indian.

"Getting Nasty" - Techno Dance
When it was finally time to launch Zumba, the class was full with over 20 participants who were fitness center members, instructors and couples. Just about everyone I talked to claimed not to have any rhythm, but to me Zumba is not about hearing the beat. It's really about moving your body in a fun way. When you get done with Zumba, you should say that was fun and walk away feeling good about yourself.

Every Zumba class is different. You never know how your class participants are going to react to any given song. Most of the time I have ladies about my age look at me as if to say, "You honestly expect my body to move that?". Well, believe me, without practice it won't. You have to remember how to re-engage your obliques in order to make those hips swivel once again. Like riding a bike, it all comes back with practice.

Michael (GFM), Tina and myself doing Tai Chi
After Zumba, I changed back into my Les Mills clothing while the launch for Turbo Kick and /P90X was going on for the launch of Body Flow. Body Flow is the toughest class I teach as far as learning the movements, but I will never give it up. It always leaves me feeling very centered and balanced. Some mornings I will arrive at class feeling very frazzled after pushing the kids out the door for school; however, when I leave, all of those stressors have been forgotten and I feel ready to take that zen feeling out into the world.

Down Dog
I love the various track focuses for Body Flow. Following a tai chi warm up and sun salutations, we hit the legs with some standing strength challenging them through intense pose, lunges, and warrior 2 poses. Some standing strength tracks can be extremely challenging. Don't ever think yoga is easy. It will surprise you. 

For Body Flow, I taught tracks 4-6: Balance, Hip Openers and Core-Abs. The Balance track is definitely quirky and fun with the song "Somebody That I Used to Know". Balance is something we all struggle with as we age. If you do not work on it, you will lose it. I also find that I struggle with balance if I've not been getting enough sleep as well.
Sun Salutations
The Hip Openers track is always one of my favorites. Because we hold so many emotions within our hips, the release through stretching is a very calming and soothing process. Pair that up with a beautiful song like "Every Little Thing She does is Magic" and you have an incredible release for the hips and energy for the mind. Finish with the frog pose and you definitely have Magic for the hips.

Hip Openers

The Core-Abs track for Body Flow 58 is one of the toughest we've done. The movements are very slow and require long holds. Can you say "Ouch"?

ICC Group Fitness Instructors 
As usual, I was very relieved when the launch was over. One less hurdle to worry about and yes everything went very well. I enjoyed meeting the other group fitness instructors at ICC and received some very positive feedback from Michael.

And now it's time to prepare for a fun filled weekend at the Midwest Mania and Les Mills Quarterly. I can't wait to attend all of the great classes offered and drink in some Les Mills Kool-Aid. A little bonding with my fellow instructors over some sweaty workouts....who wouldn't want to spend their day like that?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thankful for T3

Meet the Tremont Triathlon Team Ironman Wannabees. By my count, at least 8 of these people are previous Ironman athletes. That just means they are crazy enough to try it again. That means the remaining 14, me included, had absolutely no idea what the heck they were doing.
T3 Members at IMLOU
Back: Gene, Cassie, Aaron, me, Scott, Glen, Cheryl
Middle: Kathy, Mike, Ann, Dave, Joe, Pat, Ed, Brian
Front: Stacey, Christy, Chris, Joan, Mark and James
A few of these people I met at IMLOU for the very first time, but most of them were people that I trained with either in the water or on the bike....lots and lots of long hours on the bike. Each one of them have a story. Each one of them wanted to rise up to the challenge and toe the line at IMLOU. Each one of them had an impact on me and my eventual success.

Chris: The quiet leader of T3, I call him "Mr. Triathlon Encyclopedia". Anytime I have a question about anything related to triathlon I know that I can ask the question and not only get an answer, but get options A, B, C and "here is what I do". I love all of the information that he is so willing to share.

James: Back when I was still in decision mode about IMLOU, James shared his IMWI training plan with me. It helped me to realize that my goal was actually a possibility. James' positive attitude is the back bone of T3.

Joe: One of my last long training rides was with Joe. We joked about how we were each going to need anti-depressants to deal with the post race blues. His quiet, but steady manner is always very calming when I am stressing about training.

Kathy: I met Kathy last September when we went to watch IMWI. That girl has more energy and motivation than anyone I know. You cannot deny her talent when you see her results. 10th place in her AG at IMLOU. Very impressive.

Mike: His calm voice is always very reassuring to hear. He took the time to make sure I learned how to properly handle the hills at IMLOU asking me questions and giving me pointers on biking.

Christy: How can you not love to be around someone who is so optimistic? She's always smiling and cheerful. She always asks the questions that you need the answer to as well. I feel very blessed to have met her and join her on this journey.

Ed: On my very first long ride with T3, we stopped at Casey's in Manito and Ed asked me if I needed anything to drink. I said no I was fine. Without being pushy or insulting, he made sure I knew that I should be drinking water at least every 15 minutes in order to stay properly hydrated. Over the next few hot summer months, I heard his voice repeat that statement in my head many times. Thanks, Ed.

Stacey: Early in the season, we went on a group training ride together. I felt like the biggest loser on my little road bike with everyone dropping me like a bad habit. Stacey always came back to meet me and encouraged me to keep going.

Pat: The ever present strong silent type and if you ever need ANYTHING, he is the man to reach out to.  With a few encouraging words from this man, you know you are doing the right things to get prepared.

Cassie: An incredible swimmer with a beautiful smile. As expected, she turned in the best T3 swim split of the day. I'm hoping Cassie and I get to know each other a lot better over the next few years...especially if she's willing to do a little swim coaching.

Aaron: An IMLOU finisher from 2011, Aaron is willing to share his experiences to help prepare the newbies like myself for race day. Added bonus? Aaron loves to brew his own beer. Pretty soon we'll be able to try some of his pumpkin beer. Sounds good, right?

Brian: I watched Brian carefully over the last few months. We both struggled with mental issues in the open water swim. I prayed for him before and during our race day and was so happy to see him out on the run course.

Scott: What can I say about my fellow professional Facebooker? He constantly put out such a positive vibe. Who wouldn't want to be around the man? Of course, he didn't care for me developing his nickname Snakebite Scott. I mean how many people do you know that get bit by a Copperhead snake at mile 18 of IMTX and go on to complete the race??? I think that boy deserves a Purple Heart.

Glen: As a park board member, no one knows better than Glen about my struggles at the park district in the last few months. So when I quit my job and said I wanted to do a half Ironman in 2012 and full in 2013, he was the man who said why not now?

Cheryl: No words to describe her. What can you say about someone you have known since birth and yet she's the one who inspires you to push yourself more and more? I need to send a huge thank you to Cheryl. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have signed up and now I can call myself an Ironman.

Gene: I cannot tell you how huge of an impact this man has had on my life. When I started working at the park district, Gene was on the park board. His mission was to re-open the community pool and thus bring back the Tremont Triathlon in 2008. Watching the event that year lead me to my first sprint triathlon in 2009. Add in the fact that he sold the fitness center to the park district after getting off of the board and how that changed my life as I became a group fitness instructor I owe this man more than words can say. He is my best friend, my big brother and I am thankful for his impact on my life every day.

Completing IMLOU was a blessing, but being able to complete the journey with all of these fabulous people I feel very blessed indeed to have the life that I do.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


On Thursday, I changed my body forever. It will never be same. Believe it or not, I have tattooed my body. 

The before shot
At the age of nearly 44, I never thought I would EVER get a tattoo. I mean, why? What is the point? I certainly was not going to stick some random picture of a flower on my body. If I was going to get a tattoo, it had to be meaningful. For instance, my nephew, David, died in May of 2001. I'll never forget it. I had just quit my job to become a stay at home mom while pregnant with our 3rd child. The very next day I got a call that David, at the age of 27, had a massive heart attack and died. 27. Way too young to die. A year or so later, my sister, Sus,  put the Star of David on the inside of her ankle. Now that I understand.

Signing my paperwork. No, I am not drunk. 
On Wednesday, I had to have a little heart to heart with myself. Are you sure you want to do this? A tattoo is permanent. Really permanent. Of course, everyone has to do weigh in on the subject. Yes, you should get a tattoo it's quite an accomplishment. No, you shouldn't get a tattoo. Do you know what that will look like when you are 80? Back and forth. Back and forth. I mean I rarely keep my hairstyle the same for more than 6 months let alone putting something permanent on my body. Carla - are you sure you want to do this? 

Jason prepares to torture  me. 
As I was getting ready to leave for my appointment, Samantha's friend, Luke, texted me saying I could always quit the Ironman, but this tattoo wasn't going anywhere. Well, thanks, that was so helpful, Luke. I explained I was putting the tattoo on the back of my shoulder because then I wouldn't have to see it every single day. If I get tired of it, I don't have to stare at it...just my class participants. 

And so it begins....
Luke, in his ever practical way, texted me: 
It's kinda like my shoes, so many stains but I won't clean because each one represents something I did. but I can take shoes off. 

Luke - you are so not helping. I've run this over in my head a million times. I am proud of my day at Ironman Louisville. I started out with a much more complex tattoo, but because I was worried about putting something drastic on my body I toned it down. Now that the time has come to do it, yes, I think I need to think about it and make sure I am ready, but really deep in my heart I knew nothing would come close to my sense of accomplishment in my Ironman. I did it. All by myself. No one else pulled me through. It was me standing on my own staring down 140.6 miles and I loved every single second of it. Then Luke texted me something which did help:
You know what you're doing. I don't need to help. lol. Think of it this way. You will always be proud of that run, so the pride in the tattoo will never go away. 

Such wisdom from an 18-year old college student and those words really did help. I picked up Gene who was coming with me to take lots of pictures. At one point, I wasn't sure if his schedule was going to allow him to come with me. I know I'm a big girl and could go by myself, but I really wanted someone to be there to share my nervousness. Luckily, he was able to come down to American Inkwell and share this momentous occasion.

The first step...the outline. Notice the swim, bike, run figures. 
When I arrived at American Inkwell, Jason, my tattoo artist, had a mock up of the tattoo ready for me to approve. The only thing missing was the 140.6 in the middle of the M-dot. I wanted to make sure the numbers did not look masculine. As Jason put it, he pulled out his best girly handwriting for the 140.6. I filled out the necessary paperwork which contained about 25 questions on my understanding of the tattoo process, that I was not drunk or under the influence of any drugs, and that I was not diabetic.

Wait. What? Problem. I am diabetic. Type 2. A very healthy diabetic though without skin issues. So we move forward. 

Everyone asks: Does it hurt? It's kind of a strange feeling to explain. It feels as if there is a knife that has just slipped under your skin. It's kind of annoying, but not really painful. The longer the line the more annoying it gets. 

No it's not blood. It's red ink all over my shoulder. 
After completing the black outline of the M-dot as well as the swim, bike and run figures, Jason began filling in the red on the M-dot. Jason mentioned most spectators assume the red all over my shoulder is blood; however, it's just the red ink smearing a bit until he gets a chance to clean it up. While filling in with the red, there were a couple of spots where I thought "Hmmm....that doesn't feel so good." All in all, it was less painful than child birth or a kidney stone. Does that help? My whole arm started to tingle after a while with the constant vibrations of the tools against my skin. 


A lot of people said Jason was not very personable, but I guess when you have Gene and I there to help conversation is not an issue. We talked about Jason's new house in West Peoria. The upcoming Tremont Duathlon on October 20th. Yes, we even discussed Ironman Louisville. After cleaning up the red ink, Jason went back and added white to the outline of the 140.6 in order to make it pop a little more.

My first look at the completed product
After seeing my tattoo for the first time, I was definitely pleased. The tattoo was not complex or crazy in any way, but neither was my day at IMLOU. Simple, straightforward, gitter done. 

Jason explains the after care

Finally done with the tattooing process, Jason sits down to explain to me the ins and outs of the after care. Expect blood and possibly serum for 2-3 days...what? Serum. Stuff flowing out of my body? Oh boy. This was going to be interesting. Wash every 4-6 hours and reapply Tat2Butr often. Got it.

4 hours after tattoo
Jason applied bandages which needed to be left on for 2-4 hours. According to him, the longer I left the bandages on the better it would be. No problem, I didn't have anything going on for the afternoon except serving a meal to the high school volleyball team. I was able to leave the bandages on for the required time.

Because Jeff was still in Northern Ireland, I had Samantha helped me remove the bandages. She was a little freaked out. I don't know what she thought it was going to look like, but really it still looked fresh and clean. We made the first mistake of not re-reading the instructions before washing. She put the hand soap directly on my skin. Ouch. That hurt. Yah, I guess you are supposed to work up a lather and then put it on the skin. I realize this only makes sense, but I'm new at this tattoo thing, ok??

Teaching my first class as a Tattooed Lady
After washing, you are supposed to apply Tat2Butr. Tat2Butr - that's the name of the balm. I asked Sam to help me with the "Tat 2 Butter" and she just stops and looks at me. "Mom, really? Tattoo butter?". After about 10 seconds, it dawns on me. It's a play on words...Tat2..Tattoo. Genius that I am! I finally get it. The scary part was that I had to have Samantha explain it to me. Oh my. It's definitely been a long week with little sleep. That's my excuse at least. I'm blaming it ALL on lack of sleep.

So as a result, I am a tattooed lady. Someone asked if I was regressing to my teenage years. If only I could.... Oh well. I am not regressing. I'm very proud of my Ironman accomplishment. The number one comment I get is it's way bigger than I thought you'd go. Well, it is significant enough to tattoo my body. It should be large enough to call your attention to it.

I am feeling quite like a rebel though. Who knows...maybe I am regressing.