Sunday, April 15, 2007

Picture from the race

Here's a picture of me with family at the race. I'm related to all but the girl and guy second and third from the left. The rest of us look identical, I think, including Cara's husband in the neon jacket, who is only related to the rest of us by law!

Lazy Weekend??

I saw this on Maggie's blog and just spent an hour making my own doll - I'm easily amused. This is the most productive thing I've done all weekend! (Thanks, Maggie!)

elouai's doll maker 3

Click here to make your own doll.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lift Strong

As a cancer survivor and gym geek, obviously I am delighted to see this! Especially since I'm following one of Alwyn Cosgrove's programs right now!

I mentioned before that Alwyn is a two-time cancer survivor - he underwent a complete stem cell transplant in June of 2006. After recovering, he decided that it's time for the gym rats to join in the fundraising efforts to support cancer research, without which he would not be around to design brilliant lifting routines and amuse us with his often hilarious and always informative writing on fitness and nutrition.

He got more than 50 trainers and fitness writers to contribute to the book, LIFT STRONG, which turned out to be so long that he decided to release it on a special CD-ROM compilation rather than pass off printing expenses. The digital book is a collection of fitness training secrets and advice from some of the biggest names in fitness and also includes Alwyn’s email diaries documenting his account of everything he went through during cancer treatment. 100% of the proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

It's only been a week since LIFT STRONG was launched and already they've raised more than $10,000!

There will be a cure someday. We will look back and be horrified at how we treated cancer "before" - by cutting into and poisoning the body. It's efforts like this that are going to get us there!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Perfect Sunday

We did not end up hiking Sugarloaf on Sunday since it snowed Saturday night in MD and we didn't want to risk bad conditions on the trails. Instead we went for a stroll along the Potomac River. It was still a little too cold to be really nice (for me at least), but it was good to get some fresh air. It was my rest day and I had to force myself to not work out. I needed the day off, but it's so routine for me to exercise that I feel weird when I don't do something!

Then I went home and ended up taking a big nap! My sister gave me these hand treatment mittens for my birthday. They have inserts that you warm up in the microwave, and you put this cream all over your hands, then put your hands in plastic bags, then in the warm gloves, and you just relax! It's quite brilliant, really, because (as I realized once I got them on) with the mittens on your hands, you literally can't do ANYTHING! I sat down and I was like, I can't even turn on the tv!! I can't make a phone call or read a book, I have to just sit here??? I almost took the mittens off, but then I decided, you know, that's the point. Just SIT here for 5 minutes. Of course, I promptly fell asleep! zzzzzzz Nothing like a nap on Sunday afternoon.

I woke up in time to go see 300, as we had planned. I thought the movie was great. I have to reiterate what everyone all over the internet has said a thousand times already - those guys were ripped! It was like the quads and abs show, since they didn't wear any real clothes the whole movie. Basically you get two hours of watching 300 of the buffest men on the planet alternately kicking ass and standing around in the equivalent of underwear. What plot?? Haha!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Is it April or November???

I was totally shocked to see snow covering the trees and cars when I stepped outside this morning. And it snowed a little bit on me just now when I came out of the grocery store! We are having some wacky weather in the East! I hope this means we are going to have a mild summer - that would be so nice. I only really like the weather here two or three months out of the year - April/May and Sept/Oct. The rest of the months are too humid and muggy or too cold!

I am so glad I don't have to run 8 or 9 miles this weekend like the last month or so!! In fact I haven't run at all since the race! Instead, I totally rocked my workouts in the gym this week. I'm feeling stronger and it's so nice to lift and not worry about having to be fresh for a long run coming up!

I've been doing Alwyn Cosgrove's total body workouts for the last couple months and I'm really enjoying them. The man is an evil genius. I spend half the workout cursing him and the other half feeling like She-Ra, Princess of Power, because I'm supersetting squats and weighted T-pushups and I'm dripping sweat and the lady (wasting her time) on the butt-blaster machine behind me is staring at me and I want to hurl and I want to quit, but I don't, I just keep on going... It's great!

I was a little skeptical when I started doing his programs because he doesn't schedule any isolation movements - it's all compound, multi-joint lifts and upper/lower supersets with varying rep schemes. You know, you kinda feel like the gym will implode or something if you quit doing bicep curls, but it turns out nothing much happened. I haven't done a bicep curl or a calf raise in 2 months! I wanted to see if I'd lost any strength, so at the end of my workout this morning, I picked up the 30# db's and banged out a few reps with no trouble. In fact, I feel like I'm developing a more balanced physique than I had before. And it's been a great way to rehab because I've been able to do lots of bodyweight and conditioning exercises that are just as challenging, but I think less stressful than high-volume intense lifting. It's a refreshing change of pace from the bodybuilding-style workouts I was doing before.

BTW, he's also a cancer survivor! :)

Everyone in my office seems to be on a fitness kick... Three of us ran in the Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler and there was much trash-talking before the race about who would beat whom (not from me, of course, I was expecting to run a 10:30 mile avg pace). I guess everyone wanted to join the fun, since now my office and our sister office are having a 5k challenge! At least 6 of us, possibly more, are going to run in the George Washington Parkway Classic 5k race on April 22, and we're going to compete in teams! We're even getting a trophy for the winning office.

That's not all... I've even got one guy following Berardi's nutritional guidelines and an integrated fitness program (weights, intervals, aerobics)!! I gave him Metabolism Advantage so he could try the workouts and he came in the next day with a cooler and 5 balanced meals and protein shakes! I think it's great. I also gave him Eating for Life because he seemed a little frustrated with all the meal planning - I told him not to try to make a bunch of huge changes all at once. I told him to focus on eating more frequently and eating protein every time, and to eat more fruits and veggies, and not worry about the rest right now. He told me yesterday he definitely feels better; he reports to me all the time, actually - telling me how his workouts go, how he tried suitcase deadlifts and now he's SO sore...! Haha... :)

Oh, I also have to tell you that yesterday evening I dropped a glass bottle of flax oil on the kitchen floor. Of course it broke and the oil spilled out everywhere, even under the fridge. Can I tell you how hard it is to clean OIL off lineoleum, especially when it's paired with broken glass?! Egads, it was awful. I finally used dishsoap. Cuts grease, right?! Ugh.

Sigh... I'm off to do more housework. Bah. Tonight we are going to the Easter Vigil at church and tomorrow Adam told me we could hike Sugarloaf if I want!! Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 06, 2007

That's! Just! Wrong!

Remember when I told you about the woman I saw power walking on the trail while reading a hard-cover novel? Just now at the gym, I saw a woman doing crunches on the swiss ball (half-assed, of course) READING A BOOK. The Bee Keeper's Daughter, I think it was... can it be that good?! Does anyone in other possibly more normal cities see people doing things like this or is it just in DC??

Also? When I left the gym? A light snow was falling. I shit you not.

That's Just Wrong!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


A 9:51 pace. I can’t believe I ran it that fast! It was awesome, I had a great time! I was worried, of course, that I would feel tired, or it would be too hard, or I would get injured (or my previous injuries would flare up) – but none of that came to pass. I felt great, it was a fantastic run. It didn’t feel like ten miles at all, it went so fast. I didn’t feel like I was struggling until the last mile really – I was just swept along by the huge crowd. I maintained an even pace, I didn’t slow much throughout the race, although I did walk for a couple of minutes at one water station, partly because my heart rate was running really high at that point, having run uphill for about a mile and a half. Then came the turnaround, and the downhill quick shot to the finish line.

I am SO happy with my time!!! I’m really proud of myself for completing the race, and amazed that I was able to do so well on the minimal training I actually did. The weather even cooperated – it was cold before the start, especially since everyone had to metro downtown and wait outside for busses to take us to the Tidal Basin and then walk almost a mile from the drop off to the staging area. But once we started running, I warmed up even a bit too much. It was that perfect 50-ish overcast coolness – great to run in.

I’m happy to be done, too, and now I can focus on some other goals and interests. It’s not like training was taking up a whole lot of time (since, um, I wasn’t… training…) but it is an element of stress – especially the last few weeks of 8/9/10 mile runs that take days to recover from. Speaking of recovery, after the race I ate SO MUCH, and went for a massage and pedicure (a super birthday present from my parents!!) and that was the PERFECT combination. I was not even sore on Monday, I felt fine. Like I had run maybe 3-4 miles on Sunday, not 10. It was hard not to go to the gym and lift, but I made myself take the break, just psychologically I probably needed another day of rest.

Some of the things I want to accomplish this spring are:

Hike something new.
Visit somewhere historical in VA (maybe Williamsburg?)
Take a trip to Florida to visit my sister.
See muscle definition in my arms.
Do 10 pull-ups in a row.
Run the George Washington Parkway Classic 5k with my coworkers.
Get confirmed.
Finish 3 books (Water Music by T.C. Boyle, It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong, and Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs).
Start a Roth IRA.

By the way, the cover of Newsweek is a series about living with cancer – in line with the Edwards/Snow announcements of their recurrences. The main article is by a man whose odds of survival were only about 50%, but I still related to much of what he wrote, like:

“With no standard of care for this disease, each expert I managed to get on the phone had a slightly different take on how it should be treated, which I later discovered is common with cancer.”

“Physically, I felt OK; emotionally, I was in hell. A woman I knew who was dying of breast cancer told me that none of the pain she was suffering at the end of her life compared with that first month and the daze of diagnosis.”

“Like the 10.5 million other cancer survivors in the United States, I experienced a bit of extra stress last week. When Elizabeth Edwards's breast cancer recurred in her bones and Tony Snow's colon cancer recurred in his liver, the cold fear that many of us live with every day crept a little closer.”

“The only constant in cancer is inconstancy; the only certainty is a future of uncertainty, a truism for all of modern life but one made vivid by life-threatening illness.”

Definitely worth a read.