Month: April 2014

“I Wanna Be Down With the Kiiiiiing(s)” -RUN D.M.C.

When the alarm went off at 7am, I knew it couldn’t be good. There was no snooze button attack either- up & out of bed. Uh oh. Breakfast, shower and on our way by 7:30…

Uh oh is right. Though there is no sign immediately visible when we pull into the parking lot, I know where we are. I spy the signage on the door as we approach, yup. Strength’s person trains here, and she is no slouch in the fitness department. We are so not ready for this!

kings of fitness hv

Owned by husband & wife team, Kiel and Lauren, Kings of Fitness’s mission is to train, motivate and inspire individuals to lead healthier and more active lifestyles. That doesn’t quite prepare you for the knowledge and experience these two share with their clients. Lauren is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, a ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Trigger Point Therapy and is certified in American Heart Association CPR & AED. She studies martial arts and trains like a king. Seriously, check out the videos on their site. Kiel, a retired Army Captain holds an MS in Exercise Science and is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), a NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES), a NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES), a NASM Mixed Martial Arts Conditioning Specialist (MMACS), a US Army Master Fitness Trainer, a Advanced Exercise Nutrition (AEN), a Certified Trigger Point Therapy and is Certified in American Heart Association CPR & AED. I repeat, a US Army Master Fitness Trainer. & we have an 8:30am appointment?!

They immediately got down to business and I was so nervous that when Kiel asked Nicole to remove her shoes that I think I audibly sighed with relief. Though no one noticed, I need to be more on the ball when it comes to possibly outing myself. For the rest of the assessment, I sat quietly on the mat and watched as she did squats, arms above her head. Kiel slowly circled, watching how each part moved- individually and in conjunction with the rest of her. Gayla, a former client turned NASM Certified Personal Trainer stood nearby, clipboard in hand, and made notes as he called out his observations. I lost count of the squats but it couldn’t have been too many and they were done before I knew it. Kiel began to explain his findings and so much of it was above my toe box. Big, science-y words that I didn’t understand floated above me and then, a sentence that made total sense.

No more running for a while.

It made total sense in that it was English. Six small words, that weigh a ton. Was he teasing? Some sort of joke? No. He found way too many issues during the assessment. Basically, she is an injury waiting to happen.

The bright side- he is confident that they can fix it, her. It’s going to take time. & some hard work. Like, harder than we originally anticipated this journey would be. But, at the end, we’ll be so much better off and far healthier than we might’ve had he not intervened.

The ladies were discussing next steps and because I was straining to hear them, I hadn’t noticed Kiel approach and before I realized what was happening, he was lifting me up and placing me on a higher platform. He took a few steps back and I felt a smidgen of what Nicole had felt during her squats. He studied my heels and even though I knew he was looking through trainers’ eyes to see how she landed each step, I was still uncomfortable with him starting at my heels. They are not my favorite feature! I mean really, how many girls are happy with their backsides? So, with all my obsessing over the size of my rear, I totally missed out on what would be happening once we left the studio. Something about an email. A super important one- I don’t know to who or about what but Kiel emphasized that it go out immediately. I have a feeling it will. It’s not every day we get orders from a retired Army Captain. Yet, anyway.

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Monday- finally!

I know, right? Who is ever excited that Monday has arrived? I don’t even have a 9 to 5 & I don’t like Mondays! After this last weekend though, man, I am downright excited that its over.

It seemed to have started early for one thing. We skipped last week’s Learn to Run session with the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club on Thursday. My person had plans for a networking thing- don’t ask, I have no idea what it means either, with Fabulous. I guess they had a good night, I overheard her rehash the event with her husband later. They met with a group of ‘unique’ ladies.
That I looked up, it means ‘one of a kind’. Together they all sampled heavenly cheeses along with a wonderful glass of wine. Hardly sounds worth missing our training session, but she said that everyone was lovely and they spent much time laughing and chatting with new acquaintances. She said nothing about anyone’s footwear.

On Friday, after waiting in the car while she worked (not complaining, was happy to do so after last time), we headed to Fabulous’s. I totally thought we’d be running but when we arrived, there were 100s of fancy dresses all over her driveway. People kept heading into the house and coming our with more too! They were sorting and hanging and, of course, talking and laughing. I heard the word “Prom” so often that I thought we were going to attend one. We joined the chaos and while I had hoped to be running, being surrounds by so many beautiful dresses, I found myself fantasizing about my person wearing this, that or another one and taking me dancing! Thankfully, all the chatter flying around above me alleviated my confusion as to what was actually happening. My person is a member of the Junior League and while I had always thought this meant she played baseball or something, it turns out to be far cooler- this group of women get together and do all sorts of fun volunteer projects which are focused on women &/or children in their communities. The project I was lucky enough to assist with was called CINDERELLA’S CLOSET– they collected new & lightly used prom dresses and were then going to arrange a boutique of sorts, where local high school girls who wouldn’t be able to purchase a dress to attend, would be able to come & select one- therefore allowing them to attend a right-of-passage event they might have otherwise missed out on! Cool, right? I was so caught up in the satin and tulle and rhinestones that I barely even realized at first that Strength’s person was helping as well. I also hadn’t realized that after all the sorting and subsequent loading of all the racks of dresses and boxes into a huge truck concluded, we’d be doing our weekly running workout. I also hadn’t realized it would be a new regimen either. So, just when I thought we were done, Strength approached and asked if I was ready.

Ready? Ready for what?

One minute of walking and then nine minutes of running, that’s what. Three time, of course.

I’ll spare you the details. It wasn’t the prettiest run but we managed. I would even go out on a limb and say we’re improving. I mean, she’s still out of breath for much of it, and I still struggle with the whole supporting end of things but as each week passes, even though it doesn’t feel any easier we somehow get through harder and longer workouts. She often talks through them, and I have to give her credit, there’s no way I am at that point yet- Strength waits until we’re done to chat with me. The weather mostly cooperates too, so that doesn’t hurt matters. I hope Spring last forever!

After they finished cooling down, I figured we’d be heading home but before we got there, we stopped at the home of another Junior Leaguer- I didn’t catch her name but she was wearing friendly boat shoes who informed me that we had just missed out on the sorting and hanging and loading of the second batch of dresses. There was more?! Turns out that in total, these women managed to amass over 400 of them. Can you imagine?

I can. I can close my eyelets and picture 400+ dresses neatly hanging on racks, arranged by size. prom dresses1prom dresses2
I can do this because… yay! I got to go to the boutique and see it all happen! We were up and out super early and the entire day flew by as girls came in, found their favorites and left with bags of dresses and huge, ear to ear smiles. They had their hair and makeup done by a professional, snacked on pink cupcakes and pink sugar cookies and pink cake pops- all to be washed down with pink ginger ale (who wants to drink non-pink ginger ale now?) and hopefully had as good an afternoon as the Junior Leaguers, all of which spent the day alternating between laughter and, for some reason, crying- or almost.

Fair enough, having gotten to be a part of this experience, we had to help clean up. Even though so many young ladies were lucky enough to find the dress of their dreams- no one left with out one, there were still hundreds left over to be used for next year’s event. They had to be transported to a storage facility and while everyone was super tired, we managed to get everything put away in a few hours and thankfully, a group decided to stop for a bite and a beer before heading home, to bed! I say thankfully because while everyone dined above us, the shoes took a collective nap beneath the table.

After a whirlwind day like that, I had assumed we’d all be spending Sunday doing a whole lot of nothing. But as my loyal readers know- assuming, it is never wise. Nope, the alarm sounded before 9am and after a quick breakfast of oatmeal we headed to the gym. Strength and Quiet awaited us on the rail trail that runs behind it and neither took pity on us for the day prior, seeing as they were both there too! A ridiculously long 45 minutes of walking and running later, we were still not done. Quiet took her leave of us- heading out on a day she didn’t look forward to much either, so I couldn’t even be jealous.

Strength put us through the paces. There were planks and plank push-ups. There were an assortment of crunches. At one point, there was a giant stability ball. There was sweat and almost tears. There was also much encouragement. At one point, her person was literally on the floor next to mine, stop watch in hand, their faces inches apart while she called out the seconds and offered a constant stream of “you can do this” type chatter. How many people can say they have that kind of support system?

My person is super lucky to have the friends she does, this weekend was a testament to that fact.

What NOT to Wear (while running)

It’s Wednesday, so that means my person meets up with her friend, Fabulous, the fashion designer. They walk and run and talk, talk, talk. It’s awesome because I usually manage to pick up lots of information from their conversation. Except that this week, she was in such a rush to get out the door this morning she totally left. me. home.

Yup, sitting at home- by the door, with my socks. She had worn flip flops so I figured that she’d remember at some point and come fetch me. Either sooner- like right after she left, or later- like after work but before heading to meet Fabulous.

Nope.

When she realized her mistake, she rummaged through the back of her car and came up with two alternative options to running in flip flops… black high heeled pumps, ooooooooor, hot pink converse basketball shoes. & no socks.

converse

Looking at the bright side- at least she ran, right? The lack of support and cushioning probably insured that I won’t get left behind again either.

Running on the Brain, and, well, Socks too

I’m sure that from the outside it appears as if it has always been the case but I am officially obsessed with running. When is our next run? Who is joining us? Where will we go? How long? How far? How fast? It’s as if each run is its own reason for that day. We’re still only on intervals and to those who have been running for a while, its most likely child’s play, but to us- nine minutes at a time is harder than it sounds. An actual accomplishment.

When we’re not running, a lot of my person’s activities are still run-focused. Between gym visits, training meetings, food intake obsessing and making lofty goals for races in the future as well as fundraising for the half in November- which I had so better get to attend! An afternoon of wine tasting and prizes. Prizes! So far, Jewelry and Wine and Gift Certificates for Restaurants and a Gym membership annnnnnd socks! You KNOW how I love socks! Super cools one too. The company that graciously donated them, The Sox Box, also donated a pair for us to rock during races. How awesome is that? I was looking at their website earlier and it is going to be a tough choice, every pair is fabulous. In fact, take a look and let me know which pair you think we should get!

Wanna Race?

Apparently, we do! In exactly one month from today, we will be running in our very first race- a 5K! While this is equal parts exciting and terrifying, I am also concerned- is she going to up, ready and at the starting line by 8:10? AM? As in the morning? Having already had breakfast? Hmmmmmm.

Anyone out there reading this from within the Hudson Valley? Care to join us? I would love to see you and I am sure my person feels the same. Saturday, May 17th on the Dutchess County Rail Trail. For more information and to sign up, please visit the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club site.

I don’t know if its the 5K looming ahead, or if she is falling in love with running, but there has definitely been a step up in our training. Not that I am complaining- as hard as each session is as a beginner, it makes the following one slightly easier. If you had asked me a few weeks ago, I never, ever thought we’d be capable of what we did during this evening’s Learn To Run session- walk for 2 minutes, run for
n i n e
m i n u t e s,
walk for two minute, run for ANOTHER
n i n e
w h o l e
m i n u t e s,
walk for two minutes and then, a gift! walk for only eight minutes! But we did, and for the most part, she managed to keep up her end of the conversations going on around us the whole time. Panting and sweaty? You bet! But mission completed. It makes me look forward to the next run, the next week, next (OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!) month!

Yap, Yap, Yap!

Man, if talking was an endurance sport, ‘someone’ I know would already have a slew of medals! All week, we met this friend and that one and all the while we walked & ran, she talked, talked, talked. I will say, at least she is building up her ability to breathe. Back when we first started, it was a bit touch and go, yet here we are- running at eight minute intervals annnnnnd she’s managing to hold a conversation. Still super slow, but as several people over the week had said- ‘slow & steady wins the race’.

By win, we mean finish.

In addition to the breathing, all her talking is good in that I have learned a little bit during each training session. For example, did you know that lots of women run races while wearing a tutu? My person laughs and says that if she had known that, she would’ve started running much sooner. I get the feeling that she is only partially kidding. She met up with this one friend who is a designer and seamstress. It was during ththeir walk/run, I found out that many of the people running in November will be in costume! They didn’t make any decisions as to what my person will be wearing exactly, but I do know that I will have some sort of component myself, and I am very excited to be included.

I am so hoping for something like this!

I am so hoping for something like this!

Another outing brought us together with some Sparrow’s Nest team members. During this run, I learned that almost every runner in this group has the same fears and self-doubt. One woman, who ran further & faster than any of us, feels the exact same we do most days- that we’re too slow, or that 13 miles is just too far to be possible. There is definitely something to be said about being surrounded by such similar creatures. It makes me hopeful that together, nothing will be impossible.

Even during an alone run, I still managed to learn something. Despite their reputation for quite the opposite, I have discovered that women can be very good to each other, like the teammates they really are. We were just barely finishing our very first eight minute interval, and realizing that doing it alone had NOT been a good choice. From within one of the cars in a line stopped at a red light came a young girl’s voice:

You, go, girl!

It was, literally, the most perfectly timed encouragement so far. When my person shared this tidbit with a running buddy, we found out that runners tend to have lots of interesting interactions and stories. May all of ours be as positive!

What a (Sun)day!

Seriously, I thought she would never get off the computer! My person has been on-line for what feels like forever. Though really, its been like two days. Annnnnnnd, technically, it is her computer. But I had a great Sunday and have been itching to share!

We were out of the house early, which you know by now is a rarity, and she had herself a heavy breakfast so I knew she was planning a strenuous morning and wasn’t at all surprised when we exited the car to find us at Gold’s Gym. Only we didn’t head for the entrance, but towards the rear of the parking lot. Just beyond the fence line, there was a group of about dozen pairs of sneakers and their people. One pair stood out and after a moment I recognized them as those belonging to Ronnie, the personal trainer. She was leading the rest in a series of stretches and explaining that we would all be heading out on what I then realized was a paved trail, fifteen minutes out and then another fifteen back for a total of a half hour. Her further explanations lead me to understand that the shoes surrounding us were a sampling of the team mates for the half marathon in November and that this was one of several training sessions to follow in an effort to prepare, and to get to know one another. She said that we didn’t have to run, this time anyway, and I was concerned- my person can be pretty chatty and I was hoping that she wouldn’t put that above taking advantage of the opportunity to get a run in. Especially because the weather was perfect. A few more stretches and every one began to pair off and head up the path. I worried for naught,We wound up coupled with a lovely pair of grey and teal Asics who were down with the three & half minute walk/seven minute run times three session we would be indulging in if we’d be home. She told me that typically they do much shorter intervals of walking vs. running and while she seemed nervous at first to venture away from what she referred to as the Galloway method, claiming to not yet be ready to make it 7 minutes at a time, but she held her own. In fact, if the chatter from above is any indication, both of our peeps did just as well. We finished up with a group stretch and all agreed to meet again next week, same time/same place. I heard that this trail, which was converted into a multi-use path from a defunct train track goes on for like, ever and am looking forward to exploring even more of it! I got the feeling that the shoes we paired up with belong to a person mine already knows well and that she & I will be spending lots of time together.

The run had gone so well and the weather was so pleasant that I had already enjoyed a perfect morning and would’ve been happy enough had we headed straight home as usual when her husband picked us up, but to my surprise, when we got out of the car again we weren’t home, but in another, larger parking lot. The mall! I hadn’t been back here in quite some time- I am not the sneakers that get to go on errands, ever, so I was extra excited that when my person did decide to indulge me, it was to here! First stop, yup, the department store- where only a few short months ago, my story began. The two of them were discussing the very thing I have been obsessing over since our last Learn to Run session- the mileage at which running shoes get ::gulp:: replaced. I didn’t learn much more about it either, other than that she is equally freaked out about it. From what I gather, the plan is to get another pair and switch back & forth between us for training. She did some guesstimating and it’s looking like her training plans together with races (!) she hopes to run over the next few months will put me dangerously close to ‘too many miles’ to participate at Disney. I am trying to think positively but I have to admit, I am still uber nervous about the whole thing. I mean, what if she likes this new pair better? I know, I know, I have to have more confidence and not be so ‘girl’ about it, but I can’t help it. I AM a girl, you know?

Anyway, I guess she found a pair that she really liked from, you guessed it, the clearance rack. They didn’t get them though, which did make me feel a little better. I mean, with me, it was like an instant decision, she knew immediately that she had to have me. So, I guess I should just wait & see what happens. At least I learned that she feels the same as I do annnnd she is looking for an acceptable solution.

We hit a few more stores, none of them shoe, and then back in the car. I was completely blown away when we again exited the car again- beautiful, yes, but definitely not home. Lots of rolling hill with a pond and what appeared to be a horse in the distance. We entered one of three charming buildings on the property and were promptly greeted by a smell none too familiar and very inviting- like fruit, only better. There were glass bottles every where and a motif of grapes was prevalent- which could totally explain the smell. A tall, very ladylike woman invited us to have a seat and the two of them chatted for a long while about coming back in a few weeks time for an event. I think its a party of sorts, to raise more money towards our Sparrow’s Nest goals for the run in November. It sounded like its going to be lots of fun and I have all of my laces crossed that I get to attend!

Such an jam packed day! I was relieved when the next stop actually was home.

Betwix

Week number six of our Learn to Run program -with tonight’s session we’ve made it to the halfway point. A three minute walk, followed by a seven minute run. Times three. As hard as it felt, we did it! Which wouldn’t have felt possible a few weeks ago. Having a support system is a definite plus. Running buddies, especially those who are so much more advanced is helpful because they not only provide encouragement but offer a distraction. Advice dispensed, stories told and time &/or distance tracked. I, for two, am so grateful for my person’s supportive friends’ athletic shoes that have made the journey to this point so much smoother, and enjoyable.

Truth be told, this week, I didn’t need much help being distracted. During one of our seven minute stints, I concentrated super hard on getting my person to think about the question burning in my sole since our last run. Turns out she was concentrating equally hard on breathing so it wasn’t until we hit a walk phase that she picked up what I was puttin’ down and asked her running mates what the deal is about sneaker replacement. Human lives are measured in time- seconds, minutes, hours. Days, weeks, months, years. I had always thought that my life span was counted similarly. Nope. Mileage. As in how many miles I transverse. To makes matters worse, its seems the number of miles is at each runners’ discretion. Seriously, it differed for each runner asked, with numbers ranging from 400 to 600-ish. Ish? What does ish mean?

At what mile do you suppose THAT happened?

At what mile do you suppose THAT happened?

Great, more questions for me to mull over in box tonight rather than sleep. How long is a mile? How many miles have we covered so far? How many between here & and November? How many will I be allowed before forced retirement?

In effort to focus on the positive, I will say that my person seemed to take this news in the same context as I. She even commented at one point how attached she already felt to me (awwwwww!) so I am confident that she will make the right decisions as far as my life span.

Ups & Downs- Life is Apparently like Running on Hills

Another Personal Training appointment at Gold’s Gym this morning, and I could barely fall asleep last night just thinking about our prior visit. My fears were somewhat alleviated when I first opened my eyelets to spy her making breakfast. Seriously, she was barely awake, still in her robe, preparing an early morning meal. She finished it too- an entire bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, and bananas, and blueberries, and almond milk. A far cry from last week’s pre-workout ‘meal’ of a granola bar. Her gym bag now also houses lots of provisions in addition to water; a bottle of Gatorade, a slew of granola-like bars and a banana. The only thing missing is a salt lick.

By the time we arrived at the gym, I was feeling much more confident, because I could sense that she was. Having warmed up already, we were able to get right to the machines and Ronnie showed us how to use a few different ones to assist in building my person’s leg muscles. Right away, she said she could feel a difference in how it felt compared to last week. I noticed that she didn’t even reach for her water once, whereas last time, we did barely a third of the work and she had quite a bit before actually passing out. Lesson learned, breakfast IS important.

After we parted ways with Ronnie, off to help guide another person to meet their own fitness goals, we headed upstairs to the indoor track. Really? The past few, freezing, months we’ve been hitting the pavement and today, a cool finally spring-like day and we’ve got the option to run inside. I will say, at first, it was pretty cool. The track circles over half of the work-out area below and you can see a lot of what is going on, from the lower weight-lifting space and machine areas to inside several of the class rooms that were this morning home to an aerobic-type group and a spinning class (side note- I sooooo want to try that!). I have already noticed that for the most part, few of the people make eye contact during the whole of their work out. Not out of rudeness, they’re just concentrating on doing their own thing . So, when another runner joined in our pace, I was surprised. I was even more surprised when she & my person started chatting. It was hard to follow what was happening in their convo above me as her sneakers were crying. I did manage to figure out that they are Sparrow’s Nest teammates for the half marathon in the fall. I also deduced that she is far more advanced in her training than we are, and NOT just because she lapped us earlier, several times. Anything other than that though, I missed, because I was trying to figure understand just what her crying sneakers were so upset about. Except that it was then time for us to walk and they pulled ahead. Thankfully, our people continued with their conversation and with they’re having to yell to each other, I could catch the last of it.

“I definitely need new ones, I like to put it off as long as I can.”

To which my person, to my horror, replied,

“Your new sneakers will see Disney!”

Which would explain the tears. However, raises a ton of my own questions:
What??
Why?
Why would she need new sneakers? Additional, sure, I get that, I guess, but new? How come her clearly loved and loyal ones get the ax? Before the Disney Half Marathon no less!
& what, exactly, happens to her sneakers? Where will they go?
Is that going to happen to me?
Ever? Aren’t we in this together, forever?
Am I going to get to participate in the race this fall? Is all this training for naught?

Yay, another sleepless night ahead, tossing & turning in box. Sigh.