Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Todays Favorite Exercise

Ok, so these are not my favorite exercise. However, today, they were! Anytime my kids want to workout with me, it's a treat! They have so much fun. What they lack in good form, they make up for in giggles.

Ok, so Supermans are pretty simple. Lay on your stomach, keep your abs tight, arms out in front of you. Raise your arms/upper body, and your legs. Hold for a beat, lower, and repeat. If you are keeping your abs tight you shouldn't be able to raise up very far off the ground. You can also do Sequential Supermans, raising legs first, then upper body, or upper body then legs. Another variation is to use light weights. Dumbbells in hand, lay face down with hands at ear level resting on the floor. Keeping hands at ear level, raise upper body, then lower body. You will feel that much more in your shoulders and upper back then the normal variation. 20 reps is a good set.

Here is the view I had today while doing my Supermans : )

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Family Fun w/Rattle Snakes!

We really wanted to get out today after meeting and enjoy this amazing weather. Running was out, so we took the kids for a hike near our home. We headed up into the Lime Ridge Open Space. We started off on a wide fire road, then found ourselves on single track. We have done many hikes with the kids. All hikes start off at the visitor board reading about the animals that are in the area. The kids know to stay close. We usually have one parent in the front, and one bringing up the rear. Well, today we were out of formation. The girls were up a ways in front of us. A sound you never want to hear, but especially when your kids are a ways up in front of you on a trail, is the rattle of a rattle snake. It is a very distinct sound, you know the instant you hear it what it is. It is also a bit disorienting. It is very hard to tell exactly where it's coming from unless you can see the snake of course. My first thought was run, which is what I hollered out for them to do. They did not run back towards us, they ran about 40 ft up the trail and stopped. So now they are on the opposite side of the snake from us. We either have to run by it, or they have to run back by it to get to us....neither of those options was happening.
I was wishing badly that my grandpa was here! He never hiked w/o being armed. He would have walked up to the sound and ....eliminated the threat. I once saw him pick up a hatchet and throw it end over end across camp and decapitate a rattle snake. I still have the rattles from it. But alas, grandpa wasn't going to be able to help us get out of this pickle. One thing I know about rattlers is they don't rattle until you are pretty close to them. They warn you when you are too close, but they are happier to sit still, watch you, and let you pass when you're not too close. Which told me he was close to the trail.
My amazing husband knew exactly what to do. Wait, I mean he had no stinking clue what to do, but neither did I. I did know that taking my shirt on and off over and over wasn't going to fix anything though : )
Thank goodness, I had the camera along and was calm enough to do the only thing I could do in the moment, make a video! Yes, my voice is way annoying, and yes, I was way annoyed by any suggestion Brian made, but my babies were in trouble, so I give myself a pardon. Thank goodness a man appeared in the middle of the woods and saved us! Good memories, and now Brian and the kids have heard the rattle of a real live rattle snake!

You can hear that the snake does calm down,but as soon as Brian would take a step down the trail he would start back up again.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Strained Hip Flexor-What is in the Air???

What is the deal people?? There are sprained ankles, pulled groins,and pulled and strained hip flexors popping up like crazy among my fellow runners!! What is in the air?? Maybe it was that painted line on the floor in my sis in laws Zumba class...those will trip you up every time : ) For me, too much drive, not enough brain.

What did doing 2 a days this week get me??? Pain. So frustrating as I have felt really good this week, seeing changes that I have been wanting to see for a few weeks now, feeling strong on our runs and in workouts. In an effort to hit this week hard, I have been doing 2 a days, meaning running 3-5 miles in the a.m. on the treadmill, then doing a run later in the day with Brian. From Monday - Thursday I had logged 30 miles and 3 workouts. No major change to my schedule, just upped my daily miles in an attempt to add some cardio....in a 2 week attempt to drop those few vacation lbs. I picked up. Well, Wednesdays are our most difficult run. We do 3 laps at the Lafayette Reservoir. I push Em in the jogger (65 lbs) and Brian pushed Soph and Bub (90 lbs). Total its only an 8.75 mile run, but the hills are intense, as are the downhills while holding back that weight. Plus I did a 3 mile run that morning on the treadmill, and a mini ab/upper body workout. I am thinking the pike crunches (see #5)added to the stress I was unknowingly putting on my hip flexors. Wednesday night, went to bed, went to roll over to the right and when I lifted my left leg there was instant sharp pain in the front hip area. (see pic below) The pain would wake me up every time I would try to roll over all night long. Thursday a.m. got up, not wanting Brian to know anything was hurting, sucked it up and got on with my day. Did my workout, but wasn't able to do any lunges or Mt Climbers. Everything else was ok though and I did jumping jacks, squats, planks, crunches....nothing else hurt, and I thought at that point that it was probably just a random pain that would work itself out. I Met Brian for our lunch run and felt normal, we did it in the normal time. When I put my heels on for meeting Thursday night that was the first time I felt the sharp pain all day Thursday.(co's visit) By the time we got home after meeting I could barely lift my left leg. Brian had to help me get from the sofa to bed as I couldn't walk w/o sharp pain. Lifting my left leg more than about 3 inches off the ground induces a sharp pain. I made it in the bed till about 1, then had Brian help me out to the sofa so I couldn't roll over, as that is what was hurting most and kept waking me up. This morning, any attempt at lifting leg gets a sharp pain. Any movement that involves tightening up my core to bend forward or lift leg, gets a pain....so standing up, getting in the car, bending to pull on pants, ect...
I am pretty good about pushing through the pain usually. I hate, hate, hate going to the Dr for stuff like this as I can tell you before I go what they will say. It's either a pull or strain, rest, ice, Ibuprofen, a weeks rest....but with a half and 3 full marathons on the calendar in the coming months, the smart thing to do was get to the dr. So I did. It had been 3 years since I had been to a Dr for anything (not counting the ER for my sprained ankle). Guess what the diagnosis was???
Strained Hip Flexor, ice, Ibuprofen during the day, Vicodin at night, no exercise for a week (ya, right!), physical therapy (again, ya, right!) She said after I had explained my schedule to her, "so you already know this is an overuse injury, right?"...Yeah, I know. So I went a bit overboard this week and am now paying for it. At least I know what I did. And I know I need to spend some time in my workouts doing hip flexor specific exercises. To be clear though, this is not an injury caused by running! This is an injury caused by my own stupidity and overuse, doing more than I should have done. Lesson learned.
Game plan - rest through the weekend, see how it feels Monday. First runs will be done on the treadmill so I don't get a mile away from the car and have to hobble back....but I really think 3 days of rest, ice, Ibuprofen....should be ok by Monday. Looking forward to the Vicodin and a good nights rest!
Here is a chart to see exactly what a hip flexor area is, and a write up on what they do.
Happy running to you un injured people! Have a great weekend and run smart!!
Your hip flexors are among the most powerful muscles and tendons in your body. They are comprised of your iliopsoas (deep set muscles at the front of your hip), your tensor fasciae latae (outer hip muscle), and your rectus femoris and sartorius (they lie over top of the iliopsoas muscles in your front, upper thigh area). Hip flexors help you lift your upper leg to your torso or flex your torso towards your thigh (like when sitting up from a lying down position), they externally rotate your spine and thigh bone, and also limit your hip extension when walking or running.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Family Fun Memories.....

This is one of the 2 pics we always get each Disney trip. This was Bubba's first year going on Splash, notice the death grip I had on him. We had so much fun!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Malibu International Marathon

!!!!!!Taken from my Invitation email I received today!!!!!!
(Ok, yes, thousands of other runners received it too : )

The 2010 Malibu International Marathon and Half Marathon will take place November 14th, showcasing idyllic scenery and unlocking an exciting new challenge. The marathoners will run 26.2 miles starting near the Camarillo Airport at 7 a.m. and ending at Zuma Beach in Malibu. The Half Marathon begins at 8:30 a.m. and is along the last half of the marathon course.

Marathoners will enjoy a fast first half in the flat farm lands of Ventura County with views of the Santa Monica Mountains looming to the east. At mile 10, the athletes will run through the "keyway to the coast", a rock passageway to the Pacific Ocean. The remainder of the course is along the legendary Pacific Coast Highway with breathtaking views of the great Pacific and dozens of Malibu mansions. The finish line is at the famous Zuma Beach, where athletes are welcome to run straight into the refreshing ocean.

"The course was just unveiled to the public last month and the response has been incredible!" event directors said. "Runners have already tagged this course as, 'The run to paradise!' High profile personalities are expected to support and participate in the events."

We thank you for your registration and look forward to seeing you at the starting line.

The Malibu International Marathon Team

Monday, April 19, 2010


Here is a fav from today's workout! These are very challenging. When I first attempted doing these, I made is as far as the down position and decided they are impossible! It was hard at first to know what muscles I was supposed to use to get back up. The answer was any muscle I could possible tighten! It is definitely a difficult move, but it is doable!! A full set is possible!
A tip - if you don't have a hard surface, you can use round pie pans on carpet...that is my method! Just make sure you are in control the whole time, nice and slow on the way down.
Give these a go and see what you think!


Kneel on the floor and place two small towels on the floor in front of you. Lean forward and place your hands on top of the towels. Your arms should be straight and your wrists should be in line with your elbows. Don't bend at the waist; your body should be one long line from your shoulders to your knees. Lift your feet off the floor and cross them.

STEP 2)Slide your hands out to the side to lower your body toward the floor

STEP 3)Continue to slide your hands until your upper body is just a few inches from the floor. Return to starting position and repeat.

Make sure your movements are controlled so you don't do a face plant into the floor. And don't lift that butt too high up in the air — this takes the resistance off your upper body and defeats the purpose of the move.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jillian Michael's Workouts

As I approach 800 days on the Jillian Michaels online program, I thought it a good time to give her program a shout out. I have done so on occasion in the past as I love her workouts! I love the freedom of doing it at home on my schedule. I love that while I started off sceptical about the effectiveness of an online, at home program, it has always, and continues to kick my booty. I find it amusing when people ask what gym I go to and I say i have never had a gym membership. Followed by their smirks when I say I do an online program, and even more smirks when I say I have no gym equipment. It's Jillian Michaels, people. If you have seen her hard core, in your face approach on Biggest Loser, that's what you can expect of her online program. I am convinced that if I even think in my head "this is hard, I can't do it" she will reach through the comp screen and slap me around! Here is a peek at what I mean................

While I mainly use it for the workouts, there are many other tools available. Weight trackers, calorie trackers, menus, shopping lists, ect.....tons of additional tools to choose from.

For me though, it is about the workouts. Circuit training to be specific. Just as there is no secret pill to get the weight off, there is no one exercise to get you fit, which is one reason I am a huge advocate for circuit training. Her program uses a combination of strength and cardio training in each circuit. This combo is most effective for maintaining max calorie burn as well as keeping your heart rate at a high level throughout the workout. The level I am at currently has 5 circuits, or groups of exercises. Each circuit has 5-6 exercises in it. Each circuit is worked through twice, 20 to 30 reps each. So that's 25-30 different exercises per workout, each done 40-60 times. If we are talking about lunges, that's per leg. Some things are done in 1 minute increments, for example mountain climbers, burpys, jumping jacks, jumping rope, cross hops......mainly cardio exercises are done in 1 minute chunks.

One of the great things is how many variations of moves there are that I never knew before. Take push ups as an example. There are normal push ups, scorpion push ups, traveling push ups, ball push ups, clock push ups, frog push ups, close grip push ups, ect. There are so many variations of squats, lunges, curls, presses, crunches, it never gets boring! No 2 workouts are ever the same. And, don't' think she wont throw the variations at you all in one workout. One workout can end up having hundreds of push up in it if she puts one variety in each circuit.

You workout 4 days a week, you set your days on/off, although it's 2 back to back days on, one off, then 2 more on. So that's 4 workouts a week, and each one takes me about 1hr 20 minutes- give or take. One day a week is supposed to be your cardio day, and then you are supposed to take 2 days off, although you can do cardio if you choose on those days. Well, everyday in our house is a cardio day. If I am feeling overly tired or sore, I will take either Wednesday or Friday off from working out/running, but I usually regret it.

There are detailed explanations on the site as to why you are working the areas you work one day and why you work a certain area the next. Also, why you work different ends of the body to keep the blood flowing from one end to the other and why that's a benefit. There is also info on metabolism, a quiz to find out what group you fall into and what foods your body would function best on. There are also tools and advise on all things fitness/weight loss related, including the mental side of it all.

One thing i will say is to do it at home on your own, you have to be motivated. There isn't any pressure to do it because people are watching and you can't look like a wimp. There isn't an actual human personal trainer watching you and helping you to keep pushing through a set. Its 100% you. Which is another benefit. For me personally, it has helped me develop the ability to keep pushing myself beyond the pain, beyond the shaking muscles that don't seem like they can keep going. I have to make myself finish the reps. It's only myself that will keep me going, or let me quit, I am 100% responsible for my success or failure. One more time for emphasis, I am 100% responsible for my success or failure!! Yes its hard, yes it hurts, and yes I will keep going. Why? So many reasons, but the very basic reason is because this program works!! When you combined Jillian's knowledge and workouts with a determined person, it works. Do I have a perfect body, no. Am I ripped, no. Do I feel fit, healthy and strong, yes. I am able to do things I never dreamed I could do. I am able to push through things, and go further, longer, faster than at any other point in my life. I am mentally able to convince myself I can do something if I just keep pushing myself. The ability to mentally focus in on finishing a task, staying in the moment, feeling whatever my body is feeling, and finding the ability to make it keep going has been a major benefit that I didn't' realize would develop.
I started Jillian's program to lose the last 75 lbs I needed off. I have gained so much more from it than I could have imagined. If you are looking for something new, a fresh start, a challenge, an alternative to the gym, or just want to take a peek at her program, go for it!
A new goal I have blogging/fitness related is to share once a week with you my favorite exercise of the week from my workouts, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Keep in mind what i said above about there not being 1 secret exercise to get you fit though, these will just be one of the hundreds from the week that I enjoyed.
Ok people, go out there and have a great weekend!

Monday, April 12, 2010

San Fran Marathon

We officially registered for the San Fran Marathon last night!! Coming off over a week of no workouts or running, we both are really antsy to get back into the swing of things! I can't remember a stretch in the past 2 years that we have gone this long w/o a workout of some kind. We make it a habit while out of town to get in some form of exercise. I guess Disneyland and all the walking counts as something, but its just not the same. I attempted some cardio in California Adventure - racing Emma up and down the cargo net course over and over. It felt really good, but she ended up running head first into a support beam and then I felt like a loser. Plus the other parents w/little kids didn't really appreciate us bouncing the thing around as they were trying to make their way up/down it : ) Anyways, we tried to be balanced and just get away and relax this trip...which was interesting. While walking around in Solvang we stopped and looked at each other and asked "why are we here?" The kids were bored to death, and truth be told, Brian and I were too. We were surrounded by beautiful hills, green and full of flowers, that we would have much rather been out running through or hiking with the kids. Or better yet, just headed straight to the beach the first day and spent 2 days flying kites, chasing seagulls, and playing Frisbee! It was an interesting way to realize that for us, relaxing isn't seeing things, shopping, eating, or relaxing in the room, its doing things. Being outside and being active in some way is how we relax, when we feel the most calm and can clear our heads.
Ok, so I got a little off track, but it's my blog, so I can : ) one of the beautiful things about blogging......anyway, so we registered for San Fran last night. Always kind of a big deal to commit to a full marathon. A half is hard, but a full....you know you will come out the other side having gone through an epic adventure. We had talked about doing the half (you pick which half of the full you want to do for the San Fran, 2 half is easier) coming off of the Napa Marathon. Napa was hilly and we really felt the pain of the hills. But, after a few weeks, we realized we recovered really fast from that marathon, felt good and strong and injury free. I think in the long run, since we have done 2 fulls and know we can do it, we would regret only doing the half. Even though it is one of the most challenging road marathons around, it is a scenic, beautiful course. There will be tons of crowd support and entertainment on course (which Brian and I thrive on) and we run across and back over the Golden Gate Bridge!!
For Brian, this will be the final race in the California Dreamin Series for him. He will get his medal and jacket, having completed the 3 required races. Super excited for him!! I won't finish until Feb with the Surf City Marathon.
So, with that, we start off on another adventure! I'm sure there will be many training related posts in the future. For now, we are just focused on getting back in our routine this week, working around the rain. My workout is done for today, going to have to hit the treadmill this afternoon as it is raining like crazy here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Back From Vacation

We were in Southern California for the past week. It was great!! We had great weather the whole time. It was nice and warm and we had no rain. For those of you who know Brian and I and how much we need the sun, it was great! We spent some time in Solvang the first day. Then headed down the coast hitting Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Malibu, Ventura, and Huntington Beach. We will take a beach town over Solvang any day! Talk about a battery re-charge! We spent some time at the Santa Monica Pier having fun, the kids loved it.

We spent Tuesday thru Thursday at Disneyland. It was pretty crowded, but expected for Spring Break week. It wasn't too bad and we had a great time! It was Bubba's first time being able to go on the big rides - Splash Mt, Space Mt, Star Tours, Thunder Mt, ....he was a little freaked out on some of them, but he loved it at the same time! We stayed at a small hotel called the Alpine Inn. If you've been down there, its the one that looks like it got snowed on. It was a bit further away from the park than we have stayed before, but we enjoyed our walks back and forth to the park. It was 2 buildings down from a 7-11, which came in super handy!! Most of our food and coffee came from 7-11. It was a nice one with salads, yogurt, sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, fruit plates and bowls...tons of good options. We would go back mid day and get lunch, then nap, then head back to the park around 4 ish and swing in again to grab something for dinner. For sure it was the cheapest way we have ever done a Disney trip! Oh, and the hotel, we loved it. I wasn't' sure about it because it is a more hole in the wall sort of place, but it was really nice. The rooms were pretty new, big, clean, beds were comfy. Our room was always cleaned by the time we came back around 1 for naps. We would definitely stay there again.

We drove home Friday, but first we swam. First at the pool. Check out was at 11, so we were packed and ready to go so the kids could swim that morning. Then we headed back to Huntington Beach for more sun and sand. It was again, a beautiful day! The water was nice, shells everywhere. The kids had a blast, and Brian and I weren't ready to leave. We stayed until around 2, then headed home. Got home about 10 last night.

We had a great trip, lots of memories and good times! Pics are here from April 4 - 9th.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Calling all my See Janer's out there.....

About now, some of us may be wondering what we've gotten ourselves into, and I know how that feels. Believe me. I know all about the doubts, the insecurities, and the questions.

I also know that every one of you CAN do this!! You can FINISH!! It isn't about how fast you are. It isn't about being able to run the whole thing. It isn't about how you look compared to the person standing next to you. It's about setting a goal, putting in some effort, and FINISHING it!!

I wish I had more time to spend on this post, but service is calling. Thankfuly my sis in law has done a very honest post on her feelings right now about See Jane. Please, please take a minute and read my sis in law's post on this subject. She is very much feeling what I know some of you are. I am so proud of her, and the rest of you guys for having the courage to take this on! That includes you 5kers out there! So, lets get in gear, and stay focused on the FINISH!