Monday, April 02, 2012
A better recap & overview of the race, with pictures will come along later...
But, what a weekend! What a great time with Spark friends, new and long-term!
My boyfriend and I plan this weekend to be jam-packed with all the fun stuff we like to do in Pittsburgh, and we left early Friday morning. We are kind of getting the hang of driving around the 'Burgh and all the "bearing" and "veering" one must do. No where else I've been makes it possible to see where you want to go, but there is only ONE nearly-impossible to figure out way to get there! Or, the road becomes one-way just before you reach your destination and shunts you onto the highway or another shore, if not completely the other way.
And there is no back-tracking or "let's go back the way we came" either, for the same reasons listed above. I've been coming to Pittsburgh for nigh on 15 years and am just NOW getting the hang of things - or at least not screeching & flailing in frustration as I stare at a destination with no CLUE how to get there.
This time, we only had to backtrack once! Yay! (I mean, backtrack because we missed a turn, not the general backtracking that you have to do...Yinzers know what I'm talking about.)
Also, a long-standing rule in my family that I learned about the hard way - DO NOT GET OFF THE FREEWAY IN WEST (BY GOD) VIRGINIA. It's like they want you to end up in Deliverance country...it says gas, but darned if you can find the station once you're off the interstate. Good advice, Dad!
Just a Short Run is now the largest Sparkpeople event in the country! SO many Sparkers from all over the US and Canada! A race with lots of choice on distance (5K, 8.1 miles, half-marathon and 30K), an easy & beautiful route, and of course, lots of Spark folks to cheer you on. All ages and all backgrounds! The gatherings are low-pressure affairs with lots of fun energy. Meeting people in person that you've interacted with online means you have at least ONE thing to talk about to break the ice. :)
Plus, plus, PLUS - we've been lucky enough to have the after-party at MOJO, a local running shop. Forget Willy Wonka - having a whole STORE to ourselves is the embodiment of temptation. And you won't have to worry about blowing up into a giant blueberry - unless you overindulge on grape Sport Beans.
(Am I selling this up enough? It's FUN!)
--Seems like ACMG2002 and I only see each other at JASR despite living in the same metro area.
--This year I saw several non-Spark runners that I knew from years past; I'm becoming a regular!
--Some years the "big hill" is a killer and other times, not so bad. This year, not so bad. Then again, this year I wasn't actively dying of a sinus infection.
--My boyfriend did admirably taking pictures while everyone piled up their electronics and shouted instructions at him.
--In Pittsburgh, all roads lead to the Strip District. It's just a fact.
Can't wait to read everyone's race reports! Official report coming soon...
Monday, March 12, 2012
You know, I do enjoy the Arnold. Not only the people watching - actually, watching the people who are watching the attendees - but the whole atmosphere.
My friend Melissa and I (we worked together, then spent a lot of time drinking together, before she got into fitness too) went to the Friday expo this year. We got there a bit late, too late for the Zumba/pilates/yoga classes, but with plenty of time to hit the floor.
If you've never been to the Expo, or to another fitness show, it's not what you'd think - there are people of all sizes and shapes. There is a refreshing lack of judgment - most people who are into working out know exactly the kind of work it takes to get fit. No haters. (Okay, well, except for me, watching a photo shoot and thinking, "you know, it might be worth never eating again if I could have abs like that!!!!!)
Melissa and I did a couple of laps of the hundred-plus booths, then backtracked to give a few more time. I got a couple of prizes for lifting heavy stuff (a 25# ball, c'mon!) and we collected lots of samples, protein bars & other goodies. We took in the start of the men's fitness competition, which was a plethora of WOW.
If anyone asks me again - "What muscles does deadlifting work?" - I can visualize the lower backs of these dudes and describe each muscle group in detail. Not that I was paying *that* much attention to their backsides. Hee.
Also, the Arnold proves that women who lift weights do NOT get bulky or too muscular. Sure, if you use steroids. But we saw many of the promo folks (like Nadia Coyne) and they are nowhere NEAR as muscular as they are in their ads. Photoshop works both ways, I guess!
Those of you who live in the Columbus area, give it a shot next year. Admission for the day is $15.
First long-run of the year, first long-run fail of the year happened yesterday. C'est ma vie, c'est bonne. :)
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Hi all, usual excuses for not posting regularly. If I only had a personal assistant...the pay would be terrible, but I could make the benefits pay off...
ANYWAY. I spent February training - and getting my classes trained - for the Big Ride. Our YMCA branch does a 4-hour indoor cycling challenge to raise money for our Association's People Helping People campaign. Very important to many of the folks at our branch, since we have housing on-site & interact with those residents on a regular basis. This year, we partnered up with a nearby branch (Ward, for those of you C'bus types) to have as many people, bikes and fun as possible!
Training - my goal for cycling class is to train "up" - that is, to get everyone to maximize their output through a balance of form, strength, balance, and timing. I call it the "edge" - where technique meets speed & tension. February entailed a lot of things like "loops" of tension/sprint work; long sets (like three songs of jumps w/increasing tension, then a three-song sprint interval, followed by another three songs of hill climbing); and HIIT.
Yeah, we were ready to spin for four hours, no problemo!
Wake up early on Saturday; felt good & ready to get on with it. One of our instructors works for Abbott Labs (the EAS/Clif people), so there was LOTS of scientific goodies along with fruit & granola bars. The best - these Twizzler-like Clif kids chews that Paul brought especially for me (since I am allergic to the preservatives in the other stuff). No coffee - but we will rectify this next year. Need. coffee.
Instructors were AWESOME. We all have various musical tastes (I went to Billboard 100 & picked my list from there) & it flowed perfectly. I was the third instructor up, energy was high, rocked it out all the way. Lots of motivational noise, whooping all the way through everyone's set. My ego was gratified by the cheers that went up from the Friday morning folks during my outtro.
Our Ride also featured valet towel, water and snack service from volunteers. We watched Tour de France highlights on the big screen and Paul brought in video of his Pelotonia ride back from Athens last year. Very cool - you could adjust your tension & ride with the DVD.
Some of the great songs played:
"No You Girls" --Franz Ferdinand
"Star Guitar" --Chemical Brothers
"Good Feeling" - Flo Rida
"Ohio" --The Black Keys
"Roxanne" --The Police
"Decent Days and Nights" --The Futureheads
"International Love" --Pitbull
"Jungle Cruise Line" --Weird Al Yankovic
There were over 40 riders total, some rode two hours and some did all four.
The best part, the real pump - our Ride raised $1200 for People Helping People! That means 8 kids can go to camp on scholarship this summer!
No soreness to speak of afterward, although I did lighter workouts for a few days.
Now it's on to training for JASR at the end of March. Bring it! :)
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Sorry about the lack of blogging. I think about it, but I am typically away from home 14 hours and I'm way too busy at work right now to even contemplate doing anything other than quickly updating my food/exercise tracker in a spare moment.
But, a song!
"It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock 'n' Roll)" by AC/DC
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