Friday, February 27, 2009

Heart Racing Dips

Doug and I took our first class for the "Dips and Tricks" lessons last night with Naptown Stomp. Since I'm a little obsessed with calories & exercise these days, I've been trying to wear my heart rate monitor to all of our dance events, to see what kind of value they have as exercise. I'm still compiling a pool of data on these, but the early results show that real contra & swing dances, even with a few breaks keep my heart rate elevated enough to count as a pretty decent cardio workout. Classes, not so much for the real cardio work out, but they also burn more calories than just lolling about on the couch.

The results from last night's class were hysterically funny. Instructors talk, leaders figure out footwork...70-80 heart rate. Thirty seconds of twirling and dipping...heart rate rockets up to 130-160. It was awesome.

I love dips!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wonderful Winter Weekend Update

Doug's fancy GPS watch told him that the fastest toboggan run was really 41 mph! Woohoo!

Here's our list of races for this spring:
3/21 Holliday Park 5 mile Trail Run - Indianapolis, IN
4/18 Hellbender Hustle 5k - O'Bannon Woods State Park, IN
4/25 Road Ends 5 mile Trail Run - Pinckney Recreational Area, MI
5/30 Brown County 5k Trail Run - Brown County State Park, IN

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wonderful Winter Weekend!

I started off this year reinspired to focus on improving my health. Hence restarting my running program. Blech. :)

I have figured out that if I want to run, I can find some extra motivation by training for races. Nope, not the Indy Mini--I still have NO desire to run 13 miles. But I have registered for a few 5Ks and 5 mile trail runs. In the past few years I've walk/run a few 5Ks (for a good giggle, read about how I started running at my first 5k) and one 5 mile trail run, but I haven't ever managed to keep a running pace through the whole of any of them. So I set myself a new goal for this first 5k of the year--I wanted to actually run the whole thing. In training on the treadmill or on the nice flat crushed limestone Indy Towpath, I have done okay running a full 3.1 or 5 miles. But during the races, I haven't been able to continue running where there's been significant uphills. So, the first 2 races of this year are in Indianapolis, a great wonderfully flat place where I can finally finish running a race. And Doug is being a wonderful guy in joining me for these races!

So, we started the weekend by running our first race of the year, the PolarBear 5k through downtown Indianapolis, starting at the Indiana World War Memorial. I was a bit worried about this race, since I had been having some trouble in my training running a full 5k at a pace to match or beat my previous 5k best, 37.56. But despite my worries, we started the race on Saturday morning, at the balmy temperature of 37 degrees, with the forecasted snow/rain mix still holding off. Depite stopping (TWICE!) to retie my shoelaces, we passed the first mile marker at 11:40ish. Woohoo! More or less keeping the same pace for the rest of the race, with a little bit of a sprint at very end of the race, I finished my first all-running 5k race!
"Your overall finish place was 216 and your age group finish place was 12. Your time of 36:26.0 gave you a 11:43 pace per mile."

Immediately after the race, we celebrated by picking up coffee and a tasty chocolate croissant from the Indy Winter Farmer's Market. Yum.

Then we started a three hour drive up to Pokagon State Park to meet our friends, Juliet and Frank, for some toboganning! Yep, there's a toboggan run up in northeast Indiana, about an hour north of Fort Wayne. And we had a fabulous time. It was just about perfect winter weather, a few inches of snow. We ran the toboggan runs a half dozen times, and the winners of the top speed of the day (for us) were Juliet, Frank and Doug at 37 mph. Woohoo!

We finished off Saturday evening by heading back towards Fort Wayne, to a little town called Roanoke, to have dinner a wonderful restaurant called Joseph Decuis. Doug & I had gotten some gift certificates for this place when we bought some amazing soup at the Farmers Market. And the soup from the Market was a great indicator of the fabulous meal that we had. Yum, again!

This morning, we rounded off our wonderful winter weekend by cross country skiing before we left the state park. It's the first time I've skied since high school, and I was pleasantly surprised by finding it way easier than I remembered. Not that there wasn't shrieking and falling, but it was way fun.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Yoga at the office

For a few years, I've been going to a studio about a half mile from my office that offers vinyasa (flow) yoga. It was one of the first fitness routines that I actually enjoyed--when I wasn't in the midst of cursing it or my aching body--and looked forward to on a regular basis. Since then I've been trying to entice some of my co-workers to join me at the noon sessions that they offer. With one person, who already knew some yoga, she loved the classes and joins me regularly. With a completely new to yoga person, it failed miserably. Recently another yoga novice showed some interest in joining us, and I didn't want her to hate yoga

I sent around an email at work, trying to gauge the interest in having a few beginners group yoga classes during lunch. Fantastically, about 10 folks were interested, so I was able to book a few classes with my favorite yoga instructor, Eric, at a fairly reasonably per person price.

Yesterday was our first class, and it went pretty well. I think a lot of people were pretty shocked at how hard we worked--especially when I reported the calories burned from my heart rate monitor at 400 cal/hour. Which is pretty fun, since what we did in an hour for this class compares with the first 15 minutes of Eric's regular class. (Sadly, the calories burned won't multiply by 4...but even so I usually burn about 500 in an hour in the advanced class, and most of it is in the aerobic range. Not bad for yoga. Vinyasa rocks!)

Taking a yoga basics class was also great encouragement for me. In addition to reminding me of the proper way to do poses, it also really reminded me of how far I've gotten in my own practice over the last few years. I vividly remember my first classes and how crazy hard it was to hold those deceptively easy looking strength poses. Maybe it will also remind me not to be so despondent when I have a hard time holding the crazy poses that I'm trying now. I must remind myself to remember this lesson during the intense 2 hour hot yoga class I'll be taking on Saturday. :)