i just felt like running


We all remember the line from Forrest Gump where he said he just felt like running. Well, all of a sudden, I do too! I haven’t ran any distance really since September, but I feel like trying to run a 5k in February.

Now, when I say “run”, that is really a “jog” in most people’s standards. I’m a slow 5k gal. I think my fastest time was 27:30 and my slowest was probably 32 minutes, so I’m not that quick. The messed up part is that I can run a 5k during a triathlon (keep in mind that’s the LAST part of the race) just as fast as I can run a 5k all by itself. I think I’m stuck on one speed.

Anyway, here lately, I’ve been throwing some jogging in my workouts here and there and it feels pretty good. I actually have a baby bump now (photo coming soon!) and I know it’s going to grow pretty quickly, so I don’t want to plan too far out. I’m hoping I can find a local race in February on a pretty day. I can jog/walk it, but I just feel like being part of a competitive event. I guess I know that I won’t be doing any triathlons this year and by the time I recover from having this second baby, most racing seasons are over. However, I could look toward some cyclocross if I recover quickly. But, then you throw in another child and when is a mama gonna have time?

Who knows what I will be doing in the fall, but for now, I’m feeling ambitious and think I’ll see what I can find close by on a warm, February day (ha ha).

wednesday workout & swimming

We worked hard in my 6:15 morning class today. I had my folks warm up walking around the gym while I set up this circuit:

  • balance disk squats
  • resisted crunches on stability ball
  • BOSU crossovers
  • body bar front row
  • kettlebell squat thrust
  • seated row with resistance band
  • ladder agility drill
  • bicep curls with band
  • Russian twists with medicine ball
  • dumbbell triceps extensions

We did 90 seconds each the first round, then 60 seconds the second round. They were troopers! It’s a hard little workout if you put your best foot forward.

I won’t be teaching this class for the next three weeks since I’ll be taking a lifeguard instructor course. In a way, I’m sad, but in a way, I’m looking forward to the break. I have to get up at 5:15 on Wednesdays, but I won’t have to for a while. It’s nice not having to go out in the freezing cold dark! Hopefully, by the first week of December, I’ll be certified by the American Red Cross as a Lifeguard Instructor. That will make me even more valuable, eh?!

My son splashing in his kiddie pool this summer. He's gonna learn how to swim at a young age!

My son splashing in his kiddie pool this summer. He’s gonna learn how to swim at a young age!

I also had a swim lesson with a lady this morning. She’s probably in her 60’s and wanted to learn how to swim with her face in the water. We started out with basic flutter kicking, then progressed to blowing bubbles in the water, some side kicking, and then a catch up pull & kick with the board. She didn’t have goggles, so it was hard to get her whole face in the water, but she’s getting there.

Before she and I had our lesson, I swam 20 laps. I’m so glad I can easily swim! Now, I’ve been at it for over 9 years and I’ve had lots of practice, but I’m so glad it’s a skill I have gained. I started swimming when my friend asked me to do a triathlon with her. Neither of us had ever done one, so I started practicing swimming on my own. Thankfully, the lifeguard at that time put me in my place by telling me I wasn’t going to swim a triathlon very well if I couldn’t swim with my face in the water. He gave me some pointers and lent me some DVDs to watch (this was before youtube was popular). It wasn’t an easy thing to learn, but I’m so glad I did. I really feel good when I can teach folks how to swim. Not only could it save their life at some point, but it also gives them a new way to stay healthy and fit.

It’s pretty cold outside and I think my husband wants to get into something after I get off work today. I think I’m going to call the bowling alleys to see if any are open so we can go bowl with our son this evening. I love to bowl when it’s cold outside! It’s just something I feel guilty doing if it’s sunny or warm out because I should be outside playing.

What are your favorite indoor cold weather activities? Especially ones that involve toddlers…

Me bowling at my 31st birthday party back in March. Fun times!

Me bowling at my 31st birthday party back in March. Fun times!

hiit & christmas time!

Ok, so high intensity interval training (HIIT) and Christmas don’t really have that much in common…or do they? You could kick your own butt doing high intensity intervals and stay lean and mean during the holidays (which is what I plan to do). But, my original intention of this post was to shout “hooray” for HIIT! I’ve been trying to do this pretty regularly for a few weeks now and it’s paying off. Just today, I had two women remark on how good I look. Now, I’m not a fitness model by any stretch, but I can tell a difference in my body.

Up through September, I had been doing mostly cardio workouts while training for triathlons – I just don’t have enough time to do both strength training and cardio (even though I work at a gym, I’m the mom of a toddler). I got burned out on swimming, biking, and running and I haven’t run any distance since my last tri in mid-September (I know, shame on me). So, I thought I would change it up and do some different workouts. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, here are some ideas for you: https://bcnicematters.wordpress.com/tag/workouts/



Speaking of working at a gym, today is my FIRST anniversary at this job! I’m so happy they’ve decided to keep me this long. 🙂

On another note, I started listening to Christmas music a minute ago…it’s probably all I’ll listen to on Pandora from now until the first of the year. I love it!!! I’m so psyched about all the different Christmas happenings coming up. I saw this Billy Graham Library thing that I’m begging my husband to take me and our son to. One year, my husband and I ran a 5K that started on the strike of New Year through Christmas lights. It was so cool!

The finish line photo from that New Year 5K my husband and I ran years ago.

The finish line photo from that New Year 5K my husband and I ran years ago.

What gets YOU excited about the holidays?!

mandy’s top 10 ways to stay “exercisingly” motivated

I just finished a 10 x 10 workout that’s kick butt. My goal this fall/winter is to do more strength training since I feel burnt out on running and the same old triathlon training.

I’ve been working out regularly for 9 years and I’ve only missed a few weeks during that whole time span (due to illness or recovering from childbirth). I’ve come to find that these are the 10 things that keep me motivated to exercise and stay healthy:

  1. Feeling Good – I promise that once you get into an exercise routine, you will feel much better than you do just being a couch potato. It may take a few weeks or even a month to feel better (you may even feel worse to start), but after you get into the HABIT of working out a few times a week, you’ll be addicted. It makes me sleep like a baby at night.
  2. Looking Good – Now, I’m not saying I’m fitness model material, but I’m 5’7″ and a healthy weight of around 150. Having muscle tone makes me see the fruits of my exercise labors. I need to say here that it doesn’t matter what your size is, but you will look better if you break a sweat on a routine basis!
  3. 0911-workout-clothesWorkout Clothes – I like fitted, breathable workout clothes. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on expensive brands, either. There’s a good selection of workout clothes at places like Wal-Mart and Target. I’ve had some of my same pieces for nine years! When I’m dressed in something besides and old, baggy t-shirt and shorts that are too big, I just feel more like a real fitness person (and it makes me perform better).
  4. Music – Find the music you like and listen to it while you exercise. I don’t have an iPod, so I just listen to what’s playing at the gym. I do find that when I run outside, though, I don’t listen to music, but the nature sounds instead. When I run or ride on the road, I pay attention to the sounds around me to be more aware (and safe). There are lots of studies that show much music can boost your workout performance.
  5. Variety – I actually enjoy exercise and I vary it so I don’t get bored. For example, I normally swim, bike, or run but yesterday, I felt like taking a brisk walk through the woods…so that’s what I did. You don’t have to run 5 miles to get a good workout. Just chase your kids or dog around in the yard. If you find you’re bored, for Pete’s sake, Google something and find a new workout or sport.
  6. Competition – Yep, I’m a bit competitive and signing up for events helps me have a goal to work toward. For example, 5k or 10k races, sprint triathlons, or fun walks are all good ideas and they are ALL over the place ALL the time. Try active.com for examples of events in your area.
  7. Friends – Hang out with like-minded people or be “friends” with them on social media sites. I have found some really cool workouts on Pinterest (and I don’t even Pin that much). They can help you stay motivated and you can swap ideas.
  8. Kim-Dolan-Leto-Fitness-Magazine-Cover-e1361635784313Media – I have a subscription to Fitness Magazine (cheap, but loaded with exercise ideas and health tips) and I pick up other magazines that folks bring to the gym where I work. It’s amazing the neat stuff you can find in magazines. I rip out the pages and add them to my workout binder.
  9. Family – My son is almost 20 months old and I want to be a fit mom for him. I want to be able to keep up with his constant movement and also be a positive role model to him as he grows. I want him to be proud that I’m his mom. Same goes for my husband – I want him to point me out in a crowd and say “That’s my wife – doesn’t she look good/healthy?”. Maybe that’s vain, but he didn’t marry an unhealthy chick!
  10. acepersonaltrainerProfession – About a year ago, I decided to change jobs, going from an IT/sales professional to a personal trainer. I work at a gym where I can exercise a few times a week on the clock and help people by creating workouts and motivating them. I know this isn’t a luxury for everyone, but if you’re passionate about it, think about making the career change. It’s been a positive change for me. Oh, and hire a personal trainer if you need to – we’re worth the money!
  11. BONUS TIP: Blogging – HA! If I didn’t workout, I wouldn’t have a very interesting blog. Fitness is such a big part of my life now and I want to share all the tips and tricks I can! Maybe that would work for you, too.

My final thought for this fine Friday is something I just read in the July/August 2013 issue of Women’s Health magazine:

Research suggests that extroverted, open-minded people also have a higher aerobic capacity, meaning they can go harder for a longer period of time. It could help explain why these same traits are linked to better health and longer life, note researchers in the journal PLOS ONE. Quiet types have equal potential but may need to focus on their attitude toward exercise, not just the workout itself, say study authors.

I’m fortunate because I’m one of those “extroverted, open-minded people” they mention in the article (if you’ve not yet gathered that).

getting ready for cyclocross

A few years ago, I competed in a couple of cyclocross races. Let me tell you, it’s mostly a man’s event. I was one of maybe three women that competed those days (two Saturdays in October), but I won the coolest trophies! They were hand made things and I was so proud. If you’ve never done cyclocross, it’s very intense. The course is normally made up of grass, mud, gravel, and you have to jump off your bike and take it over small obstacles. There was even a part that went through the woods. You go around as many times as you can in 30 or 45 minutes (depending on how much pain you want). I honestly think that short amount of time is harder than an entire triathlon.

I started digging around trying to find out if they are doing those races again this year and they are going to do a one day race as part of a big outdoor festival. I’m excited! I can’t say I’ve trained, but I have several weeks to practice (which will probably consist of riding my bike through the field a couple of times). My husband even says he’s going to do it! I think the whole festival will be fun.

Here are some pictures a guy took of me back in 2010 – I look like such a goof ball! The entire collection can be found at http://colorspectrum.smugmug.com/Sports/Cyclocross/Freak-Out3/14337582_ZC92Rn#!i=1061954322&k=X7RxtD5



getting uncomfortable

I swam a good little workout today – something different.

From the editors of Fitness magazine

Hit the pool and burn close to 300 calories in just 22 minutes with this workout from Dave Thomas, USA Swimming sport-development consultant in Colorado Springs. Performing drills in the water is the best way to improve form and prevent boredom. This routine is based on a 25-yard-long pool lane; we’ve given times to shoot for, but go at your own pace. If needed, take 20-second rests between each segment.

Stroke Lengths Minutes
1. Freestyle 4 2
2. Alternate freestyle and backstroke 8 4
3. Use a kickboard 4 4
4. Freestyle using a pull buoy floating device held between legs 4 2
5. Repeat #2 8 4
6. Your favorite stroke (moderate pace) 8 4
7. Sprint (favorite stroke) 2 1
8. Freestyle (cool down) 2 1

Originally published in Fitness magazine, May 2006.

While I was swimming, I tried to breathe to the LEFT when coming off the wall and it felt so strange! I am used to automatically coming up to breathe on my right side after my turns during freestyle. It made me think back to before when I couldn’t flip turn or breathe to both sides.

It took me quite a bit of time to learn how to flip at the wall, which ultimately made me a faster, better swimmer. Then, about 3 years ago, I decided to become a “bilateral” breather so I wouldn’t end up working my neck just one way while breathing. That was a challenge as well!

Getting out of our comfort zones is hard, but look at what you can learn to do if you just try something new. Another example is clipping onto my bike pedals. I refused to do it for years for fear of falling over, but now I’ve been clipping for at least 5 years. It’s funny, because this year was the first time I’d ever fallen over and it wasn’t that bad.

So my challenge today is to try something you’re not used to do or that scares you. You might find that you really like it!

last tri for 2013

My third place prize...I love functional awards!

My third place prize…I love functional awards!

Yesterday, I competed in my last triathlon for the year. I only did two this summer, but I was happy to get third place in my age group at both. My goal for the one yesterday was first in my age group and I almost got second. In the last 100 yards or so, I heard someone coming up behind me. I said “Good job!” before I even looked. As she passed me, she didn’t say a thing. Then, I saw it. Her age on her right calf. Darn! She’s in my age group!

My first thought was “Maybe she will fall down and I can pass her” but then I thought karma might have its way and I would be the one falling down. I ran faster, but it wasn’t enough. She beat me by 28 seconds. I analyzed what I could have done differently to have placed second instead of first…I could have ran more last week and in the weeks leading up to the race. I could have sped up my transition by not wearing my jacket. I could have pushed a little harder and not walked.

However, I chose to look at it on the bright side. I was till two minutes faster than I was last year. I guess that 44 degree weather made me move a little quicker! The ground was SO cold yesterday running around with bare feet in wet grass. The 75 degree water felt like bath water, which was nice. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the sunrise yesterday too. It was gorgeous. I was also thinking while I was running about how blessed I am to be able to compete in the sport of triathlon. There are so many people who would love to be able to get up and swim, bike, and run but they are too weak or ill to do so. I’m so very blessed with good health.

A lady I know was there watching her son compete for the very first time. He placed FIRST in his age group with a time of like 1:13 or something crazy. I was impressed and I think he’s hooked on the sport.

The weekend was great. My oldest sister is in from California – I’ve not seen her in two years and this is the first time she’s met her nephew (my son). It’s been a wonderful time of family and too much food, but I’ve enjoyed it very much. We have to let her go back tomorrow, but I hope it won’t be another two years before we get to see her again.