All That Jazz

Evidently, I’m very late to the Jazzercise party.  A fellow League member owns the local Jazzercise studio, and I’ve been meaning to go…  So when yet another League member posted on our private Facebook group wall that she was going to the 4:30 class, I decided to join her.

Let me give you a Jazzercise primer.  You might have noticed there are no photos in this post.  That’s intentional; Jazzercise doesn’t do mirrors on the walls the way most “fitness classrooms” do.  The main goal is to feel comfortable being active, so I’m pretty sure snapping photos wouldn’t have been appropriate.  Also, as I understand it, each location is independently owned, so your experience might be different.

  • Wear what you’re comfortable in.  I wore the same absolutely no-show (Yogasmoga) cropped leggings I wear for any fitness class and for walks and runs that don’t take me through brambles and brush, but the instructor looked poised for an exercise video, while some other ladies were in tees and pull-on pants.
  • Bring water.  This isn’t a prance and dance session; no matter your fitness level, you will SWEAT if you’re keeping up – or trying to.
  • It’s all very adaptable.  If you don’t want to do the floor work, don’t; keep standing.  If you can only do low-impact, march instead of skipping or hopping.   The instructor will still challenge you to lift those knees and raise those arms!
  • If you did grapevines with Jane Fonda, you’ll quickly adjust to the “modern” routines.  They aren’t the same, but…
  • Walk-ins are welcome, but plan on arriving 5-10 minutes before class to sign in, especially the first time.

I’ll be going back.  I know I need to do more cross-training, especially if I intend to run some longer races this year.   I can’t really compare it to barre classes, because Jazzercise is as intense of a cardio workout as you want it to be.  Barre is more toning, although I do have friends who use it as their lone form of exercise, just as some only do yoga or tai chi.

Have you tried Jazzercise?




Whose Walk?

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and more.  Gretchen is soliciting advice, so feel free to weigh in.   I actually want to share a new find with you.  Our walks are sacred.  Unless it’s really raining hard or I simply cannot get home before it’s truly dark, we walk, wog or run every day.  Thankfully, we live in an age when reflective, moisture-wicking attire is fairly easy to find, so I’m not going to get into that part today.  The dogs each have reflective jackets and bandanas, and when we go out with any chance of dusk falling before we get home, we’re all wearing something reflective.

mainproredBut KT Tape is new to me, and I’m a fan already.  When my back was troubling me, I used a lot of the over the counter patches, and over the years, I shudder to think how many elastic bandages and ankle supports I’ve purchased and used.  I also appreciate all the videos and printable instructions for application KTT offers.  I consider myself a bit of a wrapping expert, but because this tape does more than support and/or immobilize, do yourself a favor and watch and read before you slap some tape to skin.

It isn’t cheap, but sometimes you have to pay for technology – and results.  And my workout partners are relentless, so I can’t “lay out” much, especially with a relatively minor injury.

montrail-mountain-masochist-outdry-trail-running-shoes-waterproof-mid-cut-for-women-in-stainless-reef~p~6088g_01~1500.2I also bought a pair of running … boots.  Sierra Trading Post and/or Montrail call them mid-cut shoes, but on me, they come up well above my ankle bone, so I’m calling them boots.  The full product name is a bit much – Montrail Mountain Mascochist Out-Dry Trail Running Shoes – but don’t let that slow you down.  They are stiffer than my favorite trail running shoes (Brooks Cascadia), but they aren’t TOO stiff.  Likewise, I was very concerned about the high top, especially for running, but I’ve worn them twice now without any problems.

But then again, I wear boots to work and have off and on for most of my adult life.  I know to lace them about as snuggly as I can tolerate it, so they won’t scoot around and rub blisters.  They are requiring some break-in, so thus far, I’ve only done two, two-mile walk-wog-runs in them.  They are FAR more functional that the high-top sneakers of my youth, which I wore for basketball and rifle corps, and I just remember them being annoying and distracting.

I am QUITE certain these wouldn’t be at all comfortable over about 50 degrees, but then… they’re waterproof, so …  I don’t expect them to be cool like mesh shoes.  And it doesn’t appear that it will be much over 50 degrees here in the near future, so…  I’ll keep breaking them in and Sissy and Gretchen will continue to log the miles that they have come to expect   demand on a daily basis…

The Knight added to my cool weather workout attire recently, and announced that they were the dogs’ Christmas presents.  I thought he meant FROM the dogs to me, but he clarified that no, it’s THEIR walks I go on, so therefore, the attire I require to conduct said walks is … for the dogs.  He’s a smart man, and I’m a lucky woman.

What are you thankful for today?

Branding and Budgets

Do you vote with your wallet?  I’m starting to be much more mindful of what my purchases condone, if not legitimately support.  I’m sorry Lilly P and Vineyard Vines don’t offer a full range of women’s sizes, but their charitable efforts both locally and in general allow me to be okay with their limited size offerings.  However, Lululemon’s founder has gone too far, and I will be unsubscribing from the LLL ambassador blogs I follow and won’t be supporting their brand (beyond using the products I already own) in the future.

Less than nine months after Lululemon came under fire for the “sheerness” of its yoga pants, the company’s founder says that woman’s bodies may be to blame for problems with the luxury workout attire.

“Frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t actually work [for the yoga pants],” Chip Wilson said Tuesday in an interview on Bloomberg TV’s “Street Smart” program. “It’s more really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it.”

SS Redemption Capri

SS Redemption Capri

If you love(d) LLL, consider Yogasmoga.  Their material isn’t sheer and feels a lot like the yummy, original Luon.  They also seem to understand that women wear their products to WORK OUT and thus, thighs might rub.  I own more Skirt Sports than any other line of workout apparel, but I confess, while their bottoms of all styles are rugged and do the job, I’ve never slipped them on for street wear as I have the Yogasmogas.  They feel more like … any other wicking lycra-like pants than the soft, comfy Luon that (in my opinion) made LLL worth the big bucks.

Are you a conscientious consumer?

I Spy Somethings Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which for Gretchen and me means it’s a great time to score some PANK and feel good about it.  Nearly every retailer and/or manufacturer in the free world has something to offer, but here are some of the things on my wish list:

thumb_2514_product_photogra_highdefThorlo Distance Walking Socks – At just under $15, they aren’t cheap socks, but dear Claudia recommended them recently and it so happened that when I went to their website, they offered me a pair to try for the cost of shipping (cough, cough… I doubt it really cost them $6.99 to ship, but it’s a deal just the same).  Good promotion, because now I want nothing else.  They are quite thick, so if you like thin socks, these aren’t for you, but if you’re working with parts that aren’t new or even in great shape anymore, these socks are supremely cushioned and yet still support in all the right places.   For the runners out there, I have had shin splints and knee problems since my teens, and with these socks and the right (cushioning) shoes, I can walk or run without any aches – while I’m moving and afterwards.

They’re also a subtle way to support the cause without waving a PANK flag, if you happen not to share our love for the hue.

Next up comes a truly PANK little wristlet from Coach.  At $68 thePoppy Studded vertical_header_BCRF2_08Wristlet isn’t outrageously priced either, and a generous 20% is donated to the cause.   It’s a little smaller than what I normally carry, and it would be a snug fit for my trusty iPhone and the usual cards I don’t leave home without, but I may have to go give it a test load at our local Coach store.  I’m not much on the studded trend, but those little buggers are almost subtle, and hey, they’re on PANK leather!  (Even if Coach does call it magenta.  Whatever…)

65606_splashbluelillyloveshopeOf course, no October/PANK/support breast cancer post would be complete without Lilly P.  I do love this Lilly Loves Hope Murfee Scarf, but …  I can’t believe I’m going to say this…  I already have the Virginia Lilly P Murfee Scarf in practically the same colors.   However, if *YOU* don’t have a light blue with PANK and white Murfee already, please think really hard about this one.  I’m a big cashmere fan – as is Gretchen – and if you need to convince yourself the luxury fiber is worth the expense… buy this scarf and wad it around your face and neck.  If you aren’t convinced and don’t soon start plotting how many more Murfees you need, come tell me about it, because the Knight would love for you to get me over my Murfee (and general cashmere) addiction.

And how ’bout the name of the scarf, for all of my friends who have shared my yarn hue name pains?  No LHM 510 here; Lilly Loves Hope.  We do too.

In fact, we love the name and the pattern so much I’m pretty sure Sissy is going to buy me 49447_splashbluelillyloveshopethe bracelet version for HER birthday.   What?!  Sure the DIVA is the kind of gal to give great gifts for her birthday, especially when she has sweet, girly, thoughtful, generous Lady Gretchen Greer to pull her chain and make it so.  I actually don’t own any Lilly P jewelry, so it’s the perfect opportunity to right that wrong, no?

Pampered Chef also has three special products to Help Whip Cancer.  I don’t have the cake server, but I love the cake tester and the sweet daisy plates.

sku_sm_sku_lg_7BL-A001-004-KOMENSpibelt also has a special pink offering, not to be confused with my very awesome black with PANK polka dot model.  Spibelt is the answer to my warm weather not enough pockets wogging prayers.  It fits my Lifeproof encased iPhone with ease, and the elastic band is so comfortable it hasn’t chaffed when it has actually been on my bare skin.  I wear it on my hips, around my waist, over my shirt or not, depending on my mood and what I have on.  I’m positive I could drop my house keys in there too without any trouble, but so far, I haven’t needed to do that yet.

And I just saw they make a leash version too!  How ’bout that?  It only comes in red and black, but if you’d rather make your dog tote your goods – or her own treats – for you…  Let me know if you try it, okay?

What did I miss?  I know there’s a lot of pink ribbon and otherwise pink stuff out there… is there anything else we should put on our PANK wish list?

Summer workout attire report

Over the course of the summer, the dogs and I logged roughly 275 miles of running, hiking and walking.  Some of my workout clothes are a year or more old, but even the newer items had a chance to get broken in and make an impression.  Here’s what I’ve learned:


Taking a break on a dusk walk

On the hottest days, the dogs and I can manage a dusk walk.  I prefer a Skirt Sports dress over 7″ compression shorts, and Sissy needs her cooling vest.   I do have two different running skirts too, but they annoy me; the dresses fit looser and “float” rather than bunching up and/or sticking to the shorts.

All in all, I prefer cropped or capri compression pants.  Yeah, they’re hot, but since we are in the woods on our longest walks, I am uneasy about being too exposed.  I realize bare ankles are a bad idea in  a snake-populated region, but it’s a compromise and it beats overheating.

My favorite crops are Yogasmoga, but at $88, I don’t wear them into the woods.  I’ll wear them on a road run, but one of the other things I learned this summer is that my hydration packs “pick” my wicking fabrics.  Those packs are best over my cheap running crops and a plain tee or a wicking shirt so cheap I don’t get upset if/when it gets damaged. 

Which brings me to another lesson learned…  Save the expensive, no-show pants for the gym, yoga class or the barre class.  For just walking or even running down the road or in the woods, the $12-$15 Danksin Now pants are just fine.  Unless I bend from the waist to pick up Gretchen, my neighbors won’t know whether my pants are a little see-thru or not, and if I have to make a quick grab for the wee one, I don’t care who sees what.

For tops, I definitely prefer nearly full-coverage tanks in a wicking fabric, and whether I paid $70 or $12, they don’t seem to look good much past one season. 

Sports bras.  I wish I had a brand and a style to share, especially for those of us with … plenty of assets.   I have retired all of my uni-boob, narrow strapped models now that we at least walk briskly most days.  Smash and separate with a T-back of some sort seems to work best, but gosh I hate paying $60+ for something I only wear for 30-90 minutes and then it’s so sweaty-nasty it needs a bath.

Socks.  Synthetic, no-show, not compression.  Here again, the investment isn’t worth it.  It’s not unusual for me to wear them once and get home to find them quite muddy/stained.

This spring/summer, I tried Lucy brand capris (not compressing enough, fabric is far too thick/not soft, storage pocket across the back waistband is about 1″ too short for my iPhone), and a pair of Skirt Sports capris.  Skirt Sports makes up most of my workout attire now, and their tops/dresses are awesome.  Their bottoms are not soft and comfy like Lululemon or Yogasmoga, but I was able to add 3 SS bottoms not anywhere near full retail price, thanks to SS’s own specials and the fact they’re offered on Sierra Trading Post.   I have one pair of LLL crops and the Yogasmogas for public workouts, and that will just have to do.

Sorry for the lack of photos.  I can no longer make the “Add Media” button work here at work, and the new Flickr barely operates on this old beast.

What did you learn this summer?

Exceeded Expectations

motivational_mileSo much for attitude and intentions.  Last year, I had great expectations and basically hated the race.  This year, I was worn out before I started, but improved my time by almost 3 minutes and can seriously say I had plenty left at the end.


I should clarify that I’m talking about my 2nd Women’s 4-miler experience.

Even as the race started, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to run (vs. walk), but I lined up with a friend, and as we crossed the starting line, we kinda’ decided why not?!   I wogged…  I don’t call myself a runner.  To protect my back, I do a kinda’ low-impact shuffle that is part walk, part jog, and nothing like the sprinting or cross-country running I did long, long ago.  A seemingly bloggless friend coined the term, and it fits.

I didn’t push myself.  I could have done better, and am already toying with the idea of actually training for the race next year.  We’ll see.  This year, it was enough to just give the race – and myself – a second chance.  I didn’t hate it.  I still prefer wogging with the fur-girls, but there’s something to be said for 3,500 women taking to the road to raise funds for local breast healthcare.

There’s also something to be said for proper footwear.  Last year, I wore my favorite shoes… trail running shoes.  The course is 100% paved road.  This year, I bought a pair of not-trail running shoes and broke them in on the short walks where the girls and I  never leave the pavement, except for our driveway.  (The girls find excuses to off-road, even on our shortest walks.)  I’ve also accepted that while I love cotton socks, natural fibers are not my running friends.  Oddly, while I love a little negative ease (snug-fitting socks for the not-sock-knitters), I DO NOT like compression socks.  In fact, they make my arches hurt.

And no, there is no group photo.  We planned our gathering for about the time line-up starts.  Next year… maybe?

So happy Labor Day, America.  I’m celebrating with the girls, a long walk, some yoga, a book and lots of general relaxation.


Because I Can

Well, despite all of my moaning and groaning post-race last year, tomorrow morning, I will do my second Charlottesville Women’s 4-Miler.   Myself and I really had a firm debate just before the sign-ups went live.  (I’m not sure where Me was; she didn’t engage.) 

I asked Myself, “Are you signing up just because it’s the thing to do?”

Myself answered, “Um… maybe?  But we walk 20+ miles a week, and do at least two walks over 4 miles every single week, so … why wouldn’t we sign up?”

So… we did.  I made a stab at rounding up a JLC team, but …  the start of a busy League year isn’t the time for the President to play team captain for a non-League event.  The fab Newsletter Editor is coordinating a group photo, so maybe I’ll remember to hand someone my phone too, or I’ll steal a photo from our members-only Facebook page.

I am not excited about the race.  Despite doing Cross Country and Track in my teens, I don’t love races.  I thoroughly enjoy wogging – walking, running, whatever – with the fur-girls, but dogs aren’t welcome at this event.  I’ve had a long week, haven’t eaten, hydrated or trained the way I would if I took racing seriously, but I’m showing up tomorrow anyway, because I can.

Just about everyone I know has someone close to them fighting a battle.  So many people I know have health care cost concerns, above and beyond any medical issues.  I’m healthy and can cover 4 miles at some respectable enough speed (even if I just walk), and my entry – and presence – will make a difference to a local breast care program.  So tomorrow, I’ll be there, and I’m counting on the dynamic, energetic, delightful women of the JLC who are also showing up in the morning to get me started on the right foot.

And then, I’ll stop and get an egg, ham and cheddar on a raisin bagel for breakfast.  If it’s not too hot when I get home, the girls and I will do another cool-down “lap” and if it is, I’ll let them drag me back out again near dusk.

What’s on your weekend agenda?

(Sorry… the old work computer and WordPress aren’t playing well together today, so no photos.)




0708_01Skirt Sports sent out an email earlier this week with their newest tees, and then on Wednesday, a friend and I joked about my Nana’s age-old admonishment…  I do indeed live to eat rather than eat to live.  (My friend agreed that she does too.  Food is good!)

I think these tees are cute, but none of them really speak to me.  Where’s the one that says I run for lasagna?  Or cheese?

But the truth is, I exercise because I feel better when I do.  I grew up active, and I don’t mind a good sweat, especially now with all these technical fabrics wicking my own rivers of funk away from me. 

And I exercise because the fur-girls are hairy, high-energy machines.  It gets annoying quick, fast and in a hurry, but it’s cute when Sissy whines, and then jumps and spins and spits while she barks because she wants her walk.  It’s adorable when Gretchen Greer pounces in my face because it’s walk time and  I still have my laptop in my lap.

No, we don’t do off days too often in the Woods.  We only run once (or twice if one of the dogs insists) a week, and the daily walking mileage varies from 2 to 7 miles.  However, given all the rain and storms of late, there have been several sprints home and a few more “indoor mat” dvd sessions than the dogs would like…

What’s your motivation?

Yoga Nogo

With a wee dog with a big tummy bug and too much heat and humidity this weekend, we skipped the trails and hit the mat.  (Gretchen’s fine now.  Like a person with the same symptoms, recovery is a little slow, but her appetite is back.)

The first dvd I tried is so bad I can’t even send it to GoodWill in good conscience.  I confess, I’m not a Jillian Michaels fan, but Yoga Meltdown is DANGEROUS.  I’ve been doing yoga for more than 15 years, so I’m no novice and it took all of my experience and self-awareness to avoid injury.  She does have one “student” doing basic modifications, but she encourages the viewer to “jump” between poses that don’t really allow for a rapid transition.  And that was at level 1.  I’m putting it in the trash before my curiosity leads me to try level 2.

51Wi2evnMrL__AA160_In sharp contrast, the Element Total Body Pilates with Mini Ball workouts are very safe and beginner friendly.  Getting the ball inflated and the plug back in before it deflated… not so much.  I tried and failed enough that Gretchen was stressed, and it took the Knight a few times to get the timing right.

But the workouts – a 20-minute or a 30-minute – are adaptable to your fitness and comfort levels.  There are some fairly advanced moves, and while I think she only suggested one should only do what is comfortable at the start of the video, again…  I know my limitations and I don’t do “full-body” rocking motions in any form – yoga, pilates or barre.   This one is a  keeper.  It’s hardly as rewarding as an hour of a barre class, but it’s a nice addition to my home workout video collection.

If you follow Living Social for discounts, look for a barre offer.  gMarie had one in her market last week, and I just scored 4 Pure Barre sessions for $35 today.  It doesn’t expire for five years, so I’ll have plenty of time to use them.

Have you ever tossed a DVD (or book or …) because it was too awful to pass on?

Sweat to Street and GPS

I’m full of questions today. 

Can Siri and my iPhone really replace my Garmin?  I have a feeling my Garmin is on its way out, and I’d like to not replace it, but given how often I am driver and navigator, I like having someone talk me through where I’m going vs. trying to follow paper directions.

Courtesy of Sierra Trading Post - Skirt Sports Wonder Girl Tank Dress

Courtesy of Sierra Trading Post – Skirt Sports Wonder Girl Tank Dress

Are there really outfits that can go from workout to wandering about and … not look like you just finished a workout?

And why would you want to?  Maybe I just SWEAT too profusely, but when I’m done with even a brisk walk, I am gross and I want to at least change into dry clothes, not take my damp funk with me around town.

I do like this dress… for walking the dogs.  If I played tennis at a progressive club where one didn’t need to wear mostly white, maybe I’d wear it on the court, but I can’t imagine choosing this spandex Wonder to wear on errands, even on hot, humid days like this one.

What are you questioning today?