Monday, October 29, 2012

New Hotness or When You Need a Sign

Last night was a hard night for me.  Between clogged sinuses and my heel barking a bit, I was wondering how wise returning this week would truly be for me to start pushing myself to start working out again before the Nyquill kicked in and put me down for the count.

This morning I woke up to all Sandy all the time coverage of the storm.  I remember Irene last year and feeling so bad ass going for a 2 mile run on the leading edge of the storm.   This morning, I felt like a blob for not getting up and going to Charles River Kayak to work out with November Project because the plantar fasciitis thing and didn't know what to do next.  Drowning in a pool of self-pity, I sat on the couch getting ready to study for my history mid term (tomorrow night) and catch up on some of the school work I feel behind on

Then the Divine reached in and offered an opinion.

Remember when I realized I was developing Platar Fasciitis, traced a year's worth of injuries to a particular shoe and contacted Brooks to whine?  Remember when they promised to send me a pair of Adrenalines with their apologies?  Well, screw Sandy, Fed Ex delivers.

Fed Ex made it through the storm to deliver a new pair of hotness to me, these slick purple and black Adrenaline 12's.  They showed up on my doorstep the day after I realized a week of sleeping in a PF brace, extra stretching and lots and lots of anti-inflammatories were doing their job and maybe, just maybe, I should think about rejoining the November Project tribe Friday morning for the Brookline hills.

So today the bad ass award goes to the Fed Ex guys for delivering a Divine message to me that it's time to get moving again.  This week will focus on some floor stuff: working on the balance ball, deck of cards push ups and sit ups, cross overs and maybe some biceps/triceps work.  Friday I will WALK the Brookline hills as a way to start back up again.  I'll set a goal of going to next Monday's destination deck and 5 sections at Harvard Stadium to start to rebuild.

Not a bad way to look at a new year as my birthday rolls up in less than a week.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Taking Free Fitness to the Kids

My tenure as the PE teacher is coming to an end and I'll be back in my regular role as in school support, but before I leave, I get to apply what I do with November Project with the kids.  The idea that fitness is free, fun and something you can do on your own.

The kids have 6 stations: a scooter board, a step up station, a deck of cards work out, fitness balls, track and rest/water station.  It works the whole body but, most importantly, that deck of cards work out is something that is now working it's way into the curriculum across the board.  The workout modifies by age: for K-2 red = jumping jacks and 3-5 red = sit ups.  The black cards for K-2 = crossovers (elbow to opposite knee) and push ups for grades 3-5.

The other day, when we started this unit, I did the step up with the kids to remind them to go at a steady pace and make sure they had their fee fully placed on the mats without jumping.  We talked while doing this station, again to help them learn to pace, about how this is something you can do for free at home or anywhere there's a step.  I spoke about how I do the sections of Harvard Stadium and some of the kids translated this to: so if I walk up and down the stairs at home, I'm getting a workout.

On the deck of cards, the kids had mixed feelings about the randomness of what they had to do but were also up for the challenge.  Again we talked about how you can do this at home with any deck of cards.  We talked about how they can get out and walk or run around the block or even find ways to scoot around sitting on a skateboard to work their quads.

People spend a lot of money on gyms, personal trainers and boot camps only to give up or realize they can't keep up with the costs.  My hope is that these kids will take one major point away: I don't need to pay money or need fancy equipment to stay fit.  It's a life-long activity.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Why I love Marathon Sports and Brooks

See this spiffy shoe to the left?  It's the Brooks Adrenaline 12 and it will be winging its way to me shortly.

See, at the 2011 Boston Marathon expo, I went into the Brooks booth to take a look at the new Adrenaline.  I was wearing the Saucony Omni Progrid 9's at the time and they had just changed designs and I hated the 10's.  So I was in the market for a new shoe.

The nice booth representative convinced me I really needed the Trance 10's, not the Adrenaline.  It was the same shoe only cushier and "like running on a cloud."  I trusted the guy and went off to a running store that was NOT Marathon Sports because I had a groupon.  The other store (from henceforth known as the evil running store) and the guy didn't try the shoe on me, give me any advice or help.  He heard "groupon" and said, "Do you know what you want?"  I said the Brooks guy suggested... and that was all he had to hear beyond, "What size?"

The evil running store guy took my credit card for the price difference and couldn't shoo me out the door quickly enough.

For the past year, I have intermittent struggles with achilles and ankle issues that I wrote off as previous injuries flaring up due to my stupidity.  That is until the guys at November Project came along and convinced me to run to the T for a destination deck day.  A 2.5 mile run, no big deal that is, until I was heading home and realized my achilles was barking badly from out of no where.  Then came the turned ankle in Stamford and some symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis to convince me I needed to be taking it easy on myself for a bit until things felt good and strong again.

I suspected the Trance 10's had something to do with all this now and began looking through my running logs and realized that, yes indeed, the Trance 10's are logged on injury days.  To test the theory one last time, I wore them to walk to school the other day.  By the time I got home,  the Plantar Fasciitis stuff, something I had never experienced before last month, was screaming in pain and I was convinced the Trance were at fault.

But what to do?  I had this expensive pair of shoes that screwed me out of the better part of a year of running.  So I contacted Brooks.  Josh C, the customer rep on live chat, was professional and made a suggestion: perhaps you should be wearing the Adrenaline as it is the equivalent of the Omni.  He suggested I get fitted at a local running store and we'd set up an RMA to exchange my Trance for new Adrenalines.

Now why I love Marathon Sports.  I went into the store in Swellsley and the staff were everything I have come to love and respect about Marathon.  I told them the story.  They knew I wasn't buying but before I left, they made sure the Adrenaline fit properly, matched my stride and had the right support.  He had me run outside to check them and in the end, we found the right match for my feet so that the guys at Brooks could send me my new shoes.

I had a $50 gift certificate from November Project giving us swag for working out in July.  Instead of being all "get your shit and get out" like the evil running store guy, they were "Cool!  We heard about these guys, is it worth running with them?"  (Answer: Fuck yeah!) They told me to take my time, if I had questions no problems.  It was lovely.

So yeah Evil Running Store down in Hingham, totally on my shit list.  Marathon Sports, totally on my You Guys Totally ROCK list.  If you're in the Boston area and don't go to Marathon Sports, you need to readjust your thinking and get your badass self in for some great customer service.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Running on a full tank

I looked up at the calendar and realized it's October.

Say what?!

Last month flew by and I'm still feeling sooooo behind in my work. (Did you know PE teachers have paperwork?  I didn't before, but now I do.)  I had to drop my Monday destination deck work outs but I'm still showing up on Wednesdays and Fridays.  I've been rocking the PE position with the kids for the past month and I'm up to my eyebrows in course work.

There are big changes in my life that are really small changes that are adding up.  For example, everyday I pack a salad for lunch.  I fill the container with lettuce and broccoli or sunrise slaw mix then toss in a 1/2 oz of chopped nuts (usually pecans) and 1/2 oz of craisins (dried cranberries).  A little raspberry vinaigrette, a piece of fruit and I'm good to go.  Now that it's getting colder, I'm adding a cup of soup as well.

I also ride my bike to and from school every day I can.  It's only a couple miles a day, but it's 10 miles I work my body instead of driving.  I'm working on sneaking in an extra servings of veggies or fruit a day - an apple for a snack, a veggie omelet, sweet potato on my grilled cheese (well, that's Roxy's doing, but it's all good.... wicked good).

You get the point: never underestimate the power of little tweaks here and there.

So yes, I am getting up before the sun to get an abbreviated workout in on Wednesdays and Fridays.  It's OK, I'm getting it in.  This week I'll start adding running back in on the weekend ends.  Every morning I haul my backside out of bed in the dark, I know it's one more thing I can do.  The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and all that happy rhetorical, inspirational nonsense and such.  In the end, it's up to you to get your own arse out of bed in the morning and shoot down the excuses.