Thursday, June 24, 2010

30 Before 30: Item 9

Item 9: Try Pilates. Not the most ambitious of goals, but hey, I've always wanted to try it and thought putting it on the List was a good way to get it done. 

A self-proclaimed "cardio junkie", I just don't feel like I get in a good workout if I don't go running (or swimming or biking). So, much like in my first post on yoga, I went into Pilates a bit skeptical about the intensity level......and got in a 3-mile run at lunch, just in case.

On Wednesday evening at 5:30pm, still flying high from the miraculous US win over Algeria to advance in the World Cup, I took myself over the 24 Hour fitness to take my first Pilates class. As always at 24 Hour Fitness, I was greeted by a friendly receptionist. I trotted over to the group exercise room, picked a good spot on the floor and spread out my trusty yoga matt. 

In hopes to capture pictures of me in some kind of bendy-flex move, I shared my blogging adventure with the instructor so she could snap a few shots while I was mid-workout. Excited to be a part of something posted publicly ( if people read this), she eagerly agreed and thanked me for selecting her class. That's her, below.

The class started out, as expected, with deep breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth, raise the chest, suck in the tummy, etc, etc. Feeling very relaxed (and glad I'd already run that day), we moved into abs....where the relaxation quickly melted into agonizing pain.

After what seemed like hours of shaking, sweating and an overwhelming certainty that I was going to tear a stomach muscle, we finally took our first break. I relished in the sweet, stretchy release of Child's Pose, glancing quickly at the clock to verify that we were at least half-way through the class (if it wasn't already over).

With pure shock, I took in the time: 5:42pm. Slowly, I realized that I had only been in the 60-minute session for 12 minutes. I stared with disbelief at the red digital numbers wondering if perhaps I could have participated in an earlier class and not realized it? Did we start early? Maybe it was day-light savings this week? Stunned by the undeniably tough workout I'd endured for a mere 12 minutes, I suddenly felt as though I may not be able to finish the class.

Determined to succeed in my goal, I took a deep breath. Well, I took several deep breaths, focused on the instructor, picked up the hand weights, and pressed on into the arm routine. 

Surprisingly, the intensity level slipped back into neutral! We used the small weights to do several arm exercises, moved on to our stomachs to work the back, and got in a bit of a leg workout. The rest of the class included great strengthening poses, fantastic stretching techniques and a few challenging planks. When remaining 48 minutes came to an end, I honestly found myself ready for more!
Overall, I'd give Pilates at B -. The core workout is nothing to scoff at, in fact, it was possibly one of the better ab workouts I've done. Next-day soreness wasn't nearly as horrific as I expected, and being a masochist of sorts, I'm a little disappointed to not be cringing in pain every time I laugh or sneeze.  Pilates surely has its advantages and I'll definitely integrate the ab-work into my regular exercise plan, but overall I think I'll stick to yoga and running for now. 

If the ab-wrecker story inspired the masochist in you to give Pilates a try or if you're looking for the lower intensity, sculpting workout that we did for most of the class, I found a few videos that are fairly short and intro you to the basic Pilates moves. Check 'em out: Abs, Legs/Butt, Overall Sculpting

Thursday, June 10, 2010

30 Before 30: Status Update

In efforts to achieve Item 22 (Stop being a Procrastinator), I've been working on a few tasks for the 30 Before 30 list this week. The most important one was to purchase the plant that I plan to keep alive for 6 months (Item 2) because June 9 was exactly 6 months before my 30th birthday (I guess I'm not doing too good on Item 22 just yet).

So Wednesday was June 9th, which I found it to be a particularly good day overall. After a visit to Sprouts to get some veggies and fruit, I drove over to Lowe's and found my way through grills, tools and paint to the Indoor Plant section. My attention quickly turned to several little plants in pink and white pots labeled "Exotic Angel Plants." I started looking at all the different types of green, leafy seedlings when my eyes came to rest upon one with dark, waxy leaves. Intrigued, I read the little shrub's tag and gasped as I took in the title, "Coffee Plant." A coffee plant! It had never even occurred to me that I could have my very own plant capable of producing the sweet, sweet nectar of coffee beans. I couldn't think of a better plant for me, a true coffee connoisseur.

Thrilled with my little shoot, I texted my sister a rambling message about coffee and shrubbery and beamed all the way to the check out stand. Just to be on the safe side, since my history with house plants is littered with hundreds of dried-up, brown sticks shooting out of ceramic pots, I also grabbed a small bamboo because I hear they're hard to kill (although I have successfully murdered a bamboo in my dark days as a greenery serial killer). Plus, now I have one in my home office and one at my regular office.

A few other items I've been slowly working on include printing off and filling out my registration form for the Boulder Backroads Marathon on September 19th (Item 1)! I'm six chapters in to Catch 22, my first of 5 "Classic" novels (Item 4) and I'm 37 pages into the Bible (Item 19)....that is a looooong book. A couple weeks ago I signed up on the wait list for a Self-Defense class (Item 18) and I made arrangements with my friend Amy to learn to knit (Item 16) of handmade washcloths coming soon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Introducing: The Kilted Pig!

In honor of my wedding anniversary, I dedicate this blog post to my hubby and personal chef of 4 years and best friend of the last 10 years. Love you, Breezy! 

On Sunday, we hosted a backyard Memorial Day BBQ to kick off summer and introduce John's latest cooking endeavor, competition BBQ. We invited as many friends as our house can hold, unveiled John's steel-baby and announced his BBQ competition team name, The Kilted Pig! 
For the last two weeks, my spouse has been welding, cutting and slaving away into the wee hours of the night, building the structure you see below. One engineer, 700 pounds of steel, countless hours of grinding and careful measurements resulted in a monster of a smoker that produces the best BBQ I've ever had!    
John's first practice run with the new smoker and competition quality 'Q was a HUGE success!! Starting at 11pm the night before our bash, he put on an 18-pound brisket while we toasted to his efforts and successful build. Throughout the night and early hours of the morning he tended to it carefully, watching the temperature and adding charcoal. 
Sunday morning, he added the pork shoulder, ribs, chicken and fatty. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term "fatty" as a reference to some kind of food (rather than what you become after eating it), a "fatty" is a pork tenderloin and peppers rolled up in ground sausage and then wrapped in bacon. The partial-vegetarian in me shutters at the thought, but I've heard its the very best thing a carnivore can put in their mouth.

By Sunday evening, you could smell the deliciousness of spices and hickory from blocks away (per our hungry neighbors). We and 35 of our closest friends enjoyed John's home-made sauces; one sweet, one spicy and one just a bit vinegar-y (my fav) and the assortment of finger-lickin' fare while toasting spritzers and home-brew. Everyone raved about every last bite, but I think the brisket was the winner of the day.
Thanks to everyone who came to our BBQ and chipped in for John's competition banner! A special thanks to John for his motivation and awesome cookin' skills! And thank you in advance to everyone who will support us July 17 in Laramie, WY! I'll post pics of the sanded, painted and named smoker soon and follow up with details on the competition in July!!!