The Friday 5 – 2nd Edition

Happy Friday!  Interested in some randomness? Yes? Well, you’ve come to the right place.  Enjoy my Friday Five:

1. When I do intervals on the treadmill, I change the setting to kilometers. I know that 400m is almost the same as 1/4 mile, but it’s not quite, so using the kilometers setting makes more sense to me. Of course, the entire time, I have no concept of what the numbers on the screen mean in terms of distance and speed. It’s kind of fun. I’ve figured out what the equivalent km/h setting is required for my interval pace, and that’s all I really need to know. Last night, the woman on the treadmill next to me kept looking at my screen; I’m really hoping she was confused/impressed by how fast it said I was going (even though I wasn’t – haha). Also, maybe this will help me get a bit of a handle on the metric system, I’ve always wanted to be better at that.

2. It’s Pi Day!  I’m thinking of making something pie related to celebrate, but I just made chocolate chip cookies yesterday, so maybe not.  I made these: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/05/27/the-best-healthy-chocolate-chip-cookies/ and they’re quite delicious.  They don’t look great, though. And they are thin, wafer thin. Ha!

2014-03-13 17.31.46 2014-03-13 17.31.42

3. Jeff and I have one car. Her name is Betty, but admittedly, we don’t refer to her by name very often. One of the best little features that our car has is a saved seat position button. So when I get in the car, I just need to push “2” and the seat automatically goes to my preferred position. It’s a really awesome feature in a shared car. I still have to adjust the review mirror, but that’s not nearly as irritating as adjusting the seat would be. Whoooa, black Betty, bam ba lam!

4. I’m really freaked out about my test next Friday. I’ve been doing practice tests for a few weeks now, and I have only completed one that I feel confident would be a passing score (the grading is complicated, and there is not a predetermined percentage that would indicate a pass, so I don’t know for sure). I’ve really put it out there leaving engineering and pursuing this, and pretty much everyone I know knows I’m taking this test. I think that having to tell everyone that I’ve failed would be worse than actually failing. I’m generally a good test taker, and I know that people expect me to be able to pass. The test is so hard, though! The pass rate is less than 50%, more than half of the test takers fail…ugh!

5. While I’m terrified of next Friday, I’ve reserved a little piece of myself to be excited for the new Muppet movie. I’m a HUGE fan of the Muppets, and Muppet movies, and I can’t wait to see it. I’m hoping it will be playing at 9AM like the last Muppet Movie. I like going to the movies in the early morning – it’s cheaper and there are less people. (Yes, I still get popcorn).

Me and my Muppety Friends, Mupbert and Princess Muppette:

2011-04-12 22.36.52 2012-11-21 04.36.13

And, that’s it for the second edition of the Friday Five. Enjoy your weekend.

Goodbye Top 5 Friday, Hello Friday 5

I think I mentioned last week that Top 5 Friday was probably going to be short lived because I have a difficult time coming up with items to put on these top 5 lists. Luckily, it’s not going away entirely, just getting a little makeover. I noticed that other bloggers do something called “Five for Friday”, or something of that nature, where they list 5 things on Friday. Just any 5 things. I’m not sure if there’s anything more to it than that, but I like that simple idea. So, Top 5 Friday is becoming The Friday 5, and there’s nothing you can do about it!

1. My second spin class was way more fun than the first. I adjusted my bike a lot better this time, and felt more comfortable with everything that was going on.  But even more than that, I liked the instructor a lot better. She picked great music, and I could actually hear her. I’m looking forward to next Monday’s class.

2. I started popping my Larabars in the microwave. I read this tip somewhere (another blog maybe?) a while ago, and I just tried it for the first time. It’s amazing! My favorite is the chocolate chip cherry torte. I’ve also tried it with the banana bread flavor, with some added mini chocolate chips. I’ve been eating these everyday for a year, but 15 seconds in the microwave makes it seem like a whole new snack.

3. I’ve been knitting up a storm. My sister’s having a baby in May! And, I’m making a blanket for little Baby C. I ordered the yarn online so I could get certain colors, but there was a big issue with shipping and I got it a month later than I expected. I’ve been knitting like crazy to catch up and finish in time for her shower. It’s coming along nicely, and I really like the pattern.  

4. I got a haircut! And I took this picture of it:

2014-03-06 13.36.39

I look weird in selfies.

5. My calf muscles are so tight. I should probably stretch. It’s one of my non-running resolutions to stretch. I’ve done it once. So far, not good. Starting today, more stretching!

That was so much more fun than trying to come up with a top 5 topic and scrounging for things to put on the list. I hope this change works for you, too. Happy Friday!

Top 5 Friday: Spinning

I usually start my top 5 Friday post before Friday. It’s surprisingly difficult to come up with Top 5 lists. (On a related note: this top 5 Friday thing might be short lived) I’ve gone out on a limb here in deciding to list the top 5 things I learned while trying out spinning, because I just went to spinning this morning. Before you begin reading, you should know this isn’t really a top five list, it should probably be titled “Amy rambles on about 5 things she thought of before, during, or after her first spinning class”.  I hope it’s still entertaining!

Capture

Thanks Friends!

1. Facebook friends are great for motivation and know everything! I was nervous about trying spinning, and posted about it on Facebook. I immediately got a bunch of responses encouraging me and giving me tips. Thanks, friends! Even though I normally wouldn’t have bothered to ask about it at the gym when online sign-up for the class didn’t work, I felt like I had to because I owed it to all the nice people to at least try. 

2. My body weirdly can’t regulate it’s temperature when I exercise. I don’t sweat a lot compared to normal runners people. When I was a kid my sister used to tell me that if I wasn’t dripping with sweat, it meant I wasn’t trying hard enough. I’m not really sure what kind of activity we were doing that she was being so intense about (we mainly played kickball or knockout), but this little snippet of conversation has stuck in my head for years. (Thanks, Beth, you sweaty BEAST). Anyways, I noticed over the years, that although she might not be right that I wasn’t trying, my sister had a point about my lack of sweat. I just don’t sweat a whole lot. But it’s not just that I don’t get sweaty, I don’t feel hot very quickly, and once I get warmed up, if I stop exercising I will become cold astonishingly quickly. Okay, I guess this isn’t something I learned at spinning, but spinning reminded me because the room was warm. (Seriously, who designed a spinning room w/ 25ish bikes to have a single diffuser , and only about 4 feet from the return grille…amateurs!) I still didn’t start sweating until about 10 minutes in, while everyone else was dripping sweat before I even took off my long-sleeved shirt…I felt like a slacker. And then when I left, I was frozen the entire rest of the time I was at the gym even though I was still exercising. I’m such a weirdo. 

stock-photo-19001123-spinning-class

This is not at all what real spinning class looked like.

3. Spinning is LOUD One thing I was excited about for the class was the music. I had heard that the music could make it fun and really get you moving. Well, the music was kind of lame. It made sense with the class, and flowed well, but it really was just blah. I don’t know how to explain it, but it just wasn’t fun music. And, it made it really hard to hear the instructor. I basically had no idea what was going on anyways, and then I could only hear every fifth word. For example, at one point this is the sentence I heard “blah blah ATTACK blah blah!” (Um, okay? I’ll go fast then?) And I wasn’t far away from her, and she had a microphone. I blame the music. Oh, also, there’s this fun thing where you spin to the beat of the music. HA!  Yeah, I’m coordinated enough for that, sure..what if we go back to attacking things instead?

Also, didn't look like this. Look at all those smiles...nope

Also, didn’t look like this. Look at all those smiles…nope

4. If you think you’re going to do an easy run after spinning class,  you might be insane. If you actually do it, you probably are. I went to the class with the idea that afterwards I would do an easy 3 mile run. I skipped my run last night in order to stay home and watch Friends and play board games, so I wanted to squeeze it in today if I could. About 10 minutes into the class, I started to doubt this plan, then at 30 minutes I was definitely NOT going to run. But when  class ended 20 minutes later, we cooled down and stretched for a while before leaving, and my legs lost their jelly-like quiver fairly quickly. So, I decided to hop on the treadmill and put on my new favorite virtual run and see if I could get in some easy miles. After about 1/2 a mile, I stopped feeling like I made a huge mistake, and running felt just like normal.  I couldn’t run at any sort of an incline without really feeling it, but I think this easy 3 miles made my legs feel looser and more normal after the shock of something different. I have a new respect for triathletes who can transition from biking to running without just falling over.

Running felt like this.

Running felt like this.

5. My poor poor butt.  That seat is no joke. 

Obviously, these aren’t the only 5 things I learned while spinning, nor are they actually all about spinning. I hope you weren’t looking for a comprehensive guide to spinning for runners! There probably is one somewhere out there (like here, and here, and a million more places). Spinning is hardly new anymore, and I’m pretty late to the game just giving this a shot right now, so a lot of you probably already know all about it.  I might come up with some actual tips a little later on, after I’ve gone a few times. One of my friends (shout out to Fay!) suggested I not judge it until I’ve gone at least 3 or 4 times, and I think she gives pretty good advice, so that’s what I’m going to do. Besides, it’ll probably take me at least that long, if not longer, to figure out how to set up the bike properly.

Top 5 Friday: Running Quotes

For this week’s Top 5, I’m posting my favorite running quotes. At least, my current favorites! Also, I fancied them up a bit in Paint. Yup, you read that right, my super graphic design skills are limited to Microsoft Paint. So, here we go, get ready to be inspired!

Top 5 Quotes about Running (according to Amy):

The Will to

1. I like this one because it’s true.

It was being

2. I didn’t always believe this, but now I’m on board.

Fake Runners

3. We need to stop putting ourselves down. You run, you’re a runner.

Never give up

4. Keep going!

You Just Run

5. Similar to #3; I like this sentiment

I hope you like the quotes! And, also my fancy paint skills. Have a good weekend!

Do you have a favorite quote, running or otherwise?

Top 5 Friday: Spring Races

It’s time for Top 5 Friday! Remember when I came up with that 3 weeks ago? You didn’t think I meant to do it EVERY Friday, did you? oops!

As you know, I JUST signed up for a spring half marathon, so it seemed like an opportune time to bring you…

The Top 5 Reasons Signing up for a Spring Race is an Awesome Idea:

1.  To get out there! After that first magical snowfall and all the holly jolly holiday runs are over, winter running starts to be kind of a drag. It’s icy, cold, dark, cold…and this year, it’s been especially COLD. So when you really want to curl up with a book under the electric blanket, that race entry will get you out there. And let’s face it, the hot chocolate tastes at least 20% better after a run. (Yeah, 20% isn’t a lot better, but hot cocoa is already pretty fantastic.

2013-12-25 13.23.42

Remember when, “Oh It’s snowing! yay! And it’s Christmas, and I’m running!!!”

Well, now: "Ugh..what is this disgusting mess...oh, and it's -85 out? super."  Photo from www.theguardian,com

Well, now: “Ugh..what is this disgusting mess…
oh, and it’s -85 out? super.”
Photo from http://www.theguardian,com

2.  Hold yourself accountable – Remember back in January, when you made a bagillion New Year’s resolutions, specifically about running?  Racing probably factored in there somehow.  At this point of the year, you haven’t quite forgotten about all the resolutions, so signing up for a spring race sounds like a terrific idea. And hey, it’ll keep you on track.

3.  To get out there! – This sounds a lot like the first reason, doesn’t it? Well, it’s different, I promise. Not unlike winter, the magic of running in the spring fades pretty quickly for me. And again, having a race on the calendar will get me out the door when it’s 40 degrees and pouring rain for the 8th day in a row.

animaatjes-bambi-25497

Running in the spring is great, because this is what spring looks like, right?

bambi

Ha..no!

 4.  Because winter race options are limited – Sure, you’ve got your new year’s day 5k, and of course the frosty knuckle or freezer five, or whatever else unpleasant sounding race, but really there aren’t many longer distance runs in the winter.  At least not in New England. I tried to find a January 1/2 marathon near me and came up empty. There was nothing within a reasonable distance of my home. It’s probably for the best though, I would not have been a happy camper racing on one of these polar vortex days.

5. Because fall is like a million years away – Fall races are my favorite, but if I wait to run all my races in the fall, then I end up with a pretty skimpy race calendar! Not to mention all the long runs on 90 degree days to prepare for fall races. To me, spring is kind of like fall’s cousin.  Not too hot, not too cold.  And it reminds you that “hey, being outside isn’t terrible!”

Disclaimer – I don’t actually HATE the weather as much as this post makes it seem. It’s not running in the cold or rain or heat that are the problem, it’s that I can’t ever remember that doing so isn’t that bad.  Having a race on the calendar helps me overcome that issue.

So, what spring race are you going to do?

Top 5 Friday!

I’m starting this new thing called Top 5 Friday! Because, guess what?, it’s Friday and I have no clue what to write about on the blog this week!

I went running a few times but nothing noteworthy happened.  I’m not training for anything in particular, didn’t have a race, and I didn’t see anything exciting (unless you count the creepy guy w/ 6″ fingernails using weight machines while I’m on the treadmill, but I’d rather forget about him).

Here’s how it works – if you haven’t already guessed – it’s Friday, and I’m going to give you a top 5 list. So, with no further ado…this week’s topic is…

TOP 5 REASONS RUNNING ON THE TREADMILL IS ACTUALLY AWESOME

1.  Law and Order Marathons – Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Law & Order?  And, can you watch Law & Order while running outside? No, no you can’t. On the Law & Order scale, Treadmill wins!

My Running Buddies!

2.  It’s easy to zone out – My favorite part of the treadmill is how easy it is to zone out. I don’t have to worry about tripping, or getting hit by cars, or watching out for ice.  Just turn on the machine and run. That’s all. It’s awesome.

3.  You don’t need to carry things – I like to have my “stuff” with me.  On long runs – my phone, my iPod, water, gel, keys.  In the dark, I’ve got my vest, knuckle lights.  Do you know how much stuff that is to carry?  It’s a LOT of stuff.  On the treadmill, there are little ledges to keep all your stuff. It’s awesome.

2013-10-26 21.04.51

Running Stufffffff

4.  Weather – Guess what, it doesn’t rain in the gym. Also, the treadmill is never icy.  Windchill? Nope.  Oppressive heat and humidity – not likely.  Treadmill wins!

5.  Reading – I love running, but I’m not going to pretend that I sometimes don’t want to do it. One thing that can help get me going is the promise of a good book.  Reading while you run, you say? On the treadmill, it’s possible! I just pull out my kindle, change the text size and there you go.  Treadmill + Kindle = Awesome!

2014-01-17 21.20.27

Do people actually need text this large?

Often, the treadmill gets a bad rap, I think it’s unfair.  The treadmill can be so much fun 🙂