Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The "Roxanne" workout

Today in boot camp, the very awesome Kerry (from Vast Fitness) took us through a warm-up, then a 4-station circuit, and then, when we were pretty much wrung out, gave us the "Roxanne" workout.

What's that, you ask? Well, it's simple.

Play the song "Roxanne" by the Police. Then the music starts, get into a straight-arm plank.

Every time you hear the word "Roxanne", do a push-up.

Every time you hear the words "red light", do a jackknife (while keeping your legs and arms straight, jump your feet to your hands and back).

We were a little giddy and punchy at the start of the song, so imagine a group of sweaty folks laughing while trying to hold plank position and remember which movement to do at which cue. Yeah, it starts off slowly, but then the chorus repeats forever...

The result? Three minutes and fourteen seconds of strength and cardio.

I've embedded a video of the Police playing "Roxanne" live -- now get into plank position!

Thanks to Kerry at Vast Fitness for another fun workout!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Altering Gravity again!

Went for my first Alter-G session in several weeks -- and was LATE so I had to cut it short. Still, I squeezed in a quick 2.5-mile run and was happy to be back at it. Of course, because I was late finishing, I rushed out of there without stretching... silly, silly Sunny.

Spent the afternoon feeling stiff and sore, but not hurt. Looking forward to boot camp again tomorrow!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Back to Boot Camp

Today I went to my first boot camp in a couple of weeks. I was nervous -- weirdly nervous -- about going back. Would I be able to keep up? Would I hurt my eye?

In the end, it was fine. We did quite a bit of jump roping -- probably more than I have done since childhood! -- and some partner work with a medicine ball. I did have a slight worry that I could catch an 8-pound medicine ball in the face and dislodge my new lens... but it didn't happen. I think I'll be sore tomorrow, but overall I am happy to be back at it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Runner's Bookshelf: "Do Life" by Ben Davis

I remember the first time I saw the video. I don't know where I heard about it -- maybe someone posted it on Facebook, or maybe I heard about it from someone at work. I watched the video at my desk at work, and -- like many people -- was crying pretty darn hard by the end.

Ben Davis's "My 120 Pound Journey" video was so moving, so touching, that I immediately sent it out to my Marketing colleagues. Within a few minutes, I could hear people crying all over the office. I noticed that in some of the video clips, Ben was wearing a pair of Brooks shoes. I looked up his Tumblr account, found an email address for him, and asked if we could send him a fresh pair of kicks -- it looked like he needed them.

He seemed thrilled by the offer, so I sent him some shoes, and that was kinda it. Well, except for the fact that, when I needed a bit of inspiration, I'd go back and watch the video again.

I was always happy to spot Ben somewhere -- when we appeared on the cover of Runner's World, for example, or when he was on the Today show. And I was sorry not to have known when he was in Seattle as part of his "Do Life" tour -- I would have liked to actually meet him.

 Ben's new book, not surprisingly called "Do Life", is like getting to spend a few hours with Ben. He tells his story with honesty and humor, starting with childhood disappointments (Amanda Gray, how could you?} and the food addiction, gambling, and other destructive behaavior that he indulged in until he hit bottom.
"...bottoming out can be a positive thing, because there's only one direction you can go from there. But the truth is that you only bottom out when you decide that this is your bottom. If you let yourself, there will always further to fall."
A moment of inspiration, provided by his grandmother, led to Ben and his brother signing up for a 5K 17 days later, despite the fact that Ben had only ever run a couple of tims in his life, and he had no idea what a 5K was. "Sometimes in life you just have to jump in."

Ben completed that 5K... and then kept on running, eventually completing marathons and even becomeong an Ironman -- somethinig I don't know if I even DREAM about doing. The book recounts his story, with plenty of laughs along the way. But this book isn't just a mini-biography. Ben peppers his tale with plenty of advice for runners who are just starting out, or even runners who have just fallen into a rut. Possibly my favorite part of the book was the chapter called "Turning the Corner", which is about getting back on track:
"Don't sit around and worry that you'll never get your mojo back. Trust that it's going to happen. Simply buckle down and push harder than you've been pushing. Get mad and get strong. Use your frustration and disappointment in yourself to your own benefit."
Ben also incluldes training plans ranging from 5K to Ironman, nutrition advice, and even a 25-week running journal. Though I won't use running journal (I prefer journalling electronically), I can imagine that I'll dip into this book every now and again when I need a little inspiration.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Last night I dreamed that I was on board the icebreaker ship steaming toward Antarctica for this year's Antarctica Marathon. Our friends John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield are aboard--but in my dream I was talking to someone I didn't know. I was telling her that I was frightened -- not that I would get hurt, and not that I would die or anything like that. I was frightened that I wasn't prepared -- didn't have the right gear. I mean, I imagine one would wear snow-shoeing sorts of clothes... warm, but not so warm that you'd get too hot when exerting yourself. But then again I have seen pictures of the Shackleton expedition -- and even when they were pulling the sleds, they were pretty warmly dressed.
But more importantly, I was afraid I wouldn't have the strength to finish. I'm not even talking about physical strength here -- I'm talking about mental strength.... that is, that I wouldn't be strong enough to SUCK IT UP and keep going through the cold, the discomfort, the unhappiness.
This troubles me greatly. I mean, I'd like to think that I'm strong enough to get through things. After all, I am proud to know that I know I can get through a half marathon, pretty much no matter what. Torrential rain? Been there. Borderline hypothermia? Check. Crazy wind gusts? Done that, too. I've walked through an injury just to finish. I've sniveled my way through a race that I only finished because a) it was in a new state and b) my hotel was next to the finish line and I didn't know how else to get there if I didn't just finish the damn race.
But would I be able to get through a marathon in Antarctica? Running on ice and snow? I just don't know.
I know fear is useful -- it's a survival instinct. But I don't want to let fear limit me -- especially if it is fear of failure, rather than fear of harm if you see what I mean.
I remember the night before heading out into the highlands of Irian Jaya, how I was so scared I kept throwing up. I had been traveling around Indonesia for several weeks, and at one point had mentioned to my well-connected aunt that I would like to see the Dani tribe in Irian Jaya. Before I really knew it what was happening, she had contacted an old school friend who had become the bupati (mayor? governor?) of Wamena, the largest town in the highlands... and within a few days I was on a flight to Biak.
I stumbled through my time there -- I was met at the airport in Biak and settled with a family for a night. The family owned the local Toyota dealership, but I'm not sure how they really fit in to this equation. The young people who worked for the family took me out for an evening in Biak which involved karaoke. You haven't lived until you've sung an Elvis song ("Suspicious Minds", of course) in a room full of people who don't understand the lyrics or how the song should sound.
The next morning I met the bupati, his wife, and staff, and we went to the airport where we boarded a plane that was half-filled with barrels that stank of oil and gave off groans and clanks and metallic whines as we took off for the highlands. The flight seemed endless... but I'm pretty sure it was only about an hour long.
I spent the day being taken around the village by the bupati's aides. I bought fruit, water, and noodles at the local market; visited a museum, and met my guide and porter. How charmingly Victorian, I thought -- I can go for a 3-day trek, having to carry nothing but my water bottle.
But the night before we left, I was seized by fear -- would I be able to get through it? It was a long, sleepless night, so we set off with me feeling pretty wretched. We were driven to a small village, and set free.
In the intervening years, a lot of this trek has become hazy. I remember hiking up a steep hill, on a track cut so deeply by footptrints that I got mud on my shoulders. I remember crossing a ragin river on a bridge made of vines and sticks. I remember seeing my first Dani tribesmen, and being honored by being "introduced" to their mummified elders. I remember meeting the family I would stay with, and the lovely little piglets who would be sharint a hut with us. I also remember being so terrified of the latrine in the first village we stayed in that I basically stopped peeing for three days. Yeah, i know, not so smart. And, a little shamefullly, I remember being ridiculously happy to come out to the trailhead at the end of the third day to find the bupati's aide, leaning on his jeep in a crisp uniform, holding a lukewarm bottle of Coke and waiting for me
It's like when we were on the Carros de Foc trek -- we were both afraid a few times, but I guess we knew that we would be so darn proud of ourselves when we finished. I guess that's the same way I would get through something like the Antarctica Marathon -- a mix of terror and looking forward to being happy to be finished.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

TTT: arms & core, walking meeting, and a snow day

I don't often do a real "three things Thursday", but...

1. Arms & Core

This morning -- since I haven't worked out since the surgery -- I decided to do a workout from one of the ones I have been pinning to my "You Better Work (Out)" board on Pinterest. I wanted to do something with a bit of cardio, but then decided I could take it pretty easy by working on strength instead. Of course, doing bench dips always gets my heart racing!

I was able to do all of it in under 8 minutes, but it made my arms feel nice and firm all morning. Yeah, I check out my own biceps... don't you?

That last thirty seconds of up-down plank was super, super hard... but I always need a bit of help with my plank skills...

(why don't I work on them more often? yeah, I don't know either)

2. Walking Meeting

When Meredith came back from maternity leave, she was on a "sitting = death" kick -- she even rigged up a way to stand at her desk, and has set up "walking meetings" with each of us. Such a great idea -- especially as the weather will be getting nicer and nicer!

I miss seeing my pal Dre now that our team has moved to the south building (trust me -- we're in isolation now!), so I proposed that we go for a walking meeting once every other week. Today was our first one. We were both a bit late, but then we bundled up and set out and had a 45-minute brisk walk around the neighborhood, talking about work and future projects. I came back with new ideas and feeling revitalized and refreshed. Of course, then some chaos got into my new work laptop, which essentially kept me offline all day. And to think I nearly brought my iPad in to work to play with...

3. Snow Day

Okay, it wasn't like a blizzard or anything, but the weather today was nuts. Sun, wind, torrential rain, hail, snow. Shuffle, repeat. When I went out to my car at 4:00, there was about 1/4 inch of snow, and lots of slush around. Within a couple of blocks, no snow at all. Weird. But Nikki had been wanting a snow day, so there you go.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

St. Pat's Dash Race Report

On Sunday Suz and I ran the St. Pat's Dash in Seattle. It was my time running the Dash in years -- not since it was my first ever 5K! - and not since the course moved from the old Viaduct point-to-point.

We were supposed to run it a few years ago -- but it snowed that day, so breakfast at Vera's easily won out.

But this year -- when the race actually fell on St. Patrick's Day -- it was a cold but sunshiny morning in the Emerald City, so a perfect day for a run.

Suz picked me up a little before 7:30... which was lucky, because I set an alarm for 7am on a watch that I had forgotten to "spring forward". Oops. But I had everything laid out, so I was able to get dressed quickly and we were on our way only a few minutes after 7:30.

We drove up to Queen Anne, got street parking a few blocks from the start, and enjoyed sitting in the warm car until a few minutes before the start.

It was funny to join the throng of green-clad runners -- and to recognize no one. We arrived just in time to hear the last lines of "When Irish Eyes Were Smiling" and the start of the first wave. A few minutes later it was our turn, so we took off at a gentle clip down Mercer.

I'm not a fan of the revised course -- basically on to 99 and up to the bridge, then back down. But it was fun to be surrounded by so many happy folks out for a good time. I liked the group running with a giant rainbow -- I really should have gotten a picture of us under it!

We ran some, walked some, and got to the turnaround -- which meant we were now essentially all downhill to the finish. As we rounded the corner I reminded Suz to leave nothing in the tank, which made her laugh and say she didn't have anything left in the tank. :) But she pipped me at the finish by a second and one place to finish in 51:31: still a 14:10 pace, despite the fact that it was her longest run ever! Yay Suz!

After the race we picked up some water, threaded our way through the crowd, and decided to just head back to Ballard. Despite being just after 10am, of course the Old Pequliar was open... and populated by other Dashers. Wil came down and joined us... and then the noise got a little out of hand, so we decamped to Molly's by our house.

Things got a bit fuzzy after that... but songs were sung, we witnessed a successful proposal, and had a great day. Thanks to Suz for being my running buddy for the Dash!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wine and Dine Half Marathon!!!

So.... since we're "taking it easy" now that the 40@40 project is complete, we have talked about running one half marathon per month in 2013 -- a "13 in 13" sort of idea, given that we ran two half marathons in January (WDW and Tinker Bell). So I had started to think about what races we'd do in which month, and had come up with this:

JanuaryWalt Disney World Half Marathon
"Tinker Bell Half Marathon
February Birch Bay Half Marathon
March Cupcake Run Half Marathon
April Earth Day Half Marathon
May Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon
June Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon
July  ??
August  ??
September  ??
October  ??
November  ?? 
December  ??

While looking at the Half Fanatics race calendar, I noticed the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in Disney World in November... the weekend before our anniversary. Everything seemed to make perfect sense: because the race is a Saturday night race, we could fly down on the Friday, go to expo on Saturday morning, race Saturday night, play on Sunday, and fly home on Monday evening. We already have passes to Disney World, and we have a $99 companion fare on Alaska Airlines that we have to book by June 1, with no particular other place to go. 

One problem: the race is the same weekend as Designer Con in Pasadena, which we went to last year and had a blast. But we were both a little worried about D-Con being extended to two days, and I started to worry about spending two days shopping -- rather than a weekend enjoying ourselves. 

When registration opened the other day for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, however, we had to make a decision.... and decided in favor of the race. Wil had one stipulation: that we shouldn't just stay for a long weekend, but should stay for a week. This serves two purposes; it gives us a proper holiday, and it means that we'll spend our anniversary in Disney World: two perfect things, if you ask me. So we booked our flights and registered for the race. Wine and Dine is a race I have always wanted to run, so I'm excited to finally get to do it. I love that we'll run through Christmas decorations... even if it is in early November. But I think we'll get our holidazzle on and come home ready to get into the Christmas spirit. 

Now, I don't think I'll ever really need to run the Princess Half Marathon, so this may well be our last Orlando event for a long while... but I'm excited to "pin our bibs on" and run our first nighttime half marathon this November!

So... let's make the revised 2013 plan:

JanuaryWalt Disney World Half Marathon
"Tinker Bell Half Marathon
February Birch Bay Half Marathon
March Cupcake Run Half Marathon
April Earth Day Half Marathon
May Rock 'n' Roll Portland Half Marathon
June Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon
July  ??
August  ??
September  ??
October  ??
November Wine and Dine Half Marathon
December  ??

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Guess who charged her FuelBand overnight and forgot to put it on this morning?

Had another good little swim this morning -- the pool was nice and empty (three empty lanes!) so I grabbed the pull buoy and kickboard and swam. I kept thinking of the whale swimmer I used to see when I swam FIVE YEARS AGO in Bellevue (how can I possibly have been blogging for 5+ years?!?), which made me worry a tiny bit that I was myself making whalesong as I swam. But I don't think so.

Swam steadily for 30 minutes, alternating between kickboard, buoy, and freestyle. Felt really, really good after. Yay!

Next week is our off week at boot camp, so I'm going to try to sneak in a swim (or two?) on Monday and Tuesday. Three down, seven to go!

Oh, also, I set up appointments for my last 4 Alter-G sessions. Not until the end of March -- want to give my eye plenty of time to recover. But I feel more positive for having actually set something up!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mojo Risin'

Maybe it was just low iron? Or maybe a touch of seasonal affective disorder? But I'm feeling a bit better today...

Went to boot camp and -- surprise, surprise, Kerry sprung testing on us today rather than Friday. It makes sense -- we're indoors, so why not test? That means on Friday we can play and run and have fun outside.

Testing went well -- well, better than at the start of the session. Sit-ups went from 30 to 33, pushups from 15/20 (military/modified) to 20/12. (Hey, military take me longer, okay?) And I added just over a minute to my squat hold and plank times -- though now I'm still just in the 2:30 range for each. I should really work on those!

And as far as the circuit went, I'm not sure if I mis-counted or was just beat -- but I think I only got through 9 circuits this time, rather than 10 last time. Who knows.

Now back to the mojo. First and foremost, Suz, you aren't bogarting the mojo. Mojo spreads, man. :) Your running has totally inspired me! It's my bad for not lacing up and getting out the door.

I am, at the best of times, borderline anemic. So it's quite possible that I just haven't been getting enough iron. So yesterday I made an iron-packed dinner and picked up some blackstrap molasses to add to tomorrow's smoothie. Yeah, I don't know what it will taste like, either.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Way back last year I bought a groupon for 10 swims at a pool not far from my office. I waited till the last minute to redeem it, which meant I squeezed in a swim during the winter break. But I haven't been back.

Given that we are moving out of Bothell in a couple of months, well, I have to get swimming!

I think the reason I have been hesitant to go swimming is that I hate sharing a lane. I get spooked about it. Don't know why. I just do.

But today I arrived at 8:30 to find a nearly empty pool. I picked up a kick board and pull buoy and settled in.

I swam laps, alternating between freestyle, kicking, and pulling, and felt pretty good throughout. Swam for 25 minutes, and then hopped out, showered, and headed to work.

I won't be able to swim for a few weeks after the surgery, so I am going to try and get one or two more swims before then.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Easing back into things...

Yeah, I know, long time no blog. To briefly catch up: I had an Ozurdex injection in my left eye on February 20. The procedure went just fine, thank you... and though I took the rest of that week off, I was back at boot camp the following Monday and Wednesday.

Of course, then I blissfully slept in on Wil's birthday, skipping Friday camp... But I was back at it today. So my attendance hasn't been spectacular this session... But I will be back!

Running is another story. I have not run a step since the day before the procedure. Not even sure why. Hopefully I can turn things around this week.

A number of my girlfriends are struggling right now -- Two of them have, independently, said they have "lost their mojo", and I totally know where they are coming from. I had hoped that the new month would give me a little jump start, but a happily indulgent weekend has left me feeling more pudgy than ever.

Still, it's all baby steps, right?

I signed Suz and myself up for the St. Patrick's Day Dash today. I know I might not be cleared to run it, but I am pretty sure I will at least be allowed to walk it. Regardless, we were lucky to get free registrations, so there is no harm done.

This week my goal is to go to boot camp on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and either run or swim on Tuesday and Thursday. I also need to set up appointments for my last four Alter-G sessions -- around my surgery, of course! I also want to get back to journaling my food on My Fitness Pal. Gotta keep myself honest, right?