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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gold Star Gladiator Quest - Week #1

It's been one week since I started the sports nutrition classes with former American Gladiator, Cathy Sassin of Intrafit (

Not sure how to measure how I've done in tangible numbers, since we've been told that weighing ourselves won't help much at the beginning. Turns out muscle weighs more than fat, and if you're building lean muscle, you may look better, but actually gain pounds or stay the same which can be discouraging, if you're just watching the scale.

So, I'm setting different goals for myself to stay motivated. Here are my gold stars for the week:

*Exercise: I exercised 6 out of 7 days. I didn't get into my target heart rate for the the 50 minutes a day I'm supposed to, but I got out of my chair and onto the street.

*Weights: I started lifting some weights, although not many and not for long. Still, a gold star for starting.

*Food: I stayed on the food plan about 90% of the time. I drank more wine than needed for my carb allotment, but hey, what can I say.

*Dares: I did some push ups and sit ups. Not many, but more than last week's ZERO, so there. Dare yourself to do some push ups. See what happens!

So, four gold stars for me this week. We'll see what next week brings.

I need to get a heart rate monitor thingy, so I can really start measuring the effectiveness of my walking and running. I know my heart's healthy, but I have to get into the zone to burn some fat. I hear Sunnyside Sports, in Bend, is a good place, so I'll check them out this afternoon.

The Bend local Chubby Mommies are still planning on the Monday Morning River Walk at 6:15 a.m., Farewell Bend park. Would love to see some new faces!

Do you have some gold star goals for the week? If so, leave them in comments and we'll check in with you next week to see how you did.

Go for the gold!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

100 Push Ups: the arm kind, not the bra kind

Push ups are hard. I was thinking about them today, and dared myself to do some, mostly out of curiosity. Could I still do one?

I check on my cartwheels every once in a while, so I should check in on my push up status too, right? Strong arms = better cartwheels. These skills go hand in hand, so to speak.

I hate push ups, but it's not their fault. Push ups don't lie. Your arms are either strong, or they're not. Mine are not.

Once, after I finished one of those agonizing "Adventure" Bootcamps, I could do 15 good push ups in a row. This morning, I would have guessed I could do 6, maybe 7.

Turns out I can only do 3, and I'm sort of fudging that number even, just to save face.


I am a weakling, for sure.

I was on Twitter this morning, lamenting my lack of arm strength, when a follower sent me this link for 100 push ups This cute blond chick, in a white unitard, claims I can do 100 push ups after 6 weeks of minimal work.

I'd never wear a white unitard, even if I was blond. White just seems so...see-through. Where are you supposed to hide the jiggles in a white unitard, anyway? There's a good reason chubby mommy fitness ladies wear black, and its name is "too much information."

One hundred push ups in a row? Sounds like a pipe dream, but I think I'll try it. The only thing I've got to lose is flab. Plus, maybe I'll gain strength, and save face next time I dare myself to do a push up.

Anyone else want to join me? White unitards optional. Er, I mean, you don't have to wear a unitard, you can just wear regular clothes.

You can do push ups while you're naked, of course, but I'd rather not hear about it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Home Office: everyday's a bad hair day

When I was in Jr. High back in the 1970's, my BFF and I used to talk about getting "dressing up" jobs. We liked the idea of needing to buy nice suits and high heels, and putting on makeup to go to work.

Our mothers were nurses, and we honored and appreciated their careers, but, let's face it, they wore comfortable clothes and practical shoes. We wanted more.

Turns out suits require Lycra under-garments and nylons more often than not these days, and high heels hurt.

So, here I am in 2008, on a typical day at the office. The home office. With my glow-eyed puppy who barks during conference calls with VP's of Global Marketing at Fortune 500 tech companies.

Maybe this is good as it gets? I don't even have to brush my hair, I'm wearing flip flops today, and the puppy's asleep under my desk.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Trying and not Crying with Intrafitt

A friend of mine, who said she was tired of her chub, started working with Cathy Sassin of Cathy is local to Bend, but she helped start Intrafitt, an individual nutrition and exercise program. When you sign up, you work with a nutritionist in person, and track everything online.

Intrafitt is super scientific! It's all about changing your set point to lose fat and build lean muscle by eating the right combinations of healthy foods and exercising.

It is not rocket science, but Cathy Sassin is living proof of how to be one of those "Highly Effective" people. I'm sure she has at least 7 good habits. At least. Maybe she is Stephen Covey in disguise? No. She doesn't look anything like him, really.

Cathy is one of the world's premiere Adventure Athletes, and she started Intrafitt back in Venice Beach at Gold's Gym back in the glory days of super muscles and American Gladiator.

Cathy was an American Gladiator.

After I went to one of her classes, I decided I wanted to sign up for the program. It costs money, like most things that require you to spend one on one time talking to real people about your body. People like doctors, personal trainers, counselors or dental hygienists.

At least nutritionists don't have to poke around your gums. Going to her can't be worse than going to the dentist, I thought.

So I started gathering information to make the sales pitch to my husband about spending money to get fit. The pitch that spells out why I need help, why I can't seem to do it all on my own any more, despite valiant, gladiator like efforts.

The pitch that should include phrases like "for health reasons, for stress reduction, for adding years to my life, for the good of our family and our children's eating habits, I want to start this nutrition program..."

So I Googled Cathy Sassin, to get more information.

Try it.

Bingo. There she is in her American Gladiator costume from many years ago. She's now in her 40's and the mother of twins, and I have not seen her in a swimsuit in person, but it didn't matter. I had everything I needed right there on the screen.

I called my husband over for the pitch.

"Hey, I found more info about Cathy Sassin on Google. She seems to really know what she's doing. She's written books, she's one of those crazy ultra-marathon adventure race chicks. She's one of the best athletes in the world. I can't believe my luck, she lives in Bend! I think this will be a good program for me...look."

"Oh." He said, when he saw the picture,"She was an American Gladiator? Yes, you should do it."

Such an easy sale, really.

Thanks Cathy! I'm looking forward to becoming a Chubby Mommy Runner Gladiator! I see many gold stars in my future. I doubt I'll be posing in a swimsuit any time soon, but if I can end up looking like you? I won't rule anything out.

If anyone wants to talk to Cathy about the program, let me know. I might be able to swing a Chubby Mommy Running Club discount. And I'm going to ask her to be a guest columnist, because I need guest columnists.

Now, off to run. I've got some fat to burn!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chubby Mommy Gets Regular

Let this be official from this day forward: The Chubby Mommy Fast Walk Club Gets Regular.

Mondays: we welcome all Chubby and Non-Chubby Mommies and Non-Mommies to join us every monday at 6:15 a.m. at Farewell Bend Park for a brisk walk around the river loop.

Wednesdays: walk the Butte! 6:15 a.m., Pilot Butte parking lot. One mile straight up, one mile straight down.

If you want to run instead of walk, we will not stop you, since you can just run away from us.

This is my decree. I will honor it. Bring friends, earn gold stars, feel good and happy all day.

Good shoes, strong legs, cute chicks. What's not to like?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

True Love

I was going to get regular coffee last night. It was on my mental list. I knew we only had decaf left, and I hate going to the store at 7:00 a.m. I remembered the milk and the puppy chow, and the shampoo.

I was one step away from the coffee aisle when the husband called. The girls and I were in the toothpaste aisle discussing mouthwash vs. fluoridated rinse when the "hurry-up" call came. The boy was hungry. He needed food. He was whining, said the dad.

We had been taking our sweet time for three hours, picking out flip-flops and trying on shorts and debating whether high-heeled canvas shoes counted as tennis shoes.

Can you take the puppy out, and around the block in those things? If not, find something more practical, I kept saying, and so we kept looking at shoes and shirts and notebooks and plastic storage containers and lip gloss, and all the other wonderful things stores have sitting on shelves, begging to be considered.

We'd left the brother home due to tummy trouble. He'd be quiet, he said, in a sleepy, hazy voice, while lounging on my bed in front of the new t.v, and let dad work upstairs. And he was, for the first two hours, I think.

But the dad couldn't do all his hard math, which he promised he'd do for the big lawyer meeting next Tuesday, when the boy wandered in every few minutes to ask about dinner, and other things.

I could hear it in his voice on the phone, an irritated tone we've come to know so well through the stress and strain of nine months of hard work that's almost done, almost done, just another week, and then it will be done and could you please deal with the kids for a few hours so I can think?

"Feed him," I snapped. "Or better yet, tell him to get his own bowl of cereal!" I mean, really, these people live in a house with a stocked pantry, not in the middle of the woods with only berries and bark.

Why must they call the mother, who's happily shoe shopping with the daughters? Do they not understand how time fades away and I slip into my happy place in front of aisles and aisles of shoes and sandals and 8 kinds of mouthwash? Have I not trained them better?

Of course they were just missing us, really. It wasn't about the food. They both need to be taken care of, in their own ways, along with the puppy, who barks at the dad and snaps at the boy when he gets to excited, which I could hear on the phone.

"How much longer?" he said, in that desperate tone, "and did you remember the milk?"

"Of course I did," I snapped again, as I hustled and bustled out of the store, mumbling in frustration at the slow checker and the dumb drivers in the parking lot, and knowing I was forgetting something important.

So this morning, when I poured his cup of decaf and added the milk, I was ready with a snippy, passive-aggressive comment about how the lack of regular coffee was actually his fault.

I waited by the door, with both cups in hand, for him to come back from the doggie duty down the street. Just a little dig, I thought, to prove that I'm right, as usual, and remind him to appreciate me.

But when he walked through the door, the site of him melted my heart a little. He was wearing a crumpled "Terminator Stout" shirt from 12 years ago, some hand-me-down shorts that are a tad too short but showed off his tall skinny legs, with white tube socks that hit just below the knee. And flip-flops. Yes, flip flops with socks.

He acutally walked out of the house like that? I married an ultra geek, no denying it.

The tiny puppy and the big Weimaraner sat perfectly at his feet, waiting for him to unhook their leashes. They all looked at me with something that resembled affection.

"Coffee?" he smiled hopefully.

"Well, it's only decaf," I said sheepishly, and gave him a little kiss.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Monday Morning River Walk

Quick update for locals interested in Bend's next Chubby Walk Social:

We're meeting at 6:15 a.m., Monday, July 14th, at Farewell Bend Park. We'll walk around the river trail; last time it took us almost an hour, but you can walk faster or run, or turn around early, if you need to.

No beer involved in this one. Even I can't drink this early.

Bacon optional.

Please be prompt! We're set for one early a.m. (Mondays, West side) and one evening walk a week (Wednesdays, East side)and I'm happy to add a lunch time walk, too (Fridays, downtown?)

You can join one day, or come to all. This is FREE and FUN. Please pass this annoncement on to friends and neighbors!

Non-locals: email me if you want help setting up a local group.

Gold Star Will Power

I did not drink a beer last night, even though I really wanted one. I think I'll give myself a gold star.

But I did eat some bacon this morning. I made a "restaurant breakfast" for sleep-over guests so I can keep my "best mom ever!" status. I got some of that nitrate free stuff from Trader Joe's, and I had to make sure it wasn't poison.

I know that saying no to beer and yes to bacon probably cancel each other out, in some way. But that's not the point. The point is to have some control over something, anything, just to prove I can.

If I can say no to beer and yes to exercise, I could probably get on Oprah some day. Not sure how yet, but I'll figure it out. I like to feel in control, and I like gold stars.

Maybe I'll create a super fancy gold star chart system for running without bacon and beer, and Oprah will think it's nifty. Bob Greene doesn't give her stars, I bet.

But man oh man, I love bacon even more than beer. So this concept could just be a pipe dream. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Beer Diet

Dang it. Just when I was entering my 2nd day of not drinking alcohol, my husband came home with a case of Mirror Pond Black Butte Porter.

I've been preparing for this clever diet trick for two days. I can always drop a few pounds if I stop drinking. Easy. Right?

I drank through the rest of the wine two days ago, and knew he drank the last beer yesterday. I went to Trader Joe's and bought salad and stuff. I have been eating plain yogurt recently, and thinking about chicken breasts.

I was prepared, mentally, to lose 3 pounds this week by cutting out the beer and wine. If you've tasted a good Porter on a hot day, you'll understand my dilemma here.

So, what should I do? Hide it? Ask him to hide it? Go on vacation for a week, away from the house?


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pub Walk - the Ultimate Social Exercise Idea

Spin class, 5k Runs, and Bootcamps are all good ways to exercise in a group. But, well, seriously, are they as fun as going out to a dinner and drinks with your girlfriends on a Wednesday night?

My friends Jen and Elise had a great idea, I'm just here to pass it on:

Let's start at Jen's house, walk two miles along the river to Reed Pub, in SE Bend, where we eat salad, drink beverages, and then walk back again.

Every week, we can pick a different place to start, and end up somewhere fun for dinner. The only catch? You still have to walk back to the beginning. Unless you convince someone to come pick you up from the bar. I don't care if you cheat, really.

Reasons I like this idea:

1. "Honey, you watch the kids tonight, I have to exercise."

2. "I'm not drinking and driving, I'm drinking and walking."

3. "Hurry up ladies, there's beer up ahead."

Non locals: try this in your home town. Grab some neighbors, pick a destination, and go for it. Maybe your local pub can "sponsor" your Chubby Mommy Pub-Walk Club? If you bring 10 people, will they give you a 10% discount? 15 people for 15%? If so, tell them to email me, and I'll let them put up a free ad on our new site for a month!

[New site, with space for sponsorships, social groups, and Chubby Mommy Running Club t-shirts, will be up soon]

Bend, Oregon Locals: We're meeting at Jen's house at 6:00 p.m., tomorrow, July 9th, and walking to Reed Pub, in SE Bend. Email me for directions at

Together, we can put the beer back into exercise.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Alright Chubby Mommy Running - Walking Club, here's our next local assignment: Pilot Butte, parking lot, 6:30 a.m. Monday, July 7th. That's tomorrow morning, people!

I'm trying to decide if I should bring my funny little dog, Pierre. If I leave him home, he whines, which doesn't bother me, but irritates all the people at my house who are trying to sleep past 6:00 a.m.

If I bring him, he weaves around and trips people, runs like the dickens at the beginning, then gets tired out in and sits down suddenly in a shade spot after a mile. And then I have to pick him up and carry him the rest of the way. Ridiculous.

Maybe it's time I rig up a short leash on a belt around my waist and teach him to walk on the left, like a well trained dog with manners. And I can watch re-runs of dog training shows to learn how to make him mind me with little tongue clicks and sweet phrases like "Walkies! Walkies!"

I wonder what would happen if Barbara Woodhouse married the Dog Whisperer.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Neighborhood Party Crashers -4th of July

I hope Mr. Rogers won't get mad, but it seems we spend a lot of time in other people's neighborhoods, especially on 4th of July.

We like our new neighbors, we really do. There are many, many houses for sale in our neighborhood, and we like open houses, so we've seen the majority of our neighbors' kitchens and bathrooms and bedrooms. We feel like we know most of these people now. Sort of.

Yet we have a strange habit of hanging out in our friend's neighborhoods. We get to know their neighbors, and we manage to get ourselves invited to their neighborhood parties. Usually, we just invite ourselves.

If our current neighborhood had a 4th of July party, maybe we wouldn't have to crash other neighborhood's parties. I'd plan one, but I'm just too booked out now.

When we moved to Bend, our first new neighborhood had a fun family 4th of July picnic with kid's bike races and water balloon tosses. We still crash that party for a beer and a Popsicle, even thought we moved away two years ago. It's a good party. They even have prizes.

Luckily, we've found another neighborhood 4th of July party to crash, too. It features a backyard fire pit for making s'mores, and includes coolers of beer and some good porches with rocking chairs for super sparkler viewing. There's even badminton.

It's pretty easy to find new neighborhood parties. But is it luck, or skill?

I met one of our new 4th of July party families accidentally at the San Francisco Airport several years ago. Here's what happened:

After a delayed flight, I was frantic to check my email at the T-Mobile hot spot, but I was too cheap to pay for minutes. Luckily, a nice man who I'd seen on the plane from Bend, offered me the rest of his minutes.

Turns out he went to college with my best friend's brother in Eugene, Oregon. He knew a bunch of people I went to high school with. So using his leftover minutes was more like borrowing a cup of sugar. It just seemed right.

He and his wife had just moved to Bend too, and they were looking for friends. So we decided right then and there we should have a party when we got home.

Airports are like neighborhoods, sort of.

So I brought my airport friends to our New Year's Eve party, and my husband brought a family he picked up at work. Guess what? Both those families live next door to each other. They were neighbors! They had met on the street once, while bringing in garbage cans.

It's such a small world, when you think about it, and somehow, I always seem to be in the middle of it.

Of course, we suggested they have a neighborhood 4th of July party every year. Of course, they invite us, especially when we remind them, and tell them we'll bring some beer.

We've been trying to get some of the old neighborhood friends to crash this new neighborhood 4th of July party for the past couple of years, but they say they're happy with their own neighborhood. They don't fly much, so they tend to stick to the same old friends, year after year.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the old friends. There are so many people, and so many neighborhoods to try out. If only they were as pushy as us, they'd see how nice it is to crash someone else's neighborhood, especially if there's good food and prizes.

I continue to be on alert at airports, and grocery stores, looking for the next new best friends who might live in friendly neighborhoods with good parties.

And I keep my eye out for Mr. Rogers, just in case. I sure wish he could crash some of our friends' parties...and maybe bring Mr. McFeely with him.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Power of Community

After our 3rd local "Chub Club Fast Walk" outing, I think we are officially a club. I think we should be a national club. I think everyone who wants to be a member of Chubby Mommy Running Club should be. I think I'll need to figure out a way to give everyone a gold star for trying, not crying.

The virtual world is great, of course, but it's nice to get together in real life. We are working on some changes to this site to facilitate easier community building.

Wow. What would happen if every city had a Chubby Mommy Running Club? Can we change the world through community exercise? If we build it, will they come?

Ideas: for newbies, try exercising one hour, two days a week with a group. Two people can be a group. Recruit friends and neighbors. It's okay to divide your group into morning, noon and night walker/runners, and skill levels.

Think community! Think encouragement! Don't worry too much about your heart rate and your intensity level if it freaks you out. Just two days of group, you can push yourself on the other days.


1. Try, not Cry - time to get up and get outside. No superstars needed.
2. You don't have to be a mommy - it's just a state of mind, really.
3. You don't have to be a runner - but if you are, find other runners too.
4. You don't have to be Chubby! We are an equal opportunity club!
5. Be kind to each other and to yourselves - no gossip.
6. Share your stories with us - for now, let's use comments as our forum.
7. Stay positive - whiny people end up walking alone.

Start a club, embrace the Chub.

Let's do it.