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Monday, March 29, 2010

5K in Baltimore: In Which My New BFF Dumps Me for a Cute Guy at Fitbloggin

So anyway, back to the total drama island of Fitbloggin-10 and my new best friend Fitarella, who's even cuter in person, actually. And taller.

When we left this story, I was in my hotel room in Baltimore alone at 10:00 p.m., eating flank steak and vegetables, watching CNN, texting my kids, and too exhausted to even order vodka from the bar downstairs.

So that tells you something right there.

It's a glamorous life, traveling to obscure conferences and writing about them, but someone's gotta live it. Thank god I have a Flip Video now, so I can record it for you, too.

Oh, and about the videos from Fitbloggin? There's been some sort of computer error here at my house and all the videos I downloaded from Baltimore disappeared. It's temporary I'm sure. But let me say, there were some lovely 20 second spots of cute women boxing, and even some nice ones of the adorable people from EA Games playing the new stuff from WiiFit. I'm serious.

So anyway, I finally went to sleep at about 11:00 p.m. and then got up at 5:30 a.m. which was actually 2:30 in Oregon, for the record, in order to run the Fitbloggin 5K race at 6:30 a.m.

You may remember that I sort of set myself up for this problem, by telling everyone I was going to run this thing. I even said this on the news, which aired about 6 times one day in Bend, Oregon. So I had to do it. My trainer Luann over at Training for Fun would have killed me if I'd skipped (or she would have made do wall sits for an hour -same thing.)

I Found Her
So I got to the lobby with the other 98 women and 4 men who got up early to run,, and lo and behold, there was Fitarella, right in the middle of everyone. She's hard to miss, despite her petiteness. Her energy filled the whole entire hallway of the Marriott.

It was friend at first sight.

We hugged and gabbed and flitted around and she said sure, sure, I'll run with you, don't worry, I'm not very fast either. And then we all listened to the cute New Balance Guy who was helping organize the race, who told us about some new shoes, and the route we were running, and then we went outside and started to run.

New Balance was smart to send that cute Guy, I think. We all followed him and I love my new shoes. Just sayin'.

The Race
The sun was just starting to rise as we ran along the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. It was actually quite lovely and I sort of felt like a "real" runner with all those people chatting and running and being social. I usually don't like races because I don't like pressure when I exercise, and the word race just seems so...pressure-filled.

Fitarella stayed with me, and we talked about stuff like where do you live? What do you do? Do you have kids? You know...stuff you should know about your BFF. Oh, and then she told me she was a marathoner. And was training for Boston.

Oh really? Huh. I'm not, I said. But she kept running with me anyway.

She Found The Guy
So we got to the halfway point, which was at the end of the dock at the harbor, and Cute New Balance Guy was there, and I asked him to take a picture of us. It wasn't just so we could stop, or say hello to him in person. I swear.

Fitarella started chatting with him about different shoe models. Because she's a serious runner. She even knew the numbers of the shoes. I didn't realize shoes had numbers, because I'm more of a hobbyist, I guess.

We all started running again, but sure enough, soon enough, Fitarella and New Balance Guy were sort of, you know, speeding up. Without thinking about it, probably. They were just engrossed in conversation, about different shoe numbers, that's all.

I kept up for a while, and she did come back to check on me when I stopped to tie my shoe (again, I was not stopping on purpose or anything...really, it's not like I was tired. It was a safety issue.) But then we all started running again and know how it goes.

It's so easy to get distracted by beauty. And conversation. And numbers. I decided to just let them go.

I could have sped up. I could have stayed with them. I wasn't too tired, for real. Despite appearances to the contrary, I'm actually very comfortable running a 5K. Just so you know. I usually run between 3-5 miles several times a week. You know, if the weather's good. And I'm not too busy. And I can go slowly. And tie my shoes a lot. As needed.

The Other Women
But then a funny thing happened when I decided not to catch up to Fitarella and Cute New Balance Guy. I met a lovely young woman (much younger than me!) who was running up behind me. I waited for her a bit and introduced myself. This was her first 5K, she said. She was tired, but she really wanted to finish.

My heart melted a bit because I remembered my first 5K. It was at Alton Baker Park in Eugene, Oregon a long time ago, and I was much younger and thinner then, but I was just starting to get back into running after a long break, and I was running all alone. It was labeled a "Fun Run" but it didn't seem so fun to me.

Eugene is the home of Nike. And Bowerman. And Steve Prefontaine. And Hayward Field and the Olympic Trials for Track and Field. I mean, seriously, these people are hardcore runners. Little kids wearing coordinating Nike running ensembles were passing me on the bike path as I lumbered along.

I finished close to last that day, all alone, and I felt rather discouraged. I didn't do another 5K or a long, long time.

So I ran with this woman who kept saying quietly to herself every once in a while "You can do this. You can do this..." as I chatted enough to distract her, to keep her going. I told her it was fine to walk, she shouldn't feel pressured to run the whole way...but she didn't want to walk. She wanted to run it all the way. It was a goal she'd set.

I reminded her to use her arms a bit, if her legs got tired, it always helped me for some reason. Oh, she said, that's a good idea. And she did.

So I kept talking, which I'm good at, and she kept running, and pretty soon we were almost there, almost there, just around the corner, I promise. Despite being left in the dust by my new BFF and Cute Boy, I still knew the way back to the hotel.

We even picked up another first time 5K runner about 3 blocks from the hotel, and she was also talking to herself quietly, so thrilled to be so close, so proud of herself for actually doing it, wanting to make it all the way...she was so happy to run with us. She told us her story in two quick blocks.

The End
And then, amazingly, we made it. And everyone cheered, and these women I had been running with were so proud of themselves. They high-fived all around. They were beaming. And I was too. I was so thrilled for them.

Fitarella was there, waving at us from the finish line. We all felt good, like you usually do after you exercise, which is the real reason you exercise (at least that's why I do it.) The during never feels as good as the end, in my opinion.

It hit me then, when I was hugging my new running partners and congratulating them on a job well done, that maybe this is why I should run 5K's. Not because I like the actual race, but because I like to hang out with people who are working hard to achieve personal goals.

I'm glad I got up and went to the race that day. I enjoyed the journey. I think I'll do it again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just Peachy -Eating and Cooking with @juliejulie

Don't worry, we'll get back to Fitarella and the New Balance boy in a bit, but first I want to tell you what I did with my frozen peaches.

I usually don't talk about what I eat and how far I did or did not run here on this blog, but the fact is, I have lost weight through careful diet and exercise this past year, and some of you are asking for ideas about food.

I do like good food, and I get tired of eating the same 15 things that help me stay on track with my health and fitness goals. So, welcome to my weird little food section here at Chubby Mommy Running Club. Please send me your ideas, and I'll share some of mine.

I also started @twitrecipes over on Twitter and I need to start updating again. I'm happy to link to your recipes! You can send me links in comments or via email or my Facebook Fan Page if you aren't on Twitter.

Some of you may remember when I worked with Cathy Sassin of Intrafit, a well respected sports nutritionist who is also an ultra marathoner and was on American Gladiator once. Her food plan really works and I saw results right away.

I still follow it loosely and continue to lose slowly but surely, if I work out and measure everything. But I'm also a big fan of real life and balance and I'm in this healthy lifestyle thing for the long run. So, I'm about 80% careful about food, and enjoy my other 20%.

Here's how I eat, in general:

  • I try to eat a small, balanced 400 calorie meal every 3-4 hours. Balanced means some carbs, protein and a little fat. The combo keeps my blood sugar even. Nuts, egg yolks, olive oil, etc. are all fats. Hint: if I cut out fat, I get really, really hungry within 2 hours and tend to crash. Other hint: it's all about portion control. Read the label. 1/4 cup of nuts isn't much, people.
  • I've had good luck with natural products like Cliff's Builder's protein bars, which offer 270 calories of decent, balanced carbs, protein and fat with natural ingredients, when I'm busy, traveling, etc. I eat one in the morning for breakfast, 1.5 to 2 hours before I exercise.
  • I don't eat much refined sugar, although I always choose real sugar over artificial sweeteners. I don't like how aspartame tastes, and I don't like how I feel when I eat it.
  • I don't drink soda, diet or otherwise. I do like Dry Soda and buy it for parties, but in general, we don't drink soda very often. We do buy the kids regular soda (they like 7Up and Dr. Pepper!) for special occasions and let them drink it at restaurants. I think of it like dessert.
  • I drink lots of water. I don't drink much juice. I'm not anti-juice, I'd just rather have fiber with my fruit and not waste calories. Water is my main beverage.
  • Right now I'm avoiding wheat and dairy. I've gone on and off both of these for years. I have a bit of an immune system reaction to them which flares up every 5 or 6 years when my hormones change for the next round of life. For me this means I get a sore throat, swollen glands and feel over the top exhausted within 20 minutes of eating the offending foods. My 44 year old perimenopausal brain was feeling especially foggy a few months ago, so I cut these foods out again and within 2 weeks I felt back to normal. A little bit here and there is fine now, but I don't eat a bowl of cereal every morning any more.
  • I'm usually not a big vitamin taker, but since I cut out wheat and dairy I started a multi vitamin and a calcium supplement.
  • I eat a lot of lean meat and vegetables. It's just what works for me. I do cook vegetarian because I have a kid who's veggie, so I'm cool with it. I respect vegetarians, but I'm a carnivore, so please don't try to convert me.
Ok, on to the recipe. I made this up this morning. I improvised with what we had lying around, and I don't really measure. And yes, I used some sugar and some flour, but not much. Also, I just ate a very small portion, but my kids chowed down and even my picky husband liked this.

Use protein powder or soy flour to add more protein if needed to make this a meal, or serve it with some Morningstar Farms Veggie sausages, a good source of lower fat protein, and one of my kid's favorites.

@juliejulie's Baked Peach Thingy


Cream cheese (you could also use extra firm tofu or Tofutti cream cheese)
Brown Sugar
Eggs or Egg White Product
  1. Mix 1/2 cup of cream cheese with a little brown sugar and enough oatmeal to bind it together (1/2 cup?) I used lowfat cream cheese this time, I'd probably use less if it were regular strength.
  2. Sprinkle some brown sugar and oatmeal in bottom of a glass baking dish
  3. Lay some sliced peaches on top
  4. Use half the cream cheese mixture and drop it in little blobs on top of peaches
  5. Sprinkle more sugar and oatmeal on top
  6. Lay some more peaches on top of that
  7. Sprinkle flour on top of that layer (rice flour, soy flour, whatever) this will make everything hold together as it cooks. It's science.
  8. Pour some liquid egg mixture on top of all of it and let it sink in (I use Trader Joe's "Just Whites" or Costco's "Real Egg" Product, but you could use real eggs mixed with a bit of milk, too.)
  9. Top off with the rest of the cream cheese mixture, more brown sugar and oatmeal and some coconut. Yum. We like coconut.
  10. Bake at 350' for 45 minutes, or until hot and not too runny in the middle. I covered it in foil for a while, then took it off at the end to get the top crispy.
  11. Let it cool, maybe a half hour if you can wait that long.
I was going to take a picture but I forgot, and this thing disappeared in about 6 minutes.

Yay for peaches!

Friday, March 26, 2010

FitBloggin Conference #1

I went to Baltimore for the Fitbloggin Conference last weekend, and then on to Washington DC. It was a whirlwind trip, and my head is still spinning a bit. I've decided to break the journey down for you in small steps and small posts because I've never been a big marathoner. I'm more of a 5k-er.

If I tell you several small stories, maybe eventually you'll see the big picture. And you won't be so tired at the end. And then you can tell me what the big picture is. Hopefully. There may or may not be a quiz. Also, there will be video, as soon as I figure out how to load my flip videos onto my laptop without crashing it.

First of all, let me just say this: I started this blog as a hobby back in 2007 to learn about blogging. I never really intended for it to be a "fitness blog," it was just a place to write little stories about my life. But it turns out fitness is a big part of my life, even though I treat it like a hobby, too.

Now, three years later, I'm used to my blog, I know what it's about (me, me, me of course, and my journey through middle aged angst with humor and a bit of running) and other people are noticing it, like book agents, and asking me to think bigger. And I like to think bigger. Big thinking is my specialty.

So I went to the conference to meet other fitness writers like Mizfit Online and a few sponsors like New Balance who gave us shoes and POM (POM gave us martinis!) and authors like Jennette Fulda of Half-Assed fame and food gurus like David Grotto who think big.

First, I spent a few weeks working with my friend Luann at Training for Fun getting my knee in shape for the Fitbloggin 5k run and I even let everyone watch me do sit ups on TV Which was embarrassing, by the way, because of the tummy bulging thing. But I'll do almost anything to be on TV. Almost.

The core strength training thing with Luann really worked though. My knee stopped hurting and I even lost some inches in the process, mainly around my bust, which is typical, but irritating. But at least I had a good excuse to buy cute new bras. Bonus.

So last Thursday I drove my kids 7 hours to Seattle to stay with a host of aunts and uncles while I was gone. I ran around Green Lake, hung out with relatives, ate marvelous food, slept for 5 hours, then got up at 4:30 a.m. Friday to fly across the country.

I finally landed in Baltimore at 6:00 p.m. Friday, just in time for the cocktail party where I immediately met some online buddies like Deb Roby of Weight for Deb and brand new friends: Kara of Fat Woman on the Mountain and Mandi of Trainer Momma and Lisa Johnson . I'm good at that meeting people stuff. It's one of my not-so-secret talents.

But the whole night, I kept searching for my new best friend, Fitarella. I had met her briefly at The Audience Conference in New York in November, but didn't realize she was a fitness blogger. Which is weird, since her name is Fitarella. But it's also Jacqueline, which I kept forgetting during this trip because I know everyone by their twitter or blog names.

And back in New York I didn't realize how funny Fitarella is because our meeting was so brief. We were introduced, she smiled, said hello, and then she left. So elusive. I'm surprised she didn't leave a perfect glass slipper at the bar in New York.

So I asked several people at the Fitbloggin cocktail party if they'd seen Fitarella, and many said yes, she had been there, but then had disappeared. Mysteriously.

I checked Twitter and saw she was looking for me (she claimed, in several well timed posts) but it was all a bit wild goose-chase-ish. And then her phone died. And then mine did.

Again with the elusive.

So finally, I gave up, went to my room, ordered room service, and went to bed.

Next post: finding Fitarella and the cute New Balance Boy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Running with a View

I ran around Green Lake when I was in Seattle last Thursday evening. It's a great community gathering spot, in the middle of the city, where all kinds of people, babies and dogs cruise along a wide path that circles the lake in pursuit of exercise and conversation.

I'm impressed with myself for making it all the way around, as you can see by the expression on my face. I think the ducks are impressed with me too. You can't see their expressions, but I did, and they were smiling. One of them may have winked, which is duck language for "good job." They can't really high five (they'd fall over) so they wink. I read it in a book once.

Now that my knee doesn't hurt any more (thanks to my trainer Luann at Training for Fun) I'm actually enjoying running a bit more. Hard to believe, I know. I especially enjoy running in nice weather, with a view.

Actively seeking new views. Where's your favorite place to run?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Running with Inga

Dear Roxanne: Can Inga come running with me today? I think he likes me.

Dear Julie: No. Inga and I are lost in the woods right now. I need him to find our way home. He is sniffing the air, he can't talk to you.

Dear Roxanne: Well, how about tomorrow? You don't have to come with us, if you're busy, I could just take him.

Dear Julie: No. He is a shy dog, and only likes me. Sorry.

Dear Roxanne: But, I miss him.

Dear Julie: I didn't want to tell you this, but Inga hates you.

Dear Roxanne: That' not true, Roxanne. Clearly you are jealous of Inga and me. We are just friends, I swear.

Dear Julie: I am happy to continue running with you, but please stop calling Inga. He has moved away. To a nice cabin in the woods, actually, which we are trying to find right now. Do not try to contact him. I'm taking his tracking collar off now.

Dear Roxanne: Fine.

Dear Julie: Fine.

Dear Roxanne: Can you still run Friday?

Dear Julie: Maybe. I'll call you. But don't call me, Inga gets agitated when he hears your voice.

Dear Roxanne: He does not. You're being dramatic.

Dear Julie: I have to go now. You should go running with Luann. She seems nice.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chubby Mommy and Perky Mommy, the Movie

Here is Luann over at Training for Fun and me, in all our glory. We are being featured on KBNZ's Media Minute today (KOIN, channel 6 in Portland and Bend, airs 7 times today!) which profiles interesting people and businesses in Bend, Oregon. This is quite flattering, if you think about it, because at least someone thinks we're interesting.

Here's the video: Chubby Mommy and Perky Mommy - Look! We're working out in this video - for real! It's not even staged! We're super natural and fun! Just like usual!

Here's what's not flattering: my stomach, doing sit ups. I'd like to blame Brandon, the camera man, but he's not the one who made my chubby tummy. I guess I am the one who made it. I guess I have to keep doing sit ups.

Thanks for watching.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Dark Side of Crunches: Wendy Has a Knife

Today's post brought to you by the delightfully dark, hilarious writer of the blog "There Once Was a Girl" Wendy started running, and should be an inspiration to 40 year old moms everywhere. She even does crunches on balls. And she makes her cat work out on the treadmill.

I’m new to this whole fitness thing. Six months before my 40th birthday, my body decided it was time to fail me and one day I woke up lumpy. I finally got boobs, but I also got thighs, a belly, and I those flappy skin parts under my upper arms when I raise my hands. The ultimate horror was buying a mom swimsuit that provides modest coverage. ‘Modest coverage’ is code for ‘too round for an adorable bikini,’ but they don’t put that on the tags. I decided I have to get in shape.

I started by turning the $800 coat rack into a treadmill. Crazy, I know. I started walking and it was deceptively easy. If I can walk, then I should be able to run, right? Yes, I can run. I can also lick my armpits, but that doesn’t mean I will. I hate running. I have a series of words mostly starting with ‘f’ that I say each time I slam my foot on the treadmill. It doesn’t make running easier, but it makes me feel better. Try it – “eff this, eff that.” Repeat. I’m trying to eventually run a 5k with my kid that actually likes running. I’m pretty sure he’s not mine. He’s only 13, so I need to find him a fake ID, because I’ve decided that the Beer Run in June is for me. Beer after every mile? Probably the best idea ever.

Running alone won’t get rid of the belly, so I do crunches and other bad things. I bought an exercise ball, because I was told they’re great for ab work. I flopped myself on my back across the ball and did a couple of test crunches and I didn’t roll off. Yay! Someone invented an easy way to do crunches! I crunched and crunched and crunched.

Unused muscles started screaming an hour later. I wasn’t going to let that ball get the best of me, so I did it again the next day. At the time I was watching Netflix Instant with a kid, so I couldn’t bring out the “eff this, eff that.” I’d have cried, but it would have hurt my tender ripped abs too much. I thought about crying instead. Natural childbirth might not have been as painful as trying to lift the upper half of my body. Exercise balls should come with percocet or vicodin or tequila.

Through trial and error and excruciating pain, I’m figuring out a way to make this exercise stuff work. While on the ball, I plot its hideous death. Today it might be gutted with a fork, and tomorrow I could hold it over a flame or snip it with rusty nail clippers soaked in lemon juice and salt. As for the treadmill, I have a chubby cat that will do anything for a treat. He’s learning to take over my treadmill duties. I hope he works hard so I’ll be ready for the Beer Run. I’ll need that beer to conquer weight lifting.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Guy Wearing Uggs?

Dear Julie,

I cannot possibly run today as I saw a guy wearing Ugg boots
at a coffee shop this morning.



Dear Roxanne,

Good lord, I'm so sorry you had to see that. I hope you are in bed with a cold compress. Call me tomorrow when the image leaves your head. We can run as soon as you are able.



P.S. This is a picture of me and Brandon, the Reporter from KOPV/KOIN who did a story on me and my new trainer, Luann. Don't worry, Roxanne, he was not wearing Uggs, I just wanted to remind you to watch TV on Monday, channel 6, to see how cute Luann is. I'm afraid I will look chubby on TV, so I posted this picture as proof that with good lighting and proper angles, I can look 20 pounds thinner.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How I Got Hot and Bothered in Snow Shoes

So I went snowshoeing. And it was easy, and it was fun. It was also a major workout, which frankly, I wasn't really expecting. But it's more fun than being on a treadmill.

Also, there's incentive to keep going when you're snow shoeing, because if you stop half way through, you'll freeze to death if you don't walk back to the car again. Winter sports are extreme like that.

When I went down to the snow shoe rental place last night, I told the guy I was a novice and he should give me "beginner" snow shoes.

"No such thing," he said. "Can you walk?"

"Well, yes," I stammered, "didn't you see me walk in here?"

"If you can walk, you can snow shoe. You'll be fine."

So I trusted him. And gave him $12. And then he gave me some lovely powder blue snow shoes.

My friend Patrice picked me up this morning at 8:30 on the dot. She's my bookkeeper, and tends to be exact. Which is a good thing for bookkeepers. We picked up Renee next (who has a cute pink coat and photographs well) and drove to the snow park, just 10 minutes away from my house, to miles and miles of well marked trails.

You'd think I'd go snow shoeing every day, since I live so close and I like the snow and I'm good at walking, but there's a first time for everything, even for people who live in a winter wonderland like Bend, OR.

We put on our snowshoes in the parking lot, looked at the map to make sure we wouldn't get lost, and then started hiking over the hills and through the woods, following the little blue snow shoe guy signs.

In no time at all, we were huffing and puffing and saying "Why am I so tired? This seems like it should be so easy, we're just walking!"

So then I thought up some scientific answers that had to do with the width of the snow shoe making our legs do physics they weren't used to doing, which made the muscles we didn't know we had work on obscure things, like picking up a snow shoe and putting it down again. As we were walking.

Everyone believed me, and then we got to the shelter and sat down in the recliner that someone must have hauled in, probably on skis, or with a snow mobile, to rest. It seems like it'd be too hard to carry something this heavy while walking in snow shoes. But that's just me being lazy, I guess.

We had lunch, then we hiked back to the parking lot.

That's it. The whole thing took less than 3 hours from door to door, including lunch and dropping the shoes back at the rental place. The best news? I felt sufficiently worked out enough to eat a piece of bacon for lunch as a reward.

Let this be a lesson to you. If you go snowshoeing, you get to eat bacon.

The end.

P.S. I posted more pictures on Facebook, since for some reason Blogger only wants me to post one picture per post these days, which means I may have to switch this whole entire operation over to WordPress. That'll show it. Sheesh.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Train for Fun #2: Look, I'm Flying!

So I had my second day of "fun" with Luann Abrams at Training for Fun. Actually, I should take the quotes off the word fun, because it was fun. I mean, look - I even learned to fly on this Bosu ball.

I swear to god that ball will be the death of me.

Anyway, this morning, almost every muscle in my body was saying "Oh, hi, we hurt. You should take a nap instead of going back to that cute perky girl who talks you into doing 'plank' on that squishy ball over and over."

But I ignored them. Because if left to their own devices, my muscles would deteriorate into nothing and I would be like warm Jello with bones in the middle, instead of shredded carrots.

It's true.