Alyssa’s first mud run: Muckfest MS Los Angeles!

Do you remember when you were a kid and you got to play in the mud? Maybe your parents didn’t let you, but you did it anyway, finding that stray mud puddle on your way home from school. You delighted in the joyful sensation of sticky, wet, mud squishing around your toes, making mud pies, trying to slog your feet out of the quicksand as you splashed around in. Now, there’s a way for grown ups to play in the mud — and not just any mud — mud that’s for a cause, more specifically, fighting MS, or Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that affects over 2 million people worldwide. Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to get MS, and I can think of three female friends of mine who bravely fight MS. Muckfest MS was in Chino this past week, about an hour and 20 minute drive from where I live. I knew I would walk this 5k rather than run it, because running’s not my jam. I walked, I mucked, I conquered. Here are five reasons why the Muckfest MS was mucking rad.

1) You get to get muddy. Absolutely, fantastically mucking muddy. Covered. Soaked. Saturated. It’s fun. (And maybe, exfoliating. Think of it as a fitness spa treatment.)

race_117_photo_12308493

2) You can take the obstacles at your own pace, and that might mean skipping ones that just don’t feel like your style. I did, and didn’t feel self conscious at all – a really nice change from some of the other fun runs I’ve been on where the spirit is more competitive. However, you can also take on obstacles that challenge you in a good way – like the Spider Web. I was sure I’d have to be rescued like a kitten from a tree halfway up this giant rope jungle gym, but instead I scurried like a Mountain Goat to the top, and was super proud of my climbing skillz. You also get to do obstacles with names like BIG BALLS. The description? ‘When one big, swinging pair is not enough. How about 9 gigantic balls swinging over 4 mucky trenches?’

Photo from Muckfestms.org.

Me at the top of the Spider Web. Photo by Mike Murphy.

Me at the top of the Spider Web. Photo by Mike Murphy.

3) You get free beer at the end. And snacks. And professional photos. And a super cute t-shirt!

Photo from Muckfest MS Facebook page

Photo from Muckfest MS Facebook page

4) You get to walk on water! I tried really hard to be graceful on this one, and not take a tumble, and I made it across unscathed. If you don’t want to walk on water, you can jump in and swim like a duck. Either way, you’ll be encountering some muck.

I'm walkin on sunshine, heeeeeyyy ooooh... Oh, I mean water. Photos via Muckfest MS, facebook.com/muckfestms

I’m walkin on sunshine, heeeeeyyy ooooh… Oh, I mean water. Photos via Muckfest MS, facebook.com/muckfestms

5) You get to have a mucking blast, while knowing that money raised goes to fight MS, a disease that affects over 2 million people worldwide.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 10.47.55 PM

We mucking rock.

Now – who’s doing it in 2015 with me? You can find out more information and the cities near you at MuckfestMS.org.

Have you done a mud run? Would you?

My 3-Day Walk Training Progress

Hello friends, I hope you had a great weekend. I just finished a delicious dinner of roast chicken, potatoes, and grilled egg plant. Super yum! I’m relaxing with a hard cider before settling into the couch to watch Silicon Valley, one of my new favorite shows. This weekend was pretty laidback; hanging out with my grad school girlfriends, lunch with the hubs, recipe testing for the California Avocado contest at Fitbloggin’, and lastly, a nice 3.5 mile training walk today with my husband.

I’ve been squeezing in walks here and there whereever I can, and this weekend marked 24 weeks until my event. Eeek! I have many miles to go between now and then. I’m happily almost to the halfway mark of my fundraising goal of $2,300, and so far have been blown away by people’s generosity. It’s alarming how many people’s lives cancer has affected, and fundraising and walking is just one small thing I can do to try and prevent cancer from stealing another person’s life. (Want to help? I’d be so grateful. I will happily carry the names of a loved one, in honor or memory of, on my 60 mile journey. A $35 donation ) A few weeks ago I bought myself some Snazzy New Walking Shoes, and I just learned today on my walk app (Map My Walk) that I’ve put 30 miles on my new kicks. Nice!

I think back to a year or so ago when I hated walking a 5k distance (3.2 miles), and I’m happy that now I’m doing 3 miles with no real challenge. I’m definitely not a fast walker, but the nice thing about the 3-Day is that it’s not about the time. It’s about the commitment. I did 5.5 miles last week on one walk, and I’m hoping to get in another 5-miler this week. It’s really going to be crazy to me when I start walking distances of seven miles and above. You’re supposed to walk 10,000 steps a day, which is about five miles, so that doesn’t seem as extreme to me as choosing to hoof it seven miles or more. (I’m lazy when it comes to exercise. True fact.) My friend Monique, who’s walking with the team Double Chin Divas, will probably walk with me next week, and then in July, I’m hoping to attend my sister April’s official 3-Day training walk in San Francisco! I also need to get in more cardio, as my awesome endocrinologist reminded me in a very friendly but matter of fact way that walking nice long distances just ain’t gonna cut it for me for weight loss. (Darnit.) Hold me accountable, peeps!

Taking nice long walks has some perks, besides being relaxing — you get to see things you never knew existed, like these awesome body weight exercise machines at Lake Balboa. I definitely had a good time screwing around on the foot elliptical and torso twister. You’re never too old to play!

Lake Balboa Foot Powered Elliptical

Lake Balboa Foot Powered Elliptical

 

I’m feeling good about the event, and am hoping I hit my half way mark really soon here with fundraising. The next few months are going to be critical for my training success, so now, I just need to make an effort to do the work. I don’t have to walk fast, I just have to walk often. That said, if anybody is in LA and wants to go on a walk… hit me up! Do I have any other walkers for exercise out there? Have an amazing day!

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

 

 

Interested in walking 60 miles in San Diego in November? Considering joining the Double Chin Divas team. We’re kicking cancer’s ass, one step at a time.

Assumptions: Why they’re usually never good.

This week, I saw my amazing friend Alan at Sweating Until Happy post this on his Facebook page:

Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 10.08.33 PM

Do you know Alan? You should! He’s lost over 140 pounds, and is doing a triathalon soon! He’s an awesome athlete. It’s ironic that Alan posted this this week because I’ve also had several innocent assumptions this week come at me in the wrong way. I had a doctor’s appointment with a new practitioner, and after discussing my weight loss goals, he looked at me quizzically and said, “But do you exercise?” It was really hard for me not to pull out the sassy-snarky-sarcastic card that I play so well and be like “Nope. Not at all. In fact, I only move about 12 feet total each day, when I wake up in my bedroom and commute down the hall to my office for work.” However, my face probably showed some irritation as I patiently explained that yes, I hike, I do yoga, I run on the treadmill, I walk, I zumba… I am active. I know that it’s his job as a doctor to make sure I’m getting some physical activity, but I more resent the idea that just because I’m heavy, it’s assumed that I must not move. In the past, I’ve actually whipped out a business card for this blog at doctor’s appointments, just so I don’t have to explain the whole history of my ridiculous weight loss/gain/medical maladies. I may do that next week when I meet with a new endocrinologist… or maybe I’ll just get a t-shirt made that says “YES. I exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes. YES, I am still obese.” (but I’d probably add a smiley face to the end of it, cuz that’s how I roll.) :) (This same doctor told me to lose 100 pounds. I actually did laugh (politely) in his face and said “Yeah, not gonna happen. I’m cool with just 55 more.”
(Underachiever? Nah. Realist? Yah.))

Big girls climb mountains!

Big girls climb mountains!

Then, as if once this week wasn’t enough, I also tried a new fitness class at a new studio. While this comment wasn’t so direct, I got more of the “Oh, have you ever done this before? Is this your first time trying it?” all the while being corrected about the moves. Innocent questions, but perhaps because I’m already sensitive about the whole weight/exercise thing, I felt a tad annoyed as I explained that I’d done this particular type of exercise several times for several years, but that I just like to try different classes. These things come up all the time for all kinds of different people. I know that my single friends hate how people always assume they’re lonely or unhappy. There are a million different assumptions we make about people at any given time, and that’s fine, because it’s human nature. But maybe if you’re going to assume something, pause for a moment before verbalizing. I have to work on this too. As a chronic sufferer of foot in mouth disease, I definitely have said things I shouldn’t have, or made assumptions, or reinforced stereotypes… and I’m workin’ on it. And that’s fine. We will never be perfect at never offending anyone or hurting feelings. But, we can work on an awareness, a type of “sympatico” that you gently roll around in your mind, reminding you that next time you want to blurt out something like “Good for you!” to the heavy person huffing and puffing around the block, they may not need those kudos. AND, those words of encouragement? Might actually be kind of a downer for the person on the receiving end. While the intentions are good, of course, remember what Alan said. You never know where someone is at in their journey.

Where have you experienced an assumption that didn’t quite jive with you? I know it happens with career types (like assuming because I’m a social media manager, I update my Facebook and watch YouTube videos all day), body types, ethnicities, hair color… you name it! I guess any trait could create an unwanted assumption, couldn’t it? :)

 

Losing weight with the help of the internet

I’ve been using myfitnesspal for probably a year now, I’m not sure.  Sometimes I can be good and actually log in every day but most of the time, I’m horrible at tracking my food and exercise.  I finally downloaded the app on my phone with thoughts that maybe I would get into the habit of logging in but nope, that didn’t help either.

I have a bunch of friends who are AWESOME at logging in every day.  The best part of tracking my progress online is definitely sharing my experiences with friends.  I think I’ve gotten to know some people a lot better because of the webpage and it’s been so wonderful to see how well they do!  Seeing them do great inspires me to do better yet I still find it so hard to get in the habit.  I can easily spend an hour on Facebook, but why is spending five minutes on myfitnesspal such a challenge?

Perhaps it’s because websites like myfitnesspal require me to be responsible for my actions.  If I’m honest and include everything I consume for the day, the shocking reality that I’ve processed 139 grams of sugar in a day screams out at me in bold red writing.  The line graph that shows steady progress being made only for it to plateau and eventually head north again doesn’t lie either.  There’s no running from my weight loss and health issues online if you’re being honest. Of course, I could weigh-in and avoid the shame, which I did all summer, but when I finally did sign in again, it made the process of dealing with the numbers and graphs even harder.

Myfitnesspal progress for the month of September... up and down...

Myfitnesspal progress for the month of September… up and down…

This week my weigh-in showed I lost .2 pounds.  Not much, well, from last week’s one pound gain, I guess I lost 1.2 pounds or so.  I did a TON of walking last week and played tennis twice!  I went up and down San Francisco hills and also spent a while wandering frantically around the San Jose State campus trying to find a meeting.  On each occurrence, as I would lift my baseball hat to cool off, I would brush aside the light layer of sweat that seemed to building and remind myself that all this was just a free work-out.

Next Monday will mark a full four weeks that I’ve been “back on the wagon” and I hope I’ll be able to make my progress line graph drop down a little bit more.

Do any of you track your weight loss or health progress online?  What are you experiences with it?

Thank you for reading! I’ve been loving all the support we’ve been getting lately!  You guys rock!

 

Love,
AprilSignatur

Finding a work-out partner

I tend to not be very successful when it comes to having a work-out partner.  With my random schedule, it’s hard to find someone who can match it.  Lately my desire to play tennis again has left me on a mission to find people to play with since I just can’t seem to do that alone.  I started on Facebook and ended up probably hurting my friend’s feelings when she eagerly volunteered to play but I said no because she’d have to take her one-year-old.   Sadly, I told her I was too worried about the baby getting hit by a tennis ball as she just started walking and exploring the world. I still feel guilty about it but my paranoia runs thick and last thing I would want to feel guilty about it pegging this gorgeous little blue eyed girlie in the head!

So I continued my quest.  I started to deeply ponder who I could play tennis with.  There’s still that 19 year old who hits on me that I met in tennis last semester…  hmmm….   I could play with my other young and hot friend but he’s just so much better than me that it’s a waste of time for him…  I could post an ad on craigslist but then I’ll probably end up with some crazy person who collects hundreds of those old glass McDonald’s cups and will invite me to come over to see them after we play or awkwardly stand around after making small talk…

Then out of the blue, my two good friends Megan and Eric said they would be down to play as I expressed my longing at a recent BBQ.  Yes!

I also discovered that two other separate friends are down to go ice skating with me during adult skate at the Snoopy Rink!  Thanks Nicole and Jake!  Yay!

It’s been two weeks of tennis on Wednesdays and I’m so happy to be playing again.  Megan, Eric, and I had a BALL as we played around, each taking turns being the lone person on the opposite court.  Now that was a good work-out, when two people team up on one side it results in the opposite person constantly running back and forth.  It was awesome!  I was SO sweaty.  That’s so rare.  :)  About half an hour into our tennis playing, I heard the familiar sound of Brahm’s Lullaby, the soothing sound for sugar that many Petaluma people would recognize quickly with perked ears.  It was our local ice cream man, John, driving around the cul-de-sac about to take his break.  Feeling incredibly deserving, I instantly suggested we give up playing to get ice cream.  Megan seemed down for my suggestion while Eric protested that getting ice cream would wipe out the whole point of us playing tennis.   I argued that eating ice cream would not affect our skill level but Eric stuck by his point and I decided against the ice cream, knowing it would give me something to write about on here.  Hah!   I guess he’s a  pretty good work-out partner.  ;)

When you all work out, do you choose to do so alone?  Are there any people you love working out with?  How did you find them!?

I hope you all have a glorious weekend and I’ll be back next week with another weekly update on my second week of being back on the wagon.

Ta-ta!

AprilSignatur

 

Hidden athleticism.

I have never been athletic.  While many of America’s youth spend their time in matching uniforms proudly running around with numbers on their back, I was never one of those children.  Well, I was once.  I think I managed a few months of soccer in kindergarten but the only thing I remember is the day I forgot to wear a different shirt for playing goalie.

I never entered onto sporting grounds again unless forced by P.E. (physical education) teacher in school.  I didn’t turn into a chunky monkey until puberty so it’s not like I could even blame my weight on why I avoided sports so much.  It just wasn’t my thing.  I was way more focused on doing extraordinary activities like choreographing dances to Jimmy Buffet’s song “Fins”. I could dance my fins to the left and to the right all night long but if I was told to run a mile in class, I could barely get around the track without wanting to drop to the ground and gasp for air like a beached sand shark.   As much as I despised any sort of sport-related physical activity, I did manage to build a firm appreciation of roller-blading.  Skating the streets of my towns helped build the awesomely firm leg muscles that I still have today.

Once I discovered my love of fitness when I lost fifty pounds and was working at a gym, I decided I should give sports another chance.  I’ve always had fast reflexes and have been pretty good at catching random objects that have been thrown at me so the logical choice was to try playing softball.  With help from one of the most influential guys in my life, my friend Aaron and I began meeting up to practice my throwing and catching.   I wasn’t great but I was determined and tried to gather a bunch of friends together to start a team.  That goal died quicker than Disney’s plan to makeover Merida from the Pixar movie, Brave.

With extra motivation from writing on this blog, I decided to enlist myself in P.E. classes at my college.   As many of our faithful readers know,  I enrolled in yoga, Pilates, and a half-semester tennis course.  I was excited to see how easily my body made progress in it’s strength and flexibility and knowing that my body can indeed be trained into athleticism has given me faith that I can do even better.

tennis

I’ve fallen in love with tennis and I’m even contemplating taking my racket with me across the Atlantic when I leave for Europe in a month.  How will I survive without the tight grip that my hands hold around the handle and the strings that bounce my affections in the form of a neon yellow ball?

I willingly played tennis four times last week and was eager to practice more in between days.  I even gathered phone numbers of my classmates to play with before I leave!  I plan on taking tennis again next semester but hopefully I’ll continue to improve over the summer.  Plus, I just love the cute skirts!

Do any of you play any sports?  If not, have you ever wanted to but found excuses of why you shouldn’t like I so often would do?

Alyssa is back from her glorious trip and will return with a blog to come!

 

 

Happy wishes for the rest of the week for you all!

 

AprilSignatur