Monday, May 30, 2011

The race for CHAMPION is on

Erin and I have a friendly competition going at the moment revolving around Nike Training Club.  To tell you the truth competition is always the best motivator for me.  We are racing to see who can get to the "Champion" status of NTC first.  To achieve this honor you have to do 660 minutes of their workouts.  Here is where I stand as of now:

420 minutes to go- that's 7 hours!
I'm pretty sure Erin is definitely ahead of me right now, mainly because she had the app first and started accumulating minutes before I did and she has started doing 45 minute workouts instead of 30 minutes.  Despite the soreness all over my body from my last couple days of doing NTC, I'm pretty sure I'll be back at it again today, just so I can try and close the gap!

There is nothing like a little friendly competition to get you in motion. Wish me and Erin luck in our quest to be Champions!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are you afraid of heights?

I can remember being afraid of heights as a kid.  When I would climb trees and look down I got that woozy feeling in my belly.  For some odd reason, this fear seems to have escaped me as I've gotten older.  In Australia when we were in the Blue Mountains (sort of like their equivalent of the Grand Canyon but not as impressive) I got really close to the edge and freaked my family out.  I didn't share their fear that one misstep would send me over the edge but I think I've scarred my Mom for life.  At the lake when we climb the various peaks in the area, I get friendly reminders from her not to get too close to the edge!
Above the clouds in the Blue Mountains

With that being said, this week Francine, Marissa, and I went to UREC to do the rock wall.  After putting on some very stinky climbing shoes that were a half size too small, signing all responsibility of injury or death away, and getting harnessed up, we were ready to climb.  I felt all nervous, the wall suddenly looked gigantic, and of course there had to be a climbing class taking place to witness our attempts. 

The brave one who went first:
Fran you did it!
The champ who climbed with a "broken" thumb:
Marissa scaling the wall!
The one with the definite height advantage:
Look I made it!
My main fear was that I wouldn't make it to the top.  Having climbed before I trust in the rope if you slip or let go. Well I made it to the top twice and afterwards my hands were so sweaty and my arms were aching.  It felt like a real workout even though the actual time climbing was pretty short.  Maybe the best news of all: still no apparent fear of heights!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Farmers Market

Yesterday was a perfect summer Saturday.  After sleeping in I hit the farmers market with Erin.  I love getting local produce there and the baked goods are my absolute favorite.  Given the beautiful weather the market was very busy when we arrived.
I of course started my visit with a doughnut and then picked up a couple of whoopie pies.  They don't compare to my favorites at home but are delicious just the same. 
Since it is still early in the growing season there wasn't a whole lot of produce aside from lettuce and spring greens.  I did however grab a container of multicolored cherry tomatoes.  I used to grow cherry tomatoes in the summer and they are so yummy.  Needless to say the container was empty by the end of the day!  I just couldn't help myself and no worries because they are good for you!
My other favorite part of the market was a sweet golden retriever puppy named Bella.  She was so calm, soft, and snuggly.  I've been really wanting to get a dog lately and never pass up some free puppy loving. 
After the farmers market I did a workout, went out by the pool and read a book, then played some tennis after dinner when it cooled off a little.  Can't every day be like this one?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Absolutely the BEST Free Fitness App

Thanks to Erin for introducing me to the best free fitness app: Nike Training Club
Here is how it works.  First you choose your goal: aim to get lean, toned, strong, or focus on a target area.

Then you choose your ability level: beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
Pick the workout you want (they vary in length from 30 minutes to 45 minutes for get lean, toned, and strong, and the get focused workouts are 15 minutes each).
Check out the moves you'll need to do for the workout you chose and how long each one lasts.  Don't worry there are short 30 second/1 minute breaks throughout the workout and trust me you will want them!
Not sure how to do one (or several) of the moves? No problem, you can see photo sequences and short descriptions and even watch a video of the move.  You can even pause the workout and cut to the video in the middle of the workout if you forget the right way to do the exercise.  It doesn't get much better than that! 
Best of all, the only equipment I've seen that you need are light weight dumbbells (8-10 lbs), a medicine ball, and a jump rope.  You can even get away with just using the dumbbells.

Wondering what the workouts are like? They combine exercises that increase strength/toning of certain muscles while keeping your cardio up.  It's the best of both worlds and trust me you will be sore after doing these.  There are lots of different combinations to choose from and the app is awesome.  You can access your playlists and track your progress.  Although there are lots of free apps, this is by far the highest quality free fitness app I've come across and I highly recommend it.  I did a 30 minute toning workout yesterday and two of the focused workouts this morning (back and butt) and I sweated up a storm and my muscles felt like jello afterwards. 

Do you have a favorite fitness app?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Klines- One Thing I Will Miss

With school drawing to a close in 6 weeks, my time here is becoming limited.  There are still some things I want to do before I leave (like Skyline Drive) but mostly I am excited to be moving somewhere new and for the first time in my life, to a big city. 

One thing I will miss a lot is Klines.  They have the best ice cream/frozen custard I've ever had which says a lot considering my obsession with FC at home.  I have their flavor forecast card and I think every week between now and moving day there is a flavor I just have to have one last time. 

This week I was graced with a new flavor (possibly my new favorite)...brownie batter.  It combines their heavenly chocolate ice cream with brownie chunks.  Seriously, what could be better?  The best part, I tried it on Sunday and Marissa and I went again last night so I've enjoyed this twice.  There was also a bonus double rainbow that was the brightest rainbow I have seen in a long time.  A nice surprise after a dreary rainy day. 

I Love DC, Everything is FREE!

This weekend I met up with Jess for a day of fun in DC; we had both been busy with school so it had been a few months since we last saw each other.  Conveniently this is the halfway point between where we live so it makes for a doable day trip.  After deciding not to conquer navigating the streets and parking of downtown DC we parked at a metro stop in VA and instead explored the city using the metro.

Here are the FREE sights we saw:
First stop, the Botanical Gardens.  My favorite was the orchid room but the jungle was pretty cool too.  It was a beautiful and fairly quiet place to start our morning after a Starbucks pit stop.  There are also outdoor gardens with roses and other flowers but it was kind of a dreary day so we spent most of our time inside.
So beautiful!

Exhibit where you smell the spices from different food dishes...some were very stinky.
The jungle from above. See the cool tree bridge?

Just outside the Botanical Gardens is the Capitol
On the way to our next spot we saw the Washington Monument and the set up for GWs graduation.  What a perfect spot for a graduation (yay Toni!).
Second stop: The National Museum of American History.  After sneaking in a snack break we got to see lots of different exhibits.  My favorite was the first lady dress collection.  It was interesting to see the changes in fashion trends over time.  There was also a very neat Lincoln exhibit but it got so crowded I had to get out of there before I could see everything.
Michele Obama's inaugural ball dress, it was gorgeous!
After the museum we were in dire need of lunch and a place to rest our feet.  We ate at a wonderful restaurant called Old Ebbitt Grill right near the White House.  It was packed and there was a wait even though it is an enormous place (they have 4 separate bars and a whole atrium of additional seating!)  We were starving and luckily found a couple spots to sit at the bar in the back.  The Sam Adams Summer Ale and pulled pork bbq sandwich with fresh fruit really hit the spot!  Sorry no pics, I was too busy scarfing down lunch.

We then made our way via metro to the zoo!  The rain held out and I was so excited to get to see the animals.  My all time favorite animal as a kid was the panda bear.  I have a collection of pandas at home but they aren't your typical zoo animal so I was so ecstatic when we finally found the two pandas in the panda house chowing down on bamboo.  They just look so cute and cuddly!
We then met up with Francesca and Matt and looked at the big cats.  The tigers were majestic but the lions stole the show.  There was a dad, 2 moms, and at least 6 cubs who were hilarious and so mischievous.  The cubs were biting the parents, chasing each other, trying to climb trees, wrestling, etc. and the one mamma was doing her best to keep them all in line.  No wonder see seemed cranky and kept growling!  I was enjoying watching them so much I didn't bother to take pics.
It's really hard to believe that all the attractions we got to see were entirely free.  Can't wait to move to this awesome city and explore some more.  Overall a great day with good food and sights, and great friends!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blog Neglect

So the lack of recent posts is not a reflection of how busy I've been but rather how boring my life has been recently!  Honestly there hasn't been anything blog worthy happening.  You know it's bad when you seriously contemplate writing about inhaling a bug on a run (not pleasant!) or getting cake batter ice cream at Klines for the last time...correction, second to last time. 

The one blog worthy shout out of the week goes to Tammy for running her first ever half marathon this weekend...with hills...for the last FEW MILES!  Way to go know it's a success when you already want to plan to run another one.