Monday, September 29, 2014

A Killer & Portable Workout: The Deck

Let's go back in time. Wayyy back to a happy time. A time of joy and carefree wonder. A time where summer enveloped us like a warm blanket and it seemed all our worries and cares were a thing of the past. A time of bliss.

Let's go six weeks ago.

The place was Fire Island where myself and nine lovely ladies spent a glorious weekend relaxing and laughing.

Lovely ladies relaxing. And laughing.

Now, when my friends and I are on vacation we do a few things really well. Those things -- in no  particular order -- are:

1) Eating
2) Drinking
3) Talking about eating and drinking
4) Sitting on the beach. While eating and drinking.

Wavy Lays greeting us in the window

Me on the beach...with a drink called a "Rocket Fuel" with my face literally immersed in cheetos. You're welcome, world!

Fire Island is many things, but good for a nice long run it is not due to it's lack of long unobstructed roads as well as its tendency to produce massive hangovers. With that in mind, on Day 2 of my 4-day Fire Island adventure, I knew I needed a good solid workout. 

But without equipment or a trainer, what's a girl to do?

With that, I introduce to you all the workout I invented slash found on the interwebs (it was a hybrid...mostly I stole it from the interwebs though) called the Deck of Cards.

Things that are brilliant about this workout:
1) Extremely portable. All you need for literally a deck of cards. And maybe a mat. 
The premise is simple. Cards mean different things. You pull eight of hearts and you do eight of whatever hearts is assigned for. Six of spades? Six of the spade exercise. You'll get it in a second.

2) It is hard. Like...HARD.
When I invented this (slash stole it from the internet), I actually saw that maybe half a deck was good for first-timers. I scoffed, but then I sweated and swore. So it was good.

3) You could do it alone or with a group.
I myself completed my exercise alone on the deck of our house while a few girlfriends laughed at me coached me.

4) Customizable. If you want to heavy up on different body areas or on cardio or something it's up to you to design something that works. This can also be a negative if you're not a "self-starter," but -- oh, faithful reader -- I believe in you.

And so, without further ado, here is the workout I created in Fire Island that I call "Deck on a Deck"

  • Hearts = Push Ups
  • Spades = Sit Ups
  • Diamonds = Dips
  • Clubs = Burpees
  • Kings = 30 second plank
  • Queens = 10 mountain climbers
  • Jacks = 20 jumping jacks
  • Ace = WILDCARD that Betsy got to make up something crazy for me to do (or 20 bicycle sit-ups if you don't have a Betsy)

Betsy and me. Typical. And Marvelous. #NotImpressed #SaveTheDate

The workout was crazy for a few reasons. Firstly, I think I had a good little varietal. I'm not sure you were 'supposed' to assign face cards different things, but I did and it worked out splendidly. Secondly, what's crazy is that sometimes you'll pick -- for instance -- 6 of clubs. Six burpees. And then next card is 8 of clubs. Eight burpees! Fourteen burpees!

14 Burpees! Mwah ha ha ha.

It's not meant to be evenly spread out. It's meant to kick your butt. And that it does.

So, I loved it and I thought you might too.  I know I'm going to start carrying a deck of cards with me when I travel "just in case" from now on. If I don't get a workout in, I can always play Solitaire. Or Go Fish if I want to be social.

In closing, here are some potentially helpful links to other blogs and sites with ideas and demonstrations that I may or may not have used as basis for this workout that I "made up."

Happy Decking!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mini Race Recap: Run To The Rock 2014

Last weekend I went home to Plymouth to run my 3rd annual Run To The Rock Half Marathon. It was my hometown race's 20th year, and included a 5K, 10K and the Half, all ending -- you guessed it -- at Plymouth Rock.

The course was the same as prior years in which I took great funny photos and had a blast despite very hilly terrain. There are no photographs this year, and that is for a reason: I was so, so, so sweaty.

Not "I am in the midst of running a half marathon and this is normal" sweaty. No. It was 80 degrees and super-duper humid this early September weekend. It was not okay.

Let me illustrate.

What I was not:

I was not glistening with a six-pack on what appears to be a trapeze swing. I was not this.

She has the illusion of sweaty, but it's done in a sexy way that somehow makes her prettier. And her mascara is not running. I was not this.
Halle Berry is sweating but I was not sweating like this.

I took no photos during the race because the sweat had overcome me. Just reaching into my spi-belt to get my phone and swipe felt like a feat no mortal man would be able to accomplish. I was like:

And while there were people around me running who seemed just a bit warm, I looked identical to this: 

See? No photos needed. You get the idea.

But I was being smart about it. There were 9 fluid stations, two of which had Gatorade. I drank multiple cups at each. I also had carried Electrolyte pill with me, which I took to combat the glowing.

I was not running the race for time anyways, but the heat ensured that it wouldn't be a PR day for the course for me (last year was 2:00 flat). I ended up finishing at 2:03:03 which is a 9:24 min/mile pace. Considering the hills and the heat? Not. Too. Shabby.

My cheering squad, as always, was ready and waiting and doing their duties (holding my banana peels and getting ready with the photography that will never be seen by the public respectively).

There were probably 30 total people cheering on the course. 8 of them were my parents at four different stops. I was definitely the cool kid in the race and everyone was jealous of me. I do love more and more these small races though. I always say I'm going to do them more as opposed to the NYRR races, but then it's so easy to just roll-on up to Central Park (like I will for the Grete's Gallop in a month!) There is just something so nice and fun about running with a few hundred people as opposed to tens of thousands. It's a different vibe. Not necessarily better or worse...just different. And cuter.

Now, despite the fact that I sweated out pounds of liquid, I actually felt pretty okay at the race end. The electrolyte pills are expensive little suckers, but if you are a heavy glower like me I do highly recommend you go to a running store and buy some for days like this. It honestly can't hurt and -- in my experience -- it really helps. I saw a few people being taken away by ambulances during the race because humidity and dehydration are no damn joke.

After the cute little barbecue the race organizers had at the end (benefiting the Boys and Girls Club as did proceeds for the race itself), my parents and I mozied through Brewster Gardens -- one of my Plymouth favorite spots -- towards the car. I looked more presentable so I allowed photographs at this time.

Proudly display my medal in my Boston Marathon shirt and Pan Mass Challenge hat! Myra is ADORBS.

All in all it was a great race, and I was excited just to have the opportunity to spend time afterwards with friends and family, knowing all the while that I had completed a ridiculous race that morning.

Before I leave you, I will leave you with a pretty photograph from one of my morning runs this week on the East River because it made me happy:

I know mornings are horrible...but once you make it work, it's worth it.

And finally, a few things I'm loving today on the interwebs:

1) This. It is epic and I heart it over and over. 

2) The greatest portrait ever taken. Of all time.

3) I know this happened forever ago, but I'm still obsessed with this badass female Ninja Warrior. Kacy Catanzaro is my hero. She makes me want to be fitter. Like, may to do a pull-up some day. Maybe. Something to work towards at least?

Question time: How did you enjoy that little last burst of summer we had last weekend?