When to give up on Spin

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This post is really a way for me to organize my thoughts and think out loud.  It might not resonate with anyone, but if not, that’s OK.

I’m frustrated and need to get think things through.  Writing has always been a good outlet for me.

I’ve been Spinning certified since June 2009.  I’ve been teaching since August 2009.  That’s almost 7 years at this point.

I’ve taught classes at different locations and different gyms, but since the start I had my Saturday 10a class.  It was my first class and by far my favorite.  I took it from a sparsely attended class to a full and sometimes overbooked class.  I loved those members and truly gave them everything I had when teaching.

Last June word came out that that gym location was closing.  At that point I was teaching only two classes, both at the same location.  So the gym closing meant both my classes were going to disappear.  So the end of July came and I had no classes.

Luckily a member of that gym works at a large corporation with a nice gym and they offer spin classes, so I was brought on to teach there.  I really like the people there but there are only 12 bikes and at the most I’ve had 6 people.  I miss the days of a packed class.

In the meantime I’ve auditioned and been added to the sub list at two other gyms.  One of which I’d really like a permanent class at.  So when an email went out a few weeks ago with openings, I expressed interest.  I haven’t heard back yet, but hopefully I will later this week or next week at the latest.  It’s a Wednesday night, 7pm class.  It’s not my ideal day or time, but it would get me back to having a regular class.  I’m hoping for the best but I’m really not sure it will pan out.

Thing is, I really want my own class.  I want to fill the room with good energy and music.  I want to form relationships with people and help them become healthier.  I miss this so much.  But trying to find something is exhausting!  I’ve been subbing whenever I can but it’s just not the same.  I get it.  I know no one expects much from a sub and I also know that no one will become loyal to a sub.  So while it’s great to get in there and surprise people, it’s just not the same.

I have a full time job that seems to take more and more time from me.  I have my own fitness goals, and am also trying to keep up some sort of social life.  It’s a lot.

Right now I’m questioning if perhaps it’s time to just say goodbye to spin.  Quite honestly I’m really torn.

One side of me says it’s OK because it would allow me to focus on me and my workouts, but the other side of me is not one to give up.

This whole thing has made me realize just how lucky I was to get my first class back in 2009.  That class was just meant to be.  The class became available, I expressed interest and was then pretty much told that they needed to check with all other instructors first.  In other words, you’re our last choice.  So I waited and no one wanted a Saturday morning class so they came back to me.  They ended up eating their words when the class took off, and I got a little (or a lot) of satisfaction from that.  I went on to develop great relationships with the group ex folks and at one time was given 5 classes.  And now i’m back at square one where no one knows me from any other spin instructor.  It’s frustrating.

Back in 2009 I really needed that class.  I was out of work and having a class gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  Prepping for class gave me a purpose.  Right now I don’t really need it, but I still want it.  I think.

Argh!  So what I think I’m going to do is obviously wait and see on the class I applied for.  If that comes through, great.  If not, I have one or two other outlets to potentially explore but if neither of those pan out, it just may be time to move on.

Have you ever dealt with something similar?  Any words of wisdom?

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Food!

Still here!  It’s been a really stressful week (thanks work!) so I’ve been MIA on many fronts.  But….i’m still here and figured today I’d write about food.  Yum!

Here are a few things on my radar…

The Braised Greek from CHOPT.  My goodness!

I believe this is a NYC area chain, so I’m not sure how many people have access to it.  After a just OK first experience, on my second visit I ordered the Braised Greek and fell in love.

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Here’s the description:
Slow-cooked FreeBird spicy Greek chicken and quinoa, lentil & millet blend SERVED HOT OVER local feta, Mediterranean olives, pita chips, kale, spinach and cabbage
Dressing: Lemon Tahini + a drizzle of Red Wine Vinaigrette

YUM!!!
Generally speaking, I don’t find salads particularly interesting or appealing and I think it’s because they tend to be boring.  I like stuff in my salads!
Last week I was tasked with dinner on a night I ended up stuck at work late.  I had ZERO ideas or inspiration, so I headed to Trader Joes hoping I’d see the light.  I went straight for the proteins and saw lots of meat (not my thing) and Dijon Salmon.  I can work with salmon.  Maybe a hearty salad.
So I skipped over to the produce section and picked up a bag o’ greens, beets, a sweet potato, and zuchini.  Then I grabbed some candied walnuts, feta, and Joe’s Balsamic dressing.
Initially my other half told me I was cheating with this meal, but in the end he agreed that it was quite tasty!
Since I seem to go to Trader Joe’s at least once a week, I’ll also mention a couple of items that I haven’t yet tried but will (soon).
Tempura Cauliflower – Have you had this?  It looks interesting
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Dark Chocolate Almonds with Turbinado Sugar and Sea Salt.  I’ve mentioned these before, but they really are THAT good.  I brought them home this past weekend for Passover and everyone who tried them agreed.
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Chocolate Covered Honey Grahams.  Someone recommended these bad boys.  Have you tried them?
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Yay food!  Any recommendations for good stuff from Trader Joe’s (or anywhere) or any good recipes?

Weekend Recap…in Boston

Hi!!

I was in Boston from Friday until Monday and boy did it feel good to a) not be at work b) be with my friends and family and c) cheer on my sister!

I left my house around 12:30 on Friday.  With a stop for food and the bathroom and some traffic, it was almost 4p by the time I rolled into the hotel.  My other half’s home office is in Boston so he had taken the train up in the morning and was at work.  I settled in at the hotel and changed and then he met me and we headed to Harpoon Brewery for a bit.  After that we met up with my parents, my sister, and my sister’s friend for dinner.  It was my parent’s anniversary so we were celebrating!!

Saturday we were up bright and early for the BAA 5K!  The race started at 8 so we gave ourselves plenty of time to walk over to the start.  The race was huge!  It’s capped at 10,000.  To give you an idea of the size, the clock was at almost 18 minutes when I crossed the start.

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We were honest and went to the corral area for our true pace.  Next time we will clearly go faster because I pretty much passed everyone in that group.  Apparently no one was being honest?  But it’s a great route and the energy level was high.  It was a little cool and very windy, but overall good weather for running (unlike the full).

After the run we went with my sister to pick up her number and then ventured into the Expo.  The expo was awesome, but soooooo crowded!!!  I bought a couple of new Bondi Band headbands since they’re my favorite.

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Saturday afternoon we returned to Harpoon with friends and then ventured into Cambridge for dinner at a Korean BBQ spot.

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Sunday we hit up a reggae brunch before going to the 1:35 Red Sox game.  As a New Yorker, I can’t fully support the Red Sox, but I did cheer for them.  Although apparently it didn’t work because they lost.  I left the game early to meet up with a college friend in the North End.  It was sooooooo good to see her and catch up.  (Love you Jamie!)  Dinner Sunday night was at Salvatore’s in the Seaport area for my sister’s pre-marathon carb party.  It was fun and good!

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And Sunday was marathon day!  I was up early and had lots of time to watch the news coverage.  In terms of hanging out in Hopkinton, the weather this year was much more conducive to interviews.

Our plan was to catch my sister at mile 16.8 (or so) and then if we could, again closer to the finish.  We hopped the T to the Woodland stop, which is a loooong a$$ ride.  We arrived there quite a bit before she was due to pass, so we had time to hang out and cheer on other runners.  We also had the chance to feel just how hot the sun was.  This made me concerned for the runners.  In my opinion it was definitely too hot for a marathon, especially in April when no one from the northeast is used to these temps.

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We saw her and she looked hot and thirsty 😦  Thankfully we were right before a water stop.  Right after we saw her, we hopped on the T to Kenmore and managed to see her pass again right around 25.2.  By that point it was easy to see that the heat had taken a toll on lots of runners.  But they were sooooooo close!

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She said this sign 100% rang true this year.  I also had signs that said “Go Allison!”, “You’re Awesome”, and “Hi!”.  Got lots of comments on the “You’re Awesome” sign, which was great.

She finished in what I consider to be an AMAZING time, although it was slower than her goal.  From what I saw, almost everyone came in slower than their goal and that had to be due in part to the heat.

We tried to rendezvous with her at the movie theater near Boston Common (like we did last year), but since we were closer to the finish, we had to navigate road blocks and crazy security.  It took a long time and in the end everyone headed back to their respective hotels.  We threw our stuff into the car and headed over to her hotel to say congrats.

We talked a bit about the race, told her how awesome she was and then hit the road.  It was an amazing weekend but it was time to hit the road and get home to pick up Miss Minnie!

Congrats to all runners, you’re all amazing!  Boston Strong!!

OrangeTheory Take 2

I took another OTF class on Friday before leaving for Boston.  I originally planned to wake up leisurely and take a 9:30 class but when I found out I needed to drop my other half off at the train at 7a, I moved up to the 8a class.

This class was SOOOOOO much better!  I liked the class plan better and the instructor had a much better handle on the class.

My main issues with the last class were tied to it seeming a bit chaotic.  I felt like the instructor needed to be in two places at once and couldn’t swing it.

This instructor was on point.  I believe I met him during the pre-opening registration and I was told that he was the head instructor.  I think he may have taught previously at another location, which would explain why his class was so much smoother.

He did a great job of going back and forth between the strength folks and the treadmill folks.  It really made a huge difference.

I also preferred this workout because it was more diverse and less leg-heavy.

Once again I didn’t start on a treadmill. I wanted to, but since everyone runs for the treads, I decided to give the rowers another shot.

We spent a little more time on the rower and then went over for some strength.  In between strength sets we had to row 100m, which I really liked.  It helped to keep your heart rate up.

My other qualm was a lack of stretching and in this class it was much better.  The instructor did call out that the 8a class gets the most stretching because the gap between classes is 30 minutes (instead of the usual 15).  So i’ll continue to pay attention to the stretching aspect.

I definitely enjoyed the workout and really appreciated getting everything in in an hour.  Hooray!

I feel much better about my membership after this last class and look forward to trying out additional instructors.  Yay OTF!!!

Now to work on my half marathon training program.

Marathon Spectating (the signs!)

Over the past 5 or 6 years I have become quite proficient at marathon spectating.

It’s always been to support my sister (of course) and i’ve cheered for her at the NYC Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, and the Boston Marathon.  With Boston coming up in less than a week, I figured i’d write a post about spectating.

Her first year running NYC was really exciting!  Because she wasn’t as concerned with time, that year she actually ran over to us and gave my parents a hug.  The first year was also the year where I had some BIG ideas on how to support her.  While the ideas were big, I was short on time and had to rely on my mother for help.  I told her I envisioned headbands with photos of my sister on them, like those doodlybug headbands.

She’s not quite as creative as I am, so we ended up with these.

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Literally a photo of my sister attached to a headband.  Not exactly what I was thinking.  The signs this year were also pretty.

The following year I had a bit more time, so I made the headbands I had envisioned.

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Much better.  I think that year I may have skipped the signs or threw something together at the last minute.

For the Marine Corps marathon, I was in DC after a business trip, so I didn’t have time or supplies and was left with what I could find at a CVS in Georgetown.

Her first time running Boston was a big deal, but once again I ran out of time and while I bought the supplies in advance, I made the signs in the hotel room the night before the marathon.  My friend was with me though and she put in the effort in advance (hers is the yellow).

I didn’t hold up the second one much because while I thought it was funny, I kind of felt bad.

For NYC last year I think I only managed one sign.

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Which now brings me to Boston.  What to write on a sign???  I’ve already bought two pieces of oaktag (blue and pink), so it’s just coming up with the phrase.

I have learned that while signs are lovely, my sister is so focused on her performance that she may glance at it, but she likely won’t really see it.  So my thought this year was to maybe keep it generic.  Funny is great, but again, i’m not sure people really have the time to read/think.  When I’m running I do, but these runners, probably not.  Hmmmm.

Some phrases I’m considering:

You inspire me
You motivate me
One Word:  BRUNCH
When your legs get tired, run with your heart (love this, but maybe too long?)
Netflix marathon (not sure what I’d do with this)
Most people don’t drive 26.2 miles on a Monday

Any ideas?  Do you notice signs when you’re running?

My first OTF

I know I’m late to the game on this one, but I wanted to share my experience since i’ve waited years for it.

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I had heard all about OTF (Orangetheory Fitness) and knew I wanted to try it.  A couple years ago they opened a location “near” me.  By near me, it was about 20 minutes away, which realistically is too far for me for a workout.  I thought about trying it once but really what was the point since I knew it was too far?  So I did nothing.

Back in January (or so) they announced that a location would be opening in my town.  Woohoo!  So when they announced deals for those who joined before the opening, I was all over that.  I

I signed up for the 8x/month option without ever trying the workout.  I figured I could always cancel.

Last week they had a test week for the early members but my schedule didn’t cooperate.  So instead I signed up for a 9:30 class on Sunday.  I was ready!

I showed up 30 minutes early (as they told me) to get my HR monitor.  This was accomplished in approximately 3 minutes, so I definitely didn’t need the 30 minutes.  But, in that time I chatted with a bunch of different people, which was nice.

I’ve found that in any gym environment, I tend to automatically go into instructor mode and will talk to anyone.  If you look unsure, I’ll put you at ease.  If you just look like you want to talk, I’m there for you.  Good or bad, it’s how I am.

We started late due to some HR issues.  Lots of people weren’t showing up on the board.  Since the gym had at this point been opened for 3 days, they were still working out some of the kinks.

The class is circuit style with a mix of cardio (treadmills and rowers) and strength (weights, trx, etc.).

When they let us in the room most people went for the treadmills, so I figured I’d go for the rowers.  For this particular class, that meant we were on the rower for maybe 3 minutes and then went to the strength portion.  Side lunges, abs, rows, trx squats, trx tricep extensions, trx calf lifts, then some mat work (mountain climbers, abs, etc.).

Strenght is an area i’ve been neglecting so I could feel the burn almost immediately.  I knew then that not choosing the treadmill first was going to be a challenge.  Sure enough, by the time I got on the ‘mill, my legs were fatigued.

Once on the treadmill it was all about the incline.  A bunch of .2 runs with (of course) squats in between.  Then they threw in the rower for 3 sets (different type of squats in between) and then finishing up with a run.

Phew!

The premise of Orangetheory is that based on HR, you want to stay in the orange zone.  Here’s a link to their philosophy on their website.

My HR monitor had some issues, so I’m not sure how accurate it was.  And after busting my butt, we got to look at how everyone did and my name was missing.  Nice!  Some how I fell off the grid.  But then I came back and saw that I spent something like 7 minutes in the orange zone.  Like I said, there were issues so I’m not sure how accurate that was.

But, I definitely felt like I worked hard, so isn’t that all that matters?

We did a very short stretch after class and then it was done.

My thoughts

  • I liked it, but didn’t love it as much as I thought I would.  Maybe my expectations were too high.  Maybe it was the actual class program.  Maybe it was the instructor.  That said, I’m going to try again and see how it goes.
  • It was a bit chaotic.  Because the instructor has to focus on the cardio and strength folks at the same time, I felt like he was running around and not necessarily giving either group the attention they deserved.  Again, this could definitely change in the future.
  • There wasn’t nearly enough stretching/cooling down at the end of the class.  Again, I don’t know if this is always the case or if it was just this class and possibly tied to us starting late.
  • Randomly there was also one guy there who didn’t do any of the strength moves we were told to do.  Why come to a gym like this to ignore what the plan is?  That bothered me as I felt it was distracting.

All that said, I’m still encouraged about it being a great workout and I’m looking forward to going back and trying some other instructors.

I’ve scheduled a super early 5:15 class on Wednesday and a 9:30 on Friday before I head up to Boston.

Have you taken an OTF?  What were your thoughts?  I feel like no one has had anything negative to say, so I’m curious as to whether I’m the only one who had complaints.

Please share your experience!

Hi Friday, nice to see you again

It’s been quite the week, so there’s lots on my mind.  Here’s the short list…

Work

Lots of potential changes going on here.  The week has been filled with lots of meetings and now it’s a question of waiting to see how things shake out.  Always stressful even when you know you’re safe.

The weather

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I get that we had a mild winter, but this weather is still strange.  Since i’ve been back from China it’s been chilly and rainy.  I get that, but having to wear a knit hat and heavy winter jacket to work in April does not make me happy.

Carrot Cake

I still can’t get over how delicious it was and i’m looking for an excuse to make it again.

Talenti

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This gelato is awesome and this week was on sale for $1.99!  What’s ironic is that I say it’s awesome but lately i’ve picked some lousy flavors.  But the good flavors are good enough to make me forget my bad choices (key lime pie and mango sorbetto).

Boston!!

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Boston marathon weekend is next week!!!  Lots of last minute details like dinner reservations and activities and trying to coordinate what is ending up to be quite the group.

Minnie has instagram!!!

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Yes, my dog now has her own instagram account.  Follow her at minniemouse_rubyslippers.

The story behind her name is that she was given the name Minnie by the group that rescued her, but we weren’t sure we loved it.  We tried to brainstorm new names.  I really loved the name ruby, but my other half wasn’t sold.  While we deliberated she learned to respond to Minnie, so we kept it, but I consider her full name to be Minnie Mouse Ruby Slippers.  It’s her show name. 🙂

There’s tons more, but i think that’s enough for now.  Have a WONDERFUL weekend!!!

Weekend recap -dye, food, and wind

Happy Monday!  It was snowing here this morning.  These HUGE flakes.  It was odd.  Now it’s just rainy and chilly.

I miss the weekend already.

Friday night kicked off the weekend nicely.  We went to a bar for a limited tap of a beer called Fuzzy Baby Ducks from New England Brewing Company.  These folks have got the whole supply and demand thing down!  They only offer this beer in small batches periodically.  You can’t buy bottles, only fresh from the tap.  The tapping was at 7p and my 7:22, it was kicked.  Crazy, right?  It’s an IPA, but a lighter IPA.  I didn’t have any, but it’s definitely all the rage! (I stuck with wine.)  After that we had dinner at Mecha, our favorite noodle bar.

Saturday morning I woke up and hit the gym.  I ran about 3.1 miles playing around with pace and incline.  It felt good as it was the first real exercise I’ve done since getting home.  Later in the day I had a much needed hair appointment.  Thank goodness!  It was a reschedule since my original appointment was for when I was in China.

My other half cooked dinner (chilean sea bass, fingerling potatoes, and asparagus) and I made a carrot cake.  It was my first carrot cake ever and I couldn’t have been more impressed with how it turned out.

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I used the King Arthur Flour recipe.  Here’s the link.  I saw it got good reviews, figured King Arthur would do their research and then just went for it.  I didn’t read any of the reviews which is so not like me.  Thankfully it was great!

The icing was really good too!  I’m not always a fan of cream cheese frosting because sometimes it’s just too cream cheese-y, but this was so good.  Next time I may add raisins, but we’ll see (that’s just personal preference).

Let me know if you have a good carrot cake recipe.  🙂

Sunday here was snowy in the morning and then really windy.  We did some errands in the morning and then headed home.  My other half got to working on a nice Sunday dinner when all of a sudden we lost power.  This was right around 3pm.  A rather large tree at the end of the property went down, taking with it some power lines.  Since it was still light out, it wasn’t a huge deal, but as time went on, we realized it probably wasn’t coming back any soon.

The update said it would be fixed by 6p, then that turned to 7:45p, then 9:45p, then finally 11p.  We went out to grab a bite and when we came home we pretty much went right to bed, since what else is there to do in the dark?  Poor Minnie was so confused.

Thankfully the power came back on around 10:40p and the rest of the night was uneventful.

And now it’s Monday which should be my first full week of a normal routine.  Thank goodness!  The posts may be a bit more sporadic for the time being, but i’ll be sure to pop in if/when I have something interesting to say.

Have a great week!