A Little Bit Of Everything

I finally have pictures to post!  They’re random, but still photos.

It’s been a couple of weeks (I think).  I’ll try to recap.


Last weekend the other half cooked a massive meat feast for him and a friend.  Too good not to share.


Yesterday, at his request, I made blueberry lemon streusel bars, which are one of my favorite summertime desserts.


Recipe here.  So good.

Looking to spice up your cooking?  Give some calabrese pepper paste a try.  He found this at our local italian grocery and has used it in just about everything.

I’m not creative so I wouldn’t know what to do with it, but if you are (and like heat), try it.  We like the one on the right better.



I did roughly put together a half marathon training plan, which will officially start in the next week or 2.  It’s 12 weeks long and since we have more time than that, we should be OK.

We went out for a slow 3ish miles on Saturday.  This is the first time I’ve ran outside since moving and so now it’s a question of finding new running routes.  This one was OK.  I ran with my other half and we took it very slow.  Picked up the pace a bit in the last mile and it felt good.

Looking forward to more outdoor runs in the near future.


The gym I teach at just wrapped up a Cycling Across America program to try and boost interest and attendance in our cycling program.  It was really neat and it was great to see the members get excited about it.

cycle across

Here’s me looking scary happy after our last cycle across america class.

Jessica Spin

This was a group photo (selfie) but i cropped the members out.  And yes, I am always that happy at spin.  Before, during, after.  Psychotic smile 🙂

Also in spinning, one of my classes is being cancelled.  I teach a Sunday morning and a Monday evening and the attendance on Monday has been struggling.  With the quarterly changes they decided to do away with Monday night.  I understand and know it has nothing to do with me.  The members are not happy, so I guess we’ll see what happens.

I don’t envy the role of making group exercise schedules at a gym.


Not much to report here.  We did have a cake tasting and in doing so realized we like the style of a “naked cake”.  We’re not really doing this exactly, but I figured I’d share a photo of a photo anyway 🙂


My favorite topic…


Here are a couple of shots of minnie to wrap up the post.

Looking really excited.


Happy with her donut.

min donut

She never truly looks happy, eh?  It’s that sad Sarah McLauchlan face.


So that’s more or less what’s been going on here.  I’ve been sticking with OTF two times a week, which has been great.  Body Beast has temporarily been put on hold while we focus on cardio/running.  I’d like to get back to at least some of it soon as I enjoyed the weight training challenge.

Have a wonderful week!!!


Halloween Spin

I’ve seen a bunch of halloween spin playlists go up, so i figured i’d share some of mine.  I’m teaching on Halloween this year, so I’m sure i’ll use one of these.

In years past I’ve been pretty over the top with my costumes.

This was by far the best one:


I wore a read hooded sweatshirt.  So fun!

So here are a couple of rides I’ve used in the past.


I typically keep some of the same music each year and then try to add a few things that are different.  Will see what I decide this year.

Have a happy halloween!

Tuesday night spin

Here’s the playlist from last night.


This was actually a very fun (but tough) ride.  Most of my rides have a hill followed by either speed or jumps.  This song was all climbing for the first 8 working songs.  Rolling hills, but none the less.  Thankfully it was a good group and they were up for the challenge.

Speaking of challenges…to my spin folks.  Have you ever taught at a gym with an older clientele?  Not 50s or 60s, but 70s plus?

My latest gym is absolutely a HUGE mix of ages and I’m thinking I may have to modify some rides since i’m usually a “balls to the wall” type of instructor.  I’m OK with modifying, I just want to make sure that the class is still challenging and fun for those younger members.  I also want to make sure I remain true to myself (although I’m guessing that won’t be too big of an issue).

My tentative plan is to just offer lots of options for modifications, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Pre-class I hit the treadmill for a mile.  yeah right.  I made it half a mile and stopped.  It just felt off.  I felt heavy and awkward.  Oh well.  Will try again next time.

Have a fabulous Wednesday!!!

Tuesday spin and a taper question

Here’s the playlist from last night.  It was fun!


Although I will say I’m temporarily over Justin Beiber, so I didn’t love Sorry, but we pushed through.

The ride has 3 instrumental songs which is something I like.  As long as the beat is good, it lets the mind zone out a bit and get lost in the music and the pedaling.  Or at least that’s what I like to think happens.

Prior to class I hopped on the ‘mill for 2.5 miles.  I would have liked to run 3, but as usual I ran out of time.

Hitting the pavement tonight, so we’ll see how that goes.

Has anyone run a half and did a long run the week before?  Like 10+ miles?  How important is that taper?  Or can the taper just be reducing mileage during the week?  I’m a bit crunched for time and could really use that last weekend for another longer run.  Thoughts?


So i haven’t exactly been the best about posting and i’ll admit that I’ve even thought about calling it quits.  But the fact of the matter is that I like to write and share my random thoughts and so even if no one is reading, I’m still going to write.  Of course if people are actually reading it’s a bonus!  🙂

My next half is in exactly 39 days.  Which actually sounds a bit better than I thought it would.  My training has been half-assed.  That’s not OK.  WHY CAN’T I MOTIVATE???  I’m trying now, I really am.  Fingers crossed!!

I even went so far as to think about deferring to next year.  Technically that’s still a possibility but I feel like I’d be disappointing myself because I really had no good excuses as to why I didn’t get out and run.

I ran a half in March with not nearly enough training and I survived, although it wasn’t pretty.  I know I can do it, but I’d really like to do it well (let’s rephrase that to say I’d like to run the whole thing).  So we’ll see.

This weekend I plan to run 8 miles.  There, I said it.  If I can do it, all is good in the world.  If not…well, that’s not really an option.

Last night I got in 2 treadmill miles before class.  I should have done more but because I’m not fast, I run (ha!) out of time.

I tested out my OTF heartrate monitor for something other than an OTF class.  I’ll share the results in a moment.

Spin was good.  Here’s the playlist.  It was a crowd pleaser (if you call 2 people a crowd…don’t judge, it’s corporate, it’s rarely more than 3 or 4).


And because I know you’re sitting on the edge of your seat, here’s my heartrate info.


The first 22 minutes or so were running and pretty much the only time I was in the orange.

What this shows is that numerous times in spin I apparently laid down and took a nap.  The gray is where my heart rate is before an OTF class gets going, so no effort. And the very bottom of gray, well that’s just about a flatline.  My guess is that my chest strap wasn’t fully secure during all the movement of a spin class.

But provided that some of this is accurate, it also shows that I’m not working that hard when I teach, which is definitely possible.  In order to be able to lead a class and project my voice, I can’t go all out.  But that said, I could probably push a little harder.  Or maybe I was pushing harder, but the monitor was off.  Who knows?

Tonight i’m subbing a class and hoping for a nice turn out (although I’m not overly optimistic).

Tomorrow is OTF and hopefully running a little each day as well.

And I’m off, have a wonderful day!  See ya when I see ya!

When to give up on Spin


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?

An upbeat ride

A couple of Saturdays ago I just wasn’t feeling particularly energized to teach, so I set about making a playlist that included upbeat songs that I liked.

Here’s the result…



While I used to make incredibly details ride profiles, somewhere along the line i’ve reduced myself to either vague profiles or just knowing from the song what I want to do (and not writing it down).  This seems to work when it’s a song I really know, but when it’s a newer song I need to plan it out a bit more.

I think I wrote down a profile for this one, but on Tuesday I couldn’t find it, so I just made it up as I went along.

Here’s the breakdown…
Warm up
Seated climb to running on chorus
Quick flat with sprint bursts
Seated climb to run on chorus
Running to standing climb
Seated climb, adding resistant while holding speed
Standing heavy climb
Running to standing climb on the chorus
Moderate to heavy standing hill, back to the saddle to pick up the pace on the chorus

Kind of vague, but if you want more info, let me know.

Halloween ride!

Good afternoon folks!

This past Saturday I did my annual Halloween ride.  I typically look forward to the Halloween ride each year, but for some reason, this year I just wasn’t feeling it.  I was planning on skipping it altogether since my Saturday class was a bit of a ways away from Halloween, but then a member requested it.  I just couldn’t say no.  So my mood shifted and I was looking forward to it.

I put together a fun playlist and threw in some sound-effects.  Since about 50% of the class had no clue it was going to be a Halloween ride, I didn’t want to go too seasonal on them.  Instead I tried to use traditional songs with titles/subjects that could relate to Halloween.



I also wore a costume and brought in Tootsie Pops for the class.

For my costume…I started the class wearing a light up headband that changed colors.  The class obviously assumed this was my costume.  What they didn’t know was that I had stashed another costume outside the spin room.  During Beautiful Monster I stepped out of the room to change.

I came back in wearing my costume.  Or rather, Minnie’s costume.

This is not Minnie. Source
This is not Minnie.

I figured that the jockey costume would (sort of) make sense since I was riding a bike and therefore hunched over.

In actuality it looked like this…. (super unflattering photo)


The class LOVED it.  I had at least two people taking pictures during class and another 3 or so who stayed after to take pictures.  So totally worth making a fool of myself.

I have to say I do love a good theme ride and an opportunity to be silly.  Next up I’m thinking a neon ride.  We have a sort of blacklight in the room, so anything neon glows.  I thought it would be fun to tell people to wear neon, buy some glow necklaces, and do a fun party themed ride.

Any other fun ideas?

Music and a new addition

A new addition?  Wonder what that could mean.  Most likely not what you’re thinking.

Here’s our new addition….


DJ had mentioned a few times over the past few weeks that he wanted a juicer.  Being the rational one of the pair, I kept telling him no.  I explained that we have no place to put it and that it would probably be another one of his phases.  When we were at Kohl’s over the weekend he again commented on getting a juicer.

So Monday morning I decided that maybe I’d buy him a present, because really, it’s something I’d benefit from too.  I was in FL for work until Wednesday night so I thought it would be cute to order it and have it delivered while I was away.

He called me yesterday morning asking if I was nuts.  He said he just couldn’t accept it and that we don’t have room for it.  Familiar thought.  By the time I got home last night, he had made juice and said it was pretty impressive.  I told him he would also be making me juice. 🙂

If any of you juice, please send me recipes…but leave out anything with kale since it gives me horrible heartburn.  Thanks in advance.

I was in Orlando for the last few days and it was so warm.  Tuesday it was 91!  Unfortunately I was there for work so I really didn’t get to take advantage of the weather.  Although I did spend a little time in the hot tub on Tuesday night.  Tuesday night I also finally tried Menchie’s frozen yogurt.  I pretty much chose my dinner spot on Tuesday based upon it being near a Menchie’s.  Nothing wrong with that, right? (In case you were wondering, I went with Graham Cracker, Peanut Butter Cup, and Cake Batter.)

For last Saturday’s class I took an older ride and gave it some new flavor.  Thanks for Chris Spin for a couple of the songs.  🙂  (The Major Tom version was from a car commercial, Linclon I think, and I loved it.)  Steve also reminded me about Witchcraft. 🙂


If anyone wants ride notes, just let me know.

This Saturday will be my annual halloween ride.

Any favorite songs lately?  Have a great day!!!



I’ve definitely been spending most of my blog time on He Cooks, She Bakes, They Eat and neglecting FitTalker.  My apologies!

However, at the same time I have been teaching and even putting together new rides.

As I mentioned in my last post, I just hopped on the Spotify bandwagon and am loving it.  It seems so easy to put together a playlist and it’s great having access to so many songs without having to remember what you want to buy.

Here are my past two rides…

spin june 1 spin - june 11


I thought both were great rides.  If you’d like to see the teaching notes, just let me know.

To follow me on spotify… http://open.spotify.com/user/jessicabondell

Some new tunes and their youtube links below.