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Posts Tagged ‘AIF’

bilbl_superToday’s AIF was another 5K, but this one was special because it was my first one with Tinkerbell.  She and I have each done many 5Ks on our own, and she even finished the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon in Disneyland last weekend, but up to this point, we’d never done a race together.  Our original plan was to do run/walk intervals, but my bad cold had other plans.  Tink was sweet enough to say she didn’t mind if we walked the whole 5K, because she was more interested in our experiencing it together than she was about getting to a certain timing.

jennyslight.org-grey-circle-1Jenny’s Light was founded by local professional triathlete Becky Lavelle & her family in response to the tragic and untimely passing of her twin sister Jenny and her nephew in December 2007.  Jenny’s Light is a non-profit foundation created to improve & save lives by increasing awareness of all perinatal mood disorders, including postpartum depression. ”  In looking up the background of the story, I discovered that Jenny actually shot and killed her baby son and then took her own life.  I can’t imagine the pain and loss her family must have felt, and I think it’s remarkable that her sister decided to turn that terrible tragedy into something that raises awareness of postpartum depression, and other perinatal mood disorders.

Since this was a more home-grown 5K where the profits went directly to the non-profit, it was a bit more bare-bones.  Meaning no cute race tee.  So I decided to make Tink and I our own shirts.  When we registered, they’d asked for a team name, and when Tink asked me what I thought it should be, I combined both our aliases and said, “TinkerBellas.”  We both loved it!  For the our tees, I knew I wanted to put our team name front and center and I because Tinkerbell wears a green fairy dress, I wanted to find a fun, bold green color.  I headed to Michael’s and came up with these:

2014-01-26 16.15.51Originally, I’d bought us crowns to wear, but the crowns fit pretty loose, and we both agreed that they’d probably be more of a bother during the race.  Still, for my first time hand-making a shirt like this, I’m pretty pleased with the way they turned out.  And can I brag for a second and say that my shirt was a size Medium!!  How cool is that?!  All these 5Ks are paying off!

2014-01-25 15.07.11 Yesterday Tink and I headed to Sports Basement to pick up our race packets, and I was so surprised at my low number.  I hoped it was going to bring us luck – Sweet 16!

This morning we headed to Vasona Lake Park early to make sure we’d get a parking spot. We had no idea how many people had signed up for the race, and because it’s not easy to park in the surrounding neighborhood, we didn’t want to take any chances.  Plus, this way, we had plenty of time to take lots of pics to capture how cute we looked:

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Do you love the wings, or what? I’d had those from an outfit during Spirit Week back in October, but they were the perfect color for this Tinkerbell-inspired outfit.

Tinkerbell had bought her skirt for the 1/2 marathon from a woman who makes  them specifically for that race. I love that she was able to use it again!

Tinkerbell had bought her skirt for the 1/2 marathon from a woman who makes them specifically for that race. I love that she was able to use it again!

I mean, there couldn't have been a cuter pair of racers in the whole 5K!

I mean, there couldn’t have been a cuter pair of racers in the whole 5K! (Even if we are both looking in two different directions for the photo).

And what 5K would be complete without a pre-race selfie?

And what 5K would be complete without a pre-race selfie?

We started out toward the back of the pack because we were going to walk.  The difficult thing about this course was that it was super narrow.  And when the racers who were doing the 10K were on their way back, we were sharing the course.  They didn’t block off any of the roads, as most 5Ks do, and they also didn’t prevent Sunday exercisers from being on the course, so we had to share the road with bikers, joggers, etc.  I’m really glad we didn’t run it, because I think it would’ve been pretty hectic.  As it was, Tink and I were able to catch up; I’d been wanting to hear all the details of her 1/2 marathon, and we finally had a good amount of time to dish.  That’s one thing I enjoy about walking 5Ks – it gives you the time to just walk and talk.  The thing that’s hard about walking is that you get antsy, or at least I do.  I want to go faster, finish sooner, and see how I can challenge myself.  But because this cold is moving into my chest, keeping our brisk pace was challenge in itself today.

At one point we were on a bit of an incline, and I was finding it really hard to breathe.  I started almost wheezing, and Tink just took my hand and said, “you can do it, Bella! We got this!!” And that one small moment of motivation was all I needed.  She totally sparked something in me, and from that point on, we were on our way!

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I was shocked when I saw these stats! We really were walking fast the entire time, and when we saw the 3-mile marker, we decided to finish strong and run the last .2 into the finish line.  I can’t believe we completed the race – walking most of it – in 47:13!!  I wasn’t expecting a PR in this race, but I ended up with one, for walking anyway!  I’m really proud of Team TinkerBellas!!

As soon as we were done, we put the top  down on my Beetle (it was already 71 degrees at 11am) and headed to Tink’s house, where her hubby had a delicious, healthy breakfast scramble, whole wheat English muffins, fruit salad, and coffee waiting for us.  How sweet is that?

Now that Tink and I have done one 5K together, she and I were already planning future ones where we’d run/walk: Mardi Gras Madness 5k, Wharf to Wharf (about 6 miles)…who knows how many we’ll end up doing.  One thing is for sure, we always have a blast when we’re together, and we enjoy motivating each other to do our best.  We’ve been in it together throughout our WLS weight loss journey, and we continue even now that we’re both nearing our own personal finish lines.  I’m so thankful that just over a year ago Tinkerbell reached out to me to support each other as we started a new year, bound to make it past our pre-op weight loss requirements to surgery, because I couldn’t imagine my life without her.  Team TinkerBellas for Life!!

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reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 11: Fail
What just didn’t work out this year?  Is that okay with you?  Or are you going to try, try again?

The first thing that comes to mind when I read this prompt is my experience trying SUP.  I originally wrote this on September 27, 2013…

bilbl_superToday’s edition in Adventures in Fitness is just that – the story of a crazy adventure I had while attempting some water fun.

Over the summer I bought an Amazon Local deal for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). Several of my friends on FB had posted pictures of themselves giving SUP a go at Lake Tahoe and various other locations around CA. I’m always up for a new fitness adventure, especially when it involves water sports. So, I purchased the $15 deal.

Ani and I arrived at HMB Kayak, and I was surprised to see that it was basically a tent on the beach. (I’d expected more of a proper storefront, I guess). We decided to forgo true wetsuits (there was no way I was going to try to squeeze into one of those) in favor of our dri-wik yoga pants and wetsuit jackets. One of the employees gave us a very brief (and I mean very brief) basic intro on how to paddle, and we were on our way.

How many of you are thinking that I should’ve chosen a tamer waterway for my first SUP experience, rather than Half Moon Bay, open ocean, on a windy day? Oh, and it was also high tide. Yeah, hindsight.

I started out on my knees, keeping balance pretty well. A few moments later, Ani had dropped into the water, and was having some difficulty getting back up onto the board. So much so that she needed the employees to come out and help her. All the while, I was still floating along, balancing on my knees. I was having a good time, amazed at my balance. I’d been out there for about 15 minutes. So when I was feeling super confident, I decided it was time to try to stand up.

Not a good move. I fell off right off the paddle board. After failing to pull myself out of the water and back onto the board, the way the guy had told me, I decided it was time to make my way back to shore and switch to kayaking. As I mentioned, wind was really strong, and it was high tide, so I’d gotten pretty far out in the 15 minutes I’d been floating on my knees. To get back to shore, I had to swim for 20 minutes, against the current, lugging the paddle board behind me (attached to my ankle). That same employee came out to check on me, and I assured him I was a strong swimmer, and didn’t need any help. Which was true – I swam back to shore without too much trouble, but I have to admit, I was very tired by the time I’d hit land.

So, I decided to try kayaking. Again, after very minimal instruction, I was out and trying to get myself into the boat, balance, and get out on the water. I fell out of the kayak a bunch of times close to the shore, but finally righted myself and found my groove.

I kayaked for about 25 minutes, and was really enjoying myself. I got pretty far out, was enjoying the sunshine, the ocean, the boats, the harbor, the sea lions. Feeling so proud of myself and lucky at the life that let me enjoy an afternoon of fun at the ocean on a Friday afternoon. Just as I was finding my zen… the kayak flipped over!

The current was so strong, and I was so exhausted from falling all the other times, as well as the huge swim, and I couldn’t even turn the boat right side up, let alone entertain the thought of pulling myself back into it. I had the oar in one hand, and was trying to keep a hold of the kayak with the other, while staying afloat. (I did have a lifevest on, thank goodness).

At this point, I knew I was too far out to get myself back to the shore. I wasn’t pancking, but I was a bit worried about how cold the water was, how close the sea lions were, and how far I was from where the employees of HMB Kayak could see me. Then the current started to really pick up, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get back.

Just then, some women who were walking along the pier saw me, started yelling, and tried to get help for me. I told them I was fine, and that there was no emergency, but they said to hang on and that help would be there soon. I was feeling utterly embarrassed that I had to be saved, but I realized that it was true, I needed some help.

Luckily for me, a wizened, old fisherman with a small motor boat came to my rescue. When he pulled up, I told him I was too heavy for him to lift up, but he assured me that he could get me out. He pulled me out of the water, and I was angled directly into his lap. Awkward! But I wasn’t worried about it at a time like that. He got me into his boat, made sure I was ok, which I was, and brought me back. When I told him how embarrassed I was, he said that on the open ocean, things can go from “fine” to “bad” in no time. And I know he’s right.

Ani saw what was going on and grabbed my iPhone to capture the rescue.  LOL.

Ani saw what was going on and grabbed my iPhone to capture the rescue. LOL.

I was just grateful to have his assistance, and to make it back to shore safely.

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All in all, I am glad I tried it, but my adventure helped me realize a few things:

  1. I need to do more research about the company I use. HMB Kayak was terrible. They gave little instruction, sent me out ill-prepared, and I’ll never use them again.
  2. My next SUP/Kayak will be done on a lake or smaller body of water. The ocean is way too rough for a beginner.
  3. I am strong. I have come so far, and I have so much to be proud of. When I look at myself in this photo, I notice significant changes in my body. I have a ways to go, but I am happy with the way I look now.

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The following quote is one that I hold dear.  I first heard it in 1997, my first year of teaching.  I used it as a prompt/quickwrite for my students to start to write about their dreams.  It made such an impact that one of them gave the saying to me on a paperweight that I still keep on my teacher’s desk today.

Fear of failure stops people from attempting to do so many things; I’m happy to say that I don’t let it prevent me from doing anything, because every “fail” comes with a lesson that teaches something new.

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reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 8: Adventure
Did you go on an adventure in 2013?  What sort?

As much as I enjoy traveling to new places, trying new things, meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures, I am sorry to say that 2013 did not take me away on any vacations.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t embark on any adventures.  I just did them closer to home.  This year, especially since the summer, I’ve been on quite a few Adventures in Fitness (AIF).

  • 2013-09-27 16.01.00 By far, the most memorable and dangerous AIF was when I attempted StandUp Paddleboarding in Half Moon Bay.  I won’t rehash the whole thing now, but let’s just say my adventure involved getting saved by a wizened, old fisherman.
  • 2013-10-03 11.01.21 For the first time ever, I participated on the faculty powderpuff team during homecoming.  The shots of me bent over into position as a center weren’t flattering, but I had the best time.  And I’m determined to be a receiver next year, especially if I keep up with my run/walk program.
  • Speaking of run/walk, I’ve mentioned before that I’m doing C25K, and this time, my third attempt, I’m really enjoying myself.  Each new workout leaves me proud of what I’ve accomplished, but also amazed at what my body is capable of.  It’s really cool!
  • I have lots more adventures on my Fitness Bucket List, and I look forward to crossing them off, one by one.

Beyond my fitness escapades, fashion has become a real adventure, in the best way.  Each new (smaller) size I fit into is like a medal marking how far I’ve come.  Something as simple as fitting into a new size of underwear is a thrill, especially now that I can buy them in regular stores.

Another major NSV that occurred without me even realizing it was that I can now cross my legs!  Only plus-sized girls can really understand the joy I felt the first time I looked down and realized that I had one leg crossed over the other.  It’s so comfortable!  Since my thighs are thick, I’m not quite ready to take a pic of this new NSV, but as the inches fall off, that will definitely be something I post.

This quote by Oprah is so true.  I’m living the life that I only dreamed about in the past, and I’m finding that reality is so much sweeter than I could have ever imagined.

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Last Saturday I tried a new class in my ongoing Adventures in Fitness (AIF): Aqua Zumba!  It seemed like the ideal combination of two of my favorite activities – Zumba and aqua aerobics.

Even though I’ve  taken many Zumba classes, I still didn’t know exactly what to expect from Aqua Zumba.  But I knew that if all else failed, I would just move my body in the water and have a good time doing it.  Luckily, I caught on quickly, and I did really well in the class.

The music was amazing, as it always is in Zumba classes: upbeat, high energy, and fun.  The instructor, Miggy Zumba as he’s known on FB, was absolutely the best.  He kept it fun, but pushed us at the same time.  He made sure to move around the pool deck so that everyone could see his instructions, no matter which side of the pool we were on.  He encouraged, motivated, and made us laugh, and when I can do all of that while I’m moving my body, I can forget that I’m “working out,” and I just enjoyed myself.  Here’s a clip of Miggy Zumba teaching an Aqua Zumba class (not the one that I went to) to give you an idea:

The pool at my gym is filled very high at about neck level (it doesn’t help that I’m a shorty at 5″3′), so some of the moves were more difficult to master because I was trying to keep my head above water, but now I know to get to the more shallow section of the pool next time where the water only reaches about chest high. It will make doing the footwork that much easier, I think.

Someone asked me to compare the Aqua Zumba to both Zumba and aqua aerobics, and I’d say that I still like regular Zumba more, because there’s nothing like moving your body to the rhythm of the music, while pushing yourself to get the footwork down.  But I liked the Aqua Zumba 100% more than standard aqua aerobics, which can get really boring; it all depends on the teacher.  You can tell from the smiles of all of us in the pool that we really enjoyed the class and the hour flew by.

Can you find me in the photo? Hint: I'm one of the shortest ones. BTW - those are my yellow weighted gloves in the foreground. 🙂

The class was a 1-day trial at my local 24 Hour Fitness to see how much interest there was.  Well, with 72 of us in the pool that day, I’d say there was interest.  I would absolutely take Aqua Zumba again, especially if Miggy Zumba is teaching it.  I enjoyed his style so much that I’m going to go out of my way to take a regular Zumba class from him later this week at a location a bit out of my way.  He was that dynamic!

If Aqua Zumba is offered near you, I’d absolutely give it a try. It will be 60 minutes of non-stop fun, I’m sure of it.

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