Weekend Challenge

Friday, May 30, 2014

This weekend's challenge is quite simple.  Try something new.  It can be a new food, new fitness class, new running route, new game- you get the idea!  Take a small step outside your comfort zone and watch for personal growth.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you did. How did you feel after?

Slippery when wet... trying out Olympic sports in Lea Valley

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The gang while still smiling on dry land
At various points in my life, I have lived near large bodies of water. Growing up, the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario were places to windsurf, jet ski, and go for a swim.  I have been scuba diving off of on Cape Cod. One summer, I lived on the Alaskan Coast where we went kayaking and had many camp fires.  The first 3 years in London, my flat overlooked the Thames. Water naturally calms me and I am drawn to it.  I was thrilled when SpoGo invited me and several other female fitness bloggers to try kayaking and white water rafting at the Lea Valley White Water Centre (and Olympic Venue).

It was a bit chilly that morning so I brought many layers. The train ride was about 20 minutes from Liverpool Street Station and then a 15-20 walk to the venue. I ended up following several groups of lads as this activity seems to be very popular for stag do's. The park is huge and the building still shiny and new.  We received a briefing on what we were doing for the day and the started suiting up.  If you bring a bunch of girls, remember to set aside plenty of time to change. Most of us had a hard time wriggling our way into the wet suits as they aren't something you wear every day, we also had to remove all jewelry (for safety & not to lose anything) or be subjected to duct tape.  Free lockers are provided to leave your things but remember to bring your own towel.
Tess, Jen, and Sophia

Me post flip. There should be a video out there
 of this too. Where I scream 'potato'
We started off with kayaking in a shallower end of the pond. Some of our group were seemingly fearless and/ experienced. Some of the group were not very confident swimmers.  We each were assigned a blue or yellow helmet based on which of these two groups we fell into. It helped the instructor keep an eye on us. The lesson had a few lessons on basic paddling and turning. We also played some games to help us practice what we had learned. It was a lot of fun because we were quite a competitive group!  The wind made it a bit harder as we kept getting blown back into one end of the pond.  At least we were all warm in our wet suits.

Before we got out of the kayaks for a quick cup of coffee, our instructor offered us a chance to flip out of our kayaks under water. Four of us (myself, Fit Bits, Eclectic Cake, and Lucy On The Lookout) all took him up on it and knowingly volunteered to plunge into the pond. It was very cold but when in Rome, you might as well get the full experience.

One quick comfort break (if 15 min to get into and out of a wet wet suit is quick) and then we moved onto the white water rafting. Our instructor was Slovakian and works at the watersports centre 8 months out of the year. He said England has one of the longer rafting seasons.  We had a lot of tuition on land about out how to sit properly, how to hold the paddle, and what to do if someone falls out of the boat.  The wind and damp garments made the land session seem to take forever. We then got into the water to practice rowing as a team.  It was tough to get synchronized as we were different heights and strengths.
Just to look cool buy doing a 'bell' before
landing in the water

We had one last test to pass before heading on the rafting course. We all had to jump into the end of the course (rapids still present) and then swim to the side and climb out.  Yes it looked scary, but we each had a life preserver on and there were lots of people around with ropes to save us if we were swept away.
I should point out that at each of these steps you can decide if your comfort level has been exceeded you can go back to dry land.  I decided I was all in (as long as I could decide where I sat in the raft).  Those who were ready to try out the (OLYMPIC) rafting course climbed back in the boat and we paddled up to the conveyor belt for our first run.

photo courtesy of SpoGo
With each run, we paddled more and more.  Our guide also ‘dunked’ us more and more by having us ‘surf’ the rapids (which means you sit there and are continuously doused with water).  After each run, there was again an opportunity to head back to land.  We were excellent paddlers and didn't flip our boat or lose any passengers.  (I must thank Tess from Fit Bits for saving me from falling out. Thanks Tess!)  It was a great challenge with lots of laughter outside most of our comfort zones.  

Few things I learned:
1.  I miss the water.  I have always felt comfortable and need to make an effort to get back to water sports somehow.  Or find another flat that overlooks the Thames.
2.  I can push myself to do more that I think (but need a bit of an audience/competition).
3.  Even though there are many fitness bloggers out there, we are all in search of something different from physical activity.
4.  There is always a chance of rain in England.

Victory! photo courtesy of SpoGo
If you feel inspired to get out on the water, it is Go Canoeing week through 1 June.  May is also National Watersports Month.  Finally, check out SpoGo for fitness and sport opportunities in your community.  They also have challenge boards (can you beat my 5 minute+ wall sit?) and review different sports on their blog.

Big thanks to SpoGo for inviting me along this this fun (and wet) day.  It was fantastic to connect with other sporty ladies and try something new. I am going to try and get some friends to go back this summer for another lesson.

I Now 'Get' It --> #RunDem

Monday, May 26, 2014

Having lived in London for over 3 years, I have heard whispers of this group of people who love to run.  They celebrate medals and cheer each other on so loudly at races you'd think it was the Queen running by.  Members in my classes at Frame would have these tags on their shoelaces.  One of my personal training clients finally shed some light on what this revolution was.

Run Dem Crew.

Formed by Charlie Dark in 2007, Run Dem Crew is a running community that brings together people.  Not a club.  It works to mentor future generations (with the Youngers program) in a safe and positive environment.  From what I witnessed on a Tuesday night in Shoreditch, all ages benefit from this forum.

The evening starts with housekeeping- a few announcements, some inspiration and lots of cheering as people as awarded their medals by Dark.  Even though there are nearly 200 members of Run Dem, Dark seems to know them all and they each seem to know each other as well.  There is pride in every second off of a PB (personal best), every drop of sweat, and every pair of trainers that are retired.

Sym, a RDC Younger, in the blue hoodie
I ended up at the session as part of the Run Hackney.  It is a brand new half marathon taking place in London on 22 June.  The 15,000 places are almost all gone at £40/spot.  Roads will be closed as the streets of uber-cool Hackney are explored on foot.  Due to popularity of the half, a free 5K has been added to the day prior, making the weekend one of physical activity for the East London community.  I have signed up for both the 5K and half marathon as part of my race reporting on RaceDay.co.uk.  Eighteen of the Run Dem Crew Youngers have been given places in the half marathon.  Their training has been guided by the family that runs together on Tuesday nights.

Unfortunately, most of the Youngers are in the middle of A-levels so I only met a few. None of them are from Hackney but all areas around London.  I met Sym from Forest Gate.  At 17, he is tall and very easy to talk to.  He plays cricket and football, but was never really a runner.  His English teacher told him about Run Dem Crew and he thought he would give it a try.  That was three weeks ago.  The Run Hackney half will be his first race and he is looking forward to it.  Sym said it is much easier to run with friends than on his own.  He isn't sure what he wants to be when he grows up yet but I think I heard law school in a list of interests.

Lucy and Lizzy
Many of the Run Dem Crew folks I ran with have a few races coming up, several in London.  Even as I was eavesdropping, people were catching up on where they had been running and where the next run was. I met some lovely ladies who let me be a 'Greyhound' with them.  Lizzy and her best friend Lucy were supposed to run the London Marathon this year but both withdrew due to injuries.  The plan is to run the Nice to Cannes marathon in November and run London in 2015.

Lizzy is convinced Run Dem Crew has changed her life.  Her theory is that it is hard to meet people after the after of 24.  Once you are out of uni, most of the new people are brought into your life through work, church, or your children's friends' parents.  But if you live in London without any kids and are more spiritual than religious, that rules out a few social networks.  That is why Lizzy loves RDC.  Since joining, she has over 100 new friends who she would have never met otherwise with people of all different background from different industries.  They all have one thing in common.  They love to run.

Each person I met that evening was warm and welcoming.  We chatted about running, travelling, work, and where we were from.  It made the run a bit more fun as you are distracted by the friendly banter.  There wasn't even a hint of competition when talking about pace.  Every mile was treated with the same amount of achievement.

Ladies I met on the run
Early in the evening, Dark joked that people walking by would see us through the glass front windows and think we were a church with the cheering for each medal presentation.  It is a perfect analogy. RDC members come together for their belief in running.  Pounding the pavement is their passion.  Race days are celebrations.  RDC is their family.  Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?

Curious about RDC?  Join Cheer Dem Crew in inspiring their Youngers along the Hackney Half route on 22 June in London.

Quickie Workout #94

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min skipping rope, 1 min speed skate jumps, 1 min leaping forward on both legs
1 min- Running in place with high knees
1 min- Squat thrusts
1 min- Tricep dips
30 sec each side- Side plank
1 min- Dead lift
1 min- Pilates scissors
1 min each side- Raise right knee to the side and bring right elbow to knee.  Keep all weight on left foot and just tap right toe to the ground. Work those abs!
1 min- Press ups
1 min- Bent over row
1 min-  Good mornings
1 min- Alternating lunges

Quickie Workout #93

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 10 walking lunges, 10 squat jumps. Repeat 4 more times.
1 min- Push/Press ups (against wall, on knees, or on toes)
1 min- Bicep curls while standing on 1 leg.
1 min- Hop, squat then 4 punches forward while staying low in the squat.
30 sec- Leap forward on 2 feet. Don't stop!
1 min- Tricep extensions over head while standing on the other foot.
1 min- Sit on floor with legs out in V-shape.  Reach opposite hand to opposite foot to work abdominals.
1 min- Leg lifts
1 min- Frontal raises while alternating reverse lunges
1 min each leg- 1-legged squats
1 min- Jumping jacks/Star jumps
1 min- Around the World lunges
1 min- Inchworm

Weekend Challenge

Friday, May 16, 2014

It has been amazing to return to London and find longer days filled with sunshine (I hope I don't jinx it).  Just by taking my work break outside in the sun has made a huge difference to my outlook on life.  Hopefully spring is transitioning into summer for you too.

This is the perfect time of year to dig out your sunscreen and see if it has expired.  If not, I challenge you to apply it before going out into the sun to prevent wrinkles and skin cancer.  Remember you should always use at least 15 SPF and reapply after excessive sweating or getting wet.

Learn more about sun safety, courtesy of the NHS, here.

Quickie Workout #92

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min jogging, 1 min mountain climbers, 1 min burpees
1 min- Plank
1 min- Deadlift holding water bottles or light weights
1 min- Reverse fly holding water bottles or light weights
30 sec each side- Teapot ab exercise
1 min- Side lunge with an overhead press when returning to center
1 min- Push/Press ups
1 min- Mountain climbers
1 min- Pec fly
1 min each leg- While standing, bend right knee to 90 degrees and raise out to the side within a comfortable range of motion. Return to center.
1 min- Bicep curl
1 min- Shoulder shrugs
1 min- Wall sit

Weekend Challenge- See your city by foot with Salomon Running

Friday, May 9, 2014

When I travel, I usually take a pair of sneakers with me.  It is much different to see a new place at a slower pace by foot.  Last weekend, I was lucky enough to see many neighborhoods of Indianapolis, Indiana USA.  This week I have taken a few jogs around my mom's neighborhood.

As a Salomon Insider, I am pleased to challenge you to join their fantastic city running tours (for FREE) that are offered in many global locations.  Check out if there is a tour near you and sign up today.  I love their trail shoes for the springtime as they give me more grip in the mud.  (If you can afford it, I recommend investing in the GORTEX version of all of their shoes. Never experience wet feet again!)

The London runs are on the bank holiday weekend. There are also women's only runs in London (not sure about other locations).  I plan on doing the one on Saturday at noon in Fulham and hope to see you there!

Weekend Challenge

Friday, May 2, 2014

Let's keep it simple this weekend.  Spring has (mostly) sprung and the sunshine is making everyone happy.  This weekend I challenge you to inspire a friend, family member, or co-worker to be active.  Instead of meeting for brunch, take a walk in the park instead.  Try a Zumba class, play table tennis (ping pong), go for a bike ride, or put out the volleyball net in the back yard. 

Spend time with the ones you love and give your heart a good workout at the same time. Tweet me your photos of being active at @PTMollie.

I am doing this myself with my Rod's Racing family in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Tomorrow is the 500 Festival 5K and mini marathon.  There will be many race veterans but also some newbies.  It is so rewarding to help a person realize what they can achieve.