Posts filed under ‘Reasons Why’

Haul you need is love

I was raised in a family that celebrated every holiday it could. I suspect that comes, in part, from the fact that Momma Buns is the queen of many things, including finding the perfect paper goods for any occasion — on sale — at Party City. As my sister and I grew up, she put that talent to the test as often as possible. I remember waking up to find that Momma Buns had decorated the kitchen with red foil hearts and made pancakes (a rare treat on a school morning). Other years, I remember her sitting with me while I scrawled my classmates’ names on Snoopy Valentine’s cards, or my whole family passing gifts wrapped in pink tissue paper around the dinner table. (As I grew older, mine was usually a romantic comedy or super-weeper newly out on video. Untamed Heart, anyone?)

So even though I know that many people think Valentine’s Day is manufactured, romantic silliness, for me, it brings to mind really great celebrations of the deep affection my family and I have for each other. So I love it. And I love you guys. In the spirit of that love-fest— even though the actual holiday was yesterday — I’m going to unabashedly share some fitness-related stuff (plus a few randoms) that makes my heart sing. Cool?

“Golden Years” by David Bowie

I first heard it in the movie A Knight’s Tale, which makes me uncool. But my adoration of choreographed dance scenes already makes me uncool, so whatever. Now, the song is on my running playlist—and it’s very useful as a workday afternoon mood-booster, too.

Love Your Muscles with Crunch

Love Your Muscles logoI joined Crunch gym just after I started my job in New York two years ago. Aside from the convenient locations (one near my job, another near my apartment) and really great classes (Marc Santa Maria’s Monday night hip-hop and Dave Norfleet’s iRide Spinning are FANTASTIC), the vibe there is a little bit funkier and more accepting than many other New York gyms I’ve visited. The gym’s motto, after all, is No Judgments. This month, they’re holding workshops and offering training specials to raise money for Augie’s Quest, a Muscular Dystrophy Association initiative to find a cure for the degenerative muscle disease ALS. This month, the gym will give Augie’s Quest $5 for every new membership and $10 for every new personal training package. “Love Your Muscles” refers to the signs they put your name on when you donate: You can choose a muscle you love — I picked the heart — and your name goes up alongside a cute cartoon drawing of that muscle. If you’re interested in more information or want to donate, go here.

Savasana

Toward the end of every yoga class, the instructor asks everyone to lay on their backs, heels together, toes flopped apart, arms by their sides, palms open. Sometimes our eyes are open; often, they’re closed. We lay in this position, known as savasana (suh-VAH-snah) or “corpse pose”, and relax everything. Sounds like sleeping, you say. It’s seriously close, but so much better. Often, the  poses right before savasana are challenging, and laying down and focusing only on breathing and relaxing seems like a reward. In Bikram yoga, sometimes the only thing that gets me through a rough class is the thought of how sweet the savasana will be at the end. I lay on my mat and think about how the ground is supporting me, holding me up, and how I don’t have to do anything except find little snarls of tension in my body and then let them go. Even if you’re not into yoga, try giving yourself a few minutes of motionless chill-out time after a tough workout sometime. It’s pretty awesome.

Puma’s Dizzy Barrel Bag

When my old gym bag bit it, I tried to make do with tote bags and backpacks and the like. No good. I resisted buying a new one because I didn’t want something huge and clunky, but I needed something big enough to fit a change of clothes, my sneakers, and toys like my interval timer, my iPod, a magazine, my weight gloves, etc. Behold, Puma’s Dizzy Barrel Bag. It’s pretty great, kind of stylish, and (right now) on sale! Gym bag woes, cured.

Puma Dizzy Barrel Bag

So cute, right?

I’d love to hear what gets your heart pumping, too. Gadgets and gear? Workouts? Instructors? Personal accomplishments? Something completely unrelated to fitness but awesome nonetheless? Tell us about it in the comments section. 

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February 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment

CONTEST: Five lines to glory

You budding bards may be wondering exactly what you’ll win if your poem is chosen in the Haul Buns haiku contest. Aside from the admiration of your fellow haulers, the authors of the top two haikus will win DVD copies of My Run: The Terry Hitchcock Story.

My Run is a documentary about Hitchcock, the Santa-looking guy on the left in the awesome track suit, a widower who ran the equivalent of 75 marathons in 75 days to raise awareness about the challenges single-parent families face. If it sounds a little strange, it is; Hitchcock was a middle-aged guy in just-okay health who hadn’t run very much before he undertook his journey. But his story is also incredibly moving, especially if you’ve ever gone about doing something that seemed absolutely impossible at the outset. My Run is super motivating, especially for runners; when it was in theaters, my run group went, and we cried like babies.

Thanks to the folks at My Run for providing the DVDs for the giveaway!

Watch the trailer below, and then start crafting those haikus!

Be silly. Have fun. And please don’t take yourself seriously. Send your haikus to haulbuns [AT] gmail [DOT] com. Feel free to submit as many times as you like by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011.

September 20, 2011 at 7:36 pm 2 comments

Bring Your Sneakers to Work day

This Friday is Run at Work Day, according to the Road Runners Club of America. Since the RRCA are the good people who saw fit to make me a running coach, I wanted to spread the word. It’s a pretty good idea, regardless of whose it was: I’ve slowly worked my way back to doing something active on my lunch break — I was really good about it when I started my current job almost two years ago, but then I got lazy. For the past few months, I’ve made a point to get out of the office for an afternoon treadmill seession or Spinning class a couple of times a week, and it really makes me feel better about work, life, stress, all of it. (Isn’t it annoying when the fitness magazines are right?) If you get any kind of break in your day, a brisk walk (or any kind of physical activity, really) is better than coffee, chocolate, or any of those old reliables we use to keep us going.

I know. You’re so busy. Or you don’t have a set lunch break. Or the company will grind to a halt without you. Screw it. Your health and happiness are more important than whether Larry in Accounting has his TPS reports by 3 p.m. In fact, why don’t you ask Larry if he wants to walk or run with you? Pretty soon, you and Larry will be the cool kids. Everyone in the office will want to be part of your run/walk club. You’ll have to put people on a waiting list. There’ll be team shirts, jackets, water bottles! Bob Harper will show up, begging you to tell him your secret to motivating people to lead healthy lives. And you’ll pause in your lunchtime 5K to say, “Well, there’s this awesome blog I read called Haul Buns…”

Bam. Now, who’s in?!?

Will it help if I tell you Larry from Accounting looks like this?

"Hi! Want an excuse to get sweaty with me?"

 

September 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm Leave a comment

Does your hairdo stop you?

Today’s Chicago Tribune features an editorial on women’s attention to their hair may be getting in the way of them getting a good workout. Any dudes reading this are all, “Does… not… compute.” But I’m sure plenty of you faithful female Haulers have had at least one instance in which you had to decide whether exercising was worth the time and effort necessary to clean up your sweaty self afterwards. I know this can be an issue for women of color; it’s a regular topic of conversation among the awesome chicks at Black Girls Run. Even U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has something to say about the fact that women who’ve recently gotten their hair done may skip a workout or two in order to maintain the look a little bit longer.

“Oftentimes you get women saying, ‘I can’t exercise today because I don’t want to sweat my hair back or get my hair wet,'” she said in a recent story in The New York Times. “I hate to use the word ‘excuse,’ but that’s one of them.”

I can understand why you wouldn’t want to mess up hair you just paid someone a whole lot of money to make pretty — it’s the main reason I haven’t cut my hair shorter than shoulder length in three years. If I can’t pull it back into a ponytail, it means I have to dry and do it — which won’t work. Mainly, that’s because I am a A) lazy and B) a slob. Though I always shower after my lunchtime workouts, sometimes there’s just not enough time to shampoo, condition, dry and style my mop. Today, in fact, I happen to be rocking the “I-came-straight-to-work-from-bootcamp” hair, the linchpin of which is a well-placed hairband. (The braid doesn’t hurt, either.)

You'd never know, right?

Yes, guys, I’m gross. But I smell lovely (I promise!), cutting back on twice-a-day washings has made my hair much healthier, and — most importantly — today’s workout is DONE. Join the revolution! Sweaty heads unite!

 

August 31, 2011 at 7:49 pm 2 comments

The Buns are back

February 24.

That was the last time I hauled my own buns to the computer to post something here. Six months of thinking about stuff to post, seeing cool stuff I wanted to link to, fretting about not getting a post up on a day I’d planned it, vowing to get off my virtual tush and publish something awesome the next day.

Six months of excuses and lameness. It ends today.

It’s not like I’ve been laying around re-watching all of the Harry Potter movies in order… well, actually, I have been doing that. but not just that. For instance, there was this (details to come later):

It—and the move from the dirty Jerz to Manhattan that accompanied it—took up a big chunk of my summer. And while I am extremely happy and adjusting to living with a boy in wedded bliss, it’s taken me quite some time to get myself in order.

I realized today that I was totally falling for the “If I can just  ______  and _______, conditions will be perfect for me to do what I really want to do” fallacy. I think you know what I’m talking about. Your blanks may be “get the kids in bed before 9 and get myself in bed before midnight” or “find a new job and lose five pounds” or “organize my sock drawer and figure out how to turn dryer lint into currency.” But it’s all hooey, and we know it; we just forget it every once in a while.

So I’m back, haulers, just as I am: in need of a haircut, a little squidgy around the upper arms, still figuring out how to get my workout groove on, still fighting a daily battle with the Pepperidge Farm Sausalito cookies lurking in my coworker’s snack drawer. (BTW, an entire bag of those chocolate-and-macadamia-nut puppies will run you 40 PointsPlus values. Don’t ask me why I know that. YOU’RE WELCOME.)

But I’m here. And hopefully, you still are, too.

August 30, 2011 at 9:40 pm 1 comment

Fairy Tales and Fat Jokes

Ringer and Angle

I promise, this blog isn’t going to turn into HatredForAnyoneWhoEverCalledAnyoneFatInPrint.com. But I couldn’t let Alastair Macaulay’s sour take on the New York City Ballet’s current Sugar Plum Fairy pass without opening it up for discussion.

A little background: Macaulay, a ballet critic for The New York Times, reviewed City Ballet’s current production of The Nutcracker at the end of last month. He liked it, but pointed out that Sugar Plum Fairy Jennifer Ringer “looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.” The body critique extended to Jared Angle, who dances the part of the Cavalier; Macaulay wrote, Angle “seems to have been sampling half the Sweet realm.”

When readers wrote in to complain, Macaulay penned another piece defending his position. Ballet is all about bodies, he argued. If you can’t handle the scrutiny, toss your toeshoes in the trash for good.

Then, Ringer appeared on Today on Monday, talking about the controversy. The ballerina, who has previously discussed her history of anorexia and compulsive eating, handled questions gracefully.

“As a dancer, I do put myself out there to be criticized, and my body is part of my art form. At the same time, I’m not overweight. I do have, I guess, a more womanly body type than the stereotypical ballerina. But that’s one of the wonderful things about, actually, the New York City Ballet is we have every body type you can imagine. We have tall, we have petite, we have athletic, we have womanly, we have waiflike. I mean, we have every body type out there, and they can all dance like crazy, they’re all gorgeous. And I think dance should be more of a celebration of that, of seeing these beautiful women with these different bodies all dancing to this gorgeous music, and that’s what should be celebrated.”

She added that she doesn’t want an apology from Macaulay. I’d add that she shouldn’t get one; what he said, though silly, is well within his realm. Critics often write things artists don’t like, and then everyone moves on.

But I’m interested in hearing what you out there in Haul nation have to say on the matter. I’m probably a little biased. As a “bigger” group fitness instructor, I have often run into people who can’t believe that I have the physical ability to lead a class in a challenging workout. Then we spend a sweaty hour together, and minds are changed. Given my experience, it took very little time for me to wholeheartedly jete onto Team Ringer. And I’m also wondering why no one’s up in arms about the comments made about Angle, a question Macaulay also raises in his rebuttal. Is it because Angle’s a dude? Do weight cracks not matter, or are they more easily dismissed, when they’re made about men? I’m all over the place, faithful Haulers. Leave comments and give me some guidance. What say you?

What do you think?

December 15, 2010 at 1:42 am 2 comments

Marathon Monday

Running a marathon can be an awesome, life-affirming experience.

Watching one is nearly as good.

For the past few years, Melissa — one of the cool chicks who reads this blog — and I have cheered ING New York City Marathon runners at mile 21 in the Bronx. We usually stand at a spot right before the course rounds a corner and spits the runners out toward the Madison Avenue Bridge.

We usually arrive around 1:30 p.m., when those who’ll finish in 4:20 or longer are cruising by. Invariably, some runners are still going strong and smiling as they pass. Some are grimacing and limping. The longer we’re out there, the slower the pace. By the time we leave around 4 p.m., most marathoners are walking. Some of them are leaning on friends or volunteers or each other. They’ve got five miles and change to go, and it’s getting dark and cold.

But they keep on going. And that is a fantastic thing to see.

Now before I get all Chariots of Fire on you, let’s recap some other cool ING New York Marathon weekend stuff:

Friday fiver: I took part in the NYRR 5, a five-miler held in Central Park on Friday at 8 a.m. I was surprised at how many marathoners did the race, too; if I have to cover 26.2 miles on a Sunday, you’d better believe my feet will do as little as possible in the days before. At the finish line, I saw Jared Fogle, of Subway fame, who was there to promote his own run in the marathon. In my post-run euphoria, I yelled, “Jared, you’re awesome!” He responded in kind. Say what you will, but anyone who runs and loves Subway is fine by me.

Faces in the crowd: Meliss dubbed me a “celebrity runner spotter” because I picked out buzzed-about marathoners, such as the aforementioned Jared (who was an easy get, as he was running surrounded by four or five dudes with SUBWAY on their shirts), and Today hosts Meredith Viera (who looked genuinely excited when we cheered her name) and Al Roker (who was in pretty rough shape when he passed us). And let us not forget Chilean miner Edison Pena, who was going strong despite knee issues when he ran past. All of them wound up finishing the race.

Gazelles: Before I headed up to the Bronx, I watched the elite runners do their thing on NBC. Edna Kiplicat took first place for the women, and Gebre Gebremariam broke the tape for the men. I tried to explain to The Fiancé why watching them do their thing moves me in a way that watching other pro athletes does not. “I don’t know how tough it is to play baseball or football, not really. But I know how hard it is to run, no matter who you are, and they make it look effortless and beautiful.”

Double duty: This chick, a documentary filmmaker, strapped a camera to her hat and filmed the entire race. WARNING: If you get motion sick easily, you may not want to watch.

Next year, in Staten Island…: So all of this ING New York Marathon fever has gotten to me, because I’m making plans to do it myself in 2011. If I complete four more New York Road Runners races before the end of the year, I’m guaranteed entry through their 9+1 program. (Very cool; tri-state area runners, check it out.) And yes, I’m still likely going to have problems with my feet next year. And yes, the last time I did New York I walk-ran the last few miles because of a tight IT band. But if the insanely inspiring athletes I saw in wheelchairs, on prosthetics, without sight and/or hearing can make the commitment, so can I.

Doesn’t hurt, of course, that Tiffany is now offering a line of ING New York Marathon commemorative items. You hear that, TF?

November 8, 2010 at 9:26 pm 2 comments

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