Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My post-workout binge: Pretzel M&Ms & Milk

Tonight I was flying solo at the gym because Jackie was working late. This was my first visit back at the gym since the Rumpshaker. I was super sore for the last two days, and this was the first day that I actually thought I would be able to drag my butt to the gym and actually do something.

I worked out chest, back, and abs before getting on my old friend, the elliptical. It was really hard to get motivated on the elliptical tonight. There was part of me that wanted to be doing cardio outside, but I know that I need to take care of my knee and don't need to over-do it. I powered through the cardio and finally headed home.

Jackie was still at work, and I had a major case of the munchies. I was craving some milk...and then I spotted the bag of pretzel M&Ms. Jackie bought them last week with a coupon. (I cant remember if she paid 2-cents for them or if they were free. Heck, the store might have paid her to take them. That girl can work wonders with coupons!)

I tore into the bag, and quickly devoured some of them. The salty/sweet combo is amazing!! I also poured myself a glass of milk, which I sucked down like it was going out of style.
Moo juice = yum!

In the end, I ate two handfuls of the M&Ms and drank 3 glasses of milk. (Jackie keeps saying that we should just buy a cow.) While I know that my body can use the milk to help build muscle, I know that the M&Ms aren't going to help me get to my weight goal.

Now I'm watching The Biggest Loser, and I can't help but asking myself WWJD: What Would Jillian Do? First of all, I think she would yell at me. Bob would also be pretty disappointed.

Unhappy trainers
I know it was a bad lapse of judgment, and I will need to do better. Tomorrow, I plan to work harder to make up for this.

In other news, I did manage to lose a pound over the past week...in spite of my birthday celebrations, which included a lot of cake!
A sinful combination

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Birthday Blog Extravaganza!!!

Today is my 26th birthday, and when I woke up this morning, I felt SO old. Every part of my body hurt. Every muscle was sore. Every joint ached. So far, turning 26 felt like I was turning 96.

And then I remembered that I ran a 5K yesterday.

I'm hoping by the time we run our next 5K, which is now in 3 weeks, I'll be in better shape. Surely the recovery period gets better!

Me on the birthday saddle
Overall, today was pretty low-key... and I liked it that way. Jackie and I went to church and then out to eat at Texas Roadhouse with my parents and her mom. We had a great time! The waitress also made me sit on the saddle while the hollered to everyone that it was my birthday.

Then we came back to our apartment to eat some of the strawberry cake that Jackie got for me at Joe's Italian last night. It is delicious! (Last night we ate at Up the Creek with some friends. I LOVE their lemon-lime grilled shrimp!)

After taking a much-needed nap, Jackie and I watched Sister Wives (one of our can't-miss TV obsessions, along with MTV's Teen Mom 2).

Tomorrow, it's back to the grindstone...and back to the gym.

Also, today marks the 1 year anniversary since Jackie and I got engaged!! I can't believe it was a year ago that I got down on bended knee and popped the question. (And I'm glad that I didn't have to get down on one knee today...because I'm not sure if I would be able to stand up! My legs are unbelievably sore!)

And for your blogging pleasure, I'm including some funny birthday pictures I found. There are even some Star Trek ones! And there are some that aren't specifically birthday related, but I loved them and wanted to throw them in, too!

Before we went to lunch
Dad, Mom, & me after lunch

The crew of the Enterprise knows how to have a good time!

Riker is thinking, "Man, I make this hat look good," but Picard is thinking, "I don't think these are the hats we are supposed to wear to Bruce's birthday party."
Live Long and Prosper!

Neelix: I made you a cake for your birthday!
Janeway: Crap, Neelix baked a cake.

You heard right, Uhura!

Fascinating, I thought Spock would know the difference between "your" and "you're".

Picard: Here's to you on your birthday, Bruce!
Picard: Wait... You're how old?!?
And this one's just for fun!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Leonard Nimoy!! (and my tale of meeting him in person)

Most of y'all know about my love for Star Trek. I am a total Trekkie! Today, I want to take a second to wish Leonard Nimoy (aka Spock) a very happy 80th birthday!!

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Nimoy a couple of years ago when he was visiting UAB to talk about his photography. A couple hundred people gathered in a large lecture hall. When he finally walked in, I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. There he was...in the same room I was in!!! (To date, this is my only encounter with any of the Star Trek actors, so I was really excited!)

The pic I took from my seat.
I enjoyed hearing him talk about his photography and the origins of the Vulcan salute. When it was over, he exited and the event organizers spoke to us for a minute.

When I was leaving the lecture hall, I came to two doors. I couldn't remember which one I had entered through. I picked the door on the right. I walked through and found about 5 people on the other side...including Leonard Nimoy! I was in the small room he was waiting in before going to autograph copies of his book.

The folks were taking pictures with him. All I had with me was my iPhone. I asked Mr. Nimoy if I could have my picture taken with him, and he said, "Of course."

I handed my phone to one of the others, but the guy couldn't figure out how to take the picture. I was panicking. I finally had a chance to meet Leonard Nimoy...and I couldn't get my picture with him. I was afraid he would have to leave to sign his books, but that's when one of the other people offered to take my picture with his camera and e-mail it to me. He snapped the picture. I shook Mr. Nimoy's hand and thanked him.

Here's the picture I got:

Me with Leonard Nimoy!

To this day, meeting Leonard Nimoy is the high point in my Star Trek fandom. And I'm so thankful that he was patient with me during my camera crisis! Another reason his birthday is special to me is that it is the day before mine!!

Live long and prosper!

We Survived the Rumpshaker 5K!!

After extensive training (OK, it was really just a couple of weeks), today was the day that we'd been waiting for: the 3rd Annual Rumpshaker 5K!!! Our obsession with the Rumpshaker began when Jackie told me about it a couple of months ago.

"Do you want to do the Rumpshaker?" she asked.

"With a name like that? Of course!" I said. "I want a t-shirt that says 'Rumpshaker'!"

We really buckled down with training when we joined Snap fitness earlier this month. Earlier this week, we both did a practice 5K on the treadmill to get an idea of how long it would take us to finish. I clocked in at 45 minutes, and Jackie finished in just over an hour.

I was totally prepared for it to take us longer to run the real race. The practice 5K was, I thought, our "best case scenario" for getting an estimate about our time. It was inside... in air conditioning... with plenty of water.

This morning when our alarms went off at 5:30, Jackie and I looked at each other, and we both said, "This is the dumbest thing we've ever done." Who in their right mind gets up at the butt-crack of dawn on a Saturday...to go running??? Well, it turns out that there were a lot of us that do it!

We met up with Jackie's parents and brother and headed to Sloss. Traffic was pretty backed up when we got close to the race site. Jackie and Diana set out on one last potty break before the race, while Jeff, Matt, and I waited to park the truck.

Once we were finally parked, we set out to find the girls...only to realize that we had no clue where they were. We searched and waited, but all we saw were a sea of people (most of which were wearing Rumpshaker t-shirts, just like us). As we were looking, they announced that it was about time to start the race. The three of us decided that, since Jackie and Diana would have to go to the starting line, we should go there to find them. Amazingly, out of the thousands of people there to shake their rumps, we found them on the way to the start line. We also caught up with Jackie's aunt and cousin, Patti and Samantha.
Before we started shakin' our rumps!

At the starting line, there was some guy from a local gym their to lead us in a warm up. Then they announced that the race would be delayed a bit because of last minute traffic issues (and a train was blocking part of the course).

Finally the horn blew, and we were off!! Jeff and Matt were in front of me. I quickly got separated from them in the crowd, but could still see them. (Jackie and the others were behind me somewhere. Once we started, I never looked back.) It took all of about 30 seconds for me to realize that my wearing my iPod clipped on my hip was going to drive me crazy, so I decided just to run with it in my hand.

When we reached the first turn in the course, I saw that we had to run across a bridge... and it looked pretty steep. I cranked up my iPod and kept on truckin'. I watched the road as we were crossing the bridge (one, so being up high wouldn't freak me out, and two, because I didn't want to step in a pothole or crack).
OK, it wasn't as steep at this bridge...but it felt like it was!

Back on solid ground, I looked up and saw Jeff ahead of me, but Matt was nowhere to be found. I assumed that he had run on ahead. Eventually, I lost Jeff in the crowd. We kept going... and going... and going...

and going...

I began to think that I'd missed the first mile marker because I knew I'd run at least a mile. I kept looking for the water station, which was set up at 1.5 miles. I was getting a wee bit thirsty. I kept on jogging...

That's when I saw it: the one mile marker. Seriously?! Had it really only been a mile?? It was at this point that I was wondering what I'd gotten myself into.

Finally, I spotted the water station. I eased off of my blistering pace...and by "blistering pace" I mean "slow and steady jog"... and grabbed a cup of water from one of the volunteers. I gulped it down...perhaps a little too quickly.

I was feeling good as we reached the next turn, but I had no idea what my pace was because I'd forgotten to start my timer when I crossed the start line. When I finally reached the second mile marker, the volunteer called out a time of 24 minutes and some seconds. That's when I realized that I was not only doing pretty good... I was actually doing better than I did during the practice 5K!!

I had told myself before the race started that I would take a brief walking break at the 2-mile mark, but I was feeling pumped, so I just kept jogging.

At one point, I could feel myself starting to slow down, and that's when my genius iPod started playing Robert Randolph and the Family Band's "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That"--one of my favorite cardio songs EVER!!! I matched my pace to the music and pressed on!

Rounding the final turn, I was feeling great... and that's when my knee started to bug me. It wasn't hurting bad, but it was like my knee was saying, "Ok, wrap this up. I'm getting a little tired."

Eventually, I could see the finish line...way off in the distance. I wanted to break out running as fast as I could, but I knew I needed to hold back a bit longer. Tortoise and the Hare, I kept thinking to myself. Slow and steady wins the race.

I felt like The Flash!
When I hit the 3-mile point, I suddenly got a burst of speed. My iPod also started playing Missy Elliot's "Shake Your Pom Pom" (yet another great cardio song)! It was like the finish line was drawing closer. With just .2 miles to go, I went wide open! I gave it everything I had left.

Nothing felt as satisfying as stomping on the rubber mat at the finish line. Unofficially, my time was 37 minutes and some change, but it will actually be a little better because it was counting from the moment the race started, not when I crossed the starting line.

Matt crossed a few minutes later, and then Sam, Diana, Jackie, and Patti finished! We were a happy (tired) bunch!

Patti and Jackie finish!

After getting some high-quality H2O, we headed to see the main event (at least for us): the inflatable colon!!! Inside the colon, we met a colon cancer survivor, and we saw examples of colon cancer. And of course, we had our pictures taken.
The colon!!!

I touched the polyp.
Having finally visited the colon, we left to go eat. (Gotta replenish our carbs!)

On the way to eat, we all agreed that we had a great time and that we want to do more races together! We're really excited about the Birmingham Zoo 5K Run in May!!! Hope to see you there!

And while none of us won a prized "Golden Toilet," hopefully, we can truly be in the running (no pun intended) for one next year .
I'm going to get one of these one day!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rain & The Rumpshaker 5K

As the Rumpshaker 5K draws closer, so does a storm front. (Seriously?!? We finally sign up for a 5K, and now it could be rained out?!?!)

Jackie picked up our race packets the other day. As I was reading through all the information, I noticed down at the bottom of the info page that it says that the organizers reserve the right to cancel the race. Not long after I read it, I saw that there's a good chance of severe weather this Saturday.

I don't mind if there's rain Saturday, but I'm not so keen on the lightning.

Jackie and I have already decided that if the race is canceled, we are going to run a 5K at the gym. Jackie said that we'll even take our bibs (just to take a picture).

I will be really bummed out if the race does get rained out. I'm really looking forward to it. But I must admit that I'm also a bit nervous. After our "practice 5K" yesterday, my knee has been...well, tingly. It doesn't hurt, but I'm afraid that it'll act up during the race.

Hope we have clear skies over B'ham Saturday morning!
No storm clouds at Sloss Saturday...please.
Tonight we went to the gym, and both of us admitted that we had crappy workouts. We ended up getting there right around 6, which is one of the busiest times. I think that alone put me in a sour mood. I had already decided that I was going to do abs, which I did. Then I couldn't decide what else I wanted to do, so I did a little chest and back before hopping on the elliptical.

I did a lighter cardio workout than normal. My knee did ok, but I didn't want to push it too hard before Saturday's race. I don't know why I was in such a funk today at the gym, but I hope I do better tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My iPod Reads My Mind During Workouts!

Seems like ancient technology now.
Many of y'all know that I first began working out in 2003 after I graduated high school. When I used to do cardio back then, I used to listen to my Walkman CD player. I would burn workout mixes, which could only be about 13 to 16 songs long because that's all that would fit on a CD.

One day, my great friend Ryan loaned me his iPod during my workout...and it was love at first listen. After I lost a bit of weight, I treated myself to one of the 1st-gen iPod nanos, which were brand new at the time. It revolutionized my workouts. Now I could listen to music during my whole workout, instead of just when I was on the elliptical (because those darn CDs used to skip while lifting weights).
Hello, nano!

I stuck with that nano until I got my first iPhone, and now that I've upgraded to the iPhone 4, I can't imagine heading to the gym without my own personal workout playlist to inspire me.

Since Jackie and I joined Snap a couple of weeks ago, I've realized that my iPod has developed a sense of humor and irony. I always set it on shuffle, and let the fun begin. The following examples have all happened in the past 2 weeks:

When I'm really huffing and puffing, Maroon 5's "Harder to Breath" comes on. When I hit the wall, Kanye's "Stronger" gets me going. When I start slowing down (when I don't need to be), All-American Rejects' "Move Along" or the Black Eye Peas' "Pump It" starts blaring.

The last few minutes are often the ones where I just want to quit, that's when "Give a Little More" by Maroon 5 has come on. One day as my cool down started, Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" started playing. Once when I kept watching the clock, counting down to the end of my workout, Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" came on.

(My iPod really likes Maroon 5 and Aerosmith out of the current list of 120+ songs in my workout playlist.)

These are just a few of the instances I can remember. There have been many more...and it's happened enough for me to notice.

Also, the other night Jackie dragged me to Publix with her for one of her coupon extravaganza shopping sprees (which totally deserve their own blog entry in the future!). As we were walking in the door, I asked if I could just go look at magazines while she shops. Lucky for me, she said yes.

One of the 5 magazines I read while she shopped was the Runner's World. One of the featured articles in the "Newbie" section was about a man who borrowed his 8-year-old son's iPod when he went for a run while on vacation. He talked about how it was so motivating some of the songs were, and he was amused that the songs that his 8 year old liked were actually great songs to listen to while running.

So I want to ask you, loyal readers, what are some of your favorite workout songs? Hit the comments, Facebook me, or tweet me (@BruceFinklea) to share your musical motivation!
I Heart My iPod!

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Tale From the Un-Handy Husband

As I mentioned in my last post, Jackie and I bought some furniture last night. What I didn't tell you was that it wasn't assembled. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor. I'm more like Bruce "No Assembly Required" Finklea.

Today, I decided that I was going to try and tackle the smaller cabinet by myself. We bought the small cabinet for extra food storage. We love our apartment, but it has a very small pantry that just doesn't give us the storage space we needed. When Jackie spotted this cabinet at Big Lots, she said that it was exactly what she wanted. (She also suckered me into buying a huge bookcase, too. I'll try putting that beast together later. I wanted to start small to build my confidence.)

Here's the box before I opened it:
After pulling out all the pieces, I figured that this would be pretty easy (even for the un-handy husband). The door is designed that it can be hinged on either the left of right side. The left side was what we needed, but as I started looking through the instruction manual, it only gave instructions for doing everything based on being hinged on the right-hand side. This meant that I had to keep reminding myself to reverse the instructions for any step that involved the hinges and door, which was about a third of the steps.
 After opening opening the bag with all of the screws, nails, and other turny-twisty things, I had a light bulb moment and used one of the pieces of Styrofoam to organize them. I stuck the screws and nails into the foam to keep them from getting lost. (At this point, the Un-Handy Husband was feeling pretty good about his handyman skills.)
Finally, the pieces began to resemble something similar to the picture on the box!

When it came time to hang the door, I realized that it is ideal to have a second pair of hands to help with this part. However, because Jackie was gone, the only hands I had were mine. This is when the Un-Handy Husband had his second light bulb moment: I got creative and used some library books to prop the door up while I screwed it in. (This is the most I've done with these library books during Spring Break!)
After hanging the door, I had no problem finishing up installing the shelves. And then it was finished!

This is where it's gonna go in the apartment. It's close to the actual pantry, which is to the right of the fridge:

As with any "some assembly required" project, there were some leftover pieces. I double checked to make sure I hadn't forgotten to screw these brackets on, but it looks like we just had four extras!
Jackie hasn't seen the cabinet yet, but I'm sure she'll be happy that it's together and ready to be stocked! After I finished, I felt pretty proud of myself. This is certainly a win for the Un-Handy Husband!