Posts Tagged: Fitness

Aug 10

Black Women Run, Too

I recently received the Sept/Oct 2010 Women’s Running magazine and there’s a strong chance I may cancel the subscription. The magazine itself has some almost-useful-to-me information, but each time it comes in the mail, I’m reminded that the magazine is really not geared to me as a black female.

Women's Running magazine

Women's Running magazine

Just a glance at recent covers can tell you that. In the two years this magazine has been coming to my house, I don’t ever remember a woman of color on the front of the magazine. Inside the magazine, not one of the articles features a woman of color. Three ads contain a woman of color: One Latina near the beginning of the magazine, then on page 76 (this issue is 80 pages) in the lower left corner and again on the back of the magazine. The only time you see females of color accompanying an article is when they are children. Of course! It’s so uplifting to see young black and brown girls interested in fitness. *eyeroll*

Of course, this is nothing new. Women of color are be used to the dearth of useful information in magazines geared to (white) women. Self, Shape, Women’s Fitness, Prevention, and Fitness Magazine have never pretended to cater to me. That’s why I will never subscribe or read these magazines. But when I saw “Women’s Running” (previously Her Running), I had wrongly assumed that meant all women. If anything, this is extremely clear in the beauty sections, which mainly focus on products geared to those with fair skin and non-kinky hair. In other words, I’m not going to hold my breath expecting an article on which hair care products are best for black women who swim. Which is okay. I don’t need Women’s Running to change to fit me.

I think what astounds me most, is that when you consider the make up of the US Woman’s Track & Field team, it is mostly black women. I do not recall seeing them interviewed in this magazine. However, I do see many interviews from past white Olympians, including those who have never won a medal. When I go running in my neighborhood the young Latinas and older Asian women put rest to the belief that only white women run. When I join a race and see so many black women of various ages, I refuse to believe the image these magazines give me. There is a reason that I follow @blackgirlsrun on Twitter.

Sadly, there’s not many options for me out there. Heart & Soul magazine has a very, very limited fitness section. I used to subscribe to this magazine for years, but figured it was time to let go when I only wanted to read one article from it. Instead, I’ll continue what I’ve been doing; sending out tweets and blog posts asking black female athletes for tips. Word of mouth is strong among black women. We have that going for us.

Hopefully, I’ll learn of a useful-to-me magazine.

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Mar 10

Sink or swim?

I’ve been thinking about how I need to incorporate more activities in my exercise regime. Running is fine and I’m proud of myself that I got off my ass and did it, but it still bores me to tears. Months of being unable to run made me reassess how I approach fitness. I want it to be fun again, not a chore. Finding my swimsuit had me thinking, “Triathlon”.

No, I don’t want to do a triathlon, but I watched so many of them over the summer, that I was psyched enough to start training. Only problem, besides the lack of non-stinky swimsuit, is that I suck at swimming.

You know those people who go to the pool, but don’t want to get wet? I’m only slightly more userful than them. Most of those types can swim. I can flail, splash, froggy-wiggle and float.  Taking swim classes with my daughter only served to remind me that I was never formally taught how to swim. Freestyle, butterfly, breastroke, backstroke…I’m aware they exist, but I have no idea how to do those fancy arm things without getting water up my nose (<–PHOBIA ALERT!).

I got my husband’s bike fixed today; I already have my running gear and just need a non-stinky swimsuit. I found this pretty neat triathlon training plan today. Let’s  just hope people can keep their giggles to a minimum when I start doing laps at the pool.

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Nov 09

Course for LA Marathon 03.21.10

Well…wish me luck. I just checked out the details of the map and WOW! That’s a nice chunk o’ LA right there. I can see why people are excited about this course. The race is in 4 months, so it’s time to get serious with training on hills. Just looking at the map, I can see that I’ll have some issues with the Echo Park/Silver Lake area. It’s not too hilly, but it is climb nonetheless for someone like me.

View 2010 LA Marathon Course in a larger map

Of course, I still need to register for the race, buy new shoes & socks, build up my core again and…uh…start back running. The best thing about doing the Great LA Walk is that I now have a glimpse as to what my running time could be. Granted, I’m not a fast runner, but I have my moments. I also won’t be stopping to take photos or sitting down at a restaurant to eat. If I finish with a 7:45 run time, I’ll be happy.

Aug 09

If I don’t get the Forerunner 405CX, I will die

Garmin Forerunner 405CX

Garmin Forerunner 405CX

I like my little Sportsline watch/heartrate monitor, but I really, really, really want need the Garmin Forerunner 405CX. I am…obsessed with this watch. I mean, I visit the website every other day.

As you may know, I track my workouts on All of my running routes and EA Sports Active workouts can be found there. When I’m running, I try to keep track of my heartrate. The only problem is that there’s usually an hour lag between the end of the run and the time I can actually input my data. This means that sometimes things are forgotten. If I had the Forerunner, I won’t ever have to remember! I can just connect it to my computer and upload the information to MapMyFitness.

Loaded with serious training features, Forerunner 405CX continuously records your time, distance, pace, calories burned and heart rate. Each workout is stored in memory so you can review and analyze the data to see how you’ve improved. And advanced training features will challenge you to step up your pace — race against Forerunner’s Virtual Partner® to improve your times, or set up interval workouts without having to circle the track. You can even download recorded courses to compete against previous workouts.

How can I resist that? How can I not own this perfect piece of gadgetry?

This will save me from having to remember what my route was when I ran. No more guessing. And as much fun as entering routes on MapMyFitness can be, it can also be pretty tedious. Uploading those routes would save me a large amount of hassle.

I need this watch.

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Mar 09

April 8th National Start Walking Day in Los Angeles

Despite the fact that my post on Social Networkouts went largely ignored, I’ve decided to go ahead to something about it anyway. The American Heart Association is sponsoring National Start Walking Day on April 8th.  All they’re asking for is 30 minutes of walking from you that day.  Why 30 minutes?

Taking just 10 minutes three times a day to walk will help you live longer. In fact, studies show that just one hour of vigorous exercise will increase your life expectancy by two hours. It makes sense to walk more and eat well — to live longer. (AHA)

So we are going to meet at Echo Park at 6:30pm and walk the perimeter of the park.  That way even those who can’t make it until 7pm will still be able to get some walk time in with the group.  Runners are encouraged too.  Everyone who participates will get a sticker.

Where to go:

We will meet at the entrance to the park at the corner of Glendale Blvd. and Park Ave., just south of Sunset Ave. We will be walking the sidewalk around the park, so meet up with us at any point.
View Interactive Map on
Please click through as this shows you the start point for our meetup.

What to bring:

  • Comfortable walking/running shoes
  • Water or sports drink
  • Healthy snack
  • Towel
  • Happy attitude

I am open to any other suggestions you may have.  

Please RSVP at Upcoming so that I’ll be sure to have enough stickers.  Tell your friends & family and please share this post with anyone you know in LA.

Check back here as I post videos and other health tips leading up to the big day. ?See you at the park!

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Mar 09

Social Networkouts

Image representing Gyminee as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Meetups of users of various online communities have been happening for some time now. In just the past 6 years, I’ve met women from a birth club board for lunch playdates, have potluck dinners with people from political sites, teas with online friends from gardening forums and recently met up with FriendFeed users at local burger joint. But you see the problem; it’s all involving food. I’d say that 95% of the meetups I’ve had with people has been surrounding food. ?On one hand, good food and drink are great social lubricators. Beyond the topic discussed on these sites what other conversational ice breaker is there that doesn’t seem awkward and insincere. Recently, I’ve been wondering why there aren’t more meetups of an active sort among these groups.

When you get into the personal realm in these online communities, the topic of weight loss and food issues come up pretty frequently. People share recipes, discuss what they had for dinner or talk about their time at the gym. Yet, when we get together our first thought is what restaurant to meet at or is it a potluck. Why not do something different? Why not make a meetup where we all take a yoga class or just a simple hike in Griffith Park??

At LA Metblogs, Will Campbell organized a day long through LA. I wish I could have made it but either I was busy healing or just busy. This guy Mike organized a walk through LA to celebrate his 10 years as an Angeleno. It became an annual event and last year was the 3rd year of Great LA Walk. The same day as the FriendFeed meetup, the Los Angeles Flickr group organized a photowalk around Union Station. These are all great ways to get some activity in a meetup.?

Many would suggest that I search sites like Active or Gyminee to find people who’d be willing to do an activity. I’ve tried that, but since I’m not active in those communities it’s a bit hard. ?To make it more frustrating for me is that most people who put Los Angeles in their profiles live in OC, the Valley or the west side. ?There’s nothing really local for me here in Northeast Los Angeles. The few people I’ve found in Pasadena put up posts like, “Looking for a partner for quick 10 mile trail run at 5am.” Yeah…10 mile, trail, and 5am effectively exclude me. ?

My logic in wanting to do a meetup around a physical activity has a lot to do with support. Sure, I could find a group to run with on Gyminee, but they don’t “know” me & I don’t know them. I’m sure they’ll be supportive of my efforts, but will they get my sense of humor? What if they all want to talk politics or tech while running? Whereas say I organize a Twitter/FriendFeed meetup, we all know each other from there and the activity will be more focused on fun versus getting mileage in.

Tell me. Am I off-base here or is anyone else interesting in doing something like this? Even if it’s a simple as a hike through Griffith Park ending in a picnic (more food!), that’s still more active than a group of us sitting around chatting…you know, like we do on our computers anyway.

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Feb 09

Fitness on the cheap

Watch workout videos instantly via Netflix

Netflix Watch Instantly Workout Videos

The internet can be a big lifesaver not only to your health, but also to your wallet.  Last year, as you may recall, I took up running.  That was fun, but with the kids, work demands & constantly getting sick, it was hard for me to exercise.  I had the idea that I would walk my kid to school every morning, walk back home, grab the boy and drive over to the gym for a quick workout. I did that exactly once.  Real life intruded on my plans.  So after driving the kid to school, I’d come back home and work or mess about online.

My solution for fitness became the rare spurts of Dance Dance Revolution on the Xbox and accessing the Fitness module via my cable’s OnDemand.  DDR was only worthwhile when the kids were asleep, as they both kept getting underfoot.  The same with the Wii Fit I got for my birthday. My daughter insisted that it was always her turn.  I love the Wii Fit, but until I figure out how to switch the cables between the Wii and the Xbox, I use whatever is plugged in, which is usually the Xbox.  Lucky for us then, that we have a Netflix account. As you may recall, I’ve rented some fitness videos via Netflix. Now with the Xbox Live Gold Membership ($49/year or try Amazon), I can use Watch Instantly to view exercise videos.  I have my queue loaded up with various videos that target different areas of the body.

But variety is the spice of life.  I remembered using workout videos online after the birth of my 1st child, so I dove into the internet. There are so many more places to get your fitness fix in the comfort of your own home.  When I had to cancel my gym membership recently, I stepped up my focus on finding the right exercise combo for me.  So, if you’re watching your pennies and are forced to cancel your gym membership or just don’t have the time or inclination to go to gym, here’s a list of sites that have free workout videos:

Fit TV
Exercise TV
Hulu (these videos are mostly Execise TV videos)
iTunes (h/t to Siel for this one)

Fit TV

Fit TV



Hulu Fitness Videos

Hulu Fitness Videos

May 08

Racing photos are up

Why do I look so short and fat?  I’m not that squashed, I tell ya!  But look at me run!

May 08

Brentwood Run 5K

What a good race. Much better run than the Santa Monica Classic, they had drink stands throughout the course. The advertised expo was a nice size with lots of helpful booths. The race was chip timed, so there was no mix up with my bib. Whoever did the Brentwood Run, clearly has more experience than those who did the Santa Monica Classic.

But no matter what the page says, I think this course was a little harder than the SMC. Maybe it was the lack of adrenaline of a first time race or lack of anything interesting to look at, but even though this was a simple loop on a mostly flat course on San Vicente Blvd. it was very trying. The only thing I learned was that Brentwood has way too many coffee shops on one street. There are 2 Starbucks, 2 Coffee Beans, Coral Tree Cafe, Peets Coffee and various smaller coffee shops. All in less than a mile area.

I thought that I was going to have to leave the race before we even started. I had been doing stretches and knew my ankle was hurt, but didn’t realize how hurt until I stretched. YEEOOW!!! The heel was so tender, I started crying because the pain was so bad. 5 minutes to race time and I could barely put my foot on the ground. I popped two Aleve, I had the foresight to purchase and waited for the horn.

I did wind up running and was pleased when I hit the 1 mile marker and the timer yelled out 14:23. Whoo-hoo! I was banking on a 17 – 20 mile because of my ankle, so that made me happy. The second mile was not happy. There was a hill involved. And it was a deceptively nice hill. Me and fat ass struggled up that hill. I did try to run a bit on it, but that really hurt my foot. Right before the turnaround was a drink stand. I grabbed a cup and almost died. Grape Gatorade! Why did they hate me? It was like drinking Dimetapp. Bad, bad, bad!

Turnaround came, I started paying attention to the people around me ’cause I was bored. The coral trees aren’t the big draw Brentwood thinks they are. There was a woman who was pretty much walking most of them. Every now and then she’d run. She was there with a friend who was 1/4 of a mile ahead. Every time she got within talking distance of this friend, the friend would take off running. Somehow, her baby in the stroller disappeared and she finally caught up to the friend unencumbered. Wouldn’t you know it, the moment she finally fell in beside the friend, the friend took off. That’s fucked up.

The 2 mile marker came with the guy yelling our 29:30something…damn hill added a minute to my time. Ugh. I made it a goal not to let the 3 old guys walking in front of me to beat me, but they kept running. Assholes. :P Finally, ahead I saw the finish line. I didn’t think that I was ever going to make it. Limping big time, I started into another run/jog. I think I hit the line at 44:38, my watch said I finished in 44:41 and some change. When results are posted (I’m number 248) I’ll know. Oh and when photos are posted, I’ll be sure to share.

UPDATE: Times are posted and here’s mine

Place Div/Tot  No.      Time        Pace  Start    Chip Tm
===== ======== ======== =========== ===== ======== ===========
  751  53/63        248 0:44:59.69 14:31  0:43.65  0:44:16.04

14:31 pace makes me very happy indeed. My ultimate goal is to eventually get that down to 9 min. but for now, on a bum ankle? That’s pretty good.

Mar 08

These shoes were made for runnin’


These are my new shoes. Like Ruth, I had to get new trainers. My experience was similar to hers. I went to A Snail’s Pace in Pasadena for my shoes. I heard they had decent prices and figured any store with a running club would have knowledgeable people on staff.  They checked my gait and had me fast walk to get an idea of my pronation, though I could have told her that I’m a severe over-pronator. I’ve known that since I was 11.

I’ve been thinking of doing a run for the past few months. I was never much of a runner, but there’s no reason not to. The training isn’t all that time consuming and it’s something I can easily do. I’m following the 8 WEEKS TO YOUR FIRST 5-K training schedule on Runner’s World website.  I’ve been studying this for the past month and there’s no reason to not start.  Spoke to my doctors who have been telling me to take up running for years, so that was out of the way.   All I needed is a sports bra, shoes and non-cotton clothes.

Now, ya’ll know a sista’s broke.  But I figured that this wasn’t an investment in a hobby, this is an investment in my life.  But damn…those shoes set me back.  So much, that I’m going to have to run in cotton clothes.  Ha!  Actually, I get rashes from sweating (allergic to my sweat) and I get rashes from lycra/spandex mixes (allergic to latex) so I wasn’t looking forward to buying a $50 t-shirt from lululemon.  Then I’m looking at another $50 for a sports bra. Gaah.  Good for me I already have a heart rate monitor and pedometer.  Though I’m am drooling over this piece of gadgetry.

Why are all the healthy things so damn expensive?  It’s bad enough that organic foods and healthy foods are priced so that the poor can not do that, but even participating in running is cost prohibitive.  I mean, sure you can just run and possibly hurt yourself with bad shoes.  But even entering in these 5K races are pretty pricey.  I’ll probably only be able to afford 4 races a year at the rate we’re going.

At any rate, I have my shoes and the DWP is just going to have to bite me regarding my late bill.  Priorities, ya know.