Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gym Woes

I may have mentioned before that I'm fortunate enough to have a pretty swank HOA-funded gym.

Mirrors to watch your form, nice set of dumbbells, variety of machines, and enough cardio equipment that I typically never have to wait. And it's all pretty new - construction was completed just about a year ago, so everything's all shiny and nice.

Well, except that it turns out there are some structural issues. When people at the gym would slam and/or drop the heavier dumbbells on the floor of the gym, it would apparently cause the floors of the apartments on the third and fourth floors of the building to shake. Which is, of course, a tremendous pain in the ass for those who live there.

So the HOA posted a casual couple of signs saying "Hey, this is a residential building, don't drop the weights because it disturbs residents." And then they sent out an email saying "Hey, this is a residential building...seriously, don't drop the weights." And then they had a plastic engraved sign professionally made to post OVER the dumbbell rack, saying "Don't drop the fucking weights, dumbass." AND put down a thick rubber mat in front of the rack. AND THEN SENT OUT ANOTHER EMAIL.

And apparently, all of that wasn't enough to keep people from dropping and/or slamming the weights. Because one day this week, they were just gone. We got yet another email from the HOA explaining that, well, people just wouldn't stop dropping the weights, and they had no choice but to remove the dumbbells.

This makes me want to punch someone. For me, having a good gym included in the HOA amenities is one of the real benefits to living where I live. I rely pretty heavily on the dumbbells for all of my lifting, since machines tend to feel awkward to me. And seriously, you can't just stop slamming down your weights? I mean, we're not talking olympic competitions here. We don't even have a bar capable of being slammed (only a smith machine) so at best, you're looking at 50lb dumbbells.

Apparently, lots of people were pissed about the loss of the dumbbells, and they resorted to lots of crazy maneuvers. Like, for example, single-handedly converting the assisted pullup/dip machine into, well, a standard pullup bar.

OK, SERIOUSLY? And you don't even bother to clean up after yourself. Psshh.

Thankfully, they've made somewhat of a compromise. The other night, I went for some short cardio, chest & back (really, I just wanted an excuse to listen to the AMAZING new Green Day live album, appropriately titled "Awesome as F**k"), and happily discovered that we had regained limited dumbbell privileges:

Let's not focus on (i) the still-mostly-empty rack or (ii) the fact that we're only responsible enough to use colorful vinyl-covered dumbbells. It doesn't matter to me, because I generally only use the 15's anyway. The few back exercises I did with dumbbells - mostly variations on the bent-over row - I can comfortably do on one of the machines.

But REALLY. See the mats? See the sign? COME ON, PEOPLE. This isn't a college meatmarket gym. Behave yourselves!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coffee Craze

I was really excited this morning when I logged into Twitter and saw that I've converted both Stephanie and Cassie to DiBruno's iced coffee.

Seriously though! It's the best iced coffee in this part of Center City. If you disagree, I'd love to hear it - especially if you know of a place where the iced coffee is just as good, but comes in anything larger than a 16 ounce size.

Breakfast this morning (in addition to my delicious iced coffee) was yet another yogurt-berries-granola conglomeration.

Still not quite in season, but we're getting closer. This round was much better than the craptacular raspberries I bought a couple of weeks ago - they were on sale at Target, I think, or maybe Wegmans, two for $5. One package was completely underripe, terrible almost-crunchy texture and zero flavor, and the other was very overripe - mushy and completely mold-covered by the next day. Sad face.

My dog is not right. Exhibit A:

Not only has she taken the cushion out of the dog bed, but she is facing the (completely blank) wall. Not watching TV, not paying attention to her humans, just staring at the wall. Until I called her name.

This only lasted a split second, and then I guess she realized that she was sitting on an uncushioned dog bed with no source of entertainment, because she immediately ran away.

On tap for today: lots of relatively uninteresting (read: blessedly not complicated) work, followed by a much-needed sweat session. I usually take Mondays as a rest day, which is always amazing at the time, but it leaves me feeling a little stir-crazy by this time Tuesday morning. I'm hoping PhillyGuy can make it to the gym with me tonight - he's been super busy at work and we haven't been able to work out together in months, save one or two sessions here and there. I miss my gym buddy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekend Update

It feels so good to finally have a second to catch up.

Thursday I tried Zumba with my friend. Um, WOW. I ran the 1.2ish miles from my house to Versa Fit at 16th and Walnut, which felt AMAZING - running outside really is so much better than the treadmill, both mentally and on my knees. It was the perfect warmup for the class, also - I am not, how shall we say...coordinated. At all. Being warmed up made it a lot easier for me to follow along with the instructor.

I'm still on the fence about whether Zumba is right for me. It was definitely a blast - I sweated like crazy and the class flew by - but all of the jumping and pivoting was not good for my knee. I will probably try once more, wearing my knee sleeve this time, to see if that alleviates the pain at all.

PhillyGuy and I ended this week by taking advantage of Friday's gorgeous weather by grilling a big fat steak. I put together my standby brussels sprouts/mushrooms/onions mix, with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.

We had a super-thick ribeye in the freezer that must have been at least 24 ounces, so we split it.

Let me tell you, PhillyGuy makes a mean steak. He seasons it very simply - just salt and pepper and garlic powder - but MAN it's good.

(What can I say...I basically like my steak still walking.) And there is nothing in the world as delicious as these vegan oatmeal raisin sandwich cookies that we've discovered at Whole Foods on South Street.

Can of diet coke provided for size purposes. That cookie is the size of my face. The two of us share one and can't even finish the entire thing...but good grief, it's amazing.

I spent yesterday at Kleinfeld's with one of my best friends, who is getting married next February. I don't watch Say Yes to the Dress, but everyone else I was with does, so they were downright giddy picking out all of the people they saw on the show. Much to everyone's surprise, my friend picked out and bought a dress yesterday - it's absolutely gorgeous, and as soon as she held it up, her entire face just lit up.

Too bad we couldn't carry that feeling all the way home - it kind of got eaten up when we spent an hour getting through the Lincoln Tunnel. (Don't look at me - I wanted to take the train.) It was a long, LONG day - fun, but exhausting. I crashed hard when I finally got into bed, which is probably why it was so easy for me to be out the door at 8:30 this morning to go grocery shopping.

Now I'm hanging out in bed after polishing off a big fat bowl of Fage 0, Whole Foods bulk bin ginger granola, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

It's in the 40s, sunny and not as windy as yesterday - I'm thinking it's a perfect day to try to get in my first "long run" for Broad Street prep. I haven't run more than 5 miles since the half in November, so this might be a little creaky, but I'm hoping that my fairly consistent shorter runs will maybe bring my pace down a tiny bit...we'll see.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


yeah. I guess if there's one thing I do consistently, it's "fall off the face of the earth."

I mean, it's not really falling off the face of the earth, though. I still tweet. And I definitely read everyone's blogs. But yeah. I get busy at work, I can't spare enough time first thing in the morning to put together an entry, and then I can't seem to scrape up the energy to do it when I get home at night.

BAH. Regardless, here's what I've been up to:

A couple months ago, Leslie posted on Twitter about a fabulous LivingSocial deal - $25 for five classes at Philly Power Yoga. I bought my pass and then immediately started stressing about it. I was more than a little anxious - I'm a casual yogi, if there is such a thing. I love yoga, but I can go weeks or month(s) at a time without practicing - and when I do practice, it's usually the P90X yoga DVD, which is vinyasa-style, but with more of a focus on fitness than on proper form and meditation.

When I think hot yoga, I think "real yogis." Whatever that means. I start picturing a room full of skinny, ripped experts in lululemon hot shorts with high quality mats - not the $24.99 nike special I picked up at CitySports, or even the Wunder Under crops I've made my uniform, being that I'm not particularly comfortable in anything spandex that stops anywhere above my knee a the moment.

Frankly, I was too busy being intimidated by my imagination that I wasted a LOT of time that I could have been practicing the best yoga ever.

I finally bit the bullet and just WENT one Saturday a couple weeks ago, and I was instantly hooked. I'm pretty sure I didn't even sweat that much during Broad Street 2010, for starters. I got there about ten or 15 minutes early, which gave me enough time to cram myself into a back corner of the room, far away from the mirrors (clutch) and to get adjusted to the heat (double clutch). And, okay, I'd be lying if I didn't spend at least a little bit of the class fighting away negative thoughts about how much more flexible I could be, or how much stronger I could be, or how my love handles get uncomfortably in the way of any kind of side bend. But honestly? I can't even tell you whether or not the class was full of experts. I was too busy focusing on my own practice, and even the negative thoughts didn't stop me from leaving with a fantastically relaxed and cleansed feeling.

Also bonus: after sweating out buckets, I get to stop on the way home and grab an iced coffee from my favorite neighborhood shop.

So good.

I had to miss class yesterday - I had an engagement party to go to at 1pm, and I chose to spend my morning getting my nails done rather than at yoga. That opened up a little extra time beforehand, so PhillyGuy and I took advantage by having breakfast at Ants Pants.

I had the mediterranean omelet special, with black olives, feta cheese and argula and a side of fresh fruit.

And, naturally, we split an order of sweet potato fries. These are hands down the best sweet potato fries I've ever had - long-cut sweet potatoes fried up so that they're slightly crispy at the ends, but soft and delicious in the middle, sprinkled with kosher salt and served with sour cream and a sweet chili sauce to dip.


Time for me to head out. I've been having a lot of knee issues these last couple of months, but I'm going to give running outside a shot today. I really, really want to run Broad Street this year, but I need to take stock of where I am. Can you believe it's only six weeks away?