Cize Review

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The snow kept me inside today so I thought I would use the time to review an “exercise” DVD set I purchased. So …Beachbody CIZE It Up… I was considering a gym membership.  The gym next door to my office charges $60 for one month or $10 for a single visit. There are cheaper gyms, but they are much further out. Instead of joining a gym, however, I decided to purchase the Beachbody CIZE DVD with Shaun T for the same price as the month membership.  I’m at about two weeks into the program, so I thought it would be a good time for me to give it the grandma review.

What I like:

While it has nothing to do with the DVD, I found that I actually like the opportunity to make a fool of myself by learning to dance at home without worrying about anyone looking at me. Not that I often worry about that, but when I’m gasping for air and trying to catch my breath, it’s so much better when no one is watching. It’s getting better though, I’m not as winded when I first started.

Step-by-step instruction. Shaun T takes you step-by-step through each dance routine and repetition is the key. For example, the You’ve Got This routine is 43 minutes. For the first 40 minutes, you are learning each step, repetitively and starting from the top – repetitively. For the last three minutes, they play the “CIZE it Up” song, in this case Treasure “originally recorded by Bruno Mars.” The “originally recorded” means it’s not the actual singer, but it sounds pretty close.

Does it work? The infomercial states that it’s the end of exercise and the infomercial actors also declare they are so into learning the routine that it doesn’t feel like exercise.  I started the DVD’s a almost two weeks ago and I have lost three pounds. It would probably be more if I actually utilized the nutrition information in the Eat Up Guide included with the set.  I have to agree that I’m concentrating so hard on learning the dance steps, I do forget that it IS an exercise, disguised as a learn-to-dance DVD.

For each routine you rate yourself as to whether you’re a back-up dancer, front and center or ready for your own video. I think I’ll be in the back for a while, but it is fun to feel like I’m improving.

There are six routines, plus 8 Minute Abs. Today I started workout #3 – Full Out, for which the CIZE dance (last three minutes of the workout) is done to “Lose my Breath” originally recorded by Destiny’s Child. Lose my breath, I did.

Maybe the “not so much”:

I know that the Beachbody company is thinking of the young beach body types as their target audience, however, what originally drew me to the purchase was the infomercial that featured the older woman. It made me think that if she could do it, so could I. What I find distracting in an annoying sort of way, however, are a couple of the female, professional back-up dancers.  They are dancing, but it looks more like they are trying to model. One in particular, really annoys me unfortunately she is also in the Shakeology commercial right before the workout starts. I always fast forward.

Keep in mind that Beachbody is in it for the money, so be prepared for them to continuously pitch their merchandise in between the workouts, but not during the workout itself, thank goodness.

There are some that don’t like the repetitive-style teaching method and the short, three-minute CIZE it Up. I love it for two reasons, it helps me to learn the dance and it works up quite a sweat.

If you are a professional dancer or prefer the standard exercise DVD that “works both sides”, this DVD is not for you.  Some users complained that Shaun T didn’t switch sides to workout both legs and both arms.  It’s a dance DVD, not really an exercise DVD.  I tended to switch sides on my own and I was quite content with that. If CIZE doesn’t make you sweat, it’s probably not the DVD for you.

Overall, the cost of the DVD was the same price as a 30 day membership to my closest gym. If I used it six times (at what would have been single $10 visits to the gym), it would have paid for itself. All this to say, I’m quite pleased with my purchase, but do continue to fight the urge to purchase one of the cute CIZE t-shirts.

Something New Added to Running

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I had almost decided to pay the $60 for a 30-day gym membership.  The gym is literally steps from my office… out the front door, walk across the sidewalk, boom – there. I thought it would be so convenient during my lunch. I could run across the sidewalk, jump on the treadmill, shower and hop back into my office during my lunch. I also figured I could take some Zumba and Yoga classes at night and on weekends. All of this as opposed to driving the 1.5 miles to the employee gym and going into the basement of the government building, running on the treadmill and just lifting weights.

I decided to do something different. Yes I did. I bought the Shaun T Cize DVDs.  I ordered it about 9 days ago and it came today in the mail. Exciting!!! Cize teaches you to dance so you actually forget it’s exercise. Of course I read a lot of the reviews first. Some of the reviews were negative. They didn’t like the fact that he spent the first 20 minutes of a 30 minute DVD teaching each of the dance steps and repeatedly starting back from the top. I actually liked the fact that he would teach you a step, then start back at step one and take you through what you just learned. I learned eight new steps and at the end, he took you, fast-paced, from the beginning step to step eight – three times.  Then they changed the song (he said we would recognize it, but I really didn’t) and you did the routine two more times (he said it was three, but I only counted twice).  Needless to say, by the end of the 30 minutes, I was a sweaty mess.   The fact that I went to the gym and finished three miles on the treadmill first, made working out to the DVD that much more intense. My original plan was to just watch the DVD tonight and start tomorrow, but I was way too excited and just decided to go for it. 

Now tonight, I took a shower, took an aspirin, rubbed on some Biofreeze and I’m going to bed, knowing that today I killed it!

I Remember the Pain


It’s been almost two years since I completed my first half marathon. I remember most of it like it was yesterday. It was February 2014. What I remember the most about that half were the incredible cramps that started in my legs somewhere around mile nine. Sharp, debilitating cramps that almost knocked me out of the “running”. For days afterwards every step brought pain, some brought tears…the majority brought pain and tears. I knew it was really my fault. I hadn’t trained right/enough, wacky nutrition – of course a bagel and diet coke an hour before the start was a proper breakfast. I pretty much jumped in a corral and started a race.

Fast forward a year. February 2015. This year I took the proper precautions. I also made sure that I had salt, fuel beans and all sorts of little remedy’s to hold off the cramps and they worked.  I haven’t felt cramps like that…until today.  Oh my gosh! Perhaps it was the lack of warm up. Perhaps the single digit chill factor outside followed by walking into a building and jumping on a treadmill with 60 seconds of warm-up. The cramps!  In fact, it’s three hours later and I’m still feeling the twinge. Fortunately it’s not the total debilitating cramps of 2014, but pretty darn near close.  No worries, I will not be deterred. I’ve got my foam roller, Biofreeze and a whole month before the next half.

2015 Running Review

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What a year it has been! It’s funny…sometimes it feels like I’ve come such a long way and other times it feels like I should be further along than I am.  I do, however, remember back in 2013 when I could barely run a few steps and look at me now – two half marathons later! Who knew?

Greatest accomplishment: Finishing the Disney Princess Half Marathon two steps ahead of the balloon ladies. Well, perhaps more than two steps, but considering I was in the second to the last corral and made two unplanned stops along the way. I even managed to shave about six minutes off the previous year when I didn’t stop. I think the net effect was a much better race! Shorter time, half the pain!

Second greatest accomplishment: The MCM10K. I smile every time I look at that bib and medal. Not sure why, but it gives me the warm and fuzzies. It just feels like a huge accomplishment … it could be because it was my first run in the rain or, most importantly, that hill near the end of the race.

Proudest race: (I had to call it something other than an accomplishment) The Across the Bay 10K. Why?  The first 1.7 miles was uphill. Need I say more?

Biggest (EPIC) fail: Psyching myself out of completing the Clarendon 10K. The walk of shame back up the hill was more painful, I’m sure, than had I went ahead and finished the downhill race (it took just as long to get back to the top). Oh well, live and learn.  This might be a redemption race for me in 2016.

Biggest improvement: I completed one 10K in 2014. In 2015, I completed four 10k’s. Two races and two training runs! Now THAT is the way to end the year! Bring on 2016!

Grandma to Full Marathon

262230What is the significance of the following two numbers? 26.2 and 230. The significance is positive over a negative. Or perhaps craziness over failure. Well, 230 is the bib number of the 10K race that I quit shortly after the start. Why am I saving that bib as part of my vision board? It will always remind me not to give up. That’s not to say that I won’t ever have another bad race, but a reminder that while I had a bad race, I completed two 10K’s afterwards (no, not the same day.

What about the 26.2? Well, with the help of my sisters, I’ve decided that the one item that I swore would not be on my bucket list, is now…dare I say it out loud…should I speak it into existence? A full marathon in 2017. I haven’t decided which marathon, but it will most definitely have at least one of two criteria…RunDisney or fast and flat (emphasis on FLAT).

I’m actually still trying to wrap my head around the thought. I alternate between being really excited to having a churning feeling way down in the deepest, darkest recesses of my stomach. I think it’s possible. I guess they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; so it stands to reason, that if the training doesn’t kill me, I’ll be strong enough for a full marathon. My goal is to use that bib number 230 to get to my next challenge 26.2 miles in 2017.

Across the Bay 10K Review

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Across the Bay Bridge 10K, November 8, 2015 was a bucket list race for me. According to the website over 20,000 runners/walkers were registered for the 2nd annual run/walk across the bridge. Here is this grandma’s review:

The Great:

Pre-race communication – A ton. The organizers made sure they kept us up-to-date with reminders and checklists. The pre-race communication was second-to-none.

Packet Pick-up: Extremely well-organized. The only issue is that you needed to know your bib number to get your packet. They did, however, have computer terminals set up so if you couldn’t use a cell phone to access the website, there were resources to help out.

On-course: The views from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge were majestic! It was a gorgeous day, in fact, even though the weather was supposed to be super cold, it turned out to be a gorgeous day for a run.

Cup less race: This one was new to me. They did not hand out water cups, but provided a way for you to refill your handheld container. They appeared to be big barrels with spigots, but I didn’t use them and didn’t get a close look. This could go two ways. No trash, which is always environmentally sound, but if you were going for a PR and you stopped to fill your container, well….

The not quite so great:

The traffic logistics – Poor small, picturesque town of Annapolis. My wave was supposed to start at 9:20 with a recommendation to board the shuttle by 8:20. I decided to leave my house at 5:45 to drive the 60+ miles. I got to the exit for the stadium to park at 7:00, it then took an hour and 45 minutes to creep along the two miles to the stadium lot only to find the lot was full. There was so much traffic that the school shuttle busses were making a right hand turn from a lane to my left and cutting me off so they could get to their destination.

Parking: Parking for one of five lots was $10 pre-pay. There was no guarantee of a particular lot, just a spot in one of them. Signs should have been placed on the main road stating that the lot was full because that was the only reason we went down this particular road. The volunteers at the lot said that they could not help or direct us as to where to go find parking. I had spent so much time getting to this lot, it was past my suggested shuttle time. I thought the race app was supposed to give data on the status of the lots, but I could have been wrong and I didn’t have time to recalibrate my GPS to find another lot. Fortunately, I pulled off on a side street and was able to park. The sign said “no parking during stadium events”, but technically it wasn’t a stadium event.

The shuttle: Poor bus drivers. They had their walkie-talkies turned way up, I was in the back of the bus, but heard every bit of confusion they were going through. They were instructed not take directions from the lady in blue standing on the corner. What?

I made it to the start line two minutes before my wave started. YAY!!!! Success, but I didn’t have time to relax. It was go time!

The finish line: I made it! Yes…they even announced my name which was very cool. I was walking through the offshoot and noticed a little activity to my left, but I was busy wondering when I was going to get a medal. Fortunately I heard one runner ask her friend did she get her medal. I had to back track and the volunteers were trying to unpack more medals. Mine was handed to me in little ball. I didn’t really care because it was a nice medal and I was happy to have finished.

Next I noticed there was a long line, I figured it must be to get the “goody bag” or post-race snacks, but no one at the end of the line really knew what they were standing on line for. I by-passed the line and saw there were two more tables with no lines. The volunteers were yanking something out of the bag and throwing it in a box. It was moldy bagels and then they tossed the bags back on the table – – a granola bar and a small bag of pretzels. A little further on they were handing out water, which was quite refreshing.

There was a lot going on at the finish line, but I was tired and having read another review about making sure to stop at a porta-potty before getting on the bus, I waited on the 20 minute line. There was more mass confusion about where to line up to get back to parking, but I made it on a bus. Not sure where the bus was headed, the bus driver pulled into a gas station so we were joking that maybe he had to go, but it turns out he was just making a U-turn. After that it was smooth sailing.

So what does this mean?

So after reading this review, you may get the impression that I didn’t like the race, quite the contrary. When I first posted a comment on the race Facebook page I had said I would not sign up for this race again, but like my first half, after some considerable thought I think that I actually may just do this again. I truly believe the race organizers are committed to making the race even better next year, by working on the logistical issues of a race with a dramatically, increased number of participants. Reading the Facebook comments, it seems that runners in the early waves had a really great experience, organizers just need some work on the tail end.

As for me, I wasn’t beat by the bridge, I’m not going to be beat by a few logistical issues. Across the Bay 10K for 2016, may just be go.

Could Not Resist the Run


Two days ago my cold kicked into full-blown flu-like symptoms…sneezing, congestion…etc.., but I bought my first Garmin yesterday as a reward for finishing the MCM10K. (Now is not the time to ask why I was out shopping when I was obviously sick, but errands could not wait and since I was out anyway….) Anyway, I didn’t reward myself because of a single race, but this one was challenging for me and not to mention the fact that I had an epic failure of a race last month. I had actually promised myself this particular reward after the Disney Princess Half back in February, but I never purchased it. Well yesterday, gosh darn it, I bought it. The only problem is running should not have been on my list of “to-do’s” considering I’m a mouth breather today, but I wanted to run. I HAD to run today. Granted I only took my new toy on a 1.76 jog/walk. I’m not even sure why I picked the hilliest street I could find, but I did.

What do I miss about using my IPod/Nike App for running? Absolutely NOTHING!!! I love being able to just look at my wrist and not having to push buttons to hear my stats and accidently shutting off the IPod while running which I did a half-mile from the end of the race last weekend! Has this ever happened to anyone or am I alone on this one?

The most important reasons for getting out there today, besides my new toy, is the upcoming 401K race on Saturday and the Across the Bay 10K on Sunday. I’m definitely looking forward to my races with my newest toy, but for today…even though I know I should have stayed home to get rid of this cold, I couldn’t resist the run. For now, however, I’m going to take my running glow and nurse it with tea, honey and lemon.