Friday, December 21, 2012

12.21.12: Heghlu'meH QaQ Jajvam

 Today, At the End of the World

We start out innocently enough, awaking at five in the morning to raging winds and rain. But there is work to be done, so we continue on into the kitchen, plugging in the Christmas tree lights as we go and deciding on this day, this end of days, to have omelettes and cappuccinos for breakfast with a side of cookies.

As the winds continue to howl and the sky darkens, I prepare for work by putting on my running shoes and realize training to run a 5k by December was a good choice. I am definitely more prepared now than I've been at any other point in my life to outrun the apocalypse.

I reflect on other peoples' choices to stockpile huge amounts of firearms in the face of impending doom, and wonder if they really plan on shooting hellfire and collision-course planets out of the sky. Best of luck to them.

It is easier for us to imagine rogue comets taking all scientists by surprise and wiping out the whole planet than it is to picture the seemingly banal heart attack, stroke, or cancer that will in fact claim many people today. It's a curious thought that millions of people will sell their worldly possessions and take shelter because of a possibly misunderstood ancient prophecy/calendar, but will not eat slightly better and move slightly more on a regular basis to push back their impending personal apocalypse.

But we don't know the scheduled dates for those things, and we do know planets will collide today, so we eat cookies with breakfast because that is how your last day on earth should start. I hug the people I love because that's how every day should start. And should we all survive the end of the world, tomorrow will start with oatmeal, and the running shoes will go back on, and hugging loved ones will continue because life continues and it is a wonderful gift that should never be taken for granted, and if it takes an ancient prophecy to remind us, so be it.

And if today is the end, I love and am loved and had cookies with breakfast, so I believe my life has been lived correctly, I have no regrets, and can agree with another ancient culture that Today Is a Good Day To Die.

The sun is coming out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Time to Quit

It's important to be able to recognize when you've made a mistake. How else are you going to fix it?

Zombies have been a little scarce this season; perhaps they too fear the first day of winter, or as we call it this year, the Mayan Apocalypse. Fair enough, but with the zombies went my common sense.

The Apocalypse Gym was founded on, among other things, the idea that your workout should have a greater purpose--you are running to a safe house, from aliens and zombies and conspiracy agents, and if you're lifting weight it's to one day be able to lift your own weight or a loved one's to higher ground.

With that in mind, it is time for me to say I Have Made A Mistake, but I am also proud to say it only took me two months to realize it and fix it. 


I joined with thoughts of running indoors on a treadmill during the colder winter months, so that I could keep up my workouts. I had the best of intentions, until I started the Couch to 5K Plan and remembered I HATE RUNNING ON A TREADMILL WITH A TIMER STARING ME IN THE FACE.
Oh yeah. How'd I forget that?
And if you hate something, guess what? You are never, never going to do it. The gym ended up throwing my motivation in the toilet.  I didn't want to go work out because treadmills make me hate life, there isn't enough strength training equipment, and half the stuff is broken. Also, it's one of those "gyms for women" which translates to "proudly serving nothing but aerobics classes since 1985 but calling it by trendy names now." 
While this is not the case with everyone's gym, it is with mine; it's the only gym in the area, and if you have to travel too far from work or home to get to your gym, guess what? You're not going to use it.

On the plus side, this experience made me realize that I wasn't waking up every morning saying, "UGH, I don't want to work out today." I was saying, "UGH, I don't want to set foot in that gym today."
So I quit the gym.

Don't feel guilty about going for a walk or a run outside because you should justify paying the gym a membership fee each month--spend the money on outdoor gear instead. Get a neck gaiter you can pull up over your mouth on really cold days ($10 on Amazon), a fleece jacket/pullover ($10 at Old Navy), and long- and short-sleeved tshirts made of moisture-wicking material ($15 starting price point, usually) for your base layer so you don't freaking get pneumonia. 
That base layer, the one pressing directly against your skin, is the most important. Try to avoid cotton. Try to find Smart Wool socks. Just remember, cold + wet = sick as hell, so dress to protect against the elements AND your own sweat.

I'm also installing a chin-up bar and investing in kettlebells.
(for an extended description of the awesomeness of kettlebells, click here to hear some words from one of my favorite teachers, Vincent Metzo)
A foam roller and resistance bands are also working their way into the home gym, all of which is being purchased for way, way less than my gym membership.

As for cardio, The Apocalypse Gym loves to play outside: 

...and in unconventional settings...

...and we'll never forget that again.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

There's Noooowhere to Hiiiiide...

...since the storm surge is so hiiiigh
mass transit is down
have to evac all of downtowwwn...
 Well Sandy, you're not just an iconic character with spray-on leather pants,

Holy crapcakes!

The biggest concern for this storm is the flooding, flooding, flooding. NYC transit is shutting down at 7pm, NJ transit is shutting down before that, and CT is just saying "Oh $#@%."

If you don't know your flood/evac zone for NYC, CLICK HERE to find out.
New York City storm prep always happens in two steps: transit suspension first, then storm bracing. The world's largest mass transit system has to be shut down over the course of 24 hours; that can't happen when the storm has already arrived. 
SO, now would be the time to head to wherever you need to be for the next 3-4 days.

Besides food and water prep, officials have stated that the northeast coast needs to be prepared to be without electricity for much of next week. That means store extra water in pans and the bathtub for hygiene, in addition to bottles and jugs of drinking water.


-Stay the hell out of elevators starting tomorrow
-Buy toilet paper
-Have buckets, towels, and plastic covering handy, especially if you live on a top floor. Mattress bags are $3 at hardware stores (vs. $15-25 for a tarp); they can be cut in half, doubling their already large size. They saved our stuff when the roof collapsed during Irene last year.

-Have extra cash

-Use flashlights, not candles

-Did we mention stay the hell out of elevators?

Since the city transit shutdown has forced us to settle in ahead of the storm (you know...the way everyone should always do it), now we have a difficult decision ahead of us: 
What do we watch first in honor of the storm, Grease or The Day After Tomorrow?

Keep informed--check in with the Office of Emergency Management via their website, or by dialing 311.

****UPDATE******UPDATE 12/10/12******UPDATE****

Sandy was a nightmare storm that left large areas of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York completely devastated. There are still people without power or heat, and many who have been displaced from their homes for the foreseeable future. 

 Please visit the Office of Emergency Management's page for Superstorm Sandy. It provides vital information for those who have been most affected, and there are links at the bottom for those of us who are able to help with the recovery efforts by donating food, money, giving blood, or volunteering your time.


Friday, October 26, 2012

How's That Couch to 5K Plan Going?

We just finished week three, and I have to say I am very pleased with the Sparkpeople plan.

It totally makes me feel like one of the characters in our promo:

So many things do, really.

AND, that song is REALLY great to run to!

Thanks as always to the Glam!Smash team for their amazing production work. SO EMPOWERING!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Be Fit Or Be Food: Couch to 5k Plan


By far, THE best time of year. Forget January--October is my New Year, as I shake off the nasty city sweat of the last 3 months, embrace the high fashion of Levi's, track jackets, and Converse (Doc Martens when I need to be fancy), breathe deep the crisp, cool air of endless possibilities, and am REBORN.

Time for a resolution, or, even better, A MANTRA!!!

My favorite mantra comes courtesy of my father: 
"Stay in Shape, Get in Shape, Be a Shape--Pick One."

He signs all of his emails to me in this way. THANKS DAD!!!! Because he's absolutely right: those are the only three options.

Our subtitle on this blog (Get Up. Get Out.) stresses our belief in two things:

1) you should get up and go outside on a regular basis, weather and health permitting. The mental benefits, let alone the physical ones, are incredible.
2) in an emergency, you have to be capable of getting up if there's to be any hope of getting out. Practice doing it now, because an emergency is no time to realize you're not in shape.

We're going to take advantage of this Must-Be-Outside-I-Love-It weather to set a new goal for ourselves:
The 5k Run.

WAIT, you say. THAT @#$% IS METRIC, you say.


5k=3.1 miles, and you can do this.

There are so, so, so many plans available online to help you reach your goal IN TWO MONTHS! How cool is that??? AAAAND training doesn't even involve going every day--just 3x a week, and 3x a week is how often all of us should be doing ANYTHING for our cardiovascular health ANYWAY!

Just think--if you start today you could have 3 miles under your belt before December. You could have a fitness/recovery plan in place before the temptations of the holidays fill us with traditional guilt and shame. You can say, "Damn straight I want a slice of pie, with ice cream, because I am a runner and I can go running tomorrow."  Or, "I will totally listen to your alcoholic ranting right now, because I am a runner and I can run away from you when this gets too stupid."

We found links to some great plans and are posting them below, but first we want to remind you of The Scout's Pace (previously blogged about HERE). Basically instead of running or walking in intervals of time, you alternate running and walking in terms of paces. We like this because you're rewarded for sprinting (hey! I'm already done with my running steps!), and the act of counting your paces is a really calming meditation--no room for distracting or negative thoughts.

So with any of the below plans, feel free to change the word 'seconds' to 'paces,' and in the case of minutes, convert minutes to seconds to see how many paces, especially if you're just starting out.

Remember: you can't get out if you can't get up, and we know you can.

Happy Fall :) 

 Two options for people ready to start running:

An option we like for people who want to mix walking and jogging the whole distance:

Another from Spark--for those of you who want to train to walk 3.1 miles: