Yellowstone 5K 2017

One of my goals in my fitness journey, is to run a 5K.

I have technically done two Polar Plunge 5Ks before, but I walked both of those. Yes, I technically finished them both (and was at the back of the pack in both). Yes, I got a shirt from each one. This said, neither met my goal of running a 5K.

A couple months ago, Jason pitched me the idea of doing a virtual 5K together. I didn’t really know what a virtual 5K was… basically, you pay the entry fee, and you run a 5K wherever you want. You send in your time by a certain date, and they send you a medal and shirt. I decided it might be a good way to ease into this whole running thing. I have been doing some running at the gym, but not as much as I’d like. One day, Jason sent me a message and said, “Let’s do our 5K tonight.” Neither of us had done much training, but what the heck… why not? Jason had a goal of finishing in 45 minutes. I did not want to commit to that time, but was committed to finishing.

During the show I was recently in, I talked to one of the cast members who has been doing a lot of running and biking over the past couple years. I told him about the little training I had done, and about my struggles to maintain a running pace. My stamina was terrible! Even though I didn’t think I was very fast compared to other people I had seen at the gym, he told me I was running too fast. His advice was to take the speed down a bit, and shoot for small goals – running for x number of minutes, or one mile, whatever. My goal while Jason and I did our 5K was to run for one mile straight. I set it at 4.8, really more of a jog, but one I thought I could maintain. I was able to maintain a speed between 4.8 and 5 MPH for an entire mile, then walked (at a fast pace) for a short while. I jogged for a half mile, and walked a little more. I was able to keep the intervals of jogging and fast walking going for the entire 3.2 miles. The last half a mile was tough, but I kept going.

In the end, I finished in 42 minutes, 34 seconds. This was under the 45 minutes that I didn’t think I’d make in the first place! That means I averaged 4.53 MPH for 3.2 miles!! I can’t walk that fast, which means that I officially did it! I ran a 5K! The best part? I beat Jason by 20 seconds!!

Today, Jason and I got our medals and shirts from the Yellowstone Virtual 5K. This race raised money for Yellowstone National Park, which we loved when we went a couple years ago. It was a good cause for a first race. The medal was based on the Grand Prismatic Spring, and was much more beautiful than it looked online. The shirts were great quality too! I look forward to wearing it.

Jason and I, showing off our swag!

This summer, Today, Jason and I plan on doing a couple more. Not sure if they will all be virtual races (which feel like less pressure), or if I will run a race with other people at the same time, but I will definitely do more.

 

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White Bear Lake Lion’s Club Show 2017

Sleeping With the Television On – our opening number. Thank you to Jen Goplen for this great photo!

This past weekend, I had the privilege of being a part of the 71st annual White Bear Lake Lion’s Club Show. This is the local Lion’s Club‘s largest fundraiser each year. All the proceeds go back to the community in the form of scholarships, books for schools, food for the food shelf, etc.

My character, Heidi Bomboozala.

This was my third year being in this show. The title was “Lost in TV Land 2.” It was about a man, Herman, who has been disrespectful to his wife by spending too much time golfing and watching TV. The Spirit of Neglected Housewives took Herman through some of his favorite old shows to teach him about respecting his wife.  My role this year was to play a female villain from the show Get Smart. I was also a backup dancer in two other scenes – M.A.S.H. and The Munsters. This was a fun show to be a part of, despite quite a bit of down time in Act 1.

3 out of 4 of the members of the makeup and hair crew. Grace, Jen, and Kari.

 

 

 

My daughter joined in the fun this year by being part of the hair and makeup crew. This was perfect for her, because she loves doing makeup and hair, and didn’t have the same time commitment as those of us “acting” in the show. There were a few makeup changes mid-show, and it took the whole team to help get them done on time. Almost every scene of the show had at least one person wearing a wig. When they weren’t doing makeup changes, the group was helping prepare wigs, helping people put them on, etc. Shayna (not pictured) led the team. I think they all had as much fun being behind the scenes, as we all did on stage! Every time I was in the hall where they were set up, I heard a lot of laughing!

Scott E. aka Herman Munster. This was one of the main makeup jobs that needed to be applied mid-show, and then again before the end.

One of my favorite things about being a part of the Lion’s Club Show, is all the friendships made. The people involved in this show are mainly Lions (or friends/family members of Lions). They enjoy serving the community. During the rehearsals, we heard over and over how “we want to put on a good show, and make people laugh.” The focus is always on raising as much as we can, so the Lions Club would have more money to give back. Not only do most of the people in this show have a “heart of servitude”, they are genuinely pretty great people! I enjoy spending all the hours of rehearsals and dance practices with them. We all laugh a lot!!

Kathy, Suzie, and I. We all tap dance together, and participate in the show together. Both women are huge inspirations to me to keep on moving, no matter how old I may get. The best part? They are ALWAYS smiling!

In the show this year were: people I have only met and spent time with during show season (some I had watched in shows when I was younger); women I tap dance with; one woman I danced with in Jr. High (and her niece that used to dance with Grace); one guy I graduated from high school with; and lots of family members of people I went to high school with. I will miss the hours we all spent working on the show, dancing, and laughing together. I’m already looking forward to being a part of next year’s show!

After the Friday night show, the cast traditionally goes out for a karaoke party. This year, it was at The Stadium. There was lots of singing, dancing, some poker playing by the teenage boys (not for money), and a few other shenanigans. I don’t think anyone there didn’t have fun!

On Saturday night, a few of us brought all the teens out for Pies and Fries at Baker’s Square. I think this was the third year we did this. There was a lot of laughing coming from their table. I think they had fun!

 

Next March, if you want to laugh, and see a fun show, please consider coming to see us! It is usually the first weekend in March, at Central Middle School in White Bear Lake. Laughing for a great cause… what better way to spend a couple of hours?

Creativity in Costuming and Props

Over the past couple years, I have become increasingly amazed at the creativity that comes with costuming and prop creation for shows.

Dance

The other night, I was working at the front desk at the dance studio. My task for that shift was to assemble some headbands for one of the competitive dance groups. The flowers I was gluing to the headbands, I had pulled off a garland a week before that. At that time, they were pink. Since then, they had been spray painted white, purple, and two shades of blue. I did not come up with the idea, I was just doing the tasks I was given… I was amazed at the creativity behind the creation of those headpieces! To look at flowers on a garland, and think, “I could just paint those these 4 colors, glue them to a headband, and get exactly the accent piece I am looking for.” WOW! That is not a talent I have!

Over the past several years, I have had the privilege of helping assemble/prepare many of the props, so I know how much hard work goes into them. Props and costume pieces for our dancers are often pieces that come from something completely different than what they are turned into. In many cases, I have found myself saying, “I would have never thought to make this out of that!”

Shows

Currently, I am participating in the White Bear Lake Lion’s Club Show. This is my third year participating in this huge fundraiser for the Lion’s Club! This year, we have an amazing number of props, sets, costumes, etc. While many of us are putting together our own costumes, and bringing in some of our own props, there are MANY pieces being created by a fantastic crew of people. They are working very hard to try and find or create authentic-looking costumes and costume pieces. They are able to come up with ideas that I would have never thought of. Even if I had the creativity to come up with the ideas, I do not have the talent to create such pieces! I appreciate the people who spend many hours pulling together pieces, doing alterations, etc. to make us all look the parts.

Last year, my daughter was in the musical at her high school. The women who worked tirelessly to put together 20’s era costumes were amazing! Many items came from Goodwill or other thrift stores, but were then altered significantly to turn it into something from the right time period. One of my daughter’s Chorus Girl dresses, was created from a figure skating costume. By the time the show took place, the costume fit the show perfectly!

I am in awe of people who can look at something, and just know how to create something completely different out of it! The performing arts world is a better place, because of the creative people who are able to make costumes, props, and sets with limited budgets, pieces that were intended for other uses, and even from raw materials. Thank you all for your hard work, and creative ideas!

 

We Adopted Two Kittens!

Anyone who knew me growing up, knows I always had multiple dogs and cats. We showed Samoyeds, and usually had 2 or 3. We also had at least 2 cats most of the time. I could never imagine a house with no animals. For a good part of my adult life, I had no pets. It always seemed like there was something missing.

When Grace was 3 or 4, we got a cat, Snugglebug. Grace loved the cat, but was allergic. The cat also started peeing and pooping in the house when we weren’t home. We realized at that time, that we just weren’t home enough to give the cat the attention it needed and deserved. My mom helped us find another home for her.

About 7 years ago, I got Duke, a black lab mix. We have thoroughly enjoyed having him as part of our family.

Recently, my husband started talking about getting a cat. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. We talked, and decided we wanted a female kitten, preferably with short hair… I started looking around, and found out it’s harder to find kittens to adopt than you would expect. I looked online, and I went to several Petsmart stores, since a friend of mine said she saw kittens at one. I stopped at a local Humane Society, and found no kittens. On a website of a local shelter, they said they have adoption events at Petsmart locations on Saturdays from 11-2. After over a week of searching, we decided to take a chance, and see what they had for animals at the adoption event.

20161231_114216When we first got there, there were several crates lined up with young cats. They were all so cute! As we were looking at them, I jokingly said to my husband, “Can’t we just take them all home?” He looked at me, and said, “Do you want 2?” Again, I thought he was kidding. Again, he wasn’t. There was one female (with long hair), and one handsome male that really grabbed our attention. We ended up with both of them. We named them Luke and Leia, because we are that geeky!

The kittens are from different litters, but are only a day apart in age. They were fostered in the same home, so are siblings for all intents and purposes. The agency that we adopted from was St. Francis of Assissi Animal Rescue of Forest Lake. They are a foster-based shelter. The family that fostered these kittens was there to answer all our questions about them. The foster mom, Tia, obviously loved the kittens. She had had the girl kitten since birth, and got the male a short while later. We are very lucky that they were in such a great home for the first 3-4 months of their lives!

Luke and Leia seem very happy in their new home!

Luke and Leia seem very happy in their new home!

Both kittens are very cuddly, playful, and adapted very well to their new home. They haven’t been at all nervous or shy like the shelter thought they could be. They have explored the house, found favorite places to lay, and They are not afraid of the dog. We are taking our time introducing them, using only short “meet and greets” a few times a day for the next couple days. The female cat seems very interested in him. We’ll see how it goes as they get to spend more and more time together.

I am glad we got two kittens… they entertain each other, and us! With 2 adults, 5 kids (though one spends most of his time away at college), 1 dog, and 2 cats, our house now feels complete! 🙂

12 Days of Fitness

Lifetime Fitness had a “12 Days of Fitness” challenge. If you completed all 12 workouts, you’d be entered into a chance for a Spa services. Since I could really use a massage, I went for it. In the 14 days of the challenge, I managed to complete 8 of the workouts. I also had a personal training session with Kevin, who showed me how to properly use kettlebells, and showed me some of the equipment listed on some of the workouts, so I would know what to do to complete them… I also attended a Kettlebell class as part of the 60 Day Challenge. That class kicked my butt, and I decided to let my body rest for the next 2 days (during which time, I completed all of my Christmas shopping, and baked most of my Christmas cookies).
Am I disappointed that I didn’t get all 12 workouts done? A little, but I still feel really good about what I accomplished during that time! I tried new things I previously wouldn’t have. I took pictures of some of the workouts that I enjoyed, so that I can do them again in the future.
I’m not going to lose a bunch of weight right now… I’m working towards a healthier me, I’m working to maintain where I am at, I am working towards building up my strength. Once the holidays are over, I will get back to focusing on what I’m eating again, while continuing to work out. I might not get skinny again (heck, when I was, people were offering me a sandwich everywhere I went, and that’s annoying). That said, I don’t ever want to get to the point where I am disgusted by what I see in the mirror – not ever again!!
The journey is what it’s about, and that journey is still going. 🙂

Abstract Art

Tonight, I had conferences for my 6th grader, Michael. I thought I’d share a story I heard from his art teacher .

His teacher said she had to send Michael to the principal’s office the other day, but it wasn’t because he was in trouble…. of course, I was concerned… that is, until I heard the reason…

After lunch, Michael came to class with cheese in his hair. He went up to her, and said, “Look Miss Vadnais, I’m abstract art!” I couldn’t help but laugh at that!! It totally sounded like something he would do! In fact, I thought there was a chance he did it on purpose, since he loves to make people laugh. She said it looked like it had splattered, and she thought he might be trying to cover for a mistake at lunch…

The reason she had sent him to the office, was to get the cheese cleaned out. She said, “I couldn’t just let him walk around the rest of the day with cheese in his hair. That wouldn’t smell very good. But… I wasn’t going to let him clean it in MY sink!”

The whole situation made me laugh!! I was so worried about how conferences might go, I totally needed that!

The MyFitnessPal App

As part of my journey to get in shape, and be more healthy, I have been using is the MyFitnessPal app. It’s a free app in the Play Store. My husband uses the paid version, which just gives him a few more benefits. For me, the free version is good enough. Here’s how I use the app:

  1. First, I entered my goals, and it calculated how many calories/day I should eat.
  2. I enter my food and exercise every day, and it keeps track of how many calories I have left, or went over for the day. What’s nice, is that it adds calories to what I can eat, based on the amount of exercise I do. For someone like me, who loves to eat, that’s great motivation to work out!
  3. screenshot_20160911-222452The app breaks down what I’ve eaten into percentages of protein, carbs, and fats. It tells me what I should aim for, which is very helpful. What I’ve found, is that I don’t eat enough protein. Using the macros on the app has gotten me to pay attention to balancing out the foods I’m eating, so that I get enough protein, or watch my carb consumption in the next meal when I’ve had way too many already that day.
  4. It also tells me how I’m doing on getting enough vitamins/nutrients. I’ve discovered, that even though I’m eating a banana every day, I’m not getting enough potassium. That is one that’s hard to find decent supplements for, but I’m now taking multivitamins, as well as some other supplements (such as flax seed oil – which I will be switching to fish oil when these are out). I said in a previous post that I didn’t want to rely on supplements to feel better, and that’s still true. I am, however, trying to make sure I get enough nutrients to keep my body able to work hard. So far, it’s paying off. 
  5. Finally, by entering food into my food diary, I am also educating myself about my food intake. For example, when I go to Caribou Coffee and get a piece of cinnamon coffee cake, and a Campfire Mocha with skim, I am consuming about 1/3 the number of calories I should be having in an entire day. That is generally what I would have 3 or more days per week as a snack for much of last year. No wonder I gained so much weight! This does not mean I am going to quit going to Caribou (it’s my favorite), it simply means I will pay attention to how often I am going there. I will most likely save it for a day I have worked out, or am planning on eating a lot of protein (to balance out the carbs and fat in the mocha).

As a bonus, MyFitnessPal syncs with my fitbit. When I walk a lot of steps, but haven’t necessarily “exercised”, it gives me a calorie credit based on the number of steps I have walked. Not only that, but my water consumption, weight loss or gain, etc. updates in both apps as I enter them (regardless of which app I initially enter it into).

Similar to much of social media, you can connect with your friends on the app. The only one I am “friends” with right now, is my husband, Jason. We can “like” or leave comments on each other’s progress with exercise, weight loss, etc. A feature that I have taken advantage of, is that I can see Jason’s diary each day. If we both ate the same meal, and he entered his first, I can just copy it right over to my own food diary. This comes in especially handy when it’s a custom meal that he entered the recipe for.

The final feature that comes to mind that I use often are the health and nutrition articles that are available on the app. When I first open the app, and let it know that I want to track my food, exercise, water consumption, etc, it opens my “newsfeed”. This shows me not only my notifications/progress, but Jason’s as well. Interspersed, are useful articles. None of them are too long, and most that I have read, have great information.

I would recommend this app to anyone trying to get a handle on their eating, or just trying to improve their weight or fitness level.

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