I saw the Queen last Saturday.

In the midst of moving and rocking and rolling with everything that’s been going on, I took a break to see the Queen Bey last Saturday evening, bringing the grand total of times that I’ve gone to see her up to 3.  Every show has been phenomenal, and if possible, her body, and her sense of physical fitness has gotten better, even since the birth of her child last year.

Queen Bey

Now I promise, I’m not just posting to brag about the fact that I saw Beyzus, and to make you all jealous. In fact, this all has a health-related point.

So anyhoo, the first thing we (me and Deb, the younger sis,) do when we finally got seated, was to go on the hunt for some food.  We’re kind of dorky, and both of us looked at each other and almost simultaneously said, “I wish we could find a salad here,” as we circled the stadium.  There was certainly some tasty-looking food there, but we were prepped to dance for 2+ hours, and nothing sounded grosser than slamming some cheese fries and then going in for Bey’s workout plan with a belly full of that stuff.

I settled on a saltless pretzel and a beer, and I think poor Deb just went for a teeny tray of fries that set her back like almost $10.  Not kidding.  Highway.  Robbery.

As we were waiting in line for the pretzel, Deb turned to me, and said something really profound.  So a little context here, Beyonce’s audience was mostly black women, like us.  She goes, “I’m actually shocked at how many overweight women there are here.  We really have a problem,” which she said with a sense of genuine sadness.

As I looked around, I saw she was right.  The women were beautiful.  And beautifully dressed, but it was true, it was evident that most of these women were overweight, if not obese, and at a concert to worship a woman who clearly works out, and works out hard.

And of course, I did a little research.  And the numbers for us, black women, just weren’t good.

Obesity Stats

Scan it quickly. 4 out of 5 African-American women are overweight. That’s kinda bad. And I don’t need to lecture you and bore the eff out of you with the bad things that come with being overweight, but I will say this.

I’m doing my part not to become a statistic, if not for anything else, for the sheer fact that I like to feel good about what I’m doing for and to my body, and working out keeps me sane.

So ladies, the next time you’re kind of not sure if you want to sweat it out at the gym, turn on Queen Bey, and let her inspire you to do something good for yourself.  We have GOT to change these numbers.

Disgusting things that happen to you when you run.

Still at my parents’.  And being home has afforded me the opportunity to take care of my mom, but also to work out a ton, and run a lot.  Like.  To the point where I have become so sexy, that my Raleigh friends are gonna be all “Whaaaaa” when I roll up in my Lancer. 

So I’m running yesterday.  And I really’d hit my groove.  Cruising down this hilly country road.  About  a mile-and-a-half from home.  And it hits me.  

Evidently, there’s a some sort of *ahem* poo treatment plant hidden behind the hills of gorgeous Weddington.  It’s pretty steamy out here, and I guess it, like, cooked the smell.  Because midway through my run, I literally doubled over, and had to feebly cover my nose with a finger as the smell of steamed poop assaulted me.  So much for the thrilling, reflective, country run I was going to blog about.  

Then I go to wash all my stanky clothes I’ve built up from the last week.  Pull them out after they were washed.  Did the sniff test.  And they still stank.  Pretty girls don’t smell too pretty, right Tyra?  (10 points for anyone who can name the Top Model candidate who said that).  And I left my Sport Wash back in Raleigh, so I had to fashion some out of white vinegar, and Wisk.  Ugh.  Good luck to me.  Running is not for the faint of heart. 

The Coolest Piece of Equipment you’ve Never Seen.

So I’ve been working out.  A lot since I’ve been home.  I spend the day cleaning up, cooking, straightening, and then I get a decent chunk of workout time that I may not get when I’m at home.  When I’m at home, it’s just squeeeeeze in my workout where I can, and there’s not a concerted focus on making each workout dynamic.  All that to say, I’ve gotten a lot of time to dynamically werk it owt.

So the YMCA I grew up in was the Siskey Y, this sprawling behemoth of a Y.  It’s gorgeous.  Pools, a waterpark, clean, large facilities, lots of light, and a lot of programming for the community.  The Siskey was kind enough to recognize my employment at the YMCA of the Triangle while my mom’s been sick, and they’ve allowed me to work out – especially helpful on the humid, hot-as-hell days that North Carolina has.

I did my usual.  I ran on the treadmills, which were pretty sick – each treadmill was equipped with its own television, which makes running for an hour or more a little more bearable, minus the commercials.  And then I saw it.

Ladder

This was the stuff of ‘Biggest Loser’ legend, something I’d only seen Jillian Michaels screaming at, while a poor sweaty workout-newbie cried as s/he climbed to nowhere. I kind of circled the machine for a while, and finally, I dashed in after a sweaty guy stumbled off. I fastened the seatbelt around my waist (the belt controls how fast the ladder moves), and I got going.

So the way it works.  It’s kind of like a treadmill ladder.  The lower you climb, the slower it goes, but the higher you climb, the faster the belt moves.  So I designed a little interval workout for myself.  2 minute warmup, then one minute at a moderate climb, and 45 seconds of a killer climb for 5 passes.  It was awesome.  I was drenched.  My stomach looks like Patrick Schwarzenegger’s.  Wow.  No, but really.  I live for machines like this one, that deliver a pretty hefty punch in a short amount of time.  (The rowing machine is my favorite one in a whole gym usually).  So if you’re looking for a cool workout that’s good for your core, good for hand-eye coordination, good to confuse your metabolism with the old switcheroo, and something that will make you sweat, see if you can’t find one of these.

My only disclaimer? Germs run rampant and unchecked on this bad boy.  You’re sweating, like directly on the machine, and your hands are going where your feet were, it’s all very nasty.  Wipe it down before, wipe it down after, and then walk over to the Purex machine, and go nuts.  

I’m the worst traitor, and runners are the nicest people in the whole world.

So I’m settling in at home.  Still trying to keep up with training, even though I haven’t picked a fall race yet.  And I realized yesterday, as I huffed and puffed through NC humidity, that I’d forgotten any type of hydration back at home in Raleigh.  Dang it.  That won’t work.

So I googled a running place, and slunk in.  Slunk, because I work in running specialty and I felt like such a jerk for being there.  But while I’m there, I may as well check out what they’re working with, right?

I walk in.  Put my Hater Shades on. And…our store looks SO much hotter.  Score.

So I’m trying to find something, anything wrong with this adorable store, none of which is real or true, to make myself feel better about shopping at a competitor.  Truthfully, I went into the store, the Charlotte Running Company, and it was cute, clean, well set-up, and the folks were so nice, even as some of my weird questions about the Hokas they carried revealed to them where, and for whom I worked.   When they found out I’d be in unfamiliar running territory for a few weeks while taking care of my mom, they directed me to where I could run, and groups I could meet up with. Okay, I feel kinda guilty now for being a hater when these guys were so nice.

And no sooner had I walked in the door when I spotted this.

photo

A 13-race 5k series?! Prizes? Uh, where do I sign up?

So I got my nutrition, chatted with the super duper nice folks at Charlotte Running Company, called my little brother, and signed us BOTH up for a 5k.  So tonight will be sibling bonding time – our first family 5k!

Taking my show on the road – Charlotte Runnings.

Having a sick parent totally blows.

My mom’s been sick since about March, and I had to make one of my first real grown-up decisions, leave my job for a few weeks, and come home to take care of bidness.  A lot of the care-taking was falling on my dad, and that’s a lot for one person to deal with.

I packed up my stuff yesterday, and hit the road to Charlotte, a place I haven’t really live-lived since the end of high school.  So I’m taking this time to take my running thing on the road, try a few new classes, meet up with some old friends, and document the whole tour! (All the while taking care of my mama!)  Can I do it?  Ya darn tootin’!

So after I peeled myself away from this face…

Mini

…and I headed back to the neighborhood where I spent the majority of middle school, and some of high school, Willowmere in Matthews, NC, for a little tempo run, and to go see my childhood home.  I wish I’d snapped a pic, but I felt like a neighbor would come and beat me if they caught me taking a picture of a home where children dwelled.  I had to play it safe.

So I ran down memory lane.

I ran down the strip of grass where two little douchenozzles on the school bus held my bookbag, and I flailed around, turtle style, as I missed my stop.

I ran down where the bus would usually let me off and I had to carry my bass clarinet allllll the way home in 7th grade. (I was a weird kid.  I literally get embarrassed when I see people from my childhood because I don’t want them to recall how strange I was.)

I ran past the house where the late Fred Lane, a football player for the Panthers, was murdered during a dispute with his wife, a less happy memory.

I ran down the cul-de-sac where we lived, and tried to steal a peek to see if our playground was still up.

I ran past the kid’s house who I had a crush on, but who moved away to like Ohio in 8th grade.

And I ran down to the track where my Daddy, no lie, woke up early for freezing morning track workouts so I’d make the track team.

What a weird and cool feeling to literally run down memory lane.

Hi sexies!

I’m here in Charlotte, taking care of Mom.  That’s right folks, I’m domesticated.  I cook and clean.  It’s been kinda cool too, because my family isn’t really veg, so I’m able to introduce a lot of cool healthy foods to the fam, and the more I learn, the tastier the recipes are.

So I’m here, you know, the weather kind of blows, plus I didn’t want to leave my mom alone while I went for a run.  What to do, what to do?  I packed my workout clothes, and I didn’t want to lose all my fitness while I was here at home.  Lucky for me, my Dad, who requested that he have a man room when he bought this house, put a treadmill in the man room.  So on it I went.  Among the Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada posters, the dartboards, and the pile of Sports Illustrated in the corner.

(PS, my Dad actually watched like 3 hours of The Real Housewives of Atlanta last time I was home because I left the television on Bravo.  It’s actually a good show, y’all, Nene Leakes speaks the truth).

photo
This is me, mid-stride, running.  I haven’t been able to get rid of that bra that the hook broke on, so it’s still going.  Notice the Derek Jeter poster behind me? I was able to get 5 miles in while The Bodyguard blared.  Whitney bettah werq!  I know we all complain like someone is stealing our firstborn when we have to get on the “dreadmill” but it really wasn’t so bad. And, if it turns out I need to take a leave and move to Charlotte while my mom heals, I need to make this treadmill and these yoga DVDs out to be the most fun thing since Amanda Bynes starting tweeting weird stuff.