Zumba and Kismet

I woke up this morning not really sure what I was going to do for my cardio. I knew I was going to do yoga at 10am, but between 9am-10am, I was wide open. I asked my sounding board AKA, The Trio and gave them the list of options:

  1. run on the treadmill
  2. elliptical
  3. swim
  4. Spinning
  5. Zumba

We talked about the pros and cons of each activity while we were frantically getting breakfast made, lunches packed, getting dressed, you know the normal hustle and bustle of a busy school morning.

Finally my oldest said "mama, you haven't talked about Zumba in FOREVER and we did it once together when I was like 6, do you remember that? We had fun when we did it, right?"  And I had to stop and think back since that was 3 years ago!! Yes, we did have fun when we did it together, but it was more for their benefit than mine, and I had already worked out earlier in the day so I wasn't obsessing over getting in a good workout; I was just there to have fun with my kids.

See, I have had issues with Zumba in the past. I love cardio. I love the feeling of getting my heart beating fast, and keeping it up for a short while, and then bringing it back down, and then back up, and then back down, etc.; basically interval training. In previous Zumba classes they were too low impact for me. I could never get my heart rate up, and I would get frustrated. Nothing worse than feeling you wasted your time in a workout. Seriously, I hate wasting time.

I went to the gym torn between spending an hour on the dreadmill treadmill and Zumba. I checked in, and noticed right away the distinct Zumba attire that a woman was wearing a few feet ahead of me. I zoomed up to her and asked very nicely "excuse me, are you the instructor for today's Zumba class?" Because honestly, a lot of people that take Zumba also wear those Zumba clothes, so you can never be sure Wink Her back was to me, so I couldn't see her face when I asked. She turned to face me, and we both just looked at each other like "HEY, I KNOW YOU!!" and she said "yes, I am the instructor, are you taking the class today?"

I am STARING at this woman, and it's seriously freaking me out, because I KNOW THAT I KNOW HER. And I can tell that she's thinking the same thing about me. We head up the stairs together and I explain to her my reservations about the class, and she tells me that a lot of it depends on the instructor and that she can show some more advanced options. We talk about music, and I think to myself "okay, I am going to take this class." I don't know why TODAY of all days I decide to take Zumba, but I'm doing it.

I'm at the lockers outside the group fitness room and I'm struggling with the lock. I see the instructor just a few feet away and I call her over for help, and then I just HAVE to ask "what is your name, I know that I know you." And she tells me the same thing, she knows she knows me. Then she tells me her name is Caroline and BAM...IT ALL CLICKS. Don't you love it when that happens?? LOL. And here is the connection: her husband and my husband worked together 13 YEARS AGO!! I think the last time I saw her I was pregnant with Haley, so it had to have been 2003. And I was fat Jenny then. She says to me "you didn't look like this the last time I saw you." I love it when that happens Kiss I quickly told her that I had lost 212 pounds and then it was time for class to almost start. I ran to the bathroom, put on my HRM, filled up my water bottle and I was READY TO GO!!

When I first started group fitness all those years ago, I was always in the back of the room. No longer. Now I like to be as close as I can. This class was packed, and I could tell that there were a lot of Zumba enthusiasts in the room. Wink I got as close to the front as I could and off we went. And guys...I LOVED IT!! The high options were great. Sure, there were lots of times when I felt I could have gone higher b/c my HR dropped to like 74% and I like to keep it about 85% for a cardio workout, but maybe if I actually KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING I could have pushed myself a little bit harder. There were times when I felt like a fish out of water, flopping around on the group fitness floor. So, I am going to try it again next Monday. Same instructor. I'm not ready to step outside that "comfort zone" and try a different instructor. Stick with who I know for now. I dashed out of Zumba and went and did yoga. I left my HRM on so I could see a total calorie burn for both classes. I was not disappointed.

Without further ado:


What would I like to see for next Monday's class??? Dancing to some PIT BULL!!! He's Latin, that should totally work!! Tongue Out So Caroline, if you are reading this, can you please throw in some Mr. 305, some Mr. International, PLEASE?? It was Kismet that drew me to Zumba today, but it's a great instructor that will keep bringing me back.


Have you ever taken Zumba before? Love it, hate it, leave it? What's your favorite Zumba "song??" Does the instructor really make a difference???

10 Tips to a successful mud run from a Mud Running Mama

For the second Saturday in a row I was up before the sun. Can you guess what I did?? I got D.I.R.T.Y. This is my 7th mud run in less than a year. Surprised I love these types of challenges and I've learned a few things along the way! Here are my tips in NO PARTICULAR ORDER!


1. Wear underwear or compression shorts under your running pants/shirts. I know a lot of runners don't like to wear underwear on race day, but trust me, wear them for a mud run. And while you're at it, wear granny panties. You don't want that nasty mud getting all up in your hoo-ha and you don't want your nice panties getting all up in a muddy bunch do ya?

2. Wear clothing that will NOT SOAK UP WATER! It will drag you down, make you heavy, sluggish, and if they get heavy enough guess what can happen? Yup, the weight of the mud can take them right off your body! Another good reason to wear granny panties.

3. Don't wear good shoes. I don't think I need to explain this one.

4. Bring plastic bags. I only need one 13 gallon size bag. And then I bring a few Publix grocery style plastic bags just in case. You'll want the bags to put all your post-race muddy clothing in. I do NOT rinse my clothing out at the race. I just peel it off and throw it in the bag, come home and wash it right away. I've never had an issue with mud stains.

5. Bring 2 towels, a washcloth, and a bar of soap. I set up one towel like a triathlon transition. I lay it out, put out my dry clean clothing, clean shoes, and then strip off my dirty clothing and in my sports bra and undies I wrap up in the other towel and head over to the hose station. And with my soap I am a very popular girl Wink

6. Sometimes it's okay to sit back and observe how others tackle an obstacle before you just leap right in to it. I wish I had listened to this tip today. And I KNEW it, but I got caught up in the excitement of the event!

7. It's OKAY to go around an obstacle. While I'd prefer it if you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone, it's totally okay to NOT do an obstacle.  I've gone around 2 obstacles (1 in Warrior Dash and one in Mud Crusade) and I don't regret those decisions at all.

8. NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY!! This includes COSTUMES!! Yes, costumes are fun and if you decide to wear one, you should "train" at least a small handful of times IN THE COSTUME!! Nothing worse than getting out on the course and realizing that your costume is not working for you.

9. There are a lot of mud/obstacle runs to choose from. Pick one that speaks to you. If you don't like zombies, then DON'T pick a zombie run. Don't want to be electrocuted? Then don't pick Tough Mudder. Want to run through a bubble tunnel and climb through "clean" mud? Then pick Pretty Muddy. Lots of choices. Make an educated decision. Ask questions, do research.


Saturday I did the Dirty Girl mud run. It's a women's only race, and it was a lot of fun. Our group, pre-race!

 Left to right: Genna, Mary, Meghann, Jackie, Caroline, Jessica, Me, Nicole, Denise, Margarita, and Raffi

It was a really great time except for the loads of horse and cow sh!t that were all over the course. Seriously ALL OVER THE COURSE. I couldn't relax and enjoy the run because I was so paranoid of stepping in sh!t, or of the people ahead of me stepping in it and then me climbing in the mud behind them, or putting my hands on places where their feet had been, etc. Super gross.

The obstacles were easy and not really challenging at all. Only one threw me for a loop and that was the cargo net. I had a total brain fart when it came to this obstacle and for the life of me I couldn't remember how I had done it at previous races, so rather than follow tip #6, I just went for it. BAD mistake. I decided to crawl across on my hands and knees and I ended up with bruises all down the front of shins. Ouch!!

We had two obstacles that we had to climb up in order to slide down. Climbing it was much harder than it looked, and I was so paranoid of putting my hands in cow sh!t from someone's shoe!

We had walls! Not very large, not very challenging. But fun!

This is the obstacle that grossed me out the most and that I got the muddiest doing! The cargo net belly crawl! I basically planked this obstacle, pulling myself through on my elbows. Thanks to Run DMT and Meals and Miles for these pics!

The dreaded cargo net!! That's me at the top of the pic climbing off!! And staring at you is Meghann from Meals and Miles.

And before I knew it, we were at the finish line!!



We took some time getting pictures taken, etc., and then I remembered that I wore a Polar HRM, so I glanced down to see my calorie burn! I was surprised to see that I had burned over 600 calories!

And then it was time to get clean and have our celebratory adult beverage!



The beer was Michelob Ultra! 2 weeks in a row of having my favorite beer at a post-race party!! SCORE!! Normally I don't get so lucky and have to suffer through a Budweiser, Coors Light, or Miller Lite!

Except for the animal sh!t, this was a great race!! You could hear music throughout the entire course which was a HUGE plus, the lines at the obstacles were minimal, and we just had a great time!! Our start time was supposed to be 8am, but we didn't actually start until closer to 8:15am, and we warmed up to a Zumba routine which was fun and got everyone in the mood to have a good time!  I like the early start times because then you don't have a line at the shower Wink

It was a great day and I can't wait to do another mud run with my buddies from the Tampa Bay Bloggers!!

Special thanks to Raffi Darrow from Running Betty for being our official course photographer (Dirty Girl allowed her on the course without having to participate) and to Caroline Calcote for sharing her pictures Laughing And a very special thanks to Bondi Band for donating our Dirty Blogger athletic headband. I had never heard of Bondi Band before this and let me tell you, these headbands were AWESOME!! They're made from a wicking fabric and were very lightweight, kept the sweat (and mud) out of my eyes, and in the early AM hours when I was cold, I was able to pull it down over my ears! Loved it!! Check them out!


Have you ever done a mud run?? Which one? Any additional tips to share??

You can't make me eat the rice

I wrote this post last year right about this time. I came across it again and it made me laugh out loud so I thought I'd share it with you all!

Monday was an exciting day for me! I accepted a new position as a media specialist for an elementary school in Pasco County; a position I have been dreaming about for over 3 years! To celebrate, my husband took me out for lunch. We decided to go to Ginza Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar on Collier Parkway. I was thrilled to see that they offered an assortment of fresh veggies and lean meats that they would stir-fry for the customer! They also had one of my favorite items; seaweed salad. I love sea vegetables, so this totally made my day. But I was about to have my dream lunch crushed by the rice Nazi. (This is of course made in reference to the soup Nazi, a beloved character from the classic TV series “Seinfeld.”)

The sushi bar had wonderful nigiri sushi just calling my name. Now since I’ve changed my diet, I no longer eat white rice; especially white sushi rice which is just empty carbs. But I love sashimi so figured I would just make my own by removing the rice. I helped myself to 6 pieces of nigiri (3 salmon, 3 tuna) and sat back down at my table and proceeded to eat just the fish and put the rice to the side. Viola, insant sashimi. And before I had even finished my 6 tiny pieces, the sushi dude calls out to me from behind the sushi bar “you must eat the rice with the sushi.”

What? I must eat the rice? Who is going to make me eat the rice? How can you make me eat the rice? Last time I checked I was the one who had control of what I put in my mouth. I proceeded to tell him “No, I don’t have to eat the rice, I don’t eat rice.”

He then pointed to a sign that I had overlooked where it stated that the customer must eat the rice. WHAT???

And then our waitress came over and tell me the same thing: “You must eat the rice.”  Again, I replied “I don’t have to eat the rice, I don’t eat rice.” She then tells me “if you want no rice, you need to order sashimi off the menu.” To which I replied “no, I want the buffet but I don’t want the rice.” All of this for 6 bite size pieces of raw thinly sliced fish. And this is not a cheap buffet. Lunch for the two of us (with tip) was $35.00.  And we drank water.

I am in control of what foods I put in my body. No amount of food pushers, sushi chefs, waitresses, or foolish signage can make me eat the rice. Not happening.