Tuesday, September 12, 2017

20-Minute Park Workout

Hello, and happy Tuesday! Whew, life has been a whirlwind ever since my last post. I feel like I've aged about ten years, and it has only been a little over a week. The good news is that Houston is continuing to recover and rebuild post-Harvey while at the same time watching Hurricane Irma wreak havoc on Florida and the Caribbean. It is both devastating and astounding to me that weather can do so much damage in such a short period of time, but if there's one thing I've learned after experiencing it firsthand here in Houston, it's that so many around the world will do whatever it takes to lend a helping hand. You guys were here for us in one of our darkest hours, and we will continue to be there for you.

A gem recovered on demo day
And building off of that hurricane talk, we had our FIRST day back on our campus as an entire faculty yesterday! Many of schools around the city had either their first day of school, or their first day back at school yesterday after a very long two weeks off. Bellaire High School, unfortunately, was not one of those schools, but we are all feeling very fortunate that we get to get this party started on the 18th, and that we get to remain on our campus. It's tough being up there without any kids, knowing that we should be well into the swing of things and embarking on week three of the 2017-2018 school year, but I continue to be so inspired by the spirit of the people with whom I get to work. We've got our work cut out for us moving forward, that is for sure, and I'm not even sure we fully comprehend just what it's going to look like as our 3500 students arrive on campus next Monday, but we're ready. We were ready three weeks ago, yes, but we've got a newfound sense of what the words "strong" and "community" mean, and our Bellaire community (really, you could call it a family) is as strong and united as ever. This year is certainly going to be significant, and we are more than ready to open our doors for our students. Well, our building isn't physically ready yet, but it will be. We have an amazing crew who is working so incredibly hard to get everything back to what it was pre-Harvey.

Friday before Harvey -- all was still calm
Well, calendar, it was nice knowing you
And to continue on with the positive thoughts trend, the weather in Houston has been FANTASTIC lately. Upper 60s in the mornings and staying in the 80s in the afternoons. And the best part is that there has been endless sunshine. I have been doing many of my runs outside as opposed to on the treadmill, and being humbled all the while, and been trying to spend as much time outside as possible. It's rare that we are treated to such weather this early in September, so I'm determined to enjoy it while it lasts. I have also really been trying to be "all-in" when it comes to marathon training, and that includes going the extra mile - pun intended - with my workouts. It's not just running that is going to get me ready to try for that elusive BQ, it's also building strength and watching my diet and being disciplined with recovery. I'm still working on the last two. But I have been getting better about the strength training aspect, and I have a quick workout to share with you guys. It honestly probably took less than 20 minutes, and I completed it at my neighborhood park.

There were a couple of pieces of equipment needed -- a resistance tube and a resistance band, but seriously, you can find these at Target or any sort of equivalent store. Also, Amazon, duh. I'm sure you have done or seen most or all of these exercises before, but I have provided links to video demonstrations to all of them below:
It will certainly get your heart rate up! Take advantage of the cooler weather and get your workout on -- I guarantee you won't regret it.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Six Years

Guys, fitnessandfroyo became a thing SIX years ago. I had just started my sophomore year of college, and I distinctly remember sitting at the front desk of Scottish Rite Dormitory, working my two-and-a-half hour weekend shift when I decided to stop thinking about starting a blog and just do the dang thing. 

If you guys know me at all, or at least have been reading this blog for any number of years, you know that fitness is my thing. Or, at least it’s one of my things. I’m extremely passionate about living an active and healthy lifestyle, and after consuming a number of healthy living blogs, I decided to start my own as a way to share my passion with the four total readers I probably had when this blog made its way out into the Interwebs. Actually, fitnessandfroyo started out as a way for me to share workouts and recipes, and occasionally an update on the life of a college student living in Austin. Well, it has since transformed into more of a record of my life – and this blog has seen me through college and my college graduation, adventures abroad, living with nine girls, the beginning (and end) of a long-term relationship, the start of my career (adulting, am I right?), three volleyball seasons, a number of half marathons, my first full marathon, the sweetest puppy addition, life in Austin, life in Houston, victories, failures, and everything inbetween.

It may seem self-centered to some, and sure, I’ll give you that, but I have so enjoyed being able to look back at this seemingly transformative time in my life. It’s fun to see how I’ve changed, and also where I’ve stayed the same. And while blogging has never been number one on my priority list, and there was even a time when I thought I was done with it forever, I always seem to find my way back. Writing is often how I deal with and process major life happenings, and that’s exactly what I’m here to do.

ANYWAY, in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to post on the six-year anniversary of F&F. I missed celebrating five years because #volleyball, but I also have another reason for posting. A reason I would be very surprised to learn that you had heard nothing about: Hurricane Harvey. The storm that devastated quite a bit of our great state of Texas. And if I’m being honest, I’ve tried extremely hard to come up with the right words to express the impact this Hurricane has had, but I can’t. I’ll try my best, but I’m sure I’ll leave much to be desired.

(Source: ABC13 Houston)
I’m going to go ahead and assume that you have seen at least some coverage of Hurricane Harvey. You couldn’t turn on the television without seeing coverage, and you certainly couldn’t check social media without getting the latest update. I think I’ve stared at my phone more in the last week than I ever have, but social media was so incredibly helpful in keeping up-to-date with the storm. That being said, I’m not going to give you a play-by-play.

I will tell you that I initially brushed off the first mention of the storm when I was walking into a district training at an alternate campus. I was walking in with a teacher from Westbury High School, and we were talking about how ready we were for students to be back on campus. He then said something along the lines of, “Well, I doubt we’ll even have school on Monday.” To which I responded, “What?” And he proceeded to tell me about this storm that was brewing in the gulf. I didn’t think much of it, because typically when we make a big deal about the weather, nothing really happens. My dad later texted me and told me to make sure I didn’t park my car on my street this weekend, as we were supposed to experience some flooding. Later that night I was texting with a few friends and they convinced me to rush out of my apartment at 10:30pm (Yes, me, out of my apartment at 10:30pm. That’s when you know it’s real.) to the nearest grocery store to stock up on food and water for this storm. We didn’t yet know it was a hurricane.

Well, Harvey started picking up speed, going from a tropical storm to a category 4 hurricane seemingly overnight. The first day of school was canceled (okay, postponed), my volleyball tournament and all regular season games were canceled until what we originally thought would be Tuesday, and all HISD employees were forced out of the building by 10:30am Friday morning.

Well, the rain really picked up Saturday evening, and then it didn’t stop for the next four days. FOUR DAYS. Catastrophic flooding. 51.88 inches. More than 20 TRILLION gallons. 185,000 damaged or destroyed homes. And I could go on and on and on. The numbers are staggering. But I don’t want to talk about that. You have likely seen the stats, and you likely know that the country has never seen quite anything like this before.

I truly don’t have words for the devastation I have now seen firsthand. I feel a little bit guilty that my apartment was almost like nothing ever happened. Safe, dry, and I never even lost water or electricity. Other parts of my neighborhood weren’t quite as lucky, nor were my parents, but I honestly don’t think you could drive through any part of Houston without seeing remnants of the destruction Harvey brought. Homes, businesses, schools. Some homes are total losses, some schools and businesses are closed indefinitely, and many are facing months and months of repair. Neighborhoods that had never experienced flooding were underwater. Bayous were overflowing right and left and you simply couldn’t get anywhere in this city unless it was by boat. In fact, boats became the most common mode of transportation for a few days. My dad thinks it will take at least ten years for this city to go back to its pre-Harvey state, and I don’t doubt it.

My favorite running path
But what I think has been the most incredible thing of all – if anything positive has come out of this tragedy – is seeing the way people have come together to help, serve, and love one another. Seriously. I don’t think this country has ever faced more turmoil than it has in the last year or so – at least in my 25 years. Tensions were high, comments were nasty, and it seems as though we were more divided than ever. I say “were” because I really don’t think it’s like that anymore. Before the rain ever stopped, people were out there weathering the storm. Saving family members, neighbors, pets, complete strangers. Our first responders worked around the clock without so much as a break or a complaint. 

(Source: Steve Johnson)
Volunteers at some of the major shelters were TURNED AWAY because there are more than enough, which just speaks volumes to the spirit of this city. Donations have been pouring in from all over the country. 

(Source: J.J. Watt)
You can’t drive down a street in this city without seeing large groups of people helping friends and neighbors carry out furniture or tear out drywall. Meals are being cooked and delivered. Laundry is being done. And the best part of it all is that there’s no “us” or “them” here. We’re ALL in it together – regardless of race, religion, or political status. Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in this country, and we have shown solidarity through it all.

(Source: ABC13 Houston)
(Source: ABC13 Houston)
My heart broke multiple times seeing what weather was able to do to my beloved city, but my heart also swelled knowing that I get to share this city with such incredible people who are more than willing to go the extra mile. My faith in humanity has been restored, and though Houston is down, we’re definitely not out. In fact, I think there’s more reason to have hope than there ever has been before.

We’ve got a L O N G road ahead of us in terms of recovery and rebuilding. It’s definitely going to be a marathon, not a sprint. But there’s not a doubt in my mind that we will rebuild even stronger than before. And while we’re at it, we’ll show the rest of the country how it’s done. I won’t lie and say that I’m not nervous to stand in front of my newest crop of students (hopefully) next week, many of whom have experienced three rounds of this devastation in three years. Quite a few of them had some sort of damage to their homes, and some of them lost everything. I don't know the right words to say. It’s going to take time, care, empathy, patience, gentleness, warmth, routine, positivity, and a whole lot more as we move forward from here. But the sun has shown its face and I have so much hope as we all move forward together.

(Source: Michael Ciaglo)
Whew! If you’ve made it this far, I salute you. And though I absolutely CRINGE at the thought of anyone reading My First Post, I have to reward you with the post that started it all. Unsurprisingly, not much has changed. I do, however, prefer football to baseball (but no one even mention the latest Longhorn loss), volleyball is obviously still a part of my life (coaching and a little bit of playing!), 

and while I may not be working at Stratford, I’m doing exactly what I thought I would be doing, precisely where I’m supposed to be. I’m still running, tardiness will always be my biggest pet peeve, and I’m watching Harry Potter as I type this post.

And if you are still reading, and feel compelled to give to one of the MANY relief efforts out there, here are a few that I personally would recommend:
Beltway 8 at Memorial as of Saturday evening (Source)
This list is just a few of the plethora of ways to help our beloved city, and I’m sure many of you have already helped in some way, shape, or form. But like I said earlier, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s going to require a lot more than just a week or two of volunteering and giving. Much love to you ALL! Thanks for reading this little blog of mine. Your sweet feedback truly means the world to me.