Thursday, April 26, 2012

Anne 5K Blog #4

I’m still running and walking – and this week I heard the word for it, wogging!   What I’m noticing is that I’ve got more bounce in my step.  So while I’m still running 100 steps then walking 50 then running 100, etc. – it’s just a little easier.  Not faster, not prettier, but easier.  On the alternate days, I’ve walked the full 5K distance a couple of times, and that felt easy.  It takes me about an hour.  My friend who is training has already run a full mile, so I’m a little jealous.  I need to convert that green monster to motivation!  So this week I’m going to increase the running sections in my wogging.  Using the 10% rule tonight my running steps should number 110 , then on Monday 110*10% = 121,  Wednesday 133, and Friday 146—well maybe I’ll round up to 150.      

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Active Commuting – an International Trend

Who isn’t pressed for time?  That’s one of the main reasons people say they don’t exercise.

But several trends are converging to create what some are calling the Active Commuting Trend.  This trend combines the desire to save money on transportation, a concern for the environment, heavy traffic, a desire to be outside, and getting in exercise all at the same time.

Countries from Great Britain to New Zealand are at the forefront of encouraging people to get involved in active commuting. 
What is active commuting actually? Bicycle commuting of course, and even taking the LONG route to work.  For some people it means parking in a distant cheap parking space and putting on those walking shoes.  Some people decide to simply walk to work, donning a backpack, sunglasses and a hat to enjoy the stroll.  Some people run into to a gym near their work, so they can do a quickdip in the pool (or spa) and take a shower and come out ready for that corporate meeting.

Regular active commuters stash essential extras at their desk, like an extra set of underwear, just in case of forgetfulness when packing up in the morning. 

What are the benefits?  Well, of course great exercise.  And no need to hit the gym after work, preserving that time for you and your family.  It becomes a pattern, and patterns are always easier to maintain.  And spending that time outside, not on a bus, not on a train, not in a car, is time for enjoying the beauty of your surroundings and building in a little private time for you each day.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Eco Friendly

Junonia designs, manufacturers and directly sells active and casual apparel for plus size women.  Many clothing companies focus their eco efforts on organic and recycled fabrics.   But the ec0-friendly thing we are committed to is making clothing that lasts.  The best example is our line of Aquasport ™ swimwear made from 100% mechanical stretch polyester.  Not only are these well-fitting, beautifully made suits, but they just last forever.  We started making these suits several years ago, and customers tell us that they are lasting at least 3 times longer than the typical nylon/spandex suits, and they just don’t need to replace them as often.  In fact, it is typical to hear from a customer at about 3 years that they really want a new suit, even though there is still life left in the old one.  And these are women swimming in chlorine several times a week!

What is eco about this?  Making things requires resources from the earth.  To be able to serve our customers needs with less demand for resources preserves those resources.  Think of it this way.  If we have a happy customer wearing the same lap suit for 3 years, instead of buying a new suit every 6 months (which is typical) that is 5 swimsuits that did not need to be produced.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I’m Still Amazing

By Anne Kelly, President of  Junonia   Active Style, Everyday, Everywhere in sizes 14-6X
Other posts at

Do you have a picture of yourself when you were age 4 or 5?  Take a close look at that little girl.  She was pretty amazing, right?   My mom gave me a picture she found recently, one of me at my third birthday party, standing on a chair in front the cake, in my little homemade dress, waving my arms and directing everyone.

Children don’t have to try to be amazing, they just are.   But here’s the thing, inside all of us adults, that amazing child still exists.   My family will tell you I am still waving my arms, telling everyone what to do!
Look carefully at that picture of yourself. You are sure to see amazing qualities like humor, persistence, physicality, artistry, love of animals, generosity, friendship, cleverness, perceptiveness, even naughtiness.   These are the gifts we were born with.  Our essence. 

Do you remember that movie called “Hitch”?  Remember the nerdy accountant who danced like a maniac?  All his friends were embarrassed by his style and told him to tone it down in order to attract the cool girl he was in love with.  But it turned out that’s what she loved about him the most!    He just couldn’t help it, it was his essence.  And she loved him just for that.

So take that risk, and let your inner essence out for a spin.  Dance, laugh, be naughty, be assertive.  See what happens!  You’ll be amazing. (And put that cute picture of yourself somewhere you’ll see it everyday, to remind yourself of your amazing essence.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

“I Need a Push” -- Creative Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated

By Anne Kelly, President of Junonia   Active Style, Everyday, Everywhere in sizes 14-6X

My friend Katy is nothing like me.  When she wants to get something done, she puts a plan on paper and simply follows it!  Whether it is a diet, or a plan to walk the 3 day Komen Breast Cancer walk, she just does it.  For her the motivation is in the decision.  She doesn’t see it as a virtue, it’s just the way she is.
I’m SO not that disciplined.  I resist, I whine, I find ways to NOT do what I say I want to do.   But I suspect Katy is rare, and most of us need an occasional boost or push.  So I asked several friends for their top tips for staying motivated and on task. 

If you find yourself getting off plan, give one of these a try!
  • I usually take a little break and move my brain to something totally unrelated - like solving a sudoku or taking a short walk. It helps me refresh my perspective and restart my engine.   Nancy   
  • Hmmmm....sometimes for me it's just that the guilt becomes so intense, I can't take it anymore...but I suspect that is NOT what you are looking for...  I'll keep thinking...  Jane
  • I tell myself I only need to put in the next 15 minutes and I can stop.  Once you get started, of course you may do much more.  Vicki
  •  I write down the steps. Talk to x, sign up for y, buy z supplies, schedule one hour this weekend to meet with a…  Break down the tasks and just do the first one.   I get real relief if I’m moving ahead at all. Vicki
  • I like the reward system.  If I get something done I give myself a reward. Mary
  • I also use distraction, but I set a limit on how long I “distract” myself. Mary
  • I find I have to switch gears when I am feeling uninspired and tired.  So I do something different for a short limited time, like taking a walk or washing the dishes.  That usually refreshes my mind.  Kay
  • If I am still feeling blah, I promise myself to work for a very short time, like 45 minutes or an hour.  Once I start the task, it usually lasts longer than 45 minutes. That is how I got my holiday cards out.  Kay  
  • I forced myself to sleep last night and get back on schedule.  So, my recommendation is… GET SOME SLEEP!
  • I realized I work too much.  To counterbalance the workaholic addiction my boyfriend and I do not work on Sundays.  Not at all. Not one smidge. We eat breakfast in jammies, talk, make love and take a mini mental vacation.  I then feel ready to jump into the week.  Susan
  • I find that meeting two or three creative friends for coffee-- early in the morning and talking-- always revs my engine. Plus we always come away saying "Why don't we do that more often". Susan
  • When I feel unmotivated,  it is often because I am using only part of my brain, usually only the left rational side.  Instead of a push--- I pull back and escape completely..see a movie, play some music, read a book, workout for at least a few hours and sometimes even longer. I come back to the task with a more endorphin-filled attitude.  Jeanne
  • I find organizing something helps me get back on track; a closet, my finances, the kitchen.  It de-clutters my mind as well as my house.  Susan

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Getting Your Bike Ready for Spring

We’ve had a few glorious days, and it got me thinking about biking.  I stopped by my local bike shop to ask them what I need to do for my bike, to get ready for spring riding. Express Bike  is run as a training program for young people.  I spoke with Dave Lee, one of the shop professionals who teaches bike repair.  if you’d like to check them out!  They do great work and charge between $45-60 for a spring tune-up.  They are at 1158 Selby Ave. in St. Paul, MN  55104

Q:  What do you really hate to see when someone brings a bike in? 
A:  Rust!  To prevent rust, you must keep the moving parts lubricated.  It’s easy.  Just buy a bottle, and have the tech show you on the chain where to drip the oil, between the little moving plates—not in the middle of the chain.  (Dave showed me a sweet technique where you keep the lube bottle still and just rotate the chain.  I would have made a mess.)  Then you take a rag (turns out rags are very important) to wipe off any excess.  Lube any other moving parts and you are set.   Keep two kinds of rags with you on your bike—an oil rag and a clean rag.  With the clean  rag, wipe off your bike if it gets wet.  Give it a nice gentle hand soap bath once in a while (no pressure water or hoses that could water into the mechanisms.) Keep it as dry as possible between rides.  

Q:  How often should I have been doing this?
A:  If you are commuting (and they are seeing many more people doing this—even in the dead of a Minnesota winter) you might need to lube once a week if you are on wet and grimy streets.  For weekend trail riders, maybe once or twice a season, or once a month if you are doing some distance.   If it gets noisy—lube!

Q:  Do I really need to spend money on a spring tune-up?
A:  It can prevent problems you don’t want to happen on the road or trail.  First we make sure the bike is safe—that all the brakes work well, that the wheels are tracking straight, and that there hasn’t been any damage that you don’t know about.  We have seen bikes hit by cars where the integrity of the frame just wasn’t there—and the owner didn’t know.  Also, we check the tires for any dry rot or problems so it is much less likely you’ll blow a tire out.  A tune-up can also really extend the life of your bike, especially if you aren’t completely vigilant about things like lubing! 
Q: Any tips on buying a new bike?

A:  A couple of thoughts.  You need to be able to swivel comfortably on your bike to be safe in traffic, to see in all directions.  There are many new handles out now that can be substituted for what comes standard that allow you to sit up and more easily look around.  Swept-back handles are very popular.  Also, get the bike that fits how you will use the bike.  There are lots of seat options, so don’t settle for an uncomfortable ride.  Road bikes are great—on the open road.  But if you are trail riding, or commuting, they might not be the best.  For people who weigh more, there are tires that make the ride more comfortable and the tires aren’t as puncture-prone.  Look for the size called 700 X 32.  Not all bikes can fit the larger tires.  But if you aren’t usually “bunny-hopping” potholes, you probably don’t want a racing road bike.   
Q:  When should I tune up a new bike?

A:  Come back in after about 100 miles.  Why so soon?  Most places include this initial tune-up in the purchase price.  That’s because cables can stretch out, spokes may need to be aligned, the brakes may get sloppy, the shifting may not be as crisp.  Everything settles in and just needs tweaking.

Q:  What about safety?
A:  No matter how much safety equipment you wear, lights, fluorescent vest, leg reflective strips, you need to ride as if you are not wearing any. Be as alert as possible as a rider.   Do wear a helmet, and if you have a fall, turn it in for a new one.  Most helmet companies have a replacement program.  
Q:  What cool accessories are people using to enhance their bike experience?
A:  Mini pumps that can stash in a bag, road repair kits that have a few tools and tire repair, a nice back pack that isn’t too big or hot, a new bike helmet, safety lights, and a great lock!  When the time changed away from daylight saving in the fall, we were swamped by computers suddenly finding themselves riding in the dark.  If you are commuting or shopping, look at a rear rack, panniers or perhaps a retro fun basket.    Enjoy your bike.   

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Topic: Feeling okay with working up to fitness goals at a slow pace

You’ve decided to improve your fitness, you have signed up for the class.  CONGRATULATIONS.  But now you are feeling really anxious.  “What if I can’t keep up?”  

Step One:  EVERYONE has been just where you are.  Really?  All those fit and skinny women know what it’s like to be the slowest one in gym class?  Well, maybe not the slowest, but they all know what it is like to be de-conditioned, coming off an injury or illness, or starting a new activity.  You are not alone.  In my experience (as often the slowest person in a class) the rest of the class will be on your side, supportive and sympathetic.  If you really find a group that isn’t--run away fast and find another class! (I always feel I am providing a special service by being the slowest person in the class.)

Step Two:  DO NOT HURT YOURSELF.  Be kind to your mind and body.  I’m heavier and my knees twinge occasionally.  So I never do the full jumping things—I always modify, and guess what, my knees are fine!  But I can do the full abdominal exercises, arms exercises, and I can still get my heart rate as high as I want without jumping. Does anyone else care?  Of course not. 

Step Three:  BE A TORTOISE not a hare.  Slow and steady will definitely win.  In fact, even high level athletes use the 10% rule: Increase your distance OR intensity NO MORE than 10% over the last workout.  Never do both at once.  So let’s say you are nicely doing 10 burpees.  Next time you should do 11, not more.  The time after that 12, etc.  within two weeks you’ll probably be doing about 20—and that’s a lot of burpees!  Or you are easily walking 2 blocks.  The next day you do 2 blocks and 2 houses.  The day after 2 blocks and 4 houses, etc.  Within two weeks you are doing a quartermile, and it will feel easy.  Remember, there is no hurry.  Those tortoises are really smart.

Step Four:  CELEBRATE your success!  You deserve it.  This is the most important step, to congratulate yourself for making your life better.  It’s the nicest thing you can do for the world.

Tips from Anne Kelly, President of, specialists in plus size active and casual clothing.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Anne's Training Blog #3

It’s gorgeous outside!  The best thing about training is that I’m outside more often. I’m starting to enjoy the long walks again.  One day this week I felt like I was walking through quicksand.  That just happens some days, especially when I’m getting over a bug.  But yesterday the weather was perfect and I felt great.   So I helped a friend clean her garage for just one hour (amazing what you can do in an hour) and then we treated ourselves with a nice walk.   Today I binged on peanut butter whoppers (yes, really) so I’m motivated to get home and actually run/walk finally.  I’ve only been dabbling up to now, but I need to get organized. 

My friend is a military mom.  She is planning to run Mother’s Day as well, so she asked her son who is deployed to send a workout to her.   What a nice Mother’s day gift!  I’m including it here, but remember, no plan is perfect, and you need to listen to your body.   She is in good shape, has run in the past and just needs to work up to it again.  If you have never run (like me) this is probably a little too ambitious, but as you read the program you’ll see what a sensible son she has.  He builds in rest days, and some days that are more challenging.  And remember wherever it says “run” that can also be a run/walk.  10 minute miles are way beyond me, I’d be happy with 15!  Everyone is different and everyone is perfect .

The most important thing is to HAVE a plan, whatever it is.  So my task this week is to put my plan onto a wall calendar and to start working the plan!  8 weeks to the day.  And no more whoppers!  So study the shape of this plan, and then create your own based on where YOU are at.  Notice that this plans gets my friend to comfortably running the 3 mile distance several days BEFORE the race, and it gives her two rest days before race day.  Each week has as much rest as work in it.  And remember the best thing?  You get to be outside!

“Below is the training program that we talked about over the phone, again the most important thing is to get your feet and arches assessed and buy the right pair of running shoes and socks.  Also when you get the right shoes and socks wear them only when you are training, and do not vary especially the socks. 

The first 11 weeks are about building stamina and cardiovascular endurance, take advantage of the walks because they will help with the soreness that will develop in your legs.  From week 11 and on you should start focusing on your times set a mile time goal and try to stick to it.  10 minute miles should be a goal that you can both achieve.  This is an 18 week program, but if you need to condense it you should skip weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13, 16.  If you start next Monday you have 11 weeks to train and if you cut the weeks out just jump to the next week.   Love you guys."

Week 1  Mon - Rest or Walk 45min, Tue- .5 mile run, Wed - Rest or Walk 45min, Thu .75 mile run, Fri – Rest, Sat - .75 mile run, Sun - 30-60 minute walk