Plus Athlete

Taking on Your First Fall 5k - The Chicago Monster

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

The weather has finally cooled.  Octoberfests are brewing, you're looking forward to comfy jeans and sweats, and you're thinking "thank God I don't have to show my legs in shorts for much longer."  You think, perhaps, that the season to get active has passed you by.

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 Well, I've got news for you.  The perfect reason to get moving is coming to Chicago, and it's got our names all over it.  The Chicago Monster Dash 5k (3.1 miles for the novices) is coming to Grant Park on Sunday, October 31.  The 5k is paired with a half marathon, but for those of us who have decided that 13.1 miles is just a BIT crazy, the 5k offers a perfect option.  And we're going to run it together.

There's something different about this race. It's operated by the Team Ortho Foundation,  whose mission is to improve the lives of orthopaedic patients - and to promote good muscular, skeletal, and joint health by encouraging an active lifestyle. 

 

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A Field Guide to Surviving The Chicago Triathlon

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

If you're participating in the Chicago Triathlon this wekeend, you probably fall into one of three categories:

  1. The Well-Trained, "I followed my program and I know I can finish" athlete.
  2. The Sort-of-Trained "I enjoyed a few too many beers on Friday nights but I know I can finish" athlete.
  3. The Not-So-Much-Trained "I'm a relatively fit human being, so how hard can it be?" athlete. 

Depending on your approach to the race, you might find yourself in various states of panic right about now.  Having raced in, ("race" being a kind word) the Chicago Triathlon off and on for the past 10 years, I can deliver a smidge of wisdom for getting through it in any of these situations.  Below, a few tips to successfully complete Sunday's race - regardless of which category you're in.

More after the jump...

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Get Moving: A Chicago Summer "How To" Guide

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

Chicago's a pretty good place to be active.  We have 20+ miles of dedicated lakefront multi-use path and the park to go along with it.  We have multiple beaches open for fitness swimming all summer.  We've got gigantic tennis facilities, rental beach volleyball options, and miles and miles of hiking trails within 30 minutes of the city.

 

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But when you haven't been taking advantage of it, all of that can seem overwhelming.  Maybe you don't have a bike, or are scared of Chicago's traffic so much you won't ride.  Or maybe you think that because you're overweight, you can't possibly join a [fill in the blank here] group, or even THINK about completing your first [tennis match, 5k, long bike ride, lap in a pool, etc.].  Or perhaps you just can't stomach the thought that, though you were active in 1991, the glory days of running a 50 yard dash (or even getting up the stairs without being winded) might be behind you. 

It's okay to be overwhelmed.  In fact, it's absolutely rational to think that, if you haven't done anything active in awhile, the first few times you try something new, it's going to SUCK.  Yes, you heard me right. It just might suck. 

But you should give it a try anyway. 

Why?  Because time, it's a wasting.  And that body you're living in will be SO MUCH happier if you just try out some new stuff.  It will be stronger, and funnier (okay, so I can't gaurantee that) but mostly, it will feel far more powerful (read: sexy) than it does right now, so long as you put it to good use. 

So here, a few places and ideas about how to start enjoying the summer - active style.  Because you have to start somewhere, right? 

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Little Red: What I Learned From 3,000 Women on Bikes

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

This past Saturday in Lewiston, Utah, something incredible happened.

Three thousand women got together in Northern Utah for an annual ride known as Little Red. Officially known as the Little Red Riding Hood Ride, the event celebrated its 24th running courtesy of the efforts of the Bonneville Cycling Club, a group with over 500 members out of Salt Lake City who somehow thought that women from around the state (and country) might want to get together every year to raise money for charity, and generally get their ride on.  (Or, just to ride in a gorgeous setting with a bunch of other crazy chics.)  The cause changes each year, (this year the charity supported was the University of Utah's Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, to fund research for women's cancers), but the spirit remains the same:  support the idea that women like to ride bikes just as much as the boys, and sometimes, it's nice to have an event to call your own.

So what was the big deal about Little Red? 

Though the cocktails (alcohol-free) and tiaras at the finish were great, and the chocolate fountain was to die for; and the selection of vendors (including Terry, and Born Fit, who recently started carrying their apparel in an XXL) was awesome, it wasn't the schwag that brought me in.  Nope, if you'd asked me before I signed up, I'd have said this:  It's a chance to get away from the tough riding conditions in Chicago, and string together mile after mile of wide open road.  Or this: it's a good excuse for a girls' weekend with old and new friends who like an active life.  Or, this: if I pick an event that I have to pay to travel to, there's a chance I'll actually train.

Turns out, I was right about those reasons, and more. 

 

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Dead Flat Last: The Story of My Soldier Field 10 Miler

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

This weekend marks the 7th annual running of the Soldier Field 10 Miler, a ten-mile road race that starts, and ends, at Chicago's Soldier Field.  Specifically, it starts outside the gates on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend each year, and allows participants to finish on the 50 yard line.  Every participant, save one, will not finish last.  But one year, I held the honor of being Dead Flat Last.  And it's probably not the story you'd expect.

See, I had trained with a friend that year, a friend who was new to running.  For years, her friends told her that if Sallie could run, so could she (not in so many words, but essentially, they let her know that ANYONE could become a runner.)  After awhile, she agreed, and came out to train for her first race.  Excited at the prospect of running her first long distance race EVER, she signed up for the Soldier Field Ten. 

I told her I'd run with her the whole way.  I said I'd be right there, helping her get through it.  By this time, I'd bagged about 10 half marathons, and figured that a 10 miler wouldn't be a problem.  But I forgot, that in this race, there's a 15 minute/mile pace limit, which is fine for most people but was aggressive for the pace we'd been running that year (I was doing about a 16:00 run/walk, my friend an 18:00).  In the end, I was worried we'd be booted off the course, or worse, that we'd get locked out of Soldier Field.

Neither happened.

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Good Goals Don't Cry: Creating Reasonable Goals as a Plus Athlete

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

I've been reading a bit for work lately about what it takes to create a great culture. Not surprisingly, goals are a key part of getting an organization from one place to another, better place. But what happens when your athletic goals get out of control? As an athlete, can goals be a bad thing?

As a Plus Athlete, goals have often been the only driver for me to get off the couch and out the door. From that first Run for the Zoo, a 5k with friends (where I didn't want to die of embarrassment), to my next (a 45+ mile bike ride in the Cache Mountain Valley in NorthEastern Utah June 5), goals serve a singular purpose: to help break me out of my routine (of couch sitting) and get me into one that is active.

So have I ever gone too far with the goal-setting? Yes. As the authors of Goals Gone Wild will tell you (and hey, that's a Wharton and Harvard Business Review article I'm quoting there, so don't get all testy on me), goal setting can get dangerous if a few key conditions are met.  More after the jump.

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Flip Flop Bonfire

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

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Plantar Fasciitis.

Ask a runner who's been pounding the pavement what the most common malady is for friends, and this is likely to be your answer. Ask them to explain it, and you'll find yourself in a zen garden, trying to master the art of pressure points and bone spurs.  Though a common running injury, and a common foot injury, most folks just know it as "that sharp stabbing pain in my heel".  They don't usually understand where it came from, or how to get rid of it.  I know, because I'm one of them.

I know, because last week, I finally hobbled into a fine, fine, doctor's office and asked for a diagnosis from the pain which had been following me around for, oh, a little while.  Streaking up the inside of my right ankle, this pain was a subtle reminder that I had enjoyed some flip flops (more than a year ago) and that said flip flops were still paying me back. Unlike the typical presentation (which most FF wearers will know from the sharp, stabbing pain at the back of the arch, near the heel), mine was stealthy.  It showed up on this winter's snowshoe runs, hikes in the Rockies, and especially, (and this is important for the dudes) after a day spent in cute ballet flats.

That's right, ballet flats.  They're almost as terrible for the plantar fasciitis prone as flip flops, but I still think flip flops are worse.  Sure, they might make your ankles look less cankle-y and show off that new pedicure. But if I've learned anything about flip flops it's this: runners can't wear em, and regular humans should stay away too.

Why? Well, near as I can tell, it's two problems: 1) your toes and toe box area have to do all the work to grip the shoe as you fling it around and that puts pressure on 2) the tendon which runs from the ball of your foot to the heel.  The other reason is that there's no arch support to keep your foot on its intended path - and though I'm NOT a medical professional, from what I understand, this is a bad thing.  The resulting stress on that plantar fasciitis thing (technical term here) results in a strain, which usually shows up first thing in the morning when you can barely make it out of bed without hobbling. 

Oh, sure, the pain goes away sometimes (like when your'e warmed up)...but it comes back as soon as you're done cooling down, and it makes you think twice about even a 30 minute run.

So what's a guy to do?  Simple. Go find some Keens. Or some gym shoes.  And oh, my doc says to STRETCH THOSE HAMMIES AND CALVES people.  Strengthen those core leg muscles and make sure when you're walking around lots, you're wearing borderline Betty White shoes with absolultely NO sex appeal.  Ice when necessary, and try out some cross training.  (In other words, behave like a normal human being who's hurt and needs to be fixed.)

 

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And, of course, if you're really injured, get thee to a doctor, stat.  As always, with the right medical advice and persistent following of medical directions, you too might just be back on the road soon.  But if not, just start small: burn the flops.  Or, at least, just wear them to the beach, where they were intended, and stick to real footwear for date night. 

And seriously, take care of the peds, people - they're what keeps us moving.

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How to not look shrink-wrapped in your workout gear.

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

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There are certain inalienable rights when it comes to "working out".  If you've actually decided to become a person who moves - and moves regularly - I believe you're entitled to look good in your workout clothes.  I believe you're also entitled to NOT have to advertise every bit of padding you have.  And oh, you're also entitled to feel good while you're working out, which means wearing clothes that fit.

Yep, that's right. Once you've made the tiniest step to the gym, or the lakefront path, I think you should be rewarded with clothes that FIT.  That make the ladies look cute and the men look HO-T-T hot. 

Yes, there's the small complication that you're working out for several reasons, one of which may be because you aren't feeling so H-O-T-T hot. But set that aside from a minute.  Think of yourself in the gym, lying on the bench, waiting to do a press.  Do you want to be worrying about whether the guy across the way is getting an unintended look at a zone you'd rather keep to yourself?  I think  not. 

Plus, I don't know about you, but I live in deathly fear that some day, NBC5 is going to air footage of me, running down the lakefront path with one of those "OBESITY IS KILLING AMERICA" voiceovers, and I just need to make sure I'm NOT in anything clingy and tight when that happens.

So, if you happen to share my opinion on this crucial public interest matter, a few tips for buying your new workout clothes. Trust me, you'll thank me later.

1. Own your current size.  It's okay, and if you buy clothes that fit you now, you'll feel better in them.   This can be hard to do sometimes, but if you can, I'd encourage you to buy for your current size.  I know, I know, Sportmart only carries ONE size XL in each batch of Nike (I know, because I've asked); and you don't want to wear that tee shirt you have from 1992.  But here are your options: Walk around the gym, or the path, feeling self-conscious, tugging at your shirt every time it feels tight, or wondering if that slight roll (or rollishness-rolly thingie) around your waist is showing - OR - walk around confidently, with a mini-swagger, knowing that there's muscle in them there limbs, and that you're excavating through the extra padding to find them.  I'd opt for swagger, but that's just me.  And I don't swagger well when I'm constantly pulling at my clothes.

2. Get what you can afford, and get enough to NOT need to do laundry every time you work out.  When I first started running, I had one pair of compression tights (men's, ick), which I wore under one of two pairs of mesh basketball-ish shorts, and I had two "running shirts".  That was enough - with two pairs of shorts, and two shirts, I could alternate during the week and do laundry once a week - and still run 5 days.  I tend to be an overpurchaser, but I'd say that buying just a couple of extra shirts (or stealing them from your husband or whatever) make it far more likely you won't have an excuse come Thursday for why you can't work out.

3. Don't be afraid to order online. There are great, great places online now for womens' and men's running and workout clothing in bigger sizes.  Mile Marker Sports carries a full line of Sporthill, which includes women's plus sizes and Men's XL. Moving Comfort for Women carries a large line of plus-size tech clothes for women; and New Balance has a great selection for both (use the Apparel Search function, where you can search by SIZE!). Most stores offer coupons or reduced shipping costs, and the return policies are liberal.  Don't be afraid to try something out online.  Or....

4. Take advantage of the local resources.  Chicagoans are luckier than most if you're carrying some extra pounds -there are several local stores that actually stock good, flattering, technical apparel in our size!   Fleet Feet Sports is probably the best for women - they stock both Nike and Moving Comfort for Women's running and walking apparel in Plus Sizes or XXLs, and they really do look out for styles that are flattering and cute.  They also occasionally stock items from Sugoi and other vendors.  Check out the North Ave. location at Piper's Alley for the best selection.  Also, New Balance Chicago at Fullerton and Clark stocks some items in an XXL for women and men (you can call ahead to see if they have a particular item in stock).  And don't forget REI in Lincoln Park (only stocking Men's XXL in the store, no plus-size women's apparel there) or Dick's Sporting Goods in the suburbs for some select apparel. 

So that's it from here - with just one parting word.  The workout isn't about the clothes - it's about feeling good while you're doing it, enough so that you come back.  So give yourself a little credit, and dress for the workout as if you deserve to look your best - because you do. 

 

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Plus Athletes on the Trail: Doing What You Think You Can't.

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

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The Pirate's Cove Trail Run 20k start, Rodeo Beach, near Marin, California.

"I can't run - I might hurt something."  (Half marathon)

"That's a young man's sport." (Soccer)

"I don't have the time to do that."  (Walk 30 minutes a day)

"That looks way too hard. I could never do that." (Hike a trail with a 1200 foot elevation gain.)

Every day, I hear a reason for why people can't do active things.  There's that bum knee, or the fact that they just don't have time, or the crazy problem of this franchise called Law and Order.  We bigger folks are used to hearing those things called excuses.

I think there's more to it than that, though.  It's not just that we have excuses - it's that we really, sometimes, don't want to do something active.  We don't want to try to run a half marathon because it sounds (and is) really HARD.  We don't want to try to play soccer because we know it requires sprinting - something we probably can't do from where we currently sit.  We don't want to hike a hard trail, or run a race, because we know we'll be last. And last usually feels crappy.  

 There are a lot of reasons to NOT be active.  But for a country so insanely set on violating boundaries, we also do a real good job of giving ourselves boundaries we refuse to expand. 

For the past few years, I've been putting those boundaries on my own rather wide behind, and claiming that, for one reason or another, I just couldn't be a trail runner.  I was very comfortable in the road-running game (13 half marathons don't lie), and I had conquered hikes in the Colorado Rockies and the desert of Arizona with slow, if steady, pace.  But ask me to sign up for a trail run, and I always had an excuse.

Sometime in the last few months, though, I decided that life was too short, and that even though I loved a good hike, I wanted to do more. I really, really, want to do more.  So in January, when I thought I might be ready to dip my toe in the waters of Trail Running, I called my friend in San Francisco, who is a bona-fide trail runner, and asked her to sign up for a race near her house.

She agreed faster than I could back out, and I was in.  That hill, with those ant-spec runners trotting up its sides (above) was where I spent my Saturday morning - at least, part of it.

And I didn't die. And I wasn't last. 

 

 

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Surviving the Shamrock

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

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Shuffalufagus (N.) Midwestern adult with aspirations of New Year's greatness, who signs up for the Shamrock Shuffle, Chicago's oldest 8k race, and spring rite of passage. Shuffalufagus has great plans to accomplish 8k in March which fall by the wayside with The Winter 10 (pound gain), increased intake of adult beverages, and the lure of one's couch.  All resulting in race-day performance resembling a bear recently relieved from hibernation, the Shuffalufagus can be spotted walking by Mile 2, sweating profusely, seeking a well-placed taxi to take them home.

Admit it. You're sitting there, reading this post, and though you're optimistic, deep down you know you could be exhibiting some Shuffalufagus signs yourself this weekend.  You meant to run more often before Shamrock, really you did.  Actually, you meant to go to the gym a few times, but it just didn't happen.  Maybe you've run once this week ( a brutal four miles, god only knows how you're going to move by Sunday) and you've even bought new shoes. 

Whatever your situation, though, you're still trying to wrap your head around the fact that you're going to be running (or, perhaps, shuffling) with 35,000 other people on Sunday morning, and you don't want to make a jackass out of yourself.

So what can you do to make it through? Try these three simple tricks to make the race fun - and perhaps, something you'll even want to do again!

 

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Outfitting the Plus Athlete

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

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I've been at this running and athlete thing for a few years now, and if there's one thing I've realized it's that I'll always want cuter clothes.

As my sister and mother will attest, we have a little problem in my family refraining from shopping.  In fact, we typically treat retail therapy like a sport - we have both limited physical and financial reserves, and to avoid tapping them too early we a) bargain shop with the best of them (thank you, Catholic upbringing of guilt and wallet watching) and b) refresh ourselves mid-shop with a well-placed Diet Coke (me) or Iced Tea (mom).  The net result of years of such behavior is that I can find a bargain - and a Diet Coke - anywhere I need one.

However, since I recently gave UP the Diet Coke in an attempt to avoid massive sugar cravings, I'm now left with only one vice - to shop, and shop well. 

Which is where you come in.

 

 

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Not The Person They Think You Are

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

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Stop me if you've heard this before: 

"All the obese people out there just need to lay off the donuts and start hitting the gym". 

"You just need to work out for an hour a day and you'll lose weight."

"It's just a matter of willpower - you just have to make up your mind and do it." 

 

Maybe these are phrases you've heard, maybe not.  Society's always had a pretty tough time dealing with The Fatties.  But given the recent Kevin Smith debacle on Southwest Airlines (courtesy of their customers of size policy), Michelle Obama's great campaign to reduce childhood obesity, and the amazingly hostile discussions surrounding the healthcare costs of all the obese Americans wandering around out there, it seems as if suddenly, everyone shopping in the Plus Section has become a target.  A rather large target.

I empathize with Kevin Smith.  I really do. But Southwest has had a policy in place for Customers of Size for 10 years.  Kevin knew it, and he always purchases two tickets.  Was it fun for him to be taken off that plane? No, no it wasn't.  But he knew the rules - and he doesn't get to bitch about it when Southwest decides that a customer doesn't need a lap snuggie courtesy of Kevin. Kevin's fit didn't do the Plus Athletes out there any favors.  In fact, the commentary was pretty rude, when you got down into it.

It got me thinking about why I'm as active as I am, and what it means to be a Plus Athlete. And this is what I came up with:  the best defense is a good offense.

Let me explain.

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Olympic Update: Plus Athletes Rock the Bobsled

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

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Steve Holcomb, US Bobsledder Extraordinaire, and a Plus Athlete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't know about you, but when I sit down to watch the Olympics on any given night, I expect to be greeted with the sights of typical, high-level athletic competitors: fit, buff, and typically sporting less body fat than an Olsen Twin special, these athletes are finely tuned machines.  I expect the visual, because in most mainstream sports, you rarely see anyone over a Size Large winning a title, let alone a medal.

So my TiVo got a little bit overuse on Sunday night (or was it Monday?) when I caught this guy gearing up for a run down The Fastest Track in the World.

To put it simply, big guys and girls don't usually shine on the center stage.  Aside from those crazy speedskaters with the massive thighs, it's rare to see an Olympian who looks like they enjoy a Big Mac (or who could start on the O-Line) racing so well, that they place sixth - IN THE WORLD.  And their games aren't even over - this U.S. bobsled team is actually favored to medal - maybe even take home the gold - in the team competition this week.

It got me thinking - are there other athletes on Sports Biggest Stage right now who exceed the typical girth of your average athlete?  Indeed, there are. Turns out, they're all Bobsledders (according to my super-scientific study of the 2600 athletes at the Games).  I decided to do a little digging to get to know my peeps in the sleds - and I like what I see. 

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Giving it another try: Yoga in the house.

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

On the magnificent occasion of my 30th birthday,  a friend gave me a gift that I thought would be perfect: a Pilates DVD, with some serious-looking woman on the cover, wrapped in a ribbon of hope and pink chiffon.  I tried it once, and found myself dying after about 30 minutes.  It's since made the move to my new apartment, yet I've never tried again.

One year, my Aunt Jeri purchased a lovely Yoga mat and little weight ball thingie for me from Target for Christmas.  It, too has made the move, but hadn't much been used till the last year.  

And then there are the cheap Yoga Blocks that I purchased at the Nike Outlet last year, thinking that I had seen them in some DVD once and that surely, they'd come in handy.

Finally, there's the GIAM Yoga DVD, titled "Yoga for Weight Loss", which seems inspiring until you listen carefully, and hear the yoga leader telling you that "being centered leads to mindfulness, and mindfulness can lead to weight loss."  Ergo, this DVD won't actually do it for you. 

Surprisingly, though, I've started to give Yoga another try lately, in part because it's the only DVD in my house, other than The Biggest Loser workout, and I can't yet be scarred by Bob and Jillian.  I've started doing the 30 minute session every other day, and I have to say, it's shocking.

 

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Snow? We aint afraid of no stinkin snow!

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

I was talking last week about how this weather was made for people like me - strong, sturdy, with a little extra padding, who can use the force of Winter to pull down the internal temperature.  Today, I took my own advice and headed to the Palos Forest preserve, and man, did it pay off.

I certainly didn't set any land speed records.  In just over an hour and forty five minutes, my friend and I covered three and a half miles.   Oh, and that was in about 5 inches of snow.  With no snowshoes, just YakTrax and our poles.  And lots and lots of gossip.

That's the thing about going for a winter hike - you don't know what you're going to find, and today, we were just hoping for some nice, somewhat compressed pathway and an easy-to-follow trail, and man, did we get it. 

 

 

 

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What's up, Plus Athletes?

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

We always hear the phrase "people come in all shapes and sizes".  Yes, that's true.  But you don't often hear that athletes - runners, cyclists, ball players, kayakers, hikers, come in all shapes and sizes.  That's because, despite the changing landscape of the American Waistline, we seem to be pretty focused on food, food, and food - and not very focused on a little more self-love, and a little more movement. And try to find a voice that's focused NOT on judging those of us who carry some extra pounds - but who support, and encourage, just a little more movement.

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Cold and Snow: A Plus Athlete's Best Workout Weather

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

Paul Conrad, my favorite weatherman, is calling for the storm of the century.  This, among many other reasons, is why I like Paul: he brings news of weather that's made for Plus Athletes like me.

Yes, you read that correctly. I love - love  - cold weather activities outside.  Why?  Well, let's see.  I carry extra mass.  That mass means (perhaps like you) I tend to keep myself toasty-o warm, even in the coldest of times.  It also means that I can work up a sweat in an embarrasingly short amount of time.  Among other things, it means my winter workout wardrobe is quite a bit lighter than someone sporting a Size 6.  And it means I get out there whenever I can.

I know what you're thinking. 

"She's lying."  No, actually, I'm not.  I run (or, right now, nordic walk), as long as the temperature stays above 10 degrees air temp.  Yes, I'm well-covered with something to keep the wind out, and if it's under 20, I make sure I've got gloves and a hat on.  But yes, I actually do get out there.  And it's awesome.

 

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Hate the Gym? 5 Ways to Get Your Money's Worth

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Sallie Stiens

I'm just a plus-sized girl trying to move the world.

We're now in the first week of February, and with it, the abandonment of more gym contracts than Leno watchers.  Such abandonment leads to two unfortunate incidents: first, your bank account is depleting for no good reason; second, you're missing out on some excellent ways to lead your body back to the remote possibility of activity during the harshest months of the year.

So what to do?  If you're like me, the 5:00 wakeup call for that morning swim lost its appeal weeks ago.  The treadmill seemed like fun - when you remembered to charge the iPod and shave your legs (uh, sorry guys) the day before a run.  But what gets you back to the gym when you simply can't get motivated?  Below, five ways to maximize that gym membership when you're simply quite done with it.  

1. Use the bath products.  A lot.  Especially when it's free Kiehl's.  

A running group friend of mine - we'll call her "Susie" to protect the innocent - shared that she hits up her gym's showers after long runs because, unlike her personal Land of Ponds, Equinox in Lincoln Park stocks their showers with Kiehl's bath and shampoo products.  "Susie", who kept her gym membership while riding the unemployment bench, was all for maximizing her cash outlay with as many trips to the spa-like shower scene as possible.  We know she's still coming out behind, but as long as she's spending at least she smells good.

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