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Saluting to the Sun on the Bay

I spent last weekend in San Diego, which meant amazing weather and gorgeous views of the bay. While my husband learned about boring tax lawyer things, I had the opportunity to walk around and take advantage of said gorgeous weather.

I haven’t been able to practice yoga outside in a long time and even then it was with a group and not by myself. The standard “people are going to look at me” worry came up, which of course I followed up with “who cares, they are a bunch of strangers.”  I set out to a nice grassy knoll on the bay just off the path.

It was one of my practices to-date. Listening to the wind and breathing in the fresh air was perfect. I relaxed into my positions and really enjoyed feeling the grass beneath my toes.

This was also my first practice wearing a new pair of yoga pants from lucy. A few weeks ago I received the lucy hatha power pant. When I first pulled them out of the box and held them up to me, I thought crud they are way to long for me to wear without hemming. Then I put them on and was utterly surprised at how they fit both with shoes on and off. They scrunch enough that they don’t drag under my heels (something I loathe).

The material is fantastic for bending and twisting. I can cuff the pants and they will stay put throughout my practice, especially when I am in tree pose. I also love how they look on my behind.

I think what I liked best was that I didn’t have to pull up the pants or readjust after coming out of a pose. Plus my tummy was looking nice and flat. 

If you’re looking to try out a new brand lucy is definitely a great place to start.  I really liked the product and will definitely be wearing it pretty much whenever I can (of course washing them).

(Full disclosure: I received the pants from lucy for free, but was not compensated for my review.)


Tina Fey Improv Rules for Your Career

I just finished reading Tina Fey’s book Bossypants. While I picked it up as a good-humor, man she is so cool read I have to give her credit for tricking me into reading a self-help book for your career.

She's my new role model

From figuring out who to hire and how to act (or not) in an interview Fey offered a nice spin on how to make it in (show) business as a woman. One section in particular caught my attention and I am going to focus on it here…

Improv Rules And the Workplace

Rule #1–Agree

Always agree and SAY YES. In improv if you decide you are on a train, your partner doesn’t change it he or she goes with it. Respecting what your partner created helps innovation and ideas thrive.

Rule #2–Not Only Say Yes….Say Yes AND

You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. Contributing to the conversation and ideas helps solidify you as a team member and it helps you learn.

Rule #3–Make Statements

Basically, don’t ask questions all the time. You put pressure on your scene partner to come up with all the answers. Statements are about confidence. You want to be part of solution.

Rule #4–There Are No Mistakes…Only Opportunities

Improv is essentially going with the flow. If you stop to explain what is really happening you lose the momentum. Not every project is going to go as planned. Learning to adapt makes you better in the long run on the job and helps support a better working environment.

Explaining Running Injuries

I, like many avid runners, suffer from recurring injuries. Mine happens to be my iliotibial band (or ITB).

By most estimates, more than half of all runners become injured every year.  Some blame, particularly for ITB injuries, running on the one side of the road, a tight butt (not the good kind), or tight quads.

A new study from Harvard actually found that the way a person runs may affect whether he or she winds up hurt. The study found that heel strikers were 2x more likely to become injured than the forefoot strikers. Now, this may have more people turning to barefoot running to fix their strike, but the experts cautioned it wasn’t a fix-all.

I’ve been thinking about trying barefoot running for some time, but not sure it is really right for me. I do want to see if fixing my strike would help my ITB issues.  Any recommendations for changing your strike?



Sleep Rehab

I go through spurts where sleep just doesn’t come easy for me. Lately it has been when I am in NYC in the hotel and when I am there for a week, it completely wrecks me.

A full 2/3 of Americans say they have trouble getting enough sleep at least once a week. It used to be that I was afraid of missing something…there is a story about 3-year-old Laney screaming in her room that she couldn’t go to sleep because she had to do her homework. Now I think it is mostly stress related.

Nearly 1/3 of American women use some kind of sleep aid at least a few nights a week. I am one of them.

I recently read an article in SHAPE that provided a 12-step program to get back on track. Some of the items I already do kinda, but I am giving it a go at being more diligent. The steps are listed below. I’ll report back in a month about my progress.

  1. Unplug: We don’t have a TV in our room, but I am guilty of bringing my laptop to bed. Since getting my Kindle I have become an avid reader, so I will aim to do that more.
  2. Ease up on caffeine: This isn’t really an issue for me, but I will try not to drink any green tea after 4 pm.
  3. Don’t over-hydrate: I keep a water bottle by my bed, especially when I am training. There are a few times that I get up in the middle of the night.
  4. Build a great nest: Sheets and pillows are incredibly important to me. I recently purchased a new set of pillows because the feather ones my hubby likes just weren’t working for me.
  5. Keep your cool: My hubby and I argue about the room temp all the time. I like it cold, windows open in the winter. Somehow we need to compromise on that 65 degrees.
  6. Make your bed: Apparently 44% of people who make their beds daily report snoozing more soundly. This is an easy fix.
  7. Hit the gym in the AM: Tough for me, I like training in the morning, but getting my cardio in at night. Research says that 7 AM workouts improved sleep quality more than late-day exercise. New move: take a steamy shower after that PM session.
  8. Get up on Sundays: I sleep in a bit on the weekends. New move: sleep in within a hour of your weekday wake-up time.
  9. Nix the nightcap: Not really an issue for me.
  10. Swap warm milk for cherry juice: It contains melatonin and research shows that people who drink it regularly sleep an extra 25 minutes.
  11. Follow your nose: Taking a whiff of lavender may help improve sleep. I have some aromatherapy lotion from Bath & Body Works that I will be utilizing.

The last step is seeking a professionals help. I am hoping it doesn’t get to that point. What are your sleep tricks?

When You Just Need More Hours In the Day

I need more hours each day.
Kristie Coneys Kuhl

It’s a common wish. More hours in the day to get everything you could possibly need to do. Experts tell us to make time for exercise, which is nearly impossible.

As a busy working professional, it is really hard to make time. I already have things I must do in a day such as sleep, eat, brush my teeth, shower, cook dinner,  spend quality time with my hubby and oh yes, go to work for 8 hours a day (usually more). That said, I regularly take a look at my daily routine to identify where exercise can fit in.

Now that I am in full swing of half marathon training, my schedule is pretty laid out. Mapping out my workouts by day really does help me know exactly how much time I will need to get my workout in. The days for my long runs obviously need more time, yoga days just 50 minutes. I have DVDs that get me a great workout in 20 minutes for really hectic days and high intensity weight training that can be done quickly.

Some weeks it doesn’t happen, or it only happens twice. That is why I try not to freak out when the week doesn’t go as planned.

What if a machine dictated your menu?

What if you walked up to your fridge and it didn’t open because it knew you wanted ice cream? Instead it recommends that you grab an apple.

As part of its LiVe public service program, Intermountain Healthcare has installed a fake, talking vending machine at Rose Park Elementary School in Salt Lake City. The machine is filled with faux snacks and doesn’t take money. But when students press its buttons, looking for gooey, crispy or chewy goodies, they instead get playful nuggets of wisdom.

“I’m a vending machine and can’t move without someone’s help,” a cartoon-like voice says when a student chooses a Lava Cake. “Keep buying food like this and we’ll have that in common.”

The idea is to make kids think twice about their junk food choices. It reminds me of those posters NYC had around noting the pounds sugary drinks can add. They were really gross and even though my Cherry Coke Zero habit was minimal, I put a serious stop to it. Looking at those posters just made me squeamish.

Do you think just hearing what the junk food can do to your body will curb habits? Or do they need more visual reminders?

Back to Winter Training and a Giveaway

We have a winner! Using random.org the winner is Sara P. Please email me laney.cohen (at) gmail (dot) com. 

For whatever reason I thought it would be a great idea for my first half marathon in  a year or so to be in March. Unfortunately, that means training in the dead of winter. When it comes down to training, I tend to wear the same comfortable items…Sugoi MidZero Tights, Nike Compression Bra, Lululemon Cool Rackerback, a long sleeve shirt (either Lululemon Run Swiftly or if it is really really cold Craft Mock Long Sleeve), and a Mizuno wind breaker. I am not as you can see a brand loyalist. I spread the wealth depending on my needs.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from activewearusa asking if I’d like to review some of their products. New workout clothes? That are stylish? What girl could say no? I rationalize my need for more workout clothes because I work from home and these are in essence also my work clothes.

I received an all-purpose Stella Crossback tank, solid pink with white straps. They are not joking when they say it was great support. I was surprised at how high the neck came up, but loved the slimming fit of the top. The tightness and the color created a small exposure problem, so even though a second bra wasn’t necessary for support when I was doing yoga, I needed it for a little coverage. (I am thinking a darker color would be a different situation.)

When using it as my base layer for running, it didn’t ride up like some of my other tanks, which I loved. So now that I have told you all about the tank, would you like to win a little exercise style?

Enter by Saturday, February 11 at 10:00 p.m. Here are a few ways to enter, leave a comment for each of the ways you enter…

  1. Tell me in the comments section your winter exercise gear routine
  2. Make sure you follow me on Twitter
  3. “Like” ActivewearUSA on Facebook
  4. Tweet the following: Keep your exercise stylish giveaway from @lanes0220 & @activewearusa http://bit.ly/y2CnjU

Winner will be announced in one week!

Disclaimer: ActivewearUSA provided me with the tank free of charge, but I did not receive any monetary incentives and the opinions are my own. 

Can you be a leader and a manager?

Tomorrow I am attending a session sponsored by PRSSA-NCC on moving from PR Manager to PR Leader. I thought it would be interesting to provide my pre-workshop thoughts….

Management vs. leadership–it’s a distinction we all hear over and over these days. They are not the same, but must go hand in hand for a group to succeed. The question is can you do both?

Management focuses on getting work done on time, on budget, and on target. Management is in other words execution, while leadership focuses on change and innovation.

A few years ago management actually included leadership–along with motivating, planning. communicating, organizing– as one  of the many functions necessary to make groups of people productive.

One could argue that in the agency world you go through stages of being both a manager and a leader.

You can akin a manager to a very strong Senior Account Executive who works with the team to stay on track and deliver on the plan outlined. They are often asked for input and in some cases have the opportunity to develop the plan themselves.

As you move into the Account Supervisor role, you are still executing but at this point have given much of the tracking to more junior level staff and are heading toward the designing stage, the innovation. With the innovation and strategic vision becoming more important as you continue to move up.

Of course, in agency world EVERYONE is responsible for delivering the goods and doing it on time and within the budget. At some point everyone is still the manager. It really comes down to HOW you manage that determines whether you are a leader.

Revolve Cycle: Barre Ride

When I first moved to the Washington D.C. area I started searching for a cycle studio. The spin classes at my gym were great, but there was something special about walking into the a cycle studio. No one could recommend a good one or even knew of one to try.

Luckily, a a little more than a month ago Revolve opened up around the corner from my apartment. I was DYING to check it out. The classes sounded interesting, but the cost was high, especially considering I was already paying for the gym. I decided to buy one class when they were offering their reduced prices.

I really wanted to try the Barre Class, which was a combination of cycle and barre exercises. Then came the second issue, the times of the classes were just terrible. Most were smack dab in the middle of the work day. I couldn’t figure out who they were targeting! Even their standard classes weren’t fitting into my work schedule.

With a day off from work I was finally able to get to Christianne’s Barre Ride. The studio itself was pretty nice, simple and clean. They use iPads for you to check yourself in and have lockers that you can store your stuff in. The shoe rental wasn’t terrible ($2).

Christianne was a pretty good instructor. The music selection was good, although really loud. The class was broken into 35 minutes of cycle and 25 minutes of the barre exercises. She really packed in the cardio and I have to say my heart was racing and the sweat was pouring.

The barre section literally destroyed me. We used a ball and light hand weights to do the exercises. I didn’t feel much when we were doing the light hand weights, but I literally wanted to die when we were in chair pose in eleve. My legs were shaking and there were points when I just had to come out of the pose.

Melissa Romero from the Washingtonian also took this class. See what she thought here.

I would be interested in testing out their standard ride and their complete body ride classes. They have added in more classes and better times making that a little bit easier. It might be something I treat myself to every once in awhile.