Tag Archives: physical fitness

Run or Dye Green Bay

Summer Of Fun – Final Entry

Hi everyone!  Time for my final entry from the Summer of Fun, showing the last two events of the summer, both happening in September, and both at Lambeau Field, interestingly enough.  Before you give me the beans about September not being summer, remember that Fall doesn’t officially begin until September 21st, and both of these events happened before that.  Well, not quite technically, because The Run or Dye event was right on the 21st.  But it was still 4 days before my friend Vicki, who inspired the Summer of Fun, came home from Russia.  She is doing awesome, by the way, and you can catch up with her progress from her HSCT procedure at her website:  Kickin’ MS.

First up is the Zumba by the Bay Zumbathon, on September 14th.  I signed up to do this with my buddy Dawn, in honor of her birthday!  I won’t reveal her age, but she is younger than me and rockin’ her tutu and tiara on her special day.  Love you, girlfriend!

Zumba by the Bay

Happy Birthday to Dawn! Here she is, rocking her tutu and tiara. Her sister Chris is on the left, I am on the right.

Zumba by the Bay

Everybody who was anybody was at Zumba by the Bay! Midway thru the video below you can see the storm trooper gettin’ jiggy with it.

Zumba by the Bay

Costumes or Crime Scene Investigators? You decide…

This next event was the Run or Dye 5k at Lambeau Field on September 21st.  I did this run with my friend Megan, and man was it cold that morning!  45 degrees – yikes.  During the course of the 5k, you ran thru “dye zones” where they pelted you with a specific color in that zone (blue, green, yellow, and pink), but the real color blast came at the end of the race in the big Dye Zone by the stage.  They blasted music and threw out freebies, and the guys on stage (one of whom looked suspiciously like my nephew, Jake.  It wasn’t him but I kept taking his picture because the resemblance was so eerie) got the audience involved and singing along to the music.  I was leery about joining in the fracas but Megan got me out of my comfort zone and it ended up being a blast.  In the two videos, you can see the two big color throws we were in – and in the pictures you can see the results!  The shower afterwards was a little freaky.  Kind of looked like I was washing a rainbow out of my hair.

Run or Dye Green Bay

Megan and I – BEFORE

Run or Dye Green Bay

So nice and clean and shiny…

Run or Dye Green Bay

So nice and clean and…weird.

Run or Dye Green BayWaiting to run!

Run or Dye Green Bay

I noticed most of my pictures looked like I had my eyes shut, so I tried to remedy that in the next pictures.

Run or Dye Green Bay

So first I tried this….

Run or Dye Green Bay

And then I tried this. Just a little creepy.

Run or Dye Green Bay

In the Dye Zone, after the first color dump.

Run or Dye Green Bay

After the Packer color dump. GO PACK GO!

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Run or Dye Green Bay

Amazingly clean!!!

And now summer is over, and fall is upon us!  Time to move on, and like my friend Vicki, let’s move on to better health and a winter of healing and restoration, so we can hit the ground running this spring.  Keep watching my blog for fun winter activities coming up!



Riding the Door, Less is More

As I sit down to type this, the air outside is a brisk 53 degrees, and it will be in the low forties by the time I walk out the door for work tomorrow.  Cooler air and shorter days herald the coming of fall, and I am feeling kinda bummed that I don’t have many more days of cycling left.  In fact, I had my last major bike event a couple of weeks ago riding in the  Door County Century.

Murphy Park Door County Century

Door County Century. First rest stop at Murphy Park. Gorgeous morning! Couldn’t ask for better weather.

The Door County Century celebrated its 35th anniversary this year, and is one of the most popular century rides in Wisconsin.  For good reason – they are well-organized, the routes wind thru some of the most beautiful countryside in Northeast Wisconsin, and the rest stops are well stocked with yummy delicious go-go fuel.  And you know me – it’s all about the food.

For those of you who are not crazy cyclists, a century is a 100 mile bike ride.  Most organized centuries are recreational and offer shorter routes in addition to the full 100 mile route.  This year, the DCC also had options of 28, 50, and 70.  Last year Kay and I did the full century.  It was really a lot of fun, but it was also very hilly and the final 30 miles were pretty tough.  “Pretty tough” meaning we were DYING and every time we saw another hill coming up we thought we were going to have a nervous breakdown.

Neither one of us felt like we had ridden enough this year to tackle those upper peninsula miles where the highest elevations await the unwary, so we opted for 70 this year.  Yes, we wimped out.  Totally.  But we are all good with that, because 70 was the Golden Ticket.

First of all, look at this map.  Check out those elevations between the yellow stars on the elevation map (in the boxed in area of the physical map) – all residing in the 100 mile route.  That’s a whole lotta pain right there.  A Polygon of Pain.


Whereas the 70 mile route is all rainbows and unicorns, pretzels and cheese, donuts and muffins, pickles and cheesecurds…   The only thing we had to give up was strawberry shortcake at the Sister Bay rest stop.  That was almost a deal breaker until we realized we would actually finish this year before the beer ran out.  Although ironically, we didn’t even use our beer tickets, because we knew we had to drive home yet.  See?  I, too, can be a responsible adult.

Cave Point Door County Century

Cave Point Door County Century

I think my favorite part of this years ride was the Cave Point rest stop.  The sky was the bluest of blues and the grass was the greenest of greens.  Warm sun, a light breeze, the waves crashing below on the rocks, ham sandwiches…did I mention that I ride for food?  Kay and I stretched out in the sun for a while, but we were starting to feel a little nappish so figured we better get going.  It was truly hard to leave.

The next 15 miles roll thru lush forest and farm land, with enough variety to help wear off that ham sandwich and granola bar you just ate.  You can keep a fairly decent pace here, but oddly there is a rest stop only 6 miles from the finish.  You may be tempted to pass this one by, but you will miss cheesecurds and pickles if you do.  Oh yeah, there’s some lighthouse or something that’s supposed to have historical value or whatever.  Blah, blah, blah.  I never made it past the curd table.  And I know some of you are wondering about the pickles.  Like, why are there pickles at a rest stop, which is kind of what I thought too, but man – when your body is sodium deprived – that will be the best pickle you have ever eaten.

Wether you ride the 100, 70 or 50, the last 5 miles of this ride last an eternity, and you will really appreciate those cheese curds and pickles from that last stop.  It doesn’t help that there is one last beastly hill in the home stretch.  Seriously, who plans a route where they stick a giant hill in the last mile?  Kinda makes you want to smack someone with your water bottle, but then your turning the corner into the fair grounds and you can hear the music and smell the garlic bread, and you know there is a piece of Door County cherry pie with your name on it.  And beer.  Which you may or may not drink, depending on your responsibility ratio.  I know, you can’t all be me – such perfection is truly hard to maintain.  I struggle but I do it for you little people.

All kidding aside: If you enjoy organized rides, put the Door County Century on your bucket list.  It’s offering of beauty, challenge, camaraderie, and of course great food, make this ride worth your time and cash.  Hope to see you there next year!


Black Friday

Black Friday

Well, at least they are running…

Oh yes, I just shamelessly used the words “Black Friday” in my title, knowing it might give my blog a few more hits.  But for those of us trying to maintain a healthy weight, the day after Thanksgiving can indeed feel like Black Friday, should one be so stupid as to step on the scale.  Therefore, instead of being out shopping with the Crazies, I am at home, drinking coffee and writing an exercise entry in my blog.


Oh yes. This is exactly what I look like drinking coffee. Uh huh.

If you are like me, you know the holiday season can wreak havoc on the best laid plans of healthy eating and exercise.  In the long, dark days of winter, it’s very easy to choose sleep over an early wake up call to the gym, or to just go home after a late day at work, and watch the Big Bang Theory while eating your dinner instead of bundling up for a walk or run in the dark.  So, now is the time I encourage you to add some spice to your normal routine.  Boredom is the number one killer of exercise programs!


“You can’t make me go to the gym! You can’t make me, you can’t make me, you can’t make me!”

The first thing I did this year was to join the Y.  I haven’t belonged to a gym in over 3 years, choosing instead to utilize the gym we have at work with my co-worker workout buddies.  Very cheap (free) and it’s always more motivating to know someone else is depending on you to be there.  But lately, we find more and more excuses not to go.  It seems like such a chore – depressing even – and if one person backs out, it sucks the motivation from the rest of us.

Joining the Y has brought some spice back into my workout plans.  I can join a spin class, hit the pool, jiggle my love handles in Zumba, or run on the indoor track (so thankful I won’t have to think about running across ice patches this year).  It was just enough to bump my brain out of hibernation mode.  If you already belong to a gym, but are bored and find yourself not going, try creating an at home program.   Or find ways to exercise outside – like snowshoeing or cross country skiing if you have snow, or biking, running and/or walking if you don’t (be sure to read some articles on cold weather exercise.  There is a good one here:  ACTIVE.COM).  Or join a new gym – maybe one that offers some things you don’t have at your current gym.



The next thing I did was purchase an Ipad, which led me to justify said purchase by figuring out how to use it for reasons other than playing Spider Solitaire or Siege Hero.  I started looking for good workout apps, and found a few worth mentioning:  Daily Workouts, IPersonalTrainer, and Workout Trainer.  I’m not going to review them today, but brought them up because it was in my search for workout apps that I ran across a video called Plank Workout for Flat Abs and Toned Arms, led by a cute, perky girl who made doing a plank look oh-so-easy, even while adding in weights and arm movements.


Even perky while planking!

Further investigation brought me to more videos and then her website –Blogilates.com.  Oh my goodness – so much more perkiness (really, I am 48 years old – not much of me is too perky anymore) and sweating.  Seems an odd combination, but this girl has some killer moves.  Her name is Cassey Ho, and despite her everlasting good mood, or maybe because of it, I absolutely love her workouts.  They challenge my strength, they teach new moves to this old dog, and they make me sweat like a pig.  (Hmm…maybe that last bit wasn’t very appealing…).

Plus, she makes new videos all the time!  And she has a clothing line!  And she has a monthly workout calendar.  And she has recipes.  And meal plans.  And inspirational stories.  And icing on the cake –  she is FREE (although you do have to subscribe to her newsletter for access to some things, like the workout calendar).

Her videos are about 10-15 minutes long, so perfect for those days you need something quick.  Or you can do two or three in a row, or you can do what I did.  I went thru a few of her videos, pulled out the exercises I wanted to try, and created an hour long workout routine that we did in the gym at work.  Holy sweat balls of fire.

And my last bit of advice – sign up for an event that will make you start training.  It doesn’t have to be grandiose (but it can be, if you want) – maybe as simple as just wanting to get personal best, or try something new.  Need some inspiration?  There are a lot of charity events and Team In Trainingorganizations (like My Team Triumph or the Leukemia Lymphoma Society Team in Training) you can work with to add some meaning to your training.  I have found I train better knowing I am running for someone who can’t run for themselves.  It adds a spiritual level to my workouts, and reminds me to be grateful and humble.

And that my friends, is that.  For now…



Dirty Girls


I love my family, even though they are often crazy.  I was on Facebook last spring, and read a post from one of my nieces about a race event she was participating in with her sister, called the Dirty Girl.  My interest was piqued immediately.  I clicked on the link to the website, finding out it was a 5k mud and obstacle run, specifically for women, to raise money for breast cancer research.  Oh thank you to my crazy nieces!  I was in.

I think what I liked best about it was that the race was (and is) promoted for women of all physical fitness levels.  It is not timed, you can go around the obstacles if you can’t do them, and if you don’t feel like getting muddy, you don’t even have to do that.  However, I can’t imagine wanting to participate in a mud obstacle run if you didn’t want to get dirty.  I wanted to get dirty.  And I wanted to drag my closest friends with me.

I immediately emailed my workout buddies, Amanda and Dawn.  I sent them a link to the website and a cap shout of “WE ARE SO DOING THIS”.  The entry fee was a bit steep, but hey, it was for an excellent cause.  Plus, we were going to run in the mud without getting zapped by live wires or having to dive thru tunnels of ice water a la Tough Mudder.  We chose a team name, picked a starting wave, and registered.

Another friend of ours, Katie, signed on at the last minute, so the day of the race in August, we were a foursome.  The first thing we noticed upon getting there was that many of the teams had matching shirts or socks.  Some even had tutus and one team had Sumo wrestler costumes!  We felt shabby and sad in our plain socks and t-shirts, without even a Sharpie to scratch our team name across our poor mismatched backs.  We pinky swore then and there that next year we would be prepared with super, major cute socks and tops.

Tutus and head bands and socks, oh my!

My sister (my nieces’ mom) rode down with us, so we met up with my nieces and their friends, and then people watched and took pictures while we waited for our wave to start.  We couldn’t help but notice the incredible muddiness of the finishers.  What, pray tell, had we gotten ourselves into?  My nieces’ wave was earlier than ours, so we saw them off with cheers and clapping, and waited nervously for our turn.

BEFORE! From left to right: Dawn, Crazy Niece #1, Crazy Niece #2, me, Katie and Amanda.  We don’t match!  BOO!

Finally, we were in the starting pen.  Large washable markers were being passed around so we could write our numbers on our arms or foreheads because our tags would likely be unreadable at the end.  We sang the songs the promoter was playing, we jumped up and down in excitement, we learned how to make a cross with our arms to signify an injury (Wait..what?  Did he say injury?) and we were off!

There were plenty of obstacles, but true to their word, you did not have to do them if you didn’t want to.  We did most of them, except the ones we just did not have the upper body strength for, like the muddy slick log that was so much easier to go under than over.  We crawled thru water and mud filled tunnels, under ropes and over walls.  We slogged thru pools mixed with mud, water and grass, scraped our hands and knees on rocks and did group body slides thru massive sections of slick, slimy mud.  In short, we had a blast gettin’ dirty!  I can’t say we ran much though!

In the end, we crossed the finish line caked in mud, but laughing and holding hands.  Little did we know the real challenge lay ahead…getting clean!  We followed the crowd of grimy, spattered women to the ‘rinsing station’, which was ankle level pvc pipe layed out in a grid, with water fountains every few feet.  They also had some hoses, but getting clean proved to be almost futile.  We finally left the station and went to the changing barn (literally a barn, with a dirt floor) where we finished cleaning up,  finding mud in odd places if you know what I mean.  If you do this race, be sure to bring extra towels, paper toweling and wet wipes.

I have participated in a lot of events over the years, and some I have done as personal milestones (like my first half marathon or finishing the Bellin 10K under an hour).  Some, however, are done just for the pure fun of it – to build friendships and memories and give you something to look back on and laugh about.  The Dirty Girl is that kind of an event.  With the exception of the clean up, I give this two thumbs up, and you can bet we will be participating next year.  With really fun socks!




Welcome to Brick House, my new blog about physical, spiritual and emotional fitness.  My name is Sue, and I started Brick House as a way to share my passion for God, help women find fun ways to get fit and motivate myself to keep fighting the battle of getting and staying fit.

I suppose you are wondering about the name “Brick House”, and that a certain song is now playing in your head (come on, sing it with me!).  I have that song on my Ipod, and every time it comes on, I think of myself and my friend Dawn – both of us bigger gals in the gym – but kicking butt and taking names all the same.  It’s become kind of my theme song – reminding me that a little “junk in my trunk” isn’t such a bad thing.

I chose the name for a couple of other reasons as well.  Remember the story of the Three Little Pigs?  If I don’t take care of myself, I will be susceptible to the huffing and puffing of the Big Bad Wolf.  He couldn’t take down the Brick House though.  Oh yeah – Bring it, Wolfie.

And finally, a bible scripture – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” – Matthew 7:24-25  

I believe overall health hinges on our physical, spiritual and emotional well being, and I think I have spent the better part of my adult life learning that.  I want to provide a place where not only I can share what I have learned, but where you can share your insights and experiences as well.  Together, we can support one another on our fitness journeys, enabling us to move forward in spiritual, emotional and physical growth.

Here’s to a long and happy relationship!

Warm regards,