Orange is the new black. {Orangetheory Fitness!}

Hello. My name is Lauren and I’m addicted to OTF.

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Based on the response I received on Instagram and to a post I wrote last week, I’ve realized that I am in very good company. The other weekend I attended my first class at the brand new Hunt Valley, Maryland Orangetheory studio and I think it only took me about 5 minutes to get completely hooked. Orange has always been one of my favorite colors.

A little about it for people that may not be familiar although I do think I’m a little late to the game. Blogger friends in the DC area (I first heard about it from Sue I believe) have been enjoying OTF for quite some time and I had been hoping they would open a studio in Baltimore. (Then they did even better and opened one bike riding distance from my house!) This information is direct to you from their website because I’m not even going to pretend like I’m a scientist and while I understand it I could not explain it without it turning into a rambling trainwreck. So here you go:

The physiological theory behind the Orangetheory workout is known as “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC. By providing you with a heart-rate monitor and POD, we can monitor your 5-zone interval training sessions that we call the Orange 60. During the 60-minute workout, you will perform multiple intervals designed to produce 12 to 20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate, which translates to Zones 4/5. This program design produces workout “afterburn” effect, which is an increased metabolic rate for 24 to 36 hours after the workout. When combining the amazing workout with EPOC, our clients burn an average of 500 to 1000 calories.

When I walked into the studio I had little idea of what to expect outside of blog posts I’d read. I knew there would be treadmills and rowing and then maybe some weights involved. My first impression was a very good one; the Orangetheory of Hunt Valley is clean and well maintained and there were two very friendly young women working behind the desk. I filled out a short questionnaire and was outfitted with my heart rate monitor, then just before class was to begin I was given a little tour and met the instructor, a high energy woman named Sonrisa. I got a very good vibe from her and liked her immediately. A couple of big screens were mounted at the front of the room and they displayed the names of everyone who would be taking the class with me. Seeing myself up there kickstarted my competitive nature. I think I come off as a touchy-feely, emotional-type person, but deep down I’m very analytical and I love numbers, data, and stuff just like what was up on the wall. Just as long as no one is making me do any of the actual math myself.

My first stop was on a treadmill (YAY I love this already!) where I was introduced to the concept of “Base Pace”, “Push Pace”, and “All Out”. A little card was attached to each treadmill to describe what all these things meant, but basically you would fall into one of three buckets: Power Walker, Jogger, and Runner. As a runner, my Base Pace would be 5.5 MPH or more on the treadmill with the incline set to 1. My Push Pace was 1-2 MPH over that and my All Out was exactly how it sounded…I jacked that speed up as much as I was comfortable doing. We began with some intervals this way and then I was instructed to hop on a water rower, which is a machine completely new to me and not just because I’m not used to water rowers. More like I have never rowed in my life.

Luckily, Sonrisa is awesome and gave me a quick tutorial on proper form. It felt easy at first, but by the end of the class I would be cursing that rower as soon as I got on it; it was an incredible workout! From there we were doing various exercises on the floor involving weights, medicine balls, and TRX straps. Then back on the treadmills for more intervals, including kicking up the incline to 8…and cue my heart monitor freaking out and going up to like 120% in the red zone. I think it was just a temporary malfunction because I was laughing through it and obviously not dead, but getting back down into the green zone after that was definitely a challenge.

The music was blasting and I was feeling super pumped. We were constantly in motion and 54 minutes soared by so fast that I was shocked when she told us our time was up. I obviously knew I had been working hard, but according to the screen I had burned around 585 calories! We all gathered together to go over our results that were displayed in bar graph form. That 84% or higher that was mentioned in the OTF description is the ORANGE ZONE and the even more scary sounding RED ZONE where it’s okay to be as long as you are breathing, alive, and in control of yourself. I spent a little more time than I would have liked in those zones, but that gave me something to work toward for the next time.

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I actually did have much better luck with it the next time I went. Also it was partner night and my friend and I burned almost 1600 calories between the two of us and subsequently went out for pizza and a big greasy cheesesteak. 

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Sweaty and happy!

If you are fortunate enough to have an Orangetheory near you and haven’t tried it out yet, GO. I promise you that you will love it. Better yet…come with ME! I think my friend even enjoyed himself and he always tells me how much he hates running. I’m excited to attend another class this week and sign up for a package.

Have you tried Orangetheory yet? What do you think of it? 

xo,

Salt

The green streets of Baltimore {Kelly St. Patrick’s Day 5K Recap}

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Pretty intense right!?

This was my second year running the Kelly St. Patrick’s Day 5k put on by the very best place ever, Charm City Run, and just like the last time I did this race (in 2014), there was so much green out there that I felt like everything else I looked at for the rest of the day had a green tint to it. Or that could have been the shot of Jameson I did at the finish line party. I’ve been pretending to be Irish a lot this week.

Anyway, this is one of those odd races that starts in the middle of the afternoon, but I have to admit that I was thankful for the extra sleep what with the time change and everything. My friend Suzanne showed up at my house mid-morning and we went to a local diner for a breakfast that I instantly regretted eating as soon as we got downtown and started warming up. Luckily we were early enough that I had a bit of time to digest my eggs and toast before the 1:15 start.

I already didn’t have much of a goal for the race when I got there, but after some rain moved through and my heel was giving me some issues, I decided that this one was mostly just going to be for fun. The first half mile or so is exclusively downhill and the street was VERY slick. As we waited for the air horn I discussed with people around me – some of whom appeared to already be pretty drunk and no offense, but I just don’t see the fun in running any kind of distance when you’re drunk – how stepping on manhole covers just then could lead to broken ankles. We heard the National Anthem and then we were off!

I’m not going to lie; as nice as that downhill start is it is also somewhat frustrating because literally 5,000 people run this race and Charles Street is super narrow right there. And EVERYONE wants to be in the front regardless of whether they are runners or walkers. I had better luck this time, but it was still a slow-go for a bit as I nearly tripped over groups of friends that were walking together.

The course is downhill to flat-ish, from Charles Street to Key Highway – which probably means nothing to most of the people who read my blog – then turns back toward downtown and ends at the Power Plant Live complex and an ENORMOUS green party (pictured above). I found a nice, comfortable pace for pretty much the whole thing and enjoyed the actual race part much more than before because I took the time to check out my surroundings. My favorite part was people watching after the turn around point…it’s like a huge party in the street and I could tell that everyone was having a blast. One of my least favorite things is whatever the heck happened with my GPS. I don’t know if it freaks out because of all the big buildings or if I’m really running longer than a 5K, but my distance has been longer both years I ran this race. And this year my first mile clocked in at around 5:55. I know mile 1 was my fastest, but I am fairly certain that it wasn’t 5-minute mile fast!

Even though I wasn’t killing myself, I still bested my 2014 time by about 30 seconds.

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My official chip time was 22:26. I took some green beads that a girl handed me at the finish line and it was time to find my friends and party!

This race is VERY popular and I saw many people that I knew. Because I didn’t have Betty last weekend I could actually hang out for awhile and man was it FUN! Live bands, a nice spread of snacks, beer (of course), and lots and lots of happy runners.

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I especially love how thrilled we look as compared to the miserable looking people behind us. My friend Jarrod’s watch also told him that he had run a sub-6 first mile. We like to think it’s true.

I remember being sort of grumpy after this one in the past – maybe because my dumba$$ decided that wearing a wool kilt would be a cool idea which it was NOT –  but after a MUCH better experience this time around I will definitely be signing up for this race next year. Charm City really is tops at organizing big events like this. Small annoyances aside, it really couldn’t have been a better day, despite the pouring rain that moved through as the party came to a close.

Did you run a St. Patrick’s Day race this year? How did it go? How do you feel about getting drunk before running?

I hope everyone had a very lucky day yesterday and that you all have a fantastic weekend!

xo,

Salt

Trying to catch up!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!

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Just kidding I love bagpipes. I’m also not Irish, but I’m feeling a little more festive about this holiday than usual following Baltimore’s big St. Paddy’s Day 5K last weekend which I will have a recap of tomorrow. Today I’m just trying to get my wits about me. Work has been IN-SANE (in a very busy, but good way) and outside of work I’ve been working even more. I got a new computer so my freelance game has been pretty strong lately. And of course my newly minted 4 YEAR OLD. And then I had a birthday too and turned 30-again. And in the midst of all that….

I’m Still Training!

Even though I haven’t written about it in the past couple weeks, things are still moving along. Most of it has been good with a little bit of terrible sprinkled in. One of the two plans that I had been working off of has been ….how should I put this nicely…overzealous and due to going too hard lately I think I might have caught myself a slight case of plantar fasciitis. So if anyone has any recommendations on how to deal with that, I’m all ears.

Seriously though, I’m astounded that any half marathon training plan that claims to be geared toward beginners includes more than one speed training day per week and multiple middle-of-the-week runs of 8+ miles.

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I digress. Aside from the heel pain, my workouts have been going pretty well. I’m about 50/50 treadmill and outside running now thanks to the return of 60-70 degree temps. (And SNOW again on Sunday just in time for me to run 12 miles! AWESOME!) I’ve also been working in stroller runs which are considerably harder now that Betty is practically driving and my new and most favorite way to work out…ORANGETHEORY!

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WE FINALLY HAVE ONE HERE and I totally see what all the hype is about. More on my experience in an upcoming post because I could go on and on about it for a week, but I’m in love after just two times and will be signing up for some kind of membership. Not only is it such a fantastic workout, but it totally caters to my competitive side as well.

Oh and I booked my room for the race next month. Can you believe it’s almost April?

How has your training been going? Are you wearing green today? (I AM!) Drinking any green better later? (I’M NOT! Green beer weirds me out.)

xo,

Salt