Spring Break Time

It has certainly been a while since I’ve posted a new entry on this blog! I apologize for my absence from this blog, but I’ve really been trying to finish up this semester of school and finally have gotten back into my workout routine.

To catch you up to speed, I’ll post an example of what my weekly workouts look like.

MONDAY:

  • 30-40 minutes of *cardio on elliptical or other cardio machine

  • 50-80 crunches  

  • 2 sets of 20-30 second planks

THURSDAY:

  • 3X10 hamstring curls with 25-35lbs

  • 3X12 squats and lunges with 5lbs

  • 3X10 tricep curls with 10-15lbs

  • 3X10 chest press with 10lbs

  • 3X10 sets of at least 5 different ab exercises

  • 2 sets of 20-30 second planks

SATURDAY: 

  • 30-40 minutes of yoga

After a few months of gradually adjusting and modifying my workout, I have finally returned to the old faithful routine of 3-4 days a week of cardio and 2 days of weight training. I truly swear by this routine and can say with 100 percent confidence that this is the routine that really shapes my body. As I’ve said in previous blog entries, P90X and other routines are a nice change, but this is a tried and true body-changing routine.

I hope this helps any of you who are trying to get into warm weather shape. Just remember not to be afraid of heavier weights. They will help you burn fat and won’t turn you into a man.

*For my cardio days, I prefer to run outside if the weather permits, but either way, breaking a sweat is the key.

Oscar Curse

I would like to start out by saying I am fully prepared to take whatever criticism I get for posting this. However, I feel this controversial point should be raised.

According to an entertainment report on today’s episode of The Today Show, it was noted that nearly every woman who has won an Oscar for best leading lady has split up with her significant other. Among the list was Kate Winslet, Halle Berry and recently,  Hollywood’s girl-next-door, Sandra Bullock.

As shown in the video linked above, one source denies it being some kind of “Oscar Curse” and claims that it is obviously an upset happening to couples who have been married or together for five years or less. The source goes on to say that it isn’t uncommon for marriages to go through struggles within the first few years. The report also mentions that these women all share the same power within Hollywood and are usually working the majority of the time. So could this be a case of threatened men?

Without being too harsh on either party of these Hollywood splits, I feel that it is fair to point out that any relationship that experiences periods of distance is up against a possible myriad of obstacles. It takes great dedication and really a certain level of selflessness to participate in such relationships. My guess is that these men had trouble dealing with the fact that their wives were working all the time. I don’t think it is as much of a power struggle or jealousy as it is simply the fact of these actresses having their Hollywood cake and eating it too. (I apologize for the cliché.) What I mean by this is that many of these actresses marry men they can have “normal” lives with. The disconnect, however, lies within their ability to balance making blockbuster hits and spending time with their spouses. To break it down even more, I feel that these women may be getting pressure to choose one or the other.

As I formerly stated, I am somewhat familiar with the female societal struggles, thanks to my women’s studies course. I have studied in many history classes that the roles of women didn’t begin to change until sometime in the 1950s and ’60s. With this sort of information, it isn’t so surprising that the idea of women placing relationships before work is still somewhat of a norm. Now I don’t want to appear that I’m claiming these husbands of Hollywood were forcing their successful wives to give up their fame to put emphasis back on their home life, but I do feel that this common theme of “Oscar splits” is connected to something. I think it goes without saying that the same could happen to men, however due to our still somewhat constricting societal roles, women tend to be more comfortable with their spouses having the spotlight than men do.

This is only a theory that by no means applies to everyone. In fact there are plenty of successful Hollywood marriages that survive with the spotlight being placed on the female partner. I just think that perhaps society still views women as domestic creatures that shouldn’t put the majority of their attention on their careers. Of course this is only a speculation, because for all I know, these Oscar-winning women could be real pains to live with, but I still felt the issue of balance for women should be highlighted.

Take what you want from this and please feel free to comment or criticize. I usually feel uncomfortable posting such bold issues, but in this case, as a young women getting ready to enter into the real world of work, I feel it is important to explore all of its territories. It is important for young women like myself to have a total understanding of the demands of balancing a successful career and our relationships.

The Importance of the Census

I received my Census form two days ago and have already mailed it back out. It literally took about 10 minutes and was absolutely painless. PLEASE fill your’s out and return it. Alright. On with the entry.

According to an article on the Associated Press website, the Pew Research Center poll shows marked improvement in public interest since January. At that time a poll showed 1 in 5 might not mail back the census form. Still, the new poll highlighted lingering apathy toward the head count, particularly among young adults. 

What most young adults probably don’t realize is the money that goes into these Census forms. They also probably have no idea how much more money is spent sending people out into the community to collect un-returned Census forms. According to the article linked above, Stephen Buckner, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said the increase in overall public awareness was heartening, noting that the government can save $1.5 billion in follow-up visits if everyone mails back their forms. That fact and that and my friends from the P.I. Reed School of Journalism worked so hard to spread awareness made me want to run out and mail mine ASAP.

So what can the Census Bureau do raise the participation level among young adults? Well one thing they’ve already done is created the Census on Campus Initiative. This seeks to educate, engage, and mobilize college and university students, administration, faculty, and parents, according to their site. The main page also goes on to say that historically, the highly mobile college student population living on and off campus has been hard to count – in part, because many people believe that college students are counted on their parents’ questionnaires. However, students living away from home will receive their own questionnaires, so to prevent students from being counted twice in the census, they and their parents need to know this.

Some of the initiatives participating states are as follows: Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and surprisingly Puerto Rico.

The site also provides a great tool page for those interested. Among those tools is one that I’m particularly familiar with, the American FactFinder. It is  an interactive application supports the Economic Census, the American Community Survey, the 1990 Census, Census 2000 and the latest population estimates. As a student of PR, I’ve been taught to familiarize myself with applications such as this one and I encourage everyone to take some time and check it out.

Please remember how important the Census is. When you receive it in the mail, take 15-20 minutes to sit down and fill it out. It will take longer if you live with more people, but I promise it won’t interfere with too much of your evening of CSI reruns.

Meeting Laurie

On Thursday I traveled to Mylan Park Elementary School and met with the director of the Monongalia County GOTR, Laurie Abildso. After emailing for a few months, it was nice to finally put a name with a face! We chatted a bit about the organization and then we observed the girls’ practice outside.

The girls started out in the school’s gymnasium by running a few warm-up laps. They then met up in the middle of the floor for a brief meeting with the coaches.

After this they headed outside for one of the organization’s group activities. In the first activity the girls had to jump to different pieces of paper that contained certain foods and good food habits. They had to jump to the one that they participated in.

The next activity consisted of the girls sitting around discussing healthy foods and which food group they belonged in. They then were asked to list 4 foods they had recently eaten. Finally, they lined up in two single-file lines for a short relay race. The coaches stood at one end of the outside basketball court with the food groups listed on different sheets of paper. The girls were then to race to the coaches and place one of their listed foods with the appropriate food group. This consisted of a lot of giggling and cheering.

After a few rounds of this, the excited lines of girls had moved nearly halfway across the court!

The girls then returned to the center of the court for a brief stretch and discussion session. The coaches read the listed foods and asked which of the girls liked each food. Shockingly, brussel sprouts and spinach were two very popular items. When it came time to stretch, the coaches motivated the girls by telling them how good it would make them feel before their run.

Finally, it was time for them to run a few laps in the parking lot. Orange cones were set up as guides and the little ladies marched out for their practice. The coaches were on the sidelines with stickers for each of the girls to collect with every lap they finished.

The sticker line sometimes got a bit congested, but the girls kept on running.

Afterwards, the girls closely resembled Dalmatians due to the large number of stickers on their arms. They chatted and giggled with excitement as they compared stickers with one another and finally headed inside to collect their belongings and have a much deserved snack.

While chatting with Laurie and the coaches, I discovered just how special this program really is. One coach shared a story about one girl telling her how great she felt being involved in this program. She said the young girl told her that running made her feel very good, which is what every coach in this organization loves to hear. She also said how the girls really felt comfortable with one another in this program. It was a chance for them to just be themselves and have fun, which is the entire purpose of this organization.

Laurie is a terrific woman. Her dedication to this non-profit organization is very inspiring and she really can’t grasp how much of an impact she’s making on the lives of not only these young girls, but also the teachers and coaches as well. As a fellow runner and stay at home mom, she understands the rigorous demands of being a role model and motivator for children. She is truly the backbone of this organization and deserves the utmost recognition.

Over the next few weeks, I will be working on putting together a few press release templates for her to have for future use. She informed me that at their last event they had no media coverage, so I am going to make sure that this spring’s 5K is recognized. I will also be aiding her on getting local businesses to donate snacks for the girls. Due to a conflict in scheduling, their previous Snack Coordinator is no longer available to help, so I am stepping in for her. One of the best parts of being in public relations is that we are never limited to one job.

For more pictures of this practice, please visit my Flickr account.

Running Goals

Last week I decided that I would start setting weekly running mile goals for myself. Since I have been out of routine for a while, I decided to start slow. So last week my goal was 10 miles. Unfortunately after a few days of slacking, I pushed my miles back, leaving me with 7 miles to run Saturday and Sunday. I am sad to report that I was shy of just one mile. However this is going to make me run even harder this week!

On top of this, I’ve decided to try P90X. I only have 8 of the workouts and I’m not going to follow the plan quite as much as recommended, but I don’t really want to push myself too hard.

So this week my goal originally was 12 miles, but now I’ve bumped it to 13 to make up for last week. Wish me luck everyone and let me know if you have any tips on how to keep my energy high!

First Meeting

Well I’m going to meet the girls of Mon County Girls on the Run Thursday, March 11! This is very exciting, because not only will I finally meet my email correspondent, Laurie, but I’ll actually get to see this amazing program in action. I found this video on the national GOTR website and I thought I’d share it with you. It really got me excited to work with this organization, because it showed how much of an impact it can make on a young girl’s life.

Isn’t that a great video? It actually inspired me to join the girls with their training for the 5K. I decided that if I was going to work with organization I should experience what the girls are experiencing. I’ve started, as of March 1st, setting weekly running goals for myself. This week for instance was 10 miles. So today and tomorrow I have to run 3.5 each day to reach my goal. Next week I’m hoping to run 12 miles.

Although this is a short post for me, I thought I’d ask for everyone who reads it to write a comment about some important goals they have set for themselves. I would love some feedback!

Loyalty in the Workplace

Today I realized that two of my classes dramatically overlapped with what they were teaching me. In one of my PR classes, I’ve recently learned how to handle crisis communication and how to handle conflicting loyalties. In my ethics class I saw a very different side of the coin. To help better explain myself, I’ll present a version of the scenario I was presented with in both classes.

You work as a public relations representative for a large company. The head of the company confronts you with news that the branch you are working in will be shutting down soon. Your superiors assure you that your position will be safe and that a promotion could even be in your future, but you must not disclose any of the information presented to you.

So what do you do? Tell your co-workers so they can start looking for new jobs? Keep your mouth shut? The answers I found were as follows:

PR Class: It is not your place to tell, because as a PR person, your loyalty lies within the company. If you choose to tell this information, you must be prepared to resign from your position.

Ethics Class: If you don’t tell, you must live with the fact that you may have helped your co-workers find jobs, had you told. By telling you risk losing your job or at best, the promotion. Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t always beneficial to you.

These two answers are clearly conflicting with one another. However I have learned a few things I can do to help with this dilemma. The first thing to do is thoroughly research the company you are about to join. Make sure they don’t have any red flags, such as previous employment disputes or issues. The second thing is to make sure your superiors know how you feel about situations just like this one. Chances are they’ll respect your stance and may realize disclosing such information to you in the future may push you away. The last thing you can always do is quit. It’s not a great choice, but it could possibly aid in the raising of a red flag and possibly attract the necessary attention that you, as an employee, couldn’t produce.

Let me know what you think or what you would do. Comments are always encouraged!