Saturday, June 25, 2011

Whew - What a Saturday!

The only plan for today was to take a bike ride with Miguel towing the kids. Well, you would have thought we were planning a wedding! It took us all day to get out of the house. Part of it was there was a lot to get out and organize for the ride. The other part was Miguel finishing up a home improvement project that was to take, "no more than 30 minutes." I don't know exactly how long it took but 30 minutes it was not. I never discourage home improvement though so I kept my trap shut on the matter, mostly. Guess what time we started riding? 12:30pm.

Still, we went. Our friend Stacy came along for the ride and we all eventually got on the road. Things were going alright until I had to stop and wait for Miguel to make a routing decision. Pulling the 50+ pounds of kids and trailer, he was moving a little slower than us. As soon as our son saw me he started screaming, "Out, mommy, I want out, out, ouuuuuuuutttttt!". We'd gone maybe two miles. We decided that Miguel would ride back to the car and Stacy and I would ride on and picked a place for him to pick us up. He told me Marek screamed the whole way back to the car and some people were staring, Why is that man torturing that poor child? Poor Miguel (and Marek), they didn't have nearly as much fun as I did.

So Stacy and I followed the signs to Tiburon and ran into a couple of hills. Stacy said, "I did not sign up for hills." But also that she wasn't going to wimp out so up the hills we went. There were only two and they weren't too bad. Though I was huffing and puffing to get Tillie and I up and over them. I realized I never explained my choice in bike names. Remember The Little Engine That Could, of "I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can" fame? That train was named Tillie (in the movie version, in the book it didn't have a name) and seemed the most perfect name for my bike. Here's a verse from the book I found online,
As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I--think--I--can, I--think--I--can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could, I thought I could."
How perfect is that? Tillie, today with a re-introduction to the world. She was a glorious ride. Oh, but I haven't finished telling you about my time on Tillie today. When Stacy and I were nearing our meet-up spot with Miguel I told her, "I'm not ready to stop." Riding was just feeling like so much fun. I am remembering now why I went on some of those crazy long rides before. I really like it. So I asked Miguel if he was ok with my going to the gym later while the kids napped, "sure." I love a supportive husband. We got home after lunch and off I went, riding the roughly 3.5 miles to the gym. On the way there is a hill that I had ridden a bunch of times. It's the same hill I had to go over when I rode to my swim classes way back when. It's a little steeper than I remember it.

It was hard. No doubt about it. I pulled out all my old tricks for getting up hills. Mainly I used the advice Katie gave me the first time I faced a scary hill, Don't look up at the hill while climbing it, just look a few feet ahead. Pick a spot about 10' feet ahead and ride to that. Repeat. Stay in your baby gear. Take your time, conserve energy. You'll make it. Today I made the mistake of looking up the hill and quickly told myself to stop and focus on my current goal. I pushed, I pedaled, I breathed, and I made it up that hill. My heart rate was going a bit crazy but only for a short time but boy was I happy to be over that hill! These victories are part of what's so addicting about getting out there and making it happen. Sometimes you have the opportunity to impress even yourself.

After that hill the rest of the ride was easy. I arrived at the gym sweaty and hot thinking I'd do c25k Week 1 Day 4 (despite Miguel telling me to take it easy at the gym, "remember, you have to ride back home!"). I changed into my gym shoes and hopped on the treadmill. I think I was two minutes into the warmup walk when I realized how crazy I was and decided not to do c25k today. I did 5 minutes and hopped off to do weight training. Smart move I think. So legs and shoulders were due up on the weight training plan but I knew that was a bad idea so I did back and biceps instead. The trainer I met with before - turns out his name is Ian, not Ken - was there today and he ended up giving me a touch-up on the knee lifts ab exercise. I just didn't feel like it was doing anything so he helped me with my technique. I finished up with some stretching and left for the ride home. If I told you I was afraid I wouldn't make it, would you believe me?

Unfortunately I was sort of afraid. I was scared my body would say, "Enough!" (after the earlier ride, then the ride to the gym, then the gym itself), but it didn't. I had forgotten that the hill I rode going was way easier coming back. Thank goodness for small gifts. It was still hard and I still had to do some serious self talk to get Tillie and myself over it but it was definitely easier, though made harder by all that proceeded it. So, I made it home and felt pretty darned pleased with myself, 7 miles round trip. Where is all this energy coming from? Maybe the In&Out burger and fries I had for lunch was the secret? Ha! But seriously, I will try not to question it and just be grateful.

So that wraps up this week. I think the only day I didn't exercise was Friday. I am not establishing a precedent here but will definitely ride this wave for as long as it carries me. I plan to go to the gym tomorrow and look forward to seeing how c25k feels after all the riding today. Whew, I'm exhausted. Night all.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New Shoes and a Happy Family

It's strange that I got all emotional last night about gym-time away from the kids because earlier yesterday I was thinking about how much happier our family is when dad and I are exercising. The difference in the energy is noticeable - I'm happier, more energetic and enthusiastic, even more patient, when I'm getting regular exercise. And I think Miguel is too - either that or I'm projecting it onto him because of my own rosier outlook. Either way it's better all around, despite my occasional pangs of, I should be with the kids every spare moment of my life pangs of guilt. Thank you for the supportive comments yesterday. You are all right and most of the time I agree with you. Sometimes I just feel like I'm already missing so much because of work and, well, as I said, I feel guilty. Ok, moving on!

I got a new pair of shoes yesterday! My current adidas were purchased in early 2008 and have been so fabulous to me but were seeing their wear. I looked up the old store I purchased them at and they'd moved across the street and changed names. Now they are Marin Running Company. Thankfully the store was empty when I arrived and I got fabulous attention from the owner, Charles Yoakum. He let me ramble on and on about my past fitness gains, my current goals and the miracle of good running shoes. I wish for every beginner, or re-beginner, to be treated like a real athlete in super-cool fitness type stores like this. Ok, without further new shoes!

Aren't they just beautiful? I would never pick out shoes based on looks, I'm too serious of an athlete for that (wink), but just so happens these are much cuter than my old shoes (sorry adidas!) so I was doubly happy. I got to spend a good amount of time looking at them in spin class. They are officially called Nike Air Pegasus+ 28 Breathe Women's Running Shoe and boy are they fancy. I will skip the flying horse joke. They are light and airy with what so far feels like the perfect amount of cushion. Charles nagged me about my old thick Thorlo walking socks so I also bought a fancy new pair of socks.

I'll have to take a picture of the whole thing in action soon. Well, that's it for me today. I'm feeling stressed and would like to get to the gym but I don't think it's going to happen. I think an after-work walk with the kids is the most I can hope for, but it's better than nothing. Next time I post I hope it will be to tell you about our fun ride with the kids on Saturday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Level 4? I Don't Think So!

Turns out I did go to the gym last night, I got there at 8pm so I had a solid hour to do what I could. I did a 5 minute warm-up on the treadmill and then got on the bike for 25+ minutes. I decided to do the random program again since it was a good, tough workout the other day. In programming the bike I realized it was asking me a lot more questions than the last time. I started to suspect that I hadn't really done level 4 last time as I thought. I set the bike to level 2 and, sure enough, level 2 was even harder than what I did the other day. So I think what I actually did last time was level 1! Level 2 did plenty to kick my butt, there's NO WAY what I did the other day was level 4. Anyway, level 2 started out so hard I didn't think I was going to make it but things got easier once I was more warmed up and I did it! Exercising just feels so good.

After the bike I did chest and triceps, followed by some core work. I am holding the plank twice for 30 seconds, I'm amazed I used to do 1 minute! Looking forward to getting back to that. So far, instead of getting me down my past feats are motivating me to regain them. I had time to do some stretching but my body still felt tight so I came home and took a hot bath and some ibuprofen. I woke up this morning feeling amazingly not-sore and decided a bath and ibuprofen are a miracle!

So today is Thursday and they have that spin clinic I was eying. I called Miguel and he said he could pick up the kids. After work I headed to the gym. I had a gym guy set the bike up for me but realized I could have done it myself, it was fairly straightforward. When the spin class leader showed up he asked if it was my first spin class. Yep, I told him. "Your very first one?". Yep. At one point during the class I think my face was turning pretty red because he got off his bike and came over and told me to do what felt comfortable and not to push myself too hard. Check. There were plenty of times when he said to up the resistance that I happily ignored him. I had my heart rate monitor on and mainly used this as a guide. That and my burning quads.

What can I say about the spin class? I liked it alright, it was definitely a workout. And it was a bit more than the 1/2 hour they advertised! I was talking to someone today about the class and he mentioned to watch out for my knees. He said all the up and down can be hard on the knees. I did a little reading and some people think it's improper bike setup, others talk about the mechanics of it not being good for the knees. Either way I didn't fall in love with it, it didn't feel right for my body somehow, and I'm just not enthusiastic enough right now to risk an injury. So I won't seek out spinning classes in the near future. It was a good workout though, my legs definitely felt it and I burned a good number of calories.

Afterward I stayed for a "core" class that used the Bosu in all sorts of ways I'd never imagined. We did push-ups on it, jumped on it, balanced on both sides (sometimes with one foot!) and generally had an interesting time of it. I had to leave part-way through because I'd already stayed later than planned and I didn't want to miss dinner with the kids. The core class was interesting but from a time perspective I didn't think it was as efficient as weight training with free weights so I probably won't be doing it anytime soon. That said, I got to do three sets of squats (one with two, 8 pound weights in my hands!) and made an effort at real pushups, which I can barely even begin to do, so it wasn't a waste by any stretch.

Speaking of stretch I did some quick stretching in the locker room and headed home just in time for dinner. If there's anything in this I feel badly about, it's missed time with the kids. Working full time with two small kids and trying to get to the gym is not easy. I think I'm doing the right thing. I hope that things will get better when I get in better shape. I hope I'm not being selfish, I hope the happier, more active me is worth it. Writing this is making me feel even more guilty for some reason. I love those little bugs and I don't like to be away from them unnecessarily. Ok, I'll stop now before I start crying.

I was planning to write about a couple more things but this blog is already too long and it's late. Tomorrow is Friday and Miguel wants to go fishing after work so I'm going to be taking a day off from the gym and log some much needed time with the kids. Tomorrow is weigh-in day. On Saturday morning we're planning a family ride with Miguel pulling the kids. And I got some new running shoes. I'll tell you all about it next time.

Update: Weight is 195.5, down 1 pound this week.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Walking and Rolling!

It's Wednesday, my day home with the kids. We're in the middle of a heat wave over here so we are headed to the park (with a water feature) soon to play in the water. I am wearing shorts and t-shirt and actually feeling ok about that. It's amazing how my mind has shifted in the last month or so. When bathing suit shopping a month or two ago I was feeling like wearing a bathing suit was a sacrifice I was willing to make for my kids. I was definitely not willing to have them miss out on summer fun because I was feeling crappy about my body. But now, even though I'm not feeling great about my body yet, knowing that I'm doing something about it already makes me feel so much more comfortable with myself. Of course I'd like to look, and feel, better. But knowing I'm getting there is a relief. So today, in my shorts and t-shirt, I feel alright. And even if, er when, I get all wet with the kids today I know I'll be less concerned about my t-shirt sticking to my fat :)

Ok, exercise update. On Monday evening I went on that walk after the kids went to bed. I wore my headphones and again enjoyed my music. I did a larger loop than last time and after coming home and mapping it out I found it was three miles. I was curious about my pace and since I walked an even 60 minutes it was easy-peasy - 20 minute miles, 3 miles per hour. That's the same pace I'm walking on the treadmill during walks for c25k so that's good. Toward the last 1/3 or so I had a chance to take a shortcut and probably cut off a little less than a mile. My legs were starting to complain a bit and I was tempted but ultimately decided I wanted to walk at least 45 minutes and that would have meant closer to 40 so I took the longer route. When I got home and found I walked three miles I was happy I didn't take the shortcut. I came home and stretched and hit the sack a happy girl.

Yesterday Miguel called me toward the end of the day and said he could pick up the kids if I wanted to go to the gym. It's so much easier having Miguel behind me on this! I went to the gym and did c25k week 1, day 3. This time I remembered to set my elevation 1. Things went pretty well. I felt good, my heart wasn't pounding too fast and my legs weren't hurting too badly. The most amazing bit of goodness is that I haven't had to deal with shin splints! Hopefully they will not make an appearance at all but I've had such issues with them in the past I'm psychologically ready to deal with them if I have to. So I almost feel like I could go on to Week 2 next week and I'm really tempted to give it a try. In Week 2 you up the jogging to 90 seconds but the walks get stretched out to 2 minutes. I probably could do that but I also don't want to push myself too fast and burn out. I'm leaning toward repeating Week 1 but we'll just have to see how I feel next time I hop on the treadmill. After c25k I did weight training, back and biceps.

I also got to chatting with some other gym-goers about spin class and cycling and I mentioned I'm looking for a nice, flat, paved bike route for a ride. One woman mentioned a paved trail in Mill Valley - that's exactly what I am looking for! I had forgotten about that trail. I rode on part of it when I did the paradise loop back in October of '08. Hopefully this Saturday morning we can head out with the kids in tow on our road bikes. I'm excited!

Did you catch that I mentioned spin class? I've always been too scared to take a spin class but my new gym has a 1/2 hour spin clinic that notes "beginners welcome!". It's on Thursdays and Miguel would have to pick up the kids for me to be able to go but sometimes he gets done early so I asked him to think of me if he finishes early on a Thursday so I can check it out. There's a spin class at the crack of dawn (7:15am) on Saturdays but I want to attend this clinic before I dive in to a full hour class. Since Myra wakes up at 6:30 in the friggin' morning like clockwork I should be able to make a 7:15 class.

Well, I'm off. I don't know if I'll go to the gym tonight or not. Sort of depends on how my day goes with the kids. So far I've gone to the gym twice and taken a good long walk once so I could take a day off if I'm feeling like it. That's always a nice thing to know.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Like Cardboard, but with Cheese

A quick post to share a new food find. During my blog hiatus I read The Omnivore's Dilemma as well as In Defense of Food. I'd been reading books along these lines for a while, Fast Food Nation, etc. Anyway, something that will likely be very different in my eating when/if I go back on any sort of food "plan", i.e. Weight Watchers, will be the amount of processed foods I eat. I still have my daily coffeemate, that's as fake as fake-food comes, and will likely still have my go-to processed foods but I'm generally moving away from that stuff. Anyway, all that said to share a cracker I happened upon in Whole Foods a week or so ago.

I stopped during a break in work and needed a cracker to go with my Laughing Cow Light Cheese wedges. On the bottom shelf was this Scandinavian Bran Crispbreads. Here are the ingredients and stats:

Ingredients: Unprocessed wheat bran, rye flour, salt
Serving size: 1 slice (10g)
Calories: 12g
Fat: 0g
Sodium: 30g
Carbs: 7g
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Sugar: 0g
Protein: 1g

So, Wow! I bought them and hoped for the best. Well, they definitely fell into the not bad category. Not great but what would you expect from that ingredient list? I spread my LC cheese on two of them, wouldn't want to even try them plain, and they were not only totally edible but they filled me up more than the other crackers I used to eat. Of course I had a very large glass of water along with them. They will be a go-to workday snack for a while I suspect.

One last thing, I'm tight and sore today. Not horribly so but enough that I think the gym is not a good idea. I'm going to take a walk at some point, either after work with the kids in the stroller, if it's not too hot, or after they go to bed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Like Riding a Bike

First off, let's get the not-so-good news out of the way first. As you may have seen in the update to my last post I had a .5 gain last week. I wasn't happy but I got over it fairly quick. Incidentally, I started my menstrual cycle today so now I am wondering if that is part of the .5, or at least hoping that's the case. In any case it's all part and parcel for the journey.

Ok, now that the gain is out, let's move on to better things. I didn't get any exercise on Friday (but does the work day from hell count?), but the rest of the weekend was a big success!

On Saturday I was with the kids all morning while Miguel was in his triathlon. I didn't end up taking the kids to watch him, he was doing it with a friend so I knew he'd be alright without us. It would have been nice to cheer him on but the super early wake up and keeping the kids entertained during the event just didn't sound like fun. So the kids and I went to our regular playgroup and had some fun at the park. I had probably my biggest scare of not being able to find Marek though, thank goodness my mommy-friends stepped in and helped me find him fairly quickly. It was scary but glad to find him quickly. Later Miguel came home from his tri (he was VERY happy with how he did) and suggested I go to the gym while the kids nap. Perfect. I did c25k Week 1 (day 2) and felt oddly comfortable. I did have some tightness in my adductors (inner thigh) area. It was a strange feeling because I don't think I've ever felt tight in that area before. Anyway, it got better as the intervals went on. No twinges of pain in my feet and my endurance seemed better than last time. I did notice when I got done that I forgot to put my usual 1 degree elevation, could that have made a difference? I suppose. In any case I was very happy to be enjoying c25k, something I didn't expect to happen so soon. After that I did chest and triceps for weight training and left feeling quite pleased with myself.

Today I was with the kids all morning while Miguel played golf and then soccer. I will be taking notes for Mother's Day next year ;) I took the kids to the park to watch the last 20 minutes of his soccer game and we had some nice family time afterward. I planned from the start to go to the gym during their naps so as soon as they were tucked in I hit the road. I am realizing how important weekend workouts are because weekday ones are so much more challenging to squeeze in. Today I started with 20 minutes on the treadmill, doing a more than leisurely but not hard pace. I wanted to see how the upright bike would feel so I did the "random" program (seemed like what other bikes call "hills") on Level 4 (I think) for 25 minutes. This bike didn't cycle from level to level as fast as other bikes I've been on so when the resistance was up, there were a few times when I was really getting my butt kicked. But I powered through and felt good about how it went for my first time. Afterward I did legs and shoulders. Squats went ok, since I had time I did three sets of everything instead of two, which was probably a good thing. But the lunges, oh my!, I couldn't do them. I did one set, barely. I guess it was the bike? But I had no strength in whatever muscles you use to do lunges. Oh, I found something new that I really like! It was a square balance board that looked like this on the bottom:

You can stand on it to balance from left-to-right or from front-to-back depending on how you position it. So I got the bright idea to do my shoulder exercises on it, I've been doing triceps and biceps on the bosu so why not? I did lateral raises while balancing left-to-right and front raises while balancing front-to-back. I like that it adds a balance workout and also that it engages my core, balance comes from the core right? At least I think I read that somewhere.

After weights I had a nice long time to stretch, which I really needed, and left feeling good. While I was there I realized this is the first time in my life, I think, in which there is no cajoling, bargaining, convincing or any other tactics to get myself to the gym. I think it's because of the kids and the lack of time and just an appreciation for the time spent doing it that I never had before. And I really want this. I'm afraid I know this feeling won't last but I want to believe it will so let's just go with that reality for now.

When I came home Miguel had some friends over and asked me to run to the store for some grill fixings. After the upright bike at the gym I wanted to ride the real thing. Miguel got my bike down for me and pumped up the tires. I popped on the snap-on platforms over my clipless pedals, I'd purchased them way back when and this may be the first time I'm actually using them. I rode to the store and back taking the same loop route I did for my walk a couple weeks back. Funny how a bike will show you all the little grades you never noticed before. I felt fantastic riding the short distance to the store. The rest of the loop home was a little painful though it was less than 2 miles in total so I didn't suffer too badly but...IT FELT GREAT! to be on that bike. I felt like I was gliding along. I need to plan a nice (mostly flat) road ride asap!

Well, you're totally up to date. I have one gym-day in the bag for this week and I more than met my goal for last week. Ok, gotta hit the sack before I fall asleep on my laptop. Thank you for reading and, most especially, thank you for the supportive comments. I've been reading a lot of my old posts lately (I'm getting motivated seeing what I did before) and the comments are still so helpful. Thank you!!