Friday, June 8, 2012

Run for Your Life

I had a great gym outing yesterday.  I started out on the treadmill at 5.5mph.  After 5 minutes I pushed it up to 6mph.  It was a challenge, I definitely felt like I was running, but I kept at it.  I wanted to finish with an average of 6mph so I knew I'd have to go up to 6.5 for at least 5 minutes in all.  So at minute 16 I started doing 1 minute intervals at 6.5 alternating with one minute at 6. I kept that up for a few cycles and then needed to stay at 6 for a while longer.  During the last 1.5 minutes I went all out, running at 6.5 the whole time, hoping it would get my average up to 6mph and it did!  Ten seconds before I hit the 25 minute mark.  I wanted to throw my arms up as if I was crossing a big finish line!

After the high-pressure run I went to do back/biceps/core work.  I had a good workout all around except I ran out of time and couldn't stretch.  Ugh, after the hard run I really needed to stretch.  I did it later at home but it's never the same as right after you're done.  My right calf tightened up after dinner.  I've been getting calf cramps in the morning and I know not stretching doesn't help.  As an aside, I'm now thinking my morning headaches might be related to allergies.  In any case they've settled down, now getting them once a week or so.

So I don't know how much you follow the news on fitness research but an article about how much longer runners live than non-runners got my attention.  The New York Times Moderation as the Sweet Spot for Exercise article basically says that runners see an extension of life by 6.2 years for men and 5.6 for women.  But you only have to run 1-2.5 hours per week running at a "slow or average pace" (10 - 11 minute miles) to get the benefit.  Going over 20 miles a week or running faster than 7mph is when you start to see diminishing returns.  I'm doing some serious paraphrasing here so if you want the full scoop, read the article.  But the gist of the message is great news for the time crunched like myself - just get 2-3 30 minute runs in every week and you're golden - at least for an additional 5.6 years.  I have a feeling 5 years, at least 5 years with decent quality of life, will be very important to me when I'm getting close to the big finish line in the sky.

I'm so glad today is Friday.  Day one of my Weight Watchers week, a fresh start.  I gained 1 pound over my last weigh-in two weeks ago.  SO glad I took a pass on weighing myself last week.  That would have been painful.  Anyway, one pound I can live with - at least until I lose it.  By the way, that picture is my breakfast this morning.  Kashi GoLean with cinnamon sprinkled on it and 1% milk.  I do the "calorie watchers" portion of 3/4 of a cup of cereal (39 grams) with a 1/2 cup of milk.
My WW meeting was good, we had a stand-in leader and she was fun.  She'd periodically made these motivational statements such as, "You're here for you!" and almost shout them.  It was funny and fun.  The other fun thing was I wore a skirt and t-shirt with cute sandals to work today.  One pound up but I felt trim and fit, so take that you measly one pound!

My gym visit today was rushed but good.  Miguel is home with the kids on Fridays so I scheduled a massage for after the gym.  Except I left work a little late so I was rushed to make it to the massage on time.  I did 25 minutes on the upright bike.  Finally I had a level 7 ride that didn't kick my ass.  After the bike I did legs/shoulders/core work.  I was flying around that gym like mad.

Then I went for my massage.  I asked the guy for a sports massage and to focus on my shoulders.  Boy did he!  Ouch!  And he did some other sports massagey stuff that included stretching.  It wasn't as relaxing as a normal massage but maybe it was better for my muscles?  I don't know, we'll see.  My calf muscle still feels like it wants to cramp up at any moment and my shoulders still hurt but it was only one massage, I didn't expect it to cure me.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My "Gym Rant" Post

I've been meaning to write this post for a while.  One of the fitness magazines that I "like" on Facebook posted asking for pet peeves from gym goers.  The response was long and loud in terms of the number of complaints people had about their gym-goers.  Here are some that I remember.

I hate it when...
  • someone gets on the treadmill right next to mine when there are other open ones
  • a woman has full make-up on when working out
  • someone stinks
  • people don't wipe off a machine when they're done using it
  • people grunt or groan while lifting weights
  • fat people wear clothes that are too tight, too revealing, too anything
  • someone slams down the weights when they are done using them
  • I see people who don't use good form
  • people drive to park as close as possible to the front door only to go inside and walk on the treadmill
  • people wear clothes that show butt crack, cleavage, mid-section, etc 
  • new year resolutioners swarm the gym in January and February
  • a fellow gym-goer tries to chat me up
  • people sit on the benches or machines, and proceed to have a conversation or watch tv
I've also had friends post on Facebook, complaining about their fellow gym-goer's clothes, body odor, exercise choices, etc.  In general, I am irritated with all the irritation.  When did we become so intolerant of others?  What do you care what others are doing or how they're dressed?  It's a gym, not your living room.  I have a few answers to the above complaints.
  • If I get on the treadmill next to you when there are others available it's because A) I only plan to be on for a few minutes and it was the closest one or B) I like what's on the TV closest to that one.  
  • I workout with make-up when I'm coming straight from work.  Besides, why do you care?
  • It's a gym, some people will stink. 
  • If you are so upset by machines that haven't been wiped off then wipe them off yourself before you use them.  Problem solved.
  • Fat people can wear whatever the heck they want.  If you don't like it, build a home gym.
  • I grunt because it's hard, I groan because I'm suffering - that's what I do at the gym, hard, suffering work.  And I'm not sorry to disturb your peace.  
  • Resolutioners are the life-blood of gyms.  They sign up for a year contract and then some percentage will start no-showing by March.  Thank them for keeping your dues lower but your treadmills open.
And no, I am not above a few gym rants of my own.  Of course I think my gym peeves are totally valid :)
  • I agree, don't sit on a bench, a machine, or hoard dumbbells if you are going to be taking more than a minute break between sets.  Someone else might need that stuff.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • There are lockers for your backpack and jacket.  The corner against the wall is not the place.
  • The upper locker next to the counter on the far left, that's my locker.  Please don't use it.
Ok, that's enough with this silly gym rant post.  Feel free to add your own gym rants, but know I will be judging you for your intolerance.  Oh, the hypocrisy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Yesterday, Tuesday, was a good day.  In my insanity Monday I missed the fact that it was my one-year anniversary of being "back" on track.  What a year!  I lost over 40 pounds and got back to my pre-baby weight.  So yesterday I did a little mental happy dance and celebrated my achievement.  Fortunately there was no cake involved in this celebration.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch...things are slowly returning to normal around here.  My eating is returning to something in the sane realm, I'm tracking everything and I'm feeling better about things in general.  My mind still jumps back to Sunday and Monday and the choices I made but I quickly remind my brain that we're moving on.  I am so appreciative of the support I got from all of you.  It's sometimes maddening that you can be at this for as long as I've been and *still* have those days when you feel like all is lost, like you're doomed to failure, like you've done irreparable harm - despite all the historical evidence to the contrary.  I guess that's what makes those days and the thinking that goes along with them irrational.  I just wish that intellectual knowledge took the bad feelings away - maybe one day.

Oh!  I almost forgot, the MudFactor pictures were posted.  There was one of me!  This is going over the medium-sized wall, I think.  I love the view in the background, it really was a gorgeous day.

So today is a day off from the gym but I went yesterday and did 25 minutes on the upright bike and chest/triceps/core work.  The core work was kicking my butt for some reason but I did it.  My free year is up at my gym soon.  I have to decide if I'm going to stay or not.  Miguel is going to a 24-hour gym a few towns away but we're thinking about joining something local together.  Problem is, mine is only open until 9pm and he needs one that's open until 10 because he sometimes works out when the kids go to bed.  I visited a few so we'll see.  I'm sort of emotionally attached to my gym so this is going to be hard.  But I hope we can find one we both like that's not going to break the bank.  I already told Miguel I want to cut down our cable bill, we hardly watch tv at all anyway.

I have some fun news.  A few weeks ago I received an email from the George Foreman grill people.  They are running a 12-week "diet" challenge using the George Foreman grill.  I filled out the application and just received word that I'm in!  I'll get a free George Foreman grill, meal plans and recipes, support from a registered dietician and "other incentives" throughout the 12 weeks.  Once I get the starting kit I have to send them my measurements, weight, pictures, etc.  The contest officially starts on June 18th and there are prizes. To be honest, I don't have high hopes of winning anything, I'm just looking forward to trying out the grill and having the support for 12 weeks.  I've actually been considering buying one so I'm excited to try out the grill.  I hope I can put a frozen chicken breast in it.  And I hope they send me one big enough to cook for the family!  I see they have one that holds four burgers at once, that's what I need.  Though there is no requirement for me to blog about the challenge but I'm sure I'll be telling you all about it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Two Posts in One Day? (that's never a good sign)

Two posts in one day, what's going on here?  I'll tell you, I had a horrible food day today and I need to get it off my chest.  Horrible.  I should start by saying I was in a grumpy mood all morning, a bit of a headache and still crampy and, well, it's Monday.  My plan for lunch fell apart and I decided to go to Taco Bell and get two fresco chicken soft tacos.  At 4 points each they are not a bad choice for fast food.  Except I didn't get that.  Instead I got one regular taco with sour cream and one fresco chicken soft taco.  According to WW the regular taco was only 4 points too (+1 for the sour cream).  Not sure I get that but whatever.  But I didn't know that at the time and the taco bell made my bad mood better for a moment, then worse. 

I got back to my office and the girl scout cookies that have been sitting in my office for months suddenly started tempting me.  I opened up a box and ate an entire roll of peanut butter cookies.  Turns out that's about 9 cookies, 14 points in all.  My mood was in the tank.  I ate a ton of food over the weekend, my weight is up by a gazillion pounds (I know I'm being totally irrational) and I'm eating crap. 

I was in the midst of talking myself out of going to the gym when I gave myself a stern, "Snap out of it!" and left for the gym, albeit late.  I got on the treadmill and ran for 15 minutes (that's all I had time for) and then started into legs/shoulders/core for strength training.  I was doing shoulder raises in front of the mirror when I had a moment, "Why do you doubt yourself?".  I'd been doing a lot of negative self talk all day and really questioning my ability to reach my goals.  Then, at the gym, seeing my shoulder muscles move to lift the weights, I was feeling a bit stronger, a bit more capable but also disappointed with how quickly I sold myself down the river.  I hope that by continuing to do the work I'm doing with the Beck book and by growing and learning through this blog, I hope these wild fluctuations go away altogether one day. 

So by the time I was done with my weights I had a few minutes left so I decided to get back on the treadmill.  I did another 5 minutes and got up to 6.5mph toward the end.  In the end I only missed 5 minutes of my run and I didn't get to stretch.  Just realized I never did stretch like I planned to do when I got home.  Anyway, on my way out of the gym I saw a fellow gym-goer that I sometimes chat with.  I told her I felt like crap after eating a bunch of cookies.  She tells me she ate a pint of ice cream before coming to the gym!  This woman is one of the fittest women at the gym, her body is amazing.  I'm actually hoping to interview her soon for the blog.  We only chatted for a moment but it was just what I needed.  A reminder that life happens, that I am human like the rest of us, and that it's ok.

Whew, I'm done.  I went to bed way too late last night, probably part of my grumpy mood today, and I don't want to make that same mistake again so I'm off to bed.  Thanks for listening. 

Camping, Food, Running, Food, Beach, get the idea

Camping was a success!  We arrived on Thursday and set up camp.  A friend and her daughter, our regular camping buddies, joined us.  While they were putting the finishing touches on our campsite I snuck away for a 25 minute run.  Several miles of the Cross Marin Trail, following the old Northwest Pacific railroad line, cut through the park - perfect for a scenic (and flat) run.  I didn't wear a gps so I don't know how far or fast but I do know I was pushing myself to run hard, which felt good.  When I got back I did as many leg/shoulder exercises as I could with no equipment.  I did some squats, lunges and used liters of water for shoulder raises.

I will spare you the blow-by-blow on my eating but just know that I ate like a person without a care in the world.  Between that and it being TTOTM I am up a whopping 5.8 pounds this fine Monday morning!  Wowza.  I'm back on track starting this morning and hoping that come Friday I will have at least dropped a few of those pounds.  I am going to take a pass on an official weigh-in for last week.  No need to add salt to the wound.

So the food intake was unbalanced but the exercise was good.  On Friday I did another afternoon run on the bike path.  We'd spent the day lounging by the water at Tomales Bay and I'd had a beer and I really wasn't feeling like running.  So I told myself to just take it easy and that something is better than nothing.  I did a 30 minute run and barely got my heart rate into the 150's the whole time.  Afterward I did some chest/tricep/core exercises - pushups, planks, situps, dips - whatever I could think of.  Myra climbed on my back while I was holding the plank so I did 20 seconds instead of 40!  Holding a plank with an extra 20+ pounds of moving toddler is not easy.

Saturday I took my customary day off from exercise.  We spent the day hanging out next to the creek.  The kids had fun throwing rocks and splashing water.  It was a beautiful, leisurely day. 

After breakfast on Sunday morning we got to packing up.  Mostly Miguel packed while I kept the kids entertained.  Our campsite was overlooking the creek so I took the kids for one last rock-throwing party.  It was so nice to be unplugged from the world for a few days, watching the kids wear themselves out with good, nature-filled fun.  I forgot to mention the park had a lot of poison oak and I react horribly to that stuff.  Fortunately there was none growing directly around our campsite or in the creekside spots where we played. 

We got home at lunchtime so I fed the kids and put them down for their naps before heading off to the gym.  I could have easily skipped it but I knew the damage I'd done with food needed to be balanced with some exercise.  I did 25 minutes on the bike and then back/biceps/core for strength training.  It felt good to be back in the gym.  I was figuring I'd leave the "bad" eating behind but after dinner I ended up going out for a quick hello to my mother's club mom's night out.  I had some red wine and more chocolate based food than I had any right to be eating at that point.  Oh well, I'm chocking it all up to a weekend well-lived and getting back to my routine this morning.

The number on the scale this morning was disheartening.  But the good news is, it's no mystery.  I know probably half of it is due to my diet this weekend and the other half is hopefully from TTOTM.  It might take me a week or two to drop the camping weight but in the grand scheme of things I know it doesn't mean a whole lot.

Last thing - have you noticed I haven't shared a single picture?  That's because I didn't take any.  Marek broke our small camera and I didn't feel like bringing the big one.  Miguel took a few on his phone so maybe I can get those and post some later.  It's ok though, sometimes it's nice to just be.