Friday, March 1, 2013

To Sweat or Not to Sweat?

Check it out, a blazer!
Is it Friday already?  That reminds me of something I read recently - "The bad news is, time flies.  The good news is, you're the pilot."  I'm in charge of my own destiny...where is it I want to go?  I don't have an answer for you, but I'm working on one for myself.  I've accomplished one of my biggest life goals - to get in shape.  Now that I've found created (and maintain) success on that front, it's on to other things as well.  No time like the present to take that next step.

So yesterday was supposed to be a gym day.  By the time the afternoon rolled around I was feeling SO tired.  I mean tired.  I could've taken a nap at my desk.  My body felt sore and I was still coughing.  Nothing horrible but it didn't exactly sound good either.  So I was thinking about taking a pass on the gym.  I know, I rarely do that, which is partly why I thought I should.  That said, I'd eaten a whole roll of Thin Mints and we had plans to go out to Indian Food for dinner.  I knew it would be good to balance all those calories with a little sweat.

So I called out to my FB peeps (join us!) for their advice, thinking they'd tell me to rest.  Noooo...the initial comments all told me to go.  Some even said, GO!  But the good thing was they reminded me I could do a light workout.  Sometimes I forget about that option, get into my old black and white thinking - go to the gym or skip it.  When really there's a third option, go to the gym but take it easy.  So that's what I did.   Although I admit, my take it easy could have been easier.  Some people did tell me to skip it, btw.

I did 25 minutes on the upright bike, level 6 (instead of my normal 8) and then I did chest/triceps/core.  Despite taking an AccelGel I was dragging through my whole workout and felt like I'd made a mistake, that I should've skipped the gym altogether.  Oh, but I did a set of dumbbell chest presses again with 30 pound dumbbells.  I asked a kid at the gym to spot me but turned out I didn't need help.  I left the gym feeling a bit beat up but I didn't regret going, at least I gave it a try.

Eventually Miguel and I got out of the house and to dinner.  I love Indian food, so comfort foody and full of flavor. We had vegetable samosas, naan, tikka masala and shrimp in a curry sauce.  Oh, and I had a beer (and shared a second one with Miguel) but was too full for desert.  At this point I was very glad I'd gone to the gym.  Anyway, we did a little shopping after dinner, Miguel needed a few things for his trip and I bought a dark chocolate bar with almonds, of which I almost ate the whole thing (I finished it off today).  We came home and watched an episode of Game of Thrones and I went to bed exhausted.

Today I started feeling tired again in the afternoon with body aches and general malaise.  I came home early from work and went straight to bed.  I've got the busiest week you can imagine, PLUS Miguel will be out of town, so I can't afford to be sick.  I don't know if I slept but I know I was in bed for a few hours and the rest/nap, plus some ibuprofen, made me feel much better.   So I changed into my gym clothes with plan to walk and do weights, since it's the cardio that really takes it out of me.  

Just sharing a little Athleta body envy.  Those arms, those abs!
I started with a 1 mile walk on the treadmill, varying the incline from 1-4%, mostly at about 4mph.  Took me roughly 15 minutes to walk the mile and then I started into back/biceps/core.  I had a small victory in being able to do 4 pullups for my first set, 3 for my second set.  Might be time to add a third set.  Even if I can only do 1 I'll be that much closer to my mini-goal of 3 sets of five.  Pullups are no joke.  And these are neutral grip so I get a lot of help from my biceps.  The other thing I did was increase my weight on decline crunches from 15 to 20 pounds (only on the first set).  Again, no joke.

I left the gym feeling really good.  So glad I snapped out of whatever was ailing me and moved my body some.  My eating has been fair to, well, fair.  Still munching more than I need to in the evening but nothing insane.  Oh, and my weight this week was just fine, 138.8 pounds - and 25% body fat!  I'd like to see 25% a few more times before I call that goal met.  Ok, that's all I got.  It's almost 10:30 and I'd like to get a full night sleep so I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Handle Me With Care

Today was yesterday redux.  I made healthy choices all day and then got munchie in the evening.  But such is life for me these days, I know when I'm ready to stop, I will.  And if I see the scale consistently going up and I'm not ready, I'll stop anyway.  I'll just go back to what's worked in the past - no junk food, or anything that resembles junk food, in the house.  If it's not here, I can't munch on it.

My cough flared up today but it wasn't bad enough to skip the gym.  I went after work and it was still nice enough to run outside.  I've been doing all of my gym runs on the treadmill lately.  Not sure why, in the past I would avoid the treadmill like the plague.  So I told myself I was overdue for an outside run and that, in fact, it's easier to do a leisurely, run-by-feel run outside than on a treadmill.  Outside my pace can change incrementally a million times based on how I feel, that's just not doable on a treadmill.  So I hit the road with a plan to run for 25 minutes.  I've been doing 3 miles but because of the cough situation I decided to run for time.

The run started out rough, I was coughing a bit and everything felt difficult.  I turned off my music so I could hear myself breathing and after 4 - 5 blocks I fell into a comfortable rhythm.  I started to remember some of the stuff I've been reading in Born to Run about form.  I focused on just gliding over the ground, no big steps, no bouncing, just a smooth, easy glide, almost like I'm drifting forward.  In the last few minutes of the run I had this odd sensation of wind being at my back, as if I was getting the slightest push from behind.  It was odd in that I couldn't explain it, but the feeling wasn't odd, it was wonderful.  I still remember it as I'm sitting here on the couch, just this little push forward.  I hope I can make it happen again.

After a cool-down walk I headed back into the gym for strength training, legs/shoulders/core.  I like to get jump squats out of the way first because they are such a challenge.  I hyped myself up with my music and then started leaping in the air.  I've been doing them for a while so nowadays I try and jump as high as I can.  Talk about a challenge.  My legs start burning, my heart's racing.  So for my third set I decided to do regular squats with 12 pound dumbbells - they felt so easy!  Too easy even, so I ended up doing a third set of jump squats just to be sure I wasn't slacking.  Wink.

Another from my beach shoot.
When I was done I switched to my Cooldown playlist and started stretching.  I can't tell you how much I get out of this part of my workout.  Years ago (as in, when I was in my 20's) I used to like taking classes (remember Jazzercise?) and I always loved the cooldown at the end, with the relaxing music and the stretching.  So I replicate that at the end of my own workouts and it's a tiny bit of heaven.

I get a bit lost in the music and revel in the feeling that everything I am is just what I should be, that I am perfectly good, perfectly enough.  I breathe in all that's right in my world and breathe out all that I don't need.  I don't consciously think that but I know that's what I'm doing  Just being in the moment, letting my stresses go for a while, and savoring that post-workout satisfaction that comes from knowing I just spent some time taking care of myself - it's so good.  It's my thank you (and my you're welcome) to myself.

And don't underestimate the music.  I have a variety of soft, soothing songs that immediately take me away.  Even if I only have 3 minutes to stretch and cool down, I take it.  If you're not doing this at the end of your exercise I suggest you give it a try.  It's a soft bit of self care after the tough love that was my workout.  And speaking of self care...I'm off to bed.  Night one and all.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up and Monday Munchies

The visit with my brother was fun, especially for my heart.  I hope we get to spend more time together in the coming years.  I loved watching him interact with the kids.  They're already asking when he's going to visit again.  And of course I enjoyed talking shop as far as exercise and eating goes.  Truthfully, I could not maintain his type of diet.  Or maybe I should say I choose not to.  Super clean eating 99% of the time is probably 19% too often for me. 

On Saturday we went for a hike around Lake Lagunitas.  The weather was pristine and the kids were full of energy.  I'd packed lunch for the kids and picked up Chipotle for the adults for a picnic along the way. 

There was talk of going to see a movie Saturday night but in the end we rented one and stayed in, which was just fine by me.  Sunday morning Robert made us shakes and a healthy egg white scramble for breakfast before hitting the road for home.  He left me the Garden of Life Raw powders to start incorporating them into my routine.  Oh, and a blender cup to make them in.  Here's a picture of the shake ingredients and the finished product. 

Powder, almond milk, fruit, yogurt and oats.
The yummy final product.

I was on the fence about my planned 5-mile run.  I'd been coughing kind of a lot the last couple of days and my body felt strangely sore.  Oh and my right hip has been hurting.  Anyway, Miguel had an entire afternoon of stuff planned in preparation for his trip so he gave me the old, "if you want to run you should go now or I might not get back in time for you to run later."  That's about all I need to hear.  I decided to run one loop around my 'hood, which is roughly 2.5 miles and see how I felt.  If I felt good enough, I could do the loop again.

And, most important, I am continuing my 12k training plan of leisurely running.  No pace goals, just run at whatever pace feels good.  You might guess, if you know me, that I ran the whole 5 miles.  But only because I felt good enough.  Around mile 4 I was ready to be done but by that point I was too close to take a shortcut.  Here are my splits, full Garmin stats here.

Look at that weather!  A gorgeous day for a run.  I ran in shorts and a technical t-shirt and couldn't have been more comfortable.  I was so glad I got my butt moving and went on that run.  And my cough is barely noticeable today so maybe the run helped.

Speaking of today, I hit the gym after work.  I wore my Athleta tank top for the second time.  Still feel a bit under-clothed with my shoulders and arms exposed.  One of the gym guys commented, "Your muscles are really starting to show, I can see some real definition."  They've been there for a while now but the tank top is why he's noticing.  I think I need to do some new pics that show my muscles, the last time I did them I was 148, roughly 10 pounds heavier than I am now.  Ohhh, now I'm really curious if I'll notice a difference.

Anyway, I started my workout with 25 minutes on the upright bike, level 8.  I think this is the first time in quite a while that I did my normal workout.  The bike definitely made me work (you better work, work it girl...sorry, couldn't resist) but left me with enough energy for strength training, back/biceps/core.  I managed 3.5 and 3 pullups in two sets.  I think I need a mini-goal of two sets of 5 to give me something to aim for since my three sets of 8 goal seems a bit far off.  I wrapped up with some stretching before heading home.

My food choices were pretty good all weekend and today.  The wheels didn't exactly fall off tonight but I was very conscious of a desire to eat, eat, eat.  I made a big salad to start, hoping that would quell the desire some.  I've really been enjoying Annie's Naturals Gingerly Vinaigrette Lite dressing lately.  Very flavorful.  

Unfortunately the salad didn't seem to help much with my mental appetite.  I ate three pieces of pizza (thin crust with chicken and veggies), though I was probably satisfied after two (and could have eaten four), followed by a lot of random snacking.  I wouldn't call this a binge or anything but it was clearly more food than I needed.   I don't know, I'm not going to think about it too much.  I'm too tired. 

Which is maybe why I overate in the first place.  Either that or I was looking for some comfort.  A hot bath would've probably felt better in the end.  I think I forgot to mention that TTOTM started on Friday evening.  Explains a few things anyway.  Ok, it's nearing 10pm and my eyes are feeling heavy.  Off to bed. 

p.s.  Thanks to all my FB peeps for the workout song recommendations!  I'm looking forward to checking them out.