Thursday, March 28, 2013

Walking the Walk

The past couple of days have been good and not so good, all rolled into the same day.  Yesterday was my day off with the kids.  We had a play date planned with my mom friend Erin and her two kids at a local gymnastics center for "power play", a 2 hour open play session.  There are trampolines and balance beams, still rings, a foam pit and all the other standard gymnastics stuff.   The most fun was the foam pit.  We spent a lot of time in serious foam-warfare, throwing chunks of foam at each other while trying not to sink down too far into the pit.  I tried my hand at the rock wall but didn't get very far (which I will blame on my daughter being just below me in the pit and making me worry I'd fall on her).  We bounced on trampolines, hung on parallel bars, balanced on beams and swung on still rings.  I was even able to swing my legs up and hook my feet into the rings!  My back was iffy but I wasn't too uncomfortable to play.

I had at least as much fun as the kids and by the time we left 2 hours later I was wiped out!  All that activity reinforced the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, of being strong and fit and able to use my body for all sorts of fun.  It's so easy to forget these things at times when "dieting" seems so difficult.  From there we headed to a pizza parlor with a play structure in it because my kids were apparently not as wiped out as I was.  Miguel met us for lunch for the all-you-can-eat pizza and salad buffet - not the healthiest choice but I didn't go too crazy eating pizza.  Just a little crazy.

I was in a great mood.  Feeling energized by all the fun and the good company.  I took the kids home for nap/quiet time and my energy level started to take a big dive.  And then the cold symptoms set in, stuffy/runny nose, sore throat.  Grrrr...there went my good mood.  I settled on the couch and pretty much stayed there the rest of the evening.  And my back was hurting more too.  Insert violin track here.

I got up this morning and my back had gone from a minor irritation to outright pain.  I wonder if laying on the couch all evening made it worse.  I remember from my time working in a pain clinic that inactivity sometimes only makes back problems worse.  Anyway, I took some ibuprofen and moved gingerly through my day.  Mid-morning I started worrying about being able to walk if things got much worse.  Ouch!  Oh, and I definitely have a cold.  Thank goodness for cold medicine.

I ended up being away from the office for lunch and had to decide what to buy.  I remembered this local restaurant, Sol Food, that has a side order of black beans with a plantain and avocado.  Perfect!  I sat outside on their patio and enjoyed a comfort-foody, satisfying lunch all to myself.  By now my back was hurting a bit less, though still clearly out of sorts.

After work I questioned going to the gym.  I sometimes get stuck in a yes-no forced choice scenario when it comes to exercise and forget the sort-of option - go to the gym but tone down the duration and intensity, something I suggest to others but easily forget myself.  So today I walked the walk, literally, and started with a 20 minute stroll on the treadmill.  My back was a bit uncomfortable now and then but nothing major.  I upped the incline to add a bit of a challenge and was at 5% by the time I hit the 20 minute mark.  I think I walked about 1.2 miles.

Due up for strength training was back/biceps/core.  I didn't want to bypass this again so I decided I'd do it but skip anything that hurt my back.  Really it's only my lower back, my upper back seems fine, so I was able to do everything except back extensions (hello Lance!), including pull ups and seated rows.  I am still doing my recovery plan from the pneumonia so I cut back the sets across the board.  I spent a lot of time stretching.  There was a guy there doing some back stretches I'd never seen so I picked his brain and learned some really good ones.  I realized while I was stretching that I've been skimping on this part of my routine lately, rushing through the stretches to get out the door.  Maybe that's part of why my back is not so happy.  Today it was time well spent because I felt so much better when I left the gym.

Our weather forecast is kinda crappy for the next few days so I'm not sure what I'll be doing in terms of outdoor fun (besides hiding eggs!) but I know I'll manage to do something.  My brother is planning to visit so maybe I can coax him out for an easy run.  And then Monday is my follow-up chest x-ray.  SO hopeful everything will be clear.  If I don't blog before then, have a happy Easter and remember the holiday rule, Easter is one day, not two days, not a week, just one day.  So relax and enjoy it...then back to your routine come Monday!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This is What I Do.

Life is nothing if not interesting.  Twists, turns, blind corners and the occasional dead end street.  The future remains a mystery, which is always the case but we usually prefer a cozy little state of thinking we know what's just around the bend.  As you can see, my life remains unsettled but I'm doing my best to roll with it.

Yesterday, Monday, I went to the gym after work.  I did not want to go.  I felt tired and grumpy and just not in the mood.  It had been chilly all day and I found the thought of taking off my clothes to change into a gym t-shirt and capri tights uninviting at minimum.  But I reminded myself that this is what I do.  I go to the gym, I exercise, it's me and it's good and I will do it.  And I did.  And, as  happens 99% of the time, I was so glad I did.

I started with a 1.5 mile run on the treadmill.  I decided to run at my pre-pneumonia pace of 6.4mph but I left out the 7.4mph intervals.  I could have killed myself trying to do them but #1, I don't have the green light from the doctor to kill myself yet and #2, I generally am not a fan of torture on the treadmill.  So I ran 1.5 miles in something like 14:30 and then hopped off, already feeling better with a bit of endorphins rushing through my blood.

I had chest/triceps/core for strength training.  I started out with some bosu pushups, doing only 2 sets of everything instead of my normal 3.  Hey, I'm taking it easy, remember?  Then there were some chest presses, dips, double crunches, you know the drill.  By the time I left the gym I was feeling so much better than when I walked in.  Not just energy-wise but about life, my future, all of it.  Exercise is a miracle drug.

As has been the case lately I ate more food than I needed last night.  I had teriyaki chicken and broccoli over rice for dinner.  And a bunch of other crap I won't catalog here.  I'm still sort of watching myself, seeing what develops.  I know this is a passive approach, as if I'm not actually the one making decisions here.  But I have faith I'll swing back around and things will fall into place.  I can use brute force down the road if needed.  Now is a time to be gentle with myself.

Today was good.  My main issue is my friggin' back, it's been hurting all day.  I had back/biceps/core due up at the gym but I'm not that stupid so I switched to legs/shoulders/core.  I started with a 15 minute ride on the bike, Level 8 (my pre-pneumonia level, but 10 minutes shorter on time).  The bike went well, a challenge, but I handled it.

After the bike I did strength training.  You don't realize how much you use your back for stuff until it hurts like hell.  I was able to do everything except decline crunches.  I got up on the bench and started to decline and my back screamed NO.  So I did situps instead.  For jump squats I was barely jumping, you use your back a lot to jump, who knew?  Anyway, the gym was good overall, despite my back.  I have strong legs and they didn't disappoint.  And I generally enjoy shoulder exercises so that was good. 

I had a lunch meeting and didn't bring food so lunch turned out to be a series of snacks.  Mostly healthy snacks but toward the end of the day I was feeling like something less than healthy.  So I stopped at McDonald's for a small soft serve cone.  It was good.  Can that count as dinner?  Who knows because I continued with the snacking-but-not-really-eating thing once I got home.  I never ate a real dinner.  And now the kids are tucked in bed and I'm all alone with more snacks than I usually have in the house.  Let's hope I don't make too many questionable choices.  At least I don't have a gallon of ice cream or a case of Oreos!  In any case I'm tired and headed to bed myself so no snacks for me.  Sometimes going to bed is the best thing you can do to prevent nighttime snacking.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Another Sunday

It's Sunday night and I wish I could say I'm ready to face the new week but really, I could use another Sunday.  This weekend was busy.  On Saturday we took the kids to a 4 year old birthday party at a "giant indoor arena with gigantic inflatables."  There were a couple bouncy houses and a HUGE slide that I couldn't get enough of.  I might have had more fun than the kids bouncing, jumping and sliding. I love that my body allows me to let loose and have fun when the opportunity arises.  This is exactly the kind of thing that would have left me stuck on the sidelines in my prior life.  Not so now, I was right in the thick of things, having fun with my kids and laughing it up.  GREAT party Michelle! - another Michelle, I'm not talking to myself just yet.  Or at least not today.

After all the bouncing and sliding it was time for party food.  I had a couple pieces of pizza, a slice of ice cream cake and too much candy to list here.  On the drive home I couldn't believe the weather, just gorgeous, and perfect for a bike ride.  I sent a text to our sitter on the off chance she was free and voila!, we're in business. 

So Miguel and I took an easy 15 mile spin around town before stopping for some lattes on the way home.  Sitting outside, drinking coffee on a sunny Saturday afternoon - that's an ideal way to pass the time.  

After the ride I had to hustle and get ready to go into the city for dinner with some of my favorite girlfriends.  You know you're having a full day when you have several wardrobe changes.

Ready to hit the town!
We ate at West of Pecos in the Mission.  I started with a vodka soda and shared heartily in the chips and guacamole appetizer.  And then in the Green Chile Mac-n-Cheese (cave-aged cheddar, anaheim chiles, cornbread crumbles) appetizer.  Yummm.

Choosing my entree was tricky.  There were some good steak options, a salmon entree, and other tempting offers.  But what really sounded good were the ribs, Ancho & Apricot Pork Ribs.  Do you know I nearly didn't order them because I was thinking I should get something with more volume?  Talk about old thinking.  I wanted the ribs, order the ribs.  Since when have I lacked for food?  Maybe it was the vodka talking.  And I'm so glad I did, they were  We all shared bread pudding for desert and it was good until we ran out of ice cream, then it was too dry.  

After dinner we headed across the street to what felt like a hipster, or at the very least youngster, bar.  I had another cocktail while we continued our long overdue catching up.

I got to bed way too late and found myself dragging my feet a bit today.  I would have liked to go for a run but it just didn't work out that way, which is fine.  Instead Miguel and I had a late morning at home with the kids before heading out for some essential errands.  My eating continues to be in the "more than necessary" department.  We went to Chevy's for dinner and I had chips and more chips, tortilla soup, followed by shrimp & crab enchiladas for my entree.  After all the chips and soup I could only eat about half my entree, but I still had plenty of room for desert - a mini sundae that I didn't need but enjoyed nonetheless.  I did manage to talk myself out of a margarita.  It sounded good and I was in desperate need of the magical powers of tequila, but it didn't feel right.  One has to draw the line somewhere. 

I got nothing to say about my eating choices these days.  It is what it is.  Some of my pants are a bit tight, and I can see my mid-section rounding out.  I keep telling myself that once I'm in the clear from this pneumonia thing I'll have plenty of time to reel things in and tighten back up.  I've got another full week until my follow-up chest x-ray.  How much damage can I do to my waistline in a week?  Don't answer that.  Anyway, I sure hope I'm taking it easy enough to be 100% clear by then.

Alright, that's all I got.  Off to dreamland.