Friday, January 30, 2009

Word of the day: Kybosh

Word of the day:
Kybosh - The term 'kybosh' (as in 'putting the kybosh on' something) comes from an Irish term, 'caip bháis', meaning 'the cap of death', and refers to the helmet full of boiling pitch that was thrust on to the head of any Irish 'rebel' caught by the invading soldiers during the Tudor land grabs. (By extension, the term was later used for a candle-snuffer.)

I wish I could find the source for that quote. Google serves up a large number of almost hits. (Did you know Google limits search queries to 32 words?) I have been looking forward to putting the kybosh on the push up challenge. Soon.

Exercise du jour
Week 5 of the push up challenge, day 3 level 2

set 1 18
set 2 20
set 3 17
set 4 20
set 5 max (at least @#$!%! 45!!!)
Done! Stealth push ups at work. It wasn't until /after/ that I realized this makes two workouts back to back without a rest. My triceps pointed this out to me. No running tonight. Can fog bring on asthma? It's either that or the pushups.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Making up my own running schedule

Quote du jour:
If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood, and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
- Antoine-Marie-Roger de Saint-Exupery

Exercise du jour: Per HH, a 1.5 mile run. I'll wait on this until I can run outdoors. Maybe in another week or so. Until then, I will concentrate on adding sprints to my running.

Today: Running 30 minutes, with a sprint thrown in every 5 minutes. (We'll see how that works. If that works.)

Update/Whine du jour: Ahem. I would officially like to notify the universe that I want it to get the #@$! off my back and leave me the #@$! alone and I want to stop working so much @#$! overtime and I would like a day off once in a @!#$ while and while I'm at it I would like to know that I will probably keep my job for another #@$! year or at least until the @#$! economy gets its collective head out of its collective assets.

Did I mention I'm having a bad day? No? Oh well, you can probably draw an inference.

I did yesterday's push ups this morning, so it seems fitting to do today's running tomorrow. Goes along with the way my life has been going this week.

Okay, enough whining. Done now. Probably.

Oh what the hell. I feel an irresistible urge to say @#!$%$@#%^@^^#& just One More Time.

Cape Lookout courtesy of Flickr.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mid-week motivator

Quote du jour:
Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear - Dean Ornish

Bizarre thought du jour:Exactly two months ago, I was stressing out about jogging for 20 minutes straight. And when I say jogging, I mean trudging at the speed of slug. I didn't know if I could go that long without my knees or my ankles going into Serious Pain mode.

Last night I ran for 30 minutes, and found myself looking forward to the two sprint sessions that I threw in.

Of course, the /previous/ couple of running sessions were horrible, painful, calf-cramping agony, but I'm ignoring at that for the moment. I want to bask.

Update: Must have been more of a workout than I thought. Delayed onset muscle soreness. My quadriceps are sore. My quads are never sore. I may (and do) have abs of jello, but I've hiked up a mountain and felt less soreness than this. Damn.

Update du 11:02 pm: Push up fail. I had to choose between food, exercise, and sleep, and I'm going for the other two. (Still better than the other week, when I could only choose one of the three.)

Exercise du jour
Week 5 of the push up challenge, day 2 level 2
set 1 18
set 2 20
set 3 14
set 4 16
set 5 max (at least @#$!%! 40)

Done, albeit a day late. I think it was well described: @#$%! 40)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Be kind wherever possible

Quote du jour:
Be kind wherever possible. It is always possible.
- The Dalai Lama

Yeah. I agree with that in theory.

Am I always kind?
Um... well... define 'always.'

Exercise du jour: Per HH, a 1.5 mile run.

Done. Well, sorta. I mean, I know I ran more than 1.5 miles, but don't ask me how much more. It snowed again today; I ran for 30 minutes indoors. And I don't mean 'trudged' -- I ran. Threw in a couple of sprints on Orlando Manuel while I was at it. He might be a complete balls up at gauging my speed (sorry, my sprint rate is /not/ 2.5 mph) but he doesn't mind being ridden hard and put away wet.

Plus, walked 2 miles.

Monday, January 26, 2009

To the edge of possible

I notice how the push up challenge has me scheduled for doing a whole lot o' push ups -- a number that a couple of weeks ago I would have considered impossible. Now I go right up to the edge of "I can't do this" before I stop. Wait a minute, I was at that edge a couple weeks ago, too. Only the numbers have increased.
Damn. I'm getting fit -- slowly, maybe, but there is improvement.
Just as well. I'm getting tired of push ups. Thinking I would like to try something new.

Exercise di giorno: According to the week 4 push up challenge test (36), I'm on to week 5, severity level 2.

set 1 28
set 2 35!
set 3 25
set 4 22
set 5 max (at least 35)
Done! The good news, I did a max of 40. The bad news, I did the last set 11 hours after I did the first 4 sets. My arms tell me this counts.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In a rut? Or in the groove?

I've not noticed myself losing any weight lately. While this might mean I'm building muscle, yeah yeah yeah, I'm inclined to think it's due to the fact that I have been backsliding over the holidays.

I was going to cook Christmas dinner but thanks to all the snowstorms most people couldn't come visit, so I have had a whole helluva a lot of saturated fat in my fridge in the form of ham, turkey, chicken, turkey, mince pie, turkey, stuffing, turkey... anyway, I have not been doing my previous 90% vegetables diet.

Bad Merry, bad. No celery.

Also problems with the usual routine, that I find extremely hard to shake off. I have great difficulty in doing two things at once: eating right and exercising regularly. Depressing to look back over a year ago and find a similar blog entry. I'm hopeless, hopeless, hopeless, hopeless...
Sorry. Got stuck in a rut there for a moment. Better now.

Note to the climate: I'd be even better if it would stop snowing already. Just saying.

Note to my sad excuse for a conscience: I have spent the whole day doing absolutely nothing. Navel gazing, internet gazing, making lists of all the chores I have to do... these do not count as activities. Dear conscience, I don't mean to tell you your job but I'm going to anyway. Get to work motivating me!

New schedule:
Okay, both Theresa and Xenia mentioned Hal Higdon (along the lines of "I mostly ignored Hal Higdon's schedule..." but still... ;)
So what the hell.

Exercise du jour:
Per HH, a 1.5 mile run.
Done. Probably. I could NOT run on Orlando Manuel for that long, and it's too cold to run outside, so I ran for 30 minutes. Probably that adds up to 'around' 1.5 miles (more, I am pretty damn sure), but I really wish I could run outside. Still, it's done.

Very depressing day. I am very depressed today, that's how I can tell. Why am I depressed? Who knows? Who cares? (Did I mention that a dose of apathy was thrown in free along with the depression?)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday: Me and Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman

What the hell. It's Friday, and I like looking at goofy Hugh Jackman photos.

Exercise du jour:
Push up challenge, week 4 day 3 (2nd intensity level)

set 1 23
set 2 28
set 3 23
set 4 23
set 5 max (at least 33!!! argh gasp thud)
Done! Feel the burn. Oi.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Elvis lives next door. He bites.

I now have neighbors on the long-side of the wire fence, and they have a bouncy young dog. Miss Tanji keeps an eye on him while he plays, so at least she's not bored.

The other day Tanji and I went over to his yard to see if they would play together. Unfortunately, after a few minutes of desultory play, I think the young dog got miffed that Tanji had picked up his ball. There was a bit of an argument, but it wasn't serious. The other dog went off to find another toy.

I patted Tanji on the head. "There, everybody's okay now." She gave me a Look. Then she sighed heavily, laid down (belly up), and lifted up her front leg so I could see the blood from where he'd bitten her.

It was only a nip (the vet said "no worries"), but I don't think there's going to be a beautiful friendship. She doesn't seem too upset about it (the nip), but the neighbors were. (The humans, anyway. The bouncy young dog was more concerned about playing some more.)

P.S. Don't name your dog Elvis. It's confusing at the dog park when you call your dog and several other dogs come running.

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes of running.
Didn't I just do that the other day?
Damn, I need a running schedule.
Or a life.
Or Hugh Jackman, I'm not proud.

Done. I think I've got calf-itis. This morning I made the mistake of trying to get out of bed, and was attacked by the mother, father, and grandparents of all leg cramps. Maybe I've got what Dr. House had, and I will need to get my leg muscles amputated. Doesn't sound all that bad, right now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BCB and the return of the Sun

BCB told me, but I didn't believe her. It's true -- the days are getting longer. And occasionally, the sun even appears. I only hope she didn't have to conduct any ritual human sacrifices at the time of the Winter Solstice to make this come about.

Now I feel kind of bad about sending all that snow to her neighborhood.

Exercise du jour:
Push up challenge, week 4 day 2 (2nd intensity level)

set 1 20
set 2 25
set 3 20
set 4 20
set 5 max (at least 28)
Done! Maximum of 30.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's just a phrase I'm going through

Every time I go out for a run and people stare at me, I tell myself that they're lost in admiration at my incredible beauty, grace, and charm.

What the hell. With repetition comes belief. (Well, after enough repetition.) So I'll keep telling myself that.

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes basking in people's admiration running.

Update du 8:43 pm
Inner slug [gloating]: It's too late, you're too tired, the cramps are too painful. You'll never run tonight, never!
Self [Fingers in ears]: La, la, la, I can't hear you... here I go...

Update du 9:02 pm
Maybe I should take the fingers out of my ears and put some iPod earphones there instead.
Really, here I go. Honest. I mean it this time.

Argh. After 16 minutes of calf-burning agony, I've decided my body was trying to tell me something. It's the flimsiest exercise session yet, but I'm going to count this as earning a star, if only because it hurt so much. Times like this I could really appreciate a mournful violin playing in the background, to emphasize the sad self-pitying atmosphere chez Merry at the moment. Maybe just a small violin?

Monday, January 19, 2009


Keanu Reeves

Damn push ups. Damn Mondays. Double-damn going to work on Mondays.
If I keep repeating positive platitudes, will my attitude improve? S'pose it's worth a try.

Happy happy happy day o joy o bliss give me more of this...

P.S. Okay, here's a positive thought du jour. You know what's good about Martin Luther King day? No, I'm not talking about the bit about celebrating diversity and equality and all that stuff. What's good about MLK day is that no one has found a way to commercialize it yet. The stores are filled with stuff that merchandisers want you to buy for Valentine's day, but no one wants to sell you anything for this holiday. I like the thought that there are some things they haven't figured out how to sell.

Exercise du jour:
Push up challenge, week 4 day 1 (2nd intensity level)

set 1 18
set 2 22
set 3 16
set 4 16
set 5 max (at least 25)

Bloody hell!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Somebody actually reads this? (gulp)

Oh crap. Does that mean I should try to write something meaningful here?

While I was fighting off aliens, I actually got emails from people inquiring as to why the blogging had ceased. Hey, somebody is reading this sentence! Amazing.

Most blogs only have one reader, who is coincidentally the author. (I only wish I'd thought to link to that study, which I read once but can't find now.) So thank you for coming. (Geez, I really should clean this place up a bit if there are going to be visitors. When did it get so dusty?)

Exercise du jour: 30 minutes running. With any luck, running outside so I can get an idea of my time.
Done! 30 minutes of exercise, even if trudging at the speed of a slug doing a trudge through sludge, are better than 30 minutes sitting in a chair.

I'm looking around to see if there are any formal schedules for "How to increase your running time so that little old ladies in walkers don't pass you" or "faster paces for sedentary slugs" but so far I haven't found one I like.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Summary du week and sundry inanities

Exercise? Moi? Maybe.

This week I have completed one whole friggin' 30 minutes run. Indoors, since I've discovered running in freezing temperatures makes my asthma happy, but not me.

Also, I failed the week 4 push up challenge test.

Well, not exactly failed. I think a true FAIL would probably be if both my arms fell off. All that happened was that I didn't qualify with a high enough number of push ups to move on to week 5. I could always try week 5, but based on how I felt during the test, I think not. (It was amazingly difficult to do even 20 push ups. Damn those aliens.)

Mostly I've been testing exercise DVDs for Cranky Fitness reviews. (Don't spend money on the Skinny Bitches Boot Camp DVD. Trust me.)

It looks like I need to have a schedule up here to swear at. Trying to track exercise in emails or in my head is truly annoying. Plus, after-the-fact reporting is not as effective because I'm apt to forget which exercise I'm doing which day. And apparently I need that additional guilt factor of posting the exercise du jour up here.

The other problem is the lack of balance between work and real life.
I need to get up earlier, so I can leave work at a reasonable hour.
Otherwise I get into a hopeless cycle of
- trying to get everything done after I get home late at night
- leading to not getting enough sleep
- resulting in the need for strong coffee to jumpstart the day
- thus necessitating sleeping pills or empty-calorie-laden wine to keep me from being caffeine-wired and bouncing off the walls at midnight
- which leaves me groggy the next day, thus requiring coffee to jumpstart the day ... arrrrrrrrrgh!

Exercise du jour:

No! No! I'm not going to try out another exercise DVD tonight! I'm going on strike! Let my 3 miles of virtuous walking count as my exercise du jour and give me the damn star before somebody gets hurt.

Thank you.

Hmmmn.... maybe those "100% Natural" Sleep Aid pills were a mistake. I did wonder when the package promised it was the "non-drowsy formula." (Non-drowsy sleep?) I wonder if the pills are starting to get to me, mwa ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaa............

Friday, January 09, 2009

Excuse du jour: alien abduction

I can only conclude that I was temporarily abducted by aliens last night. It's the only explanation that fits the facts. While I can't remember any details, they must have been experimenting on me. When I tried to work out today, I found the following physiological changes had occurred:

- my arms have been filled with lead or concrete weights; it is almost impossible to do as many push ups as I was doing two weeks ago.
- my running shoes have been treated with some form of superglue or else my legs have been injected with an alien anti-exercise virus; I cannot lift my feet off of the pavement to run.
- they performed some kind of alien mind-meld that has left me with a compulsion to curl up on the couch and watch old Babylon 5 DVDs.

Damn those aliens.

Finally finished day 2 of week 4 of the push up challenge. In other words, I'm caught up as of Wednesday's exercise du jour.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The bleat goes on...

Fantasy du jour:Sleeping in until I damn well feel like getting up.

Disclaimer du jour:I might have to sneak today's push up challenge in at work between crises. Good thing I have such a delusional positive work ethic.

Exercise du Jour:Push up challenge, week 4 day 2

set 1 14
set 2 16
set 3 12
set 4 12
set 5 max (at least 18)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

12th night, but no epiphany

Today was the 12th day of Christmas, the Feast of Epiphany. Seems an ironic holiday to report failure. Got off to a bad start this week, my first week back to work after a couple weeks off. Due to a severe lack of organizational time skills, I now have to choose one of the following: sleep, food, or exercise.

Not much of a choice. I was up until 2 a.m. last night. See ya in the morning.

Adoration of the Magi courtesy of Flickr.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Fantasies and disclaimers

Tropical fantasy du jour:
I wanna be here...

Disclaimer du jour: Don't mind me; I'm just going to keep tracking my exercise. It's useful to post the schedule up here -- I'm much more likely to do the exercise if I publicly declare myself beforehand.

It's probably pretty boring to look at though. Why not check out some Really Bad Poetry instead?

Exercise du jour: Week 4 of the push up challenge, day 1:

set 1 12
set 2 14
set 3 11
set 4 10
set 5 max (at least 16)

Done! Except that I waited about six hours between the 4th and 5th set. Tried to make up for that by doing 20 stealth push ups at work. (Had a paperclip handy in case any cow-orkers wandered by and wondered at me.)

Hibiscus on Maui courtesy of Flickr.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Running in a Winter Wonderland? Bah humbug.

I know snow is wonderful when it falls on a windless evening, thick white flakes drifting out of the sky to cover the streets and sidewalks with a clean white blanket of soft powder snow.

I don't care. I want it to stop already.

I'm as enthusiastic toward snow as the reindog is toward Christmas.
Must you do this to me every year?

Can running in snowy weather affect asthma? Sure feels like it.

Exercise du jour:
Ran 30 minutes. Didn't get a baseline time; too busy peering at the ground trying to find the icy patches.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Are we there yet? I wanna get there already!

[Warning: this post contains dangerously high levels of self-indulgent whining. Women who are pregnant or nursing, or who may possibly have a fourth cousin who was once pregnant or a nurse, should probably avoid reading this post. Men, take those anti-nausea pills and brace yourselves.]

I know, it's 'that time of the year.' After the holidays, a little grumpiness, feeling down, is normal. Well screw normal, that's not my style.

All I know is that my motivation walked out the door last week and didn't leave a forwarding address. Must've been something I said. Or ate. Possibly that mince pie.

Anyway, I keep feeling I should be there already. Sure, I can do 60-something modified push ups if you wait long enough, and yes I can run shuffle around for 30 minutes without stopping, but I'm not there yet. Don't ask me where there is; I'm hoping I'll recognize the place when I get to it.

After a week off, trying the push up test again, see if I'm still up to the 4th week.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Damn this view...

From Saddle Mountain

Achieving a goal is like climbing a mountain and then seeing all the other mountains ahead. On the one hand, it's nice to make it to the top, on the other hand... I'm not going to run out of challenges here. Not for awhile, at any rate.

I started the couch to 5k program not worrying about any kind of pace. Blithely, I assumed it would all work out. After about 5 weeks of doing the program, I started doing the math.

The couch to 5k program is based on the assumption that you're running a 10-minute mile. Now, there are men out there who will expand their testosterone-filled hairy chests and boom that this is absurd, only girly-girl types run that slowly, 'real' men need to run a 6-minute mile, damn it!

Bless their beady little hearts.

I've been living the vida sedentary for years. I'm overweight and my knees like to remind me of this fact. (Plus, I want to go on record that I do not have a hairy chest.) The only way I'm doing a 6-minute mile -- or better -- is on my bicycle. (That's one thing I love about cycling: even someone as out-of-shape as I am could do a mile faster than an in-shape runner.)

I estimate that my starting pace a few months back was something in the neighborhood of a 17-minute mile. I can't tell for sure, I'm just guessing, but I'm definite that it was close to a walking pace. This doesn't strike me as bad; it was enough that I had the stamina to run for over 20 minutes continuously without having to stop.

Having achieved that goal, now I can see that it would be good to try to stretch things. My knees can take this much, maybe they wouldn't mind if I pushed myself a bit and ran at a faster pace? That's the new goal, anyway. I'll try re-doing the couch to 5k, this time with feeling.

Exercise du jour: The schedule was derailed by the holidays, so today is the last official day of my original couch-to-5k program.

If the friggin' ice will melt off the friggin' sidewalks, I can run outdoors and get an actual number as a baseline for the 30 minute run.

Think warm thoughts, 'k?

Done! Running 30 minutes definitely improves the mood. To say nothing of saving on the heating bill. Maybe in a couple of days the snow/ice will go away?