Sunday, January 31, 2010

New goal: not drowning, but waving

Quote du jour: Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about dancing in the rain.
- stolen from Fat Frumpy and Fifty, who leveraged it from Joanne, whoever that is. If anyone knows the original source, I'd love to add that credit here too.

Okay, I have a new goal for this week. I'm going to keep my head above water and not get swamped with work, more work, cramps, or work. Last night I got some sleep, which helps too.

I'm going to repeat the running from last week, and I will ride the bicycle to work three days this week. I find it does help to tell myself that it's okay to ride the Max partway. I still get more cycling in than if I'd given up and taken the evilSUV to work.

Site du jour: Reluctant Memsahib captured a few peaceful moments of a sunset walk. Beautiful photos. I had no idea Africa could be so green.

Exercise du jour: Jog 2.5 miles
Done! It was interesting: I went out extra, EXTRA slow at first. Even so, I hated the first 10 minutes. The next 10 minutes I spent planning where I was going to stop to walk for a minute. By the 20th minute I'd turned the corner (literally and physiologically) and found myself thinking of other things instead of stopping. Tried to sprint the last two blocks and only managed to sprint one before going back to a jogging pace. That's okay, next time that's a mini-goal.

Photo courtesy of:

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wimp out day

I can't do it.

The bicycle stays in the garage today.
The running shoes are in the closet.
I'm driving the evilSUV to work.

No star.

Photo courtesy of :

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Short & Cranky, thankyouverymuch

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Word du jour: Neoteny.

A term found in biology textbooks referring to juvenile characteristics that are retained in adulthood. In most of those textbooks, you'll see my picture next to that definition.

For the record, I can't help the way I friggin' look. It's not my fault. Yes, I do have the following infantile characteristics:
- full round face
- clear skin
- round blue eyes
- snub nose

But damn it, none of those are a good reason for calling me 'hon.' Everybody does it: the woman at the Max station asking when the next train was leaving, the waitress at the restaurant who wanted to write down my order, everyone. The other morning, I stopped at the coffee shop on my way to the Max. The young guy, barely 20 I'd swear, gave me the coffee with a "here you are, young lady." It was all I could do to stop myself from saying "I'm old enough to be your mother, you twerp!"

If I lived in the South, I'd put it down as a cultural thing. But Oregon is pretty far removed from that part of the country, damn it. And maybe it's not supposed to be unkind, but it comes across as condescending.

I realize once I lose a bit more weight, the youthful plumpness will fade (O please God) from my face. Frankly, I'm ready for it. I'm getting older. I accept that. I mean, it's been over a year since someone carded me. Considering that when that happened I was a week past my 45th birthday, I'd say it was about damn time.

The youthful looks thing is partly hereditary. Until a couple years ago, my mother was routinely taken to be about 20 years younger than she is. Sadly, osteoporosis has now rendered her frail, and she looks like a little old lady. She used to be a couple inches taller than I am, but she's shrinking almost daily. It's really annoying her, and a great motivation to make me do yoga more often.

Study du jour: Physical Activity Ups Women's Odds of Healthy Aging

Elderly women who follow a program of exercise are less likely to have falls and can improve bone mineral density compared to their non-exercising counterparts, according to a study in the Jan. 25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, while another study found that higher levels of physical activity in middle age are associated with better health later in life.

Exercise du jour: Jog 3 miles.

Crap. I can't decide if this is a win or a fail.
Basically, today was an eerie repeat of yesterday in almost every detail, except that instead of not cycling, I didn't jog. Otherwise, virtually identical right down to the long confused attempt to untangle a computer problem involving a software engineer (in Sydney), a project manager (in Quebec), and a French marketing dude -- who was actually just down the hall but was busy with Frantically Important Marketing Meetings and couldn't be interrupted. He mentioned this as he was rushing past for an equally important meeting with the men's room.

I did manage to get five miles of walking in, and indeed as part of that I did jog for half a mile as I tried to catch my train home. (I missed. Perhaps the Max train also had an important meeting.)

Should I put the star up or not?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A side benefit of being out of shape

The nice part about being unfit is that you can get a good workout in a lot less time. Half an hour's brisk cycling now has the same effect that a couple hours on the bike used to have.

So, that's a plus, right? The only drawback is that it's taking me waaay too long to get to work in the morning.

Today, I'm going to put myself and my bike on the Max and head for work. Get off about halfway, and peddle in from there. Then cycle home at the end of the day.

This way, I can a)sleep in a bit b)get to work feeling wide awake (boy, will the boss be surprised) and c) not feel overwhelmed by the thought of cycling in the whole way.

Site du jour: I really liked Smaller Fun Pants' post on how to deal with that little nagging voice inside you.

Exercise du jour: Cycling. I'm aiming for 13 more than two miles. There, I've put it down on the screen.
Well, sorta done. Kinda.13 is a terribly unlucky number. What was I thinking?
Anyway, woke up terribly late. If I hadn't posted it up on the blog, I'd have said @!#% and driven the car. As it was, my bike and I rode the Max all the way in, and I promised to make up for it on the way home. Then I ended up working a couple hours later than anyone else (all alone in the night... she was the last of the babbling tech writers...). So I compromised by taking the Max partway home and cycling the rest. Plus a three-mile walk at lunch.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Word of the day: thwarted

Quote du jour: Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
- William James

Thwarted sums up the day I had yesterday. People think a tech writer spends her day writing. Ha. Most of the time you are a detective, trying to put together all the pieces of a jigsaw by asking questions of people who only know how their own piece works.

Site du jour: My Marrakesh tells a tale in photos about shopping in Kabul. If you want to talk about people being thwarted, there's a good place for the discussion. And yet, what beautiful things they can create!

Exercise du jour: Jog 2 miles. Hopefully, around the Nike campus, which has a nice soft trail and people don't scoff if they see a fat chick running trudging.

Update du 7:58 am: Ha. Got up early this morning, jumped out of bed and laced up the running shoes. I was going to do a quick (well, for me) two miles around the neighborhood. Then I sat down to read all your blogs. Now it's too late to jog before work. And since I'm running late because I was catching up on your doings, it's clearly all your fault that I'm not getting the jog done first thing. I hope you feel guilty. A little.

Update du 8:10 am: Remember those guys with the bulldozers? They're back. Yes, I know this has been going on for months now. I think they've been having problems with the work they did and they're having to re-do it all.

The road is completely blocked in both directions.
If you're keeping track, this is now the fourth time since October that they've dug up the street in front of the house. Wait -- I think it's actually the fifth.

God really wants me to walk to the Max today.

Done! In broad daylight, I ran jogged. 2 miles. And God threw in some uphill sections of the trail, which for some reason were a lot steeper than they'd been when I walked them. Plus, walked 4 miles, thanks to God and the Water Department.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Another damn good reason to exercise

Study du jour: A study published in the Journals of Gerontology describes how your brain starts to go once you hit 30. Researchers wanted to find out what happens when older people exercise. (More detail at the bottom of the post.)

The conclusion:"Significant increases in brain volume, in both gray and white matter regions, were found as a function of fitness training for the older adults who participated in the aerobic fitness training but not for the older adults who participated in the stretching and toning (nonaerobic) control group."

Exercise du jour: Well hell, I'm walking! I'll try to fit in yoga in the evening, but today I'm inspired to be aerobic.

Done! Not as long a walk as I would've liked, but even 30 minutes counts. Plus, on a day like today it was really good to get out of the office and walk in the soggy forest. A place where no one wanted me to document anything at all, merely to be there.

More about this study: BEGINNING in the third decade of life the human brain shows structural decline, which is disproportionately large in the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes of the brain .... Cardiovascular exercise has been associated with improved cognitive functioning in aging humans (3,4). These effects have been shown to be the greatest in higher order cognitive processes, such as working memory, switching between tasks, and inhibiting irrelevant information, all of which are thought to be subserved, in part, by the frontal lobes of the brain. For more information about this study, click here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Need to crank it up a notch

funny pictures of dogs with captions

I'm tired of taking it slow, being careful and not injuring myself.

That, boys and girls, is an example of what they mean when they use the phrase 'Famous Last Words.' It's just asking for an injury.

Okay, I'm not tired of non-injury. But I do want to see if I can take things a little farther.

This week, I've switched over to jogging for mileage. I want to work on increasing the distance I can go, even if it's at a slow pace. Then when I've gotten the leg tendons used to that, I'll start adding in the occasional sprint.

Probably should've put up a picture of a tortoise instead of a puppy.

Exercise du jour: Jogged 2.5 miles
Done! My poor achin' stomach didn't really appreciate the exercise, but the legs didn't seem to mind too much. I do love the virtuous feeling you get when you do your exercise in the a.m. instead of last thing at night!

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's working! Thank you all!

funny pictures of dogs with captions
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I get it now. This blogging stuff really does work.

Working out is starting to become a habit. (Well, jogging and walking are getting to feel like habits. Cycling... I need to work on that.) Blogging my exercise six days a week has been a great way to motivate myself into actually doing the workout. I mean, I know you haven't been sitting here reading my blog every day, but for all I know you might be looking. Which is enough motivation to make me feel too guilty to not try working out. Thank you.

So... um... are you charging for this?

Next week: work on cycling more.

Site du jour: Hilary from The Smitten Image kindly pointed me to the Haitian Earthquake Support Center, which lets people help even if they don't have money to donate.

Exercise du jour: Walk to/from the Max, and of course the all-important hour-long walk at lunch.
Done! Well, more or less. I'd say more. I only walked 2-1/2 miles, but those tendons were being cranky and my stomach decided to get upset as well, and considering the way the day's gone I'd say 2-1/2 miles is a victory. I take my victories where I find them, thankyouverymuch.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Made it through the Couch to 5k

funny sports pictures, Chidi Imoh, Carl Lewis and Andrés Simón

Wow. I made it. Had to slow down a bit in the last two weeks, but still made it at a pace that's -- for me -- faster than walking.

I've decided not to worry about my pace right now. The goal is to run at a speed that gets my breathing rate up (but not to gasping level), and at a speed that doesn't injure the legs.

Next week, I'll start measuring the running by mileage rather than time.

Site du jour: Kitty tells it all. If I'm ever faced with the possibility of being a single woman at a Turkish wedding in London, I will now be prepared.

Exercise du jour: Week 9, Day 3, C25k. 30 minutes running.
Done! Indoors, and thus slow, but I do think the tendons prefer it that way. Plus, 5 miles walking.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You can never tell ahead of time

funny sports pictures, China's Deng Linlin
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You can never tell if a run is going to turn out okay after all.

Well, maybe if you've just broken both legs you can tell. Otherwise, no.

Even if you (I mean me, but it's easier to tell this to someone else) really don't feel like doing the workout, you can end up having a good time.

So far, I'm making it through the last week of the C25k, running 30 minutes at a time. The shins seem to be accepting this level of exercise without too many complaints.

I'm doing pretty pathetic on the cycling, partly because it involves a lot more organization beforehand, i.e. I have to lay out cycling clothes, pack clothes for work, and -- this is the clincher -- haul myself out of bed early enough so I can ride in. Have to confess, sometimes I take the Max in and then cycle back. Better than nothing.

Surprisingly, my horrible week of eating only earned me half a pound more on the scale (+.6). I'm really surprised that it wasn't worse than that. Then this morning, I lost 2-1/2 pounds. It's been a couple years since I was last down at this weight.

Plus, at the meeting last night, I met a couple of girls who are just starting the C25k so they could run the Shamrock 5k. I told them if they signed up for the Shamrock 5k, I would too. (Um... I suppose that means I have to do it. I was thinking of maybe not going for it -- there's going to be a lot of people -- but I suppose that means there might be 2 or even 3 people slower than I am!)

Site du jour: This week Middle-aged dating is posting re-runs of her most memorable dates from the last year or so.

Exercise du jour: Walking to work from the Max station plus the all-important hour's walk at lunch. I'm getting rained on a lot this week. God bless Oregon.
Done! Walked 5 miles, split between morning, noon, and night.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Honestly, it's enough to make anyone join the Fat Acceptance movement

Quote du jour: The fat person doesn't have many pleasures. He can't bowl; he can't dance; he can't do anything because he can barely support his own body even just walking -- so he eats. - Jean Nidetch

In case you were wondering, Jean Nidetch was the founder of Weight Watchers.

In fairness to her, that was written over 40 years ago and people (and their attitudes) have changed. My mother cleaned out her pantry and gave me her copy of the original Weight Watchers cookbook. From 1966. The other quote on the back cover talks about how J. Nidetch used to be a compulsive eater and is now a compulsive size 12. I know sizes have changed, but even if that translates nowadays as being a compulsive size 10, I can't imagine anyone bragging about it. Maybe a compulsive size 4.

Not all changes are for the good.

Site du jour: 7 Common survival tactics that will get you killed. Close your eyes and think of California ;)

Exercise du jour: Week 9, day 2 of the c25k. 30 minutes running. Also, I want to -- no, that's not strong enough. I will walk at lunch for an hour. (Really, I will. I got the manual in by the deadline, so I can take a whole hour off at lunch.)
Done! Walked three miles, then jogged for 30 minutes after work. Okay, I did cheat. After 8 minutes, I walked for a whole minute to rest my cramping calf muscles. Then I only added on another 30 seconds at the end of the run. For some reason, this time was a lot harder.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Adventures in shopping

Honestly, it was very simple.

All I wanted was a pair of cycling pants that I could wear to work. That was all.

We're not talking formal wear here: my company is fairly casual as long as you're not scruffy. Something stretchy that I could pair with a long sweater would be fine. Something that doesn't look too much like sweatpants or tights. (Not the kind of cycling pants that make you look like you're wearing a huge diaper on your behind.) Stretchy pants, not too tight, that taper down a bit toward the ankles so you don't have to worry about catching your pants in the bike.

You'd think that would be possible. Well, I'd think that should be possible. But it's the old fat-person catch-22. You can't buy active wear in your size; you're too large. You have to become smaller before you can exercise, okay?

It's a lot less embarrassing to look for clothes since the internet was invented. (Yes, I do remember a time before the internet. I'm old. No need to rub it in.) But not all online clothing stores seem to have grasped the concept of a sizing chart. Their attitude seems to be "It's just a 'large', okay? Whaddya mean what does 'large' mean? Everybody knows what it means. Don't ask me to define large."

Even stores that include a sizing chart are sometimes confused. At bikenhike, the sizing chart for their pants gives the waist and chest sizes that these pants would fit, not the hips. I can only conclude that they intend you to wear their pants in a manner vastly different than the way I wear pants.

Thank goodness for Team Estrogen!

Exercise du jour: Cycle to work and back. And an hour's walking at lunch. I've been slacking off on the lunch-time walking, but that's stupid. One of the managers at work has a slogan "work harder, not smarter." I've been unconsciously adopting this motto. No more. I will back away from the desk and walk at lunch. I swear it.
Well, that'll teach me not to do so much swearing, damn it. Hopeless, helpless, and hapless day. Used to be a time when I could work a 13-hour day and leave feeling fresh and optimistic. (Okay, maybe not, but at least I wouldn't feel like a complete @#!$, !$#!, and %$@^.) If I could have least have turned in a decent manual, I'd have felt a bit better. Summary: no exercise, lots of work i.e. I sat at a desk all day. And ate 4, I'm not exaggerating, 4 cups of celery.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Blame Game

funny pictures of dogs with captions

Quote du jour: Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.
- Have Fun with English blog

I might not be able to make all possible mistakes, but this week I've made a serious try.

The bad part: I got discouraged. I gave myself up to feasting. Mini-feasting, anyway. A little bad food here, a little more bad food there, and of course a glass of wine to wash it down with. Work is crazy too right now. That will get better in a couple weeks, but it's been a fight to find time to exercise.

Where I screwed up: The day of the WW weigh-in, I'd eaten about 800 calories (because I really wanted to make the goal of 10 pounds -- I had planned to eat more after weighing) and exercised for 90 minutes, and I was -- well, you can tell from the tone of my writing that night. I felt tired and discouraged. What was the point?

Lesson learned: I left that post up because I want to remember not to push myself that far again. That's a drawback to WW -- it's easy to start playing stupid scale games just to keep up with the next person. If I push too far, I end up worse off than I had been before.

In summary: I've gained this week. Going to the Weight Watchers meeting this week is going to be really depressing.

cute pictures of puppies with captions
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On the plus side, I no longer feel completely starving, light-headed, and cranky. The bad attitude was the worst part. When I get that hungry, I want to kick little furry kittens and insult Mother Theresa.

Today I will start to climb out of this hole that I've dug with my fork.

Exercise du jour: Starting the last week of the C25K. Week 9, Day 1. 30 minutes running.
Done! Indoors, slowly, but done. The cranky tendon didn't start to complain until 27 minutes into the run, so I told it to shut up for three more minutes. Which apparently it was okay with. (I know. I should've run outside. I'm a wuss. I'm tired of getting rained on.)

Friday, January 15, 2010


Site du jour:

I'm no good with a large-scale tragedy. I can't comprehend it until I find a human to attach to it. This blog was written by a young woman who -- until the earthquake -- had been a volunteer at an orphanage in Haiti. She cared for abandoned babies at the hospital. The blog features several of these children's photos: smiling, sad, hopeful or afraid. It talks about their struggles and victories: learning to walk, learning to smile, connecting with one of the volunteers or another child.

I learned this woman's fate because she had a local connection, so it was on the local news. I wish I knew what happened to the children, though at the same time I'm afraid to ask.

Who cares if I lose weight?

funny pictures of cats with captions
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For all my bitching when I fail to drop a pound, it's still just numbers on the scale. I'm posting this here so I don't lose track of my fundamental goal.

What I want is to be fit: to be able to run and not get out of breath, to be flexible enough to do all the yoga poses that the instructor can, to get down on the floor and do a bunch of push ups just because.

I think it will be easier to do all these things if there's less of me trying to do them, and I think that I will get thinner as I practice living in a healthy way, but being thin is not really the point. Being able is the point.

Exercise du jour: Cycling to work & back. If I can fit it in, an hour of yoga as well.
Did an hour's worth of walking instead. In the rain, which as I've previously stated carries a lot of weight with me. Or at least it carried a lot of weight with my sweater. I know I said cycling today, but I woke up too late. Besides, when it comes to exercise it's good to be flexible. Off to do some yoga, to be even more flexible.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ahead of the curve, for once


I got the messy hair already! Score!

A lot of new people have been coming to the Weight Watchers meetings these past two weeks. Be interesting to see if they're still coming after a couple months.

I'm glad I started going to Weight Watchers when I did. Starting at the New Year makes starting a change seem that much more Significant. I kind of slipped in, surreptitious-like, and eased into the program without any great expectations of grand and dramatic weight loss. Which is just as well, because I've been taking the incrementally slow & steady route instead.

Although, if they all start losing 20 pounds in a week, I might have to spike their diet sodas with sugar.

Exercise du jour: Week 8 Day 3 of the C25k. 28 minutes jogging.
Done! Went slowly again, to avoid leg pain. You know what? I was impatient with going so slowly. I actually wanted to go at a faster pace. Yes, me. You read that right. Very strange.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Status check: month 2 of Weight Watchers

Are you really curious about this? Okay then, here are the stats after two months on Weight Watchers.

Weight lost
This week: -.8
So far: -9.6 (9 point friggin 6. All it would've taken would be 4 ounces more for me to be just a leeeetle bit happy.)
Average weight loss per week: 1.2 pounds

I am not pleased. Another woman, who joined the week before me, has lost 20 pounds by this weigh-in. (Yes, okay, she does weigh more and work out less. I don't care. I am Not At Home to Ms. Reasonable right now. Everybody is losing weight but me. I'm pissed.)

Total inches lost
Arms: -1/2 inch
Bust: -1 inch
Waist: -4 inches
Hips: -3 inches

What, you think I should cheer up because I'm fitting into smaller pant sizes? Was that Ms. Reasonable I just heard knocking on my door? Sorry, not answering the door. I sat through that WW meeting absolutely starving. I couldn't stand that everyone was talking about food, food, food!

Look, I know it's silly, I know I'm paying too much attention to numbers. I'm still bummed.

Exercise du jour: Cycling to work and back. For that matter, walking at lunch. I'm not working out hard enough, damn it.

Update du later on: Sorry. I wrote most of that last night right after I got home from the meeting. I was tired and ab-so-lute-ly starving, and that tends to make me wear the cranky pants.

I kept it up there because it was honest. Yes, I do want to lose weight as much as the next person, even if the next person is also losing water and muscle as well as fat. I want the weight to come off quickly and stay off forever. I also want a pony, with a pink glittery bridle.

I'll settle for a healthy body that's progressively moving downward on the scale, albeit at the speed of a slug on prozac.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vacuuming the dog, and other brilliant ideas

funny pictures of cats with captions
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It's true. I spend so much time cleaning up all the fur that she sheds (and she sheds mass quantities every day) that I finally cut out the middle part and started vacuuming the dog directly. She wasn't thrilled with the idea (I got the "sad" look) but she didn't try to run away.

No, don't call PETA. Her ladyship is a dog with chronic allergies, who spends most of her waking hours scratching her fur off. Since it's winter right now, she spends the rest of the time shivering and growing the fur back. It's a never ending cycle.

What does any of that have to do with exercise and fitness and cute quotes? Absolutely zilch. I was just using this space to vent.

Site du jour: Bug me not. Sometimes you really want to check out an interesting site, but you don't want to hassle with registering and logging in. Bug me not has shared logins for popular free sites that require login.

Another Weight Watchers meeting tonight -- my 8th week. I will show signs of progress. Or else, damn it.

Exercise du jour: Week 8 Day 2 of the C25k: 28 minutes jogging.
It's funny -- the first two minutes, I ALWAYS think that I'm going to have to give up, I'll never make it. Then, if I keep going past five minutes, the body seems to get the hang of the idea, and I can go on. I took it slow, to avoid tendon problems. So long as I go at an "I'm not proud" speed, no probs. And next week, maybe, I'll up the pace. Plus walking.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Don't Judge. Just write it down.

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A woman in the Weight Watchers meeting said something that amazed me. Sometimes she'll go to the nearest Taco Bell drive-through and get a huge burrito -- and then not include it in her food tracking. "Why write it down?" she said with a laugh. "It will just be taking all the points that I have for the day."

What boggles the mind is that this woman has been coming to these meetings for months, much longer than I have. She never misses a week. Why? Is this just a social exercise for her? Because I don't see how she can be serious about losing weight or getting fit.

Maybe this is just a game to her, something half-hearted. "I know I should lose weight, so I'll go through the motions -- more or less -- but I don't really want to change."

I've been writing down everything I eat -- even when I go over the allotted number of points -- and when I eat. And why. I thought that was the point of Weight Watchers, tracking the food and exercise. I'm sure that everyone will miss tracking food once in awhile, but I don't understand the reasoning behind not tracking because it's discouraging. That's a challenge you need to face before you can get in shape.

What I've been working on is writing it down without judging. (It's hard not to say negative things about eating food I don't need.) I'm not doing this because I want to beat myself up; the idea is to collect information that I can analyze for patterns. See what I'm doing right, what I'm doing wrong, what I can do about the wrong.

Note: I don't use the flex points a lot, but I have been known to go over my specified number of points sometimes. (Especially during the Christmas and New Year's festivities.) It happens. I write it down.

Seems simple enough, but I'm not sure I should tell other people what I'm doing. (You don't count as other people, by the way. Amazingly non-judgmental group here.) I told another woman at Weight Watchers (not the Taco Bell lady) that sometimes I go over the specified number of points, and she raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Oh, I never use my flex points." Have to say that her tone felt a bit critical. And she's a Lifetime member who's lost 45 pounds, and only returned because she has gained back a few pounds, so I suppose she has the right to think she knows what she's doing. It works for her.

I had to remind myself that just because it works for her, I don't have to feel bad. I suspect my path lies somewhere between Ms. Lifetime and Ms. Taco Bell.

Exercise du jour: Cycling to work and back. Still getting some complaints from the tendons around the lower leg/ankle area, and it's time to get back into cycling anyway. In another month... okay, two... it'll be light enough that I'll be able to do some distance cycling before or after work. Need to get prepared. Plus, I got a new light so I can see and Be Seen while commuting.
Done. Sorta. I mean, I did cycle to and from work, but I cheated and took the Max part way. Yeah, I know. Need to get up earlier next time and be more organized.

Also, an hour's worth of yoga.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Self-talk, epistolary fashion

Ooh, Me Too
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Sometimes I develop an inordinate hunger. I'll eat every scrap of healthy, high-fiber food in my Mr. Bento, drink liters of herb tea or water, and still be ravenous. (Some days aren't like this, but when it's a Hunger day, well, let's just say it's a good thing I don't have a pet goldfish, okay?)

The other day was one of those days. I was so hungry that I was getting light headed. According to numbers on Weight Watchers e-tools, I was eating an adequate amount of food, but the body didn't agree. It was making a lot of changes and demanding extra supplies. I figured the best thing to do was have a word with the body, try to make it see what I wanted it to do. (Hey Body: rather than taking in food to build muscle, take it from the fat stores.)

So I wrote myself a letter. I described what I wanted the scale to read by the end of the month, and I told myself that I would get to that point if I would accept the hunger and do tonight's scheduled workout. I went further, describing what I was going to look like in three months, what I was going to look like when swimsuits-and-shorts season came around, how good it would feel to be fit enough to walk around without being embarrassed by my shape.

Didn't make me less hungry, but it did make me feel a whole lot more disciplined about the process. I was being hungry because I chose to be. Some people don't have any choice in the matter.

Exercise du jour: Week 8, Day 1 of the C25k. 28 minutes jogging.
Done! Some tendon-y tendency toward complaining, but it got done.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Australian Chutzpah

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
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Site du jour: It's hard to believe a country like Australia could produce both Hugh Jackman and a realtor who has the chutzpah* to sell a hole in the ground (yes, literally) as a home. Who doesn't want a home with "explosive storage magazines" in it?

Exercise du jour: Walking, jogging, yoga.
Exercise fail. When does pain mean refrain? I postponed last night's jogging, and my legs are still cranky this morning. Did the yoga.

*And a similar hole in the ground has already sold, which is one more instance of the truism that there's someone out there for everyone.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Parents shouldn't know about things like that...

When The Future Goes From Bad To Worse
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Site du jour: All right, so I haven't been keeping up with the Blogses lately. I just read about Millenium Housewife's Christmas present from her parents. Oh my.

Exercise du jour: Week 7 Day 3 of the C25k
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 25 minutes.
Fail. Still having problems with the legs. Not as bad tonight, so maybe if I rest it'll be okay to try tomorrow. I did get an hour's walk in at lunch.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Now that's impressive

Where Did That Penguin Get Cymbals

Site du jour: People said I was mad, mad I tell you, when I announced that I was going to run a 5k at Midnight on New Year's eve. Well, I'm here to say that there are other bloggers out there more extreme than I am. 266 did the polar bear plunge.

Now that's crazy. (In an impressively awesome way.)

Exercise du jour: walking, yoga
Exercise fail. The doctor gave me these 'wonderful pills' that were going to let me eat all the vegetables I could stuff in my mouth and not get sick from all that healthy fiber. Trouble is, the side effects include dizziness and what Wikipedia calls 'blurred visions.' (I'm fairly sure they meant "blurred vision" but all the same -- if you're going to have hallucinations, you don't want them to be blurry!)
Think I'm going to have to see if the doc has other pills I could try instead.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Socialize while tracking exercise

I Got It!
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Site du jour: Here's a site that you can use to track your exercise mileage. People (like Heather at Leading the Weigh) use it to challenge their friends to meet specific exercise goals.

Are there any other good sites that you use to track your exercise or diet goals? (Enquiring... i.e. nosy... minds want to know!)

Exercise du jour: Week 7 Day 2 of the C25k
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 25 minutes. Plus, 1/2 hour yoga.
Done! A verrrry slow 25 minutes. In the rain. Jogged home from the Weight Watchers meeting; I am now a soggy sight indeed. But I lost the three (count 'em, three) pounds that I'd gained last week, and almost a whole pound more (.8). Better soggy than sorry. Does that make any sense? No, probably not. Time for a hot bath.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Tanji always knew she was a Good Dog

Santa very kindly brought the dog a nice warm sweater for Christmas this year. She was thrilled.

"Well... at least it doesn't have antlers," Tanji thinks.

Dog update: the allergies. It's not as bad as it was last time. She's only been steadily scratching off most of her fur. There's still some left. Really, when she's wearing a coat that has a hood, she looks almost normal. Of course, when she's not wearing anything, she looks... well...

The rare Gollum shepherd, a breed not yet recognized by the AKC.

It's getting cold enough that she seems to have accepted the need to wear something; she no longer plots how to get rid of the sweater. Maybe she likes this one better.

P.S. Yes, the dog has been tested. She's allergic to Oregon. If she moves to California, she gets better. But she's made it clear that she'd rather be here with me than down there with my family. The vets have ran out of suggestions, besides steroids, steroids, and steroids.

Exercise du jour: Gentle walking and yoga. I'm going to get this leg better, IamIamIam. Fail. The inner slug won out. The leg got rested, anyway.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Into every shin a little pain must fall

No pain, no gain is not a rule that I can live by. All I gain from pain is a kind of grumpy patience.

Last winter, when I started the C25K, my goal was to jog (very timidly, very sluggishly) for half an hour without something breaking inside. I really did not know if this overweight body could do that kind of exercise at at all. Because I was so slow and safe, I had very little problem with injuries. (Also, I didn't really get into that great shape. I mean, little old ladies could walk faster than I was jogging. Hell, I could walk faster than I was jogging.)

Over the summer, I got impatient with this hold-back attitude. And paid for it with those nasty shin splints that flare up again when I try to do too much. It's hard to balance between safety and stagnation. (Whine du jour: life is hard. Waah. Okay, done now.)

Each time it hurt, I rested, took things easy, and cursed a bit. Then I went back to exercising.

This winter, the goal was to do the C25K and actually run when the podcast told me to, rather than shuffling along at Almost-Faster-Than-Slug speed. The shins complained a bit, but they were not jumping up and down screaming for ice packs.

Until now. (Waah.)

Methinks I overdid things a bit last Thursday. Going to do the 25 minutes sloooowly.

Exercise du jour: Week 7 Day 1 of the C25k
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 25 minutes. Not just slowly, but sloooooooowly.

1/2 star. Made it halfway, but the leg pain (tendon on the side of the leg) was getting worse. Does grinding my teeth constitute exercise?
Still, after two cups of coffee I couldn't just sit there. So I invented a new sport: one-legged dancing. Kept the bad foot close to the floor and let the other leg do kicks, with my arms flailing and hips twisting and probably everything else jiggling as well.
If the dog ever learns how to operate the video camera, I'm screwed.

Photo courtesy of:

Friday, January 01, 2010

My First 5k

New Year's Eve is a time for reflection...

Notes on the Portland First Run 2010

  • At the start, I could see the full moon, and stars shining between the clouds. It was warm, about 50.

  • By the end, I was completely drenched, every layer soaked and clinging to the skin, and the temperature had gotten a lot colder. (I would've thought I would have felt a bit warmer, at least while I was moving.)

  • The city had shut down Naito parkway so we could run in the road. Along the route, people came out onto their balconies and cheered as we went past. We were part of the New Year's show.

  • At the start of the run, I remember one couple sprinting alongside on the sidewalk. He was wearing a suit, she had taken off her high heels and was running in her short silvery glitter dress. They weren't part of the run, but I was impressed with their sprinting ability.

  • At the party afterward, all I wanted was a cup of water. None of the runners I saw had one. Every volunteer I asked pointed me toward a booth where they were selling bottles of water. After the crowd had cleared, I finally found a table off in a corner where one guy was pouring water into cups. There were dozens of cups of water sitting there untouched.

  • Maybe it was something I ate. Earlier in the day, I thought my stomach was tying itself in knots because of race nerves or something, but it still hurt after I was on my way home. It did seem a bit unfair that in a Max train where I was probably one of the few sober people, I was the one feeling nauseated.

  • According to a self-appointed expert I met on the train, the newer Max cars can hold 947 people. If so, that's how many people I shared the ride home with. It was quite a festive atmosphere, like the party had spilled out of the bars and onto the train instead. Very happy group. It was sardine-room only, but still they cheered when one last optimist squeezed onto the train -- with his bicycle and a drum set. And for some reason, the crowd sang the National Anthem on the way home.
Dancing in the streets... or at least on the curb...

Summary: Despite my best intentions, I went out too fast at the start (it was either go fast or go under -- the crowd was packed tightly together and even the people dressed as walkers for some reason started out at a run). I ended up getting winded and walking a lot more than I'd planned, which is discouraging. Nevertheless, my calf muscles are sore today, so I must have gotten something of a workout. I think my sour mood today is based partly on the lack of sleep. I went to bed after four, and the dog got me up early because she needed to use the facilities. You'd think a dog that smart would've worked out how to let herself out.

2010: off to a running start

Quote du jour: The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start. —John Bingham

Off to the Portland First Run 5k 2010. Thankfully, the snow and ice are gone from downtown Portland though not from my house. It should be around 40, which is pretty warm for New Year's. A good sign, mehopes.

Exercise du jour: Week 6, day 3, C25k. Run for 25 minutes straight. Maybe a bit more, if I get caught up in the excitement of my first 5k. I'm going to take Dr. J's advice of starting slow, and ... we'll see what happens.

[Merry stumbles out of bed, eyes half-closed, grabs a gold star, and tacks it up on the blog. Then heads back to bed.]

Didn't do that great, but it's done. And next time will be better. And I lost 1/2 a pound somewhere along the route. And I'm going back to bed.