Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Putting the world on notice

To whom it may concern:

This is an official notification of the fact that I am expecting great things.

By the end of 2009, I am going to damn well be thin.
(My definition of 'thin' at this time is 'normal weight as defined by the BMI.' I know that's not always an ideal standard, but it is as good as anything from my current perspective.)

By the end of 2009, I am going to run a 5k, and do so easily. Smiling, damn it.
By the end of 2009, I am going to cycle a metric century (100km). Smiling, damn it.

Further goals will be posted as I become aware of them.

Be warned, world.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Tanji the Reindog and I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Exercise du jour: the Push Up challenge continues.

Week 4, day 2

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And they weren't Eskimos, either

I do not understand humans.

I slogged my way down to the corner store for supplies, through snow that was over two feet deep in places. And there were people in the store... buying ice. ICE???!!

I know they say a good salesman can sell ice to an Eskimo, but this is ridiculous.

Might as well keep on with the 9th week while I can, even if it is indoors.

Exercise du jour
: 9th and final week of the Couch to 5k!
Taking the holiday off from exercising

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Festivus postponed

Well, the holidays are on hold, waiting on snow, ice, and Alaska Airlines. So I might as well proceed with the push up challenge. Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll end up being amazed that I could do so many push ups, though doing these doesn't have the same feel good aftermood as running. (If you can have an aftermath, why not an aftermood?)

Week 4, day 1

set 1 12
set 2 14
set 3 11
set 4 10
set 5 max (at least 16)
Done! Still don't have any real feeling of accomplishment, even when I added them up. I've done 63 push ups this morning. Shrug.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tidings of Comfort & Joy? Yeah. Sure.

For the next couple weeks I'm going to be off work on another forced shutdown. I will be up to my elbows in relatives, feasts, fights, and sundry holiday activities.

I hope the festivities will not derail the exercising train. Or at least that I'll be able to get back on the train at the next stop. Fingers crossed.

Exercise du jour: Okay, one more time. The 9th week of the couch to 5k: a 30 minute run.
Done! Amazing. Nine weeks ago, running for 30 minutes straight sounded incredibly optimistic.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

So close to the finish line...

I don't think I'll be able to squeeze the final two runs in this week, which is a shame after all this time. But I want to get in one full 30 minute run. Even if it is indoors.

Exercise du jour:
9th and final week of the Couch to 5k!

Okay, that's two days in a row that I've bailed on the run. My excuse du jour is that I'm tired. I trudged 4 miles through virgin snow a foot deep. Just to return a bloody library book. That kind of walking is tiring work --the snow was covered with a thin crust of ice that I had to break through, and then with each step I would have to lift my foot up high to clear the snow. I know, I know, it could've been worse -- I could've been in Minnesota, with a nasty wind chill, etc. I'm still tired. I'll try again tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Squeezing in last-minute shopping exercising

Changing my schedule, trying to squeeze in some last-minute exercising before the onslaught of festivities. I really want to do at least part of the 9th week. Seems symbolic and all that, even if I won't get the chance to finish the whole series this week.

Exercise du jour:

9th and final week of the Couch to 5k!
Hold that thought. I'm dead tired, my ankle hurts for absolutely no reason, and to top it off I just got WD-40 smeared all over my shoes and can't get it off.
Luckily, I bicycled for a mile -- through 4 inches of snow, which gives me extra points. Plus, I then pushed a bicycle (weighed down with $120 worth of Christmas groceries) a mile back, through increasingly thick powder. So damn it, I did exercise. Just not the exercise I was planning.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Almost there...

All I have to do is make it through the day.
And the next week.
I can do that.
No problem.
I hope.

Exercise du jour:

Push up challenge, week 3 day 3

set 1 11
set 2 13
set 3 9
set 4 9
set 5 max (at least 13)

Why are push ups so loathsome?
Plus, walked 1.5 miles. (Yeah, I know it's not much, but I'm counting it anyway. Because I can. So there.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow falling on cedars

Snow falling on (my neighbor's) cedars

Snowbound, icebound, cabin-fever-bound... nothing to see here. Move along, move along. Why not rearrange Henry Tudor's face?

Week 8 of the couch to 5k.
Done! Running is a useful outlet when you're really pissed off at extremely annoying relatives. I'm starting to think that therapists should prescribe it instead of pharmaceutical anodynes.
Plus, 2 miles walking.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Are we there yet?

Damn, I really need this week to be over already.

Exercise du jour: Push up challenge, week 3 day 2

set 1 10

set 2 12

set 3 8

set 4 8

set 5 max (at least 12)

Done! Damn all push ups.
Sitting at home watching the snow fall. I really don't feel like being brave & noble and trying to go in to work. I'd just have to stress about getting home again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

No longer lost in a good book

It's strange, but I'm becoming more aware, and more dissatisfied, with my physical shape.

For years, I've suffered from a common disorder called Corpus Oblivious. I didn't really think about my weight problem; there were more interesting things to think about. Rather than work out, I'd read. I was a talking head that used the body like a cheap apartment rather than a home. Didn't really matter.

But the more I work out, the more it feels like I'm being pulled back into an awareness of my physical shape, and the more I see, the less I like the way it looks. Before, I would eat sweet food when I was feeling down -- who cared if it added on a pound or two? Now, I'm starting to feel impatient with my slow progress. I want to cut out all sweet foods, anything that's not an unadulterated vegetable or plain fruit. Enough already. There are more important things out there.

Week 8 of the couch to 5k.
Note: the inner slug had convinced me that since today was such a rotten day I shouldn't run. Then, for some reason, I listened to my inner Nike and just did it. Turned out to be a wonderful run -- yes, I actually enjoyed it. Me. Even though I ran indoors, I went much faster than I used to. Not so much trudging, much more actual running. Very weird. Take that, slug!
Plus, 2-1/2 miles walking (very slowly, with the occasional skid on the icier spots).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Picture me freaking the cow-orkers

The push up challenge has become steadily more challenging. To the point where my inner slug is starting to devise ways to thwart me from getting through it.

The harder the set, the longer I need to rest afterward, the more likely the inner slug is to suggest getting up and doing something else while I wait. (Slug: You have to wait two whole minutes between sets? What are you going to do with all that time? Why not check your email... oh look, you need to respond to that email right away...)

To un-thwart the situation, I've started slipping in a few sets while I'm at work. This is usually safe, since the cubicle walls are over 5 feet tall and I'm not on a main traffic aisle. (Plus, the office cleaner is a lot more conscientious about that vacuuming stuff than I am.) It's perfectly safe.

Except for last Friday.

Picture me, lying on the floor psyching myself to push the body upwards one last time.

Picture me, suddenly noticing my nice, shy cow-orker* pausing in the doorway to my cubicle.

Picture me, quickly getting up on my hands and knees and trying to pretend I was looking for a paperclip.

I don't think the ruse worked.

Dang. I mean, he's a really nice guy, but extremely shy. I've just gotten him to the point where he will say "Good morning" instead of ducking his head and blushing as he passes by.

Exercise du jour: Passed the 2nd week test -- barely -- of doing 16 push ups in a row. So it's on to the 3rd week.

Push up challenge, week 3 set 1

set 1 10

set 2 12

set 3 7

set 4 7

set 5 max (at least 9)
Whew! (wipes brow)
Plus, 3 miles walking (albeit at a snail's pace over the ice)

*Look, it's a local spelling. At least, it's local in Silicon Valley (and Dilbert cartoons).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Personally, I blame Lori

I mean -- this is Oregon, not Minnesota. She should keep her weather to herself, thankyouverymuch.

Does one run in the snow?
Does anyone know?

Do you run if there's ice?
Do the slick roads add spice?

When the wind starts to bite
Should a runner sit tight?

It's still snowing. They say it is only going to get colder, a lot colder, so if I'm going to go, I should go soon.

What to do, what to do...
Done! Very wet, white, and windy out there.
I can see the appeal with indoor running.

Not really a brag, honest

This sounds like a brag, but it's really not.
My body is amazing.

I mean, I took this perfectly healthy body and used it for all these years to sit in a chair and read books or type on a keyboard. And it adapted perfectly to the sedentary lifestyle, becoming lumpy and dumpy and frumpy.

Now after decades of that, I'm asking it to move, to run and huff and puff and keep the pace for half an hour. (Or rather, 28 minutes as of this week.) And it's doing that too. I'm amazed that it's been able to adapt to the new demands I'm putting onto it -- and that it feels good afterwards. How much farther could it go if I asked?

Week 8 of the couch to 5k.

Friday, December 12, 2008

For Xenia

99�.. 100! kitteh pushupz maikz kitteh musselz

Puppy, it's cold outside...

Rather glad I'm not running outside today. Light exercise, lots to do indoors.

Exercise du jour:
Push ups
Last day of week 2

set 1 5
set 2 7
set 3 5
set 4 5
set 5 max (at least 8)

Photo du jour: Flickr

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Waving at Chocolate

Thought du jour: The other night I read the weight-loss memoir of Diet Girl, an amazing woman who lost over 170 pounds, slowly, through exercise and diet. The first part of the memoir described how she gained so much weight. It was interesting to read about how she used food to self-medicate her emotions. Especially chocolate. If something went awry, she developed intense cravings for chocolate. This is the second weight-loss memoir I read about a woman who used to overeat, binging on unhealthy foods. (I suppose that last adjective is redundant. It's not like anyone ever binged on celery.)

The other night I was really depressed. I could feel myself sinking into a depression, and there on the counter before me was a chocolate bar. So I thought, why not? I tried it.

Diet Girl described in detail how it felt to bite into a chocolate bar. The chocolate sensations went from her taste buds straight to the pleasure centers of her brain. From her description, it sounded like intense waves of pleasure radiated from the chocolate throughout her body.

I took a bite of chocolate; the sensations of chocolate went from the chocolate to my taste buds. And stayed there. No waves anywhere. I must be doing something wrong. Or there's more than one way to get fat.

Exercise du jour: Week 7 of the couch to 5k.
Done! Really weird -- I've been fighting a virus all day, feeling rotten. Felt okay when I was actually running shuffling around. Now I'm feeling rotten again. Weird.

Chocolate courtesy of Flickr.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Do it yourself

It's been one full year since I first saw my house. This is the draft of a To Do list that I never posted, on how I was preparing to deal with the scary, almost unbelievable concept of being a home owner.

- Re-read the last two Little House on the Prairie books. Back then, if something broke, you fixed it yourself.

- Acquire the Harriet Homemaker mindset. An overwhelming task for one short out-of-shape female to tackle, but I will try.

- If it all falls apart, look into building my own home. (A home building kit? From Sears? People really did that?)

Exercise du jour:
Push ups
set 1 5
set 2 6
set 3 4
set 4 4
set 5 max (at least 7)
Damn! That was harder than running shuffling for 25 minutes straight. Wimp.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Beauty of the world

Quote du jour:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

- William Blake

Exercise du jour:
Week 7 of the couch to 5k.
Done! Not the fastest run on the planet, but considering the upset stomach, fairly respectable. There are times when running indoors is a definite plus.

Photo courtesy of Steve Took It.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Lo and behold

And lo! The dark angel of Layoffs did pass over the cubicle of Merry and did land on the cubicles of her co-workers, leaving her with her job and their work.

Exercise du jour: Push ups

set 1 4
set 2 6
set 3 4
set 4 4
set 5 max (at least 6)

Photo credit: Howzey

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Reverse-Christmas Insomnia

Yes, Santa, there really is a Virginia...

I've decided my recurring insomnia is caused by the reverse-Christmas effect. Supposedly, children eagerly go to bed early Christmas Eve because they're trying to make Christmas Day come sooner. Me, I find myself staying up late, even though I'm tired, in an attempt to put off the next day's arrival. I'm took off work yesterday; maybe that will help. (The bad news is, that means I have to go in to work today.)
Sad thought -- several people were in tonight; some had worked all weekend.

Week 7 of the couch to 5k. Can you believe I'm in the seventh week of this thing??? (Yes, that question does call for multiple question marks.)
It's odd -- even though I ran indoors this time (fog so thick I couldn't see across the street), it still feels like I ran at a faster pace this time. Knowing that I could run for that long made me curious to see if I could pick up the speed a bit.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Still pushing (in the upward direction)

Will doing push ups make me more pushy?

Push ups: 4,5,4,4,5 (120 seconds rest between sets)
Done! This was harder than I had expected. I might want to stay at this level for a week or so. Plus, I feel really tired today. Maybe I should stay at the running level for awhile too?

Note: I imagine this schedule is really boring to read. Don't mind me. I'm just keeping track here. Probably a good idea to go check out another site. Why not research Alien Cow Abductions?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Running more than ever

Gulp... 25 minutes of continuous running? Um... sure, I can do that. Let's see, anyway.
6th week of the couch to 5K.

Update: Crap. It's 7:30 already?

Update, part II:
Done! I couldn't face running around the house, so I braved the neighborhood. Crisp clear night: I could see an amazing amount of stars, surprising considering all the brightly decorated houses.
Slow pace, but I did it. It feels much better running at night. Even if the temperature is hovering around freezing, I feel better about running in the dark. I think maybe I've been reading too many of those vampire novels...

I'm interested in how much the mind plays a role in exercising. I've never tried to run for 25 minutes straight before; I wasn't sure I could do it. (I thought I could, but I wasn't sure.) Now I look at the rest of the schedule and don't feel a qualm. I might be slow, but I feel sure I can get there. That's a good feeling.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Drunken Santas in the suburbs?

Wild Santas partying ... in Hillsboro???

I've never heard of the Portland Cacophony Society before, but I wonder why they thought this would be a good place to go wild. Nice place to live, but I wouldn't want to party there.

Should be interesting to watch. Maybe.

Still tracking the 100 push up challenge

Push ups:
(90 second rest between sets)
Done! I wish there weren't the 90 second rest between push up sets. That's just enough time for me to sit down and get distracted by some blog or other. This challenge is going to teach me to focus ;)

Santa the Lush courtesy of Flickr.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wednesday? More like Tuesday, Take Two

Quote du jour

Now here, you see,
it takes all the running you can do
to keep in the same place.

If you want to get somewhere else,
you must run at least twice as fast as that.

- Lewis Carroll

I'm going to pretend that today is Tuesday all over again. A Do Over, as it were.

6th week of the couch to 5K.
Done! Feels good to see a star up here again. Plus, indoor running is really saving me a lot in heating bills -- it's a great way to keep warm :)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Redundant dreaming?

I always thought that if you dreamt of food while you sleep, it's a sign that you're hungry. Seems logical. But last night I was dreaming of sleeping. What's up with that? I mean, if I'm already sleeping...

Anyway, 6th week of the couch to 5K.

8 p.m. update: You know what? Screw it. I had an absolutely lousy day at work. And I spent so much time at work that I didn't get a chance to eat until a few minutes ago -- so of course I ate too much, because I was starving by that point. Now I feel grumpy and lumpy and extremely stuffed.

What the hell am I doing this for? Who am I doing this for? Myself, right? So I'm taking the day off.

Tomorrow I'll do the run, and push the push ups back until the next day. I hereby formally give myself permission.

10:50 p.m. update:
Sniff... it doesn't feel right not having a star today...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Whale push ups

The trouble with ending the 30-day constant exercise challenge is... what now?

Once upon a time, I trained for months to ride a metric century, 60ish miles on a bicycle. Because I'd trained so carefully, the actual 60 mile ride was a blast. I had a great time, felt good.

Bursting with good health, I suggested to my training partner that we set another goal. "Okay," she said. "What?" I couldn't think of a good idea, neither could she, and inevitably we got distracted by Life in all its demanding trivialities and never went back to riding.

I'm afraid if I stop exercising daily, I'll lose whatever I've gained this month. So I'm setting myself a new challenge as of today. 100 Pushups is a site designed to get a human doing 100 consecutive push ups in 100 days.

I do love optimists who think this body can do something like that. When I tried the initial test, I could do 5 modified push ups with some effort. Tried doing a real full-body push up... no. Not happening. Ever seen a whale doing a push up? That's how it felt. I'm going to try the challenge using the modified form.

Set 1: 2
Set 2: 3
Set 3: 2
Set 4: 2
Set 5: 3
Ah, the insanely smug feeling you get by doing your scheduled exercise before the sun comes up.
Plus, walked 2-1/2 miles.

Photo of the whale trying to do a push up courtesy of Flickr.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hunting Season for Haggis!

The kilts are a'comin... courtesy of Flickr.

Fact du jour:
November 30 is the start of Haggis Hunting season.

Giveaway du jour: I want to give away one last book. That's the one area that I think has helped in giving things away. With fewer books on the shelf, I appreciate more the ones that are left.
The last book is in the box, and all the boxes have found a new home! What shall I do with all this space?

Exercise du jour: 6th week of the couch to 5K.
First time I've ever deliberately tried exercising whilst dealing with cramps. Doesn't make them any worse, so that's something.

Summary du month: After six weeks of the couch to 5K, I think it's safe to say I've gotten into the habit of following the running program. Should be able to stick with it for the remaining three weeks. (And it is really nice to be exercising my way through the holidays!)

The giveaway results are harder to quantify. There's a lot less Stuff in my house and garage. Do I feel different? Not really. It was hard to give away books, harder to give away forgiveness. I doubt a month of giving has made me a nicer person, but maybe I'm more aware of what I've got and what I have to give. Which isn't too bad.

Off to load up the evilSUV for a trip to Goodwill!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Looking ahead

Horsie courtesy of Flickr.

Not sure what to do after the couch to 5K.
The community hospital is hosted a series of Yoga classes. Hafta say, one of the main attractions is the fact that it's a ten minute walk from my house. Could easily fit it in on my way home from work. Except I should probably be looking for something more aerobic if I want the scale to budge.

Total fantasy... there are stables around... only a forty minute drive and I could take riding lessons... which are pricy :(

Okay then, how about Aikido? Looks like a good place about a ten minute drive away. Except that I keep visualizing a classes filled with very short, flexible midget children, and myself towering above them.

I could always keep running... increasing the pace or working on running up hills. I like the structure of the program, the way the voice told me when to run and when to walk. It was great not to have to worry about it.

Giveaway du jour: Hell, haven't I give everything away already? Who knew I had so much stuff. Okay, fine. Another book gets the toss.
Two books -- I'm getting better at this!

Exercise du jour: Raking, weeding, gardening. It's not exciting, but it's necessary. Plus, it really is a workout if you do it enough -- and Lord knows I need to do it a lot.
Oh, Frapp! You'd think after exercising for 29 days straight it would have become automatic. But noooOOOOoooo. It wasn't until 8 pm that I remembered that I was supposed to move my body today. Pushups and kettlebell arm exercises. Sadly, the leaves will still be there tomorrow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

At least one turkey survived T-Day

Quote du jour:"An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day." - Irv Kupcinet

Giveaway du jour: Oh hell. I can give away another box. Really. Or at least go through another box and try.
I'm a bum. (On the giving side at any rate.) Another book down, another day of shirking the garage.

Exercise du jour: No option. I have to do the 20 minute run from the 5th week of the couch to 5k. I've done all I can to prepare mentally and gastronomically:
  • Hung out with a bunch of runners for the early morning Thanksgiving Turkey Trot - check
  • Watched Chariots of Fire - check
  • Eaten lots of carbs - check
Fingers crossed.

Done! I decided not to try to deal with my outdoor-running neuroses. You read it here first: it is possible to run for 20 solid minutes on a manual treadmill, alternating with running around and around the house. The dog is now convinced I'm a lunatic, but it's done.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Am I crazy? No, that was a rhetorical question...

So. Thanksgiving.
A day devoted to delicious smells from the kitchen, watching The Game, listening to family arguments and oh yeah, eating a lot of food. Then feeling stuffed with food, and vowing to work the weight off as soon as I can get on my feet and move again.

Not this year.

In a spirit of insanity, or something very much like it, I signed up for the Portland Zoo turkey trot. Apparently, you don't need to be an actual turkey to participate. (Not the avian variety, anyway.)

I was going to run my 20 minutes (3rd day of the 5th week of the couch to 5k) yesterday. I'll have to run tomorrow. I don't have quite the courage to jog 20 minutes continuously in front of people, behind strollers, while dodging toddlers, and of course going up and down hills (about 500' elevation change).

Still cool to work out, get a head start on attacking those holiday calories.
Done! I'm freeeeeeeeezing cold now, but it was a good walk. Bright sunshine, no wind. Once we finished the walk, the rain clouds came, the wind rose, the temperature dropped. Let it. I'm going to be indoors in the warm the rest of the day :)

Giveaway du jour: Today I'm going to give people my full attention. Even when I disagree with their politics, their manners, or their opinion on who should win The Game.
So far, so good :)


Turkeys courtesy of Flickr.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Definitely a sore loser

Shouldn't running in a beautiful spot be a cheerful experience?

Fact du jour: My body is not pleased with me. The muscles aren't sore, but I'm feeling tired. Worn out. The body is starting to complain. A twenty minute run today, and it's outdoors. For some reason, I hate running outdoors during daylight. I have no idea why.

Last time, I went running by the library, where there's an extensive series of walking trails surrounded by beautiful lakes and grounds. It was early in the day, so there wasn't anyone around to see me huffing and puffing and glowing red. (I don't count that flock of Canadian Geese, who were extremely impolite and Not the sort of bird I would consider a civilized acquaintance.) And I was miserable the whole time.
Oh, Merry... come here for a minute...

I've lost at least six pounds this month. Right now it doesn't feel worth it. Damn I hope this is a transitory mood swing. I blame the planets being out of alignment. Where's a cosmic chiropractor when you need one?

Giveaway du jour: I'm heading in to the garage again. I'm starting to see a patch of floor. And I'm sure there are more things lurking there that I could give on to someone who'll appreciate them. I refuse to let that garage beat me!
On the other hand, maybe I'll attack it another day. The sun is out, the sky is blue. I'm getting rid of another book and taking up the rake to do Good Things outside while I can.

Exercise du jour: Week 5 of the couch to 5k. 20 minutes solid running. Yeah. I'm enthused. I'm really enthused. Yeah. That's me. Watch this space for a gold star.

Update: Well, Dr. T suggested postponing the run, and one should always listen to a doctor. (Yes, I know the degree is a Ph.D rather than an M.D., but that's not important right now.)

Plus, the roads are icy; there have been several accidents this morning. (A couple hours ago, before the temp went above freezing, but let's not get distracted by side issues like that.)

Plus, I just stepped on a piece of glass and cut my foot. (Hey, it needed a band-aid. Don't want gangrene to set it.)

I swear to Bob, those damn planets are plotting against me.

I did the Pilates Beginning Mat Workout instead.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Underworking or Overworrying?

You don't know how far you can go... until you go too far.

I'm wondering -- should I be pushing myself more? I started this couch to 5k program with the fervent hope that I could make it through to the other side without both my legs in pain. So far, fingers crossed and knees happy. But am I underworking? Or overworrying?

Update: Maybe I was speaking too soon. Last run took it out of me, for some reason. Muscles aren't sore; I just feel blah. Negative and blah.

Giveaway du jour: I'm getting tired. I think giving away something once or twice a week wouldn't seem like quite so much work. Still, I'm sure I can find another book to give to a good home if I try.
Another book hits the box. I've now got a respectable stack of Goodwill boxes piled up by the door.
Exercise du jour: Rania's Personal Trainer DVD, arms and abs. Got a big run tomorrow, don't want to overdo it today.
Yeah, whatever. Did arms, did abs, still don't feel like I've got much energy.

Oops courtesy of Flickr.