Weekly Rundown

As January ends and February begins, I am feeling pretty good. I also have an early case of spring fever as January was rather mild for this corner of the northeast. The horses spent most of the month sans blankets, unless we were expecting precipitation, which was just as likely to be rain as snow. I got to go out for some runs and walk Daisy, and now I just want it to be over. Too bad we have two months left. I doubt they will be as kind.

Monday: off

Tuesday: AM run on the treadmill. I only did a mile, but it was a good brisk run at 7.0 to 7.6 MPH, in 8:12, that started my day off right. I had to water the horses in the morning too, so that was a little weight lifting, right? At this time of year I have to carry two five gallon containers out–not that they always have to be full. My next barn will be closer to the house!

Wednesday: I was lazy and didn’t get up early enough to exercise. When I got home I did 2 miles on the treadmill (16:17), then my Burpees for the day. I started splitting up the types of Burpees I was doing–and in sets of 5. I did them without a break, it just seemed like less if I was only counting to five before starting over (every little bit helps). I did a push up set, then 5 jacks, 5 regular, 5 more where I was on the balls of my feet during the upright portion (up and down), and then the last 4 with push ups again.

Thursday: off again. It is rare that I take two days off in a week. But if I do, it is usually Thursday that I run out of steam.

Friday: Last day of burpees! Considering how few I actually did for the month (280), I was very happy to see them go. I took Daisy for a walk, and I tried to slow her down so we could go further. She was pretty happy to get out, so that was difficult but we did do 1.7 miles. Hopefully she will be in shape when spring hits and we can go further and further! I had decided to slow myself down as well, realizing that I was always trying to improve my time and not doing any relaxing, slower runs. I went out to the Rail Trail early–man, was it chilly–and started without a real plan. My plan for my relaxing run ended when the little Endomondo voice said my first mile was 9:26. Then the little voice in the back of my head started wondering if I could do a sub 30 minute 5K. Turns out I can-barely. 28:55. Not bad for an mid winter run.

Saturday: had a busy day planned (shopping and Star Wars with the girls), so I started it out right by taking Daisy out for a brisk walk. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time so I let her go as fast as she wanted. We did a quick mile in 17:31. Might have been a little faster if I hadn’t stopped to take pictures!

sure was a pretty morning

Sunday: warm weather again 🙂 Decided to go out for 2 miles, at an easy pace–really! Now the hills on the way out helped, but it is so hard not to speed up. I always want to push. I had to keep consciously slowing down on my return. I was fairly proud of my 2 mile run that took 22:39. I followed that with 35 minutes of relaxing, stretchy yoga. My favorite is Candlelite Yoga with Sarah Ivanhoe. Definitely makes my run sore muscles relax.

A Whole New Year

Well, here we are mostly through the first month of the new year already. My streak has ended and I am on to a Burpee challenge for this month.

And it looks like winter has finally arrived in our neck of the woods.

After having more snow in the month of November than December or January (so far), we finally got dumped on. A wet layer on Monday and a fluffy layer Wednesday night. Might be good for some winter sports. What a pity I prefer summer sports!!

I finished my Streak on Christmas feeling stronger than I had in a while. I had clearly been slacking and the first couple of weeks were, um, not fun. I didn’t succeed in 2 miles everyday, but I did do 2 miles or more 80% of the streak. Now I am just trying to keep it going.

Even before the snow there was enough ice that running outside wasn’t going to be safe. It would be warm, everything would melt and then it got cold and everything froze again. Repeat ad nauseum. But my treadmill and I have become best friends. And my husband got me an Alpha Ball for Christmas, so I have been doing resistance training as well.

My Burpee challenge is not as, well, challenging as previous ones, but it is keeping me going. I started with 10, and every other day I Burpee (can I use that as a verb??) and add one to the count. Currently up to 21 — 22 tomorrow.

Now I have to figure out what I am going to do next month! Definitely need to keep my momentum going so I am shape for spring. I didn’t do many 5Ks last year, but I think this year I am going to aim for one a month. I don’t tend to make New Years resolutions, but I find that having a plan absolutely is key for me. Guess I am going to add some 5K tees to my collection!

Still Streaking….

Here I am, day 25. Still running.

And not doing much else, so weekly rundowns would have been fairly tedious for all involved. With the holiday season closing in on us, I make enough time to run everyday, but no weights and very little yoga (until my body reminds it DOES need to be stretched).

And the weather is not conducive to riding or even walking Daisy–I am trying to train her on the treadmill. It’s not as much fun, as there are no sniffs, but she is making progress.I started at a very slow pace (.5 MPH), then learned if the treadmill is going faster she understands better that she has to walk. We are up to 3 minutes at 1.2 MPH. It will be a fun winter project!

I have to say, this streak is harder than my spring streak. I suspect that is because I have been slacking so much over the fall, and I just wasn’t in shape. The holiday busyness may also have something to do with it. I do feel like I am in much better shape now.

I wanted to run 2 miles everyday for the streak, and I learned that is not always practical. For one thing, my knees objected. Particularly if I ran after work one night and then before work the next morning. And even though 2 miles is really less than 18 minutes, on tight days it was easier to sneak down and run one mile in 8 or so minutes. I do add an incline for difficulty if I am sneaking in just one mile.

However, I have run 2 miles for the majority of the streak, because I am just that stubborn and if I say I am going to do something, then dang it, I should try to do that! Most of my miles have been on the treadmill–weather, again–but I did get out for one 2 mile run.

Learned two things from that run. A) wow, does the road make a difference! Took 4 minutes longer, and that first hill…. B) I didn’t want to get my treadmill sneakers dirty and bring them back in, so I used an older pair that I had previously decided didn’t have enough cushion to run anymore. My knees were really unhappy about that.

We make wreaths, and most of Thanksgiving til last week was involved in that around our work hours. We had decided to just take orders (instead of a stand) this year. And ended up making far more than we have in previous years!

As busy as it has been, we still have gotten out for some fun!

I did get to meet some reindeer!
(I didn’t wait in line for Santa)
In addition to Santa and the reindeer, LL Bean put on a gorgeous display of lights
The walkway from the road was a magical tunnel

And we went to the Gardens Aglow in Boothbay, so I definitely got my steps in that evening! It was so beautiful. And cold. I think my toes lost feeling about a third of the way in, but I made it all they way through 🙂

the moose and deer where new this year

So tired….

Here it is the new year, and we all have these fresh resolutions…..and we are so exhausted!

Or is that just me?

I had a wonderful holiday season. We did something almost every weekend, which was rather unusual for us. But we kept busy from Thanksgiving to Christmas and even beyond, visiting the Garden’s Aglow on New Year’s weekend.

It was fantastic, and if you are ever near Boothbay in the month of December, I highly recommend it. We have been trying to go for a number of years, and this is the first time we got there.

      

Meanwhile, between the family get togethers, friends, dinners and actual holiday celebrations, I seem to be a bit weary. So I gave myself permission to slack off a bit this week.

I mean, I took two whole days off. And just did a bit of yoga stretching on some of the other days.

Why do I mention this? For two reasons.

One, it is quite important to listen to your body and not push when you are worn out. Even if you have a new program that demands it of you. Two, it is also important to be flexible. We all know what happens to the best laid plans. If you can be flexible about which day you are taking off, how many days a week you take off as well as what day you are doing which exercise routine, I can guarantee you will be a happier exercise-er (is that a word? Did I just make it up? 😛 )

Now, that doesn’t mean you give yourself permission to take the majority of days off each week, or do the “easy” workout every day. It just means you cut yourself a break once in a while and listen to your body.

New Year

Yup, it’s that time again.

Resolutions.
Will we keep them? Will they be forgotten by February?

I have never been a big resolutions person. At least, not in January. I don’t know if it is due to the beginning of the school year, but somehow I always equate Labor day with the revamping of my priorities annually.

We lived out in the country, so, especially when I was young, I didn’t see my friends over the summer. The beginning of the school year was a time for excitement: new clothes, new notebooks, organizing for the school year, catching up with my friends.
That always seemed like the fresh start of my year, not New Years Day, which, sadly, was never a big deal in my family.

But, admitting that I am an oddball, I know thousands of people across the globe have made multitudes of resolutions in the last 24 hours. Some are already forgotten, some they will strive for and some they will fail to attain.

Why is that?

Probably because a lot of people pick a goal that focuses  on the how, not the why. Magazines in every news stand  (or online 😛 ) are telling people right now how to de-clutter their lives, or lose weight with the perfect diet/exercise program. But many of them are not addressing the original problem–why your house is a mess or exercise doesn’t stick.

I can get a perfect place to put all my papers, cleaning supplies and whatnot; and my house will be organized and clean….until the original reason my house was disorganized rears its ugly head–I simply don’t take the time to put things in their perfect place. Unless I fix the why, I can do the how all I want and it’s not going to stick. I need to change my habits before I can reach any goals.

The why is also important in choosing the resolution in the first place. Do you want to lose weight just to be more attractive to others? Probably not a resolution you are going to keep. Do you want to lose weight to be stronger and healthier, and improve your own self-image? Now, that one might stick! Do you think you should reorganize your house because the magazine makes it look so pretty? It probably won’t last. Do you want to organize your house so you don’t have to waste so much time trying to find things? That has a better chance of working once you find a proper home for everything.

Now, how do we get there?

That’s the trickier part. Once you have decided your goal has a good basis in why you truly want it, seek as much advice as you can about your goal. Read, watch videos, talk to friends. The more information you have, the more likely you are to do it correctly and enjoy it–and want to keep doing it (whatever it is).

I love running. Running helps me lose weight. It makes me feel strong and balanced, and gives me time away from my everyday problems to work on just myself. I do not expect it to work for everyone, nor do I expect everyone to love running. But you do want to find something that does all that for you.

My mantra has always been: do what you like. If you don’t like it, you won’t do it. Thus why, as a child of the 80s and 90s, I still won’t do aerobics. I loathe them. Same with the newer fondness for HiIT workouts. Won’t touch them. I tried a lot of things before I decided what worked for me and I actually enjoyed doing.

Feel free to experiment with many ways to attain your goal. One never knows what will work (or not) until one tries. That goes for anything-exercise, weight loss, organization or even cooking.  Just make sure you do them in bite size steps that you can accomplish and build on.

Deciding to run a marathon and getting on the treadmill at the local gym the first day and trying to  run 5 miles is not a good way to start. It will hurt, might actually injure you, and be very discouraging! Starting with  running and walking intervals and having  a reasonable mileage goal for each month will most likely get you to the starting line of your marathon.

And this could be the year that we all keep our resolutions….even if my resolution to not have one!

 

 

Weight

Weight is a funny thing, isn’t it? Amazing how happy one can be to see a number on the scale on the downward slide, but so very unhappy to see the same number on the way back up.

A number of years ago I set a goal weight, and I have struggled to get there. Now, I was chunky, so my goal weight was really only eight or so pounds away from where I was. But as we all know, I always said I ran to eat pizza.

So although I occasionally lost a pound, my body loves to hold on to each ounce and I never really got to my goal. But at least I stayed even 🙂

Then I had my accident and lost 10 lbs in the hospital–no surprise there. I did gain five back, once I started eating solid food at home. But I stayed there (only three pounds above my goal) for two years. I pretty much cycled through three pounds for those years, but it was consistent.

Then my husband had his heart attack last February. There was stress, of course, and we also drastically changed our diet. He can’t have much salt (oh my, that is high in everything!) or items with a lot of fat. We pretty much stopped eating anything processed. We used to enjoy the “convenience” of frozen pizza, mac and cheese or other frozen dinners several times a week.  We went cold turkey on that. I even make spaghetti sauce each time we have pasta–that would be due to the salt content in commercial sauce. We also were both keeping our portions small in the beginning as well.

Somehow, I lost ten pounds. So here I am seven pounds below my goal!! Whoo-hoooo! Even more odd, I stayed the same weight for several months, not bouncing up and down three pounds like I normally do.

I don’t eat anything really horrible, my desserts are normally ginger snaps, my lunches ricotta and granola and my breakfasts are Zone bars during the week.

So why did I just gain three pounds?????

Part of it is autumn. This is the normal time of year my body craves food and hangs on to all the calories in order to prepare for the deprivation of hibernation of winter. I wish it would realize we don’t hibernate!!! The other part, I expect, is that I relaxed on the “small portion” part. Ooops. And although I am running again, I haven’t been doing very many or very difficult sessions. Double ooops.

Where does that leave me? Well, four pounds below my goal weight. But now my goal is to stay where I was. I have no interest in continuing to gain weight throughout the winter, that will only make my spring harder. And while I really don’t want to go lower than I was, I do want to stay there–I liked it 🙂 So now on to the hard work-less food and more exercise.

My Week of Not Running

I spent most of the week avoiding exercise and being, well, pissy.

I didn’t realize until I was sitting at my desk on Wednesday afternoon just why I felt that way. I had taken Monday off, cuz that is always my day off. I took Tuesday off cuz I was tired and cranky. I didn’t want to get up the next morning and walk on the treadmill.

So I was sitting there at my desk, thinking about how much I DIDN’T want to go home and exercise and how much I needed to after taking two days off.  And the lightbulb went on.

I was pissy because I couldn’t run. After walking the last half mile on my run last Friday, I’d decided my knees needed some serious time off. It seems to be working, walking down stairs isn’t as painful as it was. I still think I need to give them a little more time. Clearly taking six days off last week wasn’t enough.  Therefore, I am resisting temptation.

I have known for some time that my knees had a shelf life–and it probably wasn’t all that long. But I didn’t think they were going to give out just yet. And they most likely haven’t. But I am worried. And while, in theory, I had a plan for when they do give out, I don’t want to do it.  I don’t want to exercise this week because I am pouting. Just took me a few days to realize it.

I went home Wednesday night and walked Daisy–briskly. We did a mile in 15:16. Might have been 15 flat if someone hadn’t gotten all excited about seeing the neighbor’s dog. To be fair, he was barking at us from the lawn, and they hadn’t met yet. And still haven’t, as I scooped her up (she HATES that) and carried her right past. I followed the walk  with weights (for my core) and yoga (for my brain). Then I got up the next morning and did another brisk mile on the treadmill before heading out to work.

And felt the best on Thursday I had felt all week.
(but I still want to run!)

Weekly Rundown

Well, it’s better late than never, too? Two weeks late, but I am trying to get back on track! It was my first race week of the year (my goal being 3 5ks).

I was uncertain on the best way to train, finally went for a lot of walking beforehand so my legs wouldn’t feel too tired. While that worked, I think maybe I could have run more? Missed the running. Which, of course, meant I was chafing at the bit on the starting line Sunday!

Monday: I am slowly trying to get myself motivated before work. Since I get up at 4:30 anyway, getting up a bit earlier to get on the treadmill is, um, difficult. But I am getting there. I did an easy mile on the treadmill, walking for 20 minutes. I wanted to lunge one of the horses when I got home, but there wasn’t time.  Which is why I started exercising in the mornings! And I am sure that they didn’t mind getting dinner instead of exercise.

Tuesday: took the day off.

Wednesday: had planned on doing yoga and weights, but as I forgot to look at the plan, I did another mile on the treadmill first thing in the morning instead. I try to plan my week out ahead of time to that it is fairly balanced. Also, on days I don’t have any motivation, it is already planned what I am going to do. This only works when I open my notebook and actually look at what I wrote. Ah well, at least I did something!

Thursday: a quick workout when I got home. I did 2×15 reps of weights, with 5 burpees in between, followed by 14 minutes of stretchy, relaxing yoga (yup, that was yesterday’s plan. I try to be flexible).

Friday: I did a fast 2 miles on the treadmill in 18 minutes before heading off for a long relaxing walk with a friend. We did 1 hour and 20 minutes on our local rail trail. Amazingly, there were still banks of snow down by the river, which was quite high and moving fast. But it was a bright, warm day and we had a great time. When I got home, Daisy gave me a pitiful look, so I took her for a quick mile walk too.

Saturday: another treadmill walk, this one 1.92 miles in 35 minutes. The rest of the day was spent running around with errands.

Sunday: my race! I had a great time with my friends, some of us ran and some walked. But we all had a good time 🙂 After I finished the run, I walked back to find them and walk with them. It was a great cool down. My run was pretty fantastic, and I thought I had a good time for the 3.1 miles. Definitely gives me something to do better than with my next race!

 

Happy Accidents

I was doing my yoga last week and I had a thrilling moment when I sat down, absently and automatically placing my legs in Lotus.

One of the things I miss most in the two years since the accident shattered my knee is sitting tailor  fashion with my legs crossed. I don’t think I have mentioned this before, but I am, as one friend likes to say, vertically challenged–5’0″ on a good day. So I frequently sat cross-legged when my feet didn’t reach the floor, or when I had to sit on the floor, or any opportunity that it would seem comfortable.

They did a fabulous job getting my knee back together, but the muscles are very tight and I still can’t bend my knee enough to sit on my heels. At least, not without some hysterical screaming from the pain. I try to avoid that.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t really been trying to increase the bend. I can ride, and run, and work around most yoga moves, so I figured it is what it is. When I stretch out, I push the leg to bend as much as possible, but I wasn’t doing any special PT to make it bend more.

I still have to wear a light brace everyday to give it support.  I use a pull-on neoprene for most daily use, and a bit heavier one for actual exercise. I have tried twice to give it up, once last March (my leg didn’t like it at all), and once last August (my leg was fine the first week but quite unhappy the second). I will probably try again this summer, but if I have to wear a brace on my leg for the rest of my life in order to be active, I can live with that.

But I am gleeful beyond description that an ability I figured lost to me forever has returned. It’s not perfect, my right leg is three or four inches in front of the left one if the left one is tucked in properly. But it IS a cross-legged position 🙂 and-

-I can sit in Lotus at the end of my practice, breathing deeply and happily.

An Oasis of Calm

So people who don’t exercise always look at me and say “why?!”

There are a ton of reasons. I like pizza, and yet I still like to fit in my clothes the next day. Being healthy (not withstanding the pizza) is important to me. I think exercise is important in one’s life, and while I certainly won’t look down on someone who doesn’t exerise, I will always encourage someone to try a new activity and see if it speaks to them.

But the biggest reason I exercise is that it keeps me sane.

Three weeks ago my husband had a heart attack. He’s only 43, but had smoked for 24 years. This is my PSA to say, please don’t smoke. He had one artery–the one that delivers 70% of your body’s blood–blocked at 100%. And another artery blocked at 90%.  His job is quite active, and he eats fairly well, so again, a PSA for not smoking.

My second PSA is to say, if you think you might need to go to the ER, go! We spent quite a bit of Thursday night discussing what might be wrong, before we decided  he’d be fine. No one wanted to be the one to say “we ought to go!”  The next morning he went to work, then decided to come to the ER because of shoulder pain–he thought he might have torn his rotator cuff. Come to find out he was having a serious heart attack. Clearly, we weren’t smart enough to make the decision to go to the ER.

Fortunately for me, from the time they decided to move him from the hospital where I work to the hospital an hour south where  the cardiac specialists are, to when I went home, fed the horses, let the dogs out, met the person driving me south and actually arrived at the hospital, they had already put his first stent in. I didn’t know just how bad it was until they had started to fix it. Thank goodness. He spent the next four days in the hospital, having his second stent put in on Monday and coming home on Tuesday.

I traveled back and forth for the five days. I was fortunate enough to  have drivers over the weekend, and then drove myself on Monday and Tuesday. Since we have the animals, it wasn’t practical to go down and stay.

Not that our neighbors weren’t willing to help. I came home on Saturday to find out that someone had plowed our driveway, clearing the four inches of snow received overnight. Other offers were pouring to help, for which I will be forever grateful. But I don’t trust the horses around people who just aren’t used to horses. Sometimes the beasts move unexpectedly, although not maliciously, and they are a bit heavier than the dogs when they step on you. And so I traveled.

And each morning before I went down I got on the treadmill. That little bit of normalcy gave me the opportunity to run out my anxiety and worry and stress.  For those thirty minutes, my legs pumped, my breath was a struggle to get even and full and my brain was focused on running smoothly. When I got off and showered, I was calm and ready to face the day.

I have always felt better after exercising, for a lot of reasons. There is the “hey, I did it, even when I really didn’t want to.” And the “geez, my body is getting strong, I can’t believe I finished that workout” feeling.  My mood improves (those endorphins are wonderful things), and I can deal with problems better after even a 15 minute walk. I have always realized that nature and exercise make me happy, so of course it was my go-to during such a difficult time.

And I sincerely believe it made it easier to bear. So if anyone is looking for a reason to start an exercise program, I think that is a pretty good one!

PS – it was Saturday afternoon before I got around to asking if they had checked out his shoulder. There was nothing wrong with it, the pain was due his shoulder and arm being starved of blood. Also, he hasn’t had a cigarette since he walked into the emergency room 🙂