Fitness Test

I started the Kaia BRIK on January 6th. We did weights and measurements and then a fitness test.

Today we did the week 3 checkup and here’s my status:

Fitness test at week 1: 13 minutes and 11 seconds with many modifications

Fitness test at week 3: 9:37 seconds with fewer modifications.

Weight: Down 8 pounds from 233 to 225

Waist/Hips: down 1 inch from 51 to 50

Bust: down 1 inch from 46 to 45

Thigh: stayed the same – 26

And yesterday I ran with the I KAN RUN group at Kaia. We went to the local high school and went around the track. Run the straight parts, walk/jog/recover the curved bits. At the end, I was running halfway around the track.

It felt crazy and wild to be out there at 5:30 in the morning, in 14 degree cold with the other crazy runners, gasping for breath. I do believe, though, that as a runner, I run for the pleasure of stopping.

 

Falling into Fall Again

Charles Muench Enveloped in Aspens

Charles Muench Enveloped in Aspens

I have been having the blahs for the last few weeks. Odd, because the weather is stunning – bright blue skies and lots of sunshine during the day. Blazing orange and yellow and red leaves. Getting to wear my sweaters and jackets and boots. All good stuff – really my favorite time of year. Yet here I am again, slowing down and eating too much and sleeping oddly.

I went back over my posts from the fall last year and some scribbles from the year before that. It happens every year and every year it’s a big dang surprise. Obviously, even those of us who learn our history, are doomed to repeat it.

Fall is a great time of year for me. I make plans and get started on things that during the spring and summer I actually have the energy to finish. But October is the time of year that I make myself start thinking and planning and getting started because otherwise, months pass and I find myself in March looking at about a 30 pound weight gain, an empty bank account and the whole winter is just a blur.

Started up my light therapy treatments again yesterday.  Probably should have started in September as I normally do, but I was kind of hoping that all this sunshine and being outside would do the trick for me. And it would, but apparently I’m not getting outside enough. S0….I’m doing a challenge!

It’s a work health thing called Falling into Shape or something like that. I’ve been invited to be on a very competitive team and for six weeks we are going to log our steps. The team with most steps wins prizes, fame and fortune. Well, maybe an iPod or an xBox – that works, too.

One of my new team mates walked almost 3/4 of a million steps last year in the challenge. Another one was on the winning team where everyone walked more than 10k steps a day on average. Wow.

This is right up my alley! 10,000 steps is about 5 miles (@ 2000 steps per mile on average of 2.5 feet per step) and takes me about 75 minutes to walk. I can probably walk a little faster than that, but that’s the goal. Of course, since we are all super competitive, we’ve decided we’re going to try and walk 15k steps a day – or more! Wow. We could potentially hit 1,000,000 steps in 6 weeks.

That’s a lot of sunshine. Or treadmill. Either way, it will be really good for me to get my lazy butt off the sofa and my nose out of the books and get MOVING.

So – what’s up with everyone else?

Sunrises and Rainbows

I’ve seen a lot of sunrises since I came out here. My dogs still wake up at 5:00 or so and I end up outside walking them as the sun rises over the Pinenuts and starts to hit the Sierras. Pretty spectacular. Last couple of days we’ve had some wild storms with amazing rainbows afterwards. I managed to catch this one before it disappeared.

Life has been good. Busy, challenging and a tad lonely with the boys in Atlanta but good. They are heading out here next week end and I can’t wait! We’ve got a house to move into in a few weeks – a good rental while we try to sell our house in Atlanta and recover from how much we’re going to lose on that. I keep telling myself we’ll make it up out here, but it is hard to just see over $130k gone. I keep thinking “if only” we’d sold it four years ago; if only we’d priced it lower then, we’d still be making thousands more than we are going to make now. Oh well.

If I start down the if only path it just leads to crazy thoughts. If the boy I’d loved in high school had loved me, I probably never would have gone to Yale. If the man I loved after college had loved me, I’d never have moved back to Georgia. If  I hadn’t lost my job I wouldn’t have been looking for the job out here. If I hadn’t been fighting with my boyfriend, I’d never have met my husband. If I hadn’t had PCOS and been trying to find a cure, I’d never have had my son.

Life is tricky. Finding a path through it is even more so.

Today I rode my bike from the furnished townhouse I’m renting, out to my office about 3.2 miles away. Then I rode 9.1 miles to the new house we’re moving into next month. Then I rode around the neighborhood, found a park and a bike path and got familiar with the area. Then someone pointed out the storm clouds and lightning spears over the Pinenuts to the east and I made tracks for home. Got here before the storm which seems to have worked itself out over the mountains. But boy are my legs sore! I haven’t ridden 30+ miles ever and lately I’ve been slacking off on serious exercise, just walking the dogs a few miles a day. So I expect the evening to be full of cramps and walking around like an old lady, even after the hot bath, banana and potassium!

It was worth it though. I got that feeling of accomplishment that makes me feel really good. I get something similar with work, but that’s something I’ve always had. The feeling that I can do anything I try with my body, that’s new. And I like it. Aches and pains and cramps and all.

Have a beautiful evening, wherever you are. And next time it’s raining, go outside afterwards and look for some rainbows.

New Baseline

Today is Tuesday, June 7, 2011. I live in Minden, Nevada. I work for GE Energy.  That’s my life now. Today I took another step towards realizing my dream of getting to goal weight and living a long and healthy life: I worked out. Yup. For the first time since the end of March, I went to a gym and did my thing. 15 minutes on the elliptical, sit-ups, planks, weight lifting and stretching. Boy am I out of shape! It took me almost 15 minutes to get to a mile on the elliptical. I could only lift 180 pounds on the leg lift and arms? Fageddaboutit! I was wimping out on the lowest settings and lightest weights.

Well, that’s my new baseline for exercise. I’m going to get a bike and start biking in the evenings. That will help. And I’m going to find a weight watchers meeting if I have to start one myself.

I weigh 179 pounds and my stomach/hips are 43 inches.  That means I’m still up 8 pounds from my lowest, I think. I have to go back and check, but I think I’d gotten down about 4 inches less on my hips/stomach – that’s scary and totally explains why my pants are so tight. <grin>

Still, it’s good to know where I am and to get started again. It feels good and it feels right.

Back – FINALLY!

I’ve been slacking off lately. Got back from snowboarding and dug into job hunting, spring cleaning and taxes. But slacked off mightily from exercise, eating right and taking care of myself. Why? Why do I do that to myself?

Spent some time working on it with Rebecca, my weight loss therapist. And I know you’re surprised, but turns out I had some strange and crazy things going on in my head.  I was subconsciously feeling that since my job was supposed to be taking care of myself and doing well at my job so I could take care of my family financially and since I wasn’t able to do the last, due to losing my job, then I shouldn’t be doing the first.

How lame is that? Anyway – moving on.

Got up this morning and made myself a protein drink, a batch of protein power oatmeal with apples, cranberries and cinnamon and packed up my vitamins for the week. Then I actually made it to a kickboxing class. Boy did that kick my butt. I’m gonna be hurting tomorrow. One does not skip exercise for most of the last three weeks (yes, three weeks – I told you I was slacking) and expect to skate through one of Stephen’s kickboxing classes.

59 minutes and 58 seconds later I was lying on the floor, grateful that I wasn’t dead. But also, feeling really good about getting back into the saddle again.

Later today, a bike ride with my son.

Life is good.

Project Manager’s Guide to Snowboarding

As I was getting dressed yesterday, I realized that I hadn’t blogged about my approach to learning snowboarding. It’s worked well for me, so I am going to share:

Part 1: Getting Dressed

If you already ski, you know that that the right clothes and gear can make all the difference between comfort and distress. My snowboarding attire is designed for comfort and protection rather than fashion (though I like to think I look pretty cute)

  • I start with the inner layer: REI silks – very thin, very soft long sleeve top and bottoms. They are a bit on the expensive side, but I bought mine in 1996 and I am still using them (minus the years they were too small for me)
  • Next I put on my impact padding: a pair of RED Impact shorts that have a padded tail bone protector and some mostly useless side impact pads and then a pair of knee pads that I also use to Rollerblade.
  • Next, a cotton turtleneck
  • If it’s really cold or super windy, I will add in a fleece, zip up shirt and a pair of fleece pants, but then I’m in danger of overheating once I get skiing, so I trade a little early chill for comfort later
  • I wear Softwool ski socks and sometimes liners if my rented snowboard boots are too loose
  • I wear a helmet liner – a very thin, fleece cap – this can be taken off and stuffed in my pocked if I get too warm and come out again if I get cold
  • Fleece neckwarmer – ditto, though I rarely take this one off
  • Then my bib style ski pants – keeps the snow from getting to my skin and they are also a little extra padding
  • Ski jacket – although ideally I would be wearing a one piece which keeps the snow from inside my clothes, but I’m still about 5 pounds away from fitting into the fabulous ski suit I found at the Goodwill – so next year!
  • Really good gloves are essential with snowboarding – you’re using your hands a lot to get up and brace yourself when you fall (and you will fall). I am still looking for some that have built in wrist protection, but they are super expensive, so will be waiting until end of season to snag a pair.
  • Depending on the weather, I’ll either wear my prescription polarized sunglasses or a pair if goggles with a fan built in to keep my glasses from fogging up in snow/really low light conditions (Though honestly, if it isn’t clear, I really don’t want to ski or board!)
  • Last but certainly not least – my helmet. I think it’s saved my life about once a day since I started snowboarding. Even at the slow speeds I’m going, a bad fall can really knock you silly and I’m attached to all those bits of knowledge and cool memories stored in there. Plus, a drool bib is not my idea of the perfect fashion accessory, so be smart, wear a helmet

Part 2 – Equipment:

I have my own skis, poles and boots, but this year I rented snowboarding equipment because I wasn’t sure I’d stick with it. Now that I know I love it, I may see if I can get a good deal on boots, board and bindings at the end of the season. I’ve loved my Burton board – with cool red and pink graphics and flowers – very girly and easy to spot in a snow bank.

The boots have to be the best part and probably why I will never go back to skiing. My snowboarding boots – a pair of Burton 550’s – are so comfortable that I wear them to walk the dogs. I wear them out to buy groceries. Seriously. If you’ve ever skiied, you know how tight, uncomfortable and unwieldy ski boots can be. Snowboots, combined with good bindings, give you the support and control you need to board and double as a handy pair of apres ski boots.

I don’t know anything about boards, boots and bindings yet – I just took the ones they gave me at the rental shop. But when I go to buy a pair, I’m going to look for bindings and boots that stay tight for more than one run. I’ve had to stop and tighten my bindings and boots in the middle of a run, because they got too loose to give me control for my turns.

As for boards, I’m going to go with the same length and size and look for some really cool graphics – as long as there is a good sale price on it!

Part 3 Learning to Ride

TAKE A LESSON!

I can’t stress this enough. So what if your buddy is a good snowboarder and thinks you should skip the super expensive, time consuming all day lesson? He’s not the one that’s going to have to wear the itchy cast when you break an arm, a leg or most likely, your wrist.

TAKE A LESSON!

I did. Then I practiced on my own or with my husband and son for a week, then took another one.  One thing that no one thinks to tell you is that when you are first starting out, unless you are in really super, amazing, top condition, you can’t ride all day. I was able to ride for three hours the first day, then could barely walk the second day. I had such muscle fatigue that I could only practice for two hours, then had to call it quits. Over time I’ve built up a bit more stamina, but frankly, after three hours, I’m done. The boys can go all day, but I figure why not go back to the condo, take a hot bath and then have some hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps while I read a book in front of the fire? I mean, what am I paying for the condo for anyway?

Part 4: Planning your Trip

When I mention that we have a ski condo for 30 days and that my husband and son are spending the month there, the first question I get is “Did you win the lottery?” The answer, sadly, is no, I did not win the lottery, I’m not independently wealthy and I’m not spending the mortgage money on a ski trip. The answer is that I planned, very carefully and very far in advance.

In August, while most people are planning their last trip to the beach, I was buying season passes. For $350 per adult and $150 per child, you can ski or use the mountain facilities for 12 months. Since we were coming out to visit the in-laws in January, as well as the month, we would get about 35 days to ski and board. That works out to about $10 per day per adult and $5 per day per child. Try spending that at Disney World.

For the condo, I have to brag – I’m a hell of a negotiator! I look for leasing companies that have multiple units available during my time frame and then make them an offer. For a one week stay, this isn’t too successful unless it’s after or before a big holiday, when typically there are more vacancies. On the other hand, for a 30 day stay that starts after Presidents Day weekend (a big ski weekend) and ends right before spring break (also big skiing time) then it’s kind of amazing what you can get.

I found a two bedroom condo on the free ski bus route, five minutes from the lifts. It’s up on the mountain, has great views and a gas fireplace. There’s plenty of room for us, our homeschool stuff and the dogs. We’ve been very comfortable and the total price, because stayed for 30 days and don’t have to pay lodging tax, was less than $70 a day.

We don’t spend any money on dining out or drinks – we found a good grocery store and bought the same foods we’d be buying at home and make healthy meals. We bought hot chocolate and schnapps for me and bourbon for my husband and make our drinks. For entertainment, we ski and snowboard, then hang out at our condo and watch movies, television or read and listen to music. It’s been very relaxing and awesome to spend so much time together. Oh and there’s the free hot tub next door.

My husband has his own equipment for skiing, but my son and I needed snowboarding equipment. Weekly rentals were pretty high, so I found a place the locals use to rent for the season. For the price of one week of rental, we rented boots, boards and bindings for both of us for the entire season.

We drove out here, which means we didn’t have to pay for airfare (except for me coming back and forth once) or rent a car and we brought our dogs so we didn’t have to pay for kennel fees. Now we try to take the free ski bus, so we cut down on gas and wear and tear on the car.

So no, a month of skiing isn’t cheap, but the total price is much less than we spent for a week at Disney World two years ago. And so worth it – we’re all in better shape, we’re relaxed and recharged for getting back to work and school. And we got to spend some amazing time together, making priceless memories.

I can make S-Turns!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the 48 year old mom from Atlanta has learned to snowboard and not only falling leaf or hill slip – I can do s-turns and go from heel to toe in switch turns. I’m very excited. (Even if I am still  spending a lot of time on my bottom!) My next challenge is to learn how to be comfortable and fast on all the narrow, straight, flat (and sometimes uphill) connections between the runs. Not the best laid out mountain in the world, but I do love it because it is just so beautiful.

Didn’t get to take a lesson on my birthday – way too windy and there was a bit of a blizzard that dumped 18 inches of snow on us. But we got out in the afternoon and it was just beautiful – sunshine, blue skies and gorgeous powder. (Also freezing cold, but that’s with 4 layers on, who can tell?)

My son was coaching me and giving me some tips – that’s how I learned to do s-turns. Today I’m going to get him to teach me how to go straight and fast so I can stop hiking, board in hand, over the long, narrow trails. (And getting mad at my poor husband for leading me onto them in the first place! Poor guy – he’s trying so hard.)

Have a great day!

The Dragon’s Tail

My Weight Watcher leader, Jane Brown, has a great way to describe what just happened to me: I was prepared for the dragon that I had to fight with all the travel and the training and the vacationing. But then I came home and collapsed and the dragon’s tail got me.

Yup. Home and getting back into my routine, but three weeks of making good choices and this weekend I went off the rails big time. Ate fried ham and hashbrowns. Ate barbecue and french fries. Drank a lot of wine. The wine is probably the scariest, since I am for damnsure not going to follow the path that leads to: transference of addictions.

I had a random glass of wine while I was traveling and just loved it. I’d forgotten how much I like wine. And I drank a nightly hot chocolate with schnapps while I was vacationing at the ski resort and I really enjoyed that. But it’s been a long time since I drank to the point where I was toasted. Well, I got toasted Saturday night. Sitting at home, drinking wine, by myself.  I was drinking the Muscodo – very sweet, and goes right to my head. Also, makes me want to eat snacky, munchy stuff. Not good. Sounds like the beginning of a story that, frankly, I don’t want to know the ending, so I’m going to skip the item on my to do list that says “Buy more wine.”

So, yay! I’ve identified another land mine and I can safely remove it from my perimeter.

Also a yay! I walked almost 7 miles yesterday in under 2 hours. I think that is my best time yet. And I didn’t feel destroyed when I got home, so good progress. Next weekend I need to go for 8 miles so I can keep up with my half marathon training plan for Walk the Walk in May. I’m not making it to kickboxing class, though. I guess I just feel really worn down and walking is all I want to do. And I’ve kind of sabotaged myself by setting up early meetings all week to work with my offshore team.

Hmm. Maybe another dragon’s tail?

I’m finishing up my morning tea and my pumpkin spiced peanut butter oatmeal now. As soon as I’m done I’m going to hop on the  treadmill and finish my movie and get in a few miles before I head for work.
Have a great day everyone!

Rumors of my demise…

Nope.  I’m not dead. I’ve just been super busy, traveling for work, taking some training classes, getting certified as a scrum master and snowboarding.  I’ve missed blogging every day, but I finally realized I was trying to fit that into my schedule instead of exercising, so I cut it out while I was crazily busy and focused on the exercise. I think it was a good choice.

Today’s blog is in the form of a training plan for a 1/2 marathon weekend of May 15th. My friend and I are going to do the Walk the Walk in London to raise money for breast cancer and give me an excuse to go see her in London. How fun is that?

We’re both super busy with work, so here we are, only a few weeks out, trying to look at our training plans and see how much prep we can fit in between now and then. Here’s the plan I created for her:

First, the idea is to have fun and raise money for breast cancer, while having an excuse to visit. If we don’t finish, WHO CARES!

That said, here’s my “professional” recommendation:

1.       Just start where you are and start to walk home a bit further every day. Every week, get off 1/3, then 2/3 then a mile further from home 3 days a week. There are great walking route planners on the internet, just search for one near your house and work. 

c.       On Saturdays or Sundays, map out a longer walk on that site with your significant other and/or older children walk a bit further every time (the kids can always turn around and go home with your mate if it  starts to get too long for them before May – but put a nice lunch at the middle/turning point and I bet they stay). If you can get to the point where you can walk 10 miles by the week before, you’ll do amazingly well in the race. Suggested training goals:

Week Starting Walk Home Sat/Sun Walk
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
6-Mar-11 0.3 0.7 1 mile 3.0
13-Mar-11 1.3 1.7 2 miles 3.6
20-Mar-11 2.3 2.7 3 miles 4.3
27-Mar-11 3.3 3.7 4 miles 5.2
3-Apr-11 4.3 4.7 5 miles 6.2
10-Apr-11 5.3 5.7 6 miles 7.5
17-Apr-11 6.3 6.7 6 miles 9.0
24-Apr-11 7.3 7.7 6 miles 10.7
1-May-11 4.3 4.7 5 miles 12.9
8-May-11 3.3 3.7 4 miles
15-May-11 Race weekend

2.        Get kitted out:

a.       Shoes: if you don’t already have really good running shoes (better support than “walking” shoes), go to a store that does a gait analysis and get a shoe recommendation. They can help you with the right shoes, the right inserts and some great socks – very key.

b.      Clothes: Find some cotton/lycra (at least 25%) training pants that help with the jiggles and chaffing and all the other fun stuff of trying to walk when you are human and not  a stick figure. These from Junonia are nice if you don’t have any: http://www.junonia.com/products/quikwik–fitted-capri/419012-3-545-43.htm You can put them on at work before you leave to go home when you put on your running shoes. Then find a comfy top that makes you feel good when you wear it.

c.       Music and headphones. I cannot walk without mine. I get bored, my pace slows down and frankly, I don’t see the point.

d.      Get a pace pedometer. Our goal, should we choose to meet is, is 5 hours to do 13.2 miles, which means we would need to be able to maintain a pace of 23 minutes per mile. My fastest walk is a 13 minute walk, but I can’t maintain that for more than 5k, so I suggest we try to shoot for a 20 minute per mile pace the whole race, which leaves us 39 minutes of breaks and the last few slow down miles when we are tired. Find a pace pedometer that is  fairly simple and will track steps, miles and time. Amazon usually has great ones.

Remember – have fun, it’s not about winning!

Night of Deployment (NOD)

Had to get to work by 3:00 am on Sunday morning for a software release. These nights are hard and not just because of the short sleep and stress. It’s the kindness of the management who think that filling the break rooms with free soda, cookies, cake, candy, snack food and pretzels is a good way to make to make them easier for everyone.

I did not eat one of the beautiful, perfect red devil mini-cakes with cream cheese frosting.

I did not eat one of the two bite brownies with the little crispy edges that are so perfect and so chocolately.

I did not eat a slice of the pizza. The pepperoni or the veggie or the meat lovers special or the cheese.

I did not eat the milky way bars, the m&ms or the snickers.

I did not have a soda.

I did not eat muffins.

I did not have chips, Doritos or Cheetos.

I did have one tangerine and a couple of peanuts in the shell.

I took my own snacks in – a batch of the no-bake chocolate protein peanut butter oatmeal bars (they definitely need a catchy name) which were loved by all who tried them.

I took in some almonds and an apple and an orange.

I took in some chicken and veggies and quinoa for a meal.

I took in a cold, creamy protein drink with chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, milk, ice and a piece of frozen banana.

I did bring home one tiny, miniature twix bar and I ate that after I got home and after I had lunch. I love twix bars, so if I’d had it at work, I would have just kept eating them.

I also brought home the bagels and a few of the tangerines that were left and had a half toasted bagel with my lunch.

I did use being tired as an excuse not to exercise yesterday and for sleeping in late today, so have to get onto the treadmill now.

But I think overall, I did pretty well. After working 65 hours this week, I still stuck to my plan and feel good about the exercise I did and the food choices I made. Maybe a bit more volume than I should have had – it’s hard not to compensate with food for the tiredness.  But yesterday, at the end of the long, long week and huge effort, I can say that  I ate well and didn’t use it as an excuse to snack.

Now, I’m just about finished with my first big glass of water and I’m going to whip up a protein shake to drink while I’m on the treadmill.

Ya’ll have a good time today. Have fun. Be happy. Do something that makes you smile and feel good about yourself.