Working on My Fitness

Apparently Still a Lemming

5/30

Back in my middle school and early high school years, I was quite a lemming.*

But Mooooooooom . . . EVERYBODY is wearing them.

Oh, c'mon Mom . . . EVERYBODY is going.

Mooooom, I want [my ears pierced] [my hair cut] [my jeans too tight] [to wear incredibly short skirts]. . . just like EVERYBODY.

It's okay, Mom . . . EVERYBODY is doing it.

My Mom (never one to be fooled by lemming tactics) always gave me this line, "If EVERYBODY jumped off a cliff, would you follow?"

Well, DUH.

(Of course.)  (Because lemming.)

And . . . apparently I am STILL a lemming.  Because I hadn't heard about the March Through Time KAL (Knit-A-Long) until Vicki first blogged about signing on.

And then Margene joined.

And Carole.  

And Kim.

So, of course, I looked closer.

March Through Time

And I discovered that this is a rather unique and very cool KAL.  Because knitting (a cowl) AND fitness (walking).  (But not at the same time.)  (Although I saw MANY knitters doing just that at Rhinebeck.) (Ahem.)

Now, I am already a very regular fitness person.  I swim and I spin and I do Pilates and yoga.  I also walk my dogs.

IMG_8641

(Sometimes.)

(But I get lazy about walking them when the weather is not so great.)

So I decided that this KAL might be a great way to motivate myself to walk the dogs daily - and especially when it's rainy or chilly or I'm busy.

Lemming.

But also happy and healthy dogs!

IMG_8640

Big WIN all around!

(Join us.  EVERYBODY is doing it.)

==========

* I was going to include a video clip of lemmings plunging over a cliff.  But, oh man.  Too horrifying.

 


Working on My Fitness: A Fresh Start

(Okay.  So you may wonder what this photo . . . 

IMG_7448

has to do with fitness.)  (Read on.  It will become clear.)

Way back in January, when I was setting my intentions and goals for the year and thinking about the whole JOURNEY thing, I stated that I wanted to "shake up my fitness routine this year."  At the time, way back in January, I knew this would be a challenge.  Not the fitness part (because that's easy for me) -- but the shaking it up part.  Because I liked what I was already doing:  running, dancing, kickboxing.  But it was beginning to feel a bit . . . automatic.  (And besides, I was noticing a bit more arm-jiggle and knew I needed to add some weight training.  Or something.)  So.  Shake it up.

But how?  Because, as it turned out, I didn't really want to give anything up. . . 

Enter:  LIFE.

First, there was the ankle tendinitis issue.

Then, there was the knee issue that flared up as a result of fixing the ankle tendinitis issue.

That'll do it!

No more running.  No more dancing.  No more kickboxing.

BIG shakeup.  Nothing BUT shakeup, in fact!  I needed to strip everything away (except yoga and spinning) and start from scratch.

I started swimming again.  I got back into Pilates.  I discovered that the elliptical machine can be okay in 30 minute bursts.  I found another good spinning instructor.

And this morning - at 5:45 AM, mind you - I found out that I like Power Yoga.  (I might like it a little more if it were offered a bit later in the morning, but oh well. . . )

And THAT . . . is how the photo of the sun rising over my butterfly garden relates to a blog post about fitness.  Because this morning, after Power Yoga and some time on the elliptical machine, I arrived home in time to SEE the sun rise over my butterfly garden.

Although it has been a disappointing year, fitness-wise, in many respects (I really did love my dance class, y'know, and I was kind of getting into the running thing), it's ending out just fine.  The forced time off - and the resulting "re-thinking" about how to protect myself from further injury - have paid off with a fitness Fresh Start.

I'm finally getting that 'shake-up' I was looking for back in January!  (Still trying to get that arm-jiggle under control, though. . .

 


Gittin' r 'Dun

  6a011570aae89d970b01b7c78cc80b970b-320wi

There's nothing like a 3-day weekend for . . . gittin' stuff dun!  Here's what I did this weekend:

IMG_5980

1 - Planted my herb garden!  (I think it's safe from frost. ) (Finally.)  (But I still didn't put in the basil.)

IMG_5980

2 - Cleaned up some of the messiest of my garden beds.  (The worst one is yet to come, though.)

IMG_5980

3 - Lent Tom moral support while he cleaned out my ponds and got them running again.  (A really messy job.)  And then cheered HURRAH when Tom got my rain barrel set up again.  (And just in time, too!)

IMG_5980

4 - Pointed and directed as Tom wielded his shovel to move hostas and ferns and daylilies.  (It takes a village.)

IMG_5980

5 - Dealt with this kind of help.  (You should see the hole. . .)

IMG_5980

6 - Finally put away the Christmas china.  (Yeah.  I know.) (I also installed my external hard drive and backed up my lap top.) (In case you were wondering.)

IMG_5994

7 - Got to this point in knitting a sweater.  (This one.)  (Trying to decide if it's time for ribbing.)  (It's not.) (It's also not this color.)

IMG_5994

8 - A bit of work.  (Nearing a deadline.)  (I'm totally in charge of my own schedule.)  (But still.  Deadlines.)

IMG_5994

9 - Ran a bit.  (Without pain.)  (First time.)  (Woo-hoo!)

  IMG_5998

10 - Some reading.  (But not enough.)  (And I've finally found a really great book, too.)

How about YOU?  What did you do this past weekend?

==========

Join the fun!  Sign up to recieve Ten on Tuesday prompts here - or read other lists here!


Right Now - April 2015

April . . .  always a mixed bag.  You just never know what April will bring.  Crazy weather, for sure.  But the beginnings of True Spring . . . with added sunlight and generally warming temperatures.  By the end, April kind of looks like this . . . and I'm thrilled.

FullSizeRender

Here's what's happening for me . . . RIGHT NOW!

WATCHING . . .  PBS.  Wolf Hall - loved the book; love the series, and Call the Midwife - still charming, although getting a tad routine.  (Where is Chummy???? Did I miss something???  Is she coming back?  Sort of like Sister Mary Cynthia?)  (Just found this. . . she'll be back.)

IMG_5601

KNITTING . . . Plugging away on Romi's Mystery Shawl.  (That's it, up there.  I'm sorry if you didn't want to see a spoiler.  But I blurred it, so it's still kind of . . . mysterious.  Besides, there's only one more clue and then it'll be out there anyway.)  I'm not really sold on that middle stripe thing yet.  At all.  But will have to wait to see how it looks blocked and finished.  When I'm not (constantly) knitting on that (to keep up with the clues), I've cast on for this sweater.  So far, so good.  (But I haven't gotten very far at all.)

LISTENING . . . Kinda been in a John Mayer mood lately . . . 

 

DRINKING . . . More water!  I'm trying to stay a bit more hydrated.

DREADING . . . An upcoming committee commitment that is just . . . well.  Kind of lame.  

IMG_5589

REGRETTING . . . Too much too soon, apparently.  A bit of three-steps-forward-one-step-back, so . . . a return to the ice bag.

PLANNING . . . I am planning my "attack" on the last - and hardest - of my Kon-Mari purge zones: my knitting/sewing room, my boxes of "memorabilia," and photographs.  I think a re-read of certain sections of my Kon-Mari "bible" are in order, but I'm nearly ready to DIG IN!

HUMMING . . . A catchy little Weezer tune.

 

ITCHING TO . . . Sit out on the patio every evening, under my bistro lights, with a glass of wine and something to read.

ORGANIZING . . . All the garden things!

FullSizeRender

DELIGHTED BY . . . My drawing class.  Why a drawing class?  Because I really want to take a printmaking class.  And maybe a watercolor class.  And "Drawing I" is a prerequisite. So . . . here I am, dusting off the cobwebs (because the last time I took a drawing class was back in college) and - surprise - having a great time!

NEEDING TO . . . Clear off the kitchen island for Tom's return.  (I tend to set out my "projects" on the island when he's away, but never when he's at home.)

IMG_5590

ENJOYING . . .  A new morning routine that includes meditation, yoga, and regular journaling.  Sure, I have to get out of bed a bit earlier, but totally worth it!

CELEBRATING . . . An end to physical therapy.  Tom's return this weekend.  My dad's birthday.  And Spring!

How about YOU?  What's going on for you . . . RIGHT NOW?

 


Friday Mailbag

They say . . . it takes a village . . . 

 IMG_5565

Dear Kathy-the-Physical-Therapist,

Thank you for sticking with me a couple of weeks back.  You know.  When I was having a Bad Attitude.  That day when I kind of spoke harshly about your 1-10 pain scale?  And when I sort of screamed at you that, "no one else can independently move their big toe sideways and hold it there, so why should I???"  I'm sort of thinking that maybe you enjoyed getting that NMES zapper-thing out and hooking my foot up to those electrodes.  (I could see the evil glint in your eyes as you dialed up the shocks.) But, you know what?  IT WORKED!  That electro-shock gizmo woke up my lazy adductor hallucis muscle.  I can now move my big toe sideways and hold it there!  My arches are not collapsing.  My peroneal tendon is not doing all the heavy lifting anymore.  And it feels so much better.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (But I'm still not cooperating when it comes to the pain scale.)

Dear Yvonne-the-Sports-Medicine-Running-Specialist,

You sure know how to make a girl feel like a world-class athlete, setting me up on that treadmill and filming me from every angle while I was running and all.  I hope you'll forgive my outburst of laughter when you showed me the first playback on your computer.  Because . . . in super-duper slo-mo, I look like a giant, stomping off to destroy a village.  Fee-fie-foe-fum!  (Really, I couldn't help but giggle.)  I settled down right away, though, and paid attention as you analyzed every aspect of my running style.  I didn't even complain when you made a major adjustment to my "land pattern," and I think I picked up on it pretty quickly, don't you?  And I'll totally work on opening my shoulders a bit more and engaging my core.  I only whimpered when you strongly suggested that, while I was ready to begin running again, I should start  . . . with the Couch-to-5K program.  At the very beginning.  Really?  Are you sure?

IMG_5565

Dear Kathy-my-yoga-instructor,

Thank you for taking the time to give me all the foot stretches and strengthening exercises over the last several weeks.  They really, really helped.   Mostly, though, thank you for suggesting YogaToes.  I love them!  I think YogaToes are the primary reason I now have the world's strongest adductor hallucis muscle.  (Well, that and the electro-shock therapy.)  I will never stop paying attention to my feet again!

Dear Tom,

You'll notice a big improvement in attitude when you get home from Mumbai in May!  My ankle is better.  I'm not whining and complaining and moping around anymore.  I can dance and stand up on the spin bikes and walk the dogs.  I don't have to ice my ankle constantly (although I must admit, it was nice to have that excuse to just sit and read or knit . . . ).  And yesterday, I started the Couch-to-5K program again.  (Yeah.  I know.  They're making me.)  But I feel like myself again.

Dear Self,

Get over it.  Couch-to-5K is a great place to start again!  You're recovering from an injury.  And you're learning a whole new way to run.  Yeah.  It's a step backward.  But it's a HUGE step ahead of where you were yesterday.  (Which was just on the couch . . . )


Friday Mailbag

IMG_6029_2

Dear Trusty Subaru Outback:

I just want to thank you for your faithful service thus far this winter.  Your all-wheel drive simply cannot be beat!  And I don't know what I'd do without your heated seats.  Even your back-up camera has proven useful as I negotiate the wall of snow at the end of my driveway (especially on garbage pick-up day).  But there's one thing I really want from you . . . that you just can't give me right now.  Yeah.  You know it, baby.  I want to open up your sunroof again!

==========

Dear Achilles:

I am sorry that I didn't listen to you when you gave me early warning signs of your stress.  And I'm even sorrier that I tried to push you when I knew you were down.  I promise that I'll rest you for a few more days.  I'll apply ice regularly.  I'll keep doing my eccentric heel drops.  I'll even wear shoes in the house (even though it causes my entire being to shrivel just a little).  Is that good enough for you?  Can we move beyond this now?  

==========

Dear Mark Torregrossa, MLive Chief Meteorologist:

Yeah, I saw your latest post over on MLive.  You said the words "hint of Spring" in your weather forecast.  I heard you.  You said "warming trend."  You mentioned "temperatures above the freezing mark."  I hope you're not just teasing, Mark.  Because I couldn't bear it.

==========

Dear Mackinac Bridge Drivers:

I don't know how you do it.  The lakes are frozen over up there.  It's windy.  (Really windy.)  The snow is blowing hard.  The bridge is 5 miles long.  (A scary 5 miles in even the best of weather.)  Whenever I think the driving down here is bad, I'm just going to remember y'all . . . driving over that bridge . . . and be happy that I don't have to do it.

==========

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Friday Mailbag

IMG_4861
 

 Dear Mr. Frost:

You do create a lovely landscape.  There is something almost magical about watching the sun hit your handiwork on the hills and trees and rooftops of my neighborhood.  Brilliant!  And the patterns you create on my garage windows?  Nothing short of stupendous.  Really.  Each pane is a little miracle.  Still, despite the beauty you create, I have this to say to you:  Hit the road, Jack!  (And don't you come back no more. . .)

 

Dear Ryka Shoe Company:

We've had a long relationship, you and I.  Oh, I know it's been a bit rocky for the last two years -- but for the previous ten years, we were constant companions.  How I loved your old studio dance shoes!  The support was perfect for my every leap and spin.  The quality was excellent, and I could count on getting 6 solid months of wear out of each pair.  And the fit?  Why, Cinderella's glass slipper comes to mind.  Sure, your shoes weren't particularly attractive in a "fashion forward" kind of way, but who cared?  You were so consistently perfect for so long.  But then . . . you changed!  First, your quality slipped.  Odd seams were splitting.  Soles cracked.  Problems you never used to have.  And then, well . . . your standard studio shoes disappeared completely . . . and you replaced them with pretty faces.  Suddenly, you were all about being "on trend," playing with colors and patterns and such -- like you were Nike or something.  I didn't want hot teal shoes that fell apart and made my knees hurt.  I wanted my plain, old, ugly, black studio shoes!  I'll admit it . . . I started looking around.  I had flings with Capezio and New Balance.  Where did it get me?  Metatarsal issues and a flare-up of my Achilles tendinitis.  So I'm back.  But I'm still not happy with you.  At all.

 

Dear Jenny and JoJo:

I know you're used to a walk every morning when I return from the gym.  But really, we can't go right now.  Because the temperature is -15ºF before the wind chill.  Too cold.  Just too friggin' cold.  You'll have to trust me.  STOP LOOKING AT ME WITH THE SAD DOG EYES.  Maybe next week. . . For today, I'll make it up to you by giving you a ride in the car.

 

Dear Garden Buddha:

I haven't forgotten you.  Please continue to hold down the fort until the thaw comes.  

IMG_4870

==========

Happy Friday!  (Stay warm.)

 

 

 


Throwback Thursday: Lessons from the Master

A year ago right now, I started running.  I did it on my own.  I didn't talk to anyone about it; I didn't ask anyone's opinion.  I just . . . decided to do it.  I put the Couch-to-5K app on my phone -- and ran.

Most people we know assume that Tom "finally convinced me." Or they figure we were looking to "spend more time together."

Both of these things are FALSE.

Yes.  Tom is a Runner.  (With a capital R.)  He's been running for nearly all of his life (since he was 13).

Young Tom Running
Here he is in 1975 in Houston at the National Junior Olympics (cross country).

He ran cross country and track in junior high . . . and in high school. . . and even in college.  

He encouraged me to give running a try -- way back in our first years together.  But it wasn't my thing, and he didn't push it.

Ever.

He ran.  I did other things.  End of story.

 

Tom running
This is an All-Comers race to open the track season at Boise State. (Which is why he is wearing his high school singlet ... instead of a BSU uniform.)

And as far as our running "together"????  Ha!  It doesn't quite work that way!  Let's put it in perspective, here.  When we line up at the beginning of a 5K (which we may run . . . "together" . . . as in both of us are running), one of us lines up at the 10:00 minute/mile marker.  And the other of us lines up at the 6:00 minute/mile marker.

Which means . . . One of us is crossing the finish line . . . as the other of us is just heading into Mile 3!

So.  Running "together" is out! 

College Tom Running
Running a 10K road race while in college.

When I decided to start running last August, Tom was supportive and encouraging.  Not in a "rah-rah-you-can-do-it" way, and not in a bossy, coach-like way.  He just let me go at it on my own, without any interference or pressure.

And, because I've been watching him run for nearly 35 years, I've picked up a lot of tips and pointers about running along the way.  Some things, I learned from just watching Tom train and work out over the years, and some things, he's explained more recently. 

I call them . . . Lessons from the Master.

Steeplechase Tom
Running the steeplechase - Boise State University, circa 1978.

Here's what I've learned about running from Tom:

  • Do it.  Or Don't.  (Just don't whine about it.)
  • Stretch.  (Always.)
  • Drink a lot of water.  (Before and after.)
  • Wear the right shoes.  (Proper fit; replace often.)
  • Just get out there and run.  (Of course it hurts.  That's how it is.)
  • Recognize that some days you'll just feel like crap.  (Run anyway.)
  • Hills are good for you.  Run them.  (Shorten your stride and don't look at how far you have to go.)
  • Don't overdress.  (You're going to be hot, even when it's cold.)
  • Face oncoming traffic.  (Make sure drivers can see you -- and you can see them.)
  • Take advantage of shade and sprinklers when it's hot.  (And know where the bathrooms are along your route.)
  • Running on consecutive days is Not Fun.  (Build in some rest.)
  • Sometimes you get injured.  (Take time to heal.)
  • Mix it up.  (Different courses, different distances, workouts that are Not Running.)
  • Don't shower until you stop sweating.  (Pointless otherwise.)
  • The trend to running longer distances without regard to time is completely overrated.  (Just run.  Try your best.  Nothing wrong with a 5K.)
  • Fartleks.  (Fun to say.  Good to do.)

I'm still amazed that I'm running.  And probably even more amazed that . . . I kind of like it!  
(I think Tom is pretty surprised, too!)

IMG_3949

 

 


Troutarama!

Over the weekend, Tom and I headed Up North . . . to our cottage on the lake.  

IMG_3304

It's out a ways from town; secluded, but not remote.  

Baldwin . . . is the nearest town to our lake cottage.  It's about a 7-mile drive to the nearest grocery store and 10 miles to the "town center."  Some weekends, we never get close to town -- except for the drive in and the drive out.

IMG_3226

But this weekend . . . was Troutarama weekend in Baldwin.  Something we usually avoid!  (Except one time . . . about 10 years ago now . . . when Brian and I went to town for an errand, not realizing it WAS Troutarama weekend . . . and got all caught up in the parade.)

We go Up North to get away -- and Troutarama tends to draw a nice Lake County crowd.  After all, Troutarama is Baldwins's biggest festival weekend (2nd only to the Blessing of the Bikes in May)!  Troutarama means . . . Carnival rides downtown.  A parade on Saturday.  (Of course) a fishing derby.  The annual softball tournament.  Community spaghetti dinners.  Live entertainment.  A beer tent.

And . . . a 5K!

IMG_3229

Tom and I decided to run the 5K this year.  (If you look closely in the photo above, you can see a little ferris wheel.  That's part of the carnival "midway" set up through the middle of town!)

IMG_3418

Tom was completely charmed by the Troutarama 5K logo . . . 

FISH

RUN

BEER

His favorite things!  He was All In!

It was a brutal course, though.  Dirt roads.  Some nasty hills (on the dirt roads).  Not. Fun.  Neither of us ran well.

But . . . 

IMG_3244

Good Enough . . . to "sweep" our age group -- where each of us took first!  (One of us more impressively than the other.  But still. . . )

IMG_3242

How fun was that?

We did skip the rides, the parade, and the beer tent, though . . . and headed back to our cottage for some rest and relaxation!  (And, yeah.  A beer from the fridge.)

IMG_3254

I call it . . . Lakearama!

 

 


June: Signing On for All the Things!

June . . . is turning into a month of personal challenges and commitments!  It seems that, somehow, I have signed on for All The Things.

I've signed on to this crazy 30-Day-Ab-Challenge thing on the Facebooks.  (Click the link for non-Facebook information.)

30 day ab challenge

And I'm knitting away on the TTL Mystery Shawl.

IMG_2095

And I'm "streaking" by running at least a mile each day until July 4.

10325391_245775788960980_3881199158804838533_n

And now, Mary has convinced me that it would be great fun to play Summer Reading BINGO along with the Books on the Nightstand podcast folks.

IMG_2096

All the Things.

It's going to be a busy month!