Thursday, May 27, 2010

Onwards and Downwards!

I had my first post-enrollment weigh-in today. It was awesome. I wasn't expecting great things this first week because first week and all that stuff, but not only did I do well, I also wore jeans this week due to crappy weather today, where I wore shorts last week. The leader, despite my loss, took a moment to point out how much a pair of jeans can weigh. I was both happy that she did that and a little upset because now, if I don't wear jeans next week, I'm going to expect a huge loss not entirely related to actual fitness. My expectations have been set!

Also, I stole my title from a tv show, are you geeky enough to know which one?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back in stride

I had taken some time off running after the 10K and for some reason, it has been really difficult to get back into it. Sure, illness and other commitments hasn't helped, but there's really no justifiable reason why I found it so difficult the past few weeks. It dawned on me during my last run that part of the problem was I was taking teeny-tiny steps. I don't know why I started doing that but I was barely moving my feet with each step, like I had some fear of putting my foot too far in front of my body. I was as close to running in place as you could be without actually running in place. Thank goodness THR and I had to sprint past a fast walker near the end or I may never have noticed that.

I headed out to meet THR tonight, convinced that I would have a better run simply based on that fact that I would be moving my feet forward. Not only did I take larger steps, but the first running portion started with us sprinting (again with the sprinting) past two sets of walkers. We set a much faster pace than we had been walking and, incredibly, we were able to pretty much stick to it for the rest of the run. We slowed up on the hills (of course, we're slow and still out of shape), but we still made really good time. Even during the walking portions, we walked really fast. For the first time in a month, we finished our run and we both felt really good about it. We had both worked really hard and it showed, but it felt great as well to know that we really are back into it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weekend lessons

I'm trying to be very strict on my food this week. The idea being that if I have left over points each day, then I can treat myself for being good. It also lets me experiment a bit to determine what is really worth the points. So far, it's been a great idea and I've learned a lot.

1. I actually really like cottage cheese. I don't know why I always forget that, but I do. I eat it, remember how much I like it, and then a month later, I stop putting it on my grocery list. I think I'd just get bored with it. Well, now I'm learning to mix things into it so it's not just 'on the side' but actually the main part of the meal. I won't be getting bored with it this time.

2. Diet Pepsi with Lime is actually pretty decent which means that I have found my zero point mixer for summer BBQ's. Maybe those won't be as difficult points-wise as I assumed.

3. There is nothing more disappointing than 'treating' yourself at the Starbucks beside your grocery story because you have a whole bunch of extra points only to have them mess up your order... twice... and then you patiently wait while the barista guy has a conversation with his body before he makes your drink for the third time... and you still have to say 'I asked for non-fat' when he gets out the milk (and that's not a points related request, that's a 'anything else will make me ill for three hours' request so I'm pretty adamant about it). I am never going to Starbucks again.

4. I love my tea but that means with milk and sugar. I debated about switching to honey but that's the same number of points. I don't like sugar replacements as I find they taste artificial and nothing like sugar, so my next logical option as I drink a lot of tea is to go without sugar... or cut back on my cups of tea. Sorry mom, I like my tea with milk and sugar. It's a good thing my kettle's an inanimate object or it might start to feel neglected.

I guess I'll have to find a new use for my tea mugs.

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 16th-22nd, more than just my good week.

There are good weeks and there are great weeks. Despite a slow start--damn you, chicken!!--this turned out to be a great week. The running needs a bit of attending to to get back on track (doesn't it always though?), but I had a great workout at the gym and, yes, I even managed to get there before work! No small feat for me, let me tell you. I am also back into the habit of going to bed at decent times. Not only going to bed, but actually falling asleep at decent times. It's caused a big change to my morning routine as I now naturally wake up about 10 minutes before my alarm goes off, cuddle with my cats until it does, and then spring out of bed to shower. No more snooze button :) Of course, that didn't totally hold true for the gym morning, but... I'm working on it.

I am officially signed up with Weight Watchers. I made myself stay late at work on Thursday because I knew if I sat down on my couch I'd get the 'oh, I'll go next week' feeling. I wasn't about to let that happen so instead I hung around (not working) distracting everyone else from their jobs. I have to say that I really liked the Thursday night group. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, during the meeting everyone participated (yes, even newbie me), and the general feel was of fun and friendship. You can't really ask much more from what is essentially a support group akin to AA or NA. (Although I am happy to report there was no dopey "Hi. My name is Mike, and I like food." "Hi, Mike.") The group leader does look a little like she wakes up every morning thinking it's 1975, but she was very friendly and very encouraging so I won't razz on her too much for her frizzy hair, over-sized glasses, bad orange tan and Burnt Sienna flared pant suit. Well, maybe just a little. I am looking forward to next week's meeting, so that's a good sign.

It's the Victoria Day Weekend in Canada (known as the May 2-4 back east although not so much over here) so it's a three day weekend for all us office workers with the annual parade on Monday to commemorate the birthday of a long dead monarch. Queen Victoria was amazing--longest female reign in the world, longest in England (male or female), gave a name to an era known for great advancements in every field of study, oversaw England's last expansion as an empire (hello, India, mind if we occupy you? We'll teach you cricket)--but very few people left know any of that (or care). Still, parade--yeah!! For five years of high school (this predated Victoria's induction of the middle school system), I participated in the parade as a member of the Reynolds High School Marching Band (I'm still very proud of the fact that I was one of a dozen grade eights asked to participate. It was a big honour for a band geek. The even bigger honour was that I was made point in my first year. That probably means nothing to you people so I'll return to things you do understand.) and with that came the distinction of being one of the most respected components of the parade. Not to over-exaggerate, but we're a big deal in the Victoria Parade Scene. Such a big deal, in fact, that since 1994, we have lead the civilian part of the parade (army always goes first) every year. Go Reynolds. It's been 12 years since I took part in the parade, but this year I will do it again. This time, however, it's not for my personal band glory but to support a dear friend.

No. Dear friend, d-e-A-r. Dear.

I met THR about seven years ago through a mutual friend. We had a shared sense of humour and way of looking at the world so it was only natural we would become friends ourselves. THR and 'the boy' have been trying to get pregnant since they got married and it's just. not. happening. After all these years, there is one thing I can say with certainty: infertility sucks. Not only does it take an emotional toll on all involved, but it can be very expensive and it's not covered under Canadian medical. (Well, that's not entirely true, Quebec recently announced they would start funding treatment. Qui veut devenir les Quebecois? Also, as a huge supporter of adoption, don't even get me started on the cost associated with that.) I watch this awesome couple struggle with something we were always told would come naturally. Women have been popping out babies for centuries; anyone can do it! Look at the number of teenagers getting pregnant and it really does seem like anyone can do it. There are girls giving birth and they don't even understand how they got pregnant! "But he pulled out before I climaxed, that stops you from getting pregnant, right?" They make me want to bang my head against a wall. Better yet, I should bang their's.

As tough as it is to watch THR go through this, I can only image how difficult it is for her. Month after month of trying, waiting, failing. Even the most positive person would crumble eventually and yet she doesn't give up. She has been very open and honest with us about it all; the right thing to say, the wrong thing to say, when she's hit a wall emotionally, and when she's secretly hating us all for our relatively carefree existences. I know what amazingly awesome parents she and the boy would be, and if I could give my right ovary to make this happen for her, I would do it right now. But I can't. Instead, I silently curse that this problem couldn't have all afflicted one of my friends who adamently doesn't want children and I support THR in any little way that I can. Right now, that means donning a bright yellow shirt (the colour of infertility) on Monday morning and marching the length of Douglas St.

Me on Sunday

In writing this, I did a few searches online and learned May 16th-22nd is/was fertility awareness week in Canada. Statistically speaking, you will know someone in your lifetime who struggles with fertility (or may be that person yourself). In the spirite of raising awareness: THR's take.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MP to WW; It's a Natural Progression, Right?

I reviewed my last post in the full-recovered light of morning and was a little appalled at my willingness to discuss my tummy troubles, my entire "Dudes. Seriously?" bit, and the fact that I some how managed to work Monty Python into it... twice! I was obviously feeling a little out of it the night before and was trying to figure out how to claim a little 'mea culpa' followed by 'I will never blog light-headed and sick again' when I checked my RSS reader and found that one of my favourite fitness bloggers (Charlotte at the Great Fitness Experiment) referenced the exact same Monty Python skit that I did (in a post put up after mine, might I add). Well, she has a book deal in the works, so if she can reference MP then so can I.

I'm happy to say that I'm back on my feet, fit as an out-of-shape fiddle. I headed out for the usual Wednesday night run with THR feeling great. Unfortunately, a few missed runs in the past few weeks made today a bit more of a challenge than it should have been, but we'll right that quickly. My only concern was a nagging right knee. I've had issues with this knee; I took a bad spill on some cement stairs when I was young and after that, the knee never felt right. Sometimes it feels like the knee cap is slipping around, other times it gets sore for no real reason. I'd have it checked by a doctor, but there's never really been any rhyme or reason to when or why and I can go years without it bothering me, then suddenly for a few weeks *bam* it hurts. I pushed through it tonight and iced it once I got home, here's hoping it goes away as quickly as last time.

Thursday is set to be a big day for me. The day starts with my first official workout back at the Y (thanks to Tuesday being cancelled). Due to my (crazy) plan of going before work, my bag is packed, my workout is planned and my alarm is set. I can honestly say that this is the most excited I have been about the gym in a long, long time. Let's just hope that excitement lasts beyond Thursday :) It will also be my first Weight Watchers meeting. Ugh, my first weigh-in. that's the part I dread the most. Who wouldn't? It's one thing to weigh myself by myself in the privacy of my own home where no one knows the number except me, but doing it every week before the meeting? Having someone record it? Again, ugh! But there's another side to all that and it's the supportive, encouraging people that go with it. Besides, if you do it right, that number being recorded only gets smaller and smaller, and ugh turns to yippee!

My motto for this whole endeavour.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't eat pink meat, no matter how much you like the colour

I had a fabulously relaxing weekend up in Chemainus (there's really not much to do there other than relax so...) with my mom. The Sunshine Boys was very enjoyable, the B&B was (as last time) wonderful (with the best breakfasts ever!). I returned to Victoria all ready and raring to go on my "big week" as this is my first week back at the Y and it will be my first week at Weight Watchers. I have plans, baby, and I'm making them happen!

For lunch, I decided to get a meal which I won't be able to have for a while (I could work it into my points, but it's easier just to say 'no' until I'm more into the swing of things) and headed back to my desk. About halfway through, I bit into one of the pieces of chicken and it looked a little pink--not a lot, just a little--and I stared at it for a bit. Dare I? I mean, it wasn't really pink and all the other pieces were fine. I knew better, I really did, but I ate it anyway. The real kickers is that I'm fairly friendly with the guys who work at this joint and I could have just wandered back, shown them the pink piece and been all like "dudes, seriously?" And they would have been like "totally our bad" and then probably given me a $5 coupon or something. They're good guys like that. Their restaurant's clean, I've eaten there quite often and have never had a problem, so I know it's one of those one-time things were they probably would have been happy to know they needed to cook the chicken a little longer. But no... I pulled a Ralph Wiggum and ated it (tastes like burning!). I hope someone else was smarter than me and alerted them to the chicken.

I arrived home, postponed my run, and headed to bed in a hopes that I could quell the Eyjafjoell rumblings in my tummy with a bit of rest, denial and wishful thinking. No such luck, but on the upside, getting sick like this is a fabulous abs workout! I'm already feeling better, although noticeably weaker than normal, so I'm optimistic that it really was just some mild food poisoning and I'm on my way back to 100%. Knowing three people who've been laid out with stomach bugs in the last two weeks, I've been repeating the mantra of "it's only food poisoning, it's only food poisoning" as I slowly rock back and forth. Eventually, in an effort to make myself laugh, this became "Just a food poisoning." "What are you going to do? Vomit on me?" (For those who are lacking in random humour in their lives, I was referencing this scene.) The message in all this is that even on my death bed, I will find myself hilarious.

One more joke, dear? Well, if you insist.

The end result is that tonight's run was cancelled and it's looking pretty much like a 'no' for my planned early morning gym visit tomorrow, but I'm optimistic that tomorrow night's yoga will be do-able and I'll be back to my gym plan on Wednesday. In the meantime, I'll rest up, avoid pink chicken, and throw in a few of my Monty Python DVDs. From now on, I want you all to call me Loretta! Wha?!? (This is actually my all-time favourite MP scene/skit.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One of Those Nothing Weeks

It's been a *meh* week for me. There's nothing specific, just a bunch of little things making it hard to make fitness a priority; job interview, large to-do list, added shifts at work, and general malaise make getting out the door a challenge. Well, that's going to end. Job interview: over, nothing to do but wait for the results. Large to-do list: I'm working through it, and (to be honest) now that the Canucks are out of the playoffs, I'll work through it much quicker. Added shifts at work: I'll be honest, I've got no positive spin on that except yay, money!! General malaise: I'm 99% sure this is coming from a lack of sleep the past two weeks, so I'm on a mission for the rest of the week to be in bed no later than 10:30. The only strike in the 'yay, fitness' column is that I have officially rejoined the Y. Of course, I'm so smart I sign up the one week I honestly won't be able to get there. Great start! Yay me! S-M-R-T and all that.

One of the things adding to the busy-ness of my week is the fact that I'm away all weekend. That's right, I'm going on an uber-exciting weekend to Chemainus!

. . .

Let's try this again. Chemainus!!! Yay!! Che-main-us!! Woo-hoo?

. . .

Seriously, no one finds this exciting?

Willow St, Chemainus' main drag

Okay, so Chemainus itself isn't really a big draw for an entire weekend, but my mom and I are going to see The Sunshine Boys at the Chemainus Theatre, spending the night in an awesome B&B (we stayed there last year), and just generally having some bonding time. My parents lived in Chemainus for six years-ish, only moving to Victoria when I was six months old, so walks around town always result in stories that I would probably not have heard otherwise (I'm Irish. I love to listen to stories as much as I love to tell them). During our last visit, one of the stories involved the decision to move to Victoria as a result of the mill shutting down. My mom said the words "Well, the mill had shut down..." and I spent the rest of the weekend singing "Belfast Mill" despite the fact that we were there to see the musical Oklahoma (which I know all the words to). It became a bit of a joke as I started singing it as we left the musical.

Here's to Chemainus!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I was blessed when it came to strong female role models in my life. From my great step-grandma born in 1899 to my step-mom born in 1960, and all the ladies inbetween, I have known what a strong and independent woman should be since I could walk. The least I can do is to take one day to honour them all and thank them for making me who I am today. For all the mom's out there, in all the forms you come in, Happy Mother's Day.

My mommy and me, 1980

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Update on AbunDANCE

The final tally of money raised at AbunDANCE was $2500. Woo-hoo!! The final breakdown of how much goes to each organisation hasn't actually been figured out as participants could choose what percentage went to each of the two, but the total amount is awesome and I'm so proud of everyone who participated and contributed to that total.

Woo hoo! We're awesome!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No Pain, No Gain... for Charity

Well, I did it!

Surprisingly, jazz is one of the styles we didn't do.

On Sunday morning I got out of bed at stupid o'clock, dragged myself (and the largest coffee I could find) to the corner of Hillside and Quadra, and then danced for 9 hours. I'd have to check with a certified psychologist, but I think my willing participation may be grounds for committal. AbunDANCE was a great success (and not just because I participated)! I was holding off on this post because I was hoping to state how much we had raised but that's yet to be fully tabulated, so I'll just say that I know one person raised over $800, and two other people raised over $150. Makes my piddly little $90 seem, well, piddly, but $90 is $90 and every bit counts so I'll be happy with that.

The best part about AbunDANCE was getting to try out a million different dance styles (fine, not a million, seven) for a $15 registration fee and minimum $40 of pledges. Even if you just pledged yourself $40 (which some people did), that was a great deal. We started the morning with Yoga Dance (which is yoga set to beats of music instead of number of breaths with some Bhangra thrown in. I don't really count it as a 'dance' style although it was a good workout) so we all had a good stretch before moving on Flamenco, Bollywood/Bhangra, Salsa, Polynesian, Afro-Colombian, Hip Hop and West African. For the record, I'm definitely pursuing classes in Flamenco and (once I'm in better shape) Salsa. I'm holding off on the Salsa mostly because all the teachers I have found in Victoria are thistiny and I don't need a constant reminder that I'm not. (The Flamenco teacher on the other hand was a tall, solid, yet curvaceous woman who is a constant reminder that you don't need to be thistiny to be sexy. I have a bit of a girl-crush on her.) Afro-Colombian beat my a$$ into the ground, but if Danny was to ever start teaching in Victoria again (he's moved up to Shawnigan) I would take a class (but I'd hide at the back because it's hard!) Our final hour of dance was a doundoundba (Guinean circle dance where dancers enter the circle to do a few of their favourite moves and then return to the circle) which was a lot of fun. For the first time ever, I actually entered the circle by myself. It was a great way to cap off the day (well, that and going for dinner with a bunch of the other dancers). Was I tired? Yes. Was I sore? Yes. Did I fear that sitting down would mean I'd never stand again? Yes. Did I fall asleep on the couch, halfway through an email once I got home? Yes. Will I be back next year? HELL YES!!

I'm back from my week off and will be running again. I was hoping to go on Monday, but 9 hours of dance on Sunday made that a big, fat no-way-Jose. To help with the whole 'be healthier' thing, I'm joining WeightWatchers... in about a month. I keeping trying to hold myself accountable for my food choices, but the truth is, I suck at it. I have zero willpower when it comes to food so putting me in charge of it... dumb, dumb, dumb. I've found meetings that work for my carless-wonder self, but with my current schedule I will have to wait a few weeks before jumping in. I 'did' WeightWatchers (which means someone gave me all the books and I followed it) and was very successful at it but then I moved to Germany/Switzerland, the lands of chocolate, cheese, Schwarzwaldtorte (Black Forest Cake), mochas in cereal bowls, Susi's home cooking, the Irish Times Pub, and the Apfeltasche (Apple turnover) breakfasts. I never really recovered. It's time to change that and WeightWatchers seems like the way to go. If I'm serious about the half-marathon in October then I can't just train for it by running.