Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here Comes the Pain...

I took a week off from my exercise regimen last week because of all the preparing, last-minute shopping, candy making, and traveling for Christmas. I didn’t intend to take the week off; it just kind of happened.

So yesterday I got my mojo back and went to the gym after work. I did three miles (~5K) of running on the treadmill (plus my walking 5 min warm-up and 5 min cool-down), and included some speed drills to boost the heart rate. It was a good run; I felt great when I got home.

This morning, not so much.

My legs are already starting to get sore from last night. I can only imagine how sore they will be by this afternoon when I start to approach the 24-hour post workout mark. I’m supposed to do strength training tonight with Brittnee; I sure hope we concentrate on upper body.

It occurs to me that this may be my lot for the rest of my life if I want to stay fit and healthy. In order to build muscle, you have to tear muscle down so it will rebuild stronger; that causes soreness. Does this mean that I am going to be in pain pretty much my entire life?

Awesome.

Now, I will admit that sore muscle pain is much, much less unpleasant than the constant, crippling knee pain I endured while I was very heavy. It is wonderful to be able to rise from a seated position using my legs instead of having to pull up with my arms. It is a beautiful thing to be able to go up and down stairs without clutching the handrail for dear life to try to take some of the weight off my dysfunctional knees. I’ll take workout soreness over patella femoral pain syndrome any day.

So, I guess I can live with some muscle soreness. Maybe once I get to a good, fully-fit place, maintenance won’t be so difficult, and I won’t have so much soreness. Either way, it’s totally worth it.

Totally.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Working Post Christmas Day



...I would just rather be home today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmastime!

Christmas always totally stresses me out until I have everything finished. I complain incessantly for weeks, declaring my hatred for shopping, mourning my lack of time to finish anything, and decrying my inability to make the house look festive. I am the biggest, baddest Grinch on the planet.

Then I get everything done.

All of a sudden, Christmas becomes the magical and exciting time it's supposed to be! I can't wait to travel up to Kentucky to see my family (this year I'm staying overnight at my brother Wymon's house, and it's going to be so much fun!). Watching the kids open their presents is as much of a treat for me as it is for them. Christmas Eve breakfast with my Mom, brothers, sisters-in-law, niece and nephews is always a wonderful time of bonding, laughing, and conversing. It's usually the only time of the year that we are all together, and it is just wonderful. I love my family so very much. No one in the world has a family like mine; we are a truly unique and wonderful group.

Then Julia and I travel back to our house to sleep, and wake up at home on Christmas morning. I always love watching Julia open her presents. She's growing up, but the excitement of getting gifts is still there. She is so gracious and appreciative; giving to her is a true joy.

So, a happy, happy Christmas to all my readers. I hope you have a peaceful, loving, and rewarding holiday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Julia-ism

The other day, as I was driving Julia to school, we heard a commercial for Kay Knives.

Me: Kay Knives? Never heard of it.

Julia: (to the tune of Kay Jewelers commercial) Every kill begins with Kay...

Where does she get this quick wit of hers?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great Start to a Birthday Lunch

Okay, so I have a birthday story.

Best guy friend, Andy, wanted to meet Julia and me at Hooters to buy us dinner for my birthday. So we decided to meet at 3:00 (late lunch/early dinner).

I got almost there and I ran. out. of. gas.

I am a moron.

I had forgotten that my car dinged at me on the way home from KY on the previous night. You get one warning with my car; after that you have to actually *look* at the gas gauge.

So I had to call him on his cell and ask him to come get me to take me to a gas station. He was very gracious about it; if it had been him calling me, I would have LMAO.

So, he pulls into the parking lot where I had coasted in, and I get out, and as I'm walking to his car, I slide on a big sheet of invisible ice and bust my right knee into oblivion.

I had not been drinking at this point.

He still didn't laugh at me*. He is truly a great guy. Maybe a saint. I would have been howling.

So I hobble into his car, we go get the gas, and on the way back to my car, we see a black hearse pass us in the oncoming traffic.

He looks at me and says, "This is not a good sign. Oh, look, locusts."

Happy birthday to me.



*Of course, Julia was cracking up at this point. She is, after all, my offspring.

Addendum: I ordered a grilled chicken breast spun in 911 sauce. The fact that I did not get the breaded and fried chicken wings is huge for me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday Julia-ism

Julia: Dude, listen to my bellybutton!

Me: ...

Yeah. Don't even ask for an explanation.

Friday, December 5, 2008

'Tis the Season for Giving!

I've decided to set individual sponsorship levels for my friends who would like to donate to my fundraising efforts for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Levels are as follows:

Nena Obviously Didn't Think Anyone Would Donate This Much Sponsor
$5000 – I will shave "Thank you [your name]" on the side of my head before race day. Or whatever you want me to shave onto my head, as long as it fits and won't get me arrested. If I get arrested because you wanted something lewd on the side of my head, you have to post bail but honestly it might be totally worth it because I mean how many people can say that they were responsible for a friend who was raising money for a charity getting thrown in jail? I will take a photo of my mutilated scalp and send it to you, in case you can't make it down to Nashville for the race to see my humiliation in person. This is for individuals only; businesses get their own set of TNT sponsored benefits for this amount of money. And no fair getting together with other people to raise the money. This is limited to one sponsor, because my head isn't big enough for any more than that. So act quickly.

I am the Bomb Because I Totally Donated a Buttload of Money to a Great Cause Sponsor
$100 – I will write "[your name] TOTALLY ROCKS" down the side of my leg in purple Sharpie on race day morning. You'll receive a photo of my defaced leg to remind you forever how awesome you are. I can do this for up to six sponsors, if I write one down the front, side, and back of each leg. And you don't get to dictate the color because purple will match my jersey and if I'm going to be defaced with permanent ink then at least I should have the dignity of being color coordinated. But if you really want a different color, throw in another twenty bucks and you've got it.

I Seriously Rock With My Giving but My Sponsorship Title is Lame and Nena Needs to be More Creative Sponsor
$50 – I'm running out of ideas here; how about I write your name in puffy paint on my jersey? I'll use the glittery kind. Glitter rocks.

Giving is Cool. I'm Cool. So I Gave.
$20 – I will be forever grateful and I'll mention you and how awesome you are to everybody I know. I'll brag about you on Facebook, MySpace, and my blog. And on the Weight Watchers Message Boards. And in comments on blogs of people who have no idea who I am. And in casual conversations with random coworkers. Everyone will be really sick of hearing about you, actually.

So, since I know that you are totally cool because you're reading my blog, go to my Team in Training homepage and make a donation. It will make you happy. It will make me happy. Everybody wins.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday Julia-ism

It makes me sad to do the Julia-ism this week, because the original -ism inspiration, Pablo (Jose) at Lindsey's Rantings, passed away last week. He was very young, and I hurt deeply for his family and friends.

I have some Julia-isms to post, but I am going to take this opportunity to offer condolences to Lindsey and to Jose's family. I am so sorry for your loss.

Yes.

So, tonight I had a monthly evaluation at the gym. It went well. Here is the rundown. Since I started:
  • I've lost 9 pounds (I know my ticker says 12; I had lost some before starting at the gym)
  • I've reduced my body fat by 3.4%
  • 1.25 inches lost around shoulders
  • 2.75 inches lost in my chest and back
  • 4.5 inches lost around my waist (WOW)
  • 1.25 inches lost in my hips
  • .5 inch lost in my calf

I've been at this for four months. It is slow going, but I am so happy to see progress. I don't mind that it is slow; as long as it goes in the right direction. I have plenty of time to reach my goals. The important thing is that I stay focused to the end, and then stay focused to remain healthy.

Besides the measureable progress listed above, I have made intangible progress as well. I can now run almost 3 1/2 miles, with some hills included. I'm running 3-4 times a week; I'm strength training 2-3 times a week; I'm doing two hard spinning classes every week. My resting heart rate has gone down about 5 beats per minute. I am healthier than I was in my twenties. I am training to run a half-marithon, and I am envisioning myself training to run a full marathon next year. I am as proud of these things as I am of the visible physical changes.

Thanks to all who take the time to read my blog. It motivates me a lot to know that people are keeping tabs on me!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

3.4 miles - Just Over 5K!

Yes. I ran 3.4 miles this lovely Saturday morning. I feel so good about today's run. I finished in just over 34 minutes. That is slow by most standards, but it was an incredible pace for me. I can't believe I'm actually becoming a runner.

I don't really have much else to blog about; I'm just still on my runner's high from this morning, and wanted to get it in my blog!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First Group Run

This morning I had my first group run with Team in Training. It was awesome. We did a two mile run. That's a little less than what I usually do on the treadmill, but it's a whole different world outside, because outside includes (1) hills and (2) temperatures of 25˚F (-4˚C). Now, that may not seem very cold to some folks who live up north; but I am a southern girl (reverse that concept if you're one of my Brazilian friends!). If the temperature drops below around 67˚F (19˚C), I'm putting on a jacket.

The cold air was pretty hard on my lungs at first, but it got easier as my body warmed up. In fact, abuout three-quarters of the way through, I had to take off my long-sleeved overshirt (good thing I wore layers!). The really tough thing was not being able to control the hills.

On the treadmill, if I set the incline to a hill, I can reduce it when it starts to get too tough; but Earth doesn't have an incline button. So, I had to take a walk break about halfway up most of the hills in today's run. One of the team captains said that today's run was actually really tough for a first run, so no one should feel bad about taking walk breaks.

I feel really good about my run today. I kept a good running pace during all of the flats and declines, and ran up about half of all the hills. What really surprised me was how short the run seemed. Had it been flatter, I think I could have run the entire distance with no walking, and gone another mile easily. I know that as I continue to train, the hills are going to become more manageable (they'll NEVER be easy).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Blog Weekly Segment

I stole this idea from another blog I read, Lindsey's Rantings, but I think I will have enough material to keep it up.

I am going to start a weekly blog entry called Wednesday Julia-isms. My daughter frequently says things that make me either 1) laugh out loud 2) scrunch my forehead and say "yeah. um, what?" or 3) fall into a deep philosophical musing. So I'm going to start jotting them down and sharing them here on my blog. I only regret that there have been so many in the past that have slipped through the cracks of my memory.

Tonight's Julia-ism:

Me: I wish I could go through a book as fast as you.

Julia: Yeah. When I'm reading a good book, one that I'm really interested in, someone could shoot me three times in the butt and it wouldn't distract me. I would just like look up, and say, "wait; what?"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Really, Really Tired

Whew. I did spin and strength training on Tuesday, yesterday, and today. My leg muscles are screaming. I am worn completely out. I'm so glad tomorrow is a rest day; I need it.

Not much to report, just happy to be sticking with it; and very, very tired.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Good Evaluation!

I had my three month evaluation tonight, and I'm down three pounds, down 3% body fat, and down some inches all over (I don't remember the exact inches, but the measurements were all good). It's great to see some results after my hard work.


Three pounds doesn't sound like much, but I am fine with losing slow and steady. This is a life change for me, not a quick fix. It would do me no good at all to go on a miserable deprivation/starvation diet for a few months, lose all my weight quickly, and then go right back to my old way of eating. Not only does that not work in the long run, but it is also very unhealthy and hard on the body. It is much better for me to learn the habit of healthy eating, allow myself some mistakes, and train to become stronger and healthier. I'm the tortoise, not the hare.


I did strength training (legs and abs) and spinning class tonight after my eval. Burned 604 calories. It was a good workout.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Half Marathon and Team in Training


Okay, first of all, let me just say that my cat is the cutest thing ever. I think he's comfortable here in his new home, don't you?


Anyway, I went for my registration meeting for Team in Training. I met the gentleman who will be my coach, and he has a great personality; he is a self-described "fitness nut" and has an excitement for running that is contagious. I definitely think he will be a great source of encouragement and motivation.

He advised me that since I've been running on the treadmill for a while now, to try to increase my speed just a little and to start using an incline of about 2%. This will make the outside runs easier to adjust to, and build my endurance so I'm not at square one at the first group run. Tomorrow is spinning class, so my next treadmill run will be Wednesday. I'll blog on how it goes with the new speed and incline.

A huge part of what I'm doing with Team in Training is raising funds to support research to find a cure for blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma. These cancers take many innocent lives each year, many of them children. This is an incredibly important cause for me, and I hope that many of you will support me. My fundraising website is http://pages.teamintraining.org/tn/cmc09/nperson. Please visit this site and share it with those you know. Every dollar counts.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

So, it's Halloween and I've had one set of trick-or-treaters. They weren't even really dressed up. I always thought dressing up was the best part. It was sad, really.

I dressed up. I carved pumpkins. I even have spooky music playing on a boombox on my porch. Halloween is supposed to be a fun night when you can be silly, creative, creepy...all those things you really want to be on a regular day.

I'm dressed as a gypsy witch; it's kind of a costume I improvised using the outfit I bought this year at the renaissance festival. Those suckers are expensive, so I was determined to get more than one use out of it. It's freaking my cat out a bit. He wouldn't do very well as a witch's familiar, I don't think. He's a big baby.
I didn't think the candy would get to me, but having it sit around with no kids to hand it to, it's starting to call my name. I've had some Reeses and some SweetTarts. Now I feel all icky and gross. Bleh.

Maybe the kids will start showing up soon and I can get this candy out of my house. Julia and her friend will be back before long, and they'll both have sacks of candy, too. This really is an unhealthy holiday.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cross Training


Spinning class is hard. I'm just sayin'.

Yesterday, according to my heartrate monitor, I burned 749 calories between strength training and a 45 minute spin class. That's a lot of calories; and I know that ST doesn't burn very many.

I'm still planning on training with Team in Training to run the Country Music Half Marathon, but spin class is going to provide really good cross training, and will provide a respite for my knees from the pavement pounding of running.

I never thought I'd ever be able to enjoy something that is so exhausting, but I really am starting to like cardio training. I remember when I first started running, I couldn't imagine pushing through those hard runs without stopping to walk; but it is true that the stronger you get, the more you are able to withstand. It's hard to explain. It still hurts, but you somehow know that you'll be okay through it. In the past, I had always given up before I reached this point.

I'll be posting more often once the official half-marathon training starts. I'm going to try to set up a format where I post my workout goals, actual workouts, and progress. I'll also post a link to my fundraising website, and I'll record my progress on that front as well.

I can't believe it, but I'm really, really excited about this!

In the Spooky Spirit of Halloween



I'm going to share a personal terror of mine (doesn't that sound like fun??).

I suffer from Sleep Paralysis with Hypnopompic Hallucinations. That is a fancy medical term for saying that occasionally, I will wake up, be unable to move or speak, and I see, hear, and feel things that are not there.

Before medicine and science knew what was going on here, people thought that this was caused by a witch / demon / ghost entering your bedroom and torturing you. It was said that the entity would sit on you (thus preventing movement) and cover your nose and mouth (there is often a smothering feeling associated with the condition) while its counterpart would wreak havoc in your home.

During my last bout (about two weeks ago), I heard someone come in through my garage door, which has a very distinct sound when opened and closed. I heard this person/thing walk up the stairs, open my bedroom door, and felt the person/thing LAY DOWN BESIDE ME ON THE BED. I was facing away from where I felt the presence, so I did not see it. All this time, I can't move; I can't scream; I can't force myself to snap out of it. I am helpless and terrified.

These are not dreams; they are hallucinations, and are VERY, VERY real seeming. It's always familiar sounds and sensations; never something outlandish that I could just blow off as "it couldn't really happen." I've heard someone rummaging through the drawers in my bathroom; turning on and typing on the keyboard of my computer; using my coffee maker; unloading the dishwasher (too bad that one wasn't real); and other things like that. It's really, really awful.

Vanderbilt Center for Sleep Disorder Study wants to do a study on me, but since it is random and I have no way of knowing when it will happen, they really can't. So I can't be treated for it, since no one knows what causes it. It sucks.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

HAPPY DANCING!!


You probably guessed based on the post title...

JULIA MADE THE BASKETBALL TEAM!

We're so happy. She worked hard to get ready; she worked on ball handling drills that were no fun; she worked on shooting drills that were fun; she prepared the best she knew how, and it all paid off.

The team practices at 7:00 in the morning, every morning except game days and Fridays. That will get me to work an hour earlier than I usually do, freeing up an hour in the evening for me to do an earlier workout - that means I can do the spinning classes, which kick my butt and are going to get the weight loss really ramped up.

I'm so glad that Julia decided to go out for soccer when she didn't make the volleyball team. I think that the footwork of soccer (not to mention the cardio conditioning of practices) really improved her basketball skills. I think that the improvement she saw in herself boosted her confidence, too. I think we owe her soccer coach a thank you for helping to make it possible for Julia to make the basketball team.

And when the volleyball coach comes and sees the girls' basketball games, he's going to realize it was his loss for cutting her! :-)

Anxious

Today, Julia concluded the second round of basketball tryouts at her school. We will know this afternoon whether she made the team.

I'm so anxious to find out. She just completed a great soccer season. She started the season with zero knowledge of soccer, and ended as a darned respectable defender. She really enjoyed participating in school sports, so I'm really hoping that she makes the basketball team.

If she doesn't make basketball, she says that she wants to go out for cheerleading. I will let her try out, but I guarantee she will hate it if she makes it. I've known the child since before she was born, and she does not have the kind of personality to be a cheerleader at her school. She's too kind, reasonable, empathetic, and level-headed. I really hope she makes the b-ball team. I so don't want to deal with cheerleader drama.

Julia knows that if she doesn't make the team, that I'm proud of her for going for it, and it only means that she needs to work some drills between now and next season, stay in shape, and be ready to try again. But I know that she will be disappointed if she doesn't make it, and I really hope I don't have to deal with that today. I'd much rather pick up a super-excited Julia, ready to start spouting off how much her uniform and shoes are going to cost me...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blog Merger

You may notice that there are way more posts here on my blog now. That is because I compiled my personal blog into this one, so I don't have to maintain two separate blogs anymore.



So, this one isn't going to be strictly diet and fitness anymore. There will be some general, everyday bloggy stuff. Check out some of the funnier ones, including Bye, Bye, Birdie and Bikram (Hot) Yoga. Others are random stuff about life, my kid, and general observations.

Funniest. Video. Ever.

This is genius.

I'm still here

I know that I haven't posted for a while. It just seems like it will get boring if I blog about every single workout, every single food issue, blah, blah, blah. I'm still doing ST with Brittnee; I'm still running on the treadmill; I've added some spin classes to my cardio routine to mix things up a bit; and that's about it.

I'm thinking about taking the everyday life posts from my other blog, Sic faciunt omnes, and incorporating it into this blog, making this blog an all-encompassing life and fitness blog. That way, I will only have one blog to maintain, and there will be more frequent updates.

While I'm here, I might as well relay an amusing story that happened to me on Sunday. Julia and I met with an old college friend of mine for lunch at Hooters. I hadn't seen him in ten years, so I was really excited about having some beer and hot wings with my friend.

Well, guess who is a Hooters waitress?

Brittnee.

Busted.

She tried to tell me some good choices I could make food-wise, but come on, who eats a flippin' salad at HOOTERS?

I definitely paid for it at Monday's workout, though. :-) She actually told me some really decent sounding things I can order next time (not salads) that won't make me feel deprived, but are a lot healthier than hot wings and fried pickles (the beer stays)!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

THIRTY MINUTES!! w00t!!!

That's right. I jogged a full thirty minutes on the treadmill yesterday at 4.5 mph (7.24 kph). That's 2.25 miles (3.62 km). No walking. I walked another half-mile to cool down at the end, so my entire treadmill workout was 2.75 miles (4.43 km). I'm getting close to 5K!

I know that my pace is really slow, but speed will come with time. Right now I'm just so psyched that I can actually jog for that long.

Also, my strength training session with Brittnee was BRUTAL. We concentrated on lower body and core, and my hamstrings felt like they had been tied in knots and set on fire. I'm going to start feeling that a little later today. It's that kind of workout that is going to help rehab my knees, though, so I can't complain. I think the huge amount of blood that raced to my legs actually helped on the jog, too.

All in all, I'm feeling really good. This is the best thing I've ever done for myself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What Flips the Switch?

After struggling with food for months, and being stuck between 186 and 188 forever, finally, something clicked.

I have been strictly on SBD for a week today. I stayed on over the weekend; I'm following the program to a tee, and I'm down 5 lbs.

So, what caused that lightbulb to come on? Why, all of a sudden, am I motivated and determined enough to actually follow through with my intentions? Why do I suddenly have the courage of my convictions?

Beats me.

I honestly have no idea what happened. I'm just in the zone. I even went to the mall with Julia twice this past weekend, and we did not have ice cream, popcorn, German roasted nuts, or Macaroni Grill (all mall standards for me; I have at least one of those things at any other mall trip).

If I could figure out what gave me my willpower back, I would write a book and be filthy rich.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Still on Track

Today is day three of the South Beach Diet for me. I gave up on Weight Watchers because I just didn't get enough structure from the plan. If a diet leaves me to make too many decisions on my own, I will make bad ones. That is how I got fat in the first place.

Anyway, SBD is going really well. I have stuck to it 100%, except that I eat a banana every day on the advice of my trainer (bananas are not allowed for the first two weeks) to help flush out some of the water I'm retaining with the strength training (ST). I don't think anyone ever got fat from including a banana in their daily diet, so I'm guessing I'm safe there.

Yesterday my running was not quite as strong; I did 30 minutes on the treadmill, and 18 of that was jogging, but not all at once. I did 10, 3, and 5 minute intervals. The rest was walking at a good clip. I'm not going to beat myself up over having a slow day; after all, I had just finished ST on legs, so they were getting tired and wobbly already. Next ST session is upper body, so I should have a better run then. I'm thinking that I should be able to do a Turkey Trot 5K in November. I may not be able to run the whole thing, but I should be able to do okay.

If it isn't raining this evening, I may go do a walk/run on the greenway instead of the treadmill. I need to start moving it outside, and the evening weather is getting tolerable (finally!). I'll blog later to say how (and if) that went...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Check Out the Ticker

I have a new weight loss ticker down at the bottom of the blog page. Visuals are good for my motivation!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Feeling Back on Track

Today was a good day. I stayed completely on-plan food-wise, and I had a really great strength training workout at the gym with Brittnee. If I can keep this momentum, I'll be on my way to actually shedding some poundage and getting some shape to my body.

I've also started the Ninjutsu class at the gym. It's only once a week, but it's a three hour class. I think I'm going to like it a lot. It is way different from Wado Ryu, which is the martial art I took years ago, so no muscle memory will benefit me. In fact, the old musle memory is getting in the way, and making it harder to catch on. But I love martial arts, and man, talk about something that will whip you into shape! The last time I was anywhere near my goal weight was when I was regularly practicing Wado.

Tonight is just a short post to let any readers know that I haven't fallen off the wagon. In fact, I'm holding the reins!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Horrible PT Eval; Running Milestone

This post starts out with a bad attitude, but I'll end on happy, I promise.

I had my first weigh/measure evaluation with Brittney today. It sucked. I lost zero weight. I lost zero inches. I know why; it's because my eating has been horrible. I haven't stayed on any kind of plan, I've been eating too much junk, and I've been mindlessly eating too many calories.

On the bright side of this, I am now motivated to get my butt in gear and start eating the way I know I'm supposed to eat. I have started keeping my food journal again. I'm marking off all my healthy guidelines (I'm going for all eight, every day). I'm going to stay on plan and on target, no matter what. I just have to decide and accept that this is what I'm going to do. If I do this, then I can be at or near goal in six months, when my husband returns from Antarctica. He will come home to a new, hotter version of Nena.

Now, my running milestone...I jogged twenty minutes yesterday. I know what you're thinking, "she's done that before - why is that a milestone?" I'll tell you why...

I did it non-stop; straight through; solid twenty minutes.

I couldn't believe it. I walked for five minutes to warm up, and I started jogging with the intent of just jogging until I had to stop. When I got to seventeen minutes, I was ready to stop and walk, but I thought it would be a shame to not do a measley three minutes more, so I just did it. It was awesome!

The really weird thing is, I can't wait to go jog again tonight. I'm actually learning to like it. I never really thought that would happen, but it has.

I hope it lasts...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Soccer Update

Julia made the soccer team! The coach is training her in all the skills, including goalie. He isn't sure where he is going to put her, but my guess is that she'll be defense and backup goalie this year, and probably take over as goalie next year.

I'm really proud of her. I guess that's obvious, though!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Proud Parent

Today, Julia demonstrated to me that she is a stronger and more determined person than I ever was. She is awesome. After finding out that she didn't make the school volleyball team, she was understandably disappointed; but, rather than just be all discouraged all day and dwell on what didn't happen, she decided to get up, dust herself off, and try something else! She's going out for soccer in the morning!

I am so proud that I could burst. She is not letting the fear of another disappointment keep her from trying for another sport. I will admit, I would have been crippled by the fear of another failure when I was her age. She is showing that she is stronger and more confident than I was at 12, and that makes me so happy! I'm just so glad that she has such determination and perseverence. She is awesome.

I hope so much that she makes the soccer team. She will gain a lot of footwork skills and physical training from soccer, and if she decides that she still wants to do basketball later this year, soccer will be a great help.


*wiping tear*

One of Those Difficult Parenting Times

Well, Julia didn't make the volleyball team at school. We were so sure she was going to make it. She's tall, she had practiced, she was enthusiastic - but she didn't make the cut. She is so sad and disappointed, and my heart is breaking for her.

The hardest part is that I have to be here at work all day while she is at school. I just want to be with her to comfort her and let her know that I am proud of her no matter what.

I'm also really afraid that she is going to let this affect her self confidence for other sports. She was really looking forward to playing volleyball, and I'm afraid this has really deflated her. I really hope she bounces back and doesn't let this stop her from continuing to try.

It's probably bothering me more than it is bothering her at this point. I can't even concentrate on work. I hope so much that when I pick her up from school this afternoon that she will be in a good mood and ready to jump in and try something else (soccer, maybe).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Day, Another Workout.

Today was 30 minutes of shoulders and arms with Brittnee. Oy, the weights got heavy, but I survived and felt great afterward. I did 3 sets of planks for abs at the end, and I held each of them for 30 seconds instead of 20. That was quite an improvement, and Brittnee commented on how strong my core was getting. That made me feel good.

Out of my 32 minutes on the treadmill, I jogged for TWENTY MINUTES!!! That is unheard of for me. I can't even believe I did it. I started with 5 minutes of walking to warm up, then jogged for seven, then walked for three to recover, jogged for EIGHT, walked for two, then finished up with five minutes of jogging. I walked at a slow pace for two minutes to bring my heart rate back down, and I was done. I'm still reeling over jogging 2/3 of the time I was on the dreadmill. I can't believe I did it. I think I'll be ready to take it outside to the greenway by the time the weather cools down.

Right now, I'm enjoying a nice Guinness Extra Stout. I think I earned it. :-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Upping the Running

This afternoon I did my regular cardio of 30 minutes on the treadmill. What's so special about that? Well, FIFTEEN MINUTES of that was jogging! That is a super lot for me, and for four of the last five minutes, I upped my speed to a 12:00 minute mile. That's a slow jog to most, but it's a quicker pace than I usually do. I did three 5-minute jogging intervals. I will become a runner yet.

Cardio was all I did today. I did chest and back strength training yesterday, and I'm starting to feel it today. Tomorrow I do legs with Brittney. Woo-hoo!

If I can just get my eating under control, I will be well on my way to a fit and trim Nena.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Feeling Good

So, tonight Brittnee (I told you I can never remember how she spells her name; it will keep changing until I remember) didn't do much of a workout with us. She mainly showed us some new exercises, and went over our circuits that she put together for us to do on days that we work out without her. She introduced me to an exercise she calls "Pikes," and they are true torture. If the prisoners at Gitmo were forced to do these, I may say it is too much and the interrogators should lay off. Seriously, they hurt.

On the up side, I asked her when these torture sessions, I mean workouts, should start showing me some results. She said in about a month I should start seeing a difference. That freaks me out. It seems really fast. I was thinking more like 12 weeks or something. So, I'm really excited about my one month weigh & measure.

On the running, I did the treadmill for my cardio tonight, and out of a 30 minute session (plus a 5 minute cool down), 10 minutes were jogging. That is so huge for me! I did five two-minute jogging intervals, and I felt great! I'll be doing 20 minutes before I know it. I can't wait until I can jog three miles. I'm going to do a 5k, and even though my time will be laughable, I will be able to say that I didn't stop to walk at all. I think that will be so freaking cool!

The bad thing is, I didn't wear my HRM (I've got to just stick that thing in my gym bag so I'll remember it), so I don't know how many calories I burned, or how long I was in the target heart rate zone. But, I felt really good during the whole session, so I think I stayed under max.

I'm supposed to go to the gym on my own tomorrow and do legs strength training and cardio. I'm actually excited about it! This motivation rocks!

No Pain, No Gain.

...whatever. Anyway, what I can't figure out is why am I so looking forward to tonight's workout when every muscle in my upper body is screaming with pain? I mean, it hurts to breathe; but still, I am really looking forward to working out tonight.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Before Image


Okay. So, I promised to add a before image. This is after my workout with Brittney, so I look quite haggard, but the worst part is how horrifically huge I am. I could cry.

So, I guess I shouldn't let it get me down because I'm working really, really hard on it. I thought I was going to die halfway through my second circuit with Brittney, but I plugged on and made it through the workout. I really, really hope this gets easier.

I have to admit, though, I feel really good after the session. It's like once my body realizes that the workout didn't kill me, it says "hey, that wasn't so bad. We should do this thing again!"

I think the hardest thing she had me do were the planks on the stability ball. Planks are hard enough on their own; add having to balance your upper body on a big, wobbly ball to it, and holycow, that's hard! She also makes me use the stability ball for my push ups, with my feet propped on it. That adds a whole new level of difficulty to those, too. My entire upper body is going to be screaming for the next couple of days.
But I shall persevere. It will all be worth it when I'm all buff and healthy!

Quickie Post

I just wanted to post to share that I am so psyched for my meeting with Brittnee tonight. I know that if I didn't have an appointment with her, I would probably say I was too tired to exercise and skip my workout. I'm so glad to have someone to hold me accountable.

I left the house without my HRM again. That is so frustrating! I'm not letting it discourage me, though. I'm just going to work hard and burn as many calories as I can.

Also, I realized that I should probably take a "before" pic to post here. I'll have Julia snap a quick one of me tonight at the gym and I'll post it tonight.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sticking With It

Yesterday (Sunday) I did Zumba and Yoga again. I love the Zumba; it's my favorite workout ever. Yoga I don't enjoy so much; but I can tell that it is good for me and will really enhance my strengh training, so I'll stick with it. It's just once a week (for now; I may add another later on).

I'm also making a change to my eating plan. I'm going to switch to the Weight Watchers Core plan today, and do that in conjunction with what my trainer has laid out for me. That will force me to make really nutritious, healthy choices, which is what I need with all the activity I'm adding lately. I'm really hoping to see some weight start dropping off soon.

Something not quite so happy that I noticed during yoga was just how freaking big I am. The group fitness room at UA is surrounded with mirrored walls, so I can see myself at every angle, and it really depressed me. I know that it's a long, slow process to lose weight, but I so wish that it could just go away immediately. I know that I'll be seeing results soon; but for right now, I'm very, very unhappy with how I look.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good Workouts

I haven't been very faithful to my blogging lately, but I have been extremely steadfast in my workouts. On Tuesday night I did an hour of Zumba, and tonight I worked with Brittney (I think that's how she spells it; I will probably spell it differently in each entry) on some tough strength training, then did 30 minutes on the treadmill (mostly walking, but I did jog for four minutes). After that, I had dinner at O'Charley's with my daughter and husband. I made a decent choice, but I still ate too many calories. I'm not perfect, but I'm improving little by little.

Short entry tonight, because I'm really ready to go to bed. I'll try to get back here and blog more often, though. I promise!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Detour - but a good one

Okay, so it looks like I'm not going to be able to motivate myself to stick to a running program; however, I have not given up.

I have joined the Urban Active gym near my home and I have purchased 100 personal training sessions. This was not cheap, but it was worth it. My trainer, Brittany, will make appointments with me and guide me through customized workouts that will 1) rehabilitate my knees to prevent running injury 2) strengthen my muscles to releive running pain and 3) keep me motivated and accountable. The sessions are also geared to helping me lose my last 50 pounds quickly and healthily. A nutrition guide is included and everything.

Right now, my biggest problem is that my patellafemoral pain syndrome (fancy name for excruciating knee pain) is getting worse with the pounding of the pavement. This is not a condition that one can just "tough out." It actually gets worse and eventually cripples you if you don't do the right things. So, I'm working with a professional to make sure my running makes me stronger instead of wearing me down.

My first appointment with Brittnee is Tuesday, but I went to the gym today and did one hour of Zumba and one hour of yoga. According to my HRM, I burned 800 calories. Not bad. Not bad at all.

I'm excited about working with Brittnee. She is a former college NCAA basketball player, so I am sharing some of my sessions with Julia so Brittany can give her some basketball training. If nothing else, that makes the cost of the personal trainer totally worth it (there's no way I could get a personal sports trainer for what I'm paying the gym!).


Thursday, July 24, 2008

I haven't given up...

No, I haven't given up and abandoned the blog; I have just done what I always do and started letting everyday things get in the way. I am going to get back on track.

One thing I did today was get a membership to Urban Active. It's a fitness center very close to my home and I'm meeting with a personal trainer there on Saturday. I always do better with a trainer, so I have high hopes.

More on my progress later.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Good Start

Today I did workout number two. Again, on the plan it is all walking, but I threw in a few laps of light jogging just to get my blood pumping. Four laps of jogging on the indoor track amounted to just under 1/4 mile. I walked for the rest of the time, and I estimate that I went approximately two miles in all. It felt good; I listened to Queen for the whole workout, and that made the time go by extremely fast. I didn't wear my HRM, so I don't know how many calories I burned, but I feel good about staying on course and doing the workout today. Which kind of leads me to my next point.

Today I left the house with my running shoes, my shorts and tee shirt, and my iPod and headphones. When I got off work and was on my way to the YMCA, I realized I didn't have my HRM. In the past, a small detail like that would totally derail me and I would go straight home and skip the workout, throwing me off my schedule and ultimately leading me to quit. I know how pathetic and mentally unstable that sounds, but it is the truth. I guess I have never been truly ready to commit before. Today, I went and did my workout anyway. That makes the second workout in a row that I have done despite having an excuse (however lame) to skip it (yesterday it was Julia feeling under the weather; I did my walk around the neighborhood instead of the Y).

This gives me confidence that I will stick to it this time, and eventually be able to jog/run three miles with no walking. Then, we'll see where it goes from there! I have hopes and dreams of a 5K leading to a 10K, then the 10K leading to a half marathon, and the half marathon leading to - dare I say it? - a full marathon. That is way, way in the future, though. Right now, I'm going to stick to my C25K and be proud of my progress!

My Favorite Ghost Story

It's my favorite because it's true.

My family owns a funeral home in a small town. I grew up with it, and it never occurred to me that it should be creepy.

When the funeral home was not busy (i.e., no bodies), my best friend, Suzan, and I would regularly play there. It had great big rooms with lots of space to play, a soda machine, bathrooms handy - it was a great playhouse.

One day, Suzan and I (we were probably around 7 or 8) were playing in the chapel area (which connected via double doors to the casket showroom), and we looked up to see an adult male-sized gloved hand pull the double doors shut. No big deal. It was probably my Dad or his business partner Doug, or one of my brothers.

Um, no. After playing for a little while longer, we went up the hill to my house, and found out from my Mom that Dad and Doug were out on a business call. Two of my brothers were out playing golf, and my third brother was in town doing something or other and had been gone all day. Everyone who could have been a reasonable person to be in the casket showroom was away.

So we think the hand must have been a shadow and the doors were sucked shut by a draft, right?

RIGHT?

No.

We go BACK to the funeral home (we really didn't understand how creepy this was) and looked in the casket room. This sounds like a made-up ghost story, but I swear on all that is holy, this is the truth...

There was a large black glove laying on a closed casket beside the double doors.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

In the Beginning

This is my blog about my attempt to go from an overweight, unfit, typical American thirtysomething to a lean, strong, got-it-going-on hottie.

I am making this transformation by learning to run.

I suppose I once knew how to run. All kids run whenever they can get away with it. Just the other day, I was observing my step-granddaughter at play; she would pick up an object, run full-speed around in a large circle, hand the object to someone who looked like they needed said object, run around in another large circle, take aforementioned object back for herself, run around in yet another large circle, and begin the process over again. This gave her such joy, it was astounding.

At what age do we lose the love for running? I want it back.

My plan to regain this love for running begins with baby steps. I am doing the Couch to 5K (C25K) program found at http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/Programs/agressive_program.htm. I am using the agressive run program because I can already easily walk more than 3 miles, and I'm ready to start adding some gentle running in immediately. I like the format that beginnertriathlete.com uses for their C25K program, but for those shopping for a plan, there is also a popular program at http://www.coolrunning.com/.

I expect to have to repeat some weeks; I may even have to revert back to a previous week at some point. The goal here is not to complete the program in the prescribed 16 weeks. The goal is to go from dreading the idea of running to looking forward to my run as a stress reliever and a chunk of "me time."

I began the program today. The first week is all walking, even in the aggressive plan. Today, I walked around my neighborhood. It took 38 minutes, I walked about two miles, and according to my heart-rate monitor (HRM), I burned 308 calories. Not a bad start.

I will do my best to post a blog entry after every workout. I am hoping that this will keep me accountable. I want all my friends to see me succeed.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bye, Bye, Birdie

I was so excited this morning, because when I stepped on the scale I was down a pound; but my buzz was quickly killed by a bird flying into my den when I opened the door to my garage. Not wanting to come home to a house full of bird poop, I spent much, much precious morning time trying to coax the little shit to fly outside.

If you've never tried to get a bird to go where you want it to go, let me try to explain what that is like. You've heard the term "herding cats?" Piece of cake by comparison. Birds are wiley, spastic creatures with limitless energy and zero sense of direction.

At one point, it hid behind my trophy case, where my husband's pool cue fell on it. Let me just add here that until this happened, I did not know that birds could scream. I thought I had killed it, and I felt horrible, horrible, REALLY HORRIBLE. All I had wanted was for it to get the frack out of my house and be free! Why did you have to go and get yourself killed, you little dummy?

Then, I saw its little beak open and close. Great. The poor thing was not dead; just badly injured and probably dying. Now I feel even WORSE, because I can't kill it (ew ew eeeeew) to put it out of its misery; but I can't just let it suffer endlessly until it dies...

So, I get a plastic bag to drape over it so I can sweep it out of the house. Maybe a cat will come and kill it quickly so it doesn't suffer so much. That will make a nice meal for some random cat. A nice little circle-of-life bonus that I can maybe convince myself to feel okay about. I drape the bag over it, and guess what? The little f@cker flies over to the other corner of the room! He is okay, he was just stunned! Yay! I'm not a birdkiller!

Crap. I still have a bird in my den.

By this time, I have to get my butt out the door, or Julia will be late for school. I'm already going to be 30 minutes late for work.

So, I'll be coming home to a den full of bird poop. Good times, good times.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bikram (Hot) Yoga

So, I've been chatting with my friends on Weight Watchers message boards about this yoga style, called Bikram Yoga, that everyone was raving about. One woman said she feels so refreshed and relaxed after the class; another said she felt like she could climb a mountain afterwards. They all say they burn so many calories and it has helped their weight loss significantly. Every comment from every lady was positive; they love it. "I've got to try this!" I thought.

So, I signed up and attended a Bikram Yoga class on Friday afternoon.

Here's the general rundown on Bikram Yoga: it is a series of 26 yoga poses, each repeated twice and at your own level of flexibility/strength. What sets it apart from other yoga styles is that it is performed in a heated room, between 95 and 105 degrees (our class never got above 97). The heat is supposed to relax and heat up your muscles, allowing them to stretch deeper without injury. The sweating is supposed to be cleansing, and all of this together is meant to result in a relaxing, detoxifying, healing, and energizing experience for beginners and experienced yogis alike.

Here's my reality of Bikram yoga: it is ninety minutes of exactly how I envision the most gruesome and torturous levels of Hell will be for the worst of humankind.

When I first walked into the room and lay down my mat, the heat didn't seem so bad; it was like a nice, balmy day at the beach. I thought it was going to be great like all the WW ladies had said, and I was really excited. I set my heart rate monitor to start counting calories, and I sat cross-legged, waiting for the teacher to begin.

The first few poses were nice. I was careful not to overextend myself, and I tried to just relax into them, focusing on my breathing like the teacher told us. As the class went on, however, I began to feel nauseous. The poses became more challenging, my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest (although it was still beating relatively slow), and my body felt weak and fatigued all over. I took breaks, drank water, and performed the poses at the easiest level possible, but I can still think of at least four times that I thought I was going to die; and two other times that I prayed in earnest for the sweet relief that death would bring. I have never been so physically miserable during exercise in my life; not even when I did the Memphis in May Triathlon.

When the class finally by the grace of God ended, I stepped out into the blissfully cool 75 degree lobby area, and started to feel my will to live slowly return. I had the same feeling that one has when just getting over the flu; you can still feel the effects of the misery you've been in, but there is a glimmer at the end of the tunnel. I drove home feeling like I had been trampled by wild animals. I never had that feeling of relaxation or exhiliration described by so many others. I was just glad it was over.

According to my heart rate monitor, I burned a total of 525 calories in the 90 grueling minutes of Bikram Yoga. The next day (Saturday), I burned 565 calories in my one-hour Zumba class, which is tons of fun and does give me energy afterward and make me feel like I could climb a mountain. I think I'll stick with Zumba. Just maybe.

It's not that I hate exercise. It's not that I hate sweating during exercise. I just hate Bikram Yoga.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Full Circle


Tonight, I feel both very old and very cool. I watched the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards with my sweet daughter, Julia. They had a big deal about the "world record sliming" that they were going to do at the end of the show. I told Julia that I was watching Nickelodeon back when the show that started the whole sliming thing was on. It was my favorite show; it was called "You Can’t Do That on Television."
I can’t believe I am old enough to be watching TV with my eleven year old daughter; not to mention being old enough to have "back when I was your age..." stories. Somewhere in my brain is a 22 year old, pre-childbearing, partying college girl who is saying "what the heck happened??? When did I start driving a family car??"
Julia sometimes doesn’t want to admit it, but I think that she thinks I’m pretty cool. As long as I don’t try to dance in front of her friends. It’s good to have a kid that likes me. Most kids love their parents; but it’s not as common for kids to like their parents. Julia seems to like me as well as love me, and that is a real blessing. I like her, too!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pottery Class

Well, I just got home from my Monday night pottery class. I am enjoying it so much, and I’ve actually created some pieces that I think are quite nice. We glazed our fired pieces tonight, and put some more greenware in the kiln. I’m really excited to see how my finished pieces turn out. I’ll take pics of them and post them here for everyone to see.

My first piece was one I made from a pattern the teacher had available to us; it allowed me to get used to working the clay, learn how to attach pieces together, and get the feel of how the clay reacts to different techniques. It is going to be a pretty piece, but I don’t consider it one of my pieces of art, because I don’t feel like I really "created" it.

The rest of my pieces are original works. I got ideas from pottery sites, books, and articles, but I modified everything to such an extent that I truly feel like they are my own. Some are really good (I made a slab teapot tonight that I am really proud of); some are pretty awful (my first thrown bowl is a tragedy to rival Shakespeare). I’ll take the bad with the good, though, for I have found a new love, and her name is clay.