The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

November -- Not my Favorite Month

I've never liked November. It means that winter is coming, daylight savings time is over, I have to put away my summer clothes, , and the stores starting screaming Christmas. This year, however, I don't seem to have as much of a November funk. Maybe because I have a plan, a challenge to get me through this month and next (December is almost as bad as November, but at least the winter solstice means daylight hours are increasing!).

Good girl
1. Yesterday I worked hard in spin class. Lots of climbing with short recoveries, more like intervals (strength) than all-terrain.
2. No coffee, more water, oatmeal for breakfast yesterday and today.

Bad girl
1. Halloween candy-- but it could have been worse.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

36 Mile Autumnal Weekend and the Need for a Plan

I went to Saratoga Springs for a Faculty Senate meeting, which ended at noon on Saturday. It's about a 2.5 hour drive, so I knew I would have all afternoon to "explore." I could have gone shopping but instead I decided to bring my bike and I went to the Saratoga Battlefields. The tour road is a 10 mile loop with 10 tour stops along the way. It was a beautiful autumn day, although on the cool side (maybe 50 degrees). The hills are in full color, and the park was relatively quiet. I did see about 3 other bicyclists and a dozen tourists in cars. The last mile was a slow climb. When I got back to the car, I decided I did not drag my bike on a 300 mile round trip to ride it 10 miles, so off I went on a 2nd loop around the park. Twenty miles was perfect. At that point my feet were getting cold, I was hungry and a little bit tired. But it sure felt good when I threw the bike back in the car, got myself a sandwich and headed home with 20 miles in my legs and a little history in my head.

Back home, today was an absolutely perfect autumn day, with temps into the low 60s. Son #1 took my car to referee soccer games all afternoon, so I went for a bike ride from home. I did DH's ride. It was tough, especially that last stretch, but I put another 16 miles in the bank! I don't know how many more days like today we will get, so I'm glad I got out there and made the most of it. Daylight Savings Time is officially over, boohoo.

I have decided to try to kick the coffee habit (again). I took advantage of no train rides over the last 4 days. Friday was the only day I didn't make it. Sitting in meetings all day, listening to the Provost talk about "mission creep," and trying to stay awake. So I had coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. On the bright side, I didn't drink any coffee on the other 3 days, and today I didn't even notice that I hadn't had any. Tomorrow, when I get on that train....... "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." I need a plan to help get through tomorrow without coffee. Hmmmm, ice cream? Fig Newtons? Snapple?

Gearing up for November--

November Focus
1. An opportunity to start November off coffee--Faculty Senate meeting October 27-29. Four days with no train ride, the perfect opportunity to kick the coffee habit (plus coffee prices are going up on Monday! Save money! Buy workout clothes!). Increase H2O. Do not substitute tea for coffee. It still involves sugar.
2. Food--Focus on breakfast, reduce white foods, spread out the calories across the day, balance protein.
3. Fitness--Buy new sneakers.
4. Start building weight program using free weights, moving off the circuit.
5. Two trips to Orlando-do not obsess when options are more limited.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Fitness Smorgasbord

On Thursday, I took a deep water class, mostly because I wanted to try DWR (deep water running) and I thought it would be helpful to have an instructor. As soon as I tried it, it felt "natural," if running in deep water wearing a floatation belt can feel "natural." I don't think it's the kind of thing that really requires instruction. The instructor took us through several different cardio type moves and manuevers and then some ab exercises. When she moved onto arms/weights at the shallow end of the pool, I decided to try running a few laps in the lap pool. I defintiely got my HR up, although not as high as running on land or doing other cardio activities. DH was there, swimming laps, and I got him to try it also, but he was not nearly as happy with it as I was. He wants it to feel like running, which it doesn't. He also thought it would get his HR higher than it did. Oh well. I'm glad he tried and maybe he will try it again, especially if his shoulders start bothering him from all the swimming. I think I may add it into my cardio activities here and there. I would like to see what it feels like after doing it for 1/2 hour. The only problem is that it's kinda boring, especially since you can't plug in the tunes. Have to go somewhere else, as most swimmers do.

This morning I took the kickboxing class, followed by body sculpting. Kickboxing was fun. I would definitely go to this class again, but 8 am on Saturday morning is tough. I don't mind getting up early to drvie to a meeting place for a bike ride, but for some reason, this took some real motivation to get up and out the door. I guess I would much rather be on my bike. I did this instead of spinning just to do something different (and because I had heard really good things about the class). Body sculpting was the usual -- challenging, wondering how many muscles I am going to feel tomorrow that I didn't even know I owned. She does a good deal of "core" work and you really have to think about what is moving and what is not moving. She walks around and corrects your movements and posture, which is always helpful (and the sign of a good instructor). When I came home, I started to read, but I fell asleep for about an hour! My inner thighs are so sore (DOMS). I think it's primarily from MPT on Thursday, but probably compounded by kickboxing.

Variety, the spice of life-long fitness. I am enjoying this fitness smorgasbord.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Healthy Obsession

When does the healthy attitude about health and fitness become an obsession? Yesterday I had my gym bag packed and every intention of going to the gym when son #1 went to his meeting at the HS. On my way home, I decided not to go, not because I didn't feel well or because I was feeling lazy. I forced myself NOT to go to the gym because I really think I needed to get some other things done and that maybe I am becoming obsessed with working out. So instead, I cooked myself dinner, helped son #2 with his homework, got some laundry done and watched The Biggest Loser (instead of The Amazing Race, which I had intended to watch when I got home from the gym). Watching The Biggest Loser did make we wish I could be on a treadmill or doing bicep curls, but I got over it.

When I did finally slow down, got into bed and finished reading a very good book, I felt like I made the right decision and i had no regrets.

But there's no stopping me today-- my gym bag is in the car, 5:12 train, 6:30 spin. Business as usual tonight!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Good girl --- Bad girl

Nobody's perfect. Unless perfection is acknowledging the imperfections and striving to do better.

Good girl:
Yesterday during spin class, when the instructor said, "well, its been an hour, wanna do one more hill?", I said "yeah! bring it on!"
I brought my lunch today. And I made sure my DH had a lunch too.
I did not go out for the latte I was craving.
I stopped lurking at PDB and posted to the forum.

Bad girl:
I had a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast yesterday.
Not drinking enough water.
Didn't do any laundry over the weekend. That's gonna come back and bite me.

Today I'm gonna:
Lift weights and run (treadmill).
Get the laundry started and get son #1 to help.
Help son #2 with essay.
Watch Amazing Race (might have to TIVO it).

Reading: The Plot Against America
Weighing: 109/BF 22%

Monday, October 17, 2005

Attack of the Killer Bees

Quite an adventurous hike yesterday. We tiptoed across roaring streams, detoured through thorny bushes where the trail was under a foot of water to the grand finale. I needed to pee and I went off the trail, over a small hill and found a tree. With approximately 730 acres of park land, I found 3 square inches that contained a nest of yellow jackets. Urinating on them really pissed them off!! I barely had time to get my pants up when they started swarming all over me. Indeed there were 2 or 3 of them in my pants. Elizabeth's dog, Gussie, had followed me, and we went runing over the hill with the swarming bees. My hiking buddies starting swatting them and I almost freaked out when I looked down and saw about a dozen of them on my jacket. I got my jacket off and started working on the ones in my pants. When it was over, I had been stung 5 or 6 times and there were another half dozen stings among the group. Gussie seemed ok, but Elizabeth got stung 3 times. I actually had 3 Claritins in my hiking fanny pack, which was distributed and that helped enormously-- the swelling was going down by the time I got home. But the pain was making me unhappy. Ibuprofen and ice seemed to help somewhat. Rather than sitting around and feeling sorry for myself, I went to a party at Elizabeth's house (newly bought house). It was basically a reconvening of the hiking group, and we had a wonderful time. Elizabeth prepared a sit down dinner from pasta thru apple pie and we told stories and laughed (including killer bee jokes). It could have been so much worse and while I was inflicted with the worst of it, the pain and suffering was fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, and nobody went into anaphylaxis (Howard is allergic to bee stings!!). And now our group certainly has a grand story to tell.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cabin Fever and Body Fat

The non-stop rain is starting to make me craaaaaazy. I picked up my bike on Thursday but scheduling made it difficult to get in even a little loop. I thought I might be able to get a ride in on Friday afternoon, but the rains came. Saturday it rained hard, all day, 3-4 inches worth. Sunday I drove for 5 hours thru misty drizzly to RI to MP's surprise 50th birthday party, which was wonderful. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday has been more of the same. And so far there seems to be no end in sight. Aaargh. I am hoping the sun comes out this weekend. Even a cloudy day would be nice, as long as it stops raining!! I want outdoor miles. I crave the Trek.

Saturday morning I went to spin class and it was a weather induced spinning reunion. Anybody who has ever taken a spin class showed up and every bike was taken (including the instructor's bike). It was fun! Everyone was singing along as we conquered "all terrain." On Monday I worked with MPT since Thursday is a holiday. That was the last session in my package, and I decided I am not ready to stop so I bought another 10 sessions. And yesterday I made it to Endurance spin class, which is my favorite. TT made us find our groove at a cadence of 20 and then stay there for 10 minutes. Recover for a few minutes and repeat 4 more times. She turned off the lights and lit a candle so we could find our inner spinning zen. Couldn't see my HR monitor, but at this point, I have a pretty good idea of where I am based on how I feel. This turned out to be a good way to turn inward and work with that.

I finally made note of my body fat. We have the scale, but I have been so tuned into the pounds that I never paid much attention to the body fat. Now I wish I had because I knowit has come down and I would love to know how much. I do know that right now it is 23%. My weight hovers around 110. On Saturday I went shopping and bought 3 pairs of pants for work and 3 pairs for everything else. Clothes that I bought last year are too big. Older clothes that were tight are now a perfect fit. I am down one size to a 6P. My arms and shoulders are looking good. Gotta drink more water!!!

Monday, September 26, 2005

The 4 Mile Tour

My GA Bike Tour ended abruptly at mile 4 yesterday. I was registered for the 50 mile tour. Oh well.
I met Karen at registration at a little after 8:00. She was kinda flustered and a little late because she had locked herself out of her house and could not imagine how she was going to get back in. She made a few phone calls and we finally set off at about 8:30. We stopped at 0.2 miles because her bike computer wasn't registering, but she couldn't get it to work. Well, mine was, so off we went. Mile 4, no shoulder, car in the right lane. I rode over a storm drain/grating, went "THUMP," pulled over and saw the huge dent in my front rim. That was it for me. I need a new wheel. I called for support and 5 minutes later the sag wagon pulled up and they took me back to the start. I hung around for a little while, helped out with registration, then I went home. I watched the Yankee game, snoozed on the couch and ate a frozen Snickers. I deserved it after that workout!!!
Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day and I restrained from taking my bike out so my legs would be fresh for the Tour. So I ended up having a rather lazy weekend, but I guess that's OK every once in a while..... as long as it doesn't become the norm.
So back to spinning today. Hoping bike repairs will only involve a new wheel and there's no damage to the fork. But as long as I'm bringing it in, I will let them repack the headset, which I was going to have done after the season. I can ride the hybrid for a couple of days if necessary.

Reading: Empire Falls
Watching: All The Kings Men, Yankee games
Weight: 110 (if only I hadn't eaten the Snickers)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Flame On !!

The flamer/list owner/moderator would not concede that she was part of the problem. So my attempts at conciliation went nowhere. I suggested that she post a portion of the email she had sent to me, which was an appropriate clarification. Instead she posted her entire tirade about why I was wrong. So I posted a comparison of her initial flame and the more appropriate excerpt with the following:
"I viewed the first response as "flaming" and the second as an appropriate response and explanation. So thanks for the clarification. I won't be coming to this meet-up, I hope you have a really big turnout and great Halloween event. I haven't decided yet whether I would enjoy coming to future meetings. And just to set the record strainght, I did come to a meet-up in August and had awonderful time talking with really interesting people."

She then went on to alienate another group member with "i'm sorry, but i'm not going to make myself crazy having a whole bunch of meetings every month to accommadate a few people, and then they don't even show up. it becomes very tedious being stood up.. "

The Bitch is a control freak. But I am going to stay on the high road.

Getting on to more serious things-- Hurricane Rita has been downgraded to category 3.

I am psyched to ride 50 miles in the bike tour this Sunday. I found a D+/C rider to ride with, and I even volunteered to serve food at the end. Hoping for nice weather, which so far seems to be in the forecast.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I've Been Flamed!!

My post to a Yahoo group about a scheduled meet-up date--
FYI--> October 10 is Columbus Day-- I won't be coming into the city to work and I expect many others won't be around that day. Just something to consider.

The response from the listowner--
if people want to come to these meetings, they should make it their business to make the time to come. i've taken polls and have made extra meeting days to accomadate peoplein this group. you been signed up since april, and there have been a number of meetings that didn't fall on a holiday. it would be nice if you came sometime.

I decided to take this offline and replied to the owner's email instead of to the message board. I used yahoo's reply function and I don't know if a copy of my email will show up in my "Sent" folder, but if it does, I will post it here. I took the high road, letting her know that the time I did come to a meeting, she impressed me as a very sincere and dedicated person, and this seems out of character. Perhaps she read something in my email that would not have come off in a f2f situation (doubtful, just giving her the benefit of the doubt; probably having a bad day). My major concern was that other people would read this and not feel very good about it and not want to come to our get-togethers. Already 2 other list members have admonished her for taking this tone. Can't wait to see how she responds to me and to the list. Internet etiquette intrigue!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The New Senator

I attended my first University Faculty Senate meeting on Friday and Saturday, as the new senator representing my campus. I actually felt important, even though I only listened and did not have anything to add to the discussions. Everybody in attendance made me feel welcome and important. They conducted their business as if their work is important, too. I think I will wait and see before rendering my judgement on that. The meetings were in a historic railroad headquarters building, which is now home to Administration. It's an amzing building, including an art gallery in the lobby, that runs the length of the building. I wish I had brought my camera. I seem to have that sentiment often of late. On the way up, I stopped and had dinner with CC and family. We haven't seen each other in very many years, and it was great to have the chance to catch up and spend time with her, her hubby, son and daughter. I hope we can maintain that reconnection.

On the home front, Niece #2 started her new (and first real) job yesterday. Brother is relieved and very happy. Nieces will move into apartment in early October.

Reading: Empire Falls
Listening: On the Media
Watching: Sex and the City Season 2

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mountain Bikers Rock

On Friday, I took my bike to the gym because my Passat was in the shop. At hubby's suggestion, I took the hybrid so I could ride thru BM Reservation. This is defintiely shorter and perhaps less hilly? NOT. As soon as I got off the main road, I was heading straight up over much gravel, needed to put my bike in first gear and started slipping. I had to walk my bike up a couple of times, just couldn't get any forward momentum on the uphill gravel. It was much more difficult than I had anticipated, especially after doing a bazillion squats and lunges and other activities that tend to turn your legs into rubber. I now have much more respect for mountain bikers, after experiencing this activity firsthand. When I got home and told son #2 about it, his response was "hey, what's the big deal, I've done it, no lo problemo." I guess I will have to try it again and then decide if I am a total mountain biking wimp or not. But it really made me crave my Trek more than a second chance. On Saturday, I rode 22 miles on the coveted Trek up and down many a hill, without even a wimper. Well, maybe I wimpered once on the last hill, but I was never close to even thinking about walking uphill!! On Sunday I rode Lew's "Flat 18, " but I put some speed behind it, verifying my status as a C rider.

Reading: All the Kings Men
Watching: Finding Neverland

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Promotion to Level C

I have been promoted to level C!  I rode with the club on Saturday, 27 miles on the bike path.  On the way back, the leader picked up the pace to the equivalent of a C ride, so we averaged 12+ mph.  It was very pleasant, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to ride with some other people instead of alone.  On the ride home, I definitely pushed to stay with the group, which I would not have done if I was alone.  On Monday I went down to SUNY for the new member “E” ride (E for easy?).  Parking Lot #2 at 9 am on the weekends/holiday is bike riders central.  There was at least one other club ride going out, and there were at least 50 bike riders linking up for various rides.  Hey, for once I rode at the front of the pack.  I even opted for the optional 6 mile “challenging” loop.  There were about 20 people on the ride, and then 5 of us took the optional loop—the leader, the co-leader and his wife, me and JR (who was riding a recumbent).  The leader complimented my form and loved my Trek.  Black Trek, you rock! Overall, I am psyched, I enjoyed the riding, even when it was low key, and my confidence continues to build.  I now see where I was, where I am now (in 4 months) and where I can be.  Hope to make the most of the rest of the season.  

On Sunday I went hiking with the club group.  We had about 12 people and 4 labs.  We hiked the Hudson Highlands which was relatively close to home.  It was a spectacular day.    

Reading:  All the Kings Men
Watching: 30 Days on TIVO
Weighing:  110-

Friday, September 02, 2005

Welcome to Level D

**The Program**
Heading into a 3 day weekend which is supposed to be perfect, weather-wise. I joined the Cycle Club and I am going to ride with them tomorrow. Sadly, according to their parameters, I am a “level D” rider (avg. speed 10 mph). Well, that leaves plenty of room for improvement. Sunday is a hiking day, and I guess that leaves Monday for whatever! Son #1 is reffing the Labor Day tournament Sat and Sun. Hubby may take son #2 to the flea market. No other real plans. The time has come to think about not driving -- with gas over $3/gallon.

The last few weeks have been very choppy, difficult to maintain a routine, but I feel good. The boys are home, went down to Florida to visit the grandmas, following the human story of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

I had slipped quite a bit on the Healthy Habits, but I am getting back on track. . My weight is back to where it should be. I took spinning class on Wednesday. It sure felt good after time spent in Florida, eating and watching TV, especially when Katrina came through. I worked with MPT yesterday, will hit the gym today after work.

Reading: All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
Watching: Kinsey (2004)
Listening: Coverville podcasts

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Resurrection of the Trek

I have resurrected my Trek. Here's how it happened.
Part 1
Hubby and I decided to take celebratory trip this summer to Hawaii with Backroads-- biking, hiking and kayaking. Realized I have ridden very little in past 5 (OK, who am I kidding 10) years, went out for a bike ride and almost died, especially on the little itty bitty hills. At about this time, noticed a new 8 week program at the club--Spinning Weight Loss Program. Decided to sign up and learned how to spin. Do you need to learn how to spin if you know how to ride a bike? Probably not, but it helped to have an instructor who made sure you were fitted to the bike properly and could start out easy. As part of the program, I committed to spinning 3 days a week and working out a total of 5 days a week. And I did. Started weight program with a personal trainer. Lost a few pounds, discovered my hamstrings while shaving my legs, noticed muscles in my shoulders and arms. Getting ready for Hawaii. Took the hybrid out for a ride, definitely getting stronger. I see the Trek in the basement, and I start thinking about it. Trek has no pedals. Nothing $170 can't fix. Trip to the bike store for very cool Sidi bike shoes and cleats and pedals. Take the Trek out with my new shoes and pedals and I'm in heaven!!

Part 2
Hawaii, the Big Island. I finish last everyday, but I can handle almost anything, including pushing uphill with headwinds. Last day, only 4 of us go for the 38 mile ride (me and the boys). The coast, the volcanoes, the lava fields are all too beautiful. I am inspired and have tons more confidence.

Part 3
Home again, the Trek is my instrument. It gets a tune-up and a new bike computer (the other one was only 19 years old). I still spin, especially on really hot days, I still lift (weenie) weights, and on Sundays I sometimes go hiking with the club hiking group. I usually ride by myself. Hubby rides much faster than me and is now beginning a 3-4 month achilles rest/rehab. I usually ride between 10 and 17 miles. Might ride more if I had someone to ride with, but I don't mind riding by myself.

I love the feeling of power when I'm reaching the top of those hills (even the itty bitty ones).
I love to feel the sweat pouring out, soaking my clothes.
I love pushing the button on my bike computer to see my time, mileage, speed.
I love the way my clothes fit and the way I feel after losing even a few (4) pounds.

I love my black Trek, which was my 30th birthday present from hubby.