Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hitting Your Ten

My usual cardio workout for the last few months due to my knee have been 20-30 minutes of running, stationary biking, or very rarely the elliptical (I'm not a fan). This is because of a few reasons:

1. My knee.
2. Time constraints.
3. My *()!$ knee.

The time constraints come from working out at lunch instead of before or after work. I do go after work on occasion, but we all know how easy it is to stay home once you actually get planted in front of your home computer or on the couch. Especially when it's -47C. Since I'm used to pumping out a 20 minute HIIT run or 30 minutes on the bike, I don't think much of it. When I'm done, I'm sweaty - that's the goal right?

Today I decided to essentially double up my workouts to see how my knee handled the bike to run transition (spoiler: poorly) since I'd like to do a triathlon in the spring. Normally, I get about 12km out of my 30 minutes (2 m 30sec per km). Today I did 10km in under 20 minutes (1m 57sec per km). Um, WHAT??

I wasn't even very tired as I jumped on the treadmill. I've been doing a 4/10 interval (four minutes walking, 10 minutes running) to try and appease the knee gods. As I finished up my second set of running, I realized I could definitely keep going; the only reason I didn't was my fear of what my knees will do to me tomorrow for doubling up, let alone adding a longer run on.

Obviously, I'm not coming anywhere CLOSE to hitting maximum exertion. No wonder my training is going so slowly. Once again I'm going to have to try and find a way to hit those tens without the Joint That Shall Not Be Named acting up.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Random Act of Kindness #8

So first off, today I opened up my google reader and was summarily humbled by the master.  The Bloggess, one of my personal heroes and the woman who is single-handedly bringing back the word "y'all", has set up a donation system whereby her readers in need of a little help this Christmas are matched up with other readers who send them a $20 gift card.

This is something I find truly remarkable.

In other news, I may have sprained my wrist last night (some guy body-checked me in a soccer game, which no, is not strictly legal), so I've been reduced to typing like my grandma.  Also, I don't remember going to the bathroom being so difficult.

I'd like to say that my RAK was not fighting the guy, but that doesn't really count (he was totally bigger than me).  Also, I'm not  going back to jail  a violent person.

So today when I went to the grocery store (ever tried to shop one-handed?) I noticed a homeless man sitting outside.  This, I maintain, is far more endearing than some people's habits of panhandling directly in front of the liquor store.

Struggling unsuccessfully to put on my backpack without moving my left wrist, and at the same time trying to preserve my dignity (also unsuccessfully) I left the store.  Failing at a skill I had thought mastered in kindergarten, I felt like a cat who has missed the window sill and then is all "what? I didn't even want to get up there".

As I walked outside, for the first time really appreciating the automatic doors, I saw the man again and suddenly I found some perspective.  With considerable determination on my part, I was able to extricate a box of granola bars and offered it to him.  Dark chocolate coconut granola bars.  I like the good stuff.

His face lit up, first in surprise and then in genuine appreciation.  Totally worth a box of granola bars.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Random Act of Kindness #7

Ok, I can't lie to you guys.  This isn't a random act of kindness in the traditional sense.  What it is is a kind bit of advice about goal setting, learned first-hand.  The hard way.

We are now more than two months into this project, and for those of you keeping score, this is only my seventh RAK.  Of fifty.  I swear I've actually done more than that, I just haven't written about them yet.  I'm all like Mother Theresa, promise!

I have a French exam in 2 hours so I'll be brief.

When you're setting a goal, you need to be realistic.  In my youthful naivete, I had thought I could write four RAKs a week.  Turns out, I'm  a jerk  busy.

Ambition is good, but it must be tempered by realism.  Did I really have time to devote four hours a week to this blog, on top of my other responsibilities?  Not really.  Did I want to?  Absolutely.  Am I really that randomly kind?  I don't like your tone.

Picking such an unattainable goal was silly.  I was setting myself up for failure, and every week that went by that I didn't have time to write here I felt like a failure.  I was paralyzed by my own ambition.

What I'm saying here is that when you're setting your goals, remember that it doesn't always have to be perfect.  Sometimes it's ok that your goal just be good enough. 

Don't run a marathon.  Run a mile.  Then lather, rinse, and repeat.

Does this count as an RAK?  Yes, because it's good enough.

Diet Dinner Party

This is cross-posted over at In It To Gym It.

This biggest challenge I find with the Body For Life program (or any diet for that matter) is working around Odd Days. On a typical working day, it’s no problem to eat everything I should and avoid everything I shouldn’t (or at least, it’s easier). But on the weekends or when friends want to get together, suddenly it seems ridiculously hard to keep up with your meal plan. TEW and I try to plan our cheat days to coincide with social events to avoid this problem, but it doesn’t always happen. While most restaurants frown on the whole “bringing-your-own-BFL-approved-food-in” thing, if you’re hanging out at a friend’s house, we try to offer to bring food (or suggest making it a potluck). Will it be a bit of a pain? Yes. Will you be tempted by the tasty things your host or fellow guests provide? Undoubtedly. But it can make the evening less about what you can’t have and more about having fun.
Food to Bring:
Side dishes:
Main dishes:
  • Fruit platters (just avoid the dip yourself if you’re buying one pre-made)
  • Protein pudding
What are your food tricks of the trade?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do you hear that folks? That soft, almost-footstep like sound (but muffled because if it were footsteps they would be treading on what is literally an oceans worth of snow). That's the sound of Christmas creeping closer. Do you know what comes with Christmas?

Vacation Time.

Because my boss has kids she closes the restaurant from Christmas Day til after the New Year.

Do you KNOW how AMAZING this is? For someone who sold their soul to the service industry to have 10 (TEN!) whole days off in a row? For once I don't have to look upon my corporate friends with envy as they relish in their 'paid vacation time.' and 'sick days,' and 'weekends.'

However, unfortunately, because I am a service industry slave 10 days of no work means 10 days of no tips, combined with this wallet-sucking-time-of-year equals no elaborate holiday plans for me.
But do you know what it does mean?

Sleep. A lot of it. And snowboarding. And eating more than just a piece of toast and 27 cups of coffee in a day. And not standing for 8 hours. And wearing NAIL POLISH.


I've made pretty good writing progress as well, I think it's a combination of my tenure as "Marci The Restaurant Scapegoat" coming to an end, and my bosses acknowledgment that it has been a solid 3 weeks of her not making me cry that allows me to write candidly about life without suffering from PTSD flashbacks.

All in all, December, you've been a kick ass month.

Now, if only we could do something about this whole 'winter' thing...

The Never-Ending Saga of My Knee

Here is the (longest ever) cliffnotes version:

·         In November 2009, I doubled up my training to get ready for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. That meant I was working out six or seven days a week, three days of which were twice a day. Yeah, I know, it's shocking that I injured myself.
·         I started to feel "off" in my knee when I was running or cycling. Because I am smart, I ignored it.
·         Then I hit actual pain. At first, just after I worked out, but eventually I got to the point where walking hurt. Standing hurt. Yoga hurt.
·         I started chiropractic treatment and massage therapy (heart) in January and while it helped a lot of things, it didn't seem to address the cause (which remained a mystery).
·         I made an appointment with a knee specialist who without examining me told me I was wasting his time and that I didn't have a knee problem. Despite having pain. In my knee. He then said although he didn't think I had anything wrong, his $900 custom orthotics might help. (*gives finger to "doctor"*)
·         At the start of May 2010, I stopped all exercise for two months, which made me a joy to live with (sorry, Tom!).
·         During those two months, I gained 15 pounds (*gives the finger to knee*)

·         My first activity back was the Ride to Conquer Cancer – two days, 220kms of cycling through southern Alberta. With no training. Don't do that. (Do it with training though!)
·         Good lord are you still reading this? I'll have to send you cookies.
·         About a month ago, I went in for physio (heart) and was recommended to try IMS (like acupuncture except they poke the muscle that is injured and not your eyebrow) to loosen the death grip my adductor had on my MCL, and to loosen my calf muscle which was "UNACCEPTABLY TIGHT FOR A RUNNER" according to Physio Dude.
·         Turns out those muscles were holding my leg together.
·         After a week of having a completely useless right leg and spending my time picking out fake legs, Physio Dude eliminated the muscle tightness as the source, and did some active release and ultrasound work on my MCL.

Dog must be included.

·         And that was awesome. I could walk! With no pain!
·         But then I ran.
·         *Sigh*
·         And it continues…at least with icing, my brace, and active release work by Physio Dude (HEART), it seems possible that I might run for more! Than! Ten! Minutes! at a time.

Luckily, I've started interval training…take that, knee!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Random Act of Kindness # 6

Hello fellow Resolutionaries!   Viva la Resolucion!

So I'm back.  School is done for the semester, so it's time to catch up on some long overdue  sleep   food that doesn't say "easy" or "minute" on it   writing. 

Rest assured, I have been racking up the good deeds.  I am so getting canonized (the Vatican's just catching up with the paperwork).

For my latest hobby (read: procrastination tactic) I've taken up origami.  Which, by the way, is awesome.  Right up until you realize you just folded your title page into a crane.

So while I was "working" in the coffee shop, I took a break (from reading Penny Arcade) to make an origami flower.  The youtube video says it takes five minutes.  Mine took forty-five minutes.

As it turns out, I have the dexterity of a two year old.  Who knew?

Thoroughly absorbed in the task I hardly noticed that I'd gained somewhat of an audience (seriously, I was staring at this piece of paper like I was trying to melt it with my eyes).  Evidently the mother and child beside me were thoroughly fascinated by my efforts.

They made a game of guessing what I was trying to make.  Turns out the kid guessed flower.  On like the third fold.  Because, clearly, she's a witch

So when I finished, I gave it to her.  So she wouldn't hex me.

And it made her day.

Besides, the last thing I needed was physical proof of my procrastination.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Okay, so, I'm a bad resolution-er.
I know this about myself. That resolution to stop biting my nails? I made that four years ago. I'm STILL working on it. Sometimes I'm not working at it all but I recognize that it's a terrible habit and that I shouldn't do it. And the first step in anything is admittance right? I'm the QUEEN of admittance. It's the follow-up steps of action, to change the thing you're admitting needs to changing -that- I'm completely apathetic about.

But regardless. I think about writing all the time. I read something the other day that writers are writers because it's the only thing they cannot stop themselves from doing compulsively. (I think drugs and alcohol were excluded from that statement). But I think what the person meant was that writers always feel the need to write. They want to document everything. They write about whatever they write about because that's how they express themselves. I think the same is true for all artists. Don't painters paint because that's how they express themselves?

This is not true for me. I don't write compulsively. I think compulsively. Like I said earlier I am the master of no follow-through. It doesn't matter if it's something I really enjoy doing or want to do (like writing) or if it's something I've agreed I'll do for a set period of time (like contribute to this blog, where presumably the social pressure of following through on an agreement would motivate me to keep going) or something I need to do for my health (like flossing. I fear cavities like I fear the dark: a lot. And yet I still am only an occasional flosser)

But when I go to bed at night, I feel like I write whole novels in my head. I think about all the things I would love to commit to paper. But I just don't do it. I don't know why.
Now I suppose I could resolve to change that, but let's be honest here, how successful do you think that would be?

Now if you're still with me, I'd like to talk about what has prompted this dialogue of self-examination. (If you're not, well, I feel partly responsible so I'm sorry you've had to wade through my psychosis this morning.)

It's finally starting to look like winter here in my beautiful little town, in my new pretty yellow house. Winter (at least the start of it) is one of my most favorite times of the year. Whenit snows and everything looks fresh and new, like it has never been touched by anything but the purity of new snowfalls. I think of all the fun things that go with winter, skating in the moonlight, drinking hot chocolate at hockey games, flannel pajamas, and Baileys in your morning coffee. This is excluding all the Christmas greatness: family and friends coming together, giving the perfect gift that makes someones whole face light up, cooking (and eating!) delicious foods. The beginning of winter is just fantastic. And I wanted to share my love of this time of year.

It makes me nostalgic. I think about winters past, like the winter I spent working at my previous summer job, surrounded by co-workers who were just so unique, and so great. And I worked with the boy that I had fallen for, and despite everything that has happened since I always look back on that December and feel like it was all about love, and warmth, and happiness.
Or the Christmas I spent in Vancouver, the winter it really, really, snowed. My grandfather had to shovel the roof it snowed so much. We made snowmen and had a snowball fight, and skated on the now completely frozen backyard pool. It was perfect.

So now I'm anxious to see what this winter brings into my life. I've started over in a brand new town, I've moved into my first real (well 3/4 of a real) house. I can see big fat flakes falling outside from my kitchen window. I'm going to take my day off today and make cinnamon buns and head out into the town to start my Christmas shopping. I'm going to wear my new red winter coat, my winter hat and boots, and celebrate my favorite time of year with hot chocolate.

My Christmas wish this year is for something amazing to happen, something to make it all magical, more magical than usual. I just want this winter to shine brighter than the ones before it.

Or maybe that's just my boozy coffee talking. :) Happy December 1st everyone!