Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 80: one mile per ten days

I'm not sure why I feel like day 80 is a milestone more so than other days. But it seems like it should be. I'm 80 days deep, 20 days away from the big one.oh.oh.

I think I've become a lot more realistic about my fitness goals than I was when I first began. At the start of summer, I made a list of goals, including: lose 20 pounds, do something active every day and be able to run a 5 k. I haven't met any of those goals. But I have since crossed off the 20 and written in 10. I haven't lost much weight, but I have lost a lot of fat and really bulked up in muscle. My thighs are pretty sick right now. And my calves have some definitely defined muscles, as well. Overally, I just feel better about how I look. In other words, I can stand to look at myself naked in the mirror without cringing. And my clothes all look SO much better. I honestly didn't realize how awful I looked until I set up a 360 degree mirror here and was able to see my backside. Oh. God. It's shocking to see how something might look fab from the front and sag from the back. I apologize for all of you who had to endure the sight of my back fat.

Anyway, I'm not super ecstatic about my results, but I'm also not unhappy with them. I took a few days off. I lost a few pounds. And while I'm still not a good runner, I'm definitely more in shape than I have been in a long time. It's a good feeling. So, greetings, Day 80...and here's to the next 800,000 days of pushing myself one more mile. With a few days off in between, of course.

That being said, I'll admit that I again took a day off. Sorry, Thursday.

Today is a new dawn, a new day. I went from work to the gym. But boy oh boy was it absolutely flawless outside. I knew I had to get some outdoor time in.

I started off with weights and was again able to do 10 in a row of the army curls. Then I did a buch of weight machines and did two extra machines from my normal routine. I even did a butt blasting weight machine, in which you lean forward and rest your weight on one leg in a squat position while extending your other leg backward against a set amount of weight.

From there, I did 2 miles on the treadmill. I'm not gonna lie, I was super proud of my work out today. I walked .5 miles and then ended up running .5 miles - which might not sound like a lot, but it's a definite accomplishment for me. I could have done more. I can, with confidence, say that I have the ability to run a mile. And it doesn't really have anything to do with being in shape - because I know that I am right now - the thing preventing me from running the most is my calf pain. No amount of stretching or warming up has seemed to do anything for me. I just end up having to work through it. After the first mile, I walked for .3, ran .1, walked .2, ran .2 and walked .2

After that, I did my usual mile on the elliptical and then did 20 reps of side ab crunches before heading back to my apartment to break out my bicycle!

Oh, sweet reunion! I haven't ridden since last Thursday, and it felt super sweet to be back cruisin the pavement in the gorgeous summer sun. I did two laps around Ring Road and a lap and a half around the Dell for a total of 5 miles before retiring.

Total for the day = 8 miles
One mile for every ten days of exercise.


Breakfast: 4 seasoned bagel chips. 1 plum. iced coffee.
Lunch: a hearty serving of pasta with mushrooms, onions, red peppers, tofu & pesto.
Dinner: a bowl of my spinach/chicken/tomato/onion/glazed pecan/raspberry vinaigrette salad. a hunk of italian bread with margarine. 22 oz of water.
After dinner: Shocktop beer. And lots of it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 79

I'll admit, I didn't do anything active on Tuesday.

And I'm surprised / pleased with the amount of guilt I felt. I think it's good that I feel bad about opting for sedentary activities. It means that I will never really let myself become a blob on a couch. And it means that I'm putting enough pressure on myself to feel accountable to my self. On the flip side, I know that it's okay for me to miss a day every now and then. It's not the end of the world and it won't magically expand my waist line. I still don't like it, but it is what it is.

Today, I headed back to the gym. I did the most military curls I've ever done! Last time I went, I could only do 6 in a row. Today, I knocked out 10 and then took a short break and then did another 5. It was pretty sweet. And my arms didn't shake nearly as much as they used to. I then proceeded to do the rest of my arm weights and added a few more repetitions per each machine. Perhaps I am actually getting muscles? Suh-weet.

After that, I headed over to the treadmill. I did .5 miles walking and then alternated .2 miles walking / .1 mile running for 2 miles. I realized that if I run at a pace of 5.4 instead of the 6.0 I was trying to do, my calves hurt less and I didn't lose my breath at all. Good to know.

Then I did 1 mile on the elliptical. The usual. Though I burned the most calories in that one mile than I have before. I must have been going faster or something.

Finally, I did 2 miles on the upright bike and then finished off with side crunches and a 15lb weight resistance.

I left the gym with a spring in my step and feeling good. It was nice to get back to the gym and have a successful workout. There really is nothing like going to the gym and getting your work-out-on. It feels damn good.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 78:shapin' up

I have developed a pattern of not really exercising over the weekends. Which is okay. According to the television screens in the fitness center, one should work out 3 to 5 times a week. My every-day craze was probably a bit excessive. One of my summer goals is to do something active every day - and even if I'm not hardcore cardio-ing it up every day, this doesn't necessarily mean I'm not being active. In fact, I did have a fairly active weekend and spent much time outside, so I'm okay with it.

Anyway. It being Monday, I got back into the swing of things by convincing Retha to go for a walk with me. Now, I stumbled into this loop by accident a few months ago when Olivia and I left campus in search of a lengthy route. If you go all the around (down Old Westport, up Lucy Little, down Chase, up Old Westport), we're probably talking 8 miles here.

Retha had just invested in the Dr. Scholl's version of Shape-Up sneakers and we decided: what better way to test them out than to go for a walk?

Originally, I had intended to go to the gym today, but it was WAY too nice of a day to waste it indoors. We're talking summer-perfect. So I convinced Retha to take her new Shape-Ups for a spin.

Now, I have mixed feelings about these shoes. They claim to:
* Promote weight loss
* Strengthen the back, firm calf muscles, reduce cellulite & firm your thighs
* Improve posture
* Reduce stress on knee and ankle joints

I'm just not sold on the whole idea. It seems that middle aged, overweight women are flocking to them, and my feeling is: DUH. If you go for long walks when you didn't walk before, obviously all of the above are going to happen. But walking on its own can pretty much cover all of those bases. I mean, in my nasty little heart I'm thinking "If you bitches want to lose weight, stop throwing $100 into ugly sneakers with two inch heels and just get off the damn couch." But I guess if they're motivating people TO actually do such a thing, they can't be all that bad.

Anyway, Retha bought the Dr. Scholl's version and they were only $30, so kudos to her on a good buy. She wore them during the day and I was curious as to whether or not they made her feel differently. By the time we were nearing the end of our walk, she mentioned that her calves and upper thighs were burning, which I suppose is a good thing. One thing about these shoes is that because they are shaped much like a rocking chair, they are rolling your muscles back and forth more than they would if you were just wearing flat sneakers, like myself. I must admit that I am somewhat curious about these sneakers. But you will not find me spending any amount of money on them when I am already in love with my current sneakers, which are far more versatile than Shape-Ups, which you can use only for walking.

So yes. We walked. And talked. And walked some more. I haven't been on a long walk like that in a long time. And the backs of my knees/calves felt very tight and sore for the rest of the evening. They are still sore today. It puzzles me a bit to think that I go to the gym nearly every day and proceed to vigorously exercise various parts of my body without feeling any soreness on my part, but one measly 6 mile walk would make my legs sore? How does that work?

According to "Walking Excuse Busters" , sore muscles merely means that you're getting a good workout and engaging new muscles.

So what does this mean for my other routines? Are they not good workouts if I don't feel sore? Or are my muscles already strengthened enough that they are used to their abuse, hence the lack of soreness?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 77: of padding and fattening

It went from being absolutely gorgeous out yesterday to being blah today. I was actually cold at work, which never happens!

After work, I donned a hood and headed to the gym. [Warning: awkward topic coming up] : I've decided that they should invent or I should find a padded sports bra. I don't know what it is, but every time I wear one, I have hard nipples the entire damn time. It's really embarrassing. And I don't understand why it happens. I'm obviously not cold while I'm sweating my ass off on the damn treadmill. What gives?

Okay. Just researched. Apparently they do exist. But they also cost like 40 bucks. Perhaps it's time to start using band-aids? Ugh.


I did weights, as per usual. I ended up being able to do more repetitions than I normally do, which is good. Man, those military presses are a bitch. My entire body shakes like crazy when I do them.

I then did two miles on the upright bike, 1 mile on the stationary bike, 1.5 miles on the treadmill (yeah, I upped the ante) and 1 mile on the elliptical followed by the side-ab workout.

Since I've come home, I can't. stop. eating. I don't know if it's the weather or my lack of plans or my hormones, but damn.

Of food and drink

Breakfast: two mini blueberry muffins. 1 cup green tea.
Lunch: leftovers of chicken/spinach/tomato/onion etc salad. 1/2 piece of focaccia.
Snacks: 3 mini twix bars. 4 mini chocolate chip cookies. two handfuls of popcorn. 1 cup of cajun trail mix.
Dinner: i don't even want to tell you. i'm ashamed.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 76:baby steps

Today, I went for my first legitimate bike ride of the week with Kate. I must admit that it was nice to have a break from biking and that I felt refreshed and ready to go at the start of this ride.

We did the same route as last time (the route we took when I was bitching my bitchy heart out) down Old Westport to Fisher to Russell Mills to Chase to Lucy Little and back to Old Westport.

Man oh man was it a gorgeous day out today. I was so happy to be outside enjoying the perfect temperature and lack of humidity.

About halfway through our ride, Kate said "I noticed you haven't been having any trouble with this route today." And it's true. I didn't really have any trouble. It was a really pleasant ride.

My bike has been doing something pretty funky since I got the flag tangled in my gears (whoops). It refuses to shift into gears 5 & 6 and keeps making a strange clicking sound. We stopped once to examine it and it looks like one of the spokes may be a little out of whack. I think I'm going to make good on my warranty and bring it to Dick's tomorrow to get it checked out. Though it didn't really effect my ride.

So anyway, I had a smooth time with this route. Lucy Little stole my breath for a moment and of course, Old Westport is a bitch no matter which way you look at it, but I was pretty proud of my progress - especially since I haven't gone on a long ride since last Thursday.

Oh, and distance? Around 13 miles. Perhaps next time we shall go the long way - all the way down Chase Rd and up Old Westport from the opposite side. But that hill scares me. I've done it once before and was not a fan. Baby steps.

I did miss going to the gym today. I definitely do not feel as good after a bike ride as I do after the gym. It might be a psychological thing. It might be legit. Who knows? All I know is that I'm definitely going there tomorrow before it closes for the weekend and I don't have a choice but to ride my bike. And probably exercise my elbow. Definitely exercise my elbow.

Of food and drink

Breakfast: two small blueberry muffins. 1 cup of iced green tea.
Lunch: 2 slices of honey ham. 1 nectarine. 1 cup of goldfish.
Dinner: (at panera) caeser salad, macaroni & cheese, piece of bread, Dr. Pepper (the best doctor there is).
After dinner: i made popcorn for the movie tonight (we're seeing inception), so i'll probably eat some of that. and maybe have some iced coffee while we're still at panera, as well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 75: biking break continues

While reading some fitness tips online, I stumbled across something that endorsed biking as the best cardio exercise. I find that I feel much better about myself after a romp at the gym rather than just biking.

When I'm biking, I sweat a lot - which is good. I'm sure I burn a lot of calories. I keep my heart rate up and I put a lot of effort into challenging myself by tackling somewhat difficult courses. But the feeling I get after an hour on the bike can't even compare to the way I feel after an hour at the gym. And after my three day hiatus, I honestly don't miss biking. I think I have come to equate it with recreation rather than fitness. I enjoy biking. I think it's fun. When I'm at the gym, I am more definitely focused on working out and getting a good workout.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I'm engaging more parts of my body. There are six skill-related components of physical fitness:
1) Agility
2) Coordination
3) Power
4) Balance
5) Reaction time
6) Speed
and five health related components:
1) Body composition
2) Cardiovascular fitness
3) Flexibility
4) Muscular endurance
5) Strength

When I'm biking, I work on agility, coordination, power, balance, reaction time, speed, cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance and strength - however, I'm only really working out one part of my body. When I'm at the gym, I'm able to hit all of these targets, but I am working my arms and legs and everything in between.

As per usual, I started off with stretching and weights.

When I started the upright bike today, I decided to use one of the pre-programmed courses, weight loss. The course is set up to have a really low resistance and then rocket to a high resistance and then back up and down. The machine kept pausing the program and the words "slow down" would flash across the screen. I didn't even feel like I was going fast! I tried to slow down, but about a mile into the course, the program just ended. It was weird. I ended up doing one more mile at a resistance of 6. Then I did one mile on the stationary bike. This time, I was able to go at my own speed.

Man, I really hated the treadmill today. I grabbed two 3-lb weights and used them, alternating exercises and arms, whenever I walked in between my jogging. I did the same course I've been doing for the last few days: walk .2, run .1, walk .1, run .1 etc for 1 mile. I felt realllly tired today. It was a struggle to do any running. I just felt drained.

After that, I did one mile on the elliptical and then went back to the upright bike and did one mile. I finished off the workout with the side-ab work out. And let me tell you, my side abs are definitely feeling it now!

Overall, a good workout :)

Food for thought:

Breakfast: 100 calorie yoplait yogurt. One cup of green tea.
Lunch: leftover chicken/spinach/tomato/onion/parsley/scallion/pecan salad w/ raspberry vinaigrette. One piece of herb focaccia bread.
Dinner: leftover salad (see above). One cup of cajun trail mix. 4 mini chocolate chip cookies (curse you, delicious cookies!) 22 oz. of water.

It seems boring that I should eat the same thing for lunch and dinner, but let me assure you that it is SO good, I don't care!

Day 74:one more mile

I made it my personal mission to make the most of my gym session today.

I began with the usual weights. I've noticed that I am able to do more repetitions with less effort, which I'm guessing is a good thing. For arms, I do anywhere between 10 and 30 lbs per machine. I'm still trying to master this one freestanding machine in which you put all of your weight on your arms and curl your knees in. It works the ab muscles and arms. But my arms shake so badly when I do it, that I can only ever do about five curls at a time. Maybe some day.
When I finished weights, I did 1 mile on the upright bicycle. I did a 4 minute mile, which impressed me, if no one else. Then I did 1000 m on the rowing machine. Then I did 1 mile on the stationary bike. Then I did 1 mile on the treadmill, alternating walking for .1 mile and running for .1 mile. [I think I am going to do this for the rest of the week and then next week, move up to .2 miles and so on. This may help me train. At this point, I can't even run half a mile without my legs hurting, so I figure baby steps will help strengthen me. Hopefully.] After the treadmill, I did 1 mile on the elliptical, alternating in the same cycle as I always do - .1 mi frontward with arms, .1 mi frontward w/out arms, .1 mi backward with arms, .1 mi backward w/out arms, repeat until mile is complete.
Normally, I would be done after the elliptical, but today, I decided to extend my regimen. I went back to the upright bicycle and bolted out one more mile. Then I grabbed a fifteen pound weight and did a few repetitions of holding it behind my head and pulling it up. Then I let my arm dangle with the weight and did side crunches, 10 on each side, 2 x.
I left the gym feeling pretty darn good about myself. I'm actually really enjoying the gym now. I only have one month left of my sweet summer set up, so I definitely have to make the most of the empty facilities before the students come swarming back and upset my exercise groove.
Food for thought
Breakfast: one 100 calorie yoplait yogurt
Lunch: two cups dirty rice, one cup watermelon/onion/tomato salad with balsamic-lemon dressing
Dinner: (I'm pretty proud of this) Chicken breast hand-battered in egg and breadcrumbs, cooked in olive oil in a spinach salad with tomatoes, red onions, scallions, parsley and candied pecans, tossed in a raspberry-hazlenut vinaigrette.1 slice of herb focaccia bread. 2 mini chocolate chip cookies.
After dinner: two beers (1 Guinness and 1 Shipyard Summer Ale). One cup of Cajun Trail mix.
Conclusion: I could've done without the after dinner stuffs. But my dinner was damn good and I can't wait to eat some of the leftovers for lunch today.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 73: back in the groove

I started off the day feeling pretty low about my exercise regimen (or lack thereof) and determined to get my rapidly sagging ass to the gym. So this is exactly what I did.

I reached the facility around 4 pm, only to discover that they were closing early (5 pm). This meant I had to get the most out of my hour and make sure to take care of the most high-impact activities first, in case I ran out of time.

I began as I usually do - with arm & leg weight machines. Watching myself in the mirror, I noticed some definite definition in my arms and was pretty stoked.

Then, I tackled my age old enemy, the treadmill. I walked for .2 miles and then alternated jogging/walking every .1 mile for the rest of my full mile.

After that, I hopped on the elliptical and did another solid mile. When I'm on the elliptical, I start off doing a frontward stroke with my arms on the handles for .1 miles, then doing a frontward stroke pumping my arms (as if I'm running) for .1 miles, then doing a backward stroke with my arms on the handles for .1 miles and finally doing a backward stroke pumping my arms. I cycle through these four different manuevers until I've reached the mile. I find that it makes the mile go by very quickly and also engages different parts of my body.

Tip: The gym has a few tv screens and one of them is maintained by the Athletics Department and offers fitness tips. One of them is that your workout becomes less effective if you grip the machine too tightly when you work out. Your grip should remain slack. If you don't hold on at all, you make the most of your workout and really work your core and maximize your balance.

Once I'd finished the elliptical, my hour was unfortunately up. I decided to make the most of the day and take out my bike. I ended up doing two circles around the Ring and then capping it off with an extra mile in the Dell, bringing my total bike mileage to 5 miles and my total mileage of the day to 7 miles.


Earlier today, I posted an entry about food. It prompted me to think more about my daily intake. Here is what I ate today:

Breakfast: a 100 calorie yoplait yogurt. one bottle (22 oz) of water.
Lunch: 3 slices of deli turkey breast, one cup of goldfish
Snack: 1 cup of cajun trail mix. 4 squares of Hershey's chocolate. 1 bottle (22 oz) of water.
Dinner: one cup of Lipton's "dirty rice" (rice with cajun seasoning, peppers and onions). A watermelon / tomato / lemon juice / balsamic vinegar / onion salad with raw sunflower seeds*.
After dinner: one cup of orange pekoe tea. 4 mini chocolate chip cookies.

If I could cut out two things from this list, I would get rid of the Hershey's and the chocolate chip cookies. Instead, I would have 2 squares of chocolate after dinner with my tea. I tend to eat things impulsively, based on my cravings, and need to learn to control that. But other than the chocolate indulgence, I think my consumption for the day was fairly healthy.

*I haven't been grocery shopping in a long time and had to be a little innovative. I cut up one half of a white onion and let it soak in one tbsp of balsamic vinegar while I cut up 4 slices of watermelon and one tomato. I put the watermelon & tomato in a bowl and doused them in fresh lemon juice and then mixed in the onions, finally sprinkling a handful of the seeds on top. The flavor was really interesting! The onions were a bit on the potent side - I would have preferred scallions or red onion - but I never realized how versatile watermelon can be. The subtle sweetness of it was a nice compliment to the sharpness of the onion and the balsamic lemon made for a nice dressing. I think I will definitely be experimenting with salads in the near future!

Food for Thought: Ie, - I haven't exercised in 3 days

I had a fairly sedentary weekend, thanks to my little friend laziness.

Don't worry, people! I haven't fallen off the wagon, completely. I fully intend on going to the gym as soon as I get out of work and busting my ass with a ton of cardio.

But in the meantime, I have started researching some biking websites, running websites, and, my most intriguing find of the day: Healthy Choices: The 101 Best Things to Do For Your Body Now! - an article that was run in Women's Health Magazine.

I read the whole article and found a lot of really interesting things. For instance, that cooking in a cast iron skillet adds iron to your food.

There was also a section called "Eat these foods. Every. Single. Day."

Here's the list:

- Broccoli sprouts
- Canola and vegetable oil
- Low fat milk and cheese
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso and yogurt
- Cinnamon
- Orange juice
- Nuts
- Tea (particularly green tea)
- Hot chocolate (unsweetened)
- Berries

It also had a list of foods to avoid. Unfortunately, most of them are delicious. And it's really hard to know what exactly IS in everything you eat. Or actually keep track of the things you are eating.

Things to avoid:

- Processed and refined carbs (how do you know which carbs actually fall under this category?)
- Hot dogs, bologna and sausage (but they're all so good!... and I'm guessing kielbasa should also be on this list. Sad day.)
- Artificial sweeteners (so anything diet, pretty much, since those ALL use artificial...everything)
- "Fortified" junk food (any form of "sugar" should not be listed as one of the top 3 ingredients in your snacks)
- Booze

I'd actually never been on the Women's Health Magazine website before, but I've grown pretty fond of it in the last hour. So fond, in fact, that I signed up for a free newsletter, How to Look Better Naked. I'll keep you posted on the info I learn from that. Hopefully, it will be useful. Or at least interesting.

Half of the battle of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is learning to define a healthy lifestyle. What does "being healthy" really mean? What is your personal definition of health?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 72: Rant'n'ride

I took a "day of rest" yesterday. And by day of rest I mean, of course, day of chinese food, diet pepsi, twix & trashy reality television with your favorite russian and mine.

After last night's feast, I -not surprisingly - felt wretched this morning. Bloated. Full. Fat. Don't even get me started on where the needle was pointing when I stepped on the scale.

I spent the day feeling pretty down on myself and just generally bad about my body. When I returned home from work, Kate was super amped to go on a "fun" bike ride. Fun for her typically = torture for me, so I wasn't nearly as amped as she was.

The first quarter of our bike ride was about as fun as I felt. Wretched. We went down Old Westport and turned onto Fisher. By this point, my muscles felt really tired and lame. I complained a bit about my lack of fitness and she offered for us to turn back, but I didn't want to personally be as lame as my body, so I decided we should continue on.

During the first half of our ride down Fisher Rd, I lamented how frustrating it is that I have exercised every day for over 70 days and have felt no real results. How I go bike riding nearly every day and it still doesn't feel much easier. How I have varied my exercises and really pushed myself and still don't see any results in the way I look.

Of course, there is no chance that I am going to stop. Mostly because I don't want to regress. If I already feel this bad after actually doing the work, how did I survive before I got into this routine?

It just doesn't add up in my book. My diet has really improved since the summer started. I work out nearly every day (which is more than the recommended exercise plan). I lead a very active lifestyle. I'm always doing things and going places and not just sitting around watching tv with my hand in a bag of potato chips. I don't understand why my body isn't responding. And I know that I should not expect to see results immediately. But this has been going on for over 2 months already and I have seen literally NO results in the way I look. All of my clothes still fit me the same way. And that 20 pound weight loss goal is not even possible.

Kate and I bantered over what the reason for my fitness failure may be. She countered that maybe my body is at its natural weight. But I know it isn't. It was only 3 years ago that I weighed 30 pounds less than I do today. And even then, I could've lost more.

I entirely changed my whole lifestyle. I went from eating shit and not exercising at all to working out nearly every day and being more food-conscious. You would think such a drastic change in lifestyle would lead to at least some sort of encouraging change?


The rest of our bike ride was actually very pleasant and my spirits lifted quite a bit. I remember the first time I went down Fisher Rd, I had a bitch of time. I had an even bigger bitch of a time when I went down Chase Rd. I really thought I wasn't going to make it. But this was before I started doing any bike riding at all, so that's legit. We took a detour down Lucy Little and back to Old Westport and I was feeling pretty optimistic about the final stretch.

We ended up having to go up onto a sidewalk to avoid a car that was parked in the breakdown lane. Kate went past the flag for Thirsty Crow and I followed suit. And then had to stop. Yep. The Thirsty Crow "Open" flag somehow managed to wrap itself around my gear and I was, in fact, dragging it behind me. Wtf.

Kate came back and disentangled it and then my gears were kind of messed up. So she fixed them. (So handy, those Russians!) When we went past the flag, we were just about to take on the very large and tiring hill leading back up to UMD, but stopping right before it made the hill go by like a breeze.

By the time we finally returned to Aspen, I felt refreshed and not tired at all.

Total mileage: 12.6 mi

Conclusion: Bodies are weird, man.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 71: moist

This humidity business is really starting to get to me. At work today, I had to move two computers. I was completely drenched. Gross.

After work, I swapped one sweaty ensemble for another and finally made my way to the gym!

I started off with weights.
I did arm five different arm machines and then two different leg machines.
After that, I ran a mile on the treadmill. And every time I run a mile on the treadmill, I am reminded that I hate running. Any distance. On any surface.
My goal was to walk for .3, run for .5 and walk for .2 distance wise. I was not able to accomplish this. I walked for .3, ran for .3, walked for .2, ran for . 1, walked for .1
Also, I've noticed that I have started to sweat more recently. I'm not sure if it's just the change of atmosphere or what. But damn.
Anyway, after the treadmill, I did a mile on the elliptical.
Then I did a mile on the reclining bike. Then I did a mile on the upright bike. Then I dragged myself back home for a much needed shower.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 70: Power

I had big ambitions of going to the gym today and getting my weight-train / cardio on. About an hour before I got out of work, the power went out across the campus. I didn't think much of it and went home to try to accomplish some things - then realized how morbidly dependent I am on electricity. Then I realized that not only could I not plug in my phone, turn on the tv, cook etc, I also couldn't go to the gym - as all of the machines require power. Womp womp.

With literally nothing to do, I decided that I would just take my bike out. As I wheeled it out of my apartment, I realized that there most likely would not be power in the elevator, either - which would mean that I would have to carry my bike down the 3 flights of stairs. Not pleasant. Luckily, the elevator must have been on a backup generator, so I was able to get out of the building just fine!

I had determined to venture off campus for the 2nd time by myself. I got to the top of campus and then made a snap judgment to just kept going around the ring. As soon as I made it to the freshmen dorms, I realized that I had made a mistake and should have just gone off campus. I don't know why I didn't.

I ended up doing a double ring and going down to the Dell twice. I had a pretty easy time of it and was sufficiently sweaty by the end of my trek and was happy to discover that the power had returned by the time I was done. Now if only I could amp up my own power!

Tonight, I have no plans, so I believe I am going to go for a jog on the track. We'll see how that goes. Probably not well. But here's to hoping.

Tomorrow, I shall [hopefully] make it to the gym for a more well-rounded and challenging workout!

[Edit] 11:43 p.m.
In the last hour, I have successfully "jogged" (a combination of running spurts and walking...much like the couch to 5 k plan) 2 miles and then biked 4 miles. It was muggy and cool and I felt empowered. Granted, I'm still a terrible runner and I get out of breath quickly and my calves hurt. But I did it anyway. And I sweated my skin off. And now I am showered and I feel oh-so-refreshed. If I can make this a trend, I'll literally be able to melt off the rest of my 20 lbs!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 69: second day syndrome

I am convinced that the "second day" workout is the hardest workout.

Think about it: the first time you go to the gym, you think to yourself This is awesome! It's not even hard. I can keep running! And running...and running. When you leap off the treadmill, you feel refreshed and good about yourself and proud of your fitness.

And then you go back the next day.

You get on the treadmill excited to break personal records, ready to get in the groove and get your work out on, when, to your dismay, you discover that you're damn tired and this workout? damn hard. It's disappointing. You can't even complete half of the workout you did the day before.

When the third day comes around, you start to feel mildly defeated. By the 4th day, things may be getting easier, but they will never will be as good as the first day. On the first day, your body doesn't know what's coming. It thinks this is a one time thing and it rises to meet the challenge. But by the second day, it rolls its eyes and says Give me a break. It doesn't want anything to do with you or your fitness goals.

That is how I felt today.

I was still on the high of yesterday's accomplishment. I woke up and immediately jumped into my gym clothes, determined to yet again conquer the hills. I was hopeful that this time, they would be even easier.

As soon as I reached the library, I realized that it wasn't going to happen. My legs were damn tired. I honestly struggled to reach the top of the hill - something that hasn't been an issue in a long time. I'm sure you could literally see my spirit deflate as I resigned myself to biking around UMD.

I did my usual lap, going down to the Dell etc etc. I was mad tired by this point and the sun was quite warm compared to what I'm used to with my nighttime / late day time exercising as of late. I resolved to do another lap before calling it quits.

When I wheeled back into my building, I did not feel a sense of accomplishment. At all. I was mad. I was mad at my body for being lame. I was mad to have such a regression. How is it that I could bike 11 miles yesterday and not be able to even make it around Ring Road 3 times today?

I just. don't. get it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 68: on my own

If you know me, you know that I am the hugest risk taker. Silly things make me nervous. Biking in traffic is one those things. This is why I normally stay on campus, where there are hardly any cars or obstacles and I know the routes like the back of my hand. I have also been going on night rides recently, which makes it even scarier to think of leaving campus to take on the real world where the street lights are iffy at best and there's a chance cars might not be able to see me.

Today, as I walked back from work and the cool breeze lifted my hair, I closed my eyes and knew that today was the today.

See, there comes a time in every unathletic girl's life that she needs to step outside of her comfort zone. And frankly, my UMD course is getting pretty old. I lusted for adventure and challenge.

I decided to do a route that Kate and I have taken before - down Old Westport Rd to Reed Rd in Dartmouth, up Reed to Beeden, up Old Westport back to UMD. It's a fairly simple course which doesn't require me to cross the street or really have anything to do with traffic, which a-ok with me!

The way down to Reed Rd is very simple. Mostly coasting, not much challenge. Once I reached Reed, I was surprised at how short the ride had been, because at this point, I realized that it was nearly half over! Of course, the thought of the treacherous Beeden Rd hills and the Old Westport demon still loomed ahead.

I was definitely breathless on my way up Beeden hill, though I was able to retain my preferred gear without downshifting, so I'd say that's some kind of a mini triumph. And surprisingly, Old Westport didn't kick my ass as much as usual. Don't get me wrong, I was still huffing and puffing by the time I reached the top, but the level of effort I had to put in to actually make it up the hill was significantly less than last time.

And when I got back to UMD, I still felt energetic and wanted more, so I did a lap around the area, down the Dell, the usual....

When I go off campus, I like to map my rides so I can find out how many miles I've traveled. What I really need to do is invest in an odometer [one that actually works] but for now, I guess is doing the job.

Total mileage = 11

And I wasn't even tired at the end of it. Honestly, I could've kept going but for the twinge in my left hip. Bastard.

But hey, not bad for an unathletic girl, eh?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 67: the longest road

Before heading out on my customary night-time bike ride, I decided to shuffle up ye old iPod and make a new mix entitled "Work out." What was on it? 30 or so tracks of Morgan Page and David Guetta remixes. I'm okay with it.

I knew I wanted to continue the trend of biking at least three times around the Ring, but I also wanted to add an element of challenge to the course. I want to build myself up to doing more and trying harder, because I know that when I am biking, the best part of the ride is the pain. Not that I enjoy it or look forward to it by any means. But if my muscles aren't hurting, they aren't being used enough to make a difference in their strength and endurance.

When I first started biking, I used to think that going to the left was easier than going to the right on Ring Road. My opinion has since changed. Although going to the left is one long hill and definitely wearing, going to the right might be more difficult in terms of terrain, yet I enjoy it more. There is a short hill near the police station, then another one in between Chestnut and Maple Ridge and one final boost uphill to the top of campus. And it's all downhill from there!

Tonight, I mixed things up by going down to the Dell and doing a lap in between every circle around the ring. I want my body to get used to going up hills more frequently. I want to build that strength so I can tackle all of the hills I have so hated for the past two months. I want to be able to conquer the hill in Martha's Vineyard that mocks me with the memory of its incredibly steep incline. I want to go there again and say Bring it on, hill! and then school that bitch.

I really really enjoyed my new workout mix. And there weren't as many bugs out tonight. It was still very humid, though. The air was heavy. I was sweaty. But it felt good. So good.

I keep getting this strange numbness in my legs, though. Tonight was worse than usual. I definitely need to remember to stretch before and after biking. I think it might have something to do with the way I am shifting my weight or perhaps might be related to my [poor] posture. Whatever the cause of it, it is a strange sensation. At first, it feels like it's falling asleep. Then the foot feels a slight numbness and then there is a grinding pain in the hip. It alternates hips regularly. I don't get it.

And, to continue the trend of me being an emotional rollercoaster, I am happy to report that the jeans I bought at the beginning of the summer are legitimately too big for me now. As underwear hangs out the top of them and I have sag-ass. This is awesome. What is not awesome is that they are like the only capris I own.

PS: This is my favorite song right now. Pass it on. Morgan Page - The Longest Road

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 66: so close, yet so far

After breaking my personal record x2 yesterday, I was pretty excited to get back on the road today. I knew it wasn't going to be nearly as victorious when I took off on my first loop and could already feel my muscles mumble a protest. But I decided to push through it.

I ended up completing three laps and then also going down to the Dell and cruising a little bit.

A few thoughts crossed my mind as I tooled the ring:

a) Why is it still so damn hot at 10 pm?

b) Should I invest in a windshield for my self? - as beetles ricocheted off my arm, my face, my leg, my chest. Unpleasant.

c) Why is my bike squeaking a bit? Does it need oil? [and honestly, I don't know the first thing about basic mechanics. I wouldn't even know where to put the damn stuff if I had any]

d) Can the hockey players hear Enrique Iglesias crooning "I like it" from my external speakers as i speed past them? God, i hope not.

e) Will my body ever look the way it feels? God, I hope so.

I made a list of summer goals for myself and the top three things on it were: lose 20 pounds, be able to run a 5k (3.2 miles) and do something active everyday.

So far, the only thing I've successfully been able to accomplish is to do something active every day. And you would think the rest would follow suit. But no.

I do realize that I am hyper-critical of myself. But dammit, body! I just want you to look better! It's so disheartening. I mean, I've been working my tail off for the last 66 days and I can't really see any visual results. Granted, I also can't remember what I looked like 66 days prior to this. And you know why? Because I always look the same!!!!!!

The one thing I wanted from this summer was to go back to school in the fall and have people say to me "Wow, you look really good! Did you lose a lot of weight?" and for me to smugly reply that I had, indeed lost 20 pounds. But i'm not even close to being able to say that. Nor would anyone really notice a difference in my body if even I can't.

I'm sorry I'm a big whiny self-conscious basket case, but I just don't understand why my body isn't responding. I mean, I feel fit. I'm pretty positive I am fit. But I want to look it. I want to see it. And I don't think that's unreasonable.

Day 65: breakin records

I'm starting to believe in global warming with all of this heat. And for this reason, I have taken to night riding. That sounds far more daring and dangerous than it actually is. Though it is undoubtedly cooler (in more ways than one).

[cue old school detective voice-over]

The night was young and so was I as my bicycle and I headed east down the dark and dreary pavement toward no-man's land. We were in search of something. Something big.

We wound down and around the freshmen dorms, past the main entrance, down around the gym and then took off in the opposite direction to follow a similar route. Once two rounds were completed, we decided it was time to take action. Mustering what little strength we had left, we circled the ring for a miraculous and record-breaking third time.

But we knew it wasn't over.

We wheeled through parking lots, past shrubs and basketball players and down into the depths of the dirty dell. An eerie calm had overtaken the place and it glowed in the weak light of the street lamps that were still working. We lapped from south to west and back again, eyes to the road, heart beating. And when we crested the top of the hill marking our exit from that place, some strange demon took hold of us and said You must go on.

There, under the shroud of darkness, did we find what we had been looking for. With a satisfied smirk and an aching right hip, we begrudgingly ended our journey for the night. But this won't be the last you'll hear from us. Mark my words.


So yeah, I broke my own record twice tonight. Mission = accomplished.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Days 60-64: backtracking

I'm a bit behind on my entries, but here's making up for lost time!

Day 60: Hurray, two whole months of working out [almost] every day! I'm okay with it. On this day, my mom was visiting. I took her on bike tour of UMD down my normal route: around the ring, behind the quad, around the gym, down to the Dell. It was absolutely gorgeous out!

Day 61: We loaded our bikes into the car and went to the Fairhaven bike path. Unfortunately, we had decided to take my front tire off for fitting purposes. When we reached Fairhaven and reassembled the bike, something felt really off. We fiddled with it and flagged a bike-gear-clad man to try to help us, but the brakes were pressing really tight to the tire and we ended up reloading the bikes back into the car and just heading over to Lloyd's. Now, I've raved up and down about how great this place is, but on this particular day, I had a miserable time. Everything was super overgrown and it was very buggy. I had to parade through the brush swinging my arms like a windmill to the finish. It was quite unpleasant. Later in the evening, we ended up going to play mini golf and she beat me by one stroke!

Day 62: We woke up at 8 am and went back to the mini golf place for a rematch. I was winning in the bottom nine but we ended up having an exactly even score by the end of the game. It was so nervewracking. Next time, I will defeat her! After she left, Kate and I went for a bike ride down Old Westport and down to Reed Rd and then up Beeden (to defeat my old nemesis, that hill!) and then up Old Westport (also an enemy of mine). The bike ride was definitely easier this time than it was before, but I yearn for the days when I will be able to ride up that hill without losing breath.

Day 63: My sister, Hozay and I were in Boston for the day! We decided to walk to the Sam Adams brewery from our hotel. Bad idea. 1.5 hours and a lot of sweat later, we made it...only to find out there was a 2 hour for the tour. Blast. When we returned back to Dartmouth, my sister and I went for a bike ride, taking my usual route and then going through the Dell Woods to try to get to the sunken house I'd found earlier in summer. Unfortunately, someone has erected a fence since then to keep trespassers out. I will return some day and find a way there!

Day 64: Today we spent all day walking in the blistering New Bedford heat. We started off by going around the Buttonwood Park Zoo and then headed downtown for Summerfest, which we walked around for a few hours. And I believe I am going to have myself a nice bike ride once the sun backs off a bit. Of course, I shall also be exercising my elbow this evening [father!] since I obviously have to celebrate America. Obviously.

Stay tuned for more sweat and more miles! Tomorrow = the beach!