Wednesday, April 29, 2009




Monday, April 27, 2009

PSA - Junk Mail Reduction

Got a link today regarding an online petition to support legislation to create a Do Not Mail Registry for junk mail (similar, obviously, to the Do Not Call registry for telemarketers).

In addition to the petition...
(sorry for the crap links, too much migraine to do good ones)

Most companies allow you to opt out in writing, which is a pain because there are a zillion companies. This site provides a slick little opt-out tool that - after providing the name & mailing address you want removed from the list - gives you a 9 page PDF containing 17 form letters, pre-populated with the address to be removed and addressed to each of the various junk mail houses. I was THRILLED because this exact thing has been on my To Do List for ages, but it's such a PIA to figure it all out.

With this all you have to do is cut them in half (in keeping with their goals of reduction in paper waste, there are 2 printed per page), sign the letters, address the envelopes and stamp 'em. It took me all of 10 minutes.

And for the places that insist you call to opt out, they provide that info too...

It was so quick and easy I'm also going to do it for my mom.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Calorie Nazi Status Report

I can pretty much sum this one up with one word: frustrated.

Right up until the day my cat died, I was perfectly on track. My weight loss was following the exact path predicted by The Nazi, and I was reporting every bite, every day.

My cat died on a Saturday morning. I gave myself a free pass for the weekend. I was just too distressed to give a damn about reporting my food.

Even with a free pass, I was still pretty cautious with what I ate. I did a lot more extra snacking - like an extra handful of peanuts mid-afternoon - and I even had a soda or two, but in general I did pretty well. I bought a package of cookies on a whim, and never even opened it. I couldn't help doing the math even though I wasn't officially tracking, and I ended up with maybe 2000 extra calories for the whole weekend. That's really not THAT bad.

But, somehow, it derailed everything.

When I weighed in on Monday, I had gained back 5 of the 7 pounds I'd lost. And it wasn't temporary water weight. I've spent the last month fighting the 5 goddamn pounds back off. Now the Nazi says my "projected weight" is 17 pounds higher than my goal for the year.

It takes 3500 extra calories to gain one pound. So, I know that it's not even physically possible to have gained that much back with that few extra calories. More frustration,.

I've been counting religiously, have even managed to squeeze a few workouts in here and there, and still have another half pound to lose to be back where I was a month ago.

I'm still counting and sometimes being hungry and always being frustrated I can't find more time to exercise. And with every day that passes I get more depressed and more angry and more frustrated that it's so. damn. slow. I've basically been at this size for going on 3 years now, and that is completely unacceptable. In fact, I've had to re-buy clothes in the bigger size I'd cleared out of my closet before the pregnancy, because even though I'm the same damn weight I've lost all my muscle tone and got physically bigger.

Yes, I could set more aggressive goals. And yes, I could probably live with being hungrier, (though I'd have to be even more cautious about migraines and my husband wouldn't want to live with me). And yes, I could skip that carefully measured and recorded dollop of low fat sour cream on my low fat chicken taco. If I decided I could accept having a few migraines a week, I could even get up at ridiculous o'clock to work out.

But this has always been about living a new way of life. And compromising my fragile health and giving up every single little comfort is no way to live. In the long run I know I'll be happier - and be able to maintain the loss - if I do it slowly, methodically and with an occasional (carefully weighed and recorded) cookie.

But for right now, I hate everything about it. I hate my body for its weakness. I hate my food scale. I hate my husband's refusal to be willing to eat the way I need to, and for making me provide foods that are hard for me to have around. I hate my health problems that make it so freaking hard to do this. And I hate myself for being too weak to do it better.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So I Accidentally Went for This Two Hour Ride

Or... I think I broke my crotch.

Or... Who knew I still had THAT in me?

Or... Sometimes it doesn't suck even when I'm an idiot.

Or... I heart endorphins.

Or... Hey, I CAN transition in under 10 minutes!

Or... I think I heart my new running shoes.

Or... Holy cow I sweat a lot.

I've got this friend training for one of those two day breast cancer walks, and she was planning a 9 mile training walk for Saturday. That day I had planned an hour bike ride because A) the weather was perfect, and B) I have a race in 7 weeks and haven't been on more than a 3 mile bike ride in 2 years.

Where I live the paths are pretty much all 5Kish loops in a forest preserve, so when she said she was doing a loop in a preserve and asked me if I'd like to drive down and come along I jumped at the chance to work out with some company and try a new bike path.

Now let me make this clear... this is the point at which I should have clarified how long the loop in the new park was.

I assumed she was going to walk a 5K loop 3 times. And that I'd be able to loop around it a few times on my bike, stop at the car for snacks, stretch at my leisure, and probably walk the last loop with her depending on how I felt. Because the tiny part of my brain that was working at this point did realize she was looking at a 3 hour workout, and I had no illusions about my ability to pull that off in my current state.

I assumed wrong. She was going to walk a 9 mile loop once. And this park is in an extremely urban kind of suburban area, so the trail wasn't contained in the safety of a single park environment. There were many crossings of many big, busy roads full of big, scary cars. And me with all the sucking at riding my bike - especially that whole starting and stopping bit.

Oh, and just for fun it turned out to be 9 miles of rollers with a few looooong, gradual, omgjustkillmenow inclines thrown in for good measure. But see it wasn't just 9 miles, because my friend was walking and we were in this together and I'd promised to circle back and check on her periodically.

The magnitude of my mistake only became clear to me as I was fully geared up and standing at the beginning of the loop, reading the map. There was no backing out. My options were to completely ditch my beloved friend or suck it up and see what happened with my sad, haven't spent more than 15 minutes on a bike in 2 years, out of shape self.

I sucked it up.

(And can I just say at this point thank gawd I compulsively over-prepare for everything?! While I had no idea I'd be embarking on a 2-3 hour hilly brick workout, I had packed enough nutrition and hydration for just such an ocassion. Plus, my friend is a novice and had brought - for a 3 hour workout - nothing more than a camelback half full of *shudder* tap water. So, I was able to meet both our needs with half a bottle to spare. Being OCD has its uses.)

I managed to make that 9 miles into 20. When she was at mile 3 I was actually on track to triple her mileage, but things went downhill pretty quickly after that. In that the trail starting being a lot of uphill. So it could have been a lot more, if not for my copious suckage. And stopping to cross at lights. And pausing to drink from my seat-mounted bottle so I didn't break my neck. And there was that surprisingly refreshing 5 minute break I took at mile 12 to stretch my poor, screaming quadriceps.

In spite of a few miserable moments, I easily found that happy land where my brain gets quiet and all I can do is focus on breathing and shifting. Mostly on shifting. (Silver, spinny. Silver, spinny. Silver, spinny. Silver... crap not again omg that's the wrong lever GAAAH. Seriously, you'd think after 4 years with this bike I'd be able to keep the shifters straight.)

Around mile 17 I was SO. DONE. I'd reached that point of discomfort where all you can do is keep gearing down, keep spinning and keep telling yourself what a great blog post it was going to make.

So I pedaled my half-bonking self back to the van, transitioned in under 4 minutes, grabbed a Clif bar and jogged back down the trail to meet her.

OK, so, I was only able to jog for about 5 minutes before my calves tightened up and cried uncle. But I jogged after 2 hours on a bike, and I'll take the small victories where I can get them.

My friend held a killer pace (she pulled off the 9 miles in about 2:40) and I met up with her pretty quickly, so I only ended up doing a 1.5 mile run leg for the brick. But it's all good, because I still got to log a brick on the books.

And I got to spend a few hours afterwards in loopy, giggly endorphin land, which always rocks.

By the numbers...

miles ridden: 20
hours on bike: ~2
mph I need to improve to be even close to IM time cut-off: 3
miles wogged: 1.5
minutes wogging: ~20
minutes stretching: 20
times I seriously considered ditching my friend: 1
shot blocks: 6
clif bars: 1
ounces of Nuun: 40
ounces of Water: 24
of times I had to pee: 0
burritos as big as my head devoured post-workout: 1
mg of ibuprofen ingested before bed: 800

Monday, April 13, 2009

Best Personal Trainer Evah

You won't get this kind of personalized assistance with your post-run stretch from some trainer you hired down at the gym!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Where, Oh Where Did My Cardio Go

In case it isn't screamingly obvious based on the few posts I have managed to get up lately (and the fact that almost none of them have much to do with actual training), I am WOE.FULL.Y out of shape.

It's been (O.M.G.) two years since I was training religiously, and it shows. In my weight. My attitude. The way my clothes fit. My inability to carry a 25 pound sleeping toddler up a flight of steps without getting winded.

Seeing as how I'm theoretically doing a sprint in... um, about 10 weeks... I have resolved to do better. So after dropping Bear for his afternoon at daycare, instead of coming home to work on trying to get clients who can't afford to hire me I went to swim.

Which, if I'm doing the math right on this, hasn't happened in abooooout... 11 months. Yup. That sounds right. I remember I got in that one good swim last May, 6 weeks before missing that tri in June to the plantar fasciitis.

Even though my times were - by any real standard - atrocious, they were actually leetle bit better than I anticipated. I remember being mortified after that last swim that my lap times per 100 yds averaged out close to 4 minutes. (I KNOW! *shudder*)

Today I felt pretty good in the water. Clumsy, sure, but better than I feared.

During my 32 laps (~1000 yds) I thought a lot about...

- keeping my body aligned properly
- kicking
- not lifting my head so far when I breathe
- my angle of attack on the pull
- continuing my pull all the way down to my hip
- rotating
- gliding between strokes

I even managed to do a few of these things right for a moment or two. And I pushed about as hard as I could without going anaerobic.

With all that, I am only slightly less mortified to report that my paced averaged about 3:30/100yds. *headdesk*

The good news is that, even with this snail's pace, at least I can finish the swim leg of that sprint in about the same time I did this race last time. Ya know, the one when I was pregnant and required to go really slow.

I am now officially on a quest to rediscover my cardiovascular fitness. For starters, methinks I should probably continue searching at the bottom of the pool.