Wednesday, November 30, 2011
My holiday weekend actually started the day of Thanksgiving. I got up early so I could hit the treadmill before finishing packing and heading home. I was intending to do 60 minutes if I thought I could, but SOMEone forgot to unlock the gates leading to the gym, so I had to go all the way back and around the property to get to there... which at that point I was half convinced was going to be locked, too! Anyway, it took up more of my time than I cared for it to, so I only did 40 minutes on the treadmill and hopped in the shower. Luckily, I had packed the night before, so I threw together my last minute stuff and headed out the door to wait for my ride.
It was a chilly 47 degrees in the mountains between San Diego and home crap home.
I got home, unloaded my junk and hopped in the next car to go visit my grandmother (meal #1). Some background: I can't remember the last time I saw her. I've been in San Diego 4 years and it was well before then that I cut off contact with her. The same goes for the rest of my family. She was a mean, bitter person that didn't treat my brothers very well, badmouthed my mom, and was just generally an unpleasant person to be around. Its like her mindset was stuck in the 1960s when she was raising her kids, not realizing that the 2000's is a whole lot different. Anyway, after that, the only person who would still visit and talk to her was my dad (her son). Over the last few years her health has deteriorated. She's showing every bit of her 88 years. And I was told as much by several other members of my family who'd run into her and my dad at the grocery store. But, its one thing to hear it and an entirely different thing to actually see it. This holiday season we all decided to let bygones be bygones and forgive. As a Christian, I would be negligent in my love of Christ to be NOT forgiving. So, we decided to spend the lunch meal with her.
We got there late (they were waiting on me and I arrived late) so my dad and grandmother had already eaten. Grandma had laid down for a nap. We ate at the table with my dad. Then my grandma woke up and came out. It took my breath away... She was in an electric wheelchair that looked so huge compared to how small she was. She's about half the size I remember her. I hope my face didn't show any shock. I got up to hug her and noticed how shaky and weak she was when she raised her arms to put around me. Her speech is slurred and her voice very low. It took every ounce of self-control I had to not excuse myself to go outside and sob. It was scary and shocking and ... I enjoyed my visit with her very much. Later, my dad called and said our visit pretty much made her day and her life! I hope to get to see her again for Christmas.
Then, it came time to leave for meal #2 at my aunt's house. The only members of my family that went were my youngest brother and his girlfriend. Oh, and me. I knew my dad wouldn't be attending because he's been staying at my grandma's to take care of her. My mom and her brother are not on speaking terms, which is understandable. I wouldn't want anything to do with anyone that told me they wouldn't care whether I dropped off the face of the earth or not. Among other cruel things. My middle brother didn't go out of laziness. Luckily, and miraculously, no one asked where anyone else was. Either they didn't care or someone had gotten some intel about it in advance. Either way, I'm glad I didn't have to explain why my family members decided not to come to a family dinner that we have every year. It was a nice dinner, too. I got to see my cousins and chat with them. I saw my other grandma (aka Grin) and the rest of the family that cared to talk to me. I've always been quite a story teller (which is probably why my blogs are never short), so I had fun regaling them with the story of the wedding from the weekend before (or as I've been calling it, the Shindig, or the Circus). Fun times. Normally my bff and I go to the mall at midnight and watch the Black Friday carnage, but we were exhausted and instead called it a night.
Post Thanksgiving brunch... Yum!
The next day was pretty uneventful. We spent the day cooking meal #3, for just my immediate, or "nuclear", family. That was DECADENT. We had turkey with giblet gravy and stuffing from scratch. We had duck with orange glazey saucey something and stuffing from scratch with mandarin oranges and pecans in it. We had braised fennel and leeks in cream. Mashed potatoes. Roasted Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and fennel (I brought a lot of fennel) with herbs. Whole wheat dinner rolls. Homemade cranberry fig sauce. Fig chutney. Green bean casserole with fresh green beans. Sweet potato puree casserole with pecans. Oh. Em. Gee. We outdid ourselves with that one. Everything was so ridiculously delicious.
Unfortunately, I knew it was too much for me. After the fact, of course. I ate moderately and never once did I feel stuffed all weekend. It was just way too much protein for me. I normally eat lean protein a few times a week, tops. My diet is pretty rich in vegetables and whole grains and fruit. I'm glad to be back in SD to eat my normal foods.
Lou made sure I was drinking all my water!
The next day, on Saturday, I got up, strapped on my shoes, and went for a walk. I did 3 miles in 55 minutes. Too bad it was almost 80 degrees and windy. I got soooo hot and I ran out of my allergy medicine and one of my inhalers. I've been pretty stuffed up since then. I don't feel sick. Its just allergies. But, I've got a million kleenexes scattered on my bed from just this morning. Relax, I'm going to get up and throw them out when I'm done here! The rest of the day I spent with my Grin. We had lunch and walked around a mall for a while. I got some earring hooks to replace some on cheapie earrings I have (I have sensitive ears). I got a new pair of running shoes! I haven't taken them outta the box yet. I haven't done anything lately to break 'em in gently. I don't think 60 minutes of all-out intensity on the treadmill is the way to do it. Not with my wussy feet. Anyway, I'm really excited because I've needed a new pair for some time.
Sunday and Monday were uneventful. I pretty much hung around the house, visited briefly with my dog. He was having a good day, luckily, but he's always been really excitable. So, he got overly excited when he saw me and began his doggy coughing. I had to leave the room just so he'd calm back down and go rest. I'm glad I got to see him, though. I was afraid to. I didn't know if I could handle two shocks in one weekend. Monday I headed back to SD and began my usual routine again. Too bad my sleeping is bad again. Its not that I'm not sleeping. Its that I'm not getting quality sleep. I keep dreaming these vivid, epic, detailed dreams and when I wake up it feels like I didn't sleep at all. I know its stress related. And I don't know what to do about it. I'm already exercising. Oh well...
Oh, hi! Thanks for laying out this brand new, clean, black vest for me to sleep on. Totally comfy.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
So, I'm back to my ol' self these days, finally. Cutting back a little on my asthma meds, but still feeling fine. I've decided to do no less than 60 minutes of cardio each session if I can manage the time.
I've created a mantra for this week and I find it motivating enough to stick with:
GYM IT TO WIN IT! (Awwwww yeeaahh!)
And my motivational song this week has been:
"Under Pressure" by David Bowie & Queen (Good beat, good reminder about love... Win/win.)
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to sit through a "lecture" so to speak given by two amazing people: Gerhard Maschkowski and Hanna Marx. Both are survivors of the Holocaust. It was incredibly moving to hear their stories of heartbreak and survival. You can find more information on holocaust survivors at the UCSD Living History Workshop project at:
That being said, if you find out there is a survivor speaking near you, I encourage you to go see them. These two wonderful, warm people were well into their 80's, and were only kids/young tweens when things started to go down, so there aren't many survivors left. Go listen to their stories. You won't regret it.
The warm-hearted Hanna Marx.
The friendly Gerhard Maschkowski.
This last Sunday I went to a wedding. It was a difficult day to get through. Mostly because I don't think these two people should have gotten married, but it did not feel like my place to say something (not that it would have mattered- it would have happened anyway). I also got suckered into being in the wedding party (the only member of the wedding party, I might add) about 5 minutes before the wedding ceremony started. Yup. If/when I get photos of the event, I'll post a few. I liked the dress I was wearing and I liked my makeup.
I went to the Santa Fe Depot train station in downtown San Diego to pick up some precious cargo (my bff's mom) and I thought the architecture of the place was really gorgeous. It feels like you're stepping back in time when you walk in. It has been restored gloriously, with its Spanish-revival architecture reminding all of California's roots. It was a really neat train station.
Well, I'll be heading back to my hometown for the Thanksgiving holiday, for better or worse (in regards to my family drama). I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family, as it's been quite some time since I've visited (or anyone came here to visit me). It looks like I'll have 3 feasts to attend on that day- lunch at my grandmother's house (I have NO IDEA how that will go- it's been almost 8 years since I've spoken to her; she is not the nicest person...), dinner at my parents, and dinner at my aunt's. Traditionally, my celebration is at my aunt's only... but, thanks to some petty, immature, ridiculous squabbling among the older members of the family, my parents (and maybe even my brothers/sis-in-law) won't be attending that particular dinner. So, my parents decided to do our own dinner at their house. Which I find hilarious since they don't have a dining area, table, or chairs for us to eat at. No couch in the living room, either. So, my guess is we'll all take our plates of food, retire to our individual rooms, and eat solo. Real special.
I plan to moderate my food very carefully, since I'll be having three meals. Lots of veggies, white meat turkey, and 1/4-1/2 cup scoops of sides (like mashed potatoes and stuffing) and no going back for seconds. No dessert until the end of the day- that'll be the last thing I eat. I don't tend to overeat during the holidays, anyway, so I'm not that worried about it. I'm worried about being questioned about why I'm the sole representative of my family attending the function at my aunt's. I haven't come up with what I'm going to say about that yet.
I'm also planning to pack my walking shoes and workout gear so I can keep up my fitness (GYM IT TO WIN IT!) while I'm there. I won't have gym access, so I'll have to hit the local park trails to get my cardio in, unless I can break into the high school field's track. Once again, I'm not worried about it. I'll do what I have to do to get it done. Hmmm... I kinda feel like I should have another picture to end this with.
There. Something I cooked a week or two ago- baked tilapia with lemon pepper seasoning, roasted asparagus, and roasted tiny potatoes, carrots, and fennel. Talk about delicious.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
The day was starting out craptastic. I set my alarm for 5am, so I could be up and completely ready to go by 6am. I did everything right the previous night. I ate a healthy dinner, full of protein, carbs, and lot of veggies, but wasn’t too filling or would disrupt my sleep. I assembled my outfit and laid it out so all I had to do was dress. I planned my morning routine: take my morning meds with 16oz of water. Chew down vitamin C gummies (to help with exercise induced asthma). Get dressed/ready. One cup of coffee, with fat free milk and minimal sugar (to also help with exercise induced asthma). Chocolate cream of wheat with tart dried cherries and almonds (for energy and muscle recovery) packed in a thermal container for later in the morning. One bottle of water. Backpack with inhalers already inside. Then, I went to bed early, at about 10:30pm and was asleep by 11. Yeah, I know, but that’s really early for me! And would have been adequate for my needs.
At 2:00am, I woke up. And I was wide awake. I seriously didn’t feel nervous or anxious or restless. I have no idea why I woke up. Maybe I was experiencing some anxiety and I just didn’t know it. My mind wasn’t really thinking about the race. I wasn’t panicked that I’d sleep through my alarm. I wasn’t panicked that I’d be thrown off due to the time change, which would be odd ‘cuz I always feel thrown off by the time change. I don’t know what happened… all I can say is, when 5am rolled around, I was pretty pissed off that I had only slept 3 hours.
Oddly, I was still wide awake. I didn’t feel drowsy or fatigued at all. Got ready to go, and with supplies in hand, walked out the door to wait for Leah (SPRING4FAL) to pick me up. It had been quite some time since I’d seen her and the minute she drove up, I realized how much I’d missed her! We drove on, catching up on as much as we could on the short drive to Del Mar. The next step of the process was so smooth and quick, I was stunned. I expected to stand in a long line to get into the fairgrounds, stand in another line to get my bib, another one for my swag… You know, like at ComiCon. I was expecting hours of “Lineception”. Instead, we found parking right away, walked right to where we needed to go (although it was some distance away), got our bibs and bags waiting in a line 2 people deep, and BOOM. That was pretty much it. We began the task of tracking down San Diego Sparks who were arriving or had arrived. We found Jocelyn (WOLFKITTY), who I also missed very much and hadn’t seen in WAY too long, and Heather (NEWSGIRL2177), and then more Sparks trickled in… Linda (SMILEY1LK), Bonnie (ADVENTURE-GIRL), Lesa (ABB698), and a few other lovely ladies whose names I didn’t catch, sadly. One of them had a 13-year-old daughter who was beyond adorable! She was so friendly and sweet.
As I ate my breakfast, Leah and I decided to head back to the car to ditch the “excess baggage” before the beginning of the fun. I puffed my inhalers, licked my spoon clean, and jammed my chapstick and my phone in my bra. We met back up with the rest of our folks, and before long, we were being herded to the race track area. I snagged a plastic bag from a vendor to jam my phone in (didn’t want any sweat ruining it) and stuffed it safely in my bra again. Ingenuity at its finest, folks. You heard it here first. At 7:30am, the 10k began. The racers were off and the 5k crowd surged forward. I was definitely anxious to get moving. I couldn’t stop moving, in fact! I kept marching in place to keep warm and warmed up. It was somewhere in the 50 degree zone at that time… for a Southern Californian, definitely a cold temp! The music was playing and I kept dancing in place to it. Those of us who were running the 5k took off for the front of the crowd, and the rest of us who were walking stayed back.
At 7:50am, our race began! It took 1:10 mins to cross the timing mat. I had the pleasure (and I mean that 110%!!!) to walk the race with Bonnie and Linda! Talk about great company!!! These ladies were so amazing and friendly. Conversation with them was so natural. I enjoyed every single second I spent in their company. No joke. It made the time pass quickly. We were probably 5 or so minutes out of the gate when we had an “Uh… what?” moment. There was a traffic jam, so to speak, of racers. I cannot even imagine how this happened, but we had an “out and back” (assuming that’s what they’re called) at that point… but, while we were heading out, those ahead of us were already coming back. So, we had to dodge and weave through each other to continue moving forward! It was like a 4-way stop where they took out all the stop signs and let everyone just have at it. Once we passed that craziness, we were good to go. We kept at an 18 minute mile pace. There was a water station along the way that was needed by me for sure. I held my cup, not comfortable with throwing it on the ground, and walked up to the trash can that was set up for us, and despite walking right up to it, totally missed the trash can. FAIL! I can only hang my head in shame. We cheered at the mile marker! WOO!
As we started well into the second mile, we discovered a nice hill we were going to have to ascend. Super. Luckily, we were warmed up and good to tackle it! My lungs felt normal. I was sweating appropriately, but not fatiguing. I wasn’t out of breath. By the end of that it was Hill- 0, Me- 1. In that hill’s face! The mile 2 marker was almost at the top of the hill and at that point, Linda decided to run the rest of the race. Bonnie and I continued on at our walking pace. We reached the top of the hill and turned around for the ascent back down. We watched some cheaters cut through the orange cones. (In their defense, some of them had young ones who were probably tired out by that time and just needed to get back to the finish to relax.) Still, you’re only cheating yourself… But, easy for me to say. I don’t have kids. Or pets. Just houseplants. Anywho, we approached the winding road leading back into the fairgrounds and before we knew it, the 3 mile marker was upon us! Only .2 more miles to go!!! Bonnie and I pretty much had one goal: don’t be last. We may/may not have kicked it up a little bit as we made our way down the final stretch of path to the finish. There were a few cheerleaders there. Up to that point, the cheerleaders were the people volunteering at the water stations and keeping track of the racers on the route. And they did a great job at that!
With the end near, we crossed the timing mat and ended our race! What an amazing feeling! I had just finished my first 5k ever! ME! An overweight asthmatic who had only been over an awful head cold for one week and who debated up until the very last minute to do the race. I finished. In under 70 minutes, which was the time limit on the race. My finishing time was 55:10 (gun time was 56:20). Once we were through, Bonnie and I looked at each other… “Now what?” We got our Finisher’s medals and scored some water and a sports drink. Gotta say… the IronMan Perform Orange Mango… not delicious. Glad I grabbed that water. I also grabbed a Muscle Milk, which I have not even cracked open. And probably won’t. I might give that to a friend.
Says: overall place 870 out of 936; division place 96 out of 102; time 55:10; pace 17:48; guntime 56:20
Bonnie and I tried to figure out where everyone was, and in that process we decided to grab our free breakfast. We got a bag with yogurt, a banana, a 400+ calorie muffin, orange juice… maybe something else, but not likely… and met up with some of the San Diego Sparks. We did some stretching and figured out where everyone else was… which was at a table to watch the awards being presented. On the table they had a bowl of fruit. I snagged a Granny Smith from another table and ate everything except my calorie bomb muffin. We took some pictures with us ladies. The weather started to get ominous about then, so most of us decided it was time to skedaddle. A few more pics later (maybe that was stalling since we didn’t really want to go?) and we hit the road.
I have to say, this whole experience was amazing. I had such a wonderful time! I exceeded expectations for myself and the event exceeded my expectations. It was wonderful to spend time with old friends and make some new ones. I am definitely going to do this again next year! (And maybe a few 5k’s in between! ;-) …)
Friday, November 11, 2011
Well, this week was a toughy. The reason I was derailed in my fitness progress was because I contracted a rather painful, and definitely annoying as all hell, UTI. Gotta say, didn't see it coming. I woke up at 2am Monday and had to pee (not an unusual occurrence). Only it hurt and felt like I still had to go. That was basically the end of my sleep that night. Another night of less than 3 hours sleep. AWESOME. Anyway, I've these before (I'm fairly prone to them for some reason) and started my usual self-treatment: alternating water and cranberry juice at a near constant rate to flush out the system. Didn't seem to work out that well after all. I'm feeling better now that I am on antibiotics. Unfortunately, in order to take these anti-b's, I have had to stop taking everything else. I'm not on my asthma meds, allergy meds, or stomach meds. Its only for three days, so its not like its life or death if I'm not taking these. But, it has made some things difficult this week. No exercise cuz I don't want to have any asthma issues in the middle of a workout, especially if I can't take my rescue inhaler to help me. And my stomach meds help with the acid reflux caused by my malfunctioning gallbladder. Also, for stomach and UTI reasons, I've had to eat some pretty bland food over the last few days. But, starting tomorrow, I can begin taking all my usual meds again and get back to a routine. I've decided to start over with the 28 Day Bootcamp from the beginning.
Anyway, the real reason for this blog is that for my nutrition class, we took a field trip to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista! We got to speak to the dietitian there, saw some althletes roaming around, and took a walking tour of the grounds. The facility itself is meant for warm weather sports- archery, field hockey, track and field, softball, BMX bikes, soccer, and rowing. They have a fitness facility, dining hall, and dorms, as there are some resident athletes that stay on site. Most of these athletes start their day at 9am and workout until noon. They go to lunch, relax a bit, and then workout some more from 1:30 or so to 5 or 8pm. Can you imagine?!?! Here are some photos:
The Olympic Flame
The resident dietitian, Andrea. She was from Australia/New Zealand.
The wall of olympians
The start of the mile-long Olympic Path
Field hockey area in the foreground. Right next to it (the lumpy ground) is the BMX track for time trials- they ride off that big ramp there.
The track and field zone
Ya know... I don't know what this is. Some kind of crazy... something...
That's the dining hall. The biggest bummer of the tour is that we didn't get to go inside it and see how it was set up.
I took many more pictures, but I don't want to overwhelm this blog. It was a fun tour and it was neat seeing the facilities. Most of the qualifying trials and such that are held at the facility are free to the public to watch, too.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Well... my news, anyway.
Tuesday was the first day I have ever given blood before. I've always been on a medication that's prevented me from donating, or had a new piercing or tattoo, or been under the weather. Tuesday I felt great and everything pointed to DONATE! I'm in the Honor's Program at the community college, and they were the ones holding the blood drive. It was pretty awesome. I hope to be able to donate more often.
However, the finger poke they do to test your iron levels HURT!!! It bruised my finger and I ended up wearing a splint on it just to protect it. Every time I brushed my other fingers against it or hit it on something accidentally, this shooting pain would permeate my entire left hand. It hurt like this for 4 days. Today is the first day I don't have pain from that poke site. LAME!
Sparkin' with my splint on. Not easy to type that way, FYI.
Consequently, I was not able to do much (read: any) exercise that day since I was to take it easy. I technically got my cardio in because its quite a workout walking from my apartment to the bus, from the bus to school, from school back to the bus, and the bus back home. Lots of hills are involved. But, I was supposed to do an upper body workout for the 28 Day Bootcamp... that I didn't do. I was scolded at the blood donation place for helping put away chairs (I was volunteering at the drive as well) when it was time to clean up.
So, I doubled up the videos the next day. Got my cardio in, already saw an increase in stamina, and did my upper body and core videos. Got my cardio in on Thursday thanks to school and a ton of errands I did after. I did so much non-traditional exercise, I don't even know how to track it! I walked to the bus, to school, back to the bus as usual. Instead of going home, I took another bus to the bank for my first errand. Walked across the street to the grocery store for the rest of my errands. I bought milk, a sugar pumpkin, more milk products, and a few other heavy items. Stuffed some in my backpack and the rest into one bag so I could carry it one handed (stupid finger!) By the time I got home, I was so hot and sweaty and out of breathe from walking with all that weight. Then I had to toss the pumpkins. I took all three out at once. I had to clean up the stand I had rigged for them so they could be seen from the street, take down my skeleton lights, take out the trash, do some dishes, put some things away in the storage closet. I worked up into a hot sweaty mess all over again. And I still did my bootcamp video when I was all done with off that.
Needless to say, I woke up Friday to a gloriously rainy day, but I was pretty tired and sore. So, I took the day off from cardio and unintentionally from my bootcamp video. So, I'll be doubling up on the videos today, and getting in my last bit of cardio before tomorrow's big 5k!
Of course the 5k would come at a time when we change the clocks. I would really like to follow Hawaii and Arizona's example and NOT do that anymore. It always screws me up so much and I gotta be up at 5am as it is! I'm pretty excited, though. I mean, I'm not sure I'm up to par on the stamina thing since I've been outta the workout game for a while and only this week have been able to get back into the swing of things... and there's only a 70 minute time limit (that's about a 22:30-ish mile walking) and I've been walking about a 20 minute mile. Back when I was going at this exercise thing consistently in May, I was at about a 17-18 minute mile. I wish I had been able to get back up close to that before this 5k. I just hope at this point that I can finish the race on time.
I've been getting my lungs back to normal taking my asthma meds consistently day and night since Tuesday night. I've been taking allergy meds, too. I'm prepared to take some Vitamin C chewies and a cup of coffee before the race (vitamin C and caffeine help with exercise-induced asthma). I already know what outfit I'm going to wear. Its going to be a chilly 47 degrees when I wake up, and a chilly 54 degrees when the race gets started. And it'll be raining again by the afternoon. Then, we'll get to celebrate the completion of the race and SANDIEGOJOHN's completion of the marathon he ran in DC. I'm looking forward to tomorrow!
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