Monday, September 23, 2013
I DID THIS YESTERDAY BUT MY COMPUTER INTERFERED WITH MY PLANS TO BLOG IT BY NOT PERFORMING RIGHT.
So a couple months ago I used SparkPeople to plot a 10K for my birthday - this one involved several hills and some new scenery from last years. For weeks I was excited and had to sit on my hands to keep from attempting it. I say attempting because the temps here were still in the triple digits...but I was very excited and finally the day came.
I got up ready to go and got ready...I wanted to wait until 8 AM so my stand-by ICE (In Case of Emergency) would be home from her graveyard shift. It was about 73 degrees outside, sort of chilly in the shade of my front porch, with a slight breeze and bright sun. I set off at my normal brisk pace...I was a little trepid feeling because the Phoenix news had had stories of new hatches of rattle snakes invading populated areas. I know too that September is shedding season and that snakes strike at just about everything because they are blinded as they shed their skin over their heads. I had a dream that I was walking and that there were snakes. My over active mind also said that here I was going walking off the beaten path where if someone wanted to attack me there would be no one much around to witness it or come to my aid. I put both ideas out of my mind repeating to myself that if I walked with a purpose no one would bother me and if I paid attention to my surroundings I would see snakes before they would see me.
A short distance from the house there was the first hill, I kept my eye on it as I walked closer and thought "what am I thinking?" I am familiar with the area I was walking because it is the route I drove to and from work daily last year so I knew that this was the first of several rises and falls. This particular one went up at a steep rate, fell and then rose again at a slighter less steepness. I took it at a steady pace and was a little winded at the top of it but not the achy lungs kind of winded. I recovered from it quickly and was ready for the next rise.
I won't bore you with every step or rise and fall but some highlights. Since I was watching out for sexual perps I noticed that most of the cars were headed to church as my path passed three churches. A few people were probably going to work or a store too but the majority were church goers and not one person seemed interested in me. Since I was scanning the area for signs of snakes I "collected" 17 lizards along the way. I did have a couple bouts of panic as I almost stepped on a slithering thing that registered as SNAKE! It was about a half inch wide and close to 5 inches long and the color of the yellow stripe in the middle of the road. As I stutter stepped to miss it I noticed it was a large, fat yellow caterpillar. Once I realized it was not a snake I laughed at how startled it had made me! The only other thing that made me think I was about encounter a snake was a twig, I think it came from some sort of cactus...something with triangular shaped leaves or thorns/flaps. The twig was sort of squiggly and a dark grey with darker patches that resembled triangles or diamonds at first glance.
My biggest accomplishment?? There are really a couple. First is the fact that I don't like to run - oh I used to love to sprint but no long distance runs or jogging, and I did several stints of running. First I was running the length of a block, so I don't know the distance at all. But on one strip I noticed telephone poles and decided to run the distance of two poles. I don't know how they are spaced, although they are pretty evenly spaced. As I thought about it I thought "I bet they are about 50 yards apart"...then I thought that if I ran two of them that was 100 yards and then my mind realized that that is the length of a football field(?). Running the spanse of two telephone poles seems minute until you think of it being the distance of a football field. IF I had some good offensive players backing me up I ran an end to end TOUCHDOWN!! Later I was by the soccer fields and they have poles there...since I was about 80% of the way through the walk and the last part of it is always the hardest I decided only to walk from one to the next, then run to the next one and walk...run...walk. By the last one I was totally glad there were no more poles to tempt me to do any more running!! When I finally got to the corner by my house which is two doors away I sprinted full out to the front door.
When I got in I immediately stopped my time: 1:46:05 and then took my blood pressure. Of course it was high - 155/90 and my pulse was 106...I set a timer for 10 minutes and took it again to check how I was recovering: 109/62 and 57 for my pulse. Then minutes later it was 117/82 which lately has been my normal B/P.
The impressive thing is that at 62 I am walk/running a 10K for fun...a few years and pounds ago I wouldn't have even thought it would be possible. I weigh 10# less than last year, 62 pounds less than about three years ago. And I don't remember my last years time but I know that this was a personal best - under 2 hours for 6.2 miles!!
I have a FitBit and it figures in flights of stairs...it said that I did the equivalent of 26 flights of stairs.
All and all it was a great way to welcome Fall and challenge myself to do more and better than before.
F I N
Monday, September 02, 2013
Today is LABOR DAY - the last hoopla of summer - twenty days until fall AND my birthday. It is also my only day off this week and I am conflicted because I don't know what I want to do with it. I feel I deserve a day of freedom - I could go to the gym for Tai Chi BUT two things stop me: one is that the bus doesn't run and the other is that Tai Chi may not be happening today, he may have cancelled due to the holiday. I know the gym is closing at 3PM for the holiday.
The first thing doesn't bother me because when there is no bus I can walk, I love to walk except when it is really hot and it is still summer. The second thing bugs me because once I walk all the way to the gym and find that there is no Tai Chi then I could make use of other things at the gym BUT I just walked so walking on the treadmill doesn't intice me. I will walk on it when I am killing time before class. And doing my routine strength and cardio activities (alone) sucks because I do them the rest of the week and deserve a day off.
Thing is, if I were to leave right now I would have to double time it to make it there in time for the 11AM class. The current temp outside is - well, I don't know my cell says my weather is unavailable...funny it will tell me what it is in each of the three other locations I have programmed in but not my local weather!! I rely on my cell's weather to let me know if it will be too hot to walk back home. So anyway, 90+ is a little warm for double timing it - there are about 5 sets of inclines to traverse along the way and I haven't walked it in about 6 weeks. So gym is out.
I have chores around the house to do and I can use my Tai Chi moves to get between chores...I love Tai Chi for that: no equipment, no special clothing, and no boundries.
Sorry if anyone is reading this hoping to glean something from it - or for entertainment reason - because I am in a blue funk right now.
I get in a blue funk close to my birthday - I think my bio-rhythms are to blame. That seems funny, you would think that your cycle would be high around your birthday...what if that is something else my mother lied to me about. Well, no that isn't so...I have my birth certificate and it says I was born on 22 September so my bio-rhythm charts are mine.
I know it is so 80s of me to believe in bio-rhythms, but think about it, if there is one thing consistent in our lives it is the ebb and flow of our emotions, physical, intellectual and intiutive cycles. Even when you no longer have to put up with Aunt Mildred (the Army's version of "that time of month"), you still have 28 day cycles for things. Around that time of the month for me, I become clumsy - I can walk past the same door way 20 plus days a month without ever coming close to banging into it. Then POW like it has moved...I slam the back of my hand into it or bang my shoulder into it. Also around that time I become blue - I often cry if someone looks crosseyed at me and have no idea why I feel like crying. Some months are worse than others. This cycle I am having trouble deciding things - part of it is emotional and part the intellectual. I wanted to use up two of my four accrued vacation days - I actually wanted one: a Thursday so I could drop in on Dance Zumba with my favorite instructor and all the friends I made during my unemployment period. Then I had to pick which Thursday...the one before my birthday or the one after my birthday...deciding was difficult, it didn't much matter which one, it was a treat for me to be able to go to that day's Zumba. I finally decided on the one before my birthday. But that meant I work Tuesday, Wednesday off Thursday, work Friday, Saturday then off Sunday (birthday) and Monday. But I have four days built us so I thought why not take two days? I decided on Thursday and Friday - my boss doesn't do weekends, but probably would if I asked for it so I was willing to work Saturday and be off Sunday and Monday. Finally happy enough with my decision I announced my plans to my boss giving her enough time to schedule all our inventory days around me being off. And she announced that she already has that Friday off - her grandson's birthday is Saturday the 21st and they are doing a grandparent's party on Friday so she has to have the day off to drive to Flagstaff. She says she told me - and she had sort of, she mentioned it but didn't say she was taking all of Friday off so it didn't stick. OK so I wasn't totally set on having the days off - I had been so indecisive and after all I could do it the next Thursday and Friday. But when she said it it hurt like she purposely took it away from me...or like I was conceding because she was my boss. Part of me wanted to act juvenile and quit so that I would win and have those days off...part of me didn't care; they were just two days on a calendar. Then later I started thinking "why did I even want Thursday off?" To attend a class that I haven't been to like a returning hero? To draw attention to myself when I told the instructor that I was treating myself to her class for my birthday? So then she would announce to the class it is my birthday and they could make a fuss? I don't like that much attention. So I would attend the class and not mention my motives?? And then I thought "if I went to the class Sharon would get excited that my situation changed again and I was going to be able to attend every week - maybe even on Tuesdays too. And I would have to let her down by telling her it was a one time event. So now I am not taking any time off...which sounds petty really. I haven't told my boss because I don't want her to try to convince me to take time off...not that she will give up her Friday off for me, and I don't expect her to, that would not make me happier.
So my emotions are in turmoil, it is close to my birthday and I feel like I should be in a happier place. Every year it is like this and it isn't the fact that I am aging...age doesn't seem to bother me. Like I said it happens routinely, monthly, but it seems to hit harder close to my birthday.
It isn't that mama is no longer here - I was like this long before she passed, and we didn't ever do that much for my birthday. Falling in September when she had three kids going back to school made it financially difficult. Most of my presents were school clothes bought weeks in advance. Most of my birthdays were "shared" with my sister because she was too young to know why I was getting presents and she wasn't. Her birthday was 5 days after Christmas and she got both Christmas and Birthday celebrations. On my sixteenth birthday I had to plan my own party because she was often too tired AND then she went to bed without even having cake or anything. After that I was too old for anything special...of course after my 18th I was in the Army and far away for the next few. Then when she passed she did a double whammy...she passed ON my Aunt's birthday (her younger sister) and was cremated ON my birthday. Total downer. I celebrate her life ON her birthday in January and try not to think about her passing so close to mine, so that is not what puts me into my funk.
It is just life in general...I need excitement and I don't get excited about my birthday but I am sort of excited this year. A few weeks ago I plotted a 10K course to walk and I have been sitting on my hands to not get out and do it ahead of the big day. See my birthday falls on Sunday and that is my first day of two off so it is perfect for doing the 10K - then Monday is basically a rest day except I will be walking to the gym for Tai Chi that day too.
I did a 10K on my birthday last year and was going to repeat the same course this year when I realized that it is really boring. It has only slight inclines and is probably 85% flat and is the same scenery...I could do it in reverse but it is still the same old same old. So then I thought of the route I drove to work...it has a good sized hill that rolls down and then goes back up almost as high. Then it is a long stretch of a slight incline. Then I make a turn that goes up steadily a little more and ends in a hill. Then I turn and it goes down at a big enough decline that you have to lean back and dig in not to run down it. After that I am back to familiar area before coming home. But it will be different and challenging. I plan to jog a good amount of it too...I might break my personal best time for completing my 10K walks!!! LOL I just looked in my log book which unfortunately I started ON 1 January so my birthday one is not in it. My last 10K in April was "untimed"... Wait I made a "medallion" for my birthday one and I think I recorded the time on it...130 minutes. But it was 7.04 miles which is 1.02 miles more than the 6.02 for a 10K. This year I plotted it to be exactly 6.03 Miles door to door - so it is right on for the 10K. And that is what excites me - doing a 10K.
LIke I said earlier...I apologize if anyone is reading these blogs to follow me or get inspiration...I am in a blue funk and just felt like writing it out.
A note...last week I was 180 and this week I am 182 - part of the funk I am sure, I was seeing the light of reaching a goal of 179 by my birthday. I was even seeing the number 177 as attainable! Now I am back up BUT I am no longer the 242 of a few years ago, or the 200 of a couple years ago, or even the 190 of not so long ago! I have to keep that in mind...I am still below 190 and that is good.
OK now I am inspired...I am going to put on my headphones and MP3 and dance my way through some chores...
HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!!
Sunday, August 04, 2013
Almost daily SparkGuy asks if we have done our 10 Minutes of exercise and I feel a little guilty...I mean during the work day I go up and down the stairs, I walk to and from bus stops and every now and then I put extra zip into something I routinely do. Add a little flair to checking off product in the hallway, a few dance steps when walking to lunch, or do air drum rolls when I finish data input. But I don't take 10 minutes to actually do some exercise activity....
Then it hit me - yesterday as an example my friend Sharee (also on SparkPeople) and I went on our bi-weekly shopping excursion. We went to Sam's Club and spent well over 30 minutes hiking the aisles. Pushing the cart laden with three bundles of water (for a shut in - we get ours in 3 and 5-gallon increments!). Figure 120 bottles of 8 ounces of water...that is a lot of weight. Then everything else we buy is bulk: Dawn dish detergent, dog biscuits for a large dog...etc. But that isn't the real exercise...the real exercise is dodging the sample stations with the expectant servers. The theme for the day seemed to be Breakfast so we cleverly dodged things like pancakes, hot dogs wrapped in pancakes, Starbucks ground coffee (neither of us drink coffee so that was no challenge!) and Blue Moon Beer to mention a few. Not too sure how Blue Moon Beer is a breakfast food...but we figured that if we got the cereal sample and then put the BM Beer on it that would make it breakfast. The big challenge was it was about 5 PM and I had had lunch at 11AM - so some of the stuff looked inviting enough.
Think of what is required to dodge these people...you have to have timing you have to watch for the opening that is just right. Either while they are busy setting up, replenishing the stock because a group of grazers just passed OR the best time to go is when someone else gets too close and grabs their attention. For this you have to tense up your core muscles and be ready to sprint quickly without looking like you are racing. And then you have to do about a 20 yard dash. Multiply that by eight or ten stations and you have a pretty good work out. Another tactic is to make a u-turn part way down the aisle, acting like you just passed what you were looking for. This technique racks up more steps so it is really the best way to avoid them. And it is not an easy task to get a cart that now weighs so much more than before to make the u-turn quickly and stealthily - you don't want it to look all jerky and like you are running away.
After we were done there we went to the place we pick up our water - two three gallon jugs for me - tell me that isn't a good work out. Slinging them from the dispenser into the car and then later lugging them into the house. Sharee does the five gallon jugs. And it isn't like you carry both of them into the house - you need one hand free to open the door at the very least! So two round trips.
We did a circuit through Smart and Final to find a couple things that weren't at Sam's Club and then off to Wal-Mart with it's obstacle course lay out. They keep changing it so we often make our way to where our favorite staple was last time and then have to wander the whole store looking for it. The obstacles here are the crowds - teenagers walking and texting and giggling, younger kids dashing in and out, others not paying attention. Then you have the shoppers who are on a serious shopping list, shoppers who are just dashing in to pick up a few things and the seniors in their buggies. You always have to do things like crab walking where you squeeze past a group, or the going up on tiptoes as you apply your brakes so you don't slam into the kid that is racing by or the buggy that just stopped. I know I get a lot of cardio during these trips and I don't have to use a jump rope or any other piece of exercise equipment!!!
We don't do the gym on Saturdays but as you can see if we stop and think about what we do do in the evening we probably do almost the same amount of exercise as if we did go to the gym and we actually do accomplish the "10 Minutes" that SparkGuy is looking for us to do daily. It is just it is hard to put it into words and even harder to remember to go ahead and count it because it does count!!
END OF LECTURE!!
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