Saturday, January 31, 2015

GREAT resolutions for February

Like everyone else in America at the end of January, I am so over my resolutions. But, unlike everyone else in America at the end of January, I have a fresh set waiting in the wings! Here’s the final masterpiece of New Life Planning:

  • Goal: Be able to do 10 push-ups by the end of the month.
  • Rule: Clean for 15 minutes every day (possibly excepting my birthday).
  • Errand: Apply for a passport.
  • Adventure: Try workouts from several different online strength programs.
  • Theme: “44.” Planning to turn 44, walk/run 44 miles, and give 44 things to charity.

February shouldn’t be a hugely busy work month for me, so I decided to make this set of resolutions a bit more challenging and sneak a few more rule-ish elements into my Theme. That (along with the fact that we really have let the house go a bit lately) helped me to finally settle on what I’ve come to think of as the “15-minute maid” concept as my official Rule. And I’ve replaced “Appreciation” with “Adventure”—which is my shorthand for trying something new.

My main goal in putting these together was to choose things I might not have done otherwise but will be really happy about once they’re done. I guess that’s the very definition of a resolution, but it’s still been helpful for me to think of them that way. Having done January’s stuff makes me kind of happy, but I gave much more thought to February, so I hope it will be even better.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


I’m trying to make sure my January resolutions are all checked off before the month comes to an end, and I distinctly remember that part of the deal was that I was supposed to blog about my Appreciation topic. Groan. A sappy post about how much I’m thankful for my health? I think not.

So I’m really thankful that I’m in charge of this rule, because I’m changing it. I will keep my gratitude to myself, and you will just have to trust me that I did a super-great job of feeling it.

Actually, if I can think of a better A, I might just change the whole thing altogether. Because (again, just trust me on this) a sense of gratitude is not something I ever lack or need to work on. And it makes me feel gross and squirmy to force myself to write about it.

Now, what’s another word for “rule” that starts with A?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A baby step toward weight training

Everything I read, everything I hear, everything I already believe to be true, and everything I have experienced firsthand tells me I need to be lifting weights. And yet I’m not. I know exactly why. It’s uncomfortable and awkward to get started, the “real weights” section of the gym is so intimidating (even for me, and I have some experience there), and there’s so much else on my fitness to-do list. If I’m lifting weights several times a week, when am I going to do yoga and swim and run and walk and take those spin classes everyone knows I adore so much?

Okay, maybe not the spin classes, but if I want to train for a triathlon, then I do have to get on some sort of bike at some point.

I’m thinking the thing to do is to start really small with a couple of things I can do at home: push-ups and pull-ups. I was doing so well on push-ups (10 in a row!) before I decided that they were detrimental to my shoulder recovery; now I’m not sure I can do any. And I have a pull-up bar in my line of sight for 10 hours a day, but it’s been more than a decade since I did anything close to a single pull-up.

It might be a bit ambitious, but being able to do 10 push-ups and one pull-up seems like a good goal for February. I mean Goal.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Yay, milestone

My big goal for the month was to finish editing M.H.’s book, and as of now I have—sort of. I conveniently forgot that editing leads to rewriting, which leads to more editing, which leads to more rewriting, which leads to more editing, and that it’s possible to continue on like that for infinity time.

But the rest of the work is probably going to be collaborative, so for the purposes of January resolutions, let’s just call this one a cha-ching!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Spin fail

I tried really hard to like spin class today. I even started a blog post where I humorously listed all the positive things about it. But it made me want to vomit (the post, not the class).

Then I went to work for a while and within a few minutes found myself quite literally yelling at all of the following:
  • Microsoft Word (no huge surprise there).
  • My teacup (it spilled very hot liquid on me).
  • My socks (they were twisty).
I thought M.H. was exaggerating when he expressed the concern that spin class was going to make me come home and yell at him. (Note to self: Never doubt that man.)

The weird thing is there wasn’t really anything wrong with the class. I was irritated that the instructor used the word “cheating” about 80 times—sitting down is “cheating,” taking more resistance off than instructed is “cheating,” and so on, plus she told us again that it was okay if we “hated” her—but overall I thought I enjoyed it more than last week.

Yet…I am undeniably grumpy. Maybe I’ll try one more time next week, just for the sake of science.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

For the love of “Rules”

“Rule” is easily the most coveted slot in my new monthly resolution framework; I just love making rules for myself. I’ve thought of at least ten really good ones for February and don’t know how I’m going to choose. I may have to consider turning my Goal into a disguised Rule—something like “Try two new classes at the gym every week”—except that Goal is easily the second-most coveted slot in the framework and I already have five or six great ideas for that.

There’s a downside to all this planning (I mean other than basically confessing in a public forum that I’m ridiculous). For example, one of my top contenders for a February Rule is something along the lines of “Spend about 15 minutes every day doing some sort of household cleaning task above and beyond the daily stuff.” And then I look out my filthy kitchen window and think, “I can’t clean it now because I have to save myself enough housework for February.”

Yes, I am hard at work over here saving myself enough housework for February. Sigh.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Spin class

Me: “I’m off to spin class. I think I’m going to wear earplugs and drink hot green tea instead of water.”
M.H.: “Those earplugs are going to sweat right out of your ears.”
Me: “Oh, I’m not planning to sweat. But I guess it would be better to take a water bottle.”
M.H.:You may not sweat, but you’ll still get wet from all the people around you sweating.”
Me: “If I take the Ironman water bottle, that might give me enough street cred that they don’t even notice I’m not doing the real workout.”
M.H.: “Sploosh! Sploosh! Sploosh!”

We had a conversation after spin class, too. But it was mostly me ranting about spin class and M.H. begging me never to go to spin class again.

HOWEVER, I was right that peer pressure (and music) got me to do a lot more biking than I would have otherwise. I did the parts of the class I wanted to do and ignored the parts I didn’t. I also ignored the instructor’s encouragement—e.g., “You can hate me later, just don’t quit now!”—because I am a grown woman who can decide this kind of thing for herself. I mean, seriously, I find that statement so ridiculous. How about if instead I just do as much as I feel is appropriate and continue to keep my personal feelings about you neutral to positive?

But I know I am strangely irrational on this subject, and I feel more ranting coming on, so let me just cut myself off right there and say that the earplugs were an excellent call, I really liked the music, I did sweat a little, I was happy with my workout, and I am leaning toward going back next week.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Swim! Bike? Run.

The GATORS swimming class at my gym started up again this week, just in time for me to make that my regular weekly swim for the month of January. Let me just say that it is amazing what peer pressure can get you to do. I went instantly from doing maybe 600 lazy yards on my own to 1,500 yards of focused workout. (It was hard on my shoulder, though, so I’m glad it’s just once a week.)

I know I could get the same effect with biking if I took a spin class, but I’m still really not sure I want to. A friend gave me some recommendations for classes that are less intense and screamy, so I might try one of those on Monday. If it causes misery and grumpiness, then I guess I’ll just go back to phoning it in for a while. I’ve been thinking I should see if I can borrow my sister’s trainer again and set up my real bike somewhere in the house. Those workouts were the stuff of nightmares from my Ironman training days, but I have to remember I’m not going to try to do, like, FIVE HOURS on the stupid thing anymore. Plus, now I have podcasts!

I’m trying to figure out running, too. My philosophy lately has been that I should only do as much as feels fun and easy, and that I shouldn’t get stuck in that “run forever really slow” pace. So I’ve been walking for a while, setting the treadmill for 6 or 6.5 mph (which is fairly easy but not a go-forever slog for me) and running until I feel like stopping. Then I go back to walking until running sounds fun again. I end up running less than two minutes at a time, but I think that will increase as time goes on. Hopefully enough to have me running a respectable 5K by July.

I really want to do that sprint triathlon with Mik this year, and it would be super-fun to be decent at it. I think I’m over being okay with coming in dead last.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Best New Life Plan ever

I had a feeling this make-new-resolutions-every-month thing would appeal to me. First, of course, I’m doing well so far on my January resolutions, which is good. But much more than that, I’m having tons of fun pondering what I should do in February.

Just now, in fact, I figured out what Errand I want to do, and I’m really excited about it.

Let me break that down in case you can’t immediately see how crazy it is: There’s a task I’ve been kind of needing/wanting to do for months. I have the time and capability to go out and do it right this minute. But, instead of that, I’m (1) making a plan to (2) put it on a list and (3) post it on my blog, so I can then (4) go out and do it.

Well, as long as it (5) makes me happy, right?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A painful workout

I decided to get my “biking” for the week done today. Of course that’s in quotation marks because it’s January in Montana, which means that it sucks outside. This year I think I heard we’re setting actual records for how much it sucks outside; there is no one on a bike, biking. (You would think it would stop the runners, too, but nothing ever seems to stop the runners.)

Anyway, we have a whole room full of spinning bikes at the gym. At first I was going to go to an actual spin class, but M.H. talked me out of it. I believe his exact words were: “I don’t want you spending an hour in there getting yelled at and then have you come home and start yelling at me.” Oh, yeah.

So I hit the gym when the spinning room was quiet and dark. And locked. Say what?! I thought, It’s just like this stupid gym to make the spinning room off limits unless you’re taking part in an official class. Outrage! Of course I would never take it out on the front-desk workers, though. So I went up there to politely inquire about it and, in summary, the door to the spinning room opens inward.

That’s right. Biking today hurt a LOT.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Feeling great

Welp, I had my weekly run checked off my list before 6 this morning. I sound so gung-ho, right? But really it’s just because I had to drive Mik to 5 a.m. swim practice, and my chosen activity while there is to walk around the indoor track while listening to podcasts about nutrition. Only I was feeling pretty great, so even though I was wearing jeans, I threw in some short stretches of running, too. (Remember, the R in GREAT specifies that there are no minimum distances.)

Actually, I’ve been feeling a lot of great lately. I went back to my ultra-low carb eating, only this time implementing even more of the specifics I’ve been learning about. For example, I completely eliminated carbs from my breakfast—aside, I guess, from those found in sausage seasonings. I’ve also gone back to faithfully taking the supplements I’m convinced are really important, which are Vitamin D and zinc in the morning and magnesium at night.

It’s amazing the difference you feel when you go from being sick and eating all the sugar you can get your hands on to being well and eating right.

Our first Carb Nite of the year is scheduled for Saturday night, and I’ve decided to be really, really careful with how much sugar I consume. Not because it matters to the body what form its carbs come in, but because I think I need to break myself of the “Yay, let’s binge!” mentality. People talk about that a lot on the Facebook Carb Nite page, and they say it goes away on its own after a while, but the fact is—well, they have never met me. I’m sure that, without intervention, I could cling to a bingeing streak for a very long time.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Swimming wisdom

Swim today! It was short but pleasant. My goggles have been sitting neglected in a bag for a year and a half and are really leaky now, so I couldn’t go farther than a 50 without stopping to empty them. But that’s fine; I’m more or less starting all over again, and just getting in the water is a victory. (And new goggles are already on order, so next week’s victory should be less eye-irritating.)

Short anecdote: I was having a conversation with Mik about swimming. He has a new, much more serious coach, and he was complaining that practices are never fun anymore. My response was, “But you’re getting so fast. Isn’t winning fun?”

And he replied: “No. Fun is winning.”

Kind of an unexpectedly profound insight from that one, is all.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

That special joy

Oh, man. It’s Sunday night, and I’ve logged at least nine hours of work today. Good thing I didn’t make any resolutions about “not working too hard” or “getting a life.” Maybe in February.

The first thing I did do with my resolutions was to knock off the easy one, the Errand. It took 10 minutes, and afterward I was so pleased with myself. I thought, “You could have done this at any time in the past six months and experienced this same joy.” Then I realized that really wasn’t true. There’s a special joy in making a complex plan with an acronym before doing your boring chores.