Ut oh

Today is such a beautiful day that Tim and I decided to exercise outside instead of at the gym.  Tim ran for a solid 2 miles, and I ran about 1.75 miles – not bad at all for our first outdoor run of the Spring!  Admittedly, my first run of the season is always good.  I think it takes my body by surprise, and ignorance is bliss.  After the first run, my body remembers how bad I feel the day AFTER that first run, and it doesn’t treat me as well during my successive attempts.

Once we got home, I really wanted to take full advantage of the good weather, plus I was already in my workout gear, so I pulled my awesome new bike up from the basement and set to filling up the tires.  I have Presta valves on my tires, and our standard pump didn’t work on them, so last year we got a mini pump.  I think the mini pump is intended just for emergency fillings, however.  Pumping a completely flat tire with a tiny pump is exhausting (especially after a 2 mile run), and it’s hard to work the angles.  I was pumping at an angle (man, that doesn’t sound good), and when I pulled the pump off the valve, the tip of the valve was bent.  Tim tried to straighten it out, and in the process the tip of the valve broke clean off.

Needless to say, I was devastated, “Oh no!!!!”  I literally felt like crying.  Instead I threw up my hands, shook my head, lamented how the world hates me and went and raked 1/2 of the front yard.  I realize my reaction was not in keeping with the inconsequentiality of the situation, but that was how I felt.  While I was busy taking my anger and frustration out on the front lawn, Tim calmly pulled the tire off the bike, pulled the tube out of the tire, bought a new tube, installed it, and presented me with a completely fixed bike about 40 minutes later.  He is generally pretty patient with my outsized reactions to annoying situations.

I tried to work myself out of my inexplicable bad mood as I cycled around the bike path.  I did a pretty good job until I encountered those stupid people who have no bike-path etiquette – the cyclists who INSIST on riding side-by-side on a 6 ft wide path, the parent walking down the exact middle of the path with their stroller, the oblivious wanderers, etc.  Overall, though, the ride did help me get into a better mood.  The sky is blue, the grass is green, everything is budding and beautiful, I don’t live in Juarez, life is good.

It’s only 2:30 PM, so we have a good portion of the day left.   Might do a little shopping (I really want (don’t NEED) a new Hobo wallet), maybe get a drink at the Great River beer garden, maybe start a new painting.  I’m getting 8 of Benny’s excellent landscape photographs printed out, so I’ll have plenty of templates.  Maybe I’ll start on this guy:

I need to do another house painting before I forget Tom’s lessons, but I have to get some good pictures first – ones with good light and shadows.

I’m afraid I’m going to be miserable tomorrow once my overly active today settles into my 33-year-old bones – I’m already nursing blisters and a sunburn from raking.  I best get as much done today as I can.

Hope you have a great weekend!

A commentary on workout clothes

I went for a walk after work tonight.  I really didn’t want to.  I had a headache that had been plaguing me all afternoon (damn you SharePoint training in a super hot room!), and I was h u n g r y.  However, I got home a little early ’cause of being in training, and the weather was warm, and I didn’t work out this morning (still massively struggling with getting back into my routine), so I decided I best get some exorcise.  I slapped on my go-to workout outfit – black Nike T and black Champion knee pants.  Note I say “knee pants,” not “capris.”  There is a huge difference.  At least to me. I am very prejudiced against capri pants in any form – workout or otherwise.  I know people love them, but there is something about a pant leg stopping right at the largest part of my calf that I just don’t think looks good.

I guess that’s my first rant against workout clothes – too many capris.

My second rant is about grey sweats.  I understand why people wear grey sweats.  They probably don’t attract the massive amounts of heat that my ninja outfits attracts.  Plus, sweats are supposed to be grey, right?  WRONG!  For some reason, the shade of grey found in most workout clothes always seems to be tinged with yellow.  It’s as if the clothes are already soaked in a sweaty concoction.  It grosses me out for some reason.  One of my strengths (according to this book) is an intense appreciation of beauty.  I need lots of beauty in my life to be truly happy.  So, you see, I’m not being shallow by dissing peoples’ sportswear, I’m just “playing to my strengths.”

I saw the most priceless outfit on the bike path today.  It was worn by a very fuzzy gentleman in his late 50s or so.  He was on a bicycle.  His legs were robed in cranberry colored shorts (long shorts, fortunately), and his exceedingly hairy back and arms were tucked into a baby pink A-shirt.  A pink shirt and cranberry shorts!  It was awesome.

Despite the unappetizing sports gear on display this afternoon, it was an extremely good walk.  I was one of the few people walking on the path; almost everyone else was jogging.  It was very motivational.  I subscribe to the Runner’s World blog for beginners in my Google Reader feed, and they had this encouraging post about how to train for a 1/2 marathon.  Evidently it’s possible for an average human being to run 13 miles (after some training)!  I still am unable to run 3 miles without stopping, but someday, I just might try to do a half marathon.  I’m afraid it’s a slippery slope, however.  One day it’s a 1/2 marathon and the next day, I’m vomiting my guts out after running continuously for 2 hours and my skin looks like a pear that’s been left in a dresser drawer for 3 months.

Anyway, back to my original point, I’m very glad I got myself out for a walk today.  My headache went away, and I have tons of energy.  Look at me, it’s 9:11PM, and I’m still up!!

Ugh, Why do they do that to themselves?!

Whenever I see a runner, toiling under the burden of transporting his carcass around on his two skinny, white legs, face red with exertion, sweat dripping off his chin, I wonder, “WHY is he doing that to himself?!”  Well, I kind of found the answer in this post on Runner’s World about why people run marathons.  This line, especially, I found interesting:

Therefore, the marathon is an event that requires a unique blend of physical, mental, and even spiritual training, which is very unusual in today’s world.

I have been getting the itch lately to start running outside again.  The weather is warming up, and it’s still fairly light when I get home.  Maybe if I started running after work, I could lay off the 4:30AM workouts a couple of mornings a week.  That would very, very nice.  Maybe one day, when I break the 2.5 mile mark, I’ll start working towards a marathon.

Here is picture of Tim and me after the Quad City Marathon 5K last year.  I felt like crap as I crossed the finish line, but I was A-OK 10 minutes afterwards.  We got some coffee from Red Band and some donuts from Donuts and More.  It was a beautiful morning.

Yoga my head into the ground

I had a very positive day yesterday.  I started off on the right foot by drinking two cups of delicious fresh ground 8 O’Clock Columbian roast, one cup of twiggy Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Root tea and by eating rolled oats with cinnamon, raisins and ground flax.  I was bursting with healthy energy, so I headed to the gym and did 35 minutes on the treadmill, working up a shirt-drenching sweat.  Tim put all sorts of excellent hip-hop and electronic music on my eyepod that kept my energy flowing – stuff like this awesome song with the best bass beat ever:

I always play my iPod on random, and a few Kid Cudi tracks came up, and maybe even some Robyn?  Anyway, it was a mix made to train my body and soul.  After the treadmill action, I headed out to Ultimate Fitness to catch the 11:15 yoga class.

Sara had us do all the usual poses – mountain (where you get in touch with the earth), tree (where you try vainly to balance on one foot whilst keeping the rest of your body on one plane), cobra, downward dog, etc. She tried some intermediate moves too; she had us do boat, or at least I tried to do boat. You do this pose by sitting on your mat, with your legs stretched directly in front of you. You scooch your hips back, so that you are sitting on your sit bones and not rolling back on your butt. You place your hands behind your back for stability and then lift both legs off the ground. It sounds so easy, but it’s insanely hard for me. I can only lift one leg at a time, and I can’t even keep the one leg off the ground for more than 10 – 20 seconds. Sara makes it look as if it’s the easiest thing in the world. It’s just insane.

Fortunately, she closed with savasana, the corpse pose. In this pose, you lay on your back, with your legs flat to on the ground, knees and feet pointed upward. Sara walks your mind through your whole body, relaxing each muscle as your thought touches it. Once you’ve relaxed everything, from the skin between your toes to your inner ears, you focus on your breathing. You imagine your breath coming into your body like waves coming on to the beach. With each exhalation, the wave retreats, taking with it some of bad things residing in your body. I was telling Tim today, that yoga is the kind of thing that works well for those who believe in it and probably not at all for those who don’t. I guess I’m a believer because it always makes me feel better when I go, at least until the day after. I might have pushed myself too far yesterday, because today I am pretty much sore EVERY WHERE. But, I still feel positive about it because I can feel myself standing straighter, and I feel much more tuned in to my body. It feels less like a mysterious package surrounding my brain and more a part of me.

After yoga Tim and I went to Major Art and Hobby where I got my Prang watercolors and brushes and erasers and rulers for my Architectural Drawing class that starts on the 16th. Major Art and Hobby always seems very poorly stocked to me. Maybe it’s my Americanized custom of always seeing plenty of everything. But, despite appearances, they had everything I needed, sans cold press watercolor paper and a masonite drawing board. The paper will come in this week, and I found the board at Hobby Lobby – it looks exactly like the drawing boards we used in high school. I can’t wait to slap some paper on that board, tack it down with masking tape and have at it.  My drawing desire was re-awakened Saturday morning when I drew up simple plans for a tea box the Bennzy Boos is going to make for us. I forgot how relaxing it can be to draw rulered lines with a pencil on paper with a nice tooth. Ahh… the little things in life.

After Major Art & Hobby, Tim and I hit up Great River, had a couple of pints, headed to Evergreen for a T-square (they were closed), and picked up some wings at BWW for supper. I tried the mango Habanero sauce, per a friend’s recommendation. It is pretty sticky but very delicious. It took about an hour for my lips to return to their normal color. We watched Zombieland while eating supper. It was actually a pretty unsettling movie to watch while eating chicken wings. As I was ripping chicken flesh off the bones – orange, sticky sauce all over my face and hands – on the television, human beings were ripping entrails out of fellow human beings, while projectile vomiting black mucusy syrupy disgustingness. Besides the aforementioned graphicness, the movie was actually pretty funny in many parts. The Bill Murray scenes alone make the movie worth watching. Woody Harrelson was my favorite character – nice and insane. I didn’t like the girls in the movie – the idea that they could snooker those two guys so completely multiple times seemed t0o far-fetched to me.  I think it’s definitely worth watching, but it’s no Shaun of the Dead, not by a long-shot.

Today has been a very mild day so far, which is what I needed after all the exercise and exciting art supply shopping yesterday. Tim and I are sitting here in the computer room; he’s tagging pictures and being very patient with me as I try to get WordPress to do what I want it to do. Yep, the Teemz is good people.

So, it’s back to work tomorrow. Another weekend come and gone in a flash. I can’t wait until Robots take over the world and start treating us like beloved pets. They will give us jobs, so we don’t completely lose purpose in life, but we’ll only have to work 3 days a week, and the rest of the time we can pursue hobbies and play awesome iPod games created by our cool Robot leaders. I can’t wait for the future.  Please note, Google, that I capitalize Robots to show respect.

Hurl Some Positive Vibes Next Time You See a Runner

I’m not crazy enough (yet) to run in the winter, or really in any weather that’s poorly.  I am continuously amazed by those dedicated/crazy souls who venture out when it’s 10 degrees below zero, windy and icy.  I wish them the best, as long as they make themselves visible enough that I don’t accidentally kill them with my car.

I ran across this blog post on Runners World about the things shouted at those crazy runners.  There are some pretty funny comments on the post – runners get lots of cat calls and whistles and lots of spit and expletives thrown their way (my tri-athlete friend gets cigarettes thrown at him when he runs – gotta love Muscatine), but they also get lots of encouragement hurled at them as well.  There is nothing more encouraging than a positive word from someone when you are pushing yourself to do something that feels horrible but is good for you!

I so tired

I think I may have overdone it.  I went to the gym at 4:30AM yesterday morning and did leg weights, 15 minutes on the Precor, and 15 minutes on the treadmill.  Then last night I went to a Yoga Fit class.  It was a HARD class.  Who knew that stretching could make you feel so horrible the next day.  Then, this morning, at 4:30AM I went to the gym and did 50 minutes of cardio (alternating walking 5 minutes and running 5 minutes).  By 3PM today I was feeling pretty checked out.  Maybe if I get into the habit of doing this weekly, though, I’ll get used to it, and I’ll be able to fully contribute at my job all the way until 5PM.

Despite my increased level of activity, I haven’t lost any weight.  I was up to 150 this Fall, and I’ve moderated now at 147, which is the weight I’ve been for ages.  I have a hard time dipping below that threshold though.  Just when I start to feel thin and vibrant, I’m sidelined by PMS.  All my clothes feel tight, and I feel gross.  That lasts for like for 10 days, so 1/3 of the month.  Totally unfair.

On a bright note, I read today that having a big bum, hips, and thighs is “healthy.”  Yes, it’s true.  I read it right here.  I have lots of  “slower burning hip fat” which is a good thing, according to Dr Konstantinos Manolopoulos.  So, what I’m taking away from this article is that my body is totally fine the way it is – all 147 pounds of it.  I’m still going to work out though.  It does really make me happier.  It makes me feel superior to non-exercisers too, which is nice.  Yes, I’m a bad person – a bad person with good fat.

Hatha Yoga

I am off to an excellent start today.  I woke up, ate oatmeal for breakfast (mixed quick oats with a  banana, raisins, ground flax and cinnamon), went to the gym and did upper body weights and 40 minutes on the Precor, then went to hatha yoga at Ultimate Fitness.

My friend Laura and I have done yogalates a few times (a mix of yoga and pilates).  I didn’t anticipate hatha yoga being that much different, but it really was.  The instructor for this class was a lot more instructive.  Her directions for the poses were very descriptive and precise.  It made me feel more comfortable that I was actually doing the pose correctly.  She was really good at walking your mind through your body, too.  She would say, “Feel the energy start at your toes, move through your arches, your ankles are relaxing, etc.”  With each new instruction, I felt that part of my body do as it was told.  It was so interesting, albeit a little spooky.  This yoga definitely focused on the mind-body connection more than the yogalates.  I like both types – this yoga helped me feel more centered and in tune with myself, but the yogalates worked my muscles (especially the abs) more.

I really enjoy doing yoga, but for some reason it’s super hard for me to actually get myself to the class.  The only reason I made it there today was because I met Laura and another friend there.  I am still mystified by how difficult it is to make myself do something that I really enjoy.  I blame inertia – a body at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.  Laura and Melissa are going to be my outside force.  We’re supposed to meet for class again next Saturday.

Two things about the class that I didn’t like, however, was 1.  It was SUPER cold in the room.  Granted, it’s only 8 degrees outside, but coldness goes with yoga like restraint with David Hasselhoff.  2.  This guy walks into the class, and chuckles as he sees how crowded it is.  “I love this time of year” he says with an air of disdainful superiority – New Years resolution wannabees was his attitude toward us.  He obviously doesn’t understand the true spirit of yoga (do no harm) or he would have kept his loud mouth shut.  I know this guy from my old job – he is an arrogant, obnoxious blowhard, so I shouldn’t have been surprised at his comment.

Anyway, despite the cold and the dash of obnoxiousness, I still really enjoyed the class. I’m already looking forward to going back next week.