Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: April 2009 (Page 1 of 4)

Imagination Prompt

So I was having one of those days today.  Nothing going right at work, had a lot of wasted time getting through problems that ended up being beyond my control, and just all around lack of inspiration.  Besides my run this morning, and the fact that Zliten even joined me (yay!!!), today has been kinda – meh.

So what do you write when you’re feeling sorta grey-ish?  I have a post about willpower started but… um… when you’re practically chaining yourself to your desk not to get up and raid the snack machine… yeah that feels a bit hypocritcal.  Then, I remembered my trusty friend google, and lo and behold, the Imagination Prompt.  I am going to answer the first ten questions it gives me here and maybe it will be interesting.  If not, well, I tried.

1.  Can you watch a movie already in progress, or do you need to see it from the beginning?

Well, I prefer to watch a movie from the beginning, but I’ve seen many, many movies from the middle.  If it’s interesting, I’ll seek out the whole thing, but I have definitely seen my share of half-movies.  Especially the ones on comedy central that play over and over.  I’ll watch 20 minute here, 10 minutes there, and eventually I’ve seen most of it!

2.  Describe a childhood birthday.

When I was 13, my friends threw me a surprise party and kicked it off in an odd way.  I rollerbladed home with one of my friends and the rest were inside my basement at the ready.  They wrapped my up in saran wrap and proceeded to dump the contents of the fridge on me – chocolate syrup, butter, the works.  They really appreciated the thank you hugs after getting doused.  It sounds mean when I type it out now, but that’s just how we were, I guess.

3.  Loved and lost, or never loved at all? Which might you prefer?

Loved and lost, of course!  First of all, anguish makes for great writing fodder.  Second, one can only truly learn by experiencing, and how are you to know what you want, what is right for you, what love truly is, except by a heaping, steaming pile of Mr. Wrongs in your wake, if that’s what is necessary.  Luckily, I found my Mr. Awesome early in life, so it’s mostly a rhetorical exercise here.

4.  I can’t believe that I…

Am still waiting for all this crap to download at work.  Next!

5.  You can only keep five things you have. What will they be?

By things, I’m going to assume that I’ve already got my Zliten and my lizards.   I’ll say, off the top of my head – a substantial amount of my wardrobe (ie, enough to get me through a month or so), my engagement ring, my laptop, all my old photos/yearbooks/crap, and…uh…my phone?  The thing here is while it said I only got to keep five things, it didn’t say I couldn’t just take an infinite amount of money and go buy replacements for the other things!  I’m sure if I gave it some real thought I might remember some more keepsake-y things but I could definitely get by with the 5 listed above.

6.  Weird is…

My daily bread.  Normal is a dryer setting.  Weird is a compliment – if you’re weird, at least you’re doing something different.  And you know what…everyone is weird.  It’s just about how public you are with your weirdness.  Let your freak flag fly, everyone!

7.  If I could be any age, what would it be — list 10 reasons why.

You know, I really quite like 30.  It’s old enough to know better but young enough to do it once in a while anyway.  It’s young with out all the stupid.  It’s a great time to remember things you put along the wayside to try and be a successful 20-something and dust them off and try them again.  And it’s still ok to get upset when getting ma’am-ed by snotnose punks at the salad place.  That’s not 10, but you get the point.

8.  7 things I’ve done or said that I’m proud of:

Ok, let’s do DONE:

– I am proud of my gymnastics career.  It wasn’t much, but I loved it and will carry the experience through all my life.

– I am proud that I graduated college, with honors, and a 3.7 GPA with a BA of Psychology.  Not that I did anything with it, but I’m glad I have the paper.

– I am proud that I uprooted myself not once but twice chasing rainbows – once to San Diego in 2002, and most recently to Austin in 2007.   Given my comfort zone, I could have probably lived in one town all my life, and I’m glad I’ve spent some time in at least a few different places.

– I am proud that I slowly and sanely lost 115 ish lbs.  I did it on my own terms, I did it listening to my body, and I did it without giving up being me.

– I am proud of my current surge of altheticism, mainly the 10k awesome time and the fact that we are going on lots of biking adventures to faraway double digit mile places.

– I am proud that I spent 2 years as producer running an online world.  While a lot of things came out of it I didn’t like, I am happy to remember a job that I enjoyed doing with every fiber of my being and was so into that very few other things mattered.

– I am proud that I’ve spent almost 10 years with my Zliten, going from one adventure to the next.  I’m also proud that I have not found a way to hate him yet, so I guess that must mean I love him.

I think that’s it for today, that was sorta fun.  Might have to pull this out when the next fit of un-inspired-ness hits.  Answer your favorite question below in the comments, or feel free to steal it as a blog topic if you are also in my boat!

The Race, The Ride, The Ridiculous Feast Part 2

The Race:

Saturday morning, I got up at 6:45.  The only time I am ever up at 6:45 on a weekend is if I am a) flying somewhere (I always end up on the stupid early ones) or b) still up from the night before.  Now, I can add “going to a race” as one of those reasons.  I’m not entirely sure WHY races all have to be so early, but since they are, I just figure I have to get used to it.  I got up, took a looooong wakeup shower, and got dressed.  After getting Zliten up and getting my stuff together we bolted out the door later than we had hoped.

Halfway there, I realize that I had forgotten just about the most important thing besides my shoes – my zune.  Zliten was kind enough to drop me off so I could get my packet and warm up and run home and get it for me.  He made it back with about 2 minutes to spare.  After a hug and a smooch and a transfering of stuff, a good luck, and a pre-race picture, I smooshed in with the 6399 other people waiting for the race to start.  They had waves of people starting by time, but since I got to the line late, I was stuck back with the 13 minute mile people and it took me almost 3 minutes to cross the start line.  But I did, and I was off!

The first mile was dodging and weaving through slower runners.  However, it was through a route that we’ve biked each week, so I was familiar with the terrian.  I was studying the mile markers on the course the night before but since I stink at spacially knowing where I am by reading a top down map (seriously, I get lost at the mall even with those “you are here” signs…it’s sad), I couldn’t remember which streets we hit during which miles.  I kept thinking that the first mile was the looooongest ever, until I saw the second mile marker.  Whew, ok, I thought.  1/3 done, I can do this.  I looked at my watch – and holy cow, I was only about 16 minutes in.  I was making amazing time!

My thought going in to the race was to take the first, third, and fifth miles fast and the second and fourth miles pretty easy.  Then on mile 6, I was going to see how I felt, and either finish strong or just get through it.  That plan totally went out the window.  I just played it by ear.  When I felt good, I picked up the pace.  When I started to feel a cramp coming on, I slowed down.  I booked down the hills and struggled up them, although I keep getting better at them each race.

Then came the sixth mile.  Oh, the hill.  Ooooohhh, the hill.  It was a killer.  I didn’t stop, I kept running, but man, I wanted to walk it.  I saw lots of people walk it.  I’m just happy I did not succumb, but it also took me a while to recover after it flattened out.  The last mile was seriously the longest.mile.evar.  When I started running up the last street I picked up the pace even though I was hurting still from the hill.  When I saw the gate I just gave it all I had and started sprinting as fast as I could.  I crossed the gate at around 59-something minutes, and I knew that I hadn’t just met my goal, I totally shattered it.  I totally did the cheesy fist pumping thing at the finish because I was so freaking excited.  I ended up with a chip time of 56:54.  Results here (might be temporary)!  I ended up placing 29th in my age group out of 80.  I also finished 483rd out of 1126 people.  Not bad!  I even beat our governor Rick Perry.

I did a cooldown walk around, found Zliten in the crowd, and then found the car and went home.  The camera died at the finish so I don’t have a picture, but we re-created it in the backyard.  Then, we went to The Omlettry, and I had the most delicious gingerbread pancakes and homefries EVAR.  Later, I found the results and got happy and also found this coverage on the race.  Hey, I wasn’t just a wuss.  The elite runners said it was a difficult course too!

The Ride and The Ridiculous Feast:

After breakfast and relax time, we contemplated the day.  There was Eeyore’s Birthday Party going on, but we decided against it.  Our “exhausted” plan was to just chill at home, but I wasn’t too beat, so we got on the bikes and rode to our work poker game which was about 7 mile away.  Yes, I know I’m insane.  We rode fast and it was a hilly route, so I was definitely ready to be NOT moving when we got there.  We sat down and got our poker on.  Sadly, it was getting late after about 3 hours of playing, so I either had to get aggressive and knock people out (which I am NOT good at), or lose.  I ended up going all in against the chip lead on a hand I normally wouldn’t have, and I lost.  Oh well.  We took a different route home and man, my legs were SCREAMING at first.  After the first 10 minutes though I was back to being alright though I knew my body was pretty tired.  We ended up taking a busy street with no sidewalk, so it was a scary-but-exciting offroading adventure.

After putting in my calories burnt for the day and seeing that it was just over 2k for the DAY, we decided mass quantities of food was in order.  We headed to the Golden Corrall (yes, disgusting, I know) and I consumed lots of salad, veggies, and other not-so-healthy stuff (but I was really craving a ginormous salad so that’s what I started with).  The plate of deserts was probably over the top, but ya know…race day = no guilt.

I tried to have a few drinks with some friends to unwind, but it just wasn’t in the cards after the day I had.  I think I’m still recovering!  Sunday, let me tell ya, I did laundry, got groceries, and NOTHING ELSE.  What did you do this weekend?  Anything….legendary?

Half Marathon Training, Between Week 4 and 5

If you’ve been following me here this shouldn’t be any surprise, but for the rest of you and for my posterity, here is how last week went:

Monday: 6 mile run + yoga

Check, and check.   Run was good, I felt crappy at the beginning it, but felt better by the end.  I love those runs.  I still find that doing yoga in the morning is the only way I can really tolerate it, really like it even.

Tuesday: yoga and 35 minute tempo run (5 mins jog, 25 mins hard run, 5 mins jog)

Check and check.  Did the yoga before work and hit the gym to do the tempo run since it was hotter than a frying pan outside.

Wednesday: DDR and yoga

Check and check.  Did this before work since I wasn’t sure what sort of crazy work was going to throw at me and ended up actually getting off on time, so it was a nice night.

Thursday: weights and 3.5 mile run

Not check and not check.  There is one day of the month where it takes all my mental mettle to get my fatigued and crampy ass off the couch, but I usually do it.  This day, however, I was woken up with said pains at like 3 am and couldn’t fall back asleep until almost 6.  So after 4 hours of broken up sleep on top of regular ol’ fatigue – I figured working out would do more harm than good.  I ate pizza and sat on the couch and vegged.

Friday: Rest!

Not check, but appropriately so.  Since I skipped all of Thursday’s workout, I just felt like I needed to not go from Wednesday to Saturday without a run.  I did an easy 3 mile and felt good.  I did totally skip the weight session though, which meant no weights all week.

Saturday: Race and Biking Adventure

I’ll cover the race more tomorrow, but let me just say – uh, hells yeah.  Then later, we did a slightly shorter 15 mile round trip bike ride to a co-worker’s house to play poker.  Spark says I burnt over 2000 calories this day.  Good thing, because I ate like 3000+.  Funny how the body just takes over and says “Nuh uh, girlfriend, we are eating a LOT when I expend a lot.”  Good for it!

Sunday: Rest.

Check.  Oh hell yah.  I got groceries and did laundry.  The rest of the day I spent within 10 feet or less of the couch.

Total week 4 mileage (running):  18.7 (plus about a mile of walking)
Total week 4 mileage biking: 15

Week 5?  Let’s do it!  Races are done, now it’s time to start going the distance…

Monday: 4 mile run and weights at the gym

Tuesday: yoga and 7×400 sprints (sprint 1 lap around the track, jog one lap, rinse and repeat)

Wednesday: yoga and 40 mins of DDR

Thursday: 4 mile run and weights at home

Friday: 7 mile run (and I think this might be the first time I use the gel/moons/beans etc)

Saturday: Bike Adventure

Sunday: Rest

Things I learned last week:

1.  Sometimes an unplanned rest day is the best thing for you.  I thought it was just going to decimate my ability to perform in the race but I think it did me a lot more good than if I pushed through my exhausted day.  And I think a short easy run the day before the race was better than resting.  Nothing hard enough to make me sore, but just enough to keep the muscles loose.

2.  Let’s hope I still feel the same way next week, but skipping weights twice is not the end of the world.  I think I’ll skip the weights the week of the half marathon too.  My muscles felt more…rested.  Makes sense though.  I am also seeing that increasing distance later in the training = increasing time worked out and something might have to give.  Once I get to 5 mile short run days, weights might go to once per week.  I *DO* plan to go super weight heavy after I run this race, so it will all balance out in the grand scheme of things, eventually.

3.  I like 10ks better than 5ks.  Maybe I’ll like half marathons better than 10ks!  I usually feel like it takes me a mile or so to get into my groove, and for a 5k, that’s a third of the race!  For the 10k…well, I’ll talk more about it tomorrow.  But running the distance in a race was amazing.

4.  Some days you are really into it and it’s magical.  Some days you’re not into when you start, but you feel great when you get going, and you just have to thank yourself for having the drive to get up off the couch and the faith that doing is better than not doing.  Some days, you’re not into it and you just have to power through and it doesn’t get better, but it does end.  Those days are few and far between though, and if they’re not, you’re probably doing something wrong.

5.  This week (5) starts the shift into expanding my comfort zone.  4+ miles as my short runs is going to take a head shift.  I run 7 miles as my long run this week, and that’s half a mile longer than I’ve ran before – which is probably not terribly significant and I’ll be fine.  But what’s eating the back of my head is next week is 8 miles.  That seems a lot longer.  I mean, it’s gotta happen if I want to do 13.1, but I usually run a distance quite a few times before I stretch further.  However, I am assured by many sources that the extra distance just sort of comes naturally and I could actually hurt my body training the way that feels right (tons of long rons, practice makes perfect, right).  We shall see.  All I can do is map the routes, put on my shoes, and see what I can do.

Music Makes the World Go ‘Round

Or, at least my workout world, that is.  If my mp3 player dies, I have 2 other backups.  If they are all missing/dead, I will refuse to do cardio.  I just cannot get on with a run or anything like that without music.  TV, beautiful nature sounds – can’t do it.  I can do weights although I don’t particularly like it, but seeing that I can run through a hangover, a cold, a headache, or just about any other ailment, you can see how important having something to listen to is to me.

So, I figured a fun Friday post would be sharing some of my various playlists for speedwork and what I’m doing during that time.  Please note – due to our PS3 dying and eating all of our music that wasn’t stored anywhere else, I’m operating on music I had at work or on my lappy – which is between 2 to 10 years old.  I plan someday to get the unlimited Zune pass thingee where I can download anything I want for 15 bucks a month – but in these tough economic times (drink) I have to have my priorities.  Like cigarettes and alcohol.  And cute clothes.  And toys for running like my stopwatch.  Anywhooo, here it is.  I hope to see some playlists in the comments, or at least what you like to do to keep your mind amused while working out!

Interval Workout (walk, then jog to the track, do 6×400 sprint laps with a jog lap in between each one, jog then walk home):

Banditos – Refreshments (walk)

Cowboy – Kid Rock (jog and hopefully get to the track in time)

Vivaldi Remix – Digital Espionage (first sprint)

My Way – Limp Biscuit (first jog – skip to next song when the lap is done)

We Will Rock You – Queen (second sprint – no race day/hard run playlist should be without this)

We Are The Champions – Queen (second jog – skip to next song when the lap is done)

Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani (third sprint – say what you want about this song, I hate it too, but the beat ROCKS to run to)

The Show Must Go On – Moulin Rouge (third jog – skip to next song when lap is done)

Rent – Rent (fourth sprint)

What You Own – Rent (fourth jog – skip to next song when lap is done)

Encore – Curtains Down – Eminem (fifth sprint)

No Diggety – Blackstreet (fifth jog)

Born For This – Paramore (sixth sprint)

The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy (sixth jog)

Carnival – Natalie Merchant (jog partway home)

Thank You – Tori Amos (walk home)

Tempo/5k playlist:

Lift Me Up – Moby (warmup walk if not a race)

Control – Poe (jog if not a race)

The Bad Touch – Bloodhound Gang (start tempo run)

Fett’s Vette – MC Chris

Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani (see – hate the song, but it makes me run HARD)

‘Til I Collapse – Eminem

Ladykillers – Lush (great beat to this one)

Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine (harnessing the anger around this time makes me less tired)

Breathe – Prodigy (cooldown jog for tempo, 5k should end during the last song)

Smile – Lily Allen (walk cooldown)

Now, I’m off to make a super uber awesome playlist for my 10k tomorrow.  What’s on your playlist?  Who wants to mock me for the fact that Hollaback Girl appeared one not ONE but BOTH of my playlists?  Hit me up…

Mini-experiments

So as we’re coming to the end(ish) of April, I’m into week 4 of the half-marathon training with 1 more race under my belt and 1 to go .   Besides the running training, I’ve changed up other aspects of my health and fitness life – why stay stable if you can shake things up like a pretty little snow globe, right?  Here’s the facts, and I’m sticking to them!

Morning Workouts:

Let me tell you.  I am soooooo not a morning person.  I remember telling my parents when I was in college that I wouldn’t accept a job that started before noon.  Minus a few lucky positions I got starting between noon and 5pm, my start time has been firmly between 8 and 10 am for every job since leaving school.  Funny how things change when credit card bills are piling up and you’re only eating ramen and rent is due.  That being said, prior to turning 30, I got up and worked out in the morning maybe a handful of times in my life.  Ever.

For some reason, on my birthday, it kicked in that I have a flexible start time (8 to 10 am).  Sometimes, even if I get in early, leaving at 5pm is not an option.  Instead of getting antsy and annoyed that I’m gonna have to work out late and eat late and generally have my day disrupted – I can get my lazy ass outta bed about the same time, throw on some running shoes, autopilot out the door, and by the time I get to work, I’m absolved of all responsibility to have to make it to the gym later.

Since then, most weeks, I’ve done either all or part of my workout in the mornings.  Some days, it’s just yoga.  Some days, it’s my full workout.  But I’m glad I’m learning this now, because soon it’s going to be morning run or treadmill due to the heat, and I don’t wanna give up outside running!

Two-a-days:

On the days I don’t get up and do my full workout in the morning, the majority have been two-a-day workouts.  I’ll either yoga in the morning and run at night, or run in the morning and hit the gym for weights at night, or even DDR in the morning and yoga at night, I like to keep things spontaneous.  I’m now finding that if I leave my full workout for after work, I don’t feel as good as if I even just knock out a 20 minute yoga session in the morning.  The only caveat here is I just don’t have time (see above, not a morning person at all) to do anything that involves me hitting the gym.   Too much with travel time, involves a lot of prepping and packing stuff for the shower, and just not worth it.

One Set Reps to Exhaustion

I’ve done this once at home and once at the gym, and I LOVE IT.  It’s a 30 minute full body circuit instead of 45, and I feel just as worked in different ways.  I still find that I have to set a number to work towards – and I aim for at least 2x one normal set and then keep going if I can.  Some exercises I can do more, and some I’m barely able to hit the double set.  I’m not sure if that means I need to up the weights/numbers on the easier ones, or just that some exercises lend themselves better to doing many in a row (back extensions) than others (pushups).  These will remain a staple in my weight training.

Slow Sets

This was the “half the reps, double the time on each one” day.  Honestly, only did it once so far, but I’m not impressed.  I’ll keep it up through the training and see if I take to it more but…ugh.  Slow and workout just don’t ever seem to have their place in the same sentence for me.  Maybe this would be better suited for a morning weights workout where I don’t have the “just get ‘er done quick so you can go home and have dinner and relax” mentality.

Eating More

So I knew into week 2 my cut calories weren’t gonna…cut it.  Har har.  I also went and looked at various calorie calculators (it’s late, I’m lazy, just google “how many calories should I eat” or “calorie calculators” and you’ve got 20 to pick from).  They all said for my activity level that I should be taking in between 2500 and 3000 calories per day to maintain my weight.  To lose one lb, not a one suggested I eat under 2000 calories.  While the 4 days of gluttony that ensued after I decided I needed to eat more was not the best idea, I’m back on the straight and narrow now.

I’m not feeling the 2000 calories a day – but I have upped my average weekday calories to 1500 and am not beating myself up for 2000 on the weekends.  As I start logging more miles per week, I’ll keep shifting that up.  I am loving being able to eat a bigger breakfast, more fruit, and yeah, a little more freedom to dip into the jelly beans or chocolate chips.  What I am not looking forward to is the taper phase, when I rest and recover, which means back to 1300 weekdays, 1500 to 2000 weekends.  Boo.  Maybe I’ll just keep my activity up but go less poundy poundy on the legs…

While I have been stalled out a bit lately, I did hit a new low of 150.2 this last week and perhaps once it stops being the time of the month where I stay up ’til 4 am waiting for the aleve to take my cramps away, I will see something in the 140s.  I think eating more, while it’s taking to take a few weeks of commitment to see results, is going to both help my weight loss efforts and training with less fatigue.  As long as I don’t use it as an excuse to waddle up to a bacon double cheeseburger and fries or the like every meal and fill myself with the usual good stuff, just more of it, I think it will be nothing but wonderful for me.  I used to always be scared I would up my calories and somehow never be able to lose weight again – but since I’m not doing such a good job of it now, I might as well try, right?

What are you trying out these days, everyone?  Anyone find their magic bullet that made you instantly your goal weight, accomplish all your fitness goals, lose that last pinch of belly fat and make you euphorically happy all day even in the face of grumps and people just out to pee in your sandbox?

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