Adjusted Reality

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

Month: February 2010 (Page 1 of 4)

The Science of Sleep

To be quite honest, it’s late, and I was out of inspiration.  It’s been a long day of schedule-wrangling, planning, navigating the craziness, and plotting and scheming… interspersed with leezard bathing, feeding, calcium-supplementing and getting scratched.  Add on that a sufficiently butt kicking workout, more leezard bathing and calcium-ing, foraging some food for dinner, ignoring all the sweets in the house (made it 3 days so far!!!)… I just haven’t had time to consider a post.

I asked my dearest Zliten for an idea, and even though HE has had a long day too (12 hours of work), he came up with a great topic – one that is near and dear to his heart – SLEEEEEPYTIME.  I was going to dedicate half the post to how wonderful he is, however, I’m pretty sure I have quite enough to say on sleep and he’s not getting out of that idea THAT easy.  So there.

Ah, sleep.  We have had a very on again off again relationship.  As a child, I staved you off for as long as I could.  I begged for later bedtimes, and afternoon kindergarten.  Unlike most 5 year olds, I had a 10pm bedtime, simply because my parents gave up the fight.  I was stubborn and I just wouldn’t sleep.  By the time I was 16, I was regularly sleeping only about 4 hours a night.  Sometimes less if I had a lot of homework.  I was your typical overachiever in school, sports, 2 jobs, and I liked hanging out with my friends every night.  The thing I chose to give up: sleep.  I would generally save up my trigonometry homework until the night before the test (when we had to turn it in), drink a BUNCH of caffeine, do the entire chapter, and use that as double duty to study for the tests.  Hey, it worked.

I continued this trend through college.  I would put off my homework partying and going out and working and doing theatre stuff, and then midterms would come.  And I would just up my caffeine intake, stay up for the majority of a week (I think my record was 70-some hours vertical), get through the tests and presentations and projects, crash for a while, then start it over.  It was a game to me.  A formula to plug in the right number.  24 -x-y = z.  x= the minimum amount of hours needed to maintain a good (mostly A’s) GPA.  y = the minimum amount of sleep I could get by with.  z, the result, was the amount of hours I could have fun.  And that was the most important thing to me.

Sleep continued to be for the weak, as I would say, in my early professional life.  Except for the glorious, glorious 2 years where I got to work after lunch until just after summer sunset (not that I want to go back to the JOB, but I loved the schedule), I was riddled with a normal 9-5 (or close) schedule.  Except for a lot of years, it was more like 9-9.  I’m a girl that’s just not typically willing to give up my fun time, so in general, I’d go to bed between 2-3am, get up at 8:30, and do it again.  I would like to, for the record, maintain that I never had anything stronger than caffeine in my system.  No amphetamines here.  I just really didn’t see the need of a full night of rest.  That was for other people.

Nothing put me to bed properly until running.  Within 6 months of my first miracle mile around the track and dying, I went from staying up until around 1am to crawling into bed at 11pm.  I weaned myself off caffeine.  It is now currently 10:20pm and I’m actually thinking that I need to wrap up this blog because I miss my bed.  I regularly sleep at least 8 hours a day.  I rarely sleep past 10 even on weekends, and I regularly sleep less on weekend since I’ll stay up late, and my body will just get up because I’ve banked enough on the weekdays.  Weird, huh?

As much as I still feel the drive of having 24 useable hours in each day (extra props if you can identify the movie – hint, it comes from a cute gal in a plaid skirt), something in my life that is a priority finally has also made sleep a priority.   To have the energy to make good food choices, not have to use stimulants to get through the day, to have the energy to ask my body to continue to grow in strength and speed in athletic feats… I just gotta have my rest.  It also definitely helps getting into work and hit the ground running instead of needing the morning to get my eyes open.  And this sort of propagates the whole early to bed and early to rise – once you start doing one the other generally follows.

Zliten, however, has always been a fan of sleep.  He had very vivid dreams, sometimes even lucid ones, and just enjoyed being asleep and getting enough rest.  We would differ greatly in our sleep theories, but since he usually had the same type of schedule as I did, and also liked to have his fun, he usually was sleep deprived as well.  Needless to say, he is very happy that we get our proper sleepytimes now.  Sometimes he complains about going to bed so early, but most days he’ll turn the lights off on me out in the living room and tell me to come to bed (I mean, it was already 10:45…).

So, I really have been enjoying getting my required 8 hours.  I hope not to have to change that any time soon!  It’s amazing, after most of my life of deprivation, to be fully and completely rested.  Heck, I go to bed now about when I did in grade school.  I’ve learned to just manage the to do list down to the hours I have – sure, I might not get as much done, but I’m no longer a twitching-from-a-pot-of-coffee zombie doing it.

How about you?  How much sleep do you normally get per night?  Do you think you need 8 hours a night to be healthy?  What’s the longest you’ve stayed up without sleep?

**This post’s pictures brought to you by fukung.net, and things that you might see while sleep deprived. **grin**

It’s Business Time…

Not THAT business time, silly.  The business of getting back to eating like a reasonable human and attempting to lose the half marathon weight, that is.  I’ve been not looking forward to this post for a while.  I like training for races.  I like eating.  I get a kick out of having a crazy appetite (it’s actually refreshing when previously, it was hard for me to get 1500 good healthy calories in).  I don’t like having to have a calorie deficit.  I don’t like feeling weak.  I REALLY don’t like having to turn down yummy treats.

However, it’s time.  On the scale this morning, it smacked me in the face with reality.  162.2.  Um, yeah.  I’m pretty sure SOME of that is bloat as I am right in the throes of TOM, but still.  That is now 7.2 lbs above acceptable, and it’s time to do something about it.  And I’m pretty sure it’s all in my stomach – my jeans don’t fit any different, but my shirts all inexplicably seem shorter.  Ah well, no worries.  It is not long for this world.

The plan is as such.

Food:

-Taking it one week at a time.

-Average of 1500 calories per day.  Exception, Saturday.  See below.

-No sweets this week besides sugar free popsicles and fruit.  Not that I expect to be giving up my 1-2 hershey kisses every few days forever, I just need to detox.

-Sticking to the food plan I made, and stick to healthy snacks of veggies, fruit, pistachios, and beef jerky.

Today’s eats: protein bar for breakfast, peanut butter/strawberry/honey on sprouted grain bread for lunch, half a bag of baby carrots and pistachios for a snack, a peach right before my workout, 4 fat free hot dogs + 2 buns and homemade coleslaw for dinner, and a cup of tea for desert.  B+.  Dinner could have been a *little* healthier, but I wasn’t home and eating until 9 – didn’t want to make anything *too* elaborate.  Coming in at around 1400 calories = it works.

Workouts:

-Taking it in two week chunks.

-Trying to NOT get lazy like last time and decrease my mileage to just about 0.

-Continuing with 3 runs per week.  One short speed run, one medium non-lazy run, and either a loooong run or another medium, slower paced run.  This week, I started with a 6 mile run around 9:40 minute miles, Wednesday I plan on making a stab at a 6:50-ish minute mile sandwiched between warmup and cooldown miles, and Saturday, I want to get out and attempt 14 miles (no matter the speed).  I am considering this pre-training for the marathon by getting used to being on my feet for a long time.

-I plan on alternating high mileage weeks (like this week) with extra strengthy weeks (next week).  On a super strengthy week, I plan to try to do 3 full body strength sessions, whereas on super mile-y weeks I’ll do 2.  I will figure out the particulars of this next week.

-Two cross training cardio sessions of at least 30 mins.  DDR, arc trainer, etc.  If it’s super mellow like biking or walking – at least 60 mins.

The plan for this week is Monday – 6 mile run + legs (done!), Tuesday – 30 mins arc trainer + abs/arms, Wednesday – 3 miles with timed mile in the middle + legs, Thursday – DDR + abs/arm at home, Saturday – 14 mile run.

Mentally:

I just have to remind myself that I have to approach this differently than I have the last 3 months.  I am NOT always allowed to eat when I’m hungry.  I need to retrain my appetite to a smaller quantity of food.  I also need to remember that I don’t constantly have to restrict my food, count my calories, and say no to delicious yummies – it’s just for now.  As much as I’ll be regretting saying this in a few days, it feels good to be back to eating like a normal healthy human and not a calorie compactor.

Wish me luck with the new plan!  I’m seeing a lot of people around the bloggy-sphere rededicating themselves to healthy pursuits – it’s about that time, it seems.  What are YOU starting this week?  What bad habits do you want to break?  What good habits do you want to encourage?

EDIT: Snow day today (2/23) and I’ve been a lazy monster.  No post today.  Just an update.  Still doing good, did a crossfit workout that kicked my butt today instead of the gym, and even with being home most of the day, I have not yet eaten my entire fridge.  Oh yeah, and down 1.4 lbs (160.8).  Took good care of the iguana and tried to stay warm (adventures in snow not having central heat = not fun today).  More tomorrow!

Little Miracles

This post was supposed to be a weigh in, a plan, and perhaps some bitching about various things workout and weight loss.  Today is something different.  If you follow me on twitter you probably got some emotionally charged mood swingy slightly cryptic messages, so here is the whole story.

Friday morning, I woke up, grabbed the leezard out of her cage and attempted to put her into her uber special carrying case (which also happens to be the rock band drums box).  She DID_NOT_WANT_TO_GET_IN.  After a few minutes of struggling, we get her in the box, I drove her up to the vet, and after waiting a bit, they decided just to take her back in the box, so I told her to be a good girl and then left for work.

The vet was supposed to call about when to pick her up and then it was lunchtime, and the 3… I ended up in a meeting around 4, and I grabbed my phone.  Zliten called me halfway into it, basically letting me know our options: emergency surgery or euthenasia.  I COULD NOT deal with that right then, so I told him I”d call him back.  I tried to get back into the meeting but my head wasn’t in it.  I excused myself, ran outside, and called Zliten back.  We talked for a while and after he filled me in on what the vet said was wrong (they thought she had a rupture in her stomach) and the chances of recovery (about 20% and about 6 months of pain and suffering even best case) we decided on the unthinkable.

I went back into work, let everyone know what was going on, I tried to finish up what I was doing, but ended up just taking off.  I’m not a crier but I was barely holding myself together.  I came home, poured myself a drink, opened up a new pack of smokes, sat down outside, and started bawling.  Zliten was on his way up to the vet to pick up our leezard, and we were going to bury her in the backyard.  He came home empty handed, as the vet had asked us to come back the next day, as she wanted to do an autopsy to find out exactly what was wrong to help for next time (to which we agreed).

We talked, drank, and said “this sucks” a lot.  A few hours later, the vet called again.  I had almost gotten myself out of being in a completely miserable mood, and I was just like – what now?  Zliten talked to her for an awfully long while and said some very cryptic things, and then hung up.  He let me know that vet had given her the first injection (the one that makes her sleep – just anesthesia), and she just wouldn’t fall asleep.  They gave her another and still she didn’t fall asleep very quick.  They took one last set of x-rays and finally figured it out – she was gravid (full of eggs)!

They put her on a ventilator, and stayed with her.  A few hours later – the vet called back and she was breathing on her own.  She was going to take her to a clinic in South Austin that could monitor her all night, and would call us in the morning.  We proceed to get incredibly drunk, but it didn’t really help.  I didn’t really sleep much.  Around 8:30, we got a call from the vet saying she was up and running around and climbing on things!  We got up and got to the vet, and went and found us a seriously fiesty, awake, and PISSED OFF lizard. The doctor showed us all the x-rays and walked us through what happened, and it all made sense – however, we do think that the x-ray tech might need a little more school, as our doctor took MUCH clearer x-rays.

So, long story short, we have set her up with a nest to lay her eggs, calcium supplements to help her (as laying eggs takes a LOT out of them), and are supposed to give her two baths daily (which I think she is actually starting to like).  We bring her back at lunch for another checkup, but she seems to be doing pretty well.  Hopefully she passes her eggs soon, and she’ll be back to her feisty self.

What a crazy, emotionally draining few days.  I’m so glad it worked out how it worked out, but sheesh – what a scare.  I just wanted to share the story about our crazy leezard just not giving up.  Back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

More Excuses

So, today has been a righteous pisser on most accounts.

First of all, Zliten took our Iguana Donna to the vet because she has not been eating or pooping lately.  I thought the idea of pet health insurance was stupid until today – she cost about 650 dollars today, and will cost somewhere between 200 and 1200 tomorrow depending on if she needs surgery.  Silly thing apparently ate something that’s just not passing, so she’s had everything from  an enema to barium and x-rays to fluid shots.  If she poops tonight, they just need to do some follow up care with her.  If she doesn’t, it’s likely she will need surgery (hence the large dollar range).  As grumbly as I am about the cost, it will be worth it as long as she’s ok.  And we are DEFINITELY going to look into pet health insurance.

Here she is on the scale at the vet – she is 2 lbs exactly!

Probably about five minutes after Zliten drove by the area in the way to the vet – if you haven’t heard already – a plane decided it wanted to come to work in a building very close to where I work/live.  Silly plane, you can’t go to work, you don’t have a job, you don’t belong there!  Before I get a bunch of hate mail about being completely insensitive, I know it’s no laughing matter, but honestly, when it’s so close to home, all you can do is make light of it.  Because the other option is being scared of this kinda crap happening and freaking out about leaving the house, and I am not having that.

If you haven’t actually read the fuckwit’s manifesto, feel free to try here, but honestly?  Let me sum it up – “I don’t understand how to pay taxes and it’s made me make poor decisions and my life sucks and instead of learning from my mistakes, I’m going to instead burn down my house, leave my wife and kid without anything (as I’m sure arson isn’t covered with insurance and neither is suicide), and kill myself in an act of domestic terrorism because I am the adult equivalent of a rebellious teenager and I’ll show them!!!”  Seriously?  Dude?  Grow a pair and deal with your problems in a way that doesn’t cause property damage and screw your family’s future.  Kthx.

We drove by the building again on the way to dinner (after this kind of a day, I’m only human – I ditched the run in favor of some chicken fajitas and a margarita), and it’s just wrecked.  You can see the plane hole from the freeway and instead of the black mirrored exterior it’s just all shattered and broken on that side.  Thank goodness that only 2 people sustained major injuries, 1 is missing, but the current thought is the dude was playing hookey as no one thought he had actually shown up to work.

In other less important but more personal news, I’ve been tracking my calories and seem to come in right around 1800-1900.  So that’s good as a) I’m definitely not eating as much as I was before, so I was FOR SURE sustaining my running this race and not undereating (yay!) and b) I’m naturally eating right around maintenance calories, which makes calorie reduction to say, an average of 1500 per day make sense.  If I had naturally settled around 1500, then I’d be a little frustrated, as reducing from there makes me cranky.  It’s gonna take some calorie detox time, but I should be able to get back to where I was eating a few months ago.  Maybe my metabolism just took some extra time to repair?  Only time will tell.

I am also now 12 days without a cigarette.  I hadn’t intended to quit for good, but the Sunday before the race, I quit until after the race (for a week).  Then I got sick.  After the race, I was still sick, so I didn’t just go light one up.  It occurred to me that I might be best served by making a go to quit entirely.  Oh, I’ll probably still slip up and suck down a delicious American Spirit Yellow occasionally while drunk.  I’m just going to attempt to not NEED it.  I’d like to be one of those people who can take it or leave it and most often?  Leave it.  And the only way to do that is practice having some alcohol without cigarettes.  Today I had a glass of wine and a margarita and didn’t really crave one.  That’s huge for me.  I believe there will be some imbibing tomorrow.  It will be another test.  I think if I make it through the first few drinks without and have less than I can count on one hand all night, I’ll say I passed.

…and hey, it’s almost a post.  Next week, I promise some more coherent topics, I have some questions to answer, my workout and eating plan post-race, and much, much more.

If you wish to ask me a question, you can comment below, or you can use this handy dandy formspring ask-me-anything-page (hey, everyone is doing it, I might as well).  Have a great weekend!  Think poopy thoughts for my leezard, healthy thoughts for me and Zliten (as we are both getting over our respective plagues), and comforting thoughts for some poor, freaked out people who had a plane try to join their conference call this morning.  Good night, good weekend, and good days ahead if’n karma will please.

Jumble-y Wumble-y

…I dunno, I made up the title because it looked cool.  I do these things.  Please excuse my brain fritters today as I don’t have all that much to talk about, and it’s WAY too late in the day to start thinking of a coherent post on a super serious subject.  So I’m-a gonna go for a bunch of different tidbits today.

I Love Game(s), or Questions:

Everyone is doing the questions thing, and I’ve been trying with little to no biters (perhaps I’m like Mrs. Fatass and a little too much of a sharer?) – but I’m going to try again.  I’m trying to come up with some gaming/game industry posts and I’m curious… what do YOU want to know from the world behind the curtain of making interactive entertainment?  I can only give you my biased and generic opinion, but I have been at this going on 9 years now in a variety of different positions.

So, my friends – ask me ANYTHING about my day job in video game production or games or the industry in general.  Is it all really like EA Spouse says it is?  I’ll answer what I can without getting fired/burning bridges/etc.  Knowledge is yours for the price of one comment below.  Or you can email me – pinksparkly at yahoo dot com.

For The Love (of Running):

I am now just about 50-some hours post-half and honestly?  Really stoked to be lacing up my shoes here shortly for another run.  If you’ll remember (old skoolers), last July saw me take almost the WHOLE MONTH off running save 2 very half hearted 5ks.  August wasn’t much better.

Today, I anticipate needing to keep myself under race pace because I am rip-roaring-ready to go.  Not terribly looking forward to the treadmill (damn you early sunsets), but really feel the want to be moving.

Love running.  Love the 3 day a week training.  Feeling lots of love woogies today for my sport.  I am my own dutch fan.

(In My) Tummy Love:

One week from today, I get on the scale and begin Project: Lose the Half Marathon Weight.  I haven’t weighed in a few weeks, but I’m pretty sure that I’m up there.  Or my body image is VERY twisted right now, as nothing looks right on me and I feel like I have this oddly inflated tire around my midsection.  I’m looking forward to figuring this out again after a few weeks of refreshingly NOT CARING AT ALL.

Tonight, when I am done eating, I will be tracking everything.  I’m going to estimate my intake today at around 1700 with everything I have eaten/have planned.  I’d like to shrink that closer to 1400? 1300?  It will have to depend on my activity but all I know is that I don’t seem to succeed in losing weight unless those numbers are lowlowlow.  My maintain window is about THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSS big, and my lose window is about <> big.

I did some reading about marathoning and one expert suggested eating 4.5g carb per 1 lb of bodyweight. 675g of carbs?  I’m pretty sure that’s what I eat normally – oh yeah, divide that in 3.  On a really carby day.  That looks like juice instead of water all day (oh yeah, and you need to stay hydrated so probably both), and chowing down Michael Phelps sized portions of pasta, rice, potatoes…  Right now I am NOT looking forward to that because I’m really really ready for my half-appetite to go away and not feel like a bottomless pit for a while.

…but I’m not going to lie.  I think I’m up to the challenge.  And I don’t know HOW far my appetite is going to really go down as I’m still planning on a long run every 2-3 weeks.  Argh!  I am going to be the fattest marathoner ever.  Tee hee.  Not really.  If I’m not pushing pace as hard, I can suck it up and be a little weaker for a few.  I’ll figure it out somehow.  I’m pretty sure I can throw out “underate” for the reason I didn’t lose weight during this 3 months (fo sho), so now it’s just figuring out what will work for this jumble-y wumble-y bod of mine.  Or maybe next Tuesday I’ll hop on the scale and it will scream “UNDER 155 STOP STRESSING NOOB” at me, and I’ll go on my merry way.

And stop stressing I shall.  Starting right now, when I lace up and go for a nice relaxed run, not training for a damn thing, not worrying about my weight, not even worried about my job.  Today is for abandoning the worry and becoming one with the ‘mill.  Let’s see how long THAT lasts…

EDIT:  No post today (2/18).  Taking the night off. 🙂  But – I’m hopping on that “ask anything” blogger train.  Submit your annoymous questions here!

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