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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quick Update

My mom was in the hospital last week. She has some sores on her legs that are left over from her varicose veins that she's had removed over the last couple of years. The sores wouldn't heal, and she's struggled to get the medical care that she needs for them. Frankly, the doctors have just shrugged them off.

Then, she went on a cruise a couple of weeks ago. Along the way she picked up a staph infection, specifically MRSA. If you're not familiar, that's the "bad kind" of staph, and she ended up with a pretty high fever, which she promptly ignored. After some convincing, she went to the ER, and ended up spending 4 nights in the hospital getting some hefty antibiotics. She's still on them, but she is home now. I won't go into detail, but the medicare system enrages me.

All of this just makes me worry more about my own veins, but for now mine are pretty stable. I had mine removed last year in my left leg. My right leg is showing some signs of needing some attention, but it will take some time before I need surgery again.  I think.

So, that's what has been up. Not a lot of other news to report, I'm still just doing my thing :)

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Maybe No More Whining

Ok, so after yesterday's whiny post, I went running and then to the gym to meet with a personal trainer. This one is not the same one I'd been meeting with. I keep thinking that my "intro" personal trainer meetings are over, and then they tell me that I have more to do!

This was the same trainer that did the nutrition section of my original set of sessions. She also kicked my butt one day with core exercises - my gym has a "Ab Express" class a couple times a day that is a 15 minute drop in class right out in the fitness area with a trainer. The day I did it, I was the only one that showed so I had 15 minutes of one on one time with a trainer out to kill my abs!

Anyway, so I met with her last night and we basically went over my results again - measurements, weight, body fat percentage. Once again, I was down another 1/2 inch in my hips and 3/4 inch in my waist. The body fat scale said that my body fat percentage has dropped 1.5% since I had it checked the end of January. I've gained 1.5 pounds since then, but that was the only bad number.

So, basically, I need to just shut up.

This was the last set of results that I'll do with a trainer, but my gym does results days every month, where you come in and they do all of your measurements and weight and body fat. I'm thinking that maybe it's in my best interest to just go to the results days and get my information then and stop using my home scale altogether. If I truly want to not care about my weight, I need to stop caring about it. Right?

Easier said than done, that scale is addictive.

Tuesday, I go back to the gym to meet with this trainer again and she'll give me a whole new workout to do. I'm pretty excited about it. I love my gym so much.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Weight Thing is Still There

I've spent the last several months (basically since April 2011) working on intuitive eating. I've been trying basically to not count calories or diet anymore. If I want cake at work because it's someones birthday, I eat cake. I pay attention to how I feel, and I eat the food that my body needs, and often what it wants. I've been pleased with the results - I first lost 6 pounds, and then I stayed within a 4-pound range of weights for 9 months. I was almost smug about my non-dieting self.

When I gained a few pounds in December, I didn't sweat it. It was part of the plan, and I was exercising like crazy. I would take the pounds off in January. And I did, briefly. I was back at the top of my prized 4-pound range right before I left for Florida to run the Walt Disney World Marathon Relay. But, when I returned, I was back up again, and I haven't been back down since. Instead, I've been staying within a new 4-pound range, where the lowest number is one number higher than my previous 4-pound range. So, I guess that means I've gained 4 pounds.

My clothes fit the same, and I've been exercising a lot. Instead of the 3 days of running that I was practicing all summer and through November, I am now doing 3 days of running (less mileage than the summer), two days of swimming, one hour weight training session and two 20-minute weight training sessions, and an hour of yoga per week. That's a lot more exercising. In fact, when I was measured at the gym, I had actually lost inches even though I'd gained pounds.

I shouldn't be concerned about this at all. According to the principles that I adopted almost a year ago, I don't care what my weight is, my body will decide at what weight I am happy and healthy. I probably shouldn't be weighing myself at all. In fact, those first couple of months last year, I only weighed myself once a month rather than daily. Still, that weight thing is still there. I still care. I still want to lose.

I've been contemplating going back on to a calorie restricted diet, counting again, doing all of that stuff. I keep telling myself it would be quick, and it would only be to lose the 4 pounds.

Why, though? I am mad at myself for even thinking about this. I mean, nobody would know that I've gained weight if I hadn't mentioned it. Like I said, my clothes still fit like they did before.

I've just got this head trauma and I wish I didn't worry about it so much. I really, truly, want to just blissfully go through life eating without worries and not caring about what I weigh or how I look. The number on the scale shouldn't matter, so why worry about it?

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Seared Chicken and Avocado

Todd is teaching me how to take better photos, mostly because I want to be able to take better photos of food. So, here's my first experiment. I am not a photographer and don't want to be one, but I do want to be able to take photos beyond point and shoot of delicious things that I cook.

This is one of my favorite recipes: Seared Chicken and Avocado

(I have some complaints about each and every one of these photos, but by the time I reviewed them, I'd eaten the subject)

Ready to cut the avocado!

I love avocado.

Chicken is spiced and ready

Black beans make an awesome side dish, too.

The finished product.

  1. Dice the avocado. 
  2. Mix with green salsa to taste, I probably use about 1/4 cup.
  3. Add a dash of salt, some black pepper to taste, and 2-3 Tbsp of chopped cilantro. Or, I use 2 blocks of frozen chopped cilantro from Trader Joe's if I don't have fresh. 
  4. Add a squeeze of lime juice and mix this all together.
  5. Sprinkle 2-4 chicken breasts with blackened seasoning. I use Chef Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Steak Magic.
  6. Heat 2-3 tsp of olive oil in a pan. Add chicken and sear on both sides (2-3 mins) on med-high heat. 
  7. Reduce heat to medium and cook until chicken is done.
  8. Top chicken with avocado mixture and serve!

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Word About Komen

I try really really hard to not ever get political on my blog. And this is difficult, because I think of this blog as "my place to type stuff I want to type about" and frankly I have a lot of really strong opinions about politics and issues that face us today. I also try really, really hard to not ever get too political on Facebook, or at work, or with my running friends, which basically means that I tend to vent all of my political frustrations to Todd, which probably sucks for him. Even through all of this trying, I just can't keep my mouth shut on the issue of Komen and Planned Parenthood. But, I'm going to try to be as fair as possible with this.

Full Disclosure: I am ardently pro-choice. I believe in a woman's right to choose, and I believe that abortion should be legal. The discussions on Facebook and news sites over the past couple of weeks has made me crazy-angry. Even more full disclosure: I used Planned Parenthood when I was a teenager to get birth control. I have never had an abortion, but I credit them with keeping me from being a mom WAY too young. Their services are necessary and good, and I support them fully.

So, about Komen.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Susan G. Komen for the Cure chose to defund Planned Parenthood. Internet and public rage ensued. Komen restored funding to Planned Parenthood, and internet and public rage ensued. Basically, the pro-choice folks were angry at the defunding and the pro-life folks were angry at the re-funding, and now one likes Komen anymore. Here's a complete guide to the nonsense if you aren't up to date, although this article is a few days old and more has happened since then.

The awful thing is, I didn't really like Komen that much to begin with. The pink ribbons show up everywhere, on every type of product imaginable. I began to resent how much the pink ribbons were being forced upon women. And, I felt like I was not supporting women if I didn't support Komen. It's not that I don't support breast cancer research, I absolutely do. It's that the brand is being over done - to the point where I don't really want to see any more pink ribbons on anything. And, with as much marketing as Komen has been using - I feel more like wearing a pink ribbon is like wearing around some other trademark, such as Coke or WalMart. It's cheapened it all.

I have had all of this anti-Komen feelings floating around inside of me for years. Once, my friend picked up a pink ribbon skirt or shirt or something at our running store and said to me, "This is cute," and I responded "Yeah... but I'm SICK of breast cancer." I later regretted saying that. Well, I mean, of course I'm sick of breast cancer and I wish it would go away, but I'm not sick of trying to support those that are fighting the illness and I'm not sick of trying to raise awareness and find a cure. I'm sick of Komen. I'm sick of too much marketing. I'm sick of pink ribbons.

Now, I feel sort of justified, and I no longer feel bad about it. I'm saying loud and clear: I DO NOT SUPPORT SUSAN G. KOMEN FOR THE CURE. And I will not, ever again.

Once all of this Planned Parenthood stuff came to be, I did more research. What I found was that some of the money raised by Komen was spent to sue other charities for using the phrase "for the cure".

Furthermore, only about 16% of Komen's funding actually goes towards research and "finding a cure." I just don't think I can support a charity that fails so much in supporting its own mission.

And then there's Planned Parenthood. They provide breast cancer screenings to poor and underprivileged women, and providing abortions is only 3% of their activities. The money that Komen provided to Planned Parenthood was not going to abortions. And again, I remind you - abortion is still a very legal procedure.

When it comes down to it, the whole debacle was all about politics and not at all about women's health. Komen continues to run their organization more like a corporation and less like a charity. And, I will not be supporting them in the future.

Because I want to remain slightly positive, here are some wonderful resources to support breast cancer awareness and research:

That's funny, I wasn't even aware of these other breast cancer charities!! That's because Komen does such a great job of marketing!!

Another great read: I Will Not Be Pinkwashed

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stats as of 31 January 2012

January 2011
35.7 miles
7 hours, 31 minutes
Avg Pace: 12:38/mile

January 2012
61.1 miles -- 25.4 miles more than in 2011
13 hours, 2 minutes -- 5 hours, 31 minutes longer than in 2011
Avg Pace:  12:48/mile -- 10 seconds slower than in 2010
Walt Disney World Marathon Relay Leg 2: 2:54:26 (13:19/mile)

I ran a lot more this January than last, since last year I spent the last 10 days of the month in Indonesia, and I think I skipped a few runs leading up to the trip because I was so busy preparing. I also had a race this month, although I ran it slower than my race pace.

I'm really focused on the cross training right now. I'm still doing my swimming, etc, and I'm happy to report that Friday morning I did manage to get up in time to make it to yoga class at the gym. I loved it! I'm hoping to go again this week. It's a little bit early for me, but I think it will be worth it.

I'm in training mode for the Rock & Roll USA Half Marathon on March 17. My group and I ran 11 miles on Saturday, and I'm feeling good about my training. Besides that, I'm just focused on my swimming, weight training, and staying healthy :)

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adventures at the Gym

I'm now about 3 months into my gym membership. I mentioned my gym a while back, when I was trying to decide what pool to join. I ended up choosing Pool #2. I started swimming there back in November, the week after the New York City Marathon, and I've been successfully swimming there twice per week ever since!

Like I said when I first started considering joining a pool, I really wasn't interested in the gym. I've realized that I hate strength training, and I don't really want to do it. Still, my new gym membership came with five complimentary personal trainer sessions, so I thought I should go ahead and take advantage of them, even if I didn't expect to get much out of it.

I've worked with a trainer twice before, both times when joining gyms. Once, back in 2001 when I joined a local gym in order to lose more weight while on Weight Watchers. The second time was when I joined Gold's Gym in 2005 in order to run indoors on hot summer days. I had just started running. Both times, I found my experiences with the trainers to be lacking. The 2001 gym only gave me two workouts with a trainer. The first one was a "fitness test" that basically killed me since I was out of shape and not used to working out, and the second gave me some instruction, but I really would have liked more time. The 2005 gym gave me an OK weight workout with a stoner trainer who half heartedly followed me around the gym while asking me tons of questions about what it was like to be a computer programmer, and if I thought he could get into the industry. Neither of these experiences gave me much confidence in my new gym's training sessions.

I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised. I had five training sessions, and they went like this:

  1. In the first session, I met with the trainer (Katie) to get to know her. She took my measurements and weight, and we talked about my fitness history. She took my requests to heart - I explained that I hated weight training and what I hated about it, and she said she'd design a program that I would enjoy.
  2. For the second session, Katie took me around through one set of each of the exercises she'd worked out. She focused on machines that didn't need adjustment, and ones that worked multiple muscle groups so that I could finish up my workout as fast as possible. I was impressed, and I really liked a few of the machines that she put me on. She also had me do some non-machine exercises, such as walking lunges and dumbbell chest presses.
  3. The third week, Katie basically took me around again, so that we could take a look at other things in the gym that I might want to do. I expressed an interest in doing assisted pull ups, so she taught me how to use that machine. I asked some questions about various pieces of equipment and she answered them.
  4. My least favorite was week 4. We went over nutrition. This wasn't Katie, this was another trainer, Amanda, who I think noted my complete disinterest in the nutrition portion. I understand proper nutrition, I just don't do it. She gave me some pointers, but nothing new, and I have to admit that I didn't get much out of this session.
  5. For the final session, I again met with Katie and we talked things over similar to week 1. I had some more questions, she answered them, and we took my measurements and weight again. I knew I had gained a couple of pounds over the holidays, but was pleasantly surprised to find that I'd lost two inches around my waist! Wow!
I get to meet with a trainer once more, the end of this month, when we'll go over the workout again and tweak it as necessary. While I do wish I'd gotten more time actually working out with the trainer, I still feel like I got a lot out of it.

I've found that I'm basically completing the workout Katie gave me in about 40 minutes - 20 minutes for lower and 20 minutes for upper body. I've been trying to tack them on to the end of other workouts. So, if I'm swimming, I'll dry off and go upstairs and do my upper body after my swim. If I'm running at the running store, I'll run over to the gym after and do lower body. I have heard people say that cardio should happen after the weights, but I really, really, prefer to do cardio first. It's just a pain to have wet hair for my after-swim workouts.

This week, I'm taking off from weight training. I know when I used to do Cathe's STS, she required a week off every four weeks, and I've been so sore from weights that I thought my muscles could use a recovery week. I've still been swimming and running, and tomorrow I'm going to try out a yoga class at the gym. That is, if I can get up early enough to make it there on time.

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