Things I Don’t Believe In And/Or Just Don’t Care About

  1. Flu shots. I don’t get ’em. It’s fine if you want to, but I don’t.  Vaccines, on the other hand, I am all for, and will take whatever is necessary.
  2. That antibacterial gel stuff.  What does it do other than give you a false sense of cleanliness and contribute to the development of resistant strains of bacteria?
  3. Biking on the sidewalk, even though there are places where it is encouraged by signage and permitted by law.  I don’t buy it.  There is exactly one stretch of sidewalk on which I will bike, and that is only because it is the only safe way to cross through a Y intersection to get to our house.  If I have to bike on the sidewalk otherwise, I will walk my bike.
  4. Lady Gaga.  There.  I said it.  I really couldn’t care less.
  5. Protein shakes.  While I understand that they play an important role in the lives and diets of many and are firmly ensconced in the Academy of Broscience, I don’t believe in them, and refuse to consider any diet that would require incorporating them into my life.
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P90E Week 7: BROUGHT HARD

I spent a couple of days struggling with the disappointment and frustration of Saturday’s race showing – and thinking hard about what my goals are and should be right now. Is it realistic to try to do everything I’m trying to do? I don’t know. I emailed bad-ass runner friends for advice. I did a lot of reading. And I came to the conclusion that I need to make some changes in my diet if I want to be a happy runner for the next two months leading up to the Detroit half. So I’m working on that, and am starting to notice improvements in my energy. I also took measurements this weekend and found that while I haven’t lost really any weight since starting on this little plan of mine, I have lost at least 2% body fat, which is something!

Monday: Core Synergistics. Superman! Banana! Superman! Banana! No joke. I was tired and sweaty, but I brought it.

Tuesday: 3 miles in 26:45. I can’t even tell you how happy I was. I really, really needed that. I also carried on the fine tradition that I established last semester of teaching my LEEP class in my nasty workout duds. The students can’t see (or, importantly, smell) me, so everyone wins. That is, until Shane told me that I smelled like a burrito and insisted that I shower before bed.

Wednesday: Legs & Back. Let me tell you, doing this workout twice within 7 days is BRUTAL. My calves were screaming at the end of the calf raise sequence. I upped my weight almost everywhere. I’d consider that brought.

Thursday: 3.85 miles home from work, finishing at the Westside Farmer’s Market. I took it a bit easier on Tuesday as my calves were like angry fists and my thighs were feeling the squats and sneaky lunges from the previous night. I made an ill-advised stop by the garden, still sweaty from my run, and was attacked by a swarm of mosquitos. It’s been like this every time I’ve gone to the garden for the last month, but I still persist in thinking that I can stop by for a few minutes without bug spray. OH NO. Instead, the combination of workout exhaustion and at least a dozen bites in 5 minutes was enough to trigger a full-on panic attack. I took a hot shower and went to bed early.

Friday: Rest. I was supposed to do Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps, but put it off til Sunday.

Saturday: A perfect morning for a run, and I got in 6.5 miles before breakfast. Now that I’m feeling a bit better, I need to start building up my weekend distances before the half EXCEPT that I’m out of town 3 of the next 4 weekends. Oh well – I’ll make it work! Knees and calves felt a little iffy, so I walked some of the hills, but still finished in good time and then ate all the Afternoon Delight.

Sunday: I had good intentions of either Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps or an evening yoga class with friends, but last week’s twingey shoulder was back, so the best I managed was 2 hours in the garden (WITH Deep Woods Off) and a bunch of around the house sorts of things.

Week 7: Brought

P90E Week 6: Oof

Monday: I have a confession to make: I’m a compulsive Groupon shopper.  I don’t buy them indiscriminately, but I do have a hard time passing up Groupons or LivingSocial coupons for body work.  I’ve bought a handful this year, all for $40 and under, and have used them judiciously, most for race recovery.  I find massages tremendously restorative, but I have a hard time justifying the full cost, making me an ideal candidate for Groupon purchases.  Anyway.  Monday was particularly stressful, so I was very thankful that I had a massage scheduled, and also took that as an excuse to not do Core Synergistics.  Instead, I walked to work, then walked to my appointment, then fell asleep in the midst of a particularly vigorous Thai massage.  I guess I needed it.

Tuesday: Core Synergistics.  I admit it: I’m coming to love Core Synergistics.  Maybe it’s just that I love making fun of Tony.  Either way, I brought it.

Wednesday: A lot of walking.  I walked downtown and worked at a coffeeshop before a morning meeting (1.5 miles).  I walked back to my office from that meeting (.6 miles).  I walked home from work (2 miles).  And then, at 8pm, I went on a walk with Shane that turned into a jog (2.3 miles).

Thursday: I meant to do Legs & Back, but my right shoulder has been hurting since Tuesday night – so instead, I did a quick 3 miles while Shane lifted, then we met friends for dinner at Jolly Pumpkin, where I destroyed a salad.

Friday: My shoulder was still iffy, but I brought it to Chest, Shoulders & Triceps.  Shane can vouch for this, as he saw me collapse during at least two of the push-up sequences (even doing them on my knees!) and had to rescue me when I got stuck with a weight behind my head when I hit max reps.

Saturday: We both ran the Can Do Road & Trail Run in Kalamazoo.  Shane did an amazing job – it was his first race, and only his second run this year.  He stuck to his pace and while he was purple in the face when he hit the finish line, he finished strong.  I am SO PROUD of him.  Please note that I am not talking about MY run, however.  I did well for the first 1.5 miles, and then just hit wall after wall after wall.  When I looked at my Garmin data after the race, it showed that I hit 90% of my max heart rate (however that is calculated) at the half mile mark, and just kept going up, hitting 106% of max in the last half mile.  No wonder I felt so terrible.  Oh well – I finished in 45:56, less than a minute off from where I wanted to be, even though I felt terrible and had to walk a couple of 15-30 second stretches.

Sunday: Legs & Back.  Because yesterday’s run wasn’t punishment enough. No taking it easy. Just push push push through the three sets of 15 slow, 10 fast calf raises and the four different forms of pull-downs (since I can’t do pull-ups).  And then think hard about post-workout nutrition while slamming a delicious mushroom and Swiss brat we brought back from New Glarus.

Week 6: In the bag.  One more week and then I get a break.

P90E Week 5.5: Brought

Monday: I knocked out CORE SYNERGISTICS like it ain’t no thing.  Only minimal groaning, but plenty of making fun of the way Tony talks about Core Synergistics and swoons over Dreya.  Shane was reorganizing the basement while I worked out, and he was so annoyed by Tony that I don’t think he’s going to finish P90X.  He’s also been reading The 4-Hour Body, and I think all the talk of minimum effective dosage and also becoming superhuman has him questioning whether or not he wants to follow the P90X model.  Me? I’m sticking with it.  While I haven’t seen much change in inches, I can definitely tell that I’ve gained core and upper body strength – and that, my friends, is CORE SYNERGISTICS at work.

Tuesday: 2.25 miles in my new shoes, picked up for $45 this weekend at Elite Feet thanks to a Groupon and Groupon credit. Before they fitted me for shoes, they had me run on the treadmill, then had me try running with a metronome in order to shorten my stride, increase my cadence, and generally force me to run further forward on my feet.  I tried to do all of these things in my old shoes on my run home from work.  It wasn’t a fast run, but I certainly felt like I was working very hard and was very sweaty when I got home.

Wednesday: Legs & Back kicked my butt, especially the brutal sequence of 15 slow, 10 fast calf raises in 3 positions: feet wide, feet parallel, feet pigeon-toed.  I upped my weight, though, and am really liking pull-downs with increasing weight as a replacement for the bands.

Thursday: Woke up, ate breakfast, felt weird, and went straight back to bed with miserable abdominal stuff.  By the end of the absolutely gorgeous day, I was feeling stir-crazy but definitely not good enough to run, so I walked downtown and back to do an errand.  Better than nothing, and better than pushing myself when I was already not feeling good.

Friday: Still not feeling 100%, so I worked from the comfort and privacy of my bed, then BROUGHT IT to Chest, Shoulders and Triceps.  Upped my weights on almost every exercise, and only fell on my face once.  That’s right: I fell on my face.  I was feeling cocky and tried a one-arm push-up and then…splat.  I guess the tip of the day from Shoulders and Arms also applies: don’t break your face.

Saturday: Second cheat day since we started on the slow carb diet.  My parents came for the weekend, so we spent most of the day walking around the Henry Ford and generally indulging in things like pistachio-rosewater ice cream at Shatila Bakery and a South Pacific pizza at Jolly Pumpkin.  We took a break from familial togetherness in the afternoon, and I put in a surprisingly fast run: 3.2 miles in 29 minutes flat.  Three years ago, I ran my first 5K in 31:28.  I’m delighted by how far I’ve come.

Sunday: Between the family visit and general crampiness, I didn’t get a long run done this weekend.  That’s OK.  I was going to take today off entirely, but I didn’t feel like I could really enjoy snack dinner – wine, salami, flackers, cheese from Fromagination, and Bittman’s roasted chickpeas – if I hadn’t exercised.  For 2.5 quick miles, I focused on a quick cadence – and am now comfy on the couch, watching The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

P90E Do Over Week 5: BROUGHT

P90E Week 5: Umm…

This week was kind of a wash in terms of fitness.  I spent the week feeling totally exhausted – not sure if that’s an artifact of returning (and restressing) from vacation or of the new diet plan we’ve both started – but suffice to say that it sucks.  When I did manage to work out, I felt extremely fatigued, but pushed myself to finish what I started – that is, when I managed to start in the first place.

Monday: Tired all day and just could not BRING IT, especially not after the onset of a bad headache in the late afternoon.  Instead I ran errands and planned tasty low-carb meals and went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Tuesday: Biked to and from work, then did Core Synergistics.  I can tell that I’m gaining strength, but I struggled to finish.  No Dreya rolls.

Wednesday: Left work early so that I could lie on the heating pad.  No workout.

Thursday: Difficult 4 mile run home from work plus .5 mile cool-down.  My legs felt like lead weights.

Friday: Worked from home in the afternoon, so didn’t get to the gym until 8 with dinner after that.  Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps is so hard!  I swear Tony wants me to fall on my face and break my nose.  By the end of the umpteenth pushup variation, I was shaking with exhaustion, despite feeling pretty good throughout the workout.  I think I’m going to have to switch up the order of the Phase 2 workouts if I want to have any hope of bringing it.

Saturday: 7 mile run first thing in the morning on my first slow carb cheat day.  The cheat day was amazing.  The run? Not so much.  My legs felt like lead weights, especially on the hills in the last third of the run.  I stopped at 5 miles for a gel, and allowed myself to walk the steepest of the hills.  That was the trade-off for finishing.

Sunday: I had good intentions for doing Legs & Back, but instead I cleaned the house for four hours.

An important lesson I’ve learned about diet, fitness, and my emotional state is that I need to remember to be kind to myself.  Gaining or losing a few pounds, missing a workout or two – these are small triumphs and defeats in the grand scheme of things.  One tired week won’t undo months of good effort.  Or, as Tony says, “do your best and forget the rest!”  So that’s what I’m going to do.  The coming week will be a do-over for week 5, and I plan to BRING IT.

P90E Week 4: Brought

This was Phase 1 recovery week, meaning that next week I should be ramping up to Phase 2, where I work to failure at 10-12 reps and do a bunch of new exercises.  Instead, we’re going on vacation, so the only reps I’ll be doing will be zipping and unzipping the tent.  I’m hoping for lots of hiking, swimming, and relaxing and not one minute of P90X, though I suspect I’ll miss Tony, Dreya, and the gang.

Monday: Yoga X.  Now, I’m not really sure how yoga can be EXTREME, but I was impressed by the sequences in this video.  I did 75 minutes and would’ve done more, but Shane was done with his workout, we were both hungry, and my butt hurt from the previous day’s Legs and Back.

Tuesday: 2 fast miles home from work so that I could make a 4:15 conference call.  Not the best of runs, but it was almost 90 out and I had to dodge Art Fair traffic.  I made it home in time to get a cold drink, take off my shirt, and answer my phone.  By the time the conference call ended at 5, I had mostly stopped sweating.  Did I mention that my butt still hurts?

Wednesday: Core Synergistics.  I still hate it, but each time I do it, I notice I’m able to do more.  For that reason, it’s nice to have a single workout that is repeated every week.  I still can’t do full pushups, and it was way too damned hot – even at 10pm – to do Dreya rolls, but I brought it and was glad that I did.

Thursday: The heat index was 115.  My building was closed due to electrical problems in a cooling facility.  We don’t have air conditioning.  The closest thing to exercise that I could manage was slowly walking from Shane’s air conditioned office to the Union for my blood donation appointment and back while drinking a lot of water.  This heat wave has been brutal, and I can’t wait for it to pass.

Friday: We took the 30 day photos and measurements this morning before leaving for vacation.  My weight is exactly the same, but I’ve lost an inch or two between arms, waist, hips, and thighs.  I gained an inch around my chest, and I’m not sure if that’s because I have pecs or because I was wearing a different sports bra.  Not as much progress as I would’ve liked, but then I haven’t been super serious about the diet either.  That’s what August is for.  I ran 2.5 miles and got overheated and winded, so had to stop for water and a walking cool down.  My butt still hurts.

P90E Week 3: Brought

Monday: Core Synergistics, I WILL own you. Tonight was sooooooooo much better than last week. Like, exponentially better. I’ve figured out modifications for the hard stuff I can’t manage (read: pushups), and did those until my arms burned. CORE SYNERGISTICS.

Tuesday: 3 tough miles home in the heat.  I’m developing a serious stop at the bodega, buy a Powerade habit.  I feel bad for spending the money on something with basically no nutritional or recovery value AND ALSO for the fact that I only go to the bodega when I’m ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING, but not bad enough to stop.  I chugged the liter of cold and delicious “grape” on the way to the garden.

Wednesday: So I had good intentions of catching the 3:48 bus home and doing Shoulders & Arms before Shane got home from work.  Instead I missed the dang bus – after running for the morning bus in absurd platform sandals – and so walked home in said absurd sandals.  Which is to say that I walked 1.25 miles in absurd sandals, and an additional 1 mile barefoot.  After that, I felt justified in literally putting up my feet and skipping a night with Tony, even if it meant back to back punishing workouts over the weekend.

Thursday: A totally lovely day, and 5 miles home on a new route.  True to form, it all got easier after mile 3, though I still stopped for a Powerade during my cool-down.

Friday: Woke up feeling iffy, so went back to bed for a few hours.  By late morning, I felt well enough to spend some quality time outside, followed by a quality hour in the basement with Tony and the Shoulders & Arms crew.  I learned the meaning of lifting til failure, and wrote down a few WOWs on my worksheet when I finished exercises I couldn’t manage during 30DS.  A good, good workout.  I even managed half of Ab Ripper X!

Saturday: 6.5 miles at 7:30 am while Shane, Orin, and Derek slept in.  It was warm.  I was really, really tired.  I meant to go 7 miles, but was happy with what I managed, and then ate the hell out of a Veggie Delight.  I’m really liking this Saturday morning run, breakfast at Afternoon Delight, trip to the Farmers’ Market routine we’re in.

Sunday: SHOULD be the day of rest, but instead I did Legs & Back.  This workout is hard, guys, especially since my legs were still aching from yesterday’s run.  I did my best, switched out the bands for the pull-down bar, and sweat through three rags in my 60 minutes.  No Ab Ripper X.  Sorry, Tony.

This next week marks the end of Phase 1.  I had planned on jumping right into Phase 2 since we’ll be on vacation the following week, but instead I think I’m going to stick with the program and start Phase 2 when we get back from our trip.  And with that, I’m going to go fall over.