Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Exercise09:14 PM - Progress, kinda

I hadn't bothered to measure myself in a long time, and I ran across my soft tape measure and decided to do it while I was thinking about it.

My waist: 31"
My hips: 35.5"

While we're at it, my weight this morning was 136.6 pounds.

(Bust is 36" and chest is 33" for those curious about the rest. Those, other than the slight potential for sorrow if my bust is cannibalized too heavily, are generally unimportant to my goal in getting physically fit and the tangible changes thereof. At my heaviest those were roughly 39" and 36" respectively.)

The last time I measured myself and recorded it (so probably the last time I did it) was just a bit over a year ago, in mid March. In that year I've lost 3" off my waist and 2.5" off my hips. My pants certainly do fit better, and I've bought a few (still low rise 'cause my waist/hip ratio is still off kilter) size 8 jeans that fit great, with almost all my 10s very much too big. I've also lost 12.4 pounds in that year, give or take a bit based on the daily fluctuation thing.

Now, that's only a pound a month on average; only a half pound a week. My weight loss was not a steady half pound a week though; I've been hovering between 136-140 for a good 8 months now.

At the beginning of the year, I was hoping to reach my tentative goal weight of 125 pounds by May 1. As it is nearly April 1, I'd say that's no longer realistic. That would require losing over 11 pounds in a month. Hah. That's a little higher than considered healthy, and so very much not happening anyway. However, I would say that May 31 would be reasonable. That's a little over a pound a week on average. Just gotta stick to it.

Now that I've sidetracked myself for a good 20 minutes with all this, I'm going back to putting things away in my now-complete desk. :)

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Exercise10:42 AM - Treadmill revelations

Revelation the first: 4mph on the treadmills at the gym != 4mph on the treadmill at home. Whether the motors on the ones at the gym being in constant use has made them slower than they should be, or ours is faster than it should be, or some combination thereof, I don't know. Short of an exact camera timer with a mark on the belt, done for each one, to determine the actual speeds, it's not likely I'll ever know. All I know is, if I set our treadmill to 4mph I'd have an incredibly hard time keeping up and still walking, but on the one at the gym I'd have to set it to about 4.5mph—I can manage 4.4, but it's a wee bit much and I was more comfortable at 4.2.

Revelation the second: I never paid much mind to how I walked, i.e. what motion my legs moved in, and I think maybe I've been doing it wrong. Sounds dumb, right? After all, I've been doing it for over 25 years, I should bloody well know how to walk. It's nothing like being bowlegged, or turning my toes inwards as compared to my heels. It's just... at least for walking fast, the way I've been doing it probably isn't the best for my knees. I'm considering asking on FO (either in one of the existing exercise advice threads or in a new one) if what I've noticed makes any sense.

How I realized I may've been walking wrong, and theories as to whether changing to do it to what I perceive is right will lessen my chances for injuries in the future:

I walked 2 miles yesterday in a few seconds over a half hour (well, I did a really, really slow careful log for about a minute or so just to test the waters, and decided that while it didn't exactly hurt, I probably shouldn't do it again during the session). In that time, I wanted to make damn sure I could keep walking without pain, because I didn't want to have to quit. So, I had lots of time to pay really close attention to how I put each foot down. I started as just paying attention to feel: did my foot come down perfectly "square" rather than to one side, did it come down with no pressure to either side of my knee, did it come down properly on the heel—not too hard but a roll from heel to toe, did my foot roll evenly from heel to toe without angling off badly too far to the inside or outside of the foot? All those were going through my head, though not in so many words, every single time I took a step with either foot.

Then, after I'd kinda gotten the hang of perfecting each step (though still concentrating, mind you; apparently if I don't my body likes to be a bit careless with its motion), I started watching my feet. I know that they say it's a sign of fatigue plus likely to increase said fatigue by looking down rather than up, but I didn't care about that; I wasn't fatigued in spite of going fast enough that I was dripping sweat. Oh no; I was specifically watching the motion of my feet that went along with the properly aligned steps I was taking. I was a bit surprised.

First off, I should note that if I paid a whole lot of attention at all to my feet and legs, I generally could've told anyone that I generally walk with my legs making basically two parallel line motions forward and back, with kind of a wide "stance" if you will. None of this silly "one foot directly in front of the other" ladylike catwalk crap. Just straightforward, let's geterdone "I mean business" walk. That wasn't the pattern my legs were taking last night. I wasn't walking toe-heel like a balance beam (good thing, I probably would've fallen on my face if I'd purposely tried keeping that up) but the path of one foot did overlap the path of the other. So basically instead of two straight lines in parallel, the paths for my feet were more like very, very narrow ovals slightly tilted inward (once the foot is actually down it's gonna go straight back till it's picked up again).

I thought about this, and I wonder if it's to do with something my dad mentioned when I was discussing leg sleds with him, and his suggestion to use knee braces or wraps to do so. He suggested this because, due to a woman having wider hips, if you take an x-ray of most women's legs, the thigh bone is not in perfect parallel with the shin bone. The thigh bones angle slightly inward from hips to knees. Looking at mine, I'm certainly not an exception. I sit down with my legs out into a V for stretching, and it's clear looking at each leg separately that my thigh and shin are not one long perfectly straight line. So I put that in with what I'd noticed, and it appears that a more even way for me to walk actually involves bringing the whole leg inwards rather than close to directly below the hip to minimize strain to the inside of my knee, but of course since the hip joint swings the way it does I'm not going to just be making perfectly straight path lines when I do so that just angle inward towards each other, but more that oval thing with perhaps a flat side to it while the foot is going from heel to toe.

Obviously my "doing it wrong" isn't solely responsible for the current issue with my left knee; otherwise both knees would be fucked. However, I do wonder if it contributes. Of course, I also second guess my conclusions a bit, wondering if I might end up causing myself hip problems instead of knee problems by changing how I walk, but my hips didn't hurt last night and they don't hurt now, so I'm tentatively going to ignore that particular voice. Hence the possible FO thread question for the fitness gurus. What it comes down to is, I never took biology, and I've never studied anatomy in any way, so I don't really know in depth how the musculoskeletal structure all works together, male or female, and I just can't say with 100% certainty whether my conclusions are correct.

Even if I am correct, all of it changes when discussing jogging rather than walking. For starters, I don't know if I can pay quite that much attention and make it work while jogging since it's faster. Simply put, I'm afraid all the concentration might just serve to make me trip over my own damn feet. Plus, I have no clue whether the basic lines my feet take should stay the same for jogging as for walking.

Regardless, I do need to strengthen my knees, especially the inside and outside. I found out they do still indeed make what my dad referred to as wobble boards; they're simply called balance or rocker boards now. My class instructor, who works as a PT assistant, gave me a website to go to in order to check, and I did indeed find 'em. And, I'm so definitely not buying one but rather improvising. All I need is various widths of PVC and a scrap piece of plywood (a shelf from my desk was suggested since it was intended for use inside the tower compartment, but my tower's far too big so it's spare; I'd rather not scratch it all up in case I ever have a smaller tower to put in it and want the shelf). The absolute cheapest one I saw was $70. They had one that was $175, and several in between, though most were $80-100. Fuck. That. Considering the cost of, say, 6 different pieces of PVC a foot long of varying diameters an a 3-4'x1' piece of plywood would probably cost around the price to fill up my gas tank once at most, why buy one?

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Exercise01:41 PM - Damn knee

*shakes fist impotently in the air*

Ahem. Now that theatrical bit is out of the way... knee is still feeling a little odd. It doesn't precisely hurt but I'm aware of its existence more than I should be. I'm not jogging tonight, much as I hate that. I'm going to strap my knee wrap on, and attempt brisk walking. I'll start relatively slowly at first, and build as I think I am able, and if I feel any pain I'll stop. I at least want to be doing something other than sitting idly.

Class last night was interesting. I had to just stand there like a useless twit during the warmups 'cause none of them were something my knee would allow. first one is a lunge to one side with a weight held out in straight in front, then push up with that leg, raise the weight overhead, and sweep that same leg across the other leg as it straightens. Second was slightly-bent-knee jumping jacks. Again, not even straight legged would I do those. Last one was squats where as you squat, you extend a weight from your chest to straight out, then rotate at the waist to one side, come up, and repeat on the other side. Of course, hell no.

At the end, we did squats where you hold a weight in each hand, squat, come up only part way, then back down, then all the way up. Uhhh... no? So I improvised. By doing one legged squats, without the weights. Still making sure my knee didn't extend out past my toes. I did nearly all of them, only losing my balance and missing one once in the middle. *flex*

Hopefully by Wednesday I'll be able to do all those things normally. Might wear the wrap for 'em, but that's better than standing there with my proverbial thumb up my ass, right?

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Life10:17 PM - Day of rest, kinda

As much as it pains me to do so, I'm not doing my cardio today. My knee bothered me a lot yesterday, and it's still being squirrelly today (hurts this evening but didn't precisely hurt earlier). So, I'm going to see how it feels Tuesday, and if it's feeling fine I'll wear the knee wrap and see what I can do.

However, I did get one thing done of note. I should say, we got one thing done of note. J helped me build my hutch for my desk. You want to talk about one massive desk. They don't have someone sitting in front of it to give you a real feel on how much it dwarfs the person sitting at the desk. Not that I'm complaining; I'm going to fill the thing up with no problem. It's just... huge.

Getting it onto the desk was rather difficult though. It's somewhere between 150-180 pounds. Given I can't lift anywhere from 75-90 pounds that means I couldn't help J in any meaningful way. Getting it down the hallway proved easier than I thought. It was upside down anyway, so he just tipped it up sideways, worked it onto the front doorway rug, and slid it down the floor on that. Getting it into the room, he was able to walk it in, though tipping it upright was very difficult. He had to make sure it cleared the light fixture, as well as keep from dropping it into the window. All without hurting his back. He did it, and I was impressed.

Then... getting it up onto the desk that's 3' or so off the ground. Uhhhh. He managed to somehow magically use the kitty condo, which is just a couple inches shorter, to help him out. It was seriously wobbly, but he got the end by the window on it, then while resting on there got the other end up on the desk with enough stability he could leave it and get the condo end onto the desk. The final problem ended up taking two people. While he'd been working it onto the desk, with me of course the whole time trying to convince him just to wait, I was on the phone with my dad. He ended up coming over with a couple tools, and it was much easier. Basically, they yoinked a spare 2x4 from downstairs ("gifted" us by the previous owners), and set the end away from the window up on it, because it was just a wee bit taller than the locking bolts sticking up that it had to be lined up on. Then, he took a small crowbar (sort of shaped like one, but smaller than what you see people using to open crates and beat people with), put a little masking tape on it to keep it from gouging anything, and used it to help lever the other end enough that they could line it up over those bolts. With those lined up, they were able to slide the 2x4 out from under the other end and drop the whole thing down.

Talk about some serious work. I feel bad that I couldn't help, but I really don't have the upper body strength. I may be slowly working on it, but it's going to be a few years before I have anything anywhere half as good as the average reasonably strong male.

After that, the plan was for me to hang the two pairs of cabinet doors standing on a stepstool. However, J figured that since we didn't know for sure how they worked he'd start messing with 'em while my dad was still here and we were talking. It turns out they're kinda complicated... there's one screw in the middle of where the hinge pieces attach, one to the fore, and you loosen/tighten those based on where left-to-right you want them. Apparently it's a really good way of doing it, enough you wouldn't expect it on particle board furniture, but still... not sure I'd have figured it out myself. My dad hung the left ones, J got the right ones attached but not yet placed, and I moved 'em with my dad's coaching.

There's still a teeny bit of work to be done on it. Y'know how there will be various holes in a desk so wires can go through, and there are plastic insert thingies that go in 'em that have flexible rubber in the middle that covers up most of it but still lets wires go through? Well, we figured out where to put the B&W printer (file cabinet next to the desk) and the scanner (next to my monitors) but the best place for the color printer is in the middle space over the monitors. Problem is, it has a back with no holes to be able to run the USB and power wires through. So we're gonna hit a hardware store and pick up a plastic... hole cover thingy, then get a matching-sized hole saw (drillbit that'll do an actual hole) and drill a hole in the back. Then we'll get to plug in the printer.

Also, I'm gonna pick up an LED light strip to attach to the underside of the overhead cabinet space so I can have a light source that's dimmer than turning on the whole overhead light. There's nowhere to put a lamp on the desk really, so that's the best solution. Nice thing about LEDs is that they don't burn out and get mega warm like halogens, but they're not overbright like fluorescents. They apparently have 'em in the lighting section of major hardware stores, so we can get everything in one trip.

I still should hang the door to the tower area, even if my tower's too big to shut it.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Exercise08:43 PM - A new week started

I even cheated and did rather a bit more than called for... Week 3 gives time and distance options, and I figured that since jogging and walking the distances rather than the times would have me finishing a lot faster than 20 minutes not counting the warmup, I'd go with the times. Those add up to 18 minutes, so I added 30s onto each walk. Well... ended up doing more than that a bit. I walked at 3.8mph speed (yay) and jogged at 5.2mph speed. Great. Heh, well... First off, I decided to see if I could walk at 4mph. I could. Then, I got near the end of the walk and decided, just to see if I could, that I'd do one more 30s jog at a slightly faster pace—5.5mph—and do it so that I'd still have a minute of time to walk. Hehe. I ended up jogging at that speed a whole minute, which didn't leave me enough time to walk for a whole minute and stop at the 25 minute mark, so I just kinda kept walking. My total time ended up being 28 minutes, though the last bit was a slow, "true" cooldown.

One thing I should note though: I already told J to smack me on Sunday if I say, "Eh, my knee feels fine and has all weekend, not gonna bother with the foam knee support." Yeah. The extra time didn't do it in worse than it would've been, but it didn't like the jogging. I bought two on the way home, in case I wanted to wear both to make sure they stay supported side-to-side in the event that I do leg presses, and had brought one with me this evening. My knee'd felt fine all day, but started whining and getting kinda emo from the get-go on the jog. Not wanting to have to start all over after stopping to put on the brace I just kept going, and now it's a bit cranky. Not gonna worry about it but I am going to wear the brace the next couple weeks' cardio sessions to make sure I'm not going to injure it.

Overall I think I'm gonna be able to stay on track. Probably stick with the 3.8/5.2 paces on Sunday, then see about adding a bit to them on Tuesday for the final week 3 session to help lead into the next week.

feeling: satisfied
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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Exercise Life10:39 AM - So maybe I can learn to run... (and other not-exercise stuff)

I used one of the treadmills at the gym Tuesday for the last part of week 2. It... it was easier. And, I both ran and walked a bit faster. Warmup, I did 4 minutes at 3.6mph then bumped it to 3.7mph, which I used the rest of the walks. Jogging I had at 5.2mph the whole time. Yay. :)

The only hitch is, I'm not 100% sure what I actually did at the beginning. See, they have these really complex ones with no instructions on how to see what you want to see, with these fancy displays like whether you've walked as far as the Eiffel Tower is tall, crap like that. It starts moving at 0.1mph when you start it, while it is still asking you for age and weight. Well, once I got it going (and noticed I'd picked the only one that didn't have a number pad...) it wasn't showing me how long I'd spent on it. J said he thought what I wanted was the "track" display, and sure enough it looked like an ongoing timer. Except, every time I'd say "ok, time to speed up/slow down" the first couple times, and calculate when I should change it next, at some point I'd look and the time was... off. I finally figured out that the lap time it was displaying was only specifically lap time. (It wasn't zeroing out every time I started a new lap according to it, so I'm really not sure what it was doing.) Anyway, I was all "shit" and fiddled till I found a display that'd show my overall time spent on the machine. I figured out where I was, and a fairly correct switch time, ran the numbers out and figured I was 30 seconds off somehow. So, since I didn't know where that time had been spent, I just took it off the next walk bit since those are longer.

I also have come to the conclusion that, perhaps because it doesn't ask age or weight, our treadmill is overgenerous on its calories burned figure. I went farther and faster on the one at the gym than I did Sunday at home, and it read right about 50 less calories. Between that and the elliptical showing much lower (not that there's a direct comparison anyway, really) I think I'm gonna stop bothering to look at what ours shows. They're all estimates anyway, I guess, since everyone's body is a bit different (I'd presume that the more one weighs, the more calories are burned going the same distance at the same rate, since there's more force involved in propelling a higher mass at the same rate of acceleration and all that physics shit).

My left knee has started acting up a little, but nothing big, so I'm going to snag a neoprene knee sleeve on the way home from work, for my first week 3 session run tonight. I'm a little nervous, but at the same time I'm less nervous than I was in starting the last one, because of how well I did Tuesday. It was practically easy. Granted, I had the continual "WTF is going on here?" thing going figuring out the damn machine and whether I'd actually run or walked long enough, so that distracted me some probably. But I felt less worn out afterwards. I think I can totally jog 3 whole minutes at a time when I get to it. Twice, even!

Since J works at a school district, he gets spring break, which is this week. So I took a vacation day yesterday so I could spend one of the days with him. We both slept in, then lazed around a bit, and looked up matinee showings of 300. Had lunch at Chevy's at the Mills, and since we had a good 20 minutes to burn after we took my leftovers to the car and bought tickets, we hit the Supermarket of Shoes to see if J could find some decent dress shoes to replace the ones he's killed. He found some that fit really well, had a nice thick sole, and didn't look too casual for dress shoes, and at... $66 I think? Also, I was able to buy new laces for my hiking boots, so my feet love me again.

We both really enjoyed 300, and there is one really memorable scene towards the beginning that, by itself, I think justified seeing it in the theatre instead of waiting for the DVD. I mean, really there was more than that, but the first one was just... wow. Not gonna spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, I just wanted to mention that. I will say I cannot believe anyone would take their kid to see it though, as it's incredibly violent. Any movie about Spartan warriors is gonna be, one would think, but I guess some people don't engage their brains as often as they should since I've definitely heard about people doing just that. They pulled no punches in the battle scenes, no question.

feeling: hungry
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Exercise10:43 AM - Interesting buzz

So the sheet I put up outside my cube is starting to get noticed. My manager saw it yesterday and asked me if I was training for a 5K and when the event was I was shooting to be in. Heh. I said I was just trying this plan so I could be able to, but there's no specific event, and that the sheet she saw was sort of a way to publicly "shame" myself if I slacked off. However, it got me thinking... "are there lots of 5K events?" so I asked J about it. He said there tend to be a lot of 'em, usually for one or another charity and often around holidays. So uh... I think we might do one. He can already run a 5K right now, but not in a time pleasing to him. He said if I wanted, we could both run in one when I'm ready for it. O.o How wacky is that, me entering a 5K event (even if it is just to finish and to donate charity money)? Certainly something I never in my life would've seen me doing. I'm seriously considering it though.

Also, I overheard her telling our business analyst about it (they're both, along with a bunch of others, in a sort of friendly "biggest loser" competition with another group, and from what they've said they're not doing the crash diet thing for it, so good on 'em). So I think she's thinking about doing it... wow.

Last week 2 session tonight. After a nap, heh. I'd rather add a little to that < 5 hrs sleep I got last night before I do it, and generally even when we go on our own to the gym we don't go right after work anyway (and J has the week off). I'm kinda nervous about starting week 3 on Thursday/Friday though. Lol performance anxiety with myself, hehe. Seriously, jogging for a whole 3 minutes? Twice? I'm a-feared. Will have to seriously pump myself up for it, that's for sure. Not gonna let myself puss out with a self defeatist attitude though. Fuck that. I CAN DO IT!! YEAH! *flex*

Oh! I'm totally up to 6 pounds on our tricep workouts, and I'm holding steady at 5 pounds for the really hard shoulder exercise we're doing this session. I'm also using 9 pounds for bicep curls (and no, NOT digging my elbows into my ribs for support thankyouverymuch!) but I'm not quite making all the reps just yet. Which is OK, I figure by end of session I will be. Then I'll give it about half the next session and hit 10 pounds. Unless, of course, I start doing strength training more regularly on Fridays/Saturdays to speed up my improvement. Anything with weights when I do 'em on my own, I try to do 2 or 3 sets with much shorter reps than friggin' 36 at once, so I can go heavier. *flexes some more* (Yes, I know that's very little weight to anyone who's been strength training for a while now, or hell to anyone blessed with natural upper body strength, but when I started that class, I was doing 5 lb biceps, 3 lb shoulders, and 4 lb triceps, as an example. So I've nearly doubled all the weight I'm doing, with just about only that class and no outside work. So there! :p )

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Exercise Games & Gaming Gardening Life11:38 AM - Successful workout, gardening prep, and other crap

I did the first week 2 session of the couch-to-5k thing on the elliptical on Friday. It is so very hard to gauge when one is moving at a brisk walk when using a rolling jog motion, sheesh. So I kinda had to guess at everything, but I did work up a mega sweat and feel all pooped out when I was done. I used the treadmill downstairs for the second session, and either I was already plenty ready or I didn't really hold back my progress on the elliptical because I did just fine. For both, since the math of 90s jog/2m walk doesn't come out to an even 20 minutes (6 reps comes out to 21 minutes) I just put my warmup walk to 4 minutes instead of 5 so I'd come out to 25 minutes, rather than cut the last walk in half. I've found it really helps to closely concentrate on my breathing and the motion of my legs, making sure to take as long and deep a breath in as I can rather than letting my breathing go wherever it wants. Apparently I'll breathe harder than I really need to when I don't concentrate on it, so working to keep my breathing as calm as I can seriously helps me. Paying close attention to the motion of my legs, such as making sure both feet push off the same way, making sure the stride on each leg is the same, and all of that, also helps, and gives me something to think about other than the approaching times.

My heels are... noticable? Not really in pain, I'm not limping getting out of bed or any of that, but I'm just kind of aware of their existence more than I probably should be. It isn't getting worse though, so I guess it's just that I'm not wearing my hiking boots much. I don't use 'em on the machines, particularly at the gym, 'cause the STOMP STOMP STOMP factor (and rubber-seeming or not, I'm not sure I'd be allowed at the gym). Plus now I haven't been wearing them at all, because one of the laces finally wore to that "I'm really thin and going to break at any time!' stage, and I haven't had the chance to pick up new ones. Ideally I'd be able to take them and both existing pairs of athletic shoes to a store, and say "I want athletic shoes, but I want them to have a sole like my hiking boots and not like these, esp. the new balance ones, so that my heels are happy." Not sure how even the most expert shoe salesman would be able to do that though, heh.

Since my bulbs all shipped last week, and it's going to rain every single day this week, I decided to do lots of garden prepping yesterday, since Saturday was cold and crappy and windy. I got the hanging baskets I really wanted (metal coated in... I dunno, paint I guess, with coconut liners), a box of stuff to make compost be better compost, a 25-plant "all in one greenhouse" kit thingy to start some seeds in, a shallow round pot to put at least some of those seedlings in when they get to that stage, and two bags of compost for the front of the house. I dug the everloving shit out of the soil in front to loosen it up, get rid of my old petunias (they're annuals so whatever was left was dead), get rid of grass growing beyond the brick/rock borders, and make it all well draining. Then I spread all that compost around, using both bags. There was so much encroaching grass in one spot I ended up filling almost a whole compost bag with it to carry it to the leaf pile in the backyard! There was a little stray grass along the front where the little tree is, but I had nowhere to easily pile it, so it got tossed under the big bushes to provide a little mulch under there...

I'm totally prepared for the incoming lily of the valley and cyclamen, as well as all the begonias. It looked like maybe one of the two hostas might be coming back all over, but I'm not sure, and I think the other one's gone. Ah well, I'll try to leave those spots empty, and if either comes up I'll try to take better care of it or them, and if those spots stay empty I'll grab some more hostas for the spots. Since I'll have a lot more stuff there to take care of any new hostas should do fine. Oh, and J moved the big stupid rock for me, that's between the two bushes in front of the livingroom window. It's farther back now so I can actually plant flowers in that spot. Some of the bulbs I put on the side are coming up, and even more of the bulbs I put around the tree in the back are also getting a good start. Not sure any of the potted stuff in the back is going to make it, which makes me sad. :( I have a couple sprouts for my herbs though, so yay?

WoW happs follow for anyone who's interested.

I'm getting pretty good at grouping now, more efficient at laying traps, sending kitty a little more when needed, etc. I've gotten to go to Karazhan more than I expected given I'm technically an alternate, which has been hellaciously fun. If the other main doesn't show tonight I'll get to go again. We made stupid awesome progress Tuesday, then Friday we did the opera event and got stuck there as it's Romulo & Julianne, which is way harder than the other two. Got frustrating, so we called it. Tried to get everyone together for Saturday since Gruul's Lair is now on Sundays so we can't go then anymore (roughly half this Kara crew is in the first Gruul's Lair group) and we really wanted to get past R&J. We were supposed to go at 5pm server and by 7pm we still were missing a 10th so we just gave up and did other stuff.

Got to go on a couple Arcatraz runs Saturday, and a couple Old Hillsbrad runs last night. Need to farm some more terocone for those sexy elixir of mastery pots, and some more netherbloom to make mana pots with. I have a bunch of places I want to go to get some better gear to raise my DPS to a better level. I'm totally swooning over the sonic spear Murmur drops, for example. That's probably as good as it gets for me pre-Kara, and would help my DPS greatly. Gonna try to find time to go w/ J to undead strat so he can farm some enchanting shards, probably Tuesday afternoon. I am dual wielding again for now though. Got an axe from Old Hillsbrad which I'm using with a very schway sword I've been waiting to use with another 1-hander.

whine back (4 whines so far) | labels: couch to 5k, world of warcraft

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Life04:26 PM - What a lovely man our mayor is...

... that's sarcasm if you couldn't tell.

So. Our oh-so-lovely mayor is running for the re-election vote happening April 3. My mom said there was a meeting ("hey, come meet the new guy" light campaign type meeting I believe) held at the library Tuesday night by his competitor Andrew Podleski. My mom found out about it on short notice but was able to attend. In speaking with other folks there, there were some rather interesting tidbits she shared with me.

First, some people have gone outside on some random morning to find a "re-elect Lowery" sign in their yard. No notice, no one asked if they could put it there, and they didn't ask for or donate for one. Just turned up, with no permission given. Uhh... I dunno about you, but if anyone sticks a big damn sign in my yard without my say-so, it ain't gonna last long and I will call them or their campaign or organization up and bitch. I'm thinking if one shows up in our yard, it's getting "what is this sign doing here?" spray painted on it, both sides, plus I'll be calling up the mayor's office to inform him to keep his campaign staff on a tighter leash.

Second, some individuals and businesses have voluntarily put up signs supporting Podleski. Many of these, within a day or two, have found themselves suddenly cited with various code violations. WTF is that all about?

Third, and I'd heard this before and it still makes me laugh, he travels around the city chauffered by a cop in a police car for "his protection." You want to know what he claims? He says the FBI informed him he's a possible Al'Qaeda target. Uhhh... I'm pretty sure that unless he had some shady business dealings before becoming mayor that ended up pissing off said terrorist organization, that my fat ass is a bigger target than he and his combover are. Seriously. How on earth would attacking some local mayor of a smallish city some relatively (nationally speaking) unimportant locale cause the kind of terror such a group would give a flying fuck about?

Additionally, when I went to look up the date of the election (knew it was the first week in April, pretty sure it was a Tuesday, but wanted to confirm) apparently the city of Florissant pays him, or at least the office of the mayor, more than the governor or even our US Senators and representatives make. Why in the hell do we do that? Incentive to keep a corrupt asshole wanting to stay in his job? He also refuses to engage in any public debates.

Further in my internet search I am highly amused to find that he has his very own Wikipedia entry, if you're curious about the man. Not really all that much meat to it, but then I wouldn't have expected him to be in there at all.

whine back (0 whines so far) | labels: local, politics

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gardening01:24 PM - So it's starting into spring again

There's a cold front coming and it'll be a bit chilly for the weekend, but I'm still getting into a gardening mood again. By chilly, I mean around 50°F instead of the 70s we've had this weekend into today, so while there may be another frost coming before we get to "real" spring, I think it's safe to say winter is about out.

To that end, I plan on picking up some fairly easy perennials. I've decided that these begonias would be great to hang in the backyard by the tree, and these other begonias should work well in the front of the house in the sunnier part in front of the livingroom window. I'm also thinking a few lily of the valley and hardy cyclamen plants in the shadier parts in front of the house, under and around the Japanese maple, would rock. (Along with the hostas if they come back, or maybe a couple new fire & ice hostas if not.) For the hanging flowers I'm going to look for those natural looking hanging planters, where the hanging part is just thick wire and then the basket itself is made of... I dunno what, some type of organic stuff. I find it a lot nicer looking and less intrusive than the plastic pots with thin wire hangers.

This means that this weekend will probably entail troweling the shit out of the dirt in front, turning in a bunch of compost & nutrients into it so stuff will grow there better. I'm also going to see if we have a third water spigot somewhere on the other end of the house (either on that side or in front) so I can hook up a soaker house on that side, since lily of the valley especially needs moist soil.

That's in addition to the mountain bells on the side of the house with the sidewalk to the back gate, and all the iris bulbs. (Amusing to me, some of the irises around the tree already put up shoots in some warmer bits of January. I totally didn't expect them that fast.)

Inside, I've started a couple smallish rectangular planters with herbs: one has sweet basil, the other has cilantro. I may keep them inside, or I may put them outside (if I can find a way to have them outside but out of reach of squirrels and bunnies) while it's nice but not too hot out. Dunno what all we'll use the cilantro for but I plan on making lots and lots of pesto with the basil, as well as using it fresh in spaghetti and such things.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Exercise06:47 PM - It was a gorgeous day out

So J and I both went up to the high school track (nice track they put in around the time I was going there—just before I started, I believe). He ran most of the time, and I did my program. I'm almost 100% sure I didn't cover the quite the same distance as I did the two other times on the treadmill, but the point of the treadmill for me besides not wanting to exercise in shitty weather is that it keeps me honest because I don't yet know how. I don't know the feel of it, how fast I'm going without having to time it, how to stay at the exact same speed for this or that.

That said, I certainly don't feel like I didn't exercise. So, yay? I've no clue whether I should try for the start of week 2 as scheduled on Thursday, or if I should stay on week 1. I mean, obviously if today had been a cakewalk it wouldn't be a question. However, I'm not sure how to judge whether the next set, which really isn't a huge difference on the distance if you keep your two speeds the same. (Yes, I'm a nerd. For week 1, there's the 5 minute walk + 8 walk/jog reps even. At a 3.5mph walk and a 5mph jog, that's 1.658 miles. For week 2, there's the same walk, but the reps are longer and don't go in evenly. So there are 6 reps, but the last walk of the last rep is short a minute if you do the same 20 minutes for jog/walk. Same speeds, that's 1.683 miles. A whopping .025 miles farther.) However, in theory if the suggested ending jog speed is 6mph (that's 3 miles in a half hour) I should not only be bumping up the length of time I can jog continuously, I should also be gradually adding a bit to my speed. That, I'm not sure I can do, if I do that along with starting week 2. However, I'm not sure whether that means I'm not ready at all for it. I simply don't know my body well enough under such circumstances, the only real running I've ever done being short fast bursts on the softball field.

So we'll see how I'm feeling. My heels are a bit twingy again, not sure if it's just the fact I'm pounding my feet more (not on concrete—treadmill is quite springy and it's a nice springy wellmade track) or if it's that I still don't have the right shoes. If I don't feel up to snuff, I'll stick to week 1. If I'm feeling like I can take on the world, I'll try week 2. I can always back it off and switch down to week 1's cycle midway through if needed.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Exercise07:05 PM - I did it!

I set my walking pace at 3.5mph (yeah, that's fairly "brisk" for me), and my jogging, since I really don't do it and the end result suggests 6mph by stating "jog 3 miles, or for 30 minutes", I set to 5mph. I guessed well. :D

I have to say, except for the last 2 jogging sets (to spend 20 minutes on the program, that's 8 jog/walk pairs) they went by before I could blink just about. Overall the whole thing went by fairly quickly, not only since when I'd "just" walk for my exercise I usually spent 30-40 minutes on it, but also because of all the miniature goals. I wrote all the switch times down then forgot to bring the list with me, so I had to occupy my mind with "OK, we're walking now starting this time, so that means it's this other time I need bump up to jogging" and such.

I even tacked on an extra minute to the last walk, because I just could not stop at 194 calories. Had to round it to 200, which took me to a couple seconds under 26 total minutes including warmup. :p I was really, really sweaty, and got a slight mid-forehead headache from a general lack of water intake through the day, but I'm hydrating again and will throughout the evening. I did indeed stretch both before and after. Oh, and the older shoes? Found, dusted off (OMG a year of cat fur dust!), and a rousing success. No heel pain, or other odd pains like shins or whatever. So I'ma stick with them until I wear 'em out and they have to be replaced.

I also think, to work towards being able to jog at 6mph, whatever the third session is, I'll probably bump the walking pace up by a tenth mph, and the jogging pace up two tenths, at least for this week and next. If I'm able to do that every week I'll be jogging 6mph before the end goal is reached, but if not there's some wiggle room to still make it to that. I'll probably also cap the walking at 4mph; as short as my legs are that might be about all I'll be able to do as an actual walking speed just due to mechanics. Dunno. A 27" inseam does not lend well to speed walking. :p

Oh, and just to help further my progress, I printed off an Excel sheet that I'm going to put on the fridge to put xS in for each day (didn't think to make room for dates) and I made a bigger one to put on the outside of my cube wall at work for all who pass by to see. I'm curious as to how long before my coworkers notice... the one there has enough space in the day boxes for dates, and first thing tomorrow after hooking in the laptop I'll be writing in today's date. :D (Yes, I already updated the online version.)

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Exercise03:39 PM - So I think I picked up a slight touch of insanity

I'm going to do the "Couch to 5K" thing someone linked on Forumopolis (I think that's where I got it). I haven't managed to complete the templates for my fitness blog yet, but I've uploaded a static progress page for it that is simple enough to update. (Ignore the links to other stuff around it; the blog itself is utterly unfinished and mostly devoid of data.) I just plan on putting in the dates I do each step. My first day will be today, I have decided.

Of course, I need to see if I can find my old crosstrainers. The walking shoes I have, even with my orthotics, my heels are sore after just wearing them around the office. It's not as though I'm constantly getting up and going places at work, either; I walk to and from the parking lot once or twice (usually twice each), plus make a few trips to the bathroom, and that's it. However, I don't want to be jogging all TROMP TROMP TROMP on the treadmill in my hiking boots, so if those other shoes still fit I'ma see if they're shaped differently such that I don't get sore heels.

If after my 5 minute warmup walk my feet hurt, I'll just switch to the boots anyway. TROMP TROMP TROMP!!

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Life01:27 PM - Oh, and on a lighter note

March's supposed "In like a lion, out like a lamb" reputation was upheld today, at least around here. It doesn't get more lion-like than starting the morning with a tornado watch till noon and a couple tornado warnings complete with sirens. Nice and sunny out now, though.

whine back (4 whines so far) | labels: weather

Exercise11:01 AM - Educate yourselves, people

Why is it every few weeks when the topic of weight loss comes up, especially in regards to seeing a slowdown in the rate according to what the scale says, I hear this: "You could be converting fat into muscle."

No. No no no no no. You cannot convert fat into muscle. Fat cells cannot become muscle cells, and you really wouldn't want them to, I promise. Given the location of fat cells, if they somehow got some magic workout fairy dust and simply became muscle cells, they'd do you no good because they'd often be not attached to any other previous muscles you have.

You can empty your fat cells by exercising, which encourages your body to consume them. You can gain muscle by exercising, particularly by weight training. There's no such thing as converting fat tissue into muscle tissue, and there never will be. (It is true, however, that how you look and feel, and how loose your clothes are getting, is a more accurate gauge of how well you're burning fat off. The scale isn't, because you could be gaining muscle through the same activities that are helping you burn fat, and muscle is denser and therefore weighs more than fat per volume. So, if you burn enough fat that it'd fill, say, a measuring cup, and gained enough muscle to fill the same measuring cup, you'd be a bit heavier than you started. But, your clothes will probably fit differently and you'll probably look better and feel better.)

Along those lines, it is also not possible to target fat tissue burning to specific areas of the body. You can do 400 crunches a day and it will not specifically burn off your love handles. Ever. Weight training is a way to burn fat, to a degree, and a significant increase in muscle volume can certainly increase metabolism, which in turn helps burn more calories even at rest. Where you put that muscle has no bearing on where those extra burned calories get burned from. Cardio is a more reliable way to burn calories and lose weight. Again, this will burn it where the body sees fit to burn it from. You can even burn muscle if you are doing too much cardio (or too high-intensity) with too little food and no weight training to help maintain or increase said muscle tissue. Working at an optimum cardio intensity and duration, however, will still not let you tell your body which fat cells to consume.

Women: weight training will not make you look like Arnold. No, really, it won't. I mean, if you really, really want that look, you can achieve it. However, you will need to work at it as a full time job at minimum, load up like crazy on proteins, spend years working up to it, and probably still need steroids to do it if you want to compete at the pro level. This silly "do a little weight, just lots of it" is not necessary in order to avoid the over-buff look, and it generally is going to be harder on your joints. Plus it will make you progress very, very slowly. Think slug without the slime. Pick a weight that you can do maybe a dozen, dozen and a half reps with, and do that. Do two or three sets, and if each set you can only do a few less than the previous one, well that's OK, work up to where you can do the same amount in both/all three sets, then when you get where the last set seems kinda easy and maybe you could do another set of the same, it's time to up the weight. You won't be all hulked out, and you'll notice your body looks a lot more trim, and you're just plain stronger than you were before. Just make sure you use proper form, this being incredibly important to avoid injury, and that you don't do the same muscles two days in a row. Doing curls for 3 days straight is going to hurt, and be counterproductive.

This rant was inspired by a conversation overheard at work. Specifically, I heard those initial words at the top and just could not help but roll my eyes. The rest that came to follow kind of flowed from there, though it wasn't inspired by the overheard conversation.

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