Wandering Thoughts

When I am out walking, I my thoughts often drift to the mysteries of life. Today’s thought topic: Can my eyeballs freeze?
They must be able to freeze, but it is surprising they haven’t done so already. Are my glasses helping block cold or keep it locked in? Do my eyelids have super heating properties? If so, why do my eyes not steam when I blink? Would my eyeballs freeze before or after my nose fell off? Wish my butt would freeze off. If I sneeze really hard are my eyes more or less likely to blow out of the socket in the cold? Do they experience shrinkage? Could my frozen eyeballs be reconstituted if thawed properly? If people chop off their heads for cryogenics, will they be using the same eyeballs when science advances enough to bring them back? An eyeball crawling toward me would be super creepy and make an awesome horror movie. Attack of the killer eyeball! Not sure how it would murder but it would be gross. What is that goobery stuff in the corner of my eye? Why can’t my glasses stay on my nose properly? The Jerk was a funny movie. All I need is this chair…

And just like that my walk was over….

I Am A Turtle, Trying To Be A Rabbit, Sweating Like A Pig

I have been researching the best ways to get fit as part of Operation Suck Less 2014™ and of course there are many differing opinions and philosophies. I have found three general themes that I believe will help me in my mission: increase intensity, don’t get in a rut and incorporate rest days. While variety and rest are not a current issue, speed and intensity remain a challenge.

I would like to think if I were an animal, I would be a cat. While that might be accurate personality wise, with my speed, agility and crusty exterior, I would more likely be a turtle, a slow, steady, plodding turtle on land and probably just as slow in water. This slowness, while good for something I am sure, is of absolutely no help when it comes to Operation Suck Less 2014™.

In order to make the most of my workouts, I need to get my barely detectable heart rate into the right zone for my daily exercise goal, especially on those days I am attempting High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) where I need to hit 80 – 90% of my maximum heart rate for short 30 second bursts.

Continue reading “I Am A Turtle, Trying To Be A Rabbit, Sweating Like A Pig”

In Praise of My Fitbit

When I began Operation Suck Less 2014™ I knew walking would be a key component for both exercise and reflection so I decided a pedometer would be useful to provide accurate progress updates.

Doing absolutely no research other than seeing it mentioned by Wil Wheaton and others on my social streams, and it for sale on Amazon.com, I decided to get a Fitbit One; Wil Wheaton walked along a rail road track looking for a dead body in a movie ages ago, I figured he must know something about walking.

Once it arrived, I clipped it on immediately and completely ignored the instructions until I realized it needed to be charged and I had to do all that initial set up business which luckily was quite easy.

My first few days were about getting an understanding of just how little I was walking; I knew the golden triangle of bed, couch, kitchen, was not packing on the miles but seeing the actual numbers on that tiny digital screen reinforced that doing just about anything was going to make me Suck Less in 2014™ but that I had a long way to go to get back to my 3 to 5 miles of walking a day.

I have a tendency to overdo, skipping that whole enjoying the journey business and wanting the immediate results; this usually leads to big setbacks and cranky moods. So while I had a long way to go to hit my goals, I also needed to take care of my injuries and make progress gradually. The Fitbit provided the means to do this by allowing me to add a number of steps each week and telling me when it was time to stop and to ignore that other voice in my head telling me I was being a wimp and should keep going until I crumpled in pain.

Slowly, I was able to build my daily steps from nearly nonexistent to 8,000 – 10,000 depending on the days other activity and I am confident I will continue to increase until I am back to 10,000 a day minimum.

My walks vary each day from pacing the hallway to wandering around the neighborhood in random directions and I use the gym track and the treadmill when I am focusing on intervals or trying to be less pokey. No matter which approach I take, I can always tell how far I have gone in a day and how many more steps I need to reach my goal.

When I remember to clip it on, the Fitbit is so easy and it automatically syncs with my phone app and the website, tracking steps, miles, stairs and more. It can go quite a long time without needing a quick charge, which is a huge plus. The product has several features I have not bothered to use such as a vibrating alarm and sleep monitoring but just knowing I have that option works for me.

Fitbit has a social component as well and although I was hesitant to add my first friend, I like having the playful competition as well as sending cheers, or taunts, to others. I was concerned about privacy but it is easy to keep hidden what I do not feel like sharing with the masses. I was also concerned about feeling like a lazy slacker compared to others, but decided I am just doing my own thing and I am only competing with what I accomplished yesterday, not my friends; I tell myself this, yet I am totally annoyed when others walk more than me. Grrr.

A favorite, and silly, feature is the messages the product will randomly send like “hold me” and “walk me”; they always make me smile. The badges are nice as well as they are not over done but only for meaningful milestones. When I received a badge for walking my first 50 miles, it made me feel good knowing that all my little, slow steps could add up to a trip to the burbs and back.

I have mixed feelings about the notifications telling me how many steps I need to make my goal. When I am feeling motivated, they make me get out there and walk. However, when I am feeling tired or my knee achy, it makes me what to tell the little bit to piss off and mind its own business. Either way, so far I have reached my goal each day. Go me!

Right now my Fitbit feels like an obsessed friend encouraging me in my quest to Suck Less in 2014™ but I can see a time where it might feel like a nagging pain in the butt, judging and stalking me as a sit on the couch being a slug. It will happen but I hope that day is a long way off and, more so, that it only lasts a single day.

I think it is cool that I know 4 people so far that have purchased one of these handy gizmos based on my usage of it, but it would be way cooler if I got some kind of a commission or maybe a personalized one in a sweet color as a thank you. For the time being, I will have to be satisfied sending them cheers now and again until they go ahead of me on the friend leader board and I will have to decide to walk more or just unfriend them.

So thumbs up for my Fitbit. It is doing exactly what I needed by helping me reach my goals without going overboard and is adding a bit of fun to the process. And now it is time to stop typing and go walking.

Butt Cramps And Boob Sweat At The Y.W.C.A.

Looking for a change of pace, I decided to head to the gym and take advantage of the track; I wish I could walk outside but it is still freezing and for every clear square of sidewalk there are two covered in ice just waiting to take me out.

The local Y.W.C.A. was formerly a high school so the track is on the upper level overlooking what once was a full basketball court. There are a couple of spongy lanes and it is perfect for my limited needs. The only downer is that the colors are so dull and blah; of all the choices in the crayon box they picked the ones I would toss or let my younger sister use.

The old basketball court is divided in half with one area full of intimidating equipment and the other an open space for pickup games and larger exercise classes. From my vantage point and with my super slow walking pace, I get to take it all in.

Today’s exercise class is Body Pump. I only know this as I briefly considered taking one during that short time when I was actually in decent shape. There was a blend of men and women of various fitness levels all busting their butts to get their butts firm and lifted. Unlike my fellow aqua aerobic peeps, there is no idle chatter and wandering off aimlessly, these people mean business and have the sweat lines to prove it.

The music was loud and provided a decent beat for even us walkers. I decided to rotate in some power walking laps and try to get back my old hip snapping form. It is amazing how much faster I can walk pumping my arms, rolling on my feet and maintaining a relaxed and proper posture. It is more amazing how fast one particular lady at least 20 years my senior can blow past me looking all casual with her iPod as I am pumping my arms like a fool. Today is yours lady, but one day, one day in the future. I will smoke your ass and then go hide in a corner as I try to catch my breath.

Even though it got a bit warmer, I kept my long sleeve black jacket on the entire walk. I am fairly certain this jacket makes all my jiggling parts completely invisible to my fellow humans, so really, it is my gift to them.

On the other half of the gym, there are a variety of people using the equipment but oddly everyone seems to be in the same uniform of black pants and turquoise t-shirts. Clearly, my fuchsia top and invisibility jacket combo need to stay out of this room.

A cute couple was lifting weights and kissing in between sets…awww…barf. Several men were getting all he-man on the various machines, although the dude on the leg press looked like he may have loaded up a bit too much and would be eating his legs soon. I have to give it to the ladies, they had much better form on the free weights than the dudes; I see a back injury in the future of one peacocking a bit too much.

There was a typical person on the stair climber leaning on her arms so much I wonder what muscle is actually getting worked and the treadmills were loaded with both runners and walkers zoning out to their own tunes or morning television. On the elliptical, one dude looked like he was fighting it with every loop while a tiny woman was floating like a gazelle on the next machine; I wonder what it feels like to float like a gazelle.

Walking along staring at the folk below, I imagined what it must look like from their perspective. In one lane, there was a dude doing lunges and groaning with each dip while a runner sprints by. In the slow lane, several ladies are walking at a decent clip except for that one chick meandering about pumping her arms in a flimsy invisibility jacket that was not fooling anyone.

As I kept pumping my arms and rolling my feet, I felt the tiniest of tiny twinges in my butt, almost like the beginning of a muscle cramp and I smiled. I have a butt muscle! A BUTT muscle exists in my butt! I have a buuuuuttttt muscle! Woohoo. So I rubbed it briefly so as not to freak anyone out and picked up the pace. Maybe someday I will have one in the other cheek too. A girl can dream.

Finally, I was ready to cool down and took a casual lap as I stretched my barely there muscles. Shoulder rolls, calf stretches, lower back stretches, I covered them all. Then I felt the oddest thing, a dripping. One bead, then another, going down my cheek near my ear, I believe people call this sweat. Nice. Then another bead down my chest, boob sweat! I can’t remember when I last had boob sweat. Boob sweat is gross and yet oddly welcome today. Obviously all that arm pumping had to have a payoff and what I got was boob sweat.

Butt cramps and boob sweat at the Y.W.C.A.; can a Sunday get any better?