Life thru the haze of cat hair.

Tag Archives: exercise

We all do it. We spend at least the last week of the year looking ahead to January 1. We plan how we will improve our diet, our exercise routine, our finances, our clutter filled homes. We vow to be kinder, happier, sweeter to everyone and ourselves. We look at the shiny new number after January 1, and think, “This is it! *This* is the year I will _____.”

Then, round about February, we find ourselves sliding back to what was – what was comfortable, familiar, safe. Many will feel a sense of defeat or shame or self-loathing. Oh, great. Something *else* I have failed at.

A few will turn things around and keep going, and actually stick to their resolutions. We look upon these few with awe. How did they do it?

I’m sure I’m not the first person to think about this, but what is it about the “New Year” that causes people to be all motivated to change/improve/grow?

So my question is this: why do we wait until the “New Year” (or Monday? Or next week?) to make changes? Isn’t every sunrise the start of a “new year”? Can’t we consider January 3, 2012 – January 2, 2013 a year?

I just blew your mind, didn’t I?

Get yourself together. I’ll wait.

Okay?

As I’ve mentioned, I have goals that I want to achieve this year. But, for some reason, it feels different to me. For example, in my S2M goal (I just made that up – Step 2 Million)(I know. Shut up.), I need to walk an average of 5,500 steps per day. I didn’t achieve that yesterday. Previously, t is very likely that I would have given up or maybe continued for a week and *then* given up. But today, it feels different. I know that even though I didn’t do it yesterday, I have a new 5,500 step goal for today. If I go over that, great! If not, I can start again tomorrow.

I’ve decided in my quest to “do better” this year, my goals are long-term. One bad day won’t derail me completely. I’m going to view every morning as a new beginning; shiny, bright, and full of potential.

It just occurred to me that children feel this way. Don’t they spring up out of bed crazy-early to start exploring and to make sure they don’t miss anything? (Also, to drive Mom and Dad bonkers.) When did I lose that child-like enthusiasm? More importantly, why?

So, here’s to you. May you wake everyday thinking “Happy New Year to me”.


I’ve decided on some of my goals for the coming year.  I won’t list them ALL here, because some of them are none of your business. F’realz…

Here goes:

1. The push-up challenge. @annieology on The Twitter did it last year, and I didn’t join in time. You can learn more about it on her site at annieology.com. I’ve recruited 3 others so far to do it along with me.

2. 2-million step challenge. “They” say that we should all walk 10,000 steps-per-day. If I do the math right, I think setting a goal of 2-million steps works out to be around 5,500-per-day. I wanted to set something high enough to keep my moving, but not so high as to be discouraging long about August. I’ll keep you posted weekly on how I’m doing.

3. Hot yoga. I used to do it regularly when I lived out-of-state, but didn’t know where the good places were here. I have finally heard about a good place and I want to attend at least 3 times per month. That’s a good number, I think.

4. Reading. For many years, I kept a list of the books I read each year; I wanted to read more this year than last. In 2010, I read 84 books. Or was it 86? I don’t remember, but it was a lot. I decided to not keep track this year – no pressure, just read what I wanted when I wanted without a focus on the bottom line. But I think I will set a goal for 2012. One a week should be good. So, 52 for 2012.

5. Cancel cable. I do watch TV. I’m not going to say “I never watch TV”. But honestly? There isn’t much on TV. There are a few show I watch regularly, but that number is dwindling. As I get older, I find myself less willing to tolerate the shows that I used to love. So, cable seems like less of a priority. I don’t think I will miss it.

So there you go. 5 of the goals I have set for myself for next year. There are more, and I’m sure there will be more still. But that’s all I have worked out so far.

What are your goals?


After 6. Long. Months, it’s official.

I am a triathlete.

Sunday, 7/31, I participated in the local triathlon, Tri-for-a-Cure. It’s a women’s only event and all funds raised go to further breast cancer research. On Sunday, we were told that unofficial totals were that we, the participants, collected over a million dollars for breast cancer research. Go us!!

I’ve written about this before. And if you have spent any time with me at all, I have no doubt that I have driven you absolutely crazy with my stress and worry and fear of not being good enough.

Sunday started for me at 7:30. I got to the venue and set up my transition area – where we dump the swim stuff and pick up the bike for that leg. I met some women and we were all feeling a great anticipation. Those of us who were first-timers had no idea what to expect.

I picked up my timing chip – it was an ankle strap that would record my time for each stage of the race. Then I picked up my wetsuit and wandered down towards the beach for the start of the swim.

I did, though, stop by the medical station to see what was in my eye. It felt like I had a small animal in there. And of course, I kept rubbing it.

I caught sight of my brother. He came to support me and represent the family. Mum and Dad were not able to come, so Bro was there. Then my friend, the K2Kid, and her husband came to cheer me on. It was a HUGE help that they were there. Since I had signed up alone, and trained alone, it was nice to know I wasn’t alone for this day.

All the athletes made their way over to the start area for opening remarks, etc. But since we were all in our wetsuits, we were also all cooking in the sun. It was SO HOT!! The event itself didn’t start until 10am, so the sun was high and hot.

The swim portion was broken up into waves so that 1,100 women wouldn’t be plunging into the water all at once. We were all given color-coded swim caps so that we knew when we had to go. The first wave is reserved for Survivors – women who have won their battle against cancer. It was so cool to see all these incredible women who will NEVER give up. After they go, there is a 5 minute wait before the second wave went. Then, every 3 minutes after that, each consecutive wave entered the water for the 1/3 mile swim.

I was in Wave 3, so thankfully I didn’t have too long to wait. One lady beside me told me to just relax and take my time and look around for the experience of it all. So that’s what I did. When it was my turn, I walked into the ocean with 100 of my sisters, to begin. I didn’t start swimming until I knew I wouldn’t get kicked in the face. Then, I did just what my new friend told me. I took my time. I passed some people. Some people passed me. Despite having a stitch in my side from about 2 minutes in, I finished that portion with ease.

Bro was there to take my wetsuit, and give me a clean shirt. Others were sprinting up to the transition area for their bikes. I was taking it all in.

I got to transition, got my gloves and helmet and an energy snack and started out on the 15 mile bike ride. Bro and I had ridden the route once before, so it wasn’t completely foreign. I was going along pretty well – don’t get me wrong, it was HARD! But, again, I was passing some, and some were passing me. It’s all good.

The volunteers along the route were amazing – yelling encouragement and cheering. There were homeowners out along the route too, yelling encouragement. I don’t care what anyone says, that REALLY helps!

Right about mile 3-ish, I got a flat tire. GAH! I had a spare tube, sat down and started changing it, trying not to get frustrated. A race official stopped to help me and I was on my way in about 15 minutes. Great, yeah?

Jump ahead to mile 7-ish. Flat tire number 2. AYFKM?? There was another route official there, picking up a couple of women with a medical issue – they would not finish – and he stopped and helped me. This almost made me lose it. But, I just kept remembering why I was there.  20 minutes later, I’m back on the bike.

I was cruising! It felt great! I was coming up to mile 12 – almost there!! WOOHOO!!! I look down. Front tire flat. (The first 2 were the back tire). Oh. Em. Gee. WTF is going on??? I found a group fixing tires and made it to them. They fixed that, I get ready to go – Um, did you know that your back tire is flat too??? Flat tire #4. Awesome. Oh! And? At this point, I ran out of water, AND the small animal in my eye? Yeah, that was a torn contact lens, which had scratched my eyelid, thanks to all my rubbing. Let’s tally this up – so far? 4 flats and I’m down to 1 eye.

Assured that I was almost done, and that *this* tire would hold me until the end. The same guy fixed my tire twice so far, and he kept behind me making sure I was okay. Bless his heart, he offered me his water bottle, which I took gratefully! About 1/2 mile from the end of the bike…yup, you guessed it. Flat tire number 5. Even the guy fixing it couldn’t believe it. I carried the bike back to the transition area. It took me FOR. EVER. to finish the bike portion. All that time, sitting on the side of the road, counted against me.

By the time I was done with my bike, I noticed that almost everyone else was done. With everything. I still had a 5k run. I filled up my water bottle, and started out. Bro was there with an icy bottle of water, and an energy bar. Did I mention how awesome he is?? He walked with me a little way and then I got to a “non-spectator” area. I caught up with another lady – we were both walking – so we walked together.

She was from NY and had come up to participate, along with her sister and sister-in-law, in memory of their dad, who died from cancer in February. We walked almost the whole rest of the way together, just chatting. Right at the end, I jogged across the finish line.

The. Finish. Line.

My time was horrible. But that wasn’t the point, right? I, myself, raised $870 for breast cancer research, thanks to the generous support of friends and family. I set myself a goal to finish the race, and I did. And I did it all on my own.

My life will never be the same. I don’t think I can every say “I can’t do that” and really mean it. Apparently, I can do it. No matter what “it” is. I’ll stumble. I’ll end up with 5 flat tires. I will scratch my eyelid with a torn contact. And I will run out of water. And you know what? I will finish. And still be smiling.

I am a triathlete.

 


This is going to be a very short post because I’m freaking out right about now.

 

The Tri is in 3 days. And, while yes, I knew it was coming. And I’ve been counting down to it. Somehow it still didn’t feel “real”.

 

It’s all kinds of real now. I have been assigned a race-bib number (#312). And a swim wave number (#3 with the orange caps). It’s happening, you guys. It’s official and real and OH. MY. GOAT!

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner, hyperventilating. And sobbing.


163 days ago, I broke my comfort zone.  I don’t know what I was thinking of at the time, but it seemed then like a really good idea.

14 days from now, it will be done. My life will be forever changed, for good or bad. I think it will be for good, so that’s how I’m approaching it.

I had such high hopes and grand plans to get ready for this. I started a “Couch to 5K” program, since I HATE RUNNING. I knew it would be my least favorite portion, so I thought I would train most on that. Within a month, I had a beautiful squishy lump on my knee and couldn’t run. It was identified as runner’s knee and was followed by 2 months of PT. I will be walking the running portion.

I’m getting pretty good at the biking portion. For years, I said I was going to start riding my bike to work, since I live only 7 miles away from the Gas ‘n Sip. This gave me an excuse to actually do it. Of course, I am incredible at coming up with excuses to NOT ride, but so far, I have gotten more use from my bike this summer than I have in the past 10 years.

The swimming was the portion I was least worried about. However, putting on a wetsuit? YIKES! I decided that I would deal with it with the same attitude I deal with getting a massage – they have seen bodies FAR better and FAR worse than mine. And after I attended a swim clinic, that is so true! I’m fine.

I have 2 weeks to mentally prepare. I’ll get there.

And thanks to my extraordinarily generous friends (and some strangers) I have managed to raise almost $750 for breast cancer research. That was the main purpose of signing up. I’m very pleased about that fact.

Thank you for your support! I’ll let you know how it goes.


So, I had mentioned that I would keep you updated with my training for the Tri. Yeah, I suck. I’ll do it now.

So much has been going on.

First up, I am down to 138 days before the event. OhEmGee!

My plan for training was that I would start with running training, since that is my weakest “event”. Then when the weather gets warmer, I will add in biking to work. And then around June or so, I would start with swimming. In a previous life, I was a competitive swimmer, so I’m not too worried about the swimming portion.

Right after I signed up, I started on a Couch-to-5k program. There’s an app for that. I thought that would be a good way to ease in. Week 1, you run 1 minute, walk 90 seconds, 8 times, with a 5 minute warm-up and cool-down. And each week you add in a little more running and a little less walking. Granted, my running speed, according to charts I’ve seen, qualifies as a “brisk walk”, but so what. I’m doing it.  So far so good.

I am prone to plantar fasciitis, so in order to prevent injuries, a friend took me to a running store where I got myself professionally fitted running shoes. They make my feet look big and clunky, but they have good stability in the heels. While I was there, I also signed up for their running club because they offer coaching on tri-training. Cool. I’m in.

I made it through 2 1/2 weeks of the C25K training.

And then, my knee started getting wonky.

I think I have water on the knee. It’s all swollen in places that aren’t normal. So I bought a knee brace. It helped, but wasn’t great.

My sister found out from my mother that I had signed up for the Tri. She offered me her membership to the Y so that I could swim. I know, right? How cool was that?? The caveat was that I had to take my niece with me sometimes. It will help her with her swimming.

So, in order to give my knee a break, I went swimming. Remember how I said I used to swim competitively? Yeah. Clearly, that was a LONG time ago. Swimming is hard! *heheh* It will still be the easiest portion of the race for me, but it won’t be easy. And considering, I will have to wait until July to do any actual ocean swimming – due to the fact that even then, the ocean temperature will be around 60 degrees – it will be a challenge.

Also, I started on the stationary bike. Clearly easier than riding on the actual street, but again, I felt I needed to give the knee a rest.

I gave my knee about 2 weeks to not take the pounding and tried the running again. I did okay with it. Still not 100%, but I’ll take what I can get.

And while all this was going on, I had a little break down. My happy pills were not working. I cried all the time. I knew that I was a failure because I couldn’t run as well as everyone else. Just add this to the list of everything I have failed at. And on and on. It was really pathetic. My mother finally called me on it and told me to call the doctor to get them adjusted. I called, and I cried while making the appointment. The doctor came into the exam room and I burst into tears. Nice.

We adjusted things and I seem to be getting back on track. Even someone at work told me that my Chi was low the other day. So clearly others have noticed. I’d like to think it’s a function of my jarring something loose with the exercise but I know it’s a sign that I’m a little bit crazy.

Anyhoo. When I signed up for the running club, evidently my name was entered into a lottery to get a registration for a 10k in August. The race is a pretty big deal around here – we get runners from all over the world participating and the 6,000 registration slots usually fill up in about 30 minutes. Personally, I have absolutely NO desire to run a 10k. So I’m going to find out if I can give my slot to someone at work.

I start running training with the running club tonight. I’m hoping that some seasoned runners will give me some help with my form to help with my knee issues.

Last night, I did my first-ever spin class. Holy goat, that was hard!! I haven’t sweat that much in a long long time. There were some hate-vibes aimed at the leader during the class. But by the end, I was thinking, yeah. I’ll do this again. My lady-bits are a little sore today, though. And the standing hills we did on the bike wonked my knee. So, back to the ice and ibuprofen. It gets easier, right?

So that’s the long long (very long) version of what I’ve been up to. I am doing things that I’ve never done before. I’m more willing to try things. I’ve been swimming a bunch of times and biking. And running. Who knew a card-carrying couch potato could do this?

I’m pretty proud of myself. And I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can do. And I’ll do better with updating this. A few people at work have been inspired by my story, and have started some form of exercise as a result. That gives me a warm, yummy feeling.

Okay. Enough now. I have to go ice my knee.

UPDATED: I forgot to mention that I really was fated to participate in this event. There are 1,100 registrations available for it, and those filled up in 4 1/2 minutes. Four. And. A. Half. Minutes.  I registered on my phone, while at a swim meet. What are the chances that I got in?? I’m still astounded.


177 days.

That’s how long I have until my life is formally changed forever.

Over-dramatic? Maybe.

But if you know me at all, you know that I tend to freak at new things.

Last year, in the midst of posting all the drivel just to say I posted something, I alluded to the idea that I wanted to sign up for a mini-triathlon in this area. I said that, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Pfft. AS IF that will happen.”

The mini-triathlon is called Tri-For-A-Cure and it’s an all women’s triathlon with all the money going to help breast cancer research. The events themselves are a 1/3 mile ocean swim, 12 mile bike, and 5k run.

Back at the time I said it, research told me that the event is REALLY popular and registration fills up almost immediately. YES! I had an out, if I needed it. “Gee, I *tried* to register, but it was full. I couldn’t.” Followed by much relief and batting of eyelashes.

However.

The Universe called my bluff. Registration opened last night at 6:30. I was at my niece’s swim meet, sweating my butt off in a humid pool area, and thought, “Okay. You have to at LEAST make the attempt in order to say you couldn’t register. You don’t have a computer, but you have your phone.”

So there I am, trying to watch my niece, watching the clock, trying to register on my phone.

I hit send, thinking, “Be full. Be full. Be full.”

“You have new email.”

“Congratulations! You have successfully regis….”

CRAP!

I swear I heard the Universe chuckling. It is getting the last laugh. I have the confirmation and I am officially committed to doing this thing. I have spent the last 12 hours alternately excited, freaked, scared, hyperventilating, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

One of my favorite things is the Notes from the Universe that I get sent to me via email every morning. The motto is “thoughts become things”. Well, I just received confirmation that THAT is true!

NEVER EVER challenge the Universe. It will push you into new and exciting things.

So, now, I need to ask for your support and encouragement. If you would like to contribute financially to breast cancer research, you can pledge at: http://tfac2011.kintera.org/mhemphill

This pledge *might* be able to be applied as a charitable contribution on this years taxes. I’m not an accountant though, so don’t hold me to that.
If you can’t contribute financially, just your love and encouragement will be more than enough. Truly.

I’ll be posting updates here on how my training is going. I have 177 days until the event. (Yes, I counted.)

So, I guess the only thing left to say is…. where do I get a wetsuit?


Me again. (Well, really, who else would it be? hee)

In case you are curious about how I’m doing in Reform School, I LOVE IT. I think I’m excelling.

I have 3 Inner Mean Girls: Mean Marcy, Scaredy Kat, and Perfect Shawn. They have all been put on notice that while I value their opinions, I know what’s best for me. I need to look at the situations where they appear and figure out why. The more I do that, the stronger my resolve becomes.

I made a list of 10 things to accomplish by my 45th birthday. I don’t know that I’m ready to go public with all of them, yet, but one of them is….

(please wait while this poster hyperventilates)

(your patience is appreciated; please stand by)

Okay. I am going to train for the Tri-for-a-Cure next August. It is a mini-triathlon for breast cancer. 1/3 mi swim, 15 mi bike, 3 mi run. The run will be my biggest challenge. I have bad knees. But, I have 10 months. And there’s an app for that. the Couch to 5K app that helps you train. Before Reform School, this would have been something I would have said, Yeah, I could train for that. While sitting on the sofa. Eating Munchos. Listening to Mean Marcy and Scaredy Kat tell me that I couldn’t do it and that I would fail.

And now that I’ve gone public, I *have* to do it.

Oh, and I’ll be hitting you up for donations when the time comes. And if you follow me on Twitter, I’ll be hitting you up there, too. Maybe even Facebook.

Training starts today. I’ll keep you posted.


Okay. So I haven’t done it EVERY day. I didn’t get a chance on Friday. Saturday, I did and THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE! I was so sore.

But I must persevere. I was exhausted from the weekend yesterday, so I didn’t do it yesterday. And I got up late today so I missed this morning. But I intend to do it tonight when I get home. I feel so much better after I do it. And provided I don’t fall asleep the second I get home, I will feel good again tonight.


As part of all this new stuff, because I’m not shaking up my world enough, I have decided to get back to doing yoga. I’m going to start back slowly, but I’m going to try to do it every day for 30 days. And write about it.

This is more for me to track my progress so feel free to skip these posts.

Back 10 years ago, I did yoga quite regularly and with some of the worlds best yogis. I was not full yogini material then, but I enjoyed it and loved the workout.

Fast forward to today:

Day 1: Did you know that you cannot bend a board? Jeepers. Upward-dog felt like my back was going to break.

I’m starting with 10 sun salutations every morning. That’s this week. I intend to add something each week and join a yoga studio at the end of this to keep it up.

The dizziness, the tightness, the sweat. OY! It all felt good though. And I’m looking forward to continuing.

Thank you Frank from the Gas ‘n Sip for issuing this little challenge.