News! And olds.

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I have several things to share today.

  • First off, it seems like I have exercise-induced asthma. Bummer. But the inhaler seems to help and at least this means that I am not gasping for air and feeling like a panic attack for no reason at all. It also means that I am not wheezing and panting through some sort of serious heart related issue, which is a relief. You know, a doctor once looked at an Xray and told me I had a small heart. What am I, the Grinch?

I forgot to take my inhaler yesterday, so when I went to the gym I did a bit of gasping and realized how much better I felt on my runs over the weekend when I used the inhaler. It also makes a huge difference in heart rate since I was well up into the mid 180’s without the inhaler, but only mid to low 160’s with it. I have an appointment tomorrow to get a final diagnosis, but I am pretty sure the doc will just give me a refillable ‘scrip for the inhaler.

 

  • Second, since I did that 8K run with the vibram 5 fingers (my rubber gorilla feet shoes) I have had a bit of a twinge in my right calf. Not painful exactly, but a bit stiff, especially when I have been at rest for a while. It also seems to swell up when I am running, again, not exactly painful, but certainly a weird pressure feeling. I shall have to watch that carefully and be sure to stretch well.

 

  • Third, I took another body fat percentage reading with the pinch-tastic callipers. I am now 20.4% fat, apparently. That is less than 1 percent change. I had hoped for a bigger change, since I am aiming for 18% body fat and also since I seem to have dropped at least one clothing size (my clothes were a bit to big to begin with anyway, so now is the time for belts!). I forgot to weigh myself at the gym yesterday, but I will try to remember again today. I think I can try to get my body fat percentage checked at the gym too, but with an electrical resistance measure instead of the pinch method. Might give a different reading.

 

  • And finally, I am seriously craving everything inappropriate. Bacon and cheddar scones? Yes, please. Chocolate by the heap? I’ll take two. That’s right. The red menace has return to scupper my plans. Damn you, physiology! It is also throwing a spanner in my mental works, which is making it very hard to write the current chapter on chaos theory for the thesis. Nevermind. Victory will soon be mine. In the meantime, I am trying out hazelnut milk in my morning oat-goodness. I like it. I like it a lot.

I should have posted this belly shot yesterday, but whatever. I haven’t heard any complaints about my lack of punctuality yet.  I can feel the muscles really well now but they are not quite showing… At least not in all lights. Anyway. Enjoy!

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Best title yet

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I have been having a rough time of it lately, so I skipped some runs and cut the runs I did do a bit short.  I have also been trying to maintain a lower heart rate while running, but that is not easy for me, and it means I am constantly being beeped at by my polar or that I have to keep checking on my heart rate, all of which prevent me from getting to runner’s zen… which means my heart rate doesn’t get to fall in zen. Bah.

I have gone to the gym a couple of time though. I had been avoiding it because the place was lousy with January starters. You know the type, the New Year’s Resolutionaries. But most of them have cleared out by now, and they are especially absent first thing in the morning on a weekday. I had never been to the gym on a weekday morning, but I rather liked it and will probably try to make a habit of it. I think it can help me in this particular life goal or personal challenge or whatever you want to call it, but could help me in life in general. I feel quite good at the office today, better than I normally would at this time. Breakfast will be a tricky one though, because I can’t do some serious sporting on a full tummy. Must look into options.

At the gym I usually do either some treadmill running (with incline at least 1%) or some rowing machining, plus some core exercises like planks, superman situps, russian twists (now that the gym has medicine balls!) and proto-dragon flags. I am somewhere between the first two levels of dragon flag training, and hoping to progress rapidly now that I can use the padded bench at the gym more often.

 

I also do some weights, mostly weight offset pull ups and dips, but also chest presses. I need to look into what weight exercises are best for strengthening the back and shoulders and improving posture. Typing this damn thesis out is killing me.
I am liking my new pink and black, almost lacy sport shorts pink shorts more and more. I do need to take off the plastic toggles on the sides, because when I walk on the treadmill to warm up or cool down my arms brush against the hard plastic and that is going to bug. I also need to add pocket, but I think I have just the thing. An old set of Phillips sport headphones came in a little mesh drawstring bag, so I think I might just pin that to the inside. If it works well, I will sew it in. The pinkness of the shorts might also be making the gents in the weight area a bit uncomfortable, which is a bit funny.

So here are some belly pics, two in fact since I missed a week.
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Not doing too badly, I guess, but I think I have hit a plateau and need to kick it up if I am to push through. But I think I can do it. I just need to finish off a handful of things on my to-do list that are creeping around in the back of my mind and preventing me from really making the most of my time, both when I want to focus and when I want to relax.

Run, run, run, run, run, run awaaaay!

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I went out for a long(ish) run yesterday, which was in many ways a bit disheartening. I have lost so much pace! I completely forgot how to get to the zen of running and had a bit of a panic attack instead.
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And I noticed that I was not using good form or foot strike. Le sigh. Well, it is all back to square one I suppose.

Also, the partner and I decided that we would like to sign up for some local 10K races to keep us motivated, and probably a half marathon in April. I just had a look and there are 2 tens in March super close by to ours. Score!
There is also a half in April that we could do. It is not terribly close, which is ok. More importantly, it is not flat. We have been training on the super flat for about… oh… 4 years now? A hilly race will be quite a change. Still, why not try something new, eh? Core muscles will need a hell of a lot of work if we are going to manage that.

In other news, the shop was out of almond milk (really?!?) so I got rice milk instead, in regular and chocolate flavours. I tell you what, chocolate rice milk in your porridge gives you a weird choco-crispy sensation from the oats.

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As promised last week, I want to talk about sports bras. They are not typically considered sexy, especially not the ones that really work. The ones that cover a lot of space, have wide straps, flatten the girls down to prevent as much wobbling as possible. Not really the commonly portrayed image of feminine beauty that society force feeds us, is it?

But when I was running I felt sexy. I felt strong, and powerful, and capable. I felt like I could do whatever I wanted and then make a getaway before anyone noticed that I wasn’t supposed to be doing that.

What does this say about beauty and attraction and sexiness? That to be beautiful is to be incapable? Sexy demands being hobbled by absurdly high heels? Ravishing only applies to those on the verge of asphyxiating due to a whole body spanx?

Personally, I like the natural look most of the time. I spend a lot of time taking care of my skin so that it looks healthy and beautiful, but I don’t wear a lot of make-up. I like bright coloured clothes, sparkly belts, fun scarves, etc. , but I refuse to wear something that is uncomfortable, which is why I only own one pair of heels (and often go barefoot). I actually wear sports bras often, even on days when I am not necessarily planning to work out, because I feel really sexy when I feel comfortable and confident. And on its own, not too many sports bras count as sexy, but when part of a life-size, kick-ass, women package, they are a tool of power.

I just wish it were easier to get them in my size.

Watch what you eat

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So, for all my curious readers (cricket sounds…) I thought I would share a bit about what I eat on a normal day. Today, in fact, and only what I have eaten so far. Not sure what will be for tea later.

Today’s foodosity began with… Drum roll, please… Porridge! You guessed it. Oatmeal again. On the other hand, I did experiment with the liquid. I used almond milk instead of water. It tasted quite nice, and seemed to be less adherent, which made it easier to wash up. However, since I use a small non-stick pan and a rubber spatula, stickiness is not really an issue.

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Is that an entirely unreasonable amount of alcohol in the background (I hear you cry out en masse)? Yes it is. It has been there since a pre-holiday party. Not sure where to put it because we don’t really have suitable place for a liquor collection. I am working on it though. Post cooking, porridge looked like this.

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It was plenty sweet enough from the almond milk, but I will probably go half water/half almond milk in the future. This shot also shows the background hooch a little better. For example, you can see that none are particularly empty. That is the kind of party I rock these days.

But today is a work day, so I packed myself a lunch and set out, and here it is!

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As you can see, irritatingly healthy. In list form, this is what I had:

  • Wholewheat roll, with marmite on the top, grainy mustard on the bottom and a vegetarian sandwich “meat”, cucumber slices and ruccola… arrugula… rocket. Whatever.
  • A lengthwise cut carrot.
  • About a third of a red bell pepper, cut into slices.
  • About and inch and a half of cucumber, cut into slices.
  • A small handful of sugar snap peas.
  • A small handful of broccoli florets.
  • A celery stick, cut into three short sticks, and a small pot of light peanut butter with some dried cranberries mixed in. Celery is used to scoop out some of the peanut buttery cranberrified goodness before being crunched with delight.
  • A small selection of dried fruit.
  • A small banana.
  • Two mandarins.

Oh yes, so tasty, with the added benefit of being easy to keep next to my keyboard for all day, guilt free snacking. I ate everything but the mandarins, which are a little bit sticky and so not great for eating while typing, and some of the dried fruit, mainly two prunes. With this much fibre, I don’t really needed the… uh… notorious effects of prunes.

Now, go out and be fruitful!

This porridge is too hot. That porridge is too cold.

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What else am I doing in my quest for a defined tummy? I am eating breakfast.

Normally, I am not a regular breaker of fasts. I am not what you would call a “morning person”. I used to be. I remember being totally awake as soon as the alarm clock turned on my local rock music FM station. But that, my friends, was at least 17 years ago. In those seventeen years I have gained a lot, so the loss of some bright eyes and bushy tails within an hour of waking up seems more that a deal.

Where was I? Ah. Breakfast. Have you noticed how disgustingly unhealthy most breakfast cereals are? I mean, even the tree-hugging hippie muesli ones or the ones aimed at paranoid dieting women are LOADED with crap. Expensive crap too. There are some classics, corn flakes or wheat biscuits or what have you, but even they are creeping up with added salt or taste-preserving chemical whatever. Just terrible.

Plus, the packages are always tiny small, definitely not a week’s worth. Annoying if you prefer to do one big shop a week.

What to do? My usual answer is to make it your damn self, and that applies to breakfast too. My breakfasts will now be quite largely based on porridge (oatmeal for those in the States) and whatever flavourings I happen to have lying around at the time. Chopped nuts, fruit, honey, maple syrup, all options. So far I have had dried cranberries and brown sugar, but I may pick up some bananas tonight on my way home. Cheap as, easy to cook, healthy, especially when made with water instead of milk, and if I control the sweet stuff that I add to it, and easy to clean up after since I have a wee non-stick saucepan that is just the right size for a bowl of oats.

But it won’t stop there! I am also planning to try the Hairy Dieter’s cook book recipes for home made muesli mix and baked granola. Tasty! I’ll keep you informed about how that works out.

Also, tomorrow marks one week in this challenge, so I shall post another pic. Exciting!