Thursday, August 27, 2009

Week 3 - Day 1, 2, & 3 (Tough but Cool)

Week 3 instruction: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then do two repetitions of the following: Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds), Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds), Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes), Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Week 3 went well, especially given the cooler temps on Day 2 and 3. Ahhh, sweet relief! C stayed true to her word and went with me all three times. I took River with me on Day 3 for the warmup and half of the jog/walk portion.

We were able to do all the jogging intervals in their entirety but the 3 mins were hard on me. C seemed to be having a lot less trouble. Our days were screwed up (we did two days in a row because we were busy all weekend) and our days will be screwed up this next week as well, so we are going to re-do week 3. Also, it will give me a chance to work on getting better at the 3 min intervals.

Day 1 – 8/20
Run time: 25:22
Run Distance: 1.57 miles
Ave Pace: 16:10/mi
Temp: Hot and humid

Day 2 – 8/24
Run time: 30:55
Run Distance: 1.77 miles
Ave Pace: 17:30/mi
Temp: Cooled off a bit and a nice cool breeze

Day 3 – 8/25
Run time: 26:29
Run Distance: 1.64 miles
Ave Pace: 16:06/mi
Temp: Still cooler but no breeze

Not sure what was up with our slow pace on Day 2. That felt like our best day even though I was very tired on the 3 min jogs. It felt like we went much slower on Day 3 but I guess I am delusional :)

Still no unusual pain. My weird thigh pain has not come back and my knees are doing great. My shins hurt a lot less than they did back in the spring too. Not sure if I’m doing something differently but it’s nice.

Each day we do a bunch of stretches after our 5 min warmup and then again, for a longer time period, at the end. At the end I also do ~60-80 crunches and, just this week, I added in ~25 wall push ups. (Yeah, I tried to do a real push up. It wasn’t pretty.) My upper arms and chest have been sore so they must be doing something. I plan to continue and up the count every week. Hopefully I’ll eventually be able to graduate to actual on-the-ground push ups.

I’m sad that summer is almost over but I’m really looking forward to running in the fall weather.

Friday, August 21, 2009

About Me

Since it is ICLW I figured I would do some “about me” posts. I haven’t done a post like this yet so I have a few in mind. I was going to kick it off with “100 things about me” but damn… 100?? I’m not sure I could make it to 100 without it inducing sleep or involuntary mouse clicks from unsuspecting victims. Or, maybe I’ll still do it just to say I did :)

On a lighter note, for today, I’ll do an alphabet list. I’ve seen other people post them before and I think they are interesting.

A – Apple picking. I want to go! I had never been before last fall – my sister (C) and I picked Macintosh apples. I didn’t like Macintosh from the supermarket but OMG the fresh picked one was The Best apple I had ever eaten! We made lots of great things with our apples, one of which was applesauce. I want to make it again this year with a little less sugar and maybe throw in some cinnamon.

B – Baby. I want to have one. My first husband and I decided that we were ready to start trying when I was 20. That was 13 years ago. Being a mother has always been my one and only goal. I am interested in all things pregnancy/baby/child-raising related. It has always been what I thought I would be doing. I have never been pregnant.

C – Career. I am a client manager for a litigation support company. Basically, we work for lawyers and help them with certain aspects of their jobs. No one really understands what I do unless they are a lawyer and even then sometimes they don’t. I won’t bore you by trying to explain. I am lucky to have this job, for many reasons. My husband works for the same company, in the same building, but in a different department.

D – Death. My dad died when I was 25 and my grandfather died this past Nov. Up until my dad died I had never personally experienced death. I always said that, since I was so lucky up until that point, when it finally happened it would probably be someone very close to me. I was right. I have been contemplating death a lot this year and it really freaks me out. I try not to think about it too much.

E – Exercise. I needs it! This past spring I started the couch to 5k plan in the hopes of becoming a runner. I’m not sure about running in a 5k but I really need to be more active. I quit about half way through, at the end of May, and have recently started back up again. I am on week 3. My goal is to be able to run 3 miles (or ~30 mins) 3 to 4 times a week and also to run regularly, without quitting, for a year. I’m also doing crunches, push ups, regular stretching, and hoping to add in a little yoga.

F – Family. It is very important to me. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. I have two younger sisters. One is working on getting her PHD and doesn’t live in the same state as me. She is flying in tonight and is going to stay with me for the weekend! Yay! My youngest sister (C) lives about a 10 minute walk from me and I’m so happy she is so close. We hang out together all the time. I also have a brother but I didn’t grow up with him. He’s a sweet, loving guy and I really wish I got to see him more often.

G – Gymnastics. When I was 16 I was in gymnastics classes. I loved them. I ended up tearing my ACL (ligament in the knee) when I did a front hand spring and landed on the inner side of my right foot. Oh the pain. I had several surgeries but they were never able to fix it very well. It’s still screwed up and I have arthritis in that knee and ankle because of the injury. So far running hasn’t caused any additional pain and I’m so glad!

H – House. (Love that show!) My husband and I bought our first house a little more than three years ago. We still love it. It is a great house for us. We recently finished (ok, almost finished… I still have more painting to do and we need to carpet the stairs) a basement renovation after it flooded this past winter. I haven’t ever posted pics of it but I keep meaning to.

I – Infertility (obviously!). I have been trying to have a baby for the better part of the last 13 years. ART is not an option for us so I can only hope that my body will suddenly work some day and I will finally end up pregnant. It’s a waiting game that I can sometimes ignore and that sometimes hits me so hard that I don’t even want to get out of bed.

J – Jill. That’s me. Sometimes I wonder if I should have used an alias for this blog. And then I wonder why people are so concerned with anonymity that they’d not want to use their real first names. I’m sure there are some horror stories out there. No one in “real life” knows about this blog (except my husband – no secrets from him – and two old friends) but that is only so I can talk about what I want/need to without worrying about hurt feelings. I’m not too worried about personal details except for my last name and my actual address.

K – Knitting. Ok, I cheated, I don’t knit. But! a couple months ago my sister (C) and I taught our selves how to crochet. I made a little practice dishcloth and am now making a blanket for our basement room. It’s going to take me forever but it’s coming out pretty well. I have pics to post of it at some point. C made a scarf and is now doing a blanket as well.

L – Laundry. It’s the one chore I really don’t mind doing. Sure, I slack with the putting away part but I actually enjoy using my washing machine and dryer. Weird, I know. I’ve had my current machines for 6 years now and I get more than a little excited at the prospect of getting upgrades!

M – Marriage. I have been married twice. Admitting that I am divorced is hard. I’m very embarrassed about that fact. I got married to my current husband in May of 2005. We had a small ceremony which took place in a cave. It was a great day.

N – Nanny. The best job I ever had was when I was a nanny to a little boy from when he was 9 weeks to almost 2 yrs old. I had to leave the job when I moved to the Albany, NY area to be with my husband (then boyfriend). It was a hard thing to do. I still miss that job every day. The pay was horrible but it was such an honor to be able to help raise someone else’s child.

O – Ovarian Cyst. When I was 20 I had my first ever gynecological exam. When they did the internal, something wasn’t right. I was rushed off to my very first u/s and an ovarian cyst was found. The doc said it was the size a uterus might be in the 7th month of pregnancy. I had surgery, it was not cancerous, and they were able to save my ovary and fallopian tube, which was wrapped around the cyst. The surgery left me with a huge scar. It is a vertical scar that starts about 2 inches above my belly button and goes ALL the way down past my hair line. I had 27 staples to close it. Subsequent docs have told me that they did a horrible job which explains why the scar is so ugly.

P – Pets. Throughout my childhood we had cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, fish, a guinea pig, turtles, frogs, and a snake. I really admire my parents for giving us that experience and having the courage to raise 3 daughters and a multitude of pets. Currently, I have 3 cats and a dog, I guess my childhood rubbed off on me! Two of my cats are 13 and the other is 7 – I raised them all from kittens. I love them and will always care for them but I will never get another cat. They are so messy and hard to live with – I guess I’m just not a cat person. I love other people’s cats but if I never had to scoop cat litter again it would be too soon! My dog, River, is 4 yrs old. I wasn’t looking for another pet. The opportunity just kind of fell into my lap and I will never regret it. He is a wonderful dog. You can see pics of him in my side bar. He is an Australian Cattle Dog.

Q – Question. This gets stuck in my head every time anyone says “Question.” haha

R – R is my husband. I have written of him very little on this blog. He would like it that way (if he read my blog, which he doesn’t). I love him like crazy and I feel lucky that he chose me to spend the rest of his life with. I do need to write about how we met – it’s an interesting story. Well, to me it is! hehe

S – Sting. I enjoy lots of different kinds of music but Sting will forever be my absolute favorite. I’m not sure where my love for him came from. I’ve told R that if I had the chance, I would totally be with Sting! ;) I have memories of being a teenager, in my room at my parents’ house, singing along with a Sting cassette tape. I know every word to every song and could listen to his songs on constant loop all day, every day.

T – Theatre. I love theatre and acting. In grammar school I was involved in a theatre program which put on musicals every year. In HS I was in several musicals as well and when I was 16 I was chosen to be in a community theatre performance of Brigadoon. That was one of the best experiences of my life. I have sung in a chorus, and solo, I have danced, and acted on stage in front of hundreds of people. I wish I would have kept up with it. I loved doing it so much.

U – Ultrasounds. From my ovarian cyst-capades to my baby-making analysis, I’ve had more than I can count. I long to finally have an ultrasound that actually shows me a baby.

V – Vacation. I need one. Our next week-long vacation is coming up in October and I really want to go somewhere fun. I can’t decide where to go that wouldn’t be too expensive and that R would enjoy. Next May is our 5 year anniversary and I really want to go on an Alaskan cruise.

W – West Coast. I wish I lived there. I spent 3 years living in southern CA and I really love that area. I would love to live somewhere with easy access to the ocean.

X – Sheesh these last letters are difficult. I’ll go with Roman numeral X which is 10. 10 years ago was the start of the worst time of my life. I had just moved back to my home town (MA) from living in CA. I was married to my first husband, and we lived in the upstairs apt of his parents’ house. Things were not going well for us but we were holding it together. I missed my friends from CA so badly. I had an incredibly stressful job as the manager of a one-hour photo lab. It was in a little town with a large university and we were super busy. I would come home after work and cry. Little did I know it would keep getting worse for more than a year and a half.

Y – Can’t think of anything but I’m sure I’ve written enough in the other 25!

Z – Zodiac. I am a Cancer. I don’t know much about that stuff but I have always thought that the personality descriptions I’ve read were spot-on.

Wow! This turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would be.
Happy ICLW!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Week 2 – Day 1, 2, & 3 (OMG IT’S FREAKIN HOT)

Week 2 instruction: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 2 went very well. C was with me all three days. Right from the beginning we were able to jog the entire 90 second intervals with no trouble. The worst thing was that it got progressively hotter as the week went on. I was a sweaty mess. But really, I don’t mind – sweating is good for me! All is still good in the pain department.

Day 1 – 8/13
Run time: 30:26
Run Distance: 1.91 miles
Ave Pace: 15:56/mi
Temp: HOT

We both felt good about moving on to Week 2. Nothing else of note about this day.

Day 2 – 8/15
Run time: 29:55
Run Distance: 1.93 miles
Ave Pace: 15:31/mi

We picked up our speed a bit on Day 2 which made it seem more difficult. C is definitely able to go faster than me so I think having her along has made me push to increase my speed. I usually fall 10 or 20 ft behind her on the jogging intervals but I try my best to catch up. At the end I was determined to make it to my driveway at under 30 mins so we ran the last few ft for a big accomplishment! Yay us! ;)

Day 3 – 8/17
Run time: 31:26
Run Distance: 1.92 miles
Ave Pace: 16:23/mi

Brought River on warm up walk and then put him back inside. First jog interval was easy and felt great. By the end we were dying but we pushed 10 seconds longer on the last jog interval. It was very hot and oppressively humid – we were sweating before we even started jogging.

Day 3 was by far the worst and it shows in our pace. It was my fault. The days before (on Sat and Sun) were spent getting a guest room in our house cleaned and set up. It was our old office before we moved the office into the renovated basement. We had left it a horrible mess and it was a lot of work. Sorting through crap, throwing stuff away, vacuuming and dusting, moving furniture… I must have gone up and down our two stair cases a hundred times. My butt and my thighs and my knees were really sore from all those stairs so on Day 3 (yesterday) I was hurting and going slow.

I made it though and today my legs and knees feel better.

We will be moving on to Week 3 on Thursday. Hopefully it’s less humid!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Week 1 – Day 2 & 3 (Sisterly Fitness)

Week 1 - Day 2 (8/8)
I don't know what is up with the "Best Pace" time there but there's no way we were ever going that fast - haha. That pace definitely messed with the calories burned total.

Day 2 was a little more trying than Day 1 but I had C (my sister) with me which was a good distraction. C has noticed that she's gained a bit of weight (she's still much thinner and in better shape than I am) so she told me that she's going to try to come running with me every time I go. This is just fine with me! I LOVE having the company. I'm so so so glad she lives so close to me and we can hang out together so often.

We went about the same pace as Day 1. 1.3 miles in 20 mins, almost 2 miles all together. Same slight ankle pain but nothing else.

Week 1 - Day 3 (8/10)

Day 3 was more difficult than Day 2 (ugh I hope this trend doesn't continue!) but C was with me again to distract me. It was very humid so that may have something to do with it. I brought River with me on the warm up walk and the first 10 or so mins after that. After about 10 mins he was slowing down a lot and I felt bad for him being out in the humidity with a fur coat on so I brought him back inside.

We went slightly faster than Day 2 (though it doesn't really look like it from comparing stats). 1.34 miles in 20 mins, and again, almost 2 miles all together. Same slight ankle pain and I felt like I was starting to get a stitch in my side but then it went away. All normal, minor stuff. No knee pain (yay).

When we stopped at the end for stretching I was pouring sweat. So gross - I don't sweat much normally. We noted how weird it was that we sweat much more at the end when we've stopped running than we do during. This isn't a big deal though, I love the heat, and really, it won't get much hotter in this area. I still only run at night so I don't ever worry about the heat.

We are definitely upping to Week 2 tonight. Week 1 was much easier this time around. I never had any problem pushing myself to jog for the entire 60 second intervals (and sometimes a bit more).

Am looking forward to going out tonight!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Annual Tree-Burning

Have you ever avoided getting a Christmas tree because you didn’t want to deal with getting rid of it when the time came to take it down? We have!

Have you ever wondered what the heck to do with your Christmas tree once you’ve taken it down? We have!

But those aren’t issues for us anymore :)

A year and a half ago, when we took down our tree, we didn’t know what to do with it and we didn’t want to deal with it so we stood it up against the fence in the backyard. There it sat, for months and months, getting dryer and dryer. We eventually decided we should chop it up and use it as fire wood.

While chatting with friends of ours, we came up with the idea of burning the tree whole. Pine needles are fun to burn – they crackle like crazy and burn quickly. We thought a whole tree of needles might be really exciting. So, instead of chopping it up we took it to our friends’ house, stood it up in their fire pit, and set it on fire. We were right, it was a lot of fun! It was so much fun, we decided we should do it every year.

This year, our friends’ took the tree right after we took it down and set it in the sun to dry out for a couple months.

They live on 60+ acres of land – really beautiful.

When we got there the tree was already propped up.

And this is the aftermath.
We burned the rest of the trunk (and tons more logs) while we sat around talking for the rest of the day.

I couldn’t take “during” pics because R was using the camera to film it. I am going to try to put the video up here. If it works, the guy in the beginning is our friend (his property), the voice you can hear clearest is R, and you can hear me at the end say “Oh No! Timber!” It also makes me laugh that, at the very end, the dogs (my dog, River, and our friend’s dog) started barking at each other and all the dog “parents” shout “HEY!” instinctively. haha

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Week 1 – Day 1 (New Beginning/New Toy)

About a month ago my dad (biological dad in case anyone was confused after this post) asked me what I wanted for my birthday. He usually sends me money – I’ve told him he really doesn’t need to but he says he wants to, so sheesh, he doesn’t have to twist my arm – but he said it would be nice to actually buy me something specific.

I told him that I’ve been thinking about getting a personal gps device. I'd been thinking that it could help motivate me to get back out there. He was all over that idea and had it picked out and ordered before we even got off the phone. Thanks dad :)

It took me 2.5 months to get the motivation back to start again. Yesterday I was feeling so crappy and restless it was easier than usual to make myself get out there. I felt like I needed to run. My body is apparently telling me “c’mon and exercise dumb-ass!”

I want to start slow again so I’m back to the week 1 instruction: Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Instead of repeating each week twice, I’m hoping I’ll be able to only do each week once until at least week 4.

Week 1, day 1 was much easier this time around. That’s good – it seems my nine weeks this spring actually made some lasting difference to my body. My lungs still burned but I could have run longer than the 60 seconds. I didn't though. I don’t want to push myself too hard until I get into a good pattern of going out regularly. There was some slight pain in my ankle at the end but not much else. No knee pain at all. Although, the uh… more floppy parts of my body (sorry if that’s tmi haha) were kind of numb by the end. (The weird thigh pain I'd been having totally went away a few weeks after I quit running.)

My gps was very handy. I’m still learning how to use it but it worked much better than my stopwatch and I didn’t have to count laps around the circle to calculate how far I went. I'm excited about this because now I'll be able to just take off from my house and go where ever I want. I won't be stuck running the circle just to be able to measure my distance.

Totals were 1.92 miles in 31 minutes (which includes the 5 min warm up and some extra walking after time was up). For later reference, in just the 20 mins of jogging/walking I went 1.3 miles.

Oh and can I just say… Ahhhhh stretching! Still lovin that part.

Day 2 is tomorrow (well actually later today – I’m up really late once again) and C said she’d come over and go with me. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Guess What?

Do you know what this pic means?

That's right! Tonight I managed to get up off my ass and start running again.

I really felt like crap earlier today. I was so tired, my calves/ankles/feet were swollen and achy, and I was restless. Even though it's almost 1am right now and I am still tired, I really feel better after having exercised.

I started the couch to 5k plan over again. The running intervals really weren't too bad and I felt like I could do a bit more (but I didn't).

More details tomorrow (later today - hah) and more about my new toy/incentive shown in the pic.

I really can't believe I finally dragged myself back out there. It only took me 2.5 months.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"10 Miles Behind Me, 10,000 More To Go"

Eight years ago today my dad died. He was not my biological father but I loved him just the same. He raised me from the time I was about 2 years old.

I think of him all the time but most of the time I can ignore the sadness. I used to have dreams that he wasn’t really dead, that he would come back into our lives but that he couldn’t remember much of anything. I never understood where he had been but I was glad to have him back and be able to hug him. Then I’d wake up and realize I would never see him again. I don’t have those dreams anymore.

I will never forget the call I received from my 15 year old sister that day saying that the ambulance was there and they were taking him to the hospital. I told her not to worry, that it would be ok. I felt so bad for her and wanted to make her feel better. Little did I know he was already dead. I feel guilty for ever telling her that it would be ok.

I had just seen him the day before. He wasn’t feeling well but everyone thought it was just a cold or the flu. I saw him for a minute that day when he came down to the kitchen in his robe. I told him hi and that I hoped he felt better soon. I hope I told him I loved him but I don’t remember.

My mom was out grocery shopping and my sister was at home with my dad. When my mom got home and found him, he was dead. My poor sister had no idea anything out of the ordinary was happening upstairs. He had no major health problems – it was completely unexpected.

He was 49 years old.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that I never got to say goodbye. What I wouldn’t give to be able to give him one last hug. He loved kids and would have made an absolutely wonderful grandfather.

He used to sing to my sisters and I when we were little. One of the songs I remember the most is “Sweet James” by James Tay.lor. I sang that song at his memorial service. Whenever I think of him it pops into my head. Singing it or humming it is my way of remembering him without having to talk about him. Sometimes the words sound a little garbled.

As much as I miss him and feel sad that he’s not here, most of my sadness is for my mom and my sisters. It’s just not fair that they had to lose their father, that she had to lose the love of her life. I wish I could bring him back for them – even if I could still never see him again.

Today my sister and I took the day off from our jobs to hang out together and remember him. We didn’t talk about him much but we baked bread and congo bars (he was a baker and always the cook in our family) and celebrated his memory.

I love you dad.