Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 90+ Overview

Well, it's taken me longer to sit down to write this final post than I either expected or wanted. I suppose this is in line with the fact that I've posted less frequently on the KFB than I did on PCP.

Which also frustrated me and left me feeling a little disappointed in myself - although intellectually I know that continuing to post daily for 180 days straight (and taking as many photos) was more time than I was willing to commit and (I thought) I'd mentally let go of the idea. Apparently I'm better at guilt than I imagined :) I think I also posted less regularly because, as Shivani said, there seemed less to say than during the heady days of PCP when everything was new and fresh.

To be honest, I was very relieved when Patrick sent us the email about not being able to go home again for post-PCPers doing KFB. That struck home for me why I'd been feeling a bit frustrated with the KFB project - he's right, especially as I'd only just come off of the PCP, that the lack of new took a little out of the WOW of the experience for me. I mean, it was a plus that I still remembered the little tricks to make managing the diet less time intensive and what sorts of meals were more satisfying - but that also meant there was less of a challenge to try to find new foods/meals and ways to make the diet an adventure.

For me, there was also a little loss of adventure in the workouts as well - I'd never really done strength training before the PCP, so that was all new and exciting. On the other hand, I have done martial arts before, so that portion of the KFB workout wasn't so new and exciting. In fact, it made me really miss having a partner to spar with :( Until I'd started the KFB, I'd sort of let myself forget how much fun sparring can be (even if it usually kicked my butt!).

Which isn't really a negative - I'm jazzed to try to find a place to take a martial arts class again, thanks to KFB! Once my calf/achilles tendon loosens up, that is.

While a part of me wonders what the KFB experience would have been like had I had more of a break from the PCP - had I a good stretch of time to settle into a non-Patrick/Chen determined exercise and diet routine - I'm more glad I did it when I did it than not. For one thing, now I've got twice as much time of regular exercise and diet habits under my belt as I would have otherwise had - so am more confident that they'll "stick". For another, as it happened the KFB filled the time between when my Dad died and when we held his memorial. While I probably didn't have the attention and focus for KFB than I might have otherwise had, I also had KFB to keep me glued together. On KFB I was getting enough (or more than :) exercise, eating well, and sleeping well - All the sorts of things I tend to let slide in times of stress, and all the sorts of things I need to manage the stress.

So Yay KFB!

Another thing about KFB, now that I've had a week or so to move on to trying my own thing, is that I think what I really like is a mash up of KFB and PCP. Over the past couple of weeks I've been doing:

  • meditating first thing in the morning,
  • running (love it sooooo much more than jumping rope - and my poor jumprope is just hops away from breaking),
  • and then doing PCP exercises - but instead of just hanging out between reps, I've been doing KFB stretches. Such as push-ups, followed by rabbit stretch or the cobra stretch.
So Cheers to the freedom/risk of doing my own thing!

And Yay Team Tiger! and my friend's on Team Crane (Lili! Shivani!)!

Way To Go!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 89 - That blasted persistent calf muscle!

I gave my calf muscle a couple of days off to rest and relax -

Finally, it felt better (and, let's face it, I was impatient) so I got back into the workout groove yesterday.

Sigh. Mistake. I spent the rest of the day limping with the super tight muscle. Sure, I should have probably not leapt back into the fray so quickly, but I think the main problem is stress and tension. See, my shoulders, back, and neck have been tight as well - and I've noticed that they are more tense in the morning than at any other time. I've also been sleeping less well and waking earlier and anxious.

So I think my mental tension is just migrating down the back of my body.


But I also think my main source of tension will be over this weekend, so I'm hoping to get back to my own stride next week. ....

Fingers crossed!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 85 - bad luck

Tight calf muscle yesterday ...

Stepped on something yesterday and embedded it deep in my
foot today. sigh.

Thank goodness for callouses, I think it'll be ok tomorrow.

Meanwhile ... I got a little greedy at the farmer's market and grocery today:
Heirloom tomatoes
eggplant (for eggplant caviar Yum!)
celery and apples for that salad ...
cilantro and avocados for salsa ...

so many yummy veggies!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 83 - REALLY tight calf muscle

And it's driving me crazy!

It's been tight for a few days now and is crimping my style :(

(or at least half of it :))

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 82 - A plank challenge ...

Holy Crap -

A FIVE MINUTE plank routine.

I feel a challenge coming on ....

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 80 - Mindfulness, A choice

This past weekend I went back up to Boston to visit with my Mom and finalize some details for my Dad's memorial. And I've realized that I've driven 500 miles or more each weekend for the past 3 weekends!

No wonder I've been having trouble with the KFB workouts on the weekends .... that's a long time to spend in the car, and draining all out of proportion for the activity. Yesterday I tacked on a 5 mile run, because the weather was finally prime for a beautiful morning run. And then I went and sat in a car for 6 hours, so I was rather stiff when I got up this morning.

Now that I've got that negative stuff off my chest - on to the positive!

The KungFu push ups are, I'm surprised to find, not as impossibly hard as I thought they'd be - yay me! NOTE: I have no desire whatsoever to see what I look like doing them. Though I think they might be more descriptively called "grasshopper" push-ups ....

I've discovered another way that mindfulness can be a boon. I was mentally griping/whining/complaining to myself (I've noticed that I've been doing that alot lately ... STRESS!) on Friday about going to Boston this past weekend: I didn't really want to go, I'd been doing alot of driving, I hadn't finished unpacking from my vacation, I had piles of chores I'd left backed up, and I really didn't want to spend my time that way.

But then I became mindful about how negative my thinking was, and it occurred to me that with that sort of a mindset, I was just about guaranteeing that I'd have a miserable weekend. So I set about mindfully changing my mindset.
  • I reminded myself that it was my choice to go up to Boston
  • I reminded myself that it was a great opportunity to spend time with Mom
  • I reminded myself I would get to spend time with my Brother
  • I reminded myself that one of the side effects of letting chores pile up is: I won't be doing chores this weekend (I suck at doing fun stuff first - which generally means I tend to have little time for the fun stuff)
  • I saw the driving as an opportunity to listen to an audio book and chat with friend
And it worked! I was relaxed and had a great weekend (well, aside from the excess traffic on the way home).

Now it's time to do laundry. And prep food for the week...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 75 - The Crash

I was not (apparently) mentally prepared for the crash back to earth after returning from vacation. I thought I was, but the deep-dark-demented-me that lurks within was apparently unwilling to relinquish a life of indolence and leisure ...

Which means I stayed up too late not so much doing fun stuff as NOT doing useful stuff like preparing my food or getting sleep so I could get up and workout.
BUMP, Bump, bump.

AND I've been waking after not enough sleep, anxious about work. I should have spent more of my vacation clearing my head and less of it goofing off like a teenager :(

This morning I had enough. I woke after 6 hours of sleep (not enough) and this time I got up. I did not workout. I DID, however, spend a good chunk of time meditating and attempting to clear my head (like 90 minutes). It's impressive how big a monster something small can become when you refuse to look at it straight on and it sidles up into your periphery vision.

So I'm feeling better centered now and am ready to go to bed early this evening and KICK ASS tomorrow!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 73 - Back in the Loop

Having had no internet access for a week, I was a bit out of the loop regarding workouts and diets. - and after a long day of travel yesterday (to arrive home to 94 degree humid weather), I just couldn't muster the motivation to check my workouts, much less DO them.

This morning was different.

Kung Fu pushups ... I know it's not a great idea to start with a negative attitude as it colors the result in a bad way but my initial, gut thought was: NO WAY JOSE!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 72 - My last day of freedom

Thought I’d share a couple of photos taken on my last day:

Here is the road to my oasis of calm:

The road goes over the hill – if you’re driving a 4-wheel drive vehicle or ATV. Ours is the last house on the road before hitting State Forest land, so anytime a vehicle comes driving past, unless loaded with mountain bikes, it’s only a matter of minutes before it comes driving right back down.

Here is my oasis of calm:

And here is how I feel when I’m here, nothing but clover:

Day 71

Another extraordinary morning. Had a great workout today, largely because it was (thank goodness) cool all day, which kept my energy levels up.

Must confess that my KFB diet has hit the mother of all road bumps …

Day 70 - A cool Change

Every morning here is different:

And every one extraordinary.

Day 69 - Perfect Blue

Some days just open up beautifully. This morning I again got up early and did my KFB workout. Unexpectedly, I feel more self-conscious about my KFB workout when I’m doing it out in the middle of nowhere. I guess it just seems more out of place than in the hustle and bustle of my everyday world.

That, and my neighbors are more likely to be interested in what I’m doing. Small town America – gotta love it J

After meeting with a driller, I drove up to Burlington (the biggest city in Vermont, it is still MUCH smaller than where I live outside of Philadelphia) and it was a gorgeous day:

Day 68 - Observing

Today meditating went well – and I found myself more open and observant as I took a morning stroll and noticed this tiny, delicate mushroom in the road:

It’s quiet here – not dead silence: there’s more bird calls, the whisper of wind through the grass and leaves, and (unfortunately) the traffic from the valley below carries all too well. But it’s lovely, and I don’t miss the perpetual sound of music, media, etc. of my everyday life. Not at all.

And this evening, after another blistering rainstorm, there was a lovely rainbow:

Day 67 - Helluva View

Old habits – waking early – don’t disappear because I’m on vacation. But I didn’t wake as early as I usually do. I did my stretches and meditation on the deck – but was a weeeee bit distracted by the view:

I missed most of the rest of my KFB workout, mostly because I decided to run up the hill and was enjoying it so much that I ran clear over and down the other side. By the time I got home, I was beat. Still, a lovely workout.

Day 66 - At last it's cool!

Vermont has also been undergoing a bit of a heat wave, according to my neighbors. On the plus side, a heat wave in Vermont is still a bit cooler than a heat wave in New Jersey (high 80’s and only occasionally in the 90’s). Today I did intervals up the hill instead of jumping rope.

I thought it would be easier to meditate while on vacation – fewer things to obsess over. So far, no dice. But it is prettier:

Although there was a rainstorm to end all rainstorm this afternoon. You could barely see 50 feet away:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 65 - The day AFTER my first day of vacation

Friday was a real busy, running-around-with-my-head-cut-off kind of day at work - busy in addition to the expected madness of trying to get things done before taking off for a week - so I didn't leave work until late :(

But now, for the next 8 days it's all about ME, baby!

Yesterday I did not get my KFB workout in, as I didn't get to bed early enough to get up and do it before driving north, and (frankly) it was so hot that I probably wouldn't have done it anyway. UGGGGhh.

You have no idea how fondly I'm looking back to those days of jumping rope in the snow in January and February. I'm a cold-weather baby, and my body is super efficient at creating heat. Which is marvelous for being outside in the winter - and is miserable in the weather we've been suffering under for the past month or so.

Whine. Whine.

Last night it took me almost 2 hours to fall asleep and I lay immobile, damp and sticky, with my arms and legs splayed hoping to fall asleep. But a joy of being on vacation is a flexible schedule, so I slept in and then got up to do my KFB. Which felt great - except for the fact that I'd run out about 3 miles before doing it and by the time I ran back, it was HOT HOT HOT. (I was also facing the sun, which makes a bigger difference than you'd think)

I sense a theme here. I'll try not to whine any more. I know that it's not just us that are suffering:

Heat wave - and I gather they are experiencing heat waves in Europe and elsewhere as well.

Drink lots of liquids everyone!

I'll have intermittent access to the internet for the next week - I mean to be better about blogging, but may end up posting them all at once!

See you on the other side!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 63 - And the time goes by!


So I had that long weekend that I spent mostly working. After, I was bummed, but figured it was over and I was back to "normal" amounts of stress and running around madly.

I was wrong. I just blinked and a week has gone by with no posts! As one of my colleagues said (likewise swamped and sinking fast) Wow, it never rains, but it pours!

On the plus side - we got shortlisted for the proposal I was working on and I'm going on vacation in 2 days (yay!)

On the minus side - KFB has been a bit short-sheeted and I'm looking forward to getting back into the game with, really, nothing else on my mind for a week or so!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 55 - The Sauna

Well this morning it was cooler when I got up and stepped out doors. Only 78F. 56% humidity, but still ...

It's like living in a sauna. Working out ... well, I've been doing that at the gym.

I'll 'fess up to not being as tough as I'd like to be and went there purely for the lovely A/C. Still hot and sticky, but I'm sure I didn't dehydrate myself nearly so badly.

Also - now I'm drawn almost exclusively to raw foods. And my gazpacho. And my new favorite salad:

Apples & Celery tossed in a dressing of yogurt and lemon juice with a sprinkling of walnuts and freshly ground black pepper.

Sweet. Tart. Spicy. Cold.

Easy, filling, and refreshing. The recipe calls for the skins, but I'm more allergic to the skins than anything else, so I peeled mine.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 54 - Heat, Stress, Holliday

For those in the States, we've just come off a holiday weekend. In my case - a very non-KFB weekend.

Sigh. I'm disappointed, but am proud of myself for cutting myself some slack.

One - 2, 6-hour drives
Two - Hotter than HELL (OMG not comfortable. This morning it was 86 at five am)
Three - Spent most of the long weekend and yesterday working on a proposal. When I wasn't, I was driving or doing chores for my Mom
Four - Stressed and anxious about the proposal (and about the lost holiday) I didn't sleep well.

Today is the first day in about a week where I feel normal amounts of stress. Yay! So I feel better prepared to get back in the game.

Thank goodness I'm going on vacation in 9 days!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 48 - At last, a cool down - and a KFB diet meltdown

For the first time in nearly 2 weeks I was able to sleep with the windows open.

For the first time in nearly 2 weeks I've had a comfortable street run (yay!!!! - That's AWESOME for my mental health)

On the minus side ... a friend of mine at work (and her mother) were having a meatball contest. And everyone went all out: sauce, bread ... cannolis ... . Let just say I was a good friend and a not-so-good KFBer :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 47 - Perfect is the enemy of Good

Sean had an interesting post to mark the halfway point of KFB, which got me to thinking.

Like Sean, I'm a bit on the fence about my feelings for KFB and my ability to provide any sort of meaningful feedback that isn't grossly colored by other life factors - such as being much more busy than I was earlier in the year. On the other hand, biased feedback is more helpful than no feedback so why not give it a try?

My first observation would be that I'm not as committed to KFB as I was to PCP. I think this is partly because my life is more busy and stressful right now than it was when I did PCP. But I think it is also because I'd just finished PCP and hadn't yet found my (presumed) post-PCP balance. So starting a new program while my
head was stuck between trying to figure out what my "regular" life was going to be like and trying to get into the new program, left me spinning a bit, mentally speaking.

Another problem with starting straight after PCP (again, all mental) was that my head, still in PCP-space, sees elements of PCP (strength exercises) and then makes the foolish leap to making KFB additive, instead of a new program, complete of itself. So while the KFB is manageable, KFB + extra strength training from PCP + training for a marathon is NOOOOT. And so sometimes I don't always finish the KFB (mostly because I've added other things) and feel I'm letting myself down, and get discouraged.
The perfect is the enemy of the good
- Voltaire

In more grounded moments, I realize that it's really DUMB to get discouraged after working out for more than 90 minutes because I didn't complete everything I'd hoped (a bad habit in most areas of my life).

Heather, Heather, Heather - You need more sensible boundaries!!!!

Because time is an issue, both because KFB is in development and because I'm a dingbat (see above), one thing that really helps me is to do the meditation and at least some of the flexibility exercises First. Because if I'm running short on time, those get skipped - and those are part of the attraction/difference of KFB, and because I'm more likely to remember that I still need to do some kicking, but somehow overlook the fact that I need to do a few more stretching exercises. It's a mental thing.

So perhaps, for me, the answer is to strategize my approach: meditation and stretching first, to get my mind in the right place and prevent delinquency; running to limber up second; non-strength KFB to kick some ass; and strength training last, to let time constraints rein in my desire to do too much ...

Hmm. Maybe it's a good thing I spent some time thinking about this.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 46 - Mindful consumption - the mental variety

A few weeks ago I experimented with cutting out the excess sound in my life. For the first few weeks, I was good and thought I could see its effects in the slowing of the spinning in my head and a greater sense of calm.

But then my attention wavered. I slowly began listening to more music, accepting more noise in my life, and before I knew it, I was back into my old habits. I'd like to get back to restricting the inputs into my brain. I'm feeling stressed and frazzled (largely a matter of perspective, but it's hard to change it) and want to slow down and quiet down.

I've had little success in controlling the maelstrom of thoughts whirring through my head (except, perhaps, in 5 or 10 minute intervals :), but I'm sure it will help to reduce, insofar as I can, adding to the distractions in my head. So this week I'm striving to:

  • be mindful of my consumption of noise (music)
  • be mindful of my consumption of media (TV and internet - the internet is going to be hard)
  • be mindful of my consumption of ideas (what I read)
And I'll try (and fail more than I succeed, I warrant) to just do one thing at a time. Just think on one thing at a time.

Fingers crossed!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 45 Tired of HOT

So, we've been hammered with day after day of HOT HOT HOT! It's 95F as I type, and am happy to be in the air-conditioned atmosphere of work. Which has meant that my heart (and lungs and sweat glands) have not been behind my workouts and it's been a struggle to do what I've managed to do.

But I have to say that I'm enjoying the exercise of mindful consumption. Enjoying the experiment, not passing through the experience without tripping up all over the place, that is. Probably because I'm stressed, I'm more readily distracted and unfocused these days, so I catch myself more often than I'd like spinning my wheels or wasting time on activities I'm not really enjoying.

I'm also yearning for a proper vacation - my mental batteries need recharging - so I'll be taking a week and going up to Vermont for a week at the end of July. This will be an excellent opportunity of enforced mindful consumption: not only no TV, but no telephone, no internet (unless I go into town)! Quiet time. THAT's a big part of why I love going up to Vermont.

My mindful consumption this past weekend was mozzarella stuffed meatballs and roasted tomato sauce from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home. The meatballs aren't very KFB, but the sauce totally is, and it's fantastic! I just should have waited until fall to make it, as roasting for hours isn't such a good idea in 90 degree weather ...
But YUM! I'll definitely be returning to this recipe once the weather turns cooler.

Now I just need to be more mindful with sound, TV, and the internet ... and, perhaps, the buzz of my own brain ...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 42 - STILL HOT

Whimper. I'm a cold weather baby and these 90 degree days are killing me. And it's the humidity as much as the heat. Breathing just seems harder!

On the plus side, I am finally finding a rhythm with KFB, roll out of bed, meditate, start some stretching, do some strength-training, aerobic part of the work out, then some balance and more stretching. I've also streamlined my food prep some - with the sacrifice of variety, I can save time by having everything pre-prepared and pre-packaged. Just rolling off of PCP helps, but I think I'm more efficient than I was even then.

Anything to buy myself some more time.

Now there's a question: If I want to run another marathon, should I aim for October or November? October is more comfortable (less likely to be really cold and/or rainy) - but the overlap in training with KFB will be ... difficult.

thinking, thinking.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 40 ... HOT


We've had a run of hotter-than-I-can-remember days, days when I get up in the morning and, even stepping out the door at 5am, suck in a breath at the heavy and humid air.

Not really (for me, at least) welcoming, come out and workout weather.

On the plus side ... pretty good stretching weather :)

It's 92 ... and it's supposed to be hotter AND more humid tomorrow. ...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 39

I'm back from a weekend up in Boston.

I was pretty good with the diet (not perfect), and ok with the workouts. I'm a little frustrated with my mindset, which is more unhappy with not completely nailing the workouts, instead of happy to have managed what I did.

I've started taking Shivani's suggestion, and doing my meditation and a little stretching before the workout - and am really glad I am. For me, with all that's going on in my life and the disproportionate stress that I am feeling over even small things, it really helps to quiet down FIRST, and then I can be more present and more focused in the rest of the workouts. I am also less anxious afterwards.

Thanks Shivani!

I'm getting better at not getting dizzy when doing the back kicks. Despite the dizziness, I think those are my favorite kick by far. They always have been. KaPow! Those use my biggest and strongest muscles.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 35 - KaPOW!

Wow! What a difference being well rested makes!

Yesterday evening I went home and took a nap - and then slept a solid 8 1/2 hours that night and today I feel amazing :)


So I had a great workout this morning. I'm still a bit frustrated with my impatience with the stretching portion of the exercise, but I'm going to try Shivani's advice and do a little stretching pre-workout (so I don't feel the rush of trying to get DONE), and it occurred to me that it might help to slow down by doing the mediation before the stretching.

You know, put my mind in the right place first, instead of last.

We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 34 - Tried ..and Failed

Last night I was up late, having gone to watch my colleagues play a softball game. Our team has been playing for a few years now and, to put it bluntly, we're terrible.

We haven't won a game this year, and we lost again last night. Which was disappointing as we were leading by 5 runs in the top of the last inning. I find it interesting to watch sports psychology work. I'd heard about it years ago, but had thought it was mostly hogwash until college, when I joined the swimming and diving team. It was startling to watch how at state meets either most divers had a great meet, or everyone fell apart. Like performance was catching. And perhaps this is why exercise is more enjoyable when done with a crowd ... misery loving company and a

Our softball team is really good at getting anxious and tense and consequently blowing it at the eleventh hour. And, of course, there are a couple of individuals to whom winning is more important than it should be (especially in light of our talents). But everyone stayed in reasonably good humor and the other team was nice (and had also been win-less, until we gave them the opportunity) so it was a fun evening.

But it meant that I got home late and tired - and that's when I'm most prone to stupid decisions. Like staying up late because I'm too tired to go to bed.

So this morning it took a Herculean effort to get out of bed, and a continual battle with myself to get dressed and start my KFB. And I was headachy.

I got maybe a quarter of the way through (aerobic - check. Strength - check) before the constant desire to just STOP and maybe sleep a little longer told me that maybe I was done for the day. For running, I have what I call the 10-minute rule: if I don't feel like running, I just get out there for 10 minutes and if I still don't want to run, I stop. It's a good way to test if my reluctance to get going is mainly inertia, real fatigue, or real aches. This morning I did nearly half an hour of working out before I finally threw in the towel.

I think it took me longer than usual to quit because I was reluctant to admit that I'd put myself in this position and not because I didn't recognize the signals I'd been receiving. So I'm swapping out Friday's light workout for today's.

Hopefully I'll be powered up again tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 33 - Energy levels still low

Semi-bounce back from my energy low yesterday. My energy levels were/are still low, but I was still able to finish the workout. Going all out and not timing the occasional rests, it took about 75 minutes. whew!

One of the nice satisfying things about pushing myself in my workouts is the feeling of lassitude and slight soreness that at once reminds me of the hard work I've done and brings me present into my body. Normal physical actions remind me with unexpected muscle twinges that I am alive, strong, and taking advantage of it.

This is nice. It is satisfying. I like it.

But being the morning exerciser that I am, it brings with it a morning wrestling match with myself. Especially when I am fatigued and sore, I crave a leisurely start to the day. Right now I'm daydreaming of sleeping until I wake up, and then getting a cup of tea or coffee and just zoning on my balcony, still in my PJs.

The problem (for me) of doing that, is that unless I already have the workout DONE and dusted, any leisurely start is marred by the fear of the lazy side of me "winning" and the workout not getting done. Especially in the summer, when the most comfortable time for a workout is as early as possible.

Sigh. Can you see what a joy it is to live in my head? I have real problems not trying to do IT ALL - and just relaxing. I pretty much have to leave home on a vacation to let things go. Sigh.

Day 32 - Me, sweat, and imagination

So today, the KFB kicked my butt. I completed it (yay!) but my energy level even beginning the workout felt low and now, hours later, is still in the sub-basement. I've worked out until I sweat before (well, duh), but holy sweat Batman! I don't think I've often worked out such that I can see the sweat drops on the ground beneath me, or flying through the air as I'm punching.

Which is sort of "EWW" and sort of "Cool!". It's obviously a huge boost to see tangible evidence that I'm kicking butt (or getting my butt kicked), but it makes me a bit concerned about staying adequately hydrated. And it also makes me (and don't tell me if it's weird) imagine myself as all kinds of master-kick-ass superhero, destroying all manners of air monsters.

Hopefully I'll have more energy tomorrow morning ...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 31 - Me and Discipline

I am finding it more difficult than I expected to totally get down with the KFB. I've had more days of falling off the wagon (both with the workouts and the diet) than I did with PCP.

I expect that it is mainly because I leapt from PCP to KFB with just a month between them, and that was a particularly trying time for me personally. I'm certainly enjoying parts of the KFB workout more than others:

  • I'll confess to skipping out on the skipping rope: I'm not a big fan, it's summer, I love running, I plan to run a marathon this fall, and I just don't have time for KFB and running. So I substitute.
  • Somewhat to my surprise ('cause I never used to enjoy strength training exercises, and this was what I at least in my head whined about the most) I like the pushups, the pull ups (well, trying), ab workouts, etc.
  • I expected to enjoy the stretching, as that was something I'd wished I had the time and dedication to do, but am frustrated to discover that I have a tendency to rush through them, and don't feel that I give them the attention I should. I'm not enjoying them as I think I could if I didn't feel so rushed
  • I expected to like the meditation - and I do - but I expected to be striving for a little more than 5 minutes. Yes, I know I can try more on my own - but see feeling rushed, above
  • I initially really enjoyed the kicks and punches ... and am disappointed that the charm has worn thin. Partly it's because they kick my ass, and who likes that? But I also think it's because I can remember how much more fun they were when not done alone, when done with a partner holding a punching bag. It just doesn't feel the same when done alone. (I'll also confess that today my "target" was a point on a punching bag - not a free swinging object. I know I'm cheating myself of the balance and eye-foot coordination practice, but I just knew it would take forever) I still like them once I get going, but am resistant until I actually get started.
Keep in mind that all this is seen through a stress-filter, and part of my frustration is because of feeling rushed ...

and this is also my fault:

  • Firstly, because I spend more than 6 minutes running - in essence having the dessert before the meal.
  • Secondly because I'm an idiot - on days when we're doing pull ups, I think "well, I'll do some dips too since I'm at the machine", on days when we do planks, I think "well, I'll do 30 seconds, or 45 seconds, or whatever" and so on.
Basically, I'm an idiot.

Today was a pretty good day, though.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 28 - Stretching

So ... perhaps I am in need of more stretching ...

Sound when stretched is music. Movement when stretched is dance. Mind when stretched is meditation. Life when stretched is celebration.
~Shri Shri Ravishankar Jee

Ironically, I didn't get much sleep last night - and I feel slightly better. Or perhaps it's because it's Friday, and a bit of the pressure is off. Or because it's the right phase of the moon, or because I sacrificed the right number of Vestal virgins .. :) just kidding.

Anyway - embrace the positive change and move forward!

Tomorrow I am looking forward to squeezing in a long run, in addition to whatever the KFB work out ends up being, and a trip to the Farmer's Market - which I've only managed to go to once so far this year :(

Fresh fruit and veggies! And fresh eggs!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 27 - Feeling ... off

I feel like crap today.

I don't feel bad, not anything that I can point to definitively and say "That's what's wrong with me!", but ... not right. And my enthusiasm for just about anything has evaporated.

I feel very tired - and I really shouldn't as I had plenty of sleep last night

I feel like I'm a million miles from the rest of the world. It's hard to think, it's hard to focus, it's hard to connect with other people - it feels sort of like it feels when I'm drugged up to the gills to alleviate the symptoms of a cold or allergies, except without the drugs and the residual symptoms.

I hate feeling this way, and I wonder if perhaps I'm fighting off something and just don't know it yet.

I think, tonight, I'm going to bed early.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 26 - High Fructose Corn Syrup

I'm in a better mood today - thanks all for your support - you rock!

A friend forwarded this article to me:

For those who have read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, there is evidence that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has negative effects beyond just another way of calorie loading. Apparently, when compared to sugar solutions, rats gained more weight on HFCS! The inference being "that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles."

Hmmmm. Another reason to avoid many processed foods ... and drinking your calories.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 25 - In a bad mood

So - I feel off the wagon this past weekend.

I have no excuses, no particular reason - I just couldn't muster the energy on Sunday or Monday. For either the workout, or the diet.

I imagine it is mostly me: I need a vacation, I'm still dealing with grief in unexpected pockets, and I have too much on my plate at work. I know a good diet and exercise help me deal with stress and give me the energy to manage ... but ... sometimes it's hard. Especially with days like today, when I really feel hammered AND I did everything right: I got enough sleep, I've eaten well, and I did my workout (and with a great run in a finally cool morning).

Am I the only one that just dreads the kicks? They are seriously kicking my ass, and are really what makes me not look forward to my workouts each morning. When are they going to get easier?

Hmmm. Perhaps I'd better stop whining now.

At least it's a brilliantly beautiful day! And I remember to vote this morning!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 22 - Hot and Bothered

Well, not so much bothered :)

I woke this morning and immediately jumped into my workout. For two reasons:

1) It's been and going to be ungodly hot and humid out (86F right now) and better to work out while it's cooler

2) I went to go plant trees and shrubs and lay down mulch in Camden from 9-12 and wanted to get my workout out of the way.

It was loads of fun, but messy and HOT on top of all that mulch!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 21 - Interesting post about stress ...

On a blog I read occasionally by Steven Barnes Dar Kush, a science-fiction writer/martial artist/TV writer/philosopher, he had a post with interesting thoughts about stress:
One of the most fascinating things about stress is how it seems to be a living thing, plotting and planning to worm its way deeply into your existence. It will dissuade you from performing the precise actions necessary to keep stress from becoming strain: you will do what is imperative (short term emergency) rather than what is important (long term benefit). And trust me, there is absolutely no end to the short-term urgent in life. This is one of the reasons that people can have a fantastic amount of difficulty meditating. Anything and everything seems more important, including cutting your neighbor's cat's toenails. Bizarre. And it is all fear. If you clear away all of the superfluous "stuff" what remains is the responsibility to be in alignment with BOTH your childhood dreams and the ultimate values you will embrace on your deathbed. When both the child you were and the ancient you will become agree upon your daily actions--well, you pretty much have life nailed.
That is exactly what has been going on in my head/life recently, finding it so hard to stop, take a moment, and decide to not be distracted by small details.

Sigh. So, despite having piles of work to get through, I'm taking a holiday on Monday - which makes this a long weekend JUST FOR ME!

I can't express how much I'm looking forward to this.

Day 20 - Whipped

All week it has been hot and muggy, which I hate. I'm a cold weather baby, so when it's hot and humid, I am significantly less enthusiastic about working out. Blech.

And today - I felt whipped.

For pretty much all of the strength, cardio, or agility exercises I had to REALLY push to get through them all, and had a significant drop in form in the last (few) set(s). I think I can really use the lighter day tomorrow. Oh my, yes.

And by whipped, I mean this: I worked out; I took a shower; I prepared my food; and,

I took a nap.

and then I went to work.

But at last: Gazpacho!

(adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook)

  • chopped red onion
  • chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 chopped English cucumber (the long skinny ones - others are fine, these have less water and seeds)
  • chopped tomato
  • 3 mashed garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 c tomato paste
  • 1 Tbl wine vinegar
  • 6 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 Tbl lemon juice
  • 3 c tomato juice
  • salt to taste
let marinate overnight. Eat as is, or blend.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 19 - The Quiet Experiment

I'm continuing my experiment with limiting my sound input. I did listen to my iPod this weekend on the drive up and back to Boston - it makes the time go by soooo much faster - and I listen on the treadmill, but I've not otherwise been listening to extraneous noise.

I think it's making a difference to my inner tension, but am not sure - and so am prolonging the experiment. I figure I'll know better after a full weekend without the distraction - and I'm willing to do a lot to quiet myself down. I appear to have got myself wound up into a tizzy about things that I know, intellectually, are basically unimportant. But, alas, I can't just tell myself to let it go and fret.

The workouts, the meditation, and (hopefully) the silence are helping a lot. Now what I really need is a vacation ...

TONIGHT will be Gazpacho night - as I discovered last night that I had no garlic and my tomato had grown unappetizing.

update - blast. Forgot the gazpacho needs to marinate. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to eat it.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 18 - Back home, back in the saddle

So I'm back home, and back in touch with my scale. Which tells me that I was doing less well than I thought I was with guessimating portions.

Ah well. I'm back in the saddle now.

I both am/am not glad to be back into the numbers game for food. On the one hand, it's alot easier to figure out what to eat when the rules are so clear (and cheating is easier to resist). I had trouble getting into a "normal" habit post-PCP ... but then had only a couple of weeks before my Dad fell ill and any sort of regular diet and exercise went out the window. I'm very happy to get another chance to re-start.

On the other hand, I'm not wildly enthusiastic about the time lost to food prep ... but, fortunately, it's still close enough to PCP to remember the lessons/shortcuts learned then. And tonight, I'm making GAZPACHO! Yummmmmmmmmmmm.

For lunch today, I could have sworn I had a can of tuna fish in my office, but was apparently mistaken and settled for almond butter for my protein instead.

One thing I thought, as I did my workout on a wooded trail this weekend, was that I was really glad there was no one to see me do my jumping kicks. I had a sneaky suspicion that I probably looked a bit silly. But it preyed on my mind. This morning - because it was 84 degrees at 5 o'clock in the morning - I went to the gym and crept into the (smaller, and therefore better air-conditioned) room with the punching bags - and two walls of mirrors.

You know what? It was a little hard to watch myself and focus on what I was doing, but I didn't look half bad! No stealth ninja, but not a duck with club feet, either.

They still whip my butt.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 16 - KFB away from home

Some success, some failure.

Despite good intentions, my scale waits patiently on my kitchen counter - where I forgot to claim it to take with me up to Boston.

That's what will happen when you get up at 3 in the morning after a week of not enough sleep.

On the plus side, I'm on top of the work outs :)

As lovely as a run along the Minuteman trail was this morning, and as peaceful it was to do my leg swings, kicks and punches out on the trail ... the mosquitoes were not invited. And humidity = sticky = stinky!

Looking forward to a good night's rest tonight ....

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 14 - Still tired and digging the day of (sort of) Rest

This has been a very long week -

Partly because I've somehow not gotten enough rest (partly my fault, partly because I'm not feeling as rested from the sleep that I do get ... no doubt due to stress), partly because there has just been so much going on with work, and partly because I haven't taken a day off since last year (yikes! where has the time gone?)

Along the same vein as my habit of setting impossible goals, one of the things that I keep trying to learn is to say "no" at work when someone asks me to help out with something. Instead, I should make a more realistic effort to evaluate if I can and then answer. I'm usually good for a little while and then begin slipping. This is the week of re-learning that lesson.

So I've been pretty much head down all week.

I can't tell if the workouts are contributing to my general fatigue or not - or if they are helping - but I was definitely relieved to have an easier morning. For the long weekend, I'm driving up to Boston and expect to be able to keep up with my KFB workouts - not so sure about the diet as I don't know what it will be :) but, we'll see.

Happy Friday All!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 13 - the need for sleep

Last night, desperately tired, I went to bed early and slept later than usual.

This morning I got up, feeling a bit better refreshed, and headed out to do my KFB workout. I showered, made breakfast and went to work.

Then felt like what I really needed was a nap. This isn't the first time it's happened, and I don't remember it happening when I was doing the PCP workouts. But, while the PCP workouts pushed my muscles, the KFB really takes the wind out of my sails (especially the kicks and punches). Hopefully I'll get acclimated to it soon. In the meantime, I think I might try scheduling a power nap before heading to work in the morning.


One of the things I like learning while doing the PCP was the incredible not-value of comfort eating.

Unfortunately, while I've learned that it doesn't work, doesn't satisfy, and brings more negatives than positives ... it has not cured me of the desire for a quick jolt of comfort. And I have not yet identified a substitute for food. This might be because there are no short-cuts to happiness, but I'd still like something pleasant to turn to when the urge manifests. Maybe meditation. Maybe a walk. Anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 12 It's a Matter of Perspective

Perspective -

Every once in a while, I'll get a little nudge to remind me to keep things in perspective. This afternoon while preparing lunch at work, I was looking at it and thinking how non-PCP it was, and wondering/looking forward to/not looking forward to a more defined KFB diet, when a colleague came by and remarked how healthy my lunch was.

And it was. Not PCP stringent (salt, more carbs than PCP typically allowed, and enough avocado for me to feel indulgent), but a big arugula salad and smoked salmon and avocado on whole wheat is not un healthy. I have a tendency to set my personal bar ridiculously high, and then kick myself for not meeting my goals.

Well, duh. If your goal is perfection, you might want to get comfortable with disappointment.

Now I've personally come to the realization that I'm happier frequently falling short of impossible goals than feeling like a slacker for setting my sights too low by meeting my goals too often. You would think there would be a middle ground, but I haven't found it yet. But it's useful and good to get these reminders ever so often to re-ground my perspective.

I'm feeling pretty whipped today. Last night I stayed up past my bedtime to see The Prince of Persia (fun, obviously not a groundbreaking film, but free and I don't want those hours back). But I still got up early to start my KFB workout and did the hard half (core, stretching, and meditation to go) and now ... want a nap.

Day 11

I'm trying to conduct an experiment this week.

I've noticed, during my meditation attempts that while my mind has a tendency to float off to other things without my really noticing, when I try to draw back into the moment and to watch my thoughts, my mind is at its most quiet when I'm striving to be aware of what I'm hearing.

It's fairly quiet in my apartment and I'll hear the muffled sounds of neighbors getting ready for their day and the birds singing (and this time of year: not so quiet). At that hour of the morning there is not a lot of sounds of traffic - which paradoxically makes me more aware of it. I don't like the sound, especially while trying to meditate, because it makes me feel rushed and I think of the drivers busy on their way to work.

It occurred to me, that if just listening to the sounds of traffic wound me up, then perhaps one way to calm myself down would be to limit the noise in my life and embrace more quiet. So this week I'm:

  • not watching any television (not all that hard, as I usually only watch on the weekends)
  • not listening to music (except when running on the treadmill or while cleaning the apartment
This is harder than I thought. I've already turned the radio on in the car a couple of times before I remembered my experiment, and turned on music at work.

But I'm curious to see how it goes...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 10

This morning I woke to very stiff and sore shoulders, upper back, and neck. It may have been the hook punches... but I'm more inclined to believe that it was due to rearranging all the furniture and other flotsam in my bedroom on Sunday. The sort of activity that almost inevitably awakens one to the existence of an otherwise forgotten muscle or three.

So I took a painkiller and hustled into the KFB workout. This morning was grey and rainy and I wanted to get a little running in so took myself to the gym. You know what they also have in my gym?

Punching bags. Long, almost floor to ceiling heavy ones, in a room with a wall of mirrors. And at 5 o'clock in the morning, no class is using that room. So I wandered in there to do my punches and kicks. Whereupon I learned a few things:

  1. my form is still pretty good (as in not bad, not that it was ever awesome)
  2. I can still punch with the proper two knuckles
  3. Those knuckles no longer have calluses. I might want to rethink the bag hitting
  4. The kicks are SOOOOOO much more satisfying against a target. Not only do I get to kick something, but I don't have to worry about hyper-extending myself kicking an imaginary target.
Because I was monkeying around at the gym, I didn't have time to do my stretching or meditation before booking it to work. But I'm kind of looking forward to doing them when I get home, to mentally and physically set aside work and step into my own time.

On an unrelated note:

We've all heard the drill - don't drink your calories. Which I'm normally pretty good about, except the occasional party and slightly less rare latte, but this will really open your eyes:

It boggles the mind to know (I didn't fact check this) that there is a beverage you can order, and (maybe - I don't think I could come close) completely consume that is 24 fluid oz (which equates to more than 1.5 pounds), is more than 2000 calories, and has enough saturated fat to be equivalent to more than 30 strips of bacon. Obviously, it would be hard not to know you were indulging while consuming, but still ....


Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 7 - The end of the first week

And today I am walking like a slightly-less-old woman.

My calves are still tight, but not as much and I more easily loosen up once I'm moving about. But semi-sensibly, I've left my KFB jump roping for this evening to do so better warmed up (and to get a little more sleep this morning, I confess). I'm pleased that the timing of the KFB means that the light day falls on Friday, which coordinates well with my schedule where Friday is the day I would find it the most difficult to get up and get a full work out in - as I learned when doing the PCP earlier this year.

Yay for happy circumstances!

And - despite having a mind that goes all over the place, I'm really enjoying the meditation portion of KFB


Jumping: 14 inches (my officemate and I spent some time figuring out what would be the best way to measure this - and decided that the most accurate and consistent method would be to measure the displacement of my head by jumping, as measuring from the ground up would vary by how straight my legs would be and how flexed/extended my feet would be)
Punching: 142 I didn't get around to acquiring a pingpong ball, so used a small sponge - either that or previous experience seems to have given me an advantage.
Stretching: about 2 inches past my toes (can place second knuckle on ground)

Before photo:Height: 5'5'' (not really expecting this to change :)
Weight: 145.8 lbs

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 6

Today I am walking like an old woman.

I don't feel like one, naturally, but my calves are tight and sore and it makes straightening my legs painful. I went on a little run this morning, and they loosened up - but after sitting for awhile they tighten up again. And I forget, so when I get up from working every so often, it's a bit of a surprise.

Patrick had asked us to get our benchmark measurements done by now, and I am delinquent (and feel disproportionally guilty about it). With my calves the way they are, today was also not a good day to either test my flexibility or my strength as I feel handicapped for those tests and don't want to sandbag future progress reports. I will try to benchmark tomorrow.

This week has been busier than usual - I'm still playing catchup from taking a week off to be home with my family and am looking forward to life slowly settling back to a sustainable level of activity. To be honest, I'm hoping to settle into a life with a little less activity than I've been accustomed to having. Or at least activity more consciously chosen.

This wish has crossed my mind more and more often in recent months - and is a thought that bumps across my mind at least twice during each meditation session attempt, as I try to be aware of being alive in the stillness of my apartment, listening to the distant sounds of traffic. I'm still feeling out what it is I'm actually reaching for, groping in the dark: it's not as though I'm looking for a life where I don't do anything and nothing happens. I'm probably looking to be more mindful of how I'm spending my time - and then either being present in what I'm doing, or not doing what doesn't really add anything to my life.

So much easier said than done ...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 5

Zoikes! Certain muscles in my legs are definitely feeling the kicks we've been doing, and it's a healthy reminder that I'm moving out of comfortable movements to become stronger and more agile.

Or that's what I keep telling myself. It took until the 4th or 5th rep for my legs to loosen up.

This morning I skipped any ancillary training in favor of sleep and feel much better for it, although it didn't manifest at all at my attempts to meditate this morning, when other thoughts kept intruding and I had the most interrupted meditation effort so far.

I've not yet done my benchmarking for the project - I've still got to find a ping-pong ball or substitute, although I have rounded up an accomplice for helping me with my jumping measurement. I suspect that I'll find it difficult to get motivated to benchmark myself often as it requires going out in search of a partner...

Internally, I'm discovering (or, re-discovering) a latent desire to have it ALL. I'm enjoying getting back into more intense exercise, but want to do MORE, I want to spend more thoughtful time writing blog posts, ...

and I want all that free time I had when I wasn't doing so much exercise or writing blog posts or preparing 6 healthy meals/snacks a day.

Greedy. That's what I am. Greedy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 4

This morning I did 30 minutes/3 miles of interval training in addition to KFB - which may have been too much as I'm feeling pretty beat right now. Or that could be because I slept lightly last night, waking often and having weird dreams.

I dreamed that I'd damaged my feet and was limping around in a foreign country and trying desperately to avoid going to the emergency room - but I eventually unwrapped the bandages on my feet to discover that after a week I was still gushing blood and all the skin and protective flesh around my achilles tendon was gone. And then there was a lot of delay and waiting and moving to different hospitals (all in stairwells, for bizarre dream logic). Which sounds really gross and disturbing and, well, nightmarish, now that I'm describing it. But I wasn't really all that worried in the dream, and it didn't hurt, so emotionally the dream was just weird.

I should mention that while my dreams are invariably weird, they are not often bloody - and I don't think that I've ever had a nightmare. I've never been frightened or bothered by a dream.

This morning I tried doing the kicks like a Tang Soo Do front kick. Which made that quite a workout. I haven't done martial arts in nearly a decade (really? checking my math ... yes, really) and this is reminding me that I miss it...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Starting KFB

I was really excited to do the KFB when Patrick invited me - and excited to see how I would balance real life and what I learned from PCP before KFB began.

As circumstances had it, life blew me out of the water the day after PCP ended: my Dad had emergency surgery and was eventually sent home for Hospice care and died Mother's Day weekend. He had lived a good life (he was 86) and had been frustrated with limitations imposed by various physical ailments, but it's still sad, has taken a bit of the wind out of my sails, and leaves me feeling exhausted after 5 consecutive weekends spent driving home to Boston and back - a 600 mile round trip.

So, in a manner of speaking, KFB seems to have come at an ideal time:
  • when I'd already been thinking that I needed to do something to improve my flexibility,
  • when I need (and desperately want) to get back on a regular schedule of eating well and getting exercise after a few weeks where there wasn't time and my attention was entirely elsewhere,
  • when the prospect of getting my mental house in order and taking the time to slow down is unusually appealing
On the other hand, I was out of town for the first two days of the KFB and so am getting started late :(

Thoughts so far:

I may be over-thinking things, but I think that a video demonstration would help some of the dynamic exercises. I did the straight kicks like a Tang Soo Do Roundhouse kick, but on looking at the pictures again, they look more like a cross between a Tang Soo Do front kick (in which the pelvis faces forward, but which is a thrusting kick) and a roundhouse kick (in which the pelvis faces to the side, but is a swinging kick). I'm not sure if it matters for the purposes of the exercise, though ....

I have no idea what I should be stretching for the Rabbit stretch.

I like taking the time for stretching.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Kung Fu Body

And here I am again - I've signed up to beta-test Patrick's The Kung Fu Body.

Let's experiment!