Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update - Yoga in Pictures!

I still can't believe how much yoga kicks my butt nine ways to Sunday, but it does.  Every time.  This ain't yo momma's* yoga.  This is a tough class, time and time again.  And just when I think I've got one pose, well, not mastered, but understood, my instructor, whom I adore, comes over to give me some one-on-one pose corrections.  Now don't get me wrong - I'm really grateful that she takes the time to do this...but while I'm in the moment, holding and stretching and pulling this in and that back and oh the burning, it burns - well, let's just say that I've come up with a nickname for her - with great affection, of course.  She has the nicest smile, the kindest eyes, and the most gentle voice...but Kimberly (the Hun) is beating me down, people!!!

So yoga...why do I keep going back?  Glutton for punishment?  Nah - it's challenging and I actually like that when I'm done.  Plus, I keep hoping that when I do these poses correctly and pull myself up from Warrior 2 using my stomach muscles instead of cheating with my back muscles, I might actually strengthen and smallen (it's a word, I'm sure) my core.  Plus you can't beat the one-on-one attention.  Much as I'd like to be the invisible student in a class of 30, this is good for me, to be in such a small group...and, as I've mentioned, to have an instructor so willing to help.

Kimberly (the Hun) took some pictures of us a week ago Monday, and when she emailed them to me over the weekend, I could A) see what she meant in how I should be doing certain poses; and B) see how my dancer pose has improved since then - just two classes later.  Cool!
Dancer pose - last Monday I was using the light pole for a crutch (as you can see I'm not even touching it, but I felt better knowing I could grab it if I lost my balance).  By the next class, I didn't even need it (ok, that was with KtH encouraging me to not use it)(she was right) and I got my back leg up even higher!
Flying Locust pose - another core strengthener!
After taking the group shot, KtH went around and got an individual picture of each of us...as I was fourth in line, I was dying at this point...hence the red face!
This is the Triangle pose.  Ivan (in the foreground) is the T/Th instructor. 
My favorite pose.  I call it nap time.  It's our reward for making it through the class!

And now you have a little glimpse into what I do twice a week.  By the way?  On Monday's class the starting temperature was 106 but it had dropped to 103 by the time we were done.  And seriously, as long as we're in the shade, it doesn't bother me.  Hot yoga for the win!



*actually, I have no idea if yo momma even goes to yoga, and whether or not it is a hard class...pretty presumptive of me, no?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Athletic Companies, Are You Seeing Your Real Customers?

I'm finally realizing that I will never look like the women in the advertisements for running shoes or clothes.  No matter what, I'm not going to magically grow five inches taller, or become massively leaner and (haha) flat-chested.  Not to mention suddenly de-age 25 years.  No matter how much exercise I do, no matter how much weight I lose, it ain't gonna happen. 

Now, when I'm in the moment of a particular yoga pose, or I'm feeling the strength of my legs propel me through the water as I swim (or back when I conquered the box jump or blasted through a 6 mile run), I see myself as an athlete, but the truth is that I'm just a regular person, with figure flaws (still! losing over 100 pounds did not magically cure them!) that include-but-are-not-limited-to:  lumps, bumps, wrinkles and saggy skin.  And I'm realizing that there are a lot more of my types out there than there are of the types portrayed in the ads showing us what we should be buying to make our athletic experience better.

Maybe the companies - the ones whose products I and a lot of you buy, should consider changing tactics and feature more of the "every person" in their ads.  Dove did it a few years ago with their Real Women campaign.  Why not Skirt Sports, or Athleta, or Brooks, or the myriad of other athletic companies - why not feature real people using their products?  Because we do.  And I think it would be less intimidating, especially for those of us with Adult-Onset Athleticism, to purchase something from a model that looks like us.  These products aren't just for the high-performance athletes - they're for us mid-to-low-end users, too...and there's a lot of us out there.  While I'm realistic enough to know that using their product will not make me look like their model, it can, however, make my athletic experience a lot more enjoyable - and isn't that the goal?

What say you - would you rather see an ad featuring an everyday person using some sort of sporting equipment or clothes, or do you want the model illusion?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Mishmash - Massive Randomness

I *may* have mentioned it a time or three, but Texas has been in a terrible drought.  My town has not had rain since June 22 - that is, until the awesome force of my yoga class brought it on Wednesday evening, when we did the (rain) dancer pose...and sure enough, the skies darkened, the wind whipped up, and the lightening sirens went off in the park we were at.  It wasn't a deluge, it wasn't a downpour, but it WAS rain, and it was beautiful.  Bryan/College Station, you can thank Prana Yoga. ;)
Not us, as there is no ocean in my town.  But this is what the dancer pose looks like...and I actually DID IT without having to hold onto the light pole!

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Last weekend, when we were up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area (side note:  why am I either in B/CS or D/FW?  What's up with the two-town situation???), we ate at what has become my favorite hamburger place in Texas (had to clarify that because my favorite in California is Aptos Burger) - Scotty P's.  Holy yum, I die every time I eat their chili cheeseburger.  So amazing.  And maybe it's because I only get to eat there every once in a while (this was my third time ever), or maybe it's because their burgers are so dang good, or maybe it's just that I become a food-hoarding-chow-hound when I walk into the restaurant, but I do not split my burger with Jeff there.  Which is what I have no problem doing when we eat at our local burger joint in town on Friday nights.  But come between me and my Scotty P's chili cheeseburger, and you may just get a fork in your hand.  Diet blog?  What diet blog???

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When our house was built, the builders left our backyard pretty much in the natural state, so there are a lot of mature oak trees and a bunch of scrub - smaller trees and bushes.  Very rustic, and we like it.  So do the squirrels and birds - we have a lot of cardinals, blue jays, mockingbirds, crows, doves, some tiny brown birds, and the occasional woodpecker.  I have a great view from my office, and it's always fun to see who's visiting the yard.  The other day, I was shocked to see this pretty guy:
Not the greatest photo, as I was inside and using the zoom lens, but you get the idea...

After emailing it to my mom, she said it's a Painted Bunting - and apparently it's rare to see one, so I feel pretty lucky!

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Back to last weekend (I know, jump around much, Shelley?) - I thought that we'd actually have a visit to Sam's place and not have to go to Ikea - don't get me wrong, I love that store, but it's an event to get through it.  Turns out he was thinking about adding to his desk (which is the beauty of that system - you can change it without having to start over) and rearranging his bedroom, now that he'd lived with everything for a few months.  So.  Off we went.  And as we were blasting through the showroom, I checked on a headboard that he'd considered buying previously.  Would you believe it was marked down to $19.99?  A queen-sized birch headboard???  Would you believe he bought it?  Of course you would - he's my son, after all, and knows a good bargain when he sees one!
Yes, the bed is blocking the door to his balcony, but he's got another door in the living room.  Also?  I washed his sheets and made the bed - hey, once a mom, always a mom.

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Fashion Friday has gone to the dogs...er, feet!  As this week has been spent in either swimsuits or yoga clothes, I decided that you needed to see my latest pedicure color.  While blue is my go-to color of choice (with occasional forays into purple and orange), I have been wanting to paint my toes green, and last week, I did it (or rather, the guy at the nail salon did it).
Why YES, the toes *do* match my flip flops!

I noticed that they also match the color of Sam's car, and my yoga mat - actually, my instructor Kimberly also noticed that...ahhh, another kindred soul!  And while I didn't think to take a picture, I've been wearing my purple Athleta skort with a green t-shirt and the flip flops.  You know, I think I would have done quite well back in the day when women matched their pocketbooks to their shoes!

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Well, we are looking at a high on Saturday of 107 degrees.  Yay.  I'm planning on getting out early with my cowbell and cheering on the full marathon runners in my running club, who are doing their longest run to date - 13.1 miles.  Yes, a half marathon.  Only with no medals or fanfare.  So I'll be their fanfare.  Color me impressed that they would run that far with no finisher's shirt, or medal, or goodie bag - this is just another distance on their journey to 26.2 miles.  Incredible and amazing, and remember, they are doing this when the starting temperature will be around 80 degrees, and it will likely be close to 90 by the time most are finished.  Ah-mazing.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update - Creepy Guy Edition!

 Sorry to post such a creeper, but I couldn't find a better picture - Google, you let me down!

I joked to my pool buddy Nancy that I was going to start wearing a trench-coat to the pool, and every time someone asked me "where do you get that counter-thing?" I'd whip open one side to show my inventory, all for sale, just like they used to do with watches (well, in the movies. I don't know if they ever did that in real life).  Anyway, I mentioned that because there are now four people at the pool who've bought a lap counter after seeing mine.  Sport Count, are you listening?  LOL.  They could care less.  But it does crack me up, the idea that I'm influencing other people when it comes to purchasing sports equipment.  Because hello, when it comes to sporting goods, I'm not exactly the athletic figure that companies look for to endorse their products.  But maybe I should be...seriously, I could be the every(wo)man!  The non-intimidating athlete.  The person who makes you think "well geez, if SHE can run/swim/yoga/do crossfit, I guess anyone can!" - hey, I might be onto something here.

But I digress.  I actually had a point to this post today.  I know, shocking!  So on Monday, Nancy and I were doing our thang, kickboarding up and down the pool as we yammered.  A woman in another lane called over to us and asked "how do you go so fast?" and of course, we showed her our secret weapons - the swim fins!  I remembered back to when I first started swimming that I was much slower on the kickboard with bare feet.  We must have looked like pool ninjas to her, with our stealthy speed and all (or maybe not - maybe it's just my secret desire to look like a pool ninja?).  Anyway, after Nancy left I swam over and talked to the woman, Denise, and let her try on my fins and take them for a spin.  She was hooked (I'm telling you, they are awesome).

And then she noticed my lap counter on my finger and asked about that, so of course I had to go into my enthusiastic spiel.

And then?  The best part (I know, bad journalism as I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to bury the lead)(good thing I'm not getting graded)(I actually got A's in my journalism classes in college)(ok, enough already!) was when Denise confided to me that she wanted to lose 100 pounds.  And I was so grateful to be able to say back to her "I lost 100 pounds" - and see the look on her face - almost relieved, like "it IS possible" - because I remember how absolutely unfathomable it was to think about losing 100 pounds.  And yet, it can be done - as many of us weight-loss bloggers have shown.  Anyway, long story short (I know, too late) is that Denise ordered herself a pair of swim fins, a lap counter, and a ton of motivation, and I'm looking forward to seeing her every morning at the pool and watching her shrink.  Go Denise!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Max!!!

Today is my youngest son's birthday - my baby is 22 years old!  I still don't understand how this is possible - I mean, I remember when he was born, and I SWEAR it was not that long ago!

We went up to Denton for the weekend to see the boys.  Stopped first at Max's apartment to give him his birthday presents...you know you're an adult when you get art, or rather, "three art" as Max put it, for your birthday.
Max and his art - hey, he wanted real art for his apartment - no more posters for this boy...er, young man!

We had a fun weekend, both relaxing and whirlwind busy - don't ask me how we managed to do that!  For Max's official birthday dinner, he requested a Mexican restaurant in Frisco, which is near where Sam lives.  The boys were eyeing the margaritas on the menu, so Jeff and I encouraged them to order one.  Of course, we cracked up when they were carded by the waiter!  While they both thought the margaritas were pretty strong, they managed to finish them, no problem.

Sam has only had one sip and already, he's giggling!  Max is pondering the essence of the tequila...or maybe he had a brain freeze from the drink?

Here's some of my favorite pictures of Max through the years - he's a kid who's marched to the beat of his own drum - and in one case, created his own drum set.  I'm proud to have him for my son! :)
Lack of an actual drum set never stopped Max from making his own music!

This was taken during - yes, during - his 6th birthday party!  It had rained that day, and after the games and cake, Jeff took the boys up to the elementary school to burn off some energy.  They found mud puddles and were quite proud of their "war paint," those knuckleheads!
 
 (Austin, Tony, Zach and Max)

Max loves animals - these are some (not all, believe it or not) of our pets with him:
With Jackie - I don't think she lasted long in the tub, but she looks like she was enjoying her bath!
With his favorite, Bugs the rat.
Max and kitten Taz.
Vintage Max - old school computer and monitor, soda can AND bottle (banner day!), and Bart the kitten.  What more could a boy want?

Max had a terrible first football game in seventh grade - he was knocked down by a huge kid and badly broke both bones in his wrist.  He ended up having four surgeries and nearly lost his hand after compartment syndrome set in the evening after the bones were set (surgery #1).  Here he is recovering after one of the operations, with now adult cat Bart and my favorite, Pumpkin, keeping him company:
And after all of that trauma, he actually went back and played football AGAIN the next year (broken foot) and the year after that (broken arm).  Then he finally decided enough was enough!

Here's my now 22-year-old son, with happy (I'm with my boy, I'm with my boy) Paco (and mega-desk behind him):
Have a great birthday, Max!!!  We love you. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Mishmash

Paco is 5 years old now and still just as insane as he was when we first got him as a young puppy in 2006.  I guess that's the terrier in him.  This week he really let the man delivering the new phone book on our doorstep have it - well, from the other side of the door, that is.  Guess he never saw the movie The Jerk - doesn't he know we CELEBRATE the new phone book?
Dat movie rated R - I too young to see it.

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I saw the movie The Help a few days ago - I was in a rush to get to the 11:45 am showing, and knew that I would be hungry for lunch during the movie, so I threw some yogurt, granola and pretzel sticks into my purse, along with some water...that worked great, as I wasn't tempted to buy the ridiculously-priced popcorn or any other snacks.  The movie was pretty good, btw - I loved the book, and usually I don't like the movie if I've loved the book, but not true in this case.  Of course, the book had way more story to it, but the movie is definitely worth seeing.
 Dramatic reenactment of my movie lunch (I didn't have time to take a picture beforehand)

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You meet the nicest people in Blogland!  One of them is Katie J, who lives in my hometown - it's always fun when she writes about her area, because I can picture the places where she goes (for the most part - I haven't lived there since 1983 and it's changed a little).  Anyway, she sent me a present to celebrate my "new" office - painted wine glasses!
They have my blog flower painted on them - how perfect!  I love the colors, too.  Thank you, Katie!!!
Paco approves!

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Just when I thought I was imagining our really hot temperatures, comes this list...with my town as the fourth hottest place to live in the U.S.  Egads.  But really - it's been over 100 degrees here for more than a month.  That IS hot, even for Texas!
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In this week's Fashion Friday, I have two new skirts to show you!  Backstory on this is that about a month ago, I was waiting for my drink (iced nonfat latte) at Starbucks and I noticed a woman there, wearing the cutest khaki skirt.  Naturally I had to compliment her on it, and find out where she got it.  Would you believe Athleta?  Well, I would - I get their catalogs and drool over their clothes, but I've never actually purchased anything - they are kinda spendy, and you know how I like my bargains!  But this skirt was so cute...and it was on sale, so I decided to buy one.  However, I couldn't decide which size to get, so I bought a purple one in one size and a light khaki (called dolphin) one in another size.  Guess what?  They both fit.  The bigger one is a little longer, but I can't see much difference otherwise.  I was going to return whichever one didn't fit, but I really loved them, so I ended up keeping them both.  Also?  I thought it was interesting that my ego wasn't bothered by keeping the bigger size - while, when I first lost my weight, I was thrilled beyond belief to fit into small sizes (and rightly so, after spending years and years in the plus sizes), I've relaxed on the whole "numbers" thing, from the scale to the clothes.  I'm wearing what fits, regardless of what it says on the tag.  I know, what a concept!!!

Anyway, onto the skirt - here's the purple:
And here's the dolphin:
But wait - there's more!  These are not just skirts - they are skorts!  I love that they have shorts, made out of the same fabric as the skirt, underneath.  And guess what?  I can't seem to stop myself from showing anyone and everyone who compliments me on the skirt (and there have been quite a few people who've done that - it's a really cute skirt...er, skort).

Flashing the purple:
Annnd flashing the dolphin color:

What I like about these skorts?
  1. Great fabric - similar to the shorts I've been living in all summer;
  2. They dress me up just a bit - I feel more confident running errands, not showing quite so much thigh (well, unless I happen to be showing someone the shorts underneath, lol);
  3. They wash and dry like a champ - no wrinkles, super-easy to care for.
What I'm not thrilled about?
  1. The shorts tend to roll up a bit every time I sit down (no matter which size), so I have to adjust them whenever I, say, get out of the car;
  2. The cost - even on sale, they are expensive, and I'd love to own a few more colors, but my budget won't allow for it. 
Ah well.  The skorts are fun, and in the few weeks that I've had them,  they've quickly become my go-to choice when I'm out and about.  Perfect for our hot Texas summers!

Have a great weekend - it's gonna be another scorcher here...hope y'all stay cool!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update - Bullet Point Edition

  • Well, the two-a-days continue, what with doing yoga two evenings a week and swimming five mornings.  What???  I'm sure it's comparable to what the local high school football players are going through right now.  Well, in the magical World of Shelley, anyway!
  • Have I mentioned that I'm at the pool by 8:00 am every weekday morning?  A while ago, I got it into my head that my workout was my "job" so to speak, and I made this self-imposed arrival time.  You know what?  I haven't skipped a workout yet.  Hey, whatever works, right?
  • I got a text message midday on Monday that the yoga class for that night was cancelled - and I was genuinely disappointed.  Who am I, and when did I become the person who was sad to miss a workout?  The old me would have been relieved, and celebrated a free night.  But I really like my yoga instructors.  I've been spoiled with being the only student in several of the Monday/Wednesday classes, and have gotten a lot of extra instruction - and I feel like I'm actually doing some of the poses correctly because of that.
  • Now, that being said, Tuesday night's class?  Kicked my behind.  Is that an appropriate thing to say about yoga?  It's true!  Ivan led a vinyasa flow class, which meant that we moved from one pose to the next with hardly any breaks in between.  Of course, we were supposed to be practicing our breathing, but that can still be a challenge for me, especially when the pose is particularly hard...then I'm apt to fall back into Lamaze-type breathing, lol!
  • Chair pose.  I never thought there would be something more challenging than the wall sits we did when I was training with Brad, but the yoga chair pose beats my quads into submission.
  • Rest days are awesome.  Saturday and Sunday?  I swear, I can feel my muscles knitting themselves back together.  Best thing is that with as much swimming and yoga as I've been doing, I really feel like I've earned them.  And I'm pleased that I can say that. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ankle, Schmankle

Back when I first started running, it was such an accomplishment to run a lap on the short trail at the park closest to our house - the park with the statues that startle me.  If memory serves me correctly, I believe that was just over half a mile.  And then, I branched out, crossing over to run the path around the soccer fields.  Finally, I would run both paths AND from one end of the park to the other.  I was thinking about this park the other day (ironically, while I was in the pool) and remembering how, bit by bit, I kept expanding my running distance.  Jeff and I used to go out there every Sunday morning - he would ride his bike, while I would run.  I can't believe that it was just a year ago that we did this.  And now, he's out there running, while I'm not.

I feel like I've been brought to my knees by this ankle injury - who knew it would go on like this?  At first, I was just bummed that I wouldn't be able to run the half marathon that I had trained so long for.  But as the months without any running went by, and then my few attempts resulted in pain, and more months went by, I began to wonder if I'd ever run again.  Dramatic, yes, but real.

So the truth is that it still gives me trouble. I feel it when I swim - although the kicking motion might not "pound" on it, there is resistance in the water, and that does bug my ankle a little.  Also, some of the standing-balancing-on-one-foot yoga poses bother it - to the point that I've had to take some Motrin over the last week.  This does not make me feel super-confident about returning to running soon, although that is, in fact, my plan.  It may sound crazy, but really - I'm wondering if my ankle will ever return to normal.  Maybe this IS my new normal.  And quite honestly, while the pain bugs me, it's almost more the idea of the pain, rather than the pain itself, that is irritating, because pain, to me, signals no running.  Also, even with the bits of pain that I'm experiencing, I'm not going to stop swimming or doing yoga.  Enough is enough, you know?

I'm giving it one more shot - I have an appointment with a podiatrist who specializes in ankles.  September 14th - yes, a month from now (we are changing insurances and have to wait for that to take effect).  Anyway, I'm going to see what he recommends and go from there.  But honestly, if it's more "give it time" - well, I may just not.  Hey, as long as my leg isn't going to break in two, and this is as much pain as there will be, I might as well do what I want, which is to add a little running back into my life.  Just a little.  I no longer have dreams of running a half marathon - just a mile would be wonderful.  I want to run that statue lap.  I want to run for smoothies with my buddy Jenny.  And on December 3rd, I want to run the 5K at Dallas White Rock - the day before Jeff and the rest of my running club tackles the half and full marathon.  Nearly a year after this injury happened, I don't think that's asking for too much.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Mishmash

File this under So Very Right:  My mom had her quarterly CT scan and bloodwork done this week, and got great news once again - no signs of the cancer returning! We like this, we really, really LIKE this!

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Roxie wanted to hear about my Day of Debauchery and Gluttony.  It wasn't that bad, but it certainly wasn't a diet day, either.  We started with Harvest Grain and Nut pancakes (or panqueques, as Jeff and I like to call them) at IHOP - this was brunch, as he had gotten up at 5:00 am to run while I slept in (hey, I have to get something out of not being able to run, right?!?).  YUM.  That is my one splurge on real butter and syrup.  I like to dab a little bit of butter on each bite of pancake, then dip into a puddle of syrup.  YUM.  Later that afternoon we were out running errands - it was so freaking hot that you could feel your skin burning during the walk from the car to the store (and yes, sunscreen was applied, Helen).  We stopped at the sno cone hut to rehydrate with a pina colada sno cone.  Hit the spot - there is nothing like an icy treat on a 105 degree day to make you feel human again!  Later that night, we went to BJ's Brewhouse (new to our town!) and I had their Italian Market salad - chopped goodness with fresh mozzarella, fontina cheese, salami, and olives (Carla!) - YUM.  That kind of day was most welcome, after my boring eats of Greek yogurt, granola, peaches, watermelon, eggs and PB&J sandwiches during the previous week.

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File this under So Very Wrong:
I have no words.

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OK, I've lived in Texas for nearly 19 years now, and I've acclimated to the heat.  I've grown to like it, actually.  I know, call me weird, but it's true...especially since I lost the weight and with it, my insulation.  I can take the heat.  For the most part.  But Jimmy the Cricket (as my son Sam used to say), it's been especially hot this summer, and well over 100 degrees for a month now.  Which wouldn't be so bad if it would just RAIN once in a while.  Come ON, already - this global warming/La Nina/whatever has got to stop!

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And now, it's time for a very special Fashion Friday!  Recently, Janell posted on her blog that she was starting a little business knitting cowls - well, she called them scowls, but she's funny that way.  I contacted her and placed an order - while I've tried to learn to knit, it just hasn't clicked (haha) in my brain.  And I appreciate the creativity that some people have, especially since art and colors and making something out of nothing is not my strong point.  But it certainly is Janell's!  I told her what colors I liked for the cowl, and she went to work.  Y'all.  I was stunned when I got it in the mail.  It is so gorgeous.  There is so much detail - she used all kinds of yarns, and varied the textures, and then she added beads - I was not expecting anything this amazing.  I love it, and while I've only been able to wear it for the photos for this post (please see above reference of 100 degree heat), I know that this will be wonderful to wear in the Fall (all two weeks of it) and Winter.

Pictures don't do it justice - I should have gone outside in natural light, but have I mentioned the heat?  Click them if you want to see it in more detail.
 Love how the lighter blues pop when worn with this color blouse!
 Click this picture to see the beads, and the different textures of the yarns...
Janell joked that she'd throw in some Bella fur (Bella is her adorable corgi) and of course I welcomed that!  Paco could not keep his nose out of the cowl - he was all over me, "meeting" Bella!  Click here to see when I got to meet Bella...and Janell, of course! :)

If you're interested in having Janell create a one-of-a-kind, gorgeous, hand-knit cowl for you, email her (pod1739@gmail.com) for pricing and details.  You won't be sorry.

Alright, hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Stay cool?  Hah!  Not likely, here in Texas.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update - Mishmash Style

My pool buddy Nancy had the audacity to take a couple of days off this week, which meant I was all alone with no one to chat with.  (everyone:  awww!)  I know.  Quite sad.  Anyway, it also meant that I didn't get to mindlessly kick board like I do with her (she's cooling down and I'm warming up), so I did a quick 20 lengths and then started in on my combination back and side stroke for 50 lengths.  Now, it was Monday, and I'd had two days off so I was feeling really fresh.  I decided that I'd go for 60 lengths.  Plus, that way I'd only have 20 more kick board to do (I always do a total of 100 lengths (or 50 laps) every workout).  So I did, and felt fine.  Huh.  I got to thinking about when I first started swimming...back then, I threw in 10 lengths of kick board after every 20 lengths of side or back stroke to give me a bit of a rest, because I was truly winded and needed it.  But I'm not winded any more, and I don't know when that happened.  Wow.  Endurance is sneaking up on me!  So I guess I'll work on increasing the side/back stroke portion, and  start phasing out the kick board afterward.  I still want to keep my workout to 100 lengths (or 2,500 yards) per session, since I am swimming Monday through Friday.

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I am really, really enjoying my hot yoga classes.  I love my instructor, Kimberly - she's been so helpful in teaching me how to do the poses correctly, and what do you know - it really feels different when you're doing them right!  For example, we were doing the tree pose on Monday night - looks simple enough, right?  But I didn't have my foot flat against my thigh, and I was wobbling all over.  Kimberly stood next to me so I could hold onto her shoulder for balance while I placed my foot in the correct position, and then I was able to let go and balance!
Not me doing the tree pose.  Also?  I can't get my foot that high.  Yet. ;)

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I have been swimming for four months now - who EVER woulda thunk it?!?  Certainly not me, that's for sure.  For my swimiversary (it's a real word, I swear!), I treated myself to my very own kick board - now I don't have to borrow one from the gym, which is nice since most of them have either shark bites in them (I may be exaggerating a bit on that one - but there ARE bite chunks missing.  Maybe not done by sharks.  Who knows???) or finger indentations - I can only assume death grips from nervous swimmers?  Anyhoodles, if you know me (and I know you do), you won't be surprised to see what color I chose:
Purple!  So some days I will match my suit and cap entirely, and other days I will contrast nicely with my turquoise suit.  Hey - it may not be as much fun as my running gear, but I'm working with what I have!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Switch

"What finally flipped the switch for you?"

I cannot tell you how many times I've been asked this question in the last few years.  In person, by doctors, friends and acquaintances, via email by readers of this blog.  And to this day, I still don't have a good answer.  I mean, in May of 2008 I was definitely ready to give dieting one last try.  But I'd been ready many, many times before.  So why did it take?  What was different?

Beats me.

And I know that some of you want to strangle me for saying that.

I hear you.  I know the desperation.  I know that you see my before and after pictures, and want that for yourself.  I did, too.  I wanted a cure.  I wanted what those newly thin people had.  I wanted to BE one of them.  I wanted to be rid of not only the weight, but the entanglement that comes from food.  And yet, there were so many times when I started out a diet, only to throw in the towel, so to speak...the old "I blew it, what's the use, I'll start again on Monday, it's taking too long, there's a big celebration coming up, I'll start over after that..."

I know the desperation.  I know the failure.  I know the completely crap feeling of starting the day on plan, only to let myself be derailed by lunchtime.  I am quite familiar with all of the bad aspects of dieting.

Luckily, I'm also familiar with the good parts of dieting.  The successful day.  The surprise realization that an item of clothing is too big, even fresh out of the dryer.  The time when, out of the blue, someone says "you've lost weight" - and the time when you glance at a reflection in a store window and are startled to realize the stranger staring back is you.  The time when you go shopping for new clothes and fit into everything you try on.  I could go on and on, but you get the drift.

I guess the only thing I can come up with is that when I started dieting, the scale started to move downward - granted, it was a tiny drop in the bucket compared to what I needed to lose, but it was enough to give me hope that if I kept on doing the next right thing - eating on plan, drinking tons of water, exercising even when I didn't really feel like it - if I kept on doing all of that, I would, eventually, become one of those people.  And to this day, I hang onto that idea.  So even when I have a day of excess (hey, Saturday was the Day of Debauchery and Gluttony), it's easy enough to set that day aside and move forward into my normal way of living.  Because I still want it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Mishmash - (Boat) Driver's Ed Needed!

Not a lot going on this week - Jeff has been traveling once again, the dog days of summer are upon us with a vengeance, and I've been doing my best to combat it by watching all the episodes of Mad Men on Netflix - you know, I don't smoke and never have, but I kinda feel the need for some Nicorette gum...my gosh, could there BE a more cigarette-centric show?!?  Any case, I'm hooked.  On the show, that is - not the cigs!

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I mentioned the weather - lawdy, it's been hot.  Like 105 and 106 degrees.  Even the wildlife is suffering:
The poor guy was splayed out for hours!  He only moved when Paco went outside to check on him.  Yeah, I'm sure that's what Paco was doing, "checking" on the squirrel's health and well-being.  Riiight.

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This is the silly set of pictures from our day on the boat. As we were headed back to the dock, Terry told me that I should give driving the boat a try. Sure - how hard could it be? I asked John, and he gave me instructions (head for that water tower waaaayyyy in the distance, don't over correct - there may have been more, but apparently I stopped listening at that point in my eagerness to take control) and then he handed over the wheel. Well. It's a bit harder than it looks. Terry was documenting my experience on film, er, memory card, and I doubly laughed afterward to see not only my crazed panic, but the looks on Jeff's face throughout the saga. Please enjoy my boating awkwardness, and yes, I DO need to attend driver's ed for boating!
Captain John explaining how to steer - this is when I really should have paid more attention.
Goofy look is actually intense concentration as I try to keep us on course...
My face is flushing as I begin to panic because the boat is turning toward the left...what?!?  And where is John?  More panic as I realize he's gone below deck!  Luckily Terry was right there, but she made no moves to take over, much as I needed it!
Still panicking disguised as crazed laughter; Jeff is looking a little worried there.
He's saying "why do you keep going THAT direction?"  (answer:  I can't help it!!!)
Now Jeff is starting to go into a fetal position...
Me white-knuckling it while Jeff is demonstrating which way I should be turning the boat!

For what it's worth, eventually I got us back on track.  Then I offered the wheel to Jeff and he wouldn't take it, the big chicken!  And I have to hand it to John, because you KNOW he had to have felt the boat turning as much as it was, and he didn't come rushing up get me away from the driver's seat.  Terry was equally calm - I don't know how they did it.  Driving the boat for a little while was fun, but all in all, I prefer to be a passenger!

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Hopefully next week I will have something new for Fashion Friday.  For today, you'll have to settle for another installment of Shopping With Shelley™ - this was a dress at Old Navy that Kristen had blogged about in gray, so the other day when I was out and about, I decided to try it on.  Gray doesn't do much for me, so I choose the blue striped version.  While I liked the colors, and how it fit from the waist down, it was too big on the top.  I'm throwing my shoulders back in this picture to get the fabric to stop drooping down - and this is unusual because normally clothes are too small on top for me.  I couldn't have gone down a size, though, as the dress wouldn't have fit over my hips and thighs.  Oh well.  The funniest thing is that when I went to her blog to get the link for the gray dress, I found that she'd bought it in blue, too!  She definitely does the dress justice. :)
I'm wearing a white tank top underneath, but the shot is really overexposed and you can't see it.  Darn dressing room lights!

Have a great weekend - stay cool! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday Workout Update - Impressive Stats, LOL!


July Stats
Swimming - 50,000 yards
Hot Yoga - 150 minutes

That translates into swimming 2,500 yards a day for 20 days out of the month (I swam every Monday thru Friday except for one day when I had to go to the dentist in the morning because of my hurting mouth), and going to yoga twice.  Still, I like that you can make anything sound impressive - just depends on how you write it!

Swimming is going well - it generally takes me around an hour and fifteen minutes to complete my workout - if my pool buddy Nancy is there when I arrive, we kick board and chat together for 20 or 30 lengths (if she's not, then I usually only kick for 10 lengths while I cry inwardly because I like my chatty time); then I do my combination back stroke/side stroke for 50 lengths, and finish for a total of 100 lengths with more kick board, throwing in about five sprints if I feel like it.  Just so you know, I do not feel like sprinting when I'm swimming the morning after hot yoga.  Swimming is enough at that point - the yoga workouts are intense, and I'm still a bit tired from them, which is to be expected since I'm swimming about 13 hours after I finished yoga.  I consider it a victory that I actually DO swim at all the morning after my evening yoga class.

I had a couple of workout-related victories this week that I wanted to share.  First, as I mentioned in Monday's post, I kayaked!  I got into the kayak from the boat's swim dock and didn't capsize the kayak (have you ever seen contestants on the Amazing Race do that?(I have)(not that I was worried)(ok, maybe just a little) - I like to think that my core strength contributed to helping me balance while I got in.  And then, I paddled.  Now, it wasn't like we went a long distance - just to the little island and back - but my arms didn't get tired at all from paddling, which surprised me.  Swimming has really strengthened my arms without a lot of muscle soreness - I like that I am able to get a workout in and still be able to raise my arms to wash my hair!

My second victory happened during Hot Yoga (hot as in 104 degrees hot - yikes!) on Monday night.  Kimberly, the instructor, had us moving at a pretty fast pace which was good as it left me no time to second-guess whether or not I could actually DO the poses she was leading us in - I just went for it, as much as I could.  She did the plow pose and I was shocked to discover that I could actually do it, too!!!  Usually, any of the really "bendy" yoga poses don't happen for me because I'm not that limber (yet).  So when I realized I was DOING this, inwardly I started celebrating!  I guess I'm still getting used to the idea that my body can move like this - apparently I'm carrying some of the "phantom fat" around in my head.
Plow pose - advanced yogis can put their feet on the floor.  Mine were about a foot above the floor.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lucky Us!

Lucky us, indeed - Jeff and I got to spend Saturday with our friends Terry and John, on board their boat, the Lucky Us!  Terry and John have owned the boat for about five years now, with plans to travel the Great Loop for a year (or two) once Terry retires, which is in six months.  While I'm happy for them to get to live out their dream, it's coming soon, and that means I won't be getting to have my weekly lunch with Terry, which makes me sad.  But Saturday was a happy day - thanks to Disappointing Don (aka Tropical Storm Don, who did not bring Texas our much-needed rain) not appearing, we had a beautiful day on the water!

Here are most of the pictures from our day - I'm saving a silly set for Friday's mishmash - but this tells the story pretty well.
The boat!  It's a trawler - see that uppermost part?  That's the flying bridge, where I pretended to drive the boat when we first got on board.
Look how easy it is!
 Setting off - jump on the boat, Terry!!!  (her job is to untie the boat from the dock)
 Look at their fancy Garmin!  Kinda puts Ricky Bobby to shame...this thing was pretty cool.
Terry finishing the launch procedures - note the headset she's wearing...both she and John wear them for launching and docking, which makes communicating a breeze - no having to bellow to each other.  John says these headsets are referred to as "marriage savers" in the boating world, lol.
And we're off!  As we headed out to Galveston Bay I noticed the flag art on the bridge as we approached it - do you see it there?
On our way out, we went by the Kemah Boardwalk - I've never been there and of course now I want to go!
See The Beast?  No, not Jeff (haha, I crack myself up!) - the boat with the painted-on teeth!  We saw that boat out in the water - the people on board were getting completely drenched, and I'm sure, having a blast!
Big, big ships - we were on the outskirts of the Houston shipping channel.
Admiral Terry piloting the boat - doesn't she look like she was born to do this?
Random pelicans on a marker.
Our destination - Redfish Island - just a little hook of a sandbar, basically, where lots of boats drop anchor and hang around.  I thought the island was made of sand, but it's all shells and some big rocks.  Plus a lot of debris from storms.  This is one island I would hate to be stranded on - no shelter at all!
Garmin shot - although it says the depth is less than three feet of water, that's after the keel, which is about another four feet, I think - so we were in about seven feet of water.  You'd think it would be much deeper, since we were in the middle of the bay - well, at least, I would!
Captain John and Jeff, just after we set anchor.
Ready for a fun day in the water!

I will tell you that just after we got there, we spotted a lone jellyfish in the water.  But by the time we got our swim suits on and the floaties blown up, it was gone, so we all got in the water - frankly, it was hot and that water felt GREAT.  ::cue Jaws music::  Dun duh, dun duh, dun dun dun dun...eek!  Not five minutes after I was in the water, I felt something wrap around my ankle and WHAM - stung me!  I've never been stung by a jellyfish before, but I knew instantly that's what it was.  Ouchies.  I quickly swam to the boat to get out of the water (side note:  Jeff observed that I was pretty fast - well yes, considering that A) I've been swimming miles for months now; and B) in my mind, that jellyfish had grown to the size of an octopus and its long tentacles were coming for me again!!!) - I got out and found this:
I was surprised at how long the stinging lasted...and then, periodically, I would get another zap of a sting throughout the rest of the day and evening!  Terry got out of the water and Googled what to do about jellyfish stings (of course you know Jeff was offering the pee cure, which I was not going for - it didn't hurt THAT bad) - vinegar was one recommendation, and she had some on the boat, so we tried it.  I guess it helped a bit - I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so while it was uncomfortable, it wasn't like I was dying of pain or anything.  

Anyway, I wasn't keen on getting back into the water - but Jeff and John weren't worried at all:
Rough life, eh boys?

Terry and I decided to get out their kayak and paddle over to the island - you know, I don't think I've ever kayaked before, but I did great!  We paddled (thank you, swimming, for giving me strong arms that didn't get tired) to the island and walked around it for a bit, where of course I had to collect some shells.  These were mainly oyster shells - it really was incredible to be on a piece of land that was made entirely of shells - no sand, no dirt - yes, I am easily amazed!
 Admiral Terry and I - two sporty girls!  Jeff is floating with the jellyfish.

 Relaxing on the ride back.

We really enjoyed our day on the water, even with the jellyfish, although I could have done without that, truth be told.  We headed back to the dock - check out the view from Terry and John's house (and dock):
They actually were married on a boat near this lighthouse - how romantic that they ended up finding a house so close to it!  Ahhh, love. :)

Indeed.