Tag Archives: shredheads

Thumbelina, Thumbelina, don’t dream about a cow*

I ran for 30 minutes straight for the first time yesterday in yucky pre-rain humidity.

I’ve discovered that once animals realize that you’re not running after them, they find runners fascinating. A pair of deer scared the bejeezus out of me the other day on the trail, but once they had scampered about 25 feet outside the path, they stood there and stared at me. I said “hey dudes” and waved and still they stared. When last I saw them, they were still staring at me. When I run in my urban neighborhood, the squirrels do the exact same thing – they jump into a nearby tree and gawk. They fill their mouths with giant nuts and jump onto a tree and gawk. If Columbus’ squirrels are among those who tweet, at least one of those “stares” was for me today.

I’m kind of amazed that I’ve been able to stick to this Couch to 5k program. I’m not reclaiming any former glory here, or even any former glorious body. I’ve never been remotely a jock – more of a sometimes walker, late-night dancer who attended a lot of summer day camps, one Outward Bound (repelling is fun!) and used to be able to put a basketball through a hoop without hitting the rim. When I was nine, I saw a coach about running on a regional team and he put me through my paces for a day, but the post-run rubdown positively creeped me out and I quit.

For Couch to 5K, I’ve followed the schedule to the letter. This is my approach to most things I try (as long as they seem reasonable to begin with) – I suspend disbelief and put my faith into the idea that all will work out as I’ve been told. Once I’ve done it for a while, or the intended duration, I make my own modifications. In this case, I have been amazed by how well I’ve been able to feel my progress every third run or so. This is my ninth and final week – three days of running for 30 minutes (or 5K). Who knew this was possible? Seriously!

I don’t have a ton of weight loss to show for my efforts, but there has been some and most importantly, I feel entirely different. Like my determination to eat less meat and more local food, it feels like I’m making changes that I have a better shot at sustaining. I just read that sticking with running this long officially makes me a runner, but that I ought to hang here for 2-3 months so my bones and connective tissues have a chance to catch up with my new, stronger muscles. That works for me. I’m not dying to win marathons. I just want to be healthy.

Yesterday I watched Obama’s speech to kids with my son. He was kind of excited that the president would talk to kids until he heard the president mention that he was there to talk to kids in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Having a year of preschool left, and several older friends and cousins makes you painfully aware that you aren’t in Kindergarten yet. As I listened, Declan sat on the floor and flew a plastic policeman through the solar system. Sadly, this policeman died and had to be buried under the letter P. He was later resurrected, so perhaps there is a cult forming around him in an alternate dimension.

By the end of the speech Dec was meowing like a kitty (if we’re connected on Facebook you may know this already). In fact, every time I have asked him what he thought of the speech since, he has meowed like a kitty. So, while I have found the accusation that Obama is trying to brainwash children into becoming liberal automatons utterly baseless, I now must face the possibility that he might be trying to turn them into cats.

Here are some of my favorite posts on the speech subject, by the way:

The Bad Astronomer hilariously points out how crazy is being mainstreamed.

Corporate Babysitter reminds us how many marketers have unfettered access to our children.

Charlotte-Anne Lucas posted a Wordle of the top 50 words used in the speech.

Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids quells our paranoia once again, with humor.

And Emily wrote the president a note.

Peace out, kitties!

* Declan modified the lyrics Danny Kaye sang in the movie Hans Christian Anderson (which his dad was watching) because he had one of his recurring dreams in which he tries to get out of bed, but some bloviating bovine blows him back. It was a better post title than anything I could come up with, so there it is.

Little run run run runaway

I bought myself a pair of mid-line running shoes for Mother’s Day. My knees were getting whooped whenever I tried to do the 30-day shred, so I wasn’t getting very far. The more I looked into it, the more I began to realize that my cheap shoes were probably the culprit. And for some reason, the parts of the video where I ran in place hurt me less than all the squats and jumping jacks and things, so I started eyeballing the Couch to 5K program that some of the Shredheads and local folks are doing.

I broke in my shoes by walking some for the last three months, until I finally decided to break out the Robert Ullrey podcasts and start the program a week ago. My right knee tends to be a little tricky, so I’ve worried that I may be choosing a painful exercise path, but so far, so good. My knee actually seems to be feeling stronger, and strangely, a couple of my usual aches seem to be subsiding. (Incidentally, everyone I talk to who has been a long-time runner pretty much offers “Just make sure you have good shoes” as advice.)

I don’t have a public 5k run in mind at the end of this, but maybe, if I make it through a month okay, I’ll start thinking about one. I don’t know if I want my motivation to go toward an event, though – my goal is to be healthier and to enjoy exercising. I want a sustainable, long-term relationship with fitness, not a run. And I am way Pollyannaish about competition – I like the potential of the personal bests because the thought of competing head-to-head with other people makes me queasy.

Yesterday was my first day of week two. Like the very first day, I stood around and said little more than “duh” for about an hour afterward, and I still feel a little bit tender, but not nearly as rough as I expected. I think I may add short gentle yoga sessions on the off days (the program is three days a week), mainly because I think it will help with the soreness and keep me from losing my flexibility.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I can keep this up.

Falling down, getting back up

I started this month with the best of intentions to post here daily, and, despite a late start, keep up with the Shredheads. I did seven straight days with Jillian Michaels and I felt stronger, leaner, more energetic and awake. Then my knees started buckling. I sputtered in and out of the workout, missing days, then stopped completely for three or four because going down the steps was beginning to hurt. A lot.

But not exercising made me cranky and unpleasant to live with. So, I’m back at it after doing some research about how to avoid knee injuries, strengthening my knees with other small exercises throughout the day, making sure I drink plenty of water just before and after the shred, getting back on glucosomine supplements and deciding that if I repeat butt kicks in lieu of jumping rope (which is one of the things that really hurts) I’m still getting my cardio. I’ve also yanked out several other lower-impact yoga videos I own to do if my knees need a break for a day. (I’ve found that gentle 20-minute yoga in the morning still gives me extra energy.) I’m going to stick with level one for a couple more days, so I can just watch level two and think ahead if about any additional modifications I may need to make. (Reading the other Shredheads‘ reports definitely has me worried.)

One thing is certain, though. My mind has been permanently changed when it comes to the direct benefits of higher intensity exercise and my ability to get it without a gym membership or a bunch of expensive equipment (Granted, I still long for my own elliptical trainer and a Wii, especially since I found out that Jillian Michaels has a Wii program). I drink more water, eat healthier food and sleep better on the days I do the workout. I don’t sit down as much. I walk more. I just feel better.

Aspiration: Shredding, shedding

Most of my eating habits are pretty good. I never ate much fried food, and I gave it up completely (along with most sweetened beverages) in the last year or so, hoping that through modest diet and lifestyle changes I would shed some of my post-baby weight, which is about to become four years post-baby weight. I eat oatmeal for breakfast. I snack on carrots, cauliflower and cucumber slices. I’m usually good about drinking water. I don’t make a major effort to get the closest parking space, and I don’t eat much refined sugar (admittedly, I can get a bit weak in the face of ice cream and cinnamon rolls, though). Still, I’m the heaviest I’ve been in my life, frustrated by my body’s refusal to budge and I’ve managed to get sick three times over the winter.

I decided to have aspirations instead of resolutions this year, because I want my life changes to be slow and enduring, not rash and readily discarded. Besides reading more (which I’m doing), I’ve been trying to be more consistently physically active. Like finding space to read and write, that can be harder than it looks. I’ve been quasi-faithful to yoga practice for several years, but since I don’t do it in hot rooms or jump from posture to posture, it hasn’t been much help with weight loss.

There’s been a lot of talk on Twitter for months about Jillian Michaels‘ 30-day shred video, I think because it promises results if you let her slay your body for a highly manageable 20 minutes a day. This month, Kristen Chase of Motherhood Uncensored formed an online sisterhood of shredders to support each other. Up until this point, I’ve just been reading, not sharing, because I didn’t want to announce to the world that I was going to do this until I found out that I really could do it. And so far I am.

Today was day four for me. I was miserably sore on day two. I’ve felt better one place or another, but I’m kind of startled by how much nicer exercise pain is than the aches I get when my life gets too sedentary. That extra energy everyone promises that exercise will yield is kicking in and while I doubt the scale has budged, I feel heaps better. I don’t expect that this is going to take me exactly where I want to go, but like the decision to join NaBloPoMo for March, this feels motivating – like it’s the groundwork for a revitalized approach .