Why are some muscles so strong?

And others so pathetically weak?  A few months ago, I noted that I’m a cylinder, now I’m simply off balance.   Biceps curls,  no problem bring them on.  Quad muscles, check.  Anything involving my calfs, forget it.  They are stumpy little muscles shortened from years of high heeled shoes and boots, and there’s no way those are going away.  Tricep exercizes, next to impossible to execute properly as those muscles cannot lift more than a pea.

Thank goodness I’m going to bootcamp and working all these muscles.  My life thus far has created an imbalance and there’s no reason to think that things were going to even out all on their own.

There’s a reason they make exercize clothes

When I came home from a run last week, my three year old was delighted.  “Mom , I can see your toes” he squealed, followed by  “You should throw those socks in the garbage”.  He was right staring up at me was a nicely painted big toenail.  It had gone right through my socks.  My regular socks (new girly pink ones from Walmart — yes I am penny pinching these days and shopping at Walmart).  

Not one to quickly learn a lesson, I went off for my longest run/walk to date on Tuesday and picked up another running tip:  don’t wear lace underwear!  It chafes.  Now understand that I only own about 2 pair of underwear with any kind of lace, but for some reason they were on today

Ahhh… what’s the etiquette for adjusting your underwear while running? How uncomfortable do you have to get before it’s ok to adjust?  

I was left with the obvious conclusion: there’s a reason they make sporting equipment and it’s not simply so people look good or so that they have an excuse to do more shopping.  At some point, you just need to get practical with the basics: socks, underwear and sports bras. 

 

I have yet to tackle the latter and have opted for a layering system.  One thing at a time.

I’m a runner

The weirdest thing happened on my run/walk  session on Wednesday.  I had just finished my 5 minute walk warm up and hadn’t run for 2 blocks, when I started thinking:  this is fun; I’m so glad I’m out here; running makes me feel like I’m doing exercize (vs walking which makes me feel like I’m doing fat suburban mom exercize).  

 

As soon as these thoughts popped into my head, I realized that I was enjoying running.  For anyone who runs, this might come as a strange statement, but not for me.  I’ve been running on and off for 6 years.  Yes, 6 years!!  I’ve taken the learn to run (0-5km) class more times that I care to remember and for the most part and hate every minute of it.  It’s hard; I feel slow; I want to be at home eating potato chips rather than out there showing my legs to the world in a pair of shorts.  

 

I’ve finally crossed into the camp of people who enjoy running.  After and during my run I spent some time thinking about what circumstances had lead me to such an enjoyable run.  First:  it had been a long day (unhappy teething baby!) and I was grouchy about not having done anything, it felt good to have fit in my exercize; it felt good not to have screaming baby in my arms; it was in the evening and quiet; the path was covered in hard snow which made it easy on my body to keep running (I normally would have walked much more of the 5km); I didn’t have my ipod (perhaps it helped to simply have an hours of tranquility); I was wearing running gear (this again might sound odd, but I tend to go out it left over college t-shirts and sweat pants, but for winter running warmer clothes are required and I bought winter running pants & a jacket; the outfit contributes to me not feeling like a blob).  

I know that one day does not make me an olympic runner, but one day of enjoying running makes it much easier to have another day of running.

Not sure an Olympic is in the cards for me this year

The volume of my posting correlates precisely with the volume of training that I’m doing.  Ahh… talk about off track.  I’ve taking my measurements monthly, but not much movement on that front, and the weight is sssssllllooooowwwwllllly coming off.  The latter is more of a fluke than a true effort.

I’m reevaluating what my objectives should be for this year and what my priorities are.  There are many competing things in my head: loose weight, get strong, build core strength, compete in triathlon, built up cardio endurance, ensure low saturated fat diet, etc., etc..  

In theory many or most of these should go hand in hand nicely.  For me, as I try to focus on more than one at a time, I loose track of them all.  What I want to figure out now is at the end of 2009, what do I want to have accomplished, what’s going to make me feel good about myself as I watch the 2010 Olympics and what’s going to set me up for my next set of goals, objectives and activities.  

That’s a whole lot of fancy objective talk and it’s coming from a girl who’s wanted to be curled up in a ball in bed this whole week. The family is coming of of +3 weeks of non-stop flu, cold, flu combos and landed 3/4 of us on antibiotics this week.  We’re a mess.  At least it’s given me time to think about what I want to tackle once I’m back on my feet.

Has it been a month?

Oops.   So much for keeping regular updates.

 

It’s been a busy month.  To summarize:

  • No sugar month would have been more accurately as less sugar month.  I’m going to strive to do better in November
  • Frustrated with my last of weight loss, I joined weight watchers.  Nursing and doing tons of exercize, but maintaining the same weight… obviously a mix of food choices and portion size were getting in the way of weight loss progress.  I’m down 7lb in WW land, after 2 weeks on the program. 
  • Exercize is still crunching along.  I aim to swim twice a week, but had 2 of 4 weeks in October with no swimming.
  • My ‘boot camp’ class ran through October.  I hate, hate, hate the spinning portion, but love the core exercizes and the weights.  For November, I’m going to go it on my own.  We have tons of exercize equipment (not sure what, but there’s a bunch of it) in the basement. I’m going to dig it out and work with it twice a week in November.  If that works out well, I’ll keep going in the basement.  If not, I’ll look for a new exercize class with more weights and less spinning.

That’s about it.  

My only other big revelation of the month is that: this is going to be harder than I originally thought. Really moving from walking around the block to 10km is a big effort.  It feels attainable, but only when I forget that I’m also trying to up my swimming.  I can now swim 4-8 lengths (25m each) of the pool in a row, doing front crawl. After that I need to take a break and do some breast stroke before switching to crawl.  When I’m in the pool, this feels like great progress (it’s up from 1 length of crawl!).  When I’m out of the pool and in analytical mode, I realize that the Olympic is the equivalent of 60, 600, 6000 or some other seemingly unattainable number of lengths.

I’m going to endeavour to be better at updating everyone on the minutia of my progress over the next month.  That makes for 3 mini objectives:

  • no sugar
  • core/weight exercize program at home
  • blog updates

We’ll see how it goes.

Boot camp kicked my ass!

I started my ‘post-partum boot camp’ class this morning. It was tough. Fortunately our instructor is not an army sargeant, and so when my body said ‘that’s enough’ on our third circuit of drills, there was strictly encouragement. The class is fantastic. It’s small — only 8 women, so there’s lots of individual attention. Furthermore, we’re all in the same boat — trying to get our pre-pregnancy bodies back, so there’s no need for embarrassment about your body or your abilities.

The class started with ‘spinning’. I knew that was riding a stationary bike, but it turns out there’s more to it. For me — and my triathlon training, this was a great place to start, as the instructor had us doing drills on the bike, which I figure will do nothing but help. After a spinning warm-up, we moved onto circuit training. There were fancy pushups, squats, ab exercizes and we worked with kettlebells.

Have you ever seen one of these kettlebells? They don’t look terribly difficult, but proved to require much more coordination (and perhaps strength) than I had this morning.  Apparently the Russians originally made them from cannon balls that they no longer needed and attached a handle make them useable.  All we were trying to do today was pick them up and try to get them swinging.  You’re not supposed to lift them with your arm muscles.  Here’s a video of the basic move — you can do it two handed (like the video) or one handed (like my class).  I can’t get the ball up to my waist, let alone as high as the video shows.

Boot camp lasts for 4 weeks. At the very least I feel great (but tired!) after class. It should also help with my % fat figure on the scale at home.

My walking continues and swimming starts next week. Still no work on the training plan…but again I’ll get there. Right now I’m trying to recover from class number one and am wishing that my little bean didn’t want to be held quite so much. He’s heavy and my arms/shoulders/chest/back muscles are all tired and about to be sore.