Monthly Archives: December 2012

12-17- 12 Change is going to happen

Monday.  I can’t even talk about Newtown so I won’t. This is the most depressing holiday season I have ever experienced.  No big secret to anyone that working out is good therapy and for me, having a variety of workouts have helped me quite a bit with getting through this season.

Puppy training is hard but I am learning so much about myself taking care of Higgins.  Puppies/dogs are pretty simple.  All the mistakes being made are being made by me because I am either too lazy or, nope that just about it, I’m too lazy.  Every day I work a little harder to stay a few steps ahead of this puppy and some days I am successful and some days not. It’s not rocket science it’s just diligence.

Believe it or not Higgins is helping me with my diet.  I’m really conscientious about what and when I feed him.  I’m eating more meals at the table (instead of the computer) to time my meals with his and his subsequent immediate need to go outside.  Eating at the table makes me more mindful of what I’m doing so I’m stopping sooner than I might if I was not being so aware.  I’m also hyper aware of any snacking I might do because I feel obligated to give him something if I’m eating something and if I don’t want to give him something I have to ask myself why am I eating something?

Higgins is also making me get up from my desk every 90 minutes to 2 hours.  Even though we don’t do big walks, we do about 10 minutes in the backyard and I notice my back is not as stiff because I don’t sit for 6 hours at the keyboard without moving.

He’s also started puppy daycamp Monday, Wednesday and Fridays which has been a huge relief for me.  Today was his second session and he is fast asleep all day after getting worn out.  He’s not old enough for me to take him on big walks yet but soon.  He gets to run around for 4 hours jumping on other puppy’s heads instead of mine and he is a happy camper.

I’m at my new gym a lot these days and they are just killing me.  I’m twice the size and twice the age of everyone else there (well at least in the classes, I have seen a few old relics hiding out in the back row of treadmills).   On Mondays I have to do an elliptical session and then the yoga class.  I have really been struggling but every week I find I’m getting just a little big better.  Every once in awhile I would get a surprised look from Maggie, the instructor, and she would say “that’s right, very good.”  I  didn’t want to tell her that I used to be able to do all of this and more, I’m just tired and old.

Today I had a shock when I went to class.  Maggie wasn’t there.  They fired her or she quit or something but some new gal was there.  I wasn’t happy to see Maggie gone and someone new in her place.  I was just learning my way around Maggie’s class.  Now the mats were facing the mirror instead of the wall, that’s all wrong (for no other reason that I said so).  People came in late to class.  Annoyed me.  And then we started class and I immediately couldn’t stand the new teacher’s voice.  It was high and nasal.  Maggie’s voice was soothing.  Maggie lit candles and put a blanket under my knees.   Don’t make me listen to this for 90 minutes I will go crazy.  And apparently the blankets and blocks had been Maggie’s and the gym had new ones on order so I was to do this class prop free.

And of course I hated the class.  It was much harder than Maggie’s class (and I stunk at Maggie’s class so I double-stunk at this one).  It was non-stop.  I think they call this Vinyassa Flow, where you inhale one pose (warrior, chair, chaturunga) and exhale into downward dog. You end up doing A LOT of downward dogs. There was not so much as a pause between poses.  After about 30 downward dogs (and I’m not exaggerating), I started having to do puppy pose (downward dog for old ladies).  A couple of times I just didn’t bother to get out of my lunge because I knew in 30 seconds we would be right back in it.  It was too fast, it was too hard, she was nasal and whiney and she did not stop “Breathe in, blah de blah, Breathe out, downward dog.”  For 90 minutes (minus a five minute warm up and a 10 minute of standing on your head and corpse pose).  I really wanted to leave the class in the first 15 minutes.  The late arriving football players annoyed me (what the heck were they doing in there anyway?)   Then the guy and the gal who came late and squoze two spots into the one spot next to me when there were three open spots on the other side of the room, they were annoying me too.  And if I heard the instructor say “breathe in breathe out” one more time I was really going to scream.  At the end of the class she invited us to join her on Wednesday’s class for “Advanced Yoga.”  Oh great, that was just the beginner class.

I couldn’t wait to get out of there.  For 90 minutes I plotted my escape and my speech to my coach about why I would never go back and I would find another yoga class somewhere else and that this is ridiculous.   That’s not yoga I was bemoaning.  and. and. and Maggie was a teacher, this gal is just leading a workout.  She did not stop for one second to look at anyone’s pose or posture.  You could have had a tape recording doing the same thing she was doing.  Yeah, I’m never going back.  I hate her, I hate yoga.  This is stupid, this stinks and finally I was at my car and tears came to my eyes and a slow growl erupted from my throat as I unlocked the car door because I knew the awful, terrible truth of the matter is that I had no choice but to go back next week.  I had to go back because I stunk at it –because it was so hard and because of that stupid Eleanor Roosevelt and her stupid “You Must Do the Thing You Think You Cannot.”  And why can’t I just be twenty years old again?  Why can’t I just be good at something?  Anything?

I also go to spin class with the teacher Christine.  And after the 1 hour spin class I have to go to her 1/2 hour core class which is a total waste of time because I can’t do ANYTHING in that class.  I like the spin class and actually I think I am doing pretty well in there.  I’m doing 98% of it and I was actually running on the pedals a little better this week.  But the core class, ugh,   My legs are shot from the spin class and though I’m supposed to be working my core, it just feels like everything we do involves lifting my burning legs.  I try to get up and usually just crash into a lump on the ground and kick my leg around pretending to be doing the stuff.  (I’ve learned from other classes that if you just stand in place and waive your arms that is not really a jumping jack and people catch on quickly).  I can’t even get up into side plank any more (well I can, but not after an hour of jumping in and out of the saddle)  and they are doing all these advanced moves from side plank that in my best of days I couldn’t do.   Then we do all those awful Pilates situps you know the ones with your legs out and in the air and then one legged and alternating?  I’m the only person the teacher comes over to stand on my feet so I can get all the way up in my situp.  What’s wrong with crunches? I can do a thousand crunches.  When did those go out of style?  But at least Christine’s voice doesn’t annoy me.  She’s really a lot of fun in the spin class and she plays fun music.  And what happens if I just keep going?  In six months I’ll have to be able to do something better than I’m doing now.  So I go.  I stare at myself in the big unforgiving mirror and count as I toss the stupid medicine ball side to side (my knees bent with toes cheating and resting on the floor while everyone else is in a perfect pilates V.)  I hate them all.

I usually have some variation of elliptical, runs and hikes the other 3 days (and more sit ups, wall squats and pushups or equal kind of torture).  But I did find a really cool machine at the gym.  It’s a stairmaster, treadmill, elliptical all-in-one.  Depending upon how you move your legs it works like a different machine.  It uses cables to detect your movements.   If you march your legs up and down it works like a stair climber.  If you walk it works like a treadmill, and then if you jog or run it acts like an elliptical.  It’s so cool that I didn’t even complain about how hard it was.  When it would get too hard doing one motion I would change to another one.

This week I had another hike but only 2 hours and with the instructions NO RUNNING.  Well you know what happens when you tell someone (or tell me) NOT to do something, all you can think about is doing it.  So I tried to hike up to Kilkenny Rock but 1 hour wasn’t enough to get me there (I ran into two hikers who told me it was two more miles up from my 1 hour turn around).  But on the way back I really did want to run downhill but I didn’t.  (I’ll admit I cheated and looked at next week’s workout when I get to run back down the mountain so I’m figuring that’s supposed to be my “treat” for the weekend.)  I’m really loving my new trail area.  TONS of unexplored trails and I found a new way to get to my “secret” trail without having to go on the road.   I have a new plan on how to get up to Kilkenny Rock by doing a round trip instead of an out and back.  I will attempt a reverse route this weekend and I think it will work.  It’s all about not getting lost.  The trails are gorgeous and long.  Long enough for 4 hours or more.

And finally I’m trying out a bunch of new trailrunning shoes.  I was trying to find a pair that would fit my orthotics like I had for Marathon des Sable but they don’t make that model anymore (New Balance 900).  I tried the 1100’s but they hurt.  But I found an interesting article about going the opposite direction with minimalist shoes.  And although the pair I bought didn’t really work perfectly because I ordered wide, they do seem to work better.  I’m ordering another version that is not as wide and I think I may have a winner.  It’s the newbalance Minimus WO10GR.  My feet didn’t hurt that much at the end of my hike and I did much better going downhill because I felt like my feet could really grip the rocks and trail.  I wore super thick socks but I think that may defeat the purpose of these shoes (they are meant for you to go sockless if you want).  so I’m going to try going with the narrower version and see how they work.  New Balance on sale today so I got a good deal on a pair of hiking/multi sport minimus and trail running minimus.


Higgins post puppy camp.  Too tired to move.


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12/6/12 Grit and Grace

Thursday.  I’m  playing hooky from the gym today and just going for a run.  I’m tired.  Not so much from the workouts but from the puppy.  I have not worked out a rhythm yet for taking care of him so I’m up taking him out at strange hours and finding a hard time getting back to sleep.  Then I’m tired all day long.  But strangely I’m still getting a lot done here in CT.  I can’t quite figure it out.  I seem to procrastinate less here.  Maybe because there is so much to do and take care of that I don’t have time?

I had a really great run on Sunday.  I have this goal of covering a long portion of the Metacomet trail.  I want to start in Farmington at the reservoir, make it up to the West Hartford Reservoir, up Talcott Mountain, down the other side and over to Penwood Forest.  I’ve done most of these sections and I would love to link them all together.  I think it would take me 8 or 9 hours to do it and it is one of my goals to do for this summer.

On Sunday I went exploring the West Hartford Reservoir — Farmington side.  (This is where I want to begin my ultimate trek).  Hadn’t been there in several years.  They have been doing a lot of work on the trails and they are building even more which is exciting.  It is similar to Reservoir No. 6, Woods around a lake, rolling hills but I don’t think the main loop is very long, maybe 3 miles?  The trick is to get on the side trails.  On Sunday I stumbled on an offshoot of the red trail and was blown away.  The long trail with an ever so slight uphill grade.  The beginning part was paved but then it turned into a dirt trail.   Wide with rocks but little rocks so you really could run on it but still have to pay attention.  A slight incline up.  My workout was to be 2 1/2 hours so I just kept going until the 1:15 mark and there was a lot of trail left to go.  This weekend I will explore more.  I was doing a brisk walk up, but on the way back it was just so glorious that I broke into a run.  Really, I broke into a little jog.  It was a gentle downhill, the sun was shining, my niece was taking care of my dog and I had one of those moments that you can only have on the trails in the woods when you are so aware of the air coming in and out of your lungs and the only sounds are of the birds, your breath and your feet crunching leaves.   I only ran into one guy who was a real trail runner and two women on horses.  Other than that just me and my thoughts.

After a little research it turns out this place is called Newton Brainard Forest and there are miles of these dirt roads and they go in all different directions.  There is a section called Finger Rock.  I have miles and miles of trails to explore.

Weekday workouts have been a little better.  I’ve been making it to Yoga on Mondays.   I have a long way to go but I do see just a smidge of improvement each week so it keeps me coming back.  I take a Spin class as well which kicks my butt and this week I had to go to her core class right afterwards where I nearly died.  I really like the instructor.  When you walk in the room you know this woman likes to work out.  She is totally cut.  She’s not young but I would say late 40’s or a really well -preserved 50.  Not an ounce of anything extra but she is funny in a I’m-going-to-hurt-you-but-smile-at-the-same-time kind of way.  This week she said something that stuck with me.  She likes to do a lot of jumping on the bike (the first week I couldn’t walk for three days but I’m getting used to it and was okay this week).  At the 50 minute mark she yells out “You have nine minutes left and this is what it is all about, everything leading up to these nine minutes has been prep work, these nine minutes are going to take Grit and Grace!”  That made me laugh for a second before I started to cry again.  I do feel that old endorphine high when I leave her class.  I would say I can do 99% of the workout.  I know I don’t “run” as fast as I should on the pedals but I’ll get there.  And every once in awhile I can’t do a jump but I come back in on the next one.

Today, will be an easy peasy run and some pilates.  I really don’t like pilates but I used to be able to do this stuff and I can’t so that kind of ticks me off.  So onto the floor to do my 100 I will go.


Some pics from my trail run

Higgins: Here’s the deal.  I’ll let you meditate if you let me snuggle in the covers.

Me:  Hey you’ve only been here 10 days.  You came as a puppy and already you are the size of a small horse and now you are negotiating my meditation time?

Higgins:  Woof

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