Self-motivation

It’s raining outside.  It’s cold outside.  Two reasons not to run outside, even though it’s my running day.  I should go to the gym instead.

I hate running on the treadmill.

Well, I don’t have to use the treadmill.  I could use the elliptical thing that’s not an elliptical that I like.

But it’s at the gym and I have to go the gym to use it.

Yeah, but I was going to have to go to the trail to run on it, so what’s the difference?

It’s the gym.

The gym has wi-fi and I can watch an episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend while I work out.

Yeah, but…that’s a compelling argument.  Fine.  I’ll go to the gym.

She said I could

My physical therapist finally said I could start running again!  But not, like, actual running, not yet.  I have to start slow, and I’m only supposed to run on a treadmill (soft, level surface), and I can only go for 30 minutes.  And only twice a week!  So many limitations.

This week, I walked 5 minutes, ran 1 minute, walked 5 minutes, ran 1 minute, and so on for half an hour.  Twice.  The first time I went for 36 minutes because I was focusing so much on 5 then 1 then 5 then 1 then 5 then 1 then 5 then 1…that I lost track of how many cycles I’d done.  No pain, though (yay!), and it feels really good to be running, even if it’s only for 6 minutes.  Lindsay said I’m allowed to move to the next level if I can do the first level twice with no pain, and I did, so next time I try it, I’ll walk 4 minutes, run 2.  PROGRESS is happening, and that’s a relief.

Wherein I speak Latin

CNN is not the greatest news source out there, and despite where you might think this sentence is going, I’m not providing an exception here.  The article I’m linking to isn’t news.  It’s helpful, and it’s health-related and general happiness- and stop-hating-the-world-related, but still not news.

How to stop being annoyed by life

My tolerance for petty bullshit is, as you can probably tell by my phrasing, LOW.  So is my tolerance for incompetence, willful stupidity, and intolerance.  I can still be patient with people.  I’m still patient with LOTS of people.  I don’t seem to have as much patience, though…and then I get irritated…and then I get frustrated…and if I’m lucky, I remember to stop and wonder just what I’m so irritated about.  Is it important?  Does it matter?  Can I do something about it?  I’m rarely that lucky (to remember to stop and think), but I think I’m getting better about it.  Things like that article help.  Sitting in a chair in the backyard for a few minutes during the workday helps.  Reading helps.

Why am I not reading?  I’m pretty much always asking that question.

So I was thinking about all that on my bike ride this afternoon, pedaling along the path by the river, enjoying the sunny day and the stiff breeze that made me work a little harder, when BAM!  Something small and sharp and OW PAINFUL IT HURTS hit me in the upper arm.  I never saw it, it was gone immediately, like it bounced right off, but it felt like I’d been stung.  Can you get stung at that speed?  Can a bee or a wasp or some other flying (I assume flying) insect hit you at just the right angle at approximately 15 mph to sting you and then get away?  I shouted a few things, maybe startling a duck, and pulled over to look.  It did kind of look like a bee sting (although the last time I was stung was on my knee in Chesapeake Beach in 1985 or ’86, so how would I know what it looks like?), and there was a tiny dot of red in the middle, and it hurt like crazy.  I considered going home, but I was mostly done (6 miles left!), so I figured I’d keep going unless it started to hurt more or I started to go into anaphylactic shock.  (WordPress doesn’t think “anaphylactic” is a word.  Screw you, WordPress, I spelled it right on my own!)  Would I recognize anaphylactic shock?  If it started, would it be too late at that point to get home?  Why was I worrying about this?  I didn’t die when I got stung when I was 6, so I’m probably not allergic to bee stings now.  Shut up and bike.

So, yeah, I think I got stung.  It stopped hurting as much, the swelling started to go down and spread out, like more of a welt, and now (an hour later), there’s hardly anything to see.  I think I’ll live.

Moral of the story: I didn’t get angry or irritated or frustrated by it.  No, that’s a TERRIBLE moral and has nothing to do with anything.  Getting stung by a mystery insect on a bike ride is not in the same category as the things that annoy me.  What’s to get annoyed about?  Nope, this story only barely escapes being a non sequitur, and it’s only a sequitur because the bee sting literally followed my thoughts on that article.  It’s a LITERAL SEQUITUR.

Wind-up toy

Getting out the door to go the gym was a bit of a production today.  I broke a nail putting on my shoes.  Where are my clippers?  They must be upstairs.  Nope, not upstairs.  Oh, here they are in the downstairs bathroom.  Now where’s my nail file?  Not in the downstairs bathroom.  Upstairs?  Nope.  Maybe I’ll use John’s.  In his office?  Nope.  Upstairs?  Nope.  Never mind.  Skip that part.  Okay, I’m going to listen to music on my phone.  Where are my headphones?  John, have you seen my headphones?  No.  Not on my desk either.  Upstairs?  Nope.  Could they be in the car?  Nope.  Oh, they’re in my purse.  Fine, I’m ready to go.  Got my headphones, my phone, my keys.  Out the door, lock the door, grab my bike….where’s my helmet?  Back inside, helmet’s in the basement.

That’s what?…four trips upstairs and one trip to the basement in about three minutes.  Who needs the gym?

Useful! And productive!

I’VE GOT BLISTERS ON ME FING…palms.  The tops of my palms, right under the fingers.  Does that part of your hand have a name?  Doesn’t have the same ring to it, regardless.  I tried the rowing machine today.  Only 15 minutes, but I’ve got four blisters that hurt like hell.  I won’t be doing that again.

Today was a Thursday that felt like a Friday.  Disappointing to find it wasn’t, but at least tomorrow really is Friday and we have a three-day weekend!  Are we doing anything for the 4th of July?  Who knows?  It’s enough not to have to go to work.

Speaking of work, I actually did work that felt useful today.  Most days are all meetings and crisis management, and I never feel like I’m getting anywhere (which is why it’s so stressful).  Today, though, EVERYTHING was down.  All the websites we host, all of our test websites, our ticket tracking system, our phone system, our network – EVERYTHING – was down.  Everyone in the office was sent home because the office didn’t even have internet.  It came back up around 1pm, and everyone came back to work (and I went back to putting out fires), but in the hours between 10 and 1 (eastern) today, I researched and started to create a new writing test we’re going to use on job applicants.  I’m completely over the TERRIBLE grammar three-fifths of my team displays, and I won’t hire anyone else with bad writing skills slide because we weren’t on the lookout for it during the interview.  Everything my team does, all of our communication with our customers, is written.  It HAS to be good.

So anyway, it felt great to actually work on something that can be completed and put to use.  We’ll start with applicants for my team, but I think (because I think highly of myself) that HR will adopt it for the company hiring process.

Bad timing

I got a cute sundress at Target yesterday, but I want more than one cute sundress.  More than one more cute sundress.  My one chore for the day was to bike over to Trader Joe’s to pick up dinner while John was rehearsing at Will’s house, so I figured I’d do it after I finished my long bike ride for the day.  It made sense at the time, but I didn’t think ahead to how much I don’t want to still be on a bike after that many miles.  Still, Trader Joe’s is only a mile from the house, and what’s two more miles at that point?

Yeah.

Trader Joe’s shares a parking lot with Old Navy, so I figured since I was there anyway and not in any particular hurry, I’d check out their sundresses.  They have the added benefit of being super-cheap.  It wasn’t until I took my helmet off and noticed how gross and sweaty my hair was that I thought about how gross and sweaty my whole body was.  So….maybe shopping for and trying on clothes wasn’t the best idea.  I cruised through anyway, just looking.  I’ll have to go back.

Then I was disappointed by Trader Joe’s (they don’t have fresh, non-frozen salmon!).  I couldn’t face biking to yet another store, so I called John and he picked up KFC on his way home.  I can live with that.

Sneaky

I ride my bike through the park three or four times a week, and I see a lot of people doing a lot of different things, but it wasn’t until I noticed someone sitting on a bench reading a book that I realized I almost never see people reading in the park.  They walk, ride, run, play with dogs, play catch, throw a frisbee, have a picnic, take a nap, swim in the river, fish in the river, play on the playground…but no one reads.

So one day, someone was sitting on a bench, reading a book, and it caught my eye because it was unusual.  A few minutes later, I passed another someone sitting on a bench, reading.  A few minutes after that, I passed a third person sitting on a bench reading a book.

That’s when I got suspicious.  People (other than me) don’t read in this park.  Clearly, these are plants, spies set to report on my workouts.

As if to confirm my suspicions, after I noticed them and realized what was actually going on, there weren’t any more.  For the entire rest of my ride that day, there weren’t any more people sitting on benches reading books.  I haven’t seen a single other person sitting on a bench reading a book during one of my bike rides since then.

I’m on to them.  And they know it.

Why, yes, I am still listening to Welcome to Night Vale.

Soggy routine

I get up, work, go for a long bike ride.  While I’m out, I get rained on, and I see a wild animal.  Today, it poured for seven miles, and I saw a fox.

This is my life now.

I miss running, not least because I didn’t feel I had to do it for an hour and a half to burn any calories.  You’re less likely to get rained on if you’re not out for 90 minutes.  I need to join that gym.  I’ll get a pool, weights, classes, no rain, and no wildlife.  And eventually, I’ll be able to run again.

Bugs. Also, puppy.

Did you know that when you fly through a cloud of gnats at 15 miles per hour, they feel like tiny pebbles hitting your face?  Now you do.  Good thing my mouth was closed.  And I was wearing sunglasses.  I always wear sunglasses when I ride my bike, sunny or not, getting dark or not.  If I don’t, all that wind rushing into my face makes my contacts get all dry.  Plus, bugs.  I was riding my bike back from yoga one night several years ago, no sunglasses because it was getting dark, and a bug flew right into my eye.  It was gross.  And distracting.  And gross.

What’s not gross?  I just watched a video of a guy proposing to his girlfriend by handing her a puppy with the ring tied to its collar.  SO CUTE.  The puppy, not so much the proposal.  I don’t care about that.  Although, ACTUALLY…that’s kind of gross, too.  Not gross in the same way as bugs in your eye, but it’s like cheating.  “She CAN’T say no to me after I’ve given her the cutest puppy in the world!”  Cue evil laugh.

I hope you said yes because you want to marry him and weren’t swayed at all by the cute puppy in your arms, lady in the video I watched with the sound off so I don’t know what really happened!

Under attack

The universe may have been trying to tell me not to ride my bike today.  Before I left, I had to convince a fairly large spider to get off my front tire.  I convinced it by wheeling my bike around.  The spider wasn’t on the tire anymore, but I don’t know where it went.  I didn’t crush it.

Worse than that, I saw a snake.  It was slithering frantically off the bike path and into the tall grass, and I saw it at the last minute.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t run over its tail, but I did shriek and nearly fall over and crash my bike.  It was a small snake, but it freaked me out.

THEN, last but least scary, a dog charged me, growling and snapping.  It was on a leash, and I was racing by, so I was probably in more danger from the spider that went missing, but still, I flinched.

It’s amazing I didn’t crash my bike today, actually.

Physical Therapy

The last time I went to the podiatrist, he suggested physical therapy, and today was my first session.  I’ve never done it before.  Well, I’ve never been injured before.  All of my preconceived notions about it can be boiled down to that one scene in the movies when the temporarily paralyzed person (usually from a car accident) is trying to walk again using those parallel bars and being encouraged by the well-meaning and super-peppy therapist.

You know what?  It wasn’t that different.  My physical therapist was super-nice with a normal level of pep.  There’s a big open room that reminds me of a kid’s play room – well, no, that would the best kid’s play room EVER.  It’s more like an elementary school gym for the littler kids with lots of stations.  I didn’t get to use any of them (sad for me), but they looked like fun.  I just walked, stood on one foot, and then stood on one foot on a cushioned pad.  Then she poked and prodded and twisted and pressed and said I’m stiff and weak in some areas, but pretty symmetrical in those deficiencies.  Yay for symmetry?

I have some stretches to do, and I’ll see her again next week.  The goal is to continue resting until the pain goes away and get me running again.  The strengthening should help prevent future pain.  I don’t know how long it’ll be before I can run again yet.  I was afraid to ask (and also, I have a feeling the answer would be that it’s too soon to tell).

Maybe next time she’ll let me play on the fun-looking stations.

Wrong people are wrong

Whoever told me that Oregonions Oregonians no, i’m keeping Oregonions never use umbrellas didn’t know what he was talking about.  I was out in the rain today (mostly not on purpose), and I saw four people using umbrellas to keep dry.  The other twenty people were probably just trying to impress somebody.  Or they took the same chance I did and bet wrong.  It was a little bit invigorating to speed along the empty trail with rain pouring down and my favorite songs playing.  I got plenty dirty (bikes kick up a lot of mud in the rain), but I’d do it again.

Then I came home, cleaned up, made scrambled eggs (ALMOST as good as Mel’s), and watched TV.  It was an okay Sunday.  I barely spent any time dreading work tomorrow.  That’s an improvement.

It’s not that easy

Yesterday, the podiatrist seemed to think that the way he wrapped my foot would bring instant relief, even after I remove the wrap.  He said I could even go for a test run that night.  That was a bit too optimistic.  I rode my bike out to a soft trail (cedar chips, no asphalt), locked up the bike, took three excruciating steps on the trail, turned around, and got right back on my bike.  That was way worse than before.  When not running, it didn’t hurt, so part of what he said was true.

I followed his directions.  I bought supportive insoles for my shoes, wore my running shoes (with insoles) around the house all day (as instructed – no barefoot walking for me), put them on again first thing this morning, and then went for a walk.  The first half of the walk was fine.  Second half, painful.  (Not debilitating, just not normal.)

So.  I’m doing what the doctor said.  I still feel pain, but not all the time.  Do I need a follow-up?  Do I need more time to rest it?  Should I be biking?  Swimming?  Yoga?  Nothing?  If I can’t run when he thought I’d be able to, is something more serious going on?  Can I work myself into a frenzy without the use of Google or WebMD to tell me I’m dying?

I’m scheduling a follow-up.

Hey, it DOES rain in Oregon!

We had a late night last night (great gig with the band, and I swear I’ll give everyone a good band update soon, with pictures), so we slept until about 10:30 this morning.  I think that’s the first time we’ve slept that late since we got here.  We had no plans, no obligations – the only thing we both wanted to do with go for a long bike ride.

It was overcast and gloomy, but Weather Underground said there was a 0% chance of rain, so we got up, got dressed for a chilly workout, and went out onto the deck to get our bikes.  I thought it was drizzling, but Weather Underground said it wasn’t, so I must have been mistaken.  And that water on my sunglasses obscuring my vision?  That couldn’t have been raindrops.  Must have been sweat condensing into raindrop-like droplets on the outside of the lenses.

Once we got over the chill (cold fingers, cold ears), our ride was pretty pleasant, not-drizzle notwithstanding, and we needed the 13 miles behind us to make up for the burgers we grilled on our brand new (cheap) charcoal grill yesterday (and the leftover potato salad we’re going to eat tonight).  Yesterday was beautiful, sunny, and 80 degrees.  Today, 53 degrees and cloudy, but not raining.  Of course.  It’s sunny now, now that we’re in for the evening and about to watch MCU movies to prep for seeing Civil War next weekend.  SO excited for that!

Outside

We went hiking today!  Okay, “hiking”.  Fine.  We went for a walk.  We live at the base of Skinner Butte, and there’s a trail that winds around it to get to the top.  After more than two weeks of looking at it, we finally climbed it.  I think the walk up is prettier than the views from the top.  We’re going to have to get out of town to get the truly spectacular views.

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Paths.  I love my paths.

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I was waiting for something to come crawling out of this tree trunk.

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Overgrown path…and I have a picture of these GIANT primordial ferns, but I get an error when I try to transfer it to my laptop, so you’ll just have to imagine the giant ferns.  I noticed that when we went hiking with Will and Christina last October.  The woods looked prehistoric.  I expected dinosaurs to come charging through.  Not so much THESE woods, but I want to get out of town again soon.

Couple of views from the top, facing south.

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I think that peak is Spencer Butte, but what do I know?

Lots of reasons

I need to relax more.  I don’t mean to say that I’m rushing around like a crazy person (I’m not), but I’m starting to feel stressed again.  Deep breathing isn’t always working for me (I don’t feel like I can breathe deeply enough, which is bad enough on its own, but then adds to the stress), and my brain is racing.  It’s not about the move (although I’m sure the fact that it’s creeping closer and we have a lot to do isn’t helping, but really – that feels under control), and it’s not just about work.  It’s probably a lot about work, but there’s no quick fix for that (not any that don’t involve their own kinds of stress).  Regardless, I just want to handle it better.

This afternoon, John went off to fly, and I turned on the Yoga Radio station on Pandora.  My plan was to listen to it for a while during the end of my work day and then DO some yoga.  I managed half of that…I didn’t make it to the actual yoga part.  But it’s a start!

I think I’m going to drink less coffee, too.  Once I’m out of the creamer I have.  (No reason to let that go bad.)  I drank the last glass of a bottle of wine last night, and I’m thinking about not opening the next bottle for a while.  Part of the reason (for both coffee and wine) is the stress thing.  The rest of it is just that they’re empty calories.  I don’t need them.

And maybe this whole stress thing is coming on right now because I haven’t been exercising regularly this week.  I didn’t feel like this last week, and last week I ran five days in a row.  Then we had a massive snow storm, and I only ran once (Tuesday), and it wasn’t much of a run since I had to keep doubling back when the sidewalks ended in unshoveled snow and I kept stopping to pick my way across slush and ice.  I haven’t been to the gym, and I certainly haven’t done any exercising at home (because lazy).  Instead, I’ve eaten cookies and blueberry muffins and nachos.  Tonight’s dinner is chili, so I’m not really helping myself out there.  Make better choices!  I will.  Soon.

Manly men at the gym

When we go to the gym (which I haven’t done even once this week – stupid, considering how cold it’s been), I usually spend 20-25 minutes with dumbbells in the weight room, and then I run away to the boxing side for half an hour or so.  I like to go at lunchtime because the gym is usually fairly empty then.  The boxing side is ALWAYS empty then.  The few times we’ve gone early in the morning, the place has been packed.  There’s a class in the boxing room (but not necessarily a boxing class), there are people running back and forth, and the weight room is full of personal trainers and their trainees.  I feel crowded out.  Hate that.  They’re not unwelcoming, but there are so MANY of them.

Anyway, I prefer to go in the middle of the day.  There are usually no more than a couple to three guys in the weight room, and we all ignore each other.  This one day last week, they got all boisterous, while still totally ignoring me (which is good).  I was flat on my back on a weight bench (chest press, fly, and skull crushers – love the name of that one), eyes focused on the weights and the ceiling, and all I could hear was macho positive reinforcement.  The air was thick with testosterone and “you GOT this” and “YEAH” and “way to go, bro!” (I didn’t make that one up) and “just one more!”  It was…sweet.

Then my arms gave out (with my measly little dumbbells), and I hightailed it to the boxing room so I could beat up on a bag.  Alone.

Stiff and sore

John and I found a boxing gym not too far away, and we finally went to check it out Wednesday night.   This gym has boxing classes a few times a week (that we might not be able to get to all that often), but better than that, it’s open a good amount of hours, and we can get in any time to work out on the bag on our own or use the weight room.  It’s only been five weeks since our last boxing class, but apparently, five weeks is enough to take away all the goodness we’d gained.  We found that out the hard way.  We took a class at 5:45 Wednesday night that wasn’t that different from some of Nick’s classes at our old gym.  We started with sprinting, hit the bag for a while, and finished with an ab workout.  It was tough, but doable.  And then we woke up Thursday morning.

Oh my god, I was sore.  Stiff all over, too sore to move.  And today?  Not much better.  Here’s hoping I can hobble through a run tomorrow morning.

We’re just going to have to pick up boxing again to toughen up (which we wanted to do anyway).  And hurt a little bit.  Does anyone have any ibuprofen?

Heart rate ramblings

The American Heart Association says that when you exercise, you should try to keep your heart rate between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate.  The easy way to get your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220.  So my max heart rate is about 184 beats per minute.  85% of my max heart rate is 156 bpm.  My GPS watch came with a heart rate monitor, so I’m usually wearing that when I run.  Based on those guidelines, my warmup should keep me around 100 bpm, and I shouldn’t reach 156 until I’m working hard.  But that’s not how it works for me.  I reach 156 bpm with a light jog.  Running uphill, I hit 165-170.  Sprinting, 185 to 190.

So….am I stressing my heart?  About to die?  I don’t feel like I am.  At 156 bpm, I’m not even breathing hard.  I know those are guidelines, but should I be worried?  I’d been wondering about this for a while, and I finally remembered to ask my doctor about it while I was actually AT the doctor’s office.  (That almost never happens.)

Answer?  If I feel fine, I shouldn’t worry.  They really are just guidelines, and it’s okay if they don’t apply to me exactly right.  So, okay.  No worrying.  But I’m glad I finally asked about it.  I kept remembering that runner a few years ago in Colorado (?) who was running in the heat and had a heart attack and died.  No history of heart problems.  I wasn’t actually worrying about this.  Really.  I lost NO sleep about it.  I just wondered.  Now I don’t have to wonder.  And neither do you.

But I am curious about my resting heart rate.  Sitting here right now, my heart rate is 72 bpm.  You’re supposed to get your resting heart rate after you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed.  For one thing, I never remember that.  For another, what about alarm clocks?  Does it only count if you wake up naturally?  If the alarm startles you awake, wouldn’t that mean your heart rate is somewhat elevated?  I haven’t checked it in years (either I don’t think about it at all, or I do, but not when I’ve just woken up), but the last time I remember checking, my resting heart rate was about 60 bpm.  I’m curious to see what it is now.  But that will require me to remember to check.  And I don’t have a morning without an alarm coming up for almost two weeks.  Maybe a little more.