Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Operation Arm Flaps: The Final Chapter

i did it. It wasn't pretty, nor was it particularly successful, but i did it.


Original goal was focus on upper body work, built around the push up challenge, and to alternate days with core/lower body work. In the end, i stayed with just the push ups...

Minor moral victory? Let's just cut to the wrap-up.

Final measurements: EXACTLY THE SAME AS WEEK 2.

Yep. No additional shrinkage in the last 2 weeks. But perhaps more tone. There's that. And i can definitely do more push ups! Starting 'exhaustion test' had me at 10. i can now drop and give you 30! Stronger. That is good.

Comparing my first "bingo wings, week 0" pic vs "bingo wings, final" shot? Biggest difference is that my shirt is a little rattier (hey, it's ALWAYS laundry day here...).

Why was this second round of "30 Days" so much harder for us all to stick to? i dunno. The novelty had perhaps worn off... Distractions abound, don't they? We seemed to lose a lot of energy around week 2.

Rather than lament what didn't work, however, i'll cheer for what did... We slogged through. We at least felt guilty when we didn't... And for me, i do feel stronger. And the arms are perhaps marginally less likely to take me airborne in a stiff breeze...

Here's to finding ways to keep stretching a bit. To hold ourselves accountable, even without communal accountability. And to the seemingly endless 'little things' we can all find time for that can make us a bit better...

Riding & Reading, final report

I know we're a bit past the 30 day mark, but I wanted to get in one final report. I'm still going. All through the 30 day challenge, my numbers on the exercise bike crept up, bit by bit. But those bits added up. 3.86 miles and 162 calories on the first day, and 4.9 miles and 220 calories on the last day.

I like numbers. They give me some idea how I'm doing. But sometimes round numbers get our attention more. In my case, five miles seemed to be the wall I couldn't cross on a 20 minute ride. 4.86, 4.97, 4.98, 4.90. So close, but I wanted that FIVE.

So a couple days ago, I decided I was going to break the five mile mark if it killed me. No warmup time, just get going right out of the gate. Pedaling the bike when it's at the lowest resistance is actually harder in some ways than when you're really pushing. If you go too fast it feels a bit out of control, like you're going to bang your ankle or your knee or crash through the window. But I needed that five.

By the time I got to the "top of the hill" I was dying. My thighs were burning. I put down the book. On the second "peak" I thought I wasn't going to make it through 20 minutes, much less five imaginary miles. I watched my speed. I watched my distance. I watched my time remaining. I tried to calculate what pace I was on and what pace I needed to keep. But I eventually just gave up and pedaled.

Forget about it. Either you make it, or you don't. Just give it all you've got.


Eventually, I felt the resistance go to nothing, meaning I was near the end. I pedaled out of control again, eyes closed, breathing hard, waiting for the final beep to tell me I was done.

5.64 miles. 247 calories. All those near misses, and I finally broke through the wall and kept going.

And it didn't kill me.

It was the second wall I broke through on this journey. The first wall was back at zero miles and zero calories. Somehow, that one was just as hard to break through.

Tonight, I hit 5.68, and 249 calories. I guess 250 calories is my new wall....


Thursday, 15 September 2011


Well, not  a bad slacker, just a busy person, really.
Some days I don't manage more than 20 minutes. That said, when things get hectic I am usually walking at a brisk pace from A to B and back. Several times.

And I did get this bike for times when I can't get out to walk. All the same, I did set 30 minutes a day as my challenge and I hope doing extra  when I can makes up for the short bits?

Is this 30 day challenge going to continue? If so, I think I'll settle for something more doable! Well, even if all you challengers  are quitting after this I'll still set myself a goal! As well as daily pedaling.

Anyway, we're not at the end of this one yet so I'm going to have 30 minutes on my bike (indoors) while I watch some aerial footage of Provence on the time-waster.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Operation "Arm Flaps": The Quest Continues!

Although i'm deep in the midst of a holiday dive trip - where i've been trying hard to get in a massive number of dives before the end of the week. This means 4 dives/day for the first 3 days. i'm tired. But....

Managed to get in my Friday push up sets on Sunday morning (Saturday was a travel day) and just busted through my Monday sets on Tuesday evening. So the schedule is a little blown, i'm still working it...

Didn't have a chance to do the measurements/picture, but will do that for my final post -- which should be next Monday, if my 30 day count is correct!

And since i had to work terribly hard at Week 4 of the challenge? i'm repeating it - with a few more reps in each set. Progress. At the end of this series, i will do one final exhaustion test -- to see how far i've really gotten in the past 30 days...

So, not letting the holiday be an excuse... but i'm mildly derailed as i chase fish!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Cryptic Mitzi September 13

I got my three cryptic clues down this morning. It's a rushing sort of week and my mind is on deadlines rather than on crosswords - except I did do the mega Monday last night, which had a few cryptics in amongst the regular clues. It is fun though how cryptic clues fuse with the act of punning and wordplay.

eg Q A horse's whinny sounds like a denial! ((5)
A Neigh

That feels like almost 30 days. Has anyone been counting!?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Looking back, and thinking ahead

Yesterday was one of those days where riding the bike was just not going to happen. Even the satisfaction of the ride and the promise of a little reading time aren't enough to overcome the kind of day I had yesterday.

Four hours of sleep. Getting up and getting the kids off to school. My daughter gets on the bus at 6:15 and my son gets on at 6:30. They are 8 years old. Brutal.

Got to work by 7:15. Commented to a co-worker how things had been pretty quiet. Then right after lunch I got sucked into a major problem. I was on the phone until 8:00pm. Got home a little before 9. Savage headache.

I forgot to even eat dinner. I stared at the computer for maybe an hour before collapsing into bed.

But it was okay. I just got right back on the horse bike today without hesitation. And beat both my calorie and distance marks. To me, it means I'm really on board at this point. It's no longer a "challenge". It's just something I do. It's part of my day.

I've got a 5k coming up in October, for the Autism Society of North Carolina. (Obligatory link to donations page.) I've never done a 5k before. Never anything even remotely close. I'm a couch potato by trade. With a non-bionic foot that may not be ready for running. But at least I can walk in with the confidence that I'm not totally out of shape.