A tale of an injured fin, a brief hiatus and a triumphant return …

In a completely unplanned (and utterly graceless) move, I managed to sprain by MCL back in June.  As a result, I have been in a hinged knee-brace and under strict orders to perform absolutely no exercise for the past 8 weeks or so.  My entire summer was spent in flat shoes, with a robo-cop looking contraption on my leg and not an ounce of physical activity.

That’s all over now.  Thank GOD.  I have been going stir-crazy not being able to exercise.  Since I injured myself the day after returning from a week-long trip to Costa Rica, I have not actually been to my gym since May.  I am excited to report that after an MRI, my orthopedist declared my injury to be limited to a sprain (no meniscal tearing).  Therefore he said that I can get back to exercising, with my brace, as soon as I want to.

That means that tonight, for the first time in over 3 months, I will be back at it!  Hooray!  Can’t wait to stretch my fins again!


In lieu of …

In the life of a busy shark, there must always be compromise.  Yesterday I had an appointment after work, so I woke up early and hit the pool (my natural habitat after all) for an invigorating swim work out.  It had been a while since I’d worked up a sweat in the water, and I forgot what an overall exhilarating and damned exhausting workout swimming can be.  I did 20 laps (2×10 each of freestyle and breaststroke) then 10 laps isolation (2 x 5 each with my legs buoyed to work the arms).  Then 10 laps on the kickboard.  I followed it up with a 200-IM (just to see if I could still do any butterfly at ALL … turns out I can.  It’s ugly, but I can.)  And then a 5 lap cool down.

It felt AMAZING and it’s definitely going to be my go-to in between (or in lieu of) boot camp days. Excited!

Boot Camp: Day Four

What’s that?  We skipped Day Three?  Yes, yes we did.  The role of Day Three was played by my excursion into the land of “couch moving” this weekend. (Imagine boot camp, but less fun.)

Ah, Day Four … the soreness in my muscles is rearing its ugly head, BUT I have noticed my endurance improving.  Our workout started with a round of ab exercises, then sprints and crab walking, alternating normal push-ups and “diamond” push-ups (to work the triceps), then standing arm exercises with the resistance band, then a group “run” that involved bear crawling, sumo squat jumps, high skipping, and elbow/knee walking (picture The Freddy and you’re pretty much on the right page).  After that, down to the mat for more ab work, then a 1/3 mile run, followed by more arm exercises, something called “runner’s and sprinter’s lunges” and finally a team relay involving sprints, pushups, jumping jacks and grapevine runs.

I almost fell asleep during the cool down stretch.  But MAN did it feel good to accomplish all of that in an hour!  Tonight I’m headed to a friend’s house for dinner (where I WILL be good and not go overboard) and then weigh-in tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to it (even though Easter candy attacked me over the weekend) although I know my body’s responding, I can feel it.  I will remember my mantra and push onward!

Happy swimming my little fishies!

Boot Camp: Day Two

GUESS WHAT? Yeah, I’m sore.  That’s probably a no-brainer at this point.  Yesterday was Day Two of Boot Camp and it began with a “fitness assessment” so that we can establish a litmus test for our progress at the end of the session.  I felt like I was back in P.E., participating in the Presidential Fitness Test (PFT), except this time I didn’t want to die of humiliation and shame and crawl away from my terrifying PE teacher’s disapproving glare. 

(Sidenote: is there a single event in the history of physical education that is more designed to create a social and emotional rift between the skinny kids and the chubby kids than the PFT?  I LOATHED that time of year every year and I honestly blame it for making me hate working out.  By measuring every kid to the same standard, it made me automatically feel inferior, hopeless and as if I should just quit instead of trying at my own pace to improve in small increments.  Thanks a lot, Lyndon B. Johnson.  Okay, to be fair, your heart was in the right place, I mean how were you supposed to know that polyester-wearing, whistle-wielding psychos two generations later would terrorize young children in the name of your program?)

Anyway, the fitness assessment consisted of one minute of pushups, two minutes of sit-ups and a mile run. (No chin-ups thank GOD.)  The push-ups weren’t all that bad (I’m on the modified sort for now), but the sit-ups! Holy HELL people!  Considering my abs were on fire from the workout on Monday, I was happy to accomplish ONE sit-up, let alone the 21 my partner graciously counted out for me (she was being nice, I totally did not have good form for the lion’s share of those). 

Then we did the mile run.  I ran the whole thing, on my usual pace, and just kept thinking about how when I was a kid I never did that … not once.   Back then, the mile run was a public torture show.  Four laps around a track, while the “fast” kids finished early and teased and taunted the “slow” kids until the end.  This always ended up with me trying to sprint as fast as I could, getting winded, having to walk, and then repeating that same pattern.  Yesterday, I put one foot after the other until I crossed the finish line, slow and steady, winning my own race.

After our assessment, we still had 20 minutes of boot camp left, so off we went to mountain climbers, elevated sit-ups, burpees/commandos, resistance band uppercuts and sprints, followed by planking.  The stretch at the end was the most beautiful five minutes I’ve ever spent in a park at dusk. :-)

Friday will be Day Three.  I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel throughout the day today, since I can already feel myself getting stronger.  As my trainer said, it’s amazing how quickly you get your strength back!

(Sidenote No. 2 – A big CONGRATULATIONS to one of my besties (and also my roomie) who won FIRST PLACE in her office’s Biggest Loser challenge today!!!  She’s been working her ass off (literally) for the past three months and lost a total of 11.6 pounds to claim the Biggest Loser title and $232 in prize winnings.   Way to go Skipper! I’m so proud of you!!!)

Thug Kitchen is keepin’ yo nutrition real

Thug Kitchen is keepin’ yo nutrition real

This website makes me so happy.  Not only is it spot f&%$#ing ON about the info it’s dishing out (see what I did there?) it’s also pretty hilarious.  Check it out yo!

Weigh-In Wednesday

Hallooo Fishies!

To go along with my dive back in the exercise pool, I’m restarting my public accountability.  As such, I’m using a baseline weight of where I was at my half-marathon in January.  It’s now two months later, so I figure it’s time to get serious once again.  That being said, here’s the familiar mantra:

Weigh-In Wednesday Guideline Reminder:

1. I will only weigh myself once a week.

2. I will weigh myself at the same time, on the same scale, in the same state of undress (yup, that’s naked, folks) each week on Wednesday morning, directly after waking up, or in other words, at approximately 6:00 a.m.

3. I will not become discouraged by the number on the scale, as its only value is a measurement for my progress and as a litmus test for my eating and exercise behaviors that will inevitably vary from week to week.

4. I WILL pay more attention to how I feel, how my clothes fit and how much energy I have, rather than the silly number appearing between my toes every seven days.

To these tenets I dedicate myself, in sincerity and the best of intentions.  -Sharkie

With all that being said, I am down -0.3 pounds to start off my first week of boot camp.  Hurrah!  Costa Rica here I come!

Week 1

Well that was eye-opening …

Okay, so, not working out for about two months really will stymie your progress!  As is obvious from my lack of blog posts since January, I’ve not really been dedicated to working out since after my race.  Thus, the reason I felt the need to jump start my routine by enrolling in boot camp.

Well … let me tell you, I felt the time off last night.  The Boot Camp itself is great.  There’s no one screaming at you, no shaming or public humiliation.  It’s at a very nice little park just down the street from my house, and it’s a really beautiful environment.  My trainer is Katie and she’s very pleasant and encouraging, but also very no nonsense.  The group is me plus three other girls, one of whom is marathon-ready and super in shape, another in very good shape, and the other in so-so shape (but ahead of me certainly).  So, Katie has quite the varied group on her hands.

I don’t think the Boot Camp structure is right for people who have never exercised before, or who don’t have a lot of experience.  Here’s why: Katie runs the group at the pace of its fastest member.  If you can’t keep up, or if you need to modify your moves, that’s up to you.  YOU have to be in control of your workout.  And if you’ve never done that before, or if you think you have to force yourself to stay up to pace, you’ll keel over in the first 15 minutes.  I almost did.  I’d forgotten that I wasn’t up to snuff and about 20 minutes in, I got winded and a little dizzy and realized I was jamming to stay with the breakneck pace without paying attention to the cues my body was giving me.  Once I realized that, I took a break, drank water, slowed my pace and then rejoined.  I’m glad I took that time, because it allowed me to observe the other girls and to see how they were personally modifying each activity to their own levels.  (Each of them have been in this Boot Camp before, so it’s clear they were familiar with the expectations.)

I am happy to have found this group, because truly I learn the best when I’m thrown in and I have to figure out what’s going on.  I don’t like hours of explanations on moves I’ve already done, I just need the structure and the leader telling me when to do what.  That being said, here’s a brief synopsis of the workout from last night:

5-7 min. warm-up stretching
1 lap run
1 min. push-ups
1 min. V-ups
1 min. bicycle abs
1/3 mi. run
2 min. resistance band kick backs (on the mat)
1 min. sumo squats
1 min. burpees
2 min. lunges w/ sprints in between
2 min. resistance band tricep/bicep pulls
1 min. squat jumps
2 min. resistance band tricep/bicep “bow and arrow”
2 min. backwards/forwards uphill/downhill sprints
2 min. lower ab work (with partner)
1 min. plank
1 lap: 50/50 walking lunges and high skipping jumps
1 sprint lap
5 min Cool-down stretching

There may have been more, but that’s what I can remember. :) Fun, huh?  The whole workout start to finish was exactly one hour.  Now that I know what to expect, I think I’ll be able to pace myself better on Wednesday and push myself where I can.  Ultimately, my goal is now to get through a whole workout without stopping.  I’m thinking after 2-3 weeks of this, I’ll be able to do it.  Wish me luck!

It’s almost April! … wait, really?

Right-o! Here we are once again and it’s time for me to jump with both feet back in the pool.  Tonight I’m starting boot camp.  It’s a five week program, 3x per week.  I’ve never done anything like this before, and I’m excited so see what happens.  The good (and convenient) news is that I can either go before or after my work day.  I’m planning on my normal post-work routine, but as we are all busy, busy fishes, the flexibility is key to keeping up the progress.  If I like it, I’m planning to follow it up with another 5-week session, which will land me right on top of my trip to Costa Rica. Perfect timing! 

Updates to come!  Until then, happy swimming!


Happy New Year Fishies!

It’s 2013 … well, damn, how did that happen?

2012 was an incredibly good year for me and I am excited to see how 2013 will follow it up.  As always happens with the beginning of a new year (and an end to the holiday madness) I am looking forward to being back on track, both with my exercise goals and food tracking.  To that end, I’ve received my new daily journal in which I jot down every little thing I eat.  I noticed, looking back on my 2012 journal, that when my entries waned (and ultimately disappeared), so did my progress.  The really jovial news, however, is that I’ve maintained the progress I made.  I am sure this is largely due to the running.

I am a convert, officially.  I admit, that  I enjoy running now.  I know, I know, I KNOW.  But to be honest, there is absolutely no way that I would be able to train for (or ultimately finish) the half marathon that looms so closely in my future now, if I didn’t enjoy the act of the run.  So there you have it, I’ve reached another goal.

I will likely not be active on here until after my race, at which point I will post an update and begin once again on my gym/run/cross-training program that allows for a bit more flexibility and creativity in my exercise routine.  Until then, I hope you are all healthy and happy and optimistic about the coming year.  Swim on fishies!

Hello again fishies … I know, I know, I know … sorry. But let me explain.

There are a lot of new developments in this shark’s cove, and as worried as I was when I started this blog about having to keep moving, well let me just tell you … not worried anymore.  All I’ve been doing for the past few months is moving.  Moving forward, to be exact, in many areas of my life.  (Yes, it’s true, there’s a bull shark in the cove now, but that’s a subject for a different blog.) :)

The really exciting development is that I am officially training to run a half marathon.  What started as the spark of an idea has flamed into a full-fledged training program thanks to one friend and one race.  At the finish line party of my last 5k in August, I noticed a booth set up by the American Cancer Society.  I approached them to ask about opportunities for local Relay for Life events.  It turns out, however, that they were representing a different branch of ACS, namely the DetermiNation program.  That program organizes local teams to participate in various marathons and half-marathons around the country.  I spoke with the nice ladies for a few minutes, took a flier and went on my merry way.

A week or so later, I still had the flier.  That’s unusual for me.  I always get rid of that stuff, but for some reason I couldn’t throw this one away.  So instead, I read it, and decided to attend an information session.  I heard back from the program manager who confirmed my attendance the following weekend and then … I didn’t go.  I just flaked.

A week later I got an e-mail from the manager saying she was sorry she missed me at the meeting (*chagrin) but attaching all the materials I would have acquired at the meeting anyway and offering a 25% discount on registration.  I read about the team, the training and the race and decided … well, why the hell not?  But then I didn’t do anything about it.

Except … I told my friend (we’ll call him … Cupcake) about it one evening in an off-handed comment, along the lines of: “I was thinking about maybe training for a half marathon and raising money for cancer research in the process … maybe.  I dunno.  Maybe not.”

Two days later, when I saw Cupcake again, he took the money for the registration fee out of his wallet and pressed it into my hand.  “For your half marathon.  Do it.”

So there you have it, I am an official team member of the Los Angeles DetermiNation Team for the Arizona Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon/Marathon in Phoenix/Tempe, AZ in January 2013.  I started my training last weekend and it was fantastic.  I’ve been up every morning this week (except Monday … ick) to do my training on my own and I feel fantastic.  Now, you all know how I feel about morning exercise, but I gotta tell you, this feels different.  It must have something to do with the fact that I not only have a defined goal, but I’m also $700 committed in donations so far and I’ve told people I’m gonna do it so there you go.

I am still far from achieving my goal, so if you’re pheeling philanthropic, click HERE to access my donation page.  Thanks for reading, for supporting and for forgiving my absence (you have, haven’t you?).  I am raising money to help fight cancer .. and getting healthier myself in the process.  I’ll be back soon!

Where I’ve Been