Oh yeah, The April Exercise Challenge

So the last you heard of the April Exercise challenge I was furious over some person reporting an insane number of hours in a week.

So I asked about it the next time I went in.  And I was told they’d asked this person about it as well and apparently his doctor had told him he needed to start exercising or he was heading for a heart attack.  Lots of walking, I guess.  Lots of walking and retired.  I’m telling you, those retired folks can put in a lot of easy exercise time with the morning and evening walks!

So I calmed down a bit but when the third week came and went and that guy STILL beat me in hours (but not by nearly as much) I realized I wasn’t going to come out the office victor.  However, that insane person WAS on my team and so I consoled myself by realizing I would be on the winning team this year.

After the first week the office had reached 250 hours and it was a 2000 hour challenge.  I really didn’t think we’d make it.  At the end of April the office had accumulated 2381 hours.  I have to admit, I’m impressed.  Everyone really stepped it up.  The break down looked like this:

Final Team Totals

1st place Red Team = 486 hours                   Top Competitor = 51.5 hours

4th place Green Team = 329.5 hours             Top Competitor = 30.5 hours

5th place Blue Team = 280.5 hours                 Top Competitor = 35.5 hours

3rd place Orange Team = 393.5 hours             Top Competitor = 36.25 hours

6th place Black Team = 254.5 hours                 Top Competitor = 22 hours

2nd place Yellow Team = 425 hours                  Top Competitor = 39.25 hours

7th place Silver Team (staff) = 212 hours        Top Competitor = 32 hours

Awesome stuff!  My prizes?  A t-shirt, a reusable bag, and a hot/cold pack.  Not too shabby!

One thing I’m not so good at…

…is talking about craziness as it is happening.

There’s just so much going on in my life right now and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of absolutely all of it, even the good stuff.  As usual, when I don’t have a firm handle on things (my idea of a handle, anyway) I tend to withdraw until I’ve figured it all out.

I’ve sat on my blog countless times trying to will myself to write a post.

You just can’t force it though, ya know?

This short post is a sign that I’m coming out the other side, that things are dying down, and that I’m returning to something close to normal – although I’ll tell ya, not much is going to feel normal in the next few months.

Things I need to update you on and will asap:

  1. The April exercise challenge.
  2. The job hunt.
  3. My mom.

I think that’s all that is insanely crazy at the moment, but trust me, it is enough.  Until next time (which I hope will be this weekend) please know I’m still here and I’m still going to write…. It’s just that I’m facing some serious hurricanes at the moment and I need all of my emotional energy to deal with it… not much left for anything else.  I’m sure you guys get it.

And here I thought I was kicking ass…

I know it’s been a while since I posted.  I have excuses.. allow me to list them.

Last week was crazy at work.  We had a big project in one of my classes, plus there was a school-wide project which culminated on Friday so things were crazy at work.  By the time I got home at night, put in my 1.5 hours of exercise, ate dinner, showered, gave the cats sufficient attention, and perused the job listings… I was beyond tired.

Plus… Monday night there was that whole… April Exercise challenge report that threw me into a bit of a funk.  I was fully expecting to be the top person on my team again… or at least CLOSE to the top person on my team.  I had 9.5 hours that I’d reported and when I got the reporting email… the top person on my team had done 18 hours.

Naturally, I immediately called them a liar.

I mean, I smoked the entire office the week before with 10.5 hours and someone comes out of nowhere with 18?  Excuse me?

I stewed over that, folks, and I’m not all that proud to admit it either.  Instead of focusing on my success in general, I was totally peeved at this person.  This person also beat me out this past week, but only by 1.25 hours.  I had 11 hours for last week and they evidently had 12.25.  Whatever.  The big picture here? My team is looking like we might be the winners!  I’ll take that… and maybe next year I can do something incredibly insane to be the overall winner.  I don’t know though, 18 hours in a week seems pretty steep.  If it were warmer and I was riding my bike… possibly.  I just don’t know.

So yeah, I got sidetracked and started with the negative thinking….which led to selfish thinking…which led to me being totally preoccupied with myself….which led to me spending senseless energy doing nothing but huffing and puffing and feeling angry.  Why did I let that happen?

I’m still kicking ass though… my own.  I have to keep reminding myself not to push it with the running.  I have begun googling to see if I can find other people who have the high heart rate problem I have and I’ve found a couple of threads that mention it… but nothing which gives it a medical name, and nothing that really gives much advice other than “do what it takes to keep your heart rate at 85% of maximum.”  You know… that would pretty much leave me “jogging” at a slower pace than I walk.  I am encouraged to see that others have this problem and they’re not all overweight… and they seem to be in various levels of physical fitness… so I’m going to keep researching and see what I can come up with…. because…. man… I had really forgotten how much it sucks when my heart rate jumps up into that 185 – 195 zone after about 2 minutes of jogging… and then trying to keep jogging.  It’s HARD.

Just keep moving forward, right?

It’s like Jenga… only with your life

I ran into someone I sort of know recently.  I say sort of know because she used to be the receptionist at my chiropractor and while we are friendly, I wouldn’t say we are friends or anything.  However, she too went on a lifestyle change and lost a lot of weight a while back.  When I ran into her I told her she looked great and she admitted she’d not been doing so great lately and had gained 5 lbs.  I told her I could relate and joked about how, the moment you stop exercising… you suddenly start hating your body again.  And those 5 lbs?  Doesn’t matter if you used to weigh 50 lbs more, those 5 lbs make you feel like the heaviest woman on Earth.  We giggled and I told her Id’ recently found my workout groove again and told her she’d find hers again too.

You know, it’s one thing if the exercising stops.  However, what I’ve found is that once the exercise stops… the healthy eating slowly slips as well.  Folks, my eating over the past year has slid backwards in horrific ways.  That is… until I found my groove with this April exercise challenge.

Let me backtrack first.  Last week I clocked in at 10.5 hours and when the results came in…. I was a full 2 hours ahead of the closest competitor!  I was completely surprised and also completely thrilled.  I am determined to match last week’s time and, while I’ve had 2 days of short workouts, I haven’t taken any days off this week (and I did last week) so, I’m looking like I CAN get there… which is awesome.  I’d like to be the overall top competitor.

What I found this week has been really surprising:  I am craving good foods.  My breakfast has improved, my lunches have consisted of mostly fruits and veggies (and I’ve thrown in Greek yogurt which is totally yummy).  And dinner?  I craved salad all week long.  I didn’t have the stuff on hand to make a salad, mind you… but I wanted it badly.  I finally got my salad Thursday night in the form of a Wendy’s salad which included grilled chicken, pecans, apples and was so yummy I was in heaven.  Last night?  Same deal, I was craving salad again so I got another fast food salad, this time from Burger King.

So, as I’m sitting here right now I”m reading through my salad books (I’m horribly unimaginative when it comes to salads) for inspiration because I believe I should plan on eating a few salads for dinner this week.  It’s been a while since I’ve craved a good salad.  It’s been a while since I’ve looked ahead at the menu to see what kind of salads a restaurant has before agreeing to go out to eat, but I remember once doing so.

It’s amazing how everything sort of fits together.  If you remove one thing, it can all come toppling down.  Put that piece back in… and everything stabilizes.  I feel good about myself again.  I’m not thrilled with the extra weight, but I’m not throwing a girlie hissy fit in the morning when I get dressed, either.  I just feel GOOD.  And that’s the big difference, isn’t it?  When you’re working out there is no guilt to feel for not working out.  When you’re working out, your body craves the good stuff.  When you’re eating well and working out… life feels good.

And that, my friends, is where I am right now.  (Until my next post when I update you on the job search and rant and rave about crap I’m frustrated with.  haha.)

April Challenge: End of Week 1

If you’ve been able to follow my ramblings you know I am participating in my chiropractor’s April exercise challenge.  To be honest, I haven’t exercised much in the past year.  I kept having back issues or setbacks and – honestly – I got used to being lazy after the car accident.

There is no other way to look at it, exercise is… well… work.  

I know, I know… nothing life changing in that statement above but trust me, it took me a long time to realize that (so long as I was doing it properly) exercise would never become easy.  You’re meant to step it up as you improve.  For a person highly sedentary most of their life, those are frightening words.  Anyway, before I begin rambling about other things for an hour, my point here is I hadn’t exercised much prior to April’s beginning.  I’d been slowly getting myself back out there and I was pleased with my progress but to be a contender in the challenge, I really needed to step things up.

You know, there’s nothing quite like exercise to remind you that you are a being made of muscle.

I promise I’m not doing anything overly strenuous.  I’m essentially adding an hour of walking to my daily exercise routine (ok so the exercise wasn’t daily before so THAT bit is stepped up as well).

Folks?  My muscles hate me.  They really do.  I have accumulated 10.5 hours of exercise this week (yeah!) and my body groans no matter what direction I move.  Not HUGE groans, mind you… but large enough so that I swear I can feel each individual muscle in my body.

Before everyone jumps in here and starts asking if I’m stretching enough… yes… yes I am stretching.  I am beginning to think I cannot stretch enough to keep my back happy though.  I have been following up my exercise + walking sessions with lots of stretching, followed by some yoga stretches, followed by me groaning in pain as I roll it all out on my foam roller (I have serious IT band issues if I don’t foam roll them daily).  I’ve even taken a tennis ball to my glutes and certain places in my back which just cannot seem to get stretched well enough.  So yeah, I’m stretching.  I’ve even looked up the more stubborn muscles on a chart like this one so I can figure out what I need to do in order to stretch it.

In the end… I think I’m holding up OK.  I’m not glorious by any means but, all things considered, I think I could be much worse.  I’m going to continue stretching like there is no tomorrow and I’m going to try to accumulate 10 hours of exercise this week.  Why less than the 10.5 I just had?  That 10.5 includes a 3 day weekend for me in which I was able to go out in the morning and again at night. Coming home from work and putting in that much time just might not happen.

Here’s to hoping my 10.5 hours puts me as the leader in my team.  I’ll keep you updated!

Reality sinks in

You know how you have those moments of confidence which are strong enough to send you surging forward, determined to tackle any obstacle which threatens to hold you back?

And you know how, once that confidence fades, you’re suddenly stricken with insecurities about the path you’ve just set yourself upon?

I’m feeling that right now.  I spent spring break realizing that a job change likely means me moving.  A job change means I have to interview.  A job change means I have to fill out this ridiculously long online application which requires me to do background research on myself because I cannot remember the answer to some of these incredibly probing questions. (Seriously, am I running for president here?)  Quite frankly, all of it has left me feeling horribly insecure.  Am I really ready to move on?  Am I really ready to start making these finite decisions?

The answer is obviously yes, else I wouldn’t have started down this path.  It’s just hard.  (Ok, scary.  I’m scared.)

On the exercise front… April marks the annual exercise challenge at my chiropractor’s office.  I’m going to be trying to put in as much time as possible while not totally overdoing it.

I’m still doing relatively well on the exercise front.  I did take two days off this week but they were mainly weather related.  Other than that, I’ve even gone out and put in my run time with a headache. I’m still painfully slow with running.  It’s a combination of what my back can handle and what my fitness level can handle.

My C25K app I downloaded ages ago has updated to include a slightly modified version of the program with week 1 having 30 second, 45 second, and 60 second intervals instead of all 60 seconds.  I’ve been pushing myself with those over the past week and boy does it kick my butt!

Prior to doing the intervals, I was running a very slow (4.2 mph) half mile, walking 1/4 mile, and then running a likely even slower half mile.  I wasn’t capable of running (jogging?) a full mile but I felt confident I could get there.

Well, today I got there.  I’m slow, but I’ve always been slow.  My average pace was 4.8 mph and I”m ok with that for right now.  I felt ok afterward.  My back wasn’t completely gone and I was definitely winded, but I wasn’t dying.

All in all, I feel good about it.

With the increase in physical activity coming up in April, I’m not sure what sort of improvement I can expect in the next month, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to at least run 2 miles at this pace by the end of April.  I’m not trying to work miracles here, I’m just trying to rebuild.  You know?

I plan to throw in some cycling, some Curves time, a lot of walking, and of course the running and jogging this next month.  I really want to be a serious contender for a top contestant.  I want to be the top in my team and I’m determined to do it!