I’m at the airport as I write this (don’t cry for me, Argentina, it’ll be worth getting up this early). In the past year they added the Auntie Anne’s (giant buttery soft pretzel chain often found in malls, for those unfamiliar) to this terminal. It doesn’t look open but there’s a big ad on one side with the words:
Welcome To Forces Beyond Your Control
I can’t claim I’ve never eaten there before, but what a flattering assumption to make about your target audience. Eat up guys, because we have power over you and we know it! It’s funny how weak you are!
I’ll be damned if I let a pretzel tell me what to do. Yeesh.
(Namely, I will be the hater, breaking up six miles into as many intervals as I need to just do the damn thing. I’m going to attempt to run Central Park, because it’s always so pretty the day after it snows, but if I have to, I will be at the gym for as long as I need to be, keeping myself occupied because boo, dreadmills. Also, I just wanted the excuse to use this .gif, can you tell?)
This bracelet looks like Nike’s answer to the BodyBugg or FitBit — it tracks steps and calories burned, but also “NikeFuel” units which apparently are a way to standardize activity across all different sports and pursuits. There’s an accompanying iPhone app and an Android app on the way (insert weeping for us, the last 5 BlackBerry users in America).
I love a good gadget and $149 is a fair price, but I don’t see the need for this necessarily. Do I really need to track “NikeFuel” as well as miles, calories and whatever else? And I’d want to see whether it’s comparatively accurate about those metrics too. The article suggests it has trouble counting activities where you don’t move your arms as much (like cycling), and that’s troubling. Fitness innovator, or fancy bracelet?
A few weeks ago I heard a woman at work complaining about how much weight she’d gained over the holidays. To make herself feel better, she said in a bright mocking voice, “It’s okay!! I’ll just be proud of being a big girl! I’ll own these size 10s!” as if that was the worst thing that could ever befall a person.
Today I heard her bragging that she only eats 1 meal a day (lunch) and never works out. So, glad that’s working out for you! I will just keep eating like a normal person, working out and not saying ignorant shit.
On Monday I zinged my back while doing a plank. I am not good at planks because my core is made of vanilla pudding, but I’m working on that; unfortunately, in trying to make sure my back was straight I did something to it even though I stopped right away. I felt it a little bit when I got up Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and running on Thursday night. On Friday night I went to a yoga class, took it really easy and felt really good afterward.
Fast forward to today when I ended up cutting my long run short because of a steady, not sharp but fairly even pain throughout my run. I don’t have a history of back problems, although I vaguely remember having a little lower back pain during my longest runs in half training last year. But this kicked in right at about mile 2 and that’s troubling.
Now I have my heating pad on (I LOVE my heating pad, another reason I’m a great 85-year-old) and I feel just dandy, but I would love you to give me advice on the following:
What should I be doing for my back, right now and in future?
If I see myself doing a plank I’ll do it correctly, but I still can’t feel the correct way. Maybe because I can’t tell where my pelvis is? (…Gentlemen.) You plankmasters out there, how do you maintain good form?
TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” will take place January 21st, 2012, in New York City. The one-day event will highlight several aspects of the sustainable food movement and the work being done to shift our food system from industrially-based agriculture to one in which healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all.
Viewing parties are being held nationwide. Mine is at the LFPL, with Mayor Fischer speaking at the break about “Local Food Initiatives.”
I wish I had gotten to this before it sold out, but the challenge materials are free. I do think it’s a little ironic to be holding a sustainable-food event in the middle of a city, but it’s not as if you can’t eat locally here; you just may need to join a CSA or look a little further out.
Last night I took water aerobics and I loved it. Surely I will also come to love collectible stuffed animals, calling pants “slacks” and eating dinner at 4pm. Word to your grandma.
The class I took was called "Splash Dance" (yay, puns!) and consisted of about 55 minutes of dance moves a la Zumba or other cardio-based dance workouts and 15 minutes of stretching and abs. For part of the class we stood in the shallow end (about 4 feet deep) and made our moves, and later we did some of the same steps and routines with water belts on in the deep end. The closest we got to traditional swimming were breaststroke or crawl arms, without the accompanying leg movements.
It was cheesy but it wasn’t easy; even as I enjoyed the relative weightlessness of being in the water, I tried to keep the tempo up and not just splash around. The instructor kept reminding us that the water puts “12 pounds of pressure” on us (per cubic inch?) and there were moves she could do standing on the pool deck that I struggled with. Most of the class regulars were older ladies (ranging from “looks like my mom’s age” to “looks like my grandma’s age”) who knew the choreography and were not thrashing around like I was. Still, I felt more at ease than I would have in a similarly new dance class, maybe because I was hiding underwater… maybe because I never swam competitively, so the pool still carries happy associations of play time and vacations past.
I took this class for free at the open house for the May Center for Health and Fitness at the 92nd Street Y — that’s Y, short for Young Men’s Hebrew Association (as it was founded in 1874). I mostly know the 92nd Street Y from all the lectures and concerts they host, at which all are welcome. The biggest difference between this gym and the gym I belong to is that this was very much of a community center — hang out in the hot tub talking to strangers, kids’ classes overlapping with adults’, that kind of thing. I don’t know if I would have been so comfortable going to a gym like that when I first tried to get healthy, seeing as I wanted to be as unnoticed as possible, but it didn’t bother me this time. Also, I know this was a special event, but I was struck by how friendly everyone was. I didn’t know I was supposed to bring a swim cap (I’ve never even worn one) and one of the lifeguards dug me up a spare so I could be in class. For free!
The May Center also just rolled out a program where, if you work out there 92 times in a year (slightly less than twice a week), you get a free month of membership. I love this idea! Way to reinforce good behavior in-kind.
Extremely Madeover and a PPR (Personal Procrastination Record)
On Friday I went to a Google Places event with Chris Powell, the trainer on “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition.” I have watched a few episodes of “EM: WLE” after I came home over the summer to find my roommate TRANSFIXED on the couch watching the episode about the PE teacher. “I want to get a trainer like that,” she said, “but I’d have to be — like — two hundred pounds.” Yeah, someday I should tell her I used to weigh more than that, right?
…that people on Twitter can be so vocal that we need to “solve the obesity crisis” in America and then turn around and bitch about new people at their gym for being “the worst” or not “serious” or that they should “go back to being lazy already”? How ELSE is it going to happen? The Magical Thinness Fairy descending upon the US?
I need to quit taking this personally or my head is going to explode.
I was so busy on New Year’s Day I forgot to write about my fitness resolutions.
I’m tempted to just do as Reluctant Runner did and write that my resolution is to finish the NYC Marathon. That is the One True Goal, still! But obviously it’s just not as simple as showing up at the starting line.
After considering my weaknesses and other goals, here’s what I think I should do in order to get myself to that starting line uninjured and finish strong:
Run a few spring halfs to get comfortable with following a training plan and gain confidence in the distance as a building block for those long runs. Those will be RnR NOLA, the NYC Half (yeah, I was that “friend”… heh) and probably the Brooklyn Half as well. As far as a schedule, I dialed up a free Runner’s World Smart Coach plan that is working really well for me so far (more on this in another post), so there’s hope for me yet.
Find a complementary strength and flexibility plan that I will STICK TO. That last part is the most important; I am always trying to do this but normally the trying ends at a few classes or circuits or something.
Get back to my fighting weight. Hard truth folks: I’m up 15 pounds from my lowest weight ever. Granted, that weight was “achieved” after a bout with the flu so it was probably not meant to be, but the rest of it can be attributed to poor eating and not following the guidelines I made for myself that helped me lose so much weight and that I know I can live with. I’ll start by going back to how I started eating better, with writing down my food (I HATE how well this works!)
Try new forms of cross-training to keep it interesting. One great dividend of being healthy has been the potential to try things I automatically would have written off when I was less fit. It’s good to remind myself that I’ve got the power! A few examples I was thinking of: Bikram yoga, fencing (thank you Groupon), pool running, those scary abs classes. (Note: if you can actually find me a class called “Scary Abs,” I will take that for you.)
So who’s still excited about all the new year will bring? I have a 2-mile run on the schedule and it’s sunny outside!
1. I rang in the New Year at the Midnight Run in Central Park. It seemed way more crowded than last year but the fireworks were terrific and the crowd support was really strong for something taking place at 12AM. Not to mention the lovely company of Tumblrs feistyred and one-twenty-five.
2. While I woke up with a killer headache, it was not a hangover! (I think I’m just waking up dehydrated because it’s so warm out. It happened to me yesterday morning with 0 alcohol consumption, and that’s how I know.) (Not that I’m judging you if you are hungover. BELIEVE ME, I have BEEN THERE.)
3. Sunny, shockingly warm walk to yoga…
4. …where I discovered the class I’d signed up for in a new-year halo had been canceled (gym owner: “Well, we tweeted it and put it on Facebook, and also emailed you” me: “well, you definitely didn’t email me…I believe you on the other stuff”) but I went to the gym anyway! And cross-trained and lifted, two things I usually don’t want to do! Going to be so well-rounded this year.
5. Now I’m drinking a mimosa (homemade with “lots of pulp” juice, frankly the ONE TRUE ORANGE JUICE in my opinion) and have a good line on brunch leftovers from one of my acquaintances on Twitter. (Well, they couldn’t all be healthy right?) I should definitely go hang out with this guy and his girlfriend to take advantage of their delicious food, right? It is fiscally responsible of me…