I tried yoga a few times, but couldn’t really get the hang of it.

Well, that was part of it, along with the fact that the yoga studio that I love is in the middle of a twisted gnarl of suburbia and pretty land-locked away from any highways.  There was no convenient way to get to it or from it.  So, I pretty much resolved myself to not “being into yoga.”

The interesting thing that I have found, though, is that I am experiencing the benefits of yogic practices during my workout.

I find it very important to stretch both before and after a workout (at 26, I have both bad hips and knees, which make it painful to workout incorrectly).  During my before and after stretches, I am naturally using the deep breathing techniques of Pranayama.  It helps me ease into the deeper stretches, as well as hold them for a time that allows my muscles to limber up.

I wonder if I should be incorporating some other yoga practice into my training.

February 18, 2010

How to Make Today a 25-Hour Day

So, outside of the 8-hours that I am indisposed as I am earning a paycheck, I have no idea how to cram all the stuff I need to get done into my day.  A lot of the above helps (audiobooks on the commute to work, anyone?).

The following are a few techniques that I’m working into the repertoire, including (but not limited to):

Incidentally, for me, the singular thing that helps me get everything done in a day that I need to do is to write it down.  If I’m not writing it down, I’m certainly not remembering to do it.

I’m finding that I’ve grown extremely frustrated with my lack of efficiency from 5:30-7:30.  That inefficient chunk of time is sucking out my will to do anything.

The major impediment has been trying to balance my workout and my studying: I’ve been trying to cram both activities in the same/overlapping time slots.  It wasn’t working.

My new approach is to work out first thing in the morning, before I hop into the shower.  I have to get up an additional 30 minutes early so I can fit the workout into my morning routine; the upside is that I am now waking up at the same time every day of the week.  I like this.

The two downsides right now:

  1. I cannot figure out my sleep schedule.  I don’t know if I’m best served with 6.5, 7, or 8 hours of sleep, or when the best time to go to bed is.  I’m trying to listen to my body, but it’s speaking a completely different language – I’m getting tired at about 6:00 and don’t snap out of it until I fall into bed at 10.  For now, I’m doing 11-6, and we’ll see how well that works out.
  2. The side-effects of working out that early in the morning are wreaking havoc on my body.  Nausea, stomach upset, the works.  I don’t know if it’s a shock to my system, or if drinking that much water that early is getting the digestion kick-started, but it has caused some serious delays in my morning routine.

My hope is that after a few weeks of this, it will become old hat.  I’m hoping that 1) I can actually get shit done in the evenings, and 2) I’ll stop feeling like I need to ralph when I get off the treadmill at 6:30 to jump in the shower.

Keep Calm, Carry On

I did not watch a lot of Conan, before or while he was on The Tonight Show, but I think his ousting really stank.  It shows that even celebrity players get the messy end of the shit stick occasionally.

I think that the theme “sometimes, you get screwed, hard – and through no fault of your own” gives me some comfort – at least it seems pretty universal, as opposed to just happening to me, or in my line of work.

What made me a huge fan of Conan O’Brien was part of his exit speech as he left.  I have definitely internalized these words and his sentiment.

Without further ado:

“All I ask of you, especially young people . . . is one thing. Please don’t be cynical,” O’Brien said. “I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.”

Quick Recap, Cooking 101 in 1001: Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe (BlogChef)

I made this for lunch on Friday. Here are the liner notes:

  • I loved it, I will absolutely be making this again.
  • I had a blast making the rice noodle puffs – I had no idea that it would be as easy as it was.  I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something to do on a Friday night. (I take it back: do it on a lazy Tuesday, go out and play on Friday).
  • I forced myself to learn how to cook chicken. (I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I am a baker and vegetarian cook by nature, I’m terrified of under-cooking meat and getting ptomaine or over-cooking it to leather, so I’ve largely hidden from it.)
  • The dressing is an exact copy of the Oriental Sesame dressing made by the facist (read, “ridiculously over-priced”) cafe in my office building.  This was not intentional, but I am thrilled I have a copy of this dressing – if I asked for an extra helping of dressing at the cafe, they acted as though I had curb-stomped their kittens.

February 7, 2010

In this article, Mike Kramer points out the ultimate truth in any success story: the #1 indicator of success is to set goals. JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly relates goal-setting in fitness to goal-setting in finance, which I find just as applicable. In my end-of-the-year meme, I talked about finding the beauty in between the lines of the goals, and it’s an idea, I still believe in: I set the goals to become a better person when I accomplish them. But when it comes to motivation to complete the goals, ultimately, I’m not motivated by the means of a process so much as the end.

I say this because even though I’ve become such a better person about getting fit (I joined SparkPeople, and I cannot stop recommending it to people), I need a reason to get fit to stay motivated. To quote W.H. Murray, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back.” I found out that Hale Farm is having their “Opening Weekend” 5K run through the farms of Bath, OH. I said, “Shit, why not?” and signed both The Boy and I up for it. And now, I can’t shut up about it: about training, the excitement, how proud I am of myself for taking this huge step in fitness….

I’m training using the C25K program, and my goal is to make it through the Hale Farm’s run jogging the entire time. If I can peg a time for completion, that’s good too – it will be great for comparison for the future. I have had a hard time being a “runner” in the past, but I really want to be, and I have the physique, the energy, and the drive to do it this time.

By setting the goal of running a 5K in June, not only am I committed to actually doing the training for running, I am committed to the strength training that accompanies training for a 5K.When I had re-started horseback riding again at 20, I rode for the summer at a high-caliber training stable which had an actual gym on the ground, so the equestrians that were training for multi-state competition could engage in cardio and strength-training programs to complement training on horseback. The concept had a major impact on me since that day, which is why I’m so committed to not be singularly-focused on just running as part of training.

Once I complete the C25K program, I’m assuming that I will graduate to a more intense program for more accomplished runners (my logic is that actually running in a 5K at the end of C25K means that I am not allowed to call myself a n00b anymore). My plan is to find another 5K to run in, and using the time I clocked for the Hale Farm 5K, train and clock in at a shorter time.

Who knows: maybe I’ll want to do a half-marathon next spring?