Boot camp and beyond

Excuses, excuses
25 January 2007 (Thursday), 11:07 pm
Filed under: Photos

wedding cake topper, by me

Originally uploaded by steena.

So, in the last almost two months, Mounir and I went the Philippines, narrowly missed a typhoon (but got to experience the roughing-it joys of its aftermath), rode around on a motorcycle that had had a garage fall on it, enjoyed the beach and the ocean and our friends, saw the new James Bond movie in Manila’s Mall of Asia for about 3 bucks US apiece, had a 40 hour-long Christmas thanks to the international date line, caught a horrible cold or flu virus, spent New Year’s Eve at home coughing and sniffling and watching TV (both of us) and using Fimo to make the cake topper you see here (me), went back to work whilst still suffering from the plague, started training twice a week with T’ai, sorted out a bunch of wedding details, including the cake this topper will go on, sampled eight different kinds of cake, ate fairly healthily other than that.

I’m rather tired, oh, and on top of all that I’ve folded 830 origami cranes, which means I have 170 to go. It seemed like a good way to channel wedding stress/excitement/anxiety, for the first couple hundred or so. Now I’m just hoping it causes not just good luck but world peace/health/longevity/all that good stuff.

If the cranes can also fix Mounir’s rib/back that would be good too. He managed to dislocate something in our fifth (of seven, for now) training session and has been aching (and even more anti-fitness) ever since. The chiropractor is now on the case, but a bit of origami magic couldn’t hurt, right? I enjoyed working out with Mounir, but he claims exercise is bad for you and now that he’s given it a try he’s done with it.

In any case I felt the need to note that I’m not dead and I intend at some point to write in greater detail about our tropical island adventure, but my involvement with the internet these days is pretty much confined to looking at pretty pictures in the Offbeat Bride group and trying to figure out wtf I’m going to do with 1000 cranes once they’re all folded. (leading candidates: dangling in curtains or garlands or chains, or stuffed them in vases; sadly, we can’t transport the Grand Canyon to Vancouver for our wedding on February 10th).

To sum up: I’ll be back but not soon.


Gone fishing.
7 December 2006 (Thursday), 10:36 pm
Filed under: NaBloPoMo


Originally uploaded by buchick.

More accurately: gone sunning and lounging and diving and catching up on sleeping, etc., At least that’s the plan. Tomorrow I am off to Boracay Island in the Philippines, and may resume blogging when I get back after Christmas. I’m still brushing my teeth and daily exercise should be easy whilst there, but posting daily wasn’t a habit I wanted to maintain.

NaBloPoMo was good in terms of exposing me to new blogs but work + wedding stuff + travel planning + actually staying in shape (as opposed to writing about staying in shape) are higher priorities.

I wish everyone who reads this warm, relaxing, fun and uber-happy holidays!

Less aching this week
30 November 2006 (Thursday), 10:30 pm
Filed under: Boot camp log, NaBloPoMo

After another stability ball day this morning, this time focused on infinite and varied lower body muscles, I’m certainly feeling all those muscles and my core. I’m not really aching, though. It could be that the combination of skipping Wednesday’s boot camp and Monday and Tuesday sessions’ involving more cardio and less weight training account for this change.

My hypothesis, however, is that it’s the whey protein. Now that the Wild Rose Detox cleanse nonsense is done, I’m back to dumping 30 g of Isoflex powder into my water bottle each morning. Everything I’ve read about fitness nutrition advocates replenishing amino acids during and after a work out, and the glutamine complex in the Isoflex is supposed to be particularly helpful. It’s not a double-blind trial, but feeling less achy is good enough for me.

Flagging Commitment and Horoscopes
29 November 2006 (Wednesday), 10:37 pm
Filed under: NaBloPoMo

My alarm failed to wake me fully this morning, and when I next opened my eyes it was 5:40.  I chose to go back to sleep instead of racing to get there for the last half of boot camp.   It seemed like the right call at the time, but I’m glad Mounir’s back from Chicago not just because he’s a delightful companion and a joy to have around, but because I’m less likely to wimp out tomorrow and Friday because of fatigue and bad driving conditions with him here to witness it.

With the extra sleep this morning, though, I’m back to looking forward to the last two days of boot camp.  And to sleeping in after that, while still continuing this crazy fitness kick.  And to only blogging when I have something to write, as tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo.

Flailing around for something to say today, I was inspired by Rachael’s Free Will Astrology quote, and looked up Aquarius’s horoscope for the week:

 This week I propose that you feel gratitude for every person who has ever told you that you were inadequate, that there was something wrong with you, that you would never amount to anything. You might even carry out a little ceremony in which you bow down to an altar containing their photos or slips of paper on which their names are written. And why am I suggesting this? Because those jerks helped motivate you to become as cool as you are. And if I’m reading the omens correctly, it’s time to summon a huge new burst of creative energy as you disprove their misbegotten ideas about you even more completely.

The thing is, there aren’t many jerks who’ve told me I’m inadequate, so my problem is more that I never feel like I’m living up to my potential.  Sleeping in this morning triggered that feeling too.  But I heard a great snippet of an interview on CBC this morning (14 minutes in), apparently the coolest boy in Claire Messud’s grade 3 class singled out her and another girl as not being allowed to play Spin the Bottle.  She gets tremendous satisfaction that she’s now a novelist, the other girl became a soprano in an opera company, and the cool boy runs a sports bar.

28 November 2006 (Tuesday), 10:04 pm
Filed under: Boot camp log, Links, NaBloPoMo

You know, like marginalia, except more random.  You may want to skip this, unless you are the type who needs sleep aids. Continue reading

27 November 2006 (Monday), 11:13 pm
Filed under: NaBloPoMo, Photos

At the end of each boot camp session, after the stretching, T’ai leads us through a deep breathing exercise. As we’re drawing the last breath, he usually asks us to breath in gratitude, and hold it while feeling everything we’re grateful for, possibly just having completed another day of boot camp. This morning’s session was sparsely attended — only nine of us braved the snowy roads, so the rest missed out on improving their sprinting technique — and I don’t remember the breath of gratitude. Fatigue may have erased the memory, but I’m grateful now. Continue reading

These are a few of my favourite superfoods
26 November 2006 (Sunday), 10:09 pm
Filed under: NaBloPoMo


Originally uploaded by *kaishin*.

Isn’t this picture of Kai’s gorgeous? I love pomegranates. They taste just as jewel-like and juicy as they look. And the Persephone mythology tie-in is a nice bonus. It gives me someone to blame for the whole concept of winter. (It is still snowing in Vancouver, and admittedly the snow-bedecked trees are beautiful and the West End and English Bay this morning made me wish I’d brought my camera with me to breakfast with my parents, but I really hate being cold.)

In contrast to my feelings about winter, I love the whole concept of superfoods, especially the ones added earlier this year, because they are all YUMMY.

Except, not quite all. Let me break it down.

Beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, pumpkin, salmon, spinach, pomegranate, cinnamon, apples, honey, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate.

Varies depending on form and execution:
Oranges, soy, tea, tomatoes (pinkish, mealy tomatoes are the only thing that demoted them from delicious), walnuts (I’ll take pecans given a choice between the two), yogurt, kiwi

No thanks:

They just need to add artichokes, barley, red lentils, and this really great creamy French cheese whose name I’ve forgotten (helpful, I know) to the list and I’d happily eat nothing but superfoods.

The weather outside is frightful
25 November 2006 (Saturday), 11:49 pm
Filed under: NaBloPoMo, Photos

Unlike the Scissor Sisters, I do (or did, a few hours ago before I began to turn into a pumpkin) feel like dancin’. The end result is the same, though: No sir, no dancin’ today. Due to the weather I’ve spent the night lying in front of the so delightful fire instead of heading to the Legion for Stomp it Off! Driving on snowy Vancouver roads is a losing proposition I try to avoid. It’s not that I can’t drive in the white stuff: I’ve lived in Ottawa and Montreal. It’s the other drivers that freak me out.

Behold the snow coating the roofs of neighbouring buildings:

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

And look at the difference in visibility towards the Granville Street Bridge between these two pictures:

The weather outside is frightful Clouds shrouding the top of the Wall Centre

I really can’t wait to head to the Philippines. Mon pays ce n’est pas l’hiver, c’est la plage. Which won’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t know the song, but my country really ought to be the beach.

Come the revolution, I’ll be claiming beaches for my own. Also, first up against the wall will be people enforcing anti-grunting policies in fitness clubs. What’s next, no sweating policies? My Adventure Boot Camp has a no swearing policy but if you break it you do pushups. You don’t get kicked out.

I don’t grunt or groan often, but sometimes it’s the only thing that helps me push through the last ten seconds of holding plank position. It’s a good thing I don’t belong to one of the gyms in the article, as my response to people whose delicate ears can’t handle grunting would be “Suck it up, princess.”

Also of interest in the New York Times, distance runners may have an increased risk of skin cancer. Not that surprising, but I did wonder about “Even though, by chance, the nonrunners had more benign moles and freckles and significantly higher sun sensitivity as determined by eye color and skin shade, the runners had more solar lentigines and more lesions suggestive of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, two less aggressive skin cancers.”. They say it’s by chance, but I wonder if those more prone to burning tend to self-select out of pursuits involving a lot of sun exposure? Maybe that’s why, even though I no longer hate running, I have no desire to become a distance runner.

Sometimes I worry that this will be a liability some day, when evaluating scenarios like “what if I’m in a situation where I have to run for hours on end to survive a zombie attack or something”, but it’s not a big enough motivator. (In fact, such thoughts just remind me of this this ‘a softer world’.) Of course, my dream life of living on the beach doesn’t make much sense from an avoiding skin cancer perspective either, but I’d be willing to trade a bit of longevity for always being warm and near the ocean.

No rest for the wicked.
24 November 2006 (Friday), 10:46 pm
Filed under: NaBloPoMo, Sleep

After getting up five days in a row before five am, tomorrow I need to wake up by 3:30 am to drive Mounir to the airport.  So tired.

I take it back.
23 November 2006 (Thursday), 11:00 pm
Filed under: Boot camp log, Dancing, NaBloPoMo

” it is not my butt that hurts, nor my arms or upper back. No, it is my calves.”  I retract that statement.  Parts of my body that were sorer than sore as soon as I woke up this morning, and even more so after the very upper body weight lifting-intensive hour of stability ball boot campery:   my butt, my arms, my upper back, my shoulders (raising my arms above my head = excruciating), my calves, my thighs.  My abs are not too bad, but I’m pretty sure by tomorrow morning they’ll be sore.

Tonight was the last session of the intermediate/advanced swing dance class.   My aching muscles are thankful that it was less strenuous and more feeling-the-musicy.  First we did some walking across the floor paying attention to stretching, then sinking into the hip of the leg that had just stepped (forward, backward, and then with a pivoting rock step triple step).  Then we did a lot of playing around in closed, followed by a pattern of three swing outs, one circle, four bars of 6-count stuff (like tuck turn, change of place, inside or outside turn, possibly with the lead turning), then 8 counts of just hanging out and playing with the music.

I need to work more on a) connecting with the floor, b) connecting more with the lead’s hand on my back by sinking back like I’m sitting on the edge of a barstool, and c) enjoying the dancing more instead of worrying about how well I’m following.  Not so shockingly, it’s easier to follow well when I stop worrying about it.  Leo emphasized that it’s about the journey, not the destination.  At least until the next class series in January, focussed on moves and repertory; that class will apparently be all about the destination.