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.


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

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.

22 November 2006 (Wednesday), 11:14 pm
Filed under: Boot camp log, NaBloPoMo, Photos

Futile was my search for poetry online about sore muscles and/or feeling the burn, and then I remembered this picture from my flickr stream.

When we saw this cactus on the edge of a cliff on Maui last year, I was compelled to pretend to sit on it. About 15 years ago my best friend composed the following masterpiece of a poem for an English assignment:

I sit upon a cactus.
My butt hurts.

And it did hurt when the wind blew and for a millisecond or seven I wasn’t actually pretending to sit on the cactus.

Despite the many squats and duck walks and push up tests (I “only” did 30) and horizontal arm rotations what went on for frickin ever and tripods (one-armed plank) that were part of Wild Card Wednesday, it is not my butt that hurts, nor my arms or upper back. No, it is my calves. I have no idea why.

Tomorrow it will surely be my abs that protest, for tomorrow is Stability Ball Thursday.

Remembrance Day means 19 days left of my 30 day trial
11 November 2006 (Saturday), 11:57 pm
Filed under: Flossing, Goals, Habits, NaBloPoMo, Photos, Sleep, Tracking progress

Grandpa/Ocean Voyager

Originally uploaded by secretagentarthur.
This portrait my brother took of my late grandfather a few years ago is better than anything I could write about Remembrance day. Instead I’m checking in with how the first 11 days of flossing, blogging and exercising have gone.

Flossing daily is pretty painless. This change in habit will probably stick: as I’m heading to bed I just remind myself that I can’t get into bed until I’ve flossed. It’s not that different from taking off my socks before getting into bed. Strange that it took me nearly until age 32 to realize this, but I’ll take it.

The daily blog posting is more tedious. I just don’t have that much to write about that I’m willing to put online and/or that fits with the general subject matter focus here. So after November I’ll likely go back to weeklyish blog posts, or find another topic/focus for a different blog, or just stop blogging all together. It’s not like there’s a lack of bloggy reading material online, so I don’t feel that compelled to add to the information glut. But this navel gazing/whining just adds to the problem, so I’ll endeavour to find more compelling subject matter for the next 19 days.

Exercising almost daily is somewhere in the middle of the hassle scale between flossing and blogging. This week (Wednesday, Friday and today) walking has been the default exercise choice despite climbing plans Wednesday and swimming plans today. I’m okay with that. Walking more (as a matter of habit) is another goal of mine and I haven’t been feeling slothful.

Swimming lost out to sleeping in this morning, and based on stuff I’ve read about sleep the sleep may have done me more good. Tomorrow I’ll need to get up earlier in order to work out with more intensity since I’ve got an appointment at 9 am at Granville Island Florists. If sleep again proves to be more compelling my goal is to fit in some Pilates or Dance Dance Revolution later in the day.

Thai Massage
4 October 2006 (Wednesday), 1:10 pm
Filed under: Outside boot camp log, Photos

Thai Massage

Originally uploaded by spamangr.

After this morning’s training session, which involved quite a lot of upper body work (resistance tubing can be used in surprisingly hard-but-fun exercises), T’ai showed us this Thai Massage stretch that opens up the chest and shoulders while also stretching the back and arms. I was going to try to describe it, but found a picture of it on Flickr so yay.

Chrissy and I switched off being stretcher and stretchee, and both ended up with weirdly tingling forearms coming out of the stretch. It felt very effective, though. It seemed like it would have been a bit more relaxing if my shoulders weren’t perpetually tense.

tags: , , , , thai massage

Functional fitness, dysfunctional exercise
1 October 2006 (Sunday), 2:47 pm
Filed under: Outside boot camp log, Photos

Burrard Bridge

Burrard Bridge
Originally uploaded by steena.

Thursday evening, after presenting some work I’d done at a meeting of the local CORS chapter at UBC Robson Square, I decided to walk home over the Granville Street bridge instead of catching the bus. The view was similar view to this, but without the snow.

I worked up a sweat and felt great about my level of functional fitness in terms of being able to walk at a good clip carrying 20 or so pounds of stuff but it was very dysfunctional exercise. The sun was setting and it was really lovely but as the bag kept bumping into my thigh as I crossed the bridge it came to me: the unbalanced and non-ergonomic weight of the laptop and the other bag slung over my right shoulder and the projector I was carrying with my left arm was probably undoing the benefit of the great upper back massage and adjustment session earlier in the day at the RMT and chiropractor’s.

My upper back is way less tense than it was last week; Dr. B the chiropractor speculated this was because I haven’t been exercising as intensely now that boot camp’s over, and it’s giving my body a chance to heal. He’s probably right.

Still, I have been active. Sunday my parents and Mounir and I rented bikes made the Sea Wall circuit around Stanley Park. Mounir and I were on a tandem bike and he claimed he did most of the peddling. It’s quite possible he did more than his share, but I got an upper body workout hanging on for dear life: I was sitting behind Mounir and couldn’t see where we were going, nor could I steer anything other than his seat. It was so much fun and the weather was perfect. Yay for Stanley Park. When it’s sunny Vancouver is one of my favourite cities.

But back to the settling of exercise accounts: I walked to work Monday, and home from work Tuesday. Wednesday I did 30 minutes of Pilates (I really like my Crunch: Pick Your Spot DVD, see link below; I also ordered the other DVDs linked below because that one no longer feels intense enough), Thursday there was the sweaty walk home over the bridge, and Friday and Saturday mornings I did yoga for twenty and sixty minutes, respectively.

My yoga video’s suffering from dysfunctional exercise as well. When I rewound it yesterday it jammed. Mounir has fixed it, but I’m ordering the DVD version (also linked below) just in case. In my last year of undergrad I took twice weekly yoga classes at the McGil gym (conveniently right across the street from my studio apartment) with Lyne St-Roch and she’s really really great. She was teaching those classes in English but I like that the video’s in French. It makes me feel like I’m multitasking, both building “force, endurance, souplesse, stabilit√©, √©quilibre” and reminding myself of vocabulary. Not that I need the French word for shin that often.

Today I am resting, for tomorrow I will be doing the first of several twice weekly partner personal training sessions with T’ai and one of my new boot camp friends. We start at 7 am, which is much more humane than boot camp’s 5:30 start, but I have a feeling it will kick my ass. I can’t wait.

The promised links: A list of exercise DVDs I own or will soon own

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