rowyn: (exercise)
I walked to work on Monday. This was the first time in months that I did so. I biked a lot in the summer and fall, and even several times in November. But otherwise, I've been driving. On Monday, it was around 30 F, with a dusting of snow: enough to frost the ground and cars, but not enough to stick to the roads. I could've biked, but decided to give walking a shot instead. I walked a little more than usual, in order to hit a couple of pokestops that are a half-block or a block out of the way each. I soon realized why I haven't been walking to work: after buying the car and especially after getting my new no-physical-keyboard phone, I've been in the habit of bringing my tablet computer to work, so I can write using it during lunch and breaks. Carrying a messenger bag with a tablet computer in it is a lot more annoying than just carrying a lunch bag. If I try walking to work again, I will probably put my tablet and lunch into a backpack or a grocery tote instead of the messenger bag. The messenger bag has a lot of compartments and is heavy even empty. Also, like a big purse, it tends to accrete Stuff because it's big enough to hold Stuff. I do not need to cart all of it to work, though.

That aside, the walk was fine. When I got to work, one of my coworkers let me in and whispered, shocked: "why are you walking? Is something wrong with your car??"
Me: "Oh, I haven't been exercising as much as I used to and figured the walk would be good."
Coworker: "Oh. But it's too cold to walk! Let me know when you're leaving, I'll drive you home."
Me: "No really it's fine, I chose to walk. Thank you for the offer!"

I am still amused by how people react to the idea of going somewhere on foot, even when the distance is pretty short.

Ironically, while I don't walk to work, I've been walking outside for exercise anyway. If I notice that one of the two pokegyms near work has a raid I can solo and it's after 11AM, I take my lunch break and use it to walk over to the gym and do the raid, and hit any other pokestops I have time for. After work, I go to a tiny park near the bank, which has a pokestop and a pokegym and a teensy exercise track.

The walking path is ridiculously small. It's like 1/7th of a mile for the entire loop. I walk around and around it in the evening, spinning the pokestops and getting a little exercise in. I like it better than walking to and from work because of the pokestops, and also because I don't have to worry about traffic, or lugging my tablet computer around.

On Thursday night, I was thinking about the fact that I really don't get nearly as much exercise as I did during the summer, when I was biking to work, and usually half an hour for lunch, plus an hour after work. Now I walk for 30 minutes at lunch and 30 or 40 minutes after work. It's less exercise total, and a less strenuous form of exercise. But I really don't want to use the exercise bike in my basement: I can't spin pokestops there, and Google Fit won't track stationary biking automatically, and the basement is cold and dismal. I also don't want to drive any more than I have to on a work day. I am willing to drive to the park next to the bank for exercise because it's only 2 blocks out of the way from home, and some days THAT seems TOO FAR. I could drive another two miles to walk between four pokestops instead of two, and I don't because DRIVING TWO MILES UGH TOO MUCH.

Jogging would get me more exercise than walking and I could do it in the same place, so the only problem with that is jogging is terrible. Some years back, I got pretty good at jogging, in the sense of "I could jog very slowly for over an hour". But I always disliked it, and while I increased my stamina, I couldn't seem to increase my speed. It was always the slowest jog, like 4mph or even less. I don't technically walk faster than I jog, but it's close.

I tried interval training a few times: the idea is something like "run for 2 minutes, walk for 2 minutes, repeat 10 times". It was the only thing worse than jogging.

But as I was walking the loop, it struck me that my reaction is less "I hate running" than "I hate running for a measurable length of time". Running for 2 minutes is like 90 seconds too long. BUT! The first 30 seconds of running is actually fun. What if I ran until it stopped being fun, instead of until some arbitrary amount of time had passed? So I ran for one side of the tiny loop -- 1/15th of a mile! -- and then slowed to a walk for a while. And then repeated that cycle three more times.

It turns out the speed difference was large enough for Google Fit to measure! It recorded me as doing a "high-intensity activity" for a total of 3 minutes.

This also had the benefit of warming me up and getting blood into my hands so that they were no longer cold, so that was nice.

Saturday, I repeated this pattern again -- "walk a while, run until running starts to feel like work, walk a while until I feel like running again" at the little park near Panera. This time, I added in running from the start, so I did 8 whole minutes of running, and around 45 minutes of walking. I guess the pattern is something like "run 30 seconds, walk 3 minutes".

I don't know if "run until it's not fun" will let me get any better at running. Maybe after a while I will work up to running for a full minute without wanting to stop? On the other hand, it's something I am actually willing to do. And the best kind of exercise is not the kind that is most efficient at building muscle or burning calories or increasing stamina per minute. It is whatever exercise you will actually do.. I stopped at 53 minutes thinking "this is fine, I could do some more but I'm out of time" rather than "oh thank heavens I can FINALLY STOP that was awful".

So I will keep at it for a while.
rowyn: (exercise)
This has been the summer of tire problems for my bike.

It started in the spring, actually, when the back tire went flat. I took it to the shop to get it fixed, only to have the tire go flat again two days later. I brought it back to the shop, where Rick pulled a tiny fragment of glass from the outer tire out as the culprit and replaced it for free, given the timing. He also sold me a set of inserts to protect the tire from going flat. Rick assured me there was no need to replace the tire, just the inner tube. Inwardly, I resolved that if I got another flat that summer I'd find out how to change my own bloody tire, because getting it to the bike shop when I don't own a car was way too annoying.

A couple of months later, I ran over a car key lying on the side of the road. My front tire kicked it into the chain, where it whipped around several times and ripped a few holes in the back tire's inner tube. The tire deflated instantly. I had no money on me. I started walking the bike home, and got less than a block when a kindly woman who lived in the neighborhood offered me and my bike a ride home. <3 Lut went to Wal-Mart a few days later and picked up a "self-repairing" bike inner tube, which contained the same kind of goop that fix-a-flat uses to patch holes in car tires, and a normal patch kit that came with the tire-tools one needs to get a bike tire off the wheel. I watched a couple of Youtube videos on changing bike tires, and replaced my dead tire with the self-repairing one. I rode around on it for 30 minutes and it seemed fine.

An hour later, the self-repairing tire had completely deflated.


I pulled it out again: it had several holes in the same section (not the same area that my last tire had been destroyed in.

I patched up the first flat tire with the patch kit, and put it in.

On my next trip to Wal-Mart, I bought a manual bike pump, exchanged the self-repairing tire for another one, and a regular inner tube. I made a point of bringing the pump, patch kit, and one of the spare tubes with me when I went biking from then on. (I didn't keep it on the bike because I didn't think the temperature changes in the garage would be good for the uninflated tube.)

On August 19, I ran over another key. I remember the date because I tweeted about it:

Rear Bike Tire: "Broken key! My archnemesis! We meet again!"
Broken Key: *impale*
Tire: "...and you ... win ... again." *dies*

It went vertically into the tire. Like a knife stabbing at its heart.

Do not misplace your keys. Those things are KILLERS.

But I had my tire repair kit with me! I walked the bike into the shade of a gas station, took off the tire, replaced the tube, re-inflated, and biked home feeling like a CHAMPION. I had the knowledge, the tools, and the parts, and used them all successfully! \o/

Which brings me to today, when I heard the loud bang of my rear tire blowing out as I was on my way home from the library.

This was not a puncture or even an innertube shredding. It was the tire itself tearing along a three-inch section where the tire meets the wheel. I carry a spare inner tube. It is not really feasible to carry an entire spare tire on a bike.

(Lut: "What are you going to do? Carry a spare bike on your bike?"
Me: "Maybe I could get one of those collapsible bikes ... ")

The moral of the story: You are never prepared ENOUGH. I walked the bike the three miles to home. At least it didn't happen on Sunday when I was eleven miles from home.

Which reminds me: I should make that car reservation for this weekend. At least I was planning to rent a car this weekend anyway.


Aug. 10th, 2013 03:34 pm
rowyn: (exercise)
I biked to the bike trail and several miles along it today. I am not sure exactly how far, because my exercise app paused at some point during the ride and missed a few miles. 17-20 so far, and another 8 or so to get home. A nice ride. A few weeks ago I did a 40 mile ride which was pretty grueling towards the end of the trail portion, in large part because I ran out of water about 8 miles from the nearest spot on the trail to get more. x_x This time I brought 64 ounces (courtesy of Telnar, who after listening to me whinge about the lack of water because I was on the phone with him during the last ride, had Amazon send me a nice new 32 oz bottle so I'd be able to carry more without stopping.) This is continuing in the "I guess I'll go for a 25 mile bike ride because I can't play with dragons" vein. -_-

I'm at Panera now, sitting in one of the two comfy chairs in the corner near the door. I usually get a meal and a frozen mocha here, then do some writing. I ate my meal -- even the apple! which often gets fed to Lut when I get home instead of me eating it -- but I seem to be unmotivated to write fiction. So I have written this little diary bit to get me started typing instead. I'll take a stab at working on book now.
rowyn: (Me 2012)
I have a bunch of stupid little thoughts in my head that I should probably tweet instead of rambling endlessly here, because that's what Twitter's for, but I just can't seem to get into tweeting things.


I jogged after work today, which I have not done very much of. There's a residential neighborhood behind the bank that I like to jog around the block of a few times, because it's not quite as hilly as my own neighborhood. "Around the block" is just shy of 3/4ths of a mile. One of the residents pulled up alongside me as I was jogging and asked where I'd been. "I haven't seen you in a year or two and you used to be around all the time. I was a little worried." "I've been biking instead, and I use a different route for that." He introduced himself: "I'm Mike. I've been living in this neighborhood for 62 years." I wonder what it's like sometimes, to have stayed in one place for so long. I suppose he wonders what it's like to have lived in so many different places.


I am a master of the super-slow jog. When I jog at all, I have been trying to jog not-quite-so-slowly. Today I clocked each mile as I passed the mile mark (with a phone app) and walked for a minute or two between miles.

First mile. Time: 13:34. Speed: 4.4 mph. That's ... pretty slow, and that's me actually trying to jog somewhat quickly.
Second mile. Time: 16:30. Speed: 3.6 mph. The sad part about this is that I was still making an effort to jog a little faster than usual.
Third mile. Time: 17.25. Speed: 3.4 mph. This is where I had given up on doing anything besides "don't collapse to a walk".

If I don't go biking tomorrow evening, I may go for a long walk and clock that. I have the feeling that my default jogging speed is very close to my default walking speed. 9.9 It is, however, much more tiring to jog than walk. Jogging: SO INEFFICIENT. Except the point is to get exercise, and it's more efficient at ... wearing me out? OK then.

Anyway, I think that when I am trying to jog quickly, I use up all of my oomph (which is not a whole lot of oomph anyway) in about the first half mile and it degrades very quickly from there. I am not sure what the optimal approach to improving speed is. It probably involves actually being able to see how fast I am jogging as I'm doing it.


My phone app estimates "calories burned" whenever I'm tracking my workouts. Its estimate for an hour of my typical slow-motion jog -- which leaves me exhausted afterwards, forcing myself to finish on sheer will alone, and my legs aching the next day -- is about 460 calories. Its estimate for an hour of my typical bike ride -- which leaves me feeling "Eh, I could keep going for another hour, but it's late and I'm kind of bored now" -- is about 500 calories. I am pretty sure the phone app's numbers do not reflect what my body is actually doing.

*, the silly dragon-breeding game I started playing in July, has been down since last Saturday night and is going to still be down through this Sunday at the least.

When I was a little kid and misbehaved, my parents would ground me and not let me watch TV for a specified period of time; typically a week. All this week, my inner child has been feeling this way about FR being unavailable. Like I'm being punished. "But MoooOOOM, I want to play with my draGONS!" "You should've thought of that before you failed English." "AWWWWW MOOoooOOOM." I have no explanation for why the silly dragon-breeding game has managed to evoke such obsession from me, but I wish it hadn't.

The main upside to this is that all other activities are almost equally uninteresting to me now. "I might as well bike for 10 miles. I can't play with dragons anyway." "I guess I'll cook a new batch of spaghetti sauce up. It'll take 30 minutes, but whatever." "Suppose I'll write some more of that novel now. Nothing better to do." "Might as well write a pointless rambly entry about exercise and dragons. What else am I gonna do?"

But the inner child that feels like she's being punished does not realize that it isn't going to stop just because she's been good. She keeps thinking "Maybe as a reward for exercise I can play with dragons?" and "Maybe now that I'm done with work I can play with dragons?" and "Maybe now that my buffer is up I can -- " you get the idea. I wish she'd quit it. NO DRAGONS. THERE ARE NO DRAGONS FOR YOU NOW OR EVER. STOP WHINING ABOUT THE STUPID DRAGONS!

Inner child: [starts to cry]

Oh look, I'm sorry, don't do that. There'll be dragons again someday, I'm sure. I didn't mean it. Look, Micah drew some adorable dragon pictures! And Bard posted more dragon story! Doesn't that make you feel better?

Inner child: [sniffles] "A little. Can I play with my dragons now?"

rowyn: (exercise)
1. FRIDAY. I am sure I have used this one before. It is still a good thing.
2. This has been an unusually good week for writing -- I am actually up on buffer since Monday, and I still have the weekend to write in (and I've been doing more writing on weekends than during the week, in general).
3. I've been making extra half-size portions of the mug-cake recipe, pouring them into microwave-safe plastic containers, and then taking them to work to nuke there. So I can have fresh hot cake at work. :9
4. To offset 3, I actually exercised in my basement tonight, doing both the 8-minute routine (which I have been neglecting for weeks) and using my exercise bike (also neglected, though I've been biking outside when the weather is nice. Which it is not tonight. Cold and rainy.)
5. I walked to and from work today for the first time since I injured my leg last Tuesday. My calf is still swollen and bruised but it hardly hurts when I walk any more, so that went fine. Yay!
rowyn: (exercise)
Day 0 (Weds): Hit calf with bike pedal. Calf: "I hate you. Also, screw walking forever."
Day 1 (Thurs): Calf: "I still hate you. And walking. A lot." Lut drives me to and from work. My leg mainly hurts when my foot flexes upwards, especially while straight. So I limp around the workplace, sometimes taking half-steps so my injured leg is never behind the good one, and sometimes swinging my injured leg with the foot sideways so it doesn't have to bend when behind me. Also, when it's inactive for a while it hurts more to move it, so I jiggle my leg at my desk to keep it from going stiff. No real bruising, to my surprise.
Day 2 (Fri): Calf: "Still hate." I (mostly) joke about biking to work. Lut drives me again. Limp is improved significantly.
Day 3 (Sat): Calf: "I haven't forgotten. Or forgiven." Limp down to 'minor inconvenience', but I am still walking slowly. When we go to gaming, I opt to have Trask drive us the few hundred yards to get fast food instead of walking like I normally would.
Day 4 (Sun): Calf: "Okay, I might forgive you yet. MIGHT." Limp still minor inconvenience, but I figure on biking to work tomorrow.
Day 5 (Mon): Calf: "You know what? Changed my mind. SO MUCH HATE." I wake up with my foot able to flex normally and I can walk almost normally, but my shin aches. What? Bike to work anyway. By noon, the rear of my calf, inside of leg, and shin are all bruised and swollen. The front of my leg is chartreuse. The side of my foot, which has not so much has twinged at any point previous or even now, is livid purple. Left leg looks visibly and significantly larger than right from swelling.
Coworker: "Maybe you should keep that elevated. Do you want an ice pack?"
Coworker #2: "Maybe you should have someone look at that."
Keep leg elevated. It is uncomfortable and vaguely achy a lot of the time now, instead of just when I am walking. Supports weight fine, doesn't hurt -more- to walk, just ... annoying. Leave work a little earlier than usual. Bike home. Calf: "I actually feel better on the bike than I have at any other time today." Me: "You know what? I HATE YOU TOO."
Lut: "Have you thought about having someone look at that?"
Lut: "... maybe you could call your doctor?"
Lut: "... um ... howabout you just call your doctor's office and ask anyway? Meanwhile I am going to be hiding in the office with the cat."
Call doctor's office. It's 4:58. Leave message on machine.
Me: "Dammit, I really want to whinge about this on LJ but I am just going to get 83 comments on how it might be broken or a blood clot or a ripped tendon or cancer and I need to go see a doctor RIGHT NOW."
Day 6 (Tues): Calf: "Hahahaha I am not done with you YET!" About the same as previous day. Drive to work (I have an hour of off-site training today so would be driving anyway). Keep leg elevated.
Coworker #3: "Maybe you should have someone look at that." Me: SNAP GROWL. 10:30AM: doctor's office calls me back. "Would you like an appointment today?" Me:"... yes?" "You can see the nurse practitioner at 1:10." Me: "Okay thanks wow I owe Lut even more of an apology."
Nurse-practitioner: "You have a bruise."
Nurse-practitioner explains that deep-tissue bruises take a long time to show up and the bruising pattern is normal and nothing indicates a blood clot or a fracture. "You can have it x-rayed if you really want." Me: "I don't. Can I start biking again? Do I need to baby it if it's just a bruise?" NP: "You can resume all normal activities for as long as your leg can tolerate it." Me: "WOOHOO YES BIKING TONIGHT!"
Calf: "Hey, I'm still all swollen and bruised here."
Me: "TOUGH LUCK YOU BIG BABY. Time to quit whining and leg up!"
Bike a slow 9 miles. Ahhhhh. Calf not giving me any trouble to speak of.
Day 7 (Weds): Calf: "oh poor me I'm all stiff and -- " Me: "Yeah whatever no one cares. I am done listening to you." Bike to work.


Mar. 3rd, 2013 08:24 am
rowyn: (Default)
I've been doing the "8 Minutes in the Morning" exercise routine, plus cardio, for seven weeks now. My diet has been mediocre -- I was eating less for about five of those weeks. This last week I've eaten quite a lot of junk food.

My weight, for the entire last five weeks, has held steady at 160.

So, yes. If I actually care about my weight (it is not clear to me that I do -- it's not as if I dislike the way I look or feel now), I need to change my diet. At minimum, eat less of what I'm eating now. I am unenthused about doing so.

I have no good explanation for why my mind thinks regular exercise is reasonable but eating well is too much work. Maybe it's because I see eating foods I enjoy as a positive good that I will get less of, whereas exercising for a little while is not that much inferior to sitting in front of my computer for the same period of time. So it's not so much that eating less junk is too much work as that it's too much sacrifice. I'll make an effort in the coming week anyway and see if I make any progress.
rowyn: (Just me)
I went to see my doctor a couple of weeks ago, to talk to her about a battery of general-health blood tests I'd had done back in August. (My follow-up was originally scheduled for October, but I ended up out of town that day and January was the earliest I could reschedule.

I am pretty healthy -- my doctor littered my results with notes, many of which are smiley faces, because she is awesome -- so she did not have a whole lot of recommendations for me. She suggested fish oil pills and vitamin D (because those things were in the "you need more of these" on my results). And we talked about exercise.
And now I'll talk to you about it! )
rowyn: (exercise)

The car pulled up alongside me, not quite stopping. "Are you jogging for your health?" The driver sounded somewhere between incredulous and disbelieving.

"In theory," I panted in reply. I had about 25 seconds left to travel 8 hundredths of a mile.  It didn't seem impossible.  Unlikely, maybe.

"Do you need a ride?" she asked.

"No, I'm fine." I attempted a smile.  She raised her eyebrows and pulled away.  I checked Cardio Trainer. 5 seconds to go 5 hundreths of a mile.  Yeaaaaaah I don't think so.  I plodded to a halt at 12:04 and 0.96 miles. Close!  But not quite.

So I went home to get my bike and make sure the Paperboy Quest (Expiring Soon!) hadn't expired yet. Because if I'm going to ride a bike for 20 minutes after running home as fast as I can, I want to at least get ONE quest out of it.


Jun. 20th, 2012 10:35 am
rowyn: (current)

Fitocracy did indeed prove to be the straw that finally broke my refusal to lift weights.  Possibly in part by ridiculously overvaluing weight-lifting relative to cardio (maybe that's just me.)


Last night, I dusted off my weights (well, swept the spiderwebs off and then cleaned them. The spiders of my basement are Not Amused, I'm sure), cleaned the weight bench, unearthed my Weightlifting For Dummies book, found my gardening gloves because my fingerless weight lifting gloves were eeyugh, and an old sheet from back when I was lifting weights regularly. I went through about 2/3rds of my previous routine, using weights at 50-60% of my former amount. Because ... yeah, haven't lifted in five or so years.


It took approximately forever, in part because I needed to clean everything first and in part because I barely remembered the exercises, so I had to reference form and position a lot. And look everything up. Not wanting to look things up was a major factor in not doing the last third of the exercises.


Putting everything into Fitocracy took way too long too.  In the long run, I need to update Fitocracy from my phone while I work out or I'll probably quit doing it. It'll be faster now that I've got the routine entered in Fitocracy, but even just filling in weights and reps is kind of annoying when you've got so many different exercises to include. And I still need to enter the remaining third of the upper body regimen that I skipped. Plus lower body and core exercises, which I didn't do at all.  x.x


The actual lift-weights part was tiring but not unpleasant. I even did kneeling push-ups so I wouldn't hate them.  Weight lifting would be way better if someone else would follow me around and keep records and tell me what to do next. Not that I can afford a  personal trainer. :)

rowyn: (exercise)

Yesterday and today, my legs felt as stiff and sore as if I'd run five miles. I was like, "Really, legs? One crappy 16 minute mile and you're gonna be like this?"

My legs: "We hate you so much.  Suffer like we do, torturer!"

Me: "Fine. You want to hurt? I'll give you something to hurt about!"

So after work today, I jogged around the neighborhood next to my bank. My plan was to jog it twice , then head home, for about a 2-mile jog. Still not the 3.1 I need for the quest, but I figured I needed to work my way up to it. It was warmer than Saturday, but not yet to Lut's "You are not jogging in THIS heat" level. A nice breeze and the additional shade in this neighborhood made the climate overall better.

At about 3/4ths through the second lap, I checked my progress.  The laps were a bit longer than I remembered, more like .75 miles than .6, according to Cardio Trainer.  I wasn't feeling particularly tired.  I considered doing a third lap.

My feet: "You need new jogging shoes."

Me: "Yeah, I do." My current jogging shoes are probably a thousand miles past their expiration date.

My feet: "No, really. Or at least wear your good socks. Because OW BLISTERS."

Me: "... fine, fine, I'll head home."

1/3 of the way home:

Feet: "We're not kidding about the blisters. Stop jogging."

Me: "C'mon. Frodo walked to Mordor barefoot!"

Feet: "Frodo walked everywhere barefoot!  How big do you want your blisters to be?"

Me: "It's only like another half mile!"


Me: [stops jogging]. "Dammit."

So 1.75 miles today, and much easier than Saturday -- probably because the neighborhood near the bank isn't as hilly as near my house. Possibly because I'd eaten real food.  I'll get there yet! 

Maybe after I get new shoes.

And break them in.

rowyn: (current)

First, those who said on my last exercise post 'use the lowest gear and pedal as slowly as you can (Terrycloth, Quarrel, Siege, and DetroitFather): you were right. I tackled the Hill of Evil this afternoon, and, by shifting to the lowest gear and pedaling slowly, and not trying to go faster to get it over with, I managed to weave my way to the top without dismounting and walking.  I was wobbling all over the right hand side of the road trying to keep my balance, but I Did It.


That was, say, the first third of a mile.


I went, say, another three-quarters of a mile that was mostly flat or downhill. Then I hit the next hill.  I ran out of steam maybe fifty yards up it, and then found myself not only unable to bike up it, but nearly unable to walk.  I pushed the bike into the nearest puddle of shade, grabbed my drink, circled around in the shade in an effort not to go from 'overworked' straight to 'collapsed', then finally sat down for a couple of minutes because I was feeling dizzy and nauseated.


After that, I turned the bike to home, walked a tiny bit, and collapsed on the couch. I was biking maybe fifteen minutes, tops, but that's all I'm gonna get today. Whew.


So. Stamina.  Need some more of that.

rowyn: (current)

I did not blog about it at the time, but a month or two back, I decided to see if riding an exercise bike 4-5 times a week had gotten me in adequate shape to ride a real bike. 

My routine on my exercise bike is to warm up for a minute or two, and then spend the remainder of the period biking at the maximum resistance.  Usually biking very slowly, 9 mph or so.

Using an actual bike alternated between 'Wow this is ridiculously easy' and 'this isn't even exercise' and 'OMG I'm gonna die.'  The first two are on level ground and downhill slopes.  The last one is on uphill slopes.  I still cannot bike all the way up the horrible hill of doom north of my house.  Maybe two-thirds of the way up, I am forced to dismount and walk my bike the rest of the way to the top.

I am not entirely sure what the difference is.  One possibility is that 'highest possible resistance' on my exercise bike is still not as hard as any reasonable grade on a hill.  Another is that I can't keep up enough momentum to stay balanced on an uphill slope: a reclining exercise bike does nothing whatsoever for one's sense of balance, after all, and the 8-9 mph I can sustain uphill may simply not be fast enough for my meager sense of balance. A third is impatience: I exhaust myself on real hills in an effort to get up them faster, and ultimately can't sustain even the slow-but-steady pace of the exercise bike.

On the theory that it's the second, I am attempting to sustain a faster pace at maximum resistance in my basement.  So far, this is indifferently successful. I think I'm keeping at about 10 mph, average.

Honestly, I bought myself a programmable bike five years ago, and could never be arsed to program a routine in it. If I had any sense at vall, I'd look up the directions and figure out how to get it to change the resistance for me, and to sound an alarm if I dropped below the target mph.

Incidentally, keeping to 10-11 mph at max resistance is MUCH HARDER than keeping to 8-9. Ow ow ow ow tired.

Must keep journaling or will stop biking.

The other new idea I have for exercise is to try to get back to the one-hour workouts I was doing back in 2006-2007.  Because 4-5 times a week of 30 min on exercise bike + walking 1.5 miles per day to work is not enough to maintain my weight.  9.9   So it's change my diet again, or exercise more. I am currently attempting both. I'm going to eliminate the (tasty, tasty) sausage from my spaghetti sauce (a major staple) and I am changing my snack-at-work from cookies to granola and yogurt.

Bringing the bag of granola to work was probably a mistake. Granola is not low in calories, and I've been nibbling at it by itself as well as mixing it with low-calorie flavored yogurt.  Still, I'll give it a week and see what my 'natural' consumption rate works out to be, in calories.

I think my first half hour at 'trying to up the pace' works out to a little under 10 mph.  If I can get another half mile in the next three minutes, though, I'll give myself credit for the full 10 mph.  (The problem is that my warm-up is faster than the full-resistance slog.)

The other thing that the real-world bikeride reminded me of is a study that said that alternating a minute or two of intense exercise with a minute or two of easy exercise (eg, raising and lowering the resistance on an exercise bike)  burned dramatically more calories than simply maintaining a steady pace that should have (algorithmically) burned the same number. Actually, I don't remember if they were measuring actual calories or if they had some other measure they were using. The point was that variable intensity appeared to be better than consistent intensity.  That would certainly match my impression that, while at least 3/4ths of my outdoor ride was much easier than my typical exercise bike ride, the ride as whole left me feeling much more exhausted.  Maybe even more exhausted than I am now, after peddling about 5.5 miles at 10 mph at maximum resistance.

*kicks resistance down from 16 to a nice leisurely 13*

Okay, another 23 minutes to go, at easy pace.  Let's see if I can bring myself to write about something less banal than exercise for the rest of this.

rowyn: (exercise)
I've been dieting for the last three or four weeks. Sort of. I'd been planning to count calories, which has always been my most reliable method of weight loss, but counting calories has been too much work or something.
On dieting and whinging )
rowyn: (exercise)
I arrived in my basement bearing my netbook and my iPod, and sat down at my exercise bike for my workout. I plugged my iPod into the speakers, and took a few idle peddles, glancing at the tray table. Rats. I forgot to bring a drink. Oh well. Too much work to go all the way upstairs to get one now.


Okay, in what universe does
that make sense? I'm going to stay down here and exercise for an hour but walking up a flight of stairs for a drink is too much effort?

I went back up for the drink.

PS: In the realm of things which are apparently take more effort than exercising: moving the exercise bike a couple of feet so the sun from the window doesn't hit my eyes while I'm on it.


Mar. 24th, 2010 01:02 pm
rowyn: (Default)
On the one hand, this would explain why taking up regular exercise has only kept me around the same weight for the last three or four years. Since apparently I'm supposed to exercise an hour a day just to avoid gaining more weight. Even on a good week I'm not doing that much. (Although it depends in part on what exactly qualifies as "moderate" vs "high" intensity.) So actually, I am fortunate in not having gained weight since 2009. Yay?

On the other hand: ARGH. Stupid fleshy body, so demanding. x.x

(On a tangential note: even after taking exercise off my resolution list, I'm still exercising 4-5 times a week. So I haven't thrown up my hands and given up. YET.)
rowyn: (Default)
Forecasted nighttime lows for the week: 78-80. Daytime highs: 94-97.

Looks like jogging home after work is not going to be my prefered mode of exercise this week. Guh.


Apr. 23rd, 2008 11:19 am
rowyn: (exercise)
I've been eating less lately, especially less junkfood. I used to eat a couple of candy bars, or the equivalent thereof in cookies or other junk, every day at work. For the last couple of weeks, I've not had any sugary stuff while at work. Mostly I haven't been snacking at all, or eating a banana or two. I've had a little chocolate while at home and an ice cream float or two, but still not a whole lot. Which is good, because my weight has been slowly trending upwards for the last several months and it would be nice for it to trend downwards again.

I'm still exercising, more or less. Somewhat less than more. I went for a jog after work on Monday and managed maybe 1.4 miles, pretty uninspiring. Yesterday I took a long walk because I couldn't face exercising in the basement. I did make a point of stretching afterwards. It's amazing how much I backslide in just a few months. I can't do a split as easily now as I could six months ago, and I can't jog for an hour any more, either. It's not that I stopped exercising completely, but for most of March and much of April, I've done a lot more regular walking than anything more intensive. Still, the exercise that you do is better than the exercise that you don't do. Also, the advantage to not quitting completely is that I haven't reclaimed the free time for other, more fun, purposes. Perhaps motivation to push harder will come back to me. I wore my running shoes to work so I'm planning to jog home tonight. The best part about jogging home is that it's more time-efficient than any other kind of exercise, especially since I have to walk home anyway. Jogging's actually faster. In fact, it's sort of a disadvantage that my home is less than a mile away, because it means I have to do laps and stuff to increase the time to a proper workout, and it's hard to motivate myself to do enough laps.

Or I could dance in my living room again. I haven't done that in a while and I miss it, a bit. Part of me wants to take dance classes, and the rest of me knows that I am not nearly motivated enough to leave my house and drive somewhere just to exercise. :)
rowyn: (studious)
NaNoWriMo is kicking my ass.

It's going ... weirdly, in fact. In some ways, I'm doing better than I'd expected to. Actually, if I view it just right, I'm on schedule.

See, the general schedule is viewed as "50000 words in 30 days = 1667 per day". But I never intended to start writing on the first day. My plan was "day or two spent on outline, then start writing". If I claim that that Thursday and Friday were my outline days, then I'm supposed to do 1785 words per day. So by 11/7 I should've been at 8925, and I was at 8900 as of last night. So: just about on schedule.

However, this tidy reasoning ignores two key things:

A) I started writing on 11/2
B) I've been averaging 1250 words on the weekdays.

While the weekend was a little better, and while I do have two holidays this month, beating the benchmark by 200 on my days off will not make up for missing it by 500 on the days I work, no matter how slice it. I don't know much I've done so far today, but I doubt it's more than 500 words. (Most of today's admitedly substantial entry was written yesterday and the day before.)

In related badness, I'm getting further off outline and the front end of the book is definitely bloating. I'm almost 20% through the Nano quota and I don't think I'm even 10% through the story yet. Several major characters haven't even been introduced.

Trying not to let this get me down, and as you can see from the tenor of this entry, not really succeeding.

In other news, the exercise bike is still working out well for me. Of those 8900 word, probably a thousand or so were written while peddling madly away. It's hard to maintain speed while writing. I have the machine set to the middle of its resistance range, and I can sustain 15-16 mph* if I'm paying attention, but when I stop watching (to, say, write or something) I tend to drop to 12 mph or so. There's a technological solution to this -- the bike can be programmed with your intended workout and told to sound an alarm iif you drop below it. But that would require reading the directions. Which would probably take less time than writing out this complaint did, but nonetheless, I've not done it yet.

Even so, I've done an hour plus on the bike each day for the last three, and the odometer was at 45 miles before I got on the bike 15 minutes ago, so hey, sounds pretty good to me. I've even used the fact that I have to go to the basement to use the bike anyway as an excuse to do some weights while I'm there. Yesterday I did a few upper back and chest exercises, and today I did some core ones. Not much, but the exercise that you do is better than the exercise you don't do. Sometimes I think that this workout is harder on my rear than my legs or heart, though. The seat's pretty comfy, but it still involves quite a bit of heavy duty sitting.

Well, I've got another half-hour of biking to do, and can't think of anything else to whine about in my LJ, so guess I'll post this and see if I can figure out what to write next in the NanoNovel.

Okay, yeah, I do know what to write next. Just need to motivate myself to write it.


Got a little writing done. Scene hasn't gelled for me yet. It'll come. Did another 14 miles in an hour on the bike. Whew.

* No, I have no idea how this would translate into real world biking terms. I'm pretty sure the speeds are still inflated even at the mid-range resistance, though.
rowyn: (exercise)
[ profile] prester_scott left a comment that brought this question to mind. I've been thinking of writing this post since then, but I haven't because I've been busy writing fiction instead. I've kept up with my post-a-day in [ profile] unfinishedtales so far, but today may break my streak. I haven't started an entry for it yet and my mind is going "zrt?" at the thought.

So, I'll write about exercise instead.*

There is no single goal of exercise that is sufficient to make me devote time to it. For me, exercise always has to contribute to a multitude of goals, preferably all at the same time. If I'm only getting one thing out of it, that thing is inevitably not going to be enough. I can't stretch just to become more flexible, because I don't care that much about being flexible. I can't walk just to lose weight, because I don't much mind being pudgy.

So instead of focusing on a single goal, I have a sort of mental list of motivators. Lemme see if I can list them out.

  • Long-term health

  • Appearance

  • Weight loss

  • Balance

  • Grace

  • Flexibility

  • Coordination

  • Lowered stress

  • Sense of accomplishment

Hmm. Yeah, that's about all I can think of right now.

Of these, the first one should be the biggest motivator, since that's the one that will impact the quality and quantity of my entire life. But exercising today so that I don't have a heart attack in thirty years is rather like saving for retirement: yes, it's a good idea, and yes, I can get myself to do it, but it's sorely lacking on the immediate-gratification front. Still, as I understand it, my present level of exercise is sufficent to improve my long-term health. You don't have to an athelete to have a good cardiovascular system. Actually, the impression I get is that true atheletes lose some of the long-term health benefits of fitness, by pushing their bodies so hard that things break or fail.

I'm sufficiently vain (like you didn't know) that improving my appearance is probably the biggest factor for me. It's also the area that I've had the least progress in, at least from my perspective. To me, I look pretty much the same now as I did last May. I weigh about the same, my measurements have only gone down a bit, and the clothes that didn't fit before still don't fit now.

Weight loss isn't that important to me. I'm 5'2" or 3" and I weigh about 135 lbs. So I'm on the heavy side for my height, but I'm still within the "normal" range of BMI. It'd be nice to be a little lighter but it's not a health issue for me. On the other hand, weight maintenance is a health issue. When I've been ignoring my weight, I've gotten as heavy as 153 lbs. The women of my family tend to be heavy. So if I don't do something -- diet or exercise -- I will gain weight. In that sense, just staying in place is something of a victory, even if it doesn't feel that way.

The middle three -- grace, flexibility, coordination -- amount to "I always wanted to be able to dance/move well." I'm not an especially good dancer, but I have improved over the last several months. I'm not sure if this has plateau'd or not. I know that I haven't been making much progress in learning new moves in the last few months, since I've been more focused on getting a good workout than doing something different. To some degree, this goal is at odds with the "fitness" goal. Executing moves skillfully requires care and concentration, while for a good workout doing them faster is more useful. Still, there's significant overlap, and I think if I keep doing it for years I'm likely to improve. Certainly my balance and flexibility have both improved measurably.

The last two are something of the bonus goals. I didn't expect them but it works out that way. Exercising does distract me from my problems and lower my stress. And it makes me feel productive. Yeah! Exercised again today!

Anyway, all of these together add up to why I'm not so much concerned about the lack of concrete improvement that I (as opposed to Lut or John) can discern. And why I deliberately made my goal for 2006 lower than what I plan to do. With a goal I know I can achieve, I'll almost certainly stick with it. If I set the bar higher, I could get disheartened and give up on the whole business -- especially if setting the bar higher still didn't achieve measurable results. And committing even more time to exercise isn't happening. I have enough trouble squeezing everything I want to do in my life already.

Like writing a UT entry tonight, for example. Hrm.

On the other hand, I have been trying to push myself to work harder when I'm exercising, doing more moves in the same space of time. But like so much else, it's hard for me to measure how well I'm achieving it. So I'll stick with the clock for verifying my level commitment. Watching minutes go past is a skill I've got down pat.

* I actually wrote this last night, it just didn't get posted until today. I'm hoping to get today's UT entry up a bit earlier than yesterday's, which didn't go up until after 11PM.

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