Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hot Soup for a Cold Day

We got a couple inches of snow last night.  I hadn't planned to make soup this weekend, but now it seems like a good idea.  I stumbled across this recipe for Butternut Chili today.  I think it will fit the bill perfectly.  Add a side of some sauteed kale or spinach and I think it'll be comfortingly warming on a gray and cold day.

Let the Insanity Begin!
Today I plunked down the cash to join a gym and I also purchased a block of 12 sessions with a personal trainer. My reinvigorated gym habits will begin the week after Christmas.  With the trainer's help, I'll get a big jump on getting ready for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February.  The hard part will be figuring out just what exactly my fitness goals are.  Primarily I'm interested in dropping my bodyfat percentage and improving my cardiovascular capacity.  I'll be running a full marathon in 2013 and I think I'd like to try a triathlon at some point too.  Perhaps the trainer can help me articulate this better and figure out which goal to start with first.  I suspect trying to do everything at once might not work very well.

So why the insanity?  Before I moved, I'd been hitting the gym 5 mornings a week and had lost about 20 pounds.  Since moving, I haven't got a solid workout schedule/habit re-established and I managed to gain about 10 pounds while I lost most of my cardio endurance. Although my apartment complex has a small fitness center, I've been considering joining a real gym for some time, primarily because the weight machines in the fitness center were designed for people much taller than me and I can't safely use them. I also know that for me, having invested some money in the process will make it much more likely that I'll haul myself out of bed at 0400 to workout. I liked how I felt when I worked out 5 days a week, not just physically stronger but also mentally sharper.  The extra endorphins didn't hurt either.

On top of that, several friends who are younger than me have experienced some rather bad health events.  One had a heart attack and is now blind.  Another had uncontrollable hypertension and is now on dialysis.  Five years ago, one of my best friends died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 52. Several of my former professors have died in the past year as well, most of them just in their 60s.  I don't know about you, but I think that's far too young.  I certainly don't want to be dead or severely disabled shortly after I retire.  I'd like to remain active until my 80s.  I figure the only way to accomplish that is to exercise.  Eating well alone isn't going to cut it.

I simply don't buy into the notion that we must slow down and must experience reduced function as we age. The research doesn't demonstrate that older persons cannot be incredibly active into their 80s and beyond.  My favorite example of this is "Iron Nun" Sister Madonna Buder.  At the age of 80, she is still competing in Ironman distance triathlons.  She didn't even start running until she was 48 years old, ran her first marathon at age 50, was in her first triathlon at 52 and her first Ironman distance triathlon at 55.  Sister Madonna is, in fact, the reason why 75-79 year and 80+ age groups were created for Ironman.  I think she's simply amazing.

If I start my fitness journey now, I'll get much farther and last longer than if I wait until I have problems and I might even avoid some problems altogether. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meme-Day Monday

"Stolen" at the direction of Vicki over at knitorious.

1.  What time did you get up this morning?  0330.  Had to take Boy to the airport. I normally get up between 0400 and 0415.
2.  How do you like your steak?  Grazing in a pasture. I'm a vegetarian.
3.  What was the last film you saw at the cinema? I saw "Red" just this past weekend.
4.  What is your favorite TV show?  "Castle." It's the only TV show I watch, though I shift it to Wednesday nights.
5.  If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?  Some place with gorgeous views, great food and fascinating people.
6.  What did you have for breakfast? Oatmeal with blueberries and a piece of homemade whole wheat bread on the side.
7.  What is your favorite cuisine?  Mexican or Italian.
8.  What foods do you dislike?  Lima beans, Brussels sprouts, greasy food, animals.
9.  Favorite Place to Eat? Courier Cafe. The Tin Shed. Atomic Ale Brewery and Pub.
10.  Favorite dressing?  Spicy mustard mixed with apple cider vinegar and a bit of honey.
11.  What kind of vehicle do you drive? VW Golf and CBR 600 F3 motorcycle.
12.  What are your favorite clothes? Jeans and a sweater.
13.  Where would you visit if you had the chance?  Another planet. Tibet. Italy. The bottom of the ocean. Any place with gorgeous views, great food and fascinating people.
14.  Is your cup 1/2-empty or 1/2-full?  1/2-full.
15.  Where would you want to retire?  Some place with gorgeous views, great food and fascinating people. Some place I can continue learning and doing.

16.  Favorite time of day?  Sunset or sunrise.
17.  Where were you born?  The same place as Captain Kirk. Iowa.
18.  Favorite sport to watch?  Equestrian sports. College football.
19.  Who do you think will not tag you back?
20.  Person you expect to tag you back first?
21.  Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
22.  Bird watcher?  Not since I moved and no longer have a bird feeder installed.  I miss having meals with the goldfinches, bluebirds, woodpeckers and their friends.
23.  Are you a morning person or a night person?  I have become a  morning person. I have been a night person in the past.

24.  Pets?  Do virtual fish count?
25.  Favorite book?  I can't pick just one.  Maybe The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson.
26.  What did you want to be when you were little?  A mad scientist. See? Dreams can come true!
27.  What is your best childhood memory?  Getting to have a pony for a week while staying at my grandparent's farm. Seeing at least one movie every weekend throughout my childhood and adolescence.  Getting lost in various books.
28.  Are you a cat or dog person? Either
29.  Do you have children?  Just houseplants and books.
30.  Do you always wear your seat belt?  Yes.
31.  Have you ever been in a car accident?  Yes.
32.  Any pet peeves?  Yes, mostly having to do with bad grammar and a lack of common sense.
33.  Favorite pizza topping?  tomatoes, roasted eggplant, onions, no cheese.
34.  Favorite Flower? To look at: sunflowers.  To smell: Lilies of the valley.
35.  Favorite ice cream?  Frozen banana "ice cream".  (Frozen bananas blended with almond milk until smooth.)
36.  Favorite fast food restaurant?  If I eat the lunch I packed while driving in my car, does that count?
37.  How many times did you fail your driver's test?  None.
38.  From whom did you get your last email? A spammer.
39.  Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?  I don't buy on credit, but I could drop a lot of cash at various yarn and book stores.
40.  Do anything spontaneous lately?  Yes. I try to do something spontaneous at least every weekend.
41.  Do you like your job? Love it.
42.  Broccoli? Cauliflower?  Yes.
43.  What was your favorite vacation?   Probably DisneyWorld for my 40th bday.
44.  Last person you went out to dinner with?  Boy.
45.  What are you listening to right now?  Fresh Air on NPR.
46.  What is your favorite color? Most intense colors: cobalt blue, forest green, purple, red.
47.  How many tattoos do you have?  None.
48.  Coffee drinker?  Yes.
49.  Favorite pastime?  Knitting. Reading. Watching movies. Baking.
50.  Favorite quote?  Two quotes, both from the XIVth Dalai Lama:
    "Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."
   "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."

Want to meme along?  Go for it!  Post that you played along and I'll come read your answers too.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

You May Be Working Too Much When....

putting in an 8 hour work day feels like a partial day off.

On the other hand, it was a stunningly productive day.  I got four tasks crossed off my list. Thank goodness for having NO meetings scheduled today and also for deciding to work from home where I have fewer distractions!

Here's hoping tomorrow will be equally productive!