And This Is Where We Begin… Again…

Workout GearWorkout 1 on the new elliptical trainer is on the books.

36:41 minutes — 4092 strides — 301.1 calories

I do love me some numbers.

But even more than that, I love me some progress. So it feels kind of strange to be starting back at 1 almost exactly 6 years after this MegaChallenge got started. But… here I am.

The good news is that I’m not doing a complete rewind. I haven’t regained all of the weight I lost 6 years ago (and kept off successfully for another 4 years). I’m starting out about 10 – 15 pounds lighter than last time. I’m also starting out much wiser and — um — 6 years older. This means I know what works for me and what doesn’t and what needs to change to get my body into decent shape — even if my 40 year old self knows that it isn’t ever going to be 20 again.

I also know that the scale and my jean size don’t measure my progress. My stamina and ability to say yes to the things I want to do are what actually matter.

Being happy. Feeling good.

Those are my ROI categories as I restart this quest to exercise on a regular basis.

So, why the home version of the elliptical trainer — besides the fact that walking and dieting aren’t what keeps my butt fitting in my wardrobe? Because it means:

  • I don’t have to wait 20 minutes for a turn on the gym version
  • No one will tell me that I only get 30 minutes to do my 70-minute workout.
  • I get to sing out loud. (I love singing while I work out!)
  • I get to be in my home — which I love, love, love.
  • It eliminates the drive to the gym and back.
  • My kids get to do what they actually want to do while I work out rather than my being called 14 times to deal with an issue in the childcare area (only to re-start my wait for a machine.)
  • I get to sing out loud. (I love cranking up the stereo and singing!)
  • I get to enjoy my runs to nowhere without being forced to watch shows that gross me out on screens all over the room.
  • My own private shower — complete with my soaps, scrubs, shampoos, and soft towels — is only steps away.
  • I get to sing out loud. (I may even take up singing in the shower, too!)

Ahhhh. Happy and feeling good.

Bringing it Home

The MegaChallenge 200: The Exercise Blog that Became the Exorcise Blog

After 6 Years, I'm Moving The MegaChallenge 200 Here

Believe it or not, it has been months since I last ran to nowhere.

My life is a scrambled egg of kids and work and homeschooling and grad schooling and partnership with my hubby and, well, somehow the gym doesn’t get on my schedule much. At all. Ever. Unless, of course, it is to take some complement of this crew to the pool.

I don’t get on the machines.

Ever.

Ever.

Instead, I’m walking our 80-pound collie twice a day and eating pretty well and sleeping pretty well and managing to creep back up the scale. Because, as we learned in my initial post on ye ole MegaChallenge 200 blog, unless I’m doing something incredibly sweat-inducing, my metabolism will not budge.

Ever.

I’ve had an elliptical trainer on my wishlist since about the time I last bought a swimsuit. It’s really the only reason (besides access to the pool) that I pay for a membership to the gym. Yes, I’ve done the math over the past 10 (15) years of working out at the gym and know I could have bought 4 elliptical machines with those membership fees. But I’ve watched folks turn treadmills into clothing racks and didn’t want to end up doing the same thing.

Ever.

Ever.

It’s time. So, I scoured the ads and picked what I wanted and called up a guy who will have to figure out what to do with his clothes now that I’m adopting his elliptical-trainer-cum-clothing-rack for my own home gym.

The machine arrives this weekend. Hopefully it marks the rekindling of my long-term-love affair with running to nowhere… and perhaps even — I know! — blogging.

Whoa! Two Days in a Row…

RootsBlogging that is.

Don’t panic. I didn’t like go all wild and work out or anything.

I haven’t completely neglected my fitness quest, though. Ye ole fitday account is re-up and running. So, check one item off of the “To Procrastinate” list.

One of my excuses is that I took my kids to meet their new teachers*. I am already in love with both classroom teachers and the support staff promises to be equally amazing. B’s teacher has a sign that says, “A quiet classroom is not an indication of learning.” I’ll buy that!

I always loved going back to school. New pencils and notebooks have always been my thing! And it was always nice to have a fresh start.

I am kinda looking at this re-focus on the MegaChallenge in the same way.

Oh–and in case you are wondering about the weight gain thang, here’s the deal. And I swear on an elliptical trainer that it is the absolute truth.

My scale was off. Seriously. I was in “maintenance” so I would pop onto the scale like once a week or so. If it was under 149, I was cool. Sometime after my sweet boy moved in, the scale developed a crack–so Marchish?–and my theory is that it stopped telling me the truth.

I was traveling all over the place, working about a million hours a week (give or take), under a truckload of stress, and eating out 2 meals a day. So, I knew I was at risk for some gainage, but I didn’t really have time to think about it much. After a while I broke down and bought another scale–and that is when I discovered the deception. If it had been a couple of pounds different, I would have chalked it up to calibration or something. But 10 pounds was a rude awakening. Gah!

So, my little scale-enhanced denial party is over. I am heavier than I want to be. Not a huge amount, but more than I would drop without some focused effort.

The good news is that I know I can get back on track and that I didn’t let it get way out of hand.

Now, to get the shoes laced up and downstairs to the bike.

Soon.

*Can you believe that school is starting already?? Wasn’t there supposed to be some correlation between back-to-school and fall? Thought so!

Running to Nowhere…

I think I am beginning to understand how hamsters must feel on those little wheels. I finally made it back to the gym and spent some time with the elliptical trainer (72/200). If it weren’t for the fact that it removes layers of fat from my ass it would be such a ridiculous waste of time. Frankly, it probably is even with the physical benefits, but I am too *me* to do something else. So, I am sticking with it.

It sort of makes a nice metaphor for my life, though. I have spent the past 10 (12?) years of my life running to nowhere. Sure, I have given birth and partially raised two children, completed all but 20 hours of my degree, read books, prayed, worked on my own emotional health, and stuff along those lines. But, I have also spent an enormous amount of time and energy trying to stay connected to someone who just doesn’t get it – in order to be a healthy couple, you have to work on being healthy individuals. One person can’t make it all work out for the other.

So, yeah, I am pretty sad about the fact that we are breaking apart. And I have spent plenty of nights wondering if I could have done anything else/differently/better to have made everything work out. But, I can’t help but hope that this divorce will be my chance to make my life into something more than it has been. To this point, I have been defined by my relationships to other people – and obviously I will still be a mom, sister, friend, daughter – but I am looking forward to getting to know who I am – authentically, without the pressures to fit into someone else’s picture of who I should be. This is probably the ultimate MegaChallenge. It somehow feels easier and safer to perform an assigned role than to branch out and try something new – however poorly the assigned role actually fits.

So, here’s to getting off of the hamster wheel and discovering my own path. But I am sticking with the elliptical trainer at the gym – for now – I can only manage one major life change at a time.

Hey! Look! Over there…

I was hoping to distract you from the fact that I have stalled out for an entire week in the weight loss thing. I still feel very good about where I am, but when you get into the swing of losing a couple of pounds a week, going this long without a drop feels like an eternity. From what I understand, it isn’t an official plateau unless it stretches for 2-3 weeks. I am hoping I won’t have to report on that phenomenon.

I did get my butt to the gym for workout 65/200 today. I was completely unmotivated to get out the door, but once I got there it was better. I made it 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer before I headed over to the bike to finish up my 36 minutes of cardio. I know I need to get back to lifting, I just don’t feel like it! Since when has that been a viable excuse? It isn’t.

Why We Keep Track…

On this fitness adventure we like to mark progress and milestones. By we, I mean I. Anyway, I am very resistant to writing everything down for fear of turning into my IronMan brother-in-law who is famous for his shoe mileage charts. However, every once in a while, I manage to jot something down that turns out to be very inspiring. Case in point: when I got home from my first elliptical run to nowhere, I wrote this on my calendar:

Elliptical Trainer: 7 min. 700 Strides.

That is 7 minutes at 100 strides per minute. That statistic is meaningless unless you compare it to my last workout. I didn’t write it down, so this is an estimate, but it is fairly accurate.

Elliptical Trainer: 57 min. 7000 Strides.

That’s almost an hour at 122 strides per minute – and keep in mind that I was hurting the entire time. I can recall hitting nearly 9000 strides in previous weeks. That’s an hour at 150 strides per minute. Just over two months ago it was all I could do to move for 7 minutes at a walk. Now, some 40 trips to the gym later, I literally run for an hour straight and then go on to do weights and have energy left over to function for the rest of the day.

Our bodies are amazing.

Update on The Guy…

A couple of folks have asked about the guy who experienced the seizure. He fell very hard onto another elliptical trainer, where he had most of the seizure. There was some concern that he might have injured his neck/back, thus our having to keep him calm and on the floor. He was very disoriented and upset – and was still pretty out of it when he left for the hospital. He does have epilepsy, and his seizures are evidently few and far between – rare enough for him to drive. I am hoping to get an update when I go to the gym, tomorrow. I will let you know if I learn anything more.

After the ambulance left, my adreneline levels were through the roof, thus the continued workout. It felt like the best way to get calmed back down.

Life’s Never Dull…

Red CrossI overcame my serious apathy and headed out in the heat to complete workout 34/200. About 20 minutes into my run to nowhere, the guy on the elliptical trainer next to me experienced a grand mal seizure which threw him off of the machine, and rendered him unconscious for a couple of minutes. Everyone acted very quickly, and his dad and an ambulance were there in minutes. Luckily there was a doctor on the treadmill in front of us. (I thought it was only in the movies that a doctor was always hand for such emergencies, but evidently not.) He was able to sort of take over the scene and kept everyone calm.

For my part, I did manage to keep my wits about me long enough to call 911 (The dispatcher argued with me over where my gym is located. Gee, dude, I come here every day. I think I know where it is!) and talk the guy who had the seizure into staying on the floor until the ambulance arrived. He seemed scared and so I talked to him like I do my own kids. I am such a mom. It can be annoying to people who are attempting to exert their independence, but I mother everyone. It comes in handy when something like this happens.

(The preceding is a message brought to you by Gina’s New Mission to Be Self Affirming.)

Oh, and for you who tend toward the fitness-obsessed end of the scale, I did get back on the elliptical trainer for another 50 minutes.

Back In The Swing…

“How are you already out and back if you just got started??”

Weeeellllll, the MegaChallenge officially started on June 6. So, we are 4 weeks in. (If you decide to participate, just start counting your year now – we aren’t picky!) That’s plenty of time to get out of the habit of daily gym ratting at least once. And I did. I went nearly a whole week without a meeting with my elliptical trainer. It was sort of on purpose – my family was out of town for 4 days and I used that time to relocate my floors. 15 bags of garbage went to the dump in my anti-clutter marathon. Needless to say, with all of the scrubbing and tossing and organizing going on, I barely took time to sleep – much less headed out to the gym.

So, when they got back, I had to rediscover my motivation to move. The biggest one? The realization that I was going to be seriously behind in my run for 200 if I didn’t get at least 3 workouts in this week. That, and I have already managed to drop 7 pounds – none of which need to be picked up, again. Having slightly over 30 pounds to lose seems so much more doable than nearly 40.

BTW in case you are wondering, yes I do obsess over numbers. I like math! It is so, well, orderly. And since I am not, by a longshot, orderly; math is friendly respite in an unpredictable world.

If I reread that paragraph (and I did) I hear my friend, Christine, yelling at me to edit and clarify. But, Christine, much as I love you (and your strong sense of grammar and style), this is my Blog and I am not turning it in for a grade, so it can be dangly and run-on and full of fictionaryisms. :)

Soap Box of the Day: It has come to my attention that calling people names is hurtful. Well, admittedly, it came to my attention about 30 years ago. But, that is beside the point. My awareness was further amplified when I encountered Kathie Snow at a workshop. She pointed out just how ridiculous (and hurtful) it is to refer to folks by their particular disability label(s). Do we call folks with cancer, “cancerous”?? Um. Not the last time I checked. So, let’s not call folks who have a disability, “disabled.”

Okay, so you don’t want to be running all over hurting people and want to know how to do better. What do you say? 2 simple rules: 1) Only refer to a diagnosis or a disability if it is relevant and critical that you do so. 2) Refer to the person first. ie: child with autism, man with a disability, person with Down’s Syndrome. See Kathie’s site for a fairly comprehensive rundown of the variations, and a fantastic explanation of the whys and hows.

See, now don’t you feel well informed??

And Away She Goes…

After reading about a billion blogs (count may be a bit off) and thinking over and over, “I gotta do this”, I managed to overcome my typical procrastination long enough to create one. Well, I overcame it a couple of times, but couldn’t seem to get past the Blogger sign-in sheet.

So, what’s my blog about? Whatever pops into my head. Literally. The impetus came from a challenge issued between friends to workout 200 times before the next MegaConference. See, I have been creeping up and down the size chart for the past 10 years, and have had about enough of the whole keeping-clothes-in-every-possible-size-just-in-case-I-gain-or-lose-weight scenario. My closet is stuffed with clothes – but I can only wear about 10% of it at any one time. The size 10s hang there mocking me with their promise of stylish sveltness – while the 20s hang there daring me to eat that carton of Moose tracks.

Enough, already!

Way back in 1999 and 2000 I managed to lose 75 pounds (a chunk of it pregnancy weight, another chunk of it oreos-by-the-sleeve weight) and kept it off for about 6 minutes before I got preggers, again. So, I know I can do it. What it required the last time – and I am using all my powers of magic thinking to think it just might work this time, too – was total dedication to the elliptical trainer. Walking 4 miles a day doesn’t budge my molasses metabolism. Nope. This body requires full-on boredom to kick into gear before my mother’s “You aren’t working hard enough” mantra will be replaced by “Hey! This is work! I have earned an increase in metabolism.”

So, I am reaquainting myself with said elliptical trainer. And, as the MegaChallenge 200 would indicate, I will have 200 meetings with my new best friend this year. Well, it may vary a bit. The official rules are: 200 workouts in whatever form you consider meaningful to you. If walking from the back of the parking lot is a lot of exercise from your vantage point, count it! If you regularly run marathons, well then you may have to do a wee bit more before you chart it.

Oh yeah! There is a chart!! No, nothing like those keep track of every calorie, stride, and ounce charts. Each time you move, in a way that is meaningful to you, you jot the date onto the chart. Do it 200 times in a year and you meet the challenge. I will try to get proficient enough at blogging to post the chart. In the meantime, all you need is something with 200 spaces to jot down the dates. Or, if you prefer, 200 objects and two containers. Every time you move, you get to move an object from the “to do” jar to the “done” jar.

Oh – and because I can’t have the whole blog be about memememememe (I’m waaaay too neurotic to ignore everyone else for an entire entry!!) here is a link to the soapbox of the day. This is the MCIL (Memphis Center for independent Living) Journal. As of right now, these folks have been sitting in the Tennessee Governor’s office for 11 days in protest of the massive TennCare cuts (323,000 people will be cut completely from their coverage, and another 300,000 are facing reduced benefits). I am amazed at the lack of coverage that this effort has received, because these folks are speaking up for everyone who uses any form of insurance to assist with medical expenses.

Long vent short: if Tennessee succeeds in setting precedent with their new limits and formularies, do you really think it is a very long jump before the HMOs jump on the bandwagon?? I don’t know about you, but I have had months where I needed more than 4 prescriptions. And I would prefer my doctor have access to the whole range of medical options when s/he is determining my care needs. What if I have a bad reaction to the version of the medication that is in the formulary? I shouldn’t have to go through an appeal with a bunch of business majors to get the meds I need.

So, welcome to my blog (even if it is only me reading it!)

 

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