Thursday, April 30, 2009

Month-End Review, April

I decided to do less swimming since my arms often feel as if they are on fire. As a result, I made friends with the treadmill again. I paused for the cause on Fridays.

Here's how I moved my body during the month of April:

Adaptive Motion Trainer, 5 x's

Arc Trainer, 7 x's

DVD (10 Minute Solution), 1 x

StairMaster, 3 x's

Swimming, 9 x's

Treadmill, 11 x's

Walking Outdoors, 3 x's

The Final Four On The Biggest Loser

Time and time again, I've gathered myself and come out on top; I finally believe. That's what Tara said after she won the Carry That Weight All Over Again contest in which The Biggest Loser contestants had to carry the weight that they had lost across 16 sand dunes which represented their 16 weeks on campus. Weight was dropped at sand dunes according to what the contestant lost in week one etc. Once the weight was discarded, the contestants symbolically threw their baggage over a cliff.

Tara was lagging behind Mike and Filipe and when she caught up with Filipe who graciously said You can do it and she went on to overtake Mike and reach the finish line first.

The contestants also checked in with Dr. Huzenga who told Ron that when he first saw him, he didn't know whether to take him to get an MRI or to the ER.

This week was also train the trainer week. I was impressed that Jillian kept a steady pace on the treadmill while retro running. When it was time for the last chance workout, the trainers got revenge. Jillian told Tara, I'm going to desensitize you, an interesting thing to say during a training session. Jillian also told Tara, during push-ups, to kiss the ground, back up. I suppose that kissing the ground would make you exert more effort...

And, now, it's down to the final four. Which one of the super losers shall emerge as The Biggest Loser of all?

When Mike, who has lost 164 lbs, saw old pictures of himself, he said that it brought back feelings of being confined, overweight and out of place.

As Filipe said in during the weigh-in, they're all winners because they have gotten their lives back.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Most Recent Jones

My latest snack jones is Whole Foods' 365 Organic Peanut Butter with Annie's Homegrown Bunny Grahams Cinnamon on the side.

The organic peanut butter was a gift. Thank you PB donor.

I looked up the calorie count and one tablespoon is 100 calories, ten more than, say, Jiffy or a generic brand. Interesting.

At first, the 365 PB took some getting used to but now I like it. My container is so close to empty and I'm wondering how much the Whole Foods brand is going to set me back.

I vaguely remember an article in Everyday Food Magazine that talked about hydrogenated oil which is in most peanut butter but not in the 365 version.

Speaking of organic, I like Mark Bittman's article about eating food that's better for you.

Eating Food That’s Better for You, Organic or Not

There are some thought-provoking articles that have cropped up recently regarding organic food and meat consumption:

Can we afford to eat ethically?

Don't have a cow!

Paying a Price for Loving Red Meat

It’s Organic, but Does That Mean It’s Safer?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Double Take

My barber's mother did a double take the last time I went to get a haircut. You've lost weight; I can see it in your face. Congratulations, if that's what you want. I told her thank you and, yes, it was what I wanted.

You even look different, she said.

Angie's mother is right. I've changed physically and psychologically. You don't lose 50 pounds without changing the landscape of your physiology or the physiology of your mind.

One of my friends was looking at an old picture and she said that my hands looked liked little pillows then.

When I look at old pictures of myself, I am surprised by the heftiness.

How did I not see it? Maybe, I was in the first stage of grief.

Someone else told me, in an accusatory manner, that I had changed. I like to think that I have changed for the better, more patience et al.

The whole notion of change reminds me of part of Sharon Olds' The Unjustly Punished Child poem:

When he cools off and comes out of that door
he will not be the same child who ran in
and slammed it. An alloy has been added. Now he will
crack along different lines when tapped...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Caloric Ramifications

Swimming absolutely wore me out today. I can barely hold my head up and I only swam a mere 14 laps. The water was very choppy because the lifeguard was body slamming the kiddos who were jumping all on his back.

Episode 10 of The Amazing Race, which aired on Sunday, had a detour where the contestants had to choose synchronized diving or a 400 meter swim. Jen almost completely unraveled and I was hoping that she would not be eliminated so deep in the race because of her lack of swimming skills. Tammy, who's on another team, also did a good job. She took swimming lessons before The Amazing Race started. I was the only adult who had to stick my face in the water and learn how to breathe, Tammy said.

Not Gonna Get It

I've seen quite a few recipes for black bean burgers and I finally decided to try one.

Black Bean Tostada Burgers

My burgers did not look like the ones in Shape magazine and they seemed a bit dry but they didn't taste bad. I didn't make the pico de gallo nor did I use corn tortillas or avocado. I had my own sides in mind.

The New York Times had an article on a fascinating twitterer who publishes 140 character recipes.

Take 1 Recipe, Mince, Reduce, Serve

Seeing that I'm hung up on nutrition facts, it would make me very nervous to make a recipe without knowing the caloric ramifications.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Protein To Go

Close your eyes, my grandmother said. I knew that she was up to something so I turned around. My grandmother was straight up trying to put some peach cobbler in my mouth. I was just going to give you a little.

Yesterday, my aunt Girt tipped me off that there was a remaining piece of sweet potato pie. There were quite a few cakes around and the SP pie had been forgotten. She told me to remind her today so that she could give me the slice.

Did you see Super Size Me? If anyone posed the super size option to Morgan Spurlock during the course of of his 30 day experiment, he had his order super sized. I feel the same way about sweet potato pie. If anyone offers it to me, I'm pretty much going to take them up on the offer.

As I was leaving my g'ma's house, I locked eyes with my aunt to say goodbye when I remembered the pie. She went to get it and we made the exchange in the kitchen.

Did you taste the chicken? my aunt wanted to know. Frankly, I'm a bit tired of chicken but I could tell that my aunt had enjoyed it and she wanted to share. I sampled the smoked bird and it was quite tasty. My aunt packed some in a bag and, as I headed down State Street, I dipped into my baggie and ate my protein for the day.

What's Earth Day Got To Do With It?

I taped Oprah on Wednesday because a teaser, What happens to our garbage?, pulled me in.

As it turns out, an astounding amount of paper (71.6 million tons) ends up in our landfills. I recently weaned myself off of bottled water and I will try to do the same with napkins and such.

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, was one of several guests on the show and is an advocate of meatless Mondays. Pollan claims that if everyone went meatless for one day of the week, it would be the equivalent of taking 20 million mid-size sedans off the road.

Pollan also said that people are not aware of the carbon footprint of food and that agriculture changes the landscape more than anything else that we do. This statement was my favorite:

When we sit down to eat, that's our most profound engagement with nature.
I also like Pollan's advice to shop the periphery of the store where the real food is at. In the middle, he said, is the food that never goes bad.

Pollan's rule of thumb is to only eat things that his grandmother would recognize which does not include items like portable yogurt. Expanding on the grandmother rule, Pollan advised people not to eat anything that won't eventually rot. It's not real food, he surmised. This advice reminds me of Morgan Spurlock's documentary, Super Size Me, in which he did several experiments with food and the composition of McDonald's french fries never changed.

Some nice stores were featured on Oprah's Earth Day show, including:




As you can imagine, since the organizations have been mentioned on Oprah, increased traffic has affected the websites. Whole Foods is also giving away tote bags for free but the coupon expires today.

Whole Foods Coupon

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Still Bicycles and Such

I woke up much earlier than I wanted and since I was not drowsy at all, I fell out of bed, ate some oatmeal and headed to Forest Park. There was a breeze the entire time, the temperature was ideal and I walked for about two hours.

I can't wait to see the lily pads when they bloom and I don't know why I'm so drawn to still bicycles. I was walking, noticed the bikes plus the couple that was making the scenery even more poetic and I just had to backpedal and get a picture.

When I got home, I was stunned to see that I had a V of darker skin.

It wasn't warm at all but that just goes to show you that the sun should not be taken lightly.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Water Is Just Fine On The Biggest Loser

Oh, I'm a threat. I'm a victim. Everyone comes after me. Who Cares? Embrace it. Welcome to the world of being successful. Jump right in; the water is just fine.
The above was Jillian's righteous rant to Tara who was weeping because her partner had been voted off. Jillian told Tara not to be selfish since Laura had a hip fracture and it wasn't safe for her to continue exercising.

The Biggest Loser trainers were in full pep talk mode. Bob told Kristin You're going to have to want it and not be afraid of it anymore because you deserve this...

The first challenge of week 16 was a game show contest in which the contestants had to guess how many calories were in certain foods.

One pizza looked like it was personal-size but actually had eight servings. In another segment,the contestants were asked to pick the least fattening of several options. Surprise, surprise.

Ground Turkey Breast, 1% Fat
Ground Turkey, 7%
Extra Lean Ground Beef, 7%
Ground Veal, 8%
Ground Chicken, 11%
I would have never have guessed that ground chicken had the most fat. Evidently, the skin is also ground in.

Mike won the challenge because he guessed that a fried filet of fish with tartar sauce and buns etc. was 635 calories. He came within five calories of the exact count.

Bob had his team keep a video diary of what they consumed because he was appalled by their food knowledge. He was even more shocked when he saw the video since his team associated low calories with weight loss and one member assumed that olive oil was synonymous with almost zero calories.

Tara, who's on a roll, won another challenge but she opted for $10,000 dollars instead of a one pound advantage at the weigh-in. In the past, contestants have chosen the pound but, as Jillian said, Ultimately, Tara's betting on herself. The bet paid off and it was Helen and Kristin who fell below the yellow line. Kristen has fallen below the yellow line so many times and I truly feel her pain because she was going at it in the gym and it makes you wonder what needed tweaking in her wellness program.

Kristin wanted to speak to Ron to assure that she could count on him. She also wanted Ron to lobby Mike, his son, but Ron told his son to vote for Kristin. Ron's true gangster side emerged but Kristin was not fooled. She called it accurately when she said that Ron and Mike thought that Mike had the contest in the bag and that he would emerge as The Biggest Loser. When the host, Allison, asked Mike if that was true, he nodded and smiled. Oh, don't they know that pride cometh before a fall?

Here's the gangster in action:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Six Secrets

I took this picture while waiting for Madame Lifeguard to ascend the throne.

There are quite a few kids taking swimming lessons and the lifeguards are trying to teach pool etiquette and safety too. Accordingly, I waited along with the kids until Madame L took the chair. Of course, the wait was not purely a safety drill.

For a pre-workout snack, I had this Sport Vit bar which
I've been saving (long story which includes saving movies and books too) for a long time. In fact, it expired in December. While I don't know how many calories it contains, I don't think the damage was significant since it's very malty with a thin layer of chocolate and it's supposed to be chock full of vitamins.

Vitamins A, D, E, & C, 40%
Thiamine, 40%
Riboflavin, 40%

I'm not quite sure about the rest of the genetic makeup since most of the writing is in German, I believe. Luckily, I can't decipher this website Migros, Home of Sport Vit or I might order more Sport Vit and I can't begin to tell you how much money I've spent on shipping and handling charges...

I've been stuck on 20 laps and my goal was to swim 21 today, which I did. Speaking of stuck, I'm in a weight loss rut.

I picked up the Feb. 2009 edition of Consumer Reports at the library because I was drawn to the Rebuild Your Nest Egg cover only to discover another good article called Dieting On A Budget. CR's six secrets of the slim:

  • Watch portions

  • Limit fat

  • Eat fruits and vegetables

  • Choose whole grains over refined

  • Eat at home

  • Exercise, exercise, exercise

  • There was also a section called Don't Get Discouraged. Thanks CR, your edict was right on time.

    Monday, April 20, 2009


    I was beginning to think that my love affair with swimming was over and I was starting to feel that I was just plodding away at the front crawl.

    My first lap today was a good one. I felt so in synch doing the back crawl. I felt as if I was gliding through the water and I enjoyed the power in my legs as they propelled me along.

    Even if I've forgotten how to do the sidestroke on my left side and my breastroke is bobless, I still enjoy the pool. Even this picture makes me feel peaceful.

    I swam 21 laps in about an hour and toyed with the idea of staying in the pool but tasks were calling my name.

    Nina Simone's Feeling Good

    Sunday, April 19, 2009

    The Threading Show

    If you think that personal trainers bring the pain, you probably have not seen an eyebrow threader at work.

    I was walking around South County Mall and saw Eye Brows, a new store. I grabbed a flyer which promoted the ancient eastern art of hair removal. According to Eye Brows, here are some of the benefits of threading:

  • It is less painful and more effective than waxing or tweezing

  • Can pull out specific individual hairs

  • Does not peel off a layer of skin

  • You don't get ingrown hairs

  • While I didn't get my eyebrows done, I did get a henna tattoo which turned out rather light
    but my $5 dollars was worth the show. The threader had one end of thread in her mouth and the other end looped around various fingers. She resembled a chicken pecking for feed. Each time someone got out of the threader's chair, her sentence started off with the reason that it hurt...Well, the flyer did not say that it would be painless.

    I used to work with this girl who got her eyebrows threaded and her threader refused to work on western women. I sense that she felt western women could not handle the pain.

    Saturday, April 18, 2009

    Shaking Things Up

    Thanks to the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls for going into overtime.

    Bulls Beat Celtics 105-103 in OT

    Since I didn't want to leave the gym in medias overtime, I re-upped for 30 minutes on the treadmill. Overtime was good for me in more ways than one. Prior to going to the fitness club, I went to work for a few hours to catch up on some tasks and there was yet another task with an imminent deadline waiting for me. Ninety minutes on the treadmill will do wonders for work-related angst.

    I've also been feeling the need to shake things up. Really, I can't expect different fitness results if I work out for the same 60 minutes even if I choose different machines.

    I tuned in to see the Pistons play the Cavaliers. The Cavs did not run roughshod over the Pistons as folks had imagined. The broadcasters were teasing Mo Williams because his pre-game anthem is Phil Collins' In The Air Tonight. They thought his selection would be a little more hardcore but I can see how these words would inspire focus and determination:

    And I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord
    Ive been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh lord
    I'm sitting on my fitness ball -- something that I haven't done in awhile. I signed up for a thirty day challenge at several months ago. One of my active challenges was to sit on a fitness ball which I used to do frequently in order to strengthen the ol' core. Methinks it's time to revert to some of the things that I used to do: army crawls, push-ups and planks. It's time to turn the automatic pilot off.

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Catch a Fire

    My arms felt like they were on fire this morning. I was not in pain but I could feel heat radiating in my upper arms then slowly move down a bit. That's why I play The Amazing Race and put myself on a mandatory rest period with no back-to-back swimming allowed.

    What's a girl to do whose arms have been taxed? She takes it to the StairMaster, Treadmill and ArcTrainer sans handles. I like the StairMaster for the challenge but I also like the vantage point from where I've witnessed amazing feats of athleticism. I saw one woman go from the StairMaster to the Bosu ball to jumping rope to weights then start all over again. Today, I saw a woman do push-ups, go into plank mode, flex one leg at a time then go back to the beginning.

    On the way home, I noticed a new McDonald's billboard. The other Mickey D's b'boards have been advertising Filet-O-Fish. Apparently, the fish is so fresh that polar bears, penguins and seagulls hover nearby. This latest billboard is equally eye-catching with its signature red, yellow and white Mickey D's straw representing the *1* in $1.00.

    It's funny how the fast food joints are pushing their value meals now. I remember going to Mickey D's prior to the value meal and I would be so annoyed that it would cost more to buy single items than to get a combo meal.

    I was just browsing through an old Fitness magazine tidbit called Critical Reading which said that only 21% of people regularly check food labels. This article highlighted saturated fat, sodium, fiber and sugar and said to limit added sugar to 40 grams a day which is usually the amount found in one soda. To pay $1.00 for a large soda seems like a bargain but, in the end, it's really not much of a bargain at least not for me anyway.

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Practice Makes...

    After leaving the recreation center today, I thought about this Einstein quote:

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    I keep coming up short with the front crawl. I can make it about 3/4 of the way down the lane and that's it. I've tried different approaches to breathing but I haven't found a method that clicks yet.

    I guess that I'll keep practicing and looking for tips.

    Front Crawl For Beginners

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    The Gift of Mint

    One of my friends at work noticed that I was drinking mint water. I don't really grow things and I once turned down a neighbor who wanted me to water her plants because I didn't want her to return to yellowed leaves or out-and-out lifeless plants.

    Water becomes rather flat to me after drinking it for awhile and in order to drink more of it, I try to lively it up by adding mint or lemon juice. Water with mint (left in overnight) has a subtle flavor. The aroma is a big bonus and I feel treated with each sip.

    I had been scoring my mint at Dierbergs. No more. Asmira was nice enough to plant some mint for me. It's amazing how small gestures and things make me happy. I was so freakin' touched. When Asmira handed me the mint, she said don't thank me. What? Of course, that's the first thing that I wanted to do. Then, I wanted to barter. Finally, I just enjoyed the moment. Asmira's gift made me all warm inside even though it was cool and damp out.

    Sunday, April 12, 2009


    I had an unbelievable appetite today. I had oatmeal, an Attune mint chocolate bar, pasta, Wasa crackers, Laughing Cow cheese and chocolate covered peppermint sticks among other stuff. I made a conscious effort to drink water hoping that it would fill the void.

    I went over to my grandmother's house where Easter dinner looked a lot like Thanksgiving fare: turkey, ham, dressing, gravy, green beans, mac and cheese, rolls, sweet potato pie and caramel cake. Sigh.

    I grabbed a saucer and had some turkey, green beans and sweet potato pie (see kryptonite list). I looked lovingly at the mac and cheese but decided that the pie was indulgence enough.

    My grandmother kept trying to convince me to eat caramel cake. A little cake never hurt anyone, she insisted. Famous last words g'ma.

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    A 'Drea Divided

    Saturday is usually reserved for swimming but I was torn when I saw how gorgeous it was outside. I considered walking and swimming but I was also feeling unenthusiastic and didn't know if I would have the stamina for the pool.

    I ended up going to Compton Hill Reservoir Park, one of my pre-fitness club stomping grounds. To enhance my workout in those days, I would climb the diminutive hills and, when I was feeling saucy, I would take it to the stairs.

    Compton Hill Reservoir Park is not big and it could definitely use some more flowers to perk up the space. The one patch of flowers present ended up being plucked today by two girls who ran away with armfuls of tulips.

    When I returned home, I decided to mow the lawn but the lawn mower didn't cooperate for long. Feeling restless, I popped in one of my 10 Minute Solution DVDs and did the upper body workout portion.

    Later on, I went to the fitness club because I felt like I had hardly raised my heart rate earlier. The club was so quiet that I could have done cartwheels and I don't think that anyone would have blinked. I like the fitness club when it's full but I also like it when it's quiet. I hopped on the Arc Trainer. Actually, I hopped on about four or five of them because I wanted to watch television but the reception was bad or the buttons on the remote weren't working. So, I said c'est la vie and put on my MP3 player. And the rest is reflected in my sore legs.

    Here's the view from the Compton Hill Reservoir Park StairMaster.

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    Graceful Exit on the Biggest Loser

    Week 14 captures the contestants as they are spilling out of the elimination room. Ron is peeved that he received three votes from Helen, Filipe and Sione. The votes really stung since he received them instead of Nicole, a virtual outsider voted out early in the game but who earned her way back onto the ranch. To be honest, Ron has become rather pompous.

    For the ones who voted for me, may you get struck down and die.
    Ouch. Ron has become known as The Godfather and The Biggest Loser producers played this theme up nicely.

    Tara even issued a warning:

    Be careful or you might find a horse head in your bed.
    This week's temptation was rather cruel. There were 100 covered trays and a golden ticket was underneath one. There were a few healthy choices and money under the trays but, by and large, the trays housed caloric bombs. Tara ended up eating 4,328 calories. Helen had me cracking up. I got carried away, she said.

    When the trainers saw the carnage, they were beside themselves, especially Jillian who felt that the gym had been desecrated. She told Tara that she had literally eaten a pound.

    In the end, Laura (Tara's teammate) found the yellow ticket so Tara was safe as long as Laura did not fall below the yellow line.

    Bob rightly told Sione you wanted the power so you lost control.

    The trainers were so furious that, in the words of Jillian, we literally handed them off and took turns beating the crap out of them. The beating strategy worked because Helen vowed:

    I'll never eat another cupcake as long as I live.
    This week's challenge took place in the Rose Bowl Stadium. The contestants had to climb 2,156 stairs and the top two finishers got to do it all over again. The top two ended up being Sione and Tara again. And Tara won again. It was a heart wrenching moment when Sione started to feel like his best was not good enough.

    After Laura found out that she had lost eight pounds, she was practically laughing and crying because her good news was bad for Sione and Helen who fell below the yellow line. Suddenly, the golden ticket was not so desirable.

    Before the vote, cousins Sione and Filipe had a very touching exchange and ritual. When Sione was voted off, his exit was very graceful; he intends to share his knowledge with his family and his Tongan community which has a high rate of obesity.

    Check out the contestants who went wild hunting for the golden ticket.

    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    At the End of the Day

    Monday and Wednesday are fast becoming my favorite days seeing that I usually head to the pool then. What a nice reward to swim at the end of the day. I got in 20 laps and there is some progress with the front crawl. I believe that I'm more in tune with the breathing aspect of it all.

    There were all boys taking swimming lessons today and their skills are developing nicely. Nick, who is emerging as my favorite lifeguard, has a lot of patience for the kiddos. The longer I'm around Nick the more I like him and I cannot say the same for every person that I have known.

    The sun felt great today on the inside and out.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Au Revoir Blue Pants

    My Aunt Al recently asked me how much weight I had lost. A smile spread across my face because her question coincided with my 50 pound milestone.
    You're going to have to get a new wardrobe.
    I made a sound similar to a guffaw. My aunt was wonderfully optimistic to think that I could wear the same clothes.

    If I had known then (May 2007) what I know now, I would have done a few things differently while embarking on this weight loss journey.

    I have a ring that my Aunt Al gave me. I had it resized (pre-journey) since it was too small. Of course, the ring is now too big. I treated myself to a Silpada ring and the moment I purchased the ring, I realized it was an unwise choice.

    When I bought this pair of pants, I could not wear them.

    Then, I skipped completely over this size. Au revoir blue pants.

    I did make one savvy purchase at the ScholarShop. I saw black C. J. Banks pants, practically new, with a $3.00 price tag but, wait, it was half off day and I was able to take the Banks home for $1.50. Those pants are now saggy but they made perfect transition pants.

    These polka dot shirts amuse me. I like the playful pattern and I've been able to find them on sale at the end of summer. All of these shirts are different sizes.

    Outerwear, underwear, spectacles, shoes and swimming suits are among the ill-fitting items that I possess.

    When I mentioned to my counselor friend that my sunglasses no longer hug my face, she said:

    That's proof that you cannot have everything.
    I wonder if she talks to her clients in this way. Hunh, and she claims to dislike Dr. Phil's approach.


    Monday, April 6, 2009

    Conversations with Markia

    It was good to be back at the pool since I last swam on Wednesday.

    There were five of us today, lifeguard included. The water was calm but Markia was wearing me out. She wanted to swap goggles et al.

    I'm sorry for interrupting your swimming.
    Later on, she wanted to borrow soap.
    I know that I'm getting on your nerves.
    I assured her that she wasn't getting on my nerves but she needed to remember to bring her swimming paraphernalia since she even managed to forget her towel.
    I'll bet you $10 that I'll bring my swimming stuff next time.
    I tell her that betting is illegal for someone her age.
    If I win, you have to teach me how to swim.
    I let her know that Nick is best qualified for that job.

    Where's your friend?
    By lap 15, I was worn out by the water and Markia who also wanted to know what was the red round thing that I bring to the pool.

    My final answer:
    A lap counter.

    Sunday, April 5, 2009

    Back-to-Back Decadence

    I made this pizza yesterday although I'm wary of pizza now. I topped a Boboli whole wheat crust with Roma tomatoes, shallots, yellow peppers, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, basil and parmesan cheese. It was a very satisfying pie.

    Since I had leftover mozzarella, I decided to make Pasta with Carmelized Onion Trio, Arugula and Mozzarella which I have not made in ages and now I know why I haven't made it in awhile. So much chopping, so little time.

    I used almond milk instead of heavy cream, raisins instead of currants and wheat linguine instead of regular. Ha, I should have purchased some frozen, chopped onions.

    It's a good thing that I went to the gym today because I'm not feeling right about my back-to-back dinner choices.

    I wanted to save my arms so I decided on the StairMaster which I wanted to stay on for 25 minutes without pausing. I heard Jim, my swimming teacher, in my ear: I want you to strive... and I strove while climbing 74 floors. Then, I headed to a treadmill for thirty minutes and finished off on the Arc Trainer without using the handles. I wanted to stay at the gym but the store and the Pasta with Carmelized Onion Trio, Arugula and Mozzarella were beckoning.

    Pasta Recipe

    Saturday, April 4, 2009

    Forest Park Unplugged

    Since I was awakened early and my arms still smart a bit, I headed to Forest Park instead of the usual Saturday sojourn to the pool. As soon as I stepped out of my car, I realized that I had left my MP3 player at home. I felt bare and disappointed but I was not going to turn around and go home just to get my tunes.

    My walk sans music was like going to a retreat where there are no televisions or radios. It was good, though, because I was able to think through a few things without the regular distractions.

    About three miles into my walk, I came upon a group of friends and one of them was down on the ground. I hoped and felt like he would be okay but I also thought about the pretty penny that he would have to pay for the ambulance.

    I finished my 6.2 mile trek and I definitely enjoyed the view along the way.

    Thursday, April 2, 2009

    The Opposite of Coasting

    In answer to fitsugar's question, I'm gonna have to say yes. I love to feel sweat rolling down the sides of my face since I feel like sweat is a sign that I'm working out at an appropriate level. If I haven't broken out in a sweat, I feel like I'm just coasting along. Plus, it feels good to really move after sitting at a desk for most of the day.

    I've seen several people at the gym don solar suits which seems a tad redundant. A short stint on the StairMaster alone will fulfill any one's sweat quota.

    I like the scene in Anna Deavere Smith's one-woman show, Fires in the Mirror, when the character says when I was an athlete, I was an athlete; when I was a bad boy, I was a bad boy. When I'm exercising, I want to really be athletic because no other part of the day is devoted to action.

    Sweating During A Workout: Love It or Hate It?

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    Side Effect

    I am so sleepy, a sometimes side effect of swimming. Of course, I wouldn't dream of going to sleep right now or I'd pay the price later.

    The front crawler was back today as was Kate. I should start referring to the front crawler as the tireless crawler because she swam lap after lap. I don't think she stopped once. I, on the other hand, came up greedy for air during my front crawl efforts and I also rested after laps. As I rested, I watched the sun bounce off the water and the kiddos dive again and again to retrieve mock dive toys.

    At one point, I did the back crawl at two miles per hour and I floated just to stop and smell the chlorine.

    I like this G2 commercial but, then again, anything remotely related to swimming captures my attention these days. And, yes, I have used the backstroke as coping mechanism -- at least once.