Thursday, December 31, 2009

You Should Be Drinking Not Climbing or Month-End Review, December

One of my friends was taunting me by waving a bowl of Hershey's chocolate in my vicinity; she, essentially, beckoned me in a voice that said chill out about the sweet stuff.

I decided to retaliate in my own little way and asked her if she wanted to go rock climbing after our half day at work. She looked at me in horror when another associate actually voiced his horror. You should be drinking not climbing. Oh well, to each his or her own.

Plus, the taunter failed to realize that Hershey's would not make me cave. Kinder Bueno? Yes. Hershey's? No...

As I was belaying for Jessica, one of the Upper Limits folks came to give us the countdown to closure. What? We thought the gym was closing at 4 p.m. instead of 2 p.m. Can you say rock climbing interruptus?

Before I left the gym, though, I was able to make it up the 5.8 Face Plant route. So, I'm able to climb that route on every other outing. Ha.

I headed to the bank with the intention of going from there straight to the gym and squeaking in because, clearly, I hadn't worked out enough but, dang it, I didn't have my tennis shoes.

I headed by the house, ate a few Wasa crackers and hummus and headed back out. When I got to the gym, there were no signs about early closure and I was told that there would be no early closure. Hmmm, I could potentially play Biggest Loser contestant and really get my exercise in today.

When I got to the locker room, I discovered that I did not have my MP3 player. Ironically, I did not have the energy to put on my street clothes and go back to the car to retrieve my tunes. I blame my misplaced MP3 player on too many bags: bag with rock climbing gear, bag with work gear and another gym bag with my regular workout stuff. I did a little self-talk and told myself that I could gut it out for at least 30 minutes without the television or music. Almost the whole time, It Takes Two, was on loop in my head. It's all the fault of that goofy little flick, The Proposal.

Here's how things played out this month. I deliberately set aside more time for stretching which felt good...
10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts (Upper Body), 1 x

10 Minute Solution: Kickbox Bootcamp (Fat Burning Blast), 1 x

10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones! (Stretching), 3 x's

10 Minute Solution: Yoga (Flexibility and Relaxation), 1 x

Adaptive Motion Trainer, 3 x's

Crunch: Candlelight Yoga, 1 x

Drills To Make You Sweat (Class), 1 x

Rock Climbing, 6 x's

StairMaster, 3 x's

Stationary Bike, 1 x

Step and Muscle (Class), 3 x's

Swimming, 6 x's

Treadmill (with bouts of jogging), 14 x's
Best sound of the day: Primal screams from a female lead climber as she made an ascent.

Honorable mention
: Me. I'm told that I was making Serena Williams-like sounds going up the Face Plant route.

Phrase of the day: Amazonian Toes -- a male to his female friend after a discussion about rock climbing shoes.

And the song of the day?????????

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Muscle Card

When I step on the scale in the morning, I think about a New Yorker cartoon that I read eons ago. I also think about The Biggest Loser weigh-ins.

You probably can't read the fine print but the cartoon caption says:

And, in this corner, weighing five pounds more than she'd like...
Weight loss, in my corner, has come to a screeching halt. The scale is doing its magic act again. I shook up my workout routine and I'm still counting calories etc. etc. but there's been no movement on the scale. My clothes do have some wiggle room but there's something more tangible about seeing the scale move south.

When I went to work today, one of my friends called me Olive Oyl. I shook my head no and she shook her head yes.

She told me that I had surely gained muscle and that I needed to pull out the measuring tape.

Muscle references make me laugh because a lot of people tend to pull the muscle card when they've gained weight. Nevertheless, I pulled out my fitness and nutrition journal from the National Body Challenge which contains the only measurements that I've ever taken and that was back in Jan. '08. The measurements have not changed much but I also remember having on workout clothes underneath my regular clothes when the Bally's guy took my measurements. So, the initial measurements are probably off.

Under body composition, my body fat was put down as 42.2% and my BMI was recorded as 38.4. If nothing else, my BMI is lower. I definitely have to keep the wiggle room in mind and be glad that I am, for the most part, maintaining and not gaining.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Around The World And Some Planks

No wonder I felt like I was about to keel over yesterday. I woke up and....mucus which is not unusual after swimming but this mucus had, um, color character.

I took some Emergen-C, drank the last of my ginger tea and hoped for the best.

I sometimes take for granted how nice it is to be well and to move around unfettered. I was dragging today and wondered if I should just go home, get under the covers and skip Step and Muscle class but I pressed on.

Step and Muscle is the one class that I have consistently gone to. I like the instructor who is energetic but not too perky and her off and on popping of faux ocean blue colored gum doesn't even bother me. Her routine is challenging but not difficult to follow.

I learn something new in every class that I take and I want to tell you that a plank by any other name is still a plank.

We did planks on the step and we did plank jacks. We also went around the world on the step -- stepping back and hopping over it as we literally faced every part of the room.

I noticed that it's getting easier to watch myself exercise in the mirror and I thought that I looked strong while lifting weights. I've always wanted more upper body strength and, now, it's becoming a reality.

I think that I missed my calling as the next Laila Ali because I loved the kickboxing moves that she threw in today: uppercut, jab etc.

It seemed kind of perverse to be doing a jumping jack/hopscotch move to a remix of Celebration but it kept me moving. In fact, I was so hyper after class that I hit the treadmill for 15 minutes. I had to dispense with some energy by doing my little jogging thing -- for a few minutes anyway.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Gala Apple, Chili Lime Peanuts & A Wheat Barley Stick

I was visualizing my exercise schedule for this week when I contacted Patti to see when we were going rock climbing.

I had two reasons. First, it takes at least two folks to rock climb -- unless you're using a designated route with an auto-belay.

Second, I wanted to take the torture step and muscle class and step and muscle back-to-back with rock climbing do not go together. Thus, the plotting and planning.

Tonight: Swimming
Tomorrow: Step and Muscle Class
Wednesday: Any Machine
Thursday: Rock Climbing
Friday: TBA
Saturday: TBA
When I got to Riverchase, the lanes were occupied.
Lane 1: Instructor and student plus one lap swimmer
Lane 2: Six kids frolicking
Lane 3: Two women walking
I wondered what had happened to lap swimming.

I waited for about twenty minutes for a lane to open up. I was so eager to get in the pool that I swam the front crawl without pulling up. I went at the water for about an hour, took a shower and had notions of going to the store to secure ingredients for a meal. I quickly nixed that idea, turned on my GPS and looked for the nearest Crazy Bowls and Wraps where I got a Mediterranean wrap i.e. a baked falafel sandwich.

I took my face, ashy from being submerged in the water, into Trader Joe's. I just had to go to TJ's -- seeing that I was low on coffee and all.

At various points in my journey, I noshed on a Gala apple, chili lime peanuts and a wheat barley stick and the thought crossed my mind that I may very well kill myself via excessive exercise.

I didn't even care that my Mediterranean wrap might not be the best option. Tired and hungry, I devoured (half) it when I got home.

As I think about excessive exercise, my mind goes to The Biggest Loser's Where Are They Now? episode. Matt Hoover, a former contestant, participated in the Kona Ironman triathlon:

2.4-miles of swimming
112-miles of biking
26.2-mile marathon run
Hoover, who needed to complete the Ironmnan in 17 hours, missed the cutoff by three minutes and 43 seconds but still learned from the experience:

Our bodies -- they're amazing...I should not have been able to do what I did that day but my body kept going. There's something about pushing yourself beyond your limits that people need to do once in their life...
Seventeen hours, hunh?

And, on that note, I purchased a Groupon coupon today.

$20 for 20 Full-Access Day Passes to The Heights Fitness Center (Up to $120 Value)

I don't need to worry about where I will swim (for a minute anyway) while I figure out the best fitness club option for my varied needs.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Hamstrings Say No

Cut my fingernails, grabbed my new rock climbing kicks and headed to the gym.

Although not an excellent outing, today was a pretty good day for rock climbing.

Afterwards, I headed to the fitness club to hit the treadmill because while rock climbing torches a lot of calories, you don't spend a whole lot of time on the routes. Although, I do wonder how many calories are burned during belaying.

I also did some stretching because my hamstrings were tight after doing a 10 Minute Solution total body toning yesterday.

RC and swimming always leave me wanting more.

I feel like Aaron in that Seinfeld episode, The Raincoats.

AARON: I could've done more. I could've done so much more.
I feel as if I could head back to Upper Limits right now but

my hamstrings say no.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Best Food Gifts

All of this gift giving in the air made me think about some of the best food gifts that I've received.

Gevalia coffee + coffee maker

I went to visit my friend Martene in Newark about nine years ago and she is not a coffee drinker which made the fresh Gevalia coffee even more special.

Half a Pomegranate

One of my aunts, unbeknown to me, still had a pomegranate post-season last year and I was going on and on about pomegranates and she came out of the kitchen with it. I was so happy when she shared with me.

Homemade Yogurt with 1% Milk

The person who made it for me does not like 1% milk.

Harry and David Pear

Several years ago, a coworker received a fruit basket and shared a pear. To this day, that was the most delicious pear that I've ever tasted.


One of my coworkers left a handful of tiny tomatoes on my desk and they were delicious.

Vosges Barcelona and Woolloomooloo Bars

A friend included them in a care package when I needed some, well, extra care.

Amish Honey & Green Tea

I think this person, prone to ultra-hospitality, felt bad because I was not eating anything and finally found something that I would ingest.


On a regular basis, I would come to work and have mint from three rotating benefactors. I even got starter plants which I, sadly, couldn't get beyond the starting point.

Honorable Mention

Uncle Pop's Barley Wheat Sticks

This food gift was an office one. One of my colleagues said that they reminded him of Sugar Smacks. I like them. They're airy and not too sweet. I'm gonna have to find out where I can get the barley sticks because they've grown on me.

I love this article on wikiHow about How to Give Gifts Unconditionally.

Thought for Today

"What delights me most about the holiday season is that people are more open to giving and sharing. And actively thinking about how to spread more joy." —Oprah

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Anatomy of A Rock Climbing Shoe

Since I've been regularly rock climbing, I decided it was time to invest in some gear. I headed to REI to try on some shoes but they didn't have a huge selection in the store. The ones I tried on were tight and uncomfortable except for the La Sportiva Mythos, which could be mine for $130 dollars but I wasn't expecting to drop that much on shoes.

I headed online but didn't want to order from anyone who didn't have a friendly return policy especially since all of the shoes that I tried on in the store felt so different.

There are many varying opinions about what to look for in rock climbing shoes depending on your skill level etc.

Rock Climbing Shoes Review

Best Rock Climbing Shoes For Beginners

Over at Vegan Fitness, there's a discussion regarding the best shoes for vegans which include the Evolv and 5.10 brands.

This diagram that I found at Cheap Rock Climbing Shoes was cool. All I know is that I don't ever want a tight toe box.

I decided to go with La Sportiva since I found them comfortable and, yes, comfort is everything to me.

I first settled on The Mojo:

Then, I decided that a slip-on shoe would be better. Check out the curve on this shoe.

I'm hoping that the shape will allow the shoes to mold beautifully to those tiny holds.

Now that I have my La Sportiva Katanas, this article on rock shoe care will also be helpful.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Making It Over The Arête

I put on my harness and shoes and walked up to my posse and saw that Josh was hanging as well.

I'll catch you as soon as I flip this. Say what? I figured that Josh
meant that he would belay for me after he had gathered his rope which he had just used for lead climbing.

I told Josh that I wanted to go in the corner pocket. Are we playing pool now? I told him that, ironically, I don't know how to play pool but I do like to refer to the route as the corner pocket.

As I started to climb, I thought about what Patti said: some days we climb well and some days we don't. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason...

This day was a good one. I felt strong and balanced.
When I came down from the corner route, Josh suggested that I cut my fingernails in order to climb better. Guess he must have heard me leave a couple on the wall. He said that even his, which are micro, needed to be cut.

I had a date with the 5.8 Face Plant route. I couldn't shake the fact that I faltered last time. I climbed it with lots of encouragement from the posse on the ground. My ascent was not anywhere in the neighborhood of pretty but as Mike said, I made it over the arête.

Jessica faced a challenge too. Josh left his rope after lead climbing and suggested that Jessica tackle the route. She hung in there, ended up hanging like a bat and made it to the top.

It's funny that I was able to climb that 5.8 but when I did my warm-down route, a 5.6, I sputtered. As I continued to try to make my way to the top, the guy climbing next to me said, Keep going; it's like a puzzle. You can do it.

Sometimes I feel like all of the climbers in the gym make up the posse.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Forecast: Four Inches of Pomegranate Arils

Had my Introduction to Shakespeare teacher produced a pomegranate, I would have made an instant connection. Really, how do I compare a pomegranate?

One of my coworkers was headed to Sam's and asked if I wanted anything. I was good on my favorite hummus, Sabra roasted red peppers, so I shook my head no until a light bulb went off. Pomegranates. When I said it out loud, I could see the concern in my coworkers' face. He wasn't a pomegranate kind of guy.

I gave him strict instructions.

Look for pomegranates with nice color and no bruises.

If it's shriveled and dry looking, leave it where it's at.
Some shriveld pomes do have gorgeous seeds inside but who wants to take the chance?

I plan to freeze arils so that I can have some for later. Of course, it's just delaying the inevitable but...

While I was getting at the arils, I learned a few more things; pomegranates are best picked apart at room temperature. I had left the Sam's yield in my freezer of a car and the frigid seeds flew all over the place.

I also think that prying the pomegranates into sections helped with my finger strength, a rock climbing benefit.

If you missed my little ode to pomegranates last time, I was inspired to write another one:

Your beauty is un
paralleled; with arils ru
by red or crystal

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Tried

I developed pre-rocking climbing jitters. I even had a sty before I headed out -- something that I rarely get. You would think that my stage fright would have subsided by now but it hasn't -- not completely anyway.

I couldn't repeat the feat of climbing the 5.8 Face Plant route that I climbed last week. I tried and I tried but I couldn't make it to the top. Take after take left me drained and every other route after that was onerous.

While I was belaying, this woman helping with the introductory rock class pointed out my technique to one of the youngsters. Who would have thunk it? At one point in time, I thought that I would never get belaying down. I used to keep a death grip on the rope but I'm so relaxed now. Relaxing was key to learning how to float and it seems like relaxation works in a number of venues. Of course...

There are not a whole lot of videos out there with tips on how to rock climb but here's a decent one and although it leans toward bouldering, there are still some useful tips and random facts for beginners.

I'm going to start doing some exercises specifically to help me with rock climbing. This Wikihow article, How to Improve at Indoor Rock Climbing, has some good suggestions which I plan on implementing soon, especially the push-ups which I've gotten away from doing.

Arms: Improve your grip by doing exercises that will strengthen the arms and wrist/forearm region. Use a squeeze ball regularly to strengthen the wrist and hand region; lift small weights frontwards and sideways to improve overall arm strength. Try static hangs on a bar to increase your capacity to do static hangs while climbing. Better to discover on the low bar than a high wall that you can't do this!

Upper body: Pull-ups are brilliant for increasing upper body strength. Even a mere 10 a day done regularly will make an enormous difference to your strength capacity.

Keep your bum into the wall as you climb, doing so will assist your body in going up. Because your bum, or the gluteus maximus are the largest muscles in your body. Which means they weigh a lot and will pull your body downward as you climb.

Maintain three points of contact as you climb. This means that you can have one limb off the wall, so you can rest it. (i.e. Two hands one foot or two feet one hand.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I've Been An Angel All Year...

How cute. Most of my fantasy items are fitness-related. I went over to Wishpot and made up a list just for fun. While I need another gym bag, I don't necessarily need the yoga bag but there are so many items to pick from on Wishpot that I didn't have the stamina to look through all the bags or harnesses et al.

Agoy Micro Fiber Day Gym Bag Yoga Bag

Priority: I wouldn't mind having it

Apple iPod touch 16 GB (2nd Generation) MP3 Player

Priority: I want it

Finis Swimp3

Priority: I want it

JiIlian Michaels - 30 Day Shred

Priority: I wouldn't mind having it

La Sportiva Katana - Women's

Priority: I neeeed it!

Mad Rock - Venus Women's Harness

Priority: Thinking about it

Nike Zoom Sister One+ (Black/White-Anthracite-Vivid Pink) Women's Cross Trainer

Priority: I wouldn't mind having it

Nintendo Wii Fit - Balance Board + Game Console

Priority: I want it

Raleigh Route 4.0, Hybrid

Priority: I really really want it

The Step Home Trainer: Bench Exercise System

Priority: I want it

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Looking At The Black Line Or The Ceiling

What do you think about when you swim? one of my coworkers, who also swims, wanted to know.

Nothing, I responded.

I backtracked because nothing was not completely true.

When I'm doing the front crawl, I concentrate on breathing and pushing my chest down. When I'm doing the back crawl, I make sure that my arms stay close to my ears. I also aim to flip my hands at the right moment.

When I'm resting, I might chitchat with a lane neighbor or two. Otherwise, I'm looking at the black line or the ceiling, enjoying the quiet time and the water.

Today was a record-breaking day. I swam the front crawl seven times at 25 yards without stopping.

One of these days I'll be so at ease doing the FC...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Strong Is The New Beautiful

The locker room gauntlet, at my usual post-work destination, continues to fascinate me. Clothes are furiously being changed as if it's an Amazing Race detour. I like how all of us press on after work and traffic to find the energy to exercise.

Two women were talking about the different gym locations. Rock Hill -- too small. Creve Coeur, one of the nicest clubs in the chain with sauna and steam rooms. In addition, you can order a smoothie while you get ready in the locker room. It's as if we don't like steam and smoothies in the city.

After I got dressed, I passed by this woman and, in troglodyte fashion, I said You rock climb. She was flabbergasted and asked me how I knew. I said The sticker on your water canister. It was cool to be thought of in the same vain as Houdini for a moment.

I headed to the Step and Muscle class. What an uncomplicated name and description for that matter:

Combines step cardio with resistance training moves!
I knew the jig was up when Ms. Perky walked in and said that she had been overindulging. We were going to fog up the windows she proclaimed and I do believe that she said something about it's going to be a slaughterhouse up in here.

I was looking at myself exercising in the mirror. I am so thick. I was trying to obstruct my view by exercising directly behind the woman in front of me but by the time I got through jumping all over the place, I was still looking at the 'Drea in the mirror. I took comfort in the instructor's Nike shirt:
Strong is the new beautiful.
We did the usual: squats, jumping jacks (with weights), your garden variety of step moves. We did ab work, leg jacks, mountain climbers, push-ups, tricep dips all on the step. Who knew that a little unassuming platform could deliver so much pain?

It's working though. While the scale is doing its usual not moving thing, I'm losing inches. My latest group of clothes is loose and last year's winter tops are so loose that they seem like they belong to someone else.

By the way, if I buy one more top in the neighborhood of black and white, someone please stop me.

Monday, December 14, 2009

STL Groupon Deal Of The Day (Presented w/o Comment)

$25 for Three Flirty Fitness Classes at The Fitness Studio

Worth: $60

Discount: 58%

Savings: $35

Company Information:
The Fitness Studio
7642 Forsyth Blvd.
Clayton, MO 63105
The Fitness Studio

The pole was first invented in 1982, when H. David Werder needed something to sit on to protest the price of gasoline, and has since come into widespread use. With today's Groupon, merge the most awesome aspects of firefighting and circus acrobatics with pole dance classes and other flirty workouts at The Fitness Studio in Clayton. For $25, you get any three Group X classes, a $60 value. Use all three classes yourself or bring two friends to one class as part of a fun girls' day out. Classes include cardio strip fit, pole dancing, Pilates, fit chicks, chair strip fit, lapdance, hip hop, Zumba, and hottie body boxing. Check out The Fitness Studio's schedule for up-to-date class schedules, and call to make your class reservation at least 24 hours in advance, or alternatively call immediately beforehand on a Sony Ericsson TimePhone (coming fall of 2068).

Whether you're looking to spice up your love life with antigravity pole-play role-play or tone up your curves, The Fitness Studio will have you arching your back as if you were a sexy long-haired wildcat, not to be confused with the long-eared hedgehog, which is really more cute than sexy. Harness the power of your curvaceous body to build confidence and muscle tone in a cardio strip fit class, where you'll sport your sexy yet sturdy high heels to tone your legs as you dance and engage your core as you spin on the pole (though you won't be shedding clothes in your class). Because installing a pole in your home isn't practical for most, chair strip fit and lapdance classes will give you a total body workout with moves you can replicate anywhere. Hip hop class will fill out your repertoire of inventive choreography and booty-shaking bliss, and Zumba incorporates sexy Latin moves with strength and resistance training, which is why Alive magazine called this rhythmic romp one of the city's top three bikini-body workouts.

If dance workouts aren't for you, try The Fitness Studio's hottie body boxing or Pilates and walk away sweaty, sexy, and on your way to a long, lean bod. The friendly staff at The Fitness Studio will make sure you're having fun and performing each move correctly, getting you the best results and keeping you safe. As the seductress embedded deep within makes her way to the surface, you'll engage rarely used muscles, sometimes resulting in day-after pangs of soreness and a confident saunter.


It’s been four years since my father died which makes this time of year bittersweet for sure.

When someone dies, you struggle to remember things they said and the sound of their voice but one thing that I remember vividly is my father standing (with his police uniform on) near the basketball goal at my junior high school.

I also remember traveling with my father to go to my brother’s out-of-town football games.

As a matter of fact, Sunday football is not the same anymore. I used to chill out with my father and watch games on Sunday.

For my father, I was a bit too unglamorous but I was still the apple of his eye, his Abby doll and Spoke which is such a curious nickname.

Sometimes I think that my father loved me in spite of himself and, as my therapist friend says, that in spite of love is the best kind.

My father could be such a rascal and I sometimes felt like the parent in the relationship, but I want to thank my father for showing up for my games, for making me laugh and for making me feel loved so that I didn’t have monstrous daddy issues.

Once my father asked me to go and do something for his sister that he had promised to do. He said well if you go, it’s like me going because you’re a part of me.

And what if I can’t figure it out (some turkey propane fryer situation), I said. You’re smart, you’ll be able to handle it, he replied.

I knew that my father was being cunning but I did the task for his sister anyway.

And in spite of love? It lasts a lifetime. Slimmer and a swimmer, I would say that my father would like the new me. However, he really liked the old me.

I don’t know where my father got the nickname Spoke from but it makes since:
Spoke (noun):

1 a : any of the small radiating bars inserted in the hub of a wheel to support the rim

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Climbing Out Of My Comfort Zone

Rock climbing is the only activity that I do that requires a little quiet time before I head out the door as I find myself trying to get centered before the main event.

I checked in and asked for a harness and shoes and the guy told me that I might want to consider buying a harness. Yeah, the thought did cross my mind especially since I seemed to have been bitten by the rock climbing bug. I also need some shoes. I'm good on the carabiner and ATC device. As long as Kam (reddish shirt) stays on his climbing hiatus, I'm going to keep his C & ATC.

Kam, thanks for the loaners.

For the last two Saturdays, there have been rock climbing classes which mean that some of the easier routes are roped off and I have been forced to climb out of my comfort zone.

It was kind of cold in Upper Limits but things quickly heated up. Patti (#21) suggested that I try a 5.8 which I had previously faltered on since I could not get over the hump. She pointed out all of the foot holds that you need to get up and over the little overhang. I think 80% is psychological she said. So, I tried it but really fell off the wall.
Patti told me that I had actually approached the route in the hardest manner and gave me more advice and, hot damn, I was able to make it up the Face Plant route. I left parts of fingernails but that's okay. And thanks to Patti for literally talking me up that route.

And guess what I wanted to do after the route? Plant my face in one of the bouldering mattresses. Good God, I was tuckered out!

So, what's a girl to do after finishing a 5.8? She tries to climb another one. I have to take my hat off to Patti who would not let me quit on the route. I was about three holds away from the top when I was, like, take; lower please. That route took just about everything that I had in me and I lost my grip and swung several times. I was confused for some time afterwards. Delirium, maybe, from all of that swinging.

Something had been puzzling Patti and she finally figured out what was going on when I was being lowered. She said that I was supposed to take my hand off the wall. Really now? Take means take your hands off the wall?

Yes, climbing is psychological because I had a hard time taking my hand of the wall to be lowered. It just seems safer to be able to, at least, have one hand, if not two, in contact with the wall.

I wasn't the only one having contact issues. One of the Rock Climbing 101 instructors asked this teenager to take his hand off the wall and the young climber wanted to know why. I was cracking up.

Here's some more climbing humor.

Adult to child: Do you know what ATC stands for?

Child: No Comment

Adult: Adam The Climber

Everybody wants to be a comedian.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Those Successful 25 Yards

Seeing that it's 24 degrees out, I wondered about the wisdom of going swimming and opening up the old pores but I went anyway. After being subjected to that beat down on Monday, I needed the water or to not exercise at all. Not exercise? For shame...

I put on my thermal underwear and otherwise wrapped up and headed out. The water wasn't bad since it was one consistent temperature.

I pulled up as I'm prone to do while doing the front crawl and this woman with a sweet grandmotherly face said you're looking good. I turned around to see if anyone else was in the vicinity and since there was no one else around, I said thank you.

I think the lifeguard could also see my front crawl struggle, because she kept giving me warm smiles.

And guess what? I actually swam 25 yards three times doing the front crawl without stopping. That's the most that I've ever done in one night.

During those successful 25 yards, I noticed that I was more relaxed when I turned my head to take a breath. Now, hopefully, I can continue with my little front crawl success.

I have been getting tons of e-mail from any company that I have ever ordered from online. I saw this eye candy from Swim Outlet.

Cool as the parka is, I wondered why someone would need one until I was reading this post over at 623 Tries. Ah, yes, it would be nice to have a parka for that walk from the pool to the locker because no matter what the temperature in the building or in the water, the cold will hit you in the locker room and it's enough to make you gasp.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Light Had To Flash And Flash

The other day someone asked me what prompted me to lose weight. I feel as if I’ve answered this question, in part, but never really verbalized it in a non-calculated way at least.

I took a moment to ponder the question since this person was really asking out of concern for her husband who has gotten to the point where it’s difficult for him to tie his shoes. I could see that she was wondering what it was going to take for him to lose weight.

I’d like to say that I realized I was in danger of developing diabetes or that I absorbed what my mother said when she warned me that there were heart problems on my father’s side of the family or that the creeping number on the scale was a motivating factor but it wasn’t.

I cope by denial.

It takes me a long time to wrap my mind around bad news. I just deny, deny, deny.

It was a gut feeling that hit me in May of 2007. It was an inner voice that said enough is enough. I also think that I did not like my image in the mirror at that point.

After years of wondering why photographs of me were so skewed, I finally saw a true reflection and it was too hefty.

I no longer wanted the NBA-sized body minus the fit part.

What can I say? A light went off in my head. Or, it was like my moonbeam clock (when it works), the light flashing and flashing until it gently wakes me up.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Perverse Push-Up & A Reverse Embrace

I'm going to have to give Tammy an honorable mention in the bringing the pain category.

I went to the Drills To Make You Sweat class at my gym and, fifteen minutes in, I was sweating as advertised.

In addition to jumping jacks and squats, I see that instructors like the grapevine move as well.

To add a degree of difficulty, we did jumping jacks with a weight. Later on, the same weight stayed in the crook of our knees while we did leg lifts. We then lifted our legs to the side and kicked them out too. Torture, I tell you. Holding a squat was tortuous as well.

There was also a slow motion burpee-like move that we did with weights. Walk your hands out. Plank. Walk your hands up. Holla...

We did push-ups, got up and balanced on one arm. Push-up then balanced on the left arm. It was like doing a synchronized moved and a reverse embrace of each side of the room. We collectively faltered and that's when Tammy said, Come on ladies. I hate exercising by myself. In addition to some gorgeous black and white Nike shoes, apparently, Tammy's got stamina as well.

We also did a perverse push-up on the step. First, we lunged and pulsed then placed our hands at the corners of the step. Push-up. Followed by a one hand push-up.

Of course, of course. We did the obligatory ab work.

Football jog. Drop. Push-up. Repeat.

We bicycled while moving a weight through our bicycling legs.

By the time we did the the superman, I was not feeling like much of a hero at all. I just wanted to transition to child's pose or splay out like a starfish. I wasn't picky at that point.

Oh, how Tammy brought the pain. My legs were like jelly afterwards and I could hardly walk to my car. It would be nice to have taxi service after working out.

I also need to remember to put in my contacts when I participate in a class because my glasses were wet, foggy or sliding on my face during segments of class. And who needs to be distracted with adjusting one's glasses while trying to keep up with Tammy?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rolling Out To Rock Climb

Whenever I'm about to embark on a rock climbing adventure, the self-talk begins:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make it up the dang wall.
I'm probably also chitchatting with myself because of the waiver which, in part, reads:

I acknowledge the inherent extreme risks in rock climbing activities...
Last night, I was looking on the web for information about the ATC device because, all of a sudden, I couldn't remember which side feeds the climber.

Thanks to Outdoor Action, I didn't have to wonder too long about my little dilemma.

Mission and risk in mind, I rolled out of bed to be at Upper Limits by 10 a.m. because that's when the doors open and the joint is usually jumping.

It's always such a diverse crowd at UL, including a baby who was tethered to a floor anchor. That baby is the calmest one in the universe. There were also several dads exhibiting the patience of Job while belaying for their daughters. I love to see fathers hanging out with their girls.

One father told his apprehensive daughter to, basically, feal the fear and do it anyway. Daddy's got you, he said.

While waiting on a route (because it was crowded), I witnessed a climber who looked as if he was doing yoga and, then, ballet on the wall. It was an exquisite ascent.

I was about to belay and forgot to secure the ATC in the carabiner and I was about to feel bad but, before I could, Patti said that's why we do safety checks.

After we had exhausted ourselves and there is a point when you simply cannot ascend the wall anymore, Patti asked Jeremy and me if we wanted to go out to lunch. Since it was 1 p.m., it was definitely time for lunch but the mention of eating out causes me to fret. Patti suggested Crazy Bowls and Wraps and I didn't think that their fare would do much harm.

I ate half of my Caesar Chicken Wrap without even looking at the nutrition information. I'm glad that I only ate half of the sandwich because a whole one sets you back 720 calories.

It must be the brown rice, right? I was happy to see that Crazy Bowls has baked falafel. Holler! Looking at the calorie count, I should have gotten the falafel but I didn't spot it until I had already ordered.