The right tools for the job

(If you're bored by running, skip to the end for the cool knitting gadget.) Most people really only need three things for running - good shoes, good socks, and a good sports bra (okay, and a good brace to keep my kneecap in place, which is totally a real necessity). Well, unless you're a guy, then I guess you only need two. Anyway, this is not the way we do things in my family, though... so my list of necessities include a treadmill, a pedometer and iPod to collect distance and speed data for the run, a TV by the treadmill, and a heart rate monitor. The monitor I've had for 6 or so years bit the dust (chest strap broke), so I bought a new one. If I could justify the expense, I would have gotten a Polar, but I went with a Timex. I also sprung for the data recorder, so the nice Timex software can graph my workout. The cool thing is that I can manually enter the information from the Nike site (the pedometer info). If the Nike site didn't use flash, I could write some code to farm that info automatically, but alas, the Nike site kinda blows in many ways. The best part is that the Timex software exports to .csv (comma separated values), so I can open up the data in excel and do whatever I want with it. :) This wasn't clear to me when I was reading the software descriptions, and now I'm totally psyched that I went with Timex. Timex also has a distance/speed sensor, but it uses GPS and is therefore useless for us treadmill runners. (Polar's appears to be a pedometer, but I wasn't going to spend that much more money to have a fully integrated system when I had already sprung for the iPod Touch I love so much). Pretty graph! heart rate graph ETA: I remembered the number one rule of software engineers, and looked on the web to see if anyone else had figured out how to grab data from the Nike+ runs - turns out it's not that hard to grab the XML from the iPod itself. Score! Totally a format that I can work with. You know, in my copious free time. Anyway, so knitters don't actually need a ball-winder. My grandmother wound yarn by hand while my dad acted as a swift. Me, on the other hand? I need a drill-powered jumbo winder, courtesy of my AWESOME husband. I took this video with my left hand while winding with my right. :)

Home gym

One of the results of the staycation was that we got the home gym in the basement set up: Bench and rack: bench and rack The cable machine we got for free a while back moved to its new home: cable machine The dumbbell set (we need to add to it, but no rush): dumbbells And the interlocking floor between me and the cold concrete: rubber floor The downside is that there's a lot more moving around in between exercises (no dedicated machines like the gym), but srsly... 1. I don't have to wait for a machine. 2. I don't have to rack my weights. 3. The only sweat around is mine and Brad's. 4. I'm listening to my iPod because I want to, not because I want you to stop talking to me. 5. I don't have to get to and from the gym in wicked cold days with odd layers over my gym clothes.

Milestone today

100 mile I ran my 100th mile this morning. Feeling awfully good about this. :)

And the winner is…

Corrine! Thanks to everyone for playing, more amazing since Bloglines hasn't seen my updates all week. Probably associated with the hacking, but I haven't dedicated a lot of time to figuring it out yet. So, it's been an interesting week. I had an epiphany last week, partially associated with the decision not to go on travel this week, and partly because I saw this book at the FedEx in Florida before I left: Book Catchy title, no? Anyway, it's pretty cool, because it's all about modifying your own response to situations at work (they call it "unhooking"). I have two big issues that have been making me miserable - 1) a project with some toxic working relationship issues and 2) my own tendency to make myself "The Martyr." So there was another conversation on Monday with my boss's boss where we discussed issue number 1 - I basically had the choice to stick it out and keep on working on it (knowing that I can't change the way other people are), or pull back. I had been doggedly pushing forward with this complete misconception that I had to follow through on a commitment I made a year ago to this project, before the wicked fun and cool project came along. I realize now I was wrong, and I decided that by bowing out of problem 1, I naturally help problem 2 (reducing my responsibilities with the project means reducing my workload in general - now to not take on more to replace it! :P) My boss's boss's boss noticed the difference in me - he said that he could tell that I've had my epiphany, and that he hadn't seen me smile like this in quite a while. And he CONGRATULATED me for deciding to work less. Dude. All this time I've been all bitter about the people who work less (as in, a 40-45 hour week) and clearly do not have that never gone feeling of impending doom over them, and now I've finally figured out how to be one of them. And this apparently makes me a better employee than I was a month ago when I was answering emails at 11 pm. Anyway, life without this constant feeling of impending doom is totally bizarre. It will clearly take some adjustment on my part - I keep on feeling kind of lost and aimless, like I'm not sure what to do with myself without overwhelming stress. This is a good problem to have. :) My sister and I hung out all day, and it was pretty awesome not thinking I had to go home and do work at any point. :) I got back on the treadmill for the first time in three weeks today. Perhaps people like this: braces shouldn't be running, but I'm totally out of patience to wait on the ankle any more (I need to put all this happy energy to good use). I had to go back down to week 3 of couch to 5K (I hurt my ankle in week 5, the knee is a constant problem that is super minor due to the awesome brace). I was actually doing okay, then on my last 3 minute run, Lani decided that she wanted to be with me. As in, right next to me right that second. Out of nowhere, I suddenly felt her against my leg, then saw her fly off of the back of the treadmill. Clearly, I abandoned that last run to check her for injuries (she was fine, and the picture above was taken after this incident). Not the smartest doggie ever. Luckily, now I have the time to spend more time reasserting my ownership of her with some walks (my dad's diagnosis of her clingy issues; she's watching "her human"). And clearly I need to use that dog gate to shut her out when I run.

Balance

I had the plan of working on other knitting projects after I finished last week's clue for Mystery Stole 4. It is now Friday morning (new clue, yay!) and I have not knit a single stitch since Monday. Been too much work, too much stress, no time for me. Of course, one would argue that I knit way too much last month, and hello, remember that treadmill? I have a ton (a TON) of travel coming up this fall, and the iPod that John gave me three years ago was just not cutting it anymore. Namely, the lack of any display and the inability to fast forward or rewind in a track (a problem when listening to podcasts on airplanes). I overdid the upgrade with this: new toys A wee bit more than I needed, but I was pulled past the fourth generation Nano's (which are sexy! and pretty colors!) because of the screen size, and the fact that on travel sometimes I can't find a single channel with Law and Order, and I can't sleep without something on TV. Also, the cool apps - I have the stitch counter downloaded (just search for "knit" on the touch or iPhone, you'll find it). Oh, and the Nike sensor (the new touch doesn't require a receiver). I did day one of couch to 5K this morning before work. I need a program because I keep on trying to start running again like I'm 21, and it's discouraging (yes, I know 29 isn't old, but you bounce back from inactivity a little slower). I found some podcasts online for the program so that I didn't have to watch a stopwatch, and I'm all set. :) I'm so psyched that I'll have my workouts tracked for me - nothing like some stats to motivate me. :) I'm hoping that I can keep up with the exercise despite the travel (running shoes don't take up all that much room in a suitcase). Anyway, so I'm working on that family/work/knitting/exercise balance (not necessarily in that order). We'll see how I do.

Health Goals Year 1 Week 36

Progress: Weight:+1 (1 more to go) Body fat percentage: -.1 (-1 more to go) Measurements: 0 (.25 more to go) I did yoga one day and ran one day (today) meeting my somewhat slacker-ish goals for the week. The day of running was super hard because I haven't done it in a while, and for some reason the heat is on too high in the fitness room. Ugh. Anyway, for this week I'm just shooting for one day of yoga and two days of either running or spin class.

Health Goals Year 1, Week 34

This week's goals: Sunday: yoga Done Monday: spin class/run Not done Tuesday: off Done Wednesday: spin class/run Not done Thursday: off Done Friday: spin class/run Not done Saturday: Pilates Not done Progress: Weight:-1 (-.5 more to go) Body fat percentage: -.2 (-.11 more to go) Measurements: 0 (.25 more to go) That's right, I did nothing but yoga this week. I'm doing well with food though (party today excluded from that statement), and I'm actually at goal weight (.5 below!) so I'm going to stop being so hard on myself for being in a bit of an exercise slump. Goals for this week are just one day of yoga and one day of either spin or running. Nothing big (lots going on at work and next weekend is a school weekend).

Health Goals Year 1, Week 33

This week's goals: Sunday: off Done (Tuesday's yoga) Monday: off Done Tuesday: Yoga Done (Sunday's day off) Wednesday: run Not done Thursday: Pilates - Advanced Body Sculpting Friday: spin class Not done Saturday: off (school) Done Next week's goals: Sunday: yoga Monday: spin class/run Tuesday: off Wednesday: spin class/run Thursday: off Friday: spin class/run Saturday: Pilates Progress: Weight:-.5 (.5 more to go) Body fat percentage: 0 (-.9 more to go) Measurements: 0 (.25 more to go) With so much work and school, exercise is slipping. I'm continuing to be really good about tracking what I eat, though. I have to make sure to keep that up even as stress increases.

Health Goals Year 1, Week 32

This week's goals: Sunday: off (Rhinebeck) Done Monday: spin class Not done Tuesday: Yoga Not done Wednesday: spin class/run Not done Thursday: off Done Friday: off Done Saturday: Yoga Done Next week's goals: Sunday: off Monday: off Tuesday: Yoga Wednesday: run Thursday: Pilates - Advanced Body Sculpting Friday: spin class Saturday: off (school) Progress: Weight:-1.5 (1 more to go) Body fat percentage: -.2 (-.9 more to go) Measurements: 0 (.25 more to go) I was really really busy, and kinda lazy this week. Thankfully, I'm being really good about the food even when the exercise slips, so I'm okay. :) I do really miss being more active, though - hopefully I can bring it around this week.

Health Goals Year 1, Week 31

Next week's goals: Sunday: Yoga Done Monday: Pilates - Advanced Body Slimming, run Not done Tuesday: off Done Wednesday: spin class/run Done Thursday: off Done Friday: spin class/run Done Saturday: Pilates - Upper Body Sculpting and Buns and Thigh Sculpting, run Not done - I don't know what I was thinking with this goal, as I have school all day then am going straight to Rhinebeck Next week's goals: Sunday: off (Rhinebeck) Monday: spin class Tuesday: Yoga Wednesday: spin class/run Thursday: off Friday: off Saturday: Yoga Progress: Weight: +1 (2.5 more to go) Body fat percentage: +.2 (-.7 more to go) Measurements: 0 (.25 more to go)