Thursday, March 27, 2008

Music gets me through the workouts

My iPod? The one who goes by the name Darth (thanks to Farrah for the naming suggestion!)? He's become my new best friend. I love him. And I get a lot of use out of him. At work. At home. At the gym. Me and Darth? We're BFFs.

The place where Darth and I get along best though is at the YMCA. The tunes he cranks out help get me through the nasty workouts. I'll be running on the treadmill to nowhere and the timer is counting down the last few minutes of my run and Darth will conveniently decide to play just the right song to get me through those last minutes or give me the energy to make it the last half mile.

And while I've got a semi-decent workout play list right now, I feel like it needs a bit of updating. There needs to be a few more songs that give me that energy. The songs that make me want to continue to run or bike even though it hurts like heck. The music that gets me to the finish line.

I've downloaded a few new songs from iTunes the past few days and they've helped. I don't listen to the radio much, but Sean Kingston's "Take You There" and Timbaland's "The Way I Are" were catchy. So I added them to the list. And I've heard good things about Paramore, so I clicked on "Misery Business" and "Crushcrushcrush." And I love them. And am seriously considering just shelling out the cash for the album.

And while we're talking about Paramore, I just have to say, my favorite lyric from "Misery Business" happens to be:

"I watched his wildest dreams come true
Not one of them involving you
Just watch my wildest dreams come true
Not one of them involving ..."

Not sure exactly why I like it so much, but I like it. And that's all that matters.

Back to workout tunes. Does anyone have any other suggestions? What music helps you get through a workout? I like fast-paced stuff, but I'm opening to trying anything.

Sitting all day wasn't my cup of tea

I had a road trip for work today, which meant I did a lot of sitting and driving today.

So by the time I made it back to the City on the Water late this afternoon, all I wanted to do was something that required moving my legs. So even though I felt drained, I headed over to the YMCA.

I think I would have preferred to run, but all the treadmills were taken, so I hopped on the bike and set the timer for 40 minutes. Eleven miles later, I was sweaty, but I felt good. Just what I was hoping for.

That brings the weekly total to three bike rides, two runs and one swim session. Not too shabby. Now all I have to do is figure out how to squeeze in some weight sessions again.

And if I'm a smart girl, I'd get my butt out of bed early tomorrow morning and try to squeeze in a run before work. Because after work? At 6 p.m.? The Badgers take on Davidson in a Sweet 16 match-up. And I can't be at the gym when that madness is going on. Plus, if I run early tomorrow, then I can take the entire weekend off and not feel bad.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Is there anything I forgot to do tonight?

For a brief second, I toyed with just going home after work. I didn't know if I was in the mood to go to the YMCA for a run, especially since there was a book waiting for me at home that I just wanted to finish reading.

But when I got to the corner, my car turned left instead of right and I found myself in the crowded YMCA parking lot. Then I debated whether it was going to be super busy. But I found a good parking spot, went inside and threw on my gym clothes.

I went upstairs to the cardio room and was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the parking lot was crowded, but there weren't a ton of people upstairs. Maybe they were all playing basketball or using the weights. Or taking some fitness class.

They obviously weren't using the cardio equipment, because I found an open treadmill right away. I jumped on. Logged a 2.5 mile run and then headed over to the stationary bikes. I just wanted to do a short bike ride tonight, just to stretch out the legs a bit. So 15 minutes and 3 miles later, I got off. Wandered into the weight room area and looked out the window at the pool.

And there was nobody swimming. And it was open lap swim. And my bag? It was completely packed tonight, including all of my swimming gear.

So I headed back down to the locker room, changed into my swimming suit and went to the pool. I put on the silly swim cap and my baby pink goggles and picked a lane and started swimming. And just like Friday, it was relaxing and I enjoyed it. I didn't get as tired as quickly today, taking a short break after every 100 yards or so. And I even increased how far I went, swimming 650 yards in 22 minutes before calling it a night.

So tonight? I'd say I was pretty productive at the YMCA. And this whole triathlon thing? I think by July I'll be able to do. Especially since I did run, bike and swim tonight. Granted it was in the wrong order and the distances weren't close to what I'll have to do in July, but that's why it's only March. I have time.

The only downside to tonight's productivity? Walking in my door at 8 p.m. and still having to eat dinner. Good thing I wasn't too hungry. It doesn't take long to make a grilled cheese.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Badgers are Sweet!

The Badgers? They made me a very happy girl today.

You can't argue with Trevon Hughes and the 25 points he scored. And Greg Stiemsma, the Randolph-native affectionately known as Lurch in The 'burg, was quite impressive today. He comes off the bench, makes some big plays and ends up with a career high 14 points.

I admit, I was semi-impressed with Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley, but he kind of disappeared in the second half. And as a result? Wisconsin walks away with the 72-55 win.

And now it's onto the Sweet Sixteen in Detroit next weekend and a meeting with either Georgetown or Davidson.

Another week for me to watch the Badgers.

I love the Madness.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I became a fish today

I got reacquainted with the smell of chlorine today.

Yes folks. I made it to the pool today. And I didn't die.

I was hoping to make the initial pool visit yesterday, but it was a rough morning, so I opted to head north and have lunch with my mom instead and run later in the afternoon, when the pool was closed for lap swimming. On the plus side? I did log 3 miles on the treadmill yesterday, my longest run since I almost died from head issues in December.

But anyway. Today. I swam. And I kind of enjoyed it.

I headed over to the YMCA after I got up this morning. Before heading down to the pool, I went up to the cardio room and took a 2-mile run on the treadmill. The run itself wasn't too bad, even though I have a kind of achy knee.

Then it was time for the water.

And let me tell you, putting on a swimming suit when you're a bit sweaty after running? It's kind of hard. The suit doesn't just pull on easy like it does under normal circumstances.

But once the suit was on I was ready. I wandered down the hallways from the locker room to the pool deck. And if I thought putting my swimming suit on while sweaty was a pain, I wasn't quite prepared for the swim cap. For a moment I thought I'd just go without, but then I finally got the cap on and it stayed in place.

Swimming suit. Check. Swim cap. Check. Goggles. Check. I was ready to jump in.

I didn't have any big plans for a workout today. I just wanted to get myself reacquainted with the pool, since I can't remember the last time I swam laps. Heck, I can't remember the last time I went swimming period. It's been that long.

I admit, I was a bit nervous. There were two other lap swimmers in lanes next to me. Hardcore swimmers. And me? I was worried about making it to the end of the lane and back without dying. But I took a breath, pushed off from the wall and started swimming.

And it was actually kind of relaxing at some points. Yes, it was hard. The first 100 yards or so weren't too bad, but eventually I found myself having to take a short rest break after every 50 yards. But from what I've read, that's OK. At least that's what the triathlon for dummies authors say. They incorporate rest breaks into their swimming workouts.

I ended up swimming 550 yards today. Which was 22 laps and it took me a little less than 20 minutes. Not too bad. And if I keep up with swimming I know it'll get easier. And I'll be able to swim farther and not have to take those rest breaks so often.

And by July? That half-mile swim I'll start the triathlon with will be no problem.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Madness is here

Dear Duke,

Your first round game against Belmont, a No. 15 seed? That was a little too close for my liking. Especially since I have you guys making it to the Elite Eight in my bracket.

That's all I have to say for the moment, because in a matter of minutes? My Badgers tip off against Cal State Fullerton. And hopefully their game won't come down to them hoping their opponent misses a mid-court shot at the buzzer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Let the Madness begin!

The Madness starts tomorrow. And I'm so excited.

My bracket's filled out. And today I picked my five teams in our office "NCAA fun" game. We basically drew teams out of a hat, and whoever is left with the team that wins it all? Well, they've won the game of fun.

Some co-workers didn't get so lucky when they were drawing their teams. Me? I'm happy with my picks. West Virgina, Stanford, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Notre Dame. Umm, yeah. I'll take those. Especially since I have Pitt and UNC meeting in the championship game. I think this could be good.

But before I can plop myself in front of the television tomorrow (because I'm lucky and managed to schedule my day off this week during the first day of the tournament...without thinking of it), I need to hit the YMCA. I took a rest day today. But tomorrow? The plan calls for a run and then I'm going to throw myself in the pool for the first time in ages. And I'll swim. And hopefully it won't kill me.

Because tomorrow night? First there's a bowling outing with the girls from work and then I have a date with the TV. One that includes the Badgers and some team called Cal State Fullerton. It will be magical.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

64 teams, who's going to win it all?

The Madness is about to begin in a matter of less than two days.

Yes, yes. I know, the play-in game was tonight, kudos to Mount St. Mary's on their victory. But the real Madness? It starts Thursday.

And me? I haven't even filled out my bracket yet. Blame it on the drama that I've been dealing with if you want, but all I know is that I have a handful of hours to look at the match-ups and fill out my bracket.

While I haven't spent a lot of time looking over the teams and seedings, I do know that I'm sure I agree with Wisconsin getting a No. 3 seed. Seriously. They won the regular Big Ten season title. Then they won the conference tournament title. They've got a 29-4 record. What else does Bucky need to do? At least they're road to the Elite Eight (where I'll most likely have them losing to Kansas) stays close to home, with stops in Omaha, Neb. and Detroit. And I know that come Thursday evening, I'll be camped out in front of my TV, watching Wisconsin take on Cal State Fullerton.

But now? My yet unfilled in bracket is calling my name.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I've really got to do it now

It's official.

I hit submit. And now I'm registered for the Danskin Women's Triathlon in Pleasant Prairie in July.

Now I have to start training.


We'll see if I can manage to get my butt in the pool tomorrow. I'm crossing my fingers, but if I manage to skip the pool, I at least hope to sneak in a run.

Because whether it's running, swimming or biking, I find it helps me clear my mind. And after the last 24 hours I've had, I need all the head clearing activities I can get.

The painkiller didn't touch it


The good news is it kind of knocked out the monster headache I gave myself after crying for two hours last night.

And even though it took a little over an hour to kick it, it did eventually drug me up enough to put me to sleep last night. Granted it was restless sleep, but without the Vicodin, I would have been laying in bed, with a nasty headache and staring at the ceiling. Wide awake.

But Vicodin's not the cure all drug.

Because that powerful painkiller? It didn't even touch the pain I'm feeling from a broken heart.

In time, I might be able to talk about it. But right now, it hurts. And makes me want to cry.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm taking the plunge

I've got the book. And I've been reading it and picking up some good pointers.

Yesterday I made the trek out to Scheel's. And I picked up a new one-piece swimming suit. My 5-year-old niece suggested I buy red. I wanted black. I went with navy blue.

While shopping, I also snagged a pair of goggles. Because even though I'm supposed to be swimming in a straight line, I have a feeling being able to see while my face is submerged in water might be a good thing. And keep me going straight.

Later today, I head over to the Web site, because I'm going to take the plunge. Yes folks, I've decided I'm going to register and commit myself to training for, and completing, the Danskin Women's Triathlon July 13 in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc. And it will be fun.

Now the only thing I need to find yet, other than the courage to get myself into the pool the first time this week, is some shampoo/conditioner combo that will prevent my blondish hair from turning green as a result of the chlorine. Trust me, I need to worry about it. I walked around with greenish hair as a child for multiple summers. And I don't really want to do it again.

Yes, I have a swim cap, but I'd like some extra reassurance that I won't be walking around with green hair, which probably wouldn't look so professional. Any suggestions? I've tried looking at Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Target and no luck. I know the stuff exists. The question is, where do I find it?

Friday, March 14, 2008

There's madness running through my veins

Let March Madness begin.

Now if only I could watch it.

See the Big Ten Tournament started yesterday. And today? My Badgers played Michigan. And apparently they were on actual TV. Like ESPN and not that crappy Big Ten Network that I've hated since the fall.

But today's problem? I was at work so I didn't get to see the 51-34 Wisconsin victory. Makes me hope I can catch the game tomorrow, which is also on real TV, when Bucky takes on the winner of the Ohio State vs. Michigan State game later on.

I love March. Because the next few weekends, with the NCAA tournament? I'll be glued to my TV, watching as much college basketball as I can.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A post-Bambi meal review

So Bambi.

Last night I ate one of those cute, fuzzy-tailed deer for dinner. For the first time in my life. I admit, I was a bit nervous. I mean I don't think of eating a adorable baby pig when I eat ham or some scary looking cow when I eat beef (it's the eyes on a cow that freak me out). Or a large strutting turkey. And fish? Well I don't eat fish so I don't have images of Nemo floating through my head at the dinner table.

But for some reason, eating Bambi worried me.

I got to The Coach's house last night and it smelled wonderful. Dinner had been simmering in the crock pot all day. The meat. Potatoes. As soon as I got there, The Coach put some corn on the stove, got out some bread and within a handful of minutes, we were ready to eat.

And he reminded me again that I was about to eat Bambi.

I just kind of smiled.

He put two small pieces of meat, some potatoes and corn on my plate. I waited for him to sit down and then he looked at me, waiting for my reaction after I took my first bite.

And it wasn't too bad.

I was surprised. I was expecting some kind of funky, spicy, jerky taste to fill my mouth when I ate the meat. But that didn't happen. It tasted like roast beef from Arby's. Yes, there was a bit of a different flavor, but overall it wasn't bad. Maybe it was the onions, potatoes and broth that it had been simmering with all day, because my mom said she's heard if you prepare it the right way it doesn't taste like Bambi. Maybe she's right. But I do know I liked it.

It doesn't matter though. I didn't hate it. It was actually good. And if The Coach offered to make it again, I'd eat it.

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to like Bambi every possible way it could be prepared. But the pot roast last night? This picky eater liked it. And of course the Oreo cookies for dessert? Those were pretty tasty too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The deer pranced through the woods, right onto my plate

Tonight I'm going to be recording a little piece of Badgergirl history.

For the first time in my life I'm going to eat Bambi. Yes. Deer meat. And I call myself a picky eater.

I've never had the opportunity to eat deer meat in the past. My dad didn't hunt, so it's not like he lugged a dead deer home in the back of his truck after each deer season. So I never ate it. For 28 years I've never tried a piece of Bambi.

But tonight? The Coach is making me dinner. And it involves Bambi.

It started out as a simple, "Do you like pot roast?"

I admit, I'm not sure I've ever had pot roast. But it can't be too bad. So I was willing to try it. And if he would have just left it at that, I probably would have ate it, liked it and never truly known I was eating Bambi. But then he said he makes it with the venison roast. So now, when I go over to his house tonight and sit down for this meal he was slaving over all day, I'm going to know I'm eating Bambi.

I still try it though. And I'll try my hardest to put the images of Bambi out of my head while I'm eating. And who knows, maybe I'll even like it. I'll let you know.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Day number one and we got along fabulously

It's official, I think my still-nameless iPod and I will become best friends.

Today was the first chance I really got to use it since I spent most of the weekend loading music onto it.

During work? I had the headphones in my ears and spent the afternoon listening to the soundtracks from the three Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Glorious. Although, I did have a bit of a problem at first. The volume? It was way too loud. And since my new friend didn't bother to come with an instruction manual, I spent a bit of time online looking at the manual. And honestly, "adjust the volume using the click wheel" was not the most helpful piece of instructional advice. At least not for someone who had never held an iPod in her hands before.

But don't worry. I figured it out.

And then my new friend got its big test. The YMCA.

Once again, it was magic. The volume was right. And it didn't die. The worst thing about it, which really wasn't so bad, was that my play list I had been using on the treadmill, the one that got me through a half marathon in September, was chopped to pieces since I haven't loaded all the songs yet. But that's not the iPod's fault. It's mine.

It got me through my 2.4 mile run and 20 minutes on the bike. And I wish it lasted longer. But I was hungry. And I thought getting some food in my body was a better choice than keeling over due to hunger at the YMCA.

But the iPod? It was a very good purchase. Now just give me a few more days I might even figure out an appropriate name.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I gave my other MP3 player a lot of chances

I've been coveting it for a long time now.

It started when I would go to the YMCA, get ready for a run and discover that for some strange reason, my MP3 player decided to magically eat all of my music. Leaving me with no tunes to get me through a 3-mile run.

That, my friends, sucks.

And if it would have happened just once. I would have been OK with it. Called it fluke. But it happened multiple times. And reloading your music onto your MP3 player? Not so much fun. And it's time consuming.

As the number of incidents of eaten music increase, my desires for the iPod grew. But its price tag scared me. I still wanted one though. It looked so pretty and everyone I knew that had one didn't seem to have to deal with eaten music.

It was just a matter of time before the iPod was mine.

It happened today. I caved and used a combination of Christmas, birthday and tax return money and now I have a pretty little 80 gigabyte black, iPod Classic in my hands. And it's mine.

Now it's just a matter of installing iTunes and waiting for it to convert a bunch of music files before I plug in the iPod, go through all the setup stuff and load it full of music. Because the next time I hit the treadmill at the YMCA? I'm bringing along the iPod. And it will be good.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Goodbye Brett. Thanks for the memories

We heard the news Tuesday, but today it became official. He retired. And he's not coming back.

Brett Favre retired. He held his press conference explaining his decision. And I was mesmerized by it. I held on to every word that Mississippi-born man said during those 60 plus minutes. And if you want, you can read them too, but I bet it won't be as emotional as hearing the words come out of his mouth.

And when the NFL season starts in the fall and I sit down to watch the first Green Bay game without Brett Favre leading the offense? Yes, it will be weird. And hard. Because Favre donned that green and gold jersey with the number 4 on it for 16 years. That's a long time. Long enough for me to only remember one other quarterback in Packers history.

So Brett's meant a lot. And I've appreciated the chance I've had the last 16 years. To watch him grow. As a player and as a person.

Thanks for the memories Brett and good luck in the future. You will be missed.

There was no light when I woke up today

It was still pretty pitch black when my alarm went off this morning at 4:50 a.m.

Yes, you read that right. 4:50. In the morning. And I'm not a morning person, so hearing that constant buzz? Not so fun. Still half asleep, I fumbled around in the dark and found the snooze button, giving me an extra 10 minutes of sleep.

But when the buzzing started again? I knew I had to get up. Because I had to shower and get dressed and be seated at my desk ready to work at 6 a.m. Needless to say, not my normal shift since I normally wander in about 8:30.

But I did it. And granted I felt like I needed a nap around 6:45, which didn't look like a good sign. However, as the day rolled on, I felt myself waking up. I did have another little lull after lunch, but when the clock struck 3 p.m. and I was free to go? That felt wonderful.

Even though I was a bit tired, I headed over to the YMCA. Logged a 2.4 mile run and some time on the bike. And afterwards? I actually felt more energized. With my new found energy, I ran a few quick errands before coming home to shower. And now I sit and wait for The Coach, who's coming over for dinner.

I tell you, it felt nice getting out of the office at 3 this afternoon. The sun was still shining and I felt like I had all this extra time on my hands. Granted I don't think I'd want to do it everyday though, because 5 a.m.? That alarm comes really early.

But it didn't stop me. Because the boss? He just called and wanted me to do it again tomorrow. And I said yes. Hopefully it goes as smoothly tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hopefully I can keep this up

Day One of project "Repair My Relationship with the Scale" is done. And I have to admit, it went OK.

I behaved myself at my work potluck lunch. A little pasta salad, some taco salad and a brownie. Washed down with a Diet Coke. The rest of the day? Some Wheat Thins and water.

And I made it to the YMCA tonight after work. I logged an hour of cardio time, with a 2.5 mile run (my longest since being sick) and 7 miles on the stationary bike. I could have pushed it on the bike for a bit longer, but by this time it had been quite a long time since lunch and I was getting hungry. So I went home.

Now I'm ready for a quick shower before I start winding down for the night. Since I have to be up before the crack of dawn tomorrow and at work by 6 a.m. Why'd I'd volunteer for that shift again?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

That isn't a pretty number

I will be the first to admit, the scale and I? We haven't always gotten along.

But for the past two years? It's been a decent relationship. It's one we've formed through sweat and tears. Namely, the year I spent in the gym and watching what I ate. And it paid off for me. As I dropped 50 pounds.

It was hard work and there were times I was frustrated. But I kept on working. And after a year, I was proud of myself. I was at a weight I felt comfortable at and I managed to maintain it. Yes, the number on the scale would vary by a pound or two. But I was always right at that magic number. And yes, there were days when I just wanted to lose those last five pounds. But I was OK if they didn't disappear. I felt good about myself.

Like I said, the scale and I? We were getting along.

Note the key word: Were.

The scale and I haven't been as friendly the last month. It's beginning to be a relationship that's a bit strained. As in, the number? It's been creeping up. And I'm not happy.

The worst part about it? It doesn't have to do with my eating habits. Rather I think it's due to a combination of the medicine I'm taking, the fact that winter is never ending and the difficulties I've had re-establishing the willpower to get back to the gym after being really, really sick.

For starters, the steroid I'm taking? What's one of the side effects? Weight gain. But I also admit, it's been hard for me to get back into the habit of going to the gym multiple times a week, especially after I was so sick in December, the month I barely remember. And everybody knows it's inevitable that you put on an extra pound or two during the winter.

So it's like I'm dealing with a triple whammy. Not fun. And that's why the scale and I aren't on the best of terms at the moment.

People say it doesn't really look like I've gained any weight. But there's a part of me that feels like I have. And while it isn't a lot, it still doesn't make me feel good about myself. I mean, I worked so hard to shed it before and I don't want to see all that effort wasted just because of a medication I'm on that's supposed to be fixing my head.

So this morning, after I had my daily dose of disappointment from the scale, I made a decision. Starting tomorrow I will get back to the YMCA at least three times a week. And I'm going to start making a good effort to watch what I eat again. Because these extra seven or eight pounds that I've put on? They've got to go.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I can run. I can bike. Swim? Yup.

I picked this up from the library.

Because in my mind? I'm toying with doing this in July. Or if I want to stay closer to home, this one in August.

But I'm still deciding. Heck, you can say I've been deciding for the past three or four years. It's been something I've wanted to do in the past, but haven't gotten around to it. But I think this summer might be the year I tackle it.

Any suggestions? Or better yet, anyone want to join me?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I kept on reading in February

I've flipped the calendar. February's no longer glaring at me and I've welcomed March with open arms, especially if it means Ole Man Winter and Mother Nature get their act together and finish up this whole winter thing.

Because I'm sick of it.

But this post is about reading. Not winter. Although I have to admit, the winter weather February featured? It gave me plenty of opportunities to turn the pages.

During February I read five books, for a total of 2,063 pages. That brings my total for the year to nine books and 3,488 pages. Not too shabby.

Here's what I read while the snowflakes were falling and the temperatures were hovering below zero in February:
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope by Jenna Bush
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Don't Bet Against Me! by Deanna Favre