Mentally Ready to Get Back at it (No, for real this time)

personal-power-2First let me say Happy New Year to you and yours! I surprisingly had a good one, lacking in stress and full of enjoyment. Being  from a large New Jersey Italian family that’s saying something. I got to go home to and see lots of friends and family (unfortunately missed some, sorry Greg and Shari). I got to spend time with my nephew and had a great early New Year’s Eve with Matt. But it’s time to get back to our regularly scheduled program and I’m ready for it.

After spending the later part of the last year doing nothing but telling myself I was going to do everything I’ve decide that pattern needs to stop. Especially, after seeing Matt take a scary, nasty spill on the ice this last Saturday.  He ended up breaking a bone in his foot and has to wear a cast. He’s absolutely miserable. As a person so used to physical activity, it has been but five days and he is about to break; and my heart breaks for him. But it made me realize that it could have been me, and an unshaped me with a broken bone would turn into a blob of an unshaped me. I don’t want that to happen.

The next big question though was how do I approach it? And then it hit me, the issue isn’t physical. I know what I am capable of, and my not working out the way I can is not a physical issue. It’s mental. All 100% mental, and the trick is putting myself back in that mental state that won’t allow me to make excuses.

This morning I saw a friend’s post that said she would not make resolutions, she would make goals. I found that apt and poignant. I’m not trying to resolve anything why make resolutions. It’s about setting goals that I can start with, stick with, and expand as I get better and stronger. And I think I am finally there. Not like I’ve said in the past, but literally mentally there.

I’ve already in the past week made health choices where I’m feeling the difference. I went the gym New Year’s Eve and the first Friday of the New Year and if it weren’t for the Polar Vortex, yesterday would not have been my first day back since. I don’t feel like I have to convince myself of anything anymore, I want to do it. That’s the big difference I was ignoring.

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Ready for Real this Time

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Lydia and Luna

For the past month I feel like I’ve been in a fog. My dear sweet kitty Lydia past away suddenly last month and this past Wednesday she was joined by her older sister. The loss of two of my girls so close to each other has been devastating to say the least. The emptiness and quiet in the house is overwhelming at times. I keep thinking I see or hear them.  Little things like realizing I don’t have to push a furry face out of my bowl of food while I eat makes me tear up.

I have eaten more take out then I share to admit, drank more than I share to admit and really haven’t been working out, at least I don’t think I have. It really has all been sort of a blur. Get up, go to work, come home, order Chinese or something and watch tv. Go to sleep and do it all over again.

Obviously, I can’t continue this cycle. My clothes and body are telling me as much. But admittedly, I feel like I’m starting to wake up out of the fog and feel like I’m ready to start fresh and get back at it, but until now that has been hard.

I know I’ve already written the “life getting in the way” posts, but looking back on those that seemed more like laziness and excuses than the legitimate fog I have been feeling. As I sit here, I’m sipping on a fresh smoothie ready to lace up and hit the gym and for once it feels good; real. It’s about time.

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Remember to Take Care of Yourself

I’ve been pushing myself hard lately. This week in particular I have been both tired and achy, but I just assumed it was the physicality of my job (Or maybe even a hangover after Labor Day festivities).  But at 3 am this morning I realized that I’m not just tired and pushing myself too hard but in fact, I more likely have a cold. I was forced awake by a horrible dry cough that I cth2ouldn’t stop. Nothing worked right away, not my inhaler, not a cough drop. Just the constant feeling of things moving around in my chest.

If I could call in to work I would, but mine is not the kind of job that allows that. I have to personally find someone to fill in and 1) we’re short a host who is on the West Coast right now, and 2) basically anyone I could ask works the same night’s as me anyway. I just have to hope that rest, spicy soups and OTC medicine will get me through until Monday when I can call my doctor (If I need her by then).

But what I think is important lesson here is that we sometimes forget we are human and need to slow down. I’m too busy trying to do it all that I didn’t even realize I was sick. Where I was originally bummed I couldn’t go to the gym next week, here I am glad they are closed and will try to take the time to rest and get better.

Not only do I have two particularly busy and long weekends ahead of me, we’re hitting our busy season and I can’t be sick. I need to remember to take care of myself, eat better, drink less, sleep more. I won’t survive if I don’t.

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Finally Finding Some Normalcy

DSCN2520I have notes all over the place, in a million different notebooks, in a bunch of half-started Word documents; on unintelligible notes on my phone. It’s been so long since I’ve written anything that I had to return to my last two posts to make sure I wasn’t going to repeat myself (which I’m sure I’ve done in the past anyway).

I always seem to have the best prose in my head but never when I’m sitting at the computer or near a pen and paper. And as mentioned above, I don’t have the thumbs of a teenager to properly type such a thing into my phone.

I have finally gotten myself down to a routine at the gym three days a week. It’s not great but I try to make the most of the time that I’m there so I kind of double up on things and extend the workouts themselves (interval training, the pool, classes, etc). My job can be pretty physical anyway (did I mention the dishwasher jokes about my muscles). Due to all of this, I really try to take advantage of days off. But those days off are flat out blob on the couch days. And not just blob on the couch days, I’m talking a blob that dreams of Italian Cold Cut subs while watching at least one movie that will make me cry days. I feel bad for not doing something like sitting outside and reading a book but meh.

It’s funny though that I physically feel like I’m in training for something (right down to the crankies) yet there is nothing I am training for (sniff). We’ve even decided against the Baltimore Half Marathon this year though we are looking at other options.  But I am finally getting used to my new routine as is Matt. Once a weekend (if lucky) I can get cut early from work so we’ll meet out and do something like a late dinner or drinks. It’s probably the closest thing we’ve had to date night in a long time and we both enjoy them.

And while I’m not at the gym as much as I used to be, the camaraderie is still there and for me that is more important than ever. I really do miss my Fitness Family and can’t let such an important part of my life go to the wayside for a job. In Body Pump these days, Matt has actually moved up the front of the room next to me which is good in that we get to actually spend some time together (he hid in the back and shrugged a lot when paid any attention to). The bad in that though is Antonio is on the other side of me so the two kind of them like to riff off of one another and razz me for the hour. Heck they razz me always but even though I act like I’m annoyed I actually enjoy it. In fact, I have gone up in weights because of the two of them so keep it up boys (to an extent, I am getting stronger and am still Italian…)

But as mentioned, there are still kinks to be worked out; things to consider and figure on. Eating is still a bit of tackle, and the fact that I have to work weekends when everyone else I know is 9-5 can cause problems. But it’s only been three months and each day brings a bit more normalcy. If I can maintain the things that make me whole while going to work, it’ll all be fine.

 

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My Murtaugh Moment

Roger_MurtaughSo far I’m doing well with the new job. Most of the people are nice, money is nice, and it’s a pretty lax place to work. But man, I really am a bit too old for the physicality of being on my feet 6-9 hours a day (welcome back Runner’s Knee). I mean, I handle the shifts just fine; it’s my rest days that get me. On Mondays in particular I find myself waking up, going straight to the couch and not moving until about 4 pm when I decide it’s a good time to shower and get ready to meet Matt for Happy Hour (hello K-Town!).

I have yet to workout more than two days a week but between running around the restaurant floor, serving food, handling Carry Out and at times busing I’m definitely maintain staying in shape (sort of). I’m just glad I was in shape to begin with otherwise I’d be even more pulverized.

Sundays are particularly a challenge because my day goes from 11:30 am to 9 pm and there is only myself and one server on the floor. We don’t have a liquor license for Sunday so there is no need for a lot of staff, but it can still be busy and when there is say a lunch or dinner rush we really are running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Not that we’re in the weeds just that we’re all over the place.

Two Sundays ago someone stole money from the Carry Out tip jar (note: do not leave money unattended). This past Sunday, some ugly-ass, inbred gold chain wearing squinty eyed-tiny little P.o.S came in, looked around, grabbed cash from a table and proceeded to run out the door. I didn’t see it but a customer yelled so I instinctly (Jersey Italian instinctly which means stupidly) ran after his ass. Did I mention he was ugly?  I seriously wanted to punch him in the throat. He couldn’t be more than 12 or 13-years old, and I stopped him demanding the money back, which he instantly handed over to me. He didn’t even deny stealing it. He wasn’t even sheepish about it (supposedly a known neighborhood troublemaker). By the time I got back to the restaurant though I was out of breath and couldn’t talk. Sure the high fives and cheers I got from the restaurant goers was nice, but thank God I run in the first place because I would have never caught him (I did just happen to be wearing my Shamrockin’ Run T-shirt).

Again though, Monday morning I couldn’t move off the couch; worst than normal. I had a cousin in town and was just so zapped of energy I felt ill. I had to cancel hanging out with her which is sad, it would have been nice.

Matt has been making fun of me lately calling me Murtaugh since all I ever say about Sunday is, “I’m too old for this shift.” I feel like eventually it’ll get easier and I won’t be pummeled so much but yeah, I never trained so hard for anything that I ever felt this beat.

 

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Sidelined by Mother Nature and Work

you-have-been-disconnected-gt7095Spring was truly a problem for me this year. Between allergies and a new job my workout routine had been completely toppled.  I should have trained for at least one race by now, the Baltimore 10-miler has come and gone (it was depressing to see the finishers in their bibs as I was heading up to work) plus, I missed what seemed like a super fun Color Run. For about a month I hadn’t been able to breathe so I couldn’t be outside. Fresh cut grass made my nostrils burn. One day, I got off my bike in the middle of a spin class because I felt like I was being suffocated. I did go to the doctor, got me some Zyrtec and went from taking my inhaler twice a year (at best) to twice a day. Thankfully I haven’t used it for a while now and hope the worst of allergy season has died down. It is basically almost summer.

But even though I can breathe, the job has made it a bit difficult to fit in the gym and running. The job can be physically demanding at times (which I’m totally fine with) but I’m not used to these kinds of hours and running around. Plus, it’s food service so I get pretty dirty. I’m reaching a point where I’m desperate for a good clean sweat.  There just isn’t anything like it. Especially a good clean sweat, a long steam followed by a nice shower; I really need that.

Of course, we all know, change is good. Muscle confusion, yada, yada, yada.  If I can finally get back into a workout routine my body will react better for it. I just need to figure out when the hell I can do it. Example, I worked 9.5 hours yesterday and slept 11 hours last night. My legs basically buckled when I got out of bed this morning. Thus, making it to Body Pump today was out of the question. I’m filling in someone’s shift tomorrow so no afternoon spin for me. I miss working out so much I spent my day resting up, looking at workout class schedules.

But the real thing is, in addition to missing the workouts; I’m also missing my gym friends. I haven’t seen Elizabeth and the gang in who knows how long. I started a swimming challenge with my friend Aaron and haven’t even been able to swim since I brought it up.

I feel a little disconnected. A little like a different person, maybe someone in a different city, especially since I’m not at home as much anymore. It’s an odd feeling. I need to reconnect.

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Time to Get my Head Back in the Game

I have had a blank Word document open on my computer for days now; it’s little blue and white logo sitting at the bottom of my screen mocking me. I’ve wanted to write something for a couple of weeks now, but truthfully I haven’t really known what. I haven’t been doing much and oddly doing too much at the same time over the past month.  It’s all been a weird fog.

I think it goes back to the New Orleans trip which started said brain fog that perpetuated and got worse with each new event up until this past weekend. I had a “guest” in town, a trip to the Eastern Shore followed by a direct turn around to Jersey City for a funeral to coming back to Baltimore to more guests in town. In there somewhere was my birthday (food), Easter (more food aka Italian meatfest), Orioles Opening Day (hot dogs), and Matt’s birthday (a whole hell’a lot of Korean BBQ). Through it all, I’ve been going to the gym sporadically and not paying a lick of attention to what I’ve been eating (or drinking) because, well, I actually just haven’t stopped and thought about it.

No doubt lately my pants don’t fit so well, comfy pants on a regular basis seem like a better choice and I just don’t seem to have the stamina I did a month again when I do in fact make it the gym.

I missed Body Pump Monday (just drained from everything), so I decided to hit the ground running Tuesday. I pushed it hard in Spin class, went the extra mile during the Ab workout and followed it all with three very hard (yet measly) sets of laps in the pool. Each with a break between sets because it was so difficult to actually do it, oh yeah and breathe. Yesterday morning, I woke up with my quads tingling, a pain under my ribs when I sneezed, and sore ankles. Yet I forged forward and attempted to run outside. Alas, I didn’t even make it past three miles. It was like I was running in quicksand my legs were so stiff. It didn’t even feel like I was actually picking up my legs. Heck, it didn’t feel like my legs.

Today…Today, I did 45 minutes of Spin, which was difficult in and of itself, the 30 minutes of CXWorks, and I got my ass back in the pool and did the 30 laps with only one stop. Plus, and this is a big plus, I found out the instructor thought I was in my late 20s and was shocked to hear I am in fact 41. She asked me what my secret was (good genes because I know it’s not my frequent trips to happy hour).  Now if that doesn’t put a pep in one’s step I don’t what will.

It’s amazing though how fast the time flew and I didn’t realize I was getting weaker and fatter. Not that I can’t correct it, but we all know the older you get the longer time it takes to fix the issue. I’m no spring chicken and I may (or may not) have races coming up that I’m not prepared for. And, let’s not forget I have a whole spring/summer wardrobe that I need to fit my ass back into. I can only wear what I’ve been getting away with the past few weeks for so long.

I often get asked in the gym (especially by new people) how much weight did I lose. But it’s never really ever been an issue of losing weight for me. I mean, yes, there are times, like now where I realize I have gained weight and have to lose it, but I’ve been active my whole life, and I will have to be active my whole life. I will gain weight and lose weight many times over. This has not been the first, nor will it be the last time I face this dilemma. This is simply life.

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