Back in Training: Week Three – Gettin’ Down to Business


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I really kicked it up a notch this week.  The pain is beginning to subside and I no longer feel like I should be in traction after a workout.  Next week I want to incorporate a couple of walk/runs into the mix.

My next session with my trainer I’ll be doing a Level One Fitness Test for my age group.  Our focus this week was taking me through the components of the test then working on core and cardio.  I am quite confident that next week I’ll ace the fitness test.

I have just drawn up a workout schedule for the week ahead and will incorporate all of the fitness test components into the workouts I have at the gym.  This is what it will look like.

Workout Schedule for Week Four

  1. Crunches w/ medicine ball – 40 x 2
  2. Step-ups w/ medicine ball (on aerobic stepper) – 15 on each leg leading = 30 x 2 sets
  3. Up and Over’s touching down (on aerobic stepper) – 20 x 2
  4. Leg lifts – 20 x 2
  5. Seal Jacks – 20 x 2
  6. Mountain Climbers – 30 x 2
  7. Side Steps – 30 seconds w/ squat at end x 2
  8. Triceps Push-ups – 15 x 2
  9. Skipping – 30 seconds x 2
  10. Plank – 45 seconds x 2
  11. Bridge – hold for 1 minute x 2
  12. Overhead Towel squat – 30 x 2
  13. 45 degree Suspension Row – 10 x 2
  14. Push-ups from knees – 10 x 2
  15. Kettle bell swing – 8 lb. 40 x 2
  16. Back extensions – 20 x 2
  • Continue w/ 20 minutes on Bike
  • Continue w/ 15 minutes on Elliptical
  • Three upper body machines (Optional)
  • Three lower body machines. (Optional)

18.  Two walk/runs over my 5 km route (45 min – 50 min)

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Each gym workout will take 1 1/2 hours in length.  I start with 35 minutes of cardio on the stationary bike then jump on the elliptical.

My diet has improved exponentially as well.  I only ate out once and that was a pit stop at Subway on Monday evening as I ran late at the engineer’s office and didn’t get home until 8:30 PM.  I had nothing prepared so I opted to just pick up a sub sandwich.

The last two Saturday evenings I’ve cooked at home.  Again, not something I’m used to doing.

Funny the habits we get into.  Back in 2005 when my daughter was taking her graphic design program I took on a couple of other jobs to help her out.  Also I didn’t want her to have worry about working as it is often stressful enough just trying to get through your studies.

One of the part-time gigs was at a diner in Vancouver.  For close to five years I worked 20 hours a week there.  Friday’s I left my day job at 5:00 PM and started at 6:00 PM  to 10 PM. Every Saturday was from 2 PM to 10 PM and Sundays from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Consequently Saturdays found me coming home and getting cleaned up then heading up Commercial Drive for  a nibble at Wazubees (no longer there), Havana (now very pricey), a little Greek place (no longer there), or a number of other restaurants.  Because I was working so often I neglected meal planning in a big way.

My organizational skills were still somewhat challenged back then.

What I’ve discovered to be key in managing a busy schedule is to actually plan out your week meals and activities.

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When I left the restaurant back in 2010 I purchased my current home.  The last four and half years have been a whirlwind!

Because I was working so much for those five years my social life was pretty much non-existent as well.

Fridays became synonymous for heading down to the Heritage Grill, the Brooklyn, Hops, the Terminal or a host of other places that are within walking distance for a pint and nibble followed by a writing marathon. I would wander home at 1:00 AM once I’d finished whatever it was I was working on.

Saturdays saw me turning into a social butterfly of sorts.

Sundays were for domestic duties of cleaning, laundry and picking up groceries.

Still I wasn’t planning my meals all that well throughout the week.  My daughter was still living with me so we took turns cooking and for a time it worked.

I was committed to good health and had found the love of running once again.  Emotional issues that I’d long neglected came to fore and finally I had the strength to work through them.  And just as I felt that I’d laid that beast to rest then came the challenges of heart disease and cancer.

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A little over a month ago I finally accepted that physically I was right back at square one.  This body had gone through punishing treatment and I tried to convince myself otherwise.  I would head out with my running group on Tuesday evenings and the following couple of days my hips and lower back would be in total agony.

The strong core I had once possessed had effectively been destroyed by treatment.  With this admission a depression had set in….and as I am wont to do when this occurs I cried in many, many beer as I nibbled on pizza.

Yes, I was contributing to my own demise once again!

Oye!

I’m not one to wallow in self-pity, however, and in fact I have little tolerance for myself when I get like this.

And three weeks into training my core strength is returning.  The exercises Tamer has provided are excellent for core as well as whole body.  The workout above has many of the core exercises I’ve been working on .  Yesterday she had me take on the ropes.  These two ropes are about 15 feet in length.  Not to sure of their weight but you hold them in a squat position and can either wobble them back and forth (fabulous for the triceps) or up and down.

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She is pushing me and watching my form.  I am learning so much.  Here I thought myself so knowledgeable about fitness previously and well, in the last three weeks I’ve tackled several exercises that I’ve never done before.

If you are curious about any of the above exercise listed above please let me know.

On Friday evening I decided I really needed to replace the blender that had broken down a couple of months ago.  Heading out I found the Nutri Ninja which is what I wanted at a great price.  Later today I’m going to head out and load up on kale, spinach, and host of other goodies!  The veggie and fruit shakes are back, baby!  Yum!

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Thanks for stopping by.

Peace.

 

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At the Finish Line…


I got up and did my 10K today.  Not the best race I have ever had.  I was feeling a little congested and I did not train properly this past week due to my shoulder giving me grief.  I really could have gone to the gym and just done lower body and cardio training.  I learn something from each race that I do, however, and I picked up a thing or two today as well.  My time was not terrible but certainly not my best.  I did the 10K in 1:08.  I had wanted to come in under an hour.

Another time though.

I usually start quite strong.  Today it was as if my legs stayed in bed and were still sleeping.  They didn’t like what I planned for them at all.  They felt weak and my energy level was not there.  So began the compromise.  I took it slow the first half of the race and as I entered the second portion the energy level began to increase, the body was infused with strength and I got my stride back.  During the course of this run I recognized that I had taken too much time off.  I have not worked out since Wednesday morning…so the body had gotten a little to lackadaisical and really didn’t want to be doing this.

That’s okay too.  It is about the journey.  I found my pace and just enjoyed the ocean air and the cool breeze off of the water.  I have learned quite a few things about self since I began running again and this was no different. For me  personally, it is very much about challenging myself.  It is about appreciating the motion, it is about being the motion.

Running brings me through several emotional portals.  Sometimes the runs are fabulous…light, airy with a ton of energy.  Today’s run was work.  It was compromise, it was determination, it was an effort.  And so I feel very satisfied that I completed the run. I am once again humbled that I am able to do this still.

The last run that I will doing this year is the Coho and that is a 14K in September.

I will be ready.  Like life in general, not everything goes smoothly.  It is how you deal with those moments that are a little bit more difficult that will define your being that much more.

I am going to have my breakfast  then enjoy the rest of this beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by.

A time to reflect…


I have literally been motoring through my life this past year and half.  I got on this kick of wanting to feel whole and complete and just went at it with wild abandon.  I think its time I came up for air.

This week a few things really came front and centre.  For one of the first times in my life…I really saw myself.

How to explain this.

I have always seen myself with a list of things that I would like to change, have changed, or been in the process of changing.  I have looked at myself with my wish list in hand.  If I just looked like this, if I just had that, if I just felt like this.  I have looked at self with loathing and utter contempt.  I have, quite frankly, been at times very unkind to self.

You start to get the idea. I have never just looked at and accepted myself at any one moment without the white noise in the background reminding me of my imperfections and liabilities.

So the quest, which I started over a year ago was to really address my intimacy issues and my fear of them.  And they ran very deep.  I really had no idea how this would branch off into what has seemed at times like a thousand different directions all with one destination in mind.

I took a rather unorthodox approach in seeking assistance  in that I found a sexual healer and began working with him.   James has been the pillar that I needed to work through all of this.  He has provided constant and consistent support beyond direction.  Now this may sound confusing but by ‘direction’ how I define this is that at no time did he tell me in order to get to a place of full acceptance of self, that this was how I needed to do it.  I am really struggling trying to convey the lessons learned the words that are appropriate to convey this message are not coming at the moment.  The journey is personal…the direction is of my own choosing…the path is mine to explore, as it is for all of us.  We make choices.

Every time I walked back in for another session I was looking for what, I don’t know…accolades?…acceptance?….affirmation?….praise?

But it was always from an outside source that I looked for this.

We would have a session and I would go back out into the world and step back into the boxing ring with self and I would go 12 rounds and it would still be a draw.

Eventually those little battles with self…well,  the good side always wins.  Yes?  Little victories in the beginning.  It has really been quite extraordinary from where I started to where I stand now.  The things I learned about self and about this world that we all call home and our place in it.  All the time spent fighting when all I needed to do was embrace self is perhaps one of the most profound aspects of all of this.

I have opened myself to so many things and I am hungry for it, let me tell you.  Feeling that connection to life, feeling love, feeling lightness, feeling movement, feeling the air, feeling, feeling, feeling….

I am just throwing my heart open and letting myself love and be loved.

This week I had the experience of seeing myself without the white  noise in the background.  What I saw was a being of beauty, grace, compassion and love.  I was truly humbled by this.  All I could do is cry big old happy crocodile tears.  That was incredibly cleansing.

And I savoured the moment.  Let it wash over me.  Let it permeate the grey matter and write itself into my memory.

And in so doing, for the first time in my life I fully understood what it means to love.

Enjoy your day and thank you for stopping by.

PS   I have come back to edit this as I sent the link to James to share this with him. I may have misrepresented or expressed James’ guidance quite a bit out of turn with the phrase of ‘support without direction’ in way that was never intended.   This has been adjusted to more openly express… I don’t know how to thank him for the assistance he has provided me with.  It goes so far beyond direction.  When I embarked on this journey with James, it was originally to deal with my intimacy issues, but it has gone so far beyond that.  And in truth saying thank you just does not seem adequate.  I think this is coming out so very clumsy today.  Words cannot express the way I feel. I will leave it at that.

To those who have passed before…


I woke up this morning with the lingering memories of a dream about my cousin Randy.  I laid in bed for a few moments remembering that sweet, fragile soul.  Always a smile on his face and he so wanted to be able to do what we were doing.  Just normal stuff…that’s all.  This was not always possible for him, however.  Randy was born with a hole in his heart.  He underwent several surgeries.  He had a pacemaker that displayed the infancy of the technology of the day.  It was large and cumbersome.

I thought that if he had been born today, his issues, while serious in nature, could have been corrected with technology and he likely would have been able to live a relatively normal life.  In my own case, had a blockage been discovered during that time, the procedure would have been very invasive and yes, they would have had to crack open the chest cavity. And they likely would not have had the ability to foresee the possibility of a problem.  I likely would have ended up having a heart attack back in the day.

Amazing how much technology has changed in the past 40 some odd years.

Randy was just 9 years old when he passed away.  It was not his heart condition that killed him but rather the staff infection he had picked up in the hospital.

I am looking at the mark on my wrist, which now looks like a small freckle, which was the entry point for the Angioplasty.  More remarkable is the fact that I was wide awake for the entire thing.

Thinking about our frailty as humans and our resilience as well.  Thinking about our strength and determination.  I have been blessed in so many ways.  There is a lesson in all of this.  For me it is appreciating and caring for this body.  Then going beyond that and caring and loving those around me.  I think I touched on this a little yesterday as well but I tell you while driving into the gym this morning I could feel my cousin’s spirit with me.  Could feel that little boy’s pain in not being able to play with us.  Could see the desire to ‘just be normal’ in his eyes.

His legacy still stands though.  He was part of an ambitious movement in healthcare to correct issues surrounding our most vital organ…the heart.

I think of my own mother, who died of heart disease and did not go to the doctor.  Who did not take care and nurture the body that housed her.

This is a rather reflective post on this beautiful clear winter day.  I suppose the message is to enjoy each day and get out there and move.  Really let the body enjoy and experience that fluidity.  Let it get chilled by the winter air and watch the goose bumps rise up.  Rub your arms and watch them go down.  Feel the muscles as they ripple in constant connection with the rest of you as you walk around…or run.  Feel how good it is when those you love hold you…and you them.  Close your eyes…take a deep breath and listen to the beating of your heart.  Know that the energy that is contained in it is your life source.

And to Randy…thank you sweet angel for your visit this morning.  So good to see your smile again.

Reflections….


It has been a good morning thus far.  Got into the gym despite going to bed a little later than usual. Did a lot of cardio and felt very strong and energized by the end of it.  Again, I am enjoying the fluidity of movement in and of itself.  I have been in reflective mood all morning.  Thinking about this web of life and my place in it.  Wanting to connect on a new level to everyone and feeling decidedly excited about where this can take me.  As I said, I did get to bed later than usual and this also why I am so reflective this morning.

A documentary was on The Passionate Eye, a Canadian documentary show, last evening.  This show is called ‘102 Minutes that Changed the World.’   I have seen it before and it is exceptional in catching the confusion and fear that New Yorkers were feeling as 9/11 began to unfold in such an epic tragedy that would ultimately be felt worldwide.  The majority of the videos are shot by ‘amateurs’.  Just ordinary people who happened to look out their window on a spectacular September morning to find one of the towers was on fire.  What speaks to me in this documentary is that they did not know what was happening….initially.  While the first one was tragic, to be sure, there was more of a curiousity and general confusion as to what just took place.  When the second plane hit tower number two…there was no doubt that this was an assault…an attack and the information they were getting was obscure and random because no one really knew what was taking place.  The second plane, however, was an affirmation of all their fears….and ours.  It was no accident.

I was getting ready for work that morning. It was 6:00 AM or thereabouts our time in Vancouver, BC.   Val Cole, who was a radio personality at the time, said that reports had come in that one of the twin towers in Manhattan had been hit by a small aircraft.  Funny, I thought to myself,  I was pretty sure New York was a no fly zone.  I finished up my makeup and they were chatting about it on the radio.  I was fairly certain that CNN would have coverage of the event  so I turned on the TV.  I was initially surprised with how much damage and devastation had been done by what I thought was a small air craft.  They were talking on the TV and there was speculation that it may have been a commercial plane.  At that point no one really was too sure of what was transpiring.  Then I saw the sun hit and illuminate a silver object on the left of my screen.  As it advanced it became obvious that it was a plane.  It was flying directly toward the twin towers.  There was disbelief in the commentator’s voice.  As the second plane moved ever closer I remember feeling my heart begin to sink and I was shaking my head ‘no’.  And it hit with such force…just slicing through the building and this burst of a hellish ball of fire that just seemed to engulf the entire upper portion of the building.

In that moment, I knew that there would be a war.  In that moment I witnessed a most godless act against humanity.  In that moment, I along with millions of people worldwide, sat in horror watching people make the decision of how they would die that day as they opted for a freefall rather than being consumed by the gluttonous fire within.  I had woken my daughter and told her that a war would be imminent, and I wish to God I had been wrong about that.  We sat there rather feeling so very helpless watching the debacle unfold…and when the unthinkable happened…something no one had even anticipated could happen and the towers collapsed I think everyone’s heart broke a little that day.

Here in Canada we re-routed and grounded over 3,000 planes within an hour.  The air space over North America shut down in a quick and efficient manner.  Impressive how quickly this was done.  As other reports filtered in about the Pentagon and the plane that had been destined for the White House and just the scope of what was taking place and all I could ask was ‘Why?’

And to this day, I cannot and never will be able to understand that kind of hatred.  We are all connected…we all share this space…let’s make it a beautiful space…let’s nourish it from our hearts.  I hurt for the young boys that are taken into these camps and fed a litany of hate throughout their young lives to mold them into these ambassadors of death.  And however someone  interprets God or spirituality or whatever…I would never want to serve a higher being that would encourage and demand such actions be taken to ‘honour’ their name.  There is no ‘honour’ in such acts and there never will be…there is no higher power or being that exists in this context…at least not in my mind.

So we heal…we reach out and try to be kinder and gentler…to everyone.  To send that out throughout this web that binds us all.  To create and nurture a love that we all share and need and desire.

I was in New York this past September…a week past the 10 year mark of that date that is now a defining moment in our history.  I went to the memorial created to honour those who died that day.  There was an echo of the grief shared by not just New Yorkers…but all of us who witnessed this senseless act.  There was this echo of the pain felt as our hearts’ broke in that moment.  But there was also an echo of the love we looked for to restore and build our faith once again in each other.  As I left the site I shook the hand and hugged as many police officers and firefighters that crossed my path without being too invasive…because for them…they are still healing.  For many I think it is still very raw.

And as another transplanted New Yorker once said…”Imagine all the people…living life in peace…”.  Still one of the most beautiful concepts yet to be realized but hopefully within reach.

So my knee is healing and my heart is healing and my faith in all that is beautiful in this world is being restored. And I will endeavour to do my part,  however small it may seem to see this come to fruition.

I hope all of you have a fabulous day!