Move It Mama Monday! Turkey Trotting

Welcome back from the holiday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Are your stomachs bulging from all that turkey you ate? Mine would be, but I managed to sneak in some exercise. Yep, that’s right! Yours truly managed to work up a sweat, in spite of being out of town and it being a holiday involving lots of food.

I can thank my sister-in-law for this. We were up her and my brother-in-law for the holidays, and she had signed up to do SOME’s Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. I managed to get Hubster, the kids and myself signed up as well, so very early on Thanksgiving morning, we all went out to walk/jog the Tiny Turkey Trot (one mile) and then we did the full 5K Turkey Trot. And I learned something very important during these events, and that is…

No matter what you think you’ll be doing, always dress to run!

I expected the girls to walk just the 5K. Instead, they opted to do both events and they took off running right at the start, then continued to alternate between running and walking the entire distance of both courses. I was dressed in jeans and loafers. This was not an ideal running outfit. Now I know better for next year. I will wear running shoes and sweats, no matter what!

In addition to SOME’s Turkey Trot, Hubster decided to bring along the Wii and set it up at his parents place where we horrified/amused one of his brothers with bouts of Just Dance and Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout. Even though we were in a very cramped space, Hubster and the kids and I all managed to shake our groove thang without falling over any furniture. Though one time I did get a low-hanging wind chime tangled in my hair.

And there was the usual walking about. Unlike in my hometown, you can actually get to a number of places in DC just by walking, so we walked to the park and to the zoo. And since the Zoo was doing a night-time “Zoo Lights!” display, we walked all through that as well. Lots and lots of walking.

All in all, I got plenty of exercise in, and I managed not to eat too much turkey so I feel pretty good about myself. And in summary I would like to say that this Thanksgiving I was very thankful that I did not look like I did in the photos we found in my in-laws’ house where I was three weeks post-partum and I looked like Tippy the Whale.

Move It Mama Monday! I’m Slowing Down In Spite of My Good Intentions

I told myself I would get out and bike no matter what, at least twice a week, but that isn’t happening at the moment. I’m slowing down, taking it easy, being a bit lazy, devoting myself more to work than exercise right now. It’s partly due to the cold weather and partly due to my work and personal schedules. I really do need to spend more time working at my desk, so I’m stealing time from every other activity I’m involved in to make that happen, including working out. And it hasn’t helped that last week the Hubster was out of town, so I had my hands full taking care of the girls on my own. Our trip to the emergency room on Tuesday night just killed any chance I had of exercising on Wednesday. I did manage to make it to karate on Thursday though, and I made it to water aerobics on Friday, even though I got there late. But I haven’t put in nearly the same amount of time or effort exercising this week as I normally would.

We’ll see if I can turn that around, or at least stop my slide into sloth and indifference during the holidays. I told my sister-in-law we’d sign up for a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. She’s going to run the 5K course, while Hubster, the kids and I walk it (my running days are over, thanks to my bum knees). It’ll be good to get out and walk in the brisk morning air then go home and eat all that food afterwards. And since we will be away in DC all the rest of this week, Hubster has mentioned taking the Wii with us so we can work out as a family at my in-laws house. That’s a good idea I think.

Hopefully, I’ll get back into my groove again soon. We’ll see.

My family and I are in DC most of this week. If I was very good on Friday, I got all my blog posts for this week done in advance, so there won’t be any missed posts. If not, you know what happened! I hope you all Happy Turkey Day, folks.

Move It Mama Monday! Exercise with Family

My schedule’s been driving me crazy lately so I’ve had to make some decisions about what I can and can’t do any more, especially in the area of exercise. I’ve been taking karate classes for years, and I still enjoy it, but with my freelance picking up this past year and with two kids in school, I no longer have the time to spend two days a week in the dojo. When I go, it’s a 3-hour deal – half an hour to get dressed and get over there, two hours of class, and another half hour to come home and change again. I only get 6 hours during the day to work and one of those goes to things like lunch, showering, making phone calls, etc., so going to class for 3 hours pretty much kills my work day. And I’ve had the same problem with taking long bike rides and other physical activities – anything longer than an hour eats into my precious work time.

But I still need to exercise, so what to do?

Exercise at a time when I’m not supposed to be working, of course. But that means exercising when the kids are around, so anything I do will have to include them.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t given up exercising on my own. I still go to karate once a week, I still bike a couple hours a week, I still go to water aerobics twice a week. But I need extra work out time, so if I want it, I’m going to have to do it with the kids. To that end, I’ve started doing things like playing outside with them, or gardening in the yard while they ride their bikes and scooters in front of our house. And on Fridays, I take them to the pool at the Y.

This has to be the best part of the whole deal. I’ve been dying to get Pixie into swim lessons. Problem is, she hates taking the lessons. However, if I go in the pool with her, she’s happy as a lark. So rather than fight her over formal lessons, we just go to the pool together and use the open rec area. She’s actually taught herself how to doggy paddle, and I get to bounce around and tread water while she swims from the wall to me and back again. It’s a win-win scenario.

And Princess loves this too. She loves taking swimming lessons, but since she can swim pretty well, she’s not going to complain if we go to the pool just to go to the pool.

I’m still looking at other things we can do together that everyone will enjoy. I do have to be careful about my knees, so things like running races with the kids isn’t an option. But we can garden together, or I can do yardwork and they can play. And we can go on walks together and do other things together. And we can even do some Wii Fit together.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on in the wonderful world of exercise at la casa de Madden. Drop me a line if you can think of anything I could do with the family that I haven’t thought of yet!

Move It Mama Monday! Fighting the Urge to Hibernate

I’m blogging on the fly today, so forgive any typos. It’s been a busy autumn so far, and the temperature around here has started to drop. I’ve had enough chilly days to make me invest some money in new biking gear – cold weather tights, gloves, and neoprene booties to slip over my Vibram shoes. I hate being cold, so I’m doing my best to stay warm, but I’m also fighting the urge to stay indoors, and that’s very hard.

I like to hibernate when the weather turns chilly. I like to curl up on the couch with a hot cup of tea and look out the window knowing I don’t have to be out there unless I want to be. However, this isn’t the healthiest attitude to have, so I’m going to force myself this fall and winter to get out at least once each week, twice or more preferably. Once my biking gear comes in, I should be okay to ride. I’ll still have to ride against the wind every time I go out, but at least I should be warm. And maybe if I can find the time, I’ll get outside a couple afternoons each week and work on the yard. I don’t have to spend hours outside, just 30 minutes or so will do the trick.

But it’s going to be hard. Believe it or not, I’ve got a lazy streak a mile wide and it’s most likely to rear its ugly head when the days turn cold and dreary. We’ll see how well I fight against it this year.

Anyone else have plans to get outside this fall and winter? Let me know how you do it!

Move It Mama Monday! Just Dance 3!!!!!!

Hubster picked up a copy of Just Dance 3 for us last week and I’ve had a few chances to play with it. I love it, just like I loved the two previous incarnations, but there are a few imperfections with this game, as with previous incarnations.

The plusses first. The game is fun, as always. I didn’t recognize a lot of the song titles but I’ve been through 2/3rds of the playlist so far and enjoyed just about all the songs. It’s dance music, for Pete’s sake! How could I not enjoy that? Also, the graphics are as colorful and kookie as always. I’ve noticed a couple songs seem to play up a steampunk theme in the animated backgrounds, especially Gwen Stefani’s “Tick Tock.” But there are plenty of other styles of graphics as well, and the music is very diverse.

The Just Sweat mode had been modified a bit, though I haven’t fully explored that yet, and there are more group dance modes that I haven’t fully gotten into either. I mostly play by myself for a work out, but I can dance to any song that comes up regardless of the mode.

As for the annoyances, they’ve been few. My two chief complaints are that the Just Sweat mode still only calculates how many “droplets” you’ve burned, but not how many calories, and there’s no indication of how to equate droplets to calories, so that bothers me. Also, anytime I play the non-stop shuffle mode, I have a problem getting it to stop. In theory, I should only have to push the plus button on the Wii-mote to get the menu to let me stop. In practice, I’ve had to hit every button on the Wii-mote multiple times before getting a response from the game. Maybe it’s my Wii-mote that’s the problem, but I can’t be sure.

I’ll talk more about Just Dance 3 in future posts, as I get more time to play the game with more people than just myself. But for now, it’s a fun game and a great workout! ‘Nuff said.

Move It Mama Monday! It Was That Time of the Month

Today’s topic is about exercising during menstruation, and if the subject icks you out, my apologies, but I’m a woman, I menstruate, and I exercise, so it seems like an appropriate subject for me to write about today. Especially since I spent a good part of last week completely laid out by a visit from Aunt Flo.

I have never had an easy time with my period, even when I was young. It was always painful and messy and it made me miserable for a bout 5 days or so out of every month. I got some relief during college when I started on the pill, but when I went off the pill to get pregnant, the misery came back with a vengeance. And then of course, I spent four years dealing with hormone therapy so I could finally get pregnant, and then did more hormone therapy to have child number two, and then went back for another few rounds of hormone therapy in an attempt to have child number three that did not succeed, so you know my hormones are all screwed up. Add to that the fact that I had a bit of a scare last year when I had a pap smear come back with abnormal results that led me to briefly think I might have cervical cancer. Fortunately, it turned out I didn’t have cancer, but I do have hyperplasia, which means the lining of my uterus is rather a mess and that’s why one week out of every month I feel like my girl parts are doing their damnedest to turn themselves inside out and kill me in the process.

Are you icked out yet, or are you still with me? Good! Let’s continue.

So anyway, one week out of every month is rather unpleasant due to bleeding and intense cramping. But I’ve learned to live with it. Every now and then though, I get a really bad period, and by bad I mean BAAAAAAAAD! It starts a few days before the actual bleeding begins. My knees start to hurt to the point where I have problems getting up and down the stairs. I get a bad case of insomnia. My stress level seems to go through the roof. I get paranoid and can’t seem to pull myself out of a really crappy mood. And then the actual period hits like a sledge hammer. I end up crippled by cramps to the point where I can’t stay on my feet for any length of time. And my energy level just plummets. This is what happened to me last week, and damn was it miserable. To top it off, the kids were home from school on Thursday and Friday and the Hubster and I had a two-hour black belt review on Saturday. I had to drag myself through everything, from getting out of bed to wake up the kids to making meals and getting dressed. I’m still not sure how I made it through the black-belt review. My knees hurt so badly they were affecting my stances and balance.

How is a gal supposed to cope with periods like that? I got through it by spending most of Thursday in bed with a heating pad drapped over my abdomen and a double dose of Alieve in my system. I spent a lot of Friday the same way. I did get up and move around on Saturday, obviously, but I paid for it on Sunday by being completely wiped out. Then I spent most of last night tossing and turning whilst wrestling with insomnia before finally drifting off into some really weird and intense dreams that still have me gasping for breath even now at noon today.

The good news is, I finally seem to be free of the worst of the symptoms. I’ve got some energy back and my knees feel much better. Also, those dreams from the wee hours of dawn this morning have been typed down into the form of a rough outline for a story, so some good did come out of all that tossing and turning last night. The bad news is, this will all probably happen again at some point. Maybe not the next period or the one after that, but it will eventually hit me, and I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do about it.

The last time I discussed this with my doctor, he recommended burning out the lining of my uterus, a suggestion that sent me climbing up the walls of the examing room like a cat on acid visiting the vet. No way was I going to let someone burn out the lining of one my girl parts! But now, after having gone through a couple of really miserable periods this year, I’m starting to wonder if it might not be such a bad idea. I’ll need to ask the doc about the insomnia and knee pain and see what side effects I may be looking at, but if it will somehow help with all of that as well as eliminate the painful cramping, I may tell him to do it right then and there.

We’ll see. The fact is, I’m a busy gal on the go these days, and I have no desire to be slowed down by gawd-awful periods. I certainly don’t want to be laid out flat again like that. I lost three days of work and two days of exercise to my goddam period, and that’s not something that makes me happy. I’m willing to consider my options now and see what I can do to prevent this from happening again.

So, anyone else have any thoughts? Suggestions? Or are you so totally icked out that you’ll never come back to this blog again? No? Good! Come back for next week’s Move It Mama Monday and I promise we’ll discuss something far less gruesome, like the slug I found crawling in my frying pan last night. Or not.

Move It Mama Monday! Why Worry When the Numbers on the Scale Go Up?

So I’ve been biking lately, an average of 50 miles a week. And I’ve been making it to the Y for deep water aerobics twice a week, and putting in 4 hours of class time at the dojo most weeks. My knees feel better than the have in years, my average speed on the bike keeps going up, and I’m using the big weights in the pool and not screaming in agony any more after the fifth set of triceps extensions.

So why does my weight keep going up?

That’s been the big question for a few months now. My weight started creeping up on me in February, about the time Girl Scout cookie season hit its peak. No, it was not from eating too many cookies. It was more a case of I couldn’t find time to work out. And I was probably eating more due to stress, but not cookies! I swear!

I managed to get back on track with regular workouts again this summer, though my eating habits still aren’t as strict as they should be if I want to lose weight. And thus the scale has remained steady at 10 pounds higher than I normally want to be.

And you know what? Today I decided not to worry about it.

No, I haven’t banished all my weight worry with just one decision, but it’s a case of, do I really want to start counting calories and giving up all soda and snacks and feel hungry all the time (which is what happens every time I try to lose weight)? Or would I rather just relax and keep doing what I’ve been doing in the gym, the dojo, and on the road?

I’m voting for the later. I’d rather just continue to keep up with my workouts, especially the cycling. Hubster suspects my weight is up because I’ve got more muscle mass in my legs now, due to all the miles I’ve put in on the bike. (And isn’t he just so sweet for saying that?!) I’m not so sure, but I’m really not interested in fighting it any more. The bottom line is, my jeans still fit, dammit, and I don’t feel half-starved and dead tired all the time, so what is there to really worry about? I’m 42. My metabolism was bound to start slowing down some time.

I will admit, I may, MAY, try to throw in an extra 15 minutes of working out here and there. I can always toss in Just Dance in the evenings and go for a few songs. Or if I would rather something a little easier, I can do some Wii Fit or Walk It Out. And I will probably try to do that, considering that when I get to the late afternoon, I usually do feel pretty sleepy and I need something to wake me up.

But worry about the weight? Seriously? Nah. Not this time around.

Move It Mama Monday! Finally Left the Neighborhood!

Well, it finally happened. Last week one of my best friends, Mary, showed up and whisked me away to Colonial Yorktown for a long bike ride. Yes, I finally got out of the neighborhood with my bike. We did 15 miles on the tour roads and through the historical area, and man! What a difference there is between riding on the open road versus riding through the neighborhood. I have a little problem keeping up with Mary on the hills, but then she was riding a road bike and I’m riding a cross bike, which is heavier and slower. It was most apparent on the way down a hill, because Mary would just fly down the hill while I still lagged behind even though I was pedaling like mad.

So I got my first taste of real freedom on the bike and I can’t wait to do it again. I’ve got an appointment to bring the bike in to the local shop for a tune up next week. After that, I need to get a flat tire kit. Then I should be good to go. I bought a bike rack for the back of the car a few weeks ago, so I can now get to the trails without having to risk my life biking on the local highways.

Beyond that, things are pretty much the same, which is good. I haven’t had any knee problems in weeks (YAY!), and while I’ve put on a few pounds, I have kept up with deep water aerobics and biking. I’m only getting to karate class once a week right now, due to my workload, but I’m still getting in and given my schedule I think that’s pretty good.

And that’s the report for this week! Going back to work now.

Move It Mama Monday! Owie!!!

Well, this sucks. Last night my left shoulder sort of seized up with a pinched nerve and the damn thing has extended all the way into my neck. I took a double dose of Tylenol last night and slept with a heating pad, but am still having problems with it this morning. If this goes as per usual, I’ll be suffering with this for the rest of the week. Not fun.

These pinched nerves usually happen when I’ve got too much going on and I’m stressed out. I had thought I was finally getting the schedule under control and managing to scale things back, but we’ve been out and about quite a bit the last few weeks and then I felt like crud all last week. Now this week I’m facing an endless series of meetings, most of them related to Girl Scouts. I suppose it’s true what they say, no rest for the wicked.

So what to do? Baby my left shoulder, obviously, and continue taking over-the-counter pain medication. If I can scrounge up the money, I know a very good massage therapist I can call, too. If I can’t scrounge up the money… well, we’ll see.

I’m still going to deep water aerobics today, but will be using light weights and taking things slowly. And I’ll be doing lots and lots of stretching. We’ll see how I feel by the end of the day. Hopefully this works itself out quickly. Otherwise, I’m not going to be doing much moving for a while.

Move It Mama Monday! The Return of Healthy Meals

I do my darnedest to eat healthy when I can, but I will admit that when my schedule gets overwhelming (as it is wont to do all to frequently) I will go long stretches of time where I fall back on eating a lot of high fat comfort foods and junk. That happened a lot this year and I’m paying for it now as I search my closet for jeans that don’t cut off all my circulation when I try to put them on. I’m not doing too badly on the weight scale, but I could stand to get back to high fiber, low cal, veggie-focused meals again.

To that end, I picked up a cookbook a few weeks ago – Cooking Light: Fresh Food Superfast. Now, I am not the greatest cook in the world, but if you give me a decent recipe that doesn’t tax my tiny brain too much, I’ll do pretty good with it, and this appears to be the case with the Cooking Light cookbook. I made a soup and sandwich combo from it last week, garbanzo-carrot soup with feta-olive sandwiches, that turned out perfect. The recipe made enough to last me all week long. This morning I just made smokey shrimp gazpacho, and again the recipe came out great and again I have enough to last me the week. That’s the thing, I am frequently so crunched for time, I usually only get to cook once a week. So what I cook has to make enough for multiple servings and it has to taste good enough that I’ll be willing to eat it all week long. Cooking Light seems to have succeeded on both accounts with this book.

So I’m investing an hour or two every Monday morning now to make my lunch for the week. Hopefully, this will prevent me from reaching for the Doritos or Ramen noodles every time lunch comes around. I’ve also asked the Hubster to stock the fridge with more fruit. We are subscribed to the Harry & David “Fruit-of-the-Month” club, and this month we got a huge box of peaches and a huge box of nectarines. Our fruit for August was delayed by Hurricane Irene, thus the two boxes of fruity goodness arriving at once. The only problem with getting both boxes at the same time is that they both then have to be eaten within the week, so now I think it will be a while before I can get anyone in the family to even look at another peach or nectarine for a while. But Hubster did get me grapes, pears, oranges and strawberries, along with some salad greens and cherry tomatoes, so I now have enough raw fruits and salad stuff to easily add one more serving of fruits and veggies to every meal.

My weight is at the highest it’s been in years, despite all the bike riding and deep water aerobics, so I really do need to rethink my diet. I’ll let you know in the coming weeks how I do. I dropped about a pound last week then went to DC and indulged in a couple meals that weren’t as healthy as they should have been, so I’ll have to work that off again this week. But I’m hopeful that a combination of veggie-heavy meals and lots of exercise will put me back on the right track.