Sunday, July 28, 2013

New challenges. Oh, my dear feet.

A few months ago I went absolutely wild for barefoot technology shoes. I loved the simple, ballet-slipper feel of them. I felt like I could dance across the world as my stage. They are light, flexible and they are finally coming out with styles that I can wear to work instead of just the awesome sneaker variety. Oh, I should also mention that these are not the 5-finger, toe separating variety. I love them.

And then I noticed that my heel would hurt a bit at the end of the day. I thought it mostly had to do with the resistance of my right foot to adapt to the barefoot cadence (a midfoot strike instead of a heel strike). However, further experience led me to believe that was not the case.

Over the course of a couple of months I felt the pain increase occasionally but still was not convinced it was a real problem. Which is goofy, since I remember the 5 worst words in personal health:

Maybe It Will Just Go Away

Dumb, dumb, dumb. So last week, after a pretty damn AWESOME workout with my trainer (lots of squats and lunges) and I felt like my heel was damn near about to abort it's relationship with my body I finally made an appointment to see the doctor. And learned that I have plantar fascitis. And a heel spur.

To combat my pain I am to: ice, stretch, stay off my foot, wear supportive footwear, sleep in this funky flexed-foot boot thing and roll my foot with a spiky massage ball. For I don't know how long. I have an appointment with a podiatrist in a week or so.

So how to do I keep kicking my own butt at the gym if I have to stay off of one of my feet so much? I don't want to create an imbalance in my upper and lower body. I want to slim and shape my legs/thighs. So I thought about swimming.

Need an ego-boosting pick me up? Don't go swimsuit shopping. I was determined to keep burning calories and marched my butt into a local swim shop to try their selection of plus size fitness suits. After a series of suits that had me doubting the true shape and proportions of my own body I found a suit that works and secured it for my own. Marched my butt across the street to one of my gym's branches and huffed my way through 6 laps of freestyle swimming. And went home satisfied.

In high school my dude was a swim team nut. He offered to write out a short workout for me and I think I might actually take him up on it. Feet! You will not keep me from my quest!

Now, do you know anything about how swimming may actually improve my foot pain? After several swim sessions I have noticed a sense of improvement in my feet that I am hesitant to trust just yet... Any clues???

Friday, July 19, 2013

Things are never what you expect.

Home nearly a week and what a difference a few days make. As per usual Dude and I have had a fascinatingly full week. I don't know what it is but there always seems to be something that mucks up the works. This week it was my dude who had the rough day rather than me but it was a doozy. Locked himself out of his house, had to taxi to me downtown to get my keys (stupid meetings!) and then learned that the Peanut (Dude's daughter) might have head lice. And then, at some point in the day a spider decided he was a delicious snack and gave him two big chomps. By the time I met up with Dude and Peanut for dinner he was a ball of swollen, itchy nerves.

We had a surprisingly smooth evening given that the Peanut is amazing: we kept her up 'til 10pm working on her hair, etc and she didn't cry or scream or complain at all. She is 4 years old. I am endlessly grateful. However, we were all so exhausted that the entire next day felt like a chore with every step.

Thankful it is Friday. Thankful to snuggle up the dude tonight after our long week. Thankful to be meeting with the trainer tomorrow to get me off of my exercise rut. I haven't been all that motivated to push hard this week. Just so tired and post-vacation reluctant. I'm excited to get my butt kicked a little. I need it to snap me back in.

An additional amusement on the fitness front: on vacation my steps per day were hardly ideal. I don't know that I met the 10k/day goal on a single day that we traveled. There was actually a day that I did not crack 4k (I napped, a lot. And LOVED it!). On returning home I've amped up my daily step goal. As I average about 12k while home and at work I decided to bump my daily goal up to 15k with the more active intention of actually achieving the goal steps. Every. Day.

Having a general step goal has given me good insight into how much I move. A few weeks of tracking my steps with the FitBit has shown me that I am much more active during the week than on weekends. I am a slug while visiting family. On days that I do not hit the gym my steps are low low low. I started out just wanting to see how much I walk. How much I move. Now, to get closer to my goal and faster I'm working on 15k/day. Every day. Regardless of hitting the gym.

How will I get it? Here's how-
-park further away at the store
-walk to the further bus stop
-stop taking the elevator for short trips
-plan active things to do with Mike
-go walking with lady friends

Have more ideas? Share 'em!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Vacation exercise. Or not.

I have dutifully worn my fitbit every day of our vacation. I've also catalogued all of my food and drink. I even went to the gym. Once. But at least I went. I am eager to get home to Minneapolis because you know what you learn when you where your FitBit on vacation? I move more when I'm at work. What a vacation slug!

Sure it helps to be exercising every day at home, and eating well and yes, I know, it's vacation. It's not reasonable, or fun, to completely deny myself rule breaking but I know I've been indulgent. Donuts and fried chicken for breakfast? Yep. It's been rough on my skin, my gut and my sleep. I am excited to get back to regular foods and exercise.

I think hitting the gym when I visit in the winter may be easier. The humidity and never quite being able to be fully cooled has been a deterrent on the mornings I could go. Plus, there's the late nights, bad food and snuggling with my dude to keep me in bed. Life could be worse!

Oh FitBit, you will be as rewarding when I get home as your were silently chiding me while on vacation. I look forward to keeping those digits in check! And, admittedly, knowing I would log everything I eat has kept me closer to not-crazy. Which is nice. It's been a delicious debauchery....

Philadelphia Freedom, I loooooove you... Yes I do.

Swiftly approaching our last few hours in Philly and I am right where I want to be: sitting on the couch enjoying a little downtime with my dude, mentally prepping for our last dinner in town before heading home in the morning. This week has been awesome.

First off: Dude is a hit. My parents like him, my friends think he's cute, they like how happy I am with him, they fully support his gloriously beardedness. (His mother keeps threatening to chop it off, so, this means something extra to me.) 

We've been running around like mad, with days and nights coming in mini-series split between Philly and NJ. We have eaten many delicious things. Some twice. We have visits, frolicked, tripped down memory lane, snuck in a little nooky here and there and generally, had a lovely time. I forget how lucky I am sometimes. Having my friends and family point out things about my dude or the way we are together reminds me how lucky I am. He is nice, he pays attention, he relaxes and stays himself, he's affectionate and makes me feel comfortable doing all the same things in return. That may sound a lot like, Well, duh! territory but I've been in a few relationships where I felt constantly at odds with my own desires, shut out or down by my partner, more concerned with whether or not they would shake loose of my displays of affection. It's a nice change. Sometimes I'm so happy I take it for granted. Not altogether awful.

Anywho, here are some highlights of our adventures thus far:
-met the parents, all my step brothers and 9 good friends. Whoah.
-witnessed a sauced family night and hardly abtted an eye
-ate at Han Dynasty in Old City and, oh, I just love it so much...!
-ate: Phó, Sabrina's, Mediterra, Federal Donuts (TWICE!!!) family home cooking and tonight we head to Honey's
-oh, and, Dude got his very first tattoo! Making him the sexiest creature on the planet. I am not allowed to reveal photos of his tattoo yet. But I got a new one, too!

The picture isn't great, but it's still amazing to me that I can keep up with my blog on the go from just a tablet. Awesome. My newest tattoos are a Liberty Bell and a cherry. A little Philly and a little Minneapolis. One of my other tattoos is a Claus Oldenberg scultpure, The Embrace (aka The Clothespin) which lives over the entrance to Suburban Station in Philadelphia. Minneapolis boasts a fine Oldenberg of its own: The Spoonbridge Cherry which consists of an enormous spoon with an equally enormous cherry sitting in its bowl. The stem sprays water over the handle and the whole work lives in the Walker Sculpture Garden. So, a cherry for my new home, and the bell for my roots and my freedom to explore the world.

Having a wonderful time, but can't wait to come home!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Little Fitbit, you intrigue me.

You may recall I wrote just a short while ago of my interest in getting a fitness tracker. After reading many reviews and calling in the opinion-giving assistance of my dude I landed on the Fitbit One. There are features about the other front-runner devices I considered that I do wish I could have captured in this purchase, such as:
The Jawbone Up-
-sleek design aesthetic
-idleness activity alarm
-in-built ability to tell the difference between your waking and sleeping activity
The Fitbit Zip-
-no need to recharge more than every few months (SOOO set and forget!)

Okay, it's not a long list. When I first started looking at devices I hadn't realized a non-wrist-strap option was really out there. Besides traditional pedometers it seemed like all the popular devices were wrist-babies (Nike Fuelband, Jawbone Up, Fitbit Flex) but in a classic episode of cognitive dissonance (where your brain works to reinforce your decisons and make you feel good about them) I am very happy to have chosen a device that no one has to see except my boyfriend or people at the gym. I wear it clipped to my bra when wearing  normal clothes so it's super James-Bond-esque invisble to common passerby.

On days I work out it's been very easy to hit the daily 10k step goal and I excited to see how I do with it while on vacation. Although I have a goal to hit the gym the mornings we are in Philly (it's not close enough to parents place in Jersey) I want tombe able to stay somewhat on track with my fitness plans.  Having the fitbit track my activity and show whether I've been a slug will help me make better decisions about that second beer or those tasty french fries! Excited!

Up, up and away.

We're in the air! En route to Philadelphia, PA for a whirlwind of hugging, delicious foods and introducing the dude to my (metaphorically? emotionally?) nearest and dearest. Although we've been together more than a year and a half I have not before had the opportunity to introduce him to the majority of my family. Last summer he did get to my one of my brothers (I have 4, more on that later perhaps. We representthe beauty of the blended family, for sure!) but today will be the first time he meets my parents.

Our friends in MN have all layered heavy meaning and impact on our current adventure. Having not just met dude's family but helped him move his mom out of their childhood home, dined with all of his siblings, etc I feel like we are really just catching up to where we would be if my family were a reasonable drive away, instead of 1500 miles away.

All that aside... I am WICKED PUMPED!!!!!

We have plans to see my family, meet friends, tour my childhood stomping grounds and eat at many delicious restaurants. Oddly, the two things I am most concerned about are what he will think of the restaurants I've been yearning for and whether he will actually tell me when he needs a break. I want this to feel like a vacation for him, not a chore. Here's hoping!

I will do my best to capture the highlights of our trip in a later post. Yummmmmmm...