Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Exercise in the morning, before your brain figures out what you're doing.

Agility day proved to be the first video that requires a fair amount of space to execute -- sadly on the one day that I don't have any space to work with *sigh*  Other than that, it was okay.  I'm still pretty sore from Wednesday's adventure but it wasn't brutal.  Cardio.  Sweaty, excessive cardio.  But mostly reasonable with a focus on co-ordination and leg strength.

Of course in every video there seems to be a requirement for at least one move I don't have a hope of managing.  This one was the plio-push-up.  Yeah, for those not in the know...   You do a push-up and on the the up phase you levitate all four limbs up in the air.  Right.  I got *maybe* an inch off the ground and could repeat it all of about twice.  They were doing multiples and moving sideways at the same time.  Right.  Maybe next week ;)

The word of the week is tired.   I am completely and totally exhausted.  Never would have believed it from 1/2h a day...   I'm also ridiculously thirsty -- which is probably for the best.  I'm usually not good about drinking enough water but this week I've been causing a town drought.

Tomorrow is either Dynamix (apparently stretching) or rest.   Rest sound like a fairly awesome idea, but part of me realizes if I don't stretch tomorrow, Monday will be even more brutal.

It's all about the X

Alright so if you remember yesterday, I mentioned I might feel that one today.  I have to tell you, sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up because my shoulders and back were screaming at me, but at the same time it felt like I had a seriously weighted blanket on top because I couldn't move any part of me.   All kinds of not fun.  I eventually rolled myself out of bed and stumbled my way to the bathroom in hopes of muscle relaxant of some kind.  Nope -- as per standard, anything I'm looking for is consistently in the other house (hey - want to buy a house?  We have a great one for sale).  Frig.   Did a little stretching and a lap or two of the house and then went back to bed for an uncomfortable night.   Suffice to say my drug supply has since been topped up here too :)

So waking up this morning, was the first time I experienced actual dread of today's exercise.  Limited sleep and, well, my quads, shoulders, and arms were all screaming at me.  Argh.  But committed so opened up today's video: isometrix (their spelling, not mine -- it's clearly all about the x.  I did eventually clue in that that was what CVX was too -- Cardiovascular X.  You know, as in extra evil).

So I know very little about isometrics except that it involves balancing and working the same muscle group a few different ways in a row.  I was pretty sure it was all strength and no cardio.  But never having done it before, I couldn't be sure.  And of course P90X3 does have a tendency to repurpose exercises to suit their goals.

And I wasn't far off.  Very slow -- even slower than the yoga video I think; although maybe it just felt that way?  Most of the positions were for 45 seconds.  That's about 40 seconds more that I was up to today ;)  And the whole series was about strength and balance.  I honestly think I would've found this one the easiest one yet except...  Yesterday.   Many of these exercises are based out of plank position, but long before my abs kicked in (which should be working there) my arms would start shaking and I'd end up face down on the floor.  Again.  *sigh*   And plank with one hand?  Tbh, after the first 5 seconds I gave up on that and just tried to hold the normal plank position.  Even the standing exercises mostly involve having your arms straight up or straight out in front of you, but my arms were so burnt today I couldn't even do that for more than a few seconds.   I did love the one balance exercise that was just stand on one foot with your eyes closed -- mostly cause I can do that and it's not exhausting ;)

Anyways -- have to admit I am so not about this today.  But I actually think that in isolation it was probably the easiest video for me yet.  But after yesterday?  Not so much fun.   Agility tomorrow -- I wonder if Sasha would like to play?

When you're going through hell, keep going...

CVX this am. What does that stand for? I have no idea -- google could potentially tell me but that would require reaching for the mouse and, well, that's simply not going to happen. 

 "What's better than cardio? Cardio with weights!" I am not even kidding; that is what the introduction states. And this isn't like some classes I've done where you do some cardio, then do some weights, then maybe a little more cardio. Oh no. This is Monday-style cardio while holding weight. Awesome. 

That being said -- I survived this one while I died on Mon. Diff being a - less core/upper body and b - some of the exercises they do a slow set then a fast set. Much better chance of being successful with more than one try ;). 

Of course, that's it's own unique form of challenge. Slow being a break for cardio while much harder w the weights, while fast is a cardio challenge but easier w the weights. Oh who am I kidding? By the time you get to fast your arms are dead from the slow so even fast is evil. 

 Under the TMI category (you've been warned) I have never been as sweaty a mess as after this class. The mat had a the start of a puddle on it. Ugh. And my face was so red that I had time to shower, dress, play w Sasha, and get 3/4 of the way to work before it returned to normal. 

That being said I felt really good right after said class. Energized rather than wanting to collapse. Which is great, except my muscles disagreed :(. Nearly fell over getting dressed -- apparently standing on one leg is no longer an option. And going up the stairs at the train station I had the standard muscles screaming "this is impossible! Stop! They invented elevators!" But also a whole new set of muscles I didn't actually know existed joined in. 

Note this is less than 1/2h after completion. I have a 2h meeting this morning -- I'm betting walking after that is going to be a serious challenge. Ugh. And given that it's currently a challenge to hold my arms in typing position, I suspect tomorrow arms and shoulders will be on strike. 

 But - I managed the whole thing with a 5lbs weight. Which doesn't sound like much but it's what the middle person was using (modified had a basketball or nothing, the advanced guys had 10 or 12. They said not to use anything higher no matter how strong you are). In one exercise I had to give up on the weight half way through, but other than that managed it for all of them. Now when I can do that and still be functional afterwards... That'll be a good day ;) 

 Also liked that in this one two of the people were not people who have to be fit by profession. They were from the test group for the series. Obviously the superstars of said test group, but still - promising. 

 I haven't looked at what tomorrow holds. I'm enjoying my ignorance.

Yoga is my new favourite way to pretend to work out

Alright so after day 1 and 2, I was surprisingly not horribly sore this morning when I woke up.  Stiff, but nothing horrible.  Or so I thought.   Then I went downstairs -- you know you've had a good workout when it hurts to go *down* stairs.  Oh dear.

But so be it.  Now I'm trying to maintain my usual activities -- little though they may be -- and that includes taking the stairs whenever possible.  Today, that was a challenge.  I did it, but after about three steps I was feeling it.  I'm not even exaggerating.  Three mere steps.  After three flights, I wasn't sure I could lift my leg high enough for another step.  Fortunately I didn't have to go more than three flights anywhere today ;)

Anyways -- I survived my day and somewhat trepidatiously turned on today's P90X3: Yoga.  And have to say I was somewhat relieved.  While not as slow as usual yoga, it was still significantly less intensive than the previous two days.  I had some challenges in that it assumes knowledge of yoga poses -- knowledge that I don't have ;)   So I had to pause and watch a few times to figure out what they were doing, but for the most part I think I got it.   There was only one that I really didn't figure out what they were doing -- I could catch the simple modification but not the real or advanced ones.

That's the theoretical understanding. There is, admittedly, a big gap between knowledge and application.  There were at least two moves that I'm pretty sure were defying the laws of physics.  I'm not convinced I'm allowed to do that ;)   I fear bad things that happen when you break the law.  Any law.  Fortunately the law-defying moves have modifications I can actually do.

Then there's the category of simple yet impossible.  For instance, the handstand just isn't going to happen.  It's not complex, it's just unfeasible...   I would like to be able to do one, but I suspect either a wall or a spotter will be required ;)   And standing splits?  No.  Just, no.  You have got to be friggin kidding me.

Overall I was so stiff from yesterday that my already pathetically minimal flexibility was even more restricted.  Balance is pretty good -- not perfect, but I wasn't falling over either ;)   Sadly that was insufficient to counteract the lack of flexibility.  The person demonstrating the "easy" modifications was a professional dancer.  Not a hope in hell that I could ever do that.  Sheesh.   I was so very glad there was no mirror in that room -- in my imagination I was affecting  a position vaguely similar to what was on the screen.  In reality?  Right -- legs don't need to be straight.  That'd be boring ;)    Some of the twisty moves I don't even want to know how it looked.  I'd say it's a pretty safe assumption it was nothing like it should've been.  ;-P

But was a good day to let muscles down a little.  I suspect tomorrow will be back to bordering on impossible.  Wish me luck.

When work doesn't feel like work

So had a bit of a different day today.  Spent the morning volunteering at a home for adults with physical and/or cognitive disabilities.  Essentially assisted living.  We were painting rooms in one of the apartments.

I kinda love the giving back to the community aspect of RBC -- it's good to be involved with.   Was also super interesting to learn about a segment of the community about whom I otherwise have little to no knowledge.

In this case, residents ("members" as they prefer to be called) who are semi-independent live in apartments in groups of three.   Each apartment also has a support worker who helps them with basics of cooking/cleaning/finances/outings/etc.  Some of them have jobs, others are involved in day-programs.

There were six in our group and another six coming for the afternoon.  We were doing four bathrooms (in two apartments) and some baseboards.   All good except that we had more people than paint brushes, so there was some down time.  Frustrating for a group of type As, but otherwise it was a great morning and I got to learn a few new things :)

And then it was a race to get back to work for the first of the afternoon meetings ;)   You know, my actual job.  hahaha   And after day two of P90X3, not sitting at a desk all day was probably a good thing ;)

The morning after

You're supposed to exercise at about the same time every day.  Alas, that really doesn't work for me *sigh*   And as a result, despite the fact that last night's exercise was about 7:30pm, this morning's was 6:30am.  Yes, you read that right.

Let's consider the things wrong with that statement.  One, even though I'm up at that time every morning, I still firmly believe 6:30 should not come twice a day.  It definitely should not come associated with the word "exercise".  Two, there was less than 12h between Day 1 and Day 2.  Frig.

On the plus side, I rolled out of bed and all the muscles seemed to work.  Quads were a little sore, but nothing horrifying.  So today's video is "The Warrior".  Awesome.  Used to train US Military.  Right.  Keeping up with them should be no problem ;-P

This one had very little cardio and didn't require nearly as much coordination.  No, it was sheer strength.  Push-ups are a personal nightmare for me, especially now.   Now this program doesn't make you do a ridiculous number of them or anything like that.  No, it introduces a whole new level of torture.  The pause.  As in go half way down and then pause for ten seconds.  Who the frig does that?!?!?  No, push-ups should be down-up.  Period.  But noooo.  Go half way down and pause.  Then the rest of the way down and pause.   When the plank position is a rest position, you know you're in trouble.  This was all kinds of not fun.  And I may or may not have ended up collapsed, again, face down on the carpet *sigh*.

I was significantly more successful in this one than yesterday's, but still didn't actually manage to complete all the activities.  Note, I'd just like to complete them at this point -- we're not even talking complete with good form.  Just survive.  My guess is about the time I can do that is when the videos all change.

I'd just like to mention that walking up the stairs this afternoon was a challenge of epic proportions.  I'm not sure when I moved to the CN Tower, but that's definitely what the climb felt like.

I'd like to say thank God tomorrow is yoga day, but I feel like they may be able to turn that into a brutal experience as well.   We shall see.

The entrance exam to Hell...

Alright so I opened day 1's "Accelerator" video.   Did a quick click-through and all the exercises seemed reasonable.  Only required equipment was two towels (or any other small items you could jump over -- I used a skipping rope and an old t-shirt).  And it introduces itself as cardio.  Sweet.  I could make myself miserable trying to get through 1/2h of cardio, but at least I shouldn't be sore the next day.

bwahahhaha, hear that bastard Hindsight laugh.

It is cardio.  Oh yes, absolutely it is.  But it's MEAN cardio.  In that it expects cardio and muscle strength and coordination and balance.  That's a lot of ands.  About three too many really.   At one point I could *not* get the coordination down -- it took everything I had to avoid landing in a heap on the ground.  Later my muscles just gave up entirely -- I'm pretty sure I just lay down on the floor and let them keep having "fun" without me until that particular exercise finished.

I did push myself up again, and managed to finish the video, but I think we can successfully class day one as a complete fail.  Plus sides -- I see why this program works.  If you can *actually* do the full half hour, you are fit.  Very fit.  Especially if you do the insane modifications (they have three people demoing -- one doing "normal", one doing modified for joints etc, and one doing modified for extra challenge).

Walking down the stairs half-hour after the fact I was super grateful for the banister.  Will be interesting to see if I'm at all functional tomorrow.

In hopes of being on a warm beach in Feb...

Alright so as those who follow the blog already know, I was grounded from any form of activity all summer.  From the middle of June through about 2 weeks ago, I was allowed zero exercise.  As a result, I sadly find myself horribly unfit.

So I started researching various fitness options.  The gyms around either didn't work with my schedule (tricky given full-time at the bank, teaching two evenings/week, and spending weekends in Paris) OR were insanely expensive.  Less cool.

I have a variety of fitness aps on my phone, a few of which I quite like, but none of which are likely to help me create serious change.  Online I had come across P90X and was considering it.  I had double concerns though with the number of reviews that basically said it's impossible, and the likelihood of me actually committing an hour every day (+++ since that doesn't include cool down, stretching, or shower afterward).   My days are pretty booked as is -- that may not sound like a ton, but it adds up fast.  And I'm disinclined to start something I figure I don't have a hope of succeeding with.

Then I was chatting with Nicole -- who's in awesome shape these days -- and she told me she was doing P90X3.   As in they took P90X and P90X2 and combined lessons-learned to come up with a 30 min condensed version.  Hmmmm 1/2h I can do...  So I googled and while much of the feedback still said the workouts were impossible (basically an hour condensed into half an hour) people were finding it easier to complete the program without the massive time suck.

So alright - seems good!   Except that I couldn't lift a 10lb weight, do a single push-up, or run more than a block.  Fail.  So I spent two weeks getting at least a base level of fitness there -- look at me being responsible ;)   See, it happens once in a while.   You know, before diving into the insanely intensive 90 day workout period when I'm the least fit I've been since uni.   Side note -- I bitterly resent being old; I should NOT have lost so much fitness in such a short time.  *mutter mutter*

Okay so feeling about ready to go -- there are three schedules you can pick from.  One for building mass, one "classic" -- whatever that means.  Lots of muscles I think.  And one titled "lean".  There are actually a few others as well, but they're clearly for insane people so I didn't even bother to read them.  I was leaning toward the lean one (*snort* sorry, couldn't resist) but at least took the time to compare it with the classic one.  Lean has more cardio, classic more strength.  Fair enough, but since improving cardio is also one of the key goals, I figured that was a win all around.

Alright so good to go.  I print of the program -- it starts on Monday.   A different video every day -- with the same 7 videos repeating for three weeks.  The fourth week is a complete mashup of videos, some the same on different days, some new ones.  Then the whole thing repeats with a different set for the next month.   So I figure for the first week, I'll blog how each day is going.  Then let it go for a while, cause it'll repeat for two weeks.

Come along for the ride or not, you've been forewarned... ;)

The end of a chapter

So just to finish off the story for the curious – Lexi has been sold.   Her new owner seems to be pretty much exactly what I would’ve been looking for if I’d thought through the “having to sell her, who do you want to buy her” process.   New owner lives in NH, has a small riding school, has ridden prelim level, and her previous horse is retired on her farm living out his life (she sent me pics, he’s in great condition).   One of the things I really liked was before she and I were in communication, she sent Christina pics of her farm and asked that they be past on to me.  Such a little silly thing, but no matter how much you try to be logical about the whole situation, emotion still creeps in.

It was, possibly, the fastest sale I’ve ever been involved in.   Friday I found out how long it’d be till I could ride seriously.  It took me till Sunday to commit to selling her – at which point I told Curtis and Christina.   Curtis and I spoke on Monday to discuss pricing, positioning, etc.  By Tuesday, they had cleaned her up and taken pics as well as putting together a video.

Seriously, she was not much less scruffy than this when I sent her to them ;)
Either Tuesday night or Wednesday am they started posting the sales links (I saw it mid-day Wed).   The first person came to see her on Wednesday.   Then Curtis called me Wednesday evening – apparently there was a fair amount of interest in my girl (of course!  How could there not be?   Although admittedly she was also priced to sell quickly).  They had one person already in, one lined up for Thurs, two for Fri, and one for Sun.  BUT, a lady had called from the states offering a significant non-refundable deposit to hold her till Sat.
Hmmmm okay.  So we accepted that and when it cleared we cancelled all the in-between people.  At least one of the Fri people was a pro, so I was reasonably certain they’d at least return if it didn’t work out.  The Wed people also were interested in a second try but we pushed them off until after the weekend.

So then on Thursday, the potential buyer had her vetted – which she passed with flying colours.  Thurs evening I got a call that they were just going to buy her.   Without even coming on Saturday to try her.   Apparently the new owner’s passport was expired, so she decided to purchase her based on the video and conversations with the vet and with Curtis and Christina and her parents would come pick her up.
Now this was right before Thanksgiving weekend – they discovered they wouldn’t be able to take her across the boarder on the long weekend, so would come get her on Tues.   She wired funds on Friday – but of course, long weekend…

Both Curtis and Christina asked me if I wanted to come and say goodbye.  I’m not good at goodbye, and was having a harder time with her going than I’d expected to.  So I opted not.  But part of me was sad about that too – I was afraid I’d regret it, esp as I wouldn’t get to see her again given where she’d be going…    But then Curtis offered to make the barn be empty when I came – which just epitomizes how awesome they’ve been to deal with about everything.  So I took them up on that, and Chris and I stopped in on the way home from Thanksgiving at the cottage.  Chris kindly vanished somewhere while I groomed my pony for the last time and fed her a bag of carrots.  I took her for a bit of a walk and enjoyed the sunshine with her.   Still makes me teary.  And then I left her, happy in her stall, and away we went.

Tues the parents came and watched her be ridden with intent to drive home on Wed.  By Tues @ lunch the funds hadn’t cleared yet so I wasn’t sure that’d happen, but by Tues evening we were good to go.  Wed morning I got a text that she’d loaded well (no surprise) and they were off.   That evening I got a message from her new person that she’d arrived safely.   And a couple days later, that she’d enjoyed their first ride (complete with pics).

So there you have it.   Lexi is rehomed with her new person in what seems to be a great home.  And I am now horseless.  And admittedly not dealing with that entirely well.  But such is life.   Logically, it was the best possible solution to a less fun situation.  Emotionally?   I need a new hobby – fast.

The decision's been made...

Doesn't she look impressive?
It's not often that I waiver on a choice, but what to do with Lexi has been hard for me.

Lexi is the only horse I've ever taken along really slowly.  hahaha now admittedly that was more due to circumstance than any great growth in maturity on my part, but the end result is a really nice 7 yo horse ready to take on the world.
Our first ride - look how dark she was!
And in what should've been our first season of real fun, an abrupt stop was inserted due to eye surgery.  Frig.  Okay well, it'll be a few weeks right?  Sucks, but not a big deal.  Right.  You're not new here.  Three surgeries later...   And - I *am* allowed to ride again.  Woohoo!  BUT, I can't risk a fall until I'm 6 months post-surgery.

The day we learned she could jump ;)
Right.  Now yes, I acknowledge anybody can come off any horse.  Stupid things happen.  But we must admit, certain horses and certain activities increase the likelihood of that.   And anything I'm going to enjoy riding or even just training at the level I'd be asking Lexi to, runs a legit risk of something stupid happening.  And I know myself well enough to know that "take it easy" isn't a skill I'm good at.  It's kinda an all or nothing thing.

It soon became clear she was all for XC
Alright so six months -- that means spring.  Maybe I could just wait it out.  Or send her to to Florida, so she'd come back with some competition experience and fit and ready to go.  That'd be so much fun for me :)   Esp as Curtis agreed with my assessment that she'll make a legit one-star horse with no issue.  And that's a goal I *really* want.

On a mission at her first E level show
And then I clued in -- I still have another surgery.  6-12 months from now.  So the being able to ride seriously will be 6 months after that.  The worst.  And, as always, it came down to the numbers -- I can't afford to support a horse I can't ride for 12-18 months.  And so, I finally made the official call.  She's going up for sale.
She is the suckiest, most people-friendly horse I have ever owned.
Curtis and Christina are going to handle the sale -- makes it a little easier.  One, I'm awful at sales.  Two, I'm not convinced I want to sell her (I feel I *have* to as I can't justify keeping her, and I won't change my mind on that, but I definitely don't want to).  The videos they send me just show me how nice a horse she really is, and how much potential.  Other than a handful of students, I've never seen anybody ride her.  I see her and think "wow, I'd love a horse like that!" -- yeah, I'm not likely to get that lucky again :(   Was such a fluke that I got her in the first place.

Loping over PT XC combo with absolutely no effort or concern
But such is life.  And mine, at the moment, has to be dedicated to doing whatever it takes to ensure I can see.  Because, well, blind sucks.   I've permanently lost my peripheral vision in that eye; I'm not okay with giving up the part I have left.  So being a responsible adult (stop laughing) she is now for sale.

The day I found out I couldn't ride any more, I had planned on a jump school.
Instead, I gave Kennedy a lesson on her.  So much fun to watch!
This blog started entirely to document adventures as a working student for Denny Emerson.  I'm not sure where it goes when there are no horsey adventures to write about.  Suggestions for the next hobby? ;)

After several months off, she's starting to get fit again. Thanks Curtis and Christina!