Here there be dragons...

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

This is me

So I stumbled upon this online, and saw a few interesting answers and some very odd.   Then I shared it, and got all kinds of different answers, but all one word.   Amazing how poignant one word can be.  Or six, as per the classic short story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

But I digress, and because one-word has never been my thing, I thought I'd see what I could come up with that met the above criteria.

*this section inserted after writing below: Lol so that was more fun, and more personal, than I expected.   Re-reading, I deleted three lines that I felt was too close to breaking the rules as outlined above (two about family - "friends" and one about travel - "things you did"), but otherwise left it in the order it came to me.  And while the inner-editor in me wants to go back, I've decided in the interest of honesty to post as is.  It gets a little babbly -- consider yourself forewarned.*

So here goes...

Stubborn.  Happy.  Idealistic.  Cynical.  A lover of words, I clearly cannot pick just one.  I'm an adventure enthusiast and paradoxically a seeker of calm. Animals almost always make me happy; people occasionally do. Photos and memories make me smile. Dreams give me a reason to wake up in the morning.  If somebody tells me I can't do it; odds are I will -- unless I don't want to  (see "stubborn" above ;). A young spirit in a grown-up body with an old soul.  A lover of moonlit nights and sleeping through sunrise. One who neither trusts nor forgives easily but loves fiercely and forever.  A believer in logic and science and dreams and magic.  Thunderstorms energize me.  I see no reason to interfere with or be offended by the way other people choose to live their lives, unless they cause harm to others.  I am fascinated by how people's minds work, and often wish I could hear what was going on in them -- if only for a few seconds.  I lament not knowing all the things I'll never have enough time to learn.  My imagination amuses me to no end and I enjoy the contrast between what it sees and reality; when that line blurs, I hope medical science is at the point it can provide clarity.  Normal is boring and to be both feared and avoided.  Change is revitalizing.  I love technology, but have no wish to be ruled by it.  Silence is preferred over small talk.  One of my favourite simple pleasures is to curl up in a comfy chair with a sleeping dog, a purring cat, a good book, sunlight - or torrential rain - and nothing else I have to do.   A bubble bath, a beach, a waterfall, or a hike in the woods by a stream will all put me in my relaxed happy place.  Apparently water is a thing.  Sun is also a thing.  Someday, I would love to live somewhere that doesn't see winter.  Horses help me feel truly alive, confident, and happy.  Most of the time.  I have yet to outgrow waterparks or playground equipment (although somehow the monkey bars are So. Much. Harder. than I remember :).  The darkest hours of the night are my favourite time of day, and the thing I resent most about work is that I no longer get to appreciate them.  And as those hours are approaching, I will now turn off my technology, run a warm bubble bath, and savour every moment of it.

Good night.

Body type: not terrible but definitely enjoys pasta

So last night I slid the workout in at the last minute - which of course resulted in me being wide awake well after bedtime. Amazing arm workout - part of P90X3, which I was doing before so I have 2 months of records (3 tries of this video) and both weights and success rate have gone up significantly- so pretty pleased at that ;). Admittedly a couple of them took me to the point of failure today but still - improvement :)

Woke up a couple hours later with my arms and back zombified. Oops.

Lol and then today... Okay so today was 1-1 Plyo Legs. The 1-1 videos are filmed in what appears to be Tony's home gym -- a home gym by the way that I'm extremely jealous of ;). It's an hour of, well, plyo and legs. It started with a few different types of squats at ridiculously high reps - 40-50 each type?!?!. So much so I wouldn't have believed I could do it, had I not, in fact, just done it.

After that, however, things just got crazy. And I started live blogging ;). So consider yourself forewarned -- the as it happened story of my 50 minutes of exercise this am (sorry didn't occur to me till I had too much time on my hands so warmup and first 10 mins not included):

3 min wall sit? Wtf? Ah well -- at least it gives me time to type. Hey the notes say 1-3 mins. Why did we pick 3? Who was on that committee?

20 exercises. There are 20 exercises on today's list.

"I feel like I can do 5 more?" Who ARE you?!?! Seriously - nobody does that.

I just learned this is a step up from P90X for people who want to up their reps. I am not that person.

I may have fallen over after leap frog squats. At least I landed on a bed. But that makes getting back up even that much harder.

I am definitely breathing heavier than in the cardio routines.

Wtf - now chair squats?!? So not in my contract. Apparently it's a different muscle group - I don't know if I'm drinking that Kool-Aid. Two rounds of 45 seconds for this one. Better than 3 mins with the wall, but, well, no wall helping out.

Zigzags - I'm totally doing my own pattern ;). Ziging and Zagging, but not at all in the same order or direction Tony is.

Omg now the chair squat is on one leg?!? 90 seconds switching legs every 10. I cheated at one point - turns out if you cross your legs it's significantly easier. Who knew??? And the last 10 I did with both feet on the floor. 90 seconds does give me plenty of time to blog though ;)

50-100 reps?!?! I'm sorry, unless it's nap time, that's completely unreasonable. This would be tire runs. Suffice to say my tires were pretty flat. And my knees didn't come anywhere near my elbows. Earning my "honesty water" now.

6 exercises and 20 mins left. Not that I'm counting.

Oh - a new one that seems way less stressful than the others! But wait - after 50 reps it still hurts. Blah

Oh good - more jumping squats. Squat to chair and back. Sure - totally reasonable. Frig. Yes those are in other P90 vids so I've done them before but not after 45 mins of squats!

Woohoo - one I like! This one (a side lunge w weights) I rarely feel while I'm doing it but always feel the next day. Since I'm going to feel everything tomorrow, nbd. "We're done! No we're not." Tony's a jerk ;-P

"The monster - hardest one in the batch and we put it right at the end." I second my above comment. It reminds me of an old trainer I had who said that to do the job you had to be really good, understanding, and just a little mean ;)

Yeah I got those in and pretty well fell over after the last one. Squat, jump and spin 180, squat. Oh good - we get to do it again and spin the other way *sigh*.

Okay they got me - didn't make it all the way through that one :(

And now squat jumps on one leg. I did this, but the "squat" was more of a slight lowering (my fingers were closer to my knees than the floor!) and the "jump" was maybe a mm off the floor, or may have been more of a heel-lift.

And the last one! Picture a pro downhill skier doing mogels and now do that in your living room. Side to side jumps w knees always bent moving forward, and when you run out of room, backward. Would be almost fun if it didn't follow all of the above. And at 110 reps - too much of a good thing.

Oh and do you remember yesterday's arms? I'm actually finding it hard to hold my phone and type this at the same time.

Done and Done.  I feel so amazing right now.  Tomorrow, otoh...  Well that's future Lauren's problem.

Exercising would be so much more rewarding if calories screamed while you burned them.

So I’m still in the program  Just haven’t been super inclined to blog the last few – mostly because they haven’t been terribly blog worthy.

Saturday I did HC22 cardio. It was hard – all the HC ones are. It was repetitive – all the HC ones are. Lol as much strength as cardio so overall wasn’t thrilled. But it’s only 22 minutes, so if there’s going to be one series I don’t like, I’m just as glad it’s the shortest one ;) They also pretty well never show modifiers in this one, but what I found out is they *did* film them! And the modifier for this one posted the link to all the modifications in the FB group – so thought that was fairly cool. I didn’t actually watch it, but still appreciated that it was there.

Sunday was rest day – woohoo! And I think the first time ever I’ve had a planned rest day. Lol – all the programs have at least one a week, but mine usually gets moved randomly to whatever day I don’t manage to get any exercise in that week. Was actually surprisingly nice to be able to look forward to it instead of just accidentally using it up. Made for a true rest day. Interesting concept ;)

I totally do this ;)
Monday was more cardio – of the P90X version. This one I really enjoyed – although arguably wasn’t amazing cardio. Started with yoga for a warmup, which was surprisingly effective. Common sense I guess that you can move better after stretching and becoming all bendy, but that’s the first time I’ve actually seen such dramatic results. Then the workout itself had a decent variety. Some of the MMX type moves, which I love – but again, I didn’t find these nearly as much of a workout as Core de Force. Then some plyo, which I generally hate, but these ones were almost too easy – again, not as much of a workout as I’d expect. And then… I don’t even remember what finished it off. It was fun, it kept moving, and I got a workout. But arguably just not as good a workout as some of the other programs. To put in perspective – I was sweaty, but my hair wasn’t soaked ;) Lol that’s actually the bar by which I measure cardio now.

Today is all about the arms – but I haven’t done it yet; my bed was just too comfy and too warm.   Workouts are way more challenging after work, but at least it's one I like.  Wish me luck!

Trying to remove your sports bra after arm day... The struggle is real.

My spotters ;)
PSA for women with a long ponytail -- tie it into a bun or some variant before inviting an ab ball to the workout.  Felt all kind of special when I rolled back, weights in both hands, and realized I'd rolled onto said ponytail, effectively trapping myself.   Fortunately weights weren't all that heavy, so was able to roll myself forward again, but really?  lol sheesh.

This might be the first upper body workout I've ever experienced that involved zero push-ups and zero pull-ups.   And while I really enjoyed the lack of push-ups, I admit I missed playing on my grownup jungle gym ;)

So today was P90X2 Shoulders and Arms and clocks in at just under an hour.  As with the last hour one, it had an excessively long warmup that actually didn't leave me all that warm ;).  The workout itself was excellent though.   A series of - as you might expect - arm and shoulder exercises.   Most of which are done while standing on one foot to engage core/balance.  The reclining ones were done on the ab ball, which is always moderately entertaining.  Then you repeat all the exercises twice more.

Tucker wasn't nearly as impressed with my selection as I was ;)
Throughout this I used all my weights from 2-15lbs.  And yes, 15 is about the biggest I use for arms so for me that's good ;).  And the exercise I used two for, the woman on the TV was using nothing ;).  Since she is in WAY better shape than I, I'm calling that a win *g*.  Got through all three sets without lowering the weights or modifying.  Was feeling pretty good and somewhat proud of myself.  And then I went to pick up my phone to send a text.   Oh dear.   Literally holding the phone and trying to text at the same time was proving to be a sincere challenge.   I sense tomorrow will be interesting ;)

I will say though, the cool down was amazing.   Used the ab ball for a shoulder stretch (I know, random eh?) that was both a - incredibly effective, and b - possibly the best thing I've ever felt.  So exactly what my body needed.  So yeah, that alone made the workout worth it.
Current state
Interesting quote of the day: "don't let your goals screw up your workout" -- as in, if you target 10 and still have energy left, don't quit just cause you reached 10.  And conversely, if it's not working out for you today, accept the 8 and keep going.

Definitely one I would try again, but I'm coming more and more to believe that the 30 min workouts really are just as effective as the hour ones.  Mostly because they move much faster and don't include warmup or cool down.  Since those are the ones I'm more likely to stick with, kinda happy that's the case.

The fountain of youth

So I left for work at 6am and got home about 7:40pm.   Very long day, but I still pressed play :)

Fortunately it was yoga day, so low stress.  Supposed to be P90X Yoga -- but that's 90 minutes and, well, see above.  So I did The Fountain Of Youth -- last week's hour-long yoga (that I didn't do last week) instead.   Honestly, not one I'd do again.

So first we have the fact that yoga bores me combined with the fact that I cannot do it -- makes me really dislike the entire experience to begin with.   But this entire hour, I could do; there wasn't a single "you've got to be f'n kidding me" move.  Which tells me it wasn't particularly challenge.   Yoga's also supposed to be restful, but the background had a weird clicking sound that entirely got on my nerves -- for that reason alone, I'd avoid this video.   The pics I saw on FB of people who did the workout that was supposed to be today -- it looks thoroughly impossible so other than the 90 min commitment, I'd like to try it.  Maybe on rest day -- we'll see.

On the plus side -- the instruction on this video was excellent and gave me some tips that greatly changed how I was doing basic moves that are seen in every vid.  So for that reason alone, I'm glad I did it.   And also, my body feels so much better -- so it was worth doing.  My back and legs in particular are way less tense than they were.

Which is good -- because tomorrow is an hour of arms and back!  Yikes!

I can't get out of bed; my fitbit is charging and the steps won't count.

This morning my husband got up at four am.  This is a pretty standard occurrence that I generally meet by rolling over and going back to sleep.   Then at five he’ll come in and say goodbye, and I go back to sleep again.  Then I get up for real around six.  It’s like extended snooze alarms.

Except today when he got up, I couldn’t fall back asleep.  And was thoroughly unhappy about it.   Lay there till after he left, still hoping that maybe I just *might* manage a few more minutes.  Alas, was not meant to be – and worse, my brain was spinning around things that annoyed me more than a decade ago involving people who haven’t been part of my life in nearly as long.   This did not lead to a happy Lauren.

This might lead to a happy Lauren ;)
So I figured I could continue to lie there, failing to sleep, and becoming more unimpressed with my wayward mind.  Or I could get up and actually get in today’s workout – which knowing my work schedule today I was afraid would be a challenge. 

And so realizing that exercising is also a good way to burn off angry (even if it’s misplaced, decades-old angry), I chose the dedicated version and pushed play.   Today’s was Triometrics (for a laugh, reread the first time I tried it.   Not as dramatic as some of my “first time through” posts, but still fun to compare).   In summary – it’s an entirely leg workout where each exercise gets progressively harder over 60-90 seconds.  While not one of my top favourites, it is one I enjoy.   And while it’s one that it’s easy to cheat on, today there was no cheating.  Today, when my legs were already toasted from some workout or another that’s being blocked by my memory for the sake of my sanity, today I chose to push it.   The jumps were real jumps, the squats were very deep, and the modifications none.  Well – that’s not entirely true – no modifications until the point that I literally couldn’t do them anymore.  The last two exercises I got to level 2, but few to no reps of level 3.  And being at work is killing me.  

Can’t sit straight; come to think of it, sitting at all is painful.   Stairs are a special kind of hell.  My back is still feeling the other day and my lower half is toast from today.  And just to join in, whatever muscle connects the shoulder blades is making itself known anytime I dare to sit up straight ;)

But plus side – I did the workout.  I *really* did the workout.  And I was in a much better mood at the end of it.  Sadly that mood was fried within about half an hour of getting to work *sigh*   But that’s not Tony’s fault ;-P    I also tried a new protein powder that scored particularly highly on the science side of things that – I was pleased to discover – didn’t taste gross.  For the win :)

And for the first time in my life, I’m looking forward to yoga day tomorrow.

If at first you don't succeed, fix your ponytail and try again.

Today's adventure is Hard Corps Resistance 2.  And it toasted me.  Wow.

lol this is so me, I just had to include it.
First up -- my back was pretty sore after whatever I did to it yesterday, but one of today's exercises stretched it and actually made it better.  So that was pretty awesome.

As per previous HC vids, this one does three rounds of a set of exercises -- this one had a pretty even balance of arms and legs.  Lots of burpees, pull ups, squat jumps, and weights.  Definitely not my favourite video, but it was effective.  I'm fairly sore and exhausted ;).  All good.

Tomorrow is an exceptionally long day at work, so going to be a challenge to get the exercise in.  Not going to happen before work -- will take a fair amount of dedication to happen after.

In other news -- my Spanish teacher is going travelling for a few months; meaning lessons may be few or non-existent.  Boooo :(.  Not that there aren't a few hundred others to pick from, but was finally starting to feel like I was getting somewhere! Booo.  Ah well -- will get a few lessons in this week before he leaves and then see who else I can find...

Happy Thanksgiving

So Thanksgiving at the cottage was amazing, as always :).   A *slightly* different experience from the last twenty years or so in that the "cottage" has grown from the most rustic of lovely little homes in the woods to a completely stunning home that embraces such modern fads as electricity and plumbing ;).   I'm not sure those are going to catch on long term, but they're certainly good toys ;-P

Love the single-log fire my cousins built
Our traditional garbage-can turkey was as amazing as always :).   Still sounds horrible and amusing for shock value, but the end result is amazingly tasty Turkey in a fraction of the time.   Arguably not suitable for a city situation, but perfect out there!

Sasha had an amazing time bounding through the woods chasing chipmunks and swimming in the lake.  Multiple long walks.  Very happy puppy, loves it there as much as I do.   But she's been asleep for the last 24h making up for it ;)

Today I'm home though -- and that meant after 3 days of doing nothing but eat, play with Sasha, and eat some more, it's time to do the next day of Fusion.  Today was P90 Cardio.  It did its job in that I was a sweaty mess by the end of it, but it wasn't nearly as challenging as some of the others.  Had some of the shadow fighting, but not nearly as intense as Core De Force or even P90X3 MMX.   If I'd realized, I would've subbed in MMX but oh well.   Down side, at some point I wrenched my back so hurting now :(.  But not the fun muscle "I worked out" hurting, this is just ow.  Fail.

Ah well -- off to Chris' parents' for Thanksgiving dinner the 2nd and tomorrow as a random vacation day.  All pretty civilized really.

Today's exercise brought to you by the letters W, T, and F

So today's exercise video was Fountain of Youth -- which I was very much looking forward to until I discovered it was yoga.  And I really didn't have the time or patience for an hour of yoga today ;).  It can wait till I'm tired and recovering from wonderful Thanksgiving cottageness ;-P

So I substituted tomorrow's workout of Special Ops Resistance.   Ummmm this can pretty much be summarized as WTF?!?   Maybe if I hadn't just done the previous three days, it would've been okay (well except the ab pull up thing -- that's never happening).   But today, not so much....  It was the most ridiculous 22 minutes.  And one move that involved rolling over (like I said, wtf???) just left me dizzy and nauseated.  Ugh.   Anyways - suffice to say I'm glad that one isn't on the list again.  Most of the ones I can't do, I find a moderately amusing challenge, but this one.  No.  Just no.

Short post because it's COTTAGE TIME :).  Woohoo!

You make my knees feel weak… Just kidding – yesterday was leg day.

My legs are so tight right now, I swear I’m shorter than I was yesterday!   It’s all that jumping – clearly.   Every time you land, your body gets compressed.   Sound logic, right?  Tony did say not to do this barefoot on cement;  I suspect he was being slightly facetious, but I was indeed barefoot on almost-cement (read carpeted basement floor).   If I had a masseuse, I have reasonable confidence they could get me back to my original height, but alas, I do not.

Anyways – today was The Challenge.  This is all arms – alternating push-up and pull-up exercise for 30 mins.  It’s essentially impossible, but actually one of my favourites J   At least partially because if you fill out the handy-dandy chart, you can see what progress you’re making (or not, I suppose) over time.   So while I still have sadly low numbers (6 pull ups and 10 push ups) they’re significantly higher than they were when I started a little over two months ago.  Win!

The day starts with wide pull-ups.   Just no.  I can’t do these – like at all.  Esp as my bar options are quite narrow or very wide; there’s no inbetween.   Fortunately I invested in a pull-up assist band, and with that I can achieve my 6 J   Then for the rest of the time allowed I use the resistance band and do the “modified” exercise.   So my goal is 6 with assist and 20 modified for each exercise.   All good.   Then 10 normal pushups.   Then repeat both of those – on the second try I was really pushing to get to 20 of the modified.

Then it was chin ups (my favourite as I can actually do them) followed by military pushups (yet another reason I wouldn’t have done well in the military).  The chin-ups I got to THREE without an assist, four more with, and the 20 modified (these are pulling down on a band rather than pulling bodyweight up against gravity, so significantly easier – but at least I use the strongest band!).   And yes, that three deserves its capital letters.  I couldn’t even do one when I started and that’s the first time I’ve ever done three.  So win for me J    The military pushups…  Ugh.   I’m claiming I did all ten, but the tenth one I moved maybe an inch?  Lol it definitely wasn’t an all the way down, all the way up kind of thing.  (TBH – even my good pushups only go half way.   Tony’s okay with that though, so so am I).   I refrained from falling on my face, so we’re calling that a win.   2nd time through I only got to 2.5 on the no-assist.  Couldn’t make the three *sigh*.  Ah well.

Let’s see, I believe this was followed by close pull ups (thumbs touching).  Ummm yeah.   So the assist was brought back into play and even with that barely got to my 6.   The pushups were wide though, which is the easiest for me, so that was a nice balance and I got through all.  Second round almost exactly the same.

Done right?  Not so much…   We have vaulter pull-ups – as in one hand forward and the other backward.  Did okay with these – two with no assist and then admittedly struggled for the four with the assist.  Pushups were a weird one hand military and one hand up and out combo.  Nearly landed face first fighting for the last one but made it.  2nd round is same concept with hand positions switched for each.  Only made one unassisted this way.  Boo.   The rest was all okay though.

Then of course “oh, we got through that too quickly – burnout round!”  I’m pretty sure my neighbours could hear my eyes roll.   This is one pull-up (player’s choice as to style) followed by three push-ups.  Rinse and repeat.  I got to 6 before my arms gave out completely.  That’s a tie for my record – other scores ranging as low as 3.  So overall pretty happy with today’s workout.

However now I’ve done legs and arms – means tomorrow I should be pretty seriously sore.  And it’s an hour workout that I’ve never done before.  Yikes!

The laws of physics are merely a suggestion

Today was supposed to be The Challenge - which is 30 mins and one of my favourite routines.   However, tomorrow my timing is going to be very tight, and it is scheduled to have Plyocide -- which is an hour long and just sounds nasty.

Being a dedicated individual, I decided to tackle the nasty one today.  Plyocide.  And tbh, it wasn't that bad.  It *is* an hour, but it's an hour that includes about 12 mins each of warmup and cool down. And then the exercises themselves have more of a break between them than in the 30 minute routines.

So exercise-wise and effort-wise I don't actually think it's any more challenging (or useful) than the 30 minute ones.  That being said, I found the cool down super useful.   It's the one thing that's often lacking in P90X3 (there's an extra warmup vid for X3 but no extra cool down).

It was plyo - which means a lot of jumping and leaping around which I don't really enjoy, but like I said, less brutal than the X3 version.   There was one exercise that required a bench which I don't have so I made something up for that, but otherwise good to go.  And I survived the plyo pushups!  Woohoo!   Always nice to have quantitative results -- a few weeks ago I couldn't do that; now I can.  I also liked that it kept going and had lots of variety.  No multiple sets of the same exercises which was good.  

And, several hours later, my whole body is tired, so I feel it did what it was supposed to ;)

Burpees? Frig - I thought you said slurpees!

So I've still be having challenges convincing myself to be dedicated to month three of P90X3, but then in a FB group somebody posted a message asking who was doing the October Fusion Challenge.   Say what now?  lol.  A little more digging led to:

Just what I needed - another impossible exercise routine.   Why not?   So two challenges here -- one, Thanksgiving is this weekend and I'll be cottaging for a few days ;).  This is non negotiable.  So I may have to double up on a couple of others to fit those in.   I also just don't like Accelerator, so that one may get replace with a fall hike with Sasha :).  And two -- lots of these are a lot longer than my 30 min commitment.   So scheduling, esp this week, could be a challenge.    I figure those are seriously counteracted by two advantages: one crazy Facebook group that's flooding my newsfeed and is actually reasonably motivational, and two new videos that I'm actually interested to try.  Well except anything that has "Plyo" in the title -- those are bound to be an unpleasant experience ;)

Today was Hard Corps Cardio 1.  This series, which I've been interested in trying but haven't gotten around to (mostly because I was warned it's very repetitive) is based on training programs created for the military and on super-intensity as the workouts are only 22 minutes.   As the title would suggest, today's was cardio.  Was actually a remarkably good workout for 22 minutes.  It moves *fast* -- way more so than the other videos I've done.   It was definitely repetitive -- the same 4 exercises repeated 3 times (or 5 exercises?  Clearly my memory is blocking it; well that and I don't count particularly well at stupidly-early o'clock).   A jumping jack combo, lunging/squating, side shuffling, something they call A jumps, bear crawls, and burpees.  ALL the burpees.  And I was wrong, by my count now that makes for 6 exercises.  Regardless, go through them all at ridiculously high counts, then do it again -- some higher counts, some lower, then once more for good luck.  And then just when you think you're done...

Yup, still more bear crawls and burpees.   This is why people hate Mondays ;-P

Anyways -- this was done military drill style with the constant counting and people shouting out numbers.  Not nearly as much correction or focus on form as other videos I've done.  But it definitely moved *FAST*. A 50 count in any other video would be insane, in this one it was no big deal.     And I was super pleased that I kept up and there was no modifying.  That could be however because I wasn't exhausted due to the aforementioned lack of effort lately -- whether I could do that in the middle of an exercise program???   Questionable.

Anyways -- tomorrow is The Challenge, which is one of my favourites, followed by Plyocide which I'm dreading with a passion even though I've never experienced it before; this is even worse because there is zero time on Wed and it's a long video.  Yikes.   The Fountain of Youth on Thursday wins for more appealing name if nothing else :).  And then I'll be at the cottage ;)