piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
snow-covered tips of 6 young fir trees against bright blue sky

after an unseasonably cold december (therefore no snow), and an unseasonably warm january (therefore no snow), here it is.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
should you be celebrating the occasion.

the paramour and i were retrospecting how much more we like the season now than when we were still under obligation to celebrate it. it's just really relaxing when one doesn't have to rush around to buy gifts and prepare for social occasions. usually i bake cookies and the paramour makes a turkey (which during the year we win at some point by shopping a lot at the big wholesale store which gives loyalty gifts) -- best stuffing ever, too. we have time off between the years, and we mostly game and cuddle the cats. i knit, crochet, and spin some stuff.

if the weather is nice (ie it's not pouring) we walk and look at the lights. that's my favourite part of xmas, the lights.

glowing blue snowflake ornaments with blue, red, and orange lights surrounding them and reflecting in a window

PS: i am not sure it counts as a workout when a walk doesn't even remotely raise my heart rate, but what the heck: 50 min walking and taking pictures in ladysmith.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
snapdragon flowers, shading from yellow to orange, peach, salmon to mauve



second training session with gloria. details )

this was more demanding than tuesday, but not bad. and i felt good after doing it (no GI upset this time). told gloria about my first interval walk, and how accomplished it felt, and she said that sounded like a good cardio workout, just to make sure i don't push myself too much while i am freshly excited about working out -- which is a good warning. she does really seem to be impressed with how quickly i pick up the correct form, especially considering i have never done any of these exercises before. i liked that some of the exercise was familiar, but also that there were new ones.

it'll be interesting whether tomorrow i'll experience the same muscle soreness i did yesterday. when i started running last night, at first my quads were bitching a bit about it, but that wore off, and today before exercise they were considerably less sore. that's kinda weird, since the run should have also worked them; i expected more soreness today. but apparently there is some not-quite-understood mechanism by which muscles that have been hurt slightly protect themselves from future pain.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
pink, blue, yellow, red, green splashes of colour pop out from the lush greenery of the lake shore, provided by lawn chairs and kayaks


today i started my c25k-style walking program. c25k stands for "couch to 5k" and is a 9 week (minimum) plan for beginning runners, taking them from couch potatoes to being able to participate in a 5k run. it does so by using progressively longer intervals of jogs alternating with recovery walks to gradually develop your stamina. you can easily customize it to your capabilities by repeating each week until you can comfortably handle the respective intervals.

me, i don't run (too much impact), but i am looking for a reasonable way to increase my cardio without killing myself, or alternately not getting my heartrate elevated enough. c25k is really popular, and so there are a lot of podcasts, which take the fiddly bits out of interval training by having somebody tell you when to start each interval (or providing musical cues).

normally i walk a 2.5 km loop starting from the shack, which conveniently goes by the mailbox -- that's why we call it the "mailbox walk", bursting with originality, yeah. it takes me about 40 min, which comes to a speed of 4km/h. week 1 of the c25k program consists of 5 min warm-up, then 20 min of alternating 60 sec jogs and 90 sec walks, finishing with 5 min cool-down. i replaced the jogging with speeded-up walking, and the podcast i used had well-matched bpm (beats per minute) for my cadence.

i finished the loop (had to extend it to 3.2 km) in 30 min. that's 6.3 km/h, a ~50% increase in speed. i was sweating and breathing hard, but i wasn't exhausted, which means i did pick a good speed for my fast walk intervals. no endorphin high, *snicker* (i've never in my life had one), but a high of accomplishment. it seems i was right that i can really up my cardio quite a bit without straining myself too much.

i plan to do these interval walks on days when i am not training with gloria (mo, we, fr). on saturdays i'll do exercises i learned from gloria at home, and on sundays i either rest or just do some random outdoorsy thing like kayak. it's kinda ambitious, so here's hoping i can keep this up -- i don't think it's too ambitious, and gloria sent email today asking how i was feeling, which is pretty awesome. if she keeps up this level of motivation, i might be able to keep up this level of commitment. the weather has been cooling off the last few days too, and we're basically through the summer heat now (yay!). if it rains too hard, i can do the same routine on the exercycle.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
on a dusky teal fence hangs a round mirror with a frame made from rusted wire, many rays radiating from the mirror, with shorter, irregular, wavy cross pieces echoing the round form.  the mirror reflects a concrete brick wall painted turquoise


today was my first training session with gloria. true to form, my stomach started rebelling an hour before, and would barely keep down my breakfast. thanks, body. fucking anxiety. intellectually i saw no reason to be anxious, but my reptilian hindbrain urged flight. i dragged myself there anyway.

it started bad. gloria wanted me to warm up 5 min on an elliptical. now, i'd never been on one, but they had looked like fun when other people used them. for me, no fun at all. the motion was weird; i felt like i'd fall over backwards if i didn't hold onto the solid handlebars (i never got to the point of using the arm poles), but gloria said my form was correct. ok, weird motion is something to get used to, eventually. however, after 2 minutes my legs started hurting from the knee down,and after 2.5 minutes i basically had to stop because when my body sends me pain, that is its message to stop what i am doing, and i listen. gloria looked a little worried because obviously she hadn't wanted me to feel pain during warm-up -- and she had promised me FUN. *little snrk*. i am not that easily discouraged. i finished the rest of the warmup on the recumbent bike, which was no problem at all. my legs stopped hurting right away.

(i am totally proud of myself for shutting up the internal voice that makes me self-conscious and pushes me beyond my capabilities. i'm determined to be honest with gloria no matter what; no sucking things up to impress the trainer.)

from then on things went much better. she had me do 3 exercises, then repeat those 3, then do 3 other ones, and repeat those as well, and then we did stretching as a cool-down. i got sweaty, and i felt my muscles, but it didn't exhaust me. click for more detail. )

and then it was over. gloria said i had more flexibility than she had expected, that i was a quick learner, and she had surprisingly few corrections to my form. i warned her that i am a geek, and that i will start to pour over anatomy books now. ;) i liked the way she did things; she was positive but not overly cheery, she gave good directions and encouraged me to ask questions, she said "i don't know" when she didn't know, and she asked before touching me! that was awesome. i think i made the right choice in hiring her.

so while i can't say it was unqualified fun, it went unexpectedly well despite an also unexpected negative beginning. i'm looking forward to thursday, and i bought one of those swiss exercise balls, so i can do the same exercises by myself on saturdays.

nobody else was at the studio, except for another trainer; he did not bother us (thank you, adam). that was nice, much nicer than it would have been at the NAC gym.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
some kind of yellow-red-green creeping vine climbing up a tall building with corrugated concrete sides


not much happening... well, no, actually i've been busy running around, doing errands, driving the paramour to various health professionals. too tired at the end of the day to go kayaking. so, stuff is happening, but it's not real interesting to talk about.

tomorrow is my first workout training session! i am so chuffed. i got lucky that gloria actually had room in her busy schedule in the afternoons, since my own weird-ass schedule means i'll actually have a greater chance of being awake then, instead of having to set an alarm and drag myself creaking out of bed at a -- for me -- unghodly hour.

which reminded me how privileged i am that i can allow my body to indulge in weird-ass schedules. i whine about it, but man, i am so lucky in that aspect of it.

small positive accomplishment, albeit *duh* moment: my cellphone had been unusable for months now; it'd randomly reboot every few minutes. i didn't miss it much until i started kayaking, so after trying a few things to fix it, i just ignored it. well, now that i want a working cellphone i decided to trade it in; our plan would allow me to get a more spiffy one (like the motorola razr HD LTE) at minimal cost. in order to do that, i wanted to wipe everything, so i did a hard factory reset. which fixed the rebooting problem. apparently neither i nor the paramour (who is our resident smartphone expert, since for some reason i feel luddity about phones) had ever tried that. oh well. i honestly didn't miss the phone much.

i'm missing my garmin forerunner 205 (GPS/training watch) much more -- after 4 years the battery had given up its ghost. garmin charges a freaking fortune for a new battery. thanks to the internet however, i am reaping the benefits of some tinkerers out there who figured out that an ipod mini battery fits perfectly, gives better performance than the garmin-branded one, and costs $5 instead of $70. yay for tinkerers. and the internet.

the forerunner has a heart rate monitor which will come in handy now that i am going to be switching up my walks to provide better cardio exercise. i'm looking at doing some form of interval training.

i'm generally feeling more energetic since i've upped my intake of fruit and vegetables. i've been away from the house nearly every day since buying the kayak and researching gyms, which is a huge thing, because i'd been quite hermitty for a long time now, a trend only broken when the *poing* visits. yeah, i am also more tired (partly that is because interacting with strangers takes a lot out of me), but i am doing stuff, so i have reason. i am really hoping all the exercising will also give me more energy over time.

oh, and we're gonna hire a fat nutritionist! i am really pleased to have found this person; it didn't look good finding someone simpatico in town because they either seem married to the establishment opinion of nutrition (which comes with constant admonishments about weight loss), or... slightly flaky. this one we'll have to talk to online, but that's not really a problem i don't think.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
sansevieria has sharp blades, green with bright yellow edges, which really stand out in front of a dark, mock-brick slate wall


on monday i had a meeting with VI fitness's rachael, for a mutual interview and my fitness assessment. physically rachael was pretty much the opposite of what i'd been hoping for -- petite, and very skinny. i know i can't expect a fat trainer (though i'd love that), and physicality isn't all that important, but somebody with some poundage on them might be more inclined to understand where i am at. anyway, just a minor thing.

except that rachael tried to empathize with me anyway, by bringing up that she too was once overweight, looking at herself in the mirror and realizing she absolutely had to lose 20 lbs.

yeah, rachael, way to go. i had already told the intake person, cassandra, that i was NOT there for weight loss, did not want to talk about weight loss, did not want weight loss pushed on me. guess that didn't make it through to rachael. maybe that just doesn't fit the script these guys obviously follow. i imagine that most fat people join a gym to lose weight.

i was good. i did not get defensive. i patiently explained that i was not there to lose weight, but to gain strength and flexibility. rachael smoothly switched tracks and nodded, said "of course, getting healthy is what matters most" and on we went with some more questions. nutritionally we had no big disagreements (the fitness industry seems to have backed off its totally stupid diet plans where all fat was bad). i told her that i was walking nearly every day about 40 minutes at an elevated heart rate, and that i had a new kayak which i drop in the water whenever i can.

then came the fitness assessment. they have a "revolutionary" (gimmicky) thing called "body age" where they do some simple strength and flexibility tests, weigh you, assess your BMI, and then tell you that you could actually be younger than you are if you only work out at their gym. as i expected, i was not as flexible and not as strong as i want to be. and immediately the weight loss snuck back into rachael's narrative, disguised by pointing out that my body was almost 50% fat and that was much too much. yeah yeah yeah. i cackled internally because the test had me pretty much at the chronological age i actually am.

then rachael made a tentative plan if i were to see her twice a week. which included 30 min cardio, but no classes for yoga or pilates. hello! i am there to gain strength and flexibility. i am already doing cardio on my own. why would i need more cardio, and 30 min of it to boot?

in short, she was nice, but i got the feeling she had a script, one script, and applied that to all clients equally. not a good match. i still like the facilities, and i want to check out their other location, but rachael is not gonna be my trainer. i wonder what the polite thing to do here would be; should i call back and let them know that i've decided against it? probably. should i tell them why not? ugh. probably, eh.

the other two places that were gonna call me back, did not. bummer for them.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
didn't go kayaking today; couldn't sleep last night and then felt out of sorts all day today. also am feeling my muscles, so i decided a day of rest would be a good idea for them.

i did putter around in the garden a little, typing up the tomato plants a bit more now that they're starting to have some weight on them.

4 years ago in may, i had just planted the ornamental plum tree.

young plum tree, quite spindly

now it actually gives decent shade.

it's kinda wild. ;) the tree is as tall as the house now.

lots of experimentation in the front garden this year, i built several subirrigation containers, which are working out great. there will be more next year if we're still here.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
ocean, with front deck of kayak in left lower corner,  a rocky point in the middle, and the mainland mountains in the background


but they were probably a foot and a half, just short of white-capping. i went to blue heron park, and while the bay was relatively sheltered, out in the strait there was a bit of a wind, which, together with the incoming tide, produced some nice waves. which were great fun to paddle in; i'd power on out towards a tiny islet, and then "surf" back in with the waves at my back. an hour and a half didn't even seem that long.


i'm coming to the conclusion that cardio-focussed exercise for weight loss is something of a bogus proposition. not that i am kayaking for weight loss (or doing anything for weight loss), i'm just keeping a log of food intake for heart reasons right now, and making some observations. kayaking for an hour and half at the activity level i am doing it burns off about 500 kcal. walking every day for 40 min at ~3mph burns off 250 kcal. changing my diet to one with a lower glycemic load has reduced my caloric intake by ever so much more. i couldn't possibly exercise at the level at which, for example, cutting out most refined sugar affects me, and now i seriously doubt anyone can but those who are already very fit.

weirdly enough, this makes me feel good. *heh*. for most of my life i've been reasonably active -- not athletically, but i've steadily walked, hiked, swum, canoed, with only some excessively sedentary periods. and people used to think of me as a couch potato, because i've always been overweight. i sorta chafed at that. ok, i wasn't fast, or particularly strong, but i had decent endurance, and i did most definitely not lounge on my couch all day long (more likely in my computer chair anyway). i've been equally fat when i was reasonably active as when i hibernated in front of my computer all winter long. i've been in very different shape, however. so yeah, going for "health at any size" is the only message that makes sense to me after observing myself and my interactions with food and exercise for decades.

i've mostly opted out from reading size/fat shaming anything (easy to do only if one no longer watches mainstream tv or reads mainstream papers/magazines). and i no longer see dr. weightloss-uber-alles ("i don't understand why your cholesterol levels are so good"). i've got my blood pressure and blood sugar levels down with diet changes, not with increasing exercise past a daily walk. but i still carry some of those dumb messages with me, and it's good to see it confirmed that they ARE dumb.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
seagull on rock outcropping covered with lichen looking back at me over its shoulder; coniferous forest in the background



2 hours ocean kayaking today, on the far outer edge of ladysmith harbour. put in at elliot's beach park, a relatively unknown spot, with a lovely, fine shell beach, and a lot of rock shelves. good swimming, probably also good diving. need to carry the kayak ~70m down to the beach, but after that it's easy to launch and easy to exit the kayak. did not dunk my butt in the water when exiting this time, but it was a close thing; beached whales have more grace than i do. high tide was at 20:05; pretty much ideal.

well, it would have been ideal if not some people with extremely unruly dogs hung around forever when i was ready to call it quits. i love dogs. i don't love dog owners who are thoughtless, selfish twits who have no control over their dogs. i have two words for them: obedience school. or only one word: leash. i am muchly in favour of letting dogs run free, but i do not want to be jumped on by wet, dirty dogs, especially not when i am balancing on the edge of a kayak. these guys did of course also not walk after their dogs to pick up poop.

aside from that mild crankiness, it was a great outing. i can really feel the workout, even though i spent some time just ambling around looking at the intertidal zone. a seal got very curious and watched me for a while in turn. i should take up snorkeling.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
bleached wooden stump in the lower left, sand ripples under water with caustic light play



no kayaking today; the paramour has a hurt back and we needed to go to the walk-in clinic to get a doctor to look at it and help, or at least prescribe some better drugs than ibuprofen.

then there was pizza to reward the paramour for fortitude in the face of hideous pain, because greasy, sodium-laden food makes everything better. i was hoping i could manage enough willpower to avoid the pizza, being as i had timed my tofu-n-veg dinner for the precise time The Temptation would be arriving. but nooooo. it just smelled too good.

*sigh*. maybe i'll get up early and take a long walk before it gets too hot.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
a line of single grass seed heads nodding against the dusky sky



more kayaking on quennell lake. except for one annoying boater who didn't think the speed limit applied to him, it was very quiet, and at least i got a nice little wake ride out of the twit. was out for an hour and 40 minutes. when getting out of the boat, like yesterday, lost my balance and plonked myself right back down -- except into the boat, not the water. yay. can't wait for my arm strength to grow so i can heave myself up and straddle the kayak, which is much more stable than getting out the side (that's how i get in, which almost feels graceful. almost.).

am pondering solutions for the camera. really don't want to buy a pelican case, because a hard case sliding around between my knees does not turn my crank. thought of cutting a hole in the deck right in front of me to put a hatch cover in and a drybag, which'll then dangle down between my lower legs. don't like cutting holes, and the deck is far enough away that reaching down into a bag would also not be the easiest. maybe i can rig up an under-the-deck bag. looked at on-top-of-deck bags, most of which are at best water-resistant, and found a waterproof one that has a small hatch facing the paddler -- great, except 10cm diameter isn't quite enough for my good camera to fit. wonder how hard it would be to build a waterproof bag myself; the top-of-the-line stuff is very expensive.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
low sun, conifers, view down another arm of the lake, mountain in the background, reflections in ripples



i did it. i took my camera with me in the kayak. i have a generic dry bag, but it's a hassle; i'll have to think up something better. i don't feel comfortable enough yet to just leave the camera hanging around my neck. but there are so many opportunities for fresh photos, i couldn't resist taking it with me.

quennell lake is probably the most interesting lake near us, and even though it's relatively close, it's a lake we have never been at, because there are no trails, and only private property all around it. i never realized how large and beautiful it is until i saw it on google earth, since one can only see a small piece of it from the road. the new cartop boat launch helps; by all accounts the old make-shift one was rutted, steep, and muddy, and i probably wouldn't have braved it. the lake is quite large for the area at 122 hectares, and what's even better is that it is shaped kinda like a "yH" with the two letter connected around an island, so it has a lot of shoreline, and if you run into some noisy people, you can paddle away into another arm. it is mostly forested though google earth shows that there might be some farmland along the western shore, and because of the placement of the arms, it even has mountain views. judging from the ripples when the fish started feeding, it probably has some large bass in it. there are houses on it, but not many, and they don't intrude. human-propelled and electric motors only, and a speed limit -- the right way to handle public use of a lake. kinda amazing, considering how much things have been getting built-up out here. what an extraordinary place to live.

now that i have the kayak, i am sorta tempted to kayak every possible lake around here and take pictures.

poised

May. 5th, 2013 14:36
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
runner on 1st getting getting ready to steal 2nd

so i went to my first "real" baseball game. now, everybody will snort when i mention that i have actually been to a couple of major league games in toronto. but somehow that didn't count, because we sat so far away that i could only see what was happening by trying to watch a giant tv screen, and it just had this all-around commercial feel to it, not what i had always imagined when reading about baseball games as family entertainment.

this game had that, and i had a great time. BC has its own league since 1995, which started with 5 teams -- some guys got together so their sons could play competitive baseball. now the league has 3 divisions, premier, junior, and college, and it actually looks fairly competitive for that age level. canada isn't exactly a baseball country; the weather was perfect, but the visitor attendance was scant; mostly relatives of the players -- nothing like even junior hockey. everyone applauded every good play, no matter from which team. i don't like crowds, and i like crowds who dis the opposing team even less, so this was great. i had a fabulous seat with a great view of home plate, and could put all my new-found knowledge of strategy into action. oh, and the home team are the "pirates". what could be more appropriate?

all i know about baseball i learned from anime. i've been marathoning major, an unusually realistic anime when it comes to strategy (not so realistic when it comes to the accomplishments of the hero, *heh*). which is why i wanted to see a real, live baseball game to begin with.

it was fun. as compared to the blue jays games i watched, i actually understood all the plays now, and the paramour explained the few things that i didn't know. i had a hotdog (i've been pretty good about sticking to a vegetarian diet, but i am officially a "flexitarian", so i can get away with eating really crappy meat products if the atmosphere calls for it). i even conversed with some people (proud grand parents of the smallest player). the home team lost both games, but i didn't care, and they seemed to have a good time as well.

i think i might do this again.


on the health front, i am back on DeathWatch; the last attack lasted 9 hours and wrung me out, and i've been having near panic attacks when trying to sleep, so i definitely needed something to take me out of it all. stupid human bodies.

but i'm mostly holding it together, for values of a very small life -- i am having a garden again this year, for which i have given up the idea of creating more raised beds (since there is no usable soil here), and am building sub-irrigation containers from 72l plastic totes instead. came up with a pretty decent design that seems to be working well, and that's making me happy. this will make some of my garden easily movable when we do move, which is still kinda nebulous, but we've started to casually look at acreage to see what we can afford.
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
so this year started sucking so hard that it threw me completely off track for a while.

but now, SPRING!
gnarled, grey, bare tree with blooming hyacinth and rockcress underneath
click for news, mostly consisting of whining )
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)


it's been a while since we've had a new cat. really this is #9 in chronological order, but the bear is no more. very small; about persis's size, only fluffier, with a stubbier tail. very interesting colouration. i don't think it's feral; probably just stray for long enough not to trust humans a whole lot. this is a speedy little bugger; not afraid to venture into the house if the racoons have emptied the outside food dish -- once went all the way into my room where it hid under the bed for a while before dashing back outside. been around for about 3 weeks; looks healthy. we've been getting acquainted; i am now allowed to approach to within 1.5m if i come bearing food dish in hand.

cold

Jan. 2nd, 2013 04:54
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
winter sun hides behind large maple tree

happy new year, everyone!
piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
small rocks with colourful letters painted on them, lined up under shallow water

westwood lake, along the north shore, near the RV park

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