Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Love this Time of Year

I had a lovely run of "almost" 4 miles on the trails this afternoon. It's just a perfect day in New England, cool (but warm enough for shorts), crisp and sunny. The trees are starting to turn a little, no mosquitoes, etc. Given all that, I couldn't understand why the gym was completely packed (as packed as I have ever seen it) when I passed through on my way to outside. Every treadmill and every elliptical was taken and most of the bikes too. All these people were facing the window looking at the lovely day outside, but on a never-ending tread to nowhere. I'll just never understand that.

Anyway, back to my run: at one point I was enjoying the run so much that I realized that I had a huge grin on my face. It was just me alone in the woods running on this single track with this huge, stupid grin. Life is good.

My life must REALLY be changing ...

... because I currently have three (3!) skirts in rotation! I think we've just entered a parallel universe or something. Or maybe Hell just froze over.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dear Spinning Participant

Published class times are provided because that is when the class is supposed to begin and not merely as a suggestion as to when you might wish to show. The rest of the class is not interested in waiting until your lazy ass decides to stroll in. And while we're on the subject, if you don't even know how to set up your bike, you might want to consider actually coming to class a little early so that the instructor can help you before the class starts, rather than having to interrupt the active, in-progress class and thus disrupting every single other participant. Lastly, you know that hacking, phlegmy, persistent cough you have? You might want to reconsider closing yourself in a room with ten other people who are going to have to breathe in whatever disease you're spreading around (particularly since you are on a spinning bike, presumably both of your arms are engaged and you're not even covering your mouth). Oh wait, I forgot it's all about YOU, isn't it? Sheesh.

People suck.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Workout Recap

Rest Day

Personal Training
Evening Spin Class

4-Mile Trail Run
Evening Core / Spin Class

Evening Spin Class

1 Hour Horseback Riding

Personal Training
Horseback Riding Lesson (1-Hour)

1.5 Hours Horseback Riding

I didn't end up running as much as I had wanted to this week. On Wednesday I had to take Lola to the vet (she had been limping for a couple of days, but she's fine now) and on Thursday I was just too busy and took the time I normally would have used to run to go horseback riding instead. Still, I feel like I had a pretty strong week for physical activity. I sure am sore right now, I can tell you that. I'm also so happy that I was able to ride three times this week! I know that's not going to be the case for every week, but it's great to be able to take these opportunities when they come up. All-in-all, I'm pretty happy over all with my week.

I also had meant to post something about the trail run I did on Tuesday, it was just wonderful. Probably the best run that I've had all year. It was a cool, crisp day and everything seemed to just come together and click all at once. I ran most of it (my walk breaks were brief) and I just felt fantastic and strong the whole run. It was so nice that I tacked on an extra trail. I wish every run could be that great. I also wish that I had gotten out there a couple of more days this week, but the schedule didn't work out as well for me as it usually does.

This week should be similar, only I have two riding sessions planned, not three. I also have a dentist appointment on one day (thought it was this week, but it's next) so that will be a day I won't be able to run.

and ANOTHER ride

What a week this has been for riding for me! First Thursday schooling at Barn #1, then the tough lesson yesterday at Barn #2. And finally back at Barn #1 this morning. I swear last night and this morning that I could barely walk, I didn't know how I was going to ride again. But I showed up at the barn bright and early this morning (if you're wondering, 7:41 AM -- or better known as "suck o'clock") and tacked up my horse. It ended up being a good hodge podge of stuff today. We warmed up in the indoor barn, went out to the outside dressage ring for some more involved flat work and then back into the indoor barn for a bit of jumping. Ro set up a little bigger jump today (yeah, it was HUGE! All of about 2' -- LOL) and we jumped so nicely over it and I was able to ask Scottie for a nice big jump that I started to feel a little bit like my old self over the little fence, not so much just a passenger. I'm hoping this is a sign that I'm coming back.

Anyway, after all that, Ro sent me down this trail that runs through the property on my own to just hack. That was so nice, being out on a trail alone on a horse again on a beautiful Fall morning. I'm happy that she thinks I'm a good enough rider that she can trust me like that. Oh also, while I was riding at the beginning of the hour, she introduced me to a woman who boards a couple of horses there. Apparently she has a horse that is available for half lease, an "Appendix Quarter Horse". This is one of the newer terms in the riding world that I didn't know, but I think it means that the horse is half thoroughbred & half quarter horse. Anyway, she and Ro seemed to have an easy and comfortable friendship and I felt like I fit in pretty well. I like that I could maybe have some horsey friends at this place (there were a couple of adults at the other barn too who I felt that I could be friendly with. 1 or 2 in my lesson too). There are so many kids around all the time, that it's nice to know that there are also adults that I can relate to as well.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another Ride

I had a riding lesson at a "new" barn today, one of the ones on my list that I really wanted to try before settling in somewhere. When I got there, I realized that this is a much more professional place. I knew that they have some presence in the eventing community so I kind of expected this. Anyway, I had a very tough lesson with two other people and it made me realize how far I have to go. It was weird though, I kept thinking about how much I suck, yet I seemed to actually be better at the harder stuff, than the easier. Just walking and trotting out I couldn't seem to get a very forward pace from my horse, had trouble collecting her and with the leg yield. Yet when it was time to do the complicated serpentine routine -- canter, circle, canter, loop, trot loop, canter loop on other lead, repeat, canter diagonal, switch direction & lead, canter circle and start the serpentine again ... I did very well. Even the instructor seemed happy with my performance. I was the last one to go too, so I watched everyone else wondering if I'd even be able to pull it off, but I did okay with that part, amazing myself a little bit.

So now I have a dilemma. I like BOTH barns (you saw that one coming, didn't you?) The first barn is more casual, more laid back. They let me school on my own, maybe I'll take a trail ride someday, I get along nicely with the barn owner and feel pretty comfortable already, etc. It's FUN there. Barn number two however probably can make me into the kind of rider that I want to be (again). They're nice there, but more formal, more structured. But the class was pretty hard and I didn't stop working the entire time. They are deep into the discipline of riding that I most admire (and most loved when I was younger) so I feel like I could learn so much there. So, I'm thinking that maybe I'll ride at both places for a while. The lessons are pretty reasonable really, so it's actually doable, at least for a while anyway. So I asked the instructor if I can come back for next weeks lesson and she is up for it. I asked if it was okay if I wasn't up to the level of the others and she made a kind of "you're crazy" face at me and told me that I was just fine for the level of the class. Oh also, they alternate weeks, one week flat work/dressage, the next week is jumping. This week was the dressage week which means that next week will be jumping -- ACK! She said not to worry, they'll start me off on some smaller fences. They sure don't waste much time around here. Before I started back with the riding, I just assumed it would be MONTHS or even longer before I had the opportunity to try jumping again, so this is pretty exciting for me.

So I think that's what I'm going to try and do now. I'm going to have my Friday barn and my Saturday barn. Maybe I'll eventually feel really strongly about one over the other and will just go 100% with that barn, but for now this is what I'm going to do. Of course, my life just got a little more complicated and busy, but this is the fun stuff. I'm so happy and so lucky that I get to have this in my life!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Aggravating start, but nice end

So, it was a crazy day as predicted and my meeting that I was concerned with ended up lasting two hours and fifteen minutes. TWO HOURS and FIFTEEN MINUTES. Gah! But it ended up being successful, even if completely aggravating. But after that I was pretty wiped out. Anyway, so later in the afternoon I touched base with "Ro" at the riding barn and confirmed that she still wanted me to come and ride Scottie. She said come on by and I was so happy to do so after the day I had.

Ahhhhh, it was so nice. It was really a perfect early Fall day. Cool and crisp with that long slanting sunlight you get at the end of the day. I just showed up, grabbed the horse, groomed him, tacked him up and took him down to the outdoor dressage ring, there was really no one else around. I had a wonderful time schooling him at various paces, but mostly at the canter, which Ro had told me he needs the most. Lots of circles and diagonals, etc. He doesn't seem to like to pick up the correct lead, so we worked on that a lot. He was also nice and perky with the fresh weather. It was great to be out all alone on a horse again, I didn't think I would have this chance so soon in my return to riding.

When I came back to the barn Ro was up there with some other people and so she asked me to ride him down to the pasture down the road, bareback! Yikes. That was interesting, hadn't done the bareback thing in more years than I can remember and so I felt pretty insecure, but it worked out okay in the end. Afterwards I got to stand on the back of the tractor for a ride back up to the barn. I just love country life!

Edited to add ...

I just wanted to add to my rant below that I really can't remember when I've been in this pissed off of a mood. And that really illustrates for me overall how I really am in a very good mood here most of the time.

I am so pissed off and I have to vent! ARGH!

Okay. So, there is this guy in my group who likes to take over meetings, pontificate, muck around in areas that are the responsibility of others. Basically likes to throw his weight around and try to impress people with his (supposed) superior knowledge. Let’s just call him Arrogant, Self-Important Windbag. Okay, so I am on this project that involves this product that I don’t know very well and I am trying to learn what I can. I don’t have a huge, huge role, but one of the things that I am going to be responsible for is code migration. The migration is a lengthy and multi-step process and so I have been scheduling some one-on-one working meetings with the developer to ensure that my comfort level is as high as possible. So today we are on the cusp of starting our migrations to production (previous migrations had been to QA) and yesterday I suddenly received a meeting acceptance to the working session from this guy on Arrogant, Self-Important Windbag’s team. I emailed the guy about it and finally, with reservations, figured that he’s okay to attend. I’m concerned about covering everything that needs to be covered, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. And now this morning first thing I suddenly received an acceptance to the meeting from Arrogant, Self-Important Windbag HIMSELF! I am sooooooo pissed! This is MY meeting (who forwarded him the invite anyway???). I did not invite him! He’ll just take it over and we’ll never end up covering all of the practical stuff that we need to get to. He’ll just question everything we’re doing and tell us his own arrogant, self-important windbag opinion of how every little step should be done because he, after all, has knowledge superior to all of the rest of us combined. Oh did I mention that I have another meeting directly behind this one, so the working session cannot go over in time! I. AM. SO. MAD.

There. I wish I could say that the rant made me feel better, but I’m still steaming.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Workout Recap

I ended up having a relatively good workout week. This is how it ended up playing out:

Rest Day
Personal Training
Evening Spinning Class
3.5-mile Trail Run
Evening Core / Spin Class
3.0-mile Trail Run
Evening Spinning class
3.5-mile Trail Run
Personal Training
1-Hour of Horseback Riding

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a crazy week coming up. Hopefully I'll stand up to it all.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Workout on a Horse

In a way today was my reward day. First the massage and then I had an afternoon riding lesson. I have a friend, Tom, from NYC who is up visiting this weekend, so I dragged him with me to the barn. We got there and one of the barn girls showed me the lesson board and called down on the intercom to "Ro" to let her know that I was there and to find out what she wanted me to do. She asked to speak to me over the intercom and then she said, "Deb? You're really advanced." (uh, I am?) "have your jumped before?" "Sure, plenty of jumping. Like, 22 years ago." "You're going to do some jumping today." Uh, okay. Yikes. Anyway, she wanted me to ride this young pony (hey, I'm SHORT!) who is very nice, has some great potential, but still is a little green and needs a strong rider.

We did all the warm up stuff and then started working on the canter. The pony, "Scottie" apparently hadn't been ridden a lot lately and we really ended up more at a gallop most of the time (which was A-okay with me). Ro had me just go with it and ride it out in a 2-point position (which is basically up out of the saddle, a little easier to ride out that 4-beat gait). So it was so much great fun to go galloping around, especially since it had been so long since I have been able to do this, but damn. I had forgotten what hard work it can be. I was huffing & puffing and sweating like crazy. It's really much more of a workout than most people realize. After all that she put Tom to work (poor Tom) and had him help her set up a simple "gymnastic" -- series of small jumps with a slightly bigger jump at the end. The horse is meant to just bounce through the line. And so I got to jumping! It was great to be able to do it again. My form sucked, I'm really all over the place, but I felt that old rush a little bit again and felt that this is something that I probably will be able to do again with some amount of competence.

All during this lesson Ro kept talking to me about this small schooling horse show happening next weekend, trying to talk me into riding Scottie for her in the show. Gah! I'm sure I haven't shown in 30 years! I'm also embarrassed, I don't feel like I'm near enough ready and lastly, I don't have any formal riding clothes (just a couple pairs of schooling tights, a hard hat, paddock boots and gloves). She said that it is totally informal, no one dresses up and that she feels that I'm doing great. She said, 22 years since being on a horse and that I looked like I had been riding all along, completely natural. I wish I felt the same. She wants to put me in a hunter jump class, I think 2'6" fences, so nothing too scary. But I really just bounced over a few small bumps today, and rather sloppily too, so I don't know if I'm really ready for that yet. Or maybe I'm being a big baby about it, I don't know.

She also said that she doesn't have anyone to really ride Scottie at the moment and that he needs to be schooled and conditioned. She asked if there is a day or two that I can come during the week to ride him. She also asked if I would like to take a trail ride with her some day (hell, YES!) that Scottie really needs to be galloped out. She also kept mentioning that there is a horse (Romeo) that she really wants to put me up on, not sure what Romeo's deal is, but maybe I'll see one day.

So she is hot for me to ride in this show. I don't know what to do. I know most would say, "do it, it's fun". And it is. But first, I used to be pretty competitive on a horse, it's going to piss me off a lot that my form sucks and that I'm not ready for this. Also, Sunday has kind of turned into my relax day, so that will be a day that I don't get to recharge. Lastly, I wonder and suspect if most of the participants at this schooling show will be kids. I really don't want to be the only adult riding at a kids' show -- GAH! So I don't know.

I have a lot of stuff on deck for next week, particularly riding! I'm almost freaking out a little bit about it. Let's review, shall we:

Monday starts off with a face-to-face 3-hour meeting that begins at 8 AM (I just had to mention that because ... Monday morning. 8 AM. 3-hours. Face-to-face. Hello? How horrible is that?) Anyway, I also have a personal training session scheduled and a spinning class in the evening.

Tuesday -- Running & Core / Spin

Wednesday -- Running* & Spinning (* I think I might actually have a dentist appointment, I have to check my schedule, so I may miss a running day this week).

Thursday -- Running & riding after work.

Friday -- Personal training & riding after work (2nd barn that I'm trying out).

Saturday -- AM Spinning class & afternoon riding lesson.

Sunday -- Maybe a horse show.

Wow. I'm tired already. So I don't know what to do about the show, but I have to tell her this week (of course). Geez, one riding lesson and I'm suddenly completely immersed in a horsey life. I suppose if I could really ride 3-4 times a week that I'd be in riding shape in a heartbeat.

Massage is GOOD

Since I've become increasing active, I decided that I wanted to make massage a regular thing. First of all, knowing that I have that massage appointment scheduled, I tend to be pretty good about keeping the activity level up, because I really want to "earn" my massage. Kind of like how wonderful it is to be good and hungry for the meal when you're going out to eat at a great restaurant, a massage feels even better if I've been working out a lot and I'm good and sore.

Anyway, so I had my massage appointment this morning and it was so, so wonderful. She got into every sore and tight muscle and really worked it all out. She even used the hot stones (I had never had those before). I think it's one of the best massages I'd ever had. I wish it could have lasted 4 hours, that's how much I enjoyed it.

After the appointment I was telling her how much I enjoyed the massage and she said, "you're in really good shape." Really? I think that's the first time anyone has said that to me, at least in recent history. Not sure if I agree, but it was nice to hear anyway. I'm certainly in my better shape than I was six months ago anyway, so I'm getting there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Horse Stuff

Okay. So, I had my first session on a horse in about 22 years last Saturday. I have another lesson at the barn scheduled for this Saturday. And now I have a lesson at another barn for next Friday (probably followed by a lesson at the first barn the next day). I'm going a little crazy with all this horse stuff! But it's a good crazy. There seem to be so many good barns around that I really do want to try a few to see which is going to be the best for me. I guess squeezing in an extra riding lesson here or there really can't hurt, I do have a lot of work to do on my equitation after all.

For anyone who is interested, the current contenders so far are:

Barn #1: Walnut Hollow Farm


Barn #2: Appletree Farm

There may be a third one that I'll end up looking at as well, but I haven't heard back from them yet.

I must be out my mind. (But I can't stop thinking about horses -- call me obsessed).

Cool & Crisp

I’m having kind of a crazy week. Lots of various work and meetings and transitions and different stuff vying for my attention, so my schedule all week seems to keep shifting with meetings that get scheduled and then canceled and then scheduled again. So I’ve had to be fluid with my running plans. Today I didn’t get out there until 2 PM. I almost gave up even trying to make it work for today, but decided that I would be disappointed if I didn’t. And I’m sorry, but it’s just far too beautiful a day to be inside on a treadmill or something. So I went out and did the nice wooded Rookery Trail, and then over to the “Swamp” trail, which I hadn’t been on in a while and ended with a run up, and then back down the Beaver Path. It was all very nice and relaxed, but I sure did have trouble pushing myself to run for significant sections of the run, I think my body must be more tired than I had originally thought. For some reason, however, I found that I was able to run much more on the single track bits of the run. I think I am turning into solely a trail runner, it seems to be all I want to do these days. Anyway, another run down for the week. I’m doing much better than last week in that regard.

Oh! I almost forgot to add: mileage was about 3.5 for this run.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Another Double Workout Day

It was just a lovely, lovely day, the kind that we always seem to get this time of year. Brilliant and sunny, warm enough for shorts, but with a cool edge of Fall in the breeze. I had a bunch of shuffling meetings today so I didn't know if I'd even manage to run, but finally I just decided to go and I was glad that I did. I took my hilly route and the first part of it was pretty tough, as usual. I'm sure it's gotten somewhat easier for me, but I sure don't see it much. But as always, the back part of the trail was wonderful. That piece always makes me feel great. I also came upon a guy on a mountain bike on this trail. I knew that people bike up there because I've seen the tracks, but I've never run into one before. Of course I was the one who had to step off of the trail to allow him to pass -- grrrrrr. Anyway, after that trail, I decided to do the Beaver Path for a second time to tack on a little mileage, bringing the total for today to about 3 miles.

Tonight was my third Spinning class of the week. We did a lot of very heavy resistance, most of it in the saddle, which is actually pretty difficult. I like the Wednesday night instructor. She keeps everything technical and simple. Monday's instructor liked to try and create bizarre images, for instance, "you're biking through a meadow", "now you're stuck in the mud", "now you're being chased by a bear." A bear? Really? Just keep the instructions and the encouragement simple, straight-forward and technical, Sheesh. Maybe some people like that crap, I don't know, I just find it pretty silly. Anyway, so my third and final Spinning class down for the week so I've met that goal at least.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Core Spin Tuesday

Why do I always forget how tough this class is? Maybe it's best not to remember, otherwise I might not be able to talk myself into going each week. Anyway, all of the core & Pilates work was done completely on the BOSU -- am I ever a spaz, it's freaking hard to stay on that damn thing. And then of course all the core stuff is a complete killer, as always. Additionally we did a ton of quad work. A TON of it. On top of all the quad work I did with "Nice Mike" yesterday. And the Spinning. And the running. And the riding. SHEESH. After the core / Pilates stuff we followed it with the Spinning section. For some reason I always think it's going to be "Spinning Lite" but it's just as tough as any regular Spinning class of course. So two workouts down for the day, I feel pretty good about that.

A Trail Run in the Pouring, Pouring Rain

When I started out on the run there was a light rain, but I couldn't stand the thought of being stuck inside on a treadmill or elliptical with the rest of the crowds, so I figured that it would be okay, after all, I've run in plenty of rain before and I was wearing a baseball hat. Well, very shortly into the run, the rain became heavy, and then heavier and then a teeming, pouring, torrential downpour. Finally a HUGE thunderclap let loose overhead that was so loud and so close that it set off car alarms (the run was actually a lot of fun until that thunderclap). Anyway, I ran most of the route at a tempo pace (which for me is about a 10 min mile or maybe slightly less) just to try and get out of there. I was completely dripping, soaking wet by the time I was finished. I got lots of strange looks when I walked back through the gym to the locker room, let me tell you.

Runners, yeah, we're different.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Workout Monday

Ahhhh, it always feels really good to start the week off with some good solid workouts. I had a personal training session this morning and it was pretty tough. He upped the weight on some of the stuff that I've been doing. We did legs, biceps and shoulders -- my legs were still pretty sore from riding on Saturday, so it made the workout extra tough, but everything feels pretty good now. Sore, but that "good" sore that lets you know you really did something.

Tonight I had a Spinning class and it was also pretty tough. It was the same instructor that I had on Saturday morning and I found her class tonight pretty much as hard as the Saturday class, but it felt so good once I was done.

It kind of annoys me though that there are regulars for this Monday class who don't show up and who never seem to even have the basic courtesy to call or email to cancel their spots. I start off every class not knowing if I am going to be ejected off of my bike. As it was, there ended up being three free bikes tonight (I took one of them) that according to their records, should have been filled. I just don't think it's very fair for people who are on the wait list (like I am) or for people who might want to drop into the class, but are told that it's unfortunately full. People suck.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Workout: Weekly Recap

This week was a little bit off because of Labor Day Weekend. So there was a day or two where I didn't get a workout in, where I otherwise normally would. Still, it wasn't a total wash, I managed to do quite a bit and got some quality workouts in:



Personal training session
Evening Spinning class

Evening Spinning class
Ordinarily would have also run during the day, but had a dentist appt.

4-mile (appx.) Trail Run

Personal training session

AM Spinning Class
1 hour of horseback riding

On deck for this week is more Spinning (hopefully 3 classes), 2 training sessions, a bunch of running and another riding lesson (Saturday). I also have a massage scheduled for Saturday morning -- woo!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Back on the Horse. Literally.

One of the things that I've wanted to do since moving to New Hampshire is ride again. I started riding at a very young age. I'm not even sure how young I was, but I want to say 6 or so. It was something I remember always desperately wanting and I guess my parents finally got sick of my bothering them about it and gave in. Anyway, I started young and rode until I was in my early 20s. When I was around 9 or 10 or so I started competing some, mostly in equitation and hunt seat. But when I was a little older I became very interested in dressage and eventing (which is 3-phased, comprised of: dressage, cross-country jumping and stadium jumping) and I did that for a while. I even went to a prestigious eventing school one Summer and also taught riding informally for a Summer or two as well. Anyway, horses and riding were a HUGE part of my life. As a matter of fact, as a child I never ever even considered children in my future, but I always fantasized that there would be horses in my life, and plenty of dogs too.

Of course the reality is, I ended up working and living in NYC, not a very practical place to pursue this particular passion. If you have significant wealth, it's doable, but for the average person, it's really not the place to live if you expect to have horses in your life. So, once I moved to NH, returning to riding again was in the back of my mind. However, there was the immediate problem of all this weight to lose. No way was I getting back on a horse until some significant bulk was gone. Additionally, for people who haven't really ridden (at least beyond a simple trail ride where you're mostly just a passenger), it's a surprisingly athletic pursuit. I didn't want to be all out of shape on the back of a horse, because then your time becomes more about how out of shape you are and not about riding and improving and learning and progressing and whatever. So I decided that now that I've lost about 50 lbs and now that I am in significantly better shape (not great yet, but getting there), I decided that it was time to introduce riding. Finally.

There are a good number of stables in this area (I just LOVE where I live) and most do the kind of riding that I'm interested in. So I figured maybe I'll try a few out and see where I'm going to fit in. Today was my first lesson with my first barn. I had figured that I hadn't even been ON a horse in over 22 years. Not even for the lowliest trail ride or anything. I had no idea what to expect really. But it went great! Certainly I'm not in riding shape, there is nothing that can really get you ready for it but riding itself. The rhythm, balance and muscles used can only really develop from riding consistently. You can be in decent aerobic shape and you can be strong. You can have decent balance and all that, but the exact combination of everything to bring back your "riding legs" needs to be accomplished by merely riding. So, as a result, my legs swung, etc. but it was to be expected. But the other stuff, the stuff I really wasn't sure about seemed to be mostly there. That is my confidence and instincts on a horse. So I'm pretty encouraged, I think that it may come back afterall (with a lot of work, of course).

The owner of the barn gave me my lesson. And at the end she told me that I am going to be absolutely excellent. She said that she is actually very excited because she thinks that I'm going to be very good for them. I'm not sure exactly what she means by that, but it sounds exciting to me. I made a lesson for next Saturday too (I have to call and confirm that with her, since I just wrote it in on her calendar).

After my ride, two of the barn girls hanging around helped me wash down my horse. I have to appreciate these little girls, girls after my own heart (I was them, eons & eons ago). I also appreciate a barn that allows and expects you to help with the horses. The owner (Rowena) said that I should hang out whenever I want. Oh, the other thing was, she asked me what took me so long to come back to riding and I told her that I wanted to lose some weight first. She said, "why do they ALL say that? Lose weight on a HORSE! Just ride." I gotta love that.

Oh, one last thing. She also spoke to me about possibly thinking of "half leasing" a horse. Apparently the horse itself is essentially "free", but you share boarding costs (so you pay $250 a month), half farrier and a few other costs, but you can ride 3x a week. It might be a really interesting option for someone like me who has always wanted to own a horse, but for a fraction of the cost and not a big commitment. Time is the biggest issue for me right now, however. I don't know if I even HAVE three days free for riding. Anyway, something to think about. I would want to get my riding legs back some first anyway.

So, anyway, I'm excited and encouraged and really looking forward to getting back into it. I loved just even being around the horses, being in that environment again. This is one of my rewards for working so hard on my physical self this year, something that has been missing from my life for decades is coming back to me now and I couldn't be happier about it.

Saturday Morning Spinning

I had to wonder this morning what I had been thinking when I signed up for a Spinning class for first thing on a Saturday morning. I kept asking myself when I got up and got showered and while I was driving to the Spinning studio, what I had been thinking, what I thought I was doing. I asked myself as I was adjusting the bike and as I was staring off into space while spinning lightly, waiting for the class to begin. The instructor even came in and said it was the 20 second warning for anyone who had changed their mind about the class. Believe me, I was tempted to bolt. But I was there already and knew that I would hate myself later if I didn't follow through. Pretty much every Spinning class starts with me wondering what I'm doing there (wanting to be anywhere but there). About half way through I'll be wondering if I'm going to make it and then, about 2/3 - 3/4 of the way through suddenly I'll feel (wooHOO!) utterly fantastic. It all always seems to kick in with a rush. Anyway, it was a good class, with an instructor that I hadn't had before. She did a lot of speed stuff, some of it on heavy resistance -- and she was slow to have us take resistance off too, so the class pretty much wrung me out. And, as expected, I felt great once the class was finished.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Tough Day at the Gym

I had a personal training session today and I really just wasn't that into it for once. I think I was just really tired, because I was all draggy and didn't have any energy. "Nice Mike" even asked me before we started if I was "into this today". Uh, no, not so much -- ha! At least I'm honest. Good thing I had that appointment scheduled, or I probably wouldn't have done anything today.

Anyway, after I warmed up for 15 minutes on the elliptical, Mike put me through a bunch of stuff that included tricep dips, "skull-crushers", push-ups against the half ball thingie (called a "BOSU"), situps sitting on the damn BOSU, and a bunch of other stuff. Can I say that I HATE BOSU? I even said it out loud a couple of times, "I hate you BOSU" and then kicked it. Mike thought that was pretty funny. Anyway, it was a pretty good workout and I was glad that I did it, but I'm even more glad that it's over. Oh and I think I wrenched my shoulder a little bit doing those dips, I put some ice on it before and it feels better now, but I'll probably put some more on later to be sure.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hot Trail Run

Ugh. It was hot, Hot, HOT (like, 90 degrees hot). I was pretty miserable and flinging sweat around like crazy. But because I had not run yet this week (and it's THURSDAY -- hello?) I decided that I had to try and run a little further than I have been running most days. Well, I actually ended up walking A LOT, but I covered about 4 miles, so I’m not even sure if I should count the full 4. Ugh what a miserable run, and I suck, but I did it anyway. Of course, not helping the heat issue was the fact that I went out for the run at about 1:30 PM.

Here I had been thinking that I was doing pretty well with the heat this Summer. I had convinced myself that I was pretty acclimated since I’ve been running a lot all Summer and even have the A/C off at the house (for the downstairs, I still need it upstairs). But nope, I think I had just been lulled into some complacency by the relatively mild temperatures that we’ve enjoyed for most of the Summer. Oh well, I can’t complain really, it’s been so lovely here in New Hampshire for weeks.

I really like my spinning schedule. It's kind of nice to have them scheduled Monday - Wednesday and then to get to Thursday and know that I'm "free". Almost like a reward. It feels good to relax this evening knowing that I've got a number of workouts in the books for the week at this stage.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Spinning Wednesday

I had a spinning class tonight. Wednesday is one of the days where I am not definitively confirmed for class (there are 10 spinning bikes, but I am #11 or 12 on the list apparently). But they get cancellations or no-shows pretty much every time, so the instructor was relatively confident that I would usually get into the class. Anyway, I showed up today and saw that I was #9 on the list, so I knew that I was in. Not sure if that means I was #9 just for today's class or if there has been some shift and that is my position permanently for the class, but hopefully I will continue to be able to take it without issue. It works well with my schedule.

Anyway, whatever. Tonight we had a sub for the class. Lots of people hate it when the usual instructor isn't there, but I personally like it. Gives you the opportunity to try some new stuff, different instructors have different styles and emphasize different stuff. Sometimes a new instructor can make the class seem so much harder, if you've adapted to the style of your usual person. Anyway, this instructor liked jumps and lots of them, so it was good. She also liked to chat a lot during the class which I could have done without, but that wasn't too bad. After the class she made a point of approaching me to tell me that I did a really good job, so that was nice. I feel good now. A little sleepy, a little sore from training yesterday, but good.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Post-Class Update

Why is a few hours after doing abdominal work that my ab soreness almost makes me feel sick to my stomach? This is NOT the good sore feeling that I get when I do all my other training stuff. No wonder I hardly ever do core work. Blech.

Getting back on track. Again.

So, after my weekend of socializing, eating off plan, and not exercising, I had to make sure that I got right back on track today. It was helpful that I already had a personal training session scheduled for this afternoon. I knew that it was going to be the rougher session of the two training sessions I do each week (at least it was last week) so a part of me really dreaded it. I warmed up for about 12 minutes on the elliptical and then started with "Nice Mike". He had me doing weight enhanced squats and lunges and step ups and a whole bunch of other stuff. I actually feel like I pulled it off better than I did last week -- of course last week I had warmed up with 1.5 miles of running intervals, so that might have had something to do with it.

Anyway, with that under my belt, I went to "Core / Spin" class tonight. We started with 20-30 minutes of mat work that included (all on that half-ball thingie) squats, kicks, knee lifts and a bunch of other balance kicking or squatting stuff and then various pushups against the half ball thingie (flipped upside down) and then (my favorite), crunches and leg scissoring & lifts and all that wonderful abdominal work that's always such a total killer. I couldn't wait for the Spinning part. Spinning was about 40 minutes or so of hills and jumps and such. I felt pretty wiped out when it was all finished. One thing I noticed in the Spinning class part though was that I was the only participant (barring the instructor) who had a towel to mop up my sweat during the class. All the other women got through this entire class without flinging sweat around? WTF? I guess I'm just a beast.

Busy Weekend

This ended up being a pretty busy social weekend for me. Probably a drop in the bucket for people who are used to lots of social plans or entertaining, but for me it was pretty active. Also, with all the visiting and such, my eating and workout routine was pretty much out the window for a few days which kind of has me feeling a little anxious today.

As I mentioned last week, my friends Carolina & Janos were up in New Hampshire for the weekend staying with Luminita & Paul. I had last seen them about 2.5 years ago, just after I had left NYC, when I was back in Queens to pack up my apartment for the last time (they still live down the road from my old place). We all had a great time getting together for dinner at Luminita & Paul’s both Friday & Saturday nights. It was so much fun to be back with the old crowd again and we all enjoyed telling all the old stories of the days when we were bar hopping maniacs. Of course nowadays they all have children and I had a twenty minute drive home, so the drinking certainly was not up to our old standards. But we had a great time anyway.

On Sunday Ellen & Ken (more friends of mine from NYC) came by to hang out as they were up in New Hampshire to run a half marathon. We spent a good part of the afternoon just sitting out on my deck and drinking beer and gabbing, and then cooking out some steak and veggies and corn. It was a great time and it was wonderful to be able to hang out with them again.

Anyway, with all this visiting and cooking out and beer and whatever, I did not workout all weekend. I also wasn’t too careful about what I was eating. Although, for the most part it was all grilled lean meats and vegetables, there may have been a slice of apple pie and maybe some chips thrown in there too at some stage. So it’s back on the program for me today. I’ve got “Nice Mike’s” scary workout session today and tonight I have my Core / Spin class.