Friday, February 27, 2009

More Riding



This is another dressage week and, because Ann is down in Aiken for the week, I had two lessons with Kelly -- Wednesday & Thursday nights. As I've mentioned before, I feel like dressage are the harder of the weeks and I feel like I am working harder and harder at it as I'm starting to catch on to everything. The latest breakthrough for me has been "inside leg to outside rein". It's become a sort of mantra with me. Pretty much every stride I am chanting this in my head. I've heard and read about this dressage rule, concept whatever, but I think I've just finally started to get it (as well as really feel what it does) and I'm so excited. I know, I know, very strange thing to be excited about, but I'm finding that it's working! And I'm actually able to now control my legs and my body enough to have some effectiveness too. The other thing that Kelly has been emphasizing is suppling the inside rein. So in my head I am chanting, 'inside leg to outside rein. supple, supple. inside leg to outside rein." Rinse, repeat. Non-horsey people will read this and go "WTF???". It's just a dressage thing, I guess.

The other thing that I've been working on with Lulu are walk or trot to canter transitions, and also trying to get her left-lead canter consistently. Another goal is to carry herself lighter on the forehand than she wants to do. This is all still pretty challenging to me as I think I'm still pretty sloppy at the canter myself. I can trot around all day long, even while working hard every stride, but cantering, I just get so tired, so easily and it's all I can do to create the transition and sit the gait, any subtleties beyond that are a big challenge to me right now. But I'm working on it. Late this afternoon I went down to the barn for a "free" ride and I made a point of working on the cantering in particular. I did lots & lots of transitions and then progressed to figure 8s with simple lead changes. I had been wanting to try this with Lulu for a while, but I wanted a day when I had the ring to myself. For the space, but mostly because I didn't want an audience. I trotted a couple of different figure 8s, plotting out the best place to do them and then went for the canter. Well, Lulu was a superstar! I was so, so happy with her. The figure circles were pretty small, maybe about 10-15 meters. At each transition I brought her down to a trot step or two and then she hopped right into the opposite lead for the track to the new circle. She did it so well that I felt like she was really almost just a step away from a flying lead change. We did this a number of times in both directions and then I was ready to call it a day and spent a good, long time walking her out because she had really worked up a sweat.

I very rarely manage to get myself out to the barn on a Friday to ride, so it was a really nice change for today. I great cap off to the week.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What the West would have been Like with Shetland Ponies



Ann from my barn posted this video to Facebook and I about laughed my ass off, so I'm going to post it here:

Mornings are HARD



I don’t know how I used to work out in the early mornings, because let me tell you, my equilibrium is definitely not up to par very early in the day.

I had an early morning training appointment scheduled for this morning, so I got to the gym a half an hour early to do some running. I did:

* Walked for 3 minutes: 16:12 min. mile pace.
* Ran for 7 minutes: 10:54 min. mile pace.
* Walked for 2 minutes: 16:12 min. mile pace
* Ran for 5 minutes: 10:31 min. mile pace.
* And then I alternated 1 minute running (10 min. mile pace) with 1 minute walking (16:12 min. mile pace). Except that the last running interval was a little longer, I think, to round it out to a total of 2 miles.

All this isn't so remarkable, but for the same effort later in the day, I should have been capable of faster paces. But then I had my training appointment and everything was harder. The first thing he had me do were these walking lunge things carrying 10 lbs in each hand. Well, very quickly I felt very light-headed and even a little nauseous. I managed to finish the exercise, but I really felt borderline like I was going to either pass-out or throw up for a good part of it. That was about the worst of it, but everything seemed so much harder than it would have been a little later in the day. UGH.

But I got it done, that's the most important thing. And I feel pretty good now and happy to have it checked off my list for the day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One Phrase I am SO Sick of Hearing!



If I hear this phrase one more time, I swear that I'm just going to scream:

Working families

As a single person who has chosen not to have children, nothing can make me feel more marginalized, more invisible, less considered or valued in this society than that simple phrase. It makes me completely insane. It's like if your are single, and especially if you don't have children, the worries and concerns of this economy or this society do not apply to you. Or maybe it's just that no one cares about your worries and concerns, or your problems. It's sort of ironic that my life choice puts me in a situation where I have to pay more taxes, while the life choices of "working families" put them in the position of paying less. Yet somehow the politicians and the news media just love to cater to that "family" demographic as if they are the only members of our society. Or the only ones that really count anyway.

This phrase was bandied about quite a bit during the election, but I thought that it would maybe be put to rest for a while. Not so, I just heard it again on the news this morning. I guess I had better get used to it, because I'm sure it's not going to go away. But I sure am sick of the phrase and also the bleatings of parents over this economy. How do they think people who aren't parents feel? At least they have a tax break and many solutions will be geared towards them. I'm just expected to shut up and foot the bill, I guess.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Out of the Loop



This is how out of the loop I am: I didn't even realize that the Academy Awards were being held tonight. I just happened to stumble across a blurb on Yahoo! about it. Sheesh. Not that I care, mind you. I wouldn't have been watching it anyway, but still, sometimes it amazes me how clueless I can be about this stuff.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Jumping Night



On Wednesday night I had a second jumping lesson for the week. Kelly warmed us up by having us do a few passes through a simple gymnastic and then she put together a few different jump courses for us. After the first go, I decided to change things up a bit and canter the entire course. As I've written before, I've been working very hard on keeping Lulu slow & calm to her fences over the past few months. And so, because of this, with the exception of combination lines, I usually have been trotting between fences in an effort to control the pace. This has helped me keep Lulu quiet and controlled and has gotten me to the little break-through where I've realized that I can ride through this, where I now know that we don't have to rush through our fences and take those huge spots. Of course, I find it a little bit harder to find a jumping rhythm by trotting into the fences, but I seem to have done alright with this.

Anyway, I feel like I've made some progress, so on Wednesday I decided to try and pull it all together and canter Lulu through a complete jumping course. It was a good night to do it because there were only two of us in the lesson and Kelly had the fences relatively low that night. So I gave it a shot and I think it worked out pretty well! I was very pleased. For the most part we cantered in a nice, controlled and balanced manner and jumped nicely with no crazy-big spots, no big rushing efforts, and no points where I felt Lulu was landing heavy on her forehand and pulling me out of the saddle. We rode pretty much the way we should be riding these courses, maybe a small increase in speed here & there before a fence or two, but it was nothing like the crazy Wild West jump courses we had been doing just a short couple of months ago.

All-in-all, I feel like we've had a pretty good jumping week and I was able to end the training on a pretty good note, which is always a very good thing to do.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jenny Craig Freak




So, I blew off the Jenny Craig appointment that I had scheduled on Monday. It was a holiday and I felt like I just couldn’t deal at all, so I just didn't go. I’ve never done that before. I knew that I more or less had enough dinners left in my freezer to make it through a week, but not enough breakfasts. I considered just waiting until next week for the next appointment because breakfast has never really been much of a problem for me and I could eat oatmeal and yogurt for a week. But I decided that it was better to try and fit something in.

So, I called JC yesterday to reschedule and the woman who answered exclaimed and gushed, “oh I am SO glad that you’re going to reschedule! It means that you’re sticking with the plan!!!” (yeah lady, whatever) This implied that she was just oh SO excited about my commitment to the program, the crazy freak, but it of course came across as completely insincere. Do people really fall for this crap? I knew exactly who this woman is, she is nuts and I always try to avoid her when I go to the center. When she told me that Sue (my usual counselor) was not in yesterday, but that there would be “someone” available to see me, I just knew that it was going to end up being her.

I was right. Once I got there and realized that I was going to be dealing with her, I told her flat out that I was not going to be weighed by her. She wondered that I didn’t want to know how I did – does she think that I don’t own a scale? The last thing I wanted to do was hash out my lack of progress with this completely insincere person who I can’t stand. At least Sue is low key and real, I just can’t stand phonies. When she realized that she was getting nowhere with me on the scale thing, she dragged me into an office and started gushing and exclaiming over how great I look and about how much weight I’ve lost. It was all a bunch of total bullshit. Then she launched into the whole “what are your motivators for losing weight” thing and I just completely shut down. I had been talking to her and trying to be polite, really biting my tongue trying not to snap at her. But when she came out with this, I just stopped and said, “You know? I really don’t want to do this. I just want my food”. Yes, I was a total bitch, but I couldn’t stand one more second of it.

I mean, as I’ve written before, I know that this is just some BS Jenny Craig rhetoric and that they’re scripted to ask this kind of thing. But I have many varied and personal reasons for wanting to lose weight and to get fit. I am certainly much more athletically minded than anyone in the JC office and my goals have very little to do with wanting to wear a size 2 dress or whatever. Absolutely nothing anyone in that office is going to say or ask is going to make me wake up and suddenly think deeply about some life changing reasons that had never occurred to me before. That is just never, ever going to happen with these people and especially with some silly phony like this crazy woman (and, by the way, Sue had told me before that there have been a lot of complaints about her, so I’m not the only one who feels this way).

My reasons and motivations for losing weight aren’t really all that private, frankly. I mean, I certainly discuss them enough here. But I just have no desire to sit in a room and go over them with some clueless, ridiculous, stranger who is just reading off some stupid script and wants write my answers down on a piece of paper so she can enter it in a database to prove that she “did her job” or whatever. No freaking way. This is my life, my life and my problems or issues are not open to you just because you have some stupid script to follow. I’ve been doing this for a year now and I’m just exhausted and these kind of BS questions make me even more weary of the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, I am still a Jenny Craig fan and I think the program works. It certainly has worked very well for me for about 50 lbs. But I really could do without silly, phony people like this woman and their canned questions. I really just don’t have the patience for any of that at all, at this stage. I wish I could just go in there, chat a moment with the counselor of my choice, get my food and leave already.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Problem with Salad Is ...



A) I always take too much

and

B) There is always someone up my butt at the salad bar.

Early Mornings ... GAH!



So there is this guy in my group who likes to schedule these 7 AM meetings. He says that it's to accommodate the India folk. Whatever. Anyway, 7 AM is really rough for me. As I've written before, I very often don't sleep well and I also have some pretty long days during the week. I mean yesterday, between work and riding and running and training and whatever was about 14-15 hours before I was able to even start to wind down a bit. It was a loooooong day, and on very little sleep too. So there was a 7 AM meeting scheduled this morning. I woke up already hassled and rushed. Flew through my shower and then stood in the middle of the room not knowing what I was going to do. Do I manically throw on my clothes and race to work and try to get myself booted up in time for the meeting? (Which means I really have to be at my desk by 6:30 AM.) Do I work from home? Nah, I really don't want to do that. I'm already working from home on Friday. Okay, I'll get ready, do the meeting from home and then rush to the office. I hate doing that. So much frantic rushing around. Rush to get ready and get booted up, rush like a crazy maniac to shut everything down, pack up and get to the office once the meeting winds down. And then I'll have the rush back home in the afternoon to work the last couple of hours from there, because I have riding scheduled tonight. But I feel that's still the best option.

So, I frantically try to get myself booted up, logged in through VPN, logged into the online meeting site only ... I can't find the meeting on the list. Go to my calendar and it's scheduled for tomorrow??? WTF? Cursing, I frantically shut everything down, pack up the computer and make a mad dash for work, getting here at 7:30 AM. Turns out that the meeting had originally been scheduled for this morning, only someone moved it to tomorrow at the last minute. GAH! Which means that I get to go through this whole thing all over again tomorrow morning. Somebody just shoot me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jumping!



I had another great riding lesson tonight. It was a jumping night and I was slightly nervous to begin with, but Lulu and I really managed to pull off some pretty good jump courses -- generally pretty balanced and ridden correctly. I think my position was okay for the most part and (more importantly) our pace and approach to the fences were controlled with me pretty firmly in charge. I was pretty happy and satisfied with everything by the time we were done and felt like we ended the session on a really good note.

Each week I feel like I understand a little bit better how Lulu needs to be ridden. Never having owned my own horse, this is a bit of a new experience for me. I've never had the opportunity to bond this much with a horse, nor really know how an individual horse needs to be ridden to this degree before and I'm really liking the feeling!

After each riding experience these days, I find myself driving away from the barn so happy and relaxed and content. I know of nothing else in my life that makes me feel this way.

Reunion Weekend




I ended up having a rather fun weekend. A bunch of friends from NYC came up to stay with Paul & Luminita and so I ended up having dinner plans for both Saturday and Sunday nights. It really was a blast. Paul, Eugene, Holly, Tommy and I (along with a bunch of others: Darryl, Julian, Carolina & Janos, Michelle, “Medicated Dave”, Paul L, Kenny and various other players who sometimes made appearances) were all part of our original crowd of friends. Luminita joined us a number of years later and Eugene’s wife (they’ve been married about a year) joined after I had moved to New Hampshire. Way back in those good old days (and I’m talking, starting in the early to mid-90s here) we would travel around Manhattan in a pack, hopping from one bar to another and staying out all night. It was so, so great back in those days, we were all single, yet there was never any “boy vs. girl” drama, we were all just really great friends who enjoyed each others’ company. Of course the dynamic had long changed by the time I left NYC, since many of the various members had since paired off, but “back in the day” it was really a great time. Luckily, we’ve all been able to remain really good friends over the years, even though everyone’s lives have changed and changed pretty dramatically, for the most part.

So it was a party weekend again with Paul & Luminita, Tommy & Holly (who were single members of our group for years, but finally hooked up one year at an infamous Christmas pub crawl we all attended), Eugene & Grayce (who I had never met before this weekend). Of course I was the one singleton in the crowd, as usual, but for once I didn’t even mind that. We just had a blast telling all the old stories and finding new ways to mock each other (one of those “you kinda had to be there” things). I was also, really, really glad that I liked Grayce so much. I had been very worried about that. Eugene has been such a good friend of mine for many years, I was really hoping that I was going to like his wife. He deserves the best and, let’s face it, it’s a horrible feeling to have a friend marry someone you can’t stand (or even just merely don’t connect with). There is no quicker way to drifting away from someone than when that happens. But I loved Grayce, she totally fits in with our twisted, caustic humor and I felt that I connected with her right away. I'm so happy about that and I’m so happy that Eugene found the perfect person for him.

Anyway, so it was a great reunion. I hadn’t seen most of these guys in a very long time. For Eugene it had been about three years, and for Holly & Tommy it had been even longer than that as they had been living in Vegas for a few years when I moved up to NH. It had probably been five or six years since I had last seen them. Everyone loved where we live in New Hampshire. It turns out that Holly & Tommy have a fairly short trip to get here – they live in North Eastern Long Island and can take a ferry to Connecticut which makes the trip only two and a half hours for them, so we know they’ll be likely to be back regularly. Eugene & Grayce live in Manhattan, but are so sick of it at this stage that they were thrilled with the opportunity to get out of there for a visit. I even think that under the right circumstances they would even consider moving up here. Bwahahaha! Thus my evil plan is revealed … I will eventually get all of my old friends to move up here – HA!

Friday, February 13, 2009

And Yet Another Thing that I'll Never Understand



Okay, I do not understand THIS. This guy dupes an elderly woman into letting him in her home and he robs her. That part, I understand. What I don't get (and will never get) is what she was doing with $1,800 lying around her house? I hear these stories all the time, people who are robbed of thousands from their homes. Do that many people really have that much cash lying around their homes? I don't get it. I'm lucky if I have maybe $20-$40 in my house at any given time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Another Thing that I'll Never Understand



• So, today I was at the grocery store and there was a woman behind me in line who had one of those baskets that you carry and it was full of groceries. So, rather than pulling her items out of the basket and placing them on the belt for the checkout lady to scan through, she just put the whole basket on the belt, expecting the checkout lady to unpack it for her. WTF??? What is that all about? Are people really that lazy? Unbelievable.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dressage Week



This is a dressage week at the riding barn, which means that we work exclusively on flat work, no jumping. I find dressage week very difficult and until relatively recently, I wasn’t enjoying it nearly as much as the jumping weeks. But, I don’t know. Suddenly I seem to sort of be “getting it”, I think. Last night with Ann was pretty intense. She actually spent an extra half hour with me, working with me after the others from the class were long gone, trying to get me to reach that perfect place where I had Lulu in the right frame. The entire time I felt like I was so close, but just not quite ... there. It was both very productive and very frustrating at the same time. Near the end of the lesson Ann got on Lulu to show me what she had been talking about. It was both humbling and extremely illuminating. Humbling to see how easily Ann got Lulu in frame, on the bit and using her back and hind quarters and very illuminating to see how Lulu really can do it, and do it well, when ridden right. I found it very inspiring to see and it gave me something very concrete to strive for.

So tonight was dressage with Kelly. As I’ve said before, I really am enjoying riding with both Ann and Kelly. Both bring something very valuable to my program. The two styles really compliment each other very well, most times emphasizing the same or very similar things, just sometimes in slightly different ways, or maybe stated a little differently. Working with Kelly the day after Ann really gives me the opportunity to right away work on all the stuff I had gone over with Ann the night before. Tonight I felt like I got a little closer to where I wanted to be, everything I did with Ann from yesterday was still pretty fresh and so I had the opportunity to push it further, I think. I’m still not there yet, but I do feel very excited that I am starting to get it in dribs & drabs. Kelly spent some time with me at various times of the session tonight, with me circling her while she gave a running commentary on what I should be doing each stride. Ann had also done a lot of this with me the night before. It is very individualized and very effective. Anyway, at one point Kelly said, “I’ve never seen Lulu go this well” which is a huge compliment. But I had to answer, “Well, you should see Ann on her.” Seriously. Like I said, it was humbling.

The other thing about dressage is that it’s such hard and constant work. I mean, it ends up being a REAL workout, one where I’m pretty much drenched in sweat and exhausted when it's done, even if it’s only 20 degrees or whatever. And I know a good workout when I feel one, trust me.

So, every week, both in jumping and in dressage I am feeling pretty significant improvement. I know that I can’t expect this kind of progress for forever, but I sure am enjoying and appreciating it while it’s happening. And it sure is making me really enthusiastic and excited for riding too! Life is very good.

Why I Hate to Start Work in the Early, Early Morning



(Besides the obvious.) When the work day starts this early, I find that I am very hungry, very early in the day. And it doesn’t seem to stop for the entire day. And I crave carbs. Of course with the whole chronic trouble with sleeping thing, early mornings are particularly grueling for me in general anyway.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Biggest Loser: Angst & Drama



So, I'm sitting here watching "The Biggest Loser" and all these contestants are yelling and crying and arguing over who they're going to vote off of the show. And during all this drama and angst, all I can think of is how I can't believe that none of the women have bothered to put t-shirts on over the sports bras that they're made to wear for the weigh-in. I mean, don't any of them want to cover up their bellies and whatever? I couldn't even pay attention to the argument, all the bellies were so distracting to me.

Things that I’ll never understand



• “Dancing with the Stars”. I just don’t get it.
• I’ll confess, I really don’t get “American Idol” all that much either.
• Game shows.
• Nascar
• Many women’s obsession with babies.
• Same with the fascination for children and anything kid-related.
• The Discovery Health Channel. Why not just call it the “All Pregnancy and All Baby All the Time” channel? Because apparently by “Health” they really mean as long as it pertains to pregnancy and babies and nothing else.
• “Lost”. I rented the first season once and tried to love it, but I just couldn’t get into it.
• Morgan Freeman. Completely over-rated actor, I feel.
• Blond hair. Why it is so desirable by so many.
• Big boobs. Why so many (male AND female) find huge knockers so desirable and attractive.
• Running skirts.
• Club music, especially in non-club settings.
• Same with Techno music. Why, why, why?
• Baby showers. Never, ever again.
• Gossip magazines and obsession with celebrity.
• Hard Rock CafĂ© and similar “theme” restaurants.
• Wal-Mart
• The Oscars
• The Super Bowl
• The World Series
• Obsessively watching sports one doesn’t actually do.
• Why smart and otherwise reasonable men are sometimes attracted to silly and helpless women. Thinking of my father with his “new” wife here.
• Why smart and otherwise reasonable women are very often attracted to assholes.
• Pointy toed shoes. No thanks.
• Hummers. Where in life is this car really necessary?
• Tattoos. Sorry, I can appreciate that people like them, but I just don’t get it myself.
• Macaroni & Cheese. Blech.
• Video / computer games. Actually, this one I do get, I just stay far, far away because I’m sure I could so easily get dragged into that huge time suck.
• Paying for (bottled) water. I just can’t do it (or I do it very rarely anyway and it will always piss me off).
• Why, on “Grey’s Anatomy”, they had to make the heavier girl and the unattractive girl lesbians? Because of course if you’re heavy or unattractive, you must be a lesbian. In TV Land anyway. This is, at the very least marginalizing, and at most insulting to heavy & unattractive girls and lesbians everywhere. Sheesh.
• Camping.
• People who don’t signal while driving. I mean, what’s that all about? Do they think it’s too much effort?
• Holiday or theme sweaters.
• Flavored coffees.

Sleep



Is there anything more frustrating than not being able to sleep? I am completely guilty of not allowing myself enough sleep time during the work week. I definitely stay up too late, usually for no good reason, just milling around, or watching something terrible on TV and then reading in bed for far too long. So I am pretty much chronically tired during the week and I feel this most when trying to motivate myself towards physical activity. It is hard for me to convince myself to run for a few miles or something when I feel wretched from lack of sleep. But the time that I do allow myself for sleep usually ends up of generally good quality (well, except for all of that getting up to pee multiple times business). But for the last couple of nights I haven't even been able sleep hardly at all and it's killing me. I go to bed, but then wake up around 2 AM and can't for the life of me get back to sleep. For the rest of the night! Last night I finally just turned on the light and decided to read. So this morning I of course felt completely lousy. So frustrating! I feel really, really guilty, but I decided to take a sick day today because of this, even though I'm not technically sick. I just feel exhausted and horrible and know that if I don't take care of myself, that I could be sick for real in short order.

Oh, glorious sleep! I am usually such a good snooze hound that I really, really miss it when it evades me. I blame hormones.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Another Crappy Monday Weigh-In




Another bad weigh-in day at Jenny Craig. I was exactly the same weight today that I was last week on their scale (and the week before). To the damn ounce. Which is actually about 1.4 lbs up from my weigh-in there at the beginning of January. Phooey. I'm trying not to get too upset or frustrated about it, but it's very hard not to be pretty disappointed. I told my counselor that I just didn't want to talk about it. I'm willing to weigh in (which is really saying a lot) and I want to buy my food, but I really don't want to sit there and analyze all this stuff with her.

I'm thinking of maybe going to my doctor to, well, first get my thyroid checked (since my medication does end up needing to be adjusted from time-to-time), but to also see if she could refer me to a dietitian or nutritionist or something. Maybe I'll wait until the weather warms up, maybe my body is hanging onto weight as sort of a hibernation mode thing or something for Winter. Maybe the weight-loss will naturally kick in again with Spring. I sound like I'm grasping at straws. I guess I am kind of grasping at straws here. Whatever.

On a good note: I ran 2.something miles on the treadmill this morning, alternating running intervals of 10 minute miles - 9:05 minute miles (intervals of 2-4 minutes each) with one-minute intervals of fast walking (16:13 minute mile pace). After that I had a personal training session, during which I became oddly light-headed during the walking lunges exercise. That was weird, I've never had that happen with a workout with him before. Anyway, I gutted myself through it and finished the rest of the workout with no problems. Tonight I got on the treadmill at home and did some running repeats for another two miles (alternated 1-3 minute intervals of running of 12 minute mile - 10 minute mile pace with 1 minute intervals of fast walking at 16:30 minute mile pace). So, I feel pretty good now, despite the disappointing weigh-in today.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Self-Sabotage



I had a bad weekend. An off-plan weekend. Despite my resolve to do something active at some point on the weekend, I did nothing. I didn’t even go riding, even though we had some unseasonably warm weather today. Yesterday I made the mistake of going off to Target before having lunch, so on the way home I was so hungry that I talked myself into stopping at a pizza place and getting a sub sandwich to bring home for lunch. To make up for it, I made sure that I ate the lightest Jenny Craig meal that I had in the freezer last night for dinner and didn’t “volumize” it at all, but still, I’m sure the damage was already done. Today I’ve stuck completely on plan, except for the not exercising thing. At least I didn’t screw the food up though. This is probably a big reason why I can’t seem to lose weight. I do everything right for most of the week, but then manage some slip-up that sabotages everything and wipes out all my good efforts for the week. It is days like this that bring back my old mantra chant, “I hate myself”. I am very conscious when I start this and always manage to nip it in the bud, knowing how non-productive it is. But it sill manages to slip out (and many times out loud) with an unsettling regularity.

I don’t know what else there really is to do, other than to get back on plan and continue on. One thing I have to say is that I think I’m smart to plan one of my training sessions for Mondays. At least I manage to start the week off on the right foot. It’s a shame that Jenny Craig weigh-in day has to be the same day, but that’s what works with my schedule the best. So, I’m trying not to beat myself up too much and just move on from my mistakes. I have to do better though, I must do better. I WILL do better.

This is my seat on the couch:



Notice how little space they leave for me. Sheesh.

Bathroom Make-Over: Before & After



From dreary battleship gray ...








To warm and sunny ...






What a difference a simple color change can make!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thinking of the "Y"



Today I stopped by the "Y" to check it out. I'm feeling like I need some other gym option in my life, to take a spinning class or two a week, maybe an occasional yoga class or something, another place where I can run perhaps. I was going to a spinning studio in a neighboring town for a while, but it's pretty expensive. I wouldn't even mind that so much except that I'm already spending quite a lot on riding and on my trainer. I pretty much would only be taking spinning at the studio too, so it's a lot to spend for just the one thing. So, the Y is much cheaper overall and gives me some more options. It has a pool and it also has an indoor running track! That could be a really great option for this time of year. I get pretty sick of the treadmill certainly. The big question is how much I would really use the facility though, that's what I have to consider. I figure if I went once or twice a week that it would be worth it. Once or twice a month and it's probably not. So, what to do, what to do ... I really have no idea.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Riding Feedback



I have to say that I am so excited about riding these days. This is particularly amazing considering that we are dead in the middle of a New England winter and it’s hard to motivate and keep one’s focus moving forward with the terrible cold, dark days and limited riding options (in other words, forever circling the same indoor ring). But I’ve been working hard and concentrating and I really do feel like I am starting to make some progress. I feel a little more confident, I feel that I’m starting to “get” some stuff. And not just wrapping my head around everything, but really feeling some of this stuff so that it’s starting to become second nature to me physically. Almost. Or perhaps some of that body memory is kicking in too. Probably it’s a combination of things. I know that I have a long way to go to even get back to being the rider who I once was, but I do feel like I’m inching closer to that. Of course, like anything that takes a fair amount of skill, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I have yet to learn. But that’s one of the things that make this sport so interesting and fulfilling to me. Another is the partnership you have and build with a horse, of course. There is nothing on Earth like that. I feel lucky to be able to work with Lulu, I really love her and all her quirks. And I love her even more for putting up with me. Last night Kelly told me that she feels that Lulu needs a rider like me. She’s still pretty green over fences and Kelly believes her habit of rushing while jumping is based in fear, more than excitement. She’s just trying speed through everything and get through it. Kelly feels that I’m good for her because I’m confident and decisive. I’m not excitable and don’t get flustered, but I don’t micro-manage her and I do manage to stay out of her way, don’t grab her mouth or make jumping an unpleasant experience for her. I actually feel a little badly that so many different riders have to ride Lulu. She probably gets a lot of conflicting rider feedback from week-to-week.

So, this was my second lesson with Kelly and I again felt that she was very complimentary of my supposed abilities. I’m sure she’s just a very positive person, but it felt pretty good to my ego anyway.

Oh, as I was leaving the barn last night, Lulu nickered at me again. I'm sure she just wanted me to feed her another peppermint, but still, I love it when she does that.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wednesday Riding



Tonight was my second riding lesson of the week and, since this is a jumping week, there was jumping tonight too. Woo. Kelly decided that we were doing gymnastic work tonight (as Ann had had us doing last night). Only Kelly's gymnastic was two jumps with a bounce and a third a stride after that (so, jump, land, jump, land, canter one-stride and a bigger jump). We started with pretty small jumps and after a few times through those, the other person in my lesson decided that she was done. So Kelly told me that she'd raise them for me. Uh, okaaaay. So she raised the two first jumps some and the third jump a little bit more than that, and Lulu and I jumped through the gymnastic and then it was like, "oh, I'm going to raise it some more, hold on". And it went that way a few times, Kelly raising that last one, "just a little more". Yikes. Anyway, it was fun. We probably ended at only around three feet or so, so it wasn't all that big, really. It just seemed kind of big with that one pole kind of floating there in mid-air and after bouncing through a couple of other jumps a stride away. Anyway, it was fun and we did pretty well. Kelly was happy with me and I was satisfied and still feel a little encouraged that I'm continuing to make progress. I also was happy that Kelly had enough confidence in me to realize that I can handle some bigger stuff.

So, it was a fun lesson tonight and a productive one, I think. I'm also really glad that I have the opportunity to have lessons with both Ann and Kelly. I get so much out of training with both of them. Different styles and a little different perspectives, but still very effective and productive all around.

Soreness Update



I'm such a big, whiny baby that I had to go ahead and make a massage appointment for myself for tomorrow after work. I didn't bother with my usual massage therapist as I knew that she wouldn't have availability this close to the date, but am going to try the spa at the place where I get my hair cut. I hope they're good. In the meantime, I have another riding lesson (jumping again) tonight and another trainer session tomorrow where he is going to have yet more new stuff to torture me with. I'll most likely really, really need that massage by tomorrow night, that's for sure.

I'm exhausted already. And did I mention that I have a meeting at 7 AM tomorrow. That's right. Seven. A. M. Just shoot me.

Sore!



I believe I mentioned the other day that my trainer was switching up my workouts this week. Well, ever since our Monday session my legs have been so incredibly sore. So sore that I can barely walk down stairs and even going to sit down makes me want to cry out loud. Last night during riding, part of the warm-up process involved riding around in jumping position at a trot and then at a canter (jumping position means that you're holding yourself out of the saddle so that your butt hovers over it, but you're not sitting down, and you balance your upper body over your legs, using your balance and leg strength to hold yourself there). This is standard operating procedure and I'm normally pretty used to it, but last night I thought that I was going to die. My legs were just screaming in protest. Usually what my trainer has me doing and the running is completely separate from the muscles that get used and stressed from riding. So I can usually do everything pretty comfortably, even if I'm pretty sore from something. But not so this week, not at all. Sheesh. I really COULD use a massage.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Riding on a Tuesday



Another riding night and it is a jumping week – which of course I love. I always get a little nervous for a jumping lesson though. Not scared really, just a little adrenaline thrill of nerves. Once I start on a jump course the nervousness pretty much goes away and then while I wait for my turn to jump again, the nervousness comes back.

So tonight was fun as usual, we really worked on slow, slow, slowing Lulu down and getting her off her forehand. I think for the most part that I was pretty successful there. There were some awkward fences, but I feel like I accomplished what I was supposed to. For the last jump course, Ann raised the fences for the first horse (a big thoroughbred) to jump. They looked a little big to me at the time. Well, not fantastically big, maybe three feet, even a little lower, not sure, but a little bigger than I’ve been generally doing these days. Anyway, after the thoroughbred went, Ann told me to go. I hesitated and almost asked her if she was going to lower the jumps first and then thought to myself, ‘this is crazy, these are nothing. I am more than able to jump these fences, they’re really not even very big.’ And I did. And I wasn’t even the least bit scared.

Anyway, I learned that even with the bigger fences we could slow things down to super, super slow and still get a nice spot, a nice jump. I had much more control, there were a couple of awkward lines, but everything seemed so much more doable. I think I’m getting a little better with my position too, I seem to be able to stick with Lulu better in general, I’m not getting left behind as much and my release is generally good, I think. But I do have to concentrate on keeping my upper body quiet, sometimes I still do that big hunter jump movement, sort of throwing my upper body over the fence. But at least when I do it, I realize it right away (and curse myself, of course).

So generally I’m pretty pleased. I really am seeing progress. I still get rather frustrated with myself, but less and less often. I’m pretty encouraged seeing actual progress from week to week. There is hope for me yet.

My Body is Whack.



So after yesterday's debacle of weigh-ins, I weighed in this morning exactly two pounds less than I did yesterday morning. 2. Pounds. Of course I know that I did not lose two real pounds in one day, which means that my body has been holding on to two extra pounds of water for, what? Four days or something? That's just ... F*ed up. Seriously. Whatever, I'm sure I'll be watching these same two pounds fluctuate for yet another week. I'm half tempted to call my Jenny Craig counselor and tell her about it, so that she doesn't think I'm a complete loser. This is causing such a roller coaster of emotions for me lately, I really need to get over myself. Okay, enough obsessing about the scale, for the next couple of days anyway. Sheesh.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Edited to Add



Well, the news at Jenny Craig was as grim as expected. Maybe even more so. My counselor just stared at me helplessly not knowing what to say. I told her that I'm thinking of quitting because I can't stand it anymore. I just wish that I felt that I was getting somewhere, or could get somewhere, even if at a slow pace.

On a good note: I ran 3.25 miles or so and had a personal training session today. My trainer is switching up our workouts this week too, so it was all new stuff today. Which means I'll probably be pretty sore tomorrow, as well as after Thursday's session. I wish I had a massage scheduled for this Saturday, instead of last. Would it be really decadent of me to schedule another? Hmmmmmm.

It's Official, I've become that Girl



I was up .6 of a pound on my scale this morning. I am feeling extremely demoralized right now. I really don’t want to be one of these people who sits and watches every gram of weight fluctuation and allows what the scale says each morning to determine whether I’m in a good mood for that day, or a bad one. I really don’t want to be that girl. If I just felt that my weight was trending down, even if it was a super slow downward trend, then I wouldn’t be so upset. But this … blows. I think the worst part of it is that I’ve gotten to a point where I feel like I truly don't have any control at all over my body. At least when I was fat (well, fatter) and eating what I wanted and not exercising I always felt that I was one fitness regime and a good eating plan away from where I wanted to be. There was hope in my heart. But now … now, I just don’t know anymore. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t want my world to be all about going to work and exercising constantly when I’m not working. I’ve been there and sleep/work-out/work/work-out rinse, repeat is a recipe for burnout (for me anyway). Just the thought of it now completely depresses me. But really, it seems like that may need to be the next step for me if I expect to lose any more weight. I had really expected that this would fall more under fine-tuning to get me beyond my initial goal, if I wanted to pursue further weight loss, but at this point it seems as if I’m going to have to get very aggressive to move forward even a little bit now. Perhaps even my initial (and what I felt, generous and extremely realistic) goal is a pipedream at this stage in my life.

I have a Jenny Craig appointment this afternoon and I know that this will be upsetting as I watch the scale there inch up even more. I have a training appointment today too and weigh-ins are never pretty after that – I tend to retain lots of water after strength training. So the news on the scale will probably be even uglier than it was this morning. I honestly feel like crying now. I just feel so frustrated and helpless.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

February 1st and where am I?



Nowhere, that's where. This is really frustrating, despite all of my very good efforts in January, I am down all of one lousy pound from what I weighed in at the beginning of the month. One. Pound. I don't even know if I can even count that as a real loss either as a pound is within the range of normal fluctuation anyway. I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out what I could be doing wrong. I mean, expecting a ten pound loss might have been too ambitious, but five pounds would have been nice. I would have been very happy with five. This is exactly the reason why people like me give up on their weight loss efforts. You work at it hard, you sacrifice, you change your whole life and there is no progress. Can you really blame anyone for becoming frustrated or feeling hopeless about something that seems to just go nowhere, despite everything?

Anyway, I'm not giving up. Despite the lack of scale movement, I feel healthy and more fit and (most importantly) happy. Well, happy enough as long as I don't think about the number on the scale too much. So I think it's important to keep working on it. One thing that I have decided however is that I absolutely must do something on the weekend. It doesn't have to be something on both Saturday AND Sunday, but at some point during each weekend I must do some kind of cardio work, whether that is running or good walking or even just some time on an elliptical or a bike somewhere. I've had too many slug-like weekends and it's not helping my cause, nor does it help my attitude or my resolve. I'll also be less tempted to cheat if I'm experiencing an active weekend (and weekends are the times when cheating is most tempting to me).

This weekend ended up being relatively active (well, better than most of my weekends have been anyway) and it's amazing how much better I feel. I feel content and that I've earned the couch time that I will now enjoy this evening. I didn't even really do that much. Just about two miles of running yesterday, two plus miles of running today, with about another half a mile of walking at the end and some riding late this afternoon. Not really too big a deal, but it is enough that I feel satisfied and that I've really followed through much better than I had in previous weeks.

So, I don't really know what's going to happen in February. The only thing that I do know is that I can't count on anything. I am not going to adjust my goals and the steps I'm taking towards those goals now though, except to add the new weekend rule. I'll continue with the trainer two times a week, run a minimum of three times a week, and continue the riding (of course). Jenny Craig food for breakfast and dinner and be mindful of lunches -- actually, I should probably try and tweak lunch more, that's probably an area that has some room for more improvement. I have to remember to take the vitamins as well.

That's it, plain & simple. No real progress, experiencing fading enthusiasm for the whole thing, but I'm not giving up.