Friday, September 12, 2008

Day five: My legs are starting to feel normal again..

Despite being exhausted, I did stupid circuit A.

I’m working tomorrow morning (yes, it IS Saturday) so I’ve got to get some shut eye.

Don’t worry, I’m only working in the morning and then it’s off to the big wine fest with the gang. It’s supposed to be the Oktoberfest for wine. HOORAY!

Cheers,
Jen

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day four: So apparently the rest of the world doesn’t stop just because I’ve decided to get in shape

Today was a long day. Period.

The garrison hosted a Freedom Run/Walk today in remembrance of 9/11 so I had to be at work by 5:30 (because I didn’t have the foresight to grab the camera the night before) and to another post by 6 for the beginning of the event. I rolled in right before they started the run.

I snapped a few photos and walked the 5k with some of the people from our center. An hour later -- okay, to be fair we could’ve walked faster, but there were actually a lot more people walking than I thought there would be and the road was cluttered - we finish up the walk/run and I head back to my office to get ready for work.

Let me rephrase that.

I head back to my office to get my gym bag, which I dropped off at 5:30, so I could take it back to my apartment downtown because that’s right – I forgot my pants.

Much as I would’ve liked to have worn sweats all day, I doubt it would’ve gone over well with the command. Especially since I was out and about for most of the day.

I eventually get back to work at 9 and it’s just one thing after another from that point on.

If I wasn’t hunting down bulletin board keys, I was giving out ask me buttons (our campaign for September – long story). If I wasn’t updating the commander’s blog, I was rushing to have posters made. If I wasn’t editing articles, I was having changes made to websites. If I wasn’t doing a news release, I was answering a dozen new emails.

It was a long day.

I rolled out of work after 7 p.m.

I ate all THREE meals in my office today.

There’s something wrong with that picture.

Anyway, I made it home by 8 p.m. and forced myself to do circuits B and C.

Between the 5k walk, the two circuits and the 18,000 steps I registered today, I think I can let it slide that I just ate two cookies….and a number of mint musketeers throughout the day….

Tomorrow is Friday – YAY!

I have another early day because I’m taking two of our docs to a morning radio show. Fingers crossed it goes well.

Cheers,
Jen

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day three: It's about time to stray from the plan...

Alright so today is the third day of my grand workout plan. The agenda calls for cardio/stretching, but I had to substitute it. I know, I know, I’m already making concessions.

Originally, I had planned on going to the gym in the mornings for any day that requires cardio, however I have morning report on Wednesdays so that was automatically a no-go. Instead, I packed my gym bag and planned on going after work.

However, Kelli and I decided to go to a Pilates class instead. It’s a 12 week commitment, which is way more than my 21-day plan, but I decided what the hell – it couldn’t hurt.

The class started at 6 on another one of our posts. So we book it there and wait around for awhile until the instructor decides to show up. When we finally get in there, the first thing I notice are the mirrors. There are huge floor to ceiling mirrors lining both of the main walls. Uh oh. This could only mean one thing.

They actually want me to LOOK at myself while I work out.

Pssh – what kind of crap is this?

My first thought is go to the real gym, but I told Kelli I would do this so I decide to stay. The first class is about learning how to breathe the right way and how to line up your body in certain positions.

I am by far the most remedial person in this beginner’s class. Between the former dancers and the prior Pilates students, I am at square zero.

At first, I was a little annoyed when the instructor would walk over and correct my form. However, now that I think about it, this is really the best way to learn. By physically moving your hips or legs or whatever, you get to learn the proper way to do the move, which in turn makes it more effective.

You just have to get over yourself.

Which is where I may run into an issue, but I digress.

The class wasn’t terrible and we used lots of props. We had small rubber bouncing balls, giant foam cylinders which reminded me of thick pool noodles and head wedges.

Needless to say, it was interesting.

Tomorrow, I’m going to make up for the cardio by doing a 5k walk at 6a.m.

Wish me luck.

PS - Just for the record, my legs were so sore today that whenever I had to sit down I sort of fell into the chair. My muscles are on strike. Fabulous.

Cheers,
Jen

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day two: You want me to do what??

Today is day two of my 21-day workout makeover. Woohoo.

Instead of focusing on cardio and stretching, today was all about completing circuits A and C. Circuit A focuses on your arms, chest and butt. There are four exercises you do in a row.

First, you do 20-25 push ups, and yes, they are the girly push ups. Then you do the chest flye where you lie on your back, hold your weights and extend your arms until they’re almost touching the floor. Then you bring your hands back together above your chest. You do 25 of these.

Next, you do backward lunges while holding your weights. You do 15 for each leg. Then you do 20 -25 squats while resting your weights on your shoulders.

Fun, right?

Oh and did I mention that in the small print it says you should do this FOUR times in a row? Pssh.

Part of me wanted to shred the paper and grab a cookie. Part of me wanted to curl up on the couch and surf the net. And somewhere deep down, I found the part of me that was willing to suffer.

So I did the four cycles.

Then I grabbed the information for circuit C and drove on.

Circuit C is all about working your abs. There are only three exercises, but you still do the entire circuit four times in a row. I ran into a problem with the second exercise. I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

I read and re-read the directions. I studied the picture. I tried what I thought was the right thing and nearly popped something out of socket.

I decide at this point that Circuit C is lame and I should substitute the 21 minute abs program instead. I decide this for two good reasons.

1. I don’t understand the directions for Circuit C.

2. I don’t understand the directions for Circuit C.

Okay, so maybe I should get it, but I don’t. Sue me.

Tomorrow is another cardio day. Part of me wants to get up at 5 a.m. and hit the gym before work. However, I’m already feeling sleepy and this means I’ll be working out tomorrow evening. Not to mention, I have morning report tomorrow (where I brief my commander and deputies) and I can’t afford to be late.

What a shame.

Day two down, 19 more to go.

Cheers,
Jen

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day one: Do I really want to do this?

So yesterday I said I was going to start my 21-day workout makeover. And true to my word, I did the exercise regime for day one – cardio and stretching.

I’d be lying if I said I never doubted for a minute I was going to do it because when my alarm went off at 5 a.m., I had serious doubts.

The room was pitch black, it was quiet and it was cold outside of the blankets. Why would I want to get up, put on gym clothes and hoof it 10 minutes down the street to the parking garage only to drive to work and go to the gym? I could always just say my alarm didn’t go off.

But then I remembered my dear Navy SEALs from the book I just finished. Did they whine about staying in freezing cold water for hours at a time? Did they gripe because their hands and feet were bound and they had to learn to swim anyway? Did they throw a tantrum when they had to run 4 miles on the beach in wet, sandy uniforms with 50 pounds on their back?

Probably.

But they did it anyway.

So I got my sorry butt out of bed and went to the gym.

Side note: I picked up a new book during lunch about a mercenary army. Think this means I’ll take up shooting next? Could be an interesting story…Although I’m not sure who would let me handle a gun. Best to find someone who doesn’t know me.

Back to day one.

So I get to the gym and all the lights are out. Say what?! I know I didn’t just get up, drive all the way out here and not be able to get in the gym. Okay, secretly, I was kind of hoping that was the case because then I could go sleep in my office, but that’s not really the point.

Eventually, I find some people with gym clothes on and ask where the gym is. Never mind they know that I work there and have no idea where the gym is. That speaks for itself.

I finally get to the “gym in a box” and Amy and Doc are already there working out. They ask where I’ve been. I say lost.

I get blank stares.

Whatever. I still made it. I work out for about 30 minutes and think I’m going to die. My breathing is off and my heart is going about 192 beats a minute. I recall the wellness lady telling me I shouldn’t go above 194 because it may kill me.

I decide to slow down.

Even then, my heart rate is about 185. When I get finished my face is as red as a tomato, my middle school shirt (everything else was dirty!) is soaked through and I want to pass out.

It may have been short, but I consider it a good workout.

I feel obligated to mention that I later ate Popeye’s for lunch, which totally negates any of the calories I burned this morning. Whatever. I freakin love me some Popeye’s.

Plus, I came home and did my Pilates and abs workout for my “stretching”. That has to count for something, right?

Tomorrow is circuits A and C training. Will keep you posted.

Cheers,
Jen

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Does it look like I walk for fun?

Yesterday, Megan and I did a volksmarch here in Heidelberg. Volksmarching is a huge sport in Germany and this is one of their bigger events.

Essentially, volksmarching is just walking. However, while I thought it was leisurely strolling, it’s really more like power-walking. Or maybe even hiking.

There are several different courses you can take starting with a 5k and ending with a 42k (I think – I know it’s marathon distance). We did the 10k course.

We started back behind the health center and wound our way up and around the hills on the other side of the road. It was actually kind of peaceful. We walked through the vineyards and hiked up some hills in the forest.

Granted, I huffed and puffed up the hills, but no matter.

When we got about halfway there was a stand being run by some boy scouts. We had skipped breakfast so we grabbed a couple of bread and cheese sandwiches. The boy scouts just went up another notch in my book.

The rest of the course was relatively easy since it was either flat ground or downhill. It took us about two hours to do the six-mile course and we registered about 14,000 steps on our pedometers. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, you should walk 10,000 steps a day. Weight loss starts in at 12-14,000.

Just some fun facts for you.

That night I could definitely feel the strain in my legs.

So I’ve decided it’s time to get back in shape. I’ve been lazy for way too long.

So tomorrow I’m starting a 21-day workout makeover plan. I’m hoping if I post my progress to the web I’ll hold myself more accountable. Or at the very least, I’ll have to come up with some better excuses.

Tomorrow the madness starts. I hope I wake up on time. Faulty alarms are so common nowadays…

PS – I finished a book called The Warrior Elite this weekend. It follows a young group of Navy guys as they go through the initial course for Navy SEALs. The physical punishment and mental obstacles they’re put through are insane. If you have time, it’s worth the read.

Plus, it makes my 21-day plan look like child’s play. Talk about motivation!

Cheers,
Jen

Vicenza!

Last weekend, Megan and I took advantage of the four-day weekend and flew to Vicenza, Italy. We left her apartment around 6 a.m., made it to the airport about two hours later and actually got on the airplane about two hours after that. Our flight was only a little more than an hour so by noon, we were in another country. Man, I love being in Europe.

We stayed with her friend Lance, who just recently got back from deployment. He and his friend Sean picked us up at the airport and the weekend officially began. The two guys actually live in the same apartment building in downtown Vicenza so it made meeting up for meals fairly easy. We had lunch and walked around downtown for a bit. Megan and I ended up going back out while they rested and found a great department store called, Coin. There was a big sale on housewares so I bought two of these canvas paintings of girls in sailor outfits. They’re going in my bathroom :)

By the time we finished up at Coin we got a call saying Megan and Lance’s other friend Hugh was in town. He drove about six hours from Germany instead of flying – it was a last minute trip. The three of them went to school together in Boston and this was the first time they had all been together in a couple years I think. It was a mini-reunion of sorts.

Anyway, we have dinner, go to a bar and then go to another bar called Art Café. This is where all of the American Soldiers hang out. It was a normal bar, but I’ll always remember it because this is the first place I had to use an authentic Italian toilet. For those of you who don’t know, it’s essentially a huge square cut into the bathroom floor. Then you stand with your legs on either side or squat. All I can say is thank goodness I was wearing a skirt. If I had worn jeans, I’m not sure how I would’ve used the restroom without peeing all over myself. I think I would’ve just held it.

Anyway, we go back to Lance’s apartment, stay up for awhile chatting and eventually crash. The next day we head for the beach. It’s only about an hour away and we get there in the early afternoon.

Megan gave me some of her super tanning lotion (because let’s face it, I’m white) and we settle in for a day of tanning. I alternate between dozing and reading one of my romance novels. Ah and people-watching. Italians are all so tan. However, some of them were straight up crispy. There were a couple of guys near our blankets and they looked like baked chicken that had been in the oven too long. You know, when it gets that thin crispy skin?

However, since I’m half-Irish, not Italian, I didn’t have to worry about crispy skin. Instead, I had the pleasure of having lobster legs. Maybe I didn’t flip over enough, maybe I should’ve just used regular suntan lotion or maybe I just don’t belong in the sun. But for whatever reason, my legs were bright pink. In fact, a week later, there are still some tender pink spots on the front of my legs. Now I’m paranoid about skin cancer. But that’s another story.

So we get back from the beach and I get to take a shower. This is the only shower I take all weekend (they’re teaching me to rough it). Like their toilets, the showers are kind of funny. There’s a huge tub and the shower head is about a foot about the lip of the tub. This means you have to squat in the tub so that you can shower. Needless to say, I made a mess.

Eventually we all get dressed and go have dinner. Then we head to a fair we had seen earlier in the day. Y’all know that I’m not one for carnie rides. I mean c’mon – you want me to put my life in the hands of some guy making crappy money who put this ride up 24 hours ago? Pssh – please.

However, sometimes the group sentiment wins out. Which is how I ended up on a ride called the Matrix. Let me just say, I’m glad I’m still breathing because if that thing had broken it would’ve been a shitty way to go.

The ride has four arms with rows of chairs. So you all face each other in a big circle. I kind of looks like of those claws from the claw machines. Then the whole arm starts to swing back and forth like the big ship at Six Flags. At first, it’s not so bad. I’m like wow, I can hang – no worries.

Then it starts to get a little higher and starts to spin in a circle at the same time. At this point, I start to feel a little uneasy. Then the arm swings up into the air and I find myself staring straight at the ground. Not only am I staring at the ground, I am being lifted out of my seat. The only thing between me and solid ground is the restraint that comes down over my chest.

I am scared.

This goes on for a few more cycles and the ride slows down and comes to a stop. Then the Italians riding with us start chanting. I am in shock and saying a silent prayer of thanks that I’m still alive. So imagine my disgust when the ride starts up again.

Was it the Italians chanting? Was it all just part of the ride? Who knows? All I know is that we started up again and this time we went faster and we went higher. I can’t open my eyes. I manage to find Sean’s shirt and I hold on for dear life. He later said that he knew if his restraint broke that he’d be okay because I had a death grip on him and he wouldn’t fall.

I do not like the Matrix.

All I could do was close my eyes and try to breathe. Stupid carnie rides.

Anyway, I guess the guys worked up an appetite during the ride because we stopped for crepes. I’m pretty sure if I had put anything in my stomach it would’ve just come back up. So in the interest of group harmony, I passed on the crepes.

I don’t remember much else about the evening except we left the fair and went to the bar next to their apartment. Megan and I had long islands that looked black. Talk about a red flag.

I go to bed early and leave the three of them to catch up in the kitchen.

The next day Megan, Hugh and I wander around Vicenza and window shop. When we get back to the apartment Hugh and Lance both take naps so we slip out and head to a café. We have coffee (mine had bailey’s and mint cream, hers had caramel and nutella) and prosecco (a sparkling white wine – it’s fantastic).

Then we head toward another café down the road. We figured the boys would catch up after their nap. The place we stop at is fantastic. Although at first, we were a little apprehensive. They didn’t have menus and the girl didn’t speak very good English. So the chef/owner comes out and starts talking to us. We end up with rum and cokes. He asked if we wanted 3 or 5 year old rum.

Huh?

We say 3.

We’re like man; this is going to be a $20 rum and coke. Who asks what year you want?

The chef comes back out and he’s got our rum over ice and little coke bottles so we can pour our own. This is the best rum I’ve ever had. Period.

He also brings out fresh bread that’s gooey on the inside and crunchy on the outside, fresh salami (I could live off this stuff), black olives, peanuts, sugary pecans and tomatoes. He explains each thing to us and we’re blown away. Talk about a presentation! We decide this is our new favorite place in Vicenza. Not to mention the rum and cokes end up being about 5 euro a piece. Not too shabby. The boys join us and have some wine. Eventually we leave and the chef gives us his business card. If only we lived there…

We head to another bar and sit outside on the steps. I’m not sure what time we went to bed, but it was late.

The next morning, we get up early and head back to Frankfurt.

Vicenza is officially crossed of the to do list.

Note: I’ll add photos later!

Cheers,
Jen