Friday, April 29, 2011


I admit it, I am completely caught up in all of the Royal Wedding nonsense. I scheduled my workout this morning so that I would be on the elliptical in time to watch most of the ceremony. Then I made sure to get to work in time to see the kiss(es!) on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Lovely!

Also, hilarious:

However, my left heel is not pleased with me today. Yesterday, I walked home from work (and arrived home a sweaty mess. The humidity is back!). Today I ellipticaled for 40 minutes. Now I'm at work, with my sneakers on since it's Casual Friday, and my foot hurts like crazy. I don't even have to step on it, just the slight pressure of the shoe on my heel whenever I move my foot is causing me to wince every few minutes.

After the rain and gloom of yesterday, today it's sunny and beautiful and I would love to walk home, but I won't. Instead, I'll take the bus and ice my heel when I get home.

The whole heel thing is getting really annoying.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I think swimming is making me stronger. I decided to head to the gym this morning for some strength training. For the past several weeks, I've been using my own little weights and body weight exercises at home for strength. Which are good and make me sore (see, sumo squats), but I wanted to try some heavier lifting this morning.

Well, turns out I'm lifting heavier than I was just a month and a half or so ago. I was able to increase the weight on most of the machines and was able to do more reps. I particularly noticed it on the shoulder press. Just a few weeks ago, my shoulders were weak and I couldn't do 3 sets of 10 on the lowest weight. I was lucky if I got 3 sets of 7 or 8. Today I upped the weight and did 2 sets of 10 and 1 of 8 before I hit failure. So pleased!

Day 3: 25 minutes strength training, 12 minutes elliptical.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New 30-Day Fitness Challenge!

Yesterday I started the second 30-Day Fitness Challenge. I'm excited because several of my Facebook friends (and one SparkPeople friend) have said they are going to join in. I suppose if I can't find a gym buddy, having a few virtual gym buddies is the next best thing.

Day 1: 45 minute swim
Day 2: 60 minute swim (Masters)

Today's Masters swim was definitely challenging. We got to swim a tiny bit of butterfly(yay!), backstroke(yay!) and breaststroke (bleh!). I have never been able to do breaststroke. I always feel like I'm not going anywhere in the water and I find it really boring. I used to race butterfly way, way back in the day, and it would be awesome to be able to do a 50 again without feeling like I'm going to die at the end.

Today I learned that my elbows are too low when I do freestyle. At least I'm not alone - my whole lane had the problem. Our coach called us the low-elbows lane. She showed us how to tweak our stroke a bit and I think it's a good fix for me. One of my problems has always been that when I swim too much, my shoulders ache a lot (especially my right shoulder). I think my low-elbow stroke was putting too much strain on my shoulders. When I modify my stroke and get my elbows higher, I can immediately feel the strain easing off of my shoulders.

Right now I feel totally awkward with the high elbows, but if it winds up improving my technique and my ability to swim longer, fabulous!

This is the benefit of having a coach!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Check out this bad boy:

Yesterday morning I woke up and my heel was absolutely killing me. I've been complaining about my heel hurting for a few weeks now and I figured it was about time to do something about it. Also, my arch was starting to hurt too and I figured the longer I wait, the more messed up my foot will get.

So I did some research and discovered there are such things as night splints for plantar fasciitis. They hold the foot in a flexed position so that the muscles and ligaments stay stretched and have an opportunity to heal.

After work, I walked over to CVS and found one. Last night I wore it and this morning I stepped out of bed and onto my left heel with no pain for the first time in weeks. Amazing!

Now that I've been up for a few hours, swimming and walking around, my heel is just starting to hurt again. I'm hoping after a couple weeks of wearing the splint every night maybe I'll be able to walk like a normal person again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Next 30 Days

Surprise, surprise! I'm doing my 30-Day Fitness Challenge again. Day 1 is Monday and I've managed to get several Facebook friends to say they'll join me.

Even though I'm not officially challenged, I had a good 50-minute swim today. One of the ladies in the A group from Masters showed up to do her weekly workout and while I did some kicking laps, I watched her in awe. Even when she's doing drills, she manages to power through the water. Drills slow me down until I'm going about half my usual speed. I think I concentrate too hard on what each arm is doing and forget about actually moving forward.

For instance, Fingertip Drag drill:
Right arm: raise arm out of water, making sure elbow is pointing up while dragging tips of fingers along top of water. Finish stroke and stretch right arm out front with left arm.



Oh, right.

Left arm: raise arm out of water, making sure elbow is pointing up while dragging tips of fingers along top of water...


During this 30-Day Challenge, I'm making a deal with myself that I will not weigh or measure myself at all because, frankly, it's depressing and totally throws me off my game. I've been feeling pretty awesome about myself since I started swimming and purposefully waited a couple weeks into this new routine before I weighed myself.

Well, I stepped on the scale yesterday thinking, surely after my workouts and dedication and eating healthy I have lost a couple of pounds.


And then I downward spiraled into a funk and had a really hard time pulling myself out of bed this morning because all I could think was, What's the point?

The POINT is that I feel awesome. OK, maybe my clothes are tighter than I want and I'm not thrilled with how my body looks right now, but when I get in the pool and swim 100 laps I feel tough and strong and I love it. So for the 30 days of this challenge, I'm not going to let the scale burst my bubble of awesomeness.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

30-Day Challenge Recap

Today is Day 30 of my 30 minutes of activity for 30 days challenge. First of all, these 30 days have flown by. Day 1 was Tuesday, March 22 and here we are almost at the end of April.

(I'm kind of ignoring the fact that I have a presentation coming up that I need to submit materials and slides for by May 23. In denial.)

So I've been doing regular updates on Facebook about my activity, and I'm glad I did because it's so easy to go back and look at what I accomplished. I did 30 minutes of activity for days 1 through 12, then was sidelined on days 13 and 14 with what I'm assuming is plantar fasciitis.

Day 15 was my first foray back into swimming in about 10 months.

Day 16, I tried another lunch walk and discovered that walking was really painful. Sigh. Time to lay off the walks.

Days 18 and 20 were busy and resulted in me cramming in 30-40 minutes of cumulative walking. I'll count it for this challenge, but probably not for the next one.

Day 24 I bowed out due to extreme soreness from strength training.

So, wow, looking back, I only really missed 3 days. I'm kind of amazed by that. Challenging myself has been a great motivator. I had to consciously think about when I was going to get in my activity for the day because it wasn't negotiable.

The one negative part of this challenge has been my heel injury. Since it started hurting, I've still managed a couple more walks, but I've paid for them with a lot of pain at night resulting in me hobbling around the house. I ice my heel most evenings after work, but it doesn't seem to be getting better. It's also really frustrating because the weather is getting nice and I would love to be taking lunch walks, in addition to my morning swims.

I think the biggest positive thing I've noticed since I started swimming a couple of weeks ago is that it's so much easier to wake up in the morning. I was whining and complaining early in the challenge about being relegated to lunch walks because I could NOT get up in the morning. It's amazing how paying for Masters swimming will get me up in the morning. Also, now that I have the swimming bug again, I'm excited about my workouts. So now that I've been exercising for reals for a couple of weeks, I need less sleep and I'm waking up earlier. Nice!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Today, Jason went jogging for the first time in awhile. (As he likes to say, he ran a 5K last May, and retired undefeated.) I really like it when he's active too because he motivates me. I've always been the one who works out, so how much of a loser am I if I don't get in a workout, and then he emails me crowing about running 3 miles?

(Did I mention swimming brings out my competitive side?)

We had a busy Saturday so I was up bright and early to swim for 55 minutes. Yesterday I got in a 30-minute strength training session (sumo squats, we meet again), and this morning I swam for 45 minutes.

My 30 Day Fitness Challenge ends on Thursday, and I solicited feedback on Facebook as to whether I should do it again. One friend suggested I just make it a 60 Day Challenge now, but I would really like to get in a perfect 30 days so I'm going to shoot for that. I'll give a final report about this challenge on Thursday, then Friday is Day 1 of the next challenge. Feel free to join in!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Have you ever done sumo squats? I think I need to do those on a regular basis because there may be no better way to tone up my inner thigh muscles. I woke up yesterday morning with amazingly sore inner thighs. That makes for some interesting walking. And sitting down. Did you know you extensively use your inner thigh muscles to sit down? So I didn't work out yesterday because walking was kind of a struggle.

This morning, I argued with myself for about 10 minutes, then finally got up and went for a swim. I'm so glad I did. I'm still sore from the squats (and the dumbbell flys), but it became more bearable after swimming a few laps, and I think it was good to stretch out my muscles a bit.

The Y's triathlon team still had their workout written on the white board at one end of the pool, so I decided to do it (though I had to cut it short a bit since I ran out of time). I warmed up and then did:

100 (R :15)
200 (R :20)
300 (R :30)
400 (R :40)
300 (R: 30)
200 (R :20)

Only, I actually ended after the second 300, and did the last 12 laps as a cooldown combo with kicking and swimming. All told, I did 88 laps, or 2200 yards in 45 minutes, which I'm happy with considering both my warm-up and cooldown included some kicking.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The last, oh, 18 hours haven't been so great on the low-carb front. Last night I met a friend for a movie and got myself a tub of popcorn. That wasn't quite my intention when we decided to go, it's just I met her right after work and didn't plan well AT ALL. If I had, I would have brought some nuts or cheese or something to hold me until I got home and could have another snack. Instead, I showed up at the theater famished with nothing to choose from except popcorn and candy.

However, I would like to note that my net carbs yesterday were still 67 g, meaning that up until the popcorn, I was doing stellar.

Today it's raining and we got pizza for the office. This is actually special fancy pizza with a yummy multi-grain crust and organic, local ingredients. So not the worst thing in the world, but still full of carbs and grains.

We used to get pizza almost every time there was a really crummy rainy day (like today), but I've been deflecting our assistant's pizza proposals for weeks now. I think this is probably the 4th or 5th time she's recently suggested it and I felt kind of mean saying "no" again. Also, it sounded good.

Oh well. I can live with it. Though I'm already feeling that carbalicious mid-afternoon slump kicking in. My eyes are droopy and my head is foggy.

As for exercise, this is Day 23 of my Challenge and I got in my 30 minutes first thing with some strength training, which I've been intending to add back to my routine. The other day I was reminded that strength training is so important to muscle gain and weight loss. See, my weight was at a pretty good place when we went to Hawaii with Jason's family in April 2010, and I found myself wondering what exactly I was doing with my workouts and food a year ago.

Since I've been (obsessively) charting my calories and workouts for a few years now, I could go back to March and April of 2010 on SparkPeople and see what I was doing. The joys of SparkPeople! If you too love numbers and stats and charts created with those numbers and stats, then SparkPeople is for you. (Tell them Kellyim referred you)

First, my workouts. For one, I was swimming pretty regularly (that always seems to be key for me). Also, I was doing a bit of elliptical now and then, walking often (darn this left heel!) and strength training at least twice a week.

As for food, I was doing pretty much what I'm doing right now - eating whole foods, restricting grains and sugar, eating around 50-75 g net carbs per day.

I hadn't hit my arbitrary self-imposed goal weight a year ago, but I remember feeling pretty good and having a lot of energy. So it's nice to have that validation that my instincts are right and I'm back to doing what I know works for me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Masters Morning

This morning was the 2nd Masters swimming workout. There were actually probably 6 fewer people than at the last workout, which meant the lanes weren't quite so crowded. Also, the coach didn't make us get in the assigned lanes this week, so I wound up swimming with the same people as last week, which worked fine (though I still think that one girl should be bumped up to the B level. She was on my heels the entire time. Meanwhile I was keeping pace with the other people in the lane.)

I wish I didn't have to jump out of the pool right at 7:30 to get ready for work because today wasn't much of a workout. We just did a ton of drill 50s. All sorts of drills.

The thing about drills are, they kind of make you feel like a total goober. Yes, thank you, I KNOW I'm not supposed to slap the water with my open palm, or radically rotate my hips every time I take a stroke. It's a drill. I was fine today when everyone was doing all the crazy body contortions, but I admit to feeling a little self-conscious on Saturday morning when I was doing the drills on my own.

It's interesting how swimming theory has changed since I learned how to swim in the early 80s. Not that it's changed that much, but enough that I'm modifying my stroke a bit and really concentrating on making my technique better. Which is exactly why I joined Masters, so hooray for getting my money's worth.

I predict I will be an even bigger swimming nerd when the next Summer Olympics roll around, scrutinizing everyone's technique and such.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Level D? Psssh!

Saturday morning I went to the pool to do the workout the Masters coach emailed us. I took the Level C workout with me, and I did it! It was challenging, for sure, but I did it. I love having the planned workouts to do because they definitely push me harder than I would push myself.

Yesterday was an inactive day, sadly, though I suppose I did walk about a half hour downtown with Jason. Today I was going to go to the gym, but didn't wake up in time again. Monday mornings are always rough for me (because I'm such a hard partier, apparently). Since I don't have anything planned for dinner, after work I'm going to walk to Whole Foods, pick up some hot bar for our dinner, then walk up to the bus stop. That should take at least 30 minutes. Not ideal for my heels, but I can't stop living, right?

I wondered aloud to Jason yesterday how my heels are supposed to heal when I still have to, you know, walk. OK, maybe I can stop with the official "taking walks" so much, but I still have to walk during my day. Anyone with plantar fasciitis who can tell me how long it takes for the heels to stop hurting?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Day 18: Inadvertent Rest Day

So I didn't actually plan for exercise today because I knew it was going to be a busy day. Early morning meeting in Boston, followed by a full day of work, followed by a Providence Bruins hockey game.

Note: It's kind of awesome living in the town that feeds into the major sports team town. We can go see the Pawtucket Red Sox or the Providence Bruins for a fraction of what it costs to go see those other Red Sox and Bruins.

Anyway, the day started out amazingly when I woke up 20 minutes before the train to Boston left Providence. And it takes 15 minutes to get to the station. So I wound up driving up to Boston and spending about 3 hours in traffic today. Drag.

I suppose I can count the walk from work to the hockey game and back. It takes about 15 minutes each way. 15 + 15 = 30, right? So there's my 30 minutes of activity, no matter how lame.

Sadly, it was enough to make my heel ache a lot, despite making sure to wear good supportive shoes. I'm following's advice and icing it right now.

Until this heals I think I need one of those hover loungers like in Wall-E to cart me around, with periodic drop-offs at the pool.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Oo, Le Creuset!

Anne Marie, aka Cheeseslave, is giving away a Le Creuset baking dish this month. So I'm entering to win (and so can you, though I want to win. Just saying.)

Swimming and Feet

Went for my swim this morning and got 4 more lengths in my 20-minute trial than I did on Tuesday. Still not nearly as fast as I want to be, but solidly in the C range. So at least I proved that to myself, which makes me feel better.

Still shooting for A, though.

My triceps are screaming at me to cut it out. Sorry, triceps, you will be defined again! Swimming gives me a muscular upper back and totally cut triceps. Looking forward to getting those back.

I am not loving my sore left heel today. I paid for yesterday's lunch walk this morning when I got out of bed and stepped on my left foot. It's even a bit achy as I'm just sitting here at my desk typing, not putting any weight on it at all. I guess I won't be getting 10,000 steps per day again for at least a week while I let my foot rest for a bit.

Of course, today it's lovely and warm and sunny outside and a perfect day for a lunch walk.

You know what sunny days like this make me wish we had in New England? Outdoor pools. I think that's what I miss most about Tucson.

Oh, and my relatives.

And Mexican food.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Our coach sent out the weekly workouts yesterday afternoon with our official lane assignment for the upcoming practices. I got bumped down to Level D! I was fuming to Jason about it last night and he said I need to stop being so polite with the other people in the lane and not let them pass or slow down so that I don't pass them. He may be right.

I looked at the workouts and the D one is SO SLOW. I use the clock a lot when I'm doing my own workouts, so I know my speeds and I definitely don't need intervals of 2 minutes and 20 seconds for 100s. I'm going to do the C workout this week, and tomorrow morning I'm going to do that 20-minute swim on my own so I know my real pacing.

I was also kind of surprised that the coach bumped this other new girl down into D with me. Honestly, if anything, I thought she should have been moved up to B. I guess she and I will be frustrated in the D lane together.

Of course, it may be more about numbers. There are only 5 lanes and 25 people to spread out over those 5 lanes.

Yesterday was long and late so I didn't get up for my swim this morning. Now, I wish I had. I'm a little antsy and I'm craving a nice swim. One day and I'm already addicted to the endorphins. I get a nice buzz when I swim that I just don't get with most other activities. The only other thing that is a guaranteed shot of endorphins for me is doing HIIT on the elliptical. But swimming is more fun, and less disgustingly sweaty.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Masters Swimming

This morning was my first Masters swimming workout. First of all, why do I always forget how great swimming makes me feel? Seriously, I think I've made that comment no less than 5 times on this blog, yet it always feels like a new revelation every time. Just 40 minutes of swimming gives me such a great endorphin buzz.

I can already tell that having a coach and swimming with other people at about my same level (and better) is going to push me much harder than I would push myself. We practice as a group on Tuesday mornings for an hour, then during the week our coach sends us a workout to print out and do on our own time, based on our skill level.

We did a 20-minute swim this morning so the coach could get an idea of our pacing and place us in the appropriate level. I think my result was a little skewed, since there were 5 people in my lane and I stopped a couple of times because either someone needed to pass me, or I needed to wait a few seconds so that I wasn't on someone's heels the entire length of the pool. I'm going to do another 20-minute swim myself either tomorrow or Thursday morning so that I get a real idea of my pace, without any interruptions.

The workouts are for Level A through Level E, with A being the fastest. Right now I'm in Level C, which I think isn't so bad considering I haven't even been in the pool for about 9 months (or more). Our coach sends all the workouts to everyone, so if I want to push myself, I can try a B or an A workout during the week. Which I already know I'm totally going to do. The competitive swimmer in me wants to be in the A group!

In most aspects of life, I'm not really that competitive. I mean, I like to win as much as the next person, but I'm ok with not being the best of the best. Usually. The difference is, I know I'm a good swimmer. I know this is something I can do well, so I actually do want to be the best. I'm not saying I'll get there, but I'm definitely going to push myself.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Injured. Again.

Every time I start running again, I get injured. Every. Single. Time.

This is just getting annoying. It's not like I'm doing excessive amounts of training here. All I'm doing is going for walks every day, peppered with an occasional jog totaling about 8 minutes of running. I'm not training for some long-distance race. I'm not even breaking a sweat most days when I'm out for my walks.

And still I manage to get injured.

So. Frustrating!

It's always different, though. First it was my ankles. Then my IT band. This time I'm about 99.9% sure I have plantar fasciitis. I've had pain since I did my first jog a couple weeks ago, but after yesterday's jog it's just excruciating. I'm hobbling so much that Jason (who HATES doctors) is saying maybe I should go to the doctor.

So let's look at the symptoms, courtesy of (the people who gave you the Couch to 5K program):

1. This is among the most common of foot injuries and is signaled by pain on the front of the heel or all along the arch.
Not so much the arch, but my left heel sure hurts a lot.

2. You probably have a lot of pain when you first get out of bed -- it's probably murder just to walk out of your bedroom.

3. Ditto on standing up after a long time of being seated.
Double check.

4. To make sure it's plantar fasciitis, as opposed to a heel spur (see below), press your thumb up hard on the middle of your heel. If you feel pain, it's plantar fasciitis.

Likely Causes:
"In the ideal foot with the ideal stride, your weight during your stride rolls efficiently from your heel, through your arch, and off of the ball of your foot. The arch flattens a little bit to absorb your weight and then springs back. Plantar fasciitis is the all too common result of your weight moving improperly through your arch so that it is overstretched. In more extreme cases, the arch loses its flexibility altogether so that it no longer springs back.
Considering I have the flattest feet on the planet, I'm thinking this might be my problem.

The injury is aggravated, like most injuries, by running too much.
"Too much" in my case apparently means once. For 8 minutes.

First, ease off on the miles and cut out the hills and speedwork.
Of course, it makes you feel like less of a total running loser if you're actually doing miles and hills and speedwork to begin with. I am a total running loser.

Give it ice immediately after running -- ten minutes on ice, ten minutes off, and repeat. Take anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling.
Noted. Hello, ibuprofen!

For that early-morning pain, avoid getting out of bed barefoot. Put on some thick socks or slippers first.
Yes, I've found stepping immediately into my squishy shearling slippers helps me not to collapse when I step on my left heel first thing in the morning.

I think I may just need to accept the fact that my body does NOT want me to be a runner. Or even an excessive walker. Maybe it's time to concentrate on that strength training...

Saturday, April 02, 2011


The last time I updated my fitness challenge on here was on Day 6. Today is Day 12 and I'm still plugging along, and haven't missed a day yet (though I had a couple of close calls). Here's my report:

Day 7: 45-minute lunch walk
Day 8: 50-minute lunch walk
Day 9: 30-minute walk (busy day at work with a lunch meeting, but I managed to sneak out for a bit mid-afternoon)
Day 10: 35-minute walk partway home in the freezing rain as the Nor'easter rolled in.
Day 11: 3-mile walk home from work

Today (ie, Day 12) I talked Jason into doing a walk/jog with me down the path this morning. It's so nice to have someone to go with, though I know my short stubby legs are holding him back. He's very sweet to run with me. He also pushed me to do 3 extra minutes of running, which was great.

Well, the running wasn't great, but the fact that we did it was. The running kind of sucked, if I'm going to be honest.

Anyway, I'm almost halfway through the fitness challenge and I'm going strong. The extra hours of daylight over the last couple of weeks have definitely helped. This coming week is the week I need to step it up a notch. Masters swimming starts Tuesday, and I'm going to make a better effort to get up in the mornings and go for a run, or do some strength training. I may still go for a lunch walk most days, but I think that needs to be on the side, rather than being my main exercise.

As for the low-carb, I've been fudging a bit here and there. For instance, I bought some Newman's dark chocolate caramel cups and I allowed myself to eat them over three days this week (there are 3 caramel cups per package). We're going over to some friends' house tonight where the husband, who is from Spain, is making us paella. Yum! I'm not turning that down, despite the carbs.

I definitely think I'm sticking to a good 80/20 balance, like Mark at Mark's Daily Apple espouses. Basically the idea is to eat on plan (whatever your plan is) 80% of the time, allowing for some fudging the other 20%. Sounds reasonable, right? I think I could even claim 85/15 for this month, honestly and I'm pleased with that.