Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 18: I SEE A DIFFERENCE!

Well. It happened. I looked in the mirror, and I noticed a difference.

Last week, Paul told me HE could see a difference. I thanked him, and it felt good that he said it...but Paul was straight-up lying to me, we all know it. Or maybe he did see a difference, because he turned around from the Wii for a moment and realized I was not a disembodied voice. Who knows.

But now I see a difference.

It is not a big difference. But who the heck cares? I am getting FIT!

(This would be the part where I show you a before/after photograph. Except I took no before picture. Because no one wants to look at the before.)

Meanwhile, in the saga of bone/joint/muscle pain that is my life, I have a giant bruise on the top of my left foot from dropping a 50+ pound roll of paper on my poor defenseless foot on Thursday. The other ankle screams every time I flex it from the random twist-related injury from last Friday. The shin splints are still there, still splinty.

And so I have made an executive decision.

Since my various agonies are making it hard for me to keep up with my self-inflicted demands, I will be heading to the shoe experts in Fort Wayne on Saturday to get fitted for actual running shoes.

My original plan had been to reward myself with new shoes AFTER completing 30 Day Shred. But the agony has forced a change. I'll have to think of some other reward for completing 30 Day Shred. Maybe a cheap one, as I'll have spent goodness-knows how much on decent shoes.

And my wimpy-girl running program starts next Monday. Erin and I will be making a valiant attempt at becoming runners. Heh.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 17: Please Make the Hurting Stop

Shin splints HURT. Also, something about that yoga DVD made me mess up my ankle. And it HURTS too. So Saturday's rest was probably a good idea.

Today I went right back in to 30 Day Shred. I added a bonus ankle-dealie the doctor gave me from the LAST time I freaked my ankle out.

Did I tell you that story?

I was at Vacation Bible School, running something from one group of kids to another group. I was running in these adorable slip-on shoes. They had no backs. One kid saw me and thought, "Gee, I know what would be funny! I will stomp on her foot while she runs!" And so he did.

He missed my toe, though. Instead, he got the bottom of my shoe. This meant my foot was in one spot while the rest of my body was still moving. And obviously, I fell.

The next day, I could put no weight on my foot, so there was a doctor's visit. I had torn something or other, so I wore this brace thing until it "healed." I say "healed" because my ankle bones still grind together in a freaky way. Like broken marbles.

That's healthy.

So I wore that ankle dealie today, just in case.

And before I worked out, I went to Fort Wayne and stopped at the sporting goods store in the vain hope of getting advice for shin-splint relief from someone who could answer questions.

After spending 20 minutes scouring the store for the little sleevey things, I realized that if I wanted help, I would have to start removing my clothing one article at a time while singing the national anthem. So I looked at some of the shoes I'd seen online (still no offer of help), and by then, I'd been in the store SO LONG without any employee so much as looking at me, I gave up.

Can I just say, this store had at least 50 varieties of support for male athletes, but not a single shin-splint sleevey thing.

So I went to Target and then went home to work out, having wasted over two hours of my life driving back and forth to Fort Wayne.

Now, of course, after having Googled "running stores in Fort Wayne," and I discovered a running store in Fort Wayne that is SPECIFICALLY for running (not all sports in general), that happened to be open while I was in town. That's nice. Next time I will search before I leave the house.

The good news is that this store, Three Rivers Running Company, will check the way I walk, the way I run, measure my feet, look at my old shoes, and find out the best possible new running shoes for me. So I wrote down all their info, next time I'm in town, I'll visit and see what they can do for me.

In the meantime, if this pain doesn't start to improve over the next week, I am so totally going to the doctor. But I'd rather not pay for x-rays (again) unless I absolutely have to. Hence the waiting. How many times do I have to be diagnosed with shin splints before someone tells me how I can change my walk to make them go away?

So. Hooray, day 17!

On to the next.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fitness People: Laura Needs YOUR Help!

No 30 Day Shred today, as it is my day off (for birthday purposes).

Erin has been insistent that we do this running program. And that's fine, I'll run. But the problem is...SHIN SPLINTS.

It seems as if I walk wrong, and am rewarded with shin splints. Yesterday I sneezed. Shin splints. I know what they are, I know what my foot does to make them happen. I try not to do the thing! But there is nothing I can do to stop my over-pronation. So there's that.

I do the stretches! Stretching! It is supposed to help! It does nothing. The only thing that prevents shin splints is my sitting still in front of the television until I slowly grow to resemble my couch.

Does anyone know something helpful I can do? Do those tight sock things work? And I am in the market for new running shoes (in the vain hope that changing shoes will fix me, even though all of my shoes cause this problem), so maybe someone knows of shoes with really awesome arch support or something else that should help me avoid agony*? Is there something specific and anti-shin-splint-y that I should look for in a running shoe?

Or should I just give up and go to the doctor. I really would rather not have the whole x-ray kit and caboodle. Plus he would advise rest, and I honestly have done that REPEATEDLY over the years and it doesn't fix the problem, it just delays it until I pick up my exercise program again. Resting and letting the shin splints heal...that's why I end up quitting various methods of exercise. Always. And changing programs doesn't help. I don't just need a low-impact exercise, I need a NO-impact exercise. Walking is enough to aggravate the problem.

I need Dr. Temperance Brennan to come down here and tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Any advice you might have would be greatly appreciated.

* Agony can include, but is not limited to: shin splints, blisters, and random slices across the back of the heel so shoe can drink runner's blood like little Nike vampires.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 16: I Have a Type A Personality and a Death Wish

Okay. Here's the thing.

I worked out first thing in the morning. Usually I do it in the evening. That is ROUTINE. But today was morning. And that was strange.

And I was sitting around after dinner, when I usually do 30 Day Shred, and I said to myself, "I should be working out right now. I should be working out RIGHT NOW."

And then I ignored it and watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics* and it made me cry in the first five seconds when the kids sang Gran's favorite hymn. My mother also burst into tears. And then Kenneth Branagh did a piece from The Tempest, and it was awesome and I want to have a clip of it to play over and over and over again, because that is my favorite part of The Tempest and Kenneth Branagh is made of awesome.

So. Back to my Type A personality...

I was thinking that tomorrow, I would not be working out. I WOULD NOT BE WORKING OUT. Maybe that decision would be disappointing to you, the blog. Maybe you would think, "Laura is not fully committed to this. Maybe Laura doesn't really want to get fit!"

And I did just get that new blu-ray player for my birthday. And that can play DVDs. And when I went out, I stopped at T.J. Maxx and found workout clothes ON THE CHEAP that were super cute.

And one thing led to another, and I ended up doing that Yoga Meltdown DVD I picked up last weekend. Yeah. I worked out twice in one day.

My impression? It is FUN and challenging. But challenging is okay because I really love yoga. But by the end, I wondered, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??" Because I just became the person who feels like a slacker when they think of not exercising.

I hope this proves to you that I really want to not be taking a day off. But I have to. Because I deserve to have some fun, too. And I hear there will be pasta.

* Dear Olympic committee, I hope I am allowed to reference the Olympics by name when referring to an Olympic event. Please direct all lawsuits to this waste basket. Thanks. Love, Laura

Day 16: Happy Birthday to Me!

It is day 16, also known as MY BIRTHDAY! I woke up, had a glass of milk and a yogurt, and then I did level two to celebrate. Level two is getting easier. This makes me feel better about myself.

I wanted to get my workout finished early so that I can fully enjoy today! Tomorrow's session might not happen, so it was important to me to make sure I got today's DONE.

See, tomorrow I am working, then going out with Jen and Brandon and Paul to celebrate my birthday, and no way am I leaving early just to work out. I will do my best to squeeze in a workout, but tomorrow is a SPECIAL day. And after 16 days of exercise, I have earned a day off. We'll see what happens.

I hope everyone enjoys the big party they're throwing for me in London!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day...15? Day 15.

We have passed the number of days that I can remember without confusion. Also after finishing my workout today...Well, I am now halfway through 30 Day Shred. HALFWAY THROUGH.

This means I am 15 more days from those new bloodstain-free shoes I promised myself. Imagine, working out in shoes that aren't stained with your own blood! What a luxury.

Although, frankly, they are Nikes. I think that means they thirst for blood. The Nike commercials always show people sweating and falling and bleeding, after all. It makes sense that their shoes could have something resembling a hunger for human flesh.

Great. I have shoes that want to kill and eat me. I'm so glad I thought this through.

Anyway, It was day 15. I took off my glasses before the plank jacks so I could sweat freely.

Also, tomorrow is my birthday. I will be celebrating by doing the 30 Day Shred. Also, I hear they are throwing this huge party in my honor in London, so that's cool. It's even going to be on TV. And the royal family will be there!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 14: Two Week Mark. Or, In Which I Talk To Jillian Like She Is an Imaginary Friend.

I've mentioned before how the phrase "30 Day Shred" has overtaken my vocabulary like the Black Death ripped through Europe. Mostly, I say things about 30 Day Shred now. I know how annoying it is. I know it drives my friends, family, and coworkers insane. I really try to stop myself, but I can't. It is like I have 30 Day Shred Tourette's. Like Glenn Beck with Nazis. Did you see that back when it was on the Daily Show? Because if not, please enjoy.


That is one of my favorite mockeries of Glenn Beck ever, and frankly, the man does invite my disdain, what with his theatrical crying and insincere Christmas stories.

What can I say. I am bitter, I am cynical.

But now, where Glenn sees Nazis, I see Jillian Michaels.

You say, "Have a cookie, Laura."

I take the cookie, I look over my shoulder, and I say, "SHUT UP, JILLIAN. I CAN EAT A COOKIE."

And then I eat the cookie.

But seriously. I feel as if I have to justify the things I do to Jillian Michaels, like she is some kind of demented fairy following me around wherever I go.

And when she tells me to drink water and not pop, I am like, "Sure!"

But when she says, "Don't you dare eat that bagel," I am like, "I will eat this bagel, you skinny twig woman, because I am over a head taller than you, and only your speedy running will stop me from taking your video camera and your microphone and putting them on this tall shelf where you cannot reach them!"

Because Jillian, with her videos and her website, likely needs those two things to make all of the money.

Today, I thought I would listen to Jillian and be healthy and eat some fresh tomatoes instead of the chips someone left in the break room, so I did, but I have an intolerance to tomatoes, which is like an allergy, but not quite. So I ate my tomatoes, and then twenty minutes later, I was doubled over in agony, because tomatoes hit my stomach and then irritate it and it HURTS. That is what I get for trying to be healthy. And for ignoring the various warnings that health professionals have given me about this tomato thing.

But seriously: tomatoes taste awesome. I am going to eat them until I land in the hospital. Then I'm getting an epi pen, and I am still eating tomatoes. That is what I say.

This stupid pin on Pinterest said that by the end of week two of whatever exercise thing the pinner was imagining, one would notice a difference. So after my workout, I looked in the mirror. And you know what?

There is no difference, aside from this new-found psychosis of mine.

But hey, at least I'm getting something out of this.

The pinner also said that in FOUR weeks, you guys would notice a difference. That's the kind of thing that makes me wish I'd taken "before" pictures to compare with the "after." But that's the kind of forethought that would have had me exercising before now. And also, would I have wanted those "before" pictures hanging around and haunting me in years to come? No. No I wouldn't.

Tomorrow will be the start of week three. I'm hoping to begin to grow accustomed to the violent physical torture of level two during this time. I've made a goal for myself for week three. It is a humble sort of goal.

I would like to stop sweating my glasses off my nose during plank jacks.

Because that's just depressing.

Day Thirteen: In Which Laura Forgets to Blog

Yeah...I totally forgot to blog yesterday.

This is because, after getting out of work at 11:00 AM due to a power outage, I went home, played Zelda, did LEVEL TWO of 30 Day Shred, and then I went to Rachael's and we ate eggplant parmesan and it was YUMMY and then we talked about her crazy neighbor lady who is GENUINELY CERTIFIABLE and it was lots of fun.

And after that, I went home and collapsed, watched Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and finally fell asleep at the late hour of 11:00 PM*.

As for day two of level two...It was easier. This is because I figured out how to do a "skater," and it looked a whole lot less like a Riverdance routine when I figured out how to do it right.

But for now, I am rushing off to dinner before my evening of work! I just wanted you to know I didn't cheat and skip a day, and I won't tonight, either. Promise.

* SHOCKING, I know. For some reason, the insomnia took the night off. It was glorious.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day Twelve. I just. No.

I would write you a long, detailed account of day twelve, level two, and the horrors therein, but I am just going to let Twitter tell the story for me.

Staring Guy: No Water Refill Is Worth This

Jennifer is getting married.

So what do you do when your friend is getting married? You have a bachelorette dealie.

I have had a traumatic experience at a bachelorette party before. And therefore, I avoid them like the plague. But Becky and I wanted to do something special for Jen, and that became a bachelorette party. Minus the food shaped like body parts, because eww.

Also, minus other traumatic things.

Instead, we went to dinner.

We sat down at the restaurant, the waitress brought us menus and took our drink orders. That was when I noticed the water-guy.

He was standing by this wall partition thing, kind of like a pillar, but not round. And every once and a while, he would lean his head out from around the pillar, and stare.

I have told you about the freaks and weirdos I attract.

It's true. I attract the strangest people. If a crowd of men were assembled in the town square (if we had a town square), and I were brought before them, and the men were asked to stand on one side of the square if they found me attractive or on the other if they found me repugnant, the vast majority of normal guys would go to the repugnant side and the men left over would be the ones with criminal records (we're talking felonies here), those on watch lists, the psychopaths, and the crazies. Sure, there would be some normal guys on that side, too, but when they noticed that the other men around them were foaming at the mouth and sharpening switchblades, they would scuttle over to the other side of the square, leaving me with prospective boyfriends that were destined to grace the most-wanted list.

At first, I ignored Staring Guy. He was pale, in his late teens with dark hair and an earring. The earring alone was a warning, because it was a big faux-diamond, which made me think that Staring Guy, while off duty, liked to wear huge, over-sized pants belted just above the knee and some kind of cap tilted to the back or side. He was a gangsta-wannabe.

But Staring Guy kept darting back out, staring, and giving me this weird look.

Finally, Becky and Jen noticed my expression, and they asked me what was going on. When I explained, Jen (who was next to me in the booth) started watching where Staring Guy had first appeared. When he looked around the pillar again, she stared back at him with her angry teacher-stare*.

"I cannot tell if he is watching our water glasses to see when he should refill them, or if he finds us attractive," I said.

"I bet it's the water," Jen replied.

"Maybe we shouldn't stare back," I continued. "You never know. This could be my future husband."

And he just kept staring. He began an elaborate technique of circling the dining area, watching us--or was it me?--as he walked around the room, ducking for cover behind walls and booths when he felt his staring was becoming obvious to us.

He had even put the water down. There was no water pitcher anymore. Only staring.

Eventually, when another guy came over to refill Jen's tea, she told him, "You know the guy with the earring? He is being creepy. He keeps staring. It's freaking us out. You need to tell him to stop."

This was not effective.

Staring Guy kept it up through our whole meal, and when we'd finished eating, he returned to our table three separate times to get plates. He would take a plate, leave watch us for a while, come back, take a salad plate, go away, watch, then return for another. He was taking, like, one plate at a time. You know how people busing tables can carry every plate from a table on one arm? Or at least most of them? This guy did not even attempt it. He was a one-plate-at-a-time kind of person. Because it gave him a better opportunity to BE CREEPY.

I watched on the way out to the car. He didn't write down Jen's license plate number. So she is safe.

But seriously. This is why people carry mace. So psychotic busboys do not slash your tires, throw you in the back of their van, drive you out into the woods, and bolt your ankle to a chain hooked to the floor so they can watch you through a tiny window built into the wall until you eventually starve and die. This is why the mace.



Maybe this would be a good idea for my birthday? Or a taser, like Darcy has in Thor. Nothing says "Happy 28th" like self-defense-related presents**.

* You do not mess with the teacher-stare.

** Or stuff with The Avengers on it. Like my new folder. And my new markers. And my new pencils. And my shirt. I love The Avengers.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day Eleven: Uh Oh.

Today I did my workout (after first visiting Target and buying myself some extra socks and workout clothes as the last time I bought workout clothes was freshman year of college in 2003). And I whipped through everything, and I realized something terrible.

I need to move up to level two.

I just have no words.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day Ten...Jillian Was Right.

If you know me, you know how much I enjoy being right. I really do. It is like chocolate for me, because it means everything is okay in the world.

And when I started 30 Day Shred, I turned to people and I said, "Jillian is psychotic. She is a sadist. She likes to see other people in pain."

And Jillian said, "If you're on day six, seven, or eight, you're probably noticing your endurance is getting better!" Or something like that. And I said, "Jillian, stop smoking crack and eat a cupcake."

And then it became day six, and I tried to ignore her. And it was day seven, and I pretended I wasn't listening, and then it was day eight, and I blocked my ears. And on day nine, I was in full-on denial.

But it is day ten now, and darn it.

Jillian was right.

It is getting easier.

Stupid Jillian.

Also, I bought a new DVD, which is again a Jillian one, and it is called Yoga Meltdown. I did this because I LOVE yoga. And Jillian, while not someone I would consider a yogi, isn't a middle-aged man wearing a skin-tight pair of short shorts doing pelvic thrusts while a camera films a close up of his pelvis. Yeah. I could live without seeing that. And nearly every yoga video features HIM. But not this one. So I was sold on it instantly. Because eww. Put on real pants, Yoga Man, and I will watch your DVD. But first, REAL pants. That cover you. ALL the way.

I will probably mix the new DVD in with 30 Day Shred at some point when I get bored. Bailey said this was a good idea, and we trust Bailey. She is a workout genius. If she didn't live far, far away, I would have her be my personal trainer*. She would get me fit in no time.

* Meaning, I would follow her to the gym like a puppy and do exactly what she does until she files for a restraining order.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day Nine: Will She or Won't She?

It is day nine. Or it will be when I finally get home this evening. But here's the thing. It is girl's night. And girl's night is for FUN. Also it is taking place starting right after work. And who knows how long it will last? Hopefully forever.

So...

When will I fit in 30 Day Shred?

I can just see myself at midnight, clicking on the DVD player. That's bound to be fun.

But really who needs sleep? Sleep is overrated.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day Eight. Seriously?

I looked at my schedule for today last night and I thought...this is not going to happen. So I set my alarm, work up early, and worked out.

Granted, early in this case was 7:00 AM. Not 5:00 AM.

And I woke up to Dad on his Irish whistle, and every note said, "I hate you, Laura. I hate you, Laura." And I bitterly gathered my breakfast together, chewing my waffles while thinking, "I will jam that whistle down your trachea, old man."

I turned on the DVD, I worked out, and every punch and kick and whatnot was directed toward Dad's whistle instead of at Jillian Michaels. Because there is no excuse for a whistle before 9:00 AM. The whistle should come out after your family is awake. That is how you show them love.

Stupid whistle.

Anyway, now that 30 Day Shred is done for the day, I find myself with no end goal for the day, and I am somewhat listless. One would think I would be filled with glee at having nothing to dread. But no.

Instead I am obsessing about tomorrow and the weirdly awkward thing that will be happening. WEIRDLY AWKWARD THING, WHY DO YOU EXIST? Wish me luck, everyone. Because I will need it.

And it has been a whole week. Actually, a week and a day. And I have not quit this thing. So that's a good sign, right?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day Seven: Why I Need New Shoes

I worked out. It feels like someone has jabbed a screwdriver (flat head) through the top of my skull. This is because I had a sinus headache when I turned on the DVD. This is a present Jillian gave me.

I was talking to Mum this morning, and I said, "I think if I stick with this, I will get new shoes for working out!"

Mom replied, "Those ARE new shoes! I thought you bought those when you started that running thing a few years ago. Then you put them in your closet and never wore them!"

I nodded. This was completely true.

"They are covered with bloodstains," I said. "I cannot get the stains out."

Mom stared.

Here is the story.

A few years ago, I decided that my constant run-down feeling was due to a lack of physical fitness. Yoga, I thought, was doing nothing at all. I was a wreck, and I needed to work out harder. Then I would feel better. Really the reason I felt sick was because my gallbladder was slowly dying inside me. But that is beside the point.

I decided I would become a runner. I had always admired runners. I still do.

I see them out and about in town, and they are in cute running clothes, and they are moving at a good pace, and they have ponytails and iPods and they look like they were in a Nike ad, and they just ran right off the billboard and into real life. And they don't seem to care what the temperature is, or that they're running when nothing is chasing them. They just run.

I have a friend, Jaren, and she ran for like 22 miles for FUN. It was her thing that she did! And then she saved me from falling of a mountain.

I bet the running helped her reflexes.

And then I was driving today, and I saw this girl out running. And then I ate lunch and an hour later, I saw her on my way back to work, and she was STILL RUNNING.

That is pretty impressive.

Anyway, I wanted that for me. I would have a runner's physique. I would have a running playlist. And so I ran.

First, I got shin splints. I get them whenever I try any workout that involves impact. But I kept going and tried all kinds of stretches and massage techniques that were supposed to help prevent shin splints. And then a giant semi truck almost mowed me down on the road, and I decided it was a good idea to be a cross country runner and stay far away from traffic of any kind, except maybe geese or fish swimming in the river alongside me.

Usually, geese or fish, they do not crush you under their tires.

So I ran. And after a week or so, I decided that washing all my socks repeatedly was cramping my style, so I bought new socks. I thought they were the same as my old socks, but they were not. These socks were shorter.

No biggie, I thought. The socks would not take away from the sheer awesomeness of my running shoes, which were clearly epic in every sense of the word. Plus they were narrow enough for my feet, so less chances of ankle injury! I was thrilled.

Then I went running.

I noticed after the first lap (I was running a course around my family's property that amounted to around two miles), I noticed my Achilles tendons felt a little tight. So I stopped and did more stretching, and I kept going. I was hard core. I could take this. When the tightness didn't go away, I told myself I was being a wimp. And I kept running. When I'd finished my course, I stretched more, did my cool-down, and I went inside.

"Hey," I gasped at my father.

"WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR LEGS???" Dad asked. He looked horrified.

When I leaned over and looked, I noticed my shoes were covered with blood. And filled with blood. And my socks were soaked in blood. My blood. Because my shoes, my adorable running shoes, had basically scissored open my skin where the back of the shoe ended at the top. Right where my tendon was. Right where it had been feeling tight.

I was forced to toss the new socks and I tried with all the stain-fighter stuff I had to get the blood out of my shoes. And it kinda worked...but there was this trendy mesh stuff, and under that, there is still a stain. My DNA, folks. So if you ever need to clone me, you know where to look.

And that is why, when I finish 30 Day Shred, I may just invest in some trendy new running shoes. Or I will take my shoes to a hospital or CSI unit and ask to borrow some industrial cleaner of some kind.

It is also why I will never be a runner. I cannot handle that sort of thing again. I looked like a Quentin Tarantino move.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day Six: I Am Still Not a Morning Person

Well, I didn't wake up early to work out this morning.

Are you surprised?

I didn't think so.

But did I manage to pick up coworker, drive to work, work 8 hours, drive coworker home, drive to North Manchester, eat pizza and knit with Rachael and Katherine, buy groceries, drive home, drive back to coworker's place for White Collar AND somehow squeeze in the 30 Day Shred?

YES, I DID.

I feel this is a personal victory for me, because it would have been so very easy for me to say, "I am too busy to work out today, so I will work out tomorrow and it will be okay." And that is usually why I quit exercising, because one day becomes a weekend, then a week, then it just stops happening altogether.

Even if Tuesdays remain insane, at least now I know I can manage fitting in 30 minutes of exercise. So, YAY.

In other news, I must begrudgingly admit that this whole thing is getting easier. I mean, I'm not calling it easy, because it still feels like a rabid wolverine is ripping my thigh muscles off every time I do anything resembling a squat, but I start praying for death and visualizing Jillian's head exploding later in the workout than I did at the beginning.

In other news, I am still walking around and saying, "GEE, FAMILY! DON'T MY MUSCLES LOOK BIGGER? I THINK THEY DO! AND ALSO, I AM THINNER AND I APPEAR HEALTHIER OVERALL, DO I NOT?" Then I stare at my family with a look that says, "Agree with me. NOW." And to their credit, they do.

That being said, my muscles do not look bigger, I am not thinner, and I do not appear healthier overall. I walk like an eighty year-old woman riddled with arthritis and osteoporosis. Baby steps.

But now I have 30 minutes all to myself before bedtime, so I am going to read my book, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, which is a retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, only more darker and more dystopian-y and in the future. It is absolutely fantastic. Also it is kind of breaking my heart, but I have read Persuasion (repeatedly, it is my favorite Jane Austen novel), so I know that won't last forever. Add it to your reading lists, everyone. And while you're at it, add The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, because it is awesomesauce.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day Five: I Am Not a Morning Person

I have yet to work out today, but I will the second I get home. I promise.

Don't look at me like that. I'm not going to cheat.

But here's the thing. On Tuesday, this is my schedule:

6:00 AM - Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, other morning things

7:30 AM - Leave for work

8:00 AM-5:00 PM - Work

6-8:00 PM - Knitting and pizza with Rachael and Katherine

9-10:00 PM - White Collar (great show, you should watch it) with Rachel (no, not Rachael from knitting, note the spelling change)

11:00 PM - Bedtime

Do you see a lot of time in there for a workout? Because neither do I. The gaps in the schedule are primarily taken up by driving. So...

It's looking like I have to work out in the morning.

I hate mornings.

Mornings are the devil.

I do not want to wake up at 5:00 AM just so I can squeeze in 30 Day Shred and then a bath because grossness. This will make me hate my life and exercise in general even more than I already do. But I cannot cheat! I must work out. So it's looking like I'll be rushing home after knitting for 30 Day Shred or maybe I'll wait until after White Collar...

I hate my life.

In other news, I came back from lunch and broke into hives randomly. So now there are hives. I don't know whether I'm allergic to the library, something I touched, or the prospect of waking up early just to sweat.

I also hate sweating.

I think I have hives behind my ears. So that's a thing that happened.

I don't want to know what 5:00 AM looks like. I don't want to. You can't make me. Stupid Jillian and her judgmental abs, stealing my precious sleep with her psychotic exercise-fueled demonic powers. Is it better to work out early in the morning? I feel like Bailey would tell me it is. Bailey knows things about exercise. Check yesterday's comments if you don't believe me. She KNOWS things. It's true.

So. Blog poll. Should I, (A) Wake up ungodly early just to sweat or (B) Risk sleeplessness and work out in the evening? Make your opinions known in the comments.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day Four: Paranoia and Desserts

It is day four.

What else is there to say?

I could tell you about how today I contemplated crawling under the bed and pretending I no longer existed so that Jillian Michaels wouldn't be able to find me if she came looking for me to find out how my exercising was working out, since I am pretty sure she keeps a list of all the people who buy her DVDs and performs spot checks to make sure we're keeping up our end of the bargain.

I could also tell you how I walked up to my brother and said in a loud voice, "Gee, don't I look great, Paul? Isn't it unbelievable that you can see a difference this quickly, and that I look so much healthier and more filled with energy and joy?!"

And Paul, because he is (mostly) a good brother who can take a hint, said, "Wow, Laura! You really can tell! You look great!"

And if I hadn't already forgiven him for the whole laundry thing, that would have been enough to make me do it. Especially since he did his laundry before 6:00 PM today, so I could do mine without waiting for him.

Well done, Paul.

And I could tell you how I instructed Twitter, if various Twitter-folk saw me out in the world, to come up to me and tell me how much healthier I look, because that will give me the inspiration to keep going.

Because, you see, I have another workout theory: If someone is starting an exercise program and people tell them they look good, they work out more. If no one says anything and they are in pain, they get sad and eat a cookie. And then they eat another cookie. And then they think, "Cookies taste better than pain feels." And then they stop exercising because if you have to choose between cookies and pain, you are going to choose cookies.

Also, for the record, cookies are really tasty. And since I am working out, the single cookie I ate today has been burned off. Win. Except Mom made cobbler, and I ate some of that, too.

In my defense, I ate said cobbler because Mom handed it to me in a little bowl. It was a sweet thing for her to do. So I ate the cobbler instead of saying, "Are you trying to make these jeans stop fitting?!" Because these jeans aren't even tight. And because I really like cobbler, especially cobbler with peaches AND blueberries. Plus, fruit is totally healthy.

In other news, I have run out of my favorite honey soap and have to use different, less awesome soap. This is more tragic than you know.

And oddly, I am feeling less tortured following today's session of 30 Day Shred than I have after the last three. Is this progress? I am going to say that it's progress.

Have a happy Sunday, everyone.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day Three: Wipe Out

So I got the genius idea sometime yesterday evening that I should do 30 Day Shred every day, because if I take breaks, the agony I feel will only renew itself each time I complete the workout and improve very, very slowly. My thinking was, the pain I am in cannot possibly get worse, so I should remain in this pain until it abates when my muscles grow used to this kind of stress.

I am such a moron.

Not that this is not a good idea, because I really think it is. It just means I have to keep working out, which is akin to submitting to repeated root canals without anesthesia.

Or something.

But really, I have to say that the pain hasn't gotten WORSE. It has just stayed the same. And I can cope with that. Ish. See, as my friend Bailey will tell you, I have not stopped talking about the 30 Day Shred since beginning 30 Day Shred. And today, on our trip to Indy, the most-repeated phrase was "30 Day Shred." In fact, I said it so much and so often, it quickly melded into a single word, which sounds something like "Thurdedyshred."

Also, Bailey became aware of another development from Thurdedyshred. I cannot use my quadriceps. At all.

This means I cannot sit down in the car. I have to grab the door frame and drop myself onto the seat. I cannot get out of the car without levering myself back out using the steering wheel and armrest. I cannot sit in a booth at a restaurant without collapsing into it haphazardly, nor can I get back up without shoving myself onto my feet using the table to push off.

The reason isn't pain, although believe me, there is PAIN. It is that my quadriceps just give out. One minute they are supporting my weight, the next it is as if there is no muscle group there at all. And I am on the floor.

Let's talk for a moment about getting out of bed in the morning. How does falling onto the ground and using the bed to pick yourself back up again sound? Because that is my life.

And getting on and off the toilet? It is more like dropping from standing to sitting without any control of trajectory, praying that I will land on the seat and not on the floor, and getting back up means that I have to lean on SOMETHING, which means in my house, grabbing the sink and dragging my body to a standing position. And in public restrooms? That is what handicapped stalls are for. Really. I can use those safety bars they put on the walls. They are very helpful.

Did I mention that our toilet seat is kinda broken at home? It is attached on only one side. So that makes things extra interesting when trying not to fall half-nude onto the floor.

I hate my life.

But today, things took a turn for the worse, because I went out. Bailey and I, as I mentioned, went to Indy. And since we are such exciting young folk, once we finished lunch, we found ourselves with no idea what else to do before our drive back home. So we walked around the mall.

This was the mall where the Cheesecake Factory is. It is a fancy mall. It has a Pottery Barn, a Sacs Fifth Avenue, COACH, Tiffany's...and Burberry. We'll come back to Burberry.

This particular mall is also under construction, so that added a bit of confusion to our trek between stores. We explored Anthropologie, which I love but cannot afford, and found there was a sale. I bought adorable sunglasses and a present for Mum's birthday. And then we got lost. And then we found we'd walked in circles (construction). And then we discovered the area we'd thought was construction, and therefore, off limits, was actually a path you could take. So we went down it and discovered stairs.

And I went down one stair. It involved positioning my foot and then trying to control my fall. And there was a whimper/grunt/moan noise involved when the foot landed. And then I was right back up the stair and in line for the elevator, while Bailey (justifiably) died with laughter.

As we walked around the second wing of the mall, one leg just randomly gave out, and I barely caught myself on a bench before I went head over heels into a random Fiat that was on display. Bailey again laughed at me. Again, I deserved it.

Have you ever been to Burberry? It is a fancy store. Their coats are to die for, and they have lovely perfumes. Mum loves Brit, which smells awesome on it's own, but whatever Mum's body chemistry is makes it smell even better, so between us, Dad and I make sure she has a bottle at all times. She deserves something fancy.

Really, the only thing you can afford at Burberry is a bottle of perfume once a year. Because seriously, their coats cost, like $3,000. No joke. And I am not in the 1%, folks. I am in the bottom of the 99%. I cannot buy a $3,000 coat. I couldn't even buy a $3,000 CAR.

Apparently, I also cannot walk.

Bailey wanted to smell the Burberry perfumes, and I wanted to feel the wool of the coats I cannot afford because good wool is like high-grade heroin to me. So we went in. And we walked around, and I didn't even look at price tags, because I know better. And then we were walking out.

There was this mannequin. It always starts with mannequins.

It was dressed in what would probably amount to $10,000 or more in clothing and accessories. And it was centered in front of the registers.

And I walked past the mannequin. I did NOT bump into the mannequin (although I have done that in other stores).

What I also didn't do was look down. So there is the abnormally tall mannequin, and there is Laura, walking. And then suddenly, Laura is flying forward and windmilling her arms like in Thurdedyshred, and then she is out the door as fast as her legs will carry her (not fast), pursued by Bailey, who is laughing so hard, she has lost the ability to breathe.

The mannequin, you see, was on a plastic platform. That would be why it was unnaturally tall. It was raised five inches or so off the ground. One of my feet went on the ground. One of my feet went on the platform. Sadly, this was enough like a stair to cause my quadriceps to fail utterly, launching me into the air. And then, miraculously, I regained my footing. Just in time to flee before being banned from Burberry for life.

It's really too bad I didn't fall down. Imagine the lawsuit!

I would totally have settled, too. They could have given me this coat, and I would have signed all kinds of release forms.


Instead, I went home and did Thurdedyshred again. And I think I pulled my neck. Stupid crunches.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day Two: My Muscles Are Made of Fire.

I can't sit down. When I try, there is this explosion of pain, and my sitting becomes more of a controlled fall.

Meanwhile, I have committed to join Erin in a running program she found. Why? Because the first day involves walking for four minutes, running for a minute, and walking for another four minutes. But I now have this sinking feeling that maybe the first day is actually really easy and maybe it gets harder. Because eventually, you end up running a 5K.

What is this violin?

Meanwhile, I have discovered a complication to working out.

You still have to eat meals. So you are taking in calories. Calories that you just burned off. So you are undoing the work that you just did the second you eat your next meal.

This is terrible. No wonder so many people end up with eating disorders.

I am not a math genius, but I do know that if you take something away, then add something back, you end up right where you were before.

This is a problem.

It is also a problem that I love food. I love food more than I love most anything. Especially when I get to eat said food. Sometimes, when I am at work, I go on Pinterest and stare at pictures of food. Just because.

Yesterday, after my workout, my muscles felt like they were made of Jello Jigglers. Today, they are made of FIRE. It is like someone sculpted lava, shoved it under my skin, and said, "Go for a walk, Laura."

Then I went to work, and I discovered that I could not kneel. I needed a book on the bottom shelf, so I had to drag over a stool and use it to slowly lower myself to the ground. Then I had to use it to stand back up. It was degrading.

I insisted that it was Erin's fault, and she just kept saying, "It get's easier!" And I said, "Does the pain ever stop?" And she said, "I do it almost every day, and I'm not in pain."

I failed to ask her if she was using some kind of schedule-three narcotic for pain relief on a daily basis.

Before I knew it, she had talked me into repeating the workout from yesterday AND joining her in this running program which will begin soon, and I have decided that I maybe have a carbon monoxide leak at home or at work because that's the only thing I can think of that would make me suggestible enough to be persuaded to join in Erin's Psychotic Reign of Exercise Terror.

Meanwhile, Melynda says that when I get used to this DVD, I can move on to this other, harder DVD.

But...but...but...

HARDER?

I feel like harder would be akin to having my arms and legs removed without anesthetic. I feel like harder is what they do to people in Turkish prisons, or like those ceremonies where people puncture their skin with needles and attach weights.

HARDER???

Harder is what it would feel like if all the cells in your body spontaneously exploded. That is harder.

I really don't want to melt into a puddle of Laura-goo, especially because I'm pretty sure if I did that, the goo-me would also be on fire.

One pound weights never felt this heavy, and stairs have never been this impossible. I am not even going to tell you how hard it is for me to sit down on the toilet, because if I did, you'd be laughing so hard, you would never look at me the same way. Let's just say, all toilets should come with those hand rails they have in the handicapped stalls.

At the moment, I am somewhere between shock and weeping uncontrollably. I keep having to check to make sure my legs are still attached, because the only thing that would explain this level of pain is if my legs had been violently detached, possibly by an alligator or chainsaw. And this is after a dose of ibuprofen.

So how is your Friday going?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why I Am Crying and Lying Under the Dining Room Table

This is all Erin's fault.

Erin with her quiet determination, Erin who decided to make fitness a priority, Erin who extolled the virtues of a workout DVD called 30 Day Shred.




Look. It's like her abs are judging you. That's what Rachael said when she saw it, and she is totally right.

See, Erin kept talking about how she's on level two now, and how she's lost weight, and how she feels like she's making positive strides toward fitness and life is good and...

I just can't hear that stuff without feeling a glimmer of hope. Like, maybe, just maybe, this will work for me. Because it's an indoor thing, and so the weather will not be involved. Because it doesn't involve me running or anything that might cause an asthma flare-up or mean that other people could possibly see me sweat. It is a video. How horrible can a video be?

Turns out, pretty horrible.

I have lots of Fitness Theories.

The first one is, that because I lift things all day, chase children, and run up and down stairs, I am getting a workout just by showing up to work every day*.

The second theory is that, since my lungs are constantly struggling to function, what with the asthma, walking around and breathing at the same time counts as cardio**.

The third is, since asthma makes my lungs and heart work harder than they should, I am actually more fit than other people. I would be able to outrun you, if my lungs worked right***.

I also think that if God had wanted us to exercise, he would have made more bears. And also zombies. Or, like a girl on Twitter told me, He would have made couches out of scorpions.

I feel like, without something chasing me, running has no purpose. It is like math that way. If you don't need to work out how many yards of lace-weight you need for the gorgeous shawl pattern you found, than why are you multiplying numbers?

On Tuesday, I was killing time before meeting Rachael (of the judging-abs comment), when I found myself wandering through Walmart. And picking up 30 Day Shred, and picking up hand weights (with Velcro straps that will prevent my throwing them accidentally) and buying both of these things and resolving that, if Erin can do this workout, I can do this workout too, because I have legs and arms and can do things****.

And so today, I did 30 Day Shred for the first time, and now I am dead. I never got out of breath, so maybe my lung-function leading to better heart health theory is actually valid. But my muscles are now made of some kind of Jello-like substance and I am pretty sure I am a corpse that is somehow walking around and talking to people.

This is what 30 Day Shred is like.

Jillian: "I am skinnier than you. And also I have more money. Now do what I tell you, and you will be skinny, but unfortunately, still poor."

Me: "I hate your face."

Jillian: "Now do jumping jacks!"

Me: "At least I was skinny when I was a kid. Unlike some people."

Jillian: "You are doing really well!"

Me: *sweat drips into eyes* "Don't patronize me, Jillian."

Jillian: "Just four more of these lunges!"

Me: "I think you are the Devil."

The only problem with my surviving level one of the DVD is that I have to survive it again when I repeat the process. The DVD says I should do this every day.

I can see myself continuing this process only for one reason: I violently dislike Jillian Michaels, because I feel that, though she has never met me before in her life, she actually hates me because I am less physically fit than I ought to be. I realize that this belief is inherently flawed. I am sure that the Real Life Jillian Michaels is actually a really nice person who loves her family and just really wants people to be healthy, but for some reason, I interpret this desire of Jillian's as hatred directed at me. The sane part of my brain feels guilty about believing these terrible things about Jillian. The crazy part of me thinks she didn't really need that car of hers when she has such an awesome, tricked out broom she rides around at night*****.

I'm a bad person******.

(But, in my defense, I am mostly dead.)

* This is probably a lie.

** This is almost certainly a lie.


*** This is definitely a lie.


**** Clearly, I was suffering from some kind of delusional break from reality. I cannot do things.


***** Honestly, Jillian. I am really sorry. I'm a bad person. But I promise I will change my errant ways if your DVD makes me healthy.


****** This should come as news to none of you.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Let's Go to the Pharmacy!

On Tuesday, after a week of steroids, I was still enjoying the coughing lifestyle. I would tell you what the coughing involved, but it would make you violently ill. Seriously. This is some gross coughing.

I shelved a book and was rendered temporarily unable to breathe, because I was choking. On my own lungs. That's right. Choking. It was very attractive. Several people stopped to propose marriage to me.

So I called the doctor again and left a hesitant message on the nurse's voicemail.

"I came in last week," I said. "And you gave me these steroids. And I feel lots better, except I am disgusting and coughing things up. The things are horrific. So I don't know if you want to try another medicine or have me come and see you again...?"

I may have waited for the nurse to respond to me, even though I was actually talking to a voicemail box and not a person.

"So you can call me at this number...Thanks."

And then I hung up. And then I realized I'd left my cell number even though I was at work and wasn't able to carry my cell around or answer it due to the lack of professionalism one demonstrates by whipping out a cell phone while talking to library patrons. So yeah.

When I finished work, I checked my voicemail and discovered a response to my message! I was thrilled.

The nurse said she was phoning in antibiotics! I could go to the pharmacy (which I had not specified in my message, but the nurse said she'd use the one I always used) and pick it up. And then I would be cured (after following the recommended dosages and what-not).

And so I left work and stopped at the pharmacy. And they hunted around and I spelled my last name lots of times, and finally they checked the computer and NO MEDICINE.

Clearly, I was too early. They had not called in the medicine yet. So I left.

The next day was the FOURTH OF JULY *fireworks explode in background* so I went to the pharmacy during the four hours they were open and I stood in line and the same man was there at the counter and he looked at me as if to say, "This freaky girl again? Okay."

And then he searched through the medicines in the drawers, and he searched through the medicine in the just-filled basket, and he checked the computer.

No medicine.

He gave me this look that said, "I think you are hallucinating this prescription, because it is likely for lithium, because you are insane."

So I left. And I went home. And I coughed, because that is what I do in my spare time now, instead of knitting on the Eternal Sock.

This morning I called the doctor's office and left another ridiculous voicemail message for the nurse.

"Hi...it's Laura. And I got a message from you on Tuesday, and it said there would be medicine at the pharmacy and there isn't medicine...so I was wondering if they lost it. They probably lost it. So maybe you want to call it in again. Or talk to me. You can call me. Anyway. Thanks."

It was a pathetic message.

I feel like they are playing this message over and over again at the doctor's office and laughing. I would be.

And then the nurse called back and I talked TO her instead of to her voicemail. "I'm not sure what the doctor wants..." she said. And then, "Oh, so that's how you spell your last name..." And so forth. Then she told me that if she didn't call back, I would be able to go get the medicine.

A likely story.

When I walked into the pharmacy for the THIRD time, I knew just who would be at the counter, and there he was. Pharmacy Guy, who is a 20-something intern, was standing there, smiling, waiting for me to come up and be weird.

But the medicine was there, so I seemed SLIGHTLY less strange, until, that is, he told me about it being there...at which point I jumped into the air and said, "VICTORY." And then I took my medicine and left.

Who does that at the pharmacy? Who jumps for joy, does a fist-in-the-air move, and cries "victory?" Because that is something you shouldn't do in public. And I did it. So now I can't go back to the pharmacy, unless it is through the drive-through, because I am on their security cameras doing that. And it is shameful.

I am ill-suited for adulthood.
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