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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hot in Cleveland

Every morning in Africa a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle... when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

Don't worry, I'm not in Africa. I just love that quote. Although, I do have a few friends Ally and Marisol who are. These ladies are doing the Peace Corps and are very brave.  Check out their blogs!

But, yes. I have done it. I've moved to Cleveland, OH and started my job with City Year.

I was offered a different position which started a month sooner than I had planned on. This meant I had ten days to buy a plane ticket, pack up my life, say my goodbyes and move to Ohio. But since I was unemployed, this couldn’t have come at a better time.

I am very aware that I am not very good at the goodbye part of leaving and there are quite a few people that I did not get to say goodbye to (and I am sorry about that). But at this point in my life, nothing ever really feels permanent. I don't feel the need to end things, because nothing is ending. It's just another thing I am off to do, but KC is my home. I'll always be, back... sooner or later.

I rode the Cleveland public transportation all by myself. Anyone who has ever traveled with me knows how moronic I get having to navigate and such on my own. I am perfectly OK with people or my GPS (Veronica) telling me when and where to go. Simply, I just don't do well with times, directions, or explanations. At least not in English.

So my first day on the bus I learned that there is more than one 6th and Superior, an east and west, who knew? Not me, apparently. I got off on the wrong one and walked around for a bit. An old man tried to help me, but once he said "patriotic" and mentioned flags I was lost. The doorman at the Hyatt was no help either, just kind of looked at me. But don't worry, Google.maps saved my life. Because of all the time I had scheduled to get lost (trust me, it was an inevitable factor), I was 30 minutes early. So, by my standards it wasn't all that bad.

As a new senior corps member (my new position), I still have no idea what I'm doing, yet no one seems too concerned about that. I figure if they're not worried, I'm not going to worry about it either. They just keep saying "you'll learn that in Boston".  So let's hope my week-long training in Boston does just that.

I have also met one of my housemates (although I won't be moving in to my new apartment until late July). He is a very chill and funny guy who seems to know a lot about the city, understands my sarcasm and shares my love for David Robinson. He has picked an excellent location for our apartment AND introduced me to his friends that he's had since the age of 5. I know he probably didn't think that was a big deal, but the only friends I have from when I was 5 are my siblings. I have been to so many schools I have no idea what it would be like to have friends for that long. They all seemed so close and were very nice.

It was pretty awesome and I was only a little awkward, which was [only half] my fault. We met his friends at the Greenville Inn Bar in Chagrin, OH. Which it definitely sounded like a party from the outside, but on the inside it was…well, it was old.  Not the building or anything, but the people.

If any of you have ever seen the show 'Hot in Cleveland', please watch the pilot episode, you'll know what I'm talking about (it has Betty White and is funny), but I'm almost positive this place inspired the show. I couldn't find the link for the pilot, but in honor of the Cavaliers I found the LeBron is Le Gone. Like the show, in this particular bar whenever a woman (not needing to be so attractive) would walk in all eyes would flock to her and if she appeared to be single, she stood out. I myself began to see them as slightly more attractive then they actually were, but realized it was only by comparison. I know this sounds bad, but you know the place I'm talking about, women were not dressed for their age nor their body types. I think all women are beautiful, but you have to dress to your body! I've seen size 4 women look way less attractive than a size 16, simply because they were not dressing for their bodies. Realistically, this was just one of those bars that if you had just broken up with your boyfriend (or had just gotten a divorce) and you wanted obscene amounts of attention and free drinks, this is where you would come (as long as you didn't mind a slightly more 'mature' man).

Let me clear this up, I am by no means saying that older people can't go out and have a good time, in fact I'm all for it. Go out, blow some steam, it just caught me off guard and was something I was not used to being a part of.  Because I'm not talking a 30-old (because that is not old), but rather a 50 plus-old.

There was a live band which was neat and they played good music, but they were definitely targeting a specific audience. I was assured that this was not a typical place for my housemate and his friends to find themselves in, a fluke in communication if you will, but frankly I found the whole situation hilarious.

That night I was actively participating in my favorite sport (or at least what should be considered a sport): people watching. My favorite of the night? Oh there were so many, but I will go with the 55 year old man wearing an orange sherbet button-down tucked into his tight, black, boot leg jeans. He had the moves and hips of a 25 year old. You would have had to have been there to appreciate his side-shuffle-turns, because I certainly did.

Huddled to one spot by the bar, my housemate, his friends and I sat around talking as they were saying goodbye to a friend who was moving to Wisconsin. The loudness of the band made it slightly difficult  to talk to people, therefore, I admit it was [a little] awkward having me sit there some of the time. But his friends were so nice and they tried their best to include me in conversations (even if I didn't know what was going on exactly). My housemate was excellent at filling me in on the circle's drama and I even got to see some of it unfold (slightly). Boy loves girl, girl loves boy, boy and girl break up, boy and girl getting over a slight stage of hating each other. You know, typical stuff.

Overall, I had an awesome time and the thing I love most about new cities is meeting people. Well, that and people watching, but mostly meeting people.

I promise, once my life is a little more settled and I can wrap my mind around the fact that I live in Ohio I will update on my soon-to-be new health, nutrition and fitness routines (and uniform. Also referred to as the maniform).

Monday, June 13, 2011

911! I Think My Trainer Is Trying To Kill Me…

This is what I think to myself every time I'm working out.  Really, I do.

Just kidding... sort of.

Let's see, Mondays and Wednesdays consists of cardio/strength training (variations of planks, hill runs, Hindu push ups and more). Tuesdays/Thursdays are kickboxing.

What once would have been considered my entire workout is now my warm-up. GAH!

In two weeks, I developed a hate/hate relationship with sprawls (and it didn't take very long). Although, it seems to be getting easier, I don't see how throwing your body, touching your hip to the ground and jumping up could ever be something I enjoy.

I never would have imagined me doing jabs, hooks, the Ali shuffle, front kicks, side kicks and definitely not combos. Tuesday during kickboxing during class I didn't follow the proper technique and during a jab-hook-side kick combo, I got a little too excited and twisted my neck (this, I could imagine). The pain was something I had never felt before. There was an immediate shot through my neck down to my back and after an attempt to continue, I realized my neck was STUCK. I went to the back of the room and tried to move it, but every attempt resulted in a sharp noise piercing into my ear. I wanted to cry, not out of pain or embarrassment (well, maybe a little), but mostly out of fear.

Dear, God, what had I done to myself?

Immediately, my mind shot back to when I was 6 or 7 and reading a newspaper article on a girl who had killed herself by flipping her hair.  I know I was a weird kid. I read a lot. I also hate cats because of Toxoplasma gondii. Sue me for being impressionable.

Anyway, after 5 minutes I could move. It was hard to get back into the last 10 minutes, but if I have learned something through this whole process it's to KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Obviously, I was OK. However, it is really important to pay attention to technique. The hardest part is discerning between when to stop and when to give a little more. If you think you're going to throw up, give a little more. If you think you hurt your knee, slow down. You just never want to walk away from a workout thinking "I could have done a little more". Don't use exhaustion or difficulty as an excuse. Puuuuush.

David 'Vava' Littlewood (find him on facebook and tell him I sent you!) is my kickboxing instructor. Dude competed for the world title about a week ago. Long story short, Vava is legit. I have never sweated or done so much in one session as I did in my Thursday class (I definitely need a sweat band for this class). I left class tired and feeling great. He explained every move, provided alternatives and encouraged us.

I can literally feel myself getting stronger. My push ups are getting firmer and quicker. My hill runs are getting faster, steadier and more frequent. I even finished Wednesday strength training intervals first. Sexy Back Boot Camp is really opening me up to different exercises and pushing my idea of what is enough exercising. I am realizing  how strong I can be, and I love it.

I really love it.

Time for me to be real with you. For a while now, I  was only guessing at my weight and wasn't positive of where I stood. Well, everyone had to weigh-in before boot camp started, and I really didn't anticipate those results. I had gained back eight lbs of my weight loss. EIGHT. I weighed in at 216.4 lbs.

Surprisingly, I didn't get angry or upset. I just took it in. What can you do? Well, you can fight back. That's what you can do.
Boy do I fight.

As of now, I am back down to 211.2 CRAZY. Some of the loss is water weight, but I can feel the difference in my clothes.  That's where it counts. You shouldn't be obsessed with weighing yourself and critiquing every pound you put on or off.  Naturally (and not so naturally), your weight is going to fluctuate, so if you weigh two lbs more than yesterday, WHATEV. You have to learn to brush it off.

I feel great. I have so much energy I can hardly sleep. This is the best I have ever felt. This is what counts. I am buying exercise clothes size L instead of 2XL. I am running. I am  boxing. I am healthy.

I read a friend's facebook status "Whenever people compliment me on my weight loss I feel worse when I gain a lb." She had a 50lb weight loss and looked amazing, but felt bad about her 1lb gain. You have to get into the best mindset for this, the right motivations and most of all, be realistic. This is a journey and a lifestyle, so before, and after you reach your goal weight, there is still a life to be lived.

Do not OBSESS. 

Weight gain is possible even in the healthiest of lifestyles. If you're stressed, have a lack of sleep, are taking certain medications, are going through menopause and have certain medical conditions, you can gain weight.

We aren't perfect, so quit expecting yourself to be.

So, let's get back to running. I plan on running the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k in September. If you haven't run in a while, start off slow. The worst thing you can do is jump into this. You'll hate it and/or injure yourself and never want to run again. Try taking a brisk 5-minute warm-up walk. Then, alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Do these three times this week!

Current weight: 211.2 lbs
Workout song: Firework- Katy Perry