Current Happenings

Plains & Pastures Bike Tour (2013)

I'm so proud to live here! Fredericton folks are just AMAZING!!!  Thank you one and all!!  My team raised over $2000.  The support was humbling.  What a great place to be!!!

Mind you, the journey isn't about me - it's about people who fight this horrible disease on a daily basis.  If you're reading this now, I hope you'll come back and sponsor me in the ride next time. 


Bike for Breath

Many thanks to everyone and their generosity.  The amazing people in my life supported me to the tune of $377.  Some days it is just great to be here!   (Fall 2012)


Entries in Fitness (9)


Training for Plains & Pastures

Been biking like crazy lately.  Trying to toughen up and get ready for Plains & Pastures.  In the run of an ordinary week I put on about 125 kms going back and forth to work while Plains & Pastures is 125km in two days.  Yesterday morning was spent cruising yard sales and ending up at the Farmer's Market.  ((Tough life eh?))  Today was a grocery run to Oromocto & back.  Surprisingly there's no complaints registering from abused body parts at the moment.  This is a good sign.  Only a month to go!

All this training puts me in good stead in the provincial employees wellness challenge though..... I'm currently in 1st place!  Wahoo!!!  For a lark I changed my avatar to a slice of bread.  (I thought it was hilarious.)


YMCA Fitness Leader

I started a new domain today, the first steps being the Basic Theory course for becoming a YMCA Fitness Leader.  Interesting stuff.  I learned a lot about the Y that I hadn’t known before, so that was pretty cool.  Only one other person was even remotely close to my age, which was also "interesting"!!!      

This is a completely new venture, and one that certainly did not cross my mind two years ago.  I have often bitched about nice people who didn’t understand the mechanics of exercize for the obese, or especially as I was, for the morbidly obese.  Time to put up or shut up.  

As it turns out, this training isn’t all that much different than coaching actually, so a lot of the NCCP training will come to bear.  My interest and personal experience is going to take me deeper into resistance training, stretching & using water for workouts.  However, you can rest assured you’ll not be seeing me bopping at the front of a zumba class any time soon!!!!

As the name implies, the information is pretty basic.  By law, the certification only allows the fitness leader to recommend that clients follow the Canada Food Guide and to refer them to a professional.  No comment.

I was extremely surprised, pleasantly surprised, at the cholesterol section of the book.  While the occurrence of high blood cholesterol was bad news, the text noted that the majority of cholesterol (75%) was manufactured in the liver and was not related to consumed cholesterol.  It also went on to list a number of essential roles that cholesterol plays in the body such as cell membranes and hormones.  

I was also surprised at the tone of moderation that was used.  “Participation in regular physical activity increases the effectiveness of a weight loss programme.”  I certainly can’t argue with that.  The mythical calories in - calories out perspective was nowhere to be found.

All in all, a refreshing change to find a mandatory textbook that is close to currency in the state of the art. 

Here's looking ahead to a better future.  I sure don't look like this any more.

Another non-scale and non-weight-number measure of success: I can now slide into the driver's seat of my vehicle, in spite of the steering wheel being left in the "down" position. 



Fantastic news.  TYR has replaced the defective (ripped) fins!  This is shrimply amazing on so many levels including some great customer service.  THANK YOU TYR!


Cheater Catastrophe

ARRRGGGHHHH  My beautiful fin has split!!!!!  The comfortable ones.  The ones that really, really fit nicely and worked well!!!!!!  What a pain in the arse!!

I've sent an email off to Tyr in California.  We'll see what the response is.  According to my training log I first used them in March and have put 114 pool sessions on them.  Surely quality fins should last more than 6 months?????  

On the bright side ...... ((OK ...right now I'm just ticked ..... what flipping gives with this "bright side" crap?????))  .... Moving on ...... This would probably be a good time to talk about progress on times in the pool.   

I started swimming on June 21st (2011).  It took me until September to be able to build up the oomph to do a complete kilometre in one pool session.  It took me an hour!!

I've tried a few different kinds of fins now, so comparing results data wearing fins isn't all that helpful.  The one consistent measure is the time it takes me to do one kilometre.  In order to avoid shoulder pain I swim one length backstroke and the return length in front crawl.  (The backstroke is OH so much slower than the frontstroke!!!) 

There's also a huge difference in the best time I can do on a single length versus the best time I can maintain over one kilometre.  My best single time EVER is the equivalent of a 23 minute km, but I can only maintain that speed for 2 lengths!!!  A sprinter I ain't (yet).  

Nobody who does any real swimming would think these times are any great shake.  They're not.  But my arse is melting and the times are still improving so I'm happy.   ((That would be the bright side crap.))

Now, I need to find me some new fins!!


Beads and Brain Cells

I have become a personal data junkie.  At first I really felt self-conscious and even a little bit anal-retentive about keeping an exercize log.  Then when I realized how much valuable information I could get out of it, all of a sudden it became a high priority and a computer spreadsheet with nice pretty graphs.  (The food tracking app that I'm using also has nice pretty graphs!)

You can't improve what you don't manage.  You can't manage what you don't measure.  (I don't give two stuffed pickles whether or not there's a positive spin way to say that either!!!!!)

When I started in the pool last summer, there wasn't any real need for fancy data tracking systems.  I wasn't accomplishing much!!  Splashing a lot, huffing & puffing, but counting laps didn't even take my full set of fingers to keep track. 

As the various body systems began to remember what normal felt like, the swimming started to improve.  This wasn't like an explosion out of a cannon or anything: the first couple weeks I was thrilled with myself to get 300 metres in.  It took a couple weeks to add another hundred.  Pretty slow progress, but at least it was progress.

As it started to come together, I found myself "swimming".  Not just splashing, but actually accomplishing forward motion.  This by itself was amazing, but along with that stroke memory came a certain mental freedom.  I did not have to think where to fling my arm or how lift my head at every stroke.  I could indeed  flounder my way up and down the lane without the requisite mental orchestration.  This was liberating!!  I could now ponder the meaning of life as I was exercizing.  I could.  I didn't, but I certainly could have.

More often than not I would daydream about being healthy again, or think about what I was doing that evening.  I'd see other women with really pretty painted toenails and I'd think "I'm gonna treat myself to a pedicure when I lose 50 pounds".  While these diversions were pleasant, it meant that the brain cells were being diverted from the task at hand: I would completely forget to count the laps.  I could do a rough guesstimate based on time in the pool, but once I got up to numbers like 12 and 15 it really was a nuisance.  You'd think it would be a simple thing to count to 15 but I can honestly tell you that it takes more brain cells than I've got.  There has to be a better way.

Mr. Google showed me a vast array of lap counting devices in a wide variety of expense and complexity.  At this stage of the progress chart I wasn't entirely sure throwing money at the problem would solve much.  Plus the freakin' little screens on all those fancy gizmo's were way too small for me to see without reading glasses.  Fat lot of good that would do me if I couldn't even see how to turn them on or off in the pool!!!!!  Luddite that I am, I went low-tech.

My daughter has a huge collection of crap left over from an even larger collection of crafts that she has done.  I raided the bead bins and dug out some plastic string.  VOILA!!  The counting string was born.

The pool at Fredericton's former Y facility was a bit over 17 metres long, meaning you had to do 30 trips up AND down the pool in order to accomplish 1000 metres (1 kilometre).  This was a huge stretch goal for me at that time, so I made my bead string with 30 beads.  I started swimming in June, and three months later at the end of August I was able to finally do 1000 metres!

The beads opened up new areas of conversation too.  By going every single lunch hour on workdays, the lifeguards were getting to know me.  With an actual COUNT of the laps, finally there was some progress to be tracked and ultimately discussed.  I'd see them checking the number of beads that had been moved when they walked past on their rounds.

I also know that the lifeguards talk about them/me amongst themselves.  There was a new person on at lunch last week.  It's custom at our pool to say hello, so we started talking .... She said her name was ___ and I said my name was Meghann.  She smiled and said "I know".  Huh?  And then she said "I've heard about your beads".  LOL!!!  So now I'm the nutjob bead lady???  What a hoot!!

It is a source of some amusement that so many people have stopped to make comment about the beads.  One person actually grilled me about the system: when did I move the bead, how much did that represent, what did the colours mean, etc.  I'm beginning to think I should start making these things to sell!!!!

All kidding aside though.... the beads have proved invaluable.  Thanks to my fins (the cheaters) I am able to do between 1.0 - 2.0 kilometres at a crack, depending upon the amount of time I have.  I can daydream, concentrate on my stroke, plan things, solve things, draft things or just generally stop thinking and enjoy the time in the water.  All I have to do is move a bead every time I get back to the string, and keep track of the total time.  ((This level of requirement doesn't seem to overload my limited brain cells!))  When I enter that in the spreadsheet I can compare different pool sessions.

The data has started to get even more interesting when I added some comment fields around diet, exercize, salt, sleep, and general energy levels.  I now know that a bad night's sleep will add 2 or 3 minutes to a kilometre in the pool the next day.  I also know that I have improved nearly 1 minute of time on a kilometre for every 5 pounds of weight I've lost.  This is COOL!  I've logged over 300 sessions in the pool now and closing in on 400 kilometres since last June.  I know these numbers from the log.  And all the progress can be charted based on a simple little string of beads.  Maybe I should start selling them!