Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week 6, Day 3 --
Run: 25 minutes  
No breaks... 
Hey, I rocked the session!!!
Okay... um... Week 6 of C25k (oh, that's the new short version of ... "Couch to 5K in 9 Weeks") so far has been truly odd.  

Remember back...... to that terrible-awful-no-good day in Week 5 (last Saturday to be exact) when I looked at the screen and was told to run for 20 minutes without breaks?  Well, I did.  And I didn't collapse from fatigue.  I wondered what they could throw at me next.

Was I ever surprised (yet again).  We were back to intervals of running and walking on Week 6 Day 1.  Hmmm.  Now between that last session on Week 5 and the first session on Week 6 the app downloaded an update.  Do you think they had a glitch at Week 5 Day 3?  Do you think... horrors!... that I ran 20 minutes unfettered for... NO REASON?????  Oh well.

Week 6 Day 1, which was Tuesday, March 23,  was a build up, like this:  Warm Up walk 5 / Run 5 / Walk 3 / Run 8 / Walk 3 / Run 5 / Cool Down Walk 5.  After running non-stop for 20 minutes on the previous Saturday, I must admit that this interval stuff was... dare I say it?.... easy.  Okay, I said it.  Now I'm waiting for the zap from Zeus or whatever god is in charge.  Probably Hermes.  You know.. the runner, messenger god with the little wings on his heels.  He's pretty gay, so I'd guess no zaps, just a slap and a finger wag. 

Week 6 Day 2 on Thursday was pretty straightforward:  Warm up walk 5 / Run 10 / Walk 3 / Run 10 / Cool Down walk 5.  Maybe that was the missing link session?

I have no idea what I'm facing in a few minutes.  It's Saturday and I'm laced up and ready to go.  Just finished my breakfast:  1 cup real oatmeal (not that instant crap), 1/2 cup cherries (defrosted, organic), 1/2 oz mini chocolate chips.  It's pretty much YUM.  I put the chocolate chips on when the oatmeal is hot. They melt and the whole mix is very creamy.  The cherries make it Cherry Garcia Oatmeal.  If you want Banana Split Oatmeal just substitute 1/2 banana, sliced and a couple strawberries, also sliced.  If it's still winter (duh, we're experiencing a blast of arctic air wafting o'er our newly sprouted crocus) where you live, defrost some you stashed in your freezer for smoothies.

I don't know whether it's the running finally catching up with me, or the fact that I've been absolutely religious about writing down what I eat and the points (yes, I'm a Weight Watchers person), but I have lost 13 pounds so far this semester -- well, in the last 6 weeks.  I started both programs at the same time, and I must say, I'm feeling quite empowered by both. 

Remember where I said I had no intention of running a 5K?  Well.... I was reading some reviews of C25K --- digression: the iTunes App Store has two versions, at least, of this program.  I'm using the one that has a brown and white logo with 5K on the front --  continuing....  I noticed that many reviewers were extolling the virtues of this program and writing that they, indeed, ran their first ever 5K after completing the 9 weeks.  I've only been running on a treadmill, so I'm not sure what I'm ready for in the real world.  I like the treadmill for many reasons, the main one of which has been the weather -- as in, I don't have to worry about it.  I've been looking out the window at snow, sleet, rain, and now sunshine (although today it's 24 degrees despite the brilliant sun).  I don't see how I could run with earbuds. I'm using my Bose headphones while on the treadmill and they're fab.  I can't see myself running on the street without getting hit by a car because I had my mind wrapped around a program on my iPhone which was strapped to my... what?... arm?  I can't see it.  So, if I can't run outside with the program, how can I switch to running a race outside?  You see my dilemma (and my mixed up mind), eh?  But ... I have 3 more weeks to concern myself about the next level. I'm getting way ahead of myself.

Onward to the end of Week 6.

Monday, March 22, 2010

10 Immediate Benefits 
Health Care Reform

Here are ten benefits which come online within six months of the President's signature on the health care bill:
  1. Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
  2. Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
  3. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
  4. Free preventative care for all
  5. Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
  6. Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
  7. The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
  8. Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
  9. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment -- oh by the way MY SENATOR!!!). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
  10. AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can't lose your insurance because you get sick.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Can you say ... SURPRISE!?! 
(Surprise! Surprise!)

Week 5, Day 2 was on Thursday and BOY HOWDY! was I surprised, but that was topped by Week 5, Day 3.  Talk about SHIFTS in consciousness! Wow.  Really wow.  Let's go back to 5.2, shall we?

I've been lulled into certain expectations on this "Couch to 5K" program.  Each week the program changes -- upping the ante, so to speak.  The new set of walk/run times would change on the first day of the week and remain the same for the 3 workouts of that week.  The "run" times would increase, the walk times would change, too.  Sometimes it was the spacing -- short breaks of walking between runs, or fewer breaks.  But the pattern for 4 weeks has been that whatever changed on Day 1 of the week, continued for that week.

Then I turned on the Week 5 Day 2 program, all set to do that crazy 5 mintues of running that I did on Day 1 of week 5 ... and.... OMG!  The program changed.  EIGHT (8) minutes of running with a five minute break for walking, then another 8 minutes of running.  My eyes bugged out when I saw.  Could I actually run for 8 minutes without a break?  Seriously, I didn't think so.  But I didn't waiver.  I am following this program to the letter.  In 5 weeks, I have not missed a day of workout.  And that means, I follow the number of minutes and I do what that lovely voices tells me to do.  

I'm glad nobody was home when I did this Day 2 workout.  By the last 8 minutes of running, I was coercing myself to continue  like a cheerleader at a football game.  I can do this! I can do this!  I was chanting (albeit breathlessly) aloud and exhorting myself to finish the program.  AND I DID!!!!  Whew!

Today was Day 3 of the week and I figured we'd be repeating that 8 minute set repetition, so I girded my loins (as much as I could gird).  In fact, I put off doing the workout for as long as I could and then I thought "this is nuts, it's just running for 8 minutes and you've already done that."  So, I strapped on the iPhone and my headphones and turned on the book I'm reading (okay, I'm still trying to finish The Winter Garden by Kirsten Hannah -- you know, the book with the whiniest main character in the history of main characters (I hate her).  Spoiler alert:  her husband (FINALLY) left her... but she's still being a jerk).  And then, I switched on my good ol' reliable "Couch to 5K" app.

OMG!  I thought I was surprised on Day 2 of this week, but .... the program was completely different AGAIN!  In fact, I slowed the treadmill (I had started the warm up portion of the program) and stepped off for a few seconds to grab my glasses and read the fine print. YEP..... those little words actually spelled out....


None. Nada. Nyet.  Oh my! Straight 20 minutes of running.  The warm up is 5 minutes and the cool down is 5 minutes.  But in between, I'm running for 20 f-ing minutes.

For some odd reason, I didn't stress out.  I just figured if worse came to worse, I'd slow down on my own and walk.  Would that be weak? Would that be giving in to resistance (book note... everyone should read:  The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, who also wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance... and then you'll "get" the whole resistance thing).

I started.  I continued.  I RAN FOR 20 MINUTES!!!!  

I must say, I feel pretty much pumped by my little teeny tiny accomplishment today.  All the little people raise their hands...  

Product placement note.  Yesterday, I bought some new shoes -- My. First. Running Shoes.  Ever.  They are Nike Xccelerators.  Great shape. Light. And they absorb the shock of my (large) body pounding on my feet.  So, thumbs up, Nike (in my wildest dreams NEVER would I have thought I'd write those words).

In addition, I googled information about How To Run and got some pointers.  I had been worried about how I placed my foot down with each stride.  I'm pretty sure that I'm a heel first kinda girl.  But then, was I also going to my toes?  Hmmm.  Now I know it's the middle.  I think the shoes helped me get the 20 minutes.  I'll just believe.

So, what's next?  Who knows!  I am on the "Couch to 5K" ride now.  Nothing is certain.  I don't know what to expect.  Except -- I think I'm getting better at this.  No, I do not "love" running.  But somehow, doing those piddly first 90 seconds that I thought I couldn't bear makes me laugh -- at myself.  And laughing at myself is a good thing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


No, not really easy.  Easy in retrospect -- about 2 hours later.  Here's what bothers me most about this whole "jogging/running" thing:  my calves HURT!  And my ankles.  So, how come people love to do this?  I stretch.  I warm up.  I cool down.  But still, the legs hurt.  Am I doing it all wrong?  Am I missing some trick?  Do tell!

It's week 5 of "Couch to 5K in 9 Weeks."  Today was the first day of this week's program.  Pretty much straight forward -- run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, and run 5 minutes. Add on a 5 minute warm up and a 5 minute cool down.  That's it.  I'll repeat this on Thursday and Saturday.  Although it's less running than last week's program, by one minute, it was more concentrated.  Last week it was built up from 3 to 5 minutes, but this week... BAM!... we started with 5 minutes and kept that pace. 

I didn't experience as many moments of "hey! I wanna quit!" as I have in the past on the first day of a new series.  For me, that's a terrific improvement.  Maybe it's the SUNNY outdoors I get to look at while I'm on my treadmill.  Yes, the snow has finally melted, but it's only 45 degrees, so no matter what I think I'm seeing out the window (summer!), it's really still cold (winter!).  My hope, as with this running thing, is a metaphor for SPRING!

Meanwhile, one product placement today.  And it's not a good grade.  In fact, UGH!  While I'm doing this whole "Couch to 5K' thing, I'm listening to books on my iPhone.  Welllllll... I started Kristin Hannah's new novel, Winter Garden, and if I had been holding a print version in my hands, I would have thrown it against the wall.  I'm still listening only because I don't have another book loaded on my iPhone at the moment.  Winter Garden is pure crap -- filled with whiney, horrible characters and weak, spineless mates.  My advice to the husband of one sister, Meredith, and the boyfriend of the other, Nina, is..... RUN AWAY NOW.... BREAK UP... GET A LIFE without these whiney, bitchy, dysfunctional women.  OMG... could we have any more grating"build up" to a character change? A writer often starts with damaged characters who will, in the course of a story, grow and change for the better, becoming whole, loving adults... BUT JEEZ-LOOOEZE.... you gotta start with characters who have more than a snowball's chance in hell of being LIKED at the outset.   I mean, a reader's gotta try to find something to care about in the characters.  And even though I'm at the part where the father dies (it's not a spoiler because the book jacket also tells you this is gonna happen),  I'm thinking the father was the lucky one. He didn't have to stick around for the whole book.  I know, I know.  Surely the surprise about the mother's former suffering (I'm guessing, but come on... it's soooo obvious) is worth my time? Not if I have to suffer through more time with Meredith, the character from hell. So... I'm not sure I'm going to finish.  I usually like Kristin Hannah's books, but she does tend toward whiney heroines that I wouldn't want as friends, and this book is worse than her last couple of attempts.   Soooo.... don't spend your money.  If you really like KH, go to your local library and check it out... for FREE!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Week 4 - Couch to 5k in Nine Weeks (app on the iPhone)

Okay, I promised to report on my progress.  We took the game to a new level.  Seriously, I've said this before, but I thought I was gonna crash and burn.  And... I didn't.  Tired? Yes. Sweaty? Yes.  Defeated? No!  I came.  I saw (oy... did I see that new program or what).  And... I kicked my own butt.

I am a weenie.  We have established that.  And I haven't actually "run" since about 1969.  Thus the "couch" part of "Couch to 5K in Nine Weeks" is owned by me.  Yep, I am a couch spud.

Let's go back to last week.  Yes, I thought week 3 was hard.  But by the 3rd day (and we only get 3 days to workout per week), I rocked the program.  All smiles.  All... YES...I can do this.  In fact, I've been doing Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, but on week 3, I stepped up to Saturday.  Which might have been a mistake?  But I was feeling so... full of myself.  Anyway...

Tuesday.  First day of Week 4. New week, new times for jogging and walking combination.  I knew it would be more of jog and less of walk, but I thought I was cool with that.

Stretched and ready to push the buttons and take off on a new round of repetitive sets walk/jog or something like that.  Well... wah hoo.   So far, I haven't been able (and I really haven't tried) to figure out how to look at the future weeks' settings and to find out what's coming.  I was quite surprised when the Week 4 program popped up on the screen:  Jog 3 minutes, Walk 1.30 minutes, Jog 5 minutes, Walk 3 minutes;  repeat.  OMG.... I jogged for.... 16 minutes this week.  Really -- I almost expired.  Remember:  my post-menopausal idea of  exercise is turning pages in a good book.  Well, that isn't fair. The entirety of what we might dub my "middle ages" has been a sea of turning pages in hundreds of books, not to mention shopping for books, hunting books in libraries, and lugging books into and out of the house.  Oy! the exercise!

But here I am, jogging 5 minutes at a swipe and wanting to stop... but... I didn't!  I did the whole program and didn't stop or walk or give up at any point.  Yippppeeee!

Tomorrow is Thursday and I'm up on my perch again, so I'll let you know.

Sorry, no big product placements today.  Just drank straight water and jogged.  Wow... did I just say that? Jog? Don't slap me.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Reporting on the continuing saga of "Couch to 5K in 9 Weeks," I must say this week, so far, has been a SURPRISE!  Surprise is the good news and the bad news.   

Bad news first.  I jumped into my jogging togs and hopped on the treadmill Tuesday for the first session of Week 3.  I didn't read the fine print. I just blithely turned on my audio book (I'm currently enjoying Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, but I must say it's all in Southern accent and I feel myself soaking up the cadences and sooner or later I'm talk like that, aloud, in front of somebody who will be stunned into silence... oy) (omg... product placement starts here!), then turned on the "CT5K" program.  

OMG!  I found myself jogging for 3 minutes and walking for 3 minutes -- with repeats of that pattern.  I almost did a spit-take from my water bottle (which is, I might add, one of those great new stainless steel models from Klean Kanteen and I wholeheartedly ENDORSE them!!!).  Could I actually sustain a 3 minute jog?  Okay,  it sounds (again) very silly to believe this is impossible, but at the moment doubts clouded my vision (of myself in a bikini.... hahahahahaha...NOT).  

However, I'm reporting that I persevered! 

And that's the Good News!  I actually completed the entire workout. Sweat much?!  The biggest part of the Good News is how wonderful I felt about myself after that workout.  Wow!  I was full of energy and happiness.  Okay... it doesn't take much to upgrade my self-esteem to something warmer than yesterday's leftovers.  At least my self-esteem as it pertains to my weight and exercise issues.

Another surprise?  Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. I had a hair appointment.  Now normally I would lounge around, read the paper, eat my puffed wheat, drink a mug of Henry's coffee (another product endorsement... Best. Coffee. Ever.  That's from Henry's House of Coffee, and I have chatted with the real Henry several times on the phone between SF and VT... link: ) and basically remain a slug until time to get ready (in clothes that are to be dumped into the wash on return from said hair appointment).  However, I deviated from my pattern.  I woke at 7 (on Tuesdays and Thursdays I don't have to go into the college, so I don't get up at 5:15 a.m., but actually I really should just keep the 5:15 a.m. thing going because I could get so much more writing done.. .alas...).  I sat on the edge of the bed and pondered.... should I get into jogging togs and get the workout finished BEFORE the hair appointment?  I realized that once I don the workout clothes, I would have to workout!  Well, I am my own boss.  I could persist in subverting my best interests, as I so often do.  BUT.... I didn't.  Subvert my goals, that is.  I jauntily jumped into the jogging attire, briskly took the stairs, sauntered into the kitchen, ate my little bowl of cereal, and announced to Steve that, at 7:30 a.m., I was off to do my session on the treadmill.  I count that as a remarkable change!  

So... who knows?  Could I use my current momentum to get over my writer's block (actually it's more like "writer's frustration and boredom with story" block.  Sorry.  Strike part of that.  I really do love my story.  I'm just stuck).  But who knows?  As I achieve more results from Weight Watchers (oy! yet another product endorsement) and the "CT5K" program, hence more energy, I most likely will crave the delicious consistency of an early morning (or even late night) writing life again.  

p.s.  I was sort of worried about my second session of Week 3 this morning and kind of put it off 'til later in the morning.  I should NOT have worried at all.  Actually, it seemed much easier.  Whew!  

Oh, and here's some really exciting news!  (NO... I am soooo NOT going to enter a 5K when I finish week 9) (hahahahahahahaha).   

On Facebook,  I started a page for and .... drumroll... I actually have FANS!  Right now I have 52 fans.  No sales. (well, I have had one sale -- thank you, Ellie) (before the new page on Facebook).  But 52 fans!  How cool is that?!  I don't even know more than half of these fine people who are leaving notes about how much they like ZeeStuff!  It all started with "free" $50 ad package from my web page provider, Fat Cow (omg! did I just max out the product placement on this blog entry?).  Anyway.... you can find on Facebook.  I'm giggling all day.  Fans! Whoda thunk it?