Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's late

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle."
- Ernest Hemingway

I can't sleep so I'm reading random things on the internet. As usual. I'm so nocturnal it's to the point of embarrassment. I'm on the exact opposite clock of normal, good human beings and sometimes it makes me feel guilty. But never enough to actually change my behavior because I love staying up/waking up late. One day I'll look back at this time and wish I could keep these hours again.

Good morning, everyone!
Goodnight, me!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

On Time and Seasons

So here's my obligatory 'sorry I haven't been updating' post. I have no reason not to update, just winter malaise, I guess. I probably have a serious lack of Vitamin D from being nocturnal. I should look into taking supplements or something. I really think that there is something programmed into me that drives me to stay up late into the night. Even as a kid I liked staying up late and my whole school career I got my best work done way after midnight. I think part of it is the season and the cold. In the summer I want to be awake and outside as much as possible. I get so happy when I think about this summer. Being outdoors all the time, camping every night, having an excuse to go a few days without showering. I love the sounds and the smell of the summer. I hope one day I love the winter, fall, and spring even half as much as I love the summer. Living in Blacksburg the past few years, I honestly have developed an appreciation of the seasons. I used to think that people were full of it when they said "oh, I love seasons." Maybe I still think that's crap, how can you LOVE the winter? I guess you could say that I'm at peace with it because there is no alternative to surviving through it. Because I want to get to summer so badly, and the summer won't get here unless I tolerate winter and spring first. Maybe if I skied, snowboarded, ice fished, etc, then I wouldn't mind it as much. However, growing up in a warmer climate has taught me that winter is for staying inside and eating soup rather than hitting the slopes. I went skiing once, in Colorado, and I think it was the most fun I could ever possibly have doing anything outside in the winter. It was amazing and beautiful and I don't think that I ever need to try it again. Ha.
So working out has been going smoothly. I'm not one of those people with a super-packed schedule that has to squeeze in gym time. I'm lucky enough to have free time every day and I can work out as much as I want. Somebody asked me last night how training was going and I said "I'm sore all the time. So good, I guess." It got warm for a couple of days here but I still have yet to take my new bike out for a spin. I spent so much time and money on it I'm scared that I'm going to hit a patch of ice or get salt in the gears. I'm sure I'm going to beat it up enough on this trip the summer, but right now it's nice to see it all pretty and shiny in the living room. I guess I'm just making excuses, the real reason is that I can't convince myself to ride unless it's over 50 degrees.
I took the dog for a walk yesterday around campus and town because it was "nice" and "warm" out. I realized that my sense of what these words mean might be a bit skewed when I saw a guy cross country skiing beside the path I was walking on. It's been so cold in this town recently that what we think is a beautiful, warm weather is actually still cold enough to be able to cross country ski. Sigh.

"In a way, winter is the real spring. The time when inner things happen. The resurgence of nature."
-Edna O'Brien, Irish novelist

Friday, January 8, 2010

Body Pump has served its purpose!

My thighs and butt are incredibly sore from that class I took yesterday. Jen and I were both at work hobbling around. It hurts to sit, squat, or walk down stairs. Good thing my bartending shift was downstairs tonight so I didn't have to deal with actually going up or down between floors. I always feel like I'm in great shape until I try something new and realize that I'm not in shape at all. Or parts of me aren't. When I first started to go to yoga, it hurt like hell for a few days afterwards, but now it's a nice but challenging workout and I can still move the next day. I wonder how long it will take for me to feel like that about this class. And I was only using the minimum weights possible (or none at all)! So my first foray into strength training for this trip was, I guess, successful.
Aside from working tonight during the national championship football game, today was very uneventful. I'm happy that it's snowing. Since I don't have to drive to work or anywhere it's nice that I can just sit back and enjoy it coming down without worry. It's not a windy blizzard like last month but some calming, peaceful, falling snow.
Here is a shout out to my BFF Conrad who is living it up in Bangkok right now. Wish I were there with ya, buddy. Conrad's job (as far as this bike trip is concerned) is to recommend books for me to read before I leave. I want to read classic, quintessential American books that describe the mountains, midwest, desert, etc. He's already told me about an Edward Abbey book I'm going to try to find as soon as I remember the name of it. I love Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang and I can't wait to read more of his stories about the American West. I want to compile quotes about the land to ponder as I pedal across it.

"One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards."
-Edward Abbey, 1978

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hi mom!

I'm sure you're the only one reading my blog. Who knows, maybe no one is reading. That's fine actually, because this is not the exciting part of my trip to San Francisco. This is the part where I train and try to figure out my bicycle and complain about the weather here in Blacksburg.
So today I went to my first Body Pump class at the gym. I decided to start doing this because most of my workouts are cardio and I need some strength training as well. I don't mind lifting weights or working out on machines but I tend to get more bored with that than I do with running, cycling, swimming, etc. Plus if I'm not sweating I don't feel like I'm actually working. According to the website, Body Pump is: "the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. This 60-minute workout challenges all your major muscle groups by using the best weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts and curls. Great music, awesome instructors and your choice of weight inspire you to get the results you came for – and fast!" As with most of the classes at the gym, it was dominated by rail thin sorority girls, country club moms wearing too much makeup and jewelery, and old men trying not to look out of place amongst them. My friend Jen went with me but we got there late so we had to be at the front of the class. I hope that no one was looking at me for direction because I hardly had an idea what I was doing most of the time.
It was nice to work out, however, and I enjoyed myself. I didn't get sweaty but my muscles were shaking and tired and I get the feeling tomorrow I am going to be very sore. I hate it when my arms get sore from working out because it makes the beer mugs at work hard to pick up. That sounds stupid but a full 25oz mug of beer weighs about 3lbs so lifting 100 of them (as I might do tomorrow, college football national championship day) can be taxing on sore arms. It is kind of nice to know that I get some sort of workout while I work. I usually find myself dancing while I mix drinks, which is a source of amusement to the regulars who have figured out that I am a horrible dancer.
Anyways, I have decided on a workout schedule that goes like this:
  • Monday: 1 hour spinning (cycling) class
  • Tuesday: Light run on treadmill. I am on my feet for 8 hours at work every Tuesday night, so if I skip working out this day, I won't beat myself up about it.
  • Wednesday: 1 hour Body Pump (strength training) class.
  • Thursday: Day off, or light run, or (fingers crossed) I get to go for a swim! (Lifeguard friends at the rec center can get me in for free.)
  • Friday: 1 hour Power Yoga class. This is probably my favorite class. Hard but relaxing.
  • Saturday: Running on treadmill.
  • Sunday: Off! I work for 8 hours on my feet so I'll still be doing something.
Writing it all out like this makes my plan look pretty ambitious, but I have done it for an entire week before so I'm confident in myself. And I'm on Wednesday of this week so that's halfway there.
Ugh, I'm sort of disgusting myself right now. I don't want to be one of those self-righteous workout girls that thinks they are better than other people because they are able to run and lift and cycle or whatever. I'm just so HAPPY that instead of mindlessly working out to be "thin" (as I've been doing for years now), I actually have a real tangible GOAL to work towards. I'm getting in shape for a reason! Thank god.
So now that I'm motivated to workout, now I just need to motivate myself to go to work and make some money so that I don't come back from San Francisco a poor hippie with an expensive bike. Which is what I am now. My bike costs more than my car. More than my car and my computer combined. More than my boyfriends car, my car, and my computer combined. And my bike only cost $800.