Monday, February 28, 2011

February's Training

The worst month of the year became the best so far for 2011 because I was cleared for all cardio activity, "as tolerated," the doctor warned. So I've been running slowly 3 days a week, trying to add mileage as my foot allows. Swelling remains, and it won't go down as quickly as it would were I not pounding it with my 3-mile jogs. I ice the foot the evenings I have run in the morning.
The physical therpist reports that the fascia underneath the big toe that was operated on is tight--to be expected--and she massages it the two times a week I see her.
As for strength training, I've increased both the amount of weight I'm lifting twice a week as well as the number of exercises--for example, last week I added lunges and forearm curls. And I'm adding back my FIRM DVDs, especially the kettlebell workout I received for Chistmas.
I moved up a level in yoga, to Kripalu beginner 2, and while many of the moves are too basic for me, I remember that I'm there to get my stiff body back into pliable, not-prone-to-injury shape. All yoga feels good! And the 75-minute class has become a highlight of my week.
Today, because the hubby was home and could get the little one on the bus, I was able to swim early today at a city pool which opens from 7 to 9 a.m. for lap swimmers. Although the pool is the farthest away from the house, this presents a terrific option. Because I pay $3 to swim each time, I will never swim just 800 meters; today I topped out at the half Ironman distance of 2000M, and I was pleased. I am limited, however, to swimming there only when that littlest girl is with her mother and I don't have to get her on the bus. Until then, the Swim-p3 underwater sort-of iPod makes the 40 minutes in the pool even more tolerable.

My goals for March:
1. When the weather allows, get out on my bike.
2. Add drills to one swim per week, striving to perfect my form and increase speed.
3. Build, by the end of the month, my weekly run total to 25 miles.
4. "Graduate" from physical therapy.

My training for February:

Swim: 7874.02 Yd - 2h 27m 21s
Run: 23.28 Mi - 4h 08m 29s
Strength: 8h 02m
Sports (mostly yoga): 8h 22m

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Best Children's Books

I always read (past tense) to my children, who are now adults. Will and I were even finishing up the Wizard of Oz series when he was 12 or so. And I always expected my children to read. The two kids had their own library card from since they were about 5. In the years of reading bedtime stories to them, several favorites rose to the top of the “read again” list. Which got me thinking about our absolute favorites. The books listed here aren't necessarily the “best” children's books, because, really what does “best” mean anyway? That's the beauty of books—if one doesn't resonate, there's another one waiting on the bookshelf. But these are the books my kids asked me to read over and over.

When I remarried, and “inherited” a young reader, I was pleased that I had these, and hundreds of other, books that my youngest step-daughter could discover. And once my two biological children set up their own households, I will be equally pleased to help them populate their personal libraries with the iconic books of their childhoods.

So here, in no particular order, are the Top 10 Books in the childhoods of @Georgia Keene and @William Keene.

1. Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. Such a simply told, soft, bedtime story. Besides, anyone who can romanticize “a bowl full of mush” is an all right writer in my book.
2. Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. A naughty boy is sent to his room without his supper, and summons up a wild imaginarium of all sorts of creatures, creatures he can command, until his dinner shows up after all. Let the wild rumpus begin!
3. Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon. A baby bat gets lost and lands in a nest of birds, until she finds her way back home. The illustrations of how each species adapts the other's habits—baby birds hanging upside-down from the outside of the nest—are priceless. A wonderful story of maternal love.
4. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and just about any other story written by Beatrix Potter. Young Peter is so handsome in his blue-velvet vest, yet he can be oh, so naughty.
5. Strega Nona, by Tomie DePaola. A truly wonderful story of what happens when you don't follow the rules. Big Anthony gets his fill of pasta, that's for sure!
6. The Amelia Bedelia series, by Peggy Parish. So well-meaning in her manner, but Amelia Bedelia takes every request literally, with results that make any 6-year-old giggle.
7. Similarly, Bernard Wiseman's Morris the Moose, another silly character, wonderfully drawn, who just can't figure out why, when he has one head, his buddy Boris the Bear asks to check a fever on his forehead.
8. Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey. These books are rather politically incorrect by today's standards, but what child can't relate to wanting to test out every item he or she was told not to. George just can't help himself!
9. Frog and Toad, by Arnold Lobel. Like the Morris the Moose books, these stories of best friends were written especially for first readers. And their adventures are pretty special too.
10. And, finally, anything by Dr. Seuss. Who can resist The Cat in the Hat; Green Eggs and Ham; One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish or If I Ran the Zoo? There is such depth to the poetry of Seuss, and children always respond to the lyrical nature of the writing. And you gotta love Thing 1 and Thing 2!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just Move Already!

I am not a big gadget person, nor am I too familiar with all the options available with our Verizon FIOS service. However, in looking for a movie to watch last night with the On Demand feature, I discovered a whole bunch of free workouts on Exercise TV. And that leads me to the point of this blog.
With so much fitness information and so many resources available, there is really no excuse for those healthy enough for exercise to do just that, at very little cost. You don't need the gym (though some snowy mornings I do miss the elliptical trainers). And this is in no way a criticism of the gym--if it's what gets you motivated to get some exercise, then great. Frankly, it just got too costly for us to maintain a membership. I was using the gym for twice a week strength training, core using a stability ball and balance work on the Bosu. In winter it was nice to have that cardio equipment a short drive away. But once we canceled the membership, there was no looking back.
My husband found a stability ball at Target for $10, and we bought a Bosu online for $50. I have accumulated all manner of strength-training equipment--plate weights, dumbbells, a barbell, two kettlebells, ankle weights--over my 25 years of working out. So there really was no reason to keep paying the gym.
And when it comes to swimming for triathlon training, I urge everyone to seek out free or low-cost options: they are out there! My pool of choice, which I will not name for fear it'll no longer be a best-kept secret, costs nothing and offers plenty of adult and open swim times Monday through Saturday.
So, what's my point? It's that you can find low- or no-cost exercise options just about anywhere. Add library DVDs, magazines and books for all sorts of workouts, and you really have no excuse.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Weather or Not

I know I can be a real grump, but this latest "storm of the century" nonsense is the last straw. Now, the ride in this morning was a bit icy, but nothing a cautious driver can't handle. At this hour (9:45 a.m.) there is no precipitation whatsoever. So, why all the cancellations? Why closings that were announced yesterday afternoon? Why do people get all riled up and believe the hype?
Now, a few of the local meterologists are friends of mine. I think they're terrific people, and there's one (@Mike Brookins) who I wish I could beat in a triathlon. I also know that meteorology is a science, albeit an inexact science and the capriciousness of wind can make all the difference in the world when it comes to what amount of snow will fall where.
But still. . . aren't all those high-tech gizmos and gadgets supposed to help devise more accurate forecasts? What is the point of triple-doppler radar if it only serves to put everyone on heightened alert and force the cancellation of school in the face of an inexact science?
Here's a novel idea, dear readers. By all means, listen to the forecast, tune in to some of the nation's finest meteorologists. But after you do, don't worry about it! Carry on with your day as planned! Don't buy into the hype! Just be sure your car is full of gas, you have an emergency kit in the trunk and your cell phone is charged.
Besides, what's a little snow to a Central New Yorker? Better yet, define "little."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Back to Work!

January was the month I slowly regained some level of fitness, though fortunately I didn't lose it all through the recovery from foot surgery. I am still not up to speed, but I am thankful I was able to get back to strength training as early as I did.
I started the month with a 15-minute weight session (upper body only, of course), and built up gradually from there so that my most recent session--Jan. 30--took 45 minutes. Each week I add a new move, both upper and lower body. I also added yoga in the form of a weekly class, which began Jan. 26, and started swimming on Jan. 24. Yesterday, Jan. 31, I swam 700 meters.
It feels terrific to be able to move reasonably well in the water. Once I can run again, I know that will be more difficult, as it requires more pounding on the body. When you swim you glide; ahhh.
Today is my first physical therapy session. The podiatrist knows how eager I am to get running and biking again, and he has set me up with the Syracuse University men's basketball team's PT. For that I am ever grateful.
My original goal was to be able to run on my birthday--April 11. But now I'm thinking March 1 is reasonable.
Until then, I will keep lifting, stretching and swimming, and eating better. Here are my totals for the month:

Monthly totals:
Swim: 2624.67 Yd - 49m 19s
Strength: 8h 15m
Sports (yoga, etc.): 2h 01m