MIMM: Hatchday, Pretty Light, Knees, and Insane Decisions

Hey everyone!  How’s your Monday going?

DSCN3124 DSCN3127 DSCN3137 DSCN3143 DSCN3160 DSCN3159Mine’s been pretty…pretty, to say the least.  As a Washingtonian, such flagrant displays of sunshine are something of a rarity, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve been taking full advantage of these picture-perfect summer days by frolicking about, soaking up the Vitamin D.

I’ve never really been one of those people who need an extra boost on Mondays to get through the week, even when school/activities are in session–I’ve just never hit the “Monday wall” that I guess so many people run into.  I’ve already confessed my nerdship to you guys–Monday is basically my favorite day of the week!  Not only is it usually pretty light on homework because teachers don’t like to take the time to concoct elaborate assignments over the weekends, school STARTS UP AGAIN and I know it’s going to be the beginning of a (potentially gruelingly) glorious week!

Still, it never hurts to get a little extra boost, even if your biggest worry right now is that the hammock that’s callin’ your name is gonna get lonely.

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The weekend was pretty enjoyable marvelous.  I hosted Citrus’ third hatchday party–I made sad-looking but still (IMO) cute cockatiel cookies and we bopped around outside.  There was a sleepover and we all got very slap-happy.  We were tired in the morning but there were muffins (with both lemon and seeds–perfect for a bird named Citrus!) made by me and a frittata made by Mother Dearest (with potatoes inside–tasted like hashbrowns!!).  I do so love hashbrowns.

Alas, we did not have a circular cookie cutter, so I had to shape the sugar cookie dough (nomnomnom) with a beer-can chicken prop-thing.  (My culinary vocabulary falters when it comes to meat…)

To make the cookies, I used the Savvy Vegetarian cookie dough recipe, this recipe for coconut whip as a frosting (tinted yellow with food coloring), Craisins for eyes, chopped up Watermelon Laffy Taffy for the beaks, and mangled “orange slices” candies for the orange cheek circles.DSCN3042 DSCN3052

This totally didn't happen what are you talking about.  Not straight from the beater, never.

This totally didn’t happen what are you talking about. Not straight from the beater, never.

I wouldn't recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip--it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely.  I used...whatever this brand is.

I wouldn’t recommend using A Taste of Thai coconut milk (pretty popular brand) for the whip–it has some sort of stabilizer added that prevents it from working too nicely. I used…whatever this brand is.

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Beaks!  Haha

Beaks! Haha

Aaaaand the final result.  Bit homely, but that’s okay! 🙂

Citrus approves.

Citrus approves.

Other marvelous things today…

Can we talk patella bracing for a sec?  I’m in love.  I don’t think that’s hyperbole.  Anything that was enough to lift me out of the forced 8-month running break thanks to these dang knees is virtually a Messiah in my eyes.  (I think it was probably the braces in adjunct with my rest, stretching, physical therapy, orthotics, supportive shoes, and therapeutic ultrasounds, but hey, whatever works…)  To my surprise, I haven’t lost all of my (nonexistent to begin with) running prowess, and the braces allowed me to attend my first *OFFICIAL* XC practice last Friday!  I hope to attend two more this week!  We’ll see how that goes…alas, my mileage maximum right now is approximately 3.  (Maybe four on the hamster wheel?)  By the end of the summer we’re supposed to be easily running 8…

This brings me to my first INSANE DECISION OF THE DAY!  This one is way less insane than my other one, but it’s still a big thrill for me.  I signed up for another 5k!!  This one’s on August 24th, and, while running in the heat ain’t exactly my cup of tea, I’m beyond stoked!  If I can even get close to my time on my first-and-only 5k, then it will be a huge reassurance for me that, though my knees doth plague me, I can get my kickassery and (somewhat) speed back with enough motivation.  (To any “serious” runners out there reading this:  I know a 5k is not a huge distance.  It’s kind of a menial race.  But, alas, my body is NOT DESIGNED FOR RUNNING WHATSOEVER [sitting and blogging is more my speed, how ’bout you?] and a 5k is a big deal to me!)

Sweet Potato Chocolate Pancakes 009(Throwback to the morning of my first 5k, waiting in the starting line.  Pay no attention to the ominous disembodied hand on my shoulder; someone else is cropped out.  And notice the fear hiding behind the forced smile–the glazed eyes, the overall absent disposition.  I was convinced I was going to die that day.)

Incidentally, you know what’s harder than running a 5k?

………………………..Biking two hundred and two miles.

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Yeah, it’s insane.  We’ve covered this.  And it will require buying a new bike, and/or some road tires for my current trusty steed mountain bike.  But recently (yesterday-recently), la madre de una de mis amigas (I’m not sure why I phased into Spanish here, but I couldn’t think how to word it in English) participated in the Cascade Bicycle Club/Group Health Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, a one- or two-day event that spans a total of 202-point-something miles.  Which gave me a sudden and intense burst of inspiration.  It’s a recreational ride, not a race, but from my extensive Googling of the thing last night it looks. epic.  And everyone says you need to dream big and set high goals to keep your morale buoyed, right?  So.  I’ve got a year to train.  I post this to the internet so I can’t back down–next year, Daddio and I will be participating in the 2014 Seattle-to-Portland ride.  And we will rock that epic $#*@.

Much moreso than for running, my body (and quads) like biking.  While the farthest ride I’ve ever taken to date was just 40 miles with lots of hills, and I died afterwards–I’ve got a year.  Best get on this.

Ahh.  The inevitable foot selfie.  (For some reason I just tried to spell “foot” as “fut”…)  Daddio and I went on a short (10 mile?) ride today, and I plan to get some running on the hamster wheel done as well.  Fitness, here I come!

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And arrachgha, yes, I need to do a poemography post today, since I’ve skipped out on that for, what, three weeks?!  Problem is, I only have one line to work with… #poetictrialsandtribulations

“Rather than people who shine–

I like people who glow

is the line, but I’m not sure how to weave that into a poem.  Would it be all right if poemography was extended to flash fiction?  I know I made the rules, but you guys can change them.  I’ll luv ya forever 😉

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Starting My Fitness Journey…Over Again

It’s a painful journey, this.  It’s hardcore enough when you take it on the first time, but after bum knees have forced you to sit on the sidelines for 5 months?  Getting your fitness groove back on is hard.  Especially when you were getting really good pre-injury, and you remember how easily all these exercises used to come to you, before you stopped doing them all…it’s really enough to make you cry.

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But “re-fitting” myself needs to be done, sometime.  And “now” is always the best time to start those sometime-things.

SO.  Because I like to plan things and because I like nice, neat little starting dates for all my antics, a while back I designated May to be the month of getting my badassery back.  Selfishness aside, I want to look awesome in my Carnegie Hall dress at the end of the month.  I want to look okay in my swimsuit during my Costa Rica vacation (!!) in June.  I want to put in some good, hard, sweaty work I can be proud of–I have missed exercise SO MUCH.

In terms of exercise, I’d like to take my own advice and start following some of the tips in this post for working out with my knee issues.  And putting into practice some of the moves from The Bum Knee Workout.  I LOVE cardio, so it’s harder for me to work up the chutzpah to bust out a strength-training-session, but that needs to happen more often as well.  I want to move more on a daily basis–this will include the more simple stuff like pacing during a phone call, taking a stroll outside with free time rather than surfing the glorious YouTube, indulging in little childhood things (like hopscotch and swinging and jumping rope and trampolining–because Spring has finally, finally hit here!).  You know, as opposed to living on the internet.  Though that’s fun, and by no means am I abandoning the blogosphere for any length of time.

I also want to make really-super-extra-sure I continue my physical therapy and put my focus into it, rather than just zoning and rotely doing leg-lifts.  Though it keeps being pushed back, the tentative date for a running assessment and a reintroduction into the world of human propulsion is about 3 weeks from now.

And, of course…

This apple has little apple abs. It’s “hard”-“core” 😉 Get it..?

This graphic is from an older post on Sprint2theTable…yes, it’s older, but it’s exactly what I need right now.  Healthy eating and regular exercising often go hand in hand for me–if I’m not consistently working out, for some whacked reason it makes more sense for me to overindulge and lounge around on the laptop popping dark chocolate into my mouth by the bar.  (Somehow I’m not obese…)  As I work to redefine my body, I also want to clear up my diet; for me, this will mean changes including:

  • amp up vegetable levels!

Yeah, I’m a vegetarian.  Yeah, I eat reasonably healthy.  But yeah, I NEED to bump up my veggie consumption!  Come on, TGITO…girl cannot thrive on only one serving of the green stuff a day.  I want to broaden my vegetable horizons, eat more salads (it’s summer now; yay! farmer’s market here I come!), and cook more veggie-centric dishes.  I want to play with variety and spices.

  • no (processed) sugar except for weekly cheat

This is important for me, since I know that personally once I have some sugar it is all too easy to just stick my face in a bag of C&H and just snort the stuff.  (Erm…not really…)  Point is, it’s a slippery slope.  I just want to make a point to avoid empty calories in my diet, that don’t really enrich my life beyond the taste experience.

  • replace refined grains w/ whole

‘Nuff said.  Bye-bye, pasta, white tortillas, baguettes.

  • reduce grain consumption overall

I’d like to experiment with eating more on the paleo side (haha…paleo vegetarian, haha…); macronutrient-wise, at any rate.  I want to see how I perform, feel, and look on a diet that’s higher in protein and fat; I’d like to gain muscle, and I feel like I listen to my natural satiety cues better with proteins and fats.  Carbs are all too easy to overeat!

  • weekly meal prep so no “emergency” disasters

THIS is the BIGGIE, folks!  I always tell myself I will get my week of meals prepped out on Sunday, and it is never so!  Really, I’d like to develop a system that I actually carry out that would enable me a whole-grain source, lots of chopped-up veggies, some prepared protein sources, and some homemade frozen meals (e.g. soups, rice/quinoa dishes and the like) for when the time crunch gets really dastardly.  I’m drawing my inspiration from here and here and fixin’ up a Pinterest board for weekly recipes and tips as well.

Grab button for TGITO

<div class=TGITO-button style=width: 400px; margin: 0 auto;>
<a href=http://thegirlintheorange.com/2013/05/04/may-shapeup/ rel=nofollow>
<img src=https://thegirlintheorange.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/may-shapeup-button-1.jpg alt=May Shapeup width=400 height=300 />
</a>
</div>

Behold, the official “May Shapeup” Button!  ^^I am becoming a veritable HTML coding master. 😉 I’ll be Instagramming and Pinning my way through my moves and meals this month–if you’d like to join in, use the hashtag #mayshapeup on pins, instagrams, and tweets, and link up any “proof” posts with the button!

Working Out As It Stands Now

The title of this post was a pun.  If you’re a regular here, you know all about my knees and their lack of function.  Ive honestly lamented them to heck and hope they stay there…there won’t be a lot of standing for me for a while.   😉

Since I’ve been living with these excruciating joint maladies for four months now, I’ve had to find some form of exercise to keep me sane.  While I’m still not at optimum activity level, and on a “bad knee week” I barely move, much less exercise, necessity has driven me toward some creative solutions for my daily endorphin fix.  I really, really wish I’d had someone to write this post for me when I was first injured, so I didn’t waste a few months of complete inactivity, thinking that I wouldn’t be able to exercise until the pain was completely gone!

*On that note, my little disclaimer here: I am not a certified or registered dietician, doctor, personal trainer, or anything.  All “advice” taken from me is meant to be taken with a grain of salt!  I could prove quite dangerous!  If you are experiencing severe abnormal joint pain PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE consult whoever your regular physician is–“working through pain” is never a good idea.  With my knees I try simply to work “around” already-diagnosed pain, because I have a doctor’s OK, and because I’ve found some exercises I can complete without aggravating it further.  Stay safe, kids.*

The Girl in the Orange’s Post-Injury Exercise Routine (Tips for Would-Be Runners!)

The biggest shift in my exercise routine, post-injury, has been the transition from mainly cardio (running) to mainly strength training.  I strength train almost every other day now, and while I don’t feel like it quite satisfies the runner’s need for cardio–the need to have your cheeks red and burning with your breath catching in your throat at the end of a workout, the need to push yourself faster and farther–it’s something.  Problem is, the majority of colloquial strength training exercises involve weighted bending of the knees (squats, anyone? lunges? dips?), which, to put it mildly, would feel like a dagger being driven under my kneecap and twisting to pry the kneecap from the bone…SO I obviously needed a workaround. 🙂  Many of the exercises in my Bum Knee Workout have found their way into my regular strength-training routine, even though I don’t really perform the workout verbatum (can you perform a workout verbatum?) often.  Bicep curls, for instance.  Lots of work with the resistance band.  My arms are getting a whole lot of focus in my training, but I’ve also shifted to include more ab work–planks, crunches, V-Ups, and the like.  Check out the Fitnessista Ab Burners for quickie ab workouts when you don’t have enough time for a full sweat session!

Physical Therapy has been working on my leg strength–I only wish I’d started doing the exercises WAAY earlier.  They’re simple–I’m doing leg raises, side leg raises, and bridges.  All things that involve little or no bending of the knee or stress placed on the joint, and yet when done daily they’ve proven to be really effective at increasing muscle mass and toning.  (Happy aside: during my session today I’ve been proclaimed as making mass improvements, and may be able to start up that introductory running routine as soon as two weeks after spring break!  Gaah!)  If you’re injured, building the strength in your quadriceps is really crucial in helping with alignment of the joints, and when you do get back to “regular” activity, a strong muscle will help you from placing so much stress on the joint.  Three cheers for leg raises!

If you get bored of simple calisthenics, there are SOME mild forms of cardio us cripples can partake in.  Hula hooping has proved pretty painless for me, plus it whittles your middle!–but I agree that you can only hoop for so long. 🙂  If you have access to some basic exercise tools, there’s always the WaveMaster (aka punching bag)

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ready for a good pummeling when you are.  Sure, you may not be able to kick, but you can probably get in some wicked uppercuts and practice your fighting stance.  As a bonus, you feel beastly afterward.

Other simple weight training tools include inflatable exercise ballsdumbells (duh), and a weight cage with pull-up bar…maybe refrain from hack squats with iffy knees though. 😉

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Oh, and don’t forget yoga!  While you want to be careful of poses that aggravate your condition, (Warriors, Crescents and Dancer–I’m lookin’ at you) most yoga poses will provide a gentle stretch that, for me at least, has proven to be very therapeutic to ailing joints.

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Any fellow cripples out there with advice to share with the group?  If you remember one thing going into a sports-injury recovery period, I would say keep focused on doing your best NOW–not aggravating your condition, listening to your physical therapist, etc., and being patient with yourself (honestly, you’re not going to keep your chiseled abs with so few exercises available to you, sorry).  But there’s certainly no harm in looking forward to the future when you’ll be back to full health! 🙂