I’m officially admitting defeat – getting stuck at certain biweekly resolutions because of things outside of my control (biking for two weeks straight, it’s been raining on and off) and having to make a bunch of compensations has my motivation level much lower than it was at the start. I am kind of keeping them in mind though, and did bike to work on Monday and flossed yesterday. So you know, there may be some correlation to an improved lifestyle. Or maybe not.

I started my wagon garden last week and it’s EXCITING!!!! I probably over-sowed (um, nts gotta learn garden terms) and need to prune (?) some of the sprouts away so the poor things don’t feel so claustrophobic. So far only the lettuce and kale seeds have sprouted. I think I picked a lucky time to plant, because it was rainy for a few days and now it’s sunny and warm. I’m really excited to see if 4-6″ dirt depth is enough to grow miniature beets and carrots. If not, that’s ok, because then I get to start round two!

So a few weeks ago I decided to attempt a six-mile jog. It actually went really well and was not much more difficult than four. I’m vaguely interested in finding out how long I can stay at medium-cardio level before wanting to pass out (or “bonking” as bikers say) but um, not really interested in running a half marathon or anything. It’s just a lot of time (6 miles is already an hour!) and I think there’s officially no point to this paragraph anymore. I’m tracking the number of miles I’m running in 2014 because, why not?, and I’m currently at 51. I’ll be happy if I hit 100 miles by the end of the year! How exciting.

In other still fitness-related news, I’m starting to work on incorporating a lot more fun intense things into my yoga practice. I’m working on forearm stand (long term goal: scorpion! and hand stand!) which I think I’m like 35% to conquering. I also saw a video of a cool tripod headstand to side crow transition (both side) and so I’m working on core so I can do that too. It looks super fun and amazing.

I guess pretty much my life these days is full of exercising during the week and then eating on the weekends. No complaints though, I love getting into routines :)

flesh wound

I went on a group bike ride after work yesterday and on the way back, TOTALLY ATE IT. Instead of making a tight U-turn on a path in a park, I followed Fred straight onto a dirt path shortcut. My wheel caught the edge of the tiny wooden curb and I fell onto my hands and knees. Mostly my knees. Just my right knee. I took a breather for a few minutes and poured some water on it to get the dirt out; I didn’t think it felt too bad, like a large area scrape but not too deep. By the time we got back the blood was dripping from my knee into my sock, so hardcore! And the actual wound looked like Halloween zombie make-up. The shredded skin was lumpy and covered in shiny blood and … pretty much like a zombie.

I decided to just head home to do a thorough clean up. Rinsed it completely off in the shower, got out all the dirt I could manage without an actual “rub,” and noticed that the dead skin shreds turned white? Kind of like a weird skin version of coagulating. Didn’t bother/have the balls to rip/cut off the dead skin pieces, so I decided to leave it. Smothered the entire thing with neosporin and wrapped it up in paper towels + tape. Bleeding slowed pretty quickly, but hasn’t entirely stopped since I can’t help but move my leg when needed.

Morning-after injury count: Lleft ankle very bruised, not swollen. Left knee medium sized bruise, very minor scrapes. Right knee hella bruised, looks like lasagna. Both hands are totally fine, thank goodness. I’d be much, much unhappier if my hands took the blunt of the fall instead of my knee, I think.

No pictures here, since it looks hella disgusting. I’m planning on taking a fantastic time lapse with once-a-day photos. It’s going to be great!!

In the end, I’m glad that:
– I clot
– I’m not afraid of blood/pain
– It wasn’t worse
– I sometimes rebelliously use my left foot to brake when driving, and now that skill has come in handy
– I don’t have to take PTO

I’m annoyed that:
– I have to skip yoga for a few weeks, I hope that Amber will let me postpone my membership :/
– I don’t have a roommate to heed my every beck and call
– I’m vegetarian
– No more biking/cardio exercise for awhile

Also, this may be taxing on my immune system which is already crappy. I’m going to skip Enbrel until the wound is completely closed up, just to be safe. No need to flirt with infection.

Lastly, no need to worry, folks. I know I’ll be fine and it’s just a mere flesh wound. It will heal in time and I’ll be up and (literally) running soon! I feel like a kid again, haven’t had a knee injury like this in like, a decade?

I forgot I had a blog…

Last weekend I went down to LA to go to Sean & Charissa’s (Stan’s friends’) wedding in Pasadena. While in Socal, Stan and I went to Irvine to meet up with Wesley so I could buy his Manduka yoga mat off of him. Wes did yoga consistently only for a month or two (and invested in a fancy mat for those few months) but has pretty much quit, so I got to take advantage of the spoils with a 35% off friends and family discount.

Today I used the Manduka mat at yoga class, and my initial impression is not amazing. The mat is fine, and compared to my cheap typical yoga mat, it’s slightly squishier (balance poses are harder on my feet) and about the same amount of sticky. My favorite thing so far is that it’s an extra long mat, which means I don’t have to worry about centering myself in down dog so my face doesn’t hit the floor in a chaturanga. Pretty great!

Biggest con so far is that since the mat is dark dark grey, my foot marks are super noticeable and I have to wipe down the mat after each use. Which I should be doing anyway, I know. So I watered down some soap in a spray bottle and will bring it with a towel in my (also new) bag.

UPDATE: I forgot to publish this post…. but anyway the soapy water was a BAD IDEA because it made my mat super slippery (no kidding, should have expected it) and I had to wipe it down with plain old water to unsoap it. It’s better now, but I’m annoyed that I had to go through an entire session with slippery hands/mat.

gluteus, gluten, gluttony

I’ve been really consistent with exercising since moving to Norcal, which I’m really glad about. There’s that fear of starting “the daily grind” and having to sit on one’s ass the entire day, then being too pooped when the work day ends to do anything but sit on one’s ass some more. I signed up for a six-month membership of eight yoga classes a month, which means at a minimum I’ll be doing that almost twice a week. I finally understand the appeal of gym memberships; gotta get my $$$ worth and not skip. Eight times a month is definitely doable, and it may be a good thing that I get some rest days.

Even if I’m not cycling to work yet, I’m still glad to have that option for cardio. I ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill today and felt my knees starting to give out, so I guess that’s still not a viable option. But I really missed running – maybe I’ll try inserting a few miles a month into my routine :)

BUT ANYWAY I went to the gym today because of yesterday and today’s carb loading. Yesterday was my first day of gluten in eight months, and ate more than half a loaf of sourdough. It was freaking delicious and I couldn’t stop. Today, my manager brought donuts and bagels to work… so I had a few of those too. And then my coworker Ben gave me his Monopoly McFlurry coupon so I treated myself to that too. And then I felt sad about the impending loss of my almost-abs (I can almost, almost see subtle side shadows in the mornings!) so I had some motivation to do some cardio. Not bad, right? Everything in moderation?

Re: losing my gluten free and vegan dietary restrictions and turning vegetarian –
I’m happy that I don’t have to consciously omit things from my daily eats, but I think I’ll still try to keep relatively low levels of empty gluten and carbs in my diet. Going to make a conscious effort to maintain meals consisting of more vegetables than grains… after my party next week. I mean, a girl’s gotta live a little right? Heh. I’m going to commit to a vegetarian diet for either 6 or 9 months. Since I’m a “diet non-responder,” i.e. my RA didn’t go away on the most restrictive diet, it’s unlikely that it’ll get any better on less restrictions (only no meat). But seeing as I’m used to a vegan diet right now and I’m still enjoying the resurrection of my relationship with bread, I might as well stay on the healthy side and avoid meats for as long as I can manage. Unless I see/feel iron or B12 deficiencies, I see myself staying vegetarian for awhile. (Pescetarian is highly likely though – I miss fish.)

thought dump

Re: arm strength, true success is the capability of blowdrying one’s entire head to 90% dryness without tiring.

I got my bloodwork done after about two months of vegan+gf, and the only things of note are low glucose and low white blood cell %/count. No surprises there…

I nerded it out and did the AMC12 from 2001 just for fun. I got 70.5/150 after about an hour and I was too tired to finish; I only attempted 18/25 problems. 6 points for correct answers, 1.5 for blanks. You need a score of at least 100 to move on to the AIME…

The copay for Enbrel is way, way too high so I need to switch insurances for 2014 or quit it altogether. I have until October to decide.

Layla is in the bay area! We’ve been doing all sorts of fun activities, including: driving a Tesla to/from SF just for kicks, yoga, eating, Color Me Mine… I don’t know what tonight’s plans are (probably just to chill) and then on Saturday we are going to Santa Cruz for beaching :)

making muscles

I started a two week “trial” session at East West Yoga in Cupertino last Monday and have been three times since (M, W, Sun). I’ll probably go two more times this week, likely today and Wednesday again. I realized too late that there’s no evening Vinyasa class on Fridays, so I just did some weights last Friday instead. During my first class, I felt like I was the most advanced yogi in the room, which really surprised me. I guess I’ve been used to going to studios in LA perused by serious long term devotees, with their effortless hand/headstands. It’s kind of refreshing to see how much better I am than average, up here. Two years of yoga really makes a big difference!

On Saturday morning, I test-commuted to work on my bike. I left around 7:35 and got there a few minutes after 8am – 33 minutes to bike 6.3 miles. Not bad! Definitely doable, I wasn’t totally pooped when I arrived. I rested for about half an hour and then headed back home via Wolfe. I found out the hard way that overpasses are extremely difficult on a bike – akin to sprinting up a mountain on foot. After getting home, I was definitely really tired. The change in temperature in just an hour in the morning made a big difference.

Yesterday’s afternoon yoga session was pretty different than I was used to. There were a lot of pranayama and core exercises, and since it was just an hour long, there wasn’t much time for anything else. Still a good session though. The instructor had a British accent which was fun.

Anyway, all I really wanted to say was that all this exercise is making me really confused about what sore muscles are from which exercise. When I biked to work, my arms were sore (from weights?) and today my legs are sore (from biking?). I was planning on starting sets of negative pull-ups this week, but I think I need to get used to the other things I’ve added to my regime first…

tales of the still unemployed

Started my second free week of hot yoga. I think I’ll committedly do it for five of the seven days (not weekend) to simultaneously take advantage of the free and fill my days with something to do. I forgot to bring a towel today so I sweated and slipped all over the place on my mat and it sucked. But alas, no purchasing of a better mat or yoga towel until I have $$.

In other news, my wrists have been hurting for almost two weeks now. NSAIDs still have no effect (in reasonable dosages). I came across this paper (of which only the abstract is available) documenting a study of gluten free and vegan and vegetarian diets for RA patients. Since being gluten free has had no noticeable effect on my joint pain, I’ve decided to try to repeat the results of that study! 3.5 months of vegan + gf (then evaluate), followed by 9 months of vegetarian (if the vegan + gf seems to have a positive effect). I’m starting on May 1st, after I get back from a trip to Seattle for our semi-annual immediate family reunion. How exciting. Still debating whether to cease my current medications when I start the new regime… leaning towards no.

In a few minutes I’m going to drop off some stuff to be tailored (i.e. interview pants I ripped a hole in the crotch of in Houston) and get a library card for LAPL. Maybe I’ll get some books?

I was thinking that my biceps were looking pretty big so I measured them just now – 26 cm. That’s a 1.5 cm increase since last year? Holy moly time flies. I started a fitness routine a few days ago (alternating yoga and weights on weekdays) so hopefully I stick to it and get strong! Yeah!!!

Yesterday I went to the 2nd Annual Santa Anita BBQ Competition with Stanley, Wesley and Jeff. The event was held in the open area of the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, where the 626 Night Market was. It was pretty cool – lots of tents set up from different BBQ-ers and you could try samples of BBQ for $1 tickets. I barely was able to spend 13 tickets and was super full, which is a good gauge in case I end up going again next year. Lots of pulled pork, brisket and ribs, and a few other unique things like bacon, bacon-wrapped meatballs, mac-n-cheese. I haven’t eaten that much pulled pork in my life, but I found out that I prefer it to be drier with a more interesting texture rather than soggy and soft. After stuffing ourselves with meat, we dropped by the race track to make some bets on the horse races. I was excited to participate and lost $2 (minimum) in the first race. There were a lot of seasoned gamblers there (as expected) dropping big dollars on the races. Pretty intense. I’m definitely not a big risk-taker though (yet??) so I was content to just watch the next round. Now that I know there’s about 30 minutes of down-time between the short (1-2 minute) races, I’ll be prepared with snacks and books for the in-betweens. It’s a pretty nice atmosphere to hang out in the shade of the stands so I’d probably want to go again.

After the two races, we decided to get our boba fix. After gulping down our cold drinks on the hot (80F high!) day, we decided on doing some recreational activity: either rock climbing or P90X yoga. We decided to do yoga at Stan’s house. We did the entire 90 minutes and I definitely feel it in my muscles today, basically everywhere: hamstrings, obliques, trapezius, triceps. I like feeling sore, it means I’m making improvements to my body :)

I brought my camera with me everywhere this weekend but barely took any pictures. I need to get out of my funk and start taking more pictures. I just haven’t been inspired by anything and I don’t know what to do to improve as a photographer either. I’m not interested in rare-use techniques but just general snapshot photography, so… I guess I just need to be more prolific. I’ve barely taken 100 pictures in 2013 so far.

hot yoga

I started 7-free-days (for all new students at all locations) at CorePower yoga on Monday and have been twice so far (Mon and Wed). I thought that the studio had both regular vinyasa and hot yoga but turns out all their classes are in heated rooms. The class I did on Monday morning (9-10am) was a level 2 power yoga class. It was super fast paced and there were a few sequences I hadn’t done before (like, butt/core) but overall an interesting experience. Before I went into the room, the instructor (Mary) warned me not to judge my first hot yoga experience by my first time, since a lot of first timers get light headed and feel sick from the intensity.

I definitely felt light headed in the middle of practice, about 30-40 minutes into the session, while we started on half moon and warrior 3 poses. It’s a weird, weird feeling to sweat so much it feels like you’re crying, and to nearly get wrinkly fingertips from your own sweat. I started taking it much more slowly and drinking more water, but I didn’t really feel that much better by the end of the session. I wish I could have done the sequences much more slowly, but my breath was nearly double the instructor’s, and had I slowed to my own pace I wouldn’t have been able to catch up at all. Nearly everyone else in the class seemed to have no problem, either because they hadn’t learned to follow their own breath, or because they were use to the teacher’s speed. Either way… not really my thing.

Today I took the “fusion” class (1030-1145) which focused more on spine/core/back poses and skipped over a lot of intermediate/advanced poses and time for inversions. The pace was much, much better for me and I didn’t feel rushed at all. The instructor (Malaika) was really up beat and helpful. I asked her after class about a session that was at her pace but included the other poses, and she said that all the classes just depend on the instructor’s preference. That’s kind of unfortunate, but it seems like that’s the typical way things are at yoga studios. It’s more like a bunch of instructors sharing a space. Unfortunately Malaika’s level 2 classes are at 6am on weekdays. Not sure if I can bring myself to go to one of those.

On Friday I’ll probably take the same level 2 class that I took on Monday, since it’s a yet another different instructor. Before I can go though, I gotta do laundry… I sweated through all my yoga clothes – literally soaked them through – and will probably rent a towel for a dollar instead of soaking thorough and having to wash one of mine. Pretty disgusting/amazing.

After my seven free days are up, not quite sure what I’ll do. Maybe look into some other studios for not-hot yoga too.