Monthly Archives: January 2013

Octogenarian Sunday

I present: the four ways in which my day resembled the lazy Sunday of someone who was alive during the last World War, rather than that of your average 32-year-old.

1) Early Bird Eating. We are talking about brunch so early that it really should be called “breakfast.”

There is this great brunch spot in our neighborhood that we never go to because the wait it always, like, an hour. (This drives me batty. Why can you not make reservations for brunch? Another post….)

Anyway, the food is tasty and inexpensive but we never go because I am totally not down with standing on the sidewalk for an hour for the privilege of eating perfectly-cooked over-easy eggs. But this morning, my husband and I were both up at 7 AM. ON A SUNDAY? Why, I do not know.

Our little brunch spot opened at 8 AM and we were there when they unlocked the doors. We enjoyed our runny eggs and extra-crispy bacon over conversation about how weird it was to be up so early and how old it made us feel. But upon leaving an hour later, we exchanged smug looks as we passed the swelling crowd in the lobby, people doomed to wait for a table because they obviously didn’t have their shit together. Suckers.

That’s irony as pure as the maple syrup that I poured on my pancakes. I am the last person to lay claim to early-bird smugness.  Typically, I’m happy to sleep well in to double digits. (See, for example, this post which was less than a year ago!)

I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. I seem to have lost my ability to sleep in. It’s weird, but also kind of nice.

2) Vehicular recreation? After brunch, we were waiting for a light to change and my husband asked if I knew what was down “that road” to our right.

I didn’t. And because (being done with the day’s first meal at such an unusually early hour) we had some time to kill, we decided to explore.

As it turned out, there was nothing down that road but typical semi-urban neighborhoods. Still, we tooled around for a while, eyeing houses for sale and speculating on their value (for no reason other than curiosity). We were stopped at a stop sign when my husband’s eyes widened in alarm.

“This. We’re doing it again,” he whispered.

I turned and gave him a quizzical look.

“THIS. This is what old people do,” he said. “You know: ‘going for a drive.’ Making useless comments about the things they see. That’s what old people do and we’re doing it right now.”

Of course, he was totally right.

I plugged our address into the GPS and we headed straight home.

3) Inappropriate use of ice. Fast forward to 4PM. It’s time to open some wine! How about a glass of white? What…there’s none in the fridge? Well, um…

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HEYYYY! ICE IN THE CHARDONNAYYYYY!

I know. NO. But it was a cheap bottle of Cupcake and I really wanted a glass so…I did what your great-grandmother did with her white zin and plopped in a couple of ice cubes. It wasn’t half bad, actually.

And it was an appropriate prelude to…

4) Early Bird Eating Part II: our 5:30 dinner reservations. This wasn’t my first choice, but that’s was what was available. We’ve been dying to eat at The Optimist since it opened a couple of months ago and it’s not easy to get a table.

(And justifiably. It was great. If you’re an Atlantan, it’s definitely worth a visit.)

Then the check came…

optimist

 …and the evening took a childish turn:

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Maybe it was the watered-down Chardonnay (or the bottle of Viognier we had with dinner), but this was really funny. To me, anyway. I’m not sure what Megan N thought about it but we left her a decent tip and also totally left her that receipt with the Optimus Prime on it even though it was the customer copy, so….

It’s now 9:30 PM and I am more than ready for bed. And I expect to sleep soundly when I get there.  Maybe there is something to this whole getting-old thing.

Up the (fake) creek

So the rowing machine at my gym is a piece of shit.

That’s not a commentary on the facility’s condition generally. I go to an L.A. Fitness that is pristine by big-box gym standards: it’s bright and clean with new equipment that is always in working order. The clientele consists of midtown professionals and polished residents of the surrounding gayborhood. The drinking fountains dispense ice-cold water. Really, who needs more than that from their gym?

I rarely find reason to complain, but today…well, there’s only one rowing machine in the building. And today, when I strapped my toes in and gave a tentative tug on the wooden handlebar, the screen spit out a mess of random pixels. Cue me trying to explain this to a front-desk gym person who was probably hungover from last night too, and didn’t really care about my cardio issues.

Anyway. In general, I’ve been digging the rowing machine as a quick-and-dirty cross-training device during this training cycle. Honestly, I’ve never been big on XT. Usually, it either:

(a) Takes too long. As in: cycling. I’m sure there are varying opinions on how cycling miles translate to running miles for comparative purposes, but going with what my college coach used (4 cycling = 1 running), I’d need to pedal for at least an hour in order to have a meaningful workout. Plus, I might hit a patch of gravel and fall over or get a flat tire or get hit by a car and die. Too much risk for not enough reward. I’d rather just run.

(b) Requires a whole mess of logistical effort. As in: swimming.  I don’t hate the act of swimming itself, but good lord, I have to practically pack an overnight bag in order to make it happen: goggles, cap, shampoo, conditioner, hefty moisturizing lotion to placate my dry skin, makeup bag with under eye concealer to patch up the mess left by the goggles. Ugh. I prefer a workout where I can take a 30-second rinse and blow-dry the sweat out of my roots, thanks. I’d rather just run.

(c) Is similar enough to running that I feel like I’m not really giving my legs a break from running. I’m looking at you, Elliptical. You’re just contrived, lower-impact running. Unless I am injured and looking for a gentler running substitute, I see no point. Assuming I’m healthy and just looking to give my legs a break, I’d rather do something that gets my heart rate up in a totally different way. If not…I’d rather just run.

So that’s how my butt landed on the padded saddle of my gym’s (busted, as of today) rower. Oh okay, I’ll admit: I was nudged by the devotion of Crossfit and similar style workouts to this machine. Obviously I’m not a Crossfitter (although I remain simultaneously humbled and skeptical, a la this post) but I’ll admit that CF workouts seem to be, if nothing else, highly efficient. And that is what I value in my cross-training.

Anyway. When I use the rower, I typically crank the resistance almost all the way up, and pull hard on that thing for like 20-25 minutes, which is usually about 3K. At that, I feel like I’ve gotten a great little burst of cardio and am all-over warmed up for my strength workout.

Of course, I could have just dealt with a wonky screen today. I could have set my phone’s timer for 20 minutes and pulled hard for that time, in spite of the lack of feedback on my strokes per minute (heh) and average stroke length (double heh) and all of that garbage that is just computer generated anyway because it’s not like this machine is on an actual river, right? It would be like running on a treadmill without knowing MPH. Or pushing up on a random loaded bar without knowing how much you were benching.

Um yeah, not appealing. One thing I like about gym workouts is having that feedback and information. If I wanted to exercise without parameters, I’d go for an easy run sans watch. Which I do fairly often. Because it’s fun.

So I headed to the treadmill (which I hated doing, because if I’d planned on running, I could have run outside) and knocked out two fast miles: the first at 7:45 and the second at 7:10. Efficiency on the brain, I guess.

Then I did an upper body weight circuit:

  • Bench press: 3 X 12 @ 75 lbs
  • Low row: 3 X 12 @ 75 lbs
  • Bicep curls: 2 X 15 @ 15 lbs, 1 X 10 @ 20 lb.
  • Shoulder press: 3 X 15 @ 15 lbs
  • Head bangers: 3 X 15 @ 30 lbs
  • Lat raises: 3 X 32 (4-position circuit) @ 5 lbs
  • Lat pull down: 3 X 12 @ 75 lbs
  • Push-up ladder, 10 down to 1, all on toes (yay!)

It was a good session overall, but I was most excited about the last one. This push-up ladder has been an on-and-off part of my routine for years, and being able to easily complete the whole thing without dropping to my knees at the end of a workout has always been something of a personal benchmark…for me, it’s like running a 6:00 mile. It means that I might not be in the best shape ever, but I’ve got something going.

(And believe me: I am not in the best shape ever at the moment. I’ve definitely put on a layer of fat since my boot-camp shape-up this summer. It comes and it goes, I guess. I’m okay with it.)

On that note, since this post lacks pictures, I’ll leave you with a glimpse of our first day of 2013.

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This is appropriate attire for making a stay-the-hell-in-your-car beeline to the McDonald’s Drive-Thru. (Chicken McNuggets. With Sweet Chili Sauce. McAwesome. McAlways.)

Is the fast-food drive-thru attendant judging you? Yes, of course. Have they seen worse in the last twelve hours? Absolutely.

As for 2013 goals, I don’t really have any that I’m ready to share, but I’ll say this: I am absolutely looking forward to the first new year in several years where moving to a different state isn’t on the table. Staying put is a huge relief.