Last Chance November


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@postaday 312; #postaday2011. Had a come-to-heyzeus meeting with John yesterday and today we start fresh. I’m counting points on Weight Watchers. I swear you all know I do this. I count points and then I don’t, and then I let … Continue reading

Look the Part.

@postaday 267; #postaday2011.

#325, a work in progress. Always.

Yesterday I had a talk with one of my managers at work about my recent fitness conquests. She’s so encouraging. She’s a lot of fun and she often leaves me with something to think about. After Sunday’s 100-mile bicycle ride along bumpy Oahu roads, Monday’s launch of my #5Kin100days program, and last night’s masters swimming session, I lamented that I certainly don’t look the part of a fitness goddess. She didn’t disagree, and I’m OK with that.

My main problem is portion control and dang it I forgot my Granny Smith today! But I certainly am not going to give up. I loosely adhere to the Weight Watchers mantra that every day is a new beginning, and I shouldn’t beat myself up over past mistakes. I know that the good habits will win out.

In the meantime, although there is a bit of pain in the exertion of riding a bicycle up a grueling hill, the monotony of swimming lap after lap, and the searing of my lungs while trying to run, there is reward. At the end of a workout I feel good. Everyone feels good. And if you’ve done something that pushes you in the direction of being healthy, you’re also moving toward satisfaction and happiness.

Exercise is a confirmation to yourself and those you love that you are happy to be a part of their lives and you want that for as long as possible. But back to yesterday’s subject of being single versus being married, exercise is also one of those things you launch into when a relationship ends. It’s one of those things you do when you realize someone wasn’t treating you as well as they should have and you realize you need to make it up to yourself. I’ve been there: Isn’t it time to make ME happy?

And what happens? There you are minding your own business, shuffling along Kapiolani Park, your head in the zone, struggling to make it to the next telephone pole, each step an affirmation of your own self worth. You finish, you mop yourself off, you drink your G2 Gatorade, you give yourself an attagirl or an attaboy. Your skin looks rosy, your sweat shines, your thighs chafe a little less. You smile a little more. And what happens?

I love happy endings.

Memorial Day, 2011.

@postaday150; #postaday2011.

We slept in today till about 8 a.m. What a luxury! While we were lingering before our ride this morning, we heard the U.S. Air Force fighter jets over head. It was cloudy out here in Hawaii Kai, so we couldn’t see them. They were staging for the annual flyover the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl , where many military dead are buried or inurned. I used to see all kinds of military aircraft when I was in the USAF. It was a gift to live in the Mojave Desert, stationed at Edward’s AFB, where the test operations tossed just about everything into the air. I was a computer operator with an SCI clearance, and did all of my work in vaults. My military career never involved making the ultimate sacrifice. I humbly submit that we owe so much to those who have died for peace and freedom. I’d have to march many paces behind such warriors.

When I was in high school, I marched with the band as a member of the color guard. We had fun, we marched in parades up and down the Eastern Seaboard, we competed in Canada, Virginia Beach, and in various events. One thing our director, Mr. Donald Newell, instilled in us was a reverence for our military. Many, many times our parades involved solemn marches in military cemeteries. My friend Bryan Cooper and his drum mates kept cadence. All you could hear was the soft drumbeat and the synchronized footsteps of nearly 200 high school students who didn’t quite grasp the profound statement their collective display provided. It was as though our footsteps symbolized a single heart, beating for the many war dead whose bones were buried six feet below. Hands over our hearts. A poppy for a lapel. Tears.

Todays ride:
John joined me for my ride today. My goal was to chalk up three rides in three days over this holiday weekend. Yay for more than 75 miles! So glad to have done it, despite the persistent gusty winds. Bet they back off tomorrow. Here are our stats today, courtesy Garmin Connect:

Time: 01:30:55
Distance: 22.85 mi
Elevation Gain: 420 ft
Calories: 495 C
Avg Temperature: 88.7 °F
Time: 01:30:55
Moving Time: 01:19:53
Elapsed Time: 01:30:55
Avg Speed: 15.1 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 17.2 mph
Max Speed: 27.8 mph

Combined with a few swimming sessions at The Oahu Club and my renewed commitment to Weight Watchers through my online account, the exercise paid off. The jeans are a little loser, the Spandex looks a little better, the scale indicates a move in the lighter direction.



Back on the WW wagon again

@postaday 144; #postaday2011.

Yesterday I tweeted:

lavagalPaula Bender

Dear @WeightWatchers. I’m sorry. I’m back. I’m tracking again as of today. Died on the scale this morning. Still love me? #FB
I do not know what it’s like to forget to eat. I do not know what it’s like to be full after half a sandwich. Who are these people and what planet are they from?
I do know how to cook and I love to prepare meals for my family and have leftovers for lunch that make people wish I had brought enough for them. I do. It’s one of my things. That’s why I do well on Weight Watchers when I get with the program. Since I was sick for nearly five weeks with an upper respiratory infection at the beginning of the year, I had been off the program. When you cannot stop coughing, when you cannot stop blowing your nose, when you can hardly breathe, you cannot work out. My 65-minute elliptical sessions were worth a whopping 14 points for my day. That was half of my allotment before exercising. So if I worked out for all that time, as hard as I do, I’d be getting my daily 29 points plus 14 for my exercising.
So last night my husband said to me, “Welcome back!”
I didn’t know what he was talking about. So he reminded me of my tweet: “Welcome back to Weight Watchers and counting your points!”
Until that moment, which was about 9:20 last night, I had seriously been considering not waking up at 3:30 a.m. this morning to go to 24-Hour Fitness Hawaii Kai. Last week I slept in until 4:30 a.m., not once getting up early to go to the gym. I was starting to like sleeping in that late! But once John said that to me, it flipped a switch of commitment, obligation and desire. I love how I feel when I’ve worked out, I love how I feel when my pants fit. I love how I feel when my arms and belly aren’t doing the blubber bounce at any given moment.
Today I was talking with my colleague Anna who has a rotary cuff injury and will be getting surgery for it. I wanted to talk to her about it because ever since I fell in the dark one morning trying to get out of the house last November, I’ve had a sore left arm. The other night when I went to swim laps, I dragged that arm out of the water to make my strokes. It was sore! My pain is in my bicep. Anna told me her pain is mostly at her shoulder. I have a doctor appointment late Wednesday, so I’ll find out what is going on with me. I surely want to heal, and I want to do it without surgery if at all possible. I haven’t surfed or done my stand-up paddle boarding all this time because I’m worried that the motions necessary will cause more damage. And I’d hate to be blown out to sea on my SUP and not able to get back because I’ve only got one arm. I’ll be going around in circles and the sharks will be circling me.
No matter what I write, I want to enjoy myself. This was a little on the light side. Rarely do I get people trying to smack me down for pulling a Lavagal Lite.

How we age

@postaday 90; #postaday2011

Here’s my experience: All those pictures of my friends from small-kid time I see on Facebook? If I were to pass any of these people at the Cherry Hill Mall on any given day, I would have no idea I went to school with them. Who are these people?

Today my cousin Mary Lou posted photos from her trip to Prague. First of all, what an interesting place to want to visit. I have no idea what the draw is, but, Mary Lou is always cutting edge like that. She works at Princeton University. One cannot help but be cerebral when surrounded by academics, and probably more so just north of Trenton. Mary Lou looks gorgeous. She’s two years younger than me. She might not want to disclose what her age is, so at this point, I won’t share mine, although it would be easy to find out. When I looked at Mary Lou’s pics with her friends, I wondered who these ladies were. Because, to me, Mary Lou was the girl in the pics, and everyone else was a lady or a woman, older than girls.

No doubt something changes within us as we age. My appreciation of the human form has broadened considerably. Maybe it’s the weakening eyes that allow for life to soften around the edges, or maybe it’s the realization that desire doesn’t subside because our looks have faded.  Beauty is young and beauty is old. But when I’m at 24-Hour Fitness Hawaii Kai, I welcome the chance to watch ESPN when the guys get all testosteronie and want to chest thump and watch sports. You kidding me? Why would I object to looking at the world’s healthiest men chase around balls, bring each other to the ground or pat each other on the butts? Dude. As you wish.

Yesterday, after a long day here at the HMSA Mothership, my former newspaper colleague and present friend, mostly on Facebook, passed me on the sidewalk and said hello. I was talking to a colleague, so he took me by surprise. Later he updated on Twitter how he KNEW I had no idea it was him. He’s right! We all change! But I think I post more pics of myself than does my friend Dave Reardon, sports writer at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Dude. Way to go with the element of surprise!

I don’t deny I’m aging. I get highlights put in my hair because it gets me closer to the little girl who was on the swim team for 10 years, who was a lifeguard for a little while, and learned to surf when she came to Hawaii nearly 30 years ago. When I was trying to have babies, I wore giant t-shirts and tent dresses to hide my folds of fat. And now I frequently work out and dabble in my on-line Weight Watchers plan because I figure it’s easier to do than to have Botox or plastic surgery attempt to subtract the  years.

I guess I’m still that girl. And my theory is, you guess you’re still that guy, or still that girl. When I go back for my 35th high school reunion in June, I’ll be that girl unsure as she walks in the room. How could you not recognize me? To refresh your memory, a picture. I was six? This pic is on Facebook, so I don’t know if  you can see it or not. I’m at work. It might be in my old phone. I’ll see what I can do. Sorry if you’re disappointed!

Point and click

This afternoon I sent out a tweet that said:

@Lavagal I’m looking at a paper check list above my computer and using my mouse to select something on it. Clearly, it is #yaba-daba-doo time. #FB

A few people responded about similar experiences. There’s no getting away from it: Technology is every where. Since I’m surrounded by it, I find it affects all areas of my life. To wit:

  • When I’m driving the van, I hit the volume key to get the kids to talk louder. The radio isn’t on.
  • When I’m working on a computer, I touch the screen because I think I’m working on my iPad.
  • I use my Verizon Cosmos as a TV remote control. It doesn’t work.

I can’t say that I use my iPhone for things it’s not meant for, but its apps, all 186 of them, do so many things that it’s the Swiss Army knife of the modern age. It doesn’t cut, but, it’s a flashlight, a radio, a bank, a recorder, a newspaper, a secretary, a cookbook, a library, a GPS, a calorie and Weight Watchers points counter, and hey, a phone! I know people use their iPhones for all kinds of other things that are out of my realm.

I will say that I’ve never reached for my iPhone and pointed it at John to get him to shut up, but I’m sure he would be amused and he most definitely would smirk at me.

So as a kid who watched the Jetsons on Saturday mornings while still in her pajamas, I would like to say there a few things I’m wishing would materialize soon. I like the idea of Rosie the robot maid, and I’d love to zip out into space to visit the Big and Large Mothership for groceries. Processed foods are here, but I’m happiest when I cook, using a favorite knife on a cutting board, a great pan on the stove. I have an oven that I could program to kick in while we are out, but I worry about the food spoiling.

So we don’t want to turn into the blob-like humans of Wall-e, John and I ride our bicycles with our bicycle computers to track our efforts and show them to the world. Unfortunately, while we are gone, there isn’t any computer getting my laundry done. I’ve got kids for that, I guess. One of them could get out of it if she would design a laundry app!

@postaday 38, #postaday2011

Wrapping up our 30-day Fitness Challenge

It’s day 29 of my workout challenge with Kimberly Click, our Weight Watchers at Work session wrapped up last week, and I want to keep going. I don’t think I’m much thinner, but the daily cardio, which I pushed as hard as I could, has probably given me health benefits that will keep maladies away. Or so I hope.

I’m planning on another 30-day challenge so I need a partner, someone who knows a daily Kick-My-Own-Butt session lays the groundwork for establishing good habits and shedding bad ones.

Anyone? Kimberly? Up for some more?

I could joke about looking good naked, or looking good dressed, or of the satisfaction of wrapping up a daily workout before most people get out of bed, but this is as narcissistic as I care to get.

This day belongs to those who need us most, and holding them up to the light, or in prayer, would benefit the health of our souls today. We are stewards of these vessels that are our bodies, tasked with carrying our souls, fleetingly.


Written prior to getting to work on theBus on my iPhone.