Saturday, September 10, 2011

Revved up and Ready to Go

The lists are done. The week's schedule is mostly mapped out. My bag is packed for tomorrow and I put out my clothes as well. I think I'm actually ready to get this week started - All that's remaining to do is get a good night's sleep.

I didn't sleep well last night either. Most of it was because I was frightened I would sleep through my alarm and not make it to pick my parents up at the airport. It's just as well I didn't really sleep because when I later checked my iPhone I realized that I had set the alarm for 6:45 p.m. instead of a.m. - now you see why I was worried? What's worse is that my dad texted me at 3 a.m. letting me know they were boarding, and then my mom texted me just before 6 a.m. telling me that their flight had taken off but then returned after being in the air for about 15 minutes due to technical failure. They didn't get any other details - nor did I. However, my already restless sleep was now completely broken - while I was very relieved that they made it back to the ground safely, I was still worried. When will they make it back? Will the plane really be safe? Damn Kuwait Airways ... we went through almost the exact same thing in June - except we never took off and were just told to go back home. Now, however, they are stuck in a crummy hotel airport. Feeling helpless as I know there is nothing I can do. I'm just relieved that mom carries enough of dad's medicine with her so that he should be ok ... they've really preoccupied my mind.

Aside from worrying about them, I did manage to get a bit more organization done. The week's menu is planned, the grocery list has been finalized, and I even took some time to glance at this semester's calendar.

I can't believe that work starts tomorrow. Where did summer vacation go? Oh yeah, I know - towards my thesis! The last three months have just flown by ... I just wish I had a few more weeks ... y'know, just until the thesis is over and done with. I really should have taken this semester off. Oh well. I just hope there's no drama and that I get a good class ...

After getting organized I decided to go to the gym. I wasn't really planning on starting my workouts until tomorrow but I thought I'd take today and just warm-up. I had planned 20 minutes on the cross-trainer, 20 minutes on the treadmill, and 10 minutes on the bike, followed by 10 minutes of general weights - nothing too intense.

It was nice to get back to the gym, although it was relatively empty. The highlight of my time there was an exchange I had with one of the trainers:

C: Where did you go?!
Me: To London - you know that!
C: I mean, where did you go?! Look at your arms and legs, so much muscle!
Me *grinning from ear to ear*

The muscle in my arms and legs, my friends, is the result of what I call the 'Carry 8-15 kg bags up and down train platforms and stairs' workout. All that running around, though painful, seems to have paid off. It's always nice to hear someone else notice these kinds of changes - I mean, when I looked in the mirror I thought my legs and arms looked like they had toned up a bit, but then I just dismissed it as illusion - until D mentioned it yesterday and C said it today. I was happy that somebody noticed some changes!

Anyway. After the cross-trainer I headed to the treadmill and decided to try the Tabata intervals that Ryan from 1 year 100 pounds mentioned to me a few days ago. He describes it in one of his video blog posts (4 min and 30 seconds into the vlog). It involves 20 seconds of giving 100% effort (running, lifting, or whatever exercise you're doing) followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 minutes. Well, before trying it out I told myself that I'd just do 4 minutes and see how I feel. I didn't want to go overboard on my first day back at the gym ...

All I have to say is OMG. The 20/10 second proportion doesn't sound like a lot, but the intense burst of energy followed by only 10 seconds of rest really forces you to quickly 'recover' ... though it really didn't feel like recovery to me. It just felt like a flash of time in which you had to quickly find the mental strength to go on and not give up ...

Oh, I just played Ryan's vlog to check what he says about Tabata training and at what point he talks about it (clarified above) and I just realized that it's only 4 minutes - not 8 minutes. So I guess I did the whole thing! I had mixed up the fact that you do 8 cycles of the 20/10 second interval in the 4 minutes. I'm glad I didn't push further. (Note to self - properly check your program before trying something new!)

Well, I guess that makes me feel a bit better though my lungs and legs may not like me as much at the moment. After the 4 minutes I managed a few 1 minute runs in between a few walks to finish up the 20 minutes.

The 10 minutes on the cycle was more of a cool-down - and the weights were not difficult at all. I used relatively light weights and just did 2 rounds of the intro choreography to Body Pump since it covers all the major muscle groups and movements (e.g. bicep curls, shoulder presses, squats, lunges etc. etc.)

The additional stuff I did had to do with physiotherapy for my knee (gotta keep doing those leg extensions!!) as well as the rotary torso machine for my abs, and the back extension machine to help stretch out my back - which has been feeling a bit tense, probably from the lack of sleep and other general stresses in my life at the moment!

So overall it was a good day. Tomorrow the real work begins -- and then I'll have to balance my PhD, work, working out, family, friends, errands ... ya, it's going to get hectic.

I hope I'm not too sore tomorrow!

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