My November Goal

Once again, I’ve opted out of participating in NaNoWriMo. Not that I won’t be chipping away at a writing goal this month. It just won’t be the creation of a 50k manuscript in 30 days.  I’m hoping to finish the historical romance by Thanksgiving. I have about 15k to go.

I’m going to set a fitness goal for myself. I was doing pretty good with working out this summer, but once school started I got out of my routine. Initially I thought the new, earlier school schedule would be particularly conducive to staying on the work-out-wagon, because I would be home an hour earlier (thus working out an hour earlier, which would allow me to cook dinner an hour earlier, which in turn would allow me another whole hour before bed, even given the need to go to bed an hour earlier, with which to snuggle with the hubs or write or watch The Big Bang Theory or my new favorite show ever, Sleepy Hollow). But alas, thanks to a slew of things, Common Core ELA and math modules notwithstanding, I have yet to find that balance in my schedule.

But we’ve rounded the corner of Halloween, and now I’m faced with holiday eating time. Thanksgiving is a month away. Christmas isn’t far behind. There will be pies and cookies and other yummy things, and I admit that I have been naughty in the nutrition department.

My hope is that I’ll really be in a workable routine by the end of December, if not sooner, because it is starting to come together. In the meantime, I decided I’m going to use November to do Raw Rebecca’s 30 Day Plank and Squat Challenge.  I’m already pretty good at squats since the workout programs I’ve been doing for the past three years utilize them heavily in the strength training videos. Planks I’m not so good at. But the point of the challenge is that you start small and build up. I also figure these are exercises I can do in relatively short amounts of time. As far as cardio – well, I’d like to be able to get TurboFire playing again, or start another round of Les Mills Combat. But in the meantime, I’m on my feet pretty much nonstop from 7:45 to 1:45, and that’s not counting and average of three trips up and down the halls to the main office and faculty room. (Seriously, the main office on the complete opposite end of the building from my classroom. It’s a haul to get my mail.)

So that’s my November goal. What’s yours?

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Back on the fitness wagon

Before I start, I just want to say that my thoughts and prayers are with everybody on the East Coast.  I’m inland a bit on Lake Ontario, and we’re getting some good wind gusts and a fair amount of rain.  But nothing like what they’ve been getting in NYC and Jersey.  Hunker down, stay safe!

*****

I haven’t been able to work out at all since mid-August.  First, I managed to somehow tweak my left knee just enough that doing plyometrics didn’t seem like the brightest idea.  Especially since even just getting up and straightening my leg after sitting for a while was painful.  Then I had a medical issue come up and my doctor didn’t want me to do anything more strenuous than walking for exercise for about six weeks.  And of course, three weeks ago I had minor surgery.

Despite being put on bench rest, I really tried my best to maintain the progress I’d made over the course of this year with my weight loss goals.  I really watched my food intake, and of course once school started up, I was clocking an average of 7000 steps on my FitBit on an average school day.

Not only did I maintain, I somehow managed to lose a couple pounds.

However, I felt like crap.  Tired, sluggish, and, for lack of a better word, squishy.

But tonight, I got back into the groove.  I kicked some booty and restarted TurboFire.  It felt so good. I’m sure I’ll have all sorts of twinges tomorrow, but it’ll be so worth it!

 

Upside, Downside

I’m in the middle of a slight see-saw effect right now, in a couple areas of my life.

On the writing front, I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve completed (FINALLY) my rewrite. I’m taking a week or so here now to let things simmer and settle, and then I’m going to begin the Massive Oral Reading of the manuscript. That’s the upside. The downside is that, if I was smart, I’d actually wait three more weeks when I’m off for February break, and can read the whole thing in one shot (or over two days) with nobody home during the day to distract me. But since I’d much rather spend my time over February break actually working on the physical editing/revising piece, I need to get the read-aloud-to-myself part done. There’s another small upside, or at least a convenience factor, to the fact that my new Kindle Fire can host my manuscript in RTF format, and I can make notes on the Kindle just like I would on a regular computer. So that means I can take my manuscript anywhere I want to do my read-aloud. It also forces me to just read, not to make changes as I read.

On the health and fitness wagon, things have been going very well. I’m loving Turbo Fire. Since January 1st, I’ve lost a total of almost 4 pounds, I can feel my abs getting defined (though there’s still a layer of flab covering them up), and I’ve been working out at least 5 days a week. My original goal was to be working out at least 4 days, so I’m ahead of my curve. I still can’t fathom dragging myself out of bed to workout at 5:30 in the morning. And part of the reason for that is I work out in our finished basement, which, nice as it is, is heated by a space heater and it takes a good half hour for it to warm up to a comfortable temperature. It’s hard enough dragging yourself out of a warm, cozy bed when it’s mid-January, let alone doing so and then dragging yourself down two flights of stairs to a 55 degree basement and start jumping around and round-housing an imaginary target. So I’m hauling myself to work a little earlier, which allows me to leave before 4, gets me home by 4:15, and gets me down to my workout by 5. The downside is that I usually can’t get dinner going on the weekdays until close to 6 (though I’m trying to keep weekday meals to a 40 minute prep+cook time whenever possible). And then by the time we eat and the kitchen is cleaned up (because I can’t relax if I know there’s a mess in the kitchen), it’s close to 8. And I like trying to get upstairs to shower and hit the sack by 10. So you see how short my evenings have gotten.

But I’m also making progress on the healthy eating front. I’m stocking up on healthy food choices, and am happy to say the only real junk food we still have in the house is in the form of about eight mini Reese’s PB cups, a dark chocolate/peppermint bark “snowflake” that was part of a Christmas gift from a student, and some gourmet chocolates my sis-in-law and bro-in-law got for us in Seattle. I’ve been taking just one peanut butter cup in my lunch, a little sweet treat to get me through the afternoon. I’ve gotten myself now down to just that one bit of chocolate, maybe a handful of Swedish Fish to go along with my mid-morning fruit (I have a weakness for those suckers and keep a bag at school to give my students a little treat after a particularly good reading group – amazing what 2nd graders will do for a couple Swedish Fish). Sometimes I slip. I admit. But overall I’m eating a lot more fruits and veggies and whole grains. But may I just say, it’s expensive to eat healthy! I’ve also cut down my sugary beverages. It’s almost exclusively water. I had a glass of iced tea on Monday, and I thought it was an amazing treat. That’s a good thing, right?

Of course, I know that there are going to be donuts for breakfast in the teacher’s room tomorrow. The upside is that I know I can combat them by eating a good breakfast at home (like I did today) and just stay out of the teacher’s room. The downside is… I really like donuts! I can eat just one, right? I’ll bring a salad for lunch, promise!

Also, I seem to be coming down with a little cold. It’s the first cold I’ve had since November. That’s good. But the last cold I had ended up turning into viral bronchitis. And I felt awful, couldn’t work out for over a month, and pulled an intercostal rib muscle – which had been feeling great until I sneezed last night and thought I’d been stabbed in the chest it hurt so bad. So I’m a little frantic about a relapse. My lungs have felt pretty good – the first week of January when I was getting back into my workouts, I was having some coughing fits after exercising. But no more. That bought of bronchitis was the first time I’d ever had it, and I’m freaking out that my lungs aren’t as strong as I’d like and this cold could bring on another attack. What can I do?

Orange juice for me, I guess!

Two Weeks In – Where Am I?

I can’t believe we’re already two weeks into the new year. I feel like the holidays flew by.

So what’s my status?

I’m about five pages (estimated) away from having one chapter left in my rewrite. BOOM! That feels good. At the same time it’s got me a little sad. As I’ve said before, this book, in one form or another, has been a huge part of my life for seventeen years. It’s odd to think I’ll be truly done with it soon. My hope is to have the last chapter done by this weekend, so I can use my day of on MLK Day to read through the manuscript from beginning to end. Out loud.

Why?

I had the opportunity to meet author E.M. Crane a couple years ago during an adolescent literature class I was taking (as part of my Master’s in Literacy program) and one of the pieces of advice she gave aspiring authors was to lock yourself in a room (figuratively or literally) and read your work out loud from start to finish. That way you hear the things that sound awkward and you catch your grammar and spelling mistakes.

The next step after that is to print a copy and entrust it to a couple of very exceedingly discreet and trustworthy individuals to do a beta read for me. And then it’s on to the chapter summary, a daunting task, but one that’s really necessary in case an agent and/or editor requests one.

Since I’m rather bogged down at work with our new reading series this year, I anticipate being ready to tackle the task of finding a literary agent by summertime. If I’m very lucky, I may have one acquired by summer’s end.

I other news, I weighed myself on January 1st and tipped the scales at my highest weight ever. I shall not post it here, because I don’t need it enshrined. And technically I’m still within a “healthy” weight range, but it’s not a cool number. So for the first time ever I’m tracking my calorie intake and really pushing myself to do my workouts for a better reason than looking good in a wedding dress (which was the catalyst for getting fit the first time around in 2009).

I’ve also been trying to keep myself positive. I’m really a very optimistic person in general, but the past year or so has just thrown so much crap at me, it’s been hard to stay positive. Right now I feel like focusing on my health and fitness, and on my writing, is important. It gives me something to dwell on other than what has been making me sad for so long. I anticipate still having sad days here and there, but hopefully they’ll be few and far between.

It’s also time to start thinking about vacations. 🙂