Friday, September 14, 2012

Underneath it

I am still here, but not on as fantastic a journey as I was two weeks ago.  I am completely -COMPLETELY- overwhelmed by my college workload this semester.  Last semester I was complaining about having night classes messing up my evenings.  This semester I thought I was being clever and saving myself a lot of headaches by scheduling day classes.  What that has done is create an unforseeable disaster in my daytime schedule, leaving me very little time to study.  Since I have to leave for school in the middle of my workday 4 out of 5 days a week, that means my boss is usually in my office, covering my absence which means, that is time I am not studying.  Last semester I was able to study at work, but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that in front of my boss. 
So I am struggling to get a schedule set for myself, not just for studying, but for when and what to eat as I am dashing off to class or during class.  To say that I have not been successful is an understatement, as I have found myself running in and out of convenience stores, rummaging for whatever tidbits constitute food to at least "get me by" until I can actually take time to fix myself something.  UGH.  It is getting to the point that I am losing my appetite for food.  When I am eating clean, I can think of a bunch of indulgences that sound good, but now that I am eating such crap, I don't even want any more of it.  I know I will get things in order soon.  I have to, I hate the way I look and feel right now.  I've only been to the gym 3 times in the past two weeks, my knee feels aweful, my clothes don't fit as well, my self esteem is droopy at best.  There were several reasons why I skipped the gym this week.  My head is healing, it is a multiple-green-shaded entity, but it is a lot less sore.  But the other reasons I had for skipping were valid, and it constituted me actually listening to my body.  Being as overwhelmed with stress as I have been is really caustic to my body. 
But today is a great day, one where I woke with energy and enthusiasm.  At work we have a program called Casual for a Cause, where in lieu of my uniform I get to wear jeans and a casual top in exchange for a small donation to a local charity.  While trying on clothes for this today, I realized that I am so far away from where I want to be with my body.  I keep climbing the same 100 feet of this mountain instead of making true progress and getting closer to the summit.  For me, letting my college schedule catch me off guard was a bad decision that will take a lot of work to reverse.  But I knew it was coming, I just didn't plan properly.  And, because I have to go my separate ways with the Live Fit insanity that is Phase 3, there just isn't that safety net.  It really comes down to simply sitting down and planning things out.  Mobile but healthy things I can eat in the car and at class, and mix-and-matching the workouts from the program that I can do.  I think in the chaos of the stress (some of it self-created) I have allowed myself to make things seem alot more complicated than they truly are. 
Now that I am settling into the routine of my class schedule (at least I know where my classes are and when I need to be in which room in each building) and getting used to the feeling of not having an ounce of free time, I think I will figure a way to make it all work.  There is always a learning curve when I encounter big changes in schedule and stress level.  I am still learning, but more importantly, I'm getting smarter.
Hope you've all been having a good go of it!  Happy Friday!

Monday, September 10, 2012


I am back, after a small break for resting my wounded head and pride.  In this, my second week back to school, I am already behind, burried under chapters of work.  What happened to one chapter per week?  I have had to read 3 chapters for each class in my first week of class.  I have some major catching up to do. 
The good news is that I am actually understanding statistics, which is a pleasant surprise. 
And the more good thing is that I was able to get back on track today by getting into the gym for a back/bicep session.  I haven't worked out in nearly a week, as I had my accident(s) on Tuesday, so Wednesday through Sunday were slouch days, and my eating follwed suit.  I was at the end of my stress rope and I let go of the chaos for a few days.  I don't like how quickly my body changed to a huge blob.  I know a tremendous portion of that is water, but YIKES! 
Today's workout wasn't about knocking it out of the park, I did lower weight and higher reps, maxing out around 12 reps.  I made sure to really squeaze the back muscles being worked, so I could feel that warm, wonderful rush of blood in the muscle.  For some reason, the T-bar rows never feel as good as they did the first time I did them.  I guess that's how many things in life are.  I am still feeling pretty wiped out from all the extra activity and from monthly shifts, but I know I'll get my mojo back shortly.  I don't have the fire I had when I began this program, but part of that is due to my recent disillusionment in the plan once I got to week 9 and there was all kind of crazy stuff thrown in.  I like back day to be back day, not train back,and then in between back sets we are going to hit all your other muscle groups in strange, fast-paced ways that are going to make you ache and feel like you are about to throw up.  So, I am in the process of chagning thigs up.  Today I just went on instinct, doing what I felt like my body could handle.  That meant five back movements 3 sets of 12, and 3 sets of barbell 21's for my biceps.  I am planning on keeping my diet on track this week, but it will be a little different, as I have to accomodate for eating in class and in the car.  I am not one to welcome change very freely, but I have great coping skills, and once I get into a routine I'm golden. 
Well, this is going to be an abbreviated post as I need to get back to the books.
Hope your week is off to a great start!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Not Smooth

About a week ago, I started to get an eerie feeling, almost premonition-like images of something horrible happening to me.  I don't know if anyone else ever has this happen, but it happens to me a couple times a year.  I will be driving along and just get a perfectly clear image of myself having a catestrophic accident.  And it's not just the one time, but everytime I'm driving, at every stoplight.  I imagine, what if that car didn't stop?  Or, what if my brakes failed and I drove down that embankment onto the highway?   I usually take it as a sign that something bad (albeit less horrible) is about to happen.  It is so eerie how it is usually pretty accurate.  Last week I had several small incidents that caused me pain, including having my head and forearm slammed in a car door by my son, which I assumed was the accident that my mind's eye kept foreshadowing. 
Yesterday, however, was a horrible day for me.  It was one of those days where nothing, and I mean NOTHING went right for me.  I worked for a short while in the morning before class, and there were a few "problem patients" that had huge issues that will take several people in several departments several days or weeks to solve, but they originated in my department, so I will be involved whether or not I want to be.  When I got to school, the plan was to get a parking pass and spend a little time studying before class started.  The walk to the building is long and I was exceptionally hot, as I had been dressed in my work attire, all black, long-sleeved shirt, and the sun beating on me as I walked to the building was threatening to activate my sun alergy, turning me into an itching maniac.  Once I made it to the correct building, which is actually three buildings joined together via underground tunnel, and made my way through winding hallways to the bursar's office, I filled out my paperwork and stood in the long line.  It was then that I saw the sign, "cash or check only, no debit or credit cards accepted."  ReallyWhat year is this?  How can a major institution like the University of Wisconsin not accept debit cards?  Who carries cash anymore, especially in the ludicrous amounts they want for a parking pass?  Who on earth uses a checkbook anymore?!  Outraged, I made the long trek back through the hallways, but decided to take what I thought would be a shortcut, heading out an unfamiliar door.  It led down a stone pathway toward a different building.  As I approached, I saw a sign on the door, "Not an entry.  Door does not open from outside."  So I turned back toward the building from which I just left.  The building has windows that span all three stories, and inside the windows are study areas filled with people.  They are watching me as I walk around in overly-warm black clothing and grasp for a door handle to re-enter the building.  This door apparntly, only opens from the inside as well, and the next and the next.  By the time I find a set of stairs I am sweating and cursing the itchy sun allergy and swearing about the bursar's office under my breath, and I reach the top of the steps to realize I am in some sort of recieving zone, and am likely not supposed to be there.  But then I see a footpath in the distance, and my anger makes me press on, looking at the recieving staff straight on, asking them to challenge me as I walk toward the path.  Nobody challenges me.  In fact, several people greet me with pleasant hellos and head nods the entire time I am at school.  Can't they see I'm irritated?!  After nearly an hour of walking around campus, I finally get to my car and am gratful that the emergency check I've left in my glovebox is still there.  I wind my way back down the the anals of the earth to pay for a parking pass, my book bag weighing on my tired shoulders and making it feel as though my skin is being ripped apart underneath, and having a few minutes to spare, head to my classroom.  It's statistics, a class I am thoroughly dreading, and the professor is just as I would imagine, a mousy, geeky lady who speaks with such enthusiasm that she needs to catch her breath from time to time.  I am going to be lost the entire semester.  After class, I am more than happy to be returning to my excessively air conditioned office, but as I am pulling out of my parking spot, "CRUNCH!"  I turned a bit too sharp out of my spot, and hit the car parked next to me.  I jump out, in a panic.  I just broke their headlight cover and left a small blue mark on their bumper.  Their car is quite a bit older than mine, even rusting in a few spots.  My car has a long white scrach and dent along the back door, and some of the trim is ripped off.   I left a note with my information on their windshield, and headed back to work, cursing my day.  My husband was extremely understanding, and I still haven't heard from the owner of the car I hit.  No one was hurt and my car is still driveable, I kept reminding myself.  It didn't make me feel better.  I have been so clumsy and careless lately, making so many stupid mistakes.  My stress level was so elevated by the time I left work, seeing my kids made me feel a lot better, but I was in a dark place and I wanted comfort food.  We got some sweets and pizza from the grocery store.  It helped more than I want to admit.  Just as I was ready to put my kids (and my bad day) to bed, my older son decided he didn't want to sleep in his bed, as he is on the top of their bunk beds, and sometimes gets nervous of being up so high.  I was complaining to him about how he should be sleeping in a bed and not on beanbags on the floor as I climbed the ladder to gather his things, when the ceiling fan, on full speed, smashed me clear in the forehead, just above the temple.  I howled for fifteen minutes straight as the lump stood several inches off my head, and created a swollen, bleeding area the size of a tennis ball.  After tending to my wounds and getting the kids settled down, I broke down to my husband.  Why am I so clumsy lately?  What is wrong with me?  I can't do anything right latelyI don't have the energy to be everything life is demading me to be right now.  My husband, who was concerned and supportive, offered gentle, inspiring words to me, and reminded me that the weekend is coming and we will have a nice time.  The last negative thought I allowed into my head before I went to bed, I have to take a gen ed skill assesment test this Saturday, ugh!  Then I put my sorry, swollen head to bed. 
No workout today, my head is still very swollen and I have a large gash.  I am taking the rest of the week and weekend off from everything except work and school.  No gym, no strict diet, no extra duties just to be nice.  I am officially taking a break from unneccesary chaos.  Monday may be another story, but for now I'm going to give my mind and body what it needs/wants. 
Here's hoping this was the "bad thing" I felt coming.  I don't want anything else right now!
I hope your week is going smoother than mine!  Sorry for the bummer post!

Weekend Wave Watching

Last week was a very tiring week, a lot of extra running around and organizing, my family growing increasingly tired as the weekend approached. My kids were tired from an entire week of adventures and travel with their grandma, and they ended up taking it out on each other. For me, when I am tired, I become more clumsy and accident prone, and all in one day found myself with four different minor injuries, including having my head and arm slammed in a car door by my son.
We remedied our situation with some extra sleep and fun times over the long holiday weekend and by the time the kids and I started back to school yesterday, we were ready to tackle a new, shorter week. All the stress I had about needing time to buy my books and find my classroom faded as I sank into my seat and prepared for the usual dorky introduction, "I'm Amy, I'm a psych major/ human development minor in my junior year, I have two sons on the autism spectrum". Thankfully, other than listening to the instructor go over the syllabus and the first few chapters, I didn't have to be very interactive. My classes this semester are an intro to social work class, and (shudder) statistics.
My Live Fit Trainer program has gone off the deep end! I didn't work put at all over the weekend, and my knee is starting to have less popping/stiffness. But yesterday I got back in the gym, and now that the program is in the final 4 weeks, the workouts are really intense. I went through it move-fo-move yesterday and it made me feel aweful! My stomach was not feeling right, but I shrugged it off as possible hunger and pushed my way through active rests and super sets and plyos. By the time I was through, I was sweaty, weak and nauseous. I really didn't like how the workout was labelled "back and biceps" but truly hit every muscle group via the active rests and plyo stuff. My stomach eventually settled, but that workout made me feel not good when I was done, and I know that means I went where I shouldn't go. Right now, my immune system is at its most vulnerable and yesterday was a red flag for me. This morning I woke with a sore throat, and my stomach felt off again. I knew I couldn't follow the high intensity insanity, so I just made up my own session for what I knew my body could handle this morning. Lighter weights-higher reps, all machines. I only spent a half hour working out, but my chest and shoulders felt good after, and the little extra home time felt needed this morning. I may take tomorrow off completely if I still feel like this. Every time I ignore the signs of weekend immune system I am taught a valuable lesson, I'd rather just do the smart thing, I'll recover much quicker.
Well before I head off to statistics class, I'll leave you with some photos of my favorite part of my weekend, a trip to Lake Michigan. It was simply beautiful there, and I let go of a lot of stress sitting on the beach, watching my kids run from the waves. Hope you had a great weekend too!