matociquala: (atc)

Item: I was actually in tears this morning when I heard of Pete Seeger's death. Just saw him in 2011, I think, at a fundraiser for church in Middletown. It was raining like a son of a gun.

[livejournal.com profile] pecunium is right. Pete would say: "Don't mourn; organize."

Still, an American hero has left us. And I feel like that demands a moment of recognition.

***

Item: (The following possibly triggery for weight and fitness stuff; skip if that bothers you.)

Fitness is a lifetime commitment...

...and I will keep telling myself that. I had made a pretty good comeback after slacking during all that travel last fall--was back up to an 11 mile run for my long day, and was climbing regularly and working on getting back into yoga two or three times a week.

And then the cold snap and the book deadline hit. -20 wind chill is a real disincentive to get out and run, let me tell you.

Anyway, I have been managing to get to the climbing gym. And last night I stuck around after climbing and hit the elliptical for some hard intervals. AND did a little kettlebell. I was doing swings with the 40 pounder, and they were hard, but I didn't kill anybody! (My friend [livejournal.com profile] ashacat and I also played catch with a 14-kilo medicine ball. That was fun. And heavy.)

I've been more or less maintaining weight despite somewhat lackadaisical discipline, which is encouraging, but I've been claiming for two years now that I'm going to get this last thirtyish pounds off for the sake of my climbing and my joints and--hell--my vanity.

(I got rid of fifteen of it at one point, and then ten of that crept back. And then I got rid of ten, and five has crept back. It's the long stints of traveling that my job entails that do me in. Hotel food is the devil.)

Still, I've been stable in the low 190s despite holidays and cold and only intermittent exercise and occasional Restaurant Incidents and the Hobbit-related alcohol consumption.

I think I can knuckle down and make this happen. I have a size 10 dress that I want to wear for fancy this summer, and I can get it on, but I can't zip it--so now it's hanging by my bedroom mirror. Inspiration!

Also, I'm running in my second half-marathon in June. So I'd better make sure I get back into training and stay there. It's the Sour Grapes trail run in Brainerd, Minnesota.

My climbing-related goals are to climb 5.10 consistently and start work on 5.11s, and to take a sport lead climbing class. Those are trickier, because my time in Wisconsin leads to much less climbing. But since my new climbing gym also offers weights and cardio stuff... Thursday I plan to hit the rowing machine and do weights after climbing. Whee!

And Friday or this weekend, depending on weather, a six mile run. Before I lose the ability to do six mile runs. :P

I can't wait. *g*

***

And now I am going to finish this fucking book.

matociquala: (atc)
So when I got to the gym last night, I went to check on the two unrated routes I'd climbed on Monday. One was still unrated, but the hard, overhung green one that I had thrashed up one or two moves at a time, dogging on the rope and bitching (definitely not whining. whining is against the climbing gym rules!) had been rated...

5.10b


I blinked and rubbed my eyes and looked again. Nope, it still said that. It was my first 10b. And it was overhung.

So I went to do some warmup yoga and wait for The Jeff, and when he arrived I told him of my triumph and we went to look at the tag again.

It had been replaced by a blank white square.

This is about when I started to figure I must be having a really creative anxiety dream. But we climbed for a bit, and the next time we were in that corner, the tag had been replaced:

5.10a

*sigh*

Definitely an anxiety dream. At least I wasn't pantsless.

I later told Greg, the routesetter, that somebody must have told him I got up it, so he had to downgrade. He laughed.

(I tried the route mostly because of the name: "Eating Pasta With A Spoon.")

Still, it was a 5.10. Even if it wasn't my first 5.10b. Which gave me the courage to try another, different 10a that looked pretty doable... and in fact, it was a lot easier than the green route. I still didn't do it clean--terrible slick feet, and my toes kept popping off the holds--but I think this means that I am officially a 5.10 climber now, if not somebody who can climb 5.10 clean. (I also failed on a 9, which I think I have done before, and got up another 9 only with a great deal of falling and swearing and Doing It Wrong. And then there was a bunch of easier stuff. Leave me my illusions.)

But I think I have the courage of my convictions to keep working on 10s. And I can still do a pullup! (It's reproducible! Still just one, but give me time.) I can get into bound side angle and hold a proper tree pose, and with [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch spotting me, I can manage a tripod headstand--and I can do a handstand, albeit only against a wall, and I can't kick myself up to it. And I can run ten miles, and run an under 9-minute mile if wolves are chasing me and I have a tail wind. ;-)

Which means Project: Valkyrie is tentatively declared a success, and I am moving on to new goals. Which are:

Climb 5.10 clean
Run a half marathon (attempt scheduled for March--and that's where I quit, because I don't think my ankles will support longer distances.)
Proper headstand
Kick up to a supported handstand (It's mostly a courage issue. I did manage it once on the mats at the climbing gym.)
matociquala: (ace the wonder dog)

Last night, I did one perfect pullup. And a half of a second one. (Saturday, as I mentioned on twitter, I did three sets of one pullup apiece, and a fourth one assisted by [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch) But the really exciting thing was the climbing, as I (thrashing, kicking, strugglng) made it up one route that's not rated yet, but was right at the limit of my ability. I also managed a 5.9 I had previously failed on, and a tricky balancy overhung 5.8--plus an unrated route that was somewhere in difficulty between the two, and a couple of easy warmups.

But why I say I leveled up is because I noticed, on that 5.8, how EASY many things were. Stuff I might have been able to do previously, but would have struggled with. Stuff that I just wouldn't have been able to do at all.

I'm discovering something cool, which is that in all that climbing at ridiculously low strength to weight ratios (for a climber) I have developed a great deal of strength and skill. And now that my strength to weight ratio is much higher... I'm actually pretty good at this!

Something to be said for climbing in the equivalent of a weight vest since 2007...

In other news, I'm 150 pages into Steles of the Sky, and I'm rediscovering that writing a novel after working on short stories for a few months is a weird transition. Especially since I had to relearn how to write the damned shorts, because I kept trying to write them in novel voice.

Novels have so much room! Everything does not have to be planed down to the bone, every single word bent in service to theme, every bit of excess flesh pared away.

matociquala: (atc)
I've been down with a stomach bug for a couple of days, which is no fun--it's interfering with my attempt to return to climbing twice a week, for one thing. Still, I managed an 11 mile run last week, so it's probably not a bad time for a little enforced rest. I'll be skipping my long run this week.

But I'm making good progress on reading Jane Eyre, so I suppose there's a hidden silver lining.

I've just about talked myself into a half-marathon at the end of March. We'll see how it goes. And [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange has me almost talked into a Run For Your Lives! next year--either the Boston or Austin one. I have to say, Austin in December seems a lot nicer than Boston in August. 

Nothing like a good bout of gastric distress to really kickstart the weightloss. I do not recommend this tactic, but I can currently confidently report that my dry weight is about 186 pounds. :-P, as the kids say.

Here are some tables of contents for forthcoming anthologies in which I have stories!

Rip-Off (Gardner Dozois, ed:)
This is an audio anthology of all-new stories that share first lines with out-of-copyright masterpieces. My story, "No Decent Patrimony," draws its inspiration from Christopher Marlowe's Edward II

Weird Detectives: Recent Investigations (Paula Guran, ed.)
Reprints my Promethean Age prequel story "Cryptic Coloration," along with stories by such luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Carrie Vaughn, Simon R. Green, Charlaine Harris, and Sarah Monette.


The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection (Gardner Dozois, ed.)
Reprints my Asimov's novella "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns," as well as being the first print publication of the podcast original "The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward," which I wrote with Sarah Monette. This premiered on Drabblecast, and I believe it marks the first time a podcast-original story has enjoyed its first print publication in a Year's Best volume.

I'm pleased to say that some of my work has made a few of the annual year's best lists so far. Range of Ghosts made the Kirkus and Tor.com year's best lists, and it's a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award nominee. "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns" will be reprinted in two different Year's Best anthologies (one ToC has not been released yet) and made Rich Horton's best of the year list.

Meanwhile, Shoggoths in Bloom made Jeff VanderMeer's list of the best collections of 2012. Which also reminded me that I need to get my hands on [livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson's and [livejournal.com profile] esedia's books.

And I am interviewed in the December issue of Locus!. You can read an excerpt here.
matociquala: (atc)


This weekend, by the way, I will be at Pi-Con in Enfield CT Friday and Saturday. Hope to see some of you there!



I'm going to be talking about exercise and fitness again, including some conversation about nutritional and calorie management, so if you hate that stuff page down now.

As you know, Bob, since 2005 or so, I've been embarked on a program to get my blood pressure down, regain my athleticism, and repair the damage I did to my body with six years of neglect and restaurant food. And I'm finally getting near the end of the process--I've lost about a hundred pounds--although this past summer has been tough, between traveling and cons and a lovely bout with West Nile Virus from which I'm just starting to bounce back. In early June, I was excitedly blogging my success at running 10Ks. Alas, I have been knocked back to 5Ks, and I'm not running as fast as I was, and I've gained about five pounds back and lost stamina and strength because of laziness and insufficient dietary discipline. There hasn't been sufficient climbing or kayaking this summer, and I've been a bit lazy about yoga as well. I did do really well with weight training while I was in Wisconsin, and since I will be spending most of September there, I can keep that up.

I just need to be better about dragging my ass out of bed while it's still cool and going for runs. (Meant to try for a long run this morning, but had a bout of insomnia last night that resulted in dragging myself out of bed, groggy and sore, around 9:30. By noon I felt better, and went for a 2-mile jog despite the sun because it was breezy and cool. Do better tomorrow, I hope.)

I have a checkup next week. Hopefully the blood pressure and cholesterol will still be good.

Despite still being about thirty pounds from my goal, I've decided that it's time to amend my dietary practices from "Person trying to restrict calories without losing muscle mass" to "Healthy person trying to lose fat and gain muscle." You know, I'm enjoying the new freedom of movement and strength and stamina--and how much easier everything physical is than it was five years ago--but I'm also burning between 2200-2700 calories a day, and I need to adopt a diet that supports that level of energy expenditure if I expect to be able to keep it up.

I still want that extra weight off--it's no good for my joints and tendons, especially if I expect to keep running and climbing for another twenty years or so (My ankles are not happy even with the five pounds, given the resumed training schedule)--but now it's a matter of re-adjusting to civilian eating while still maintaining healthy habits and undercutting calories--but only slightly, now, not by 800 calories or so a day.

I'm transitioning out of Project: Less Of Me and into total focus on Project: Valkyrie. Let's hear it for the ferocity of climber forearms!

It's been a weird negotiation with myself. I took a month or so off from nutrition tracking, which, combined with illness and lack of exercise is what resulted in the weight gain, so I'm back to weighing everything and plugging my food into websites. Well, if portion control were my strong point, I would never have wound up at nearly 300 pounds. Beer is my downfall, alas. And fancy cocktails. So tasty. So much fun to make and experiment with.

So very very nutritionally empty. And then the pants that fit last month aren't so comfortable to sit down in any more...

(I've actually Less-Of-Me'd enough that five pounds one way or another shows now. Two years ago, it didn't.)

But I want to return to a more normal relationship with food, rather than being the kind of health nut who regulates every bite that goes into her mouth. So I'm trying to do the remainder mostly on exercise, and aiming for somewhere between 1900-2200 calories a day, which will be a bit less than my maintenance diet once I'm where I want to be. (I think I'll maintain okay on 2300-2400 calories, but of course it will take experimentation to determine how the theory matches the reality.)

It's so nice, though, the be back inside the weight range where I am physically comfortable and athletically capable. Even with the layoff from regular running and climbing, I managed to haul my pack a mile uphill for the Ragged Mountain picnic last weekend without too much trouble, and while I didn't exactly tear up the rock face, I did manage two climbs and start two others. Not bad for somebody who had been climbing exactly once since the middle of June.

I love having the stamina to haul a pack up a mountain, rig, and climb all day. I love having the stamina to dance to Skinny Puppy and KMFDM for four hours straight, or run six miles, or paddle all morning. I love being casually strong, helping friends move furniture, picking up my dog to put him on the grooming table. I love it that stuff that used to be impossible is trivial now.

And my yoga form is vastly improved. Although I feel funny mentioning it, since the point is not competition--but I'm feeling the better core strength, even after some time off, and the way it allows me to support my body better.

Core Is Core, after all.

It feels really good to have my capable body back. On today's run, I did the last tenth of a mile in a full sprint, and I was just... delighted to feel my body doing that, pushing faster and faster as if it knew what it was doing and it felt good. Running hasn't felt good since I was a freshman in High School.

It was a long road getting here, but I'm back, motherfuckers, and I'll race you to the ice cream stand.

(Bonus: my current jogging playlist) )

matociquala: (criminal minds reid runs like a girl)
Well, I am making major progress on the athleticism front.

Item: I've been working on 5.10As at the climbing gym. What with my travel schedule and the Junuary weather New England has been treating us to this summer, I haven't made it outside yet, and my new living situation, belay partner work schedules, and longer commute to the gym means I've only been climbing twice a week, when I can make it that often--but I am climbing stronger than I ever have before, which is unbelievably thrilling. I've got ~5 5.10 project walls going, one of which I've sent (although not clean) and the others feel pretty doable with a little more skill and maybe a little more weight loss. But I can climb overhangs on crimpers now, and am consistently sending 5.9s and 5.9+ on the first attempt, albeit usually with a fall or six and some hang-dogging. My bad shoulder makes it impossible to climb hard, extended  liebacks or extended gastons--putting weight on my left arm with the hand in a thumb-down position hurts, and not in the "work through it" kind of way; in the "you are fucking things up" kind of way--so that limits my options slightly, but still.

Climbing better than I ever have, and feeling secure on stuff that would have had me whimpering in terror a year ago.

No kayaking so far this year. I hope to remedy that this weekend, if we actually get the break in the weather we've been promised.

The big progress is on the running front. I've successfully finished two 10k runs this week (6.2 miles) and the second one--this morning's--I did in 69 minutes, for roughly 11 minute miles. My lactate threshold seems to be increasing rapidly all of a sudden, and I'm running comfortably at a 11:30 mile pace, with sprints.

This time last year, I was fighting for a 12 minute mile on runs of half the distance. The progress curve has just gone parabolic.

Weight loss, I suspect, has a lot to do with that--that, and paying ever closer attention to my nutrition. I'm doing a good job of getting the protein and complex carbs into my head, and it makes a difference. Also, cramming down vegetables, and actually meeting my potassium RDA more days than not--which is hard. Coconut water, low-sodium tomato juice, spinach, sweet potatoes, oranges, bananas, and okra FTW. (I even found a way to make okra that isn't nastay. Dry-fried, very hot, in a pan with only a little cooking spray. A sprinkle of maple pepper or brown sugar Cajun rub to season. No water=no slime!)

Anyway, six miles two in 69 minutes, this morning--for a personal best since high school. I'm actually starting to feel like a runner again.

Various internet algorithms guesstimate my lean body mass at 140 lbs, currently, which means my overall weight goal of 165 is just about right on track. I haven't actually been dropping any gross poundage lately, but hey, my running times say I'm doing something right, and my trousers seem to be growing slowly.

It feels really nice to be strong again.
matociquala: (atc)
This is a gym update, and not much more.

I'm back to working 5.10s, which makes me feel like a real grownup climber, and if I can continue without re-straining my shoulder or fucking up a pulley tendon, I may persist in being a real grownup climber. I never really expect to get much beyond 5.10s -- I started too late in life, and I only climb two or three days a week -- but I feel more secure on the wall than I ever have, and I'm even eyeing a 5.8 on the huge, terrifying, massively overhung wall on the back of the gym. I got up one thing on it a couple of years ago, but that was before they re-engineered it to take out the rest point in the middle. Maybe in another ten, twenty pounds or so.

I did get two holds higher on the 5.10a that I have declared my current project (there's another one I tried yesterday and will come back to, but it's very overhung) and I got up all but the last ten feet of a brutal 5.9 that would be a ten anywhere else on the planet except at the madly underating gym where I do most of my climbing. A combination of two slopers and a long reach to the third hold, with largely absent feet, defeated me. But I fought it until my hands quit. Which is something.

I am learning about slopers. What I have learned is that slopers suck.

This means I'm back to climbing as well as I was last August, although I think I'm not yet quite as strong. The stamina is good, though--running helps, it turns out.

And now back to trying to write the last damned scene of this story.
matociquala: (comic tick ninjas hedge)

Last night was a pretty good climbing night. Tried a bunch of stuff that was just at the edge of my abilities, and got up a new route that I had done once before. It's rated 5.9+, but I think it's a soft rating. Tried another 5.9+ and could just about start it. I'm rocking the 5.8s, though, and getting stronger on overhangs than I have ever been.

Today, sadly, is not a Rest Day. I will be doing yoga and tabata here in a moment, and then it's a thrilling day of housework and work work. Still, I'm feeling pretty positive about this whole me thing this week. What a pity it takes us forty years to figure ourselves out and realize that we need to quit dicking around...

Things to do:

Clean
Exercise
Grocery store
Laundry
AATE
Cook dinner
Wash dishes
Fold laundry
Essay
OWW

Brush dog


Another thrilling day in the life of a writer. *g* See you on the other side of it.

matociquala: (superhuman)
The post-novel ennui is ebbing. And given that Dragon Age has developed an unfortunate habit of crashing during bossfights, that seems like a good set of signs that it's time to start exerting a little more personal discipline. I'm still giving myself the rest of the month off from writing--March 1, I need to get seriously busy on the next Shadow Unit episode, and also on the revisions for Shattered Pillars--but between now and then, frankly, I have a bunch of reading and even some TV I'd like to catch up on. The great cauldron of story won't make soup if you don't dump in ingredients--and twitter does not make the doughnuts, as the saying goes.

Also, I want to reread Range of Ghosts before I revise Shattered Pillars. Because that would be smart and stuff.

I saw a sketch for the Shattered Pillars cover at Boskone, courtesy of Tor's Irene Gallo, and... I think Book 2 is likely to live up to Book 1.

So it's time to start more rigidly circumscribing my social media habits again: I think I'll give myself an hour a day for unabashed fucking around on the internets, such as reading the science news and the nerd blogs and playing Scrabble on Facebook (like you do), and then I will do something productive with the rest of my time. It's been relaxing not thinking too much, but it's starting to make my brain itch.

The stuff below this line may be triggery to some people, as I am about to talk about exercise and diet.


So I haven't actually taken off any more weight since my trip to the Midwest, but I have managed to maintain--despite Boskone and ConFusion and a killer freaking plateau and extensive travel. I'm back on the moderately stringent Discipline, and I've switched from Fitday to SparkPeople for most of my exercise and food logging needs. SparkPeople's relentless rah-rah attitude annoys me, and I prefer, quite frankly, the Fitday interface in a lot of ways as it permits more precise logging of activities and actually tells you what your calorie burn for a day is, rather than just that from exercise... but SparkPeople nags me to drink water and floss my teeth, and right now it turns out I need the reminders. And SparkPeople makes tracking food easier, with its user-maintained database and recipe thingy and the way it breaks stuff down into meals--I find it's pretty easy to plan a day's food in advance, and stick to it.

And I would be lying if I said the point system wasn't motivational.

One thing I enjoy about the Discipline: it turns eating into a kind of resource-management game ala Sim City. "So, how can I manage to have chocolate today, and still stay under my calorie goal?" One thing I don't enjoy about it is constantly being somewhat hungry, even when I have just finished eating. But hey, thirty-five pounds or so and I can probably go back to the luxury of a maintenance diet.

And being slightly hungry isn't so bad. The world is full of people for whom never quite getting enough calories isn't exactly an option.

The good news is, I really enjoy my food these days. And if it doesn't taste good, I feel free not to eat it, since I know the calories count anyway. And while I haven't been losing *weight,* I've been noticing more muscle definition, especially in my thighs. Beyonce, here I come.

I'm up to running a little over five miles in about 68 minutes, which makes me extraordinarily happy. Being ninety pounds lighter sure as hell makes running up hills easier. I think once I'm at my goal weight, I'm going to see if I can find places to do a little trail running. The Quabbin Reservoir isn't so far. 

I've been keeping up on the yoga, too--although I haven't been climbing in over a month, I mean to fix that on Saturday. We'll see how much I've lost. I miss it so damned much.

I know I'll be back to being terrified the first few times, and there's that issue of losing the grip strength in my hands--but I have been keeping up on my upper body work, and my balance is still good. Technique comes back fast, and in a few days of climbing, the confidence will be back too.

Walls! Walls, dammit! Need more walls.
matociquala: (atc)
Man, I wish I'd thought of that song while I was writing Whiskey & Water.

Good climbing night tonight--ten routes, and I had the stamina to do more, but not the hands.

And there were photographs. For comparison's sake, here a couple of pics of me climbing in May of 2008.

 

And here are two from tonight:

 

Yes, that is the same corner, with a different paintjob.

My footwork's improved a lot, and my hip-in on that last shot makes me supremely happy.

Also, if you were wondering, that's what fifty pounds look like. And man, is it easier to climb without it. The remaining forty-five can join it as soon as it wants.
matociquala: (leighton pavonia)
So. Home safe from Armadillocon. I have no power and no internets at my house: I am currently ensconced on the sofa at [livejournal.com profile] ashacat and [livejournal.com profile] netcurmudgeon's place, borrowing a wee cup o'the future. At some point today I must somehow get hold of my mother, who has no power and no phone, and arrange to get my dog out of gaol.

The cats are fine, the house is fine, and Irene even left my tomato plants mostly intact. There's a big tree down here, mind, and I failed to find either a bank or a gas station with electricity this morning, but the roads are clear--and Yankees being Yankees, 90% of drivers are being extraordinarily courteous at all the intersections that have suddenly been converted to Bangalore Rules Driving.

So basically, I missed all the fun of the storm, but get to have the inconveniences! CL&P is currently unable to even offer an estimate of when my power will be back on. La. Fortunately, I am resourceful!

At least we have gas heat, so there are showers.

Armadillocon deserves a better con report than the few words I gave it Sunday night. I had a fabulous time--it's a great, intimate con held at the same Renaissance hotel as the Austin WFC in 2006, probably with Hal Duncan's brain blood still soaked into the grout between the marble lobby tiles--and I really enjoyed all of my panels, and all of the friends' panels that I attended. The Bistrot did a much better job of covering itself in glory this time around, and the bloody Marys were outstanding.

There were, as [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange has intimated, no fewer than two Talisman games (I missed part of the first one to attend a panel, and washed out of the second one when I took a too-early wrong turn into the Dungeon and got eaten by a grue) and on Thursday night, pre-con, I went with her and her husband and [livejournal.com profile] fadethecat and [livejournal.com profile] catrambo to see bats! All the times I have been in Austin, I have never done the bats.

They were kind of freaking awesome.

2011 08 25 austin bats 021

The most impressive thing, for me, was the fact that they do indeed look exactly like the horror-movie crawling CGI of random evil swarming thing.

Here's some video:



After, we went to peché, which may go beyond being my favorite bar in Austin to claim the spot of my favorite bar in the world, where we drank delicious frilly girly cocktails and ate pommes frites and duck salad until [livejournal.com profile] stina_leicht arrived, having successfully retrieved [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch from the airport, and more pommes frites and girly cocktails ensued. Also, it's possible that Scott and I scandalized the place, slightly...or at least mortified Stina.

2011 08 25 armadillocon 031

(This photo not actually from peché, but it does capture why Stina is the Queen of Mischief. Scott is the Lord of Misrule, which will come as a surprise to nobody.)

Here is [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange contemplating my demise:

2011 08 25 armadillocon 029

(There was a panel with Scott, Amanda, Stina, and Skyler White on it, which I promptly dubbed the Awesome Hair panel. You can see why.)

Friday night and Saturday were all panels all the time--I thought the worldbuilding panel was particularly fun, and the signing and reading were well-attended by interesting people who wanted to talk to me, which is always good. (I also kibbitzed Scott's signing, in my capacity as Official Registered Nuisance. The Lynch-and-Bear show is perhaps not quite such a polished comedy routine yet as the Mole-and-Bear show, but he's been heckling my signings since the last time we were both in Austin, so it only seemed fair.)

I also got to spend a little quality time with Paolo Bacigalupi, who is a dear friend I don't get to see often enough.

Sunday, Famous Writers went climbing! Amanda, Fade, Scott, Sam-whose-surname-and/or-lj-I-do-not-know, and I decamped to the Austin Rock Gym, where (as anticipated) Scott proved that in six months he's going to be kicking all our asses. (It was his first time out.)

I did not get a photo of Sam on the wall, but I did manage to get Fade, Amanda, and Scott all on the same move of the same bouldering route, which made my inner nerd kind of happy.

Famus Riters On Plastic Rocks:

2011 08 28 famous writers climbing things 006
Fade Manley

2011 08 28 famous writers climbing things 002
Amanda Downum

2011 08 28 famous writers climbing things 008
Scott Lynch (and Fade's forehead)

You people all need to watch your foot position. Also, one of these things is taller than the others.

Then Sunday night was that second (unfinished) bar-Talisman game, and just as we all ([livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange, Mr. [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange, [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch, [livejournal.com profile] fadethecat, and me) were yawning and stretching and about to creep off to our beds, [livejournal.com profile] skzbrust, [livejournal.com profile] skylerwhiteauth, and [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem mysteriously appeared. The drummer, as is his wont, settled himself at the head of the table and said, "Let's talk about Art!"

So we did.

And there was orange blossom ale (my gosh, that was tasty) and Woodchuck Fall Cider, which is a little like being given a nasal lavage with a nutmeg, but deliciously so.

And it was kind of freaking awesome.

In the morning, [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange picked up [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch and me for breakfast at Star Seeds (yay!) and then dropped us at the airport, and all our separate ways we went.

Verdict? Armadillocon: I will go back. Austin? Already knew it was going to be a regular stop in my peregrinations.

And now? I must revise Book of Iron, and revise "The Leavings of the Wolf," and revise "!Spellslinger" and find a title for it. And then I must write as much of a novel as humanly possible before October gets eaten by Viable Paradise and boyfriend-visits and moving to Massachusetts and WFC a grue.

Which means it's time to stop dicking around on the internets and get to work, baby.
matociquala: (criminal minds jj hit what she aimed at)
The Discipline, an occasional series.

Warning: following discussion of fitness and weight management regime may be triggery to some people. Those people should page down now.  




Please note: I support the right of every single human being to live in the body they are comfortable with without outside social pressure to change it to fit some societal norm or plasticized ideal of beauty. This is about my body, and the fact that I want it to climb 5.10 and run up hills with fifty pounds of climbing gear in a daypack for, ideally, the next 15-20 years.

I'm not looking for advice, nor am I offering it. I am reporting my own fitness program, as may be useful to or assuaging to the curiosity of others.
 




So as those of you who've been reading for a while probably know, since 2006 or so I've been on a fairly serious program to get fit, restore the damage I did to myself with crappy lifestyle choices due to depression and misery while living in Las Vegas, and generally go from being pre-hypertensive and on a fast track toward my hereditary destiny of diabetes (as well as unable to stand up out of a chair without grunting):

 

to running five miles in an hour and looking more or less like this only greyer and wrinklier again:

 
(This first one is me dressed up as a Ravenclaw for a Potter party/LARP**. Back when I was kickboxing three times a week and benching 140. Damn, look at that neck. The second one... god, I was 26. WHO IS THAT CHILD WITH MY NOSE?)

**NERD

This goal goes by a number of names, including Project: Valkyrie and The Discipline, and involves significant dietary discipline as well as daily cardio, strength, and/or flexibility training. I am concentrating on jogging, walking, kayaking, rock climbing, and yoga--with some bodyweight exercises--for these purposes. Between one and three hours a day, more or less, with occasional rest days--and I try to walk some, even on those.

The dietary aspect of the Discipline boils down to an average of 1500-1600 calories a day, although in order to keep my famine-tuned Ukrainian metabolism from adapting, that means that some days I eat 1100 calories and some days I eat 2200. (The 2200 calorie days are actually getting to be kind of a chore, as I adapt. Thank cod for whole-grain pasta.)

With a few exceptions, I am opting for protein--mostly dairy and fish--fruit, and vegetables, with limited amounts of whole grains and quote "good fat" unquote, with Lots Of Antioxidants and all the tea I can drink. I am taking a multivitamin supplement, a soluble fiber supplement, and a fish oil (sardine/mackerel) supplement. The multivitamin I am taking is formulated for vegetarians, and kicks in about six thousand times my daily RDA of B12 and B6.

For the nerdy, here's today's menu plan: 

2011 08 23 fitday stats 001  2011 08 23 fitday stats 002
(click to enable readability)

Yeah, that's a lot of protein. I'm aiming for 100 grams even on restricted days. The fat percentage looks brutal, but bear with me--it's fish and olive oil and nuts. Okay, and some cheese.

Because cheddar cheese is the staff of life, that's why.

Oh, my kidneys: I try to keep the protein under 20% normally--but with this calorie restriction that is a goal incompatible with the 100 grams rule--and what the hell. It's only for a couple more months. And it seems to be working.

A nice thing about mostly-removing refined carbs from my life (I'm not a monk. I still like cheesecake. I just only get dessert once a week or so, these days, and not too much of it. And when I'm off this thing*, whole-grain root vegetable muffins are coming back into my life on a weekly basis.) is that I've noticed that my moods are a lot easier to maintain. Considering the number of years I've been wrestling with that particular aspect of The Crazy... man, it's a fucking relief.

I hear you getting to "Sardines" and going "ick!" But trust me on this, I'm Swedish. What you want is King Oscar brisling sardines in olive oil. If you hate fish, you'll still hate them, but if you like fish they're really quite tasty. And full of calcium and protein!

And I am pleased to announce... we're getting there! Today I jogged 3.4 miles, more or less, and it was reasonably trivial--and yesterday I managed 20 seconds of handstand. (I cheat up with a foot against a doorframe, and I am doing the handstands against a wall still. However, it is now *one* foot against the doorframe rather than walking up it. And I can do a headstand (against the wall) by kicking up to it.

Last Monday, I climbed 12 routes in about 90 minutes--three crimpy ones, three overhangs, and the remaining six jughauls in laps until my forearms quit. My traps and delts did not forgive me until Thursday.

And I can do half an unassisted pullup. Soon I will try for a full one.

These are all personal bests. I'm pretty freaking pleased.

And even more significantly... I am conditionally off my anti-hypertension med. And if I can keep my blood pressure at 124/72 as of early September, it won't be conditional any more.

I'm also down to 210.5 lbs, post-workout pre-breakfast weigh-in (you bet I cheat for moral support) from a high in 2005 of somewhere near 290.  My goal is somewhere between 155-175, depending on what I see when I get down in that range. I'm 5'8" and heavy-boned and I pack on muscle like a hoss, so I want to see how much muscle I'm carrying and which pants fit when I get in the range before making any final decisions.

Lighter is better, for rock climbing, but I'm not willing to sacrifice muscle and health when I have the genetic potential to climb well just by being a fucking beast, as we say at the gym. (A good deal of climbing is technique and balance; another significant aspect is strength:weight ratio. So if I am significantly stronger than the average woman climbing, I can also afford to be significantly heavier--although it's harder on my tendons. But that is what tape is for.)

So, more or less, I am two thirds of the way to my goal. And I'm down into the range where every five or ten pounds makes a palpable difference in how I get up a hill, or a wall.

Also, I only have one chin, these days. And I'm a bad enough feminist that I have to admit... that does matter to me.

***

*I never actually expect to eat the absolute crap I did in Vegas again... but that was largely not my choice, frankly: I've always been a little bit of a hippie on the food front. But I am looking forwards to brown rice and whole-grain bread as a semi-daily event again, let me tell you.
matociquala: (criminal minds jj hit what she aimed at)
The Discipline, an occasional series.

Warning: following discussion of fitness and weight management regime may be triggery to some people. Those people should page down now.  




Please note: I support the right of every single human being to live in the body they are comfortable with without outside social pressure to change it to fit some societal norm or plasticized ideal of beauty. This is about my body, and the fact that I want it to climb 5.10 and run up hills with fifty pounds of climbing gear in a daypack for, ideally, the next 15-20 years.

I'm not looking for advice, nor am I offering it. I am reporting my own fitness program, as may be useful to or assuaging to the curiosity of others.
 




So as those of you who've been reading for a while probably know, since 2006 or so I've been on a fairly serious program to get fit, restore the damage I did to myself with crappy lifestyle choices due to depression and misery while living in Las Vegas, and generally go from being pre-hypertensive and on a fast track toward my hereditary destiny of diabetes (as well as unable to stand up out of a chair without grunting):

 

to running five miles in an hour and looking more or less like this only greyer and wrinklier again:

 
(This first one is me dressed up as a Ravenclaw for a Potter party/LARP**. Back when I was kickboxing three times a week and benching 140. Damn, look at that neck. The second one... god, I was 26. WHO IS THAT CHILD WITH MY NOSE?)

**NERD

This goal goes by a number of names, including Project: Valkyrie and The Discipline, and involves significant dietary discipline as well as daily cardio, strength, and/or flexibility training. I am concentrating on jogging, walking, kayaking, rock climbing, and yoga--with some bodyweight exercises--for these purposes. Between one and three hours a day, more or less, with occasional rest days--and I try to walk some, even on those.

The dietary aspect of the Discipline boils down to an average of 1500-1600 calories a day, although in order to keep my famine-tuned Ukrainian metabolism from adapting, that means that some days I eat 1100 calories and some days I eat 2200. (The 2200 calorie days are actually getting to be kind of a chore, as I adapt. Thank cod for whole-grain pasta.)

With a few exceptions, I am opting for protein--mostly dairy and fish--fruit, and vegetables, with limited amounts of whole grains and quote "good fat" unquote, with Lots Of Antioxidants and all the tea I can drink. I am taking a multivitamin supplement, a soluble fiber supplement, and a fish oil (sardine/mackerel) supplement. The multivitamin I am taking is formulated for vegetarians, and kicks in about six thousand times my daily RDA of B12 and B6.

For the nerdy, here's today's menu plan: 

2011 08 23 fitday stats 001  2011 08 23 fitday stats 002
(click to enable readability)

Yeah, that's a lot of protein. I'm aiming for 100 grams even on restricted days. The fat percentage looks brutal, but bear with me--it's fish and olive oil and nuts. Okay, and some cheese.

Because cheddar cheese is the staff of life, that's why.

Oh, my kidneys: I try to keep the protein under 20% normally--but with this calorie restriction that is a goal incompatible with the 100 grams rule--and what the hell. It's only for a couple more months. And it seems to be working.

A nice thing about mostly-removing refined carbs from my life (I'm not a monk. I still like cheesecake. I just only get dessert once a week or so, these days, and not too much of it. And when I'm off this thing*, whole-grain root vegetable muffins are coming back into my life on a weekly basis.) is that I've noticed that my moods are a lot easier to maintain. Considering the number of years I've been wrestling with that particular aspect of The Crazy... man, it's a fucking relief.

I hear you getting to "Sardines" and going "ick!" But trust me on this, I'm Swedish. What you want is King Oscar brisling sardines in olive oil. If you hate fish, you'll still hate them, but if you like fish they're really quite tasty. And full of calcium and protein!

And I am pleased to announce... we're getting there! Today I jogged 3.4 miles, more or less, and it was reasonably trivial--and yesterday I managed 20 seconds of handstand. (I cheat up with a foot against a doorframe, and I am doing the handstands against a wall still. However, it is now *one* foot against the doorframe rather than walking up it. And I can do a headstand (against the wall) by kicking up to it.

Last Monday, I climbed 12 routes in about 90 minutes--three crimpy ones, three overhangs, and the remaining six jughauls in laps until my forearms quit. My traps and delts did not forgive me until Thursday.

And I can do half an unassisted pullup. Soon I will try for a full one.

These are all personal bests. I'm pretty freaking pleased.

And even more significantly... I am conditionally off my anti-hypertension med. And if I can keep my blood pressure at 124/72 as of early September, it won't be conditional any more.

I'm also down to 210.5 lbs, post-workout pre-breakfast weigh-in (you bet I cheat for moral support) from a high in 2005 of somewhere near 290.  My goal is somewhere between 155-175, depending on what I see when I get down in that range. I'm 5'8" and heavy-boned and I pack on muscle like a hoss, so I want to see how much muscle I'm carrying and which pants fit when I get in the range before making any final decisions.

Lighter is better, for rock climbing, but I'm not willing to sacrifice muscle and health when I have the genetic potential to climb well just by being a fucking beast, as we say at the gym. (A good deal of climbing is technique and balance; another significant aspect is strength:weight ratio. So if I am significantly stronger than the average woman climbing, I can also afford to be significantly heavier--although it's harder on my tendons. But that is what tape is for.)

So, more or less, I am two thirds of the way to my goal. And I'm down into the range where every five or ten pounds makes a palpable difference in how I get up a hill, or a wall.

Also, I only have one chin, these days. And I'm a bad enough feminist that I have to admit... that does matter to me.

***

*I never actually expect to eat the absolute crap I did in Vegas again... but that was largely not my choice, frankly: I've always been a little bit of a hippie on the food front. But I am looking forwards to brown rice and whole-grain bread as a semi-daily event again, let me tell you.
matociquala: (criminal minds reid out out)
Man, Ray Charles. That's all.

***
John Henry Holliday is sick of these time-travelling assholes. And he gave me 2000 words today, and the entirety of the plot. Now I just have to do it justice.

***
A kind of wonderful thing happened today. When I went in to water the plants in the only decent window in this house (which is in the pantry: I don't know either) I discovered that my Cattleya had bloomed for the first time ever. I've had it for four years: I have only just discovered that it's fuchsia and yellow!

This one is closest to the actual color, but still too blue:

2011 08 09 cattleya orchid 003

And this one shows the plant better:

2011 08 09 cattleya orchid 002

***
In other news, so far today I have run 5 kilometers, climbed ten routes, and I am about to do yoga.  I am getting off this plateau if it kills me.

If I manage to hit my goal weight, however, the evidence is starting to accumulate that I am going to be an absolute fucking monster on overhangs. They're already significantly easier--and if the plan is working, I should be building muscle while I lose that other stuff.

I'm looking forward to that.
matociquala: (atc)
Today is not actually a Rest Day, either in the work or workout senses...but it is that rare luxury, the Unscheduled Day, which is almost as good.

(And here's your trigger warning for talking about food and exercise)

la
la
la
la

white space


I'm still getting some good results from Discipline 2.0, which translates to most of my dietary intake being fruit, vegetables, and dairy protein, with limited amounts of whole-grain carbs. I'm going to make some beans in the slow cooker here this afternoon, for a little variety. Mmm, beans.

Pretty much blew it off for Clarion week, though I did try to err on the side of protein and complex carbs. We won't talk about the fat intake. Or the booze. Also, pretty sure that veggie sausage wasn't actually good for me, though it was verra tasty.

Managed--now that I've gotten the water weight and salt out of my system--only to have gained two pounds, though, so go team me, go team daily exercise.

And I think some of that weight is muscle, frankly, because most of my jeans are too big currently, and I'm noticing my body getting in my way less during yoga, and (basically since Stockholm, when I couldn't believe how secure I felt on the wall) I am noticing serious gains in strength. Wheel pose is trivial these days (and fun!) and my headstands are really improving. (I have not been practicing the handstands nearly enough.)

One of the instructors was very worried yesterday about me picking up a kayak one-handed; that was trivial. (It was a large whitewater kayak, which is to say somewhat smaller than my tiny little flatwater boat.)

I really need to get back to climbing three times a week. Especially as I get lighter, I really want to maintain my upper body strength. I bet in another twenty or thirty pounds, I'll be able to chin myself pretty handily, if I do--and that's my route to climbing 5.10 as more than an occasional fluke.

I should email [livejournal.com profile] ashacat and see if she's busy Friday or Saturday...

God, I love being strong and flexible and fit. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to have a body that will just bloody do what you ask of it. Forty more pounds or so and I'll be back where it doesn't slow me down more than marginally; another fifteen past that and I should be ready to actually start training for a half-marathon, if I decide that's what I want to do.

I'm really, really looking forward to working on harder climbing routes. And flying up hills and stairs again the way I did when I was thirty.

It's heartening to see the goal posts in sight, after more or less five years of fairly serious effort to repair the damage I did to myself in Las Vegas.

And now I must work, because books don't write themselves.
matociquala: (atc)
Today is not actually a Rest Day, either in the work or workout senses...but it is that rare luxury, the Unscheduled Day, which is almost as good.

(And here's your trigger warning for talking about food and exercise)

la
la
la
la

white space


I'm still getting some good results from Discipline 2.0, which translates to most of my dietary intake being fruit, vegetables, and dairy protein, with limited amounts of whole-grain carbs. I'm going to make some beans in the slow cooker here this afternoon, for a little variety. Mmm, beans.

Pretty much blew it off for Clarion week, though I did try to err on the side of protein and complex carbs. We won't talk about the fat intake. Or the booze. Also, pretty sure that veggie sausage wasn't actually good for me, though it was verra tasty.

Managed--now that I've gotten the water weight and salt out of my system--only to have gained two pounds, though, so go team me, go team daily exercise.

And I think some of that weight is muscle, frankly, because most of my jeans are too big currently, and I'm noticing my body getting in my way less during yoga, and (basically since Stockholm, when I couldn't believe how secure I felt on the wall) I am noticing serious gains in strength. Wheel pose is trivial these days (and fun!) and my headstands are really improving. (I have not been practicing the handstands nearly enough.)

One of the instructors was very worried yesterday about me picking up a kayak one-handed; that was trivial. (It was a large whitewater kayak, which is to say somewhat smaller than my tiny little flatwater boat.)

I really need to get back to climbing three times a week. Especially as I get lighter, I really want to maintain my upper body strength. I bet in another twenty or thirty pounds, I'll be able to chin myself pretty handily, if I do--and that's my route to climbing 5.10 as more than an occasional fluke.

I should email [livejournal.com profile] ashacat and see if she's busy Friday or Saturday...

God, I love being strong and flexible and fit. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to have a body that will just bloody do what you ask of it. Forty more pounds or so and I'll be back where it doesn't slow me down more than marginally; another fifteen past that and I should be ready to actually start training for a half-marathon, if I decide that's what I want to do.

I'm really, really looking forward to working on harder climbing routes. And flying up hills and stairs again the way I did when I was thirty.

It's heartening to see the goal posts in sight, after more or less five years of fairly serious effort to repair the damage I did to myself in Las Vegas.

And now I must work, because books don't write themselves.
matociquala: (atc)
Today we made it out of UCD to play on their climbing wall.

It was good.

I did a bunch of fairly easy stuff (4s and 5s), flamed out on what was allegedly a stemmy slopy slabby 5+ (European system) in the corner, and made it up an absolute monster of an overhung 6a with a roof.

Evidence:
2011 06 13 University College Dublin climbing wall & campus 054

Also, absolutely gorgeous sunset tonight. Have a fakey fake panorama, complete with ~700 years of Irish history in silhouette:

2011 06 13 Sunset over Balbriggan Ireland 0062011 06 13 Sunset over Balbriggan Ireland 0072011 06 13 Sunset over Balbriggan Ireland 008

And in conclusion, baby swan:
2011 06 13 University College Dublin climbing wall & campus 073

(there will be more photos when I get somewhere where I'm not hogging Liz's internets to upload them all. I am taking plenty! Especially for [livejournal.com profile] stillnotbored.)
matociquala: (atc)
Today we made it out of UCD to play on their climbing wall.

It was good.

I did a bunch of fairly easy stuff (4s and 5s), flamed out on what was allegedly a stemmy slopy slabby 5+ (European system) in the corner, and made it up an absolute monster of an overhung 6a with a roof.

Evidence:
2011 06 13 University College Dublin climbing wall & campus 054

Also, absolutely gorgeous sunset tonight. Have a fakey fake panorama, complete with ~700 years of Irish history in silhouette:

2011 06 13 Sunset over Balbriggan Ireland 0062011 06 13 Sunset over Balbriggan Ireland 0072011 06 13 Sunset over Balbriggan Ireland 008

And in conclusion, baby swan:
2011 06 13 University College Dublin climbing wall & campus 073

(there will be more photos when I get somewhere where I'm not hogging Liz's internets to upload them all. I am taking plenty! Especially for [livejournal.com profile] stillnotbored.)
matociquala: (holmes confidence)
On the way up to Ragged today, I almost stepped on the tail of a four foot serpent I believe to have been an Eastern Ratsnake.

She was lovely, probably freshly shed, and in no hurry to cross the trail.

Picture of a snake cut-tagged for the phobic. )

The snake was a nice bonus, because as usual at Ragged, I got my ass handed to me and climbed absolutely nothing.

However, when I came home, there was a tropy waiting for me.

2011 06 04 005

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