Monday, September 28, 2015

YMCA Stair Climb 2015

EVENT: YMCA Stair Climb
DATE: Friday, September 25, 2015
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
RACE BEGAN: 3:30 pm

I did this event two years ago and was super bummed last year when I had to sit it out due to being eight months pregnant.  Then, I switched employers earlier this year, so I thought I was pretty much done climbing stairs forever.

Later, I learned that my new company not only participates, but it also provides a large donation and needed someone to manage all that stuff... someone in Human Resources (gah!)... and it somehow landed in my lap.  Soon, I had budgets to manage and 52 children to guide through the team formation, registration, and packet pick-up process.  Let me tell you, it is WAY more fun to be a participant than a coordinator. ;)

Given that I am in no way as fit as I was two years ago when I did this (*ahem, pregnancy, surgical birth, and being chained to my baby*), I started incorporating stair-climbing into my weekly regimen.  Once a week starting mid-July or so, I'd go on the stair-mill for 20 minutes, where it would register 100+ floors.  No, I did not practice in the actual stairwell at work, though I probably should have but I didn't find time/the will to sweat in my work clothes.  Plus, let's face it -- it's pretty lonely and dull practicing alone, especially when stairs are not my friend normally.  It definitely felt easier as I continued to practice, though.

The day of the climb, I had to run around coordinating packets, the booth that we had set up, and a work deadline.  It had also been a rough night on the sleeping front, and I am pretty sure I woke up five times.  So by the time our climb time arrived, I was already pretty spent, in addition to the fact that we were in the middle of yet another heat wave... and stairwells are not exactly known to have good A/C.

I went in with my team (single-file), and I tried my best to keep a rapid, yet steady pace.  I think the "rapid" part of the plan died out around the 20th floor, so I just told myself that I had to keep moving and not take a break, lest I lose any momentum I had.  I remember how dry my throat was last time (to the point where I could taste blood), so I made sure to take water pretty much every time it was offered to me.  The heat didn't really bother me until the 50th floor or so, but by then, I knew the end was somewhat near (funny how relative things get).  My sweaty end-of-climb mugshot is above.

I didn't know of my time until I got back to work, and compared to the 17:46 I got last time, I wasn't too dissatisfied with my performance (a 29-second difference, if I can do math correctly).  That seems to be consistent with my 5K time back in July -- sort of good, just not as good as before, haha!  I'm pretty proud of the fact that I had a faster time than this guy at work who tried to intimidate us, though!

As for the aftermath, my back has been sore for a couple of days, so I'm sure the effort was more taxing than it seemed at the time.  I did have to rely on hanging onto the actual stair railing more this time than last, so I probably was dogging my posture -- not to mention, the first thing I did when I got to a clear area was to thoroughly wash my hands -- ugh!

Would I do this again?  I am not sure.  I much more enjoy running than stair-climbing, and if I have to coordinate this event again next year, I am not sure that I would also climb.  I know I can improve on my time, though, so maybe that motivation might be enough.

Because of all the festivities, Baby Tuesday had to spend an extra-long day at his grandparents', though I don't think he minded too much.  We more-or-less made it back in time for the bedtime.  He knew it was bathtime and crawled right onto the changing mat on the bathroom floor.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mind Over Matter

If there is ever a time in my life when I finally get to sleep like a normal person, let me look back on this time and draw strength from it.

Must stop obsessing over numbers -- total hours slept, consecutive hours slept, number of wake-ups, days/months/year (and a half, counting pregnancy) without the eight-hour standard...

I'm pretty sure life is pretty sunny and bright when you're not in a constant mental fog, driving sleepy, recurring headache, and summer-like temperatures all day, every day.

So the next time I'm on Mile 22, or Mile 12.1 or when it's a little to warm for my liking to run, I must look back.  There is worse.

I'd like to race again.  I'd like to donate blood again.  I'd like to not feel like I'm about to collapse by the time I get home from work everyday.  While I'm at it, the great plight of being a working mom is that just when you need a break/vacation the most, you don't have the hours, since maternity leave pretty much eats it all.  Add in being dumb and accepting a new job/starting over, and you've got an equation for a burnout like I've never experienced before.  Working full-time while obtaining a Ph.D. does not even compare.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have 1,664 steps to climb today.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Extend Nutrition Anytime Bars

I had to laugh after I was asked to review these bars, as unlike many of the bars I've reviewed on here, these are more marketed toward diabetics.  I'm guessing this happened because I wrote a post on diabetes last month.

However, I love trying bars of all kinds, so down the hatch they went.  I mean, if non-diabetics find these palatable, that's the true tastiness test right there.  As a plus, these claim to be gluten-free.

Extend Nutrition sent me samples of their Anytime Bar.  Since I had a couple of each flavor, I decided to give some to my diabetic co-worker who normally supplies me with cookies to try.  I had to laugh again when we started chatting about bars, sugar-free things, and intestinal upset.  Thankfully, these did not cause that (your mileage may vary, though)!

Here is a brief review of some of the bars:

  • Cookies N Crème: Not bad, reminiscent of the flavor as other brands. 
  • Caramel: My co-worked really liked this one.
  • Yogurt Berry (pictured below): Nice yogurt exterior, not too sweet.
  • Mixed Berry: Rice puff texture, I prefer the Yogurt berry because I like having the creaminess.  This one is a bit more dry.

Overall, these are pretty tasty nutrition bars, and the main gripe that my co-worker and I have about them is they are a bit smaller than other bars.


FTC Disclaimer: I was sent samples of Extend Nutrition bars and was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review.