As those of you who have been following this blog have probably picked up, it is no longer active. The existing posts will stay up for reference, but I am no longer adding new content. Thanks for a fun two years! ~Tamara

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Exercise = Strength

I spent yesterday's post outlining why people shouldn't start working out for the sole purpose of losing weight. Today I'll counteract that dose of nay-saying with the reasons why I actually plan to exercise more this year.

The week before last, my supervisor asked me to contact my coworker K. about this semester's schedule, since she'll be out of town and we'll have to work it out between ourselves. I found out that K. had to drop one of her shifts because of classes, so I'll be taking over on Wednesday mornings. You'd think she'd bring this up to, you know, our boss instead of waiting for me to email during vacation to ask when she'll be showing up, but that's because you've never met K.

Anyway, this means I have one less free morning in the workweek for exercising. I am not a wake-up-at-five-to-workout kind of girl, and I'm certainly not the drag-myself-to-the-treadmill-after-an-exhausting-day type either. So starting next week, I'll only walk/run four days a week instead of five (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays). In 2009, I spent the sessions on those five days covering two leisurely miles. The reasonable solution is to up that mileage to three for compensation and then some. That's reason number one.

Reason number two: Japan '10! My sweetie and I are planning a 10-day trip to Tokyo/Kyoto in May, and there will be a lot of walking. I'm prone to overdo things when I'm excited, which could lead to quick burnout if my endurance is sub-par. And if I get tired and cranky, my sweetie will reflect the crank, and there's nothing worse than bickering on vacation. So. Those three miles (possibly working up to more) will ensure minimum stress while we're scampering through peasant huts and ninja shows at Edo Wonderland.

Reason number three: Pride. Pure and simple. I get the opposite of warm fuzzies when I see college kids run along effortlessly as if they're on some sidewalk conveyer belt invisible to the naked eye, while I gasp for air after a quarter mile of 6mph jogging. If, by the end of this year, I am able to run three miles straight without collapsing, I'll have one less gallon of fuel for my inferiority complex.

Friday, I started my new regimen by walking for an extra 20 minutes. Today, I cut the time down by running for 10 instead. By the end of the last mile, I was literally shaking from energy deprivation. A hearty lunch replenished my stores:

That's my sandwich on the left: 90% lean hamburger (about 1/5 pound) with ketchup and Miracle Whip on homemade wheat bread. The protein will repair my muscles, while the complex carbohydrates get my blood sugar up and the fruits and veggies in the accompanying Green Monster keep me sharp.

Sweetie's is on the right. Since he starts school again tomorrow, I pampered him with real fries. Actual fried fries. I cut and cooked half a potato in the microwave for five minutes with a bit of water, and then dunked them in the hot (approx. 375-400°) peanut oil. They turned crispy almost immediately--as soon as the bubbling from the reaction with the potato's moisture subsided (after about 15 seconds), I plucked them out quickly with a slotted spoon. After blotting, a quick shake of salt and pepper finished them off.

I don't feel too bad about clogging his arteries, because the contact with oil was minimal. I mean, Emeril's recipe instructs chefs to cook the potatoes in oil for 6-8 minutes! That's not including the immediate pre-serving extra minute for crispiness. By cooking the potato first, I ensure that most of what goes into Sweetie's mouth is only enhanced by, and not saturated with, oil.

By the way, I was especially proud of the bread today.

Look, the split is actually in the middle of the loaf! Usually it rises askew, but this time I let the dough sit for ten minutes in the pan before scoring and baking. And I cut the slices straight, too. My old bread knife was warped, so I was used to wielding it on a slant. When I started using my new one from the Farberware set, I would actually cut the slices at a diagonal and end up sliding off the loaf halfway down! I think I've readjusted now.

Heads up: tomorrow I have to get up at 7 again after a week and a half of sleeping in, so I may be bitter. Or write badly. Or skip writing entirely. Have to remember to bring lots of tea....

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