serinde: (ki)
So the leadership program of great renown had its last session the first week of this month; and once that heat was off, as well as the start-of-semester wharrgarbl dying down, I determined to make another go at the various lifestyle changes I had worked out back in June. If you don't feel like making the clicky, it boiled down to these:

1) stop what I'm doing by 10:30, be in bed by 11
2) do some yoga or other calisthenics in the morning, rather than coffee-and-stare-at-internets; carry coffee into work
3) ride bike more
4) spend less money; take lunch more, cook more
5) be diligent about tracking what I eat

Concurrent with this, right after the program ended I was feeling unusually down. There are, of course, any number of possible contributing factors--kitty, major project stress, seasonal change?--but it made a useful benchmark.

For each of the last three weeks, I have done yoga 4 of 5 work mornings; rode my bike to & from work either two or three times; been increasingly good about food tracking (it's not 100% but we're getting there); and been cooking and taking my lunch more often than not*. I've also been going out less. I have not been entirely diligent about bedtime, but I'm in bed by 11:15 more often than not.

Results thus far:
+ I am in much, much better state of mind, on the whole.
+ Weight is at last starting to creep downwards.
+ I have spent a lot more time working on my stuff, whether it be knitting, sewing, cooking, or domestic improvements.
+ My complexion has gotten clearer (!). This makes little sense to me, considering I haven't eaten less sugar or chocolate, neither of which is usually my downfall anyways, but there it is.
+ The apartment is getting closer to where I want it to be.
+ Biking is becoming easier! I am in my top gear (of 7. don't judge me.) for much of the ride, and I can get up the first half of the OMG DOOM DOOM hill under the GWB.
- So far the yoga has not yet seemed to improve the weakness in my left leg.
- I keep waking up half an hour before my alarm, at what seems to be the end of a REM cycle? Then drifting back to sleep, then snapping awake when the alarm hits.

This looks like pretty unqualified success, and although it's really hard, in that first five minutes, to drag myself from the warm snuggly bed and go to something exercise-y, I always feel better when I do; and one morning the lizard brain had convinced me to lame out, and within ten minutes I found myself on the mat anyways. So it is full speed ahead, and maintain these changes as best I can through the exigencies of the holiday season.

* of course then I spent money I shouldn't have on fripperies, but I mean, one problem at a time
serinde: (running)
Lo, the chronology of my bike ride in:

T(8:15am): Leave apartment, go down to bike room. Spend five minutes cursing at the really shitty door lock that you have to get the key exactly right in.
T+5: Actually out of the building and on the street.
T+10: Off the street, up the Dyckman stairs, mounting up to start on the greenway.
T+15: Temple waypoint--the long slow uphill is done
T+20: Bottom of the Big Bridge Hill. Hurrah for the fun flat part along the river!
T+22: oh crap my seat is loose. Mem.: Start carrying the multitool.
T+32: Off the greenway, back onto city streets.
T+35: Top of Riverside Hill, which I still have to walk my bike up
T+40: Inside campus gates
T+45 (9am): In my office, bike parked.

Further notes to self:
* The big hiking backpack is really overkill, most days. Either panniers or a wee daypack is in order.
* Do not, do not forget to pack a regular bra with the work clothes. Because wearing a sweaty sports bra all day: yechhh.
serinde: (running)
In conjunction with yesterday's determinations, I got up this morning (not quite when the alarm went off, thank you Air Raid Siren Cat going off every hour, but without too much lolling). I did not make coffee, nor yet sit at the computer; I tidied a little, cleaned the cat box, washed dishes, and then started morning procedures. My intent was to leave on the bike about 7:30, arrive c. 8:15, and have a leisurely period to cool down, change, drink coffee, read internets, and face the day.

First check: Fashion crisis and dithering about what to wear today.

Second check: stupid sticking bike room lock, plus then realizing I left my helmet upstairs. grump grump

I ended up leaving about five past eight, and--well, thought I had arrived at 8:35, which made me feel like quite a studmuffin, as I'd lost time in the confusing braid of Riverside Drive one-way splits and ended up walking my bike across Sakura Park, but then realized that the Sulz Tower clock is ten minutes slow. -_- So still about a 40-minute trip all told; with the backing and forthing, it was probably an hour since the time the coffee went into the thermal cup, and it was tepid. FAIL! I will have to investigate better technology there.

So that's all the minor stuff. A more significant thing is that I have for the first time encountered a standard bike opponent: Belligerent SMIDSY. I was eastbound on 125th, under the West Side Highway overpass; it is a four-way stop where the off-ramp from the highway comes down to street level. I arrived at the stop sign simultaneously or a fraction before a large police truck thing. The cop driver--who is to my right, so would have the right-of-way--looks both ways like a good lad, sees me, sees my stoppedness, and drives through. I push off and enter the intersection. Church van who had been behind the cop also starts to go. I look at him--I am now in the center of the intersection and lined up with his hood. He is not stopping. I lock eyes with him, fling out my arm in an arresting gesture, and yell "HEY!!" Finally he stops. I continue through the intersection and pull up to the next stop sign, about 30' away. He turns right to follow, pulls up next to me at the stop sign, yells something I can't make out, and then peels off down 125th St. I turn right and start walking my bike up the Hill Of Doom, as is my custom.

This sort of blurred out the incident at the start of my ride, when I had been coming up Dyckman St. to get on the greenway; there is no bike lane there, so I took my lane, per counsel of wiser heads, and plugged away at my best pace (which wasn't awesome since it's an uphill with lots of stops). A school bus (!!!) peeled around me, cutting it rather fine, and then up to the highway onramp (almost running the last stop sign, too).

I should probably not find it surprising that the people who should be driving with the most care are the ones being the least mindful.
serinde: (body)
I had put off thinking about most lifestyle arrangements until after moving, because how do you know what things will look like til after you're settled; and then until after all the California trips were done with, because ualeaualeualeualeaue; but all that's done and the apartment is mostly settled (although there was enough of putting that off to warrant a separate post), and although yes the stress is ramping up at work and I Don't Wanna Think About Being Virtuous, the fact is that I know I will feel better if I realign things. So, herewith, the long mental burp.

Cut text working yet? )
serinde: (running)
(Where by "day 2" I mean "a week after day 1", on account of questionable weather + after-work commitments.)

First of all: backpack, massive improvement; no 20mph headwind, massive improvement. (Though I don't think the trip took much less time, if any.) However, in spite of the again-lower-40-degree temperatures and not wearing heavy clothes and a whizzo miracle fiber hiking backpack, there is still some sweating at the back. Presumably this will only get worse as the season progresses, so I had better take thought to that: either by having a complete change of clothes, or by offloading cargo to the bike.

In deference to $BOSS's warning that $OVERBOSS looks askance at jeans (though I have been wearing nice ones with blouse & jacket off-and-on the whole time I've been here), and also because I wanted to see how it did, I wore a skirt today, with a sleeveless knit top. I put my Layer of Authority in the backpack, along with nice shoes and my stockings, since I figure riding is going to be even harder on them than my usual thunder-thigh chafing. Not wanting to go commando, however, I dug out an old pair of leggings to keep the wind off of me. Attire was completed with pink sparkly socks, Skechers, and an embroidered stretchy denim jacket. I fear I looked too hipster for words, but the combination did work; I was comfortable for the whole ride, and my movements were not restricted. Nor was the load on my back too heavy, in spite of also carrying two apples, a quart of soup, and my usual impedimentia.

It is a beautiful, diamond-bright morning to be riding in the spring green along the blue, blue Hudson. Even the yucky industrial bits under the West Side Highway look picturesque. Another morning, when I have more lead time, I'm going to stop and take pictures along the way.

I have still not Let Go enough to lock my bike outside. Although there are many bikes there, most of them are beaten up, and I'm scared that my shiny new one will be the obvious target. Also, I think both of my wheels are quick-release, and I think therefore I need an additional wotcha to make sure no one walks off with the front one. (Does that happen? Would people steal just a wheel?)
serinde: (running)
I spoke not of it, but I got a bike for commuting on Saturday morning. (They were out of the puke-green in my height, so it's white. I am intending to put Hello Kitty decals on it.) Naturally it rained for the next two days, but today dawned sunny (if cold), and I have no post-work obligations, so there it is.

My route is fairly straightforward: my street (has bike lane) to the end, then two blocks on Riverside (no bike lane, hilly, cranky people trying to get on the West Side Highway), then onto the blessed Hudson River Greenway for most of the trip. One exits at 125th St (aaaaaaa) and then up the giant hill at Riverside Drive (aaaaaa) and then cut over a block to Claremont (AAAAAA CRAZY PEOPLE) and then you're on campus. So there is some danger at the beginning and the end, but most of the trip is car-free, which is good, because otherwise I probably would not be doing it.

I left at about 7:45am, clad in jeans, heavy knit shirt, leather jacket, and helmet; was carrying what I am pleased to call my "hiking purse" cross-slung. It isn't heavy in itself but I had put a bottle of water in one of the side pockets and, here was the kicker, my bike lock (Kryptonite U-lock) hooked to it. This has led to lots of me having to hitch the purse around and a crick in the left side of my neck (and possibly why my left ass cheek is sore but not my right one). Although since getting to the office I've attached the lock on its little holder widget to the bike frame, I think a backpack is still the clear and correct answer.

The ride itself was, on the whole, very pleasant, in spite of a strong headwind. The parklands where you're only about ten feet above the river are particularly nice. There were a small number of other cyclists around, which was reassuring that I Am Not A Lone Idiot; but also because some areas were remarkably secluded and possible danger spots. I am not a fainting flower, but until I get some conditioning back I'm not convinced of my ability to run over any importunate self-improvement societies. The greenway part is mostly flat--a couple long slow climbs and drops that aren't obvious to the eye, only to the pedal, but they don't signify. Exception: the big hill just north of the bridge was everything I had been warned about; it was only downhill this way, though that was scary enough, because it is very curvy and I didn't want to bang into anyone or anything; it will indubitably suck coming home. The street parts on both ends are fairly hilly and manage to be uphill both ways.

It is sadly indicative that there were five blockages in the Seaman Ave. bike lane in the two blocks between my door and Dyckman St. I think I may want to invest in a rear-view mirror for as much as I'll have to be exiting the lane to continue, but whether or no, it's going to require a lot of defensive driving.

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serinde

September 2013

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