Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

I hereby resolve…

I seem to do this post almost every year (2008, 2010). For me, I feel like stating my resolutions publicly helps me stick to them, as if the readers of my post will hold me accountable. Realistically, I know that most people just read them and then forget about them, but I don’t. I think it really does help me. So, here I am, ready to list the resolution I will attempt in 2011.

First, though, I want to look back at what I resolved last year and how I did:

Goal #1:  Improve my health

I think I pretty much failed at this one. Not that I didn’t try.  I did well for awhile – I was working out with a trainer and was increasing my endurance.  However, my trainer was suddenly let go when the gym decided to sell to another gym. I tried with another trainer, but she left soon after.  I did okay on my own for awhile until I got sick at the end of the summer. I don’t get sick often, but when I do, it’s a doozy. I was unable to do much working out for weeks. Then the school year started and I had a hard time making working out a priority.

Goal #2:  Manage my money

It’s not too hard to manage your money when you don’t have much. Coming out of grad school, I definitely had more debt than I had before school. However, I managed to win a scholarship and was able to continue subbing throughout my student teaching, so it could have been worse. As I am about to get my third regular paycheck since starting my new job,  I’m finally getting to a point that I am comfortable. My bills are all paid, including extra to pay down my credit cards. I’ve saved up a deposit for a new apartment. I think I did as well as I could, considering my situation.

Goal #3:  Get a job

Woot! I got this one covered. As most of our regular readers know, I was hired at the end of September as a special education teacher in a north Seattle middle school. It was an unexpected move for me – I wanted a high school in Snohomish county – but it’s really working out well so far and I’m truly happy with my students, my school, and my colleagues.

Okay, now for 2011. I feel this will be a year of many changes. I’m finally in a place to take some steps that I have wanted to take in awhile.

Goal #1:  Move out to my own place

I am eternally grateful to my mother, who let me move in with her when I decided to move back to the Seattle area a little more than three years ago. We get along well, so it worked out nicely. However, neither of us expected on me staying this long. We also didn’t expect the recession, me losing my job, and the crash of the housing market. Staying here turned out to be to both of our advantages over the past 18 months, but I am ready to move on. My stuff has been in storage since I got here and I miss it. I want my own space where I can do things my own way, instead of the same way my mother has been doing them for the last 30 years. I have a deposit saved up, I just need to find a nice little place that takes 20 lb. dogs!

Goal #2: Expand my social circle

When I lived back in PA/NJ/NY, I had a great groups of friends that I could call up and they would come to visit or I would visit them. There were months where I rarely spent a weekend at home because I was off visiting someone else.  Since I moved here, I haven’t had much of a social life. It got a little better this past year when I met some great people at the UW, but we’ve sort of lost touch these last few months – half of us are starting new jobs, the rest are in their student teaching. I hope that in moving down toward Seattle, I will better be able to meet up with friends and make new ones.

Burke-Gilman Trail

Image by nathansnostalgia via Flickr

Goal #3:  Improve my health

I hate making excuses, but I really feel that moving will also help this goal. I will have more control over the food that comes into my house (if someone buys cookies, I will eat cookies!). I will also gain about two hours a day since my commute will be much shorter.

The biggest area for improvement is in exercising. I need to lose a bit of weight, and according to Toby’s last vet appointment, he could lose a pound or two as well. So, he and I need to get out for some nice long walks soon. The area I’m looking at moving to is right near the Burke-Gilman trail, a long bike/running trail along Lake Washington. I bought a bike last spring and haven’t been able to use it much.  It would be convenient to ride on the trail or even to work everyday. Ideally, I would like to run a 5K in the fall. I’m not going to commit to a specific one because I’m not sure when I will be able to get started, but there are plenty of great runs in the fall that I can choose from, including the 5K that is part of the Seattle Marathon weekend (which takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving). I’ll figure that out when it all gets a little closer.

They aren’t ambitious goals. I know my life is going to change a lot in the first few months of the year, and everything that I’m hoping to accomplish will be greatly affected by that.

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Back to the Gym


Image by yuan2003 via Flickr

I had such high hopes last year when it came to working out.  I had a gym membership, an awesome trainer who not only pushed me but motivated me too, and a schedule that usually allowed a couple of workouts a week.  I was making plans to run my first 5K in November!

It’s November. I will not be running my first 5K for a number of reasons.  First of all, I lost my trainer when my gym was sold and all the high ranking staff was fired.  I worked out with another trainer who was fine, but only lasted another two months before she took another job with better hours and more benefits.  Then I was finishing my degree, trying to find a job, and generally getting pretty depressed. I have to admit, out of all those issues, the last one was what did me in. I could hardly get the energy to get out of bed some mornings, let alone go to the gym or for a run. I stop working out all together.

Until this past Tuesday. It’s been a stressful week at work.  There’s a staff member who is making my job even more difficult than it usually is.  I had it with him that particular day and came home angry and stressed. I needed to get it out somehow, so I laced up my shoes and hit the treadmill.

Unfortunately, I hit it a little too hard. Not having any major exercise besides daily walks with my dog had definitely taken its toll.  I pushed it harder than I probably should have, but at the time, it felt great.  I came home less stressed and rather exhilarated from the workout.

Wednesday was a different story. I was okay in the morning, but by mid afternoon, I felt some pain in my knee when I went up and down stairs (hard to avoid since I both live and work on second floors).  By nighttime, though, I felt it everywhere – my left calf, my shoulders, my back, my arms.  It’s like every muscle was making itself known to me. I climbed out of bed this morning and I felt like I was 90 years old.

I don’t regret it though. I did the hard part – I got back onto the treadmill.  My schedule may be erratic, but I know how that workout felt and how I can feel if I keep it up.  So, maybe my first 5K will be this Spring sometime! I can hardly wait!

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Trained to Motivate

Personal trainer showing a client how to exercise

Image via Wikipedia

About 18 months ago, I had a plan. I’d done the diet thing and had lost some weight, but I knew that nothing was going to help me more than regular gym workouts. Fortunately, a new gym was opening out about seven minutes from my house. My mom had worked out at another branch and had liked them, so I figured, “Why not?” I signed up – even had my activation fee waived because I was a teacher! – and was ready to start.

I knew, though, that just signing up wasn’t going to be enough. Sure I could run on the treadmill, but that gets dull quickly and I wanted to do more than just cardio. So, my solution was to sign up with a personal trainer. Thus enters Allison into my life. I met with her once a week, usually after work on Fridays.  She pushed me hard. I would ache pretty much all weekend, but it was that good kind of hurt. She kept things interesting – we rarely did the same thing two weeks in a row. My hour with her went really quickly, but I knew it was really working. I lost a little more weight and definitely toned muscle.

Things were great for almost a year. We took a couple breaks – I was out of town for a chunk of the summer, took some time off around Christmas – but for the most part, we met every week.  Then February happened. I was getting my stuff together to head to the gym when Allison called me. She had to cancel our session because of a last minute emergency staff meeting. We rescheduled for the following Monday.

That evening, I got a voice mail from Allison saying the club had been sold and most of the staff, including her, had been fired.  Over the next few days, I found out she was able to get a new position in another gym, but it was in Kirkland, a 35 minute drive from me. My remaining sessions were transferred over to another trainer, Malorie. She was good, but no Allison. About a month later, though, she took a job with another company because she wasn’t getting enough hours to make ends meet. That was the last training session I ever had.

So, since April, I’ve been winging it. I learned a lot during the time with Allison and Malorie, but I cannot replace one thing that they both supplied – motivation. The whole experience with that gym (which I left not long after due to their VERY shady business practices) sort of soured me on the organized gym part. I try to get over to the treadmill in our condo clubhouse, but I often find myself coming up with excuses or just forgetting. I’m hoping that once my life settles a little bit, I can get back into some sort of routine. Maybe I’ll find a new trainer that can kick my butt and help me with my motivational issues.

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