The Big Move, 3 Months In

It’s been over 3 months since our arrival in Boulder, and most of my conversations with friends involve a rundown of how it’s going. I’m surprised by how at home I feel here. Maybe it reminds me of the Palo Alto of the 70’s (definitely not the version). The kids are doing well in school; Bill is enjoying teaching. His position is not without challenges and he’s working plenty hard, but still we get to see more of him. I especially appreciate having him home in the mornings, helping with the morning rush and just getting the girls out the door.

The scale of life here allows for us to bike with Maia, or sometimes even walk (about a mile) to school with her. I pick up the girls by 4 most days, and some days Lucy is home earlier than that. With Norris home I can bring Maia back from school before running up to the preschool most days, giving both girls time to hang out and just enjoy downtime. It’s really nice. Of course some of that is a function more of my not working than Boulder per se.

The hard stuff is how scattered my schedule is. The first couple of months I found myself essentially doing errands full time – running to Target, the grocery store, to a cafe, back home and out again. And cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Even though the driving here is easy, it’s still not fun to be in the car for hours on end. With Lucy’s school a 20 minute drive away, I am still in the car over an hour a day (2 round trips), but trying to find ways to reduce my car trips. And reminding myself that things will be better next year when she is in kindergarten at the same school as Maia.

In the past month, we’ve gotten some help with the household chores and I’ve also focused in on preserving slightly larger blocks of my time – having 3 hours to sit down and work on my freelance gig, on my startup idea, on my own learning curve, or whatever I need to do. Gaps and downtime are filled by time-appropriate tasks – 20 minutes before end of school? fold a load of laundry. Early to a coffee meeting? Check on the flight costs for our trip to the Bay Area. etc. etc.

The nicest thing is that socially, we have landed in a very nice, existing eco-system of Bill’s colleagues, a number of whom are (more or less) in the same phase of life – raising school aged kids, new-ish to Boulder. I’ve joined a (faculty/spouse) book club. A large number of the faculty friends passed through the Bay Area in their academic careers, and share the liberal intellectual mindset.

I’m also getting to know the startup scene, networking and making contacts here, noodling on my idea, getting feedback and feeling energized and collegial. There are meetups, events, informal coffees, workshops… every day of the week. Folks here are pretty open minded, supportive and interested.

Being far away from family and friends, favorite haunts and landmarks is hard. But if you have to leave, I have to say Boulder is about as good a place to land as I can imagine.


P90X Days 4-6

So, I took two extra days off after Day 3. Part of it was busyness, but I think in part I was really not looking forward to doing the Yoga X workout. For a couple of reasons. First, the workout itself is 90 minutes compared to most of them being 60 (although adding Ab Ripper X for 15 minutes on a few days brings some workouts to 75 min). But mostly it was that I did not think Tony would be an effective Yoga teacher. He’s just too “BRING IT!!!!”  And it fact, I was kind of right. His personality is excellent for the weight lifting routines and for Core, as well as for the Kenpo X. But for Yoga, even though he was trying to bring his calm energy in, you could still hear that intensity in him sometimes.

And also, I have the most background in yoga – having done a fair amount of both Ashtanga and Bikram. I’m not great at it but I am very very familiar with the asanas. Anyway, the routine itself is decent with a mixture of sun salutations, warrior poses, standing poses, balancing poses and some inversions. Not a terrible workout actually. Next week I will try to do it with the ‘silence and cues’ mode, turning off the cheesy music and Tony’s commentary.

Day 5 – Legs & Back – I wasn’t excited about this one either. Plus the back exercises are all about doing various forms of pull-up. First of all if I had a pull-up bar I am not sure I could do any of them anyway – but I don’t have a pull-up bar. After skipping the first set of the pull-ups, I decided to replace the other sets with push-ups. Certainly not the same movement but at least it is a back and arms strengthener.

Day 6 – Kenpo X – this is probably one of my favorite routines. Very high energy, and somehow although it takes coordination it felt ‘doable’ for me. Maybe not surprising, I have liked cardio boxing the few times I have done it, and I liked the Kenpo aspects of the Core workout.

So, it’s taken me 9 days to do the first week of P90X workouts. Even though I took two days off already this week, I think I will go ahead with the rest day tomorrow. After all, I’m coming from almost no exercise to every day/every other day. And Kenpo is definitely an intense all body workout. Let’s see if I can do the next week’s workout in either 7 or at most 8 days (1 extra off)….

After the first week, I don’t know if there would be any measurable results yet. But I am feeling good in my body and a little more toned/less flabby in general. So, it’s good. I think one of the challenges in sticking with the program will be how long you can take having Tony in your living room. The guy is a great coach but even so, I could see it getting repetitive.


P90X Day 3

Today I had two workouts: Shoulders & Chest and Ab Ripper X

– Shoulders & Chest – I thought this was a solid workout. Nothing too tricky or different than anyone who has been doing a basic weightlifting regimen with free weights. But, I think I need to get some heavier weights. Tony recommends 12-15 reps for strength building, and I didn’t have any problem doing that at 5lbs. for most moves. I’ll try to pick up some 8’s and 10’s – hopefully that will be a better level of challenge.

– Ab Ripper X – this is a tough ab workout – since this is one of my goals to improve my core strength, I’m probably starting out at a deficit here. My goal was to do 20 reps of each move (vs. the 25 reps that Tony prescribes) – and was not able to complete them all. I will be tracking to see if I can make it to doing 25, and to do all moves with proper form in the next few weeks.

P90X Days 1 & 2

Day 1 – Core Synergystics

This workout was moderately challenging to me. It was a good start to the program, with a lot of focus on core strength. I didn’t detect an overall flow or progression of this workout which could make it kind of boring in the future though.

Day 2 – Cardio X

I liked this workout. The first 15 minutes or so were warmups and some yoga moves like sun salutations and warrior I/II. Then things got moving a bit more, picking up the pace with some kickboxing moves (Kenpo). Still, I was feeling like I was hanging pretty well with the team – at about 25 minutes I was feeling pretty good about myself! Then the sequence from about 30:00 to the cooldown really picked things up, and my heart was definitely racing. A lot of jumping moves, modified jumping jacks, standing jumps and high energy moves. I was definitely glad when the cooldown started! But overall I really liked today’s workout.

After these two days I can feel the extra work I’ve been doing, a little soreness in my leg muscles. But also feeling that good post-exercise tiredness.

Note – I am doing P90X Lean, which has a different workout sequence than the traditional P90X.

The Big Move

We moved to Boulder, CO a little more than 2 months ago – we arrived here on August 2nd. We are renting a house in Table Mesa, about a block from a lovely recreation center and public park that includes a small lake and playground.  We also live about a half mile from a small but extremely functional shopping center (strip mall) that seemingly has everything you need for everyday living – grocery, hardware store, liquor store (they aren’t embedded in the groceries here in CO), a few decent restaurants, a bike shop, a pet groomer and a nice little froyo shop. We’re about a mile from M’s school, a bikeable distance and walkable if you leave enough time.

From the moment we arrived we have loved the neighborhood. M in particular spent the first month or so commenting on what a nice place it is. “Boulder is a really nice place to live.” “This is a really nice house, mommy!” “It’s really pretty here.” She is such a sweet kid, observant and appreciative. L has been a bit slower to warm to the place, but well, she’s kind of contrary by both nature and the fact that she is 4.

DH’s job has been busy – as expected in any new job. But he’s actually home at breakfast rather than leaving the house at 4:30 in the morning to beat the Bay Area commute, and even though he still works nights and weekends he is also able to spend more time at home. He bikes to work or rides the bus, which makes him really happy – I think he would like to spend as little time in the car as possible.

The first month for me was spent just settling in, getting the house in order. Taking the kids out to explore the new surroundings. When we arrived it was hot, in the high 80’s and low 90’s with humidity. Our fog-thinned blood did not know how to handle it!  So we spent as much time as possible at the many public swimming pools as well as at the aforementioned froyo shop.

Both girls started school in late August. M has integrated in easily to her school, and is starting to make a few friends. Her teacher says that she is well-prepared and fitting in just fine. We are so amazed and grateful every day for this school, after the nightmare that was our school journey in SF, that we have a lovely neighborhood school that offers lots of enrichments. The principal seems very energetic and engaged. BVSD also devotes two full days at the beginning of the school year to student assessments, which meant that Mrs. H already had a good sense of M’s strengths and weaknesses.

L seems happy in pre-school as well. She is in a school that follows the same philosophy as her school in SF. She’s been saying that she doesn’t want to go to school in the morning – she would much rather stay home with mommy. But she also tells us that she had a great day at school.

So, happy campers all around. Hoorah!

Starting a new exercise challenge

One of my visions for our move to Colorado was of shedding the hated 20+ pounds from having the babies. Yep, compared to pre-pregnancy weight, that’s 10 pounds extra per pregnancy. We’ve been here just over 2 months and I have found plenty of excuses, not a lot of self-discipline or motivation. This despite living in a recreational wonderland – full of beautiful easy hikes, public recreation centers, open spaces.And, I’m not working.

About a week ago I decided that one of the things I need and do better with is structure – when I have made it to the gym my workouts are without purpose or structure. So, I’ve purchased a copy of P90X – the famous or infamous intense workout from Tony Horton.

I started my first workout this morning. I’m going to have to prioritize my time to devote 1-2 hours per day to the program – I’ve selected the Lean configuration which incorporates a bit more cardio and a bit less bulk building.

My goals for the program are to shed fat, create muscle definition (especially in my core), lose weight and ideally lose 1-2 clothing sizes (getting to a largish 8 or small 10). I’m going to attempt to follow the workout schedule (6 days/week) although I’m immediately going into a week where I won’t have free time during the day to do the workouts. My thought for the first 4 weeks is that I can skip up to 2 days per week but that I would just pick up the next program in the schedule, which means the overall program could take longer than 90 days. (Of course if I followed the program to a ‘T’ starting today would wind up exactly on Dec 31, which would bring me into a great start for the new year.)

I did NOT take the ‘before’ photo today – even that is too embarrassing. Maybe I’ll get myself up to doing that some time soon, to be filed away for reference.

My goals in blogging about this are accountability and reflection – sustaining motivation. I’ll post thoughts on the exercises as I have time.

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