Kasey C.

Kasey C.


It's been way too long since I've posted, mostly because I've got nothing particularly great to report. It's a bit embarrassing, really. I started out so strong (as I often do) and managed to keep to diet and workout through quite a lot. But the past two weeks have been a way less than stellar showing.

My work hours have been a lot to adjust to. Last week there was one time when I got home after 9 and turned around and left for work the next morning at 6:15. And it's not like I get a lot of free time off otherwise. So I haven't quite figured out how to make kids and a lot of work mesh with training.

Also, I injured my shoulder and my knee - and for a brief few days, my back too. It feels like a long litany of excuses and I haven't wanted to post anything long and whingy about why I can't work out. (I'll also note that apparently systemic poison oak is a thing. I know it because I never got rid of the poison oak I got in week two. What a winter.)

On the plus side, I have managed to keep up with cardio. I've tried to do the other exercises that I can, but have gone back to a few weeks ago when it was a bit less intense so I can let my various parts heal, but also stay active.

I will post a photo tomorrow when I can get a family member to take a picture (I don't have a full-length mirror at home, so selfies don't really work). My last photo wasn't super flattering, but I had to post it because those pants I'm wearing are my ten-year-old son's! So, at least there's that. ;) But mostly, I've just felt a bit ashamed at how poorly I've been doing with the training lately. I will not have a stellar 90-day photo and I'm a bit disappointed about that. But, I will take solace in wearing my kid's pants and being a whole lot more fit.

It's been a while

I dropped off the map a bit (I do *really* wish the app would allow me to post because I would post quite often that way). My colleague at the new job quit, so now it's just me and the owner of the firm and I'm practicing in a new area, so it's now a lot more hours and this job was already a lot more hours than the last one. At least I like my boss and I like learning new things.

I've been a little hit or miss on the program, in part because of the hours, and in part because of the new structure of the workouts. My knee feels twingy pretty much every day and my left shoulder locked up one day and hasn't been feeling great since. Also, in the day or two following the tricep work, I lost a little feeling in my right pinky. Definitely feeling my age. I'm sure missing a day or two here and there doesn't help.

So, while my performance in life has been pretty great, it's been a little disappointing on the Kenzai front and I am trying to rejuggle how the day looks so I can get it all in (though, as noted in the lesson a while back, I do feel more tired and sluggish, so less sleep isn't really feeling like a possibility). I'll get it sorted, but I may not be typical chiseled example of a Kenzai finisher.

We're having some epic storms out in Muir Beach, and around the Bay area generally. Because our internet is basically some system rigged up by a neighbor, stormy times can be difficult times and our internet was out last night. I was frustrated because I hadn't gotten the workout specifics down in the morning and hadn't had a chance to work out before work. As I was trying to figure out what to do with my husband, my daughter started to cry and said she didn't want me to change, that I'm not fat, and she likes me the way I am. It was a really big moment.

I tried to talk to her about how it's not about being fat (I'm not), but rather about being strong and healthy in my body so I can live a long life and keep up with her when we're out and about. But, I realized that she's seeing a scale and hearing me bemoan hard-boiled eggs/eggs generally and passing up dessert, so it *is* a big change and one that doesn't seem positive to an almost 7-year-old. I want to make sure she gets the message that Kenzai is a good thing, so tonight for my cardio, instead of jump roping, I did about an hour and 15 minutes of Just Dance with her (it took that long for me to feel like I kept my heart rate sufficiently up, which is a HUGE improvement. I used to be toast after three songs).

I've tried to keep the scale/weighing mostly hidden from her and not talk about appearance changes around her because it's complicated to raise girls in this culture. And still, her reaction was so strong it caught me off guard.

It is a positive change for sure. As much as I don't like the diet idea, I will say that I have seen how much I rely on sugar and alcohol for coping with stress. It's been stunning, actually. And now that I don't go to those things, I'm making better habits (I hope Belle sees that too). I have a nightly cup of tea that is really lovely and I wake up fresh and not groggy (still nursing this cold, so this week is an exception to that rule, but before that was so much better). I heard someone say that if you want to accomplish everything you'd like to do in life, giving up sugar is one of the best ways to do that. I hadn't really believed it. But I'm starting to see how it's messed with my clarity. I'm not saying I'll be sugar-free forever, but I've definitely got a different outlook on what that bit of chocolate will cost me. Now to convince my child that I won't disappear or morph into a new person on her. ;)

Hope everyone is having a lovely week.

Closing out week 7

It was an off week for me as well. I got some terrible cold from the kids and was heavily dosed on NyQuil, so couldn't get up to do my workout two days in a row (nor could I breathe for it either). Was feeling better yesterday so got that one done and will done one of the missed workouts today (the strength training part) after I do the jumps.

I'm struggling a bit with the Captain's Chair exercise. At first my chairs would move and I'd have to stop a set to readjust. Fixed that yesterday but noticed that it's really tough on my wrists (I remember this from when I did yoga too - certain poses took months to feel comfortable). I'm not experiencing issues today, so I'll stick with it, but if it becomes a problem the following day, I'll need an alternate.

I've had a couple of people say they see a difference, but so far I don't notice too much that's visible to people (still covering up my legs due to my purple poison oak patches and SF just isn't warm enough for leg-baring clothes anyway). But, I walked/ran almost five miles yesterday chasing three kids around a museum and Golden Gate Park and didn't get tired until the end (though I think that was mostly because my cold symptoms returned). So, it's all those non-visible but very important changes that keep me coming back.

My indulgence was a double-double with cheese (protein style - no bun) and a side of fries from In-N-Out. It was great, though I do wish I'd just done another chile relleno. That was amazing.

End of week 6

I looked back to see how many jump ropes we had to do that first Sunday and it was 400. Four hundred seemed so tough then, but did 1600 today. Not going to say it was easy, but it was fine (grim expectation, right?). I still don't have a blue tooth jump rope and after about 350 jumps my rope coiled up and kept tripping me (I have been hanging it up every day after use), so I just pretended to have one. And still I tripped myself at one point, which was kind of funny.

This week's question is why I'm not quitting. I need these endorphins. I have more stress than I thought I could handle (parents are now filing police reports against the bully because the school won't do anything, plus the still-newish job is still pretty packed solid) and I think the only reason I haven't cracked completely is because of the workouts. I did go off diet and have ice cream one night, which I actually don't regret. It helped to do that with the kids and watch a silly movie and pretend that all of the other stuff wasn't happening. But I realize I might be slower to see results if I do that.

I am still a little puffy from steroids (I *still* have patches of poison oak on my leg. They're mostly dried up now thanks to a new round of steroids. FYI, don't eat mango if you have poison oak. They are related. Who knew?)

I'm also not quitting because I like the physical changes in my body. It feels a bit shallow to say, but my bum is looking good now, as are my legs (which I'm not showing off due to the aforementioned patches of poison oak). My arms are getting there too. It's nice not to hide behind clothes because of middle-aged doughiness.

I went through my closet yesterday and pulled out everything that doesn't fit - either because it's too small or too big. It doesn't leave me with a whole lot, but I look forward to starting over in a place of conscious choosing based on where I'm really at.

Finally, as I've mentioned throughout, it is a relief to feel comfortable in my body. I have been sick a lot of my life (endometriosis and celiac disease). For ages, no one knew what was wrong and I had so much pain there were days that felt impossible. I've taken care of those things as best I can (I'm now looking at a hysterectomy to fix the endo once and for all, though I'm close enough to the window of things shutting down naturally that I'm not sure), but I started to have so much pain from inactivity and it was depressing. To be able to move through the day pain-free is so huge for me. It's hard to explain, but anyone who's spent a fair amount of time with pain management gets it, I'm sure.

So, that's why. I actively dislike the workouts, but as Ed said a while ago, I love how I feel after. :)

A heck of a week

I got steamrolled a bit by the past week: both my daughter and I finally got Noro, I worked a 12 1/2 hour day, and found out my son is being bulled, the school knew, and didn't say a word (we're talking incidents like throwing him up against a wall). It's been a LOT. So, some days I either missed or did a lighter load. I'm not sure how to count that on the site. Do I say I did the workout even though I didn't do it all? Right now it looks like a giant goose egg for last week because I didn't know how to count the partials, but also was not up to full workouts (the good news is that my body shed several pounds in one day, so it may not look like I missed anything).

I'm currently running on four hours of sleep because I am now the legal representative for the group of parents whose kids are being bullied by this one student and, after work and working out, I had to draft a letter to the school district. I'm seeing that today could be problematic workout wise if I don't plan ahead (I anticipate falling asleep by dinner, so I won't be sad about a small dinner tonight ;)). I can't take my jumprope to work (the office situation is weird), but I could conceivably jump without the rope and pretend I have one. Is that permissible so I get the full 1200 in?

Look forward to catching up on Team Deneb's blogs today or tomorrow and sorry for the absenteeism! I'm sure everyone is doing a fantastic job.

Yesterday's double ab workout was definitely a mental and physical barrier to overcome. My core is one of the weakest parts of my body and those second two planks last night might have been done with a series of swear words going through my brain (part of that was because my 10 yo son stood over me talking about how he does them all the time in Tae Kwon Do and they're not that hard. Kids). But I did it. And I feel like that's my constant refrain through the program - I didn't think I would/could, but I did. (Confession: sometimes to get to the I did it part, I tell myself if I just do the jump rope portion I can quit. I know I won't because once that part is done, I'm already sweaty and warmed up so might as well just finish.)

I'm excited to be at thirty days today. It feels like an important milestone and has provided a boost to my motivation.

After much consideration and many, many options, I used my indulgence on a chile relleno. I don't regret it one bit. And my friends very much appreciated a designated driver when we went out on Saturday night.

The diet has proven a tricky adjustment. When we started the program, I had been doing time-restricted feeding and mostly paleo. So, I ate only between 12-8 PM and did not eat many carbs and almost no fruit (definitely ate a lot of veg). The carbs and fruit have left me feeling a little light-headed at times and my breakfast is definitely still happening a bit too close to lunch, but I'm getting there.

When I started this program, it was for strength and pain relief (both of which I'm noticing). I had told myself I don't care if I look all cut up (and, honestly, I'm not wedded to a six-pack). But after all of this work and sacrifice, I kind of do want to physically see the results. So, as I eat my untraditional dinner, I'll be thinking of that.

Leg cramps

I do love the morning workout, but today will have to bump it back to night. I woke up with a Charlie horse in my calf and now have one in my quadricep. I'll stretch a lot today but am wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I was prone to these when I ran long distance and was pregnant (both some time ago) and the suggestions then had been to have extra salt (I'm salt sensitive and don't usually have much). I'll have a banana for my morning fruit today, but if you all have any other ideas, I would be incredibly grateful to hear them. Thanks!

I got up this morning to just do the jump rope portion in advance and ended up doing all of it. It was great because I didn't have any time to think about how I didn't feel like doing it. I just got up and got it finished.

I'll need to start about 30 minutes earlier to not feel crunched for time (and to hit all the stretching zones), but it was so worth it to come home after work and just be able to be with my family.

Day 23

So far things have been going well. The past couple of nights I've been kept late at the new job due to urgent matters and I am having to choose between playing with my kids before bed and working out. I try to get them to play with me while I work out (once the jump roping is done because I can't talk, let alone count, while engaging in some sort of make-believe game), but they haven't been getting much of my attention. I'm thinking though that I might start to split up the workout with the goal of moving to a morning workout entirely (I am not so unrealistic to think that I can do it one fell swoop. I am not early morning material).

Over the weekend I revisited a bunch of the lessons and saw one of the early stretching ones that had mentioned the need to stretch if doing jumprope early and the rest of the exercises later. As we ramp up to 1000 jumps, I'm thinking I'll have to knock that out in the morning and then do the rest at night. 1000 jumps seems an incredible amount. But, then again, so did 800. And 600.

I appreciated yesterday's lesson quite a bit. I had thought I might have noticed some muscle definition returning to my thighs, but then it seemed like it went away. I'm a little puffy on the steroids for the poison oak so it may be that. Or it may just be that I need to be patient a bit longer.

I did notice changes early on and, so far, they've held. Emotional stability is the biggest one, with improved cardiovascular performance being a close second. The increased number of jumps has triggered my asthma the past couple of nights, but I think it will settle down again. But I can walk up and down the stairs in my house, to my neighbors', to the beach, etc., without feeling like I am going to collapse somewhere in there. And I don't feel like an old lady in my body, so that keeps me motivated.

I have been thinking, though, about how I'm going to maintain this long-term. I get that this is a rigorous program for 90 days. But it's also a lifestyle choice. And while some banished foods (I'm looking at you, butter) will absolutely make a comeback post-Kenzai, I want to maintain an exercise regimen. So I'm hoping that I'll be able to keep that up. I find the working out every day is better than having true rest days for me because then I know it's just expected, no matter what. Maybe I'll carry that over. We'll see. It's not even 1/3 of the way through yet (ALMOST, though!), so it's early to be thinking of that. But I do want to make sure I've carved out space for it. I really don't want to go back to where I was a few weeks ago.

A wobble

The poison oak spread and yesterday morning I woke up with both eyes swollen, the right one almost completely. So I went to urgent care and got a 5-day course of steroids, among other prescriptions. It's helped a lot with the eye inflammation, though I still look rather frightening. But I skipped yesterday's workout. I felt too wobbly with the steroids and too itchy and just plain awful.

I did get back on it today and showered immediately (the sweat makes the rash itch). The workout was exactly what I needed. I run anxious (though WAY less so since starting Kenzai) and the steroids have given me a whole bunch of free-floating anxiety. But I was surprised how off my game I was after missing one day (could be the meds). My jump roping was a mess, but I kept with it, recalling the lessons and working on not losing it.

I noticed with the leg raises a significant difference between the left and the right. The left one felt stickier at the top (for lack of better phrasing) and I noticed the lower back twinging just a bit. This was the hip that prompted me to join Kenzai. I'm hopeful this exercise in particular will start to make a big difference. The hip pain is largely gone (it showed back up after hiking for a brief stint, but was gone after the next workout).

I also had a little wobble with the diet. My husband made all of my food so I could just relax. He made healthy items, but there was definitely no weighing happening. So, I treated it like eating out and made my best estimates about portion size based on how it all felt.

I'm hoping to do a bunch of food prep tomorrow for the week ahead. But after reading today's lesson, I'm also going to let the overachiever and perfectionist in me have a seat. It's a lifestyle and I want to make the healthiest choices I can, which may mean letting someone else do my food prep until I'm back in good form. And I plan on sticking with the jump rope tomorrow. No more mushroom hunting for me. ;)

Door anchor fail

While doing tonight's workout, my door anchor failed and I got slapped in the back with a large metal ring. I don't recommend it. After taking some time to shake it off, I did finish the workout, though I used a different door and have to admit to being moderately terrified I'd get slapped in the face at some point.

Tonight's workout was further complicated by the fact that it appears my fun Sunday jaunt to collect mushrooms resulted in poison oak. I've never had it before (thought I was immune and guess I got a bit cocky) and had no idea that sweat makes it burn.

Needless to say, I was desperate for a sweet treat. But I managed to resist another day. I am hoping the cravings die down again soon.

I'm inspired by this group. I know everyone's busy, but you all keep showing up. :)

Week 3

I lost my laptop charger and every time I tried to do a post on the app, the app ate it. Thankfully, I found my cord and am back in communication.

I'm finding the sugar cravings harder this week than last. I went in to the grocery store and saw a gluten-free cupcake and had my hand on it to put it in the cart and then remembered. I am also missing my evening cider or glass of wine with dinner. I didn't have it every night, but this week I'm feeling the absence quite a bit.

I did have some fun with the cardio on Sunday. I went mushroom hunting with a neighbor. It sounds leisurely, but it really involved a fast trek straight up a steep slope, while stepping over vines and jumping a ravine. My heart was pounding for a while, but I was able to keep up and that thrilled me.

I can't say I really enjoy the workouts. I especially have to push through the jump roping, the squat/lunges, and the ab workout. But I do love what it's given me in just over two weeks. Last night I did a full moon hike with the women in our neighborhood. I had stopped doing it because I was making a lot of excuses, but it boiled down to it being quite hard. Again, it wasn't easy, but I kept up and was able to keep up conversation while doing so. Next month I hope to see an even bigger improvement.

At the end of last week, we were asked what surprised us most. My answer is two-fold: first, I noticed results relatively quickly. Not massive changes, but there were things I could do with more ease than I've experienced in ages, such as climbing up the steps from the beach. (We live near the beach, but there are two long staircases down to it. So, two long staircases back up. On Sunday, I didn't think I was going to have a heart attack.) Second, I stuck with it and have not yet missed a workout. We have Noro virus in our house now and my husband and son have both had/currently have it. I don't feel fantastic, but I'm not vomiting, so I'm still showing up for the workouts (if I were truly sick, I would take a break. I think I'm just exhausted and I know that eventually working out will give me more energy). Also, I have a condition called endometriosis and it flared up over the weekend. I was in an immense amount of pain. But I still made the workout happen (can you tell I'm the daughter of a Marine?). Anyhow, I'm proud of myself for doing it. The flip side is, I know if I give myself a break this early on, I'm going to make excuses.

The expanded workout is proving hard for me with the additional upper body work. That and my core is where I am weakest and I am definitely feeling it. I try to push for the middle of the road on the sets, if not the upper limit, but I just barely scraped by on the tricep dips. These have never been a strength of mine, not even when I was in good shape. So I don't know that I'll ever love them. But I will try to get more proficient.

I also find some aspects of the diet tricky. I love to make soups - a particular veg one. And I can skip the beans no problem. But I'm not sure about portion size for a soup. I think I'm going to have to weigh out the ingredients in advance and then factor in how many lunch servings that would be.

And I realized I never did answer the introduction questions, so here goes:
Where in the world are you? Muir Beach, CA - just north of San Francisco

What made you decide to jump into a challenging program like Kenzai? Short answer: I felt old before my time. I'm 44 and I took a much more sedentary job 4 years ago. Between that, my commute, and my kids, I didn't make any time to work out. Recently, I developed a serious pain in my left hip. Around the same time, a colleague blew out her knee doing NOTHING. Apparently, you really do lose it if you don't use it. Her doctor told her she injured herself because of her lack of exercise. I don't want to lose it. And I'm happy to report that the pain in my hip is largely gone - already. I have plenty of pains elsewhere now, but I know those will go away as my body returns to some semblance of fitness.

What music will be playing when you strut your stuff on Day 90? Macklemore's "Glorious"

I'm back

I've done all of the workouts (woohoo!) but haven't been able to participate in the blog part because I've been winding down my job of four years and I had a massive project to deliver today (I pulled it off! I had to work until midnight last night to do it, but I did it). I am done now and at least have this weekend to recover before starting a new job on Monday.

I know it's a lot to expect results from a new workout regime right away, so I've tried to keep my expectations low. I have to say that I don't think I could have managed the stress of this week without the workouts. I also am not sure I could have pulled off everything I did without whatever sort of moderate zen the workouts are giving me (I made it such that my replacement ought to have no real work for the next three months or so and can settle in at an easy pace).

I've also managed to troubleshoot my jump roping so it's working better. I had been turning the rope too slowly, so I was essentially bouncing twice for every turn. I have improved my technique and am largely getting through it without too many mishaps. Looking forward to adding the diet piece in next week. :)




Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body