Tired Legs

My alarm went off at 4am again this morning. By 4:45 I was on the road. By 5:30 I was at my destination looking at this view:

Cone Mountain Circumference

This morning’s hike was the Cone Mountain Loop. It wasn’t a hard hike but it was a nice, rolling trail with constant up and down. The ground was a mix of small gravels and deep, loose sand. A pretty typical desert terrain, really.

My hips were a bit sore from yesterday and I didn’t notice that my left foot was getting a blister. But overall? All good stuff. The desert was amazing, the group is fantastic and I really like them, and I got to see my very first jackrabbit! No pictures of it, however. But I made up for not being able to photograph the cranky rattlesnake yesterday by photographing one that was pretty chill today. I’ve determined that I am not appropriately scared of snakes. It’s fine.

Some of the scenes from the hike:

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And this is the group I hiked with:

Cone Mountain Circumference Group

I really like them. It’s nice having a group to hike with, they’re very helpful and informative, there’s a lot of shared interests, and they’re just super nice and friendly folks. I’m glad I finally signed up for some hikes.

I was tempted to sign up for their hike tomorrow but the blister on my foot is making me feel that I should just use tomorrow to stretch, rest, and water aerobics. So that’s what I’ll do. I’m so reasonable.

On the Meetup page from yesterday’s hike someone posted this not very flattering at all candid photo of me standing with two of the other girls. I really hate candids of me. They never ever reveal me to be pretty. I always see candids, which are supposed to be a better reflection of ourselves, and I just see an ogre. Ugh. But! In this photo? I see an ogre with a smaller torso. Oh, I know, I still have a lot of torso going on. But it’s smaller. And that’s a positive!

That's a lot of torso I have!

That’s a lot of torso I have!

But then another lady posted this one and then I forgot about being sad about being an ogre. Because look how happy I look!

That's one happy ogre!

That’s one happy ogre!

This evening once the sun went down and the sidewalk felt less hot on my hands I took Gladys for her evening walk. And now it’s time to put me to bed. Hopefully Gladys will not wake me up too early. Sleeping in! I can do it!

Legs don’t fail me now!

My alarm went off at 4am this morning. By 4:30 I was on the road. By 5:30 I had started my first 5 mile hike! It was a really nice hike. Nice terrain. A few inclines to get my cardiovascular training in. Inclines, man. But I’m alive so I win!

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As we were going up one incline? The group leader was telling us to keep to the right and pointing. We all immediately knew there must have been a snake. The girl that was walking with me at that time was not really wanting to be near the snake so I said “Here, walk beside me and I’ll put myself between you and the snake.” That’s right. I put myself between a rattlesnake and a girl I just met. I’m a hero or something, right? Sure.

After we passed it and I saw that it was actually moving I asked “Would it be OK if I went and took a photo of the snake?” And everyone was all “NO DO NOT DO THAT! HE IS AGITATED!” So, I didn’t get to take a photo of the very first rattlesnake I ever saw. But I did see it. And now I know what they look like. They look like the desert. Have fun hunting for them when on a trail, y’all.

We started the walk at sunrise and it was really pretty. And I slowed myself down a bit by taking photos. But that’s ok.

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Then the sweeper, which is the guy that walks in the back to ensure none of the group gets left behind, pointed out all of the hot air balloons that were taking off and that’s always pretty to see.

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We had, I think, three or four stops on the hike. Which isn’t too bad, really. One stop was on the one small portion of hike that was on a sidewalk type trail. And everyone was taking photos with other people or of other people and one of those people took a photo of me doing this:

Sonoran Preserve Selfie

Way to be part of the group, Andrea! Good job!

I got to talk to one lady that has hiked the Grand Canyon already. She told me that I totally have it. “You got this!” She told me about the terrain and about the steep and more hints on how to get ready. Which, basically, translates to hike as much as possible, take longer hikes, hike part of the canyon before the rim to rim (which, no, I will not do. Because my friends don’t get to do that and so there), work on my cardio, and just be mentally prepared to look at some sections and the steepness of the canyon and the feeling that you have no idea what you just got yourself into. But she added “But just remind yourself then that yes you do, that you got this. Because you do.”

This group is just really nice. I dig them.

They also gave me a clearer view of the hike that I was signed up to do tomorrow and I determined that trail is not one I want to attempt for the first time with strangers. It sounds like a trail that I need to be with someone(s) that I trust and feel comfortable with. It sounds like the group going tomorrow moves faster and I’d likely wind up feeling uncomfortable, like a burden, and embarrassed. I don’t need that. So, I’m going on another hike with today’s group tomorrow morning! Yay!

Here are the stats for this morning’s hike:

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After the hike some of us went to breakfast and I ate a delicious Italian fritata. Yum!

Then? I came home and generally felt wiped out for most of the day. That was the longest hike I’ve been on, the first time I hiked wearing a pack with water, and it was warm. Not to mention I was up at 4 frickin’ AM!!

What I did realize today is that I just really do enjoy the hiking. I love the natural beauty of Arizona, I enjoy being out in it, I enjoy photographing it, and hiking just makes me feel good.

Now I should go hit the hay for tomorrow. Gladys has had her walk. All is right in our world. Good night!

Stabby Making Humidity

I just took Gladys for a walk and it was humid and it made me feel horrid and stabby. I sure do hope it moves out of here before my 5:30am hike!!! I don’t wanna hike in the humid. But, you know. Adversity and all of that. Good training. It’ll be fine. As long as I don’t have any stabbing implements. Just kidding. I think…

Now, let’s back up and talk about yesterday at the gym!

I woke up with a depression fog in my brain. I spent the day being a real shit. Then I went to the gym and acted like negative poo.

I did my 5 minute warm up on the stairmill then I did my shoulder warm up and then Tyler came over and asked his usual questions to assess what about my body hurts, doesn’t hurt, can be worked, etc. I explained that my neck was still a wee bit off and my thighs didn’t feel as bad as I thought they would.

So, sidenote…if you work really hard and your trainer is all “You’re going to really feel that in two days!” but you just have a mild soreness two days later….does that mean your not working hard enough? Or does that mean you’re making progress and you won’t ever feel that “oh my god my legs won’t work” soreness again? 

He determined we’d do upper body unless my neck hurt. It turned out my shoulders were the only thing to hurt! Gracious.

I did the verticle chest press. Three sets of 12 with 60lbs. This was a bit heavy and he had to correct my form a little but overall? Good stuff.

Then I did assisted knee pull ups. HOLY SHIT! My arms were on fire and after the first set my arms felt heavy. Like, it felt like I’d never done these before. I have no idea if he decreased the counterweight or not (I think as you decrease the counterweight it makes it harder…) but I only did 8, then 4.5, then 6.5. Rough, man. Plus my shoulder was all popping and cracking and it was all ugly. But I am impressed with how I pushed myself and did more than I thought I could. That’s a positive.

During this time I’m all whining about how I’m going backwards and he’s all “No, you’re going forward!” and trying to ignore my shit. 

Then he puts me on the incline chest press. This is the one that I can do and then I can’t do and then I kick it’s ass and then it kicks mine. Last night was a night that it kicked my ass. I did three sets of 10. First set with 20lbs then the last two sets with 15lbs.

Then I did a low row. This was hard, too. Three sets of ten. First set with 50lbs, last two sets with 40lbs. 

Insert me being whiny some more. Insert Tyler trying to ignore my shit.

Then I did a seated shoulder press with 10lb dumbbells in front of a mirror. Yeah. That makes my neck look super old. But! I can see my arms doing the work and that was nice. I did three sets of ten.

In between those I did the three way shoulders with a 2.5lb dumbbell. Three sets of ten of each move. 

He said he wants me to start doing that one at home with my 3lb dumbbell to help my shoulders. Then he said “I’m gonna keep adding stuff for you to do at home and eventually you’ll have a full workout!” and I smiled and said “Dude, I already figured that out…” and he laughed and was all “You’re the only one that listens!” I’m the star pupil. Gold star for me!!

Once that ordeal was over we went over to the ab area and I did three sets of fifteen easy crunches on the bosu ball.

Then I had to do three sets of 10 alternating hand to foot for each leg. So, twenty each set, really. On the bosu ball.

Then? I had to do a bosu ball v sit hold. Which looks like this:

The last time I tried this I could barely go 15 seconds without having to put my feet down. This time was a cake walk! 

The first time was 30 seconds. The second hold was 45 seconds. The last hold was a full minute. I just focused on my breathing, made small adjustments if I started to lose my balance, and I felt damn good about how well I did it. Damn good. It was an excellent way to end that session. Me seeing massive progress. I’m strengthening my core, improving my balance.

And? I noticed that when I walk on the sidewalks that have dips, the dips no longer bother my ankles. My ankles are stronger! Little differences here and there! 

Today I prepared for tomorrow morning’s hike. I bought a big box of Cliff Bars at CostCo.

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 These taste really good! They are the best type of energy bar I’ve ever tried. Most of them are just weird with weird texture. But I like these. I’ll have one for breakfast and then carry some with me in the event I get hungry or feel weak on the hike.

I also filled up my water bladder and stuck it in the fridge so my water will be nice and cold in the morning. I have no idea how long it’ll stay that way but I’m giving it a fighting chance.

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 Tomorrow will be my very first hike with official hike gear! I’ve hiked, yes. But not with weight strapped on. This is going to be a good test. I’m really excited! I have all of my stuff ready to go and I just have to get to sleep and then get up at 4am. No sweat.

I’ll save the sweat for tomorrow…

Beast mode!

Monday I got even more serious and I spent some time going through all of the hiking Meetup group emails and signed up for several hikes over the next few months. I’m going on two this weekend. One at 5:30am Saturday morning and one at 7:30am Sunday morning. Both are around 5 – 6 miles. One is rated easy. One is rated moderate.

Then, after I signed up for long hikes, I determined I needed a hydration day pack. One with a 3 liter bladder that I could also use in my big multi-day pack. See there? How frugal and wise?! So, I went to REI and tried on the one that I went there to see and then somehow got talked into trying on a different one and I somehow convinced myself I liked it better. I don’t know what happened. I think maybe I was hungry.

So, I buy it and I bring it home and me and I put it on and take Gladys for a walk.

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Ummm…NO. It didn’t fit right and it has all of these extra things on the left strap that were rubbing my arm. No thank you.

So, Tuesday before my gym time with Tyler I ran to REI to trade it out. I go straight to the one I went there for, I loaded it down with a sand bag, I strapped it on, I walked around the store, I determined that I should have bought it to begin with. And? It was slightly cheaper AND not on sale which means it goes towards my dividend. Boom.

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Also, it’s purple so we should all know immediately that is the one I should have bought without question.

Then I head to gym. And I have to tell him that I slept funny on my neck and it’s all pully and tight on the right again. So guess what that means? LEG DAY!!

I warm up on the stairmill for five minutes at level 6. And whomever used that one before me sweat all over it. Like, large drips of sweat all over the place. And it stunk. Just remembering it now to type it made me gag a wee bit. That is not hyperbole. That is a true story. It was terrible. It was so terrible that I worried that perhaps it was me that was the stink. That surely just large drops of sweat wouldn’t be that odorific. But they were. It was not me. I’ve never smelled that bad ever. I hope.

Now it’s time to really start. He puts me on the leg press and tells me he’s going to start his watch and I have to do as many presses as I can in a minute. I can rest but I must rest with my legs extended, not in the squatted position. The press is loaded with 50lbs. He says go, and go I did. My first set I pushed out 22! For the second and third set he says “Alright, you have to either maintain or surpass 22!” and I’m all “DAFUQ?!” and he laughs. But I did it. I did 23 of those. Boom.

Then I stand up to walk and my legs are dead. They’re noodley and weird and I can’t walk right.

Too bad for me. That’s leg day.

I then did leg extensions and hamstring curls. 3 sets of each. I did 15 leg extensions with 25lbs. I did 10 hamstring curls with 15lbs. The hamstring curls were hard.

Then to make sure my legs were really good and used and tired and broken he puts me on the treadmill. Inclined at 15. Five minutes. 3mph. Not too bad.

We finish the session off with ab work on the swiss ball.

I did one set of crunches on the swiss ball. I did 20. Then I did two sets of 15 while holding a 10lb medicine ball straight up in the air.

In between those sets I did three sets of torso twists with the medicine ball while sitting on the swiss ball. And when I was twisting my hips would want to get involved and he had to hold my lower half still so it was isolating my torso. My hips, y’all. They like to be involved!

Today my legs were ok. Unless I tried to walk down the stairs and then my quads were all “OH HI! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO US?!?!?!?” But I was all “pipe down, we’re walking down stairs, damn.”

This evening was rest day. I was going to go do the gym and do cardio but then I decided no. Because tired. And lots of hiking activity. And gym tomorrow. I’m doing a lot. I’m doing a lot more than I ever have and it’s ok to not do anything today. Except I walked Gladys. And did laundry. That’s not nothing. That’s something.

That’s something!

A bit of a rest day

I talked to Tyler on Thursday about how the last few sessions at the gym I just felt kinda weak and like I wasn’t making progress. He explained about plateaus and all of that but I said it didn’t feel like that. That it felt more like I was actually moving backwards. He said that likely what is happening is that my body is just tired. Even though my brain isn’t recognizing it because I have kicked up my activity. So, I’m going to agree with that. I can’t remember the last time I had a day that I simply did a whole lot of nothing. Sure, I have days that I don’t do much. But a day that I did absolutely nothing? I dunno…

So, here we go to hear all about how I did nothing today! Except…

I took Gladys for the longer 1.4 mile walk before we did anything else. And it was nice. She loves that walk, man. And I like it, too. It’s relaxing. A nice way to start the day.

Then I made breakfast. Which consisted of a nice sausage and egg burrito that I made here at home.

Then? I got all fancy and made spicy black bean hummus and that stuff is goddamn delicious. I can just eat it with a spoon, man.

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Then I washed up some blueberries and they just look so pretty and nice.

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And then I realized that even though I’m not seeing changes in the scale and I feel like I’m eating all of the time always, I’m definitely eating healthier than I ever have in all of my life. So that’s something!

Then I went to Stretch and Tone class even though I had no desire to! And I looked awesome.

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If awesome means a chubby loon.

Stretch and Tone class was good, though. I’m a bit more flexible in some areas and still all bent leg in others. And my left leg is more flexible than the right. Which may be due to the right hip being lower at the moment. See how all of this ties together?! Me, too.

One lady talked and talked to me and while I was talking and talking to her I realized that I’m way more talky to people now, too. I talked a lot to people at the hike on Saturday. I talk to people at the social nerd Meetup group. Apparently I talk now. Neat!

Then I came home and had lunch. Which was a whole wheat tortilla with black bean hummus spread on it, some shredded chicken I made last night, and some thinly sliced pepper jack cheese. That was delish. So good. So simple.

I have done a lot of laying on the couch watching “The Killing” today. But also some fidgety walking around the house moving things to and fro. And dishes. And cooking more chicken in the crock pot. That type of thing.

For dinner I had half of a chicken breast, some refried beans, and some cottage cheese. All of which was yum and good.

I spent some time reading various people’s posts on PumpUp and there seems to be an emerging crowd of people that find the whole “clean eating” thing to be far too silly, far too stressful, and not actually beneficial. That eating in moderation, making sure you’re taking in enough calories to sustain you while also not more than you expend in a day, and that it’s more of a focus on keeping a certain percentage of your diet for protein, carbs, and fat. It’s the no stress diet. And it sounds like a whole lot of what I’ve been doing except for the tracking my macros. That’s the protein, carbs, fat thing. They don’t stress if they have a cookie, because they know that stressing over it leads to eating all of the cookies. They want a cookie, they eat a cookie. It feels somewhat validating to see a bunch of people that look fantastic are promoting what I’ve basically said forever. Look at me. I was fitnessy all this time and I didn’t even know it.

I’ve also noticed that people who do these cleanse diet things, like the fruit in the water thing, and claim that they work great! Are also making changes in other areas of their fooding but only attributing the weight loss to their “cleansing water!” I’ll even ask “Well, are you making other changes in your diet?” And they’re all “Oh, yeah!” and they begin to detail all of that out but still land on the fruit infused water with chia seeds being the trick. But you know what? If that works for them, I’ll let it stand. I’ll just keep drinking my water and doing my thing.

Speaking of which…at ballet gym I felt like a fat fatty. I hate looking up and seeing my ass in the mirror while we’re doing the floor stretches and it makes me feel bad for my gyno that they have to look at that view without the benefit of pants. That poor woman. But then I put on my Wonder Woman bikini and it didn’t look as bad as last time. And then I looked in the mirror at my torso while it was in the relaxed position. It’s not great but it is definitely smaller. Yes, I weigh the same. But I measured again and there are inches that are gone and I guess you can see that. I guess I just don’t because I’m me and I’m not going to.

So, with all of that said. Progress progress progress! And soon I need to do a true rest day, I guess.

Make Up The Moves As I Go

Gladys and I have been going on walks in the mornings and/or the evenings and it’s all very nice and good. She’s already to the point that she expects it. Last night I went to a food truck court and had delicious blackened catfish and mac n cheese and was just going to sit and chill since I had to be up so early this morning. But, no. She had other ideas. And she sat on the floor and stared up at her leash until I got my butt off the couch and took her for a walk. She’s very good at what she does.

Thursday was gym day! So what did I do? Good stuff, that’s what!

As always I was there before my time so I did the warm up on the stairmill for five minutes and my shoulder warm up. Oh, stairmill. I will defeat you.

First off I did the vertical hack squat. One set without weight to check my form. And as he checked my form he noticed that I looked off so he stood behind me as I squatted and then was all “your right hip is lower than the left.” This is a thing that has happened before so I guess I need to go to the chiropractor and get adjusted again. I haven’t since I was rear ended last year so it’s likely a good idea. And? I can use my HSA funds for that!! Wooo!

So, after all of that I did two more sets of ten vertical hack squat with 20lbs.

Next was the super leg press single leg squat. Three sets of 10.

  • First set was with 40lbs. I held the non-squatty leg straight out, no fancy moves. This felt like a pretty standard squat, just with one leg.
  • Second set was with 60lbs. I had to cross the non-squatty leg over the squatty leg, which stretched out the hamstrings. This, again, felt like a pretty standard squat, just with one leg and stretched out hamstrings.
  • Third set? He moved me up to 100lbs. Same motion. This I felt. But I did it easily! Go me!

Now I’m doing hamstring curls and I still hate them. Three sets. The first set was 12 with 50lbs which may have been heavier than I usually do, maybe? And I did them. The next two sets was with 60lbs and I could barely get through 8 on my own and then I think he jumped in and helped a wee bit on the last two of each set. This will improve. I gotta change my mindset about this one, likely.

Then over to the barbell incline bench press! Three sets of how ever many I could do with the 45lb bar. First set I did 8. Then 6. Then 7. It wasn’t fluid or steady but I did them. And he explained why it was harder on the incline than when I’m laying flat on my back. It engages the smaller chest muscles more than the larger ones that lay under the breast area. I’m learning about muscles! But, again, I found that I kinda really enjoy bench pressing! I would NEVER have thought that would be the case. But there you go.

Then I did two sets of bent over dumbbell rows. First set was 20 with 20lbs. Second set was 12 with 25lbs.

In between those sets I did 2 sets of 15 cross crunches on the bosu ball. My abs are really starting to feel these. I guess that means I’m doing the crunches better or something? I dunno.

Then he showed me leg and hip stretches. Which I should go do after I finish this up.

I walked Gladys when I got home after the gym. And I walked Gladys on Friday after the delicious dinner.

This morning my alarm went off at 4:20 so I could leave the house by 5am for a 6am hike at Lookout Mountain. Nobody else is really out at that time of the morning, it seems.

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I went to the Walgreen’s for water and breakfast.

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Then I hiked for 1 hour and 48 minutes for a total of 3.57 miles. I found it to be an easy hike. Some of the group thought it was hard and that made me feel good about my hiking skills. Wooooo!

But, it was a nice hike with a nice group of people and pretty decent scenery.

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Then this evening I walked Gladys and went to the grocery store.

On top of all of that? I can’t stop dancing around to this song. I’m not even going to explain myself. Because I think you should just like what you like. And right now? I like this. So there.

Buckle down

Monday morning I woke up and holy hell was my body sore! Like, I forgot that we did pushups at ballet gym until I yawned that morning. The chest. The back. The arms. The calves. The thighs. It all hurt.

On my way to the office I realized that when I was packing up my lunch I forgot to pack the wraps. The wraps are a very important part of my turkey wrap lunch plan so I walked across the street to the grocery store to get more. I love that the weather has been a bit milder and that my office is in such close proximity to good, local places to eat and the grocery store. It’s not a bad view, either.

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And the walk was totally worth it because my turkey wraps are delicious and I kinda wish I had one in front of me right now. It doesn’t look like a big deal, really, but it’s yum. You’d like it.

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This was my last Monday of meeting with Tyler. When I arrived to the gym I was quite a bit early, as usual, and I hopped on the treadmill since all of the stairmills were taken. I did a variety of inclines and all of that for ten minutes. But I found that if I start breathing too heavy on the treadmill, I’ll adjust the speed or the incline and that’s just going to cheat myself the benefits in the long run.

Once Tyler arrived he asked how things were going, I updated him on the state of my body and he was all “What did you leave for me?!” and I felt around and moved around and determined that my abs felt fine. So, abs it was!

But first? He made me get on the stairmill for six minutes at level 5. That was OK.

Then we went over to the roman chair and I did three sets of 10 leg raises and three sets of 10 knee raises. It went legs/knees/rest x 3.

Then? Back to the stairmill! Fun times! Another six minutes at level 5. That was OK, too. I was winded, yes. But I don’t recall wanting to die.

Then we went back to the ab area and I did three sets of 15 bosu ball crunches. I’m faster and steadier doing these than I once was. Then I had to do three sets of 10 cross weighted crunches with an 8lb weight. What this was is I lean back on the bosu ball, hold the weight in my right hand and hold the arm straight up, then cross the left leg over the right knee, then crunch! Then change sides and repeat! This, naturally, threw off my balance but that helps build up the core, man. Working to find and keep that balance.

After this? More stairmill! He made me go straight to level 8. And I immediately felt like I was going to die. I pushed on as long as I could and that turned out to be 3 minutes and 20 seconds and then I had to stop. I was dying. My heart was racing, my breathing was hard, I was covered in sweat. It was all bad. But I recovered quickly, which is good, and got back on there. He wanted me to make it 5 minutes this time. Start out on Level 7 and adjust as I need. I stayed at level 7 for 1 minute, dropped down to 6 for I don’t know how long, and then finished it all off on level 5. Dead. Red faced, sweaty, and dead. It was about this time when Tyler asked me when I last went for a hike. Yeah. And then he suggested that I do more cardio as I can and asked about my schedule and I heard a long stream of excuses coming out of my face. My red, red face.

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I am not that red when we do weight work. This is what cardio does to me. I get all red faced. This likely means I’m dead, right? Am I living in some Sixth Sense type world now?

Today? I packed my gym bag and I went to the gym right after work and did the stairmill. On my off day. I did three sets of 10 minutes at Level 5 on the stairmill. Tyler saw me and came over in between clients. “Good work!”

So, I think I’ll cardio on Monday, Wednesday, Friday (unless I have plans because, really? Yes). I’ll train with Tyler on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ll sign up for hikes on Saturdays as hikes on Saturdays are available, close, and interesting. And Sundays will be for ballet gym. That’s a chore wheel! One of my friends will be very pleased by this chore wheel thing.

I do have a hike I’m registered for on Saturday morning. So, there’s that. I’m determined!

Also, when I look at myself at the gym and the other girls and their cute attire and not t-shirt tops I realize I totally look like this:

But not as hot. Because I’m not Cobie Smulders. But all the rest looks right. But that’s fine! I keep saying…

And there you have it. My sitting down time gets getting smaller and smaller, y’all.