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This week Sarah joined John in the gym while Chris went on a golf trip to sunny Arizona.

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John: I think more than anything, we look like dolphins coming up for air. This is the Heroic Dolphin It's the swimming dolphin right there. Like a dolphin going into the water. I guess a lot of dolphin metaphors, Laura.

It's the the only animal I'm familiar with other than humans. Welcome back to 100 days. So on Day 49, I only managed to take a picture of one of my meals: this pizza and salad.

Still, the lettuce shows that I'm trying to incorporate more vegetables into my routine, like Kim encouraged me to do. This is going to be mostly a self-directed week for us. All we had on the schedule were sessions with Laura on.

Monday and Thursday. Our first one was on Day 50, the official halfway point! By the way Chris and I, did a day 50 check-in episode.

You can find that here, but for now, there wasn't time to celebrate because we have to work out. We started with metrics. My resting heart rate with 64.

Chris' was 53. Then we talked about our poor eating choices over the weekend while doing our half mile run on the treadmill. Chris admitted to eating eight pieces of Halloween candy.

I had a whole bag of tortilla chips, but we also did a push-up contest. Anyway, after the run my heart rate had risen to 159. Chris' was at 127.

Then we did push-ups. I set a goal to do 33 in a minute but made it to 35. Chris did 37.

At yoga, my toe touch had improved to just 10 inches away from my feet so I was disappointed that this time I was at 11 inches, only a quarter of an inch improvement from my last official metric test. Chris remains at two inches from his wrist to the floor. Our last metric of the day with the plank.

John: When's it been a minute? Has it been a minute?

Laura: Nope. It's 52 seconds. And we're both making progress. I was quite proud of my time of 1:49 seconds.

Chris made it to 3 minutes.

John: Beautiful form.

John: You look like a coffee table. And then we started the proper workout. Laura had a deck of cards workout set up for us today. Basically Chris and I would alternate being the dealer and each suit came with an option of two different exercises.

So the dealer pulled a card and decided who would do which one. Hearts were upper-body, diamonds were core, clubs were lower body, and spades were cardio. And the number on the card determined how many reps we'd do.

Face cards were all ten. Aces meant 10 burpees, and Joker's were dealers choice. One.

Jazz hands! Two. Four.

Chris: Not very graceful right now. Like a big big bear. Five!

John: I just hate those! Those are hard. This was a tough workout but also kind of one of my favorites. I love card games!

Even gym ones.

Chris: I like workouts where I know there's a finite end to it, and the faster and harder. I do it, the sooner I'm done with it. Like if I'm gonna go run five miles, sometimes you're like "I'm gonna do it as fast as I can so I can get done quicker." As soon as you get through the deck of cards, you're done with the workout. I only took one picture of my food on this day: some yogurt and granola.

Chris also only took one picture on Day 50, and it looks delicious! The next morning I woke up super sore. Like more sore than I've been in all of 100 Days.

Something about that deck of cards workout really took it out of me. But still, I did a trial 10K on the treadmill since we're halfway through this series and we're doing a race at the end. All proceeds from the race will go to Exodus Refugee International, a local refugee resettlement organization.

My treadmill 10K was hard but I did finish in under an hour, the fastest I have run 6.2 miles in my entire life by a very wide margin. So that felt great, and I did a way better job of tracking my food, so here's some of what I ate. Yes, drinking was involved.

Then on Wednesday, Day 52, I had a moment of frustration because I barely had 30 minutes to exercise and I didn't have time to change into the right clothes or shoes so it was really stressful to try to squeeze it in. I ended up doing a brief walk, but I think it's an important experience to note because one complaint that many people have about exercise is that they don't have enough time. That often gets dismissed, but for a lot of people it's a very real problem.

I like Aaron Carol's solution of incorporating exercise into his day by doing things like a lunchtime stroll or walking from the parking lot to his office.

Aaron:And that's a couple miles a day of walking, and if I just do that to five days a week I'm at the work, I'm getting my five days of 30 minutes of activity and I'm good. Right now, I'm most successful when I rigidly plan my exercise time and treat it like any other work time. As for food, Chris took a couple pictures. Looks like he got his vegetables in for the day and I went to.

PF Changs with Sarah but forgot to snap a picture. On Thursday, Day 53, Chris was off golfing in Arizona, but he did give us a second shot of golfing. Thank you, Chris!

So I brought Sarah to the gym with me because I'm still terrified from that time that Chris was sick and I had to work out alone. It's so quiet without Chris. I miss Chris.

Oh my god, it's so much easier with Chris. We warmed up on the treadmills, increasing the incline by 2% every minute. Then we did stations.

I'm hoping that by the end of this, I'll be strong enough for the one-leg stand up. We also did some quick feet, mountain climbers, squats, and crunches. [heavy breathing].

Sarah: You're a very dramatic breather. Then Laura gave us some slightly more awkward exercises, like we had to hold dumbbells and press down on each other's.

Laura: Push push, don't be nice. Get him back for something he said that was stupid, right?

Sarah: John never says anything stupid.

Laura: Oh god...

John: Yeah right. And we did a back-to-back wall sit.

Sarah: You're not as solid as a wall...

Laura: That's true.

John: Neither are you. I didn't love these leg lifts. Man, I sweat a lot that day. I really should have worn my US Quidditch headband, available now at dftba.com.

Moving from one thing I didn't like to another: The. Stairmaster. Just not my favorite.

We took turns doing this and the Spinner. Then we did a few more exercises that Laura had designed to be a mixture of cardio and strength, and the last thing of the day was the TRX straps which I come to, at least, not hate. It was really fun working out with Sarah.

We don't get to exercise together often because one of us is usually watching the kids while the other is exercising, but she's an excellent workout partner and also, you know, just partner. I also wanted her to know what it's like to work out with. Laura for an hour.

Mission accomplished.

John: Come on, Sarah. Pull!

Sarah: This is all I got, man. And here's some of my food for the day. You'll notice a pattern of movie popcorn has emerged during the show. At least I always remember to take a picture of it?

And even though Chris was away, he still managed to take some meal photos for us, so. I guess he's also scared of Suzanna. On Friday, Day 54, I walked for about three and a half miles on the treadmill while I watched soccer, and I did a pretty good job tracking my food so here's some of that.

Although I did drink a little more than I should have. Chris did some tracking as well, although I think this selfie he took while eating an apple was just his way of rubbing it in that he was in beautiful, warm Arizona while we were all freezing here in Indianapolis. So that was week 8.

The exercise was pretty good this week, and I'm starting to feel stronger, but I can't tell if I'm actually stronger. Like I'm much better at push-ups, but that might be partly because I've learned how to cheat at push ups a little bit. Physically I'm doing pretty well.

I've got a little bit of tendinitis above my left elbow but other than that I've started to feel very lucky that I haven't been injured. I did a better job tracking my food during the second half of this week, which also means I did a better job eating during the second half of this week, because when I track my food, I eat better. On the mental health front, more generally, Erica suggested that every night I note three things I'm happy with, two things I wish I'd done better, and one goal for tomorrow.

And it's really hard for me to find three things I'm pleased with each day. If I've exercised, that's one. If I've done some work on my book project, that's two, but I'm struggling to find a third every day, and it's definitely just not natural for me to celebrate successes so that's some of what I'm struggling with but I'm keeping going.

I hope you are, too. I'll see you next time.

Chris: Just enjoying a beautiful, uh, beautiful day in the desert. A little golf. All part of 100 Days. Exercise comes in a variety of fashions.