Thursday, December 30, 2010


hey all. things have been quiet around here lately...just with the busyness of the season, taking care of my daughter, and now having my other three kids stuck in the house all the time while california is flooded with rain, i haven't had much time for blogging. i just wanted check in and say hi, and let anyone reading know that i have not, in fact, given up the good fight. holiday weight gain? you betcha. am i over it? it took a few days, but yep. because i know it isn't permanent. and it wasn't drastic. i know that when i look in the mirror and see my thighs ballooning out before my eyes, it is a trick of my mind. while i went up a couple pounds, i actually went down a quarter of an inch in said thighs, and my glutes. so i am back on track again - my weight loss journey has been a slow one, while i am still enjoying food and life, and i am okay with that. a slow, gradual downslope for me is better than a quick one that spikes back up every few months.

i will be back with more consistency soon. hope everyone has a wonderful new year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To-day List

Today is the day I take the stuff out of my room that has been waiting to go to storage for three weeks.

Today is the day that I finish unpacking the stuff from the hospital.

Today is the day I fold the baskets of laundry that have been sitting on my floor all week.

Today is the day I put away the bags of stocking stuffers that have been piling up next to my bed.

Today is the day I watch a movie with my daughter while she is home and actually wants to spend time with me.

Today is the day I take a nap to make up for the sleep I have been missing instead of telling myself I don't have time.

Today is the day I make a shopping list for Christmas dinner.

Today is the day I don't pick things up and put them in my mouth without thinking about it first.

Today is the day I make two dozen cookies for my younger daughter's cookie exchange.

Today is the day I finish the good book I've been reading.

Today is the day I will be proud of whatever I accomplish, enjoy the time that my eldest daughter is here with me, and appreciate the things I have in my life.

What is your today like?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Got up at 5 to give my daughter her meds, and forced myself into my workout clothes and to the gym for 36 minutes on the elliptical and a half hour class. And if that is the best thing that I can say about this day when I climb into bed tonight, then I am ok with that. The trainer who does our class made us write down some goals for now to New Year's, and while my whole mind and body screamed "Don't do it!!! You are relying on comfort food right now and are too exhausted to commit to working out!!!" I did it anyway. Maybe it is just what I need to keep me from going over the edge with the eating over the next few stressful weeks. Nothing like accountability to a roomful of semi-strangers and a trainer to make you stick to a healthy eating plan. So my thighs and butt were measured (sorry - glutes - let's be professional here) and I weighed in on the gym scale. Yippee. (That was not a sincere yippee, by the way.)

So in other news, today is Hubby's last double shift and he has tomorrow off, which means I think we just might make it. He actually got to come home early last night - I went into my daughter's room to give her a pillow and he was sitting there - he had snuck in. The joy I felt was indescribable.

Unfortunately it is not all sunshine and lollipops - I got in a big fight with my dad yesterday, completely his fault and I ended up bawling on the phone and telling him that I just couldn't deal with him right now with everything else going on. The thing is - I NEVER fight with my dad. Next to my husband and kids, he is the most important person in my life. And so to have him do this to me, to be a complete jerk towards me when I am going through what I am going through with my child, just wrecked me. So on top of the constant worry and frustration and exhaustion that is coming from my daughter's recovery, now I have this whole other situation weighing on me. Hubby says I don't have the time or capacity to deal with it right now - and that it is my dad's issue not mine - and that I need to let it go. And while I know that is rational, I am having a hard time executing it.

I am just a mess right now.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Home again home again

Yes, this little piggy is back home once more, and between you and me? The term piggy completely applies to me right now. But first things first.

Anna was discharged from the hospital Wednesday, after a final hellacious encounter with the physical therapist. The car ride home was torture, for her and me, as every bump or jostle brought tears and pain. Since we've been home, it has been a struggle to get her to eat, and she still hasn't pooped. Which makes it 9 days since the last time. Yeah. She resists me in all things right now - drinking water, eating, getting out of bed to walk, and sitting in anything resembling an upright position. And to make her do these things, over and over, causing her pain because the doctor and physical therapist told me to? Is exhausting and painful for me.

She can't get out of bed on her own, walk around on her own, go to the bathroom on her own. She can't be in a car until January. At 12:30 and 4:30 in the morning I get up to give her pills for the pain, plus whatever other times I hear her moaning or crying in pain over the baby monitor. Hubby is working double shifts this week because he is training a new staff for a restaurant which is opening a new location next Thursday (same chain he was working at already, just a new location for him.) The new location is further away as well. So for the past 4 days he has had to leave the house by 6:40 a.m., and isn't coming home until 11 at night. Which pretty much makes this the Morgan show. And when I was in the hospital with Anna, just Anna, with nurses backing me up, that was tolerable (though not always pleasant.) But here at home, with the other 3 kids added back in, and life and home still needing attention and work? I am barely holding it together. And that is probably the understatement of the year.

And all of this craziness, exhaustion, and frustration is leading to eating eating eating. I am chasing something that will give me comfort, or stimulation, or energy, and not finding it. Which doesn't stop me. That weight I worked so hard to get off? The tone I worked so hard to build up? Disappearing like an oasis in the desert. I haven't gained more than 3 pounds yet. But that is the key work there. YET. Friday, desperate to get my butt moving again, I forced myself to go tot he gym after Anna's 4:30 meds rather than climbing back into bed. And it was hard to workout. And that sucked. Because a week ago I could totally do it.

So that is where I am - I feel the walls closing in, and I am combating it with food, and obviously that needs to stop. And obviously I am going to have to continue to go to the gym at 4:30 if that is the only time that I have the chance. I say obviously, but saying it and doing it are two different things. I'm definitely going to need some support. Anyone got some to lend?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Everything I Never Wanted to Know

I have been compiling a list of things that I didn't know before this stay in the hospital with my daughter. So here are some things that you might not know in case you should ever find yourself in the hospital with your eleven year old daughter after her spinal surgery.:

You will never be so proud as the first time your daughter is able to pee without a catheter.

Those first steps she takes with the physical therapist will mean even more than her first steps as a baby. The same goes for the first bite of food she takes after surgery, and you won’t even mind having to feed her for the first couple of days.

If you are as fortunate as I have been, you will be barraged with requests to help. While this is absolutely wonderful, you will have no idea what to tell any of them that they can do for/bring you, since all that you really want is a decent night’s sleep/a pain-free child/your sanity back.

You will feel unable to leave your daughter’s side for more than the two minutes it takes to use the bathroom and wash your hands, because you know that anytime she wakes up and you aren’t there, she feels alone and scared and that makes the pain even worse. You may even consider using her bedside commode.

Time will pass without your having any knowledge – sometimes an hour will have gone by, or sometimes several. You will be so wrapped up in what is happening with your child that it won’t even matter. It is kind of like being in a casino in Vegas where you can't tell night from day, only less fun.

Healthy eating will be nearly impossible, as 1) there isn’t a wide variety of foods in the cafeteria, 2) people bring you comfort foods (which is all you really want anyway) and 3) as previously stated, time is so irrelevant that you go for hours and hours without eating, shoveling food in when you get the chance. Just ignore the layer of fat that grows around you.

All of your planned hospital exercise will go right out the window – you will find yourself far too exhausted, both physically and emotionally, to do anything more than move around the hospital room getting your daughter whatever she needs and helping her log roll. Feel free to count walking her down the hallway as exercise.

The ladies in the cafeteria will ask you, about your fourth morning in, if you work at the hospital or are just visiting someone. That is how often they have seen you.

You will know the layout of your floor as well as the nurses do. On your way to the kitchen to get more ice chips/water/sugar-free jello, try not to scoff at the parents of new patients as they try to find the bathroom/elevator/their child's room. It doesn't paint you in a sympathetic light.

Watching your daughter cry quietly in pain, trying to be brave, while there is nothing you can do won’t kill you, but you will wish it would.

And the final thing I have learned in my time in the hospital, which I can't promise will apply to you: my daughter is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. But I already sort of knew that.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Letter From JBS

Today, my friend Journey Beyond Survival is so sweetly helping me out as I am still sitting in a hospital room with my 11 year old daughter as she begins recovering from her spinal surgery. JBS has a lot of experience with hospitals, doctors, and watching your child go through some really painful things, as well as having had surgery herself as a teenager. She has such a wonderful voice and reading this post was exactly what I needed.

Dear Morgan,

Morphine makes you do weird things.  If your daughter happens to ask you, "When is that helicopter ever going to land?" please hide your dismay.  She is not hallucinating, nor is she quite as high as a kite.  No, your daughter is probably being tormented by the pump in her IV stand.  It is really cruel and unusual to have to listen to that while in a drugged haze and everyone treating you like the class clown.

Also, laughing should be discouraged.  Unless your daughter starts laughing first.  Then you should make all efforts possible to laugh as long as she does.  Do not be discouraged by her delayed stupor.  She WILL notice if you stop and stare in a horrified way.  The best way to accomplish this is to steal her breathing exerciser.  It will look like this:
Incentive Spirometer 2,500ml Capacity and No One-Way Valve

Make sure she is asleep and the nurses will not be coming in, then float that yellow disc at the top!  Keep it up.  LONGER!  Not only will this give you empathy for when she has to do it, but it will also give you the ability to laugh as long as her disturbed sense of normal laughing time dictates.

Make sure you gargle with iodine first, or something equally disinfecting.  Do not swallow.

When you go home, do both of you a favor and invest in tube socks.  There is nothing worse than having someone else put on your socks.  The heel is never quite right, and the seam always itches in the wrong way all day long.  Tube socks will prevent all such horrible interactions.  Especially since you both want to just be nice.  Remember, it's like having a toddler put your glasses on for you while your hands are tied behind your back.  Terribly difficult to be civil during such challenges.

Loneliness will be rampant for both of you.  It is difficult to be cut off, shut out.  Just remember that it doesn't make it any better for her if you are equally imprisoned.  Maybe her friends could come to "help study" while you go out grocery shopping.  Or you could go to yoga.  Or skydiving.  At any rate, it would give you each some space and time away from each other.  Please attend to this matter most attentively.

It could make or break your recovery.

Oh, and hers too.  

Kisses, hugs and brainwaves,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

baby steps

the day went by without crawling slowly. anna is sleeping peacefully for now, which has not always been the case since yesterday, and so this moment is a happy one. she hasn't gotten out of bed yet, and the nurses are still log-rolling her, but she did eat some jello (her first food in over 24 hours) so that is progress.

 i took some time to walk hubby down the stairs on his way out to pick up chinese since we somehow missed dinner (it is now 9:30.) my intention was to turn around upon kissing hubby goodbye and climb my way back up the stairs to our room on the 6th floor, to avoid blood clots from spending so much time sitting and also make up for said chinese food. the flaw in this plan? after 9, the stairway door on the 1st floor is locked. humph. so it was back up in the elevator. and then down the 6 flights again to the bottom, and a quick u-turn and back up the stairs. 104 stairs. it wasn't a lot, but it was all i had the stamina for after the last two days. and here comes hubby with the chinese.

Friday, December 3, 2010

waiting game

today i am sitting in the surgery waiting room at the hospital, trying not to imagine my daughter laying on a table down the hallway with an incision down the length of her back, her spine being disassembled and, eventually, reassembled with some new hardware. we are about halfway done with the surgery itself, and the nurse calls me every hour to let me know that things are still going well. i've been up since 4, at the hospital since 5:45. that siren song of the pepsi is calling to me, a sound that only i can hear and it is up to me to either avoid or succumb to. we are surrounded by family, all of us chatting and joking and just trying to pass the time and not fixate. 

keeping healthy eating in tact in situations like this is, for me, a bit difficult. what i want is comfort and warmth. and what i had for breakfast was a half of a beef brisket sandwich with a barbecue/horseradish sauce, cheese, tomatoes, onions, and jalepenos on the most perfect ciabatta roll imaginable. don't judge me - if you could have smelled the meat, which the local deli we found only makes once a week, you would have ordered it too. in a heartbeat. 

yesterday, before an early morning round of pre-op and xrays, i got myself out of bed and to the gym, cramming in a half hour of cardio rather than missing it altogether, and also left with a to-go bag from my trainer with resistance bands, a ball, and some workout instructions so that i can do something while i am here for the next five days. there are seven flights of stairs here, which i will be climbing intermittently as well. just because my world has gotten a little shaky doesn't mean that i am going to let myself slip away from the habits i have spent so much time forming over the last 10 weeks. plus i am hoping the working out will help me manage the stress.

so things will either be really quiet or really loud here over the weekend, depending on how exhausted/crazy/emotional i am.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Know Thyself

I don't have a problem with words. Or using my voice. Anyone who knows me knows that I talk. And talk. And talk and talk and talk. It is one of my favorite things to do, in fact. Once I get over my awkwardness when talking with new people, I can chat all day with them about anything.

But...start asking me questions that need specific, insightful answers about my family and myself, and suddenly I am mute. Or worse, I am a sputtering, uuummming mess. Why is this? I mean, I swear I know my children. We've met. I get them going to school in the morning, keep the youngest all day, am here when they come home in the afternoon, and am stuck with them get to be with them through dinnertime and on into bedtime. We have hundreds of conversations a day, (doesn't "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom," "What??!!!" qualify as a conversation???) and sit at the dinner table together and talk about our days. And Hubby and I have been married for almost 12 years now, have shared hours and hours of time together, are tuned in to each other's moods (you know, someone less familiar with him might not realize that when he doesn't answer my questions or at the very least is monosyllabic and leaves a room anytime I walk in with my mouth open, he just isn't ready to talk - it is subtle, I know.) And then there is me. I should know myself better than anyone, right?

And yet, when, in the course of setting up our family photo shoot for tomorrow, the lovely lady taking the pictures has been emailing me with questions about what we like to do together, what our favorite color is as a family, our favorite ice cream flavor (again, as a family - have you ever tried to get 6 people of varying ages and maturity to agree on one thing???) and then to tell something about each one of us, something fun and quirky that we each love, I draw complete blanks. I have probably made her life more difficult instead of less over the last few days, and she hasn't even met us yet (I imagine there may be some weeping involved when that happens.)

So does all this mean that I don't know my own family? Or maybe it is just that it is hard to truly define what makes us so wonderful and fun? I mean, who wants to be pegged down by labels and favorite colors, right??? We'll just say that we like to be open to liking whatever kind of ice cream we choose at any given moment - it doesn't at all mean that I have no idea.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Great Things

Back as promised with the other great things I mentioned...

Last Wednesday was the last day of our family weight-loss competition, and we all said we would hold onto our final weights until we were together at dinner on Thanksgiving. Coming off the high of my run, I couldn't wait to find out who won, and felt pretty confident that it could be me. My sister made us wait until after we had already eaten dinner to cough up our weights, (thank goodness we eat at like2.) Finally it was time, and I was given the final weights to calculate the percentages. Aaaannnddd....

I WON. 16 pounds in 9 weeks. 8.7% of my body weight gone. And $60 in my pocket ($75 if you count my own $15.) This Thanksgiving was one of the very best ever. I plan to get some jeans that fit and/or a pair of boots - and I can't wait!

The other great thing? A surprise NSV that put me over the moon. Randy, a trainer at my fitness center and the leader of the class I take twice a week, said to me yesterday after class "Morgan, you are looking trim!" I was almost giddy with joy. Because here's the thing - it means something when my family says I am looking good, it means a little bit  more when acquaintances notice it and comment, but for someone who I consider to be something of an expert in this field to tell me, unsolicited, that I am looking "trim" (a word I have possibly never heard before in conjunction with myself, unless it involved a Christmas tree,) it just meant the world. I came home jumping for joy, and my husband just laughed at me.

The other things aren't weight loss related - 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly and a free family photo session from a local photographer (we have only had one professional family photo done with all four kids, and it is along the lines of a posed Olan Mills picture.) That will be taking place Thursday, the day before my daughter's surgery.

So good things have been happening here, and I am making myself take notice and appreciate the good, and use it to bolster me through the challenges that are coming our way. What are the good things happening in your life?

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Run To Feed The Hungry, or My First 5K

There are so many good things to share today that I don't even know just where to start. How many posts start out with a statement like that? I guess that the best place to start is last Thursday, when I faced The Run to Feed the Hungry, my very first 5k.

The morning dawned cold and bright. Ice covered the cars in the driveway and the lawn was frosted in a pretty white. I looked outside and knew that I was going to freeze. But it didn't deter me. I had woken up before my alarm and was dressed by 6, which was a full hour and 15 minutes before we needed to leave. My husband was laying in bed sleepily after his alarm had gone off, unable to drag himself out from under the warm covers. I told him that he didn't have to come and wait for me to run, to which he replied that he wouldn't miss it for anything. Tears in my eyes, I went to my kids' room to wake them up and start getting them fed and bundled for the cold. My oldest daughter, Anna (11), informed me that my youngest, Jonathan, had wet his pajamas at midnight, and that she had wiped him down and changed his clothes and put him back to bed. I thanked her and told her that she should have sent him into me, that I would have taken care of it. "No, you needed your sleep" was her reply. Now completely choked up by the love of my family, I went to the kitchen to start gathering snacks for the morning. My husband really got everyone ready to go, as I kind of wandered from task to task, unable to focus on anything for longer than a couple of minutes. My mind kept going to the run ahead of me, my fears and doubts overtaking my thoughts.

We arrived at the race in good time, and waited a few minutes to meet up with our friends, one of whom was running with me. At four months pregnant, I knew that if I couldn't keep up with her, I was in trouble. We stretched and tried to warm up in the freezing temperatures, braved the porta-potties, and then bid farewell to our husbands and kids and made our way to the corrals. We had to weave our way through the crowd of fun-runners, those who had opted not to be timed. Our bibs were purple to their orange, and a surge of excitement went through me when a man pulled his son out of our path and said "Watch out, they have purple bibs, let them through. PURPLE BIBS COMING THROUGH." I felt set apart and special.

We set ourselves in the 12 minute mile area and listened to the news reporters on the lift in front of us try to energize the crowd. After a word from the mayor and a rendition of "America the Beautiful" sung by a 12 year old girl, the gun was fired and we were off. Or rather, the people in front of us were off, while we took a couple of steps before the crowd thinned enough to let us start to run. The first mile was quick and easy, and my fears began to subside a bit. But as people passed me left and right, I began to think that maybe I was too slow for this. I forcefully pushed those thoughts aside, telling myself over and over, "It's about me, not them." It became my mantra in the first half of my second mile, and kept me going at an even pace when my basic instinct was to speed up. This was where having someone to run with really paid off for me - she set a pace, and she really stuck with it, while there were several times I started to speed to a pace I wouldn't have been able to maintain, and which would have had me walking the rest of the race.

As we approached the water table, my friend asked if I wanted to get a drink. I shook my head, feeling that I didn't want to stop or slow for anything. A minute later, my friend, panting, asked if I thought we were at 2 miles yet. She hadn't been running much prior to this, and as I mentioned she is pregnant, and 2 miles was as much as she had ran in the last couple of weeks. Almost immediately after she asked, the 2 mile marker came up, and renewed her dedication. Reaching the last mile with even breath was amazing for me, and I soared on that feeling as I kept moving forward. By this time, many of the people who had passed us earlier had slowed to a walk, and we were passing them for a change. I was so glad for having listened to my own mantra. The last half mile had the potential to be the slowest and most difficult, as my breathing was finally becoming a bit ragged and my legs were tiring. But ahead, in the distance, was an archway of balloons and a banner proclaiming "FINISH," and nothing was getting me down or stopping me at that point.

We ran under that archway, under the big screen projection of ourselves, and by the timer, and my friend turned to me and said "37 minutes" and I wanted to cry with joy. We ran 12 minute miles, my fastest time to date, and we were both thrilled with our results. I had run my very first 5k, without stopping once, which was my biggest fear overcome. The sense of pride in us, in myself, was almost unparalleled in my life, and I was elated. We found our families on the sidelines, and my kids ran to me and embraced me, and my world was perfect. When they stepped aside, I threw my arms around my husband, who was congratulating me and telling me how proud he was of me, and how I can do anything in this world. It was a wonderful moment.

We gathered the troops and made our way to the free snacks, loading up on fruit and granola bars and water. We visited for a bit before making our way back to our cars and going our separate ways to our homes to get showered and ready for our Thanksgiving meals. I couldn't stop looking at my husband and saying, in a tone of amazement and excitement, "I did it!" It was a truly wonderful morning, and the beginning of a great day.

 (I look at this picture and I honestly think "Who is that girl??? That can't be me.")

There are more wonderful things to share, but I will leave it here for now, and fill you in later.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

through someone else's eyes

Today I went to three parent teacher conferences, one for each of my school-age children. The first conferences of the year are for all the parents, whereas later in the year you only have to go to one if the teacher is concerned about your child. I don't expect to have to go back this year. But bragging about how wonderful my kids are doing in school isn't why I am posting (even though they are!) My favorite moment this afternoon was in my 3rd grader, Hailey's, class. Her teacher handed me an assessment Hailey had done for language arts. She was supposed to write a letter to an imaginary pen pal.

As it was supposed to be the first letter she had written to the pal, Hailey was introducing herself and her family. I got to the part about her parents (Hubby and I.) She wrote, "My Dad works at a restaurant. It is called Noodles and Company. My mom doesn't work. She runs." I laughed out loud at the fact that my daughter sees me as a runner. Laughed, and then was very, very flattered and mushy about it. It was one of the sweetest things I could have read today. And the next sentence was "She works out every morning." I was so glad that those are the things that Hailey has been seeing me do.

Those sentences could have said "She sits and watches TV all day." A few years ago, heck, sometimes even a few months ago, that would have been true. Or "She yells." Or even "I don't know what she does all day." But the answers she gave made me feel good about what I have been doing, the progress I have been making, and what my children are noticing.

Even though I may see the ways I fall short or fail, in my child's eyes, I am succeeding.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

weigh day

Once again it is a weigh-in day. The second to last one in my competition. If you'll remember, last week I had a gain, and then a not-so-good run, and the combo more or less threw off my groove. Well, this week was much better. My official weight for today was 169.4. HOLY CRAP. I am in the 160's. Not by much its true, but nonetheless, there was a 6 in the tens place in my weight today. It has actually been there for the last three days, which gives me hope that I can make it stick.

This makes it official - I have lost 50 pounds from when I started losing weight about 3 1/2 years ago. It has been a slow progression - I've lost it in about 15-20 pound chunks, losing a chunk (literally) and then maintaining for a while before losing some more. But the thing about it is, in the beginning, I wasn't trying to lose a certain amount of weight, or necessarily any weight at all, I just started walking so that I could sleep better at night. And while I have wished, at different points in time, that it would come off faster, or that during those maintenance times I had kept losing instead, I am pretty proud of myself overall. I haven't gained the weight back at all, and I am still moving forward, however slowly.

As far as this competition goes, I have lost 14.4 pounds in the last 8 weeks, and that seems pretty good to me. Next Wednesday will be the last weigh in, and everyone will withhold their final weights until Thanksgiving when we come together for dinner. At this point, I am winning, but as last week showed me, that could completely change in a week if I don't stay dedicated. Since my sister and my step-mom are smaller than me, it takes a smaller weight loss on their part to pass me in the percentages. So this week I am just going to buckle down and go for the win. The light at the end of the tunnel is my 5k Thanksgiving morning, followed by a guilt-free dinner with my family. Oh yes, a slice of pumpkin pie is on the horizon, and I will use that vision to keep me going.

Monday, November 15, 2010

crazy train

I am officially freaked out at the prospect of running this 5k on Thanksgiving morning. Last week I was excited. I wasn’t sure if I could make it, but I was going to give it my all and I felt like there was a good chance that I could run the whole thing. And I was going to be proud of myself at any rate. What happened, you ask? Well, last Thursday I met the road for the first time, and the two of us didn’t exactly hit it off. I tried, I really did. I was friendly, optimistic, and just short of jovial. But that road? It was unwelcoming. It was indifferent to my efforts. It was unyielding and uncaring. And while I did the best I could, I felt discouraged.

Over the weekend, that discouragement has turned into fear. I am afraid of running on the road again. And I am worried about the 5k. I am apprehensive, frustrated, and embarrassed about something that hasn’t even happened yet. I have visions of me failing, of having to walk most of the race, of having to face my family at dinner afterwards and tell them that I couldn’t run it. I am completely psyching myself out over this.

What’s that you say? Knock it off? Ha, would that I could (and you sound like my husband.) I have been trying to shut my crazy brain off for 30 years. Ok, more like 23 – I don’t think I was really nuts until I was 7. But if you have any idea as to how to turn around this bad train of thought, feel free to let me know. But you know what? Trains are heavy, and they don’t have power steering. 

Healthy Living Checkup courtesy of Mary

I am starting this week off with thievery. What does that portend for the rest of the week????
Anyhow, the wonderful Mary over at A Merry Life posted this with the intention for others to fill it in for themselves, plus I am giving her credit, so perhaps it isn't quite thievery. Emulation? Imitation? Infatuation? Ok, I am getting carried away here. Without further ado, here is my healthy living checkup:
1. The best thing I did for my health last week was increase the amount of fruits and veggies I ate.
2. Today I feel positive towards my healthy living progress.
3.  Small steps bring about big changes. One small step I took for my health last week was drinking water until my pee was clear (tmi?).
4. I will consider this week a success if I am able to continue eating lots of fruits and veggies and not so many carbs. (I really wanted to put in something about my weight going down, but I am trying to separate my definition of success from a number.)
5. My go-to recipe is my egg and veggie scramble - it is always a bit different, but always yummy.
So there you go. Today I am thankful for other bloggers with great ideas, like this list. What are your answers? (Be sure to link it to Mary!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Funk-y Town

I should probably start with the disclaimer that I am not in a happy place today. I am out of the zone and into a funk. Obviously this mood is going to permeate my blogging today.

Yesterday I finally hit the street for my run. I went into it knowing that it would be different, and harder in a lot of ways, than running on the treadmill. But it wasn't until I started that I knew what kinds of different and difficult it would be. I mapped out a straight shot through town (I live in a place that isn't actually classified as a town because it is so small, and I went down the road to the next place over, which is still small.) I knew where 1.6 miles from where I started was, so that I would know when to turn around and head back. It was relatively flat, or so I thought. So I parked my car and started my run. 

The first few minutes were really, really awkward. I had a really hard time getting a steady pace going, and it was just a different stride on the pavement. I finally got into a groove, had my breathing somewhat even, and was just going. Only to find out pretty soon that my initial pace? Was TOO fast. So that by the time I had gone about a mile, I knew I wasn't going to make it that way. So I slowed down a bit and kept on going. I made it through the halfway/turn back point without stopping, but it wasn't pleasant and it took a LOT of internal dialogging about how I was not going to give up before I had even gone halfway. As I was headed back towards town, though, with my legs aching and my breathing coming in somewhat jagged inhales, I had to take a minute to walk and regroup. It wasn't far - not more than ten steps or so, before I was running again, despite the fact that my body was angry about it. 

Turns out that headed back into town is at a slight incline. Not so noticeable in a car, but on my feet? Crap. But I kept going, kept pushing, for a while, until I had to walk for another minute or so. Lame. But once again I only allowed myself a minute before I was running again. With all intentions of not stopping anymore. And that jived for a while, as painful and difficult as the running was becoming. My abs were amazingly sore from workout class the day before, and I had to keep telling myself that I was not going to be sick, that the soreness was no big deal, and to focus on something else. Oh, and I had to pee. Mostly the whole time. Did you know that bouncing up and down for miles is not easy on a full bladder? Whodda think? 

Anyhow, I was nearing the actual main thoroughfare of town when suddenly I was walking again - like I hadn't even been thinking about doing it but all of a sudden my legs. Just. Stopped. And I muttered a bad word under my breath at my body's mutiny. But I once again gave it about a half minute before I picked up the pace again. At that point I could see the stoplight that marked the end of my run, and I told myself that under no circumstances was I going to stop and walk again before I got to it. And I didn't. 

All in all I probably walked less than an eighth of a mile, but it felt like so much more. I was so angry that I had to walk at all. That wonderful feeling I had from running the distance on the treadmill on Tuesday? Gone. Like a puff of smoke. All I felt was failure, disappointment, and frustration. It was not a good morning. Luckily I came home to breakfast and a day with my hubby and kids.

Today I was back in the gym for cardio and weights, and while I did the workout and put all the effort into it that I usually do, I just wasn't feeling it. I came home and told Hubby that I am out of the zone. The weight-loss, exercise, motivation zone. I gained weight last week, so far this week isn't looking much better, I am sore and feel beaten up all the time, and I am tired. I am officially in a funk. And believe me, I am funk-y. And not the good kind. No visits to Funky Town here. Maybe Funk-y Town. And it isn't nearly as fun or crazy.

So what do I do to start feeling it again? If you have made it this far in this page of blah and negativity, do you have any advice for me?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One step forward and two steps back

Wednesday. The day that the scale and I meet officially (as opposed to all those unofficial meetings during the other 6 days of the week. If it ain't Wednesday, it don't count.) I am on week 7 of the 9 week weight-loss competition with my family, and this morning wasn't pretty. And I don't mean the sight of me with frizzy bed hair staring the scale down naked. Although that couldn't have been all that pretty either. Good thing no one else is awake that early, or in the bathroom with me. But I digress...

This morning I weighed in at 173.8, 1.4 pounds higher than last week's weigh in. Now I could whine and cry about it, I could justify my little heart out, but I am not going to. I am just going to own it. It is what it is, and it isn't changing (not even after I pulled the batteries out to reset the scale. Not my finest (naked) moment.) What I am going to do is move forward. I have two weeks left. Two weeks to regain the lead that I lost to my sister this week (by .2 percent.) Two weeks to make better choices in my eating and keep sweating it out at the gym. Two weeks to lose what I can and win this stinking thing. Because I held the lead for 6 weeks, and that felt too good to let go of now. 

Today I am grateful for second chances, heck, for third, fourth, and fifth chances even. Because I may take a step or two back, but I have the ability to run those two steps over again and keep going.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Um, I did it.

Yes, I did.

I know, I can't believe it either.

Oh, wait, you don't know what I'm talking about?

I ran a 5K on the treadmill this morning.


41ish  minutes. Which doesn't actually matter at all. No matter how fast or slow I ran, I ran the distance. Still coming off a cold.

I am thankful for being able to overcome my mental block which kept telling me to stop, I've been sick, ease back into it. You know what I said to that inner voice? Shutup. And I ran.

Next step? Hitting the street.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Catching a cold and catching up on some gratitude

Here we are on Monday morning once again...somehow I missed posting for the last 3 days, and so I will have some thankfulness to catch up on. But first let me tell you what happened on Friday.

I did my morning run, and for the first time IN MY LIFE I ran for 36ish minutes, and made it a distance of 2.9 miles. I have never, never ran that long or that far before. And while it was still short of my 3.2 mile goal, I was pretty proud of it. I have two weeks and two days until the Thanksgiving 5K that I am signed up for, and I am just going to be focusing on increasing my time and distance. Oh, and on actually running outside. I have been on a treadmill this whole time as I was working through the C25K, and I know that it is totally different running on pavement, and so the plan for this week is to map out my run somewhere near my home (somewhere without hills, as the run in Sacramento is very flat - thank heavens) and get out there and start trying.

Those of you who are runners, or who at least have tried it, how does running on the treadmill compare with the street? What should I be aware of?

As of this minute I am fighting the cold that I have been trying to get my oldest daughter over, and as her surgery is in three and a half weeks neither one of us can be sick. I am drinking tons of water and consuming copious amounts of vitamin C, as well as downing Airborne and zinc, all in an attempt to convince my body that I am NOT going to succumb to this disease. I made the choice to miss my workout this morning, hoping not to push my body over the edge, but I hope to feel good enough by tonight to go and do something. Missing it is like having things crawling under my skin - it is a really unpleasant sensation and I am constantly aware of it and it is wigging me out.

So onto my last 4 days of being thankful...

On day #5, I was grateful for music. I LOVE music. I love to sing (I sang tenor in high school and was in a musical where I was a gospel singing nun.) I love to dance. Music makes me feel lighter and happier when I want to, or it embraces my melancholy when I need it to. I love lyrics and melody. If I had to make the horrible choice between being deaf or blind, I would have to go with blind, because to never hear music again would make my life miserable. Friday night, I went with the hubs to see one of our favorite independent bands at a local night club, and it was wonderful. Music just makes me happy.

My 6th day found me grateful for health as I was saying goodbye to mine - nothing makes you appreciate feeing well like not feeling it. 

Sunday, or day#7, I was thankful for rainy days when I can stay at home in comfy clothes and just rest. I love to listen to the rain hammering outside while I am snuggled up with a cup of herbal tea and my favorite blanket, finishing an entire novel. Ah, that is bliss.

Which brings me to today. Monday. I think that part of the fun of this month of gratitude is waking up and thinking "what will I be grateful for today?" Today I am grateful the days when I am able to get up and make breakfast for my kids. With all my early morning workouts, they have usually eaten when I get back, and mosts of their breakfasts consist of cold cereal and milk. This morning, since I stayed home, I was able to make them French toast (which I abhor but they love) and it was just gratifying to watch them eat it up, some with powdered sugar lips, and to know that I did something right. They will go off to school this morning with bellies full of warm food, and that is a happy thought. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Becoming an addict

Today was my down day from exercising, but since my internal clock has been reset to early morning workouts, I was up at 6 anyway, and that was sleeping in! The interesting thing is that mentally, I kind of wanted to go to the gym. My brain kind of thought "Hey, you could work out 6 mornings this week instead of 5 - imagine how that would help your weight loss! And you know you feel good when you are all done working out. Even if you accomplish nothing else all day long, you have done that. You're up anyway. There isn't anything here at home that you need to do this early." As you can tell, my brain likes to convince me to do things - hence the reason it can be so hard to avoid eating those baked goodies I love so much - my brain makes such compelling arguments! But my body was telling me a different story, one about achey-burningness in my shoulders and lower back, and stiff legs that were threatening to not even carry me down the hallway, let alone to the gym. I think that right now, with as hard as I am working out, it is important for me to take two days off a week. But I am beginning to see what people say about working out being addictive.

Onto my fourth day of gratefulness - today I was driving Hubby's truck when it ran out of gas on the freeway. No, that isn't what I am grateful for. But I am grateful for my sister-in-law who came to save me from being picked up by a random trucker. She brought gas for my car, and then followed me to the gas station and put in a few more gallons so I could make it home (payday isn't until Saturday - which is why I hadn't filled the tank already to avoid this predicament!) So for all that I sometimes wish for some distance from my in-laws, I am eternally grateful for Jamie's love and assistance.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weigh-in and a cutie

I cannot wait for the time change on Sunday - dragging myself out of bed at o-dark-thirty is rough. It doesn't help that the house is cold then either. This morning I woke up at 4:30 - the alarm was set for 5, but I always start waking up before them for fear that the alarm will go off and wake up Hubby. For some reason, it has become impossible to set the volume at which the alarm goes off, and it is set at a jump-out-of-bed-you-are-being-robbed-and-murdered volume. Not good. So I was out of bed at 4:50, and at the gym at 5:35.

Since I completed the C25K plan last week, but am still under 3.2 miles, I have extended my running time this week to 32-33 minutes, and am up to somewhere between 2.6 and 2.7 miles. I've got three weeks, and I am slooowly working my way up there.

Weigh-in for my family challenge was today, and I was down another 2.6 pounds, for a grand total of 11.4 pound in the last 6 weeks. Given that I am also adding muscle, I am THRILLED with this. And I am still winning percentage-wise. Which is great - Mama needs a new pair of boots! But I haven't won it yet - my step-mom is making a comeback with her weight loss, and given that she is 30 pounds smaller than me, she doesn't have to take off as much to have a higher percentage. She currently stands at 5.6%, while I am at 6.2% - that is not a big gap. I hadn't perceived her as so much of a threat before, but she is on my heels. Its always the quiet ones! I will tell you, it was much easier to want to take my brother-in-law down, though - I have a bit harder of a time talking smack about my step-mom. I won't let that stop me, though ;) I am going to take her out!

So only good things for this blog post - that is nice. It is bright and sunny here in Northern California, and slated to be unseasonably warm. And here is day #3 of being thankful:

On day #3, I am thankful for my youngest, 3 1/2 year old Jonathan Neil Joyner. With the other three in school all day, he and I get to spend a lot of time together. He is extremely cute, just ask any of the women who he charms each week at church. He flirts with women shamelessly, at the store, the library, the school - any age, any shape and size - he is equal opportunity! Jonathan constantly tries to talk his way into/out of things, starting sentences with "How about" or "I know!" and raising his eyebrows repeatedly at you to try to get you to do what he wants. I am completely immune, unfortunately for him. Since being potty trained earlier this year, he is determined to mark his territory, asking me at every place we go "Do they have a bathroom here?" I have started telling him no, just because I can't take going into one more bathroom when I know he is forcing himself to go (he also has amazing control over that!) He can be cute and cuddly or independent and willful, and I love watching him figure things out each day. One of my favorite things is the fact that he can pick up almost entire songs the first time or two he hears them, and I will catch him singing parts of them while I am driving or while he is playing (makes you pay attention to what he hears - he was singing "Highway to Hell" from the backseat a while back.) I am thankful for all that he adds to my life and our family.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Serious Topic

Today I have a very serious issue to talk about. Something that has been plaguing me in the last few weeks as I spend my time in the gym. An issue that I suspect I am not the only one familiar with. This issue, dear readers, is butt sweat. (Should I have put a warning at the top that this may be a TMI post???)

When I work out hard, which I have been over the last couple of months, I sweat. I don't get dewy, I don't glisten, I don't glow. I sweat. Sometimes profusely. From my face, from my neck, in my cleavage, and sometimes my arms and torso. All of which I am ok with. It means I am working my body hard, and I am burning calories, and those are the reasons I go to the gym. And I always wipe down the machines after I use them, with a paper towel and anti-bacterial spray. But when I get up from a weight machine where I have been sitting, and there is a strip of sweat on the seat from my derrière, well that is kind of gross and offsetting. Now, when I work out, I wear plain old cotton undies, and usually a pad *just in case*, so shouldn't that block some of that sweat? Maybe it isn't butt sweat, but rather thigh sweat. Still not my favorite. 

So do any of you have this problem. Or are you now sitting at your computers, cringing and thanking the heavens that you don't work out where I work out??? Any input or advice? Or butt sweat stories you'd like to share???

Also, it is Day 2 of Counting My Blessings , and while perhaps I need to work up a thankfulness for my sweating, it isn't what I am grateful for today.

Today as I sit at my desk, making phone calls for dental appointments, calling for support for our upcoming hospital stay, and checking in with family and friends, I am thankful for Mr. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. I know that there are days when I wish that the telephone wouldn't ring anymore (last night, when all the politicians kept "calling" me to secure my vote is a good example) and I long for a trip to a desert island where no one could find me, but this morning I find the telephone to be an invaluable invention.

What are you thankful for today?  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Counting My Blessings

Somehow it is already November. I have no idea where it came from, or where the year has gone, but there it was this morning, waiting for me when my alarm went off. As we all know, the big deal this month is Turkey Day. Also known as The Day We All Eat Too Much. Or The Day Before Black Friday. Or, for some of us, The Day We All Get Dressed Up To Go and Fight With Our Families (I haven't experienced that one, but have heard stories.) But, officially, it is known as Thanksgiving.

This month, in order to keep  my blessings at the forefront of my mind as our family is going through some hard things, and in order to truly remember to give thanks for those blessings, I am instituting the 25 Days of Thanksgiving. Every day I will post something that I am thankful for. I encourage you all to do the same, whether you post it or not, just take some time every day through Thanksgiving to write down one thing that you are thankful for. Keep the list to look at when times are darker. Or if your times are dark now, use that time every day to find a shaft of light to follow. Surely in this world, where we are all alive and surviving, where we have food and clothes and roofs over our heads, we can find just 25 things to be thankful for.

So today, on the 1st of November, I am thankful for a body that is able to run (even if it doesn't like it) and then go and take a workout class without passing out or throwing up. What are you thankful for?   

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rough road and curves ahead

Life is funny in the way it throws big things at you when you aren't looking for them. My 11 year old daughter has scoliosis. She was diagnosed a couple of years ago, and has been wearing a brace 23 hours a day ever since in an attempt to delay the inevitable surgery to correct the three curves in her spine. She has been seeing her spinal surgeon every three months, with xrays every six. Our appointments always go quickly, with the doctor looking at her spine and checking the curves and declaring that not much has changed, which is a good thing. Until today. And I knew the moment that he paused for more than two seconds in looking at her latest xray that something was different.

He was quiet as he ran the level over her spine and looked at the numbers, then turned again to look at the xray. I knew. And Hubby knew. Something was different. One of the curves has reached the point where surgery can't wait any longer without risk of being unable to fix it. What we didn't know was how long we had before the surgery would actually occur. Turns out it is weeks. Within 10 minutes we had a date scheduled - December 3. 5 weeks from now. 4 to 5 hours of surgery, followed by 3-4 days in the hospital, followed by 6-8 weeks of recovery at home.

So now we are in that in-between place. The "hurry up and wait" zone. Where I want to be in planning mode, but there isn't much to plan for. Just time to think. About the best way to soothe her fears. About waiting in the hospital. About the long incision down her back. About managing her pain once she gets home. The good things as she sees them? She no longer has to wear her "shell" as we call it. Ever again. And after surgery she will have gained a few inches from the straightening of her spine (she may even be eye to eye with me - that is thrilling to her.) The hospital itself is not a scary proposition - we were on the same floor a little over a year ago when she was diagnosed with diabetes. But the rest is a big unknown. And it wigs me out a little. So here we go - 31 days and counting down.

Weigh-in and some NSV love

Weigh-in day. Up 2 pounds. 177.4. Frustrated? Yes. With the scale? With the world? With everything conspiring against me? No. Because I am owning it. I knew that this week I didn't have enough veggies, or hardly any fruit. And while I didn't make necessarily bad choices in what I did eat, I also didn't go overboard making great ones. So it is one week out of a total of 9 for this competition, during which I have been steadily losing. And I saw lower numbers during this last week, so it could be that today is just a result of yesterday. I am still in it, and I will just be watching what I eat (or am not eating) a little closer this week. I am not letting that number psych me out.

On a better note, I have had a couple of NSVs in the past couple of weeks which I thought I would share:

1) I bought a pair of Lucky Brand jeans for $40 a couple of months ago (I know, amazing price right? But that is not the cool thing about it.) I bought them in a size 12, and at the time I could button them, but they were obviously too tight. I bought them with the intention of getting to where I would fit in them. And guess what? As of last Thursday, I officially do! And they look fantastic! Although they are Lucky Brand, so of course they would look good on anyone. They are officially my best pair of jeans, the only ones that make me feel really good, and I am trying to get together enough money to go and get another pair. I should have taken a picture in them - I will have to do that and post it later.

2) When Hubby and I took the kids to Fort Bragg a couple of weeks ago, we of course took many pictures. Hubby likes to take a lot of natural pictures, which usually means I am not looking or I am talking or they are from behind (and who likes that, really?) This time was no different. There were a bunch of different pictures incorporating my backside. But you know what? I wasn't horrified. I can really tell a difference in the size and shape of my butt. And that was nice. I will put a picture in that my eldest daughter took of Hubby and I down by the water.

Ok, I am off to the gym to get my run and my class in. Hope everyone has a great day!

* One last thought that I am going to edit into this post after having come back from my workout class: we will call this NSV 2 1/2 - You know how when you start to lose weight, your brests are the first thing to shrink? And not many of us really want that to happen. Well, lately I have noticed that the girls actually seem a little bigger...after a period of shrinking I was pondering how this came to be...and I realized from looking at all those stinking gym mirrors that they aren't getting bigger, they just look bigger because my torso is trimming down so much. Score!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How About Some Information Please?

For the past 8 weeks, I have been working the program. The Couch to 5K program, that is. I have sweated my way through runs from 90 seconds to 28 minutes. Now, as I face my final week, wherein I will run 30 minutes without stopping, I have a question that I am hoping one of you out there can answer for me. What happens when you reach the end of the program, which you have been running according to the times and not the distances (since you are given the option) and you are not running a 5k??? 

My last run, which was 28 minutes, only ended up being a distance of 2.2 miles. According to the program, the appropriate distance would have been 2.75 miles. And by this week, I should be doing 3 miles. Now, a 5k is actually 3.2. I am a whole mile short, and I am fairly certain that an extra two minutes of running this week are not going to equal another mile. So what am I supposed to do? I realize that the logical answer would be to run faster, but I feel lucky every time I make it through my whole run as it is.
So I am putting it out there for those of you who have followed this crazy program - were you successful? At the end, were you running as far as it said you were supposed to? If not, what did you do? I still have about 4 1/2 weeks until my 5k, during which I will just keep running and trying to get my distance up, but does anyone have any good advice?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Aches and Losses

Today is one of my two days a week that I don't work out. Instead of dragging myself out of bed at 5:10 like I do other mornings, I slept until 7:20, and then spent the next hour just laying in bed with my hubby. I can't remember the last time that happened, and it was quite lovely. As I began to move and stretch my body out, though, I was met with some resistance from my muscles. I am SORE from my workout yesterday. And then I had a realization. I can't remember the last day that some part of my body or other wasn't sore. It has been at least 5 weeks, which is how long ago I started the weight loss competition with my family. Even longer, I think, because I was working out and running before that. This is not by way of complaining, mind you. I have found that I actually relish the ache in my muscles. It means that I have muscles. And I am using them. in a good and productive way. That soreness represents me putting time and effort into myself for the betterment of me. And that is definitely a good thing.

As far as the competition with my family goes, I keep meaning to post my weekly weigh ins, but I forget. So I started at 183.8, and after 4 weeks I weighed in yesterday at 175.4. With five weeks left to go, I have lost 8.4 pounds. I am really happy with that number. And what's even better??? Come closer, and I will whisper it to you. Closer... i am winning. I don't want to say it too loudly, because there are five weeks left, and anything could happen. But as it stands now, my competitors haven't lost hardly anything. My brother-in-law Ron, who I thought for sure would be wiping the floor with me, has lost and gained the same half pound every week. My sister is hanging in there, having lost 3% of her weight to my 4.5%. It feels good to be doing so well, but I am not going to start slacking now. I am going to keep up my hellish workouts, keep dragging myself through the final weeks of the C25K, and keep making my healthy choices in my food. And come Thanksgiving day? I am going to collect my $65 happily. And then eat some turkey.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


It is pre-dawn as I sit here hunched in front of my laptop while the rest of my family slumbers away in their rented beds. There was a time when I would have been sleeping along with them, not to wake for another hour at least. But since I started getting up at 5:15 in the morning to workout, "sleeping in" has come to mean 6 at the latest. "Staying up late" has also taken on a new meaning - I was out by 9:30 last night while Hubby and the kidlets watched movies on the hotel cable. I could lament this change in myself, and long for the days when I was  a night owl who didn't step slippered foot out of bed until 8 at the earliest, reveling in the feeling of being cocooned in my comforter. But I don't. I am growing to love the quiet moments I get in the morning before I head to the gym, and the amount of things I have accomplished by 8 a.m. is astounding.

So this morning, as I await the sunrise and our impending day at the local beaches of Fort Bragg, I listen calmly to the even breathing of my husband and children, thankful to have this time to center myself before the clamor that will accompany getting everyone dressed and fed and ready. I concentrate on the deep breaths I am drawing in, and think about the fun we will have today as we enjoy a much needed break from our world. I hope that some of you get to do the same.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Bright Side

My favorite thing about working out really hard (maybe the only thing I can say that I truly like) is that it makes it virtually impossible to think about all of the stressful, crappy things happening in life. I can't focus on the near-breakdown and subsequent fallout that I had at church yesterday. I forget all about the husband sleeping in my bed at home who has (temporarily I hope) replaced the hubby I know and love because he is so stressed about work. My mind doesn't run over all the issues and family drama that goes on daily with my in laws. And there is no worrying about whether we will move out but stay in the area, thus keeping my kids in their school and us in our ward at church, or if we will have to move farther away and start over from scratch again. For that sometimes physically painful 60 minutes, all I have the capacity to think about is keeping myself going, and the only thoughts running on a loop through my mind are "Breathe." "Keep your feet moving." and "You can do this." I never knew that there was such a bright side to sweating enough to fill a bucket and making your legs so wobbly you almost trip when you walk.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Da do run run

I think that my body has lost its ability to sleep in. That is what getting up at 5:30 to go to the gym in the morning has done to me. This morning I didn't set my alarm since my husband doesn't have to work until the afternoon, knowing that I could hit W6D3 a little later than usual (yes, that is the first day you run 25 minutes straight - we will be coming back to that in a moment.) And yet, at 5:45, I woke up, my mind and body perked like a dog that  hears an intriguing sound in the distance. But the only sound I heard was that of my body telling me "Get up! We overslept!" I laid in bed, grumbling, for about 5 minutes before deciding that I wasn't going back to sleep anyways, so I might as well get up and face down the dreaded run.

And that is what I did. 25 minutes straight. It wasn't great. It wasn't the hardest thing I have ever done either. I put a towel over the timer of the treadmill, because watching that thing is definitely one of Dante's levels of hell, and I tried to concentrate on the episode of House that was playing and just kept my feet moving. My calves wanted to stop first. Then my quads registered their complaint. And the my hamstrings joined the choir of groaning. In my head, a continuous loop of "just keep going" was playing, synced up with my concentrated breathing. I refused to look at the time, even when I took the towel to wipe the rivulets of sweat glistening sheen from my face and neck.

Finally I reached a point where I had a rhythm going to my step - I had found a gait of sorts. Things were a bit smoother, and my legs were a bit quieter. I figured I must be about halfway through. The episode of House ended, and I allowed myself a peek at the time. I had hit 20 minutes. This was good and bad. I was thrilled to be almost finished. However, it took me almost the entire length of my run to finally hit my stride. Is that normal? It can't be! And if it is, this running thing is for horses and criminals.

At any rate, I finished the run, and for that I am grateful. I attempted to do my leg stuff with the weight machines, but was quickly informed by those appendages that they had done all the work that they intended to do today. So I collected my things and came home, sweaty and tired, glad its over for today, but still with a feeling of accomplishment.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Advice and an NSV

Another morning at the gym. Another hour on the all motion trainer. Another 705 calories gone. I was feeling pretty good about that. When I finished, I went over to the basket where I stowed my stuff to get out my iPod so I could do some work on my arms. The trainer who teaches the class I have been taking two days a week (Randy) came over and asked what I do on the days we don't have class. Now, I'm thinking, you just saw me do it. But I told him that I do about an hour on the AMT, followed by some weights if I have time, and on Fridays I run. He asked whether or not the machine is challenging for me, and when I tell him I want to quit halfway through, and that I do it in intervals of resistance, he just kind of says ok and starts to hesitantly turn around. So I asked him what it is I should be doing, and he suggested that I do more of a circuit thing. He said to do 10-15 minutes on the machine, then do a short weight circuit (but not enough to let my heart rate drop) and then hit the machine again, so on and so forth for an hour.

Now, he's a trainer, and I figure he knows what he is talking about, and it isn't like he gets anything out of getting me to switch up what I am doing, so there is no reason he wouldn't be telling me this for my own best interest. But at the same time...I am going to have an awful hard time giving up my 700+ calorie burns on that hour on that machine. There is just something so comforting about seeing a number that big after I have sweated it out for an hour. I have the ability to point to that and say "look what I did" and come home and tell my husband about it. I won't have any concrete reading on my workout with this circuit training. But adding more muscle will help me burn calories all day long, right?

Randy's advice also came with a little NSV for me (the likes of which I don't see too often - not, I think, because they aren't there, but because my eyes aren't open to them.) As he was questioning what I've been doing, he said "You're making obvious progress..." That's it. Four little words. But to me, for the trainer to notice that in the last five weeks my body is changing and I am getting somewhere means a lot. And I know this guy - he doesn't say things just to make you feel good. In fact, he didn't even notice he said it. But I did.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weigh-in Wednesday

Don't have a heart attack - yes it is me, and yes I posted yesterday...amazing I know.  Just priming the pump - trying to get some words flowing freely...not there yet but I will let you know when I am.

Weigh in today - I was down another 3.6 pounds. So in the two weeks since the competition began, I have lost 5.8 pounds. That is unheard of for me - I am really happy about it. Which is good, because that is what carried me through my run and the ab class from hell this morning. I haven't heard from my sister with the results from her family yet, so at this point I am winning!

I find that I am not struggling much with the eating, and that any struggling actually stems only from the fact that healthy food is low in the house right now and payday isn't until Saturday. But overall, I am watching my carb intake and not really eating sweets (I had a couple of bites of apple pie last night - no biggie) and loving the moderation much more than simply erasing things completely from my diet. I am really focusing on listening to my body and feeding it what it wants and needs. With all of the working out I am doing, I find that I naturally crave more protein, and so I have been trying to keep that supplied. 

Question for you all: when I am taking two rest days from exercise each week, does it matter if they are consecutive or separate?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Blogger's Block

Everyday, I think that I will write something and post it. And everyday, the words fail me. Writing has always been such a therapeutic thing for me, something that came easily and flowed unrestrained. But in the last few weeks, the words have halted. When I sit and look at the screen, or a blank piece of paper, my head begins to feel light and swirly and I hear rushing in my ears, and I can't string three words together, let alone sentences or paragraphs. I feel lately like I don't know what is going on with me, or how to flip it around. So today I am prying the words out of my head and forcing them into a post in the hopes of reversing whatever spell it is that is keeping my thoughts bound tightly in my head. I have to start somewhere.

I hit the gym this morning again - the All Motion Trainer for 63 minutes and 720 calories. Tomorrow will be W6D2 of C25K, and I am a bit worried as every day brings me closer to week 7, when every day is a straight 25 minute running - no more intervals for me. I am signing up for Sacramento's Run to Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving morning. It will be my first 5K ever, and I am nervous but also excited to do it. I am planning to run the entire thing, which will be a huge accomplishment for me if I pull it off.

Tomorrow is the second weigh-in for my family competition - last week I had lost 2.2 pounds and was very excited. Everyone else had lost .5 or gained, so amazingly I am in the lead thus far. When we started, I was saying that I didn't expect to win,that I am fairly certain my brother-in-law Ron will win it, and I was really doing it for the motivation. But you know what? That 2.2 pounds was a bit intoxicating. And it is ON now. I am going to do my best to win bragging rights and the $75. The final weigh in is the day before Thanksgiving, and when we gather together for Thanksgiving dinner, I plan on being able to be thankful for winning. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Incredible Vanishing Blogger

Ahem. I do not even know where to start this post. After having been AWOL for over a month, I feel awkward stepping back in here like I was never gone. Part of me feels like I should have some excuse or story to share about why I've been gone, about how I've fallen off the wagon and gained 15 pounds, or about how I was abducted by Gypsies and have embarked on an illustrious career as one of their dancers. 

Another part of me feels like maybe I shouldn't be working my way back into this at all, but should instead just let it go. Because coming back to the blogging has mirrored that struggle we have all faced with getting back onto the health kick after a couple of weeks of binging on cream puffs and Cheetos. As more and more weeks have passed, I've thought, "It is just too hard to jump in again. It will take too much effort to reestablish myself and really get into it again. I don't really mind this sequestered life that I am leading." 

And the funny thing is, I haven't been binging, or laying around on the couch, or dancing with the gypsies. I've been hitting the gym five days a week, and recently began a weight-loss challenge with some members of my family. I am doing well in this arena. It is the rest of my life that has felt as though it is coming apart at the seams. You know that scene in "The Nightmare Before Christmas" where Jack pulls the thread and Oogie Boogie falls apart? I have felt that thread coming loose, and have just been waiting for the one tug on it to send my inner bugs scattering, leaving me deflated on the ground. 

But somehow I am still all in one piece, and still dragging myself through life, the only time I actually feel productive and useful being that hour to hour-and-a-half in the gym each morning. Maybe I can take that small victory and stretch it until some more aspects of my life are protected under its cover. I am thinking that this blog should be one of the tent poles. Maybe some of you can help me drive in that first stake.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Get used to disappointment.

Walking into my teeny tiny gym today, I found that both of my beloved all motion trainer machines were occupied. I’ll admit, upon seeing the two biddies lovely ladies getting their burn on what I have decided are my machines, I had a quick thought of just turning around and going home. I mean, how else was I supposed to burn my 700 calories in 60 minutes?

This was disappointment number 1 – my expectations for what was going to happen at the gym were not met. And I had a choice – let those broken expectations dictate what I was going to do, essentially send me packing, or reconfigure the expectations into something I could work with.

Well, one of the two ellipticals which stand right next to the amts was open. Now to me, the amt is like the elliptical’s older, cooler, hotter brother. the elliptical is great and all – he’s sweet, cute, and funny, but, well, once you meet the amt, you just can’t help wanting to be his girlfriend (don’t worry, elliptical, I won’t forget you – we’ll always be friends. it’s not you – it’s me.) That was the one I went with, and I planted myself on the elliptical. I was still feeling disappointed (especially with having to be right next to the lady enjoying my amt) but I thought I should try to move forward – life is full of disappointment. It has been a while since I have been on the elliptical. Like probably a couple of years. So I start moving my feet a bit, and let me tell you, I forgot how weird the stride is on those things. That is not really a movement that I make anywhere else in my life, and I didn’t care for it. In fact, I really disliked it.

Here is where I hit disappointment number 2 – my new plan, which was designed to help me overcome the disappointment of losing the first plan, was uncomfortable and not anywhere near meeting my old expectations. Again, I was faced with a choice – bail out on the cardio and go home, switch to the dreaded treadmill, or suck it up and keep going, knowing that it wasn’t going to be as good as I’d hoped, but at least it would be something. Taking a deep breath, I went with the third option and turned on the TV screen, only to be met squarely with:

Disappointment number 3. Apparently something wasn’t working with the cable, because USA, the channel I have grown very fond of watching while I work out, wasn’t working. At all. Black screen. Leaving only 3 other channels to choose from – ESPN (I don’t like sports) CNN (or the people interviewed on the 24 hour news stations) or NBC and the today show (which isn’t as bad as bamboo under my fingernails, but it isn’t usually a very pleasant experience for me.) Another disappointment, another choice. I could do twenty minutes and pretend like that was all the time I had planned on working out today, plug into my iPod which is in desperate need of some new workout music, or watch Meredith Vieira try again and again to be funny while invariably failing (I mean, for goodness sake, Matt Lauer wasn’t even there today, and he is the one thing I like about that show.)

I did a mental check with myself, realizing how many times my immediate decision would be to just quit. I thought to myself “good heavens, is this how I respond to ALL the disappointment in my life?” And, unfortunately, I think a good deal of it has been dealt with by freaking out, breaking down, railing at the world, and ultimately just giving up, rather than by calmly reviewing my options and choosing the one that, while it may not be what I wanted to do, will still get me SOMEWHERE instead of leaving me NOWHERE.

And so I stayed and watched Meredith and her coworkers talk their way through an hour of programming, cringing internally when she didn’t get Bill Cosby’s jokes or tried to make her own when she should have just let the man do what he does best. I had to keep going through the five minute cool down to get my 700 calories, but you know what? Five extra minutes didn’t kill me! (shocking, I know.)

The one disappointment that I couldn't overcome was the fact that I forgot to grab something to eat before I ran out the door this morning to workout (all that dreaming of my amt distracted me.) So by the time I finished my cardio, I couldn't stay and do any weights, as I felt like I was just this side of throwing up all over the gym floor (I don’t know about your gym, but they frown upon that where I go.)

So here is my challenge for, well, the foreseeable future, and I extend it to you as well: really look at how you react to disappointment, and what you do with it. Do you look at it, kick it a bit in anger, and then just sit down and do nothing about it? Do you look at it for a few minutes, shocked into staring, before stepping around it to find a new path? Do you simply step over it and move on without flinching? I’m going to be trying for option three.