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.