Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mia Mookie

Monday afternoon the kids and I made a trip to the YMCA. My plan was that they would go to daycare while I exercised and then we would all swim together. Mia, on the other hand, had no intention of cooperating. She refused to go to daycare. Crying and clinging and screaming ensued. After 15 minutes of trying to coax her to go and her refusing and after also discovering that the pool was closed due to inclement weather, we left having done nothing but wasted a lot of time and gasoline.

Back at home awhile later Mia and I had a conversation that went like this:

Me: Mia, I love you so much, but sometimes you drive me crazy!

Mia: No I don't. I never even get to ride in the front seat! I can't drive you anywhere!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Children Save Me

I remember that on the second night after this all began, the same night that the news crew showed up at our door and then sat on the roadside filming our house, Chris and I sat on the back porch and I told him it felt like my chest was caving in. The panic, the fear, the pain…it was too much. It brought about the sensation that there was 1000 lbs of weight centered upon my breastbone, forcing it downward into my lungs until I could no longer draw more than the shallowest of breaths, just enough to keep me alive so that I could feel the pain. At that time it wasn’t the pain of being wronged. It was blinding pain stemming from the thought that our family might soon be torn apart.

I had never before and have never since felt like I did that night. Oh, our struggle didn’t prove to be over that night or the next. It’s still not over today, 20 months later. As a matter of fact, my fears were well founded and our family has indeed been separated temporarily. Eighteen more months to go, to be exact. I doubt I would be mentally stable today (ok, so maybe that’s still a bit questionable) had God not provided me with the most blessed relief from that bone crushing fear and pain.

Now, I have heard stories of people surviving horrible tragedies because they felt like God enveloped them in his comfort and gave them that ever-sought “peace that passes understanding”. I have to admit, though, that I don’t think that was my exact experience. Don’t get me wrong. I believe 100% that He has brought me through this trial thus far. It’s just that I haven’t at any time felt any type of direct spiritual intervention that I have heard others describe. Maybe that’s due to a lack of spiritual maturity on my part, but I honestly don’t believe so. I believe that God has provided his comfort and his healing through two little knuckleheads in my life whose names are Luke and Mia.

It’s not that my children have been my shoulders to cry on. They aren’t my counselors. They aren’t some extraordinarily mature 4 and 7 year olds who have behaved perfectly and comforted me with sweet words when I was down. No, they are normal, rambunctious, hilariously funny, and sometimes maddening children. They fuss about getting up in the morning and about brushing their teeth. They create lots of dirty clothes and they spill their milk at the dinner table. They also have the most infectious laughs. They think anything relating to bathroom humor is a riot. Luke laughs so hard that he snorts. They fight with each other. They team up together when one needs to go into a dark room in the house and is afraid to go by him/herself. They are picky eaters. Each night I make two meals, a decent one for me and crap for them. It’s what they like. They love Phineas and Ferb and laugh violently at their antics. They sleep with me every night. I threaten and scowl that they must go to sleep immediately and then when they fall asleep I lie next to them and look at them in awe of their beauty and innocence.

It’s definitely not all roses where my babies are involved, but they do, indeed, save me. They keep me from being too self-centered. They make me laugh. They make me angry at times, the result of which is often an emotional release that I was much in need of anyway. Their hugs and kisses are like a calming salve. Without them 2 years without my husband would be an awfully long and awfully lonely time. With them I have two little pieces of him with me each and every day. I can see him in their faces. I can see him in the things they do and hear him in the things they say.

I'm not one to claim that I know how God works in our lives, but I believe that he does and that he knew what I needed when he placed these two little ones in my life.

P.S. Tonight is a special night for Luke and I. We are eating dinner at Olive Garden then going to see Star Wars in Concert and we are sitting on the 4th row! He has his Luke Skywalker costume ready to go. Please pray that we have a wonderful and safe "date" night.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekly Progress

Just tallied my workouts for the week thus far and found that I have traveled under my own power (either by run, bike, or swim) a distance of 16.85 miles since Monday. I've got another workout planned for tomorrow and should break 20 miles easily.

In the grand scheme of things that's not a ton, but when I compare it to the couch potato I was 6 months ago it seems pretty darn significant.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You Know I've Always Been a Dreamer

Over the span of my adult life numerous dreams and aspirations have woven themselves into my psyche. Some have lingered longer than others but all have been a passion at some time or another. I inherited a single trait from my maternal grandfather and that is that I typically pursue whatever passion that overwhelms me at the moment with an obsessive doggedness that cannot be matched. I have to know every single thing there is to know about it. It’s what I talk about. It’s what I read about. It’s what I watch on tv. It’s what I spend way too much time researching on the internet while I should be working.

Saying that I’m thorough would be a slight understatement. And, while I am quite sure that this trait can occasionally be a bit annoying to those around me who have to put up with these obsessions, it nonetheless usually makes me pretty well informed and pretty decent at what I choose to do. Just ask our friends that we cruised with most recently. I think I knew every nook and cranny of each island we went to before we ever docked at port. I knew where the best beach was and which places to eat, which shore excursions we should book through the cruise line and which we could get better deals on by booking ourselves through private companies. My dream was to enjoy the perfect vacation and if spending a few (dozen) hours researching and planning would help that happen then I didn’t mind a bit.

My latest aspirations involve fitness and owning my own business. True to my nature, I am taking steps toward actively achieving my goals in both areas right now. You’ve read the beginnings of my fitness adventure here. If my current dreams come to fruition you’ll read one day of me completing a sprint triathlon. I’ve told 5 people of that dream so far and all have shaken their head in disbelief that I would be crazy enough to consider such a thing. Maybe I am. Maybe I can’t. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I sure as heck am going to find out. Why would I want to be 80 years old saying, “I really wish I had tried it. I think I could have done it.” If I try and fail, so be it. At least I’ll know. If I try and find that the preparation takes too much time from other higher priorities in life, I’ll stop and I’ll try again when it can move up higher on the priority list. Either way, I will have worked toward what I wanted rather than sitting here dreaming about it all day.

I’m thrilled to say that my dream of owning my own business is coming to fruition as well. I’ll have lots more info and even pictures to show soon, so I’m not going to spoil the surprise right now, but within a matter of a couple of months this business should be fully operational and will be the physical representation of a dream come true. With a little luck on our side it will be immensely successful and will prove that a dream and a little obsession can result in really, really, good things.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Still Moving - Getting Better Everyday

Eight pounds lighter and many more miles on my Nikes, I feel better than ever! It’s amazing what regular exercise does for a body!

I never imagined that I would reach this point, but I can now whole-heartedly say that I love running. Crazy! I know!! As a matter of fact, I crave it. Most days at work I spend quite a bit of the day picturing my afternoon run, how far I will go, and where I will run. It’s likely not the most productive habit to have formed during my work day, but hey, it keeps me going.

I still don’t have any form of extreme endurance. Most of my runs are 2-2.5 miles and my goal is to average about 8 miles a week. This is, no doubt, very light work for a “distance” runner, but the key is that I love it and because I love it I push myself each time to go a little faster or go a little further. Just yesterday I ran my fastest 2 miles to date, finishing in 18 min 15sec. Best news is that I ran the second mile in 8 min 55 sec, a whole 25 seconds faster than the first (9 min 20 sec)! I’d say that indicates that I’m capable of an even much better time. I haven’t run a full 5k in more than a month, but I ran it then in 32min 17sec. If I can maintain anywhere near the speed that I ran my 2 miles in yesterday over the 3.1 mile distance I can cut about 4 whole minutes off of that time though! That’s certainly doable. Just have to keep working.

In exciting news, my parents and my kids bought me the Nike+ Sportband for Mother’s Day. (It must be obvious to everyone that I am officially addicted to the sport.) I am realistic enough to know that gadgets don’t improve performance, but this little gadget sure will be fun for a statistics nerd like me. Can’t wait to get it set up and try it out.

In the realm of dreams, I’m considering getting into cycling. Anyone read FatCyclist? If Elden doesn’t make you want to go buy a bike (or maybe even try a triathlon!) you may not have a pulse! Now if I can just find a spare $850 or so to get a decent beginner’s road bike. Hmm…

P.S. It’s likely that after a few more months of training I will come back to this post and be embarrassed that I admitted to people how slow I was running at the time, but at least it will serve as proof of how far I will have come.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

By a Thread

Some days my lack of productivity at work is due to the fact that I am simply lazy and distracted by other things that are much more interesting. On those days I typically feel incredibly guilty at the end of the day and vow to do better in the future.

Other days though, my productivity level slumps near zero because I am just barely hanging on by a thread. Today happens to be one of those days. A raging sore throat which led to very little sleep combined with stress in dealing with some family issues has me worn thin.

I've already decided that if I survive until lunch I am treating myself to the Pizza Hut buffet. Food heals.

DISCLAIMER: No, I am not advocating eating to combat emotional or psychological issues. A good counselor would be much more help with that. On rare occasion a carbohydrate splurge can make the afternoon a wee bit more manageable though.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Food Lovers Unite

As a food lover I can’t resist the chance to share something really delicious that managed to create itself in my kitchen this morning. I’ve been making a point of cooking hearty breakfasts for myself each day over the past few months. Some days it makes me a little later to work than I would like, but I work on a flex schedule and I have yet to regret starting the day with something tasty. Plus, I’m putting faith in the old adage that breakfast is the most important in a healthy diet.

So, lately I’ve been eating eggs. Lots of eggs. Did you know that the combination of nutrients in one whole egg makes it nearly the perfect food item? Yep, they get a bad rap because of cholesterol but they are actually very good for you in a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Most mornings I’ve been eating them scrambled with a little mozzarella cheese and fresh mushrooms. Delicious.

Today, however, I got up a little earlier than normal and had a chance to search through the fridge for some other tasty items. Lo and behold, in just a few moments I had assembled a most delicious breakfast delicacy. Have you tried these? Earth Grains Thin Buns. Go buy them NOW! This morning I took only the bottom half of one of thes e yummy “thin buns” (Does it crack anyone else up that a healthy bread that you might eat when trying to thin your own “buns” is called a “thin bun”? No? Just me? Alrighty, then. Moving on.). To this bottom half of a thin bun I added just a tiny touch of mayo. Just enough for flavor, not enough to add all that fat and calories I didn’t need. Next layer was fresh baked ham leftover from Easter lunch torn into bite size pieces for easy eating. Then slices of tomato and a couple of ounces of very thinly sliced mozzarella. I popped this in the oven on broil for a few minutes to make everything nice and melty while I scrambled up a fresh organic egg. As soon as the cheese was bubbly and the thin bun was getting crispy, my egg was done. I added the fluffy egg to the top of my tower of goodness with a light sprinkle of kosher salt and WHALAA!

Folks, it doesn’t get much tastier. You can eat it with a fork or hold it in your hand and cram it into your mouth while driving with your knee like I do. Either way it’s perfectly delicious and wonderfully filling.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Empowered. Yes, that about sums it up. That’s how I feel lately…like I can tackle the task I have set before myself. I’ve overcome the self doubt. I can do it!

My running is going splendidly much to my own amazement, honestly. I have been working my way through the Couch to 5k program for a few weeks now saying that it was my goal to be able to run a 5k. All the while, however, there has been a lurking thought in the back of my mind that I would eventually reach a point where I just couldn’t do it. I have never been able to run distance. I just don’t have the stamina. Even when I was younger and playing so many sports it would make your head spin, I just never had endurance. Lo and behold, at the ripe old age of (almost) 31, I have discovered that I can do it.

Now, don’t go getting any grand ideas. It’s not like I’m stepping out the door and jogging 5 or 6 miles a day. Not yet. Hopefully someday. I am, however, able to get out on the trail now and run 2 miles without feeling like I am going to kick the bucket any second. That is a big accomplishment for me. This will sound puny, especially coming from an athlete, but I don’t believe I had ever before run 2 miles straight. Hundreds of wind sprints and back man sprints and many, many quarter miles, 800 meter runs, and even numerous mile runs in my lifetime, but never 2 miles to my knowledge. Now I can and it feels fantastic!

Thursday of last week was C25k Week 5 day 2. It required me to run 3/4 of a mile, walk ½ of a mile, and then run another ¾ mile. Tired of being on a treadmill, I went to the city park track. The extra cushion on my worn out knees and hips was great, but going in circles for 8 laps was BORING to say the least. I survived despite the mind-numbing monotony.

Saturday was C25k Week 5 day 3. The big test- the part that I doubted I could do. Two mile run. No breaks. That day I chose a local fitness trail rather than the track and what a difference it made! Being able to run and see new sites instead of going in circles or staring at a tv like I do on the treadmill was awesome! That negativity that typically creeps into my head when I start running that keeps repeating how boring this is, how tired I am, how I want to quit was not there at all! Of course, it is no miracle cure. I was still tired at the end of 2 miles, but the difference was remarkable and I’ll definitely be choosing that environment from now on if I possibly have the option.

I wore a pedometer/stop watch on my run on Saturday. It registered that I took 4,269 steps. That means I covered just shy of 2.5 feet per stride. My long legs can do much better than that and that will surely improve my time, but that day was about taking it easy and proving that I could do it. I did.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tuesday on a Thursday

Ok, so I’m a couple of days late writing about Tuesday’s workout, but it was a good one. Here goes.

Cardio – C25K Week 5 Day 1 – Jog ½ mile, walk ¼ mile, jog ½ mille, walk ¼ mile, jog ½ mile - Actually not as difficult as I expected. I was tired at the end but could have gone further if I had to.

Weight traning – Phase 1 Workout B (slightly modified)
Sumo squats – 3 sets of 12 reps
Lying dumbbell press – 3 sets of 12 reps/side
Hamstring curl – 3 sets of 12 reps
Seated row pulls – 3 sets of 12 reps
Lat pull downs – 3 sets of 12 (except the last set in which I only managed to do 10)
Leg press – 3 sets of 10

Hip ups – 14 reps
Reverse crunches – 14 reps
Crossover crunches – 14 reps/side
Oblique crunches – 14 reps/side
Straight leg crunches – 14 reps
Flat footed crunches -14 reps
Supermans – 10 reps

No workout on Wednesday. It’s church night and an off day for exercising.

How I feel today – Eh, I’ve been better. Having not exercised yesterday makes me feel a little sluggish. I think it’s all mental. I just don’t have that pride that I feel after a good solid workout. I was really anticipating being sore after Tuesday’s workout but was not at all. It’s definitely time to increase the intensity (i.e. add more weight, increase reps, etc) to make sure I am pushing myself every time. I’m certainly in better shape than I have been in quite a few years, but I’m no where near where I want to be right now. Can’t be complacent.

This afternoon...C25K Week 5 Day 2 and racquetball.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, Monday

Yet again, life forced me to change my regular routine, but I worked it out and managed to get my exercise in. It just had to be at home rather than at the gym.

Dumbell split squats - 3 sets of 12 reps
Pushups - 3 sets of 20 (used modified version on my knees)
Hip bridge - 1 set of 36
Dumbell curl/shoulder press - 3 sets of 12
Speed skating drill - 1 set of 36
Lateral hops - 3 sets of 25

Hip ups - 14
Reverse crunches - 14
Crossover crunches - 14
Oblique crunches - 12
Leg up crunches - 12
Flat footed crunches - 12
Supermans - 10

Eating -
Much better on the eating front yesterday. We had a breakfast here at work at which I ate a good bit, but I managed the calories by cutting out my morning snack. Lunch was tuna salad a crackers. Dinner I made a baked chicken breast stuffed with fresh mushrooms, garlic, spinach and just a bit of mozzarella cheese. Had roasted eggplant and english peas on the side. Absolutely delicious! I snagged a few M&Ms out of the jar at home after I cleaned the kitchen and am perfectly ok with that. This journey is not about deprivation. It's about balance.

Emotions -
Mentally feeling good today. I'm recovered from being down in the dumps about my weekend eating and am pleased about doing better. I'm starting to see some muscle definition in my legs that I haven't seen since I was playing ball in high school. That's a nice reward and good motivation to keep on keepin' on.

Today is C25k Week 5 Day 1. More on that tomorrow.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Weekend of Good Exercise, Poor Eating

Saturday was workout day again and I was excited to be getting back to the gym, but a change or two in plans forced me to alter my routine slightly. I’m proud to say that I didn’t allow that to compromise the work I got in though. Here’s a rundown.

Sunrise Saturday A.M. – Turkey hunt/photography. Estimating Everette and I hiked a mile or so over uneven ground. Some climbing. Some wading through creek beds. My favorite kind of exercise is this kind that you get while doing other things you enjoy! What a great time!

Saturday noon – Got to the YMCA late and realized that daycare was closing in half an hour. Had to speed through my weight training routine but fit it all in and got good quality reps. Exercises follow:

Dumbell Sumo Squat 3 sets 12
Dumbell Alternating Chest Press 3 sets 12/side
Lying Leg Curl 3 sets 12
Seated cable row 3 sets 12
Reverse fly 3 sets 12
Standing dumbell hammer curl 3 sets 12/side
Superman 6 sets 10 seconds each time

Ab Work -
Reverse crunches - 16 reps
Crossover crunches - 16 reps
Flat footed crunches - 16 reps

Did not have time to do my cardio workout before daycare closed so the kids and I spent the next hour swimming. I didn’t do much other than standing and catching Mia as she jumped off the side, but burned a few calories I’m sure.

After running a few errands I did my running at home on the road. I’m learning that the road is a whole different ballgame than the treadmill. (1) It takes more effort to propel yourself forward on flat ground than it does to simply keep yourself on a treadmill as it moves underneath you. (2) It’s much more difficult for me to determine a good pace when running on the road. Despite those things I had a good run. I didn’t follow my Couch to 5k routine because I didn’t have exact distances measured on the road and I’m doing the program by distance rather than time. Instead I started the run with a 1 mile jog. Then turned around and walked/jogged home that same mile. I estimate I jogged appx half of the mile back. Regardless, I’m confident that I put in equal work to the C25K routine, if not more.

I’m not even going to go into all the things I ate this weekend that I should not have. I’m depressed enough about it already. Needless to say, I have reached a point where I have been eating well long enough that I really notice a difference when I eat poorly. The results aren’t good physically and I beat myself up for it mentally because I hate to think that I wasted effort exercising only to negate it by eating fried food and calorie laden cinnamon rolls.

I ‘m sure that won’t be the last time that I make poor choices with food, but I hope next time I remember the feeling of frustration that comes after it and can use that to boost my willpower.

Today for lunch…tuna fish. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fitness Journal

I'm on a mission to get in shape and stay that way and in my effort to do so I am going to try and keep a journal of my workouts, eating, and progress. Since this blog has been totally inactive as of late, I have decided to use it for that purpose. I realize that this will be of no interest to anyone but me (unless you are weird like me and enjoy reading about other people's workout habits), but it's convenient for me to be able to log it here and then be able to pull up the info from any computer anywhere. So, here goes.

March 25, 2010

Eating -

Ate pretty well today. Focusing on good proteins and limiting the carbs. Had scrambled eggs with a bit of mozzarella cheese and a banana for breakfast. Drank only water all day long. Ate a charbroiled chicken breast and half of a bun with a little mayo for lunch. 1 package of instant oatmeal for mid afternoon snack. Peanut butter crackers immediately after workout. Homemade pizza topped with roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes for dinner. Considerable amount of carbs for dinner, but I'm ok with that considering the workout for the day.

Workout -

Couch to 5k - Week 4 Day 2 - jog 1/4 mile, walk 1/8 mile, jog 1/2 mile, walk 1/4 mile, jog 1/4 mile, walk 1/8 mile, jog 1/2 mile

Weight training -
Dumbell split squats - 3 sets of 12 reps each side
Pushups - 3 sets of 20 (used modified pushup position)
Pull ups - 3 sets of 10 (used machine that assists)
Seated dumbbell curl/shoulder press - 3 sets of 12 each side

Ab workout -
Reverse crunches - 14 reps
Crossover crunches - 14 reps each side
Flat footed crunches - 14 reps
Supermans - 14 reps holding 2 seconds each time

How I feel the day after -

Increasing soreness as the day goes on, but nothing like what I anticipated. Good energy level. Anxious to get back in the gym tomorrow.

Goals -

Short term - Be able to confidently wear the swimsuit I have picked out in the Athleta catalog by summer time.

Long term - Live a healthy, active lifestyle. Learn to be an endurance runner. Lean and athletic build, not simply "skinny".

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Considering Food

"If it didn't have a mother and it didn't grow out of the ground, don't eat it."

~Jillian Michaels
in Mastering Your Metabolism