Thursday, January 26, 2017

Just an Update!

Weight loss continues, slowly. Still more slowly than I desire. I wasn't happy with my rate of loss over the last three months. My weight is down, but for the majority of that time it bounced around between the same five pounds and had basically stabilized. I'm having a hard time getting past "last time" and how much faster it was.  Fresh perspective is hard to gain when you know how something progressed so easily once before. That was in 2009. I'm just a little older now.

I was adding more exercise and this week I was forced to back off (the dreaded "crud" found me). Guess what.... It hasn't been detrimental. Weight is stable. I think maybe I've been pushing a bit too hard. I am really trying to back off on doing so much exercise.  On the days I do spin and yoga, I do not need to run.  On run days, I don't need to spin too.  I've been working to add weights/strength training into the mix for at least 30 minutes a day and I'm finding that it's hard and stressful.  Spin and yoga alone are almost two hours; that's the time period I'm gone, but spin is about 45 minutes. Then it's off to work and on lunch I've been running (well, mostly walking this week, since you know...breathing...). I'm finding that leaves me short on time as far as getting weights in. And by the time I get home at night, I'm tired and honestly, I just don't want to. So, I could get up a little earlier and get something done before everything else.  That would probably be the easier option. That will require going to bed earlier... That's pretty much something I constantly need to work to improve.

 I'm thinking of cutting out the serious strength training and doing some body weight training. These random half hour periods I have between clients are used for various this (like this). I can easily do some body weight squats, lunges, and whatever else during those down times. I also don't have to go to my basement gym to use my big, heavy weights, so they're a lot easier to do during the couple hours of relaxation I have at night.  I didn't lift heavy the first time I lost weight and it's okay if I don't now. The important thing is that I'm moving. I like gaining muscle and I've noticed that I look different at my current weight than last time I was here, but I'm getting stressed trying to get it in, which isn't good.  Or maybe I'll cut down a couple days. If I strength train a couple days a week it's okay.  I'm not going to be making any huge muscle gains but I'm also going to maintain my strength and what I have now.  I'm kind of at the point where I'm thinking "fat loss now, muscle gains later." I'll still do strength training because it helps, but I'm not going to exhaust myself or worry because I have it scheduled and don't get to it.

I'm too uptight. I need to learn that it's okay to not have to do things in a certain way.  I have to make it fun again. I have to enjoy it, not feel like it's just something I have to do.  I still like working out but the love I had for it just doesn't have that same spark. I'm probably doing more harm than good with all the exercise I've been doing. Most days my caloric intake is 1200-1500 (on a higher day). I can burn up to 1600 (that's based on however myfitnesspal figures it).

I've been all over the place diet-wise, trying various things and realizing that it doesn't matter what I'm doing, my weight isn't budging. Clearly I need to revise it.  I generally eat healthy. I have treats sometimes but the amount of treats shouldn't be preventing weight loss.  I'm thinking maybe it's the quality. That's one of the problems I had with a certain weight loss plan/company. Eat whatever you want, just stay within this range. That's not okay. I think I can clean up my eating even more and maybe that will help my body. It's time to re-visit my old logs to see where exactly I was at in terms of macros, calories, etc. I don't eat horribly now but obviously there is some room for improvement. I was eating "sort of" low carb but not following any specific plan exactly. I was still allowing for some good carbs but cut down a lot. I was eating  more treats like hard boiled eggs, cheese, and little meat snacks.  You know what? That's not good either. It's just a quick fix. And I know that. It's also really not a good plan for, ohhhh your heart. Sometimes high protein comes with high fat. Red meat could be a factor for me. It's fatty. I buy the extra lean ground beef and lean cuts of whatever else, but the little meat trays at the store...Not so lean. I can allow those now and then but I think that I've had too much of that.

In reading about various "diets" I think that what I used to do looks very much like the Mediterranean Diet.  I'm going to refer to that as a Mediterranean style of eating because I don't diet/do diets. When I refer to my diet, it's my dietary intake. Not some fad or quick fix that does not really work in the long run.  Also? Wine.  If you follow the actual Mediterranean Diet it allows for wine. But it says a glass of red wine. I'm more of a white drinker. Wonder if that counts. By the way, I don't drink very often so that's kind of a funny thought and fitting alcohol into my diet isn't a concern for me. Honestly, I'm not sure when I last had an adult beverage. It must have been New Year's Eve when I had two light beers.

I suppose that's about it... I continue to plan ahead for workouts and fit them in with my work schedule. It seems to be working out pretty well doing that.  It also gives me a tendency to get a little stressed if the day doesn't go as planned and I don't get something done that's scheduled, so I'm trying to just let some of that go and roll with it. I don't need to exercise for two hours a day. If I miss something, I'll be okay.  Sometimes being too rigid can cause difficulty.

Hope life finds you well!

XOXO




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Angel Card Got Me Again.

Yoga has become a huge part of my life.  I love everything about it. I love the physical work, because....Exercise. I have also noticed some changes in my body since I started yoga. I'm stronger. I'm more flexible. Some of the poses are easier (which should happen after two months of consistency).  Some poses, I'm still working on (looking at you crow - I got up and stayed up for like three seconds once; didn't immediately come down. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN SO JUST COOPERATE WITH ME!).  I leave class feeling refreshed and at peace. I wish my schedule allowed for me to go every day. I can usually work it so that I can make it to class three times a week, plus choreoyoga on the weekend (which is just FUN!). This is the first class (admittedly though, I haven't taken many) that I've looked forward to. I get annoyed if I have something come up and I have to miss a class. I enjoy my spin class too but yoga ranks right up there with running in my little bubble.

The thing with yoga is that it really does become part of a lifestyle. It can release so much from the body that a person can feel different (better?) mentally too. When you feel better/different, you start to see things around you differently too. Yoga is about self-care as well as how you behave toward others. When you feel better, you're more likely to treat others (and yourself!) better. I've never had much of a problem with the treating others well thing. Sure, there have been people who I've allowed to "get to me" at times and I reacted. I never used to be good at standing up for myself. Once I found my voice, the fighting spirit within me was like "helllloooo there!" In terms of reactions, if someone was mean to me, I wasn't going to let them get away with that and in doing so, I was mean to them too. Over time (this was even pre-yoga), I realized that the mean things people said, which typically were exaggerated, didn't really matter.  In the end, it comes down to... Why would they treat me that way?

When people are asshats to you, there's a reason. You did something they don't like. You have something they want. They struggle with their own feelings so your success or celebration brought out their anger. Jealousy. Greed. Lots of things can cause people to be jerks. That kid who is mean to everyone? He's probably struggling with something - home life, self-esteem... None of which is a reason to be a bully, but there's something behind it. Unless that kid wants to be mean for no good reason, which is another type of problem.

Generally when I've been an asshat it's been in response to someone else's high level asshat behavior. Or because I've been standing up for others. Or because someone needed to be called out on whatever was happening. I mean, communication... If you don't tell someone what is bothering you and discuss it, it festers and turns ugly. I guess I've not been a total asshat with that type of thing. People hate criticism and usually the response to it is negative. So, maybe that wasn't as much me as it was a reaction turning it into more. Or maybe I was mean about it. Could be either.

I was getting better at the whole "letting go" concept prior to yoga. I was working hard to stay positive and be happy that issues were no longer issues. I decided that people who really truly know me, know me.  They know the positive as well as the negative (because we ALL have negative). The people who know me take time to understand me, to talk, and to listen. People who really know me will ask if they hear something. They'll want my part of the story. People say that there are three parts to every story: yours, theirs, and the truth.  I hate that concept. Sure, sometimes things are exaggerated but just tell the truth. We avoid the truth because we don't like to look bad, we don't want to admit to our "faults" and we want everyone else to just love us without question. Here's the thing - the people who love you will love you without question despite your faults. I've become pretty good at saying "I did this..." or "you know, I said this and it probably wasn't so great." People, it is okay to admit to your own problems. The more you hide them, the more people start to realize it.

Yoga has brought all of that out even more, but in a different way. I'm learning to be more peaceful about things. Acknowledge and move on. You can't change what anyone thinks or says about you. If they really want to know you, they'll watch and they'll listen. They will give you a chance based on you rather than what someone else said.

My fighting spirit is still there. It's just there in a different way. I'm trying to react to hurt (although, thankfully, I haven't faced much of that recently) in a different way. Instead of reacting and behaving in the same manner, I'm working to better my response.

So, in terms of treating others well, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I suppose that's because it's my life.... It comes easy. I've always been a good listener, empathetic, and I've always just cared. For a long time, that was my big flaw.  Others first, me....Somewhere down the line.  That's not okay. There needs to be balance.

Over the years I've struggled with self-esteem. There's never been much "bad" that anyone can say about me. I'm smart, I'm driven, I'm motivated, I'm kind... The one thing people will always attack is the thing that they know (or think) is the thing that should bother you the most. For me it was always my appearance. Those "fat" comments or lies about what others may have said are what really got under my skin.  People find out which buttons to push and they push them.  For a long time because of how I felt and viewed myself, I sometimes let others treat me badly and I took what they said to heart.

I'm done with that. I'm taking real, true criticism better (from valid sources). What's different is I like and appreciate myself even more. I am better able to look at the positives before the negatives. Most of the time. I still get on myself about not losing weight fast enough (scale obsession doesn't die even though I know that lifting can impact it; even though I look different/my body composition is different). I guess I don't want to be (sorry if I offend you; this is a personal thought - just for ME not my view of anyone else) one of those people who is like "this is who I am and I'm good with it." Maybe I worry too much about just being "okay" with my body. There is a very fine line with accepting yourself and living behind a belief that isn't really for you. And that's me. I'm happy for anyone who loves themselves no matter what and who can live being over weight and own it without hesitation. I can't do that. It's not for me. I want to see change (various change, not just weight). If you really love who you are, awesome. If you want to change, do it. I guess I worry that if I'm too accepting I'll become complacent and stop striving for my goals. That's not what I want.

We put a lot of emphasis on weight/thinness/bodies. I'd say most women have had some struggle with their appearance at some point in their life. It impacts how we think about ourselves and each other. People are mean. Everyone wears judgey-pants but some people are just cruel and don't see any fault in it or feel remorse later. I if I think something judgmental, I analyze it. I think it's human nature to judge, but how we handle it and what we learn is important.

So....

This morning at yoga, I cried.  A little bit.  Only a few tears, but they were there. I also had the whole tingly nose thing going on as I tried to stop them from really flowing. I've heard that this happens at times. I think it's because yoga is mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes it just happens. Kinda like when people sometimes fart during certain poses. I've read articles about it. I haven't witnessed it. Or haven't noticed it. I guess it's because I'm so connected with what I'm doing, that I don't notice what others are doing so much.

ANYWAY....

I have a really hard time just clearing my mind and listening during savasana. It is one of the most challenging poses for me.  Physically it's not hard to lay on my mat. Mentally, a totally challenge. Just listening and clearing my mind is hard. My mind always wants to go. It's on to the next thing on my list before I'm there. I think that in our society, this is a common problem. Think about it - even when you go to sleep, your mind is thinking of things before you fall asleep and while you dream.

Today I got the "listening" angel card. I've gotten it a few times and think "why this card? I listen really well. I listen all day. I listen to people in conversations. I feel like people are listening to me when I speak. I feel validated and important." Today, as I made a conscious effort (because I remind myself of this after EVERY class) not to let my mind wander as much. I wanted to really be present, listen, and reflect. And I did. As our fantastic teacher, Lauri, was talking, so much of what she said was clicking. Naturally when someone says something your mind comes up with a response. That was me today. I was truly listening to what she was saying and it reached me. The message came through and I reflected. As I did, I felt tears in my eyes. I guess it was just an overwhelming, emotional feeling of making a specific connection. Now I have learned something else about myself and need to work to move through that.

That darn Angel Card. It got me again.

XOXO

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Holidays!

Well, the holiday season took me away from blogging! I honestly didn't even think about it until this week. I guess with shopping, get togethers, and other activities (plus normal life), it wasn't a huge priority.

Now I'm back.

Not much has changed. I'm still working to bring Ainsley's Angels to my area, which also took a little bit of a back seat through the holidays. I've found though, that a lot of businesses wait for a new year to do donations and sponsorships.  I also found some possible state/government grants, but have to check with the AA staff on how to go about that and if it's even allowed.  The applications call for information that I don't have access to. I guess I've been working on it in a different way; more research and trying to figure out how to go about certain things.  It's proving to be a pretty cool learning experience!

Activity is about the same. I let the ST slide but am working that back into the routine the last couple weeks. It has been a little difficulty with holiday work schedules and such but it's progressing. I think next week will be a little easier with my normal routine.

I have had a little weight loss. I (mostly) behaved over the holidays. I indulged a little, so I didn't lose a whole lot.  It was more routine and being places and poor planning that resulted in slowed loss.  But that's okay. I didn't gain a bunch like a lot of people do so I'm okay with that. I have also continued to workout. Working out is one of my top priorities, after work and family. I will work my weekday schedule and fit in workouts where I can.  Yesterday I had to break it up into one smaller period and one longer period. Generally, that's how my workouts go. I get some ST done at one time then cardio at another. Or if I'm going to class, I set aside my time for that and then do something else later. It can be done, if you can plan ahead (as much as possible) and work it out.

I bought an Erin Condren planner last year and have really been using that more often and for everything! I am finding that much easier than having specific planners for things or saying "I'll do this on this day...." but not really looking at my available time.  I got a planner/run journal for Christmas. I'm writing specific workout details in that, as workouts happen. I plan ahead but even then sometimes things come up and plans have to change. And, that's okay.  Because there's always time somewhere to do something. Maybe that means one day is busier, but it gets done.  Where there's a will, there's a way!!

My next half is coming up... Soon!! I think it's coming up on 50 days away in another day or too! SO excited!! I'm already registered for two more! I am doing the Flying Pig and my Mom bought me registration for Run the Bluegrass for Christmas. Those are all between February and May.  I anticipate I'll be doing more than three this year. Hey, that's already two more half marathons than last year!

My training was sort of off. I am still running. of course, but I strayed from the plan a bit.  I have been including the speedwork though so I am seeing an improvement in my time. I really need to get some distance runs in. I think in the last couple months, I've been at a10K or under.... So my last long run was my last half at the end of September. A few long runs and I'll be feeling good. I need to play around with pace too.

So that's about it for now - life is good. All around!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ainsley's Angels!

I have some exciting news!!! After looking a couple different times over the last couple years and learning that there is not a local Ainsley's Angels chapter, I have decided to do something about it.  A few weeks ago I contacted the organization as someone who is interested in being an Ambassador. I received an e-mail, watched a video, and this week participated in a conference call. I was e-mailed the official documents and submitted my application minutes ago. I will, hopefully, be joining the next class of Ainsley's Angles Ambassadors-in-Training!!!

What is Ainsley's Angles?
The short version is that it is an awesome group that pairs athlete riders (in wheelchairs) with angel runners.  The angel runner pushes the athlete as they run a race together.  This group not only allows individuals with disabilities the chance to participate in a race, it spreads awareness!!

 Ainsley's Angels was started by the family of a little girl named Ainsley Rossiter, who lived with a rare genetic disorder called Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, or INAD. Her parents wanted Ainsley to live a full life, part of which was competing in races.  With the inspiration of Team Hoyt (Dick and Rick Hoyt; a father-sun runner/rider team), Ainsley's Angels was born. Her story can be found at the Ainsley's Angels of America website.  Also, her big sister, Briley wrote a terrific book, Born an Angle, which is all about Ainsley. I bought it to take to work to share with my clients, especially children, because I think that it's a tool to use to spread awareness of different abilities and the cool things everyone can do to help others.

 Ainsley passed away in February, at the young age of 12, surpassing an average life expectancy of 10 years. Ainsley's spirit is very much alive and lives on through Ainsley's Angels. Ainsley will continue to inspire and help others for years to come. She's touched the lives of many people, including those whom she's never met.

What is an Ambassador?
As an ambassador, I will bring Ainsley's Angels to my area!!! I will contact race directors, do fundraisers, recruit Angel runners, Guardian Angles (to help with various tasks/serve as chairs), and many other things to help spread the word and get people involved. This is the shortened version of what is involved in being an Ambassador.  

How do I get involved?
Just visit the Ainsley's Angels website to learn about different levels of involvement and choose which may be right for you! You do not have to be a runner to be a part of this amazing group.

Why I am doing this...
I first heard about Ainsley's Angels through the I Run 4 Michael (IR4) group. This is the group that connected me to my fantastic buddy, Maverick (who just turned 7 yesterday!!). I started seeing things about Ainsley's Angels and thought that it looked pretty cool.  At first, I saw runners who are part of the IRun4 family who were also involved in Ainsley's Angels. I thought maybe it was another way to connect with their buddies.  I researched it and learned what it was about.  As I mentioned, I checked into it a couple times and found nothing in my area (although in the book, there are stars in two Michigan locations, so I'm not sure what happened there). I feel that this is something that needs to be around.  People with different abilities should be able to cross a finish line; not just in a wheel chair division of a race. Learning about various disabilities is always a good thing. Awareness is important. Honestly, it's just something that I care deeply about and want to see in my area.

Of course, my little Maverick is always on my mind.  If it weren't for being a part of the I Run 4 family and being inspired by him, I probably wouldn't know anything about Ainsley's Angels. I have a friend who has a wonderful daughter who spends her time in a wheelchair. Her Mom bought a chair so that her daughter could be part of her running experience.

So why... Because I have been touched by some pretty cool people who I think should have the opportunity to cross the finish line.  I wasn't always a runner. I was morbidly obese.  I cannot find words that can describe the feeling of crossing a finish line. Even my first 5K was a huge accomplishment for me. My most memorable (and most emotional race) was my first half marathon. I'll never forget that feeling; the feeling of doing something that I never thought I would do; or even be able to do. That feeling is one that everyone should have the opportunity to experience.

Sometimes I have rough runs and remind myself that God gave me the ability to do this. I'll always be slow.  Right now, I'm not my slowest but I'm also not back to my fastest (however, I am working on that!). I may be faster than I ever was.  Or maybe I'll get to where I was and stay there. My goal is to at least get there.  I'm slow and some days the runs just suck... But you know what? Fast, slow, hard, or easy, I am able to do it.  We are all different in many ways.  Not everyone has a body that can carry them throughout a race. Just because they may have legs that don't work the same way mine do doesn't mean that they shouldn't be able to feel the excitement of crossing the finish line.

I'm so, so excited for this opportunity!! I'm hoping that they love my application! I'm hoping that my dedication, determination, passion, and love is evident when they read it.

They say that in life, everything happens for a reason.  There are reasons we do things. There is a reason for every person we meet. We're put through hard times for a reason. Life is full of ups and downs and every single one of those has purpose. We can get caught up in negativity easily. It doesn't seem to be as easy to choose to be positive. When you do it though, it's amazing. It's peaceful. Learning to work through the rough stuff, to let go of drama and negativity (and realize that it's not something fun to get sucked into!) is huge. If you choose to rid your life of that toxicity, life can be pretty amazing.

I found this organization and applied because it's something I'm interested in.  I am determined to make my chapter successful. There is a reason I've been drawn to it.  There is a reason I was connected to Maverick.  And little Ainsley.... There was a reason she was born with INAD. Look at what this little life started! How can you not believe that she was put on this Earth, her own version of perfection, for a reason. Look at all the good that one little girl has inspired.

I encourage you to go reflect on your own life. Find your reasons. Release the negative and embrace the positive. And just love...

XOXO

Friday, November 11, 2016

Hello, Again!

I'll really try not to have a super long post since I have a habit of trying to cram several weeks into a blog post once every six (weeks) or so. I keeping thinking "ohhh I should blog." And then I don't. I think it's more of a time issue. I'm a busy girl these days.  Between work, working out, and social/fun things I don't take the time to sit and write. I'm also way more apt to sit and relax with the iPad than sit at a computer (after sitting at a computer most of the day during sessions/writing client notes). I guess the last thing I want to do at home is sit at my computer desk. I think the blog got to be "I need to" or "I should" more than "I feel like" or "I want to." That's probably why, over the last couple years, I haven't written as much.  That and the weight gain.

So... The update last time was mostly about the half marathon. I didn't find another that worked with my schedule in October and not so far in November. The next will be in February. Which means vacation! I started this round of training a few weeks ago and it's going well. I'm doing my "long" runs, which haven't been long yet, on the weekends. I've also been running with a friend once a week, on the weekends. We usually stick to the 5K length but last week I had four on the agenda and she did four with me. This week is five, but since I've already done five, I may not do five with her.  Or maybe I will.  Hmmm... I feel like I'm (somewhat sneakily) prepping her for a half too. If this one wasn't sold out, I'd try to convince her take vacation with me. RATS! We have talked about doing one this Spring, so that will be fun.

I already have one schedule for Spring, the Flying Pig, in Cinci. There are a ton of races in April and May that I want to do. Unfortunately many of them fall on the same dates or very close together. Given that I do training runs that build on miles weekly, I'm sure I could do a half one week and then another a couple weeks later. However, they're all over the place and all that travel gets pricey. So, I have some narrowing to do!

I've recently gotten into yoga again. This is something I've gone in streaks with - probably because I was doing it at home and that gets kind of boring. And it's not a huge calorie burner so I found it ten times easier to do something else. Huge calorie burner or not, it is necessary. Especially for someone who runs a few times a week. Speaking of which, so far, I'm doing better at sticking to a training schedule of only running three times a week, maybe four on some weeks. I'm really bad at that. I could run 5-6 days a week. I am trying to be very mindful of the bad things that result for that. Like over-training injuries. I don't want those.  I'd get super focused on it because I love it and it torches calories. Torched calories translate to pounds lost.  BUT injury and inability to do most activities results in (usually) pounds gained, boredom, and anger over not being able to run. SO, I'm working hard to stick to my training plan.

Well, that sidetracked me... Back to yoga.

I'm now going to yoga class at a studio. I can typically make some of the morning classes, and every now and then, I might be able to go to the more intense, evening class. I'm also considering adding spin for my cross training a couple times a week. I've heard it is really good cross training for runners. It's a great workout and calorie burner, but it doesn't add on steps and those damn fitbit challenges (and my own goal of 10K a day) keep me focused on steps.  But once or twice won't hurt!

So, AGAIN, yoga...

It's awesome. I love it ten times better in the studio than at home. The yoga teacher, Lauri, is awsome. And let's face it, an awesome yoga teacher in real life is far better than an obnoxious yoga teacher on a video. Videos also do not give you that live teacher element so that your poses or postures can be corrected or you don't have reminders and cues. Plus the cool down at the end is a million times better than on a DVD. And longer.  Plus, she gives us affirmation cards to read and essential oils to smell.  I leave class feeling relaxed but also refreshed.  Some days I can REALLY feel my muscle tightness (from cardio) which tells me "oh yes, you needed this today." I feel like I get a lot more out of class than a video.

My affirmation cards have been a little eerie.

Last Friday, I got some about bringing back a childhood dream.  When I was younger, I wanted to be a dancer. In High School, I longed to do color guard. Why? Because I didn't have confidence.  Writing is another thing I've always loved and been passionate about.  I write now and then... Typically through this blog, because as awesome as a novel would be, it would take me two years to write one, unless I quit working and did that full-time which is a risk I cannot take right now. Prior to getting that card, I signed up for the Saturday morning choreo-yoga class. It's a yoga flow set to music. It's beautiful. It's a little bit like..... Dance.

Monday's card was about getting rest because I work too hard. I don't usually think of my work as hard (mentally it is sometimes) but maybe that was more about sleep. I'm not always good at sleep. I also stress if I can't fit an intense workout in. I've eased up on that this week. Yesterday was just yoga. I didn't have time for an intense cardio because my day was so crazy. And you know what? I'm just fine today.

Yesterday's card was about love.  The day before (Wednesday), I thought a lot about love. I try not to get political on here, but dang there's a lot of hate right now. On both sides.  So on Wednesday I really tried to stay positive and stay away from the negative.  I didn't get into any hefty conversations. Instead, I simply spread the message of love.... That all this hate is doing us no good. I'm actually a little frightened because this is probably the time the "bad guys" would prey on us.  Hit us while we are weak and fighting with one another.... I haven't seen anything in the news but that's a scary possibility.

Today's affirmation was similar. It was about reflection.... Looking inside myself. Although I can't remember exactly what it said, there was also something about kindness or joy. I remember reading it and thinking "well that's weird... I was just looking up random acts of kindness cards and sayings while drinking my coffee this morning." I actually pinned a few ideas on Pinterest. And then went to class, where at the end, I received that card.

Okay, this is almost starting to creep me out.  These cards of affirmation are chosen at random. We just grab one (like when you grab a card at random and the magician says he knows your card). I find it interesting that these are pretty much fitting in with things I've done or I've thought about.  Apparently I must be on a good track with my thoughts and actions because these affirmation cards are definitely providing affirmation!

So I'm in love with yoga more than ever before.

Now, I need to go get a quick run in so that I can get back to work!

Hope life finds you well and you have a fantastic weekend!

XOXO

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Am I Boring?

That's the question I just asked myself when I saw how long it's been since my last post.  Seriously, I used to have something to write about here nearly every day. Then I got off track. Then sort of on track. Then off track again.  For a while I probably should've re-named htis Workouts and Weight gain just because that's what was happening.... Still working out but gaining weight.  I like to "blame" picking up my boyfriend's horrible habits but even if I did let them slip in, I should've been in control.  I think that's really when I got out of blogging and have just had a hard time getting back into it.  That plus being busy all day and busy at night.... And basically just doing lots of other things!

So my last post was in July...

I don't see where I ever posted about my super fun Chicago trip with my friend Ashley.  I had decided to do the Bears 5K. Then the boyfriend and his Dad were gifted baseball game tickets. The same weekend. I can do the Chicago trip solo; it's not a big deal. It's close. I always drive anyway. I know my way around... BUT it's kind of a little bit more fun when you have someone with you. So I thought "hmmmm who can I convince to go?" and put a post on FB. Ashley is another IRun4 runner from my area. She responded and we decided to go! What a fun trip!! It was quick, we went down Friday afternoon, raced Saturday morning, spent Saturday there, and came home Saturday night. We packed a lot into our time!

The race itself went pretty well. I eventually slowed down a little because it was hot.  The heat really gets to me.  Well, actually it's the sun. Or the humidity. Or a combination. I guess because I always ran in the evening, I didn't realize how much of an ass the sun is to me. I SHOULD know this because I've had pale skin for my entire life.  I used to go tanning but finally realized how incredibly stupid that is... First, skin cancer. Second, totally fake.  Third, sometimes people look the color of Oompa Loompas. Finally, I don't want to look like an old beat up handbag. I really enjoy looking younger than I am. It's just gross all the way around. I never tanned all the time. I would go in spurts of times I'd tan and times I wouldn't. Then I'd go only a couple times a week. Then I stopped all together because I'd much rather have healthy, youthful skin than look like an old beat up handbag. My personal opinion...If you tan, enjoy.  Anyway, so I'm not tan. I have fair skin. Fair skin that the sun likes to skorch. So I could feel myself burning and slowed down.  As usual, I forgot the sunscreen for my arms and back. I always remember the face and lips (okay, not always, but most of the time). ANYWAY...So I got hot and slowed down. I finished slower than I anticipated. I was a little bummed but then realized I was standing ON Soldier Field and let it go. Ashley and I drank our free beer, waited for the race to finish and bought medals for our buddies, and our awesome tutus attracted a reporter and we got interviewed - which focused all on our IRun4 buddies (and a little on football... Ashley may have gotten some flack for not being a Bears fan).  It was a lot of fun and like other races I've done in Chicago, right on the gorgeous lake shore.  I'll forgive the sun.

I didn't do any races in July. I did the Color Run in August but that was with my boyfriend's little cousin so running was limited.  Goofing around was through the roof.  It was fun! Most of July and August were focused on training for the next half marathon. I had short runs. I had long runs. I struggled with humidity. I struggled with heat. I got pissed off at the sun way more than what was probably necessary.  Honesty, how have I been running for so long that I haven't figured out this sunblock thing yet? Or maybe I forgot about it. That plus change in times for training made a huge difference. MOST races are done before it gets too unbearable. Running at lunch is far different than running at 7am or 7pm. Like with what happened with Gazelle Girl, running inside on the tready is much different than outside.

I didn't really go too far from home in July either.  August was a tough month. My workouts were very inconsistent for two weeks. My Grandpa hadn't been doing well for almost a year and had declined for the last two.  He got really short of breath one day so my Mom had the ambulance take him to the ER. He was eventually admitted and tests revealed that he had fluid around his lung. We didn't realize how much until the doc drained off over two liters. So, let's say a two liter of pop and a half.  The liquid was dark. But it was gone.  So we waited for his little lung to expand.  It didn't. There were things that could be done to help it along but it didn't work.  Eventually, it was decided that they would not opt for the more invasive procedure.  People can breathe with one lung.  His other lung had a section missing  (past biopsy site - which was just scar tissue), so it was a little lung but it was just fine. He started declining during his time in the hospital and we sort of knew what was coming.... We decided to take him home on Hospice. He wasn't in terrible condition and was pretty alert for those first few days.  As the week progressed, he was sleeping more. He was crying out in pain more. It happened to be that the Friday that he had gone into the hospital my Aunt and Uncle were here from Kentucky.  So, most of us were there that following Friday night - minus my cousins and their significant others.  Both my Mom and I had "that feeling" in the morning.  I went for a run and pounded the pavement hard. At a 10-something mile for a short time. It was super humid and miserable, but I ran hard. That night everyone was there for pizza...I think. My boyfriend and I were there. My Dad (who wasn't going to come but my Mom said "you need to") was there, my Aunt and Uncle were there. At one point, I remember my Dad telling him that he, my Mom, and my Uncle had gone and made all the arrangements that morning, so he'd know everything was taken care of. I'm not sure when I realized it, but at one point I said to my boyfriend "we can't leave." And I told my Dad the same.  For some reason, we just knew we were sitting there, waiting for him to let go.  We watched him decline all day and when my Aunt and I were outside, my boyfriend came out and said "they want you in there now - they think he's dying."). So I went in and saw him struggling to breathe.  We all stood around him. He looked so helpless. He was alert and responsive to us. That day I did the absolute hardest thing I've ever had to do.... I looked him in the eye and said "Papa, it's okay to go. We love you but it's okay. I promise we will take care of Nonie." At that point, he started to cry. I noticed a little tear rolling down his cheek.  He closed his eyes and within a few minutes, he was gone. I still can't picture his sweet little face or think about it without crying. Thank God for my boyfriend being by my side through all of this. He's been my rock. The following Tuesday was the funeral. My cousins made it up that weekend. I had taken a couple days off of work and spent time with my family, then we had the funeral. I was tired and exhausted. I took a few days after just to adjust to life in general, I guess.  My workouts were... well I have no idea. They were there and they weren't there.

After that I knew I needed to get back on track. I'd missed two long runs and had a half marathon coming up. I don't think I missed a day of doing something from then until the half.

The half was in Chicago last weekend. I did well.  I remembered my sunblock. I listened to my body. I started out strong (my fitbit and strava both said stronger than my race time -- for all of it, but whatever). Other than a quick stop at the hydration stations, I didn't walk until past the 10K mark. And, as I felt my skin getting hot and burning, I did the smart thing... I stopped at the aid stations. I asked for my sunblock and I put it on.  I felt better. I did this a couple times during the race.  Here's the thing with races, any stops count... Potty stops, medical stops, even those less than one minute walks for hydration... It all counts with your time. So I finished slower than I expected... At least five minutes slower. But, even with that extra time added in, I was about 10 minutes faster than my last half. Still slower than my first, but that's to be expected.  As I lose weight, I will get faster. As I train more, I will get faster.  The best part is that... I felt much better during the race and after. I think that those stops, time added or not, really helped keep me from getting too warm. It feels ten times better running when you don't feel like your skin is burning.  It was a beautiful morning along a gorgeous course.

Then this weird thing happened.... I realized I LOVE HALF MARATHONS. The first one ever was a goal. I wanted to do "just one." I didn't do another for just over three years.  This year I've done two.  The second one, earlier this year, was a miserable experience but I finished. This last one... It felt so good and I wasn't worried about things like time, pace, or sweepers (total fear during the first one which was funny because I was running 11-12 min miles and the time limit was based on a 16 min mile - weird first half anxiety I guess!). I just ran.... I picked a pace that was comfortable and went with it. Sure, as time increased, I slowed down a little. I even walked a little after mile 8-ish. I think once I even walked an entire mile (right before I needed sunblock again).  But I picked it up and ran/walked after that.  I didn't hit a wall at mile 10. I didn't feel like I wanted to quit once. Mile 11 seemed a little long but I kept going. I felt so good after!!! Now, I have fallen in love with this distance. My next half is planned for February but I'm looking for one sort of near by for the end of October or early November, just to keep long distance momentum going. I have to look at my training plan for the half in February. I hope to be down another 20 pounds, based on my 5 pound per month rate of loss, by then. I think that will continue to help with endurance and speed. I'll be closer to my lower weight, but will still have some work to do.  I will be happy if I shave off another 5-10 minutes.  But part of me wants to work my butt off and PR it.... I'll strive for that but will be happy with a small improvement.

So that's that... Maybe next time I won't wait so long!!

XOXO

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Inspirational Women in Yoga.

First, I have to say that my head is POUNDING but I really want to write this. I'm a little concerned that it may impact on my writing but I think it'll be okay. Plus there's always that awesome editing feature which I needed yesterday because..... I am not good at posting from my iPad.

I'm sure I've written a bit about yoga before. I love it. Yoga makes me feel strong, both physically and mentally.  Yoga challenges my body differently than other activities. I am constantly surprised at what I can do or in progress that I make. I don't practice at a studio because my work schedule is all over the place. It makes it hard to get to classes. There are some on Saturday mornings; right when I do my long runs.  I'm hopeful that something a little later in the evening or earlier in the morning will open up.  I do yoga from DVDs that I have. I find new things on-line. I practice some moves on my own. I do Piyo which is a hybrid but includes yoga poses. I would love, love, love to take a class but it's a matter of finding one that works with my schedule.  Something may have to change though.  I have thought, at various times over the last five years, about wanting to include exercise in my professional life. I had a goal of getting my personal trainer certificate back in 2011 or 2012.  I've thought about yoga a few different times, especially over the last year.  Something has stopped me each time.

I've discovered what's stopping me.  Me.  Well, my perceptions of what others MIGHT think about me in those roles.  Back when I was at my smallest, I had achieved a tremendous goal.  I'd lost the weight of an adult. But I felt like I didn't fit the look.  I had the passion but felt that my own appearance wasn't good enough. I ordered the books and started studying but that's as far as it went. I met my boyfriend in 2013, and gained weight back (not all of it, thank goodness!). It was clear then that my books needed to stay in a box. And that's where they sit. Looking back, I looked good. I didn't think so because I didn't look like whatever it is I thought I needed to look like. I didn't think so because the numbers on my scale were higher than what I felt they should be. I look at pictures and I look fit, healthy, and in some ways even thin... My collar bones and spine were showing. But not my ribs. I didn't have protruding hip bones.  My abs and muscles didn't show like I thought a trainer's should. I had a picture in my mind of what I thought a trainer should look like and it wasn't me.

I've thought about becoming certified to teach yoga a few times.  Again, I thought that this would be my goal when I reach my weight loss goal (this time - where I'm staying). I had another picture in my mind (this one a bit different but still NOT my body) of what I should look like.  Several pounds and a few years away from where I was, I thought "when I get there again..." and realized that at that time I totally could've worked for those goals.

Yoga has been on my mind a bit more lately. I love yoga for the entire experience. When my body does something I didn't think it could do, or I can master a pose, I feel awesome.  It's work and takes time, like anything.  I love how it can relax people but at the same time make people strong.  I totally love the mental part of yoga. I incorporate similar thoughts in my life and what I do at work. I want to become certified so that I can actually teach poses and help clients in that way. A few months ago I decided that when I reach my weight and fitness goals, I'll do that.

Guess what! Trainers, like people, come in all shapes and sizes.  I'm finally learning that it is okay to workout and not look like a fitness model or the stereotypical trainer I had envisioned. Yoga instructors come in all shapes and sizes too.  Bodies can do a lot - no matter the shape or size.

I've been a person who believes in body positivity in a way that we should all embrace and accept others. We are different souls in different bodies. Why should your body look like mine? Why should mine look like yours? It shouldn't. We are unique and different and go through life in these amazing masses of all sorts of cool science-y stuff like matter. That's what our bodies are for... To carry these brains around and, well, they're part of what make us people; living beings. I think that we've gotten away from really thinking about what our bodies are and have focused so much on what they look like.  We have sexualized our bodies. Instead of looking at them as just bodies, we have made them more - basing it on what is physical appealing to the eye. Well, someone's eye because the idea body didn't just become ideal all on its own. Someone came up with this; the media continues it.

Let's think about it... Boobs.  They're blobs of fat and flesh that are meant to provide nutrition to babies. Someone decided that boobs were sexual (to look at, I mean; I'm educated I know about erogenous zones). Someone decided that these big blobs were so pleasing that they were sexually arousing. Now people go out and spend thousands of dollars on making them the size of their heads (or bigger!).  Butts are the same for some people.  Our butts help power our bodies; help with movement and lower body strength, Someone decided that butts were sexually appealing. So now the sight of Luke Bryan shaking it in a pair of tight jeans makes women drool.

We all admire different things for different reasons. I may see beauty in something that you don't. I have recently started to see beauty in bodies in a different way.  I see them as beautiful in what they can accomplish.  Someone with awesome muscle in a pose that's been captured beautifully by a photographer is pleasing to my eye.  I think that fit bodies are beautiful - and muscle can be graceful. Check out Adeline Gray, a female olympic wrestler or some of the other athletes in ESPN's body issue.  It really is about movement and the way their individual bodies are created differently. And it's absolutely gorgeous.  

Yes, I've had plastic surgery to remove skin.  Why? Because I didn't like it. Because I worked hard to achieve a physical goal and I wanted the reminder of past pain to be gone.  This time I won't go through more surgery (but I'll likely bounce back a bit better this time too). I don't have any pain associated with the amount of fat on my body.  This is the result of being too lax on nutrition and having too many indulgences.  It's been in fun. I've still been active too, so I guess that's a part of it.  And yes some of my past surgery was probably based on how others would see me.  This was also done three and four years ago.  People can change and, apparently, my outlook has in that time.

Now, I agree with body positivity but please know I do not agree with promoting poor health - at any size. I believe in treating my body well through fitness and nutrition (but yes I do still indulge sometimes!). A person can have fat but still treat their body well.  I don't know, by looking at someone, what their health issues are. I can see an overweight person and make the assumption that they have high cholesterol.  I can look at a thin person and think they don't.  I could be totally wrong.  I'm overweight right now and the only thing wrong with me is that I seem to have a headache today.  My lab work is all great. My functions are great. My body works well.  Yeah, I don't eat clean 100% of the time (but am making great strides, and realistically I will never be perfect nor do I want to). Someone could look at me think I'm fat, ugly, and unhealthy. And they'd be wrong. I'm not fat.I HAVE fat (we all do!). I'm actually like really pretty. Other than my weight being too much I'm healthy.

I have found some amazing women in yoga who have been inspirational. They are not thin. But they are athletes. They are strong. They are beautiful. They have bodies that are not the idea but they are beautiful.  They have bodies; bodies that can do amazing things.

Dana Falsetti.... LOVE her!!! Anna Guest-Jelley created curvy yoga; yoga classes and teacher trainings that are for all bodies. She has included ways to help those who have bodies that may function differently so that they can do their best practice. Amber Karnes created body positive yoga. Rachel Brathen does yoga on a paddle board.  I'm not that good on stable ground sometimes!! A headstand on a paddle board? Badass. Chelsea Roff is a woman with a story that makes me cry when I read it. She survived a traumatic childhood and anorexia. She founded Eat Breathe Thrive. Our bodies are wonderful, capable things. They can do a lot. There some other awesome yogis out there too.

Whether we do fitness for mental health benefits, physical benefits (improvement or weight loss), or just because it's fun, we all do something. Thanks to these ladies for being awesome and showing that it's okay to be you in your body. And that has helped me to realize I DO want to do this.

With that, I need to find someone local who is able to train new teachers.

Go find the beauty in someone else....

XOXO