Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It's All About the Choices We Make

I woke up this morning, still in a less than fantastic mood. I definitely did not want to get out of my warm bed. Cuddling with my three little creatures would've been the better choice (in my mind).  I didn't have to get up so I decided we would just lay around.  Then I heard the familiar roar of the garbage truck rolling by. It took a moment before it really sunk in that I needed to get the garbage out, like now, if I wanted it to be picked up. I jumped out of bed, picked up both puppies and put them outside, and then went and helped Belle outside.  The poor little pups were probably half asleep when I sent them out to go potty.  I grabbed the bathroom trash and the kitchen trash, threw on a coat and some boots and ran out the back door.  I combated the puppies, who really wanted to slip out the gate to go off on some unsupervised adventure.  I got the garbage can to the curb just as the truck came rolling down my side of the street.  I grabbed yesterday's mail out of the mailbox and ran back to the house.  I was just convincing the dogs to stop jumping on the gate and move to let me into the yard when the truck rolled up in front of my house.  That is, most definitely, the closest I've come to nearly missing the garbage truck.  I've forgotten it before but today was close.  However, it was out in time and I got to cuddle with my three little loves.  And I needed that this morning.

I was up late last night; just couldn't fall asleep. Then when I did get to sleep, I didn't sleep well. In the little time I was asleep, I woke up at least three times.

**Apologize in advance for any typos I may not catch.  Apparently Rocky does not like me typing. Or he thinks that my fingers hitting the keys on this strange (and old) contraption is entertaining.  Anything to play! He keeps trying to jump on my lap and nip at them.**

Anyway, last night I didn't sleep well.  I think I was a bit overwhelmed with stress; what seemed like one thousand thoughts swirling around in my mind.  I was like the creeper dog Mom and just started at them, with an occasional little pat on their little rumps.  Belle probably got a bit more of the attentions and petting than the boys, but they were cuddle up snoring so I'm sure they had no idea; nor would they have cared. When I got up this morning, I was a bit agitated at having to get up so quickly.  Wednesday is always garbage day so I really don't know why I was so annoyed with the fact that it was happening. It was probably just my lingering not-so-good mood.

When I fired this ancient piece of equipment up last night, I discovered that I had left some pictures on it.  Most of what I found were from around 2011 or 2012.  I was freaking skinny.  I can honestly say that I didn't realize how good I looked. I looked healthy, but skinny (for me - not like a size zero or anything); especially compared to other points in my life. Present moment? Included. For sure. When I saw those pictures I could've fallen into a really bad mood.  Was I bummed? Yes. Am I still? Yes.  I think I was really able to look at those pictures as what they were though... Me, at least five years ago. Do I think I looked better then than now? Obviously. If not, I wouldn't be fighting in this continued battle.  I have been highly disappointed in myself. Highly. Like, super highly. SO much so that I've been kind of an ass to myself sometimes.  Negative self-talk never did anyone any good. I know this. I teach this. Positive self-talk (not in some inflated way) is essential.

This morning I didn't hate myself. I didn't beat myself up over how disappointed that I am that I gained some weight back. Do you know what I did notice though? It was about my body. It was just a neutral, random thought, which lead into more positive thoughts.  It actually helped set me up to be in a pretty good mood for the morning. In all honesty, that's worn off by this point in the evening. I'm a little crabby. I'm a little down but trying not to be down on myself.  I'm tired - that's the problem.

"Oh my gosh, my back is so sore!!"

That was the thought.  The completely average thought that helped me to change my mood from ("ugh I don't wanna get up!!" to "today's not going to be so bad." I realize that soreness is not something that typically puts people in a good mood. Depending on the situation and type of soreness (a little headache; chronic pain), it can put people in a really bad mood. Not me; not today.  What I realized is that my soreness is because I've been doing strength training again.  I'm hitting those muscles in different ways and I'm working them.  My first thought was "I must be doing something right!" The soreness reminded me of the fact that I'm working out and giving my body what it needs. This lead me to thinking about feeling good and feeling healthy.  As much as I groan about it, or curse the trainer in the midst of it, strength training is necessary and good for everyone!  My thoughts developed into positive self-talk/thoughts about myself; my progress; my strength.  They reminded me of good things about myself.

We all have choices.  We have choices every day. There are those that are easy and routine. There are those that are harder.  There are those that are a struggle. And there are those that are an absolute nightmare to have to make - especially when you know in your heart that they're the right choices, even if you don't want to make them. It's what we do with these choices and our thoughts surrounding them that matters.

This morning I could have very easily chosen to stay in my grumpy mood and not have acknowledged my (good) soreness.  I could've taken it in a bad way and felt like I'm not doing enough, training hard enough, or it could've helped me walk right back into that negative place. I could have compared what I looked like in the mirror this morning to pictures of me from five or six years ago. I could have allowed disappointment to set in, and I could've been in a terrible mood all day. I didn't though. I chose to look at all I've done and continue to do. I chose to love myself in spite of my own shortcomings. It's okay to have shortcomings. It's okay to feel down about them.  It can be a very fine line between  that and kids who are getting into things like that as a means to cope.

Thinking traps.  Google them. They're where we get stuck with our automatic thoughts.  They're not positive. They're not happy. They're negative thoughts about ourselves; about our abilities - or our perceived shortcomings. They can hold us back.  They can change us.  They can make us feel down and keep us down. We have the power to change our thoughts.  Sometimes it takes work. It can be hard. It's also worth it.

I could've had those pictures in mind, had an automatic thought, and got stuck in feeling badly because of those thoughts.  Instead of changing them; I'd have allowed them to grow. I'd have felt pretty horrible about myself.  As much as things in life can be hard or stressful, I shouldn't allow them to make me feel horrible or determine my happiness. It's up to me to make the choice to change these thought patterns and be kind to myself.

Nope. I am not looking at this as how much "better" I was back then.  I chose to accept it and focus on the positive about myself.  I was sore because my muscles are growing. I'm being kind to myself.

XOXO


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Failure.

Do you ever feel like a failure?

Most of us do, at least once in our lives. I've felt like I've failed at things before. I've failed at losing weight. I've failed at keeping weight off. Hmmm.... Although; I can say I've never failed to gain weight. I'm pretty sure I've failed a test. Math was always my nemesis. I'm sure I had to have failed a test at some point. Never a class. But a test? I can't say for certain, but I must have.  I've tried new things and I've felt like I've failed. Last night I followed a new recipe (although it wasn't really a recipe or all that new...) and I failed that, which really bothered me because I'm a really good cook. Usually.  Apparently the recipe I read that said 30 minutes at 425 degrees was meant for other stoves.  Not mine.  My lovely creation burnt.  Some might be salvageable if I eat around the burnt part, but that really takes away from the enjoyment of the meal. And I'm really trying to do that with things... Just be more mindful.  Apparently that helps with how much people eat. I'm pretty sure one veggie in my mouth and I'd have been super mindful of he fact that it tasted like a charred nightmare.  Seriously... WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY STOVE? All those colorful, gorgeous, healthy veggies.... Burned -- almost beyond recognition.

I don't feel like a failure at blogging which is interesting since I used to blog just about every damn day and my last blog post was roughly five months ago. But, nope, not feeling like a failure over that.  I think I've said more than once that I when my weight gain started, I got away from blogging. It's fun to blog when you are successful and feel great. It's harder when you're not. I mean, just look at Facebook. A lot of posts are bragging. Social media has made us (as a whole) more self-centered than ever. I honestly fear for our future... And it's not the fault of kids. They only know what they learn. Who's teaching them? Just think about that before you blame the younger generations.

ANYWAY... I have felt the pull to post a couple times but I haven't. I think I needed a big break and time for self-reflection. I needed to do some self-evaluation and self-discovery. I've had moments along the way, but honestly, I haven't done much of that until now. That's probably why I'm writing this. I've hidden the more vaulnerable things; the ugly truths. I realized, a few years ago now, that people were reading what I wrote and using it against me. I've posted about that and at that time I was angry about it. I am pretty sure I said I didn't care, but I think I did. Now, I can honestly say... I don't freaking care. I suppose that enough time has passed that I feel like if any of those people are still concerned with me, they've got bigger problems in life than I do. I'm past it. And you know what? There's always going to be someone who has something to say. I guess it was the using it to hurt me part that really bothered me. And hurt. Clearly.  I suppose they accomplished their mission. I suppose they must have had a really good laugh at my expense, and hopefully that laughter and negativity gave them the release they needed and made them feel better.  Oh my gosh -- I gained weight!! HILARIOUS!!

I guess?

The last year and (almost) four months has been hard. My Papa died August 19, 2016. That was hard. I've lost Grandparents before but this experience was different. I was younger when each of my Dad's parents died.  I hadn't had years of experience working with older people. When they died, hadn't yet been there with people, telling them that it's okay to let go.  Fast-forward several years, to a living room, with a family gathered around a hospital bed.  My Mom and Dad, Grandma, Uncle and Aunt, and me... Actually my Aunt and I were outside when my boyfriend came out and said "they need you to get in there; they think he's dying."  My Aunt and I moved so fast we nearly flew to his bedside.  He seemed to be choking.  He was awake and alert.  He struggled to breathe. Out of my mouth came words that I'd said, more than once, during my career; "it's okay to go." This time it was more personal. I remember saying "We love you Papa. It's okay to go. We'll take care of Nonie." It wasn't said so much as it was sobbed through tears.

For a while I had some guilt.  Guilt over my sweet Grandpa, who had been declining, dying.  It's a natural process. It absolutely sucks. I'm not good at death. That has been clear to me.  Shoot, that was clear to me last Christmas when I opened a gift and burst into tears. It was a sweet gift from the heart. It was a decorative pillow with a photo of my Grandparents and I on it. Honestly my reaction surprised even me. I was definitely bummed about Christmas but I didn't think I'd have that reaction.

But.  Back to my guilt.  Why did I feel guilty over something that was happening in front of me? Something that I didn't have anything to do with? At the time, I thought I did. Even though I knew what was happening, I thought it was my fault that he died when he did. I don't think I've shared that with anyone. And now, it sounds kind of silly.  Papa was restless and we (my Mom and I) were talking about his Ativan.  I said "just give him the Ativan; that's what it's there for."  This was a sublingual medication, meaning it just goes under the tongue and dissolves. It doesn't require chewing or swallowing.  I think he must've tried swallowing it and my Mom gave him a little water.  It was during that time that he started to choke. I felt like it was my fault because I said to give him the Ativan.  I thought that had I not said that, maybe that wouldn't have been the time he died.  Looking back in a rational frame of mind, I realize that it was not my fault.  I also remembered that when he did take his last breath he wasn't choking.  He wasn't restless.  He was alert. I looked him in the eye when I told him he could go.  One thing I'll never forget is that just before he closed his eyes, I saw a tear roll down his cheek. And then he closed his eyes and left this life behind.

I believe a lot in signs and symbols; whether they're just a comfort or the stories behind them are true. I believe in them. Maybe they're just stories to make us feel better. Maybe I've just noticed since he died, but I've seen a lot of cardinals in the last year and four months.  I'm pretty sure the same one, sometimes two (I'm pretty sure that's his buddy Father Toolis with him). Every time I see him, I call him Papa.  We never "get over" people. We get through death; as time goes on we begin to adjust to our new normal (and that can be a long process that some never truly adjust to).

And then came February and the scary experience with Buddy when I was in Florida for the Princess Half.  I briefly mentioned that in my previous post, but didn't go into much detail.  After an unexpected medical emergency (a tumor on the spleen which then ruptured - and more than one surgery due to complications), Buddy was on the mend. He was full of life and he was even running around playing like a young man again. Then May happened and I lost him. Quickly.

It was a Wednesday that it started. He was having trouble getting around; was falling a little and just seemed a little weak.  This was pretty standard for him after his arthritis diagnosis the summer prior. I did what I usually did and gave him a pill, thinking that he'd feel better.  He didn't. In fact as the day went on he seemed to have a little more trouble.  I may have even given him a second pill later that day. I can't quite remember.   In he evening, I noticed him falling more. He laid on the ground with his front legs stiff, straight out in front of him.

When we got up in the morning, he needed some help getting up. He would walk a couple feet and then take a header into the ground. His little legs just did not want to work. The front legs were stiff and seemed paralyzed; he didn't seem to have that connection between his brain and legs.  He fell another time and just couldn't do it; he couldn't get up and couldn't walk. I picked him up.  I carried him in and out of the house and car that day.  I called the vet as soon as they opened and said that his arthritis seemed to be really bad even though he had medication.  I took the first opening they had and cancelled my clients at work.  My Mom came over and helped me get him into the car and take him to the vet.  My Dad was leaving a dentist appointment as we were on our way there, and pulled out right behind us.  He followed us to the vet and carried Buddy in for me. There are two vets in the office we go to and we see both of them.  The doctor who cared for him throughout the surgery in February saw him and asked, "what's wrong with Buddy?" and he genuinely looked concerned.  My Dad later told us that he'd seen him at the store a week before and he asked about Buddy. My Dad told him how well he was doing. We were asked to leave him for a couple hours for some testing. So we did.  Talk about nerve-wracking. Also, Buddy has never enjoyed being left at the vet so I apologize to anyone who's ever encountered his crying.  He was so bad as a puppy that after he was neutered, I was called and asked to pick him up early because he wouldn't stop crying no matter what they tried.  That was always him - really good at crying when he wanted something.

I got a call that afternoon that we could come
pick him up. The doctor said that they did x-rays and nothing showed like it did when he had the arthritis flare up (which also effected his back legs not his front). He was given a med there and I was given two more tabs to take home. This medication was strong enough that by the time he had three doses progress would be evident. If there was no change, it would be time to make a decision on his care.  One was that we could’ve taken him for an MRI. A brain or spine tumor was suspected since he had already had the episode with the tumor in the spleen. 

The next day came and there was no change. I spent all day on the floor with him. I got him his favorite treats; a donut, a Happy Meal. He could no longer hold himself up so I held his bowl up to him. I tried to do the same with water but also used a medicine dropper to give him water. Most of this started the night before. We all spent the night in the living room. I had a garbage bag over his bed, a blanket over there, and puppy pads over the blanket. He cried to go out but I encouraged him to go potty where he was. And he did. I had warm soapy water and warm water in bowls. I gave him sponge baths after he peed.

He was alert and pain free. But he was paralyzed. Had I chosen the MRI, I’d have had to continue the same method of care at least until then. He didn’t have a good quality of life. I had to let my baby go. With no change, we went to the vet knowing that we would have to say goodbye. Looking into his eyes, telling him I loved him (through sobs), and saying good bye was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 

I’ve questioned myself since then. What if I had done the MRI? What if it wasn’t a tumor? What if it could’ve been treated? Had I made the wrong decision? Had I failed as a dog Mom? 

I still struggle with that. 

Belle has been showing those same signs. Several months ago she started a med and the vet said it’s something neurological. I don’t know if the med does a lot of good but until recently it seemed to help. She fell and couldn’t get up yesterday. It took her about 10-15 minutes to recover. My Dad was watching her and called me. I called the vet. He said that it could be a slipped disc. It could be something in the brain or spine. She falls and needs help getting up. She stumbles and trips. The young boys knock her down (crazy puppies, I tell ya!). 

I don’t have a lot of hope. I’ve read up on it and it sounds like what Buddy had. If it is, the only confirmation is via autopsy. Here I am six months later, watching her decline. I’ve not fully worked through my grief from Buddy. I can’t handle this. My Birthday is coming up and I pray that’s not the day. Or Christmas.

I’m stressed (some other things too but that’s the main one which I think makes everything else seem worse). And I’m depressed. I’ve been depressed since I lost Buddy. It was 9 months to the day since we had lost Papa. 

My weight loss slowed.  Then stalled. Then I gained a little back. I’ve been losing again and have been working harder. Well until yesterday happened. I haven’t binged but I’ve done some emotional eating. And I do not care. Zero. I
Just want to stay home with my girl. All the time. I don’t but inside I want to. Work is good. It’s an escape. 

I’m scared. I know what’s coming and I want to enjoy every moment I can with her. Or sit on the couch and cry. I cry every time she falls. I want to enjoy her but my God it’s hard. It is SO damn hard. All I feel at this moment is sadness and fear. Maybe a little agitation. I actually yelled at the puppies (Wrigley and Rocky) for accidentally knocking her down. And then I cried about that. 

I’m still deep in my grief from Buddy and now I’m (prematurely) grieving her. She’s right beside me now but I can’t stop being sad about what’s coming. Then come the questions. Have I done enough for her? Could I be doing more? Did I see the signs early enough? Did I act fast enough? Did I get her to the vet when I should have? What do I do know? Should I try the MRI with her? Have I failed her? Have I failed as a dog Mom? Again? 

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. I can see signs of depression, obviously related to grief. Then I think of people with other things happening. A Father lost a son last night. A little girl lost her Daddy last week. Are my stressors really that bad? I feel guilty for hurting when others are hurting too; maybe more. It’s all different hurt but it’s also very similar. While situations are different, each heart is hurting; maybe broken. Some
people view dogs as “just a dog.” I see souls
of the sweetest living beings. I see unconditional love in their eyes. I see innocent creatures who need to be cared for. I feel love; real, true love. I couldn’t love them more. 

These dogs are my babies. My heart hurts. 

XOXO

Thursday, July 20, 2017

It's Not That I Love Food That's the Problem. It's That I Hate It.

That was my realization last night. People are so judgmental. I was talking about how people tend to look at others and make assumptions. Like someone making a comment about the only running I do (did; this was a while ago) is through the McDonald's drive through. I know, not as clever as I'm sure said person thought it was. And certainly not funny. At all. The funny part is that the person who said it could've easily been looking in the mirror. Yes, I laugh at that now. No, I wouldn't say that to anyone. Just making a point... Pot. Kettle. You know.

I've gained weight back. I'm working to lose it. And have lost some. I can see the changes. I still have work to do. I've plateaued. As anyone who's plateaued knows, it's a struggled. I feel stuck. It was s much easier the first time. It's time to re-evaluate and make new changes.

Some people probably look at me and think that I love food. I don't. I hate it. And that really is the problem. I eat it but the relationship I have with it isn't one that's healthy. And even when I was at my smallest, it still wasn't the healthiest. I don't know that I'll ever have a truly healthy relationship with food. But I can make the one I have with it one that is better. I've used it emotionally. I've tried to avoid it. I have viewed it as bad; as something destructive. For me, it has been. Frequently.  It doesn't have to be.

I have decided to make new changes. I've been trying to figure out what it was that made me so much more successful (and my loss faster) last time. A friend is going through the same struggle. In fkact our stories are quite similar. We are both searching for answers to the same question. What's different now? Is it that we both blogged more in the past? Is it that we were so active on Spark People? Did this keep us accountable?  She's had a baby. I got a new boyfriend. Are these factors

























bigger than we realize.

I can say that it was much easier when I was alone the majority of the time. With a boyfriend who lived far away, being single, or not in the same town as others, I had it easy. I didn't have to worry about anyone else. It wasn't as easy to meet up for dinner. I could eat what I wanted without worrying about whether someone else would eat it. I didn't have to worry about bad food being around as often. But I started my gain before I moved. New boyfriend, yes. But did just the weekends make THAT much of a difference? It seemed slow but it creeped up. And up. And up.

Clearly I do better when I can be more selfish. I prefer to eat how I want to.  I don't want to think about anyone else. The good news is that my boyfriend is on board. We have a healthier mindset and attitude. He's working on his health too. He's made positive changes; improvements. He's lost almost 20 lbs. He cares about himself and his future in a different way than he had in the past. We are a work in progress but we are healthier.

I know there are some changes he won't make to the same extent as I do. But this is new for him. He's in a different place. I'm going plant based most of the time. I'm working with him to replace red meat with chicken or fish twice a week. I'm teaching him about moderation and changing his thinking. No one is taking anything away or saying "you can't eat that." It's about decreasing and replacing. He can still have pizza or a burger sometimes. He's just not having that type of diet every day. I may eat fish once a week or fish and chicken once a week (each) but I'm eating plant based the rest of the time. A red meat treat will be infrequent. Very infrequent. Rarely.

I realized that when I was losing last time, I wasn't eating red meat or much dairy.  I ate turkey, .chicken, and fish. One once daily, usually. I might have cottage cheese or yogurt once a day several days a week. I wasn't following a plant-based diet but probably followed it 80/20. I aimed for healthy 80/20. Clean 80/20. Now it'll be plant-based 80/20. At least. Unhealthy stuff would make it 80/15/5. Or something. I'd like to say I won't eat any junk but that's not realistic for me. When food and I are getting along, I enjoy a treat now and then.

I need to do better with meal planning and prep. I do better when I do. I may change my tracking and accountability because I feel like that could have a role in this. Maybe I need the social aspect in order to have (better) success. I can work harder. Not in terms of working out. I'm good at that. I love that. But in other ways I can do better.

With that, I'm off to do some work.... My book, my journal, and then an evening walk with the pup. Yes, THE pup. We lost our Buddy in May.

Oh yes....And THAT.  All of the stress that started in February didn't help matters. First Buddy. Then my boyfriend's Grandma (more than once). Then... I don't even know what else. It was rough. Then when hugs settled a little and seemed better... Buddy had another sudden problem and within a few days we had to say goodbye. It was two months yesterday. It's been hard. We miss him like crazy.

Okay.... Now off to my work.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

BED Rears its Ugly Head

There are many disease I hate and wish didn't exist.  There are those that we see all the time and that steal loved ones from us way too early. Like cancer.  There are those that cause young, healthy people to physically deteriorate over time, sometimes stealing their physical abilities before they've hit middle age.  There are those that effect children. Their precious lives are shortened drastically. They have different abilities that sometimes make life a struggle. There are diseases that limit people mentally. There are disease that make people feel like prisoners in their own minds.   There are diseases we can see and others that we don't see. Diseases are horrible. Researchers work tirelessly to find treatments and hopefully cures.

BED (Binge Eating Disorder) is one of those "hidden" diseases.The exact cause is unknown, but believed to be one or a combination of things such as genetics, changes in brain chemicals, depression or other emotional issues, and/or unhealthy dieting. No one knows exactly why they get this disease and once it comes on, it doesn't seem to go away.  There are medications to help treat the symptoms but much like other similar "disorders" it's a fight to stay in recovery. Learning triggers and ways to prevent binges is a key.  I've worked through it before and had a lot of success losing weight; nearly 200 pounds at one point, settling at a comfortable 170-175 pounds lost at one point in time.

A few years ago, when I changed jobs, I didn't have insurance for a bit and stopped taking the medication that helped me.  Combine that with having a new boyfriend (about four years ago) and I gained quite a bit of weight back.  I allowed his bad eating habits into my life on the weekends, which slowly creeped into weekdays.  Then I moved and with greater access, it was easy to just "give in." I recognized it again, finally, just over a year ago and went to the doctor. I've lost about 45 pounds. And I've stalled.  I can't seem to lose anymore. I haven't been able to figure out why.

Until yesterday when I was talking with someone else who struggles.  I'd been ignoring binges that had started to occur. Sure, I've had better control in the last year but without owning up to some of the symptoms of my binges, I've been lying to everyone, including myself. I guess I just blocked out those things... My trigger hasn't been emotional like it used to be.  Well, I guess boredom is an emotion, so I guess somewhat. I continue to work out and eat mostly healthy but those times that boredom sets in and I can't find myself satisfied, binges occur.  I've also find that trying to restrict myself leads to me feeling angry, which results in a binge.

Thinking of the past is also a trigger. I get so pissed off when I see how skinny I was (and still didn't think I was) in 2012.  My thoughts of comparing myself now to then has been a trigger. I've gotten upset with myself and binged. I was ignoring them so I'm not exactly sure of when or what happened, but I know that binges did happen.

Recently I've been doing a cleanse to detox.  This cleanse cuts out a lot of foods, which is hard.  After a week, I allowed myself one real meal.  I acknowledged it and moved on. Back to the cleanse the next day (yesterday). Then last night I did it again. Then I saw someone with an unhealthy food that I, in all honesty, don't even like.  And I wanted it.  I didn't get it but when I went to the store to get healthy groceries, I gave in and bought it. Then ate it after I got home. Which made me feel bad. Then I said "screw it" and ate nearly an entire bag of Skinny Pop popcorn.  The big bag.  I felt all the classical emotions after. And I felt physically ill. My stomach hurt. I binged.  I ate way more than necessary, or normal, in a short period of time.  I guess I was getting tired of the cleanse and that's all it took. The "I can't have that" mentality got to me and it triggered me. I noticed myself getting annoyed with my boyfriend when he'd say "oh yeah, you can't have that." I'd tell him,"No. I am CHOOSING not to have that." And everyone assuming the detox is for weight loss. While that is a (short-term) effect, that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it to get all of the disgusting toxins out of my body and to help get me back into clean (super clean!!) eating again. The binge made me realize that, maybe two weeks is too long for me. I was doing well until week two started. Maybe a week detox is a better option.  Too weeks is, apparently, a trigger. As is allowing others' words to creep into my own thoughts.

Today, I am back into the detox with a somewhat different mindset, but also still very angry with myself. I'm really working to journal it out and move on. What's done is done. All I can do is be honest and get back on track.

So, that's what's new with me...

Today is a new day.

XOXO

Monday, April 3, 2017

Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon Race Report

The Run the Bluegrass half was one of the races on my race bucket list. It's slogan is "America's Prettiest Half Marathon," and that slogan is not a lie.  It was SO beautiful!!! The race was in Lexington, KY at Keeneland (horse racing!). My Aunt, Uncle, one of my cousins and his fiancee live there, so my Mom and I turned it into a long weekend trip, which was fabulous on its own! Family time is always precious and the race was just one of the highlights.  It was the first race that my Mom saw me finish (she and my Dad were too busy talking during my first half and missed me coming in - I will never let them forget that). And my Aunt was there to see me finish too. They waited in the cold, layered in clothes, gloves, and equipped with hand and foot warmers just so that they could see me finish. That meant so much to me. 

Some of the course was on Keeneland property but the majority of it was on country roads by some gorgeous horse farms.  At one farm, some horses (who looked to be a bit young yet) followed us! It was SO cute!! They saw the group coming and started galloping right along side us.  They looked like they were having such a fun time.  We saw lots of horses out, but even just the views of the hills and fields was something spectacular. If you can appreciate the calm beauty of nature, you must do this race!

You may also want to appreciate, or at least accept, hills. Kentucky is hilly. There are some hills that aren't so bad and a couple (especially one) that are freakin' hard. It's definitely one of those "gently rolling hills" types of races. But the views make it all worth it. As the soreness fades from my legs I can only remember a few of the hills... The rest are kind of a blur.

I took my pace a little slower than normal; or tried to. I knew that there would be lots of hills and I'd done some short incline workouts, but no long runs. This was one of those races that made me feel recharged as far as my love for running. It felt so good. For most of the early hills, I just slowed my pace going up, and let my legs fly as fast as they wanted on the way down (within reason because I didn't want to fall and log roll down a hill, so I did engage the quads to slow myself down a little bit). The weather was, in my opinion, perfect for running. That morning was chilly; in the 40s and cloudy. That's huge for me because the sun can play a HUGE factor in how well I perform in a race. Damn fair skin. Other than hydration stops, I think I only walked part of one hill early in the race. Then, just before half way, the hills seemed to grow.  It was around mile six that I went "okay, now this is serious." We were up and right back down; then right back up.  This continued with few flat spots.  Because I took the pace a little slower, I reached the half way point a bit behind my usual pace, which I expected. Actually I thought I'd have a super hard time and planned to take the entire time allowed to finish (I did not).  Anyway, so that continued. And then just before mile nine there was a nice turn and downhill that almost flattened out for a short distance.  Then as I crested the top of that next small hill, I saw that going down was a lot bigger.... And going up looked steep.  

It was mile nine.  Ask anyone and they'll tell you that the mile nine hill (for the half; I believe it's mile four-ish (?) for the seven miler) is the beast.  Seriously, it's the Mother of all hills.  Mile nine is also Meg's Mile.  If you aren't aware, Meg Menzies, was out for a run with her husband one morning and was hit and killed by some idiot drunk driver. After her death, Meg's Miles (also look at it - Meg Smiles) was born. Meg's husband Scott has been very active in honoring Meg and keeping her memory alive. There was a poster with Meg's smiling face on it that said "Meg's Mile." I heard Meg's story when it happened and have often thought of her on runs (#run4Meg is very popular in social media too). I looked her picture and felt emotional for a second. Then I thought, "okay Meg, help me out here.  I have you and Mav on my mind." And Ed (that Dad of two of my good friends who passed away the night before) was on my mind too. I jogged, slowly, up part of that hill, and then I walked a bit.  I got to the top and jogged again. Correction: I got to what I thought was the top.  You see after that curve, the hill actually kept going and curved, and then it curved again before it was done. I swear that thing seemed like mile ten should've been waiting at the end. In reality, mile ten was at least half a mile away. 

So, mile nine came and mile nine went.  Didn't die. Was super tired for a bit and mostly walked to mile ten. I did have a few short jog intervals in there but I walked too. I did the same until I saw mile 11 approaching. Mile 11 is the beer mile.  As we came into mile 11, the aid station was set up with water and Sword on one side and beer on the other.  It was a small amount of beer. I've never accepted the beer during a race before. This time? I drank that little cup with pride. I don't know if it was the beer, the super fun guy at the aid station, having backed off for two miles, or something else but suddenly I felt better.  By this time I'd long past the point of wondering "do I still have legs?" I mean, I know that they didn't fall off but I couldn't actually feel them. It was like they'd gone numb. But they weren't numb.  It's odd to explain but I just trusted them and went with it.  I started to run again; actually run not just jog at a slower than normal pace (I was naturally slowing down some but not as much as between nine and 11. I still included some walk intervals because I was getting tired, but then I'd have a sudden burst where I was like "I love life!" and I'd run again. I guess those last two miles were all over the place. I jogged slower, I was on pace, I walked a bit. But they were all over the place in a good way. Most blogs I'd read said that people gave up on even attempting a PR early on. I was aiming to finish in less than what I expected. And? I did. And? I finished strong. I turned the corner and saw about 1/4 mile before the next little turn into the finish straight away... We were hidden behind a building so I even continued my slower pace in there. Then I saw the finish and I picked up the pace a little. And then I freakin' sprinted and silently cursed out some people who I was sure were going to ruin my finish line pic and I'm proud of that finish. Damn proud, actually. I don't think I've actually hit a hard sprint into the finish of any of my half marathons. I've ran through them but sometimes it was a very slow jog. This one was different.

I was nervous about this race and all of it's hills; which I'm sure are actually gently rolling if you're not running up them. The course was described as "technical." I was afraid something bad would happen and I wouldn't finish. I thought "soooo do they sweep people in this race?" I even thought of changing to the seven miler (until I thought of the medal and the accomplishment and how very badly I wanted both). In all honesty, even though it wasn't my fastest, it felt like one of the best. Maybe the best. My finish was actually right in the middle of my other four races. Most importantly I had that awesome, freeing feeling while I was running. I felt like I was flying going down some of those hills. The time passed and in the few moments of "what am I doing" that I had, giving up wasn't an option. I kept looking at my watch thinking "I'm not doing too bad." I was passing people even toward the end (even into the finish!). My legs are still a little sore today and that race was hard, but I feel great. What's really great is that I would've PR'd that day if it had been a flat course. Probably by a lot, because those flat spots felt amazing to me; even the early hills didn't feel bad. 

This race definitely made me feel something I don't think I've felt since completing my first half.  I felt emotions and I felt such a huge sense of pride in that accomplishment. I think it was all those hills.

And to give credit to the hills; I now plan to continue to do short incline interval runs at least once or twice a week. Given the level of soreness in my legs and glutes, that will be a great way to work on some awesome leg muscles and to lift and firm the booty. 

Run the Bluegrass wasn't just a race that I crossed of my bucket list or a race in another state (but yay for state four!)... It was a race that showed me that I can continue to make progress and overcome whatever challenges are thrown at me. It reminded me that I'm strong and can accomplish the goals that I set for myself.  RTB made me experience running in a way I haven't in a while. I felt the love. And now I want to go murder some more hills!!!

XOXO

Princess Half Marathon Race Report

This is a little over a month overdue, but better late than never!!

I did my second PHM at the end of February. It was a nice, but too quick, little trip to Florida.  The weather was perfect! I got some sun, had some fun, and ran. There were a couple stressful calls from home so there were moments that things weren't so amazing but everything is looking up for those who were involved in those situations.  There were almost a couple deaths and that began a very rocky month for the two of them.

So the trip itself was wonderful. Disney is always an amazing experience. And, I think I fell even more in love (if that's even possible) this trip! I managed to do the Four Parks, One Day challenge and it was... Exhausting! I slept very well that night!! I'm already contemplating my 2018 trip. I really want to do the Glass Slipper Challenge (GSC), so if I were to plan correctly and register immediately, I might make it in for next year.  There are a limited number of participants and it sells out quickly. the GSC is 19.3 miles; the 10K and the PHM.  I'd like to be there for the 10th Anniversary of PHM but I also want to branch out and experience a different race (Wine and Dine Half) as well as a different time of year to visit. I'm sure it's pretty much the same in November as it is February.

I got up early the morning of the race and did my morning race routine. I dressed as Belle this time (which was planned before I knew she'd be the featured princess, so that made me even more excited!). Belle is my favorite princess (one of my dogs is named after her), so it was only natural that I dress as her. I'm surprised I hadn't done so until now! Other Disney Princesses I've dressed as (for races) are Cinderella; PHM, Aurora PHM Weekend 5K; Ariel Halloween 5K; and now Belle for this year's PHM. I was on a bus before the cut off, but the line was SO long, I was cutting it a little close. Last time I did PHM I took a later bus and got right on. It was a different resort though, so Pop must've been more popular for runners. I was there early enough to check my bag and eat my little breakfast. I had forgotten about the little walk before the race corrals. I think I had a 5K in just from walking around all morning.  I was in my corral in time to do some stretching and just to get in the zone.

The race went really well. I didn't really pressure myself for time this time because I knew what to expect. With roughly 28,000 runners there are spots where it gets crowded and bottle necked. I just ran... I didn't pay much attention to my Fitbit and honestly don't even remember my exact finish time. After the sun came out I stopped at every aid station that offered sun block because I'm sure I was sweating mine on. And there were several hours between when I put it on and when the sun came up! I even stopped to stretch and get some biofreeze.  I was really laid back with the race and just wanted to enjoy it. I had my typical problem of slowing down with the sun beating on me and the temperature heating up quickly (it was actually pretty cold before the race and at the start!). So, sunblock and good hydration it was.  It definitely wasn't the worst race I've ever done (time or how I felt), but I also took my time. I did have a couple moments of "okay, I'm over this!" but that's because I was getting so dang hot and hadn't applied sunblock. I also wasn't quite a fan of their sunblock.... It was just sitting there to grab at will. And it was a spray.  I wish I'd had someone to spray me because I think I would've had better coverage and wouldn't have had to get so much. Also, it did not appear to be a sport sunblock which I prefer because it handles sweat.  That's a very mild complaint; not even a complaint, really.

It was a great race, I felt pretty good after, and had a fun time! I attempted to drink around the World again after the race.  I didn't do so well (again) however I did better than last time.  I split a couple drinks just so I could say I had something in those countries, but I got too full too fast. I really think that people who drink around the world are either a big ol' mess or have a strategy in place... My strategy would be to devote an entire day to Epcot and that purpose. I think that people must start in the morning and stay all day; or start early and take a mid-day break (and nap!) then go back to finish.  Or maybe they divide it over a couple days or evenings. I think I'd do better going a couple different evenings when it's not as hot. We were there for several hours and I think I made it 1/4 of the way this time; well between 1/4 and a 1/2.  Had I attempted the whole dang thing, I'd have been sick. It is not an easy feat... Next time I'll have a plan and will accomplish it!

Once again RunDisney put on an awesome race and I had tons of fun!!!

XOXO


Two Months and a Little Extra

So far behind; yet again!

I'm not even going to do much of an update... Life is good! Still working out, still mostly eating healthy. Love me some yoga, spin, and running. I'm not doing as much with weights but am finding a way to work that into my routine again. After seeing a pic of the back of my shoulder, it makes me want to lift again. That muscle looked ah-mazing in the picture!

I have two race reports to write so I'll focus more on those. And, as usual, I'll try to post more. I'd like to... As always... Siiiigh. So little time.

XOXO