Tag Archives: sanity

A Blogging Hiatus

I’ve not had much to say on the fitness/nutrition/healthy living front lately. Admittedly, my mind’s been elsewhere. With a baby on the way who has some heart issues, that’s where my … well … heart is lately.

I’m still exercising — as much as I can. Doctor said he “prefers light jogging and walking to running.” Though, I don’t know if this ever-growing belly of mine would be very comfortable for a real run anyway. And weight lifting? Limited to 25 pounds or less.

I miss it. I really, really do. And every time I see someone running, I get sad — and jealous. That’s my happy place. And I miss my happy place. And when I’m in the weight room, I feel miserably weak and lazy. Even though I know, on all counts, that I’m doing this for our darling Pickle.

So, I apologize for being “that” blogger who just leaves her page quiet for weeks on end. I think that it’s a sign I need to take a bit of a hiatus from this blog. I may be back this summer — posting periodically through the pregnancy about life and living. Now that Mr. B is on first shift, I may even have a few more recipes to share.

And I can guarantee I’ll be back after our darling Pickle is born in the fall. I’ve got a lot more goals to reach (I’m contemplating another marathon, perhaps, and some heavily increased weight-lifting goals), and I certainly have a lot more living to do. But, right now, I need to focus my energies on Pickle and on our family.

If you miss me and care to follow along on this part of my journey, you can find me at “The Pickle Chronicle,” where I’ll be writing about my pregnancy, Pickle’s heart defect and our family’s story.

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Better Than I Used to Be

As I was running (a very tough, dragging-on-too-long-for-as-short-as-it-was run) along the path that runs along the freeway the other day, I looked up to see the following on a billboard:

“You’re in front of the person behind you. Stay there.”

It’s for a nearby university. But it’s fitting for fitness, too. Particularly for those who may be just starting out on the path to reaching their fitness goals. (Whispery aside: Or those who need a reminder of how far they’ve come — no matter what their disordered thinking has them believing. I’m looking at you, Mrs. B.)

You see, contrary to what the sign is saying, it’s not always about where you are in relation to the other people around you. It’s about where you are in relation to yourself.

Then and now

Who I am is who I was, but that’s only part of the story. Cuz I’m more than that, too. And my story is far from over.

Every step you take is one in the right direction. Whether it’s a fast step or a slow step, you’re still in front of the version of yourself who would otherwise still be sitting on the couch.

“I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be.” ~Tim McGraw, “Better Than I Used to Be”

I think people — myself sometimes included — believe they have to be perfect to be fit. They have to be a fast runner to be a runner. Or a long-distance cyclist to be a cyclist. Or a race winner to be a race runner. Or a … well, you get the picture.

It doesn’t help that there are judgy people out there that look at you and say (all rude-like with a case of the side-eye), “Um, there’s no way you’re a runner.” (Yes, this happened.)

You’re not going to get it perfect right out the door. You’re probably going to be slower than some people (you’ll be faster than some, too). You’re probably going to have more soreness in the beginning than you anticipated. But look at what you’re doing! You’re walking a mile when normally you would have driven; you’re running for 5 minutes straight when that used to be a thing of dreams; you’re swimming two laps when you used to just dangle your feet; you lost “only” 1 pound when before you just maintained.

And don’t get me wrong, there will be setbacks. Everything in life has setbacks. Even the biggest steps forward. And there will be days you’re slower than you “should” be or can’t run as far as you “should.”

Case in point: When I stepped back into intensive training in December, I was regularly hitting sub 8:30 miles for runs up to five miles. Today? I’m lucky if I can squeak out an 11-minute mile for a two-mile run. Thank the bronchitis and a lot of travel in the month of January and a couple of other health issues that popped up. A month of off-and-on running due to situations out of my control has taken its toll. And, quite frankly, it’s pissing me off. I want to be back where I was in December. But, I have to listen to my body and take care of it when it needs rest — because I need it to go the distance (figuratively and literally). I’m fighting my way back slowly. It’s frustrating that it can’t happen overnight. It can’t, right?

So, I’m having to take another look at my training schedule and my plan. I probably won’t be hitting that half-marathon PR I was hoping for in April. And the half marathon immediately followed by the 25k in May? We’ll have to see how training goes.

But the setbacks won’t make me quit. In fact, they’ll make me push myself harder — within reason. Because I am a stronger version of myself than I was before. In that time when a setback would send me back to the sidelines.

Because I want to stay in front of that person behind me,
that version of me in my past.

So, if you’re like me and you need to hear it (over and over and over again), I’ll share the pep talk I’ve been having to give myself lately:

Breathe. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do the best you can in the situation you’re in now. And remember — you are far ahead of that version of yourself sitting on the sidelines. Lace up your shoes, and get out there. One step is better than no step. And if you can get two in, do it.

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On Weddings and Marathons

In the last year, I’ve done some pretty cool things. Among them? Running a marathon and marrying Mr. B.

running a marathon

spinning in the road

As I sit here reflecting on these two things, I’m struck by how similar they are.

  1. Whether wedding planning or marathon training, you have a one-track mind. In the months leading up to either of these events, they’re all you can think about, stressing about the what ifs and maybes, the do’s and the don’ts. “Am I doing it right?” “Am I doing it wrong?” “Why does it feel like this?” “WHY DON’T THE BOOKS TELL YOU ABOUT THIS PART?!”
  2. And, while some people pretend better than others, no one else cares about it as much as you do. Trust me, those smiles and nods? Just that. Inside, your friends and family are hearing “yadda yadda blah yadda blah blah boring.”
  3. Your bowels and your bladder have never been of bigger concern: Do I pee now? Or do I wait? Do I even have time to pee? Oh, crap, I have to poo!
  4. Obsessing over bras. Enough said.
  5. The signs are THE BEST ever.
    marathon sign
    bride sign
  6. Obsessing over shoes. What’ll be the most comfortable — but, also, look cute in pictures? Because, really, it’s all about the pictures.
  7. You can always count on your partner and your parents.
    parents, me and mr. b
    parents, me and mr. b wedding
  8. You’ve never felt more nervous about a day arriving.
  9. You’ve never been more excited to see a day arrive.
  10. You’ve never been so glad a day has ended.
  11. Worrying about chafing — yes, it’s important in both instances. This is particularly important if you have loose skin in all the places.
  12. You’ve never felt more exhausted: Physically, emotionally, mentally.
  13. You spend a lot of money. A lot more than you could have imagined. And, you kinda don’t care.
  14. You have a countdown clock. Which both excites you and scares you as you watch it tick down to The Big Day.
  15. You cry tears. Of every kind.
    hugging and crying
    me and rosebud
  16. You will discover how unbelievably important your support team is. You can’t do it without them. They dry your tears, nurse your hurts and give all the hugs. They’re also the very best at smiling and nodding.
  17. You’re constantly wondering when life will return to normal, when you’ll get your weekends back.
  18. Other things in your life take a backseat. Like cleaning. And cooking. And reading for fun. And (oops) blogging.
  19. Some people will understand. Some people won’t. But it’s not about them, it’s not their life. So, it’s OK if they don’t “get” it. No sense taking it personally.
  20. You walk away saying “I am NEVER doing that again.” But, really, you wouldn’t trade a single second of it. And you’ve never been happier.
  21. After months and months of planning and preparation, it all goes by in a flash. But you’ll always have the pictures. And the metal/medal.

marathon medal

wedding bands

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I Still Have Lots to Say

Hello strangers! It’s been quite some time since I’ve actually written a legitimate, healthy lifestyle, fitness, running post. It’s coming. I promise. Sooner than later, I imagine, as my brain is full of things it wants to say.

I apologize that I’ve  been away so long — because I miss writing about my effort to live a happy, healthy life. But, you see, I’ve been a little bit busy over the past few months. You know … getting married! On Sept. 29, I married the love of my life during a sunrise wedding on my family’s cherry farm in northern Michigan. It was absolutely more perfect than I could have planned it.

The setting.

Yes, we literally skipped down the aisle after we were pronounced “Mr. and Mrs. B.”

Mr. and Mrs. B with our parents after the ceremony.

There will be more photos — and more posts — on the wedding blog in due time. But, needless to say, my mind’s been occupied with other matters over the past few months. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been running. I’ve been eating (moderately) well. I’ve been lifting — but just enough to maintain my strength, not gain any, however.

But now it’s time to refocus and set some new goals for myself — and my husband (still getting used to saying this!) — as we start our happy, healthy life together.

Please stay tuned — I promise I’ll be back to my regular bloggy-blogger self in no time. I still have LOTS to say. And LOTS of goals to meet. And I’d love if you’d be along for the ride.

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Short — but Sweet — Status Report

I had a heart-to-heart with T2.5 last night. I’ve not been getting to the gym as often as I should. Cardio, we’re good. But I’ve only been weight lifting once, maybe twice, each week. That’s not enough for me, for my body.

And I can tell. Everything in my body is maintaining. Weight. Strength. Measurements.

I’m glad. Maintenance is hard. And it all could easily have gone in the wrong direction.

But I’m not ready to be in maintenance yet.

I mean, I’ve not been lazy, and I workout at least five days a week. Plus remaining pretty active on the weekends when Mr. B and I are together. Plus 2-mile lunchtime walks at least three days a week.

But apparently that’s just enough to keep me flat-lined.

So “it” will be getting real.

Well, at least halfway real as we get closer to the wedding (I have higher priorities for the next three weeks than two-a-days). Then, once the schedule clears and Mr. and Mrs. B can finally figure out a routine and settle into a schedule that works for us, “it” will be getting real real again.

Until then, it’s business as usual, with some added “oomph.”Because my plates are feeling very full at the moment. But not full enough that there’s no room for some “oomph” — cuz, like ice cream, there’s always room for a little “oomph.”

Have I mentioned that I am very much looking forward to marrying Mr. B, having an active and adventure-y honeymoon then coming home and settling into life with him where we can have some stability and certainty? No? Well I am.

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Running is ALL the Things

For me, running is a lot of things:

  • Easy
  • Hard
  • Fun
  • Terrible
  • Exciting
  • Boring
  • Invigorating
  • Painful

You get the picture: Running is ALL the things.

picture while running

Running is ALL the things, including photo shoot time.

It just depends on the day. And it all depends on my attitude. A bad attitude can turn a good run into misery. But a good attitude can turn a bad run into a really great opportunity to learn about yourself as a runner.

Some days, I come back from running feeling like an Olympian. Other days, I feel like it was the first run I’d ever done. But, typically, I’ve found that running is a great reflection of other areas of my life in that I get out of it what I put into it.

When people found out I started running, they had a lot to say about it:

  1. That’s so bad for your knees.
  2. You’re going to hurt yourself.
  3. You know, running isn’t for everyone. (This one typically featured the side-eye and head tilt.)
  4. You don’t have to run.
  5. Running’s so boring.

Honestly, I still hear some of these things when people find out I run.

But you know what I say to that?

  1. So is weighing 271 pounds and trying to walk around doing regular everyday things.
  2. Possibly. But I could will most likely, at some point, hurt myself walking down the sidewalk.
  3. No, indeed it’s not. But it is for me.
  4. Yes I do.
  5. Running can be boring — but it also can be the most amazing thing I do on a given day.

And then they go on to ask me why I run. I tell them: health, fitness, happiness. I tell them: I enjoy it; it challenges me; it helps me de-stress. I tell them: Because I can. But, really, it’s even more than that. I run so I can:

Hike — and enjoy it

Hiking

At Warren Dunes State Park — no relation.

Climb dunes — and not have to stop a zillionty times to catch my breath

Climbing the dunes

I swear this sandy dune went straight up into the sky at a 90 degree angle from the ground.

Eat good food — and not feel guilty or ashamed

Bison burger

Bison burgers and homemade sweet potato “fries” for Mr. B and me

Swim and frolic on the beach — and not feel completely uncomfortable and embarrassed

at the beach

Enjoying a lazy day in the sun with Mr. B — and my 100 SPF sunscreen and floppy hat

Go fishing with people who matter to me — and not feel completely uneasy on a boat with limited move-around space

steelhead smiles

Look, Ma! I caught a fish!

Spend time with friends — and do things we all enjoy doing

Biking

Biking with friends is the perfect summertime funtime.

Running is about being able to do things I wasn’t able to do before because I didn’t take care of my(whole)self. Running is about making myself better, healthier, happier.

Really, I run so I can live.

Special note: Many of these same reasons/responses could be given when people ask me why I eat the way I do.

Could these things be accomplished with other activities? Zumba? Walking? Biking? Swimming? Yes. Indeed they could. But, you know what? Running makes me happy; running makes me proud. So I do what I love. Trust me, when you find that activity that you truly love to do, it will happen for you, too. It’s not about motivation or deprivation. It’s about enjoyment; it’s about living.

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Hardcore or Hardheaded?

As I was huffing and puffing up the hill at bootcamp the other 85-degree morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about one thing:

Am I, as a runner, hardcore or simply hardheaded?

And then I realized that maybe my stubbornness is why running works so well for me:

  • Too stubborn to quit
  • Too stubborn to skip a run
  • Too stubborn to hide from the weather

You get the picture. (Some may say that translates to stupidity sometimes. But who am I to put words in their mouths?)

Take that hot morning’s workout, for instance.

Hill repeats. It was hot. And humid. Way too hot and humid to be running. Especially up and down the hills.

By the fifth trip up the hill, my body was ready to give up and I had to rely on my mind to know what to do. I do not like the heat. At all. I even threatened to take off my shirt and run in just my sports bra (who was I kidding, though, no way it was that hot).

  • 5.58 miles, 59 minutes (five trips up and down the hill; the week before I got in 6 trips in the same amount of time — still amazed how much near-90 degree weather and super high humidity slows me down)
  • Half-mile cooldown walk (though “cooldown” was more like walk while your drenched clothing sticks to you and salty sweat burns your eyes out)
hot and sweaty workout

I sure wished I’d brought a towel to put on Boo’s seat. She’s not ready to smell like a stinky runner yet.

Any normal person in her right mind wouldn’t have worked out that morning. But there we were, runners all, trudging up that hill, stubbornly tackling one repeat after another. Because we could — not because we necessarily should.

Then came today. A three-a-day kinda day. Not planned. But once it was in motion, I was too stubborn to step back from it.

So, yeah. I worked out three times today. Not because I should; because I could. Yes, I know my body needs rest and recovery. But circumstances beyond my control made this necessary. It is not a regular occurrence and (most likely though I can’t promise) won’t happen again. And, no, I certainly don’t recommend it. (Though, I can say I do feel a little hardcore tonight. That will most definitely turn into hardheaded regret when my DOMS sets in. I won’t say you didn’t warn me.)

Today, in a nutshell:

Bootcamp in the morning. One of my favorite sessions: Marathon Don‘s Obstacle Course. It goes a little something like this:

Six rounds each. Running between stations (total for each lap is just over half a mile).
-10 pushups (good form, proper pushups)
-Up and over climbing wall
-30 seconds abs (each round was a different exercise)
-Shuffles between the cones
-10 step ups on picnic tables (I add an extra knee lift after each step up)
-Up the ladder
-Down the slide
-Once down the hopscotch “board”
-Sprint to the next station
-10 reps various upper body exercise with dumbbells

Jump to this evening. I had promised a friend I’d go to an EcoTrek session with her tonight. It was meeting at a park very near my house. A park I was pretty familiar with — or so I thought. Who knew there was a giant sand hill the led waaaaaay up into the sky hiding at the back of that park? Apparently our fearless EcoTrek leader did — cuz she took us right up it. Twice.

What I love about EcoTrek is that it offers a full-body workout that people of all fitness levels can do. And it’s outdoors! And it’s fun! And you can push yourself really, really hard (if you choose)! And everyone is so encouraging! And you get to get all sortsa dirty!

dirty ecotrek feet

Dirty feet make me happy. A pound of sand in my shoes? Maybe not quite so happy.

After I dumped the sand from my shoes, I laced ’em back up and headed to the gym for a quickie session with T2.5. He got held up and had to miss last night’s session, so we rescheduled for today. I mean, he’s getting married this Friday, so we could hardly meet Thursday night. Right?

I wasn’t too worried about pushing myself too awfully hard after two pretty tough workouts already today. I mean, T2.5 was just walking me through my new weight program.

But, I should have known better. He wanted to make sure I knew how to do everything on the program. As well he should, though. Because, truthfully, I’m kind of a dunce when it comes to weight lifting. And I need a lot of reminders about and help with proper form. And, honestly, I need him to show me how hard I actually can push myself. I can always lift heavier than I think I can. (You probably can, too.) And just as a reminder, T2.5 put a very special reminder on the bottom of the program sheet for me:

If you can’t feel the heat, the workout’s not complete.

So, yeah. I stubbornly — and knowingly — scheduled three workouts today. With barely a breather between the last two. Strong and hardcore or stupid and hardheaded? Your guess is as good as mine.

But one thing I do know for sure? I sure do feel better about things when I push myself hard. I like to think that every drop of sweat equals a drop of stress or worry or fear or sadness leaving my body. And today, I lost a lot of sadness and worry. And it felt so good; I feel so good. Better about myself than I have in a while, in fact. So if that makes me stubborn, stubborn I’ll be.

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