Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Race Report #2 Virtual Marathon Jan 16-20

Now THIS was a fun idea!

I've been keeping track of my miles this year in an effort to build a life that includes an average of 2-3 daily miles (on top of whatever else I do!)  AND I decided to do some races because they are fun... and because my husband likes being my 'pit crew'... and because we like escaping for a long weekend here and there.

But it's COLD!  I had a race scheduled for Jan 19... but it was snowing and nasty when I woke up that morning.  I really didn't want us to drive over an hour in that stuff so that I could make my way through 9 miles of COLD - not to mention ICE!   So, I didn't compete in that one - and we have become MORE determined to slip away to a nearby hotel the night before any race.

And then this came across my radar...

The 7th Annual Clearwater, Florida marathon was held on Sunday January 20.  Most races are held to raise money for causes - and this was no exception.  And what they did to raise even more money was offer a virtual marathon.  Naturally, there was no way to handle timing so it was an honor thing where you walked or ran the miles over a 2 week period and they sent you a medal.

(I thought it was also a brilliant way to make sure you didn't have leftover medals... they mailed out the ones they had left over first - and then simply ordered what they needed for the virtual participants after that)

We simply had to post when and how we did our miles on the Facebook page and that was that.  There were several folks who did a full out 26.2 in one day..... and God bless them!

I did mine incorporating the 1-2 miles per day I walk with the Pomeranian pictured below..... and quite a few treadmonster miles....

 ..and the last half mile with my dog and my beautiful granddaughter.  All at my pace and in my time....

What fun!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Race report#1 I AM 10K Jan 12

First race of this racing year......  my beloved got us a hotel room close to the course.  Living 45 minutes from anywhere means that most events are at least an hour away even if we don't specifically travel.  With the uncertainty of January weather, we decided to stay a little closer.... not to mention that getting away for an overnight is something we don't do enough of!

I wasn't nervous the night before - this is a departure for me - maybe because 10K is 6 miles.  I can't do it fast - but I know I can do the distance blindfolded.  I don't know the course - but I'm not usually fazed by that either.  For me, the goal is simply to get to the finish line as fast as I can.  Which isn't fast - but it's as fast as I can :-)

So - a good night's sleep and I was grateful! 

BUTTTTT... the next morning as I look out the window, I see gray, gray and GRAY skies!  Did I ever mention that I struggle each year with SAD?  Yikes - gray is not my friend.... unless it's my kitty Trouble :-)

So there we go.... the stomach starts churning a little.  But I'm okay.... it's still 'only' 6 miles.  We drive to the start and I'm stewing about what I ate or didn't eat...drank or didn't drink... am I hydrated enough?  Did I eat far enough in advance that my stomach won't be upset?  I'm definitely in my head!

The gray is also a little chilly.  That part doesn't bother me - I've raced enough now that I know how warm I will be once I get a couple of miles under my belt.  But it's misty.... and I have a fleece - nothing water repellent.  Boo!  Mental note to shop for a water repellent jacket to run in.  The fleece is too warm for the race..... and the race shirt is simply a t-shirt which will get soaked.  I settle for 2 technical shirts that wick moisture - a long sleeve and short sleeve.  Body heat will be preserved and sweat should dry quickly.

Waiting around at the start, I'm nervous!  Why, I wonder...... 10K is 6 miles... no biggie!  I've been to the restroom... I'm ready to go....and glad for my husband's company.  Thanks to him being there, I can wait around in my jacket!

I started out just fine - a bit of a jog.  Actually I ran a lot farther than usual... it felt pretty good!  The mist never did quite turn into rain and it wasn't really cold - so actually the weather itself was quite pleasant as I was going.  The course turned out to be absolutely wonderful!  It was in a park.... I LOVED being in the woods.  If this is trail racing - then I think I could really enjoy this.  Even with some muddy patches and tree roots and leaf piles, I am more comfortable with the footing than I am on curbs and streets!  We ran through woods and over bridges and around fallen trees.

My only real issue was that I needed to GO again..... sometimes being older is such a pain!  But sometimes maybe it's just that I still don't know exactly how to eat or drink for racing.... I keep thinking I'll learn... and I guess in time I will :-)  BUT lo and behold...... NO facilities until I finish!  Yikes!  It was probably a good thing I was wearing red and it was winter.  If there had been some foliage to hide me and I was a little less conspicuous in dress... I might not have managed to make it to the end.....  (should I admit this?  Yes - I am positive that I am not the first or the last to have this problem or think up this solution)

So - I did my usual pace..... run as far as I can (about 30 - 45 seconds is all my lungs will take as yet) and then walk until my breathing comes back to normal and I can run again.  Over and over again....

Mile markers helped me keep my brain in gear...... and when I saw the chute, I broke into a sprint..... I mean, you HAVE to run the chute if you can!  And I did..... and then the heaves got me... AGAIN!  Heavens to Betsy, will I ever be able to race without all that nausea getting me at the end?  I don't know.. maybe some day.  It's not a problem I ever had until last fall when I decided to get back into racing more often.. but since November '12, it's been heave, heave and heave some more at the end of races.  No food to heave so that's a plus at least.

In the final analysis, I did pretty well (for me).   I did the run in 1:23:40.  That is a good time for me - and it was first in my age group.  Not because I'm fast - but because most people my age aren't out running races in the woods on a Saturday morning....  so I get a reward for showing up and doing my best and I'm okay with that!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Don't Want to be Thin

... I want to be happy.

Sometimes I think we forget what we are REALLY after...

Yes, I know there are health conditions... yes, I know that obesity is at an all-time high.... so there are very good reasons to LEARN how to build a life at a normal weight....

But I think for many of us... seeking happiness in a number on the scale is a focus in the wrong direction.

Because.... whatever you goal weight is..... if you don't CHANGE YOUR LIFE.... reaching that number.... all that hard work.... will be for nothing.

Spend a little time today dreaming about what you REALLY want.  What will that magic number bring you?  Smaller clothes?  Comfortable movement?  Love?

How will that scale number get you there?  Are you giving the scale number too much power? 

What will you actually DO when you reach that magic number that will get you to your real goal?  Can you do any of that now?

Can you buy new clothes now?  Why not?

Can you take a walk?

Can you reach out to other people?

Trust me, I am the last person in the world to tell anyone NOT to drop a few pounds.... but I want you to do it healthily and successfully.  If you dramatically drop them without thinking about your endgame.... you will most likely re-gain them.

Find your WHY.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Find the Fun

Watching the Biggest Loser last night brought questions to me and reminded me of some advice I heard last year. 

Find some movement that is FUN! 

But I think that is a lot harder than it sounds. 

Okay - so I walk NOW (ignore this part). 

But here's the thing..  as far back as I can remember... I was teased for my size.... so I never really enjoyed anything physical. 

I remember trying gymnastics (okay playing on the monkey bars and balance beam) and being teased so I quit. 

I remember loving to dance and I did that for several years.. but I still cringe at what I remember about life in a leotard. 

Swimming - or splashing in the pool was fun until I never wanted to wear a bathing suit again. 

Never EVER played team sports if I could get out of it... being picked last always sucked.

Never EVER managed that awful Presidents Physical Fitness test.. except for flexibility... I was always limber.

I remember liking to be in the woods as a Girl Scout.... so now I walk.

Anyway - the life I built.... is sedentary and solitary.  I write, I crochet, I sew, I read.  I do like to garden and in my attempts to be more physical I spent a lot more time at it last year.

But not enough to do cardio!  To work out my heart.

So what do you do then?  I am trying new things... like when I tried a rock-climbing wall and enjoyed that.  But how to choose something and make it part of your daily life?

I am married to a sedentary man.. we have no physical activities together except that now he joins me on my walks.  Not his fault - but not his interest.. so games are not an option per se.  (I may have to be more energetic about making him play with me - maybe on the wii)

The key will be to find the fun..... but I think many active people cannot fathom how difficult this might actually be.  I have a feeling I will have to LEARN to have fun physically first...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 5 of 365

.......It's amazing how one day flows into the next, isn't it? You just keep on keepin' on and one day you wake up in a whole new life.  My husband and I were talking about that this morning.  He has always defined himself as a non-churchgoer.... not affiliated with any church.  Yet, married to me, he is registered in a church and occasionally goes.... and it hit my brain this morning that he has been affiliated with a church now for more than 20 years :-)  So by choosing NOT to act, he has acted.  That's a silly example and means little (except while he wrestles with it :-)... but it apples to all of us in every area....

Makes living ON PURPOSE all that more important.

I am beginning to catch up on my bread posts and dishcloth posts - but they are backdated so if you are interested, you may have to go back and hunt - or message me privately and I can give you dates....  catching up is important to me (and probably ONLY me)

I still want to work on the 21 day mega-project idea but with the cold and the time at home for the last week.... I've really been spending my time crafting and planning.  No one major project has risen to the surface yet except one I'm not ready to tackle.... so I think what I will do for January is spend my time working on a daily schedule or checklist or something to help me focus.... and do some catch-up/clean-up to get ready for a big project.

Some projects are coming... like preparing for taxes (personal and business) and decorating our guest room.... and the quilt is still out there, as is the photo scanning and decluttering.  My mega-project for January will be preparing for and deciding on the mega-projects for the upcoming months.  Sounds ambiguous BUT this particular project will consist of listing / deciding about large projects, developing checklists of things to do daily to help me remember, creating a schedule of crafting in progress and to do, working on finalizing particular annual goals and systems to achieve them....  believe me, I think I can find 21 USEFUL days of focus here!

Little habits?

That bottle of water before cup of coffee #2... I'm 6 days in and doing well :-)  As long as I get that bottle by my bedside before I go to sleep - I remember it...

And little habit #2... I didn't exactly choose it but I am doing it this year so I will take it.... recording my daily miles to reach my 1000 mile goal!  I am recording and working toward a 2.75 mi daily average.

These two are both physical but I think that's okay.  I have a renewed focus on more athletic better health and need to spend a little more energy on it.

How about you?  Have you read 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine?  It's a super short-term focus to reach your long-term goals!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Nipping in the Bud!

Last night's post was a bit of a downer....  but I hear so much about my positive attitude... (and I DO want a positive attitude to be how I am known!)  But reality is different, isn't it?  Don't we all have those dark spaces in our soul where negativity creeps in?

And though I will not wallow in negativity... sometimes those evil thoughts are exactly the catalyst we need for action!

I have given myself plenty of credit for new healthy habits.  I have increased my daily walk time and have planned in exercise (that I need to START!).  But the holidays have hit me like everyone else....  I ran out of lettuce days ago... I am binging on leftover chocolates and buying chips.... and portion control?  What's that?

Last night's fierce negative reaction and resultant SCREAMING desire to eat (BINGE) were my wakeup call.  I've relaxed too much.  No, I am not going to spend a fortune on a new weightloss gimmick of any kind... but here is what I AM going to do:

Weigh and measure myself (and hide those numbers in a safe place!)
       information only to revisit in regular intervals

Continue with daily walking (2+ mi/day)

Repackage foods into portion-size containers

Increase fruits and vegetables

Decrease 'empty nutrition' foods

Commit to the food plan that I know WORKS (I can do a post on this if you are interested but I assure you, it's not fancy or expensive)

Look at the Healthy Habit list I worked up last January and see which ones I need to work on

I STILL maintain that I am not interested in having a WEIGHT be a life goal. 
 That said, if I am working on the life of my dreams, my body condition will be part of the picture.... so I MUST create the habits and patterns of a healthy strong person. 

The person I used to be would have a strong negative reaction.... stew on it a bit... and run to the pantry looking for junk to quell the feelings inside, and then go forward like nothing happened.

The person I WANT to be will have a strong negative reaction.... stew on it a bit... and figure out a plan of action.  SO THIS is where I will be today.... with my plan of action :-)

How do you react to negative emotions?  How do you WANT to react?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Weight Loss

You know..... I think we all think we need to lose weight....

And I know I do.... I lost quite a bit several years ago and found that actually losing the weight awakened some sleeping beasts in my psyche.  I've been actively fighting but not always doing the right things....  at the moment, I am in better health than I have been in years, mentally and physically.. but I am over the normal range limits (and NOT because of muscle!)

But the thing I want to be free of is not the weight per se.  It's my self-critic.

My daughter sent me some candid photos from her wedding day tonight.  Photos of the two of us as I was helping her get dressed.  Lovely photos of a special moment between a mother and daughter on a very special day.

But my instant.... knee-jerk reaction?   Oh my goodness, look how bloated I am!  Look at my FAT arms!  How did I let this happen AGAIN???

And you know what I want to do right now?  You know it, right?  EAT (and cry a little) and eat some more.

Isn't that nuts???

Because all I have to do to actually LOSE weight is start paying more attention to what I am eating and move more.  That's it.. and if it's what I really want - then I can do it.  I've proven that.

The issue is my self-perception and attitude.  Those pictures are priceless moments in time.  My family doesn't care what I weigh... they love me just the way I am.  And this photo captures the ME I was on this special day.  That's enough.  I would never look at a picture of another woman the way I look at myself.

And THAT, my friends... is what I need to LOSE this year.... MUCH more than pounds!  I need to do it for me and I need to do it for those around me!  My self-criticism is contagious!

How about you?  Is your self-image weighing you down more than pounds are?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 3 of 365

..Still a slow start... but I am blessed to be able to do it at home on my terms!

This cold is not worse per se.. but is hitting me in spurts..... better... then awful... better.. then awful....   Sleep is sporadic - but napping during the day is an option for me so I am taking full advantage!

Exercise is minimal of course - though I have managed 1.5 miles in the last 2 days (yesterday actually).  The weather is gray and cold and rainy.... and hitting my spirits hard!  I did a half mile outside yesterday but it hurt my throat and head to much to breathe so I did the mile on the treadmill.  I am ready to be physical again - ..... but then I'm not :-(

At any rate - I am on Day 3 of the new year ....  and still only have the habit of a bottle of water first thing to work on.  I still haven't settled on a project or a second habit.  My (personal) deadline for this is Sunday (1/7) so I will grab something out of the air if I don't have it in place by then!

Mostly I have spent my time the last couple of days cooking and crocheting and sewing.... cooking because I need more completed options in my freezer (casseroles and beans ready-to-use) and because I want to continue my Artisan Bread lessons.  I haven't been faithful about writing about them.... but will catch up in the next few days.

Crocheting - well I keep projects going and it relaxes me!  I have re-sorted my yarn in the last few days.  I have always kept it by type.  But in the interest of using more of it up this year, I am playing with using it by color.... so THIS month I am crocheting in blues (& black, cream or white)... and am prepared for next month also with reds and pinks.  I am still working on projects that are already underway in other colors but all new stuff?  BLUE!

And sewing...... ongoing little girl sewing!  I had so much fun making the dresses for the girls at Christmas - I have more fabric to do it again :-)

Okay - that's the FUN part..... I also caught up on laundry, kept my desk clear, worked on my inbox for work (financial) and plotted out my next 3 months of races / weekends away with my husband.   whew!  I guess even sick, I'm keeping busy!

What are you up to as this year progresses?  Have you taken a minute to think about goals or plans?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Not Really Pollyanna...

I have often been accused of being Pollyanna..... of putting a good face on things... of being unrealistic and sugar-coating life...

But I don't think that's exactly true.

I see myself as a realist.  I was fairly clueless and naive when I was much younger.. this is true....  But no one lives to this side of 40... 50.... and sustains that rosy view of life without a lot of work :-)  No one escapes hardship, heartache, pain..... no one misses the turmoil in the world....  well, maybe the fortunate few who can live in a bubble..

But I've never lived in a bubble.   I know there's pain in the world.  I've had my own share of destroyed dreams and tragedies.  I struggle daily with depression... with gray skies and gloomy forecasts.... 

I made a choice to look for the good in life and in people.

I know - it's not that simple.  But life isn't supposed to be simple.  Where's the opportunity in SIMPLE?  Life is a puzzle to be figured out - and sometimes my mood is dependent on vitamin D and walks in the sunshine.  But my mood and my attitude are different things!

My mood?  I have SOME control... with exercise, vitamins, eating well (or not!)... but, to me - my mood is like my sore feet.  I have SOME control... but not always and not consistently!  It's part of me to deal with - NOT your issue unless you are stuck with me for a long time :-)  But my mood is how I FEEL and my feelings are valid - no matter what they are.  I have limited control over that..... though if we get into a discussion about the habits of positive thinking, you will see that you have more control than you think you have :-)

My attitude?  This is not how I FEEL... this is how I ACT!  Totally my choice!  I want to be supportive, uplifting, a positive influence on my own life (and yours!)  I want to be content, happy, pleased... all the positive emotions... and the best control I have over this is to control my own thoughts. 

It is ME that decides whether to stew over past hurts and go over injuries incident by incident.. (causing myself even MORE grief over things I never understood in the first place)............ or whether to examine them like I would ask my best friend to do for self-improvement purposes and then box them up and put them aside.  (I tend to mentally box them up and put a time stamp on them... if I leave them alone for that time period, I pull out the box and THROW IT AWAY)

It is ME that chooses to (or NOT) berate myself for weight re-gained, tasks not completed, dreams unfulfilled.... (mind you, I would NEVER berate a friend the way I berate MYSELF) and it is ME that chooses to decide if these things are truly important and what I am going to do about them.

It is ME that sees consistent failure and chooses to either beat myself up OR decide if those are failures or not - or WHY they are failures and what I can do about it?

And it is ME that must recognize my successes.  Maybe I didn't lose weight - but if I am consistently eating more vegetables, then I am a winner.   Staying on the road will get you to your destination eventually.

That is my attitude - to live my life on purpose.  To CHOOSE how I act. 

I also firmly believe that anyone with a public platform (which in my mind goes far beyond the media microphone.. well into blogging, FB statuses, public opinionating (yes, I know I made this word up), etc) has a MORAL RESPONSIBILITY not to foment discontent.  I'm not evading issues.... but I'm not creating issues either - nor am I deliberately creating HURT in YOUR heart!

So, my CHOICE is to take in information... and think about it before I start talking.  I have a real issue with people not being able to step back and be realistic.  So much of our media is full of people pointing fingers and treating others as if they were evil.... and I'm not sure we can blame the media for telecasting what we hear someone else say.

I do not believe - for the most part - that people mean ill toward one another.  I believe strongly that most of us want good things for each other.  I also believe strongly that we all have widely differing ways to go about things - even if we agree on the endpoint.  I am always comforted when my husband and I come to the same conclusion because I know for a fact that we are coming from opposite places in our thinking...

I believe that my responsibility here on the internet AND in my life.... is to help motivate you to live your best life.... to help YOU see the good that I have trained myself to find.... and to feel that life is good. 

You do have more control than you think (even when life is whipping you around right now :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 1 of 365... 2013

.. and where to start?

So many pulls in so many directions....  last year's goals and progress were well-evaluated... and I had grand plans for a series of posts leading up to the new year....

..and I got sick.

I have spent the last few days trying to rest a bit and get through this bug...  no fever so I think misery for a few days is the sum total of what I need to deal with... but I've not had the energy available for new ideas and exciting new adventures.

But you know what?  That's okay.... sickness and 'down time' is part of life.  There is no 'perfect time' to do anything!  But you can always move forward living your best life.

I really liked the format used with the 21 Days to a More Organized Life by Crystal Paine (I blogged my way through it in November, I think).. will get a link in here later!  So I will use it again as I get on my feet :-)

21 Days....  for ME - a month.

1 large project broken down into 21 chunks.  (I have no idea about this one and can't think that hard yet.... exactly WHY I need 30 - 31 days for a 21 day project :-)  Last time I used 'finishing a quilt'... I got stuck and will need to get help from the folks at the quilt store - but used my extra time to work on mending my mother-in-law's quilts.  Neither project was finished but BOTH projects are much further along... and the bottom line is... I am happy about it!

*Using this concept - I will make good progress on 12 large-scale projects this year.

The author suggests 2 other new little habits - to my understanding, 1 is small.. to make my life easier and the other can be a little tougher but has great benefits.  Of course, my brain is on the fritz today.... so I am going to interpret this as:

1 housekeeping habit (In November I used spritzing my bathroom mirror when I brushed my teeth in the morning as a 'tag-along' habit.  Not sure what I'll do this time but since I managed to do this for 21 days and then stop.... I know I need to get back to it!

One of my observations in life is that we ALREADY HAVE HABITS!  The key to successfully changing things up is to ADD something to what we already do. Spend a little time observing yourself and what you already do :-)

1 health habit (Last time I added 15 daily minutes of my exercise bike to strengthen my knee - again I have stopped so I need to get back on it!)  But this morning it hit me what I personally need to do for this one.... WATER!  I'm not sure any of us drinks enough - BUT I reach for coffee FIRST thing every day.  I am going to add a bottle of water that needs to be finished before CUP #2.

because housekeeping and health are two areas where I need lots of improvement!

I have found that this method of thinking and planning has had many, many benefits for me.  Even if I didn't finish certain projects.... the work I did spilled over in many areas and made me more efficient overall.  Working on the quilt helped me get it to a 'close to finishing' point and I know what I need to do to get there.  It helped me get my sewing machine serviced and back to the quilt shop for a class.  With my sewing machine working well, I was able to begin sewing for my grandgirls.. and to remember how much I enjoy sewing!

The silly little habit of the bathroom mirror had me keeping the whole bathroom much cleaner and neater.  I've always been pretty clean - but not so neat!

And the biking helped me walk more and start dreaming about racing (and actually doing it!)

It is exciting to think about what new habits and projects will spill over and help me accomplish this year!

So what is YOUR plan?  How will you begin?  Are you all set and ready to go after ambitious plans this year?  Or, like me, are you starting slow and small?