Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Random Wednesday

Today my husband got up at 4:30am and went to the gym. He was actually home around 7 when my alarm went off - rather when my 2yr old rolled over for the 47th time since I brought him to bed with me at 6am, and smacked me in the face thereby waking me up at 6:58...2 minutes before my alarm went off.

5am appointments at the local Y are such a hot commodity that we take turns. Me on Tuesday and he on Wednesday. With his days off in the middle of the week, it works. Which brings me to the next random point -

Shift bid = success. Go shout it on the mountain, for the first time in 3 years, my husband will have Saturday and Sunday off every week! The hours are pretty awesome to - 8:45 to 5:45. So cool as we go in to warmer weather - no more trips to the Y or pushing play in the basement. We will once again be taking turns for the coveted 6am trail run! WOOT!!

I love pajamas. Really, it's like a sickness with me. Did you know that Shopko has THE best clearance prices on PJ's (and other stuff to). I just got a matching set of pants and 3/4 sleeve shirt for $8. Yes, my friends, and their label runs big - so you can size down. Probably the only place in my adult life I have ever bought a size Small in anything.

Speaking of small...I went to the Fancy Skivvy Store in the mall today. Happened to be close by being tortured in a small office with a chair that stands you on your head while they make you bite on cardboard and shove a camera in your face, so...I went to the mall. Got my wedding ring cleaned and checked (will wonders never cease today - I actually had it ON) and then went to have my fears realized with a measuring tape.

Your rear end isn't the only thing that shrinks when you loose a substantial amount of weight.

Moving right along on this train wreck of randomness - let me tell you I will be praying a lot tonight. I just finished up my 2nd cup of Chamomile Tea and that ensures that I will be visiting the little room that all my kids follow me into at least 3 times in the night. I'm terrible about going back to sleep, so I talk to the only person that wants to listen to me at 2am.

Do you ever go to the gym at 5am?

Do you have to bid for your work shift?

What's your favorite item of clothing to purchase?

Do you have a tiny bladder?

Talk to me!! ;o)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Transparency

I have a friend who has said more than once that she loves me for my transparency. I hold nothing back about myself. There are no secrets. In the appropriate setting, I am willing to tell you everything. If you really want to know.

Prior to my life as of now, I had a life that you might not think was very pretty. I don't know how to say this, other than, I was a mess. There were times in my life that I just worked a job only so I could have money to use and drink. I didn't have money to pay rent for very long, so I would move in and move out. A lot. I put utilities in my son's name one time just to get them turned on.

I stole checks from my Mom and forged her name. I stole food out of my neighbors refrigerator because she forgot to lock the door when she left. I broke in to my friends houses when I knew they weren't home. I sold things that were not mine for money to buy drugs. I was a pitiful excuse for a human being.

I smoked through both of my older children's pregnancies, and drank during the 2nd. I didn't know how to deal with my Dad's death, my Mom's remarriage, or my distance from my brothers and sister, so I drank it away. I had a terrible relationship that involved quantum amounts of abuse. I'm lucky I didn't loose my kids. Or my life.

After I became a single parent in 2002, things were a little better. I moved to a new town and was able to hold a job, control my expenditures, and stop using drugs. I still had no idea how to have a healthy relationship with a man...so I failed miserably at that in rapid succession, forever choosing angry alcoholics with more problems than I bargained for. At least I knew better than to introduce them all to my children.

In 2004, I started thinking I should take the kids to church. I was afraid since they hadn't been baptized as babies, they would go to Hell if they died. I started with the denomination that I had grown up in. I signed the kids up for CCD, went to Mass on Sunday and even made the Holy Days of Obligation a priority in my life. I ended up changing churches to the one down the street that my brother and his family went to. They said I could have an hour or so of peace on Wednesday nights if I took the kids to AWANA - score!

Pretty soon I stuck around and went to Bible study. I remember thinking how freaking perfect those ladies must be and how messed up I must look. I didn't even have a Bible or know where to start looking for one. I didn't know what "version" to get and really thought I wasn't even worth having one. Where to start?

After hanging around and going to worship (another hour to myself with the kiddos in nursery and Children's church *score*), I decided to buy a Bible and try to read it. The Perfect Bible Study Ladies suggested to start in 1st John so I did that. The 1st Bible verse I ever remember really hitting home was this:

1 John 4:16 - ...God is Love. 18 - There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

It hit me. I had been living in FEAR. The words I had heard in my AA meetings just crash landed with the words in the Bible. "Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity..." taken from pg.62 of The Big Book.

My whole life I had been driven by fear and there is no fear in love. God is love so, with all of my fear, God was not with me.

My mind = blown. I kept reading that Bible and found out that God didn't want my money, or my good deeds, he didn't care if I had been a bad person, he had NO RECORD OF WRONGS. All he wanted me to do was to admit that I was a sinner, that Jesus came as an atoning sacrifice for those sins, and declare Him Lord of my life.

My life = changed. My signature on my outgoing messages is 2 Cor 5:17, which is this: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! I love that it's like a joyous declaration with an exclamation point and everything. Awesomeness.

Here's the now of the thing and the reason I wrote this. My life has evolved much over the last 6 years. Outwardly, I went from a single mom of 2 working a full time job, to a married Mom of 4 doing home daycare and home schooling! Inwardly there has been much healing and change.

But there are old tapes. Things I still freak over, fears that I have. Nightmares I re-live no matter the prayers I whisper in the dark. I am still very suspicious of people, especially those that are well to do or try to "help" me in any way. I am funny and charming so that I don't have to be serious. I hateHATEhate it when I cry. I can't have prescription pain meds around - I like them way to much. I went through a period of about a year after I had our daughter, Susan, where I had infection after injury after ailment and all were ending up in rock star quantities of Hydrocodone. I had to let God have the pain and stop chasing after the mental relief with the physical.

The point is that I'm not perfect now that I'm a Christ follower. No one is. We all still struggle. But Jesus said it best when he said that - "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47 The more junk I find that I need to leave at The Cross, the more I love Jesus for handling things for me.

I always thought I wasn't good enough for Jesus - and I was right. But you don't clean yourself up before you hop in the shower...and you don't have to be any good for Jesus to wash away your sins.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Race Report

Today was a local 5K road race, known around here as The 13th Annual State Farm Run. Hubby and I were going to do the 10 mile as a training race for the upcoming half marathon, but we are both on the recovering from injury list, so the 5K was a safer bet.

It was 34 degrees and snowing at 9am when the gun went off. Hubby didn't even pretend that he was going to run with me and I soon lost sight of his orange jacket as he made his way through the throngs of people.

Our course was around the local Sate Farm Insurance building, then off on a nearby rock trail - out and back. My goal was to finish in 34:59 or less. My usual 3 mile training runs have been around 36:00 and under, so I felt it was a good time to push harder.

I made sure to watch the time and take my walking breaks so as not to aggravate my *stupid* knee. It's really hard to do that with 600 people all running in a group, but it has to be done. I end up finding a space to go slower in - get passed by a dozen people in the 60sec that I speed walk - then pass them all up again for my running interval. Anyway, it worked well and my knee didn't hurt = success.

Rounding the building toward the end of the race, I came around the final turn and noticed the clock...it had 32:10 on it!! I sped up and ran as fast as I could (and my heart exploded out my chest!) and finished the distance in 32:32. NICE. A full 2+ minutes faster than I had anticipated. I ended up placing 22nd out of 56 ladies ages 35-39. Not bad at all.

Last year at this time, I was 30lbs heavier and running 3 miles would have taken me just over 40:00. That's a nice bit 'o progress, there, Ladies and Gents. I was very proud of my sweet husband who finished this, his first race, in 28:16! My brother in law and sister in law were even there - he running (like a freaking streak of lightning!) and she snapping pictures of sweaty faces and cheering us on.

After the race, we got some Starbucks coffee and had Mongolian Beef for lunch. Truly, it doesn't get any better than that!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stroke


Finally got to get some swimming in again today. I am always reluctant to give up my running time to swim...and, admittedly, I am such a new swimmer that I'm still afraid that I will have to share a lane or that the pool will be crowded. Logic tells me that it would be fine (and hey, if I want to do a triathlon, the water will be FULL of people) but I'm still new, so I get shy. :D

Today I did some different things. I got brave (thanks to the fine example of my swimming friends on DailyMile) and sought out a Kickboard. Once I warmed up with a few laps of the breast stroke, I used the kick board to hold on to and just...kick. It was nice to be able to concentrate on the rhythm of my kicks and figure out how to get maximum velocity for the least effort = efficiency. I did about 250 yards with the kickboard.

I raced (and beat) my 12yo son in a back stroke and freestyle 25yd race. *grin* I went ALL out with my terrible newbie form and my chest nearly exploded...but I WON, darn it! After that, I finished up my hour long workout with the back stroke. It was easier to get some speed going since I had practiced my kicking. Also, I don't have to worry about rotary breathing while doing this stroke. I did try some front crawl today, but I got halfway down the lane and felt like I was fighting for air. I tried several times, and just gave up in favor for more water acclimation and the building of confidence that doing more yards of a familiar stroke gives.

My next adventure is to buy a little thing called a Pull Buoy. These little babies serve the opposite function of the Kickboard, and allow me to stay afloat while I work on my arms pulling me through the water. I assume there is a proper hand position and way to do all that, but those things will have to wait. After only two attempts at lap swimming, the swimming part of a triathlon no longer terrifies me - it only scares me to pieces. I'm confident with more practice I will move on to mortified and then finally to just totally freaked out.

In case you're curious about where I am getting my swim training from - well, I'm not. I'm looking up training drills and equipment needs on BeginnerTriathlete and Google searching for videos of how to do the stuff in the drills and what the heck the equipment is! I need to save a little and get some swim lessons from the YMCA to assist me in proper form - but this is a good start.

Maybe when the Half Marathon is down in the history books, I can concentrate more on my swimming. New year goals 1 and 2 are looking good!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sun Fat Happiness

Yesterday was so beautiful for a run. I am restricted to shorter distances, but went out anyhow for 2 miles of fun and SUN. I'm so thankful to my oldest son for holding down the fort while the kids napped. And that we have plenty of neighbors that would help them out if the place burned down while I was gone.

Vitamin D deficiencies can be a pain during the long winter months. Not being able to get out doors and get some sun on your skin can make a person down right depressed. That, coupled with an attempt to eat as little fat as possible nearly had me in the nut house.

Our bodies need fat just like they need the sun. The sun on our skin helps our bodies to make Vitamin D, and fat is needed to help us absorb proper nutrients from food including Vitamin D. I, like many people, bought in to the Low Fat Diet. And if low fat is good, then no fat is better, right?

Wrong.

By making a few simple changes, I have really noticed a difference in my overall satisfaction with my day to day doings. I normally go through a big time low every few months and have, thankfully, not seen the signs that it's coming around again.

What did I change? Well, instead of an all egg white and veggie omelet cooked in fat free cooking spray for breakfast, I now have whole eggs and veg cooked in half a teaspoon of real butter. The happiness from the additional taste is nearly enough in itself!

My breakfast does end up being a little higher in calories, but that's okay. So I have a lighter lunch. I started having a Meal Replacement Shake with berries, banana and 2% milk rather than skim. The difference between protein powder and the shake is, in addition to the protein, you get some fiber and some vitamins and minerals and a couple of grams of fat.

Even with these adjustments, I'm still not registering the RDI of fat grams per day. I noticed that I was deficient a few months ago and wondered if that's why I was so dang hungry all the time on a calorie allotment that should be enough. Then, I watched a movie called Fat Head - as entertainment, really. But what I discovered about the current eating habits of human beings in relation to the obesity trend was pretty compelling.

I'll let you do your own research. And don't mis-read me, I am NOT condoning anything resembling the Atkins Diet. All I'm saying is that a diet (which by the way is how and what you eat, not a torturous program for weight loss) has to be sustainable and make you happy if you're going to stick with it.

So after you take a walk out in the sunshine, have a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat. Sun, fat, happy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Move


I like to move. I can't even sit still for Sunday school...glad I wasn't ever important enough to go to meetings when I worked at the office - sheesh - that might have killed me. I haven't watched a movie all the way through in quite some time - and the 45 minutes it takes to sit down and watch the newest SG-U is about all I can take.

Guess I get bored. Always feel like I should be doing something. Not chores, necessarily, but ya know - something. Granted, the house is ALWAYS a mess SOMEWHERE, but I just feel like I should be writing somebody a letter, planning meals, balancing the finances, or devising a way to take over the world.

I got to thinking about this more and more as it applies to the Unhealthy Lifestyle epidemic in our country. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that we are unhealthy and unwilling to do anything about it. It's largely because the bulk of our day doesn't require us to MOVE. Even in just the last 5 years, things have just become to darn easy. I correspond with my family via the computer, I choose TV and movies with the click of a button.

Now, I'm going to try to be as delicate as possible here and not step on anyones toes. But I got to thinking about how we all talk about "getting in shape," we read about it, we do research, we buy a self help book, join a class (who's bringing snacks?), anything to inform our brains about how to "get healthy."

But we don't want to move.

We all want to get together and study where we screwed up. We want to write it all down, categorize it, name it and claim it. We want to have a syndrome, a malady, take a pill, say "I can't." We are willing to pay someone to maim us and tell us it's good for us, but we won't take a freaking walk.

Being a former fat girl with fat genes (and jeans) and fat tendencies, me and my newly forged and God-given inner athlete gets a little irked about all this. You see, I had to learn that I wasn't overcoming food. I KNOW people who have food addictions. Those of us with 50-60lbs to loose normally aren't them. We have what is known in the Sarcastic Medical Community as "Lazy Butt Syndrome." And it all starts with a well cultivated excuse.

I'm to tired.
It's to far away.
Too expensive.
I have kids.
My back hurts.
I have a bad knee.
It's too cold.
It's too hot.
I'm to fat.
I just ate.
My show is on. **this one is my personal favorite** GRRR.
I have a husband.
I have a dog.
I don't like to:
walk
run
ride a bike
step
spin
ski
be in a group
go anywhere

So now I'm just being mean. Right? Actually - I have used all of these excuses. Then I got real. There is a solution for each and every one of them. The real reason I didn't exercise?

Me. I didn't want to be healthy. I didn't care how long I lived. I was content with pain and suffering. I was pretty sure that even if I did spend a half hour a day taking a walk, I wouldn't look like a super model anyway.

And I don't. I still look like a house wife with a belly pouch. I lost a fair amount of weight in the beginning, but I crawl along at about 2lbs a month now. *shrug* So what!? Here's what has happened:

My kids exercise
My 12yo son wants to take a class to be able to use the cardio stuff at the Y
My kids read food lables
My family loves all vegetables

That would be enough if that was it. But exercise has done far more. Going from obese and unable to walk for 20 minutes, to contemplating a triathlon is a long, hard road. But the confidence built along the way couldn't have been done any other way.

Choosing not to eat fast food doesn't do that. Counting calories doesn't do that. Getting my daily RDI of fiber doesn't do that.

Exercise does.

Now, move.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Belly

Went for a little retail therapy this afternoon and bought a running skirt. Yeah - I know - but I think they are cute. Previously, I had tried some on and thought they made my legs look stubby. I'm 5'4", and many times athletic clothing tend to run on the long side. Anyhow, saw one today that looked a little shorter and *cha-ching* all better!

In my victory dressing room dance, I noticed something I have been noticing a lot lately - the belly. I have ran, biked, swam and elliptical-ed (is that a word?) off 60+ pounds, but my tummy is being a stubborn one. After 4 children, I would expect it. But what do I do about it?

Well, one thing I know, is that there is no way to target reduce. If any diet or machine tells you that it will reduce "stubborn belly fat" they are LYING. The reason I, or you or anyone, has that little pouch left near the end of the battle is that it's just the last to go. Simple. My tummy loves me and wants to stay "plushy" as my kids call it.

I have a rock hard abs. Seriously. I do enough planks, yoga, and crunches that my abdominal muscles are well toned. I have all but cured my chronic lower back pain by building up these opposing muscle groups. Only thing is, that stunning six pack is still swathed in sponge. Muscle with a layer of fat covering. *sigh* story of my life!

I guess I keep doing what I'm doing. I was tempted to look up one of those Banish Belly Fat diets...but I know better. Stick to my calorie budget, limit the junk, keep up on my training and it will go away. And some day I will be like Chuck Norris - fat doesn't dare collect on him.

Tomorrow I get to run in my new duds - even got a new shirt. Might take a picture for ya. :) Pretty excited that I get to run...AND that it will be nice enough to do it outside - YAY!