Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I LOVE this time of year. Fall has been my favorite for awhile now even though we don't experience a "regular" fall in these parts. Here is Southern California we are lucky if any of our trees change color before dropping their leaves. Some trees go from green to leafless in one short burst. We are still experiencing days in the 90 degree Farenheit range. We did have one week of gray and cool weather so now my mother's bulb garden thinks it is already spring and not fall at all. Even though the days are still warm and balmy the mornings have gotten crisp and cool. Even on warm days there is that feeling that the sun is losing its power over mother earth and that even though it can still warm us to summer temperatures there is still an undertone of coolness. There is this feeling that the warmth is only due to the sun beating down and that if we had any cloud cover at all the temperatures would plummet, where if we get cloud cover in the throes of summer it only gets more humid with no relief from the heat at all. This is the time of year when I will deliberately let my house get cold so that we can bundle under blankets and feel like we live somewhere where scarves, gloves and cozy warm sweaters are being pulled out of storage. I tried to wear a sweater the other day, but I took it off almost as soon as I got it on due to the extreme degree of warmth it inspired!!
I am enjoying this wonderful autumny morning. This morning it is cool and crisp. The kind of morning that makes me think of apples. Nice, cool, crisp apples. I went for our walk this morning and came home to three great big hugs from my kids-I was tackled before even making it out of the kitchen (I always use the side door that takes me into the house through the service porch and kitchen). As I came into the house I noticed that my kids were watching Wizard of Oz and that the munchkins were just starting their big song and dance number. Dorthy had just barely arrived in Oz and had yet to start her journey down the yellow brick road. The kids are scattered around one on the comfy chair, one on the sofa and one in her own little kid sized chair with Tinker Bell on it. they are all wrapped in nice warm blankies. It it almost just past 6:30 in the morning and still dark so we are playing "movie theater" with all the lights in the house turned off. It is such a shame that in 15 minutes I am going to have to start getting kids ready for school. This is Red Ribbon Week at school-where the week includes all sorts of activities aimed at convincing kids that drugs are bad and today is "Hugs not Drugs" day and each child is supposed to bring a stuffed animal to school. My daughter has just selected a bear that "almost" fits in her backpack. Determination has just crammed that bear into the backpack and even gotten it zipped!!
Okay back to Dorothy and Oz for a second so I can wrap up this rambling blog. There are so many times that I wish that there was some sort of wizard or magic solution to my "fitness problem". Isn't there a magic wand I can wave and make myself a size 10. How about that half-marathon I want to run next year? Couldn't I just gobble a couple of energy gels and "Poof" I'm a runner capable of going 13.2 miles? Well, just like Dorothy's journey in search of a magic solution for herself and her friends it turns out that "magic" solutions are most often just smoke screens hiding the reality that there is no magic wizard to make all our problems disappear. So what are we to do? Well, exactly what Dorothy did-get to work on creating a solution. After lots and lots of hard work and doing several things that Dorothy and her friends just didn't want to do because, quite frankly, they were frightened, they found out something quite amazing. Those things that each wanted so badly, to have a brain, a heart, courage and to go home were with them all the time.
The ability to run, to be fit, to resist Halloween candy, all of it is already inside me. I just have to take my own trip down my own yellow brick road and face off my own WWWs (Wicked Witches of the West) and triumph in order to find my brain, heart, and courage, because I am already where I belong on the home issue!! Find my brain to tell me what is right for me and what is wrong, my heart to keep the passion for my new found loves (running, hiking and fitness) alive and my courage to get out there and do it even though I don't fit the model of the person who would be out running in the morning or hiking on a Saturday or racing her 3 year old back to the car after dropping off the older kids at school. (True story-my 3 year old loves to race me back to the car-I always let her win-but I find myself wondering (way too often) what other people think of me running down a very busy street. Uggh-how many people are watching by fat bounce up and down? I should just be enjoying the moment and everyone else should be lucky to be having so much fun.) Time to throw some water on some wicked witch thoughts and attitudes that are holding me back. Time to shake off some of those flying monkey who keep following me around.
So here is the one really good thing I did and had a blast doing that will end up being super good for me if I follow through. I recently read a really good book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. Yes, you have probably heard of her-she usually writes popular fiction novels. This book, though, is about her family's experience living as locovores for a year. A Locovore is a person who strives to eat food grown and processed within their own geographic area. For many areas being a complete locovore is very difficult, but Ms. Kingsolver makes many good arguments about why we should at least try and her family has the land to make a better effort than most and were very successful in their efforts. I live in So. Cal. we have a very long growing season here and even though my back yard is smaller than a postage stamp I still have some space back there to create a reasonably sized small garden. My garden will be no bigger than two patio gardens when I am done, but hey, it is a start. Until my city catches on and creates some city garden plots (we have zero rentable gardens as far as I know) it will be the best I can do. I had a blast ordering a dozen or so seed catalogs so I can start planning the items that will go into my garden while I spend the rest of winter building the garden itself. We have very rocky ground here with a high clay content to start with and then our back yard was originally a rock yard anyways. To get around some of the problems involved with all that I will be building two raised beds that I can then fill with organic soil. Next year we will be trying to live a more locovore lifestyle. Feasting on our own vegetables and purchasing locally grown fruits that we will hopefully be able to find at local farmer's markets. FINALLY our town has its own farmer's market. We haven't visited yet-this is the first week I've known about it that we could go. I am kind of excited about checking it out. Locally grown fruits for this time of year could include oranges, apples, some grapes and possibly some berries since we have had such a long summer. We are even looking at possibilities for keeping chickens and "growing" our own organic eggs. We can't keep chickens in our yard, but I have a sister in-law who already has chickens and may take on a couple of extra for feed costs and my mother, who lives in a rural area, has expressed interest in having chickens after reading the same book. "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" is a really great book and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn more about eating and living a more healthy way. Happy Tuesday everybody.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Short and sweet today. I got some really good zzzzzzzs last night but still woke up soooo tired. The alarm went off to get me up and ready for my walk this morning. First thing I do is go into the bathroom and check my phone for a message to see if by some stroke of luck my sis had sent a message canceling!! I was so prepared to just crawl back into bed and pretend there was nothing waiting for me!! No such luck and I went and had a great walk, so glad I didn't just crawl back into bed. It was another one of those gorgeous, clear mornings where we could see a million stars since we walk while it is still dark. Had a great rest of the day too except we had to go to the store. I've been to the store everyday this week and was kind of looking forward to not going today, but hubby calls and says he needs razors, why he didn't know this Monday or Tuesday I don't know, but anyhow....We have this cool new store in town-WinCo. I am sure some of you have heard of it but for those who haven't it is kind of a hybrid store, a cross between your standard grocery and a Costco or Sam's Club, and there is no membership needed. Anyways, both daughters have been and have had the honor of selecting a small bag of candy for all 3 kids to share from the bulk bins. Well, today was son's first trip and we found ourselves, once again in the candy isle!! UGGGGHHHH!!!!! I was VERY good and did not go visit the Jelly Belly section, but I can't stop thinking about those rainbow bins of gooey goodness!! Would somebody just burn all the candy in the world and help me out???? Gotta find a way to make it through Halloween. I am thinking we will be one of those families who hand out a small party favor instead of candy. I HATED those families when I was a kid, but seriously, I would rather my kids come home with bags full of inexpensive toys they can play with for a few days instead of 10 pounds of candy I feel obliged to help them eat. After all that much candy can't be good for them right? Think they would fall for a story about thier candy falling into the oven and melting into one big inedible mess? Hope everyone had a good Wednesday.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Well, I've counted it up and this is my 16th week running. I can't believe I've been running for almost 4 months now. Our running schedule is a little off because my sister/running partner did the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Sunday so we are maintaining an every other day schedule for the rest of the week until she can have Sunday off to get us back on schedule. So instead of running yesterday we ran today. Today was the "short run" at about 2.5 miles or so and it was an awesome run. I mentioned yesterday that the past couple of weeks had been rough in the health department in our house and last week I only ran once, on Thursday and barely made it a mile and a half before I had to give up and head back. So today was my first "real" run in more than a week and it felt really good. I was definately ready to quit by the time I reached the "finish line" but it felt so good to be running again.
Today's run gave me some time to reflect on some of the things running is doing for me and teaching me.
The first thing running has done for me is the obvious one-my cardio/respiratory system is SOOOO much more fit now than it was 4 months ago. Even after the 2.5 run I am winded, but not gasping, and even though I was ready to stop when it was time it was not long before I felt like, if I wanted to, I could run even more.
Second, running has improved my balance!! I have to credit running with the fact that I did not go SPLAT this morning!! We run outside and I generally run to the right side of the sidewalk because, for some reason, there are fewer sections to make you trip there. Well, not far into our run this morning I found myself running to the left and sure enough-there was an uneven section of sidewalk and my left toe found it. As I am thrown off balance and thinking "this is going to hurt", my body reacted on its own and saved me from what was sure to be a nasty fall. I know it was nothing I did, either an angel grabbed my shirt and pulled me back upright or running has improved my reflexes and balance. Maybe it was a combination of the two, but in any case I did not fall when I really probably should have.
Third, running has taught me patience. I REALLY want to be a good runner. Right now there is not much about my running that can be called actually good. I am slow, my form is sometimes awkward, somedays I feel like I am running flat footed and I can only go 3.1 miles on the good days. However, I think back to where I started, unable to run for 60 seconds without thinking I would die and I can see so much progress and I kow that all I have to do is stick with it. By the end of the year I will be doing 3.1 miles consistently, working on gradually upping it until we get to 5 miles 3 times a week. Next year I will be in a 10K and even if I end up walking some of it I will know that by my second 10K I will be walking a lot less of it. Patience is a virtue and sticking with it will pay off in the long run.
Fourth, mile 2 is a bugaboo. Mile 2 and I have become foes. If I were Batman mile 2 would be my Joker. If I were Superman mile 2 would be Kryptonite. Mile 2 and I just don't get along. Every run I can go that first mile just fine. Hey, it's only a mile, right? But then mile two sets in and I want to stop. I want to say far enough. I want to sit down and take a break, maybe have a snack before starting again (hehe). But, running has taught me that just like any trial, or rough spot in life, if you keep moving you will get past it and if you can get past the trial then the reward will be sweet. Right about the time mile 2 ends I get into the zone and lots of days once I am in that zone then I know that the rest of the run will be "gravy"-nice and smooth and enjoyable. Today being the first real run in over a week the time I spent in the zone did not last very long. The good thing was though, that the zone was there at all. Running reminds me that this is life in general. There are mile 2s all over the place, but hang in there and mile 2 will end and when it does there will be a period of time when life will generally be good, sometimes that period of time is long, sometimes short, but it is always there when you leave your own personal mile 2.
Fifth, keep your eyes on the short distance. Our mornings have gotten quite cool and it makes for very pleasant running but it fogs up my glasses!! I wear glasses and I wear them when I run even though I could probably have a fine run without them. I am not too blind and I need them for distance so the important things, like trees and walls I might run into, are visable even without my glasses. I just never think to take them off before starting a run. But that is okay because it has taught me a lesson. Some runs, when my glasses are not fogged, I find myself looking far down the road and saying "uggh that turn is still so far away" or "Dang, Kristen and Daisy are waaaaay up there" (my sis is a better runner and is always way ahead, but that is okay because someday that won't be true anymore!!). When my glasses fog I am forced to focus on the closer distances. I can't look way down the road and see how far it still is. I can only see where I am at the moment and the progress I am making in that moment. How many of us get discouraged with our progress by looking way down the road and saying to ourselves "the weight I want to be is still so far away" or "my friend is doing so much better than I am, why am I still way back here". My fogged glasses remind me every morning to knock that kind of thinking off. It is not productive at all. We should all spend more time looking at where we are now and examining the progress we have made or are making in this moment. I am sometimes surprised when I do glance around and see that I am actually much farther than I thought I would be. And that is true for running and weight loss!!
I am so glad I am running and a part of the Spark People community. I am truly enjoying this journey and the things I am discovering. Plus, the endorphin rush at the end of a good run is a total rush and an awesome way to start the day!! :) Happy Tuesday all!
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