Monday, August 13, 2012
New things almost always make me happy :). Unless it's a really old house and then old things make me happy-lol. Off topic, my husband's cousin is trying to get us to move to Ohio and she has some really good selling points for Ohio, like economy and schools, both of which beat California hands down :). So, just for the sake of it I Googled her town, looked at real estate, etc. and wouldn't you know found a house, built in 1900 that I fell in love with-lol. Now isn't the right time though, maybe someday :). Back on topic.
Real life challenge is still going well. I am so happy with how this challenge has worked out and how taking weight off the table has made such a huge difference in how it is going. I haven't weighed so I have no idea where I am this week, but the workout pants that used to be really tight (yoga style) are not so I'm pretty sure this week is still fine. I'll weigh tomorrow if I remember to see what's up now that the monthly hormone driven weight storm is over. I tend to go up 1-2 pounds, but that's probably due to eating which I mostly avoided this month (yay). I still lag by three points, darn it. But, that's okay. I'm still feeling like a winner in my progress and that's what matters.
One of the extra credit options is to try something new and write a review so I've been doing lots of new things :). Hulu is an excellent resource and I've found quite a few full length (20 min. or more, but mostly 20 min) workouts that I really enjoy and a few that weren't the best. I tend to review the better ones-lol. Today's was a Firm workout that was really enjoyable.
Doing all the new (and free) workouts has kept me on my toes and has made it much easier to get the workouts in. Not all the new workouts have been videos. I'm still using my can workout usually at least once a week (I missed a week darn it, but oh, well, I'm doing new things-lol). The circuit option has come in really handy for days when I procrastinated too long and needed a great, quick workout. It does everything I need it to do in the time I have.
I like not being in a workout rut, but I'm feeling that soon I'll be ready to set a schedule again and go that route for awhile. I'm not really the "fly by the seat of your pants" kind of girl and like to know what's coming. But, I've learned an important skill, when the schedule doesn't work I CAN fly by the seat of my pants and pull a video from hulu and at least get the workout in instead of letting it pass by because I didn't meet the schedule. Filling in with "whatever" is always better than not doing anything at all. Even if it is a 20 min free video from hulu :). Have a great day sparkies...I'm going swimming now to finish off the workout of the day with a cool down (literally-lol).
Sunday, August 12, 2012
I am wiped out today. I got a fair night's sleep. It could have been better, but it was good enough, or should have been. Today, I am just flat. Good thing it is a rest day. Well, rest from exercise anyways, I've got a lot of work ahead of me!!
Youngest is having her birthday party on Saturday and I have a TON of things to get done. It is a Little House on the Prairie party and I have bonnets to sew and aprons and maybe vests for boys and cupcakes to cook and games to organize and a general store to put together and...well, you get the point right? LOTS and LOTS to do and I should have done more of it last week and didn't.
The entire week last week was just horrible weather wise. It was hot (like 105 and up hot) and MUGGY as a swamp and we don't have a/c so not a lot of anything got done last week. Except, I did stick to all my workouts. Due to an angry knee and the heat some of them were less than stellar, but I did what I could and pushed myself to do just a tiny bit more and drank lots and lots and lots and lots of water (and still woke up slightly dehydrated every morning-sheesh).
Yesterday was the topper of the week, in a good way. Started the day with hill repeats at our favorite hill, The Beast. The repeats were not fast or particularly good because even before the sun was over the mountain the day was YUCKY. Already too warm and sticky. You all know what I mean, where the air can't be breathed because it is thick as syrup and the moisture in the air just sticks to you and forms a film over your skin. Kind of like you've been sweating, but you are standing perfectly still. Yeah, just yucky. The up side was I did the 5 repeats I said I'd do and that is a lot, it's a pretty big and steep hill and my rest breaks at the bottom were much shorter than usual. In case you've missed previous Beast discussions. It is one part of one HUGE hill. I run up to the first curve in the hill and then turn around and walk down (most of the time, depending on my goal every third or fourth repeat I run back down (down presents the bigger opportunity for injury, but you gotta know how to go down if you are going to go up. So I run it less often to protect my knees and ankles, but run it sometimes so that when I have to go downhill in a race I don't have to completely slow to a walk)). So, in the end I counted the morning as a complete victory. My downhill run came exactly when Rocky's theme came on the ipod so I ran down boxing and punching my fists in the air. My sis, who was taking a water break at the bottom knew pretty much exactly what I was listening to (she knows Eye of the Tiger is on there too so it could have been either one-lol). If you've never emulated Rocky during a workout you gotta try it sometime, really, it is empowering and fun and silly and feels great :).
Went and did a tiny bit of food shopping. Stopped at the local produce/health food market and picked up some salad goodies, and some tangerines and some zucchini (gonna dip and bake those into some innocent zucchini chips for some guilt free comfort food) and found my fave pre-run/in-run snack on sale. If you've never tried Luna Protein, find them and try them. Really, really, yummy and great for fuel during exercise or as that snack to ward off the hunger monster. Do have to watch the calorie count, but they are totally reasonable and like eating a candy bar. Then hubs called and said I needed to get back, a person we know needed some extra hands for a big project at his house. Hubs ended up being gone the entire day and earned enough that we could do a bit of back to school shopping in the evening.
In the meantime we are at home sweltering. Then, off in the distance, I could hear rumbles. Sounded like someone was moving heavy furniture. Could it be? Was a week of muggy weather finally going to pay off? I jumped for the window and took a peak. Dark clouds had taken over and there was a good strong breeze going. I took a chance and cracked the window open. The air was cooler than it had been moments before. I opened the window wide and sat down where I could watch out the window the progress of events. It wasn't long before the rumbles got louder and then I could smell the rain, but I didn't get too excited just yet. I've smelled rain several times this week and it never came, evaporating before it ever got to the ground. Then the first drops came and then more and more and I called the kids to come watch with me. Soon SHEETS of water were coming down, at first I left the window open, not caring if the water came in the window a little bit, then the wind shifted and it was coming straight in-lol. I hated shutting the window. I wanted to go out and play in it, but my kids have been well trained. If you can hear the thunder you are close enough to be hit and none of us want to be zapped so we stayed inside. Later my husband said that the strikes were really close to where he was located and that one strike was so close it set off car alarms up and down the street.
I LOVE thunder storms. LOVE them. I can remember being young and listening to the storms outside and loving them then. I've never been afraid of thunder like some children. The storms don't scare me. Maybe partly because I've always known I was safe and maybe because they don't signal huge storms or tornadoes like in some places. We get monsoons, like yesterday, but no hurricanes or tornadoes, just big storms that strip the trees but seldom cause structural damage.
When I lived in Germany I REALLY learned to love the storms. My first few months were in Munich and during the summer. Our apartment was above a grocery store and had huge windows along the out facing wall. It was a tiny little studio apartment, but those windows were so awesome. For a few weeks during the summer almost every night there would be thunder storms. I switched the way my bed faced so that when the storms woke me up I could see them through those huge windows. My friend wasn't as big a fan-lol. But, I loved the nightly show, that to me, was comforting and not threatening.
Yesterday's storm was the reward for a disgusting week and today is not as hot and not as muggy and last night I could feel a tiny hint of the cooler weather that fall will bring. I can't wait. Yesterday was like one huge reward for so many of the struggles lately. A storm, a little money and shorter breaks at the bottom of the hill. Some of the trials and work are finally paying off. A little bit. I don't see then end of the problems in sight just yet, but a glimmer is good enough for now.
Almost as soon as the storm ended my SIL texted me that she had some stuff for the kids. Friends of hers had given her clothes for our kids and despite her own financial and life struggles, she got a new outfit for each of our kids. She also donated a couple old backpacks she wasn't using. Getting to her house was fun-lol. Our town didn't do a very good job planning its drainage system and it is primarily above ground in a series of dips and gutters running across the valley. All of it heads to my end of the valley-lol. Crossing any street, in a car or on foot, becomes an adventure, but at my end some streets literally turn into lakes. My street is fairly good at draining unless the water comes too fast or for too long. Our hot summer has baked the earth to a nice, hard clay and all that hard rainfall just ran right off. We had to drive through several rivers and a couple lakes and the kids thought it was the coolest thing ever-lol.
The kids got to play with their cousins for awhile and then it was back home to sort through clothes and backpacks.
When hubs got home he had enough to buy son the shoes he desperately needed, two really inexpensive backpacks for the girls (knew we still needed one since SIL gave us only two and has boys only so the girls were not excited about the hand-me-down backpacks and the new ones were so inexpensive it was okay), some glue and paper and a few folders. So with all the hand-me-down donations and help from family my kids are ready for school in one week. So, that stress is gone. The kids will start school just like other kids with "new" clothes and backpacks and shoes. YAY. That storm did an awesome job washing things away. I didn't tell you about the boots, I have to tell you about the boots. The boots were kind of the catalyst of "things are finally changing in our direction". Thursday my youngest comes to me and tells me she wants boots for her birthday. This is a completely unreasonable request except she is a child and really doesn't understand how far from reality buying her boots is. There is no way I can tell her that she has no chance of getting boots when we can't afford TP, so I tell her maybe someone will get her boots for her birthday and plan on speaking to the grandmas later, this makes her happy and I forget about the boots for the rest of the day. Next morning we are grocery shopping and I run into a friend, Wendy, who texted me months ago wondering what size older daughter was. Her daughter is the same age as my son (almost exactly the same age and we often tease son about Wendy's daughter-lol), but my daughter is taller than average and really close in size to the older girl. So, anyways, Wendy mentions, "hey, I texted you, I'm not sure they'll fit K, but maybe they'll fit B, but I have a bag of clothes at my house I've been meaning to get to you for the longest time. I tell her we can stop by after checking out. She says she won't be home, but her MIL and her daughter are home and they know where the bag is so that'd be fine. I promptly forget how to get to her house-lol and my phone won't pull up the info I know is in there. Luckily hubs is along and knows where a common friend lives and we get saved-lol. Hubs goes to the door while the rest of us wait in the car and comes bag with a big bag full of clothes and shoes. Can you guess what was right on top of the bag, in plain sight? A pair of boots. Youngest sees the boots and can't believe her eyes. The next question, are they her size? We have largish feet in our family. Could it be? She immediately grabs the boots, whips off her tennis shoes and on they go and they fit almost perfectly, enough for me to say PERFECT, because they are a little on the big side and probably the size I would have bought if I'd purchased them myself. Daughter and I were both in awe. Grandma says if you want a pray answered you get B to want it and pray for it. I agree. I know why Wendy didn't get the bag to us a long time ago. She needed to wait until youngest wanted boots so that we would keep our faith in answered prayers and friends coming to the rescue. Daughter has been wearing boots almost non-stop for three days in the middle of summer.
Now, I just have to finish getting the party ready, lots and lots and lots of sewing this week and some baking and lots of getting organized.
Today, I feel wiped, like the storm took all my energy to help fuel its own activities. But, it is a good kind of wiped, like I've been torn down so I can rebuild a better version. Can't wait for fall to arrive. Seems like I've subconsciously attached a deadline for rebuilding to fall's arrival. Hope the schedule works-lol. Eh, this is a long term project and there is no deadline. Still can't wait for fall.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Monday morning I woke up, laid in bed for a bit then swung my legs around and stood up and almost fell over. Uhhh, what was that about? Took a quick survey and oh, look at that, sharp pain starting at my knee and shooting down my leg. Nifty.
Took a couple steps and it got a bit better and then sort of went away. Throughout the day each time I stood up I'd get similar results. That's not fun. So, I sat down and did a little self exam. Tried to localize exactly where the pain was coming from, was there tenderness, what could I do without causing the pain, etc. Found the tenderness just to the outside of my left knee cap and that stretching helped it relax a bit.
Ahhh, I know what this is. I've been here before. This isn't my shin splints and not the stress fracture I was afraid of at first shooting pain. This is tendinitis. Almost sure of it. Yep. I remember this pain first setting in WAAAAAY back in college. After an entire year of a California girl slipping and sliding on Idaho ice I had tweaked my knee badly enough to result in a visit to the campus doctor resulting in a bottle of pain meds that made me totally loopy and an ace bandage. I limped around campus for a few days and then was fine. For the next 20 years the pain I originally felt never returned, but on occasion my knee would "slide" out of place and sometimes get stuck. That wasn't fun either.
Three years ago I finally stumbled upon the solution. I started running. Weird, huh? The sport everyone says ruins your knees saved mine. At first it would still happen and infringe on my running, but gradually it stopped almost entirely and if it did happen a quick stretch or at most an overnight rest and all would be well again.
Backing up and reviewing the activities of the last few days gave me a clue as to what had happened.
Friday I went swimming with my kids. Now, I do this nearly every day, but Friday I went to my brother's pool. He has a diving board. So there was some jumping involved and then I swam, non-stop for 25 minutes for my cardio for the day. I normally don't do that. My kids keep me stopping and helping them or simply treading for most of the time while they hold my attention doing different things. Swimming, while non weight bearing, does use a lot of knee action in a totally different way than usual. Saturday was running day. It was just my sis and I and it was short. But, when I was done my average pace was much faster than usual.
At this point all is still well. No pain so far. Then, Sunday comes around. Church day. It's been hot, hot, hot and I considered wearing my sandals to church, but I never got around to doing my toes and while not horrible, they weren't exactly church worthy either. So, out came my high heeled ankle boots. Really cute, but I think they were the final nail, so to speak.
Swimming, fast run and high heels all combined against me. Dang it. Monday turned into a rest day and I went ahead and cancelled Tuesday's planned run. Tuesday the knee was feeling only a little bit better, but I couldn't keep doing nothing so I did a cardio video, low impact dance type video and modified any move I thought would be too stressful on my knee and wrapped it.
This morning I got up and with much trepidation went to stand up. No pain. Yay!! I'm not going crazy today and doing tons of high impact cardio and jumping up and down and going for a 5 mile run. Just another cardio video that I can continue to modify and some strength training. If there are lunges they are out and squats will be done with extreme care. Tomorrow is another run day and I'll take that as it comes. Maybe it'll be intervals with walking and light jogging just to test it out. Because, I really want to run on Saturday!!
Saturday is "supposed" to be cooler. It's been hot, hot, hot here and we don't have a/c and it's been miserable. Our ice maker can't keep up with how much ice we are consuming trying to stay cool and hydrated. Everyone has a different ice technique. I like mine in water. A nice balance about 1/3 of the cup gets ice then the rest is water. Son just eats the cubes (he knows not to crunch them, he just likes to suck on an ice cube). Youngest wants a cup FULL of ice then add water. Stuck in the middle bounces back and forth between a blend of ice and water and just cubes. If work gets done it is in the morning or the evening. The middle of the day is LAZY time. It was 107 yesterday, supposed to be hotter today and every afternoon brings monsoonal conditions, as they like to call it. The thunderheads start to build and you can smell the moisture but there is never any rain to go with it. Not down here in the valley. It is too hot and it all evaporates before it hits the ground. Think the mountains got some rain yesterday though. I could smell it. I hate monsoonals that don't give me anything in return. But, I don't want any lightening sparked wildfires either.
We are counting down the days to shopping day. The food situation is getting interesting over here. Having the kids home ALL day has killed our food budget and making the food stretch has become a huge challenge. Stuck in the middle is the worst. That girl must be growing because she can eat a big bowl of oatmeal (and eat all of it) and come back in half an hour with "is it lunch time". Son isn't much better. I know he's grown 2 inches since school let out. He has set a personal goal to beat his uncle, who passed up our mom at 12 years old. He wants to pass me sooner than that (I'm 2 inches shorter than my mom so he might make it-lol).
So, that's it. We are trying to not melt, I'm not having any problems staying in calorie range, the temptation foods simply don't exist at the moment (new program "The Budget Diet"), and my knee is on the road to recovery and I will not swim, run and wear heels in the same weekend again :).
Hope everyone is keeping cool and enjoying summer, cause it's on it's way out and soon we'll be feeling those first crisp mornings of fall. Have you noticed that fall has a scent? I love the smell of fall and can't wait for it!!
Monday, August 06, 2012
Okay, first, I'm not saying that everyone in Sparkland has to do this. So, here's the story...
I've talked a few times about our real life challenge going on here at home. My mother, my sister (4everadonegirl), myself, two nieces-in-law and two friends are all participating in a fitness challenge. After doing multiple "Biggest Loser Challenges" where most of us didn't lose anything except maybe hope, we shook things up. This challenge has nothing to do with our weight, but everything to do with fitness. Points are earned through cardio, strength training, drinking water and partaking in other fitness based activities. What you do is entirely up to you, but points have to be earned to win. Hence, the more you do the better you fare (up to a point, we did set a cap on points for a week to keep us from going insane and killing ourselves...5 cardio sessions a week, 3 strength sessions and water (64 ounces minimum) everyday. We do NOT have to weigh in at any point. Most of us did so at the beginning and mid-point just to know what we were looking at.
So, I gotta make this fast, it's bedtime, but here's the thing. In every previous challenge where everything hinged on weight loss I might lose a pound here and there, but yo-yo'd all over the place and almost always ended up heavier than when I started.
This time I am working out and being active almost daily, drinking plenty of water and watching what I eat without going on a "diet".
In the two months we've been doing this I've lost 17 pounds. WHAT THE HECK????!!!!!!!!!???????
I don't step on the scale every day or even every week and when I happened to step on it this morning I actually moved it all around the floor, getting on 4 different times to make sure the number was always the same.
I stopped weighing in and started being dedicated about my health. WOW what a difference. How far will it get me when I've been fighting the same pounds for so long? I don't know and I'm not going to spend a lot of time focusing on that.
The main switch in thinking for me has been from "getting thin" to "getting fit". Don't start any long discussions about fit vs fat. I'm not interested. I know all the facts. I don't care. Focusing on my weight got me nowhere. Focusing on my level of fitness is working. So, if you find yourself in an endless rut, maybe it is time to re-evaluate what you are doing. Maybe a shift in focus is what you really need. I know people who do everything right and still "plateau" (gag, why does it have to bring imagery of large, flat, mountains?) and I know that they often re-evaluate too. There is nothing wrong with shaking out the cobwebs and seeing what is left over.
I'm sure this loss is going to slow or stop at some point and I'll have to re-evaluate then, but for now, determining to be the fittest me I can be is working and I'm not going to stop now.
Monday, July 30, 2012
I must confess, I'm one of the millions of people who LOVE the Olympics. I love the pageantry. I love the competition. I love the hold your breath moments that are inevitable. Just experienced one. Would Brenden Hansen finally beat Kosuke Kitajima? He did. A nation held it's breath and it's hero won. Every nation has it's heroes and some come home undecorated, but a hero none the less.
It is fun watching people who have trained their entire lives for greatness. They are the sparkling examples of what a body can accomplish. These people are some of the most talented, hardest working and fittest people the entire world has to offer. I will never be one of them. And that's okay, because I can still learn lessons from them.
Phelps and Lochte...It all boiled down to who wanted it more. As the games unfold we might see the flame being lit under Phelps again and might see more typical performances from him. But, four years ago Lochte set a goal. He set a goal and I'm sure there were people who would say "don't bother, you are getting "old" and Phelps is the best there is, don't even try". He still tried. He trained hard for the entire 4 year interim and his drive and fire paid off in the best way imaginable. It all boils down to how much you want it.
What do I want? What dreams and goals do I want more than anything else the world has to offer? What will I give up for 4 days, or 4 months, or 4 years, or more to accomplish a goal.
Brenden Hansen....lost to a boy from Japan, Kosuke Kitajima and heard his screams of victory in his sleep. The loss haunted him. He gave up swimming and moved on to triathlons, but the loss haunted him. He determined he wouldn't let his past get the better of him and started training for an Olympic comeback. He didn't get gold, but he did get bronze ahead of his nemesis.
What in my past is haunting me? What failures am I letting get the better of me? It is time to either move on and determine it is time for something new or to tackle them again and get the better of them this time. It doesn't matter how many times I lose to the scale as long as I stage a come back and get the better of it at some point, even if it takes years to do it.
Reaction is everything. My favorite athletes, irregardless of country of origin are those who look to the board, pause for a moment, a breath, a lifetime, and then react. The sigh, they cry, they kneel down, they stand and as their flag is raised they quietly sing. Reaction is everything . You can see on their faces the realization of years of work. You can see the gratitude for those who trained them and stood beside them through all the trials. You know that they know that they did their best and it was good enough.
Reaction is everything. Find joy in the small things. Find pleasure in the realization of goals. Find gratitude for those who supported the journey. No need to be overly dramatic, the reaction can match the level of accomplishment, but there is so much more to "finishing" than just a check mark on the calendar.
How much can you push? Watching the swimmers is one of the most dramatic examples of how much can you push. Later it'll be the track events, the runners. When winning is determined by hundredths of a second, by who has the longer reach or who simply never gave up, how hard you push makes a huge difference. How many Olympic champions who do not make it to the podium ask themselves "could I have given more"? I think that was the question I saw on Michael Phelps' face. Could I have done more?
Never end a day wondering if you could have done more. Do not go crazy, know your limits and abilities, life is a marathon not a sprint. But, if I am constantly going to bed thinking "I didn't do enough". I'd better get down to the bones of the matter and figure out what is holding me back from doing more. I don't want to be the one who isn't in the race because I held back.
Watching the men's cycling on Saturday I couldn't help but realize that someone would cross the line last. Someone who's name I would never know unless I went looking for it. Nobody was going to say on the evening news that Ioannis Tamouridis from Greece was the very last person to cross the finish line in the Men's Road Race and that five other riders came in over the time limit and didn't earn recognition for finishing and 29 others got the dreaded DNF. As I watched though I realized that last is not terrible. Ioannis Tamouridis rode his bike in the Olympics!! How many people can say that? He also rode well enough that he finished within the time limit. He also rode well enough that he crossed the line. What happened to the DNFs? Crash? Injury? Bike exploded? (Well, maybe not that, sure we would have heard about that.) Last is better than not being there at all.
I know, I've been last and I've DNFed in running events. I might have finished last, but I finished and I am on a list somewhere that someone can look up and see that I finished. I was there, at that race. I wasn't at home sitting on the sofa. Everyone at the Olympics is teaching us that last is not the worst you can do. Last is for people who are involved. Last is for someone who tried. Last is not for losers, it is for someone who still did their best. Same with DNF, nobody goes out planning to DNF, but at least they went out. They tried and they will probably try again. The loser did nothing.
There are going to be more lessons as the events unfold. More things to take home and put to use. More examples of what can be done, even by "normal" people.
I can push harder, I can let the past motivate me and not hold me back, I can want "it" more (whatever "it" might be), I can find more joy, I can find my victories and take joy and pride in them, I can be last and still see it as an accomplishment. I can be a champion in my own personal life and Olympics...I can do more, be more, live more and love more. Think I'll go have a bowl of Wheaties now ;).
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