Sunday, October 11, 2009
It was Sunday today -- normally my self-imposed day off from any formal form of exercise. We had two grandkids from out of town stay with us this weekend, so their parents could have a little "no kids" time to themselves. I enjoyed every minute of it, but as those of you who have done it know, chasing two children - an 18 month old and a 3 year old can really wear you out. By the time they were packed up and ready to go home, my house was a mess. My husband said he'd take them on the two hour drive home alone, if I wanted to stay and get a start on the clean up. I was thinking he probably got the better end of the deal. Beautiful fall drive with two sleeping kids in the backseat compared to the domestic duties that awaited my attention.
So when I was in the driveway tearfully waving good-bye in the crisp fall air the idea struck me. Why don't I go for a run before tackling the chaos? A nice run in the cool weather would clear my head and boost my energy, I thought. I really am becoming a runner...
Now I'm not sure why I kept thinking of the air in terms of crisp and cool. Maybe it was the clear day. Not particularly sunny but not too cloudy or windy. I usually run on a treadmill at the gym, but thought I could probably scour my closet and find some appropriate clothes to run in the fall weather. After all, don't you work up a sweat when you run? Don't want to be too hot.
True enough, I found some exercise tights in my closet and pulled on a long sleeved tee-shirt. Perfect! Hmm... and where does the house key go in tights? No pocket might be a problem. Not to worry. it fits in my i-pod strap. Ok ready to roll...
I started out from the house in a brisk warm up walk. Feeling a little chilly, but give it time I thought to myself. Five minutes and I'll be heating up.
I cut the warm-up to four minutes and started to jog. Get the blood pumping and I'll get warm soon enough. Ok the hands are getting kind of stiff. Am I running in to the wind? I think I'm breathing too fast. Take a nice, deep cleansing breath. Geez Louise! Cold air incoming! And what's up with my nose running? All of a sudden it was like the Hoover dam broke. No room for tissues in tights OR i-pod strap. I'd use my sleeve but I'm on a busy street and don't want to be too obvious. What the heck, I have to do something. So I continued. As soon as a car would pass, I'd use the sleeve and wipe the nose. I settled into a rhythm. Trouble is, at this pace, I'm not wiping, I'm smearing. And it feels like it's freezing on my face. Do my fingers look blue? My shoulders are even getting cold in this thin tee-shirt...
Now when I'm on the treadmill running, I tend to look at the minutes as they roll by. Counting the minutes. One by one. The pace is set. Outside, I can compare where I'm at in my i-pod playlist to give me an idea how far I've ran. I know when "Welcome To The Jungle" comes on I'm coming up on my mile and a half. I was semi-aware of my surroundings as I ran today. Let's see. Passed the school some time back. Looped around and went through the Farrell's parking lot a while ago and GOOD GRACIOUS GOSH ALMIGHTY!! I've been so busy obsessing over my runny nose wiping and keeping the circulation in my fingers, I'm way past "Welcome To The Jungle"!! My mind scrambled to place me in the line up...
My cool down song (don't say cool!!) was coming up. At least 30 minutes of straight running!! I had never ran more than 20 minutes straight. I wasn't even ready to cool down (QUIT saying cool!) yet. The thought of walking slowly - now up hill with the frigid air blowing against my sweaty body was too much. I did what I had to do -- kept running. At last my house was in sight. My sleeve was a wet mess. My face was chapped. My fingers had become ice pops. BUT I felt on top of the world!! I stumbled to a walk laughing and giddy. As I slowed down I felt that same sensation that you get when you take a big bite of cold ice cream -- brain freeze!!!
I sloughed across the street and fumbled with stiff fingers to let myself into the house. The blast of warm air that greeted me when I entered the foyer felt like I had entered a furnace. I took it in for a minute and reached for the tissues on the hall stand ...
I stretched out in the nice warmth and followed that up with a glorious, hot shower. I came out, mellow, relaxed, and put on comfy sweats enjoying that crazy good feeling of tired--
And surveyed the mess.
Monday, October 05, 2009
I saw that on a sign about 6 months ago when I went to a rehab facility to see a patient. I was curious as to what the significance was, so I asked one of the therapists. He said it's a favorite saying in group therapy when one group member is in denial and starts making excuses for his or her drug or alcohol issues -- justifying behaviors. The group will shout "Denial is a river in Egypt". No denial allowed!
For some reason through out the week following that visit the sign kept haunting me. "Why was it bugging me?" I asked my very wise 27 year old daughter. I'm certainly not in denial about anything! She rolled her eyes." Oh mother, you are so in denial about a lot of things"! "Like what"?? I asked her indignantly.
"Well for starters, how about the 15 pounds you put on last year after finally reaching your goal weight"?
I wasn't in denial, I protested. I was embracing reality. I launched into the role that menopause and hormone replacement therapy plays in metabolism and cruised into the effect that the steroid inhaler that I use for my asthma has on my weight. "Oh", she wondered, "so the french fries and cheesecake you ate last Friday had nothing to do with it"?
Still indignant, I told her all about our "set point" weight. You know - the weight you can comfortably maintain without starving yourself?
This time it was her turn to get indignant. She manages a food bank for a local charity in Omaha and is well versed in hungry people. Starving, she told me is not being able to afford lean cuts of meat, fresh produce and vegetables, and bottled water anytime I want. Think pictures of children in Africa with swollen bellies! Or right here in the USA, children being poisoned with lead from the paint chips they are eating because they are HUNGRY!
Well, maybe starving was the wrong term. Maybe I should have said without depriving ourselves. She snorted. She told me to make a horizontal scale 1 to 10. 10 being the things that make us the happiest. No problem. Family. Love. Faith. Grandchildren filled the line. "Where", she asked me "is the notch for tenderloin"? Then she really hit below the belt. Remember when our son died and his ex-girlfriend took their daughter and left the state deciding not to include us in her life? Of course I did. Nothing was worse than not getting to share in our granddaughter's life. Ok Ok! THAT was feeling deprived. (Thankfully that fence was mended and our little granddaughter is back in our lives.) Not saying no thanks to the cake the co-worker made and brought to work.
What else am I denying? "That you can't run", she told me. "I've tried", I told her defensively. Many times. My knee hurts. I get short of breath - probably from the asthma. And it's not like I don't do other cardio exercise. I do! She reminded me that I had said on more than one occasion that I wished I could run like her. Give me a break I'm 26 years older! Maybe I did say that but I've since discovered that some people - like 52 year olds - just aren't meant to run. "BS", she replied. "If you don't want to run and are happy doing other cardio just say so, but quit making excuses"!
She challenged me -- "Run with me", she said.
We started out from our warm up walk and the first thing she told me was to slow down. I wasn't in a race. I slowed a little. No! Slow way down. I felt like I was shuffling. Now slow your breathing, she told me. Keep going. But people are going to look at me for running so funny I feared out loud. Nonsense she said. People who don't run aren't critiquing your form. People who do run are saying "Newbie..." and "Way to go"!
Every time I wanted to just stop, she gently said come on you can do it. She kept my pace and shuffled right along with me. I saw the school coming up. OH MY GOSH! That's 1/4 of a mile!!I've never ran 1/4 of a mile in my entire life!! I remember in grade school having to stay after school because I couldn't run it during PE class and the sadistic gym teacher made me stay until I did it. Right before I threw up. Maybe that's why unconsciously I wanted to be a runner...
My daughter smiled at me and said now I could walk. She told me to do the same thing again the next day and only go further after one week of that 1/4 mile.Add a 1/10 of a mile a week. Now I am up to 1 1/2 consecutive miles on the treadmill with another 1 1/2 run/walking. My pace has improved considerably. I love to run! The first half mile often starts out with thoughts of why on God's earth is a 52 year old trying to run? But, after that I'm on cruise control.I feel like a runner now and am looking forward to a 5K and maybe even a 10K someday!
Anytime I'm faced with unhealthy food choices that look just too appealing, I think of the scale. No, not the one that weighs you. The 1 - 10 scale of happiness. And I put good health and longevity so I can enjoy my family and grandkids waaay above a cheeseburger or movie theater popcorn.
So those 15 pounds are gone again along with my denial. Hopefully never to return again!
Thursday, October 01, 2009
This blogs for you!!
The day started with promise. I had it off and despite the fact my internal alarm clock wouldn't let me sleep in, I woke up cheerful. It was raining but that wouldn't stop my plans. I had a little retail therapy planned for the morning, followed by lunch with one of my favorite nieces. Do a few domestic duties when I get home then lay down for a nice, cozy afternoon snooze before I went to the gym.
For the most part, it progressed as anticipated. Got some new shoes for work. Found an additional new pair to add to my Imelda Marcos memorial collection for outside of work. The rain even seemed to cooperate and let up while I dashed from stores to car. The lunch was fun. I was psyched for that nap.
Now naps can be good or bad. Sometimes its a crap shoot. Today the dice weren't in my favor. I couldn't get comfortable. The caffeine in the two lunch diet cokes kicked in and that required several trips to the bathroom. I finally drifted asleep and was just starting on a nice dream when the phone rang. I looked at it and groaned. Crazy mother-in-law...
Did I call her? No. Was I sure? It was on her caller ID. I guarantee you I did not call. Oh she was looking at the wrong day . Sorry! Not half as sorry as me. I started to drift back and the phone rang again. Groaning, I picked it up. She remembered what she really wanted to call me for the first time. ARRGGH!!!
I gave it up. Got up and headed down to the gym in the now pouring rain. Every joint in my body ached. I had a headache brewing. I was just this side of tired. Maybe I wouldn't run, I told myself. Walk! Ride the recumbent bike! Just lift weights and go home! Nah. I'd start and see how it went. No promises. I walked into the cardio room and first thing I got a big smile from one of the Tuesday-Thursday gym rats.
I semi-glared with a look that said give it up buddy. I'm wearing a black sports bra today! (For those who don't know THAT significance -- read my Tuesday blog)
I got on my treadmill, plugged in my earphones and started my warm-up. For some reason I started thinking about my Spark friends. The image of DENRNAJ sneaking into her YMCA covered in cake swam into my head and I had to smile. I wondered if the rain let up where LAURTO2 lives, so she could walk home like she wanted to. I broke into my run and remembered how I had told MOMTO4RUGRATS just that morning how running helped me push past a plateau. She's working out as much as she can manage while raising four kids. Then there is TAKTYXSGIRL who wonders if her biological clock is ticking. Children are a blessing. There is ERMAC22 who runs with her dad. Special. Oh, and LIGHTHOUSE 23 who wasn't in the mood to walk but her grandbaby coaxed her into what turned out to be a glorious, fun, long walk! I hadn't even glanced at my minutes or miles yet. I was so impressed with LAURIE5658 running her first non-stop 45 minutes, surly I could push on a little further tonight! If that crazy good WASABI601 can get up at 5 am to jump into a cold olympic size pool when he isn't crazy about swimming, and swim until his arms felt so much like jello his buddies had to help him out, I can keep running.
Before I knew it I had ran my goal and then some! While I was spraying off the treadmill I thought of BESTSUSIEYET reminding us in her blog today to give credit to whom it's due. She prayed for strength to make good food choices and keep up her physical activity.
Speaking of strength, I thought why don't I lift weights today? 45 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of weights. On a day I initially thought I couldn't make myself workout the minimum.
Thanks to all my wonderful, inspiring, Spark friends. You just keep motivating me long after I've logged off!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Tuesdays are usually just that. Not a Monday. Far from a Friday. I slid into the clinic a few minutes before 8 am just in time to hear my named being paged to pick up a call from one of the doctors in our clinic. Not just one of the doctors. THE doctor. The one whose potential to be cranky (a nicer term than what's usually applied!) can be off the charts. True to form, he was ranting and raving about something we both knew I had nothing to with. Why me? Because I've worked with him 20 years and I know he's a brilliant physician who is really an iron covered marshmallow. As for him, he knows I won't dissolve into tears or file a harassment complaint against him because he dropped a few F bombs in my ear.
When he was done venting, I scrambled to get the room set up for my first patient.On Tuesdays I perform urodynamic studies on female patients which is essentially testing done on their bladder to work up their urinary incontinence. Each test takes approximately 45 minutes and I allow a 15 minute lapse between patients to disinfect and turn the room around. I work on a tight schedule seeing back to back patients all morning, then spend the afternoon generating their reports. Not much room for surprises. First patient was a little old lady who traveled 60 miles from out of town and got lost in the big city -- arriving 25 minutes late dutifully with her full bladder. What was I to do? Make her reschedule and drive the 60 miles back home for nothing? Nooo. Before long the frantic calls started coming in from the front desk: how much longer? Patient number 2 really has to go BADDDD!
And thus how the day progressed. I was really ready to hit the gym after work and run it all off.
I was so looking forward to working out I dressed quickly in my new thin white champion sports bra and pale green tank top not giving it another thought. September in Iowa starts chilly but progresses to hot as the day goes on, so I was thankful the Y had the air conditioning still on. I even got my favorite treadmill by the air vent in front of the TV with CNN. Yeah this is gonna be great!
And it started out that way. Wow, all the mostly male gym rats seemed in such good moods. I never got so many smiles, waves, and trips by my treadmill to borrow the disinfectant spray bottle by it. I even got a How YOU doing? from the female paramedic on the next treadmill who usually lifts weights in the weight room with the big boys...
Hmm? I was just about to hit my stride in the run when I looked down at my chest and figured it out real quick! I had 20 minutes left to run and then 15 minutes of my "J-Lo" walking (walking on an incline in an attempt to build up what mother nature left off). I kept my arms in close and wiped my neck off frequently with the towel.
NOTE TO SELF: Only wear a black sports bra to the gym from now on...
When I hit the locker room, I heard some soft tearful moans followed by "Help". Rounding the corner I saw a large woman up against a locker. She tearfully told me she was there for the evening water aerobics class and had gotten her new suit caught on the sharp locker corner and she was afraid to move lest she unravel a large hole in the suit. She was too big to reach around herself and try. While I delicately attempted to extract her snag, she poured out how she weighed 320 and had bad knees that needed replaced but her dr. told her that her morbid obesity made her a poor risk for surgery. He laid down the law that she had to lose weight, so she scraped her money together and joined the Y and bought a bathing suit. Did I know how much suits that size costs? She was on a limited income and facing disability with her knees. What would she do? I spent the next 20 minutes untangling her snag and plugging the SparkPeople website. I was so worked up I thought a choir of angels would start singing behind me any minute. She was excited and vowed if I got her out of her predicament she was going to go home and look us up right away. Finally I got the suit free and, ex-girl scout that I am, whipped out a bottle of super nail glue and dotted the snag to keep it from unraveling any further. She started crying agin. This time tears of gratitude. She missed the class but the suit was saved. In the midst of her tears she looked up at me full on and burst into laughter. I had been working behind her and now for the first time she really noticed... my chest.
Yeah, I know. It was one of THOSE Tuesdays....
(Hi to Hattie and I hope you did find us!)
Sunday, September 27, 2009
When I was little my mother used to constantly admonish me to "Sit still"! My father lovingly asked me in German if I had ants in my pants. I was the child that always got pinched in church for squirming in the pew. My school conferences always amounted to "She's a bright girl, but a little too social..." Which meant I couldn't keep my mouth shut in school. Now a days I probably would have been labeled ADD and stuck on medication, but back in the day your parents just chased you outdoors to run it off with the neighborhood kids or gave you some agonizingly awful chore like polishing silver that made you long to be outdoors running with the neighborhood kids! I certainly chased my kids out of the house when they were young.
So how did I find myself as an adult parked in front of the television night after night watching Lisa Laporta design another house to sell or Emirel BAM! another dish of something rich and calorie laden? I worked hard all day. I convinced myself I was relaxing. Unwinding. I deserved it.
But I think what I was really doing is escaping. You can tune out a lot of crap in your life by surrounding yourself with canned laughter. You can bury grief, you can bury a flailing marriage and you can eat while you do it too and pack on the pounds. It catches up with you.
When I turned 49, I decided I'd had enough of it. Maybe it started the year before when I found myself picking out a niche for the cremated remains of my 25 year old son who had died suddenly, and I was faced with deciding if I wanted to purchase a niche for myself next to his so we would be close together in the cemetary. I opted to do that and seeing your name and birthdate engraved on a nameplate with a blank spot for your date of death was pretty sobering.
I knew I wanted to lose the weight and get healthy but was discouraged because I'd lost weight and gained it right back so many times before. What was the key? The key for me turned out to be getting rid of that tape of my mother's voice in my head saying "Sit still" and getting off my butt and away from the TV. I got back out in the neighborhood. I walked, then I ran. I joined a gym so I could exercise and be social again. I started eating at the dining room table and not in front of the TV. I started facing the crap in my life and weeding out the negatives right along with my bad eating habits and fat clothes.
Oh I still grieve for my son. Does that ever completely go away? No, but I've spent many a good run thinking about the happy times we had together when he was alive. He had ADHD and I chased him out of the house on plenty occasions to run and play. He loved to walk and preferred it to driving by far.
I can't tell you the last time I watched TV unless the president was speaking. I stand in the line at the grocery store and see all the magazines with celebrity gossip and wonder who all those stars are.
I found that I really look forward to physical activity and when stuck inside doing an agonizing chore like housework or bill paying I long to be back out in the neighborhood running or biking!
Granted, I find myself parked in front of my computer at SparkPeople.com night after night, but only AFTER I've done my physical activity for the day.
And then I feel like I really am relaxing...
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