Thursday, February 14, 2013
Wow, it's really been 11 months since I blogged on Spark People?!? Time flies, and it has been mostly fun. At least I can say that, overall, it's been good. I need to do some updating on my page, to be sure. I'm no longer 'getting ready to turn 40'; been there, done that! November brought that milestone, and right before that, I met another. I decided early on in 2012 that I wanted to run 4 half-marathons to commemorate my year of hitting forty. I think one of my last blogs detailed my bout of bronchitis which sidelined me from my first scheduled race. After that, I ran the IL HM, the Carlyle Lake HM, and the St. Louis RnR HM. I capped it off the first weekend in November (right at the buzzer as my birthday was on the 16th) with the St. Louis HM. My big goal was to crack 2:30 and I did it- 2:29 and change! WHEW! So, my mission (2012=4(13.1)B4BIG4-0) was accomplished. Not all has been about running, though that was a goal I got to check off that meant a lot to me. I've continued to exercise with good consistency. I also have continued to have some struggles on the food front. My two friends that I work out and run with (my angels, to be sure!!!) use My Fitness Pal for food tracking. They convinced me to start tracking my food there so we could hold each other accountable. Majority ruled, so I've been doing that on there for a week. Things are going well, but I have to say that I like Spark People a WHOLE lot better. For one, I like the set-up of the trackers here. Secondly- and this is a big one for me- I can't believe how incredibly 'snarky' people are on their message boards. I have read a few threads, and some of the things people post blow me away. I have no intention of taking part in their 'community', other than corresponding with my friends who are personally known to me. Wonder if anyone else has looked at or been part of My Fitness Pal and felt similarly? Well, I am hoping I can convert my friends to Spark People's food and fitness trackers at some point...but at the very least I plan to come here for the online community support. The Spark People atmosphere seems so much more positive and helpful in that regard! My goal is a monthly blog, for me as much as anyone- but others are more than welcome to read them and comment should they choose. So to my friends, I'm sorry I haven't been around for support. I hope this finds you well. My plan: to stop by weekly, catch up on as many blogs and status updates as I can, and take in the positive vibes everyone here provides. Hopefully I can pay some of that back in kind.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
...I expected to be running my third half marathon today. I didn't expect to come down with a case of bronchitis and be sidelined. That's what happened, though. I finished my last long run on Sunday. By Sunday night I knew I was coming down with something. By Wednesday I was at the doctor. The doctor told me what I think I already knew- running on Saturday was not a good idea. I really knew it after Thursday, and even though I was starting to feel better by Friday...there was no doubt that 13.1 miles the next day just wasn't in the cards. I was disappointed and a little frustrated, but I tried not to stay in that place very long because I knew I physically couldn't do it. If there's a silver lining, this week probably gave my ankle a rest that it could use. Hopefully I'll be able to ease myself back into my workout routine next week. I have a month to be ready for the Illinois Half Marathon at the end of April.
I went down to the race this morning with my daughter to pick up my race packet and meet SP friend PINKBEANBOO. It was so cool to meet someone from SparkPeople face to face! The weather here was beautiful. I hope she had a good run. I look forward to finding out how things went. As my daughter and I were walking back to the car, we could see the first of the half marathon runners crossing the Lewis and Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River. It was picture perfect! I'm already looking forward to running across that bridge next year- despite my general dislike of bridges! I think it would have to be incredible to run that stretch.
So, not the weekend I expected, but still a good one so far. Hopefully next week will be one where I get more of my strength back, get rid of (or at least lessen) this barking cough and start to add some exercise into my schedule again.
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Had an emotional talk this week with a couple of workout friends. After our long run on Sunday morning, we were stretching and talking about ways to reach out to the teenagers in our community re: fitness. We talked about how many kids don't realize they can be athletes beyond the team sports that are held as the gold standard in our small town. I'm not knocking team sports here, but it was a flashback to my personal experience. I've seen my kids, in their young lives, reap lots of benefits from the team sports they've taken part in to this point. I hope that continues for as long as they want to take part. I played sports for my small parochial grade school and, overall, it was a good experience...but I remember it making me feel more nervous than excited or fired up. I was a kid who liked sports, but really didn't have what I'd call 'natural ability'. To be honest, I was happy to sit the bench most of the time. Looking back, I was in it more for the camaraderie, and I didn't really feel like less of a person because I wasn't a 'starter' on the softball or basketball teams. When I moved on to high school, it never felt like a question in my own mind of whether or not I would take part in sports- that's just what I'd done and assumed I would continue to do. I went to a small HS by most standards, but much bigger than the tiny grade school I attended. It was small enough that people getting 'cut' from teams wasn't all that common. There weren't a lot of options, though. I had never played volleyball, wasn't a fan of softball, so basketball was it. No track or other sports options available. I made the basketball team as a freshman. I played through my sophomore year, finishing out the season. I enjoyed high school, but playing for those two years was anything but a positive experience. Despite all the things I had going for me in other areas of my HS life, by the end of that second season- for lots of reasons I won't drudge up here- my self-esteem was shot. I get it...It's high school...an elevated level of play and expectations...but all I really took away from that particular experience was that I was second class; I wasn't good enough. At least that was my teenage perception. It didn't come from my teammates; it came from the coaches (Not a general bash against coaches...I realize it can be a tough, thankless job where not everyone's gonna be happy with choices that have to be made...). The next two years, I was a basketball statistician for the boys team that won the state championship my junior year. I got to enjoy my love of the sport and put my knowledge of the game to use in a totally different way. Plus, who wouldn't want to ride the team bus with all those hottie guys?!? ;) I was so much happier putting my perceived need to be part of a team sport behind me. But I didn't really grasp any other way to exercise and stay fit, either. I sort of 'got away with it' until my mid-thirties, but it makes me sad that I didn't take advantage of those decades to physically challenge myself. That didn't start until two years ago, and it was initially out of fear and desperation because my body was changing, and I didn't like the changes....
So, where am I going with this? My friends and I talked about how fragile self-image can be, especially in those formative teenage years. All those old feelings came back to me. To be honest, it still stings a little. I wanted to go back and give that girl who was me a big hug and tell her that it's OK...You can be an athlete in so many other ways! You can be active in ways that make youjust as healthy and fit as the kids on 'the team'. Don't be defined by a narrow set of parameters established by a relatively small group of people! I wish I could reach out and yell that message to all the kids who think they're not able to be an athlete if they don't wear a letterman's jacket--make them hear and make them understand. Help them find what it's taken me 25+ years to realize and embrace. I hope I can instill it in my own children...
I realize and embrace that now, heading to my 40th birthday in November...I finally FEEL like an ATHLETE! I WANT to do what I do...I relish it! I'm not content to 'sit the bench'- I WANT to be the action; the one getting it done! I WANT to push past what I thought were my limits! The people I surround myself with aren't my competition; they support me and drive me to push a little harder when I doubt that I can. They build me up. I compete with myself, and I'm tough competition! I.Am.Athlete. I think the teenage version of myself should be damn proud, because her older, wiser self certainly is!!!
Saturday, February 18, 2012
I came across a program/website called BeyondDiet via livestrong.com the other day. It has a program you can pay for, but I only took in the information provided for free. In a nutshell, they recommend eliminating wheat (even whole wheat) along with oats and replacing them with rice, rice pasta, quinoa, sprouted grains. White potatoes, no...but sweet potatoes, yes. Lots of fruits and veggies. Limited sugar, buh-bye processed foods, soy milk is not recommended. Neither is artificial sweetners nor margarine/spray butter. They recommend real butter in moderation. I either missed or they didn't touch on other dairy products in the freebie info. section. I am not eliminating skim milk, greek yogurt, or my sparing use of reduced fat cheese, though. That's just my own choice. For me, I firmly believe the benefits of these foods in my diet outweigh any negatives. Yes, I am the wife of a dairy farmer, but I truly believe in the health benefits some dairy can provide. Plus, I did try an extended period of a dairy-free diet due to my nagging acne issues; elimination didn't help my acne at all. Again, my personal choice. but dairy stays for this girl, irregardless.
I have decided to go ahead and give this general approach from BeyondDiet a try, at least through my second HM of the year in late April. This is also the time I had set to meet my weight loss goal. I have 12-15 pounds to go. It seems like I have been fluctuating- up a few lbs., down a few lbs., etc...- for quite a while now. I've been in a holding pattern on the weight front. I follow a lot of the principals they set forth already (or I at least aspire to follow; I have my share of falls off the wagon, so to speak!). The big game changer for me will be eliminating wheat. I think it will be doable, though, considering that I like and already eat many of the alternatives. My hope is that this may spur me to take in more fruits and veggies (Man, I really do like my breads. Even though I predominantly eat whole grain wheat, I still fill up on it way too often throughout a typical day.) I had previously tried going gluten-free to see if it would help with my acne, but that didn't last very long. I think I have a better grip on alternatives to wheat now vs. then. I'd like to see if I can turn a corner and move the scale, and I also want to see, once again, if I can see an improvement in my skin. I'm not saying wheat and oats are the universal 'bad guys' by doing this. If I see good results, I will still likely re-introduce wheat and oats gradually to see if I notice any effects. My ultimate goal with food is to find the right balance. It's an experiment, of sorts, for me personally. We'll see how it goes.
Friday, February 17, 2012
I finally decided that I should indeed call the doctor regarding my ankle. It's been a little over a month since I twisted it. I'm still experiencing swelling on the outside of my foot behind the ankle, and now I notice a little swelling on the inside of my foot behind the ankle as well. I've been running. It doesn't 'hurt', but sometimes it's a little achy. So, I gave in and called the doctor's office, hoping I might get an appointment for sometime on Monday since I don't have to work. I explain to the woman what my injury is, how I am training for upcoming half marathons and how I basically don't want to risk further injury and want to rule out a serious problem. I'll admit it...I've waited this long because I don't want 'someone' (i.e. a medical professional who knows what's going on) to look at it and say "Don't run. Lay off the training." No logic in my thought process, I know...but that's exactly why I've hesitated...fear of having to postpone my training.
Here's the frustrating part, though:
After I explain the situation and my reason for wanting to see my MD-DO, the woman informs me that the doctor doesn't have any available appointments for a month. Now, I know doctors are busy...but what is the point of having a standing relationship with a physician if he or she can't attend to you when there is a problem?!? So, then the woman asks me what the ER told me when I went there after my fall....Uhhhh, I never went to the ER. I am NOW, however, trying to seek some medical attention for what seems to be heading toward a chronic issue. Or at least something that I want to have looked at so I can go about my business without great concern that I'm causing further injury. I tried yet again to explain my situation and reason for calling to schedule an appointment. I don't claim to be the Great Communicator, but I do think I was being coherent enough to get the gist of my dilemma through the phone line to the receiving end of the call. Apparently not, because she then tells me to call back on Monday when the office opens at 10am if I'm still in pain...Uhhhh, I'm pretty sure I expressed in two different attempts that I AM NOT IN PAIN PER SE!!! However, I am ticked enough or stubborn enough, take your pick, that I am going ahead with my planned 8 mile run on Sunday. If I am experiencing pain after that, I'll call them back on Monday morning!!!
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