Currently…

I am having so much trouble finding things to write about in this space.  I think the problem is because I started this blog telling stories about big events, that I look at it in that vein.  There just aren’t a lot of big things (except for my impending grandmotherhood, which is still impending and not here yet) going on day to day for me these days.  I still haven’t gotten the knack of transitioning this space into a stream of consciousness, write about daily life, whatever strikes my fancy type of place.

But in my fitness blogging, I came across a blogger who had put some writing prompts out.  Maybe that’s what I’ll try for now, until I get my footing of writing about my current days, even when nothing seems like a big enough deal to write about.

So, thanks to Running with Spoons for this blog prompt.  🙂

Current book:  None.  I’ve been so terrible about reading anymore.  I am in a book club, of sorts, but we hardly ever choose books to read and we get together, if we’re lucky, twice a year.  The real readers who were the impetus behind the group forming have all moved away, and now it’s really just a social thing.  I don’t have a lot of time to read these days either, so most of what I am reading amounts to blogs on the internet.  And reading is one of the things I love!  OY!  Must find a book and time to read it.

Current music: I just downloaded a few new tunes for my race playlist:  Peace by OAR, Glowing by The Script, Classic by MKTO and Ain’t it Fun by Paramore.  I’m actually paying more attention to current music because of my bootcamp classes.  Before I was filling my playlist with slow, angsty music that really didn’t do much to get me moving.

Current guilty pleasure:  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  I liked me my OC girls and my NYC ones but never got into the truly over the top BH ladies until this season.  Now I’m freakin’ hooked.  Dammit.

Current nail color:  clear and chipping.  With the amount of work I do on the computer my nails never really can get very long; they’re right on the edge at this point.  I go in phases with the nails.  I bite, they get short, I get a manicure, I like the way they look and feel, they grow.  Rinse, repeat.

Current drink:  fruit flavored tea.  I’m back on the weight loss train and trying to fill my belly in the afternoons with something other than plain water.  Also helps with the bone chilling cold here in the northeast.  Peach is really my favorite right now.  🙂

Current food:  my newest favorite thing that I’m eating is tortilla pizza for lunch.  It’s easy, you can put anything on it, and it’s healthy.  Feels somehow more filling than a salad, but that could be my salad bias.  Somehow salads just make me mentally go blech.  I eat them but they are never my first choice.

Current obsession:  started my half marathon training today.  Yes, you read that right.  Me, who has never been athletic in her life, has signed up for a half marathon after two and a half years of dragging my slow self through 5Ks and 10Ks.  It’s the next logical step for me.  I know I’ll never be a fast runner, but for me it’s about completion.  Not many people run, and even fewer complete much more than 5 miles on a regular basis, so I really want to reach this milestone.  I am sure the next three months will be spent researching, talking about it, reading about it, and generally annoying the crap out of everyone about it.

Current wish:  that my grandbaby would get here!  My daughter in law is due on Friday and the waiting is killing me!  I’d like to travel to be there if at all possible, and the logistics of that get dicier every day with having my two younger kids involved in all sorts of activities.  So I’m hoping for a safe, healthy delivery sooner rather than later.

Current triumph:  seriously cutting back on my wine habit.  I was drinking 2+ glasses a night, more on the weekends.  I managed last week to drink only 2 glasses on two days out of the seven.  That was a big deal!

Current bane of my existence:  teenage girl drama.  My daughter is truly testing my patience.  I want to love her and share things with her and she is truly unpleasant to be around these days.  It’s so hard to figure out how you can love someone so much and still dislike their behavior so intensely.

Current indulgence:  new iPhone.  Best Buy was having a deal where you basically turned in your 4s and they gave you a 5s for free.  I wasn’t sure I needed one but now I’m very glad to have a spiffy new phone.  🙂

Current procrastination:  finalizing sponsors for the 5K I plan.  We have to close them out asap and I haaaaaaaate approaching people for money.  Hate it.  But it’s so necessary to making the race successful.  I have two more to deal with and six days to do it.  Must not put off any longer.

Current blessing:  work!  I have more and more website jobs which i am truly excited about.  I love the work and I’m learning something new with each project.  Also, money.

Current excitement:  grandbaby!!!!!  Can’t wait to know if it is a boy or a girl, what its name is, what he/she looks like, and hold the baby!  I can’t wait!

Current mood:  content.  Other than the teenage girl drama, things are going well right now for us.

Current link:  MyFitnessPal.  With me trying to lose weight again, this is my most used link these days.

So that’s where I am currently.  🙂

FitBloggin’

I’m going to Baltimore next weekend.  I am going all alone and I am alternately nervous and insanely excited.

I’m going there because I won a spot volunteering at Fitbloggin.  I’ve been trying to explain to my friends what Fitbloggin is, what it will be for me, and why I am going, and I’m not even really sure I know I can really explain it.

I’m not a fitness blogger.  OK, I have a fitness blog now, but I didn’t even really pull the trigger on it until I got the gig working at Fitbloggin’.  Yes, I am interested in exercise now that I’ve been running for the last year, but I’m not a fitness guru.  I don’t go to a gym, I am definitely overweight and I clock between 37 and 40 minutes routinely on a 5K.

I am a web designer, and use the blogging platform WordPress routinely now in the work I do.  So there is definitely an element of the geek in me wanting to see more and learn more about blogging and how people turn their own thoughts and designs into a viable platform for various topics:  weight loss, fitness, parenting, etc.  I don’t ever feel like I’ve found my voice blogging.  I tell stories, sometimes.  I am funny, sometimes.  But what I don’t think I am is consistent.  I’d love to see successful bloggers there and see what they have to say about all of that.

Plus, there is a little of the star struck in me.  I’ve been following Roni Noone since I lost weight successfully in 2007.  I always appreciated how honest she is in her postings; she shows her house before she cleans it (!), she confesses to late night snacking, and owns her insecurities.  I honestly can’t imagine meeting her, someone who seems both at once like a superhero and my best girlfriend (that I’ve never met) all at the same time.

I guess I’m not entirely sure what I’ll get out of the conference or what it will mean to me.  I don’t know a soul going.  I am going for three days of workshops and events without a single other person in the world I know.  I think I’ll meet people and it will be fun, but there is always that side of me that wonders why I am doing this.  I’m not a true fitness blogger, I’ve gained much of the weight I successfully lost, I don’t plan on monetizing my blog or using it as a springboard for a career (although, that would be all kinds of awesome, actually).  But still, I won the spot, and I’m going.  I’m going to spend three days in Baltimore and they’ll all just be about me.  Not me the Mom, or the wife, or the perpetual volunteer.  Just me, and what I want to do with myself and my health.

Which, I guess, explains why I am both excited and terrified all at the same time.

The View From My Corner of the World

The roundup of what my world looks like since I last blogged (nearly two weeks ago?  Yikes).

Today is my eldest son’s 23rd birthday.  Holy how on earth did this happen?  It seems both a million years ago and also about a few days ago that I was balancing him on my hip while I navigated life.  He came home last weekend with his girlfriend, and we had dinner Saturday night with her parents.  It is still hard for me to believe that this is my life.  That he and I could have ended up in a very different place.  Instead, we’re eating amazing Italian food with his potential inlaws in this crazy expensive town in CT that we can almost afford to live in now.  I’m not sure if this totally set up situation for meeting her parents is a prelude to Some Really Big News, but for now, holy smokes, my kid is older than I was when I had him.

The younger two kids are back in school.  I am still desperately worried about my daughter and her swimming with all of the sharks at school.  There were whispers about people not sitting together at lunch (not on purpose, really) and getting transferred out of her classes.  We don’t know what all is true, but a glance at her iPod text app yesterday made my heart sink.  She still is trying so hard to be friends with people who really don’t give a crap about her.  I vacillate between hands off (“she’ll have to figure this out herself, as painful as it may be….after all, didn’t we all hate middle school?”) and hands on (“honey, if they treat you that way it is time to move on…why don’t we call so and so who actually likes you and invite her over?”) on a daily basis.  We’ll see what happens.

My dog is one crazy canine.  While we were out drinking heavily celebrating Labor Day with friends, he tried to escape from his crate.  Not sure what all happened (I must set up that streaming video idea I had) but when we came home his two front paws were mangled and bloody, and he’d lost a toenail.  I nursed him for two days before taking him to the vet (having decided that while we love him, we weren’t paying a thousand dollars to the doggie ER).  Having a dog is indeed like having a small child.  The poor thing is now scared to death of his crate, needs pills twice a day, and now begs for (and receives) a companion in the room where he sleeps (not our room; the den downstairs where his crate lives).  Not sure what I am going to do when I have to leave the house, but I kind of do have to leave the house, like, some time this week.

My one year running anniversary is coming up in six days.  I started the Couch 2 5K program on 9/12/11.  I saw this blog entry from this one woman on her running anniversary and she’d gone from the program to like, a half marathon on her anniversary.  I am going to be struggling through another 5K this weekend (this is my seventh), hoping I don’t die, because I let my exercise go the whole time I was in Europe (and to be honest, it was on a major downward spiral before we left with the kids home this summer).  I’m trying to focus on the positives of it:  like, I am still actually running, and that I weigh less today than I did a year ago (um, only about 9 pounds….but whatever), and that I am likely healthier and all that.  Still, I do feel an awful lot like I should be trying harder, doing more having been at this thing A Whole Stinking Year.

Speaking of OMG THE RUNNING, I am going to a fitness conference in two weeks called FitBloggin.  I scored a free ticket by applying to be a live blogger, even though at the time I had no fitness blog and no audience for the real blog I actually do have.  The ticket might be free, but the hotel room on the Inner Harbor is like $200 a night, but I’m a little freaked out about getting a roommate that I don’t know and have never met (though, apparently, people do this all the time at these things).  I tried to entice my girlfriends with the Hotel Room in a Awesome City Away From Here for a girls’ weekend type of thing, but they all have soccer games, or football games, or husbands that aren’t interested in them subsidizing my weekend in Baltimore.  So it will be me, all alone, with all of these bloggers who write about fitness while I am pounding out 40 minute 5Ks.  Still, I’m super excited anyway.  Maybe I’ll network and find a job, or something, out of it.

And that’s the view from suburbia this warm September morning.  Yes, sure, I could have written about politics, or my inner conflict about why I am not hearing back from an old friend, or some other existential dilemma but for now?  This is where I am at.

Busy Summer and Something New

It’s been quite a summer so far.

As you’ve seen, I have the all consuming drama of my daughter and her social stature at school.  I never in a million years would have thought that I could be so profoundly affected by the awfulness happening to her; it took over our entire household for several weeks in a roller coaster of emotion and tears and awfulness.

There’s a post I have inside me too about family and my grandmother and my recent visit there, but it is going to be emotional and hard and take a while to write.  Which is why I haven’t written it yet.

And, I was contracted for one of my biggest freelance website jobs yet this summer.  The time when I am the least available to pound out work on the computer.  This same thing happened to me last summer and it just stresses me out to not be as available to the kids and do everything I want to do with them.  I know, I’m still way luckier than most working mothers, but it is still making what should be a relaxing time more stressful.

But, all of those things aside, I did want to point out the new tab at the top of this blog.  I have started a fitness blog that I have linked here.  In some ways it is easier to write the little, short posts there because they are not emotionally charged.  There is much I have been wanting to say about my fitness journey, but I haven’t wanted to necessarily mix it in with all of the life stories that I share here.  So I have decided to start a new blog just for that purpose.

And now I have to wrap this up, because of course it is time to get the kids ready for camp, go to a meeting while they are at camp, grocery shop, pick up dry cleaning, work on my contract job, take my son to karate….you get the idea.

Happy Summer!

New Year, New…??

I have notebooks from when I was younger…my journals.  At times when I was chronicling My Former Life (lives?) they were at times helpful in remembering those long forgotten details of those dusty memories from so long ago.  And most of them include a few New Year’s Day entries, most of them either trying to sum up the previous year or attempt to commit to something new for the next year.  I remember well writing the one on New Years Day 1993, writing that I knew that this was the year my mother would die.  Such a horrible, terrible, liberating knowledge.

I have no such “epiphanous” (a word I think I invented and used often during those rants) insights this year.  This New Year’s was spent like the last five or so before it; a New Year’s Eve party at one girlfriend’s house, a New Year’s Day party at another.  During these parties I am always asked about our Christmas in Florida, a tradition that we also carry on every year, despite our changes in address and situation (this year, we picked up Z from his new home in Virginia, for example).  This year is much like last year, and the year before it, and for that I should be, and am, grateful.  My life is calm, stable, and fortunate.

But in some ways, this year was different.  I did do something out of my norm on New Year’s this year…I ran a 5K.  This one was my third.  I’ve never done anything like that before, and it made this New Year’s feel very different.  Last year I wore a heavy sweater hoping to hide my burgeoning body and felt very unhappy with my appearance.  This year my pants are a size smaller and I wore a form fitting sweater hoping people would notice the 13 pounds less of me there is this time.  I was smarter in what I ate and drank, and while the scale is up today after several days of out of the norm eating, I still am starting this year with a different feeling about my health and fitness and body.  I’ve been down this road before, of course, but I am determined that my hard work will not be undone this year, but instead will become routine and habit.

I don’t know what this New Year will bring.  Will I finally decide to begin whatever the new chapter in my professional life will be?  Will my husband’s job move us to another new place after having been here for seven years?  Will my elder son propose to his serious girlfriend, or will they not make it?  Every New Year’s Day has these questions about what the next twelve months will be and the exciting possibility that life will change, become better.  But after having lived through 41 of these days, I think I can safely say that the best years are those in which much of what surrounds me stays exactly the same.

Happy New Year’s, everyone.

 

My New Usual

Well, I did it.

On September 12 I downloaded an app for my iPhone called “Couch 2 5K”.  I did it mostly because I saw a friend on Facebook posting to her page about it, and I thought, “Hey, if she can do it, I could probably do it.”  It’s a nine week training program that is supposed to take couch potatoes off the couch and turn them into runners.

I was skeptical.  Even though a good friend of mine did the program last year, and encouraged me that I would find myself really enjoying running, I did not believe her.  Truth be told, I was desperate.  Desperate for something to kick me into thinking that I had some semblance of control over my eating and my weight.  Because I was completely out of control.  I had gained 8 pounds from January to September, and I felt disgusted with myself.  Thoughts about food and being fat consumed my inner self talk much of the day.  I was miserable.  I hoped, somehow, that this last ditch effort would work.

I ran the first workout on my treadmill, too embarrassed to run outside.  My knees ached and I barely made it through the runs that were just one minute in duration.   But I promised myself that I would continue.  The second run wasn’t as bad as the first.  And somehow, I started to feel a little more confidence each time I clicked the app and went through a workout.

The program is supposed to bring you through nine weeks.  By Week 4 I was feeling stronger and more fit, and started compressing my workouts into six days instead of seven.  I shocked myself in week 5 by completing a 20 minute run on our local trail.  I was probably running slower than most people walk, but I was still running.  I knew at that point that somehow I would be successful with the program, and there was simply no turning back.

I completed the nine week program in eight weeks.  I’ve lost 9 lbs and increased my runs from one minute to thirty minutes without stopping.  I can now run nearly the whole 5K, and I know in a week or two, I will be able to.  My knees have stopped hurting, my ankle has stopped hurting, and now I can actually say that it feels good after I run.  I can’t even believe it.  I am doing this.  And it feels good.

I am more in control of my food intake now, and I don’t find myself consumed by negative thoughts about it.  I’d of course rather be losing weight more quickly, but I am pleased with how far I’ve come in just eight weeks.  I can’t wait to register for my first run and actually use this training for a real race.  It probably won’t be until December, but I’m OK with that.  I’ll keep going out on the trail or even on the road and work on improving my distance and speed.

I actually ran into a friend while out running on Saturday and he asked, “Is this your usual route?”

My usual route.  Oh my goodness.  Like a real person who actually does this all of the time.  Who runs.

I answered, “Yes.”

I did it.

 

Baby Steps…Into Big Girl Steps

Well I certainly don’t want to have this blog turn into a weight loss blog after the monumental stories and things I have shared here.  But if I have any possible regular readers out there you may be wondering where I am at with my struggles.

I completed Week 4 of the Couch 2 5K program this morning.  What that means for the lay person is that little old me who could barely run a minute at a time three and a half weeks ago can now run 5 minutes at once, and I ran 18 minutes total this morning, in stretches varying from 2 minutes to 5 minutes in length.

I’m kind of amazed by the progress, actually.  Everyone has always raved about this program, but until I was actually doing it this week, I would never have believed I could be successful at it.  There was a moment on my last workout, on the trail through my local park, when I realized that I wasn’t hating it, that I wasn’t wondering every second when the walk portion would kick in, where I was actually almost enjoying the running.

The running hadn’t been enough to kick start my weight loss, though.  So last week I started using a site called MyFitnessPal.com and starting logging my food.  I know from Weight Watchers that the only real way to get on top of the weight loss game is to track your food, and to stay within some sort of reasonable limits.  MFP.com asks you your current weight, asks you how much you’d like to lose, your activity level, height, etc and then calculates a target calorie goal.  This is exactly what Weight Watchers does, but with their Points system.  MFP logs exercise and gives you bonus calories for the ones you burn (just like WW) and gives you a spot to log your water intake.

But my favorite thing about MFP is when you finish your log for the day.  It uses some sort of alogrithim and tells you that if you ate/exercised this way for 5 weeks, you’d weigh “x”.  I was astounded when I first saw it.  It gives you real, concrete incentive to keep going.  In five weeks I could be down 7 lbs!  Woohoo!  Let me not eat that cookie and drink another glass of water!

And as a result I’m down over 3 lbs from last week’s weight today.  But more importantly, I feel in control, for the first time in a long time.  And it’s funny how that feeling of well being and control bleeds over to other areas….I feel more calm, more peaceful than I have in months.

It’s a good thing that I am (finally) confident that I will be able to continue.

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