Tag Archives: running

Be Strong – But Not Always

by Jen, Be Strong

In July I went on hiatus from writing because my 44 year old sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  I was broken hearted and determined to be there for her as much as possible.  On September 10, 2012 my sister died.  I am still broken hearted….and yet…I am not broken.

With my sister’s diagnosis came a lot of anxiety for me.  This is not the place nor is it the time  (not ready to go there yet) for me to share all of that with you.  However, since the magical date I blogged about -March 11, 2012- I had gone down 30 lbs. and now, I am exactly half way between that and my starting weight.  Half way feels magical, too.  It is the moment I say to myself,  “Did I really change or am I the same person who won’t believe how fat I am until my belly sits on my knees?”  If you remember previous posts you know I am not afraid to call out my weight of 223 lbs because I carry that weight into the world everyday.  I carry this friggin amazing body into the world everyday!!!  It is a body that has not failed me yet.  How honored and blessed that I am.  Perhaps now is a good time to mention that exactly one day after weighing in at 219, I ran a half marathon in 3 hours and 9 minutes!  They didn’t ask my weight. They didn’t care my weight. If I could run I was in!!!  And I ran!!!

So here I am today 15 pounds heavier than I was in the last post in July.  And yet, I am wiser, stronger, more gentle and more loving.  Win-Win.  I am ready to get back to the healthier version of me.  So,  what made me gain the 15 pounds?  Easy.  I started drinking alcohol again and I stopped exercising faithfully.  I exercised here and there.   2 things.  That is it.  Nothing more.  There are solid reasons for both those things happening. I am not here to make excuses.  I am not here to ease any guilt because I don’t have any related to those two choices.  I am not even here to say that I slipped.  I didn’t.  Life happened as it does.  It came at me hard and I made different choices than I had been making.  Today, I look at those choices and say….”yeah, they worked for right then but those aren’t choice I want to hang onto long-term.”

And so I have stopped the alcohol for now.  I have started the spinning and the running again.  My goal is 3 miles 2 x a week and 5 miles once a week.  I will probably have to do a lot of that on the treadmill and although I don’t love that idea, the idea of making the gym work for me is great.  Spinning will be 2 x a week.  I know I will have to fight the not wanting to even harder with the days getting darker much earlier.  Winter is a time where I have to watch myself like a hawk or I will fall into a place where I want to wear sweats, read a book, and drink hot stuff as soon as I get home!

The good news is that I like the healthier me.  I like that I don’t shy away from things that are hard.  I had never pushed my body beyond comfort zone and it is such a feeling of accomplishment to do that!  I keep thinking about and loving the  idea that the more weight I take off of this body the faster I will run without having to do ANYTHING else.

Life will keep happening to us. Sometimes it will be gentle, but often it will hit hard!!!  It is okay if you get the wind knocked out of you.  Take time to catch your breath. When you are ready jump up and fight back!  Be Strong!  Be Gentle with you and those you meet along the way!

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I am Jen and I am a 40 year old mom, wife, and teacher among other things. I write blog posts because it is my passion, my therapy and, I hope along the way it helps others. My blog posts tend toward being about staying strong in the face of grief, anger, general hard times ss well as keeping yourself healthy so that you can continue to be there for the people who matter in your life. I hope you find some golden nuggets for yourself in my writing.

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.

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Just Like That

by Becky, Building On Joy

Love this! Motivating!
And so I decided to start exercising & that led to starting a running program.  Well, a walk/jog program.  You can read more about how I got started.  About 3 weeks ago, I didn’t plan to exercise. I didn’t want to exercise. I really hated the idea, although I knew I needed it.

Today I did my first full Couch to 5K workout outside, and it was tough.  But I completed the WHOLE program for today.  I’m pretty sure that my jogging pace may actually be slower than my walking pace (ok, not really but, well, maybe!).  The way the Couch to 5K program is structured is that for the first week you walk 5 minutes, then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking.  You do the jog-then-walk combination 8 times.  I was ready to quit after 2 times.  I was positive that I’d not get through the third jog, let alone move on to the third walk segment.  But I watched my time, and when it was time to jog, I jogged.  All 8 times.  And then I walked, all 8 times.

It was hard.  I was sweaty.  Yuck.  I came home and plopped onto the couch and told my husband that I was pretty sure I was going to die.  But of course I didn’t, or you wouldn’t be reading this post! ;-)

The picture above was going around Facebook this morning and it captured – perfectly – why I started exercising, and why I didn’t quit this morning.

I think we – ok, I’ll speak for myself here, not all of you – I think I live so much of life “because it’s the way I’ve always done it” and that’s just not cutting it anymore.  That’s “mindless living” in my opinion.  There’s nothing intentional in that kind of living.  I know I wasn’t aiming to be unintentional in my living – I probably even decided that I was being “efficient” by just doing the same thing I’ve always done.

But the need to be intentional is currently a big key in my life.  And so it is in this aspect of my life as well, it turns out (imagine that!).  It’s now nearly noon, and I’ve not accomplished as much as I could because I took time out to exercise.  However, I think I’ve accomplished one of THE most important things I needed to do today, because I took time out to exercise.

Are there things in your life that you’re looking to change?  It’s not easy – I’m not here to tell you that it is.  But making intentional choices is the place to start.  Look at what you’re wanting to change.  Decide what you need to do to make that change, and just do it.  Don’t listen to the doubting or the parts of you that say, “No way!”  One step at a time.  One choice at a time.  You CAN do it.

There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't. What you've got to do is turn around and say "watch me".

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Becky lives near Philadelphia, PA. She is married to Tim and they are parents to 3 children – two boys and one girl.  Her second son, “Picasso”, has Sensory Processing Disorder along with an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis. Picasso loves making art using various mediums and sometimes chooses to sneak Sharpies for use on surfaces in the home (read: bathroom cabinet, doors, walls, lightswitches, etc.).  She blogs about special needs, homeschooling, and family life at www.paintingwithpicasso.blogspot.com .  Becky also enjoys coffee, reading, music, knitting, and is working hard at taking better care of herself, in order to care better for her family!  Check out her new blog Building On Joy.

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.

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Running In The Rain

By Jeanie, Reinventing Mommy

I’ve made some changes over the past couple of weeks. I’m spending more time on my writing, trying to make some things happen.

I’ve also gotten my hair cut, a move that the majority of my family may or may not approve of once they see it. It actually aged me a bit, which is good, because I’m a lot older than I look. And yes, I’m typing that with a smile. I know I’ll appreciate my “baby face” when I’m in my 60s.

It had been a while since my hair was this short, since the days at my 9 to 5. Once Jack was born and throwing up all over me on a daily basis, I figured that no hair cut could hide the vomit stains on my clothes and the sour milk smell that hung heavy in the air around my person.

Ironically enough, I think that Jack is really confused by it. For example, take this exchange from when I picked him up at school yesterday:

Me: “Hi, Jack!”
Jack: No response, no eye contact.
Me: Trying to prompt him – “Jack says, ‘Hi, Mmmm…’”
Jack: “Hi, Ms. (his private OT’s name)!”
Me: “Nope, I’m not Ms. (OT). Try again. Jack says, ‘Hi, Mmmm….’”
Jack: “Hi, Ms. (his preschool teacher’s name)!”
Me: “No, I’m not Ms. (preschool teacher). Jack says, ‘Hi, Mommy!’”

To which Jack looked at me for the first time in this whole exchange, with a look that said, To hell you say! You’re not MY Mommy!
Yeah, that wasn’t my intent by making changes.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that I needed to do some things for me – to make me happy. I need to discover who I am and what I like and want out of my life.

As a means of getting to that goal, I’ve started running again. I used to run when I was younger. Really, my neighborhood is the perfect place to run. It is very hilly around where I live, but my neighborhood sits on a rare oasis of perfectly flat ground. The main street actually loops around the neighborhood, serving almost as a track, if you wish.

I had not gone running since before I got pregnant with Jack, which was in 2008. Once Jack was born, he always had so many needs that it seemed like running was more of a hassle. I thought about getting a treadmill, but they’re just so damned expensive.

That and I far prefer to run outdoors. I like the feeling of the wind on my face. I like the fresh air and the smells of the grass, the various blooms of the season, and the smell of rain as it is coming in.

Much to my neighbors’ confusion, the time you will always see me running is in the rain. I adore running in the rain. As long as there is no thunder and lightning, I don’t let a little thing like precipitation get in my way. I love feeling the rain roll down my skin. I love the slight chill as the wind lashes against my wet skin. I love the solitude, the peace, of the rain. It is so cleansing, as though the rain just washes away all of your cares, your concerns, and your fears.

I can do some of my best thinking in the rain. I basically write out a piece in my head while running. It gives me a chance to really examine myself. What do I like? What do I want? These are questions I’ve never really asked myself, but I feel like I should after all of these years of being so concerned by the answers others would give. Now, I actually am starting to care about what I have to say.

I’m probably happier now than I have been in years…and yes, that’s with an autistic child. He has a long way to go, but he’s made great progress and I feel like we’ve got the right combination of therapies with the right therapists and we will continue to see progress as he continues to work with them in the years to come. I feel confidence in that. I have proven to myself multiple times that I – and I alone – can fight for Jack and make things happen for him. That has been so empowering. I am doing some things just for myself that make me feel good.

You may look at Jack and some of the issues I deal with on a daily basis and feel either sympathy or sadness, but don’t. I’m at a point where autism is just a “normal” part of my life and, even though some days are harder than others, for the most part I just deal with things as they come and make the accommodations I need for him. Sure, it sucks at times when I see what he can’t do (evaluation time comes to mind), but then I remember how far he’s come.

And I helped get him there.

It’s the same with running in the rain. You might look at me out of your window and think, That poor woman! She’s soaked! She must be miserable! However, if you looked at my face, you’d see a smile as I think about how far I’ve come.

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Jeanie is a former engineer turned stay-at-home wife and mom to an amazing 3-year old little boy on the autism spectrum. After her only child was diagnosed at 24-months with autism and an alphabet soup of special needs, she began to write about life parenting a very young child with special needs with honesty, optimism, and as always, a touch of humor. You can find Jeanie at her regular blog, Reinventing Mommy (http://reinventingmommy.blogspot.com/).

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.

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Be Selfish

by Luau, Run Luau Run

That’s right.

Be selfish.

I don’t mean cut people off  in line or swipe the last food item without asking.   I don’t mean hoard all of the ice cream, talk without listening, or think only about yourself.

What I do mean is go out for that long run, go to that gym class, schedule that massage, meet your girlfriend for a manicure and pedicure, book that haircut with your hairdresser, and occasionally, eat your cake too!  And don’t feel guilty about it! (Unless you are one of those people who ONLY does those things…then I’m not talking to you.)

I think that people who work very hard taking care of others very often forget to take care of themselves.  I see it in the eyes of my wife and others who spend so much time tending to the special needs of their children, siblings or parents.

The focus.

The Go-Go-Go.

The exhaustion!

Even when a particular need is met, there is often still a mountain of needs that are waiting to be taken care of.

No time to rest. Must get to the next task!

But what we all need to remember, that in some cases, being selfish is the most selfless thing you can do.  By taking care of yourself, you are better prepared, better able to deal with the challenges that you face.  It allows you to be more than just there.

Taking care of yourself could be getting some sleep, getting a run in, or maybe even something simply cosmetic like getting your hair done.  It’s important.  It’s important because if you don’t do it, you’re gonna crash and be useless.  Who can take better care of the ones you love better than you?  No one, except a rested you.

There’s a problem of course.  There are only 24 hours in a day.  Those hours can come and go very quickly.

When, Luau, when am I supposed to be able to do these things for myself? I hear ya.  I really do. Let me pose it a little differently with an unrelated short story:

Many years ago, the wife and I were struggling with a recommendation from a doctor regarding little Brooke.  I won’t get into specifics, but suffice it to say that it was a very difficult decision that took a lot of soul searching.  We kept asking ourselves, what happens if we do this?  What are the possible negatives going forward?  In the end, and I can’t remember whether it was the wife or I who came up with it, but we flipped it and asked ourselves, “what is the price if we don’t?”  Once we approached it from this perspective, our path was clear.

So I ask you this.  What is the consequence if you don’t somehow find the time to take care of yourself, both short-term and long-term?  And if you ultimately break down, who will be there to take care of those you have been working so hard to take care of?

I am selfish about my running.  4 – 6 hours a week.  Those 4 -6 hour are mine and no one else’s.  Sometimes it’s 90 minutes at 4:30 in the morning, sometimes it’s 2 hours starting at 11:00 at night.  If I’m lucky, I get a lunchtime run in.   It keeps me up even when the world conspires to bring me down, but it also contributes to hopefully keeping me around for at least another 50 – 60 years.  If I can be relatively sharp-minded and able-bodied until I’m 90, Brooke will have me around until she’s almost 60.  Hopefully by then she won’t need me the way she needs me now.  That is why I am selfish.

What do you need to be selfish about?

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Luau is a dad, blogger and avid runner.  He started running for the joy of it in November of ’08. Before then he would run because he needed to exercise. Now he runs because, well, to steal a line, we were born to run. He is a firm believer in the concept of taking of oneself in order to properly be able to take care of others. It’s not on the path he thought he’d be on, but he has found that this journey has made him a better man, husband and father.

This post was originally published HERE and was posted on our site with permission.

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