Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Springing in to action....

...FINALLY.

I hate winter. Really. Why did I move somewhere that makes my face hurt? Snow is fun and all but not really. Cold is just plain stupid. Who likes to wear coats and layers and gloves? I know. Some people really do love it. And I enjoy wearing some winter clothes, sometimes. Boots are cute. My corduroy pants ate comfy. My big hoodie sweatshirts are cozy....But I prefer shorts and swimsuits. Sunshine and hotness on my skin! And finally....the days are getting longer and the sun is getting warmer.

It is spring!

It is garden season again! And now that I am in Oklahoma it is tornado season. Today we have our first severe weather alert and hail and tornados pretty much inevitable. I am not liking this at all. I have been living outside of Oklahoma for far too long and feel somewhat uneasy about the spring tornado season. But such is life and here I am....

I have been working on my Writing Challenge for so long that I feel like I have so much other stuff to catch you all up on. I have been loving my Master's Swim Team and continue to swim at least 3 times a week since Christmas. Last week I was out for spring break and upon returning to the pool I felt like a ton of bricks, out of shape, and slow. But overall I feel so great! I have improved my conditioning and overall fitness levels. I have begun to notice some shape changes in my physique, which is awesome. I am beginning to incorporate weights and running throughout the week as well. I had wanted to do the OKC Memorial Half Marathon but realistically I don't think I will be ready for that in barely over one month. However, I guess I could really try and certainly be able to finish. It just wouldn't be pretty. I have the lung capacity but the joint conditioning and impact is what I am concerned about.

I continue to struggle with running regularly. I hit up my treadmill three times a week but I really long for some awesome outdoor runs and I miss my running buddies like mad crazy.....I need to find some local running buddies. It's not like I don't know where to find them. I have been lurking on some local running club Facebook pages but have failed to take the leap and join them for a run. So here I am, knowing what needs to be done, knowing how to do it....just straight up not doing it. Change is hard. 

Yes. Change is hard. Which is what I love about Spring and Summer. It is easier for me to change my lazy, sluggish, inactive, inside, hibernating ways when the weather is nice. Maybe this weekend I will actually get out there and meet up with the local running group!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Topic 22: What is the Last Gift I Received?

Well I guess I could wait another week to answer this question since it is almost my birthday, but I feel like doing it now. So what was the last gift I received? I'm not sure if flowers count but I think they do. My LB got me 2 dozen roses, with the help of his dad, for Valentine's Day. The intention was one dozen but somehow in processing the order they got ordered twice....lucky me! I got 24 beautiful roses. I also got a hand made Lego Heart Creation.





I like receiving presents but honestly I really enjoy giving gifts too. I have to admit I've never been a great gift-giver but recently I have been trying to really put some thought into the gifts I pick out or make. Some of my favorite gifts are small, handmade, and not store-bought. I have four seashells sitting on bookshelf at work that were a gift from a friend who took a day trip to the beach, I have a four leaf clover eliminated onto a small piece of paper that is one of my very favorite gifts of all time.  I have a necklace that was handmade of lapis, hearts carved by hand and somehow put onto a chain. Gifts don't have to big big, expensive, or flaunty. In fact, the smaller the better especially if there has been significant thought put into it. 

So what is your favorite gift you have received? What is the last gift you gave? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Topic 21: What is my Biggest Regret This (past) Week?

Ugh. Regret. Regret is like a dirty word for me. I have had regret in my past. Some pretty serious regret. But what I have learned from that regret is that I can't do anything about the past. All I can do is recognize it, acknowledge it, evaluate it, learn from it....and use it in the future to make better, more informed choices. I try so hard to do things that will ensure I will not have regret, and if the time comes again where I look regret in the eyes all I can do is forgive myself. We all know hindsight is 20/20.

So what is my biggest regret this week? Other than eating a red velvet cupcake (ok, ok, or two) for dinner? I can honestly say I have no significant regrets from the past seven days. Maybe there are some small regrets like not getting enough sleep, not eating healthier, not getting my run in on Wednesday and letting laundry pile up. But overall there is no deep, soul crushing regret. And for that I owe thanks to the many trials I have faced and overcome over the past few years.

To ensure I have as little regret at possible this coming week I have created my weekly Road Map, an activity that helps me set a goal (or more) for the week and identify just how I am going to accomplish those goals. I can check in throughout the week and make sure I am on track. Most of my goals this week have to do with eating health, working out, saving money, and being more productive. So far my weekly Road Maps have helped significantly. I am working on a bigger Year Long Road Map but this one takes considerably more time and effort.

Coming up on 5 Miles Calendar I have a local 5K (or maybe I'll do the 10k, depends on if I run with my LB and my niece). This will be my first race of 2015...and really maybe even of 2014. That is sad. But I am hoping 2015 will be somewhat of a comeback year.  I hope to do the OKC Memorial 13.1 end of April but I better step up my training! I am ready for spring and better weather...this winter stuff is for the birds!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Topic 20: The first thing I do in the morning....

....besides hit the snooze button 5 times?

My morning routine tends to change quite often. But for now, the first thing I do in the morning is look at my phone...As if anything super important has happened in the night. But sometimes I have a message waiting for me, "Good morning baby".... And a smile flashes across my face...Then I remember I have to get out of bed.

I also use a sleep app (Sleep Cycle) that I love, it keeps geeky stats of my sleep quality. So I check in with that right as I wake up.

I think it's kinda funny; it asks how I am feeling each morning when I wake up. No matter what I always choose the white blah face or the angry red face and only ONCE did I use the pretty little smiling green face, and I actually have no idea why. I hate waking up. I hate getting out of bed....But then when I look further at the stats it says that in the past 45 days I have spent 2 weeks of my life in bed it freaks me out! Who wants to spend that much time in bed?! Asleep?! Not even out enjoying life!! But I have always been a person who requires a lot of sleep. And actually here lately I have not been getting the sleep I normally require. 

I also love the Sleep Quality stat. My best sleep lately has been 96% sleep quality. My worst at 47%.  It measures your sleep cycles (awake, sleep and REM sleep) based on movement (or lack thereof) while sleeping. Once upon a time every single night I had at least 92% sleep quality or better. Here lately, notsomuch....When I looked back over those days I realized I was doing a 9 PM Hot Yoga Class, running more, and eating better. Hmmmm....rocket science? I think not. 

Another cool thing I love about this app is measuring my heart rate when I wake up. I have seen it drop significantly over the past two months since I have started the swim team and running more. Usually, these days it is the high 50's or low 60's....those days when it is mid to high 60's....well I'll just say it may be on those mornings when I wake up to a text, or a dog paw to the face...or a kid leg across my body. Who knows? I guess only I do..... 

After I check my phone and sleeping stats I get out of bed and usually go about getting ready for my day. Then LB is off to school and I am off to work....then we do it all over again tomorrow. 

 I love stats, this is almost as exciting as my Garmin and all my geeky running stats! How about you? Do you monitor your sleep in any way? 

******Some of you have asked about the app, it is called Sleep Cycle and looks like this:

Sleep Cycle



Monday, February 16, 2015

Topic 19: 7 Things Your Boss Wants to Know About the Marathon.....

Well, given you have even told your boss that you are training for a marathon, s/he will want to know some very important information. Here are the top 7 things your boss is going to want to know.

7.  Is all this training going to get in the way of you finishing XYZ project/deadline?
6.  Why on earth would you or anyone run that far?!
5.  I didn't know you were a runner. Are you a runner?
4.  Did you run to work this morning?
3.  I drove that far this weekend, why don't you just drive?
2. Are you really going to finish?
1. Will you be at work on Monday following your marathon?

I kid, I kid.....kind of. Really I have no idea what YOUR boss will want to know about the marathon but here are 7 things I'd like my boss (if I had one, I am my own boss. BAM.) to know about me and running a marathon.

7. I am motivated.
6. Once I make up my mind I am dedicated.
5. I will overcome anything in my way.
4. I will not let you, myself, or anyone down.
3. I am not a quitter.
2. This marathon is synonymous to my life in this office. Ups. Downs. Good. Bad. Ugly. Hard. Euphoric at times. And downright scary, awful, and painful at other times.

And finally #1:

Don't you worry 'bout me and my "crazy ideas"....I'll run my marathon and do your job, and I'll never skip a beat.  And trust me, you WANT me to run this marathon because running is what keeps this smile on my face and the pep in my step....and the office standing.....can you say "Someone stole my stapler....."

Now excuse me while I go for a run......




Friday, January 30, 2015

Topic 18: 10 Signs You Should Invest in Health

Self care is hard. If it was easy we wouldn't have a society plagued by chronic stress and the almighty "Busy Schedule". Having a busy schedule is not something to brag about, it is something we all should really evaluate and adjust.....Sometimes we associate being busy with being IMPORTANT. Well let me tell you, I don't agree. Many important people could be less busy and still be just as important. I could be less busy and still be important. But I digress.....

Investing in your health is investing in YOU, in your LIFE, your FUTURE, and not much is more important than that.... I'm no doctor but I am a mental health professional and here are 10 signs that I pick up on in my office that tell me that you (I, we) should invest in your health.

1. The scale is creeping up up UP.
2. You are grumpy and snappy, at everyone, for anything....
3. You are unhappy most of the time.
4. Your body is achy and sore even though you've been skipping your workouts.
5. You find yourself day dreaming of the beach (mountains, rivers, Paris...you get the idea) more than focusing on your work, family, other responsibilities.
6. Your house is messy and things are piling up.
7. Your kids are grumpy and don't want to be around you.
8. You can't sleep or your sleep habits have either drastically or minimally changed.
9. You have headaches often.
10. You find yourself wanting to punch people in the face (this is my favorite and one I experience often, it tells me I need to start taking care of myself).

So there you have it, 10 in-your-face signs that you might need to invest in your health, in yourself, in your future.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Topic 17: Why We Love Love (And You Should, Too!)....

Oh. My. Goodness.

Am I done with the 30 Day Writing Challenge that has been happening since October yet? Ugh.....And to top it off I have to talk about loving love? Let me see what I can do....

Why we love love (and you should too!)....

Well love is awesome. When it is good it's GOOD. It feels so great. But when it's not good....it's so not good. Few things in this life have the potential to murder you like love. It doesn't murder you nicely or quickly either. It seems to take joy in your slow, smothering, painful death....But when it is good, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming, four leaf clovers abound....life is awesome.

Love gives meaning to life. It gives us a reason to wake up each morning, to look forward to each day. I'm not talking about just love for a significant other either. I'm talking about love for yourself, love of life, love of all things good and beautiful. Love of hope, love of fun, love of kindness, love of making others happy....Love makes the world a better place.

If you recall a previous post written to someone I needed to forgive, (HERE) I talk a little bit about love. Love is the difference between good and evil. When you are filled with love there is no room for anger, aggression, hate, vindictive behavior. When you come from love you want what is best for others, you want those that you love to live happily. You want them to feel love, to love and be loved...even if it is not in the way that benefits you.  I truly believe the old saying that goes, "If you love something let it go free. If it doesn't come back, you never had it.  If it comes back, love it forever." How good does it feel when they come back to you?! There is no better feeling than that of being confident in love.....so again, I chose love and it feels good.

In my job when I see couples having trouble I give them this, The 5 A's of Love:

Appreciation
Acceptance
Affection
Attention
Allowance

And if those don't speak to your heart maybe this will: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

And this my friends, is why we love love and why you should too.....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Myths About Running a Marathon Part III....

Ok, the last 5 myths about taking on the marathon are here! I know you have been on the edge of your seat, just waiting for these final thoughts....if you missed it click here for Part I and here for Part II.

I know by now you have probably already picked your marathon and registered! So these last five myths may make no difference to you at all. I still feel it is important to finish what I start...(get it? Finish a marathon?? Hardy har har!!!).

Myth #16: It's pointless.

Maybe so. But for me it was not. Deciding to train for and run my first marathon was a huge life changing decision for me. I have written a number of blog entries about this. One in particular I wrote about how running a marathon made me feel like I had a unfair advantage in life, a secret weapon, a super power that people would not ever know just looking at me. From the moment I hit REGISTER to the moment I crossed the finish line I was growing and changing as a person. I went from grumpy, unhappy wife and mom, depressed and without direction to an empowered woman. A woman who knew that no matter the challenge, what ever roadblock I come up against, I would prevail. I would take it on and over come it. I would be OK. I would take on life.....just like I did 26.2 miles. So NO. For me running a marathon was not and is not pointless. It is a turning point. A beginning. It will become a keystone to the days and months ahead. You will find yourself in conversations saying things like "Before my first marathon....yadda yadda yadda.....After my marathon I...blah blah blah...." It will change your life.

Myth #17: People will be jealous of me if I do it. 

Well, I can't say for sure or speak for everyone but  yes, someone will be jealous. And it will be awesome.

Myth #18: My dog will love to train with me!!

Um, I'm certainly not a vet nor an animal professional...but I'd have to say FALSE. Of course your dog can run some of your shorter runs with you but that much mileage for your four legged BFF actually isn't good, in my opinion. I'd definitely talk to your vet about it first. Just like you have to work up to it, so does your dog. Just use common sense and don't overdo it. Hip problems are devastating to your dog and it's quality of life.

Myth #19:  I'll do one marathon and that's it. 

Maybe. Just maybe you will be the one and done type. Maybe not. I have known a few to complete one and mark it off their bucket list. But the majority end up being hooked and wanting to do at least one more. So who knows? Not you until you do one!

And finally...

Myth #20: Runners High, it's not real.

Oh yes it is real....that Runner's High is as potent of a high as any drug (not that I know first hand, I can only assume and I have been told by those who do know....and the chemical feel-good hormone released is the same hormone released in others when they get high from other not-so-healthy ways).  The Runner's High is in fact what keeps us going, keeps us running...you've heard it before, "She's out chasing that Runner's High!" Of course! And why wouldn't we be? It feels so good, so amazing! It truly is hard to put into words other than it is something that doesn't always happen but when it does it is amazing and you find yourself chasing it...and wanting to experience it again and again.

So there you have it. 20 myths about the marathon either validated or debunked. So what are you waiting for? It's the perfect time to pick a race, register, and get out there and catch that Runner's High!

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