Fight the Funk Friday

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Haven't done one of these in awhile and this one will be short, but just wanted to give a quick update on the foot.

And it's not a good one.

I had another follow-up with the podiatrist this week and he's really not happy with my healing progress. Apparently, I should be totally back to normal by now. I'm not. There's still some swelling, still some bruising, and still a-whole-lotta room for improvement in the range of motion and level of pain. 

You may recall that I have a new model of joint replacement that uses the same material as contact lenses. I agreed to using it as there were all sorts of good reasons why it sounded great as he described it, and it's supposed to last a long longer than the traditional joint replacement material. 

Until it doesn't.

His exact words this week were, "It's not the first time one of these types of joint replacements has disappeared on me." Bully. I don't blame him at all. Now that this type of joint is starting to be used in a wider population than when it was under testing, these types of issues are more likely to appear.

This is why I'm generally not an "early adopter." I prefer to wait for version 2.0 for all the bugs to get worked out. Dang. 

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He raised the specter of possibly having to re-do the surgery. So, while I've only barely begun to get back into normal shoes, it's starting to look like I might have one of these in my future again. 

Dang.

 

Fight the Funk Friday

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So, this week is all about getting back into habits. 

I'd like to blame it all on the foot surgery, but the fact of the matter is that I've been slacking for some time on planning my meals, tracking what I eat, and being consistent with paying attention to my FitPoints and such. I've also not been keeping up my meditation. It shows in that I haven't lost any weight in about three or four months. It ain't a plateau unless you're actually doing everything you need to do. And I'm not.

Now that the foot surgery is over and I'm on an upward trajectory (a slow one, but a trajectory nonetheless) , it's time to pull it back together.

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I'm proud of myself today, though: We had thunderstorms moving through in the morning and in the late afternoon, but we had a few hours of heat and brilliant sunshine around lunch. After I'd spent most of the morning thinking, "Sheesh--I hope it doesn't start raining when I'm done with my school work this afternoon so I can do my pool aerobics," I realized... "Wait! I can set my own schedule! I'll take a break and get in the pool now and then go back to school work!" Sure enough, after lunch I was able to get a full 30 minutes aerobics session and another 20 minutes of yoga while the sun was still shining. About half an hour after I'd showered, changed, and gone back to work, the heavens opened up and it was pouring again, and continued for the rest of the day. (Those towels had been left out there from previous days. I got everything pulled back inside when I went inside for the afternoon.)

Farmer's market tomorrow morning, which means I'll be spending the afternoon prepping veggies. Always a happy day.  

 

 

 

Fight the Funk Friday

My first full week of sabbatical is nearly over. Funny how it seems so long when it's in the future but it flies by when it's in the present. I know it'll seem short when it's in the past!

I had intended to write a chapter a week--and I have five chapters total--starting with getting the first chapter done this first week. I'd thought I already had everything pretty pulled together for the first two chapters and knew most of the research I had left to do was for the last three. However, once I sat down and started fleshing out my outline, I realized I did have more organizing, sorting, and thinking to do. Chapter one still shouldn't take me all that long to write (she says, fingers crossed hopefully) but it's now going to happen next week instead of this. Meanwhile, I've made excellent headway on figuring out where I'd left certain in-progress things and organizing what I still needed to do. 

So--Fighting the Funk this week mostly had to do with settling my brain into a different way of being, getting myself organized for a very specific task, and spending quality time with my doggies.


  He's cute when he's not chomping.

He's cute when he's not chomping.

Spending quality time with Auggie, of course, still primarily involves the word "no" and a whole LOT of paper towels. But his favorite toy is the empty paper towel cardboard tube so perhaps I'm unconsciously rewarding him for these accidents. "Gee--I piddle on the floor, and I get a new toy! This is quite a shindig I've got going here!"


I've also played with my new vacuum sealer. This thing is serious cool beans!

Towards my general goal of healthier eating: I'm doing the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) thing again this summer, but only because the farm I did it through before started a new option in which I could sign up just for July and August, the two months I'm actually home enough to make it worthwhile. Woot! With the vacuum sealer, I can immediately prep the produce for either refrigerator or freezer. I'm also periodically snipping and freezing herbs from my container gardens so I'll have them through the winter. With this sealer, it doesn't take me much time at all. I give veggies a quick blanch, let them cool, dry them off, and seal away. I also seal what's going to be in the fridge because too often my week gets away from me and I end up not being able to use produce before it goes bad--using the sealer gives me several more days leeway. I'm not worried about the cost of the bags because it's definitely counterbalanced by the cost of the produce I used to always end up throwing out. I'm a fan of this sealing thing!

This summer, I've got one grape tomato plant and three regular tomato plants in my back yard. I think I'll get maybe two or three grape tomatoes this weekend. I also have one container with a variety of lettuces in it, just enough to occasionally rip a few leaves off and let it grow back. One salad at a time...


My foot surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday. I had a quick-o-change-o on my podiatrist/surgeon as the one I'd been seeing suddenly left the practice. I don't know why. I don't ask. I met with the new doctor this week and am pleased--I can actually relate to the new one more easily and he gave me a lot more information than the former doctor ever had. Turns out, it's quite possible I may end up with a joint replacement in that toe. It seems they use basically the same thing that's used in hip replacements, just very, very small. I guess that just means I'll have the hippest feet in town, ar ar ar. 

Here's hoping it all goes well and swelling goes down quickly and all that so I can be back into the swing of things, and wearing my normal shoes, as fast as possible!


Finally, I won't hold on this until Wardrobe Wednesday as it's not my wardrobe, but my husband got his bi-monthly StitchFix yesterday. Here's a peek at what was in it. He kept the two button-downs but sent everything else back. The blue tshirt was too form-fitting for his comfort level. The green pants and off-white shorts both fit him great, but he's very conservative in his pants (green felt way too risky for him, LOL), and the shorts were unfortunately see-through. It's too bad, too, because they looked great on him.

So--this StitchFix was partially successful. But given how infrequently my husband buys clothes and how picky he can be about them, I consider "partially" a major success. If you're interested in checking out StitchFix, here's my referral link. You can get to either the men's or the women's StitchFix through the same link.

Break over...time to get back to work...

 

Fight the Funk Friday (and a little Belated Wardrobe Wednesday)

I had a fantastically fun workout with my trainer, Lore, this week. We usually meet at the Y nearest me but due to both her and my travel schedules, this week the only way to have a session was to meet earlier in the week and at the Y where she's actually based. It's a long drive (about 40 minutes one way in traffic), but it was a lot of fun as her Y is much newer and has tons of equipment that mine doesn't have. I may try to meet her there once a month from now on because it was a blast!

I got to drag a sled with weights on it 3/4 of the way across the gym, then pull it back towards me at my starting place with ropes. 

I flipped a big tire back and forth across the gym.

I beat on that same tire with a sledgehammer. That felt great. I asked if I could do it more. I did it a lot.

  (Did I already use this one? Probably. It's my current favorite!)

(Did I already use this one? Probably. It's my current favorite!)

I dangled from arm straps to do core work. That hurt. Clearly I need to do more work on my core strength.

(My trainer's quotable quote this week: "Everything's more fun when you're dangling." )

When people say they "hate exercise," all I can think is, "you haven't tried enough different ways to exercise yet!" Sure, I'm a little stiff now, but it was so much fun I don't care.  

I'm a beast. 

That workout helped to make up for the fact that I finally made the call not to do the Color Run this weekend. I really didn't want to do something I'd regret to my foot right before vacation. I'm terribly disappointed but I'm refocusing my brain on how much fun I'd been having with a highly varied workout before I started running. I enjoy doing different things all the time and running prevented that. To build up to a 5k, and given my schedule, I could only run (and do one session of strength training a week). I missed the variety I used to have before I started running. I've already written out in my planner a workout schedule for the week I get back that goes back to my "something different every day" routine. I'm still pretty limited--no Cardio Kickboxing for awhile, although I might be able to do Cardio Step as you try to keep your foot flat with that most of the time. Anyway...back to variety.

  I may be in pain but my toenails are vacation-ready!

I may be in pain but my toenails are vacation-ready!

 I did go back to my podiatrist yesterday and he gave me another set of cortisone shots (two last time, three this time) to see if that can get me through vacation. The fact that I knew how much it was going to hurt afterwards didn't help. He did give me some more long-lasting anesthetic as part of the shots but I think that only took a little of the edge off. He then went into his routine about the surgery being "nothing." I laughed and told him that, as he hadn't really told me how much the cortisone was going to hurt, his credibility rating on "the surgery will be nothing" had taken a nosedive. He was surprised to find out how much pain I'd been in after that shot. From what I've seen online (and Twilter responses) severe pain for several hours after is normal. I suspect he's never had one. That's not something you can learn out of a book.

  Skechers new and old

Skechers new and old

And, I went shoe shopping again this week. I finally decided that, as only one pair of my initial "vacation shoes" actually worked with the inserts, I just had to bite the bullet and check out some more options. As the one pair of shoes I already owned that worked with the inserts were Skechers, I hit the Skechers outlet store ten minutes from my house. I spent a fast half hour between other appointments (1) finding the few options available in my size (especially with the inserts, I'm in the upper range of shoe sizes), (2) picking at the edge of the insoles to make sure I could rip them out to fit the inserts underneath (while trying to avoid doing enough damage that I'd have to buy the dang shoe anyway), and (3) trying them on with my inserts. I actually found a grand total of six pairs. They were having a "buy one, get one 50% off sale," woo. However, I don't necessarily know that I'll be keeping all six. Since I was doing it in a hurry, I was just looking for "what worked" and "what I liked," but couldn't think carefully through "what outfits I have that I know these will work with." This first picture is my original pair of gray Skecher sneakers with the inserts now removed from under the sole, with the two pairs of new ones I knew for sure I was going to make work because they were so comfy and cute! 

  Skechers Bob's platform espadrilles--fantastic!

Skechers Bob's platform espadrilles--fantastic!

Here's a second, better picture of the black ones. (The multicolored in the picture are flats, just like Toms.)

These are probably my favorite comfort-wise because the platform sole means that they're actually stiffer than any of the rest of the options, and with my toe issues, stiff is good. (Did I mention my inserts are a sheet of carbon plate? We're not messing around here. The point is restricting my toe bend when I walk.) When I put in my inserts and then the memory foam insole over the top, these are really, really comfortable. I can easily picture myself walking all day in these, and I think they'd look cute with several of my possible outfits. I do have to take a hair dryer to the heel and the left toe to get a little more stretch on them--with the inserts I have to really work to get my foot in there. But once they're on, they're really comfy!

"Bobs" are the Skechers total rip-off of Toms. They don't even try to hide it, which I at least respect. They even say that Bobs helps support some pet charity or another (Toms gives a pair of shoes to an underprivileged child for every pair you buy), although Skechers is pretty cagey about how that works and how much support goes to them. Toms are definitely better made, but I can't rip the insole out of them (remember that "better made"--the insole is stitched down rather than glued) so I can't easily wear my Toms with my inserts. I'm not expecting these Bobs to last me as long as my Toms but, to be honest, they don't really need to. If they get me through this summer and all my foot issues, I'll be ecstatic.

And here are the other four pairs that still need to be assessed. I'll be trying them on with the pants I know I'll be packing to see what works. And no, I won't be packing that many pairs of shoes! I have one pair of sandals already set out that will go with all my dress-up outfits and are already toe-tested. Then I may allow myself three other pairs of casual/walking shoes for various modes of dress (and probable rain). I'm looking at those gray leather slides as my airport shoes--easy to get on and off in security and a little warmer on the plane for my cold feet.

Another nice thing about these Skechers is they're all really light-weight so won't add much to my suitcase poundage! As a note--the navy sneakers came with a second pair of navy laces, and the gray sneakers come with a second pair of light gray laces, so you can go lower contrast on both if  you prefer. I definitely wouldn't bring both pairs on vacation but I don't have any navy casual shoes so I suspect that pair will be a keeper for my general wardrobe. Not as sure about the taupe flats or the gray sneakers, but we'll see.

If all six work with my summer wardrobe overall, well, they were all really well priced so I'll just figure I now have a shoe wardrobe  at least four times the size of what it was ever before! And hopefully that means I won't have to buy new spring/summer shoes for several years. I don't need nearly as many footwear options in the fall/winter, as the snow and slush drives all shoe-buying options at that point, and I still have some from before that will work fine. And by then, I'll have had my surgery so I should just be back into normal shoes I like, not messing around with what I can shove a piece of carbon into. Sigh.

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Oh--quick update on the contacts: I'm getting much better at putting them in! We switched brands on the trials earlier this week and the new ones are much easier to use. I'm down to three tries (average) on the left eye, and can generally get the right eye in one (I'm a rightie). And no problems taking them out at all. I pick up another set of trials today that are hopefully much closer to my actual prescription so fingers crossed!

Between the cortisone, the footwear, and the contacts...all I have to do now is pack and we're on our way vacay! Woot!

(Tea Tuesday ended up on unintentional hiatus this week as Lori and I couldn't get our schedules together, but it'll come back when I'm back from vacation. Consider today's shoe section of this post your Wardrobe Wednesday. I didn't get Thinkin' about It Thursday done due to evening conference calls and unexpected podiatrist appointments. And I won't be posting for the next two weeks unless I can sometimes throw some photos up here while on vacation. Otherwise, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @sandyquiltz--I'm sure I'll be pretty active there!) 

Fight the Funk Friday

This week, I've mostly been working on getting my head back in the game. And making some other general "life improvements."

I came to the conclusion earlier this week that everything with my foot had really thrown me totally off track. Not so much that I was doing horribly--no major binges, I wasn't sitting around like a slug day on end--but I was enough unfocused that I've been going back and forth with the same couple of pounds for about three or four weeks now. I'm a bit fed up with it, so I decided I really needed to regroup. Okay, so I can't run--I needed to be more intentional about making a plan for what I was going to do instead. I had gotten into some less-focused eating habits--and even healthy eating habits can start slowly wandering off track with an extra few Veggie Stix here and there, the one or two meals that went unplanned and uncounted, and so forth.

So this week, rather than getting all beating-up-on-myself or boot-camp-y about eating and exercising,** has been 90% about working on what's in my head. Weight Watchers has begun to use a mantra that I've known for years: What I'm thinking affects how I'm feeling, and how I'm feeling affects what I do. So it all starts with the thinking.

**i.e., saying to myself "I have GOT to get this right! That's it! Working out EVERY day. Tracking EVERY SINGLE BITE." because I know that lasts all of about a day and a half, if that, and I'm right back where I started.

1. Remember some of those motivational memes I posted in FTF post several weeks ago? I have quite a collection. I ran across a pack of Post-It Sticky Picture Paper I'd forgotten I had from a work project many years ago. It finally struck me: Motivational Memes + Post-It Paper = Daily Motivation. I printed off a bunch of them, and have started sticking them on my bathroom mirror. I also have one on the front of my bullet journal--cheaper than buying another phrase from Etsy, although probably won't last that well. But I have more of the post-it paper left so I can replace it pretty easily. My husband teased me about it a little bit this morning (in a loving, supportive way--he's been great), so I told him he was more than welcome to go through my collection and find something to post on his side of the mirror! As a note--the post-it that I had up there when I took the picture is one of my favorites because it stays in the realm of "acknowledge what I have to be proud of." It reminds me that I HAVE come far--yay me!--but that I still have further I want to go. None of my motivational quotes are sticks, they're all carrots. 

2. I got my cortisone shot for my toe yesterday. Ai, Mami, the doctor did NOT tell me how much that was going to hurt afterwards! Once that anaesthetic wore off, my toe was suddenly screaming "WTF?!?!?!?" Serious pain for a couple of hours, then (thankfully) it subsided into manageable pain for a few more hours. In fact, by the time I met with my personal trainer at 4:30 it was only giving a few throbs once in a great while. We joked about the fact that I might be coming up with a new Personal Record category of "No Toe Pain." Woo! We'll see how well it keeps me going during vacation. I'm going to bring my sneakers w/ inserts as back-up in case something goes awry, but I have high hopes now that I'll be able to wear my nicer-looking comfy shoes.

3. Sammy and I got out for another canal walk! This was actually on Wednesday, pre-cortisone-shot, but my foot was behaving itself pretty well that day and it was cool, but really beautifully sunny. I know Sammy's time on the canal is limited so I'm trying to get him out when I can. Now that I'm not worrying about keeping up with a 5k training schedule anymore I can choose to take a long walk with him rather than trying to do a certain set of intervals. (Still doing the Color Run at the end of next week, but it'll definitely be a Run-Walk for me.)

Sammy was moving a little more slowly than he used to, but he made it to our usual bridge stopping point. We like to sit on the cement foundation under the bridge and watch the canal together. It's a little on the high side for Sam so he puts his front paws up and I haul him up from the back. (I had to do that even before he got sick.) He normally wanders about the concrete and sniffs alot but this time he immediately laid right down next to me, so I know his energy levels are starting to sag. When it was time for us to go, he looked really unsure about jumping back down again (that was the part he always did himself) so I decided to try to lift him down. He's 80-ish pounds of muscle mass with probably another 5 pounds of fur. I got him off the cement okay, but when I put him on the ground he decided it would be best to immediately sit--which threw me off balance so I sort of fell forward over the top of him--which made him twist around and start licking my face--which made me giggle and made it even harder to get back upright. We finally untangled ourselves and I did a quick look around to see if anyone had seen our wrestling match...phew. The only other walkers were pretty far away and had their backs to us. Our little secret--until now, at least, but I can trust you to keep it on the low-down, right?

4. Oddly enough, I now have contacts. Or, rather, I'm still in the trial period of contacts. I wrote about it in my Thinkin' about It Thursday post yesterday. I only started wearing glasses a lot in the last four or five years. I had them for working at the computer or intense bouts of reading before that (since grad school) but for most things didn't really need them. Aging put paid to that. Anyway, this week I had my biennial eye exam and had no intentions of doing anything other than getting new glasses if my prescription had changed. Which it did. But in talking with the optometrist about having readers all over the house and, more critically, my annoyance during speaking engagements and board meetings about always having to have reading glasses at hand, or on for a few seconds, then off again, or looking at people from a podium over the top of my glasses so I could also read my notes...she told me about new contacts that have only been out for about a year that can deal with both close-up and distance. So I'm trying them out. So far, I've succeeded at learning how to put them in and take them out--yay me! We still have to get the prescription right--I'm wearing trials that aren't exactly my prescription so it's hard to tell yet whether this is the right answer. I go in again Monday to see how I'm doing with contacts in general and then we'll order my real prescription. I do think I'm in love with the concept, though!

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Oh, and... 5. I successfully avoided eating any of these while sitting in the waiting room at the optometrist for over an hour starting at 4:30 p--Hungry Time.

As I posted on Weight Watchers Connect (their social network), "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!" But I prevailed!

And the good news is, I managed to lose a pound this week. If I can stay focused, that puts me back in good line for achieving one of my mini-goals at my last weigh-in before vacation. Focus is key.

 

Fight the Funk Friday

I will not let my big toe win. 

I'm back to running, though I had to take myself backwards about two weeks in my training. My first day back at the gym last weekend was not pretty and I was pretty discouraged by the end of it. At 20 minutes on the treadmill (far shorter running intervals than I'd scheduled myself to do) my toes were really bothering me so I switched to the elliptical and did another 10 minutes just to get myself up to 30 total. It was all a real struggle and my brain just wasn't up to the fight. There was definitely some whining on Instagram/Twitter, so thanks to all my #twilter buds who gave me words of encouragement!

I realized a couple of days later that I'd been too aggressive on what intervals I chose for my first day back and really needed to work my way back up again. I set myself up a revised training plan for the next couple of weeks that seems much more reasonable. I also remembered that was the first time I'd actually run with my new sneakers. They definitely feel different in the toes so there's some adjustment time--by the next time I ran I was in much better form.

I also realized that I'd been through a lot of feels over the last few weeks, what with Sammy, some school stress, being sick twice, and finding out about my foot issues. I was mentally and emotionally de-energized, so I wasn't really approaching my physical health with a good mindset. 

I gave myself a week to regroup. I found a pair of shoes that fit my inserts and foot at the same time, so I made sure I wore those most days around the house to give my toe some rest-time. I had two more running sessions, on Monday and Wednesday, but backed it down so I was doing intervals from a couple of weeks ago, slowly working my way back up again. I also spent a lot of time thinking about my foot while I was running, keeping track of where I was hitting down and making sure I wasn't over-compensating for anything. I was much more comfortable, completed the sessions, and my foot didn't bother me at all. 

I also took a week off from tracking my eating. I didn't eat any differently, and I'd already planned all my meals for every day out, so it wasn't terribly high risk. That being said, I did gain a little weight this week but it could have easily been the fact that I was working my way through a batch of that wonderful split pea soup, made with a huge smoked hamhock from a local Amish grocery store, plus extra chopped ham I throw in for good measure. Lots n' lots of sodium. I've felt a little water-retention stuff going on, so, although I'll definitely own some of that weight gain as being less exercise and not tracking, I'm also not beating myself up about it.

More importantly, I'm back into all my good habits now. I think my head is back in the right place. I had a great strength-training session yesterday--I deadlifted 115 pounds, woo! And did kettle bell swings with 35 pounds, which is 10 more lbs than last time!--so I'm feeling strong, I'm reminded of my progress, and I know this will happen. 

So, listen up, Toe, that'll be just about enough of that nonsense.

 

Fight the Funk Friday--Funky Foot Edition

I have today (Friday) off. One of the benefits of working for a religious organization is that Easter weekend is a big deal. I have both Friday and Monday off. I'll be spending a lot of it working on school stuff and getting some errands done, but Easter Sunday itself is open other than church, so I should have time for relaxing this weekend. My daughter went to California with my mother-in-law to visit family for the holiday, so we're not doing any big family gathering. My son has off work so he's going to come over late afternoon and we're going to do steaks on the grill for our Easter dinner. Very low-key and relaxed!

Meanwhile, I started my day off today with a visit to the podiatrist to take an official look at the hallux limitus thing that the freebie podiatrist diagnosed. I'd done some googling about podiatrists in the area, check out Healthgrades and such, and chose one near me without really expecting to get an appointment that fast. But I was able to get in today. Woo! Or, not so woo, depending on how you look at it. Good thing I did my research because apparently I'm going to have a long-term personal relationship with this new podiatrist.

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Turns out, I've got issues. My BFF/BQF Kate refers to our slightly-past-middle-age as "The Maintenance Years." Time for some serious maintenance on my feet.

X-rays revealed pretty bad bone spurs on that left big toe, and very little space for cartilage. I looked at the X-ray and thought, "Wow. No wonder I'm in pain!" Sometimes I have to get absolute proof that I have a right to hurt--for some reason, I always have a lurking suspicion that I'm just being a whiner or a hypochondriac. 

The end result is that I'll be taking some more of my day off this afternoon to go to a foot specialist store and buy appropriate inserts; I've got an appointment for a cortisone shot before I go on my vacation to try to at least get me through that as best as possible; and I'll be scheduling surgery for sometime this summer when I've got a couple of weeks together to heal. 

And bonus news: It's also in the other foot, just not as advanced. So I'll get to have all this fun again in a year or so. 

The silver lining? He kept referring to me as "a runner" and "an athlete." Cool. 

I am going to try to keep running. However, now I won't be mentally abusing myself about whining when my foot starts aching. It has every right to hurt!

Not much else to report on the fitness and health front, as I've been down with another chest cold--or side effects to my new prescription inhaler (as yes, one set of side effects that are fairly common mimic having a really bad chest cold; go figure)--for the last week. Running was out of the question, so I had to make a difficult decision this week about the "graduation 5k" for the running program I'm in.

First of all, I already knew that I had a speaking engagement that same weekend, all weekend. It's in town, but I'll be doing a lot of up-front leadership Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which always takes it out of me. Plus, the timing of trying to do the 5k on Sunday morning and then getting showered and dressed and back to the speaking engagement in time for Sunday morning worship would've been pretty tight--everything would have had to go absolutely perfectly to make it, and we know that rarely happens. I was concerned that I wouldn't do well at the 5k because I was so tired from the speaking, and I wouldn't do well at the speaking because I was so tired from the 5k, and everyone would lose.

Then, when I got sick for a second time this week and lost more training time, I realized it just wasn't in the cards. There's a fine line between "being determined" and "being stupid," and I was perilously close to the stupid end of that spectrum. I'm therefore cancelling my involvement in the April 5k, and I'm not going to do the rest of the training runs with the group because I'm too far behind them now, but I will keep working on training on my own through their program schedule. We get emails every week with our training schedule for the week, so I'm going to be starting back up again where I was when I got sick this second time and go from there. I'll set a date for my own personal 5k to prove to myself I can do it, and I still plan on running the Color Run in May--that's now going to be my first official public 5k.

  Pic from a couple of weeks ago on the canal. It's much sunnier today.

Pic from a couple of weeks ago on the canal. It's much sunnier today.

I'm feeling better today, though, so I'm hoping to get out for at least a walk on the canal this afternoon, maybe with Sammy. We'll see how both he and I are doing later.

Fight the Funk Friday

Let's have some good news for a change, shall we? I hit my 30 pound loss mark this week. Woot!

Boy, did I need to run this week. It really does help me deal with stress. Any exercise does, really, but the level of tired I am at the end of one of my training runs is particularly useful.

Last week I was discouraged. I had a rough re-entry into running with my group in the 5K training program. I began to worry that I'd lost too much ground being sick this late in the training to make it up again. I even allowed the thought to cross my mind, "Would it be so terrible not to run the April 5k and train for the Color Run in May instead?"

Of course it wouldn't. That's always an option. There's nothing and no one making me do this April 5k.

Except me.

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In the process of trying to recover from being sick and trying to figure out why I was still coughing every time I ran even though I was fine the rest of the time, I finally sent a message to my doctor earlier this week. Is it possible I needed a different inhaler? She agreed and has prescribed me a stronger one. So far, it's made a world of difference. My allergies can tend to mess with my lungs, although I've not had problems for years. I keep an (up-to-date) inhaler in my medicine cabinet in case I feel lung nonsense coming on, but I've not had to use one the last few years. This year, though, with all the running outdoors, it hit me like a ton of bricks. So now I have a strong inhaler to use twice a day and my old prescription inhaler still comes with me on runs just in case.  

I also used a different strategy in my group runs this week. I was doing pretty well on my solo runs but the group runs were killing me. I realized I was consistently going much faster on the group runs--a pace I couldn't maintain. So on Wednesday night, I intentionally started in the back of the group so I wouldn't be as tempted to set too fast a pace for myself. Ultimately, I ended up pretty much in the middle of the pack, which is where I'm comfortable being. In fact, my pace was still a little faster than it was on my solo runs but it was maintainable. One of the Fleet Feet mentors stayed right with me to help me pace myself and was giving me great tips as we went. It was a really solid run. Tomorrow morning we do the route of the 5k and we're at 30 second walk/7 minute run. At that point, it's almost going to feel odd to do those walks. 

So here's the life lesson: The tortoise and the hare is a true story. Many times you really do have to go slower in order to finish.

In other related news: It was time to replace my running sneakers. I had really good ones but they were showing their mileage. My planned timeframe for getting new ones got moved forward a bit, though. When I started the 5k training this January, the toes on my left foot quite often got very painful. It wasn't so bad when I was running, but after I finished I'd often be limping my way back to the car. I figured it was tight ligaments or something and was working on stretching. It wasn't helping.

  Asics GT-3000

Asics GT-3000

Fleet Feet offers periodic free medical or running consults, so I took advantage of the  "Medical Monday" this week and had a 15 minute consult with a podiatrist. I described my toe pain and the minute she looked at my foot, she said, "I don't even need an X-ray. You've got hallux limitus." In English, "hallux"=big toe, "limitus" is as it sounds. I have a "limited big toe" on my left side. It doesn't bend as far as it should, so when I run, I'm actually rolling sideways off the rest of my toes with every stride. No wonder they were complaining at the end of the run! She recommended the Asics GT-3000, as they're built for this kind of issue. (No, she wasn't there to sell sneakers--the store I was in didn't even carry that one.) Since I knew my old sneakers were getting close to their time limit, I went ahead and ordered new ones now so I'd have time to get used to them before the actual 5k. I got them yesterday and am just wearing them around the house today, since it's a rest day, to get used to them. I'll use them running for the first time tomorrow. So far, so good. I can definitely feel a difference in the way they're structured and hold my toes compared to the old ones, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow. 

By the way, they only came in pink. Good thing that's one of my fave colors. 

Quick Sammy update: He's recovering enough from his surgery now that he's starting to chafe at the restrictions. We have to keep his movement limited for another week. Yikes. Sweet boy--he's trying to be good but he recently realized he can head-butt the chair barricades I have set up to keep him in the family room. I can't leave him there without being right with him, so when I go upstairs to my office I have to close him in the mudroom to keep him confined; he's not allowed to do stairs yet and there's no way he'd stay downstairs with me upstairs unless there's a door between us. One more week, Sammy! Then you can sleep in my office all day again, buddy.

Sammy Update #2 and Fight the Funk Friday

I got word this afternoon from the surgeon that Sammy came through his surgery fine. His blood count was low before surgery (it was okay last night) so they had to give him a transfusion and once they got in there, it was clear the tumor had started bleeding again. That means its a very good thing we bumped up the surgery from next Tuesday, otherwise this would've been a very different weekend.

  Sammy's last experience with the Cone of Shame. He tends to run into walls with it.

Sammy's last experience with the Cone of Shame. He tends to run into walls with it.

There were no obvious signs of malignancy yet--his liver looked good, which was their greatest concern--but we won't know for sure until the biopsy results are in next week. I'm allowing myself to be cautiously optimistic, though. They project that he'll be able to come home Monday, and yes, he'll definitely be wearing the Cone of Shame. He just loves that thing so much. 

Right now, I can breathe a sigh of relief that he's through the surgery and on the road to recovery...whatever that recovery may mean. Thanks again, all, for your well-wishes over the last 24 hours. I've really appreciated them and will be sure to share them all with Sammy once he's home.

I'm fighting the funk as best I can this week. I've had two "potato chip incidents" (one yesterday, one today) with all the stress with Sammy, but I've managed to stop myself before going too much out of control and have switched to tea just to keep my hands and mouth busy. 

I was down 8/10 of a pound this week. With last week's much smaller loss, the two weeks together mean I'm finally just about back to where I was right before I got sick and stopped being active for awhile. By all rights, that downward trend should now continue, potato chip incidents notwithstanding.

I had my first run back with my 5k training group Wednesday night. I've been training on my own to work my way back up from being sick, but the week before last it was bitter cold and/or pouring buckets both times we had our scheduled group runs and I didn't think it was the best idea to do that so soon after being sick. This Wednesday was in the 50s, beautifully sunny, and just a light breeze--perfect running weather. Wednesday was our first night at 2 minute walk/5 minute run intervals (for a total of about 45 minutes). My husband was out of town so I was on my own, but I decided that might make it easier for me to stay in the middle of the pack. However, somehow, I still ended up at the front of the pack as we all sorted ourselves out after doing our warm-up. That meant I really struggled with speed. The front of the pack is where the faster runners like to start out--so the fact I ended up with them meant my pacing was all off. I would keep thinking to myself, "Slow down! Slow down!" but then I'd see the runners in front and hear runners behind me and would naturally start speeding up again--meanwhile feeling like I was running slow, comparatively speaking. I did fine the first two intervals, but by the third one my lungs were filling up and I was starting to struggle.

  Running on my own on the canal path, missing my Doofus in the process. Even if he were healthy, he's not in good enough post-winter shape to run with me at the distances I'm going. He'll be my "rest day" walking buddy instead.

Running on my own on the canal path, missing my Doofus in the process. Even if he were healthy, he's not in good enough post-winter shape to run with me at the distances I'm going. He'll be my "rest day" walking buddy instead.

Did I mention, by the way, that we're now suddenly starting allergy season? And I've been having to use an inhaler? When I was training on my own, I had one really, really, REALLY bad run where my lungs were aching and I felt like I had leaden legs slogging through mud by the second half of the run. I was beating myself up for being so out of shape until I was coughing all the way home and realized I felt like I did during my worst parts of allergy season when I need an inhaler. I did some reading up and picked up the tip that I should be using my inhaler before I run, not waiting until after. Go figure. I did that the next day and had a much better time of it.

Still, Wednesday night, I hit the inhaler a couple of times before and during running and I still couldn't knock it out. I ended up walking parts of each of the 5 minute run intervals for the rest of the run. I was frustrated with myself until we got back to the store and were doing our stretches--RunKeeper sent me a congratulatory badge for "fastest 5k ever!" No no no no! I'm probably the only one who ever thought getting "fastest" was a bad thing. I knew that meant my pace was off. I got home and looked at my stats on RunKeeper--sure enough, I was running at a pace that was a minute or two faster than my normal on-my-own runs. I'm not at the point where I need to be worrying about speed right now--I need to find a pace comfortable for me to be able to run the whole thing without killing myself. Which means slower. A lot slower than I was apparently running Wednesday.

Thursday was a rest day, and today may end up being one as I have some school stuff I need to knock out today and potentially a family thing tonight. Tomorrow morning we're back with the running group (and DH is with me this time), and we're actually going to be running the course of the 5k we're doing at the end of April. My strategy this time is to start out at the back of the pack. I'm going to let a whole lot of people start, and then find my niche in the crowd and do my best to stay there, even if it feels like I'm running slower than I'd naturally be inclined to run. Maybe that way I'll get through all those intervals without wanting to curl up on the side of the road and cry.

I refuse to give up. 

 

Fight the Funk Friday

Well, hip, hip, hooray--I'm finally back at it again!

I'm 95% over this dang cold. I can still get coughing when I'm laying down in bed at night, and I'm still pretty snuffly when I wake up in the morning, and talking for prolonged periods of time can still be a bit of a problem...

...but really, I'm 95% over it!

I've been back to my 5k training since last week. I took the first few sessions pretty easy, working my way back up to the interval timing we're supposed to be using this week. I'm now at the right timing, but I'm keeping it slower than I had in the past (see yesterday's post). The nod to me still being in recovery is that I have yet to run outside again. It's still been pretty dang cold out there and I didn't want to risk irritating my lungs by inhaling all that frigid air for 45 minutes straight. So, if the weather prediction stays as it is right now (Saturday is supposed to be in the high 30s, which is balmy compared to what its been), tomorrow morning will be my first time back running with the group. Since I've only been doing treadmill running which is significantly easier than running outside, I still have some small concern about being able to keep up with the pack. But I think I'll do okay. 

I also finally got back to a session with my trainer again yesterday. She *sorta* took it a little easy on me, kinda. She started out saying that we'd worry more about having an FPR rather than a WPR--in other words, a "Form Personal Record" rather than a "Weight Personal Record." She had me do some work with kettlebells that, although it seems like mostly arm work, really gets your entire body. When we were done and I was walking towards the locker room, I realized my stride had changed because I was trying to get my land-legs under me again. She gave me permission to email her and cuss her out on Saturday when all my muscles seize up. It's always the second day after a workout, not the first, that's the worst. But whining aside, it really did feel good to be back at it. Even if I did bruise my shoulders with the kettlebells a couple of times--I did at least manage not to knock myself unconscious (although it was close once!). 

I was doing the "clean" part of this--which is lifting and flipping the weight around with your wrist--and squat, but not the press. And no, my kettlebell wasn't quite that big. Ahem. Or even close. I also did swings and something else that I can't remember what she called it but we renamed it the "lawnmower" as I was lifting and pulling the kettlebell back like I was starting a lawnmower with a pullcord. It was a fun set, but hard work.

As far as Weight Watchers is concerned, I managed to lose a whopping 2/10 of a pound this week. And yes, that DOES count. I'm pleased that I was able to stop the upward trajectory that my two-weeks of sick had put me on, so now we're turning the ship around. I've got another major milestone I'd really like to make before Easter. Nothing special happening at Easter--it's just a convenient time-marker for me.

I'm trying to get myself moving more during the day but I keep forgetting. That's where I really miss my FitBit--the Apple Watch movement alarm is way too easy to miss. I'm working on making mental connections between actions, such as "turn on electric kettle to heat water up for tea, pace the first floor while tea is heating," and so forth. That at least gets me moving around a little more than usual. 

Despite the weather of late, we are starting to see the sun more frequently. So I know spring is on its way!

By the way, a couple of you have let me know that following my story is inspiring you to take some steps (so to speak) towards working on your own health. I'm thrilled! I can't tell you what that means to me to hear. I hope you're finding motivation in my less-than-perfection because that's what makes it all work.

   Photo by Eric Fleming . Used by permission, Creative Commons.org

Photo by Eric Fleming. Used by permission, Creative Commons.org

As they often say, no toddler learning to walk ever took their first fall, then threw up their hands and said, "That's it. Obviously I'm a failure and can't do this, so why even bother?" Nope. They may cry a little bit, but sometimes they giggle. Most importantly, they keep trying. 

You go. You can do this. I know you can.

Fight the Funk Friday

I really, really need to fight the funk this week. Between still being sick, piles of snow outside my window, and having another slight weight gain because I haven't been able to be active at all for nearly two weeks, I've just been feeling frustrated and cranky. Normally I have a really great attitude about my weight loss journey but when I got on the scale this week I just got royally p.o.'d. So I allowed myself a few minutes to wallow in self-pity, then looked up some motivational quotes (sometimes they do help even if they're a little hokey), and tried to get my head back in a good place. This blog post is "Preaching to Myself," and hoping that maybe my readers will find a little inspiration and motivation in it for themselves.

I do view it as a sign of how far I've come in general that when I was watching an episode of Inspector Lewis (I found a new season on Amazon Prime--woo!) a couple of days ago, one of the characters was running and my instant thought was, "I really wish I could get back to that!" I could feel my body get a little rush of adrenaline just at the thought of running again. It didn't last long, and I started coughing again soon after, but the thought was there. Six months ago, I wouldn't have had that same reaction. So even if my body isn't currently up for, the muscle memory is still lurking around the edges. 

 

Still n' all, I know part of the weight gain is that I've been slacking in paying attention to portion sizes. Not much weighing and measuring going on lately, so I need to get back to that. 

I'm not beating myself up. I'm still fitting into all of my new clothes in my new size. I can still see the difference in the mirror compared to where I was. Although at the moment I'm not feeling the zing of energy and the improvement in strength, I had been before and I know it'll come back. I know my current, momentary frustration and depression has everything to do with the weather and my physical health and the fact that I've not been active, and nothing to do with reality. I know all that. I've just got to get healthy again to feel it.

 
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I'm still in the habit of writing down one thing (health-related) that I'm proud of myself for doing every day, and one "why," just to try to keep myself focused. It's been hard, though, during this two weeks of sick. What is there to be proud of about "sat on my butt most of the day" other than "managed not to eat my way through the bag of potato chips?" (Okay, so that did make it onto my list of "proud" one day--I'll take it where I can get it.) But reminding myself of my "why," even if I'm starting to repeat myself from when I first started doing that a couple of months ago, is very helpful. And keeps me from diving into potato chips.

 

I've had to cancel the last two weeks' strength training appointments but I have every intention of making it next week, even if it's a light session. I've not been running at all since Saturday the 4th, but I did touch base with our NoBo program coach this week and got her advice about how to slowly ease my way back in. I'm not going to run outside until next week, or until it warms up some, as that will just aggravate the cough. But I'm going to do some light, low-key treadmill work this weekend, and hopefully be back with the NoBo group runs by next Wednesday. I do miss them--they're fun.

 

So. Life happens. This whole "getting healthy" thing won't be a straight road--I knew that from the outset. And I guess I'm fortunate to be six months in before hitting my first big real hitch. Enough habits are ingrained now that I am in a better mental place and not inclined to just throw up my hands and say, "This will never work," as I have sometimes in the past. 

I'm staying positive. Really. It was a momentary mental tantrum that, by the time you're reading this, I'll already be over. I do feel an ever-so-slight improvement in the cold over the last couple of days so I have hope. I faced the music and went to my WW meeting and weigh-in even though I knew I'd be up. I know, without a doubt, that's when I most need those meetings. Skipping a meeting because I won't like what I see on the scale is the first step down a slippery slope to quitting altogether. I'm. Not. Quitting.

I've got this.

Fight the Funk Friday

Well, the first news is, we have power!

For those of you just coming into my blog for today's post, our area was one of those affected by the terrible windstorms mid-week. My house lost power early Wednesday afternoon. We were among the fortunate ones, though, who had ours restored late last night (Thursday). There are still about 80,000 people in the area without power even as I'm writing this. I'm sending them warm and electrified thoughts!

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It certainly could've been worse. My biggest problem was that I was already down with a cold and my symptoms were exacerbated by sleeping in a house with no heat on (despite piles n' piles of quilts). I dragged my sorry butt out of the house for most of yesterday afternoon and evening just to stay warm and to recharge all my electronics. I was thrilled that our power came back on just in time to go to bed last night--with the heat on. I still slept under the piles n' piles of quilts just to make sure. I woke up feeling terrible this morning (probably because I was out and about so much yesterday) but as I've been quietly working at my desk this morning--and taking drugs--and pounding the water--I'm feeling somewhat improved now at lunchtime.

I haven't done my 5k training--or anything, for that matter--since Saturday. I'm not planning on doing tomorrow's group run as it's supposed to be bitterly cold out again and the run is scheduled for an area park on the opposite side of town. I'm apprehensive I'd get halfway into the run and have to cry "uncle," and be out in the middle of nowhere. So I'll do tomorrow's homework but I'll do it on a treadmill inside and at my own speed, not trying to overdo anything as I'm really still in recovery here. I'm just anxious to get back into the habit of activity, even if I'm still not quite back to my previous levels.

So, this week's "Fight the Funk" doesn't have much in the way of healthy living to report. Instead, I thought I'd report on my plans for the future. Suddenly I've gone from someone who's never done a 5k to someone who is now signed up for four of them! 

5k Number One: I did Zombies Run Virtual Race last year. How could I not? It's still my favorite running app and, in fact, when I started going back to the gym this fall I went back to Season 1 and started over again. The Virtual Race is a 5k you do any time you want, any way you want, but by signing up you can be part of the "Rofflenet" (you need to know the story in app) and be on leader boards and all that. I'm not into the leader board thing, but I like the trappings. Last year, I did it on the elliptical and I only bought the starter pack--I got the medal and the number sign for my shirt but I didn't wear it when I did my virtual race (you can tweet pics of yourself with it on as part of the fun). This year, I upped my game and got the pack that included a running shirt--the pack contents are pictured at left. It's a nice shirt! I do plan on wearing the shirt when I do my virtual 5k, and I also plan on really doing a 5k, although I don't know yet if I'll do it outside or in--depends on the day I do it, mostly. The dates of the Virtual Race are April 7-18 (you do it anytime during that span you choose), which is close enough to the graduation 5k I'm working towards that I should be actually going that distance by then. You can still sign up if it appeals to you!

5k Number Two: The "graduation" 5k that my running club is working towards is the Wegmans Family 5K on Sunday, April 30. We'll be able to run the course with our club once or twice before the actual event so I'm not particularly worried about completing it. Fleet Feet Sports NoBoundaries 5k program--the one my husband and I are doing--really does everything they can to help you be successful. My only problem is I'm double-booked. I have a speaking engagement that same weekend so I'll be going right from training on Saturday and the 5k on Sunday to having to be showered, professionally dressed, and "on" an hour later both days, LOL. We'll see how that goes! (I suspect I'll sleep heavily by Sunday night!)

5k Number Three: The Color Run. I'm SO FREAKING EXCITED! This is the 5k that even got me wanting to do a 5k in the first place! The first two times I tried to train for it myself, I developed knee issues and couldn't do it. That's why I joined the Fleet Feet program--I want to make sure I'm doing everything the best way possible to stay injury-free. So far (colds notwithstanding) so good! This one is on Saturday, May 20th, and my husband and I leave for our 30th anniversary vacation on Sunday, May 21st. The timing couldn't have been better. I've got some family members doing this one with me, I think, including my husband. He's not as into the whole "having people throw dye on you" thing as I am, but he's a supportive guy and will be my running buddy. And they apparently have foam "clouds" you run through now too! Woo!

5k Number Four: DirtyGirl Mud Run. This one is a 5k through an obstacle course. In mud. Who can resist?! It's in the middle of July so that gives me something to stay in tip-top shape for after my vacation. I watched some videos and a lot of folks define "run" very loosely, so I'm also not particularly worried about keeping up or anything. I'm sure some people race it, but most seem to do it for the experience. I found out about it last fall and couldn't get it off my mind, so yesterday, sitting in the library waiting for everything to recharge, I got on my phone and registered, then started rallying the troops. So far, my daughter and one of my nieces are doing this one with me, but we're still working on the rest of the crew. It's women only, so DH will have to wait and cheer me on at the finish line...where he'll get a big, mud-covered hug! 

I've already got my eye on the Disney 5k in January, LOL. 

So, once I've gotten over this cold....I'll be off and running!

Fight the Funk Friday

I missed last week's Friday post because I was busy prepping for my daughter's 24th birthday tea party on Saturday. Since Friday was a rest day in our 5k training, I took advantage of the non-workout time to bake some scones--which didn't exactly support my weight loss goals but I planned and tracked and was able to enjoy those scones (and leftovers) all week. I wasn't shooting for an actual loss this week, just maintaining. I prefer my weight loss efforts to reflect real life--nothing drastic and unsustainable, but how to manage all this while still enjoying special events and such. So far, so good!

Back to healthy living--which I am, now that the scones are gone!

I've been doing great on the 5k training--feels good. We've just started week 3 and have moved from a 4 1/2 minute walk alternating with a 30 second run to 4 min/1 min intervals. So far, I've been handling trainings well, but we're fast approaching where it's going to start being a challenge for me. It's critical for me to keep up on my homework!

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I bought myself some bling to keep me motivated.  These just got moved to the sneakers I wear for my strength-training session with my tattooed-competitive-power-lifter trainer (they seemed more appropriate to that setting) and I now have two more on my running sneakers that say "Dig Deep." 

My trainer had me doing something called "Turkish Get-Ups" this week, although she's breaking it down into components and having me do them as separate pieces.

This first time doing it, she just had me go from flat on my back to raising myself up on first my elbow, then my my hand; then later, as part of a different circuit, she had me do the backwards lunge but just return to a stand. Because of my vertigo, it's generally better to keep my head on a single plane. The flat-on-my-back to raising up to my arm is the hardest switch spinny-wise, but it went remarkably well--just a little unsteadiness the first time but I figured out my focal point (which can't be looking straight up, as he does in the video, unfortunately, as that automatically kicks in a head-spin) and did great after that. The point is to do this as slowly as possible because you're working to stabilize pretty much every muscle in your entire body the whole time. By the way, I was just balancing a bean-bag on my fist. No weights for me on this one yet! When I woke up this morning, I was feeling muscles in my back I'd never noticed before. This is some serious core work. I'm not looking forward to Saturday night when that stiffness really kicks in (it's always worst at the 48-hour point). I'm stretching, stretching, stretching...

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We had some great weather this past week (freakish, really), and I'd have normally taken the Doofus out on the canal path to do my training with me and help him work off a little winter weight, but the poor guy did something in the back yard on Sunday and sprained his wrist (or elbow--hard to tell which part hurts him because he's a stoic guy). All our snow is melted so he didn't slip or anything--all I can think is he got too excited about chasing his tennis ball and took a too-quick turn. There were no yelps or anything; just a bad limp that mysteriously appeared. I took him to the vet Tuesday and she gave us some anti-inflammatories and told him to keep him off it as much as possible. Right--Doofus with serious spring fever and a hankerin' for tennis balls...quiet...yeah, that's happening. He's been on the anti-inflammatories for a couple of days now and the limp is far less pronounced, so I think he's well on the road to recovery. Just in time for it to decide to be winter again.

That's it for this week (and last week). 

 

Fight the Funk Friday

It was the best of times...it was the worst of times...

This week started out in a hole but it got better!

As you already know (if you've read any posts or my twitter feed earlier this week), I started out with the stomach flu Sunday evening into Monday. Most of Monday was spent in bed, and by afternoon I was on saltine and apple juice rations. Tuesday I was back at work--mostly because I work from home because I'm not sure I'd have been able to get myself out the door--but my energy levels weren't great and food was still an iffy proposition. By Wednesday, I was eating pretty normally again, although keeping it in the easily-digestible category. I took a shot at going to the gym for some cardio Wednesday afternoon, which I'm proud of myself for doing (not letting a slip become a slide, as they say). However, even though I'd intended to keep it "low and slow"--low resistance, no incline, not worrying about speed--I still only managed about 25 minutes of the 45 I'd hoped to get in. Still, 25 was better than none!

Thursday was a banner day, though.

First, I got my 25lb charm at my Weight Watchers meeting--woo! Even though I was tempted to think, "Yeah, but I had a stomach virus," the fact of the matter was I had been eating normally for a couple of days so that should've balanced out by then. And besides, I didn't have a virus for that entire 25 pounds. So I choose to be proud of myself, and just keep myself on track as I have been. Viruses happen. It's the overall picture I'm staying focused on.

Second, I had my first session with my new trainer, Lore, yesterday afternoon. I enjoyed her, and she clearly knows what she's doing. Her background is in competitive power lifting and she's certified in Russian Kettlebell training, so we all know what my future looks like! Yesterday's session was primarily a movement assessment so it was a bit lighter on the workout itself than it will be in the future--but that was fine with me given I still wasn't feeling 100%. But the stuff she had me doing was almost all new to me and I could feel it. So here we go!

Third, I got my log-in information last night for my 5k training program through FleetFeet sports, so that feels real now! My husband signed up to do it with me, so it'll be a good way for us to spend time together while being healthy. I go to pick up the registration information after work today and, while I'm there, I'm going to do a fitting for a new sports bra. I have YET to find one I love--only ones I can mostly tolerate--but I've also never actually been fitted for one so we'll see if this works better. (Sorry if that's TMI, and sorry, non-female-identifying-readers!) The first group workout session/launch party is tomorrow morning. The schedule is two group trainings a week (Wed/Sat), and two trainings on our own. 

So that means my workout schedule next week will be: 

  • Sunday: 5k training "homework"
  • Monday: Cardio kickboxing (which will help strengthen me for the running)
  • Tuesday: 5k training "homework"
  • Wednesday: 5k group run
  • Thursday: Strength-training session with Lore (no cardio)
  • Friday: rest day
  • Saturday: 5k group run

Good thing I got that stomach virus out of the way this week (knock on wood).

By the way, Fitbitters, I currently have no idea where my FitBit is. I took it off when I was sick and it has yet to surface. I remember putting it somewhere that made sense at the time. Umm...

Fight the Funk Friday--More Recommendations

My primary way of fighting the funk this week is by being on a quilt retreat with my peeps as you're reading this! If you follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter, I'll be posting pics along the way. 

Meanwhile...

  • The Weight Watchers Coaching that I'd mentioned a few weeks ago is now complete. I only needed a couple of sessions with her to get myself back on my mental game (it was all mental, in this particular instance). I found her helpful for a shot in the arm but nothing I need long-term. However, I'll have the name of the coach I had in case I need to get another shot in the arm at some point down the road.
  • I decided I needed new sneakers this week when I had yet another session of painful feet during my cardio kickboxing class earlier this week. I know foot cramps can also be due to dehydration but I really don't think that was the problem in this case--it's a different kind of all-over soreness. I'd bought the Reeboks I've been wearing maybe only three months ago, but my feet have never been comfortable in them when I'm in a class. They were on sale when I bought them so I'm fine with transitioning them to a "bop around town" sneaker--they're fine when I'm just walking in them--and replacing them as my primary gym sneaker. I know some of it is just needing to strengthen my foot muscles (sitting behind a computer for years on end really does do a number on your entire body), but the right shoes can make a world of difference. Rather than going back to the minimal brand selection of my local mall, I ordered a pair of Rykas online. I love Rykas--I've had them in the past and they fit my foot beautifully. I don't know why I ever left them. They're not cheap but being able to get through a cardio class of any kind without gritting my teeth because my feet are whining is seriously worth it. 
  • I also had to buy new workout pants this week. Not only were my feet whining during cardio kickboxing, but my pants kept wandering downwards and, as they were long yoga-style pants, they kept getting caught under the heel of my sneaker. Not only annoying, but just a little dangerous! In the grand scheme of going down in size and what that would do to my wardrobe, I'd never given much thought to workout pants. But yay--I need new workout pants now!
  • While I'm on retreat, I'm going to focus on trying to move every hour. My BFF/BQF Lori will also be on the retreat, and she plans to take a 20 minute walk every day, so I'll probably join her for that. That largely depends on the weather, however. It's supposed to be in the 20s this weekend and the retreat center is on a lake so we could get more snow. We'll see.
  • Finally, can I recommend a couple of cookbooks to you? These have quickly become my primary sources every week when I'm doing meal planning. 

The Skinnytaste blog is well known and she does post a bunch of recipes there, but the cookbooks are well worth having. My particular favorite is Skinnytaste Fast and Slow (link at left). "Fast" are recipes that take 30 minutes or less--primarily skillet or stovetop types of meals. "Slow" are slow-cooker meals. I do a lot of slow cooking this time of year, particularly now that I'm going to the gym several times a week. When I get home from my trainer I can't handle standing at the stove. I've done a bunch of recipes from this one--including this week the Slow Cooker Pollo con Potacchio which got a 10 from both me and my husband. She provides nutritional info for each of her recipes and, if you're a Weight Watchers person, she also gives the SmartPoints, although they're on her website rather than in the cookbook itself. (The nutritional info is in the book.) I just wrote the SmartPoints in for every recipe when I first got the cookbooks so I had it all in one place.

Her other cookbook, self-titled, is also very good. My favorite go-to recipe in here is the Buttermilk "Oven Fried" Chicken. It's fantastic. 

This one doesn't separate out slow-cooker recipes--it's just a normal cookbook--but it does still have some in it. There are a wide range of recipes to suit most tastes, though, including vegetarian. I pay attention to that because my daughter is a vegetarian but my husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy--so when she's over for dinner and he's gone for the evening, I get to play with the vegetarian recipes.

Having these two cookbooks on my shelf has really helped me in my endeavor to eat healthier!

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Fight the Funk Friday--Another App Review

App girl here, with yet another app to tell you about.

As I've been working on fighting my funk, there are several habits I've been trying to get into before work and before bedtime. I've been using habit tracker apps* to keep me mindful of the good things I want to be doing, but those haven't helped in terms of figuring out, for example, what time I need to get up in the morning in order to get everything done that I want to get done before starting work. Also, it's way too easy to drop into the time-suck of reading blogs while I'm waiting for the caffeine to kick in, and suddenly it's time to hit the shower to get ready for work.

I was complaining about this to my daughter one afternoon. I said, "I need something that will give me an electric shock to say, 'Hey! Stop reading blogs now and start doing your school reading! I mean it!'" She told me about an app named Routinist

No, there's no electric shocks involved. And yes, you have to remember to actually open the app to get things rolling. But other than that, it is actually a helpful little app. You start out by giving Routinist your "go time." Everything works backwards from the time you need to leave the house and/or start work in the morning, or whatever "go time" you need to have everything done by.

You plug in the things you want to include in your morning routine, how much time you want to allot for each of them, the number of hours of sleep you want to get, and the things you want to include in your pre-bedtime routine...and it then tells you what time you need to start your bedtime routine in order to get to bed in time to get your desired hours of sleep so you can get up at the right time in order to accomplish your morning routine before you have to go to work. Clear as mud, right? But really, it works!

As you complete each element of the routine, you check that element off and it starts counting down the next element. You can set up notifications so it goes off to remind you to start things rolling. I've found it pretty helpful...that is, when I've remembered to turn it on. (Somehow I've missed the "Turn me on!" notifications a few mornings.) 

*And a word about habit tracking apps...

I've been using the app Productive (iOS only, I think) for a long time. I chose that one after testing a bunch of different ones out, and I really did like the way it worked.

 

However, every now and then, when I start falling out of the habit of keeping up habits, I try to instill newness in some way so it'll feel fresh again. I've recently switched to using the habit-tracking app Today (also iOS only--sorry, everyone else!). 

It's just prettier, really. It's taking me a little while to get used to using it as the swipes are different than in Productive. I may end up going back to Productive because a lot of times simpler is more useful and pretty is usually anything but simple. But still, I needed a change, and an app is an easy thing to change, so why not? 

Just for a quick catch-up on health: No weight change this week, although I view that as a win after my husband's birthday weekend. I balanced out the extra calories with a lot of extra calorie-burn. I consider it "learning to maintain," which will be a critical skill once I do reach my goal weight. I did the cardio kickboxing and cardio step classes again this week--still love them--plus a few other serious cardio sessions at various times through the week. I've finally connected with my new trainer--for some reason, my email was dumping her emails. Anyway, here she is. I think I'm going to love her. I'll definitely be getting my Inner Tough Chick on. (Due to conflicting schedules, I can't start with her until Feb 9.)

Fight the Funk Friday (and some more about planners)--Jan 20, 2017

I'm trying out a couple of new twists to what I've been doing--or, rather, things that I think will work better towards reminding me to do what I've been doing.

First, I'm back to using my lightbox this week. It's been a mild winter and more sunny than usual, so I haven't used it more than once or twice all season, but I don't get out in the sun much even if it's there. Since I realized my motivation for life was starting to flag a bit, I thought it was time to get back into the habit. It is helping.

 Apple Watch Series 2 Nike edition

Apple Watch Series 2 Nike edition

Second, I've discovered that the Apple Watch "stand" notifier wrist buzz is far easier to ignore/miss than my FitBit Charge HR wrist buzz had been. The Charge would vibrate for about a second two or three times in a row. The Apple Watch gives me two little taps. If it doesn't register in my consciousness, it's gone. Trust me, I had everything on the watch set as high and loud as it could be set. I just need something that will almost reach out and cuff me upside the head to get my attention when I'm really focused on work. So I've started using either the straight-up timer app on the Watch--which has a much stronger vibration than the stand notification does-- or a web-based Pomodoro timer instead, which makes my computer sing to me. (For more about the Pomodoro technique, click here.) I've been moving more during the day since I made that switch.

Third, I've also started playing around with bullet journaling this week. I'll speak to how that's helping to fight the funk in a minute.

Why am I thinking about switching it up so soon after starting with the Passion Planner? I've now taped so many extra pages and inserts into my Passion Planner to allow me to do everything I want to do with it that I'm close to breaking the binding, and I've only got January and part of February set up. No way will this thing survive a whole year of this. And it still doesn't have room for me to do everything I want to do. Don't get me wrong--I still love the concept of the Passion Planner, but I want a slightly different layout that matches the way I think better. Last week, I ended up buying the Weight Watchers journal tracker so I'd have more room to plan out my eating and such. I do my final tracking digitally using their app, but I like to plan out an entire week of meals ahead of time when I'm doing my grocery list on weekends, and it helps me to write it in every day's schedule ahead of time so I'm not making decisions in the moment but only following my own plan. Unfortunately, my compact Passion Planner wasn't quite big enough to do that. Yes, I could get the full-sized planner but the whole point to switching from my DragonTree planner to the Passion Planner was to have something I could carry in my handbag. However, I don't like having two notebooks I have to keep track of all the time.

The first time I looked into bullet journaling in the fall I got extremely turned-off by how complex everyone seemed to say it "should" be. Some people's keys/legends are--well, I won't be judgmental here, but I'll say "they wouldn't work for me" and leave it at that. I also felt like it wouldn't match the "neat-and-orderly" side of me--you know, that side that has to have all my labels on boxes match or I get twitchy. Having something as free-form as a bullet journal made me worry I'd get equally twitchy.

Earlier this week, though, I stumbled across some videos on YouTube that suddenly made it seem like it would be the perfect system for me. (She has several, I'm only embedding the first one here.)

Basically, I think I'm getting ready to get over myself about the twitchiness. I'm a brave girl: I can handle having everything just appear in my journal in whatever random order it occurs to me and using an index--or dividing each journal up ahead of time in ways that would make me feel more neat-and-orderly. I think.

At the moment, I'm still keeping the Passion Planner going at the same time as the bullet journal. This helps me really compare which one is better for me. There's still a lot of beauty for me in having pre-printed calendar items while still having space for me to go free-style. So I'm also pondering the hybrid possibility of what Sarcasm & Sweet Tea describes on her blog. (Hence looking at Daytimers and such again.) 

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Since I had an unused blank book already in the house, I'm currently using that as my trial bullet journal. Pretty, but it's smaller than what I'd want to use for realsies (smaller than the Passion Planner), and being hard-cover it doesn't lay flat so it's hard to write in. But it's good enough to give me a feel for how well bullet journaling and I will get along.

What does that have to do with Fighting the Funk? Part of what I want a planner to do is help me stay focused on personal goals, most of which have to do with health and wellness. I want to be able to do quick "micro-journal" entries, as it were, about why I did or didn't achieve a daily goal or how I felt about what I did get done, etc. I'm also writing my daily "why"--why I have the goals I do--and a daily "proud moment" to remind myself not to beat up on myself. This is all critical stuff for fighting my particular aroma of funk so I want a planner system that will allow me space for that as well as tracking tasks and schedules.

What's critical for fighting your funk?

Fight the Funk Friday

Not much to say today except:

1. I'm sad because yesterday was my last session with my fun, motivational trainer. I'm working on getting signed up with a new one but I'm out of town all next week for my last session of on-campus classes for the doctoral program so the gym director suggested I call him when I get back. Past experience has taught me that it'll take a couple of weeks to get reconnected with someone. However, when I do, if I like her I'm strongly considering working with my trainer twice a week rather than once a week through the rest of the winter when my motivation is always at very low ebb. All that remains to be seen, of course, as I have to get connected with someone first.

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2. I'm happy because I stopped waffling and decided to go ahead and buy myself a new FitBit. I'm back to the One. I love love love my Apple Watch for everything else...but FitBit and Apple are competitors in the wearables department so FitBit has certain parameters set up that make it impossible to use the step count on my watch for challenges. I'm using a 3rd party app, Sync Solver, to supposedly sync steps from the Apple Health app to FitBit. It's a bit hit and miss--I have to remember to use the Sync Solver app for the sync (it doesn't do it automatically), and when it syncs, it's not 100% and I can't figure out any sort of pattern to it. Even when it does sync, however, FitBit won't allow steps from 3rd party apps to be counted towards challenges. The putzes. Not enough people I know can do challenges through the Apple Health app, either (or, rather, the third-party apps you have to use to do them with your Apple steps). I realized in my few weeks of going without those challenges how motivational they are to me--my step count has definitely dropped now that I don't have that accountability. So I ponied up for a new One so I can be back in that game. 

3. I'm a bit on the fence emotionally because my daughter and I are strongly considering signing up for a beginning running club hosted by a sports store in the area. It trains you for a 5k. I've never actually liked running but doing it in a group may be more fun. And if both my daughter and I stick with it, it could be a nice bonding thing. They aim towards a 5k in the city at the end of April. We're going to the informational session at the end of this month--that's when I'll decide if I'll bite or not. 

4. I'm surprised and perhaps a bit naive about the fact that I haven't really been using my lightbox this winter. Part of that's because we've had more sunshine than usual. However, I'm not getting outside in that sunshine much because it's been dang cold and windy, so I'm sort of waiting for the SAD shoe to drop and for me to suddenly get cranky and completely de-motivated. I probably should be using that box preemptively. I just keep forgetting.

5. I'm a little nervous about the fact that I signed up for personal coaching through Weight Watchers. I have my first call tomorrow and I'm not sure what to expect, nor whether I'll find this useful. However, I wanted to give it a try. You see, I have a pattern in which I get to a certain weight and then start monkeying around back and forth within a couple of pounds for-freaking-ever and eventually (every time in the past) end up just bagging the whole thing. I'm at that weight now. It's tended to take on the appearance of a boogieman in my mind since I've had this happen a few different times now. I had a slight gain this week and all my mental alarm bells went off, so I sat in my car in the parking lot after my meeting and signed up for a coaching session to make sure I successfully get myself over this particular hump. Don't worry--I know this gain is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things and it's not the first gain I've had on this journey. Don't feel you need to reassure me or give me advice on that point--my head is in a good place. It has more to do with the particular threshold I'm sitting at and years of past history. I'm not beating up on myself in any way. I'm just making use of all the tools at my disposal to make sure I'm successful. If I don't have a good vibe with the coach or feel like she'll actually be able to offer anything different than I'm already getting, I won't pursue it further. But if she does, well, hey--why not?

That's all for this week! I may not get blog posts out next week as we're in lock-down when we're in class. So, if not, I'll see you the week after....

Fight the Funk Friday--In Recovery

This will be a short post because I'm really, seriously, very-much-determined to get as much rest as possible today. Read: I'm allowing myself to be a slug.

Sometimes Fighting the Funk is mostly cutting yourself serious slack and allowing your body time for recovery.

No, I've not been sick. I survived an 8 1/2 hour drive through blinding snow last night and (thank God) lived to tell about it. There were honestly a few times yesterday when I wasn't entirely sure what the end of the story would be.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday in Valley Forge, PA, for staff meetings and our Christmas lunch, plus I had brought my computer down to the computer center for them to do some updates and such that they can't do remotely. December's not usually that bad weather-wise for us--our big snow tends to hit in January. I've gone down every year in December and in 15 years only had to cancel due to snow once.

Driving down was fine, but Thursday was an entirely different matter. I wasn't able to leave the office until just before 3p which, under normal conditions would get me home by about 9p. In dry conditions, it's a 6 hour drive door to door. However, I knew the forecast for my home area--"lake effect snow," which is highly unpredictable and very difficult to actually forecast. The way the forecasts were reading, I'd either have smooth sailing or I'd be in trouble.

It turned out to be the latter. Let's suffice it to say I finally walked in my front door around 11:15p, totally fried. I'd had such a death grip on the steering wheel all the way home that my neck, back, arms, and hands were aching. 

Fortunately, I had a previously-scheduled massage therapy appointment this morning so that helped a whole lot. And now I'm reading magazines and doing embroidery and watching Murder She Wrote (my other "comfort TV") until it's time to start getting ready for my husband's office holiday party tonight. Cocktail dress and heels in my future. Need to rest up for that!

The end result...

 

 

Fight the Funk Friday--Back on Track!

My first "Fight the Funk" report is to say that, as you're reading this, I'm on a quilt shop hop with some of my quilty friends! I have some vacation days to burn up before the end of the year so I'm taking the rest of the Fridays in December off. This week I'm doing the "Mom Memorial Shop Hop" with some friends. This is a trip my Mom and I did several Decembers (I often end up taking Fridays off to burn up vacay). We would to Amish country and go to a few different fabric stores and then have a fabulous Amish lunch. Now, when I have a Friday off in December, I try to do this trip with some friends in memory of my mom, hence referring to it as the "Memorial Shop Hop." Unfortunately, the Amish restaurant Mom and I always went to is now closed, so we have a less-fabulous lunch, but I still spend a day with my friends and have fun! Definitely a great way to fight the winter funkiness.

I'm happy to report that my neck has been behaving itself this week. My PT was quite pleased by my progress at this week's appointment. Unfortunately, he's now given me the Epley maneuvers as homework. For those of you not "in the know," these maneuvers are basically designed to cause head spins. They're not fun--but they do eventually work to make the head spins go away. That being said, he worked me up to these. I've been in PT for about 5 or 6 weeks now and we didn't even go near doing these until this week--until I've made enough improvement that the Epley maneuvers don't make me want to wommit. I spin, but I don't seem to get nauseous--a HUGE improvement over past times I've tried these. So, yay.

I also beasted my session with my physical trainer this week (and last week, for that matter). What's an even better sign? I wasn't nearly as sore two days later as I expected to be. My body's starting to get used to this physical stuff! Yippee! My about-to-leave-trainer is going to work with the gym director to connect me with a new trainer who will be a good match based on what she knows I like to do, so hopefully I won't have any disruption in training when she leaves. I mostly want to get on a new trainer's roster before that January rush!

It's starting to get harder to do my hourly walks in the backyard because we've had some really cold winds this week, so my daily step count has slacked somewhat. The ambient temperature hasn't been too bad for December, but the wind makes it pretty biting. I've gotten bundled up a few times to make the trek but that adds time to the walks (it takes awhile to get all those layers on!) so it doesn't happen as often. I have had a couple of days, though, where I noticed in the evening that I was within a couple grand of my step goal for the day so I just paced the house while listening to a podcast through headphones. Antisocial (my husband was watching TV in the other room both times) but productive.

Not great weather for walking outside, but perfect weather for some healthy comfort food! My slow cooker and Instant Pot are getting real workouts these days--often both for the same meal.

Here's a recommendation for you: The Skinnytaste blog has fantastic, easy, healthy recipes. For those doing Weight Watchers she has the Smartpoints listed for each recipe. I bought both of her bookbooks: The Skinnytaste Cookbook and Skinnytaste: Fast and Slow. I've used a lot of recipes out of both of them and haven't had a clunker yet. The picture is her Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce from the Fast and Slow cookbook. I'm in serious love. DH doesn't like meat sauce so this is all mine. Woot! The recipe made enough that I've got some in the freezer along with my leftovers in the fridge this week. I had it on pasta the first night as my daughter had left some leftover spaghetti, but I've had it on cauliflower rice (thank you, food processor) and on spaghetti squash (thank you, IP) for lunch a couple of times since. Pasta is still best, but some days we have to make adjustments where we can! The cauliflower rice and spaghetti squash do the purpose, since it's all about the Bolognese anyway. 

Meanwhile, I used my Instant Pot to do a batch of brown rice the other day and then froze what I wasn't eating for dinner in ice cube trays like these (I don't have this brand but these are pretty much the same thing). I got the idea from one of my Craftsy classes last year but this is the first time I've done it. It's a 2" ice cube tray which is the equivalent of a half-cup serving. The rice freezes really well, and then you transfer the frozen cubes into a ziploc freezer bag. You just pull out as many cubes as you need for a particular meal. Since I'm the only one who eats brown rice, this is another great way to have fast, healthy meals on tap for lunch or dinner. (The brown rice was for Mexican Chicken Burrito Bowls, another Skinnytaste slowcooker dinner that I loved!)

It's good to be fully mobile again, I've been loving having meals ready and waiting for me when I get home from the gym at night, and in general, life has been good this week. I like weeks like that.

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