Friday, February 28, 2014

They Called Her Rissa Bear

I had intended to maintain radio silence today in honor of my family's loss, but decided it was meaningless unless folks knew why.  My cousin's daughter, just 2 years old, was a warrior.  She lost her battle last week and the family gathers today to celebrate her life.  She was beautiful, sweet and had a profound impact on everyone who met her.  The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Unique, the Rare Chromosome Disorder Support Group.  If you are so inclined, please donate and let them know Rissa sent you.  They work to provide information and support for families and caregivers of children like Rissa, and their work was meaningful to my cousin and all her family.

Other friends and family members created the following tributes to Rissa.

Fare thee well, little Warrior.
I know my family is holding tight to one another today. And my heart is with them.

I'll be back with my regularly-scheduled programming in my next post.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fear is Fear

Well, my little Self-Pep-Talk did the trick yesterday.  And the shopping, that helped too.  :-)  I changed clothes in the comfy bathroom at work and sneaked out a little before 5pm.  I was one of the first to arrive at the meetup spot for our group run, but I didn't want to give myself any chance of bailing out on my plans.  I knew what the weather had been like this winter when I signed up and paid my registration, and I'll be damned if I'm going to waste a single week of this training program!  There may be weeks when work keeps me away on Wednesday nights, but that wasn't this week.  Still, there was always a chance I'd sneak home, right up until I walked in the doors at the meeting place!  I would have felt SO LOUSY if I'd skipped it, and I knew it.  Sometimes I just have to remind myself of the consequences of my choices.
This was my plan.  Thanks for the inspiration, Distant Runners!

A quick rundown on the workout:  Many people did, in fact, stay home last night due to the extreme temperatures, so my group consisted of two leaders, Georgeanne and Kay, both of whom I ran with last year, myself, and a new (to me) runner named Susan.  The plan was for a three-mile interval run.  The way this played out was a one-mile warm up run, followed by three rounds of "6 minutes at goal pace / 2 minutes recovery."  In my current condition, the two minutes of recovery means walking, but it's intended to be a fast run broken up by short periods of slow jog.  This is something I practiced on the treadmill a few weeks ago and I'm working on it.  I'm used to taking those walk breaks and would like to phase them out.  Mentally, I am not sure it's really good for me.  Physically, there's nothing wrong with it, but I go to them too easily and I need to break that habit, walk only when it's absolutely necessary.

Aaaanyway, my calves were really tight during the first mile, which is typical for me, but they usually loosen up after about 8 minutes.  Last night we finished the first mile in about 13 minutes or so and they were still really tight.  I'm attributing that to the extreme cold.  I was wearing two pairs of pants, but I wasn't exactly toasty.  I walked a few minutes before we started the intervals, and kept up as best I could with our planned pace of 11:30 during the intervals.  I think George ran us at 5 minutes instead of 6.  She mentioned that seemed like a really long 5 minute interval!  Once we finished the intervals we had about a mile left to go and did a slow jog back.  All told, 42 minutes and we did 3.12 miles.  Just what I had in mind, not fast, just fabulous, as they say.

There wasn't much ice on the trail, but once the sun was down, even with my flashlight, I found myself feeling really fearful of slipping on the ice.  By then we were on the return, so we pretty well knew where the ice patches were, but I was having a real mental battle over this ice thing.  At once point I started thinking this was my brain's new version of "I can't do this!" - like that sabotaging part of my mind had found a new way to do its thing and trip me up - psychologically speaking - and hold me back.  Perhaps for the moment it realized that "I can't do this" wasn't going to work, not tonight anyway, and it chose another way.  
Ah, RunnersWorld, sometimes you really knock it outta the park.

Surely my own brain doesn't work that hard to screw up its own plans... does it?  I'm an accountant; not a psychiatrist so what the hell do I know.  

Fear is fear, I guess.  Fear of change, fear of pain, fear of falling, fear of failing, fear of the unknown (to me, that's the ice for sure! Ice is tricksy.)  Perhaps I'm just beginning to recognize what fearful thoughts I have.  That'll be the first step in learning to combat them.

Found this on the Hunting Happiness Project Facebook page.
Tonight I have a group fitness class scheduled with my weight loss challenge group, but it doesn't start until 7:15pm, which is awfully late for me.  I'll have to find a way to combat the urge to bail on that one as well, but for more practical reasons.  When does one EAT when you have a class that late?  Usually I have dinner at 6:30 or so, which is entirely too close to the start time for the class.  So I can't do that, but I can't show up hungry either - that's a recipe for disaster.  And I hate the idea of eating dinner so late - it'll be close to 9pm by the time I get home.  Then again, the class has a pretty good name - Body Attack! - with an exclamation point.  I'm intrigued... I'll probably find a way to make it work.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

OMG but it's SO Cold!

Okay, this will be quick because I have to head out very shortly.  This is another Accountability Post.  I am set to participate in tonight's group run with the RTW clan.  It's freezing outside.  Like FREEZING, you're-definitely-going-to-get-frostbite-if-you-go-running-tonight FREEZING outside.
Wind chills are below zero!  This is worse than last night!

To combat what I knew would be a powerful urge to bail on tonight's run, I hit up Target and TJ Maxx during lunch today and picked up some new cold-weather pants and tops.  I've got at least three layers available for wearing.  Guess I'll let you know how it goes.  This is gonna be brutal!  They group leaders are saying "we're only running 3 miles" - but man, I'm S   L   O   W   !  3 miles takes about 40 minutes for me on a regular (non-race) night, and that's without any breaks.

Strategy:  Ok, calm down, Chris.  You need a plan.

I'll plan to run a slow pace, slow enough that I don't have to walk.  That's the key.  Keep moving, so I get the benefit of warm muscles, but slow enough that I don't burn out and have to stop.

OK there's the plan.  I'll check back with you later.  In homage to my previous post about making decisions and taking control of the process:

"I am doing this.  I CAN do it, I WILL do it.  And I will enjoy it in appreciation of what my body can do now, that it couldn't do before."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Really, Chris?

It's strange how sometimes you have the most profound thoughts in the weirdest times / places.  Usually it's in the shower, right?  Of course, because you can't write it down or do anything about it.  All you can do is start repeating that profundity, over and over, in your head or even out loud (?, sure, sometimes.), until you get out, dry off and find something to write on.  And by then I've certainly forgotten it, or at least lost the point of the thing.  This is my life.

Not this time.  I was brushing my teeth before bed and just allowing that crazy stream-of-consciousness freight train to fun along in my head. You know, man, the dogs were crazy tonight, what was that about?  Need to spend some serious time training with them as it gets warmer outside.  My neck really hurts, might need to check out a chiropractor or something.  I should learn not to fall down, or at least not to tense up my neck when I do, that would help.  How do you NOT tense up when you're falling down?  Gotta make sure my gym bag is packed for tomorrow, I have Catch the Wave after work and I won't have time to go home, gotta change at work or maybe in the bathroom at the park.  I've gotten a LOT of exercise recently.  Feels good.  It sure would be nice to see a loss on the scale this week after all that work...

And. I. STOP. 
Image courtesy of artur84 /

Wait. What?  
What's that you just said?  "It sure would be nice"?  Really?  What is this, a movie you are watching?  What are you, hoping for a happy ending?

So let's just check that thought right now.

I am not a passive observer of this process. I am not even a participant in this process. 

I AM the process.

I control whether my weight goes up or down or stays the same. This week and every week. 

I am in control of this. Am I going to do what it takes to get what I want, or wait for it to happen by some magic, benevolent force??

To quote our former president, "I am the decider."

Or another quote I use more often, usually on a different theme:
My body. My choice. 

I'm sure I've written a similar post at some point, but these thoughts are half my problem.  Yes, I got plenty of exercise this week, but have I gotten plenty of healthy fuel for my body?  Meh. I'd say 50/50. Well then, what do you expect?  If my mental exercise consists of wishing and hoping for better outcomes, instead of planning and working to achieve the outcome I want, the fight is over before it starts.  If what happens on the scale isn't really up to me, then it won't really matter what I eat or whether I exercise.  My fate is determined by an outside entity, so what difference does it make?

All of this probably stems from the so-so run I had on Sunday.  It was great, but it was really more of a very long and vigorous walk than a run.  My legs were tired, but I could have run more, and I knew it.  But hey, the gods will decide what happens whether I run or walk, right?  

Maybe I really did need a break.  Maybe I'd pushed my legs and glutes about as far as I should have for one week.  Perhaps.  Or maybe, I lost the mental battle before the physical one ever even started.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Get your head out of your ass, Chris. Let's go. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Is it Friday Yet? Oh right, it IS Friday...

I have been slammed with bad news, one thing after another, since yesterday's post.  Really freaking awful news.  Family stuff, then work stuff, and then more and completely different family stuff.  None of it is anything I want to post publicly about, but suffice to say I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. If I get one more phone call with terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad news, I think my head is going to explode.  On a related note, I'm no longer taking calls.

I DID make it to my group fitness class last night, but I was completely unplugged.  Couldn't focus and just was NOT feeling "in my body" or "in the moment" at all.  I was sweating, but really, mentally, just going through the motions.  Got home to find my husband had made a relatively light dinner, so that was a plus.  Of course I followed it up with a couple of my delicious home-made cookies... so there's that.

Today there was more bad news, a light breakfast, and an offer to have pizza and watch the USA/Canada hockey game in the conference room at work.  I bailed on the lunch I'd packed and indulged.  Now I'm full, need to get back to work, and still feeling really unfocused.  Ugh.  I have 145 squats to do today for the 30-day Challenge... have done 60 so far and I intend to complete it, but that's about the extent of my fitness plans for today.

Another group fitness class tomorrow... hopefully I can rise out of this funk long enough to really participate, both mentally and physically, in that one.

Because I'm an optimist at heart, even on days like this one, I searched Facebook for something I could use to brighten my day and ease up on the negativity I'm experiencing right now.  Mostly (weird day on FB I guess) all I found was some TRULY RIDICULOUS "fitspiration" images that pretty much made me sick to my stomach.  I re-posted the worst offender when I got pissed.

But I leave you with these:

Essential life lessons:  love often...and to fight for the life you've been given...and to live it fully in the time you're given. May we all aspire to leave a legacy of strength and love.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Running Scared

Well, I did it!  In my last post I expressed some concern about being able to work in the 125 squats required to stay on track with my 30-day Squat Challenge.  I was starting the day at a client, working about a 3/4 day three hours from home, would be driving home in the afternoon, then attending a meeting for our Catch the Wave group leaders at a local restaurant, and all that before I even get home for the night.

I could spare you the details, but I won't, because I found the details pretty entertaining.  Hopefully you will too.  I needed to get in 6 sets of 20, plus five more.  I got two sets done in the client's restroom before I took off.  I hit up a McDonald's to get a Diet Dr. Pepper (no food) and use the facilities at the half-way point of my drive, and I got another set done there (thank you, handicapped stall).  I drove straight to the restaurant where my meeting would be held, and arrived about a half-hour early.  Used the facilities there too and got in another set.  (Followed by some pizza.  I restrained myself and had three squares of pizza, which was delicious and filling but not so filling that I felt stuffed afterward, so... win?)  Finally home around 7:30.  Greeted the dogs and the mister, and knocked out the remaining 45 squats before I sat down, on the off-chance that I wouldn't be able to convince myself to stand up again.

There you have it:  125 squats, 4 cities, three public restrooms.  Done.

Yesterday was pretty uneventful, had a pretty reasonable food-day and headed out a little early from work to catch my first weekly Ride the Wave meeting.  We had a 2-mile assessment run.  I'm still coming back from my lengthy break from regular exercise, and I was expecting to be disappointed with my results.  I was not surprised to find myself dead last in finishing the run.  The weather was a HUGE improvement, temps in the low 30's and almost NO ice on the trail, just one sketchy spot and several very large and very cold puddles to navigate.  We were running in the dark by the end, and though I did have a hand-held flashlight on, I am seriously worried about ice.  I had a bad fall last winter and really could have knocked my teeth out on the sidewalk, and ever since, I just really struggle with that fear of falling.

Anyway, I ran the first mile, took a 30-second break, and barring the points where the terrain was sketchy, ran the rest of the second mile as well.  I finished in just over 26 minutes.  My friend (and group leader in last year's RTW program) Kathy kept me company the whole time and TRIED to help me follow our main instruction which was NOT to talk, just focus on getting a solid time - not race pace, but a "good effort" pace.  She was mildly successful in keeping my chatty self quiet.  I run so much with the dog, and don't talk all that much to myself or to her (at least, not out loud), when I run with other people, I turn into a real chatterbox!

I had SO MUCH reflective gear on, I just had to have a photo... or two.

I spent much of that second mile mentally worrying about people being done with their assessment and waiting on me before they could start the talk.  That's still a tough mental battle for me.  It doesn't bother me too much knowing I'm last but the idea that folks are sitting around waiting for the last one to arrive really does get under my skin.  I found out later that several people came in less than 5 minutes before I did and I probably wasn't too far behind the second-to-last person, so of course, that was all in my head.

I'm in a weird place for the start of the program this year.  I'm not injured, but I'm lacking in endurance.  The beginners program, which starts with running just one minute and doing a whole lot of walking, would be WAY below my current abilities, but the more advanced program will surely be a challenge.  I just have to trust that the endurance will return.  The "return" will take less time than the initial build-up of endurance took.   Yes, Chris, it will.  It will return quickly.  All I have to do is follow my program and keep working at it.

Tonight I have a group workout at a local gym with my weight loss challenge group.  I really enjoyed the last one - group workouts are a rarity for me, so I'm looking forward to it.  Friday will be a rest day, other than a possible dog-walk, and Saturday there's another group workout.  Sunday I have a date to run with a friend.

I leave you with this little ditty I saw on Facebook today from Live, Love, Lift:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Accountability Post

When I left off yesterday, I planned to hit the hotel gym before heading out to dinner with my team, and didn't know where we would be eating.

I didn't exactly hit the gym; instead I decided to try something new.  I recently downloaded the Daily Burn app for my iPad, and I wasn't feeling up for a treadmill run and didn't know what weights or machines might be available, so I decided to rearrange the furniture in my room (housekeeping loves when I do that, I'm sure) and try one of the DB workouts.  I only have the free version, not the subscription, so my options were limited, but there were 3 or 4 that looked like good choices for me.  Like an idiot, I chose the BHT (Butt, Hips, Thighs) workout.  I say "like an idiot" because OMG it was tough, and my BHT are burning like crazy today!  Lots of squats and lunges in various forms.  There were segments where I felt like I couldn't keep up and took a few seconds break mid-circuit, but I think I'd like to do it again sometime, see if I can make it through without the unscheduled rests.  Overall, I'd recommend it.  I didn't need much room.  I didn't have hand-held weights with me but it was certainly challenging without them, and it was a quick and easy way to get a 40-minute workout without much fuss.

Squat Challenge Update:  I decided after that BHT workout, I didn't need to add another 50 squats separately; it really felt like I had fulfilled my squat requirement for the day.  I'm calling it Still on Track for Day 17.  Logged the day as "completed" and saw the assignment for today.  *sigh... It's going to be hard to convince myself to do 125 squats today!  Especially since I will be leaving the client and driving 3 hours home to make it to a meeting tonight.  I'd better head to the restroom and get a couple of sets done before I take off.

So then:  dinner.  The girls chose a really great restaurant called Firefly.  All organic, focused on locally-grown foods, high quality stuff.  A bit pricey for a mid-week work dinner, but as it turned out, totally worth it.  I ended up having a sort of accidental Atkins meal.  Works for me, because although I don't intend to cut out an entire food group or macro-nutrient like Carbs, and I do get that Carbs are not the Enemy... I've been reading more about nutrition lately and I think I need more protein in my diet, and fewer carbs overall.

We split the Dungeness Crab Purses (basically a small fried crab rangoon) - there's my "splurge" for the meal.  For my side, I just wasn't feeling salad-y so I ordered the soup:  a cauliflower puree.  Turns out they were out of that, or maybe our waiter was wrong and it just wasn't the soup of the day, but anyway I ended up with a Butternut Squash puree which was completely amazing.  I wrote down what I think was in there, and have decided to try to replicate it at home.  Really good stuff.  For my entree, I ordered one of the specials:
Wild Caught Steelhead 
Spaghetti Squash, Lemon Spinach,
Davis Farms Purple Potatoes, Carrot Butter

You'd never know those potatoes were even there, I'd guess there was less than a 1/4-cup of diced cooked potatoes on the plate.  The fish was grilled, skin on, but I removed the skin and skipped it.  Tasted a lot like salmon, which I love.  I had water with dinner, NO WINE.  (big "win" there... you know how I love my wine.)

When they offered dessert, I was prepared to skip it, the girls had eaten there before and told me how amazing it was - they loved the Tiramisu (which I don't care for generally) but the waiter described the Black Berry Shortcake and I guess I caved.  Feeling good about my workout and feeling like I "deserved" it after opting out of wine, I suppose.  Home-made blackberry ice cream just sounded so refreshing and wonderful!  BUT, I told him I just wanted the scoop of ice cream; NO SHORTCAKE.

Once back at the hotel, I dutifully logged everything in to the best of my ability - I don't know how many ounces of fish they gave me, but I only ate about 3/4 of it... and of course when eating out, you never know for sure about the fat / salt content of the food - and  with the ice cream my log shows about 700 calories for dinner.  I'd done pretty well during the day, and guestimated about 200 calories burned for the BHT workout, and ended up within my calories for the day by 61.  BIG win, especially on the road.

Checked out Facebook before bed and found THE COOLEST thing:

Lincoln Presidential Half Finisher's Medal

I just LOVE that when people see photos like this one, I'm the one they think of and they re-post knowing I might be interested in signing up for a half-marathon because it has a cool-ass finisher's medal.  How freaking cool is that?!?  I may be a little off my game recently, but what great motivation that provides, knowing that people see me differently and expect different things from me now, no matter what my weight is or how my speed /endurance is going with my run routine.  I have a long way to go with my weight, and there are still more lifestyle changes I want to make in terms of living a more physically active life, but WOW!  I've come really far from the girl who sort-of-accidentally signed up for a 4.38-mile race back in 2008. (and btw, came in DFL in the Foot Pounder division!)

Monday, February 17, 2014

On the Road Again...

Yes, I am traveling again this week.  First night in a hotel since mid-December!  But it's just for a couple of nights, and I have a plan to keep the food intake in line.
Ready for work today.  I'm not so good at these "mirror selfies" must work on that.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  I must share that I managed to get a GREAT run in yesterday!  Last Wednesday, there was a group activity with the Ton of Fun weight loss challenge group that I'm doing, and one of the other members was in the Ride the Wave program with me last year, in my "slow" group.  I have been struggling so much lately with motivation - this weather has really got me off my game in that department, but I've been trying to find a balance between forcing myself to workout (and not enjoying it), and waiting for that motivation to come back, so that I just "feel like getting some exercise."  Anyway, Jenny and I got to talking, and she suggested we go for a run on Sunday.

I was SO excited about this, it's the first thing I told Jason when I got home:  "I have a date on Sunday!!"

WHY didn't I think of posting online for a running buddy??  WHY??

I had been on the fence about going to the meeting Wednesday night in the first place, and I was SO GLAD I did.  The presentation was informative and reminded me of several foods that are healthy, that I already know I like to eat, and gave me some new ways to prepare them.  Big win, all by itself.  Then the invite from Jenny for a Sunday runday... major bonus!  I spent the next few days looking forward to it (and also, of course, worrying that I would be too slow, too out of practice, or too whatever - or that the weather would shift again and we would be ice skating.)  Having a date with a running partner was just the motivational push I needed to get me out the door.  Without it, I may have decided that 20 degrees is still too cold to run (which it is NOT.  I figured that out last year, but with the recent cold snaps... it has become easy to tell myself that "it's too cold!")

Of course I brought Coty with me, so we got some "mommy and me" time as well.  The weather was basically perfect.  Sunny, no snow in the past 36 hours, the trail had been plowed and since we were meeting at 3pm, much of the remaining snow and ice-packed spots had had most of the day to melt in the sun.  Temp was between 20-25 degrees.  There were some patches of ice here and there, slushy messes to work around, but mostly we were able to run uninhibited.  Oh, and no falls.

We planned to run from the park where we met to The Triangle and back, figuring it would be about 3 miles.  Turns out, we got most of the way to the Triangle and we'd already hit the 2.0-mile marker, so we turned around early and got a 4-mile run.  Time:  a little over an hour.  We walked about 7 minutes to start / warm up, and we took a few minutes to walk at the half-way point.  All in all, I'd say we ran 3 of the 4 miles, perhaps a little more.  It felt really good to be outside getting my run on.

And now I feel much better about the start of my two running programs this week.  I'm not quite up to running 3 miles without stopping, but I'm close enough, and with a group, I always push myself more than when I'm alone.  It's much harder to tell your running partner, "hey, I want to walk for a couple of minutes" than it is to just decide you'll walk for a bit.  Coty never complains either way.

Jenny, thank you THANK YOU!!  I got MUCH more than an hour of exercise from this date.

After the run, I got cleaned up, finished packing and hit the "actual" road for a 3-hour drive.  I'm working at a client today and tomorrow.  DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!

I had Taco Bell, of all things, for dinner last night.  But I packed Greek Yogurt, cottage cheese, an avocado, and two chicken breasts, which should make for plenty of food for breakfast / lunches.  I'd intended to take some bread from the hotel this morning (make a sandwich out of that avocado and chicken) but forgot it.  I'd also intended not to eat any of their breakfast, but I ended up with some fruit and half a bagel with cheese on it (sort of like a pizza-type thing, but small, and no meat).  So I had my cottage cheese and yogurt with the chicken / avocado, and I'm feeling like that was just the right amount of food.

Dinner will be out with my team tonight.  I asked them to decide where we'll go, and I'll research it to figure out what to order.  That's always tough in the moment but I can do it.  We also agreed, since we don't have to work late this week, we'll head back to the hotel around 5pm, I'll change and do some type of workout in the hotel gym, and THEN we'll eat.

It does work out well when I can have a plan, share it with my team members, and work their schedule around it.  OK, it sort of helps that I'm the boss and I get to make the schedule...

Last note:  I'm still on track with my 30-day Squat Challenge - got my 80 in last night in my hotel room.  The assignment for today is 50, I guess I'll work those in during my pre-dinner workout.

Anyway, my lunch is now over and I'll be getting back to work now.

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's been HOW long??

If I were Catholic, I might start this post by saying "forgive me, bloggers, for I have sinned.  It's been over 90 days since my last post."  In case you hadn't noticed, I have taken quite a break from blogging recently.  Things got pretty darn crazy at work and something had to give.  OK, several things had to give.  But I'm still here, still doing my thing.  The past year has been quite a challenge in the weight department - as you can see here.

I had my lowest weight of the year back in April, when I was feeling utterly optimistic, and the weight steadily crept back on over the ensuing months.  Even with the training for my two half-marathons and all the exercise during the summer and through September.  It's certainly true:

I really can't outrun my fork.

I'm not quite back where I started, but it's a near thing.  Back in 2011 when I started this effort, I was just shy of 200 lbs.  In April, 165 and change.  This week's Sunday-morning weigh-in had me at 185.0.  During this blogging break, I have continued to exercise when I could, though through the months of November and December, that was often not possible.  And clearly, my food choices were not stellar and definitely didn't make up for the reduced exercise.  There was a lot of traveling, a fair amount of evening indulgence in wine, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit there was a LOT, I mean a L.O.T. of stress eating.

Since the new year, things at the office have calmed down significantly, while the weather has been ABOMINABLE.  Nothing short of torturous.  There's been very little outdoor exercise, precious little running (which is BAD, with my next half marathon just 10 weeks away...) but I have been making it to my gym a couple times a week, and I've relearned some at-home workouts that don't require any special equipment.

SERIOUSLY?  The low on that Sunday / HIGH on Monday?  
We have had entirely too many days like that since January 1 for this California girl.  
Days where I'm ready to chuck it all and move to Mexico.

I did actually run my first race of the year already!  Mid-January I ran the Chilly Chili Fun Run - the Lake Run Loop course that I'm so familiar with.  Not a great pace, and I had to do quite a bit of walking, but wow it really felt great to be out there again.

I joined a 12-week weight-loss challenge sponsored by my local Fleet Feet store (the owners are active members of my running club), and that's been a helpful motivator as well.  One other thing, I decided to do one of those 30-Day Challenges - the 30-Day Squat Challenge - beginning February 1.  I found an app for that one, so it's been very convenient and VERY difficult to forget to do my squats for the day.  I've enjoyed that much more than I really thought I would.  It's been challenging, for sure, but on days when I don't have time or energy for a "real" workout, it's nice to know I can still make time for, say, 75 squats in the evening (or at work!) and noticing both strength and soreness in my legs and butt has been really great.

I've been focusing on accepting where I am right now, not beating myself up for going backwards to the tune of 20 lbs.  And getting moving again.  With a manageable workload, the lack of physical activity has begun to really NAG at me, the weather that has hindered my ability to go for a run really frustrating.

One funny story that may encapsulate where I'm at right now, mentally... was on the first run I took in January.  It was actually the Chilly Chili that I mentioned early.  I did my stretches, took Coty with me, and we hit the pavement with a plan of running just 2 minute intervals.  OMG that was WAY harder than it "should" have been!  I started getting down on myself, thinking 6 months ago I was running 2 mile intervals and taking a 1-minute walk break; now I'm struggling - REALLY struggling - to complete just 2 minutes of running.This is sad.  Pathetic and sad.  But I broke out of my negative talk by reminding myself that it's a rebuilding process right now.  After a while, as is my wont, I found a way to find the whole thing a little funny:  "Get right back on that horse," they say!  "Just like riding a bicycle," they say!  You know, there's never any footage of someone ACTUALLY getting right back on a horse after they've been thrown or kicked.  There's no YouTube video of adult people riding a bike for the first time after 25 years!  

There's a REASON those aren't on YouTube - because it's HARD, and it's hard to watch.  It's necessary (which is, I suppose, why they say those things) but it's HARD.  And you are tough enough to do it.  You ran TWO half-marathons inside of a month, less than 6 months ago!  This will come back more quickly than you think.  It's just that right now, you're having to realize that you've lost more endurance than you thought.

Coty, before the Chilly Chili Fun Run

I will be training with my Ride the Wave group again this year - in fact, that program starts next week.  I'm VERY worried about how the first few weeks will go, with my endurance so low, I feel like joining the "advanced" group may have been overly optimistic.  But there you have it, I paid the registration so I may have to do some walking but I will be there and hopefully that extra push from the group training runs will be just the thing to get me ready for that half marathon I so blithely signed up for back in November.

I've also signed up as a group leader for the Catch the Wave program this year.  I intended it to be my "easy run" night, where I'll be leading one of the slower groups of beginning runners.  I'm excited to embrace my love of running and share it with some new folks again this year.  I really enjoyed volunteering last year during the Heat Wave program.

You can see, I've been putting a lot of energy into getting my brain and my body back on track the past few weeks.  I've also been doing a lot of reading, catching up with my favorite fitness and weight-loss bloggers and (with the help of my weight loss challenge group) begun to make some changes in the eating habits.  Cooking more at home, focusing on whole foods, reducing the amount of fast foot and packaged / processed foods I eat.

And the desire to blog has returned.  I get a lot out of exercising, tracking my food and exercise in the apps that I use, and the reading that I do.  But I have this intuitive sense that blogging, writing about these things, even writing about the specifics of what I eat and what I do to keep moving, may provide more than the apps and the internal tracking can do.  Sometimes, blogging feels like just another exercise in tracking, and that's not what I want, but I suspect that even if there are days when that's kind of all that goes into the post, I will get more from that process than I do when I log my food and activity on my phone.  In any case, I'd like to investigate if consistently writing helps me get to a new and better place in this process.  I intend to find out.

I'll leave you on that positive note.  I'm back in that saddle.

And maybe when it warms up a bit, I'll be riding my bike again.