Sunday, November 30, 2014

One Step at a Time

First, I want to thank everyone for all the kind, supportive and encouraging words after my last post. It was difficult to write. Even though I have had second and even third thoughts about posting something so personal, I do not regret it. I know I am not the only one out there who is fighting for health and fitness amid all sorts of challenges - minor and major.

This will be a bit of a rambling post.  It might not be my best, but I am posting it anyway because it represents my efforts to get back on track after the emotional roller coaster that was my November. I would write and take pictures every day with the intention of actually finishing a post.  Sometimes, I was sidetracked and never made it back to the computer.  Sometimes, I was just not in the mood.  But overall, I am moving in the right direction.

The day before Thanksgiving I finally got back out walking. I walked less than two miles and I was in no hurry.  I just wanted to put myself back out there. I didn't even bother to change into "workout" wear.
I feel like I am starting over in a way.  I just couldn't break out my usual three miles at a 4 mph pace after doing nothing but feed my face for the past couple of weeks.  The important thing is that I am moving again and I am getting my mouth stapled shut.  Okay, not the second part - I am hoping to pull it together without  such drastic measures.

Now that I am back to walking, the neighborhood is once again under surveillance. This poor tree got a massive trim.  I wonder how long it will take to recover.
The first of the neighborhood Christmas decorations.  I am looking forward to next week...there should be much more decoration.  We are having a super mild weekend and I have see lots of people out working on their lights and decorations. I hope people leave them on all night so I can enjoy them in the wee hours of the morning.
The cold and the rain is taking a toll on the streets.  
Oh my, look at all this trash!!  Turns out I missed the trash man so I threw mine into the car and drove it to my sister's house. She lives a half mile away, but her trash man comes about 2 hours later than mine.
Taking pictures of geese flying overhead while you are walking is a bit of a challenge.
We got a little bit of snow Wednesday night. I didn't walk on Thanksgiving, but I did manage to get in 3 miles on Friday :)  My pace was better than Wednesday.  I honestly thought I might be the crazy lady walking around the neighborhood with tears frozen to her face. Turns out it just felt good to be out. In addition, to the obvious physical benefits the mental benefits just can not be measured.

This street runs east and west. The yards on the left have southern exposure and the snow had already melted.
Love this mailbox decoration.

Saturday afternoon, my niece and I took Millie out to the farm to visit and work off some of her energy.  She always has a great time playing with my in-laws' dogs. She plays hard and I think she was glad to get in the car to leave so she could take a break.  One of their dogs NEVER tires and poor Millie tries her best to keep up.

While we were out at the farm we took a little walk down the road to pick up some eggs from a nearby farm.
The farm has a bunch of chickens and recently acquired some turkeys and ducks.  I am not sure they want to keep the turkeys, but they didn't want to get rid of them around Thanksgiving.  This tom turkey seemed quite impressed with himself...lots of gobbling, puffing up his chest and feathers. The hens were less impressed with him :)

I could watch chickens for hours.  I would love to get a few. We have talked about it, but we don't have the best chicken situation at the moment.  I would have to name one Vernonica...and maybe Delores.
The turkey population grew when they let the first couple set on a batch of eggs.  There were 5 or 6 young birds...they too made it through Thanksgiving...WHEW!

Such a beautiful sunshiny day - almost 60 degrees.
Spent the majority of Sunday sitting in the bleachers watching my first ever cheerleading competition. We watched junior high and high school teams compete. It was entertaining and those are definitely some athletes out there. The stunts about gave me a heart attack several times. I am not that brave!

Of course, it was fun to see y niece's junior high squad qualify for state on their first attempt :)

And then it was December.  I am working out some specific and realistic goals to get myself back on track and stop the scale from going up.  More on that next time.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Absolutely Crushed

I have been composing this post in my head for a couple of weeks. But the story has changed so many times in those couple of weeks and as I sit down now to try to write it my words are failing me.  Why is that what sounds so good in your head never seems to sound nearly as clear on paper (or on screen)?

November has been a month I will NEVER forget.  It started with a crazy schedule...10K race, husband's birthday, nephew's football playoffs, niece's wedding, work events...the schedule in itself was overwhelming. 

I started the Get Your Gobbler in Gear challenge. I was super excited and motivated.  I had found a great group of ladies with similar goals and a no excuses mentality.  Planks and pushups were the basis of the challenge and then personalized with each individual adding her own goals.  For 5 days I was all about the challenge.  Each day a little more excited about how close I was getting to being able to do an actual full push-up.

Then Day 6 it all came to a screeching halt.  We discovered that I was pregnant.  45 years old and pregnant for the first time in my life.  We were thrilled and a little terrified...completely overwhelmed.

I am a bit of a late bloomer.  I met my husband when I was 40 years old.  I was 42 years old when I walked down the aisle for the first and only time. We have now been married for three years.  At the time we got married, we didn't think children were in our future.  In addition to my age, I was 3 years into a Multiple Sclerosis medication and was not supposed to get pregnant. Turns out there was a miscommunication. Even though I wasn't safe to get pregnant while taking the medication there was an option to take a break from the medication and attempt to conceive.  So there I was a couple months from my 45th birthday trying to decide if it was too late to try to make my lifelong dream a reality.

For the record, searching the internet does very little to boost  a 45 year old woman's confidence in her ability to get pregnant. Seriously, most of what I read gave me about a 1 percent chance. We decided we would rather take that 1 percent chance and fail than not give ourselves any chance.  My neurologist agreed to me taking 3 months off the medication to clear my system before we could try...then 3 months to try...then back on the medicine if no success.

Spend a little time thinking about it and you can see how absolutely absurd it is to think we could have success in 3 months at my age. Turns out we only needed two.

I was shocked.  I had pretty much convinced myself that it was not going to happen so when it did I was completely unprepared.  There is a boatload of questions that come to mind once you are pregnant that you just don't think about before.

One of the questions I pondered was how I was  going to keep up a weight-loss journey and related blog in motion while pregnant.  Obviously, diet and exercise would play a huge role in a healthy pregnancy (I am quite certain that our commitment to improving our health was a significant factor in my getting pregnant.)  I had pretty much worked out in my head how I was going to approach the blog during my pregnancy.  The problem was we were not ready to announce the pregnancy until we felt confident that it was a healthy one and we heard the baby's heartbeat. Everything I wrote seemed awkward and disingenuous as I tried to conceal the biggest news of my life. I have a few friends and family members who read the blog and that was not the way I wanted them to find out about the pregnancy. 

While counting the days until we could see our baby's heartbeat on an ultrasound - a moment when we planned to take a breath and relax that this pregnancy could really be the fulfillment of a dream, the worst happened. Monday morning I started spotting.  I had previously had a little cramping which the doctor had prepared us for in advance.  Apparently, it is perfectly normal for some cramping. as the body prepares for a growing baby.  Even though the doctor told us spotting was not one EVER says "Oh, you are spotting, that's good."

I tried to remain hopeful that we would come through this and be able to share a story of a scare that didn't materialize.  The doctor scheduled an ultrasound for Wednesday and we waited. I parked myself on the couch with the coziest of blankets and tried to drown myself in a 90 Day Fiance marathon on TLC.  It was the most mind-numbing, train wreck distraction I could find.

Early Tuesday morning, the bleeding increased.  Without sharing all the horrible details, I knew in my heart the baby was lost. I felt so empty. How could something so tiny make a body feel so full one day and so physically empty the next?

Later that morning we went for an ultrasound and blood tests. Instead of the joy of seeing our baby's heartbeat we saw nothing.  Nothing, because instead of a technician pointing out of a growing baby (like I've seen hundreds of times on tv/movies) to overjoyed parents-to-be, our technician kept the screen turned away from us the entire time she scanned. Later that afternoon the doctor's office called to confirm what we already knew.  The pregnancy is over.  Our baby is gone. We are completely crushed.

We may have only been a family of three for a few weeks, but it was as real as any family could be.

Did we make a zillion plans and share a zillion dreams in that span of time?  Yes, we did.  Did we playfully argue over whether to name our baby Obi-Wan or maybe Minerva Louise after a beloved and befuddled children's book chicken? Yes we did.  Did my husband immediately hover over me with a fierce protection to keep our baby safe and warm inside me?  Yes, he did.  Did I look into my husband's eyes with complete amazement that I was looking into the eyes of both the man I loved and the father of my child?  Yes, I did.

Where do we go from here?

This blog is meant to document my journey as I attempt (and hopefully succeed) to lose 75 pounds (the weight of our puppy).  Where does heartbreak fit into that journey?  How do I prevent this devastation from pushing me into a depression that robs me of our future? From a weight-loss perspective, I don't want to try to start over in a year or two having gained all that I have lost plus some. I am already about 8 pounds higher than my last weigh-in.  Part of that was happy pounds as I indulged a bit celebrating the pregnancy and part of that is trying to eat away the current sadness.

Perhaps this is all too much to share, but again, I can only be who I am.  If I am going to share my weight loss journey I want to be authentic as possible.  I can not stress enough the one lesson I have learned "achieving weight-loss and fitness is NOT separate from  your real life."

As I face picking up the blog where I left off, I have so many questions.  Is anyone still reading after my absence?  Maybe.  Will I drive away those who remain with my current despair?  Maybe.  Will readers tire of my story if I can't bounce back as quickly as I (or they) want?  Maybe. Will I succeed in getting back on a weight-loss/fitness track?  Maybe.  Will I gain more before I get there?  Maybe.

Will my husband and I try again?  Maybe.  Will we succeed?  Maybe.

Today, when all the maybes seem to dominate our future, there are two things I know for sure.  Will we shed uncountable tears over our loss?  Definitely.  Will we love each other through this ordeal? Absolutely.

. Weigh In Wednesday

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crazy Week Recap

I am back!! Thank you for still being here :)  I can't even begin to cover all the craziness that has been the last week in our world. 

Thursday was my wonderful husband's 40th birthday! Truth be told he is a little spoiled. Every year we celebrate his birthday week...this year was no different.  Dinner out, surprise party, new toys...

The perfect surprise for my husband was pizza from all his favorite places.  With the help of some willing guests who made the pick-ups we had pizza from 6 different places. It was a pizza bonanza!!!

Found this guy at the grocery store.  Of course, he had to come home with me and join the Darth Vader I had given my husband earlier in the week.  See what I mean?  Spoiled.
I think this is my husband's all time favorite thing I make. Bacon Wrapped Chicken.  The little bundles are filled with a cream cheese, cilantro and jalapenos...yum.

My nephew's high school football team made the playoffs and had a game Saturday afternoon.  Unfortunately they lost, but it was an exciting atmosphere!  It was the first time the school has made the playoffs in 11 years.

My oldest niece got married on Sunday.  I can't wrap my head around the fact I have a niece old enough to get married.  Not only that she is my younger sister's daughter.  What??

Me with the beautiful bride :)
The got married at a nature institute overlooking the Mississippi.  They had the perfect fall day for an outdoor wedding.  This week it is freezing!!

Despite all the craziness around them the pups managed to have a much more relaxing week.

Millie loved the new toy...she gave it to my husband for his birthday...she is a little self-centered  :)

Now that the craziness has calmed down. I need to get back into the swing of a exercise and normal eating!  It was a wonderful it is time to get serious. 

Weigh In Wednesday


Monday, November 3, 2014

D.A.R.E. to Run for BackStoppers 10K

This Saturday my husband and I did our second 10K race.  Don't let the sunshine filled pictures fool you it was FREEZING - in the low 30s during the race. The 10K was held in conjunction with a 5K.  As we left the start area, the racers split onto separate courses.  The 5Kers turned and went under the largest flag I have ever seen (in person).  Love those ladder trucks! The 10Kers went straight. I was a little nervous about wind being a factor when I realized that we would be headed north on the way back. Turns out I was quite comfortable with the temperature during the race...before and after was another story.

The 10K course went 3.1 miles to a turnaround and then back the same 3.1 miles. The course was about 3/4 of a mile in town and then out into the country.
One thing I love about an out and back course is that I have a chance to see my husband race.  Even if it is only for a brief moment and I still have miles to travel, it makes me happy to see how strong he is running. I also enjoy cheering on the other runners as they are headed back.  I tried to have a word of encouragement for everyone who passed me...and some had some words of encouragement or a high five for me. 
My husband is in the green - currently racing 7th.
By the time I made the turn around there was no one within catching distance. I usually like to pick someone to catch to keep my pace strong. However, it was pretty much 3 miles of me and the open road (and a random firetruck).

I had a bit of a freak out moment the night before the race because I knew it was going to be super cold and I am not prepared for cold weather racing. (I will be next time.)  Thankfully my challenge group talked me off the ledge and gave me some good suggestions.  Desiree at Finding the Skinny Geek Within suggested cheap gloves that I could just ditch if my hands got too warm.  I did wear gloves for awhile and then stuffed them in my pockets.  Evidently, someone took Skinny Geek's advice...the second glove was just a few feet farther down the road. I wore two pairs of cotton capri pants and a long sleeved shirt with a pullover. Maybe it is time to shop for cold weather gear.
I would say this was the most emotionally challenging race for me to date.  There were points in the race when I could do nothing but watch my shoes and put one foot in front of the other.  I didn't want to look ahead to see how far it was to the next turn or to see endless road before me. It was hard to tell myself I could make it if I actually saw how far I had to go.  I was so thirsty and frustrated by the unavailability of water. I didn't drink at the mile 1 or mile 2 water stations because I wasn't ready.  I never dreamed they wouldn't have a water station at the half way point and that the mile 4 water station would be out of water. It was tough emotionally to keep telling myself one more mile until I could get a drink and then find none. 
By the time I found a stocked water station I was about a mile from the finish. I could barely drink because the water was so cold and I was breathing so hard.  It was hard to slow my breathing down to safely swallow the water.  I carried the cup for a couple blocks and tried to sip at it.  A few blocks from the finish my husband came back to meet me.  I was so happy to see him, but when I started to talk to him while still walking I got more upset about the race and had even more trouble catching my breath. I felt terrible, but I had to ask him to run back to the finish line, so I wouldn't try to talk and could just concentrate on keeping up my pace and finishing.  Thankfully, the little bit of water started to help and I calmed down the last block or so.  Nobody had to see me crying at the finish line :)  Actually I am pretty sure the tears were from the cold and wind, right? 
I was super excited that Tiina of One Crazy Penguin came out to cheer for us.  She is an amazing athlete. In October, she completed her first Half Ironman - 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.  You can read her race report here. One unexpected surprise of blogging is the fun inspiring people I have met.  It was great to meet one of them in person.  We are looking forward to cheering her on at an upcoming race. It was freezing cold and she could not have been more kind and gracious about waiting almost an hour and a half for me to finish.  Thank you, Tiina!
Tiina brought her sweet puppies, Koda (left) and Orion (right). Hopefully, we can set up a play date with Millie...she would love them :)

I was very happy with my time 1:27:36.  And I beat 2 people - bonus :) I love the stats from my Garmin watch.  I was happy to see that even though I struggled (mostly emotionally) the last few miles I kept my pace very consistent.  And I still can't believe I can walk a mile in 13 1/2 minutes!!
Splits TimeCumulative Time








6.3013:54Average Pace

My husband finished in 50:11 and earned 1st place in his age group (6th place overall).  I am SO proud of him!!! I am definitely going to have to make a plan to display his medals. My husband also won an attendance prize - $25 restaurant gift certificate :)
November 1, 2014
We were both thrilled to set new PRs.  A little reminder what a difference 5 months have made.  In June  - Husband 1:05:19 (he was 15 minutes faster this time) and very surprised he was able to run the whole way.  Me - 1:33:12 (I was almost 6 minutes faster this time).  I don't know my husband's weight difference, but I weighed 22.2 pounds less than I did on our last 10K race day :) 
June 14, 2014
Our long cold day ended with some high school playoff football.  My nephew's team made the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.  Our team won :)

The evening had a fun NSV for me.  I wore a pair of fleece lounge pants under my jeans - the jeans formerly known as "my way too tight to zip up, much less wear in public" jeans. I actually had plenty of room to wear fleece pants under them :) Believe me I was super grateful for that extra layer!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bring On the Next Challenge!

We had such a great time with our challenge group last month that we have decided to stay together and change up our challenge for a new month. I think I made a couple too many goals last month so this month I am going to keep it a little more simple

So here are my goals to Get My Gobbler in Gear....again I made a chart for the fridge.  I am sure to see it every day - several times :)

1. Plank/Push Up Challenge - Our group is following a plan that will build to a 5 minute plank and 40 push-ups  by the end of the month (see below).  However, I am modifying these goals because I could not even do Day 1 (15 push-ups and 20 second plank). 

Attempting to lower myself to the floor...
 And the push-up :(

I believe it is important to set realistic goals that will challenge you, but you still have hope of achieving. That said, my goal by the end of the month is 10 consecutive push-ups and 1 minute plank.  This may change as I see how I progress. I feel like this will be a legitimate challenge for me since I currently have zero upper body strength. However, if I find that I am progressing better than I thought on my push-up or plank goals, I promise I will re-evaluate and adjust it accordingly. They call it a "challenge" for a reason, right?

This is the original challenge. Let's see how close I come.

2. Walk 75 miles -  I am upping my mileage from last month (60 miles) because I really want to push myself to be consistent in my morning walking routine. I have to get up at 4:45 a.m. if I want to go with my husband. If you are trying to get in a morning workout routine I think now would be to a good time to give it go. Hopefully, with the time change it will be a bit easier to get up early. 

3. Don't let November become an eating free-for-all - So many opportunities to splurge with birthdays, holidays, etc. I will have some splurges, but I need to balance those with some structure.  This whole "journey" would have been scrapped on Day 3 if I couldn't eat the things I want. Of course, I can't eat all the things, everyday, but I can enjoy them in moderation.  From an eating perspective the next couple months are going to be tough for me. My plan is to be very aware of what I am actually eating.  And if I start to eat something and I am not enjoying, stop eating and pitch it. I would rather "waste" a piece of cake than have to burn off something I didn't even enjoy. And I would rather "waste" a little money on individual servings bags of chips because I know I can stop with one little bag, but not with "approximately 14 chips" out of a big bag (and I am pretty sure they don't mean try to find the 14 biggest chips in the bag).

Now a less quantifiable goal...
4. Focus on positive things about myself - it is so easy to see areas where we fail (or perceive failure).  Obviously, this whole journey will be much bigger than what we eat and how much we exercise. We have to make emotional/behavioral changes. We had a good discussion in our challenge group about this subject. One thing I am a bit embarrassed by is the way I hear myself talk to/about myself.  I would NEVER accept a "friend" talking to me that way!!  I am not 100% sure of my strategy to achieve this goal. I will do my best to share as I go along.

Again, I am excited to start a new adventure and I love the accountability of our group.  I can't wait to see my results at the end of the month.  Even if I don't lose anything in November I will be proud of myself for working hard to improve my overall fitness.  It is definitely time to "get my gobbler in gear!"