The Now

The Only Thing That’s Been Running is My Apple TV (and my nose)

Okay so that’s a little bit of a lie. I did run for a short time on Tuesday at the gym. It was starting to get unseasonably cold and windy (for Arizona) and rather than freeze my tushy off, I opted to hit the treadmill instead.

Running on a treadmill and photography don’t mix

I just ran about 2.5 miles with my Ease into 5K app. I should’ve known something was going on internally because it was a really difficult run. I thought maybe it was unfamiliar equipment (new gym for me-story for a different post), or the fact that I’ve only been running on the road lately. Plus I just abhor running on the treadmill. It’s SO boring. Luckily I was able to get a treadmill that faced a window so I could watch the giant paloverde tree in front of me bend and twist in the wind. It was like an elegant dance choreographed by Mother Nature. It was entertaining for a little while. Instead of trying to get a picture of myself running on the treadmill, perhaps I should’ve snapped a picture of the gray sky that was unusually thick with clouds. It made me cold just looking at it. Just for giggles, I went and sat in the dry sauna for about 8 minutes to get rid of the chill that had invaded my body. I also tried out the wet sauna just to experience it. I looked like a drowned rat in about 30 seconds. I think I like the dry sauna better.

I was feeling a little run down on Monday and Tuesday of this week, but thought it was just because we are 3 weeks away from spring break (the end of the 3rd quarter!) and in desperate need of a break. I had actually just expressed the fact that I’d love to have a day off from both jobs where I don’t have to go grocery shopping, do lesson plans, do anything for anyone else, or pretty much just leave the house. I wanted to just lay in bed all day and read or watch movies and stay in my pjs all day. After spending the last 3 days in bed, I’m totally over that desire now.

I woke up Wednesday morning, a very important day as I was to sit on a committee to help interview potential candidates to replace my principal of 10 years (who is retiring at the end of the school year) with a nose that couldn’t decided if it wanted to be stuffed up or run. I figured okay, our weather here in Arizona has been giving people whiplash with all of its ups and downs, no big deal, it’s probably allergies. Everything is blooming. I had just looked out into my neighbors yard when I got home from the gym Tuesday evening and saw one of their trees covered in white blossoms and knew they’d be starting up soon. Allergies on my mind, I stopped at the store on the way to our district offices and picked up a few boxes of tissues.

I made it though the interviews (and a full box of tissues) and went out to dinner with two of my friends from school who were on the committee with me. By the end of that dinner, my head was pounding, my nose was hurting, and I was beginning to swallow razor blades. I decided to head for school and do sub plans just in case I felt worse in the morning instead of better. I hate doing sub plans. I’m not one of those teachers who just gives my kids busy work and leaves a skeleton lesson plan for an under-qualified substitute. I always hope for the best that I will be assigned a substitute who loves what they do as much as I do, and who wants to do their best for the kids they will be sharing for the day. So in other words, it usually takes me about two hours to write sub plans because I literally put every aspect of our day in there including behavior expectations and expectations for specials, transitions, and routines. I also wrote my kids a note on the whiteboard letting them know why I was out.

Seriously

The next day my alarm went off at my normal school day time at 5:30am and I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. There was no way I was going in to school. I was so thankful I had done lesson plans the evening before. Thursday passed in a blur as I basically slept all day with maybe 15-20 minute increments of wakefulness in between. It was a day I would normally have enjoyed having a lazy day in bed. It rained steadily all day and the high didn’t go above 43 degrees. I was all warm and cozy in my sweats, two blankets, thick socks and long-sleeved shirt, but I was bundled up because my body was wracked with chills from whatever bug had attacked my immune system rather than the freaky weather that was pounding Arizona.

I woke up again the next morning feeling like I was swallowing razor blades. I really didn’t want to leave my kids with a sub again, as rainy day schedules are not fun, but I knew I wouldn’t do them (or myself) any good coming to work. The school rule is “24 hours fever free” for both students and staff. I was still running a fever of 101 so I figured I should stay home again rather than give the gift of germs back to my students. I happened to wake before my alarm, so I grabbed my thick coat and drove to school at 5am to do lesson plans again. I probably shouldn’t have driven myself as my head was so stuffed up, everything felt lopsided and I was dizzy. But being the strong independent woman that I am (ha!) I had no one to take me so I had to do it myself.

I managed to do lesson plans in an hour and a half this time instead of two hours because I used the structure of the plans from the day before and just changed the activities and the specials. Friday was supposed to be my easy day anyway because I have PE in the morning and then we had a makeup orchestra lesson at 12:30 (which about 3/4 of my class goes to) and then because it was “B” week, I had art for an hour at the end of the day. As I headed home it really struck me the odd weather we were having. The roads were so full of water and out toward the east under the emerging light of the rising sun, I could see snow on the Superstition Mountains. If you’re from Arizona, you know this is a rare occurrence. If you’re not from Arizona, just imagine that this time if year we are usually already in the mid-80’s temperature wise. Odd for sure.

Unfortunately my classroom did not get assigned a substitute. My Title One specialist and our part-time school counselor had to tag-team my class all day. They rotated in and out all day long to ensure my kids were being taken care of and taught what they needed to be. I was so grateful. I later found out that our art teacher was out with no sub as well, so the Title Specialist had to sub for her as well. She ended up doing double duty with my kids.

I felt SO guilty. Now that I’m working a retail job in addition to my teaching job, I see such differences in the way the two professions are not only viewed, but in the basic workings. For example, if I call in sick at my retail job (which of course I had to do if I wasn’t able to teach all day), they take me off the schedule. I don’t have to drag my ass in there all disheveled and prep whomever is taking over for me. If I call in sick for my classroom, I have to make sure my kids are taken care of, I have to make sure someone is there for them and then I have to write down in detail every aspect of our day, the inner-workings of my classroom, where we are academically and the flow of our day. There is a big difference between the two. I know one is retail and one is education, but it still amazes me that there is such a big divide between the world of education and everything else.

I ended up going to urgent care on Friday due to the fact that I was still running a fever and still felt terrible. The doctor told me she couldn’t prescribe me anything as I’d already had it for several days. She said she was pretty sure it was a mild case of the flu (thank God for that retail job that had a flu shot clinic in October). I’d hate to imagine what a full dose of the flu would have felt like.

Today is Saturday, as the day has progressed I’ve started to feel better. It’s almost like the reverse of Wednesday. My nose is no longer running, I can actually hear out of both of my ears, and I don’t feel like I’ve swallowed razor blades anymore. Maybe I feel like I’ve smoked two packs of cigarettes (I don’t smoke in real life by the way-my lungs are already tortured enough by my love of running) but no more razor blades. My kitty has been keeping me very good company and laying on my pillow as I snort and snuffle through my days. Today I actually got up to shower (it was needed) and it felt so amazing. Of course it wore me out, so it was back to bed right after that. I have spent the day with my Apple TV. I’ve been flipping between Netflix, Hulu and movies on iTunes.

I’m ALMOST finished watching the Harry Potter movies (remember I’m a nerd?) This school year I have discovered Harry Potter for the first time. Yes I know, I’m a late bloomer. I figured I should probably read the series since my students are at the right age for it. I fell in love! I’ve now read the series twice. I read it the first time and then started watching the movies. In my infinite wisdom I decided I should re-read the books before watching each movie. I’ve now finished The Deathly Hallows and can’t wait to watch the movies. I will probably attempt to watch the first one tomorrow when I’m (hopefully) feeling so much better that I can stay awake for a whole movie.

Needless to say, no running for me the last 4 days. It’s a good thing this flu bug hit me right at the beginning of my training when taking some time off isn’t going to be a huge detriment to me. I’m crossing my fingers that this weird cough I’ve seemed to develop today, goes away by tomorrow. So far this thing hasn’t gone into my chest. It’s stayed above the neck and that’s where I need it to stay. I DO NOT want this thing to morph into bronchitis. It’s time for me to hit the hay again (I’ve never really understood that expression, but my dad always said that to me and my brother when it was time for bed). Here’s to dreaming about amazing race finishes and fast pace times. Who am I kidding? Here’s to dreaming about breathing successfully through both nostrils.

The Now

Those Hills Aren’t Going To Run Themselves

Twice in one month? We HAVE to stop meeting like this! Kidding! I’m feeling pretty darn proud of myself right now for having written twice this year this month! I’m living up to my end of the bargain so far!

So I was off from job number 2 on Saturday and got together with my friend George for a “slow run”. He too is recovering from meniscus surgery. I think he actually had his done about 3 weeks before I had mine, and along with my friend Peg, he drove me to and from the surgery center out in BFE that I had to go to. I was lamenting to the fact that my knee was a little sore after my last run and of course my mind went to the worst case scenario thinking I messed up my knee again. We got to talking and he told me he’s been doing very slow runs to get back into it, and has been able to run almost every day. I was of course instantaneously jealous. He suggested we go for a slow run and he would be willing to show me what he’s been doing for training. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what his definition of “slow” was.

We drove for what seemed like ever. At one point I even asked me if he was kidnapping me since we were headed to the middle of nowhere. He just laughed and kept driving. Good times. We finally pulled into a parking lot somewhere in Paradise Valley (think about 22 miles away). He informed me he ran with a running group a few times and this was where they’d go. He then slipped in, “There is a hill we are going to be running. But it’s not bad. It’s like a run/walk”. I looked at him doubtfully and he just said, “I do it all the time, it’s fine”. Putting my trust in him, I climbed out of the car and got my gear ready to go. I’ve been running with a magnetic pouch that I absolutely adore. I keep my phone and keys and other miscellaneous items in it. I’m going to need to get a few more. I used it at the gym the other day too and loved it. More on this later.

We began running in a fun little neighborhood. There were pretty big houses (think tennis courts and fountains galore) tucked back in the desert wilderness. There wasn’t really much of a trail, just a sidewalk that would disappear beneath pokey desert tree underbrush. I was actually pretty impressed with myself at first. My kneed didn’t hurt at all. I ran for about .70 before we turned around. This is when George informed me that this was our “warm-up”. Sigh. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. We started to head back and it was then that I realized that we had been running DOWN a gentle decline. Of course, what goes down, must come up. The whole way back was uphill, I for sure ran a lot slower than I had on the way down, and had to walk more frequently. I didn’t complain too much and wasn’t too hard on myself because I know I’m just starting back running, and had yet to run on any kind of an incline thus far. We got back to where we started and I jokingly asked George if that was our hill. He just laughed and said, “Nope, C’mon.”

We proceeded across the road via a small traffic light and into another “neighborhood”. When I say neighborhood, it’s not in the traditional sense. This is more like homes scattered randomly on the side of a mountain. This is when I saw the hill. Holy buckets! It wasn’t just a hill! This was pretty daunting. It was a very steep incline that seemed to just keep climbing. He said during this part of his run, he does intervals of 2 minutes walking and a 1 minute “slow trot” while climbing the hill. I looked at him doubtfully, but dutifully followed along just the same. I kept up for about the first two intervals (very slowly), but after that I started to feel like I wanted to die just a little bit. My lungs were about to explode and my butt and quads were on fire! He showed off a bit by running his intervals and then jogging back down to me and then repeating. I doggedly just kept climbing. My heart was pounding so hard I could actually hear my heartbeat in my ears. In case you’ve never experience that phenomenon before, it’s pretty creepy and I don’t recommend getting yourself to that point. I was starting to be really doubt that I was going to be able to keep climbing when this older gentleman came shooting out of one of the “driveways” leading back into where the homes were. He smiled and waved and mentioned what a beautiful day it was. I just waved back and kind of groaned at him as I was so out of breath I couldn’t form words. I was able to keep up with him for a little while and even kept thinking to myself that I’d be damned if I’d let this 80 year old dude blast past me. He eventually left me and my ego in the dust, but in all fairness it was when I stopped to take my first picture of the area we were running in. I felt a little vindicated when we got to what I thought was the top of the hill (I was sadly mistaken) and saw another runner sitting on the side of the road trying to gather his strength and his breath. He looked more than a little winded himself.

We went on about a quarter of a mile farther and climbed up and over a kind of opening in a gate where several signs were posted stating motorized vehicles were no longer authorized in this area. We walked on and soon came upon an abandoned mansion that was all gated up. It was pretty cool looking. It didn’t look super run down, but I could picture a horror novel taking place there. George showed me that back behind the mansion, there were all kinds of trails in the mountains back there. I’d love to go back and explore some time. We wasted a few minutes up there taking pictures of the view, which was breathtaking.


The view from about 3/4 of the way from where we ended our run, overlooking all the houses tucked in there.


This was up at the top where we ended our journey.

It was an overcast day and we couldn’t decide (specifically I couldn’t decide) if we were hot or cold because the sun kept playing peek-a-boo with us. I had a long sleeved shirt on over my running tank and kept taking it off and putting it back on again. When we got to the top, it was pretty cloudy and super breezy. It felt really nice though after all the exertion of just getting up the hill. When I was younger I hated Arizona. I always thought it was just dead and brown and there was nothing spectacular about it. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve started to appreciate the beauty of my birthplace. I would love to travel all over Arizona and explore it more.

Not posed at all. Nope. This was a super casual random photo of me staring dreamily off into the valley below.
This is currently my favorite long-sleeved running tee. I got it from Cadence running, the place where I’ve been buying my shoes! Super comfy and breathable!

We played around with our phones and took some more photos from the top and started to head back down. This was the fun part for me. I love downhills. I always feel like the world fastest runner because gravity helps me along the way. Of course it was so steep and there were random gravel patches from the road starting to deteriorate that I had images of me sprinting down and hitting one of the aforementioned patches of gravel and falling ass over teakettle down the the bottom of the hill. Needless to say, we both slowed down and kind of took a run/walk approach to get to the bottom.

So my newest thing is to take a picture of my feet during every run. I try to get a photo with them in flowers, on a tree stump, in sprinklers, etc. I figure this is me being “artsy” and creative and documenting each of my runs. Really it’s me being a big dork, but I’m okay with that. I’ve recently started to willingly embrace my inner nerd.

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but I was sitting up at the top of a deep gully with water running through it. It was super shady and cool looking. I really need to get outside and run more. My legs are looking a little pasty…

After we ran back to the car, George decided he was hungry and wanted to stop at his favorite pizza place. I was hesitant because A. I thought we were just going for a quick run so I didn’t bring my wallet or any form of money with me other than Apple pay, which a lot of smaller restaurants do not take yet, and B. I’m trying to really follow my meal plan so I can drop more weight and make it easier on my running. I was really hungry and thirsty at this point so I agreed.

We ended up in this really cute store/restaurant/bar combo thing called La Grande Orange.   It was super cute and I definitely need to go back there and look around some more. George has decided on a healthier lifestyle and is currently vegan. This is working for him. I don’t think I could ever call myself vegan or vegetarian at any point in my life. My body craves protein too much. I ordered a turkey sandwich and he ordered a vegan pizza. I must admit, when it came out, the pizza looked really good. Those of you that know me, know that cooked veggies generally displease me. George told me to grab a slice and “Just try it”. So I did. I am not an adventurous eater at all and that kale coming at me terrified me a little bit, I’m not going to lie. I did try it and ended up eating the whole slice. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I don’t think I will ever be able to give up pepperoni, but in a pinch I could eat it again. Maybe. Maybe I was still hopped up on endorphins from the run/hike.

Vegan Pizza from La Grande Orange

I ended up picking at my sandwich. I would have had to unhinge my jaw to be able to eat it, they had so much lettuce and turkey stacked up. I ate the avocado slices, about half the turkey and two bites of the bread. After the pizza slice as well, I was pretty full. Plus I had already sucked down 3 cups of water and most of an iced tea. When I was trying to eat my pizza slice, a piece of mushroom had rolled off and landed in my iced tea. I was feeling adventurous yesterday, but not so adventures that I’d be willing to drink tea with mushroom floaties in it.

After lunch we headed back to our part of the valley and George dropped me back off at home. All and all it was a fun day. I hadn’t planned on it being what it was, and was pleasantly surprised. Today my body feels like it usually does after a half-marathon. Spent, more than a little sore, and well-used. It’s a great feeling despite the pain. I worked a 5 hour shift this morning, and now I’m doing some recovery and will be hanging out with my job no. 2 peeps later for a “gratitude party” at a bowling/game arena type place. I’ve never been but it should make for a good time!

Relaxing with my Pro Compression Valentine’s socks. I adore these for recovery.
(Why yes, that IS Stranger Things on my Mac)
The Now

I’m baaaacccckkkk!!!!

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist throwing in a GOT meme my first day back)

So…long time no see. How’s the family? It’s always awkward running into someone you haven’t seen in a really long time right? I have this one friend that we follow each other on social media; and I know what’s going on in his life (because we can believe everything we see/her/read about on social media right???). I ran into him at the store the other day and it was like, “Heeeey….”, Commence enthusiastic hug, have a 5 minute rambling conversation, promise to catch up soon, and “Oh, look at the time I’ve gotta run!” That’s kinda how writing here feels when it’s been about 13 months since we’ve last seen each other Dear Reader. A little awkward and out of sorts. I know I keep making promises to write more; but shit happens, you know? Life gets in the way sometimes. I DO need to be better, but I’m not going to make any promises because I don’t want anyone to think I’m flaky. I get enough of that IRL. A LOT has gone on this year. I think the last time we touched base, I had just had knee surgery for my torn meniscus and it was my annual New Year’s post. Please note that I purposefully did not write a New Year’s post this year. I knew eventually I wanted to start writing again, but I didn’t want be typecast as that girl who only writes once a year a post filled with at the same time, possibilities and empty promises. So let me see if I can condense my last year into a nutshell and layout my new game plan.

So last year, knee surgery. Recovery and physical therapy that took longer than I thought it would originally. I was still working out at Orange Theory Fitness but having to modify my workouts until I got to the point that I could run on the treadmill without wanting to die. Well, I always want to die on the treadmill because it’s so monotonous, but you get the picture. I actually started losing some of the weight I had put back on during my recovery and people were starting to notice.

Then in April a bombshell dropped. Our state was going to join the many others that were “striking”, “walking out”, “exiting stage left”, whatever you want to call it, to protest the deplorable funding for public education. I’m not here to fight with anyone or get into a debate. Everyone has their opinions about public education. Some are good, some are bad. Let’s agree to disagree for now if you are one of the ones that’s not so positive. The month of April was excruciatingly hard for me. I was being asked to do something I never thought I’d do. I love teaching and I love my students I want what’s the best for them-always. I was being torn apart in different directions and no matter where I went, someone had something to say about what was going on with education in Arizona. I couldn’t even go home and get a break from it. I was fighting with my family about it, which made it even harder. I can’t even put into words my mental state during that time period. I was so stressed out and just absolutely CONSUMED by so many feelings that I was overwhelmed. Our walkout ended in just six days, but the repercussions pretty much lasted throughout the rest of the school year and into the summer. I’m not going to go into too much detail, because that would be a blog post on its own, and I don’t think I have the mental strength to walk down that road again. Those of you that know me, know what I do when I’m stressed. I eat. So the weight I lost came back and brought some friends. I also stopped doing any form of physical activity.

At the end of April, I found out I was being moved grade levels. I was not asked, I had no choice. After four years in second grade and 11 years teaching primary, I was being moved to 4th grade. I mean, of all the grade levels in an elementary school, 4th grade isn’t really all that bad. It’s not like it’s 5th or 6th grades. I for sure don’t have the temperament for that. I was upset. When I say upset, waterworks were occurring on an almost daily basis. It was such a confusing time because there was a lot of back and forth as to what grade level I was actually going to. Originally it was first grade and then all of the sudden it was 4th. It was up in the air for a while as to where exactly I was going, and if you know me, I was trying to figure out what I had done wrong to warrant being moved. I mean, why me? There was a lot of crazy running around in my head. I also had to pack up and move my whole classroom. I’m not a teacher hoarder by any means. I clean out other teacher’s classrooms for fun because I like purging. With that being said however; I have a lot of stuff that I have purchased or acquired over the last 12 years.

This is maybe 1/2 of my stuff being stored in the room next door.
The rest was still being used for the end of the school year.

I also had to BOMB the room I moved in to because it hadn’t been cleaned in God knows how long.

Yes, that is a yard blower. There was dust for daaaayyyysss.

So between packing, moving, purging my new room, disinfecting, and scrubbing, AND trying to figure out what the hell I was doing, I did nothing but practically hear myself gain weight over the summer. Soon, school began and I was trying to figure out my new normal and there was a lot more of “What the hell I am I doing??” When you’ve taught little ones to add and subtract for 11 years and all of the sudden get thrown into big kid land, it’s an adjustment.

I also had a scary time period of about two months when I thought I had breast cancer. I had gone for my yearly visit and something out of the norm showed up during my mammogram. Thank God my amazing doctor is super-vigilant and sent me for more tests. I had a second mammogram which turned into a 3d scan and an ultrasound, which turned into an MRI, which turned into a second MRI because I had a scary reaction to the MRI contrast (hives all over and a pounding headache) so I had to do it all over again. THEN that turned into having a biopsy done. I don’t recommend it. It doesn’t really hurt during, but you are awake so you can see them pushing this gigantic needle into your breast. The radiologist equated my super dense tissue as “It’s like trying to dig through a brick wall with a spoon”. Needless to say, she had to work hard at it. I still have nightmares of seeing her attempting to shove that needle into me so hard her hand was shaking from the exertion, while she was grimacing fiercely above me, with a fine sheen of sweat from effort on her brow. I’m now the proud owner of a small piece of metal that’s loged into a 3cm tumor that resides in my body. Gross. Again, I had a scary reaction to whatever the numbing stuff was that they gave me. (I swear I must have some weird super sensitive gene) I almost passed out and started shaking really bad toward the end of the procedure, and they had to lower my head down and cover me with wet towels because my whole body got hot and my heart was racing and I was so uber dizzy. After that nightmare I still had to wait for two weeks to get my results. Thankfully a really good friend offered to go with me so I wouldn’t be alone in case the news wasn’t good (because God forbid they give even good results over the phone!) It was nice to have someone offer the support. I was not looking forward to sitting there thinking worst-case senarios while I awaited my fate. The doctor came in looking serious, but then his face broke out into a huge smile! It was benign! I was SO happy! Of course we have to monitor it for changes still and stay vigilant, but for now I’m off the hook! We went to celebrate with margaritas and yummy Mexican food afterward. It was truly amazing. (The food, not the drama leading up to the food.) So now I just feel like I have this little time bomb in my boob waiting to go off (even though the rational part of my brain says it’s not true, the irrational me still knows it’s in there and likes to play the “what if” game. So again, no running, no gym, and no motivation during this time or basically the first half of the school year. I was also stressed about drama going on with some friends. It’s still confusing to me and hurts a lot, but I have come to the realization that I can’t control every situation. I just have to build a bridge and get over it. It still weighs on my heart, but I have to start focusing on myself more and getting me back to where I need to be.

I’m still working 2 jobs. Teacher by day, associate for a major retailer at night and on weekends. I still love my second job. It doesn’t feel like a “job” at all. I don’t dread the days I have to work. It’s actually relaxing to me after making 5 million decisions throughout the day at school (that may be a tad bit of an exaggeration). I get to go there and just be Jamie. Oh yea, I got promoted! I now have a different role in my store than when I got hired and I love it! I get to help people and also coach members of my team to be more amazing than they already are. Of course retail means “busy” during the holiday season. My hours increased, which I don’t mind at all (well, maybe it killed me a little considering I still didn’t know what the hell I was doing in 4th grade). So I had very little time off to work on training or work out at the gym. Running was always very much in the back of my mind though. I didn’t have much of a work/life balance. It was more work/work. I’m not complaining too much though, I adore the company I work for!

So the last year has been interesting. I have found out a lot about myself in the last year. I’ve found out where my strengths lie, what some weaknesses are that I for sure need to work on, and that I CAN do anything that I set my mind to. I’ve learned I can be a little crazy when I’m out of my mind stressed. I’ve learned that I can be really negative and down on myself and that is something I still struggle with and am trying to work on. I’ve also learned that a true friend loves you even with all of your flaws and supports you no matter what. It’s been a year of huge ups and downs. Honestly 2018 was pretty crappy and overall there were more downs than ups; but there were lessons to be learned. I did meet some pretty amazing people at my second job and many of them are becoming good friends. They are positive forces in my life and right now, that’s what I need.

Oh my! I’ve rambled on quite a bit. That turned out to be a bigger nutshell than I thought. I intended on writing this as a quick little “catch up” so I could fill you in on what’s going on right now. It was a crazy year and I guess I can’t really gloss over it. There was 13 months worth of stuff I had to tell you about. It wouldn’t have been as thoroughly entertaining if I had just written, “It was a crappy year full of ups and downs. Life got in the way and I was lazy and didn’t run or work out. The end”. I mean, it would’ve been more succinct, but when have I ever been succinct?

So as of January 7th I began a new eating regime. I’ve lost a few pounds, I still have many more to go. I’ve started running again too. It’s a lot harder with the extra weight on. I’m using the “Ease Into 5K” app (Bluefin Software) like I did when I first began running. I’m getting anywhere from 2-3 days in per week. It’s hard and frustrating. The first time I went out, it felt as though I had cinderblocks strapped to my feet. I truly thought I was going to die. The second time it was a little easier. It was almost like my body finally realized, “Oh! I remember how to do this!”

I went to my favorite running store and picked up some new shoes. I am so confused when it comes to shoes and support. At the running store I used to frequent, they had me run on a treadmill and analyzed my gait. They would tell me every time that I needed shoes with support because I over-pronate. Of course they would also try to sell me orthotics as well. (Think big-box store) The store I go to now, has me put shoes on, go out to the parking lot and run, and they watch me. They tell me I don’t over-pronate (and don’t try to sell me anything extra-think owned by runners/small business) and that I need a neutral shoe. I honestly don’t know which to believe! I’ve always been accident prone, and to be truthful as much as I love running, It’s never been all warm and fuzzy baby kitties as far as how I feel when I run. So no matter what, I’ve never felt that spark like “I can’t live without this shoe-it’s life changing!” I ended up with a pair of Asics and a pair of Brooks. I returned the Asics because I went for a run in them and they killed my legs (shin splints). I love the brooks. I used to run in the Ravenna back when the big-box told me I needed support. These are the Ghost 12’s. They are really comfortable, but I haven’t run in them enough to decide if they are the right shoe for me. So I will run in them for a while and see what happens. When I drop some more weight I will go back and have them analyze my gait again and see if anything changes. I’m open to suggestions if anyone has any??

It’s getting late, my eyes are burning, and I’m sure I’ve rambled on long enough. I will try to make every effort to continue writing more often so there isn’t one gigantic post. If you are new here, please don’t judge the lengthiness of my writing. I’m wordy, but generally not this wordy!

The Now

Happy New Year 2018!

2018 road

Happy New Year everyone! As is my annual tradition you will now be subject to a look inside my rambling and often disjointed   amazing mind! I know I say this every year, but I really do need to make a conscious effort to write more. It’s a very cathartic experience for me. I always feel energized and like I can take on the world after I express myself verbally.

2017 was not everything I had hoped it would be. There were some goals that admittedly I did not achieve. I did not master Kung Fu. Nor did I grow an extra 4 inches,  achieve world peace, or win the lottery.  On the other hand, I did some things that I never really planned on doing. For example I walked across the Golden Gate bridge this year with a group of my friends from school and ate lobster bisque on the San Francisco Pier. I also started working a second job that I absolutely love (and doesn’t feel like work at all). And most recently, I actually went to see a doctor for one of my running injuries (and ended up having surgery).

I’m currently sitting on the couch catching up on all of the movies I’ve missed lately (2 jobs and all…), crutches sitting by my side (orders from my physical therapist through the weekend), being kept company by a giant golden-doodle who doesn’t like fireworks, and a neurotic cat who is alternately hiding under the bed and creeping down the stairs to see if the dog is still here.

crutches

Aren’t they glorious? Now I am familiar with the pain of the skin of my underarms being rubbed off by the rubber arm rests. You’d think with all the technological advances we have these days, we could make a set of crutches that don’t kill a person’s arms. Maybe we could fix the height adjustments as well. I’m either walking like a hunchback because they are too short, or I’m on my tippytoes because they are too tall. There is no in-between. Someone needs to get on this.

I ended up tearing my meniscus. This whole thing has made me realize that maybe I should go to the doctor when my body starts giving me warning signs. I haven’t been able to run since about April. So the majority of 2017 has been spent either on an elliptical or a stationary bike. I’m not a fan of the bike. I believe I’ve discussed my dislike and distrust of the bike before. I had to go in on December 27th to have my meniscus trimmed. The little flappy part (technical terms of course) that was torn was rubbing on my bone and causing bone edema. My surgeon is hoping the edema will go away as I heal from surgery.

If you don’t like surgery pics, then close your eyes:

knee at therapy

(Yes, my surgeon made fun of my ability to shave like a 13 year old and constantly cut myself. It was a new razor!)

It’s actually not as bad as I thought it would be. Especially after the physical therapist pulled off the gauze and said, “Are you squeamish? You may need to look away”. I was expecting the worst and was (admittedly) a little let down by my baby stitches. My knee is still really swollen and I don’t have full range of motion yet. I’m chomping at the bit to get back to my normal self, but I’m also trying like hell to not push myself and make it worse. I took my first real shower and washed my hair today. That was a lot of effort after surgery and barely moving the last few days. I can’t believe how quickly it felt like my leg atrophied.

I started off 2017 with a half-marathon with my friend Chris. As for 2018… I will be starting off my day tomorrow with hopefully a walk around the whole block (go me!). I need to get back to running soon. Even if it’s slow-going it will help with my anxiety and stress. I can’t be one of those people who sits on her ass and watches TV all day eating bonbons. I was kicking ass at lifting weights and building some good muscle in 2017. I had to slow down a lot when I got the new job, but now I feel like due to this surgery I’m at a standstill.

I’m not looking forward to starting over from square one. I will freely admit it. I do like challenges, but I don’t like repeating challenges I thought I had already surpassed. Physically I will be starting over from where I was about 6 years ago. I’ve gained weight, lost my fitness level, and can no longer run a mile without having to walk. Okay, okay.  I have to give myself a break on the running part of that tirade.  I was still attempting to run even thought it was causing me a great deal of pain at the time. I get a pass on that because I physically couldn’t run.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the last year and what I didn’t accomplish and decided the following need to be my goals for 2018:

~Stop being so hard on myself. I’m way too judgmental about me. I need to learn to give myself a break!

~Find a work/life balance. I’m still working 50-60 hours a week as a teacher and have been putting in anywhere from 28-32 hours at the second job. I don’t have any “me” time anymore. I need to make time for myself to workout/run, hang out with friends and work on building those relationships more, and just time to kick back and read a book if I want. (The one nice thing about my surgery is the recovery time means two weeks off from both jobs and plenty of time to read and catch up on shows and movies).

~I need to get my head together and figure out what I want from my future. Do I keep teaching? Do I work at my second job full time? Do I do something else??? I need someone to sit down with me and troubleshoot all of my scenarios to figure out which one will be the best for me.

~LOSE THE WEIGHT. I need to get my ass back into the gym and back into a healthy eating habit. I’ve been depressed and stress eating the last 6 months and just keep packing the weight on. I’m not happy with myself and don’t feel like myself. My self-confidence as at an all-time low and I know that has a lot to do with it.

~Write in the blog more. I started this blog as a diary of sorts to keep track of my first full-marathon training (that seems like so long ago!). Maybe I can turn it into a blog documenting my road back to running!

~Get rid of the negativity in my life. I get that a lot of people can be negative. I freely admit that I can be that way from time to time (no really, it’s true!). I need to start being more positive in my own interactions and free myself from outside forces that are negative. Negativity is like a virus, it infects everyone and everything around you. I honestly understand the need to vent and blow off some steam, but when the only thing people have to say is constantly complaining about other people or things, it begins to wear on a person! I need to slowly break away from those constantly negative people, or maybe give them some feedback because what if they don’t realize they are being negative Nellie’s?

~ Go on more adventures! I need to take more chances, do more things, and step more out of my comfort zone. I had fun in California over the summer, even if it was geared to be a trip for school training and development. I’ve formed some new friends ships and reforged some older relationships this year. We need to explore the world around us more and go have some fun!

I’m looking at 2018 like:

happy new year jumping

Okay, I think that’s a start. I’ve prattled on long enough now. It’s time to enjoy some Rose’, another movie, and try to keep the animals calm with the current neighborhood need for pyromania. Be good to each other, be good to yourself, and have a Happy New Year! Set some realistic goals (resolutions were made to be broken). It’ s new year!  The time for new beginnings and fresh starts!

putting right foot forward

(My obligatory “Putting the Right Foot Forward Into the New Year” shot looks a little different without running shoes on!)

 

 

The Now

Happy New Year 2017!

running-new-year-2017

Happy New Year! I figured I may as well end the year the same way I did last year…with a rambling often disjointed post that makes sense to no one but me highly entertaining post that sums up my year.

2016 was not my year. I was so hoping it would be, but like the late great John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”.  From pretty much January on it was kind of a shit show for the year.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad. There were a few bright spots in my year. I ran a full marathon with my friend Chris. I did better than I thought I would too!  I did fly to Maryland and surprise my aunt and uncle for my Uncles 50th birthday. Of course our plane was delayed due to weather and we ended up missing our connecting flight so instead of arriving at his doorstep at 9pm, we got there at 3am and scared the crap of out them. It was pretty funny to see my uncle answer the door in his boxers and armed with a baseball bat! Everyone who knows me, knows that I’m not a good flier, but with the help of my friend Xanax, and my iPad with a few movies on it, I was able to get by. That was seriously a lot of fun, I’d like to go back some day when I can afford the ticket again. I’d like to be able to spend more time there and see the sights. What I did see of it, was gorgeous! It’s funny, my uncle Dave turned 50, my aunt Kim turned 60 and I turned 40 this year. I never realized before that we are all just 10 years apart! It makes me feel like I’m part of a special little club-haha.

I met a lot of great peeps this year too. (Do the cool kids still say “peeps”?) I’m still working out at Orange Theory Fitness and became friends with some really amazing people. I want to be like several of them when I grow up.

 I did have an amazing 40th birthday party thanks largely in part to my friend Anne and all of the aforementioned friends I have made this year. I was honestly shocked that so many people wanted to come and help me celebrate! It was awesome-all my worlds collided! I had my gym friends, my school friends, my friends that have been in my life for years, and my family there. That party did make me realize how far I’ve come in the last 10 years. I took the death of my father and then a few years later, the death of my mother pretty hard. I’ve spent the last ten years trying to dig myself out of the self-imposed hole I was in and although I still feel like I’m knee-deep in sand, at least it’s not up over my head and threatening to suffocate me anymore.

I know this is going to come as a shock, but I ended the year with yet another injury. I know right? Me, injured?? Never! I was working out pretty steadily at OTF and also doing kickboxing twice a week. I felt like I was finally starting to make some headway and my foot started bothering me. This time it’s my right foot. I of course have been Googling my symptoms, because we all know that’s what I do. It sounds like I am having a really bad case of plantar fasciitis. I’ve had it before, but it has usually it cleared up after a few weeks of wearing my really funky sock to bed, stretching, and icing it. It’s been since October and it still hurts. I was thinking about it today actually, and I realized it first started bothering me when I was doing kickboxing along with OTF.  Now I’m starting to wonder if maybe I cracked a bone or something when I was kicking the bag. That would explain why, no matter how much I rest it or take care of it, it’s not getting better. Of course I could be completely wrong and it’s just  a bad case of plantar. Either way it’s really frustrating me.

I hate to say it, but I’ve put all the weight I lost back on. (Seriously, who would like saying that?) Of course, those extra pounds have brought some friends with them.  After I hurt my foot, I was still going to OTF and using the stationary bike instead of running on the treadmill, hoping a few weeks of rest would help it. I apologize to all the spin lovers out there, but I detest being on the stationary bike. I feel as though I don’t get the same cardio benefits that I do from running. Plus I don’t like knowing I’m not getting anywhere on the bike. I know that holds true for the treadmill as well, but I feel like I use my whole body when I run.  I am truly one of those weird people who love to run.

Even through all of the aches and pains running has brought me, I still love it. Even though most of the time when I run it feels like my chest is so tight and wheezy that every time I breathe in it sounds like my lungs  are squeaking for help,  I love to run. Even though I get headaches from my long runs and my body feels so stiff and sore, I love to run. Running is my jam. (Do the kids say “jam”?) For the last few months I feel like I’ve been mad at the world. My anxiety is out of control and everything is irritating me. I’m pretty sure it’s because I can’t run right now. I need that outlet to keep me centered and sane.

Of course I need to go to the doctor to get it checked out, but the problem is that my insurance sucks big time. I’m on a high-deductible plan because that’s the only thing I could afford so that means I basically pay full price for every appointment I have until I meet my ridiculously high deductible. I would have happily gotten it checked out after the first month of pain, I would have willingly gone to physical therapy if it was warranted, and I would have done anything I could to get it taken care of already. I just need to bite the bullet, figure it out, and go get it checked out once and for all. I may not like what I hear, but at least I will have answers.

I’ve been stuck in this moment of self-loathing, frustration, and depression for the last few months.  I know that I am my own worst enemy. I am the only one standing in the way of my goals and my success. I’ve said before that I don’t make resolutions and I don’t. I do want to make some goals for the new year that I can work on to help bring me back to myself, and help me find my happiness again. I even found a nifty notebook to help keep myself on track.

goal-notebook

I can’t wait to start writing stuff in it!

The other morning when I was driving to school, it was still dark. I happened to look up in time to see a falling star. It made me wonder how many falling stars we actually miss in a lifetime because we are so busy doing whatever it is that we do, that we don’t ever look up. It made me realize that I need to start paying more attention to the life that’s going on around me.

Here’s to putting the right foot forward, and to hoping 2017 is better than 2016! May you all find much love, luck, happiness, and fun!

putting-the-right-foot-forward-2017
(Me putting ‘the right foot forward”-get it??)


The Now

A Runners Heart

Ugh! I can’t believe I’m almost the age I used to consider “old”. In 17 days I will be 40. I know it’s probably all in my head, but the last month or so I’m feeling every bit of my age. I’m noticing more gray hairs and more lines in my face than I had before. I’ve noticed my eyesight declining and I’ve also noticed my body just hurting in general more. Maybe I’m just having the beginnings of a mid-life crisis and I’m being overly dramatic. Who knows??
                                   

I am very frustrated with running these days. I’m one of those rare people that actually likes to run. I like to push my body as hard as I can. I relish in returning from a run completely exhausted and drenched in sweat. I honestly don’t care how many toenails I have. I love to be in my own headspace for an hour or two while I see how far my body can take me. I don’t care what people think of me while I’m doing it either. 

I know a lot of my running peeps that tolerate running. They don’t love it, but it’s a means to an end. It’s either something they do for weight loss, something they feel like they have to do to say they’ve exercised, or they do it because what else are they going to do for exercise. I also know several people who detest running. They dread the run before it begins,  hate it the whole time they do it, and can’t wait for it to be over. I don’t really understand those people. Why bother? I would gladly trade places with someone who thinks that thinks running is a “chore”. 

I have a runners heart. I love to be outside in the sun, enjoying the world around me as I drip sweat and run to the beat of my music. I love the way my hear pounds and the feel of my blood pumping through my veins. I love how my body looks and feels. I love how amazing I feel at the end of a good run. I love training for a race. I love trying to do my best. I love the camaraderie felt amongst runners. I’m not going to lie-I love the race t-shirts and the medals too! They are souvenirs  of my will and determination. They are physical representations of my hard work and joy. 

I may have a runners heart, I just wish I had a runners body to go along with it. 

I feel like there is always some new and painful exciting injury that comes along just when I think I’ve gotten past the last one. By the way, by “exciting” I really mean “annoying”, “pain-in-the-ass”, and “frustrating”. I’ve been bitching about my calf pain for the last year. Now I’m having what I think is Plantar Fasciitis. I’ve barely been able to walk since Saturday. 

It’s gearing up to be race season around these parts. Even though it got to 102 yesterday (at the end of October mind you) it’s still prime running time in Arizona. There are several races I want to do this year, but at this point I  may have to walk them if I do them at all. 

Do I admit that my aging body has bested me thus far and just give in and walk? Do I do nothing for the next two months and see if my body heals itself? Or do I register anyway, do my best, and hope like hell I can finish. 

 I wish my insurance didn’t suck and I could go see a sports medicine doctor, a chiropractor, and see a physical therapist. I also wish I could afford a running coach. Maybe he or she could tell me why my body hates me. -Sigh-  I wish I had more than a teachers salary to help me out. I would do whatever I could to get myself ready to run again. 

My mind and my heart know what they want. My body is the one not cooperating with me. 

The Now

Happy Anniversary to Me & Happy Fathers Day! 

Twice in one week?! Gasp! We HAVE to stop meeting like this! Or I could try writing more often…that would be good too!  

Today marks my one year anniversary of joining Orange Theory Fitness. I woke up with this nice little message in my inbox this morning :

  
                     Obviously I need to clean out my inbox for that particular account! 

It’s a canned email, but still nice, nonetheless. When I got that email I started thinking about the fact that I have worked with some amazing coaches this past year. They have all been so supportive and willing to help when I have asked for it. 

You just don’t get that at a regular gym. At any other gym, you are just a number, an anonymous face that blends into the crowd. When I walk in the door at Orange, I feel like I’m seeing friends, not crabby and bored high school kids that work behind the front desk checking people in and waiting to go home. The front desk staff at Orange greets me by name, they ask about my day and are so friendly and caring that it’s almost unreal. And the other members! I have never even spoken with another person at my previous gyms, except to ask if they were done with a machine. The members I workout with at Orange, are supportive of each other and super-friendly. We even hang out, outside of the gym! It just feels like a community. 

At any other gym I’ve gone to, I just kind of did my own thing, right or wrong. At Orange Theory, the coaches are..well-COACHES (believe it or not!) they walk us through different cardio routines and demonstrate various exercises with the weights. If someone isn’t doing something exactly right, they take the time to not only show them proper form, but to explain why it’s the proper form and what the benefits are. If I’m using a weight that’s too light for me I get a death glare, I am gently reminded by my coach that I can do more and I need to pick up a heavier weight. I love that everyone there is so familiar with us, that they know when we need to be pushed. They offer modifications when we are injured (more often than not lately for me), and even offer nutrition advice (maybe I should start listening). 

I love how my body has changed in the last year. My weight may still be higher than I’d like it to be, but I AM stronger! I have a nice layer of muscle under the chub that still needs to go away. I have definition in my arms, I am carrying my weight better than I have in the past, and I can feel other parts of my body have changed for the better. My speed when running has even improved! I ran outside a few months ago at a pace I normally would have been struggling with, and it was almost too easy! Even though I still have a ways to go, I feel like Orange has helped bring me a lot closer than I was to my goal!    

So I ran on the dreadmill for the first time in a month yesterday. This was me:

                    
                                            No, not really-but that’s what I felt like! 

I sure lose running fitness quickly. I moved like a fawn trying to walk on spindly legs for the first time, I was so uncoordinated. I did better than I thought I would, even though I had to run at a slower pace so I could actually breathe! My leg didn’t bother me at all which is awesome. It is hurting today though and that’s concerning, but I’m going to go easy today  I will try to run again on Monday and see how it goes. 

I was in the Orange Zone  most of the time I was there yesterday. I didn’t 100% feel like I was dying, but I really shouldn’t take a week off like that again. I felt like it was my first day there all over again! 

                 
8 minutes in the green zone-sheesh. That must’ve been at the beginning of the workout and when I was transitioning from cardio to the weight room. I swear the whole time I was moving I was either orange or red. 
Father’s Day hasn’t gotten any easier for me with the passage of time. My dad and I were very close. I was his baby girl, so of course we butted heads because he was so strict with me when I was younger; whereas I felt like my brother had free reign. Once I got older and moved out; and he saw that I could take care of myself and how strong I was,  the dynamic shifted and we became friends. I would go to his place and we would just hang out and watch a movie on TV, or we’d go out to dinner or something  with my brother. My dad was a coupon clipping, long-haired, gruff, singing-in-the-middle-of-the-grocery-store kind of man. He had his issues (as we all do at some point), but with everything he was going through when we were younger, he always made sure my brother and I were cared for, felt safe, and felt loved. 

Sometimes I still pick up the phone to call him to tell him something funny that happened that day, or to just say hello. I start to dial and realize he’s not going to answer. Still after almost 11 years, that realization hits me in the heart and takes my breath away. He wasn’t there to see me graduate college, he won’t be there to walk me down the aisle should I ever get married, and he won’t be there to bitch at me for not giving him grandkids. Sometimes when I see my cousins with my uncle it makes me sad and a little jealous because I don’t have that anymore. 

I am surrounded by examples of good fathers and I’d be remiss if I just stuck my head in the sand this day and didn’t wish them all a Happy Father’s Day. My advice to them (and you know who you are) is to treasure your young, raise them to be good people, build more good memories than you can count, and most of all-enjoy the time you have together. 

                                                          

The Now

Overthinking and Losing the “Weigh” 


                                                             Is that too much to ask? 

I just read my blog post from January, and I feel as though a different person was in my head writing that. I was actually impressed with myself and how positive I sounded. It’s funny how life has a way of throwing things at you so much, that a lot can change in just a few months time. 

The hustle and bustle that make up the end of the school year is always difficult. There is all the “standardized” testing, end of the year projects, culminating activities and the closing out and packing up of the classrooms. It’s almost as bad as the beginning of the school year when I’m at school so often in the month of August; that sometimes I wonder why I don’t just set up a cot in the back room. 

While I was continuing on my merry way of shaping young minds the last 5 months, I was still going to the gym 4-5 days a week. This in itself is an accomplishment, because I have a tendency to let school consume me. During the school year I have been known to eat, sleep, and breathe school. This year I was able to tear myself away and continue the routine I had established back in October. (More or less). 

I feel like somewhere over the last few months I have (not necessarily)  given up, but I’ve lost my way (see what I did with the title there???) I’m trying to find the words to express myself and it’s difficult. Sometimes,  words seem to flow out of me and writing is easy. Sometimes (like today), I feel like I’m having to dig around to come up with words to express what I’m thinking and feeling. Is this because I’m not entirely sure what I’m thinking and feeling? 

There is something going on with me and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe talking it out (in the form of writing to you-Dear Reader) will help. I feel as though I’m at an impasse, an plateau, or some kind of waiting place. I’m stuck and I can’t move. For lack of a better analogy: I am in a video game, unable to level up. To borrow words from U2, I’m “Stuck in a moment I can’t get out of”.  Am I making this as clear as mud? I know I’m not able to convey exactly what I’m trying to say. 

Will I go back to read this in a few weeks and think to myself, “What the hell was I talking about??” Maybe. Probably. I do have questionable decision making skills at times. 

As an aside, please pardon any grammatical or typographical errors I may (and probably already have) made. I am currently without a regular computer keyboard, and am rocking  my tablet. It’s not quite as easy to type fast enough to keep up with my brain on the little screen keyboard. My fingers aren’t quite small enough for full on typing mode, so I’m having to do everything with my pointer fingers. It’s quite the adventure. 

So, full disclosure, my weight is slowly creeping back on again. I haven’t been eating terrible mind you. I could be eating better that’s for sure. I’m not following the eating plan I was raving about in my last post. I didn’t fall off the wagon as far as not eating sugar or simple carbs,  and not drinking Diet Dr. Pepper. I pretty much threw myself off the wagon with reckless abandon, somehow convinced that I could fly instead of fall flat on my face. 

I don’t know what my problem is. Scratch that. I DO know what my problem is. It’s my brain. It’s not that I’m not motivated. If I didn’t have any desire to work hard, I wouldn’t still be pushing myself at the gym 5 days a week. I wouldn’t have ended up with a shin splint so bad again, that it feels like my bone is cracked. 

Again, I can’t find the words to explain that I AM motivated, (I have the desire to succeed) but I can’t get my head in the right place. Is that like an oxymoron? “Jumbo shrimp” or “deafening silence”. I am “clearly confused” at this moment in time. 

I am one of those sick people that loves to workout. I love to feel completely wrung out and exhausted at the end of a workout. I love knowing I did my best and used up all my energy. I love to run, I adore lifting weights and I am enamored with seeing my body change and knowing I’m the one that made that happen. 

Unfortunately my body (like my brain) is stuck. It’s not changing anymore. If anything I am little “fluffier” from some of the weight I’ve put back on. I feel like I have to be so restrictive with what I eat and drink when I work out that I get frustrated. I want to enjoy myself, but at the same time I want to be shredded as hell. (I want to have my cake and eat it too). 

I’m surrounded by beautiful people. My friends are all amazing people who are winning at life. My cousins are all gorgeous. My gym peeps all have amazing bodies, and I want to be like them when I grow up. It’s intimidating. Some days I just really feel like the awkward,fat, weird kid in class. You know the one. Every class had one growing up. That one kid who didn’t quite fit in, who just kind of bumbled along and was always one step behind everyone else. 

I’m not quite saying I’m the  awkward, fat, weird kid, but some days that’s how I feel. 

I’m almost 40. Could I be having a mid-life crisis already? Is that my deal? I have one week and one day left of teaching summer school. Am I experiencing the end of the year blues? Am I ready for a vacation? I know my batteries definitely need recharging. I’ve been exhausted for the last two weeks. 

I took this week off from the gym (with the exception of one day) not just to help my leg finally heal so I can get back on the treadmill instead of being relegated to the corner with the elliptical and the spin bike; but also to see if I can clear my head a little. 

I feel like the last two weeks I’ve been walking out of the gym, not super charged and loving life like I usually do, but sad that my fitness is somehow declining (maybe that’s all in my head), frustrated, and so tired! 

I need to snap out of this funk! I know what I need to do. I know I do better when I meal prep and track what I eat, but it’s almost like I can’t find the energy to do it. 

I want to have fun this summer! I want to hang out with my friends, relax, be more adventurous, and not think about school at all until its time. I’m not sure I can do that with this lethargy hanging over me. I want to continue working out and building muscle. I want to run more half marathons, and (possibly) if I’m not completely crazy-another full marathon (one in which I’m not sick or nursing an injury). 

  I know what I want. I’m just stuck and I don’t know how to get there. I need a “Walk Through” guide for my life that tells me where to go and what to do next. I need someone to tell me what to do or yell at me and tell me to get my shit together. 

The Now

Happy New Year! and True Confessions

Empty Road To Upcoming 2016 At Sunset
Out with the old and in with the New Year!

Happy New Year! It’s New Year’s Eve (at the time of this writing) and I decided I probably should close out my year the way I began it, with a blog post full of intrigue, revealing information, and scandal… Just kidding! It’s just a regular walk through Jamie’s head, but I got you interested didn’t I?

Originally, when I began this blog, it was to document my journey training for, and then running my first full marathon. Since then, it has kind of grown and taken on a life of its own. It has become a creative outlet for me, and has allowed me to express my thoughts, as rambling and disjointed interesting as they are. I’m going to continue writing (most likely sporadically) about my training, and what’s going on in my head life.

It’s New Year’s Eve, so that means introspection and thinking about all of the things that went down this last year. 2015 was an interesting year for me. It certainly didn’t end up how it started-don’t get me wrong…it’s not a bad thing in the least bit. I started the year with high-hopes, but soon was frustrated by pretty much everything. I was frustrated with my running-or lack thereof. I was frustrated that my weight was still continuing to climb since my surgery. I was frustrated with a multitude of things and they all continued to pile up and make my frustration level higher and deeper. I settled into a depression of sorts, I think. I was unhappy for a long time this year, and didn’t realize it until I wasn’t unhappy anymore…I have felt like I was “stuck” in my life for the majority of this year and am now feeling like I am finally  digging myself out of the muck.

One of the biggest contributors to my current, more positive (and less frustrated) state of mind is the fact that I joined Orange Theory Fitness. I joined in June with one of my good friends from school. She talked me into going and trying out a class when our summer first began. It was an hour long class that practically zoomed by. It was hard work, but I had fun while doing it! I was hooked and signed up right then and there. Despite my best intentions, my attendance there was hit-and-miss over the summer. Things kept popping up. Life was getting in the way as is usually the case.

I was discouraged that even though I loved working out there, it wasn’t a magic cure, and the scale still wasn’t moving. It was hot. I was sore. I was tired. It was too far away from my house. Summer school was getting in the way. I let all of these things be an excuse not to go. Then school started again and I REALLY had an excuse not to go.

As has been the case in the past, I was at school every night until 5 or 6 and there all day Saturday. I was letting my classroom run my life. Again. My friend Anne was making an effort to go. She would stay at school late too, but still made the effort to force herself to go workout a few days a week. I started feeling more and more frustrated and like I was sinking even deeper into my muck. I had a lot going on at home too, and I kept feeling like I was being pulled in different directions. Something had to give before I broke.

In October Anne came to me and said she had heard they were doing a Transformation Challenge at the gym. She said it would be the perfect opportunity to get us motivated. (I think she really meant to get ‘me’ motivated, because she was at least making the effort to go).

I am the type of person who needs a push and something to work for. I’m not going to lie and say I was gung-ho from the beginning and determined to win a challenge that I knew nothing about. At that point, all of my positivity and determination had been beaten down and lay dormant inside of me. I agreed grudgingly to go see what it was all about even though I was sure it wasn’t going to work for me and who was I kidding to actually think I’d win at something?

Anne had to practically beat it into me, “Who cares about winning if it motivates us and it works?”  I had been actually contemplating cancelling my membership at OTF. It’s pricy on a teachers salary and I had been robbing Peter to pay Paul every month to make it work (yes, even though my attendance was spotty at best I was still paying with the intention of going).

To condense a little (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’m not great at short posts…) I went to the nutrition seminar and ended up agreeing to participate in the challenge. As added support Anne signed up with me, even though she’s tall and gorgeous and svelte.

After the seminar that day,  we had to weigh in and have our beginning measurements taken. I was shocked at how high the number was on the scale. I had to hide my eyes from the coaches and from Anne because I was so upset I started crying. I didn’t realize how bad things had gotten. I knew that I had gained weight since the surgery, but I didn’t realize I had gained as much as I had from the summer when I first joined OTF and the 3 months since school had started.

I’m going to be brutally honest, as much as it pains me to do so, and admit that I weighed in at 180 pounds. I’m 5’2 and 1/2 (the 1/2 counts!), 180 pounds on that short of a stature is ridiculous and registers as obese according to the information I found on the CDC website. I was becoming an Oompah Loompah again. Round is a shape right?

I have danced this dance before, and gone down the painful road of weight-loss. I always told myself I would never let my weight get back to what it was after my dad died. Without realizing it, or maybe I did realize it, but chose to ignore it; I ended up right back where I started from 8 years ago. If I wasn’t 100% all-in for the Transformation Challenge, seeing that number convinced me it was what I needed to do.

We were given a meal plan to follow, a suggested amount of days to work out at the gym, and the offer of assistance from any one of the coaches should we have any questions. While figuring out my daily calories, I was shocked at how much I was supposed to be eating. When I did Weight Watchers before, I felt like I was eating anywhere from 1200-1300 calories. With this plan, based on my vital statistics, and the number of days I was committing to working out, as well as how active I was at my job, I was supposed to be eating about 1800 calories. That seemed like so many calories for someone trying to drop about 50 pounds! I was nervous, but one of my coaches told me to go with it and I may be surprised.

After the first week’s weigh-in I was convinced! I dropped 5 pounds right away. I know the first weigh-in always has a significant drop, but I knew that if I was eating that many calories and still managed to lose 5 pounds, then it was the right thing for me to do. At that point I knew it was more about the foods I was eating versus the amount of calories.

I was sticking to high-protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. No added sugars. Oh! I QUIT DRINKING DIET DR. PEPPER! That in itself is quite the miracle for me! On Weight Watchers diet soda is ‘free’ points-wise so I didn’t have a problem drinking it. I figured I had made the switch from regular soda so I was doing good. Of course diet soda has just as much bad crap in it as regular soda-if not more because it’s all FAKE crap and extra added fillers.

I decided I needed to try drinking more water and giving up the diet soda, so I challenged Anne to drinking a gallon of water a day. It was really hard at first and I felt like I had to pee every 5 minutes (which is virtually impossible when you’re in the classroom and there is not a restroom nearby). Oddly enough, I grew to like it and depend on drinking that much water. I felt so much better.

The first two weeks of my new eating plan were brutal. I had cut out caffeine (of which I was seriously addicted to), sugar, and simple carbs. My stomach was rebelling, I had THE worst headaches that seemed to last for days on end, I was irritable, and I was exhausted. I was a joy to be around (sarcasm in case you didn’t infer it) and I was feeling quite stabby.

I was really having a hard time and was quickly becoming discouraged. Especially since the scale seemed to be working against me again. I didn’t expect to lose 5 pounds every week, but it seemed like with every passing week, I was losing less and less weight. I didn’t really notice any changes in my clothes  yet, so I was starting to panic, convinced that once again my non-cooperative body was fighting against me. I was doing everything right this time! I was following my eating plan to a ‘t’, I was working out 5-6 days a week, and most importantly I was giving it my 100%!  What was wrong with me??

After a particularly brutal workout (and a weigh-in day in which I didn’t lose a single ounce), one of my favorite coaches stopped me after class to offer some words of encouragement and like the big baby I am, I immediately burst into tears. I’m pretty sure I freaked him out and possibly scarred him for life.

I apologized later via messenger and sent a message as well to my other favorite coach expressing my frustrations. She immediately responded, offered advice and put my mind at ease. After reading her words, I went back to look through my phone. We had to take a ‘before’ picture and send it in. I of course went one step further, and forced Anne to take pictures of me every Monday in the same outfit. I did see subtle changes in my body and after quite a bit of soul-searching, I decided that I was letting my mind rule  by overthinking every little thing. I needed to let go and just trust the process. I knew I was doing everything I was supposed to and giving it my all. I needed to stop fighting against myself mentally.

I threw myself into my workouts and stopped worrying about numbers. I finally started to see changes. I was getting compliments from people who saw me physically changing, but my insides were changing as well. Dare I say I was becoming more POSITIVE?? Snarky, negative, judgy me?? I started making (gasp!) friends at the gym. I was becoming more outgoing and energetic. I hadn’t realized how far into my self-imposed isolation I had traveled.

Anne and I started to crave working out. We made it a point to leave school at a decent time (aka the time ‘normal’ teachers leave school), and get our workouts in. We were making time for ourselves for once, and that also had a big impact on my state of mind. Now I’m crabby when I don’t get to work out.

Before I knew it, the 8 weeks that our challenge was supposed to last flew by. I wasn’t so focused on the fact that I was trying to win, because looking at a few of the other participants and seeing how amazing they were doing, I didn’t think I had a snowballs chance in hell I’d win. I didn’t care either. (Maybe a small part of me thought I may have had a chance at one point). I knew that I worked my ass off (literally-a few people commented on how ‘much better my butt looked-I didn’t think it looked bad, so I had a complex about that for a while), I changed the way I ate (and learned to love it) and decided I loved the changes I was seeing in my body. I’ve worked out before. Mostly cardio with a few weights thrown in, but to be honest, I am LOVING the muscles I’m building and want to keep it up.

I went to the pot luck that was being held for the studios participating in the challenge. There was to be one male and one female winner from each studio. I really was curious to see who ended up winning from our studio, so even though Anne couldn’t go, little old introverted me went by myself (anyone who knows me, knows I don’t go ANYWHERE social  by myself)!

I flitted from group to group and found some people who I knew from our studio and proceeded to stick to them like glue. Soon it was time to announce the winners. The head coach for each studio was to announce their winners. Soon, our head coach got up to announce the winners from our studio. Sadly, the male winner wasn’t there. I would’ve liked to have seen who he was. I’m bad with names, but I’m sure I worked out with him at some point.

I thought for sure the female winner from our studio was at the back of the room, because that’s where Sunny kept looking as she gave her speech about the female winner. It was an amazing speech and I was admiring the person she was talking about. The next thing I knew she was saying MY name. I couldn’t have been more shocked if a koala bear walked in and started doing the Whip and the Nay-Nay in the middle of the crowd! It took me a second to process what had just happened. A gentle nudge from one of my friends from the studio had me moving up front to be acknowledged.

Even though I did work my hardest (and have continued to do so even though the challenge is over), I’m still floored that I won. I never in a million years thought I’d be capable, especially after seeing first-hand how hard everyone else was working.

That’s one thing I will be working on in the new year. My positivity and my faith in myself. I don’t dare treat my friends the way I treat myself sometimes. I need to do better with that. Mind you I DON’T make resolutions. Resolutions are made to be broken. I have goals. Goals are easily attainable and give you something  to work toward.

I still have a ways to go to be the me I want to be. Losing 18.4 pounds for the challenge was a good start. It showed me that if I work hard enough, anything is possible. I still have a lot to lose. I want to build more lean muscle too. I want to be proud to walk down the street and be able to say “I know” when I hear this:

daaam

What? It could happen.

I’m reading this really funny book right now. It’s actually about terrible things-but I still laugh out loud when I read it.  The author wrote (and I’m paraphrasing here) about how she’s gotten to the point that when she has to do something hard, or something she isn’t sure about, she just “pretends she’s good at it”. Like public speaking. She pretends she’s good at giving speeches, and therefore it reduces her anxiety and allows her to perform the task that needs to be done. I need to start using that as a mantra for when I’m starting to get anxious or overthink things. “I’m good at this.”

I’m not perfect. Far from it in fact. If you’re wanting to read about a girl who has her shit together and knows what she wants out of life, please feel free to move on.

I set goals for myself and sometimes I don’t attain them. I’m not rich, I’m not even well-off. Hell some days I can barely afford a hot pocket. I’m living with family still because I can’t live on my own with my salary as a teacher.

I’m short. My nails are rarely the same length and I just don’t care. My hair can’t decide what color it wants to be. Well…it wants to be gray, but I’m fighting that as best I can with the help of chemicals and my colorist. My calves are gigantic. People have made comments-true story! My bra and underwear rarely match. Neither do my pajamas. I often fall down randomly because my coordination is sometimes that of a toddler. Just ask the scars on my legs.

I don’t “sparkle”, I sweat. A lot. Specifically when I work out and when I run. I’m scarred. My body likes to produce random cysts and tumors in my lady parts. I try to ignore them for as long as I can until they start to create an issue. Then I get to have them ripped out and adopt a new scar.

Sometimes I wear compression socks to bed. I just really like the fun designs, and it’s an added bonus that they make my gigantic calves feel better. I sing in the shower and the car, but rarely in public.

 I have crappy lungs. There are days when I feel like a 2 pack a day smoker and days when I feel great. From day to day I have no idea if my lungs will cooperate when I get out of bed in the morning.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and it has no armor. I have trust issues. I cry when I’m sad, but also when I’m happy. I can be a snarky sarcastic bitch and the Scorpio in me holds definite grudges. I can also be your best friend and will do anything for you.  I can be painfully shy at times. People tend to think I’m stuck up when they first meet me, but really I’m just socially awkward at first.

I’m terrible at flirting. I don’t know how to flirt, nor do I have the ability to recognize when I’m being flirted with. It’s amazing I’ve been in any relationships at all! Guy: “You have beautiful eyes”. Me: “Happy birthday.”

I tend to over-think things. Like everything. All the time. From big decisions like “Do I want to change grade levels?” to small decisions like “Should I put Miracle Whip on my sandwich?”

Some of these things I can work on changing. Especially the insecure, over-thinking parts. Other things are just me and even if I could change them, I don’t think I would. I like who I’m becoming.

Like this blog, I am a work in progress. This blog doesn’t know what it wants to be or where it’s going. It’s in a state of flux like me. I hope to be able to post updates on training for races again. For now I’m content with building the new me one step at a time and maybe talking a little about that journey.

For now Happy New Year! Here’s to hoping 2016 brings change, a lot of laughter, a little luck, and a ton of fun!

running 2016

Just pretend the guy in the picture is a girl (me) and the buildings are cacti in the desert!