Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Oh, I am feeling like such a failure here. I haven't run or done any exercise is two weeks, at least. Oh, how I hate to admit that out loud. I have my own excuses, but I can't help but feel that they are good enough.

The first week of May, I started experiencing a lot of pain in my muscles and joints, all over my body. I figured it was just soreness from running and maybe overdoing it. So I eased back a bit to let my body rest, so I didn't incur permanent or long-lasting damage. That pain has not gone away. In fact, it has gotten worse. I experience almost daily migraines now, and extreme fatigue and exhaustion. I am so tired, and often fall asleep in the afternoon, only to awaken more groggy and sore. When I wake up in the morning, I feel stiff and sore, and my bones feel like they are almost grinding they are so sore and stiff. I've done a few stretches before I go to bed, and after I awaken, but it doesn't seem to help. Around lunchtime, I start to feel a little better, but by the time naptime is over, I am thoroughly exhausted again. I don't know what is wrong exactly (I have my suspicions, below).  But I do know that it hurts. My hands, arms, back, neck, shoulders, legs, feet, etc. Everything just hurts.

In talking to my mother (who has it as well), and doing some internet research, we suspect that I may have fibromyalgia. There is no way to really diagnose it though, really it is a diagnosis of ruling out everything else. And seeing as there is no cure for it, I do not feel the need to undergo testing at this time. So this may very well be the new normal for me. In my researching, I have discovered that regular aerobic exercise is imperative to reducing the pain of fibromyalgia, and so I must get going again, if only to lessen the pain I feel.

I don't feel that maintaining my running schedule, at my current weight is a safe method of exercising for me right now. And so, I have returned to something that worked for me before. My dear friend, Richard Simmons. I know what you may be thinking about the chipper, crazy-haired, exercise guru in short shorts, but I love that guy. His exercise videos, I find, are motivational and inspiring. I believe that you can really feel his passion for health and fitness. A big part of his health 'program' is learning to love yourself, which I think most overweight people need help with. At any rate, I have ordered a couple of his videos "Dance Your Pants Off" and one that has 80s music on it (can't remember the title). Those should arrive in the mail shortly. So I plan on doing Richard Simmons workouts three times a week, and doing Yoga twice a week. The effects of fibromyalgia can be exacerbated by stress, so meditation and other mental stress reduction methods are encouraged.

So that is the new plan. Maybe it's not fair. Maybe I don't like it. But it is what it is, and it's what I have to live with. This is the new normal.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Would Walk a Thousand Miles

"But I can't run anymore"

I must admit it, I hate running. I dread it all day, and I don't want to do it. I had hoped that if I continued doing it anyway, I would eventually enjoy it. But I don't. When I finish I feel good, because I am finished. But my knees burn. And my ankles hurt, and the tendon that goes over the back of my heel (Achilles?) is killing me, burning with fire. And so, I have decided to back up, and just walk. I will be walking twice as far, and at a brisk pace (power walking) instead of running. Movement is movement. And as soon as I lose some more pounds, I will try running again. But at this point, I feel that by running I am putting myself at a really high risk of hurting myself, and thus being sidelined. And so, I am walking three times a week (or more) instead.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Back in the Saddle


So, with my birthday, and getting sick, and Mother's Day, I missed Day Three of Week One. But I was determined on Sunday, that I was back to business. So Sunday night, during our Family Planning Meeting, I made sure that the family (and the calendar) knew that I was going running three times this week. I made sure to write it (in PEN!) on the calendar, the dates and times I would be gone. And so, tonight is Week Two, Day One.

"I am important enough"

I am important enough to spend time and money on me. I am a mom to my kids, I give all of my love, time, energy, money and more to my family. I rarely, if ever, spend those things on me. And if I do spend it, it is to get secondhand things. After a talk with my mother this morning, and some deep thinking with myself recently, I have come to realize that when I don't spend a little on me, I have nothing to give to them. That is, surprisingly, really hard to accept. I want to give it all to my kids and husband. I don't want to be selfish. My mother has a favorite analogy that she shares about moms being wells of water. Children (and sometimes out husbands too) are takers, they don't put very much back in the well, and they can drain the well really quickly. That doesn't mean that we don't get joy from motherhood, or that motherhood (and marriage) is an oppressive state. What it means is that we have to be in charge of refilling the well, nobody else can do it for us.  And so it is necessary that we spend a little (time, energy, love, money) on ourselves. Now, I am not saying we all need to go out and buy Coach purses or Versace evening gowns, or Gucci whatevers. Or that we should take month long vacations to exotic lands without our families. What I AM saying, is that it is okay to go out and run for a half hour or two. It is okay to purchase appropriate apparel for running in. It is okay to buy ourselves new clothes for once. It is okay to take ourselves to the salon occasionally. As long as we are not draining the family funds bare, thus neglecting our children's NEEDS (not wants), then it is okay to take care of ourselves, and treat ourselves to something special.

So, for my birthday, a friend gave me a Wal*Mart gift card. And unlike years past, I used ALL of it to buy things for me.  And my dear mother gave me a really neat pedometer. While that may offend some daughters to receive exercise equipment ("What are you saying Mom?") I view it as an endorsement from my mom, that she believes in me, supports me, and wants me to succeed. So, thank you Mom. :D

Also, about a minute after walking out the door this evening, I realized that I neglected to look up this week's challenge. But rather than turn around and go back home, and risk being sucked into my computer's time -machine vortex capabilities, I decided to keep going anyways. I decided that I would walk 90 steps, run 90 steps. Last week was walk 120, run 90, so I figured that this would be harder. And it was.

"Self:  Shut-Up"

The first five minutes of the work-out is a stretch, a warm-up, and a stretch (I forgot the first stretch). Piece of cake, easy-peasy. Then I started running. Now, I run really slowly, in fact, I probably walk faster than I can run, but that's not important. The important thing is I do it.

Anyway, as I was running and walking, the first little bit wasn't too bad. I'd say the first quarter of a mile was pretty easy. But about halfway through, it got harder, and I started trash talking myself. "You think THIS is hard? On what planet will you finish a 5K? You will never finish. You can't do this. Why are you wasting your time? Such a loser. You are going to fail." Charming, aren't I? It was really hard to keep going. I do hate running. I don't want to go out and do this three times a week. I do not enjoy running, I dread it.  Why was I doing it? I was doing it because I want to succeed. I was doing it because it's the right thing to do. I was doing it because I want to enjoy it. Here's a great quote "Fake it til you make it!"  I can pretend I enjoy it, and maybe someday I will (hopefully sooner rather than later). Meanwhile, my inner self, my inner demon, was beating me down. Telling me how undeserving I was of fitness, how selfish I was for not being home (for a paltry 30 minutes). And mostly, telling me what a loser I was. I wanted to cry, I wanted to give up. How am I ever going to run a 5K, when I can't even run a half mile without stopping? And then, something revolted. "Self! You shut-up!" I began consciously attacking the jerk inside, and fighting back, and it was freeing. I may not be able to run a quarter mile, but today I walked and ran 1.56 miles.

Maybe I can't run a 5K now, but I have an entire month to get there. And I already know I can walk a 5K, because I did that on Week One Day One (accidentally). Thanks to my new pedometer, I know how far I am going each day, which is lovely by the way. And because of it, I know that last Monday I walked and ran about 3 miles. I argued and told myself that while I was away from my kids, it was only 30 minutes, and my husband was with them. They weren't left alone, they were being taken care of.

And I am not a loser, I may be many things, but a loser is not one of them.  I am valuable. I am worth something. I deserve a long, healthy life. And my children deserve to grow up with their mother. And so, I chug on with it, hating the process, but loving the way I feel when I walk in the door, and know I finished.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day


I am so blessed to have such a great best friend, who organized a birthday party for me on Friday. Unfortunately, Friday was supposed to be my running night, but alas it was postponed.  I was supposed to go on Saturday instead, but then I got sick, and so it is Sunday, and I have not run since Wednesday.  On Saturday, we drove over to the next big town so I could spend my birthday money. I bought a new running shirt (now I have two), a cap for the sun (being outside in the sun gives me a migraine), I also purchased a couple of sports bras, since all I own are nursing bras, LOL. I was supposed to go run after we got home, but, as I said, began to be really sick. But I am feeling better today, since starting antibiotics, and so I am back on schedule.

However, as I said, it was my birthday, and though I ate a light, healthy dinner beforehand, I am certain I overdid it on the junk food on my party, and the rest of the weekend wasn't much better.

And so, today I start over, right now. I cannot go run, but I have already put my running days on the calendar. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for about 30 minutes, I have me time. Time for me, to run/walk while I think listen to my music and just have a break.

My first 5K is June 18th in Hereford, Texas. I am both excited and nervous. As I said before, my sister and my mom are going to participate as well, and my sister in law is planning on walking too (although she will be 8 months pregnant by then).  In talking to my mom, we discussed how we would like to create family traditions of fitness and outdoor recreation, instead of the current tradition of binge eating, holiday laziness, and lifelong obesity. What a legacy to leave my children: full, active, healthy lives.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


"Here we go again"

How many of you thought I was too chipper, or would have a bad day soon? You are correct! Today is Frustrated Day (and Cinco De Mayo, although that's not related).
I think part of the problem is that this has been a busy, busy week, and I am frankly exhausted. Tomorrow is my birthday, and my friend is throwing a birthday party for me at my house, so I have been cleaning in preparation for that. Plus, the strain of being a stay at home mom to four kids under the age of five, and homeschooling the oldest one, with an almost three month old as well. Yes, I have many reasons to be tired. We have been refinishing our kitchen (refinished counters, painted cabinets, wall, trim, new appliances) and just finished yesterday. It's enough to exhaust anybody, I suppose.

But I think the biggest reason I am so frustrated is because a) I am really sore today, and I mean aching, run-over by a truck, sore. And b) because with all my hard work this week, I managed to gain two pounds. I am trying to console myself with thoughts that I have really pounded my body this week, and when you work muscles like that, you tear them, and that causes inflammation, which is water weight, etc. But still I am frustrated.  Grrr. Things like this make me want to give up, you know? I don't mind the pain if it's helping, but man, if I'm going to hurt and have to work hard, and STILL gain weight, I'd almost rather not do it, ya' know?

But, that would make everything I've done up to this point, a waste. It would leave this blog as a personal reminder that I just gave up, and proof that when push comes to shove, I quit. And so, I will soldier on, perhaps a bit depressed and down, but surely, if I continue on, things will improve, yes?

And in happier news, one of my sisters, H, and my mom are going to be running the 5K with me. :D

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day Two

"Can I get a hoo-rah?!"
I ran again today. I don't really have too much to say about it. This time, I had my husband drop me off at the far end of the park, and he took the kids to the playground. Last time I ran too far. The program says only 20 minutes, plus a 5 minute warm-up. I ran for 40 minutes. When I got home I was too tired. You should feel exhilarated after a good workout, I was just wiped out. So today I just did half the run, and man I feel great! Best part? My favorite song came on the iPod just as I finished, "Supermassive Black Hole" by Muse. Yes, it is from my favorite scene of the movie, "Twilight."  Cool points if you know the scene it's from. :D

Monday, May 2, 2011

And So I Begin

"Week One, Day One"

And so I ran tonight. Ouch. Let me just say that that was hard. But I did it. I was supposed to start with a brisk 5-minute warm-up and then jog/walk for 20 minutes, alternating jog for 60 seconds, walk for 90. Since I have yet to purchase a watch or a stopwatch, I instead counted my steps. Every time my left foot hit the pavement (well, gravel in my case) I counted. So I jogged for 90 steps and I walked for 120. I also took my 2 year old in the jogging stroller. And may I also point out that the track I took, I remember it being a lot shorter! It took me 37 minutes to get back to my house. According to my husband, the way I went is at least 2 miles (I thought it was only 1!) And I ran approximately a third of the way.

The walking part was pretty easy. I was proud of that. And the jogging, in itself, wasn't too bad at first, I guess. Actually, the first 45 steps was pretty easy, the next 25 were harder, but the last 20 were terrible. And each repetition was harder than the last. I started out counting up to 90 steps, but soon discovered that counting backwards was more motivating. It felt great to get down to 20 steps, and then getting to 10 and then 1 and being able to walk again, oh the relief.

And then I wanted to quit, oh how I wanted to stop. I had my cell phone, and it would have been so easy to call my husband to come and get me, and I was sorely tempted to do so. But I didn't. Just as I was at the end of my strength, a song came on my Ipod workout playlist.  My mother will appreciate the fact that several Journey songs are on this playlist, but the song "Don't Stop Believing" got me through the hardest part, which came about halfway. While the song in and of itself isn't all that good of a storyline, I suppose, the chorus "Don't stop believing, hold on to that feeling!" gave me strength to say, okay, just one more rep. Okay, just 10 more steps, just 5 more steps, just one more step. And then I was home, and I had made it, I succeeded. Sweet.

I walked in the door of my home on jelly legs. I do believe I overdid it, and on Wednesday I will take the short track, which should be closer to 20 minutes. Although I CAN do 40 minutes, I want to start out slowly so I do not injure myself overdoing it. I weighed myself both before and after running. I have read that when exercising, you should drink before and after (and sometimes during) to keep hydrated. A good rule of thumb, is to drink 8 oz of water (at least) for every pound you lose while running. I apparently didn't lose a thing today, but I still drank two glasses of water. And an hour after my venture, I feel pretty good. While I don't feel the adrenaline surge of good physical feeling, I do feel good about having done it. I feel good about setting out and accomplishing. And considering my venture was about 2 miles, I can already do about 2/3 of a 5K, which is exciting to me :D


I took a picture right before I left, because I wanted to have a good reference for where I started. Bear in mind, that this is me a little over 30 lbs lighter than where I started, but nevertheless, it serves as a good before picture.

And so, this is where I begin. 5 ft 8 or 9 and 228 lbs.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Will, Tomorrow


This word is often the cause of failure in so many things. "I will start my diet tomorrow," "I will be better tomorrow," "I will tell her/him 'I love you,' tomorrow." The problem with tomorrow, is there is almost always some reason to put 'it' off again, at least until "tomorrow." By saying "tomorrow," we are effectively giving ourselves one more day to "be bad" or to not do as we should do, today. The only word worse than "tomorrow" when we are striving to change, is "on Monday." Because "on Monday" can give us up to a whole other week to slack off. Perhaps that is why people fail to achieve, perhaps it is why I have failed in the past, is because I have put 'it' off until 'tomorrow.' Perhaps there is truth in the saying, "tomorrow never comes." We have to work in 'today' to have the joys of 'tomorrow.'

With that in mind, 'tomorrow' I start the exercise portion of my 5K training. And I am nervous and terrified. Self-doubt has made her ugly appearance, and boy is she nasty. But I am going to ignore her weak arguments. Just because I haven't gone and run in a long time, doesn't mean I cannot start. Just because I have been out of shape for years, doesn't mean I cannot get in shape now. My past being does not have to determine my future being, or my present being. I can choose to change my present self, and thus change the future.

I caught a glimmer of the future several weeks ago. I saw that if I were to continue my old course of poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, and self hate, I would find myself the victim of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, chronic depression, possibly wheelchair/bed-ridden, and unable to enjoy my life with my children and watch them grow up. I say victim, but I would, in reality, have been the perpetrator of my own nightmarish suffering. I knew that that was not the reality that I wanted for myself, or my kids. And so, I changed course, and by so doing, I am changing the future.

I now envision myself, running and not being weary. I see myself finishing races. I do not picture myself, at this time, Winning races, but finishing them. To finish a 5K would be a victory in itself for me. To not be last would be a triumphant victory.

And so, although self doubt has come to visit, I am refusing to let her stay. As a wise man, Jeffrey R Holland, recently said, "Like thieves in the night, unwelcome thoughts can and do seek entrance to our minds. But we don’t have to throw open the door, serve them tea and crumpets, and then tell them where the silverware is kept! Whatever thoughts you have, make sure they are welcome in your heart by invitation only." http://lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/place-no-more-for-the-enemy-of-my-soul?lang=eng  Smart man.

"This Week"

I have a challenge to do, three times this week. The challenge is to do a "brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes." http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml I am to do this on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, before beginning challenge #2 the following week. Although I am anxious, I refuse to let myself get carried away with thoughts of inability or weakness. It is hard, and tomorrow will be harder, but if it wasn't hard, where would the triumph be? What would be the victory of accomplishing something easy? And so I grab ahold of the hard trial, that I might enjoy the greater victory at the end of the struggle.