Final Shred Week

I keep referring to my shred as a “cut” and I wonder if people think I’ve lost my mind saying that I’m still cutting until Saturday, but I’ll have ham and casseroles on Sunday. I’ve been so busy through this process. I’ve hit the gym every other day during the week and I grocery shop more often for fresh items. I’m holding at 5 lbs lost so far, but I’ll see how that figures in fat loss at the final weigh in on Saturday. One thing I’ve noticed is that my wrist is smaller because one of my bracelets I was wearing daily slides all over the place now. It can be easily adjusted. I was impressed that it was noticeable and somewhat regretted not taking body measurements at the start.

I have been a bit cranky this week. Not unusual for this time of the month, if you know what I mean. (PMS, guys. I’m talking about PMS.) I’ve been emotional and depression creeps up on me out of nowhere. I was worried that the darkness would stick around after thinking about how my absence wouldn’t be more than an inconvenience for the people I’m closest to. Yeah, dark intrusive thoughts come by without warning and definitely no invitation.

Fortunately, I’ve had a couple of good days. I’ve enjoyed my workouts and made progress. My Tuesday run wasn’t fantastic because it felt difficult, but I needed the run and it did what I needed it to for my mental state.

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When I got to the gym on Wednesday, the coach was laying on the floor from the workout. My brain was instantly thinking that I should turn around and walk out because I couldn’t put up that kind of work and I’d just be embarrassing myself. On an overhead press, I completed one full set before failing to press the bar up beyond nose level for the rest of the time. I tried repeatedly and couldn’t break my mind of “I can’t do this.” We started another part of the workout that involved squats. While trying to improve my form, I lost my focus and fell on my butt with a bar overhead, but somehow was fine and it only made me try harder to get it right. I was exhausted, but I actually made it through that portion despite feeling like I couldn’t do another rep without falling over for most of the last portion where I had dumbbells to press.

Wednesday night, I had a trail run. My friend asked to ride with me, so I picked her up on the way. When I got lost, I was glad to have someone with me in the car. We were able to use trail shoes on loan from Saucony and go on a path Fleet Feet had marked out for us. It was muddy. There were hills and branches. When we hit 1.26 miles, I’d felt like I’d gone 3 miles and was feeling done with the experience. I was mostly hot because I’ve always taken a while to get used to changes in weather when I run. It was still fun, though. I got to chat with people I haven’t seen in awhile, splash in the mud, and give the shoes back to someone else to clean the mud off. I’d do it again even if my running partner for the evening would not. I also really liked the shoes I borrowed. They had a way to fasten them that made it easier to operate when they’re muddy and not have to tie them. The shoes were also not filled with water or mud despite the number of times I put my whole foot into the wet puddles. When I got home to clean up, I found a single thorn poking out of my knee and just laughed as I plucked it off. I required a bit of scrubbing to see the skin under all the mud I’d gotten on me.

All in all, this week has been ok. I am exhausted today and the gloomy skies don’t help that at all. I finished getting Easter items for my kids [and dogs]. This weekend is going to be busy, but I am excited to see my results from the shred as well as to watch my kids hunt for eggs stuffed with candy. I’m thankful for so many blessings and the ability to recognize them when I was feeling down.

 

Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great day!

Progress is Progress

This weekend was a blur. I weighed in on Saturday and I knew that I wasn’t down much in pounds, but I was disappointed to see the number on the scale that day. I started obsessing about getting my personalized report to see how much fat loss and muscle gain I’d experienced. GAINS! lol.

That board is always there, but this was special for Saturday’s event at the gym.

I considered skipping my Saturday cheat meal because I couldn’t land on one meal or cuisine in which I wanted to eat. I accidentally missed lunch by being busy and wound up eating a little bag of pistachios from a vending machine because it was the only ‘natural’ thing in there. I wanted to eat dinner somewhere that had draft beer. When my husband and I have gotten away for a meal together, we wound up at a local place called Flingers that had craft pizza and craft beer. I actually picked another local place before I changed my mind in the car to go to the pizza joint. No regrets there. My kids loved their meal and my husband and I had a bbq chicken pizza that was delicious. My beer tasted incredible. I ordered a skillet cookie and shared it, of course. I required some antacid later on, but I wasn’t sickly full. I didn’t binge on the food. I stopped when I was full and I was mindful about my bites.

I’m really digging the New England IPAs

Sunday, we went to church early for a meeting and breakfast where everything looked so tasty, but I only grabbed a small bite of their breakfast pizza and a large portion of fruit. My kids ate the pastries and donuts. The day was busy again and I simply didn’t feel like eating my lunch. My house was a zoo that day with kids coming in and out and I cleaned the floors before heading back to church for my evening volunteering.

My results came in after dinner Sunday night. I was down 3 pounds, gained 1 pound of muscle and lost 1% fat over the first two weeks of the program. While I know I should have been proud of myself, I felt like my hard work should have resulted in more. What’s up with that? “MORE!” There is always room for it.

And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!”

Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Progress is progress and not being happy that I’ve made some in the right direction is nonsense. I still have two weeks to go and the main idea is to get fit and stay that way instead of starting over and over. Monday at the gym, the coaches were surprised that I wasn’t more pleased with my results and reminded me that I’m putting in the hard work and doing it the right way. I left the gym energized and went to tackle the rest of my day with a little more positivity than I’d started it.

I have a physical therapy evaluation today. This time a women’s health PT. Fortunately, I am not experiencing pelvic prolapse again. My ob/gyn has noticed some ligament issues that have causes me a lot of lower abdominal and back pain that have been annoying to say the least. My foot pain that was in the metatarsal region has nagged off and on lately and I’ve been trying to do all the exercises from that therapy so I don’t have to go back to the podiatrist. I’m not even old yet and I can’t stay away from the doctor for aches and pains.

Thanks for reading! I’ve felt higher energy levels since starting to eat better and exercise more regularly. My depression isn’t gone and obviously had to rear its ugly head on my weigh in results. It helps that I can have outdoor time without a coat lately. I’ve been running less than 10 miles a week, but it’ll pick up when the weather is consistently warm. Today, I ran with Aurora for 3 miles and she was nuts. I think she really had fun and we’re slowly learning how to use the running leash. She looked tired for the picture, but after some water and ice cubes, she bolted around the house like a herd of cattle were coming through.

Getting closer

I’m finally getting closer to running! At least I hope so. I saw the doc today again. Foot rotations, poking, and prodding were all painless to my ankle. I was impressed, but also very stiff when asked to move things around.

He said I could get fitted for a brace and no longer wear the cast that I’d been having changed weekly for the past 5 weeks. I’ve been through light blue (twice), pink, purple, and red for cast colors. So, he said that I’ll be wearing the brace with the boot full time (except shower and sleep) for the next week. After that, I’ll wean from the boot, but not the brace, for a week. I’ll slip out of the boot and wear my brace and an athletic shoe for increasing time increments until I’m fully out of the boot. Once out of the boot, I’ll still need to wear the brace full time (except showers and bed) for 6 weeks. Then, I’ll have to wear the brace every time I do anything where I could re-injure my ankle. I forgot to ask him if that meant walking to the bus stop, since that is actually how the injury occurred in the first place.

I tried to ask if I could go swimming, but he asked if I meant for exercise or pleasure and he said I could get in and do water aerobics, but not any lap swimming for awhile. He once again directed me to the stationary bike , which I explained the issue of the boot making one leg much longer than the other and me banging my knees or missing the pedals entirely. He agreed that as long as it didn’t hurt my ankle, I could wear an athletic shoe to operate the bike (with the brace on).

So basically, I didn’t exactly get the news I was hoping for. STILL….I get to shave the part of my leg that has been steadily growing hair for 5 weeks. I can take showers without that foot condom thing to protect the cast from getting wet.

I have a consultation with a physical therapist next week, so I’ll know more about my timeline with running then. I’ll probably know by the look on her face when I tell her I want to run a marathon in October whether or not I will be ‘cleared’ for it. I’m hoping that by saying I’ll train in intervals, the idea will be less likely to get ‘moved to the recycle bin’.

I miss running. Last week was spring break and I didn’t make time for the gym. I just kind of let the laziness flow into this week and now I feel bad that I haven’t worked out. I was kind of letting the situation get under my skin with having the boot and a harder time getting around. It’s hard to override the voice in my head that is like “f*ck it, let’s go eat chocolate and read a book,” instead of, “let’s change into fun workout clothes and see how many times I can lift heavy things.”

So I’m looking into my eating habits and I’m questioning them. I’m going to do something drastic soon. I’ve prepared by drinking a soda as a way of bidding it farewell. I will not give up chocolate because I’m not insane or delusional. I like it and I associate it with relaxation. So, I’m just going to clean up my nutrition a bit and weed out some bad habits I’ve developed.

All that might bore you to death. Or not. I don’t know. I know that I still plan to run a marathon in October until someone says that it is not in the cards. I will fundraise regardless. I will eventually have my shot at running a marathon, and then I will promptly avoid long distance running for awhile.

I went to a race this past weekend and watched my husband in his first half marathon race. I got to see a few people who I know through running cross the finish line as well. One person had her first half marathon that day, too and she was so elated to finish, it made the trip and the hobbling around totally worth it. Also, I saw Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln at Starbucks….lol. Photographic evidence:

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Thanks for reading! Consider donating to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for my fundraising efforts. I’ve got a little more than $1500 to go and I’m really excited at this opportunity to raise awareness about IBD. Thanks for reading! Questions and comments are always welcome!

A little longer

I saw the podiatrist today for my 3 week checkup since the cast and boot were put on. While most of the pain in the highest area of concern is gone, there is still a bit of pain with rotation and pressure on the tendons. So, he said he’ll look again in 2 weeks. At that time, I should be able to get fitted for an ankle brace I’ll have to wear all of the time. I’ll also need physical therapy and to be weaned off of using the boot to get around.

I made sure that my use of the machines at the gym wasn’t a problem. I told him that I get some looks when I do abduction exercises. He said that my upper body workouts and my hip workouts are fine as long as I’m not using my leg to operate the weights or doing standing exercises. These are the same as the last time I saw him, but I wanted to touch base and make sure I was on the right track. I also wasn’t sore after my upper body workout Monday. Yay!

I sold a race entry to a friend and transferred it officially through the race director. Now my next race is in June. I still intend to be in shape for a marathon by October.

I’ve been a little better with my depression issues I was having. I spoke with  the doctor [nurse practitioner] and we’ve adjusted my medicine in hopes that things will look up. I had a rough couple of days this week, but I’m handling it. Being a mom is hard work and often emotionally draining. I’m still here, though. Like the workouts I have in the gym [and again out on the running course soon], I’m stronger from what I endure. Things might push me to be upset and to quietly contemplate how I got here and how I plan to continue, but I can’t be kept down for long. I refuse to let myself do that.

I know it all sounds so much more positive than the last time I wrote. That’s a good thing. Something to remember is that we can’t all be positive all of the time, but when I try to be positive, I hope to influence others who aren’t quite feeling themselves and need a little light. I want to offer what I can and I lose nothing by using my flame to light another candle. I’m not all the way back from the dark, but that’s ok. I still have some light to share.

Please consider giving to my fundraising page for Crohn’s and Colitis. I’m at $441 of my $2k goal. I’m still very excited to be part of a fundraising team running in the Chicago Marathon this October. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is doing great things to help people with IBD. If you have a chance, check out their website, too. Here is my fundraising page link: http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262 Any donations are greatly appreciated.

If you just want to read about IBD, this is their page: http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

 

Cranky boot

*In the past, I’ve chosen to be reserved and leave out any colorful language. That’s not who I really am. So, I’m going to try to write how I would actually say things.

I have been in a cast and boot one day short of two weeks. I haven’t run since February 19th and I miss it like crazy. Not only that, but this boot thing is bullshit. Not in the sense that it isn’t real science or serves no medical need. I’m sure it is legit. I just hate it. It could be that I’m more irritable lately. That could be because I can’t go for a run.

I’ve been to the gym a few times to lift weights that work my upper body. I even used the machines that could be operated with my legs without bearing weight on them. I’ve used my dumbbells at home, too. I have been doing knee planks, bicycle crunches and some other core work daily just to try to ‘stay healthy’. I’ve tried to keep my focus positive. I’ve got to say that I still don’t feel that great. I don’t seem to want to eat well and I just generally feel tired.

Compound my recent health woes with the fact that I feel a little trapped at home by the boot being on my right leg and having to change it every time I drive, and I’m suffering a little. I feel the ubiquitous surge of depression nagging. That voice in my head that says things will always be one difficult thing after another, which equals up to nothing of value. The voice that tells me that I’ve already failed at so much in life, that I really don’t deserve good things to happen. That voice that is still me, but so mean to me. No matter how hard I try to create things or to make an impact, I’m still not doing it right and I never will. I’m not particularly good at anything and I have nothing which sets me apart from anyone else. Disposable. That voice is a real bitch if you ask me, but it still hurts my feelings and I struggle against it like I’m swimming upstream. I’m never quite adequate and I don’t know if I ever will be. I’m usually okay with not being perfect, but when the darkness sets in, the mean voice is louder and it quiets my confidence.

My confident voice, the one that is sure I can do anything I put my mind to, is little more than a whisper. I don’t try to shut that out because I sincerely hope it comes back to being the loudest. Depression ebbs and flows. I don’t know how long I’ll be in this recurrence, just like I never know how long it’ll hide in remission. I’m used to neatly tucking it away when it comes around. I’m used to the irritability it causes me and the feelings that nothing matters and everything matters all at once.

I’m used to people who don’t suffer from mental illness trying to tell me that there are others who have it worse. I know and I feel bad that I can’t handle my much smaller load of life. Actually, worse after you mention that I’m not dealing with my shit as well as people who have it worse. Thanks, though.

Yes, I have a doctor. Yes, I take medication. I also typically work out for it, but that’s temporarily limited to what I’m able to do at the moment without disturbing my healing or further injuring myself. I mean, I am actually trying and I don’t expect a cookie or anything. I just wish it wouldn’t rear its ugly head while I’m already working hard to overcome this injury. It could’ve picked a better time.

Anyway, I put little sticky jewels on my boot. It amused me a little.

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Agony of my foot

Agony of my foot?

I would have said “the feet”, but it’s really only one foot and I haven’t actually let it defeat me. I’ve been better. I’ve also been worse, though. Had I not been so active when I twisted my ankle, I probably could have had a much worse injury or it may have lingered much longer.

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My lovely ankle at the end of the day Tuesday. (The mornings, I have more of an ‘ankle’ than a ‘kankle’)

The Present

I’m not running yet. I’ve been away from running for about 2 weeks now. I miss going out and running. I fear that my speed and my endurance will drop while I’m not out there. I wonder if the injury will somehow alter my abilities to run well. Only time will tell and I was once completely new at it and had to work hard to gain speed and endurance. It wasn’t much easier after I’d gotten to go further and faster because there is always room for improvement and hard work. I’m willing to do it, so there’s really not a need for worry in that area.

I used my health insurance benefit to get a gym membership. They offer a fitness program through participating gyms that is a set monthly fee, but I can go to multiple gyms for that one fee. I started out with the local Gold’s Gym that has a pool inside. I’ve been trying to keep up my cardiovascular exercise through swimming laps  I’ve gone 3 times so far and I’ve done better each time. I went from barely being able to complete 2 laps without significant rest to doing 20 lengths one day and then 44 the next. I really had to push myself to the 44. I’d set the goal before I’d gotten in the car to drive to the gym. While I was swimming, I kept convincing myself that if I just made it more laps than the previous day, I could settle for that. Then, I kept asking myself if I couldn’t go on or just didn’t want to. I had to swim another lap to test that question each time. So, I kept going. The pool isn’t quite 25 yards, so 87 lengths or 43 laps is a mile. I went half of a mile just to see myself do it. The day I swam 20 lengths of the pool, I dried off and headed out to the gym floor and used a few of the machines that focused mostly on arm, chest, and back muscles. I tried to stay around 35-50 lbs on each one and complete at least 2 sets of 25 repetitions with a short break in between sets. My arms were so shaky afterward, I thought I may have overdone it. I’m not terribly sore, though. I suppose using the free weights at home for so long helped me after all. I’m excited about the new additions to my fitness routine, but I really am excited to get back to running as well.

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#NewAdventure

The Past

I’m going to take a moment to tell a story about my swimming background and it will probably tell you a lot about me. I was 16 and a couple of my friends said they were going out for the swim team. I had never taken a lesson in my life. My swimming experience was limited to a doggie paddle and a side stroke to get from one spot to another in a lake. My diving experience was off of a pontoon boat in Cumberland Lake in Kentucky and my Aunt Lisa had gotten me to actually go in head first without belly flopping. I went for the dive team and man, I stunk it up. I couldn’t straighten my body out after touching my toes on a pike. I was never very close to the board after jumping. The diving coach didn’t give up and tell me not to come back. She sent me to the swimming coach. I hopped in the pool and I imitated the front crawl/freestyle from what I saw and I came out gasping for air every few strokes and sounding like I was for sure not going to survive. Coach McFarland didn’t let me give up. I stayed a little after practice a few times until I learned to breathe during a stroke. I learned to flip under the water at the end of the pool. I learned to dive off of the block at the end like someone would to start a race. I got to participate in swim meets when the season started. I knew nothing about the sport and I joined the team and got to actually be a part of it. My teammates were helpful and would show me how to do the strokes outside of the water to help me do them in the water. I didn’t squander the opportunity. The end of the season awards ceremony saw me the recipient of the “most improved” award in addition to a “gag gift” of goggles because I had a terrible habit of losing my goggles off of the block at the start of races. I’d somehow get the goggles to pop off of my face in all the excitement or they’d come down on my neck and I’d yank them off and toss them onto the pool deck while swimming. I wouldn’t say I went from zero to hero, but I stayed with it even after I realized I wasn’t that good at it.

The Future

These past two weeks seem to have crawled by so slowly and I still have about 4 weeks left of recovery before I can fully go back to running. I still intend to go back to running outdoors on a regular basis. I intend to finish a marathon when I’m back to that fitness level and endurance.  I also intend to keep going to the gym. I asked a friend who had done bodybuilding in the past for some direction in lifting. Her trainer answered me directly, which was a huge help for me. I know I’ll feel less self conscious on the gym floor now that I had that talk about feeling new to the gym. She told me that while she has years of experience, just being in a new place can be a little overwhelming for the most experienced lifters. I like having a variety of things to do. I want to get stronger and  to get better at swimming. I plan to establish a fitness routine in the coming weeks and have the flexibility to change it as running comes back into the picture. My brand new reflective running jacket hasn’t even had the chance to go for a test run. I can’t wait to get out there, but I’ll still be active in the meantime.

Have you ever had an injury that sidelined you from a favorite activity? Did you find other ways to be active during that time? Thank you for reading! Any comments are welcome! Please let me know if there’s something you need me to discuss on here about my journey.