Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Morning Workout and Patience

Guess what? I ran! ...well, I walk/jogged this morning. I used my newly-rediscovered resolve to get my butt out of bed at 4:30 this morning (even though I was up briefly at 1:00 and again at 3:00). It felt amazing! I kept things pretty low key and did:

*0-5 min: warm up walk
*5-26 min: 1 minute walk/1 minute jog
*26-30: cool down walk

My back and knees felt good the whole way and I was moderately winded by the end of the jog interval - so I figured this would be a good starting point. I plan to try this same thing for a week, then increase the interval length to 90 seconds and see how that feels.

My workout put me in a good mood for the rest of the morning. I can't wait to start increasing the jogging intervals and eventually get back to full-on running. I'm going to try to remember to be patient with the process and remember that, after a year and a half with no running at all and about two years since any real distance running, it's going to take time. Also, I'm carrying around a lot more mass than the last time I ran, so my paces are going to be slower - and that's okay. I need to be gentle on my knees and back and not risk injury by pushing too hard. **Maybe putting this in writing will help me remember when I feel the need for speed 😉. We can only hope.

I am hoping to break out the jogging stroller this summer and make some tracks. I would really love it if running could become something that we do together - whether I'm pushing him in a stroller, or he's riding his bike next to me, and maybe someday running with me. If he decides running isn't his "jam" (or whatever the cool kids say when he gets to that age), that's cool. But I would love to provide an example of healthy activities for him.

Has anyone else come back from a long period of no running? What was your experience?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Inevitable Success

"If success was inevitable, would you still put it off?" This is one of my favorite quotes right now. It reminds me that success often boils down to whether or not you truly believe you will accomplish your goal.

When I discovered running in high school, it made me realize that if I was stubborn enough, I could do anything. It didn't matter how long it took, but if I could get stubborn and hang in there, I would finish the task at hand and feel amazing. Once I discovered this, it gave me a huge boost of confidence in the rest of my life because I knew I could do anything I set my mind to.

When I was 17, after six years of training, I got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do. The two hour test was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. At one point, I was told to hit a punching bag for as long as I could. I made up my mind that I wasn't going to stop until they told me to. Forty five minutes later, I'd worn all the skin off my knuckles (I still have faint scars), but I'd done what I set out to do. To this day, this is one of my proudest accomplishments (after childbirth and running a marathon).

In the past, when my weight had crept back up to scary levels, I always knew in the back of my mind that once I buckled down, I would be able to lose it again. Seeing this quote made me realize that this confidence has faded in past months. Suddenly, I don't have the bone-deep knowledge that no matter how difficult the task, I will persevere and succeed. I think when I stopped running this assurance slowly faded. I find myself thinking things like, "What's the point? You're not going to follow through anyway."

Unspeakable joy contained in a tiny person.
You know what? I want it back. I think even more than wanting to lose weight and have more energy, I want to be able to go for a run. I've missed running since about mid-way through my pregnancy, but life being busy and sleep being elusive, I haven't been able to find the time - so I stopped trying. And when I stopped trying, I think I stopped believing I could. I got so wrapped up in the unspeakable joy of our tiny human and the overwhelming stress of money issues and lack of sleep that I forgot about this piece of myself.

I've decided to believe again, to remember that I can do hard things, and to prove to myself that I can still out-stubborn obstacles. I owe it to myself and my family to be the best version of myself I can be.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Random Updates

...So it's been awhile...

I am currently struggling quite a bit with depression - and though I've had some ideas for blog posts, I keep getting tripped up by one thing or another that makes it seem like too much trouble. Usually it's the task of getting pictures from the camera to my computer... 'cause the walk from the kitchen table to my laptop is a lot of work. ...yup, that's where I'm at right now.

Anyway, I'll try not to dwell on the negative and instead share some random life-happenings.

Random Update #1: I not only finished the school work I mentioned here, but I did really well on the final! My mentor told me he'd never seen a score that high for that class - so I was feeling pretty smug. So this experience of being stressed out has translated to diligently scheduling this term's work and not procrastinating...right? Not so much. Mmmmmm....yeah. We'll talk about that some other time.

Random Cuteness: 


Lola got a new dog bed and both she and S are pretty happy about it. Cody sent me these pictures at work and it totally made my day. 
Random Update #2: We re-arranged our living room to make things more "baby-proof." We have several (like 12-15) cubes that are full of books and knickknacks. Almost all of these were transplanted downstairs - which has the dual benefit of getting things away from grabby baby fingers as well as cutting down on clutter (it's also makes the basement a little homier in my opinion). The cubes that remain have S's toys and books, so he is free to grab anything and there is a place to put stuff away when I pick up - amazing! We also transplanted the large, heavy bookcase full of DVD's downstairs. I'd originally planned to anchor this to the wall, but I had a clutter-freak-out and was in to the mood to minimize the stuff in our living room/dining room area, so down it went. It feels really great to have a space where S can just crawl all over and know he won't get a hold of something he's not supposed to have. Of course, now his favorite things are 1) trying to get to the electric heater and 2) pulling on the curtains. Sigh. Instead of "baby proof," let's call it "baby-resistant." [By the way, I have tons of pictures to go with this, but said pictures are still on the camera...so I'll have to do a massive picture-dump post in the near future.]

Random Update #3: We've taken up the battle again to try and get Cody's condition diagnosed. After four years of different doctors and fighting with the VA, we finally decided to pay out-of-pocket to try and get a real diagnosis. We've started with a new neurologist who ordered a muscle biopsy to help steer things in the right direction. Cody had that three weeks ago and is now sporting a fresh two-inch scar on his thigh. Hopefully the results will show something, or if they don't - will at least rule some things out. We'll see how it goes. Medical stuff always takes forever and tries your patience (and your wallet).  

Random Story: Saturday night, I was creeping down my basement stairs (to get a book because I couldn't sleep) and I realized that I was literally tip-toeing down my own stairs to avoid waking up...my dog. At that moment, it struck me that this was, perhaps, not a normal thing to do. Let me explain - when Lola was a puppy, she would sometimes go into the basement rather than "ask" to go outside, so we got into the habit of blocking off the stairs (and now we have a baby gate) - so whenever I go downstairs, she gets very excited and will either a) bring a bone to hide, or b) go find a previously hidden bone. Long story short - she gets VERY excited when anyone goes downstairs and will proceed to race up and down a couple of times, then bark and pounce to try and get you to play with her. All of this leads to the comical reality of me sneaking down my own stairs in an effort not to wake my basset hound, who will then wake up the baby, who will wake up the poor husband who never gets to sleep anymore.

Just in case you forgot how cute she is.

I am planning to do some posts soon talking about my recent high's and low's in weight loss and adventures in exercising. Stay tuned - I swear it won't be another month before my next post. :O)

Have you ever done something ridiculous as a pet owner (like sneaking around your own house, or sleeping contorted because you don't have the heart to kick them off the bed)?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sasquatch and Life Stress

Well, it's been a while. I thought I would check in to let anyone who does visit my little sliver of the internet that I'm still here.

I was a bit too lax over the holidays and I am currently cramming to finish all of my school work before the end of the month. This on top of working full time and having a tiny human has me a bit frazzled... and sadly, has left little time for blogging. But, rest assured - I am still here, and still working towards being a runner again.

I've been doing a bit of food prepping - with lots of fabulous photos that I haven't uploaded yet - so that I have breakfast, snacks, and lunch for all of my work days. While this takes up some of my precious weekend hours, I really love the convenience of having my food ready to go. This has also been good nutrition and calorie-wise, since I've been sure to include healthy food and plenty of fruits and veggies in the mix. In addition to wanting to lose weight, I want to make sure that S has a good example when he starts eating what we're eating.

Speaking of weight, I'm currently down 6 pounds from my last post. I'm glad that the scale is no longer creeping ominously upward, but I am a bit discouraged with my lack of workouts lately. I have been trying to walk at work on breaks and lunch, but my at home workouts have been limited to the occasional 10-15 minute spurt on my new spin bike (holy crap, that's harder than I expected). I think at the moment I'm going to try and work on being consistent with the spin bike and strength training in the evenings - since I can do this while my fellas are watching TV. I miss my treadmill, but treadmill time has to come from either sleep time or family time and I'm reluctant to part with either of those right this minute.

Sleep has suddenly become like the sasquatch at our house (fervently chased, but always elusive). Little man has been teething and only sleeps about three or four hours solid before waking up fussy and "thrashy." He falls back to sleep, but will fuss and start to thrash for a few minutes every hour, so Cody and I have been taking shifts and usually manage to get five or six hours a night. I know a lot of people function really well on this amount of sleep. Let me tell you, I'm not one of them.

Stress + Not Enough Sleep + No Working Out = Cranky Megan

I will probably be pretty scarce the next few days, but once I finish my current school term, I hope to feel much more like a normal person and less like a huge ball of stress that wants to cry or scream at every little thing - thereby leaving me enough sarcasm to start blogging regularly.  I'm also going to make sure to book some quality time with my treadmill this weekend to try and burn off some of the crazy.

I hope everyone is having an awesome start to their new year. "Talk" to you in a few days.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 Recap and 2017 Goals

Okay, this post is coming a bit late, but -  the plague, remember?

2016 went by in a total blur. The first four months were a jumbled mix of being in a lot of pain and feeling SUPER pregnant, and being insanely excited to meet my little dude. April was spent on bed rest, due to pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. Then, at the end of that miserable month, our little man was born - and the world stopped. Suddenly, everything was new and wonderful, but at the same time, we could hardly remember what life was like before there were three of us. As happy as Cody and I were for the first eleven years of our life together, this tiny person brought our joy (and, let's be honest - sometimes frustration and exhaustion) to a whole new level. We became parents, and so far, it's been everything I'd ever hoped and so much more.

Here are a few bullet points for the year.
* Baby - enough said. He's amazing.
* Our family as a whole. I never expected how watching someone love your child could make you love them even more.
* School - I completed another 15 credits towards my Accounting degree (this was substantially less than planned, but I ended up taking a bit of a break towards the end of my pregnancy). Progress is progress, so I'm totally counting this in the "win" column.
* Settling in - I feel like we've found a pretty good groove with S. We've found a good routine and made adjustments where we can to reduce the physical impact on Cody (if you're a new reader, you can read about Cody's situation here). We're starting to feel like real parents. :O)

* Things in the realm of personal finances have been pretty stressful.
* Cody's VA rating was reduced from 10% (which was ridiculous to begin with) to 0%. It's taken me a while to process the anger I felt over this, but we're moving forward.
* Lingering post-pregnancy issues. As I've mentioned quite a bit, I'm still struggling with my back and pelvis still causing pain after the pregnancy, but this has been SLOWLY and steadily getting better.
* My weight. I had grand plans to lose a fantastic amount of weight this year and that hasn't happened. I've decided that's ok. This year had a lot going on and there were struggles to be dealt with. I'm looking forward to working on healthy habits in 2017.

This girl...

Misses being this girl (the person, not the dog). 2013 two months before my first half marathon.

I try to see things in the light that our challenges make us grow and I've definitely had to remind myself of that this year. I really struggled with feelings of bitterness over Cody's medical situation and all of the injustices associated with that. I feel like I've finally settled in a zen place (this involved a LOT of praying). I keep finding this place, only to be booted out by some new misfortune. It is my hope that I learn to find it faster each time.

I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, mostly because when I hear "New Year's resolution" I think, "failed by February." That's probably not fair, but it's what comes to mind. I do believe in the power of setting goals. I went to a workplace seminar once [forgive me if I've mentioned this before] that talked about the fact that you rarely achieve a goal you've never set. People who are goal-oriented are more perceptive about things that will help them achieve those goals. What I took away from this is that you need to know what you hope to achieve before you can actually achieve it.

I wrote here about a list of goals I made years ago of things I wanted to do/achieve, even though many of the items I never thought would actually happen.

So, that being said - what am I hoping to accomplish this year? Well, the full list can be found on my Goals tab, so I'll just keep things general.

1. Build healthier habits so I can be active with S and set a good example.
2. Get down to a healthy weight. This is pretty vague, which is kind of a sin in goal-making, but I have far enough to go that I don't expect to hit my goal weight this year. I want to make steady progress towards my goal and hit 250 by the end of June (71 pounds from my current weight).
3. Run a marathon. This is bold considering running a single mile nonstop is a big deal right now, but I think it can be done if all goes well.
4. Strength train regularly. This is something that I wasn't really doing at my running peak and I think building strength will really help my back issues as well as build a strong foundation to prevent the same issues when it's time for S to get a younger sibling.  
5. Enjoy every minute with S. He's growing up so fast, I don't want to miss a minute.
6. Pay off the credit card.

Even blurry photos make good memories.

You'll notice my full list is quite a bit longer, but the main gist is: building healthy habits, lose weight, run. I want to be the best version of me so that I can be the best mom and wife I can be. My full list also has a lot of little things that I'm always thinking of doing and just forget or get busy. Now that we have S, Cody and I really want to make sure we are more deliberate in our actions and don't miss out on things we want to do.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New, Exciting Things AKA Why My Husband is Awesome

I should have taken tons of pictures around Christmas, but due to said plague situation, I didn't, so I'm making up for it now.

I've been suspicious for a while that Cody was building me something. He started spending all of his spare time at his parents' house and has come home covered in saw dust on more than one occasion. Flash back to several months ago when we were daydreaming about what we would do with some extra money and I mentioned that it would be nice to have a long, counter-height bar/table in the kitchen, since we have limited counter space and an unused wall. So he built me this:

He worked on it for months and I am so touched I don't even have words. I'm keeping him.

The extra counter space is amazing, and so far I'm enjoying displaying my pretty pot and colorful mixing bowls, but it's early yet and I made need to try some different arrangements. It seriously makes me smile every time I walk in the room.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across this super-affordable spin bike on Amazon. I've never really been a fan of cycling in the past, but as I've been working on my fitness plans, I thought this might be a really great way to cross train. I've always been a before-work-runner, but have been having a lot of trouble making that happen for a lot of different reasons and thought this would be a really great alternative for a quiet activity that I can do without going downstairs or something I can do in the evening and still spend time wit the family.

I brought this up to Cody tentatively, because even thought it's "super-affordable" for a piece of workout equipment, we don't exactly have loose change hanging around. Cody, very logically suggested that we wait until after the New Year and see where we are. I knew this was the smart decision, but I was unexpectedly crushed. In my mind, this was the thing that would help me get over some of the recent obstacles I've been dealing with for fitness and weight loss. When he realized how important this was to me, he went on Amazon and found the bike I was looking at and ordered it. It was a very large, very unexpected early Christmas present. **"Early" because, when the UPS guy leaves a 115 pound box with a product picture plastered on the side on your back porch, it's kind of hard to sneak it in and gift wrap it.

Isn't it pretty? Now I just have to get rid of this stupid cough so I can use it.
 Other fun things:
*My sister got me a wrap made out of bamboo that feels like I'm wearing puppies that love me.
*My mom got me an official "mom purse" that is super classy and has already been put to good use.
*My in-laws got me a beautiful yarn bowl and gift certificate to the local yarn store (which goes really well with the yarn winder and yarn storage organizer Cody got me).
*My sister also got a new phone and decided to give me her old Blackberry. New, free phone? YES!

In short: I am totally spoiled and loving it.

Way better than anything I got, was watching S discover his new toys. He really loves wrapping paper. I think we could have wrapped boxes full of empty soda bottles (a current favorite) and he would have been equally thrilled. We decided to opt for the more traditional route and got him a few things we thought he'd enjoy. His current favorites are the play remote that lights up and talks and the puzzle with plastic animal shapes - he doesn't get the puzzle-thing yet, but loves to dump the pieces out and bang them against each other. Given his love of smacking his hands on things, I also got him a little drum. His favorite part? He likes to gum the drumsticks. To each his own, right?

His little face lights up whenever you hand him a toy, even if it's one he dropped on the ground five minutes ago. He makes my heart happy.

What was your favorite memory this Christmas?

Long Time, No Blog - Holiday/Plague Edition

First things first - my run streak. Well, that lasted 7 days and then my back got REAL angry and then I got sick...so the streak had to be forfeited. I haven't exercised in just over two weeks now. My back was feeling completely normal...and then I tried to sleep on the couch with little man for one hour (three days ago) and my back has been grumpy ever since. Note to self: no more sleeping on the couch - EVER.

As soon as I get over the plague (as detailed below), I think I'm going to do an "activity" streak that includes walking, cycling, strength training, and some jogging intervals in the hopes to build back some endurance without overdoing any one thing. I'll be doing a post soon about my near-future exercise plans.

The Plague: Little man caught his first ever cold from his cousins. His nose was runny for about a day and a half and it didn't really seem to bother him - so we thought we lucked out....Then Cody got sick. He looked horrible and, even though he rarely complains about anything, I could tell he felt awful. I'm not gonna lie - I was very sympathetic and (I hope) appropriately nurturing, but in my mind I was feeling a bit smug that I was hardly sick at all. That came back to bite me... hard. Here is the timeline for you:

Thursday (the 22nd): S has had a runny nose all day, but seems no worse for wear.
  *at noon, Cody starts to feel crummy.
  *by five, Cody's eyes are runny and bloodshot and his throat hurts to bad he can hardly talk.

Friday: I feel fine. We got to our nearest "big town" (90 miles away) for some last-minute Christmas shopping. Cody didn't eat all day and was really only able to come along because I was pushing his wheelchair and he didn't have much of a choice. He was a trooper, though, and never complained once.
  *at 3:00, we get home from shopping and Cody takes a long nap while I wrap presents and watch the corny Christmas movies.
  *at 7:00, I start to get a headache and feel like I'm getting sick too.

Saturday: Cody still feels horrible, but I am able to muster through some last-minute Christmas preparations with a lot of breaks, a nap, and plenty of cough drops to numb my sore throat. We always go to church on Christmas Eve, but by the time evening rolled around, we agreed we'd better skip it.

Sunday (Christmas Day): I tossed and turned most of the night, feeling like I had a fever and an insanely sore throat. Cody finally work me up at 8:00 so we could do our usual "stocking hunt" and present opening. At this point, I'm pretty sure I'd come down with the plague. We ended up missing Christmas dinner at my sister's house and cooked a frozen pizza we had on hand. 

Luckily, S seemed to miss the worst of things and other than an intermittent runny nose and some fussiness, he was just happy to rip paper off presents and play with his new toys. Initially, I was really upset that Christmas didn't go quite how I'd planned, but S had fun and that's all that matters, right? Luckily he's too young to realize he missed things like our traditional Christmas morning omelettes.

So - fast forward a week and a bit - I'm still sick! Grrrr.... I am so sick of being sick! I'm exhausted and can't seem to shake this stupid cough. I keep thinking I'm feeling better and then I'll clean something or cook a meal and end up feeling awful afterwards. I've got stuff to do, man - I don't have time to be sick.

So - since I've been sick, I've been a total slacker and haven't taken any pictures. I will have to get on that in the next couple of days and fill out in on some fun stuff.

I hope everyone had wonderful holidays filled with love, fun, and happiness!