Fit Post – Crazy Week 1; Reach Your Peak Training & The Color Run

My body hates me right now.  After a serious backslide over the winter, I decided I should make up for at least a few months of that winter hibernation in the space of five days. Yeah, because I’m crazy. Or stupid. Either way, my body is rebelling. But that’s totally okay, because I had SO. MUCH. FUN.

This week was this first week of Reach Your Peak Training sponsored by TRUBLUE Auto Belays. I was determined not to sabotage my workouts by not eating well. I LOVE sweets and anything that is fried. And fried sweets? OMG. At the dogs shows, I can never resist the delectable smell of funnel cake and they always make me sick. I don’t care. It’s sweet. And Fried. I’m half Texan, so I blame it on that.

I did really well this week, taking my lunch 4 days out of 5 and eating salads and fruit. The hardest thing to give up is baked goods. I can’t believe how hard it is. I did break down and buy some raspberry oat bars. They were from a healthy bakery at a well-known grocer, so that’s okay, right? Right.  By the end of the week, it didn’t matter. I KNOW I worked them off.

Rock climbing is more fun than I expected, and I’m getting great results (which I write about on the blog linked above). After 3 sessions at the climbing gym this week, I know the program is going to help me build strength in all the areas I want to target.

And, because I hate my body, I ran the Denver Color Run today. It was a really happy 5k, and I ran it with really awesome people! We called ourselves ‘Scrambled Legs’.

Team Scrambled Legs!

Team Scrambled Legs! Nick, Steve, Laura, Beth, yours truly

My necklace and headband were a big hit!

My necklace and headband were a big hit!

There were about five thousand runners participating. We managed to get in line toward the beginning of the crowd, kinda, and ended up in wave sixteen. Luckily, the weather couldn’t have been better and the temperature was in the low seventies. We waiting for our turn, dancing and soaking up some color in true Color Run spirit!

Starting off!

Starting off!

I’m not going to lie, my calves were in pain in the first 100 yards. I am that out of shape. I was determined to get some idea of how fast (or slow) I was, so I pushed myself as far as I could without risking an asthma attack. It wasn’t long before I lost my teammates, but I kept a pace that I could manage. The course was crowded but beautiful. Denver City Park is full of gorgeous old trees that provide lots of shade, and the running paths are clean and well-kept. The route circuited the lake, weaving and back-tracking throughout the park.  The race energy was great,  the music was loud, and the color was flying!

Running through the Pink station

Running through the Pink station

Can't beat Denver's enthusiasm; people were rolling in the color!

Can’t beat Denver’s enthusiasm; people were rolling in the color!

I bumped into teammate Laura and ran with her for a bit as we entered the last mile. I had to take a break soon after and slowed to a brisk walk. I wanted to save some lung power to run across the finish line. After a few minutes and a few more switchbacks,  I could see the finish line. I felt a burst of energy and wove my way through the crowd. I crossed the line in 42 minutes; a time I will totally take!

Aaaaand DONE!

Aaaaand DONE!

There were still waves of runners starting the race when I finished, so I was really grateful we were in an early wave. The team did great, and everyone was pleased with their time and their runs. We were happy and thoroughly colored, but we still had our color packets to throw. Once the team was reunited it was time for MOAR COLOR!

IMG_0669 (800x533)IMG_0674 (800x533)

We had so much fun! I would do this race again in a heartbeat. The team is already talking Electric Run in August. Depending on other commitments, I may participate. My husband was wonderful for following us around and being our team photographer; he did a great job!

I’m kicking off week 2 of my fit re-vamp with enthusiasm and great soreness. I plan to renew my commitment to yoga, too, as I am missing its many physical and mental benefits. That’s my goal for this next week!

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The Right Boob Disparity Conundrum Part II

Sooooo, my right boob disparity is still a conundrum. All my tests were normal. This is a good thing, of course. It’s an excellent thing, as a matter of fact. But no one can explain the sudden one-sided growth spurt. I’m just going to add it to the list of other body oddities unique to me and go with it.  I’m grateful for sure, but there is still something bothering me.

Yesterday, my primary doctor’s office called, and the nurse told me that Doc wants me to see a specialist just to be safe. I honestly feel like he is being extremely thorough and every bit the good doctor, but I had to tell the nurse I wasn’t going to see a specialist. I had to tell her that the mammogram and ultrasound ate almost all of my flex funds for this year, and I can’t afford to see a specialist at the moment.

I honestly don’t feel that seeing the specialist is necessary right now; the radiologist at the imaging center and both the techs assured me everything looks perfectly normal. I don’t feel anything different, no lumps or anything, there never was anything like that. It’s just…growing. But evenly, so there’s that! YAY!

Anyway, admitting to the nurse I couldn’t afford care was a bit humiliating. I work for a Fortune 500 company that offers some of the best benefits in America. I make good money for what I do, and have Cigna health insurance. Yes, I have debt which I’m paying off, but the out-of-pocket costs for my tests this week were over a grand. Even without any debt, paying that in one lump sum would be less than fun for most people.

I confess that I don’t know much about how healthcare or health insurance works in this country.  I just know I felt shitty having to say no to my doctor trying to help me. All I can do is think positive, be vigilant about watching for changes, and keep trusting my gut.

Also, if you have any good falsie suggestions, I’m all ears. I need to even out the disparity! ❤

The Right Boob Disparity Conundrum

Okay, so, I’m kinda freaking out. Well, maybe not freaking out, but definitely…something. Warning just in case the title didn’t clue you in, this post is going to be…personal. And not in a happy fun bags kind of way, but more of a being felt up by your doctor sort of way. Now is your chance to quickly and decisively click the little x in the upper right.

About 6 weeks ago, my right boob started to grow. Half of my bras don’t fit. Most of my shirts don’t fit, and they accentuate the “noticeable difference” (my doctor’s words after a visual inspection).  I feel, and look lopsided.

Further examination revealed nothing, so Doc ordered a mammogram. No big deal. And an ultrasound. Okaaay. That’s not part of a normal screening, but better to be safe, right?  I’m sure it’s nothing. All the other blood work they did came back normal. There is no family history of anything, at least on my mom’s side. But there is some pain and discomfort.

Since I wrote the above, I’ve scheduled the mammogram and ultrasound, and today is the big day. My gut is still telling me that nothing is wrong. Still, I’m pensive and feeling nervous. Maybe a little scared of the of chance there is something. Plus, when I made the appointment, they asked me horrid questions like “would you like the services of a Chaplin if needed?” Uh, no, no thank you.

I’m not really sure what I want to say here right now. The last two weeks have made me recognize the truth of something I’ve always known; that life is short and it gets shorter with each year that passes. I know I’m okay now, but one day I won’t be. It’s time to put a wiggle in it and get some things done, some goals accomplished, and some places traveled to. Oh, and aging is the dumbest thing ever.

I leave for the screening in about an hour. I would really appreciate any love and positivity you can send my way.  Another post will follow.

Love and peace. ❤

Fitspo Week 1 – 3/2/13

3/2/13

I  have a lot of baggage associated with exercise, which is probably pretty normal, right? Probably. I’d wager that most people have their exercise challenges. I have some challenges.  Thanks to my steroid-riddled, personal trainer father, I was exposed to a very narrow view of what fitness is. Weightlifting is good. Jogging is bad. Because it makes your tits sag (or something like that). In the summers, I’d stay with my dad and go to work with him everyday at the gym. I watched him teach his wealthy female clients the proper way to bench press and lecture them on cheating on the StairMaster. But at home, the side effects of his steroid abuse were always there, just below the surface, like a fucking crazy violent bomb, and anything could light the fuse at any moment. Steroids are bad for you, kiddies. Stay away from that shit.

Couple that with moderate to severe childhood asthma and I simply didn’t exercise. I wasn’t encouraged to be athletic. Running gave me an instant asthma attack. I loathed track and field day. I always got picked last for kick ball. I did play on my junior high volleyball team and soccer teams, but on the field, I was a defender and told to stay in front of the goal.

Suffice to say that I have some resentment toward exercise. The absolutely ridiculous thing was that for most of my life, I let it control me. I allowed these memories and uncomfortableness and insecurities to prevent me from taking care of myself. I finally let go of the association between fitness and my father. I also felt secure that I wouldn’t immediately need to reach for my rescue inhaler, either.

This epiphany still didn’t get me out the door and active. It took going to yoga class with my little sister (thank you, Carla). I didn’t notice the physical affects until a few days later, but the mental affects were immediate. The calm focus on breath and movement helped me center my busy mind, and spoke to my naturally high-strung nature. I was hooked. For about eight months, I went to class regularly. I’m naturally (and freakishly) flexible, so I was able to do the more advanced poses right away, even when maybe I shouldn’t’ have. I still haven’t done a headstand since falling over and breaking my toe (roll into it, people). And by the way, Yoga, when done correctly, will kick your ass.

My goal is to physically and mentally be healthy and fit. Toned. Strong. Maybe a little tough. Able to run a 5 k with my friends a few times a year. Living and breathing yoga and being mindful every moment, every day. Plus, I have all the awesome stuff in my basement. I need to use it, there’s no excuse! It’s all right there, free and available any time.

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I have two 5ks coming up; one The Strides for Strength 5k & Fun Run on April 27th, and the Denver Color Run  on June 16th. It’s time to put a wiggle in it.

C25K Week One, Day One – Ran 1.1 On the elliptical. I’m starting here and we’ll see where I go.
Day 2 Stupid homework is stupid.

Day 3
Breakfast oatmeal is so good, but can’t eat it fast enough before it turns to glue.

Day 4 – C25K Week 1, Day 2 – Ran 1.7 miles on my elliptical. Did 20 leg curls each leg, lying and seated. 20 sit-ups and 20 lunges with 30 pounds. My husband said adding the weight was super dumb and that I’ll be sorry tomorrow. I didn’t tell him I was already sorry coming up the stairs after my workout. Besides, what does he know? He’s only been playing hockey all his life and is a natural at every sport he tries.

Anyway, it felt good to work my weak knee. I’m hoping it will get stronger quickly, but I won’t push it either. I would rather be running outside, but I know my knee will be pissed at me if I run on a hard surface right now. The elliptical is working great for me; my heart rate gets going, and I’m diligent about increasing the resistance. The drawback is I’m convinced that it doesn’t track distance accurately. I miss the GPS accuracy of the outdoor run!

Day 6 – The soreness kicked in. OUCH. Week one has ended with a valuable reminder of overexertion, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Sigh. As my favorite heroine/villain loves to say, tomorrow is another day.

Create or Die

My head has been a crazy mess lately. There is so much in my brain that it’s affecting my ability to focus and prioritize. I was reminded recently that writing stuff down can be a good way to get it out of your head so you can move on.

Yes, I forgot this basic principle of writing.

Clearly, I am in trouble.

So this post is about lots of stuff and it may be a bit jumbled just like my brain is at the moment. By writing perhaps I can sort, categorize, prioritize. (Warning, there may be a smidgen of whining ahead.)

When I’m enrolled in classes, they take over my life and I begin a guilt spiral that makes me feel so helpless and out of control that I want to flip off everything and go live in a cave. The guilt stems from not meeting the lofty expectations I have of myself. The helplessness and loss of control comes from being forced to set aside my personal goals for work and school, i.e. the things I have to do. I want to be loving on my husband and writing and doing yoga and meditating and playing my guitar and sewing and crocheting and playing with my doggies. But, fitting all of that in simply isn’t realistic. I just haven’t figured out how to make sacrifices I can live with. Each of those things are really important to me, and of course I make my husband and pets my priority after work and school but everything else is cast aside.

The goals I set for myself in my head are amazing and full of positive, healthy change; both emotionally and physically. I’ve heard that it takes twenty-one days to establish a routine. Knowing that twenty-one days is a completely reasonable time frame, I begin making elaborate routines on my Outlook calendar, scheduling in every minute between five o’clock am and ten o’clock pm with a productive thing to do. I don’t schedule any T.V time. I do schedule meditation and yoga time. It’s always so pretty and color-coded and seemingly doable. And then, that first “morning of change”, I remember some things.

Five o’clock in the morning is a stupid time of day.

I devote eight hours of my life a day to a corporate entity.

Commuting two hours total a day is also pretty stupid.

I spend a few hours a night doing homework.

I like to spend some time with my husband and dogs, for Pete’s sake.

I have to bathe, eat, and do chores sometimes too.

I really love sleep. Really. Like, a lot.

So now, I’ve hit the low point in my cycle of positive change, the stage where I acknowledge my failure to make it happen. It’s that point when my optimism has totally deserted me and I can’t see any way to make time for all my goals. I can’t honor who I truly am. I can’t be creative for the foreseeable future. And one thing I’ve learned about myself in the last few years is that if I don’t get to be creative, I become sad. Discontented. Frustrated. In a word, bitchy. These days, I don’t often have time to create anything. But with deprivation and sacrifice comes insight, yes?

Yes.

I know some amazing ladies that are always striving for personal improvement and self-discovery. They recently started a running blog called Scoot A Doot, and reading their posts this week has inspired me to find time for the things that are super important to me but always get pushed aside in favor of work, housework and homework. Work, work WORK. I need some play time, too, dammit. I just have to accept that an hour for yoga and meditation isn’t realistic for my schedule right now, and that doing an activity for less than thirty minutes still counts for something.

It amazes me how much I am still learning about myself. You hear all those clichés when you’re a kid about how fast time goes by the older you get and that you’re constantly growing and learning, spiritually and emotionally. They’re true. But I’m not sure if you change or that you just allow yourself to become who you really are. Maybe you give yourself the freedom to let go of fear of judgment. Maybe you lift the cloud of self-misconception that was fed to you from others since childhood. Maybe you discover something inside of you that was unknown and untapped before, and it shows you a whole new aspect of yourself.

I never thought of myself as creative until a few years ago. When my mother taught me to sew in 1986, it was still considered a life skill not a specialized one. I didn’t understand that the amazing things my mom could do with her sewing machine or a needle in hand was art, and it was being created with love and imagination and good intentions right before my eyes. As a child, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of traditional art. I didn’t take many art classes in school, and when I did my work showed no special talent. I know little about art history, and modern art is confusing to me. I convinced myself that it was because I didn’t have an imagination. When people told me to try writing fiction, I laughed, convinced I would be awful.

When I finally gave in and tried writing I realized that I wasn’t that bad, certainly not awful, but more importantly, I loved it. I felt like I was feeding a starved and weak part of myself that was hidden from me all my life.  The more I wrote and fed the writer in me, the better I got at writing. Writing became something that I must do, instead of something I want to do. When I deny myself the time to create, I am depriving who I really am.

This is no longer acceptable to me.  I’m not sure what the solution is yet. Perhaps the compromise will be this, coming here to my blog and committing to an expression of creativity through this medium where no plot outlines or seam rippers are needed. I don’t have a whole Saturday to work on one of the many unfinished projects in my sewing room, but maybe I can crochet more when I sit with my husband on the couch. I don’t have an hour a day to work on my novel, but maybe I can find fifteen minutes a day here, and write a blog post or two a week . It’s something!

Dear Self, Get your *&%# together. Please. Like now.

This is me right now…

So. Much. That. (Also? He was amazing, just saying.) You can’t let go of your dreams. You can’t allow yourself to forget who you are. Ever.

I’ve come to understand some things about myself in the last year. Dealing with the stress of a new, much more demanding job while going to school part time has honestly made me a bitter, grumpy bitch.

My poor, darling husband.

I had no time for creativity. I squeezed in a little crochet time, but just barely. There simply was no time. No time to quilt, or make a couple of wool work skirts. No time to read, and certainly no time to write.

I confess, I made time for yoga classes, because I really, really need that.

Time is here now. I haz it. A little at least. And If I don’t finish my novel this year I will be really angry and disappointed with myself.

HEAR THAT, SELF? You HATE that feeling. DON’T let it happen.

I need to finish this book. This story  is literallyscreaming to get out; I have to sit down and let these characters talk to me again. Get to know them better than I ever have. I don’t believe in a higher power, but I can’t deny that I feel as though someone is judging me, shaking their head disapprovingly as another day slips away without a syllable written.

It look me a lifetime to figure out what the fuck I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and I keep letting life get in my way. Working, paying bills, cleaning house, social obligations, being a wife, a doggy mom of four. Once again, I was born in the wrong time.  I needed to live 100 years ago when I could’ve hopped a steamer to Paris and been another starving writer; posing nude for Jack Dawson and writing erotica for some reclusive gross rich guy while working on my real masterpiece, which of course, would win me the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Dreams. They’re good to have.

I’ve always believed that there are no such things as obstacles. When I see something I want to sew, I just try to make it, pattern and convention be damned! Obstacles are another type of box.  There is always a way to get what you want. You fail when you don’t try. And I’m not trying right now, but I’m not going to let myself fail. No fucking way. It’s corny,but this is what I’m supposed to be doing. Whether I’ll be able to feed myself on Ramen doing it is another question entirely. I’m not worried about that though. I just have to worry about one thing…

WRITE THE FUCKER, JENN.

Don’t be afraid of your rust. Just tell your story the way it wants to be told. The first draft(s) are shit. It’s OKAY. You know you’ve got this.

It’s on June 1st. Write. Every. Day. Even if it’s just a little. Just do it EVERY DAY, JENNIFER. And imagine you’re doing it from here.

*waves hello*

Who: Me. I’m Jenn. Words are my playthings. I’m a pop culture maven. I like Pugs. And chocolate. I don’t like milk. Or spiders. Spiders scare me, and I question the need for more than four appendages on any living creature, octopi aside.

I also read a lot of books, go ghost hunting, sew, crochet, create graphic art, play guitar and violin, and have been known to write some really dark and twisted fiction.

*waves* Hi.

I’m writing a young adult paranormal romance novel with a sci-fi chaser. I enjoy short fiction too. You may see some here, as well as observations about whatever strikes my fancy.

I hope my words speak to you.

And this? This is Archie. Because everyone loves puppies.