Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spinning My Wheels in the Mud by Andi

If you recall from previous posts, doing a mud-run was one of Tug’s goals for the year.  I happened to stumble upon the Dirty Girl Mud Run while at work one day.  Some work buddies were talking of putting a team together.  I thought it sounded better than the Cupid Undie Run or the barbed wire infused Survivor Mud Run, both of which I had heard of on Facebook.  It was about this same time that I started to question whether a weight LOSS goal was reasonable.  Did I want to get skinny or did I want to be fit?  One thing was for sure, I knew that whatever the goal would be, I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and do new things.  I wanted to do the Dirty Girl Mud Run. 
Prior to the run, people asked me “What are you doing to train for it?”  I told them nothing.  I mean, I am working out 4-5 times a week but I would have done that with or without the run.  I did nothing to prepare for it.  And I thought that was ok.  I heard it was a run for all capabilities.  And that would have been true for me IF I would have had a team with normal length legs.  But no.  I joined a team made of female volleyball players (read Amazon Goddesses).  These women were maybe a little more fit than me but certainly they could cover more ground in less time.  And I was desperate to keep up.  So while they walked and ran 50/50, I pretty much ran or jogged the whole time.  While they dove into the frigid cold mud pits like they were digging for a ball, I tip-toed in and slowly melted into the mud like I was crawling into bed trying not to wake a sleeping baby.  While they leaped over 4 foot wall obstacles with grace, I got stuck with one leg up on the ledge and the other dangling like a wet noodle.  It was hard.  But I learned lessons for NEXT TIME. 
Next year I will wear Capri pants to save my knees from thorns and rocks in the mud I must crawl through.  I will wear some kind of covering on my elbows to protect them from the same grit while doing army crawls.  I will pick a team of short people.   And lastly, I will not be rushed to get home.  This year, I scheduled a play date for my daughter and her “fiancĂ©” for 2 pm.  (Note my daughter is five.  She got engaged at age four to “Michael” one beautiful spring day in preschool).  So, play date at my house at 2 pm.  My run was at 10:15.  Right.  Bad planning.  Michael’s mom fully intended on staying for the play date since it was the first time he was ever at our home.  That would have been fine.  Except I showed up to a play date at my own house 45 minutes late and still pretty muddy.  My poor, easy going, un-talkative husband had to entertain our future son in law’s mother by himself.  Thank you, Tug.  And the second half of the play date I sat on my couch with this lovely woman itching from dried mud and pretending my hair was not caked with the stuff.  I bet she’s just glad they don’t have to pay for the wedding. 
I digress.  The run was amazing.  I finished it in just over one hour.  I climbed a 30 foot cargo net!  I climbed over two walls.  I ran for more than 1 minute at a time.  I am so proud of myself.  I indeed stepped out of my comfort zone with this run.  Just like I did with Zumba and pre dawn workouts.  Not too shabby. 
And speaking of Zumba, I have almost completed week three and I am still loving it.  If I would have followed my instructor last night step for step, I would have burned 520 calories.  But alas, I was lost more than once, left standing dumbfounded, head tilted with a stupid grin on my face.  So I’m guessing my number was closer to 300.  I’ll take it. 
I weighed myself this morning.  Total weight loss 9.6.  Not the best news Scale has given me in the past nine months.  But who am I kidding?  Stacy Pita chips are a non-stop joy ride.  Cheetos are better when consumed in bulk and red wine does not last long after it’s been opened.  After a very frank discussion with Tug about this strange weight anomaly, I realized I have been spinning my wheels.  I have been working out so well and trying new things and pushing my comfort zone but I have also been making excuses to eat more and worse.  I’m not just maintaining.  I am gaining.  I cannot do this.  Why in the world would I get up at 4:15 in the morning, drag myself to the gym before work if I was still gaining weight?  I’m spinning my wheels.  Last night I pulled out my old Weight Watchers bag-o-tools.  I found old weigh-in trackers that reminded me ten years ago, I was 35 pounds lighter.  The lightest I have ever been as an adult.  Do I want to get there again?  No.  I had no muscle.  But I still want to be that SIZE.  I still want to lose weight.  I want to lose 20 pounds.  So here I go again.  I think if I maintain my activity and add point tracking, I will get there easier than ever. 
Today I started tracking points.  I get 21 points a day.  I am going to reintroduce myself to Scale and see if we can agree on an appropriate amount of time to spend together.  Why is this better for me than My Fitness Pal on my I-phone?  Because W.W. point tracking is less math and in my face.  It’s so much easier to track 21 points than 1200 calories.  And my W.W. tracker is sitting on my desk at work rather than My Fitness Pal which is only available to me when I access it. 
So, I’m feeling a little embarrassed that I have “reverted” to an eating plan.  Embarrassed to admit that to myself and you.  But I would be even more embarrassed if I would gain all that weight back and start 2013 at the same weight as I started 2012.  So the Quest continues. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Some Important Observations About Zumba by Andi

Let’s get the business part of this post out of the way.  Yes, it’s been a month since my last post.  Yes, Tug and I told you we would post weekly.  I think I have indeed gained weight.  I have not journaled food on Fitness Pal in about 3 months.  I took two weeks off exercising.  I have eaten some bad things like Cheetos and French fries.  My clothes feel a little tight.  I am bummed about all this but encouraged that I had 6 workouts in five days.  That’s right.  One day I worked out two times.  That is because I started ZUMBA!
Disclaimer #1: I am not a good dancer. 
Disclaimer #2: I probably would not have done this if my friend Sarah did not ask me to join her.
Final disclaimer: No, I don’t really have the time for Zumba but I thank my husband for making it work.
Zumba meets twice a week at my local rec center.  I think I paid about $45.00 for 5 weeks.  I thought this would be an easier workout than my 40 minute running/weight lifting circuit workout.  I was so sure this would be a “workout light” that the first day I not only did my circuits in the morning, I wore a regular daytime bra to Zumba.    Both turned out to be mistakes.  In fact, I have made a few mistakes with this Zumba thing.  Let me share them with you.  I hope this helps any Zumba hopefuls make good choices instead of Andi choices. 
Lesson #1: Zumba is a really good workout.  You do not need to add a workout before or after it.  It would however be helpful to add a glass or two of wine before it.  That would assist in loosening up the joints and allow you to dance better.  (This is actually a lesson I learned in college.  Wine=good dancing).
Lesson #2: Wear a sports bra, not a regular everyday bra.  There is a lot of jumping, swooping and gyrating of which a regular bra cannot handle.  In fact, wear two sports bras.
Lesson #3: Panty liners can’t hurt.  I am pretty sure Zumba instructors don’t realize that many of their students have had children.  Need I say more?  Didn’t think so. 
Lesson #4: Take your glasses off.  Your face will sweat.  Your glasses will fall down your nose.  But more importantly, glasses allow you to see yourself in the mirror and that is a big no-no.  You do not want to see yourself in the mirror.  And there is a mirror.  Fifty mirrors, actually. 
Lesson #5: Don’t eat before class.  Especially Taco Bell.  (see Lesson #2)
Lesson #6: Get ready to meet the other You.  The You your spouse keeps telling you is inside.  That’s the woman whose hair blows in the wind on a non-windy day.  She’s that woman who wears electric blue eyeliner and shiny red pumps with peek-a-boo toes.  She’s the one who hangs with Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson on Sunday afternoons.  Ok, that might be a stretch.  Let me just say that it takes a lot of effort to shake it, shimmy, grind and pump it in any given beat.  And bit of effort toward this end will open a new view of yourself.  And she’s HOT!  (When you are not wearing glasses).
I am sure week two of Zumba will expose more lessons.  Seeing how I am still a novice, please feel free to share your own.  Help a sister out. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Old Habits Die Hard Especially When You Stopped Maturing, By Andi

Old habits die hard. No, this post is not about the french fries I had with dinner.  And it's not about the ice cream with chocolate syrup I had after dinner.  And it's also not about the false promises to my dog of going for a walk when the weather cooled off this evening.  This post is about my old friend scale.  I use that word "friend" loosely.  So why the heck did I pull it out of  the bathroom closet?  In my last post I had no clue if my rut was showing on  my weight.  So shortly after that last post, curiosity got the best of me.  I weighed myself.  And it was good.  I was the same as I have been for about 2 months.  And since that weigh-in about 7 days ago, I have since been on that scale no less than 12 times.  Because we are close friends.  And because I am crazy. 

Also over the past week, I have made good on my word to increase the speed on the treadmill.  I used to start at 5.5 and work my way up to 6.0.  Over the last week, I have been starting at 5.8 and working my way up to 6.2.  I wish my workout music had a beat to match it.  My music is stuck at the 3.8 walk for which I downloaded it.  It's also a good beat for a level 10 killer workout on  the elliptical.  I am getting a bit bored with my three eighties play-lists.  I'm up for suggestions.

Speaking of eighties...this Saturday I will attend my 20th high school reunion.  I have no clue what to expect from that but I am pretty sure that our generation is not aging as fast as others.  I have recently socialized with a couple friends from high school and I am convinced that we are as goofy and immature together as when we were seventeen.  I watched this vice presidential candidate on the TV tonight and learned he is four years older than me.  That worries me.  Because there ain't no way someone my age can run this country.  I scream like a little girl when I see a mouse, I'm too freaked out to kill a spider with MY shoe, I giggle like a school girl when my hubby chases me around the house, I still like reading fairy tales, I hate to floss and rarely eat cooked veggies.  Yet, I am officially old enough to run the country and have a 20th high school reunion. 

I don't feel my age at all.  I wonder how my kids see me.  I always saw my parents as mature guardian know-it-alls who had a plan for us and who had it all under control.  Do my kids know that we are taking this day by day.  Well, maybe month by month.  Would they be horrified to know we don't have a college fund started yet or that the only reasons I eat salads at dinner is because cooked peas still make me gag?  I'm pretty sure my son would be horrified to hear me scream like a school girl while his dad chases me around the house.  My four year old would revel in it.  My eight year old would nearly die of embarrassment because he's getting close to out-maturing me.  This is the same kid who when asked what would he buy with a million dollars replied that he would pay off our mortgage and then buy some Legos.  What would I buy?  Well, okay, I too would pay off the mortgage.  But I would like to think I'd treat the family to Disney World after that!  Legos are for future engineers.  And vice presidents. 

My hope is that my 20th high school reunion will prove to me that I am not alone in my very slow rate of maturation.  Maybe I'll see some tapered and rolled up jeans with colorful socks.  I had better not get involved in any IRA talk.  Because I don't think I have one of those.  Keg stands anyone?  Anyone want to bet I can make water come out of Erin's nose? 

All that aside, I'm ready for another week of faking it.  I'll attend some meetings, supervise a few people, make a few lunches, fill up the car with gas a couple times, workout after work en lieu of watching cartoons and I'll even try to bring in the mail when I get home from work.  And hopefully my son will relax thinking "She's got this."

The Things I Learned Today (Post by Tug)

I woke up this morning at about 330am with a fairly sick feeling in my stomach.  You know the feeling you get when you think you might have to vomit?  The burps that don't feel (or sometimes taste) quite right.  The liquid enzymes building in the back of the mouth, just behind the teeth, causing incessant swallowing just trying to keep it together.  Yeah.  My day didn't start out very well.  I found it very hard to get back to sleep and eventually climbed out of bed around 630am.  I had planned to do a bike ride this morning.  I wanted to leave the house around 8am and I needed to get up and moving before I lost what little motivation I was mustering.

As is my morning ritual, I stumbled, sleepy-eyed, to the bathroom to get the Colon River flowing freely.  Once I decided that flow was up to par, I headed to the kitchen to get the coffee going.  I felt absolutely terrible and was hoping that once the aroma started percolating through the house I'd start to feel a little more alive.  I was sure once I had the hot cup in my hands that I'd fully wake up and then would be able to give an honest assessment on whether I was really going to sit my ass on a hard bike seat for 30+ miles today. 

(I should probably insert a full disclaimer here.  Andi and I attended a birthday party for a friend of ours yesterday where there was plentiful beer and liquor, as well as lots of Mexican styled food.  I had my share of brewskis, knowing full well that I intended to go for a bike ride the next morning.  There was also an impromptu wiffle ball game between a gaggle of 5 to 11 year-olds and a few of us "old men".  I can say with certainty that while I can still swing a 15" wiffle ball bat with the best of them, I am not as spry and agile as I once was.  I am pretty sure I pulled no less than 17 different muscles in the course of that game.)

After a couple of more trips to the john, the coffee was ready.  I next went outside to fetch the paper.  I use the term "fetch" because I'm sure that if the neighbors saw me retrieve the paper every morning, they'd say I take on the excitement of a dog pleasing his master.  I love reading the paper and another of my morning rituals (at least on the weekends) is trying to get up before Andi and the kids.  When I do manage this, it borders on pure nirvana.  The quietness of a new day, before the rest of the world (or at least my neighborhood) wakes and starts in with the mowing of the lawns and leaf-blowing and motorcycle engines and kids running up and down the street is a beautiful moment.  I like to open the patio door and let the cool morning air in.  Somewhere hidden between the sips of coffee and the sounds of the paper rustling as I work my way from section to section, I am certain I can actually hear serenity. 

Today was a bit more of a challenge.  Not because of other people making sound around me.  But because of the loud grumbles of my own stomach as it settled into the day.  I sat for an hour and a half in virtual silence, reading and contemplating the goings on the world.  I had my cup of coffee and ate a couple of granola bars.  Not wanting to fill my unsettled stomach with anything more, I decided it was time to put up or shut up.  I hadn't touched my bikes in almost two weeks and this unintentional "vacation" from it really had me itching to get out and see if I'd lost much of the fitness I've worked so hard to achieve over the last several months.  After one last trip to the crapper to make sure I wasn't going to need to make a "natural pit-stop", as the Tour De France commentators like to call it, I donned my spandex, threw on the shoes, squeezed my hands into my sweat-stained gloves, fastened my helmet strap, hit play on the IPod, and pedaled out of the driveway. 

It was a beautiful morning.  Crisp.  Which is pretty rare for Colorado this time of year.  It actually had a hint of fall to it.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Blue as far as the eye could see.  I headed west for the foothills and the C470 trail.  I was only planning on about 30 miles, but I figured if I was going to do a short ride, it should at least have a lot of hills to it to get more of a workout.  Truth be told, my mind had made a compromise with my body in order for this ride to take place.  I decided I would try and take a nice "leisurely" ride and not worry about how fast I was going or what my 5-mile splits were.  I just wanted to get in a comfortable rhythm and enjoy the next two hours in the saddle.  It's safe to say that I met my goal. 

And here's what I learned along the way:
  • Do things you don't want to do.  I didn't really want to go riding.  I felt like I needed to, but I didn't have that desire to ride.  Yes, I wanted to see if I was still in riding shape.  But I didn't want to put in the effort to find that out.  Ultimately I did put in the effort, even though I had a good reason not too.  The reward, as you'll see, was well worth it.  It's kind of like me and sushi.  For years I was dead-set against even trying it, despite being a seafood lover.  I saw it as too trendy.  Once I finally did cave, I kicked myself for talking myself out of it for all those years.  I had been missing a good thing.  Don't miss a good thing because you "don't feel like it".  Nine times out of ten you'll find the doing pays off in the end.
  • Don't be afraid to compromise.  Normally when I go out riding I try to leave it all on the road.  I try and stay in the biggest gear for as long as I can before downshifting and if I don't have thoughts of "quitting" going through my head I don't feel like I'm working as hard as I can.  Because I wasn't feeling very good this morning, I compromised with myself and ended up with one of the most rewarding rides I've had in a long time.  When the mind isn't cooperating with the body, compromise.  Compromise isn't failure or "losing".  Compromise is good. 
  • Push through the initial pain to see if it's lasting.  As I alluded to earlier, I think I pulled somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 muscles last night in a game of street wiffle ball.  After the first two climbs this morning, I could definitely feel pain and tightness in my right hamstring.  This was different than the usual pain from pushing up a long hill.  No doubt the pain acquired trying to beat out a throw to first from a 9 year old.  My mind had me thinking of the next place I could make a left turn and head home with the fewest of amount of hills.  I decided to soldier on and not turn for home and what I discovered was that the pain subsided and eventually disappeared.  That little discomfort evidently just needed to have itself massaged out with more work.  There is the saying "no pain, no gain."  There is definitely truth to that.  Without a little pain, how can we truly know joy.   
  • Don't be afraid to downshift.  I wish I could downshift more often.  There are more times than I'd like to admit where I take things on full-bore only to find out that I run out of steam.  This can leave things incomplete.  I don't like incomplete experiences.  I like to fully appreciate everything I do.  Sometimes I find myself stuck in a high gear, concentrating on cadence or the pain in my thighs and I miss the trout jumping out of the S. Platte River to take a fly, which can be a sight to behold.  Plus, downshifting doesn't necessarily mean that you lose speed.  Surprisingly, I finished my ride this morning with a personal best time for that route.  Downshifting just allowed me to get there at a different, more comfortable long-term pace.
  • Don't be afraid to stop.  Yes, stopping sounds a lot like "quitting" doesn't it?  It doesn't have to mean the same thing.  As I mentioned earlier, I took a two week sabbatical from riding my bike.  This was rather unintentional.  One weekend we went camping and there wasn't room for the bike, so no ride that weekend.  The following weekend was Andi's birthday weekend and we ended up doing a mini-vacation with the kids up to Keystone.  There are tons of trails up there and riding would have been easy to do, but this was her weekend and she clearly wanted to spend it with the family.  I wasn't willing to put my desire for a bike ride above her birthday wish of a family vacation.  I also normally find time to ride once or twice a week after work.  With crazy work schedules and other things going on with the kids, I was unable to find time to fit those rides in.  I thought for sure that today's ride would be miserable, no matter what.  I had "quit" riding for two weeks.  As I said above, I finished my ride with a personal best time.  Sometimes we just need a break from what we're doing to recharge.  Taking the time to recharge is essential in all facets of life.  Stopping is not necessarily quitting.
  • Obey traffic signs.  This sounds like something that shouldn't need to be said.  But it does.  I often find myself approaching an intersection, especially early in the mornings on the weekends, where my light is red yet the nearest car is a quarter mile away.  Many of those times I'll just pedal on through, knowing I am in no danger and neither are the cars.  Cyclists should always obey traffic laws.  No question.  Plus, as illustrated today, you never know what you're going to find at the next stop light.  At the first stop light I encountered on my ride, another gentlemen rode up along side me.  He was decked out in team gear of some local group, had thighs as big as tree trunks and calves that formed a perfect V on his downstrokes.  His bike probably cost about $3000 new (by contrast, mine was about $600).  We did the cyclist acknowledgement (which for those who don't know, is a simple nod of the head), waited for the light to go green and pedaled on when it did.  The next section of trail was about 1 mile uphill.  As I pedaled away, I thought for sure that this guy would soon be calling out "on your left" as he passed me in a trail of expensive-bike-and-team-rider dust.  He never did.  I kept looking over my shoulder, waiting for him, but he was always about 100 yards behind me.  At the next light he pulled up alongside me again.  This time we conversed.  A trivial conversation about the weather.  But a dialogue nonetheless.  Light turns green and I again pedaled away from him on another long uphill.  At the next light he again pulls up to me, along with a husband and wife each on a recumbent bike, a dude on a mountain bike, another couple on a tandem bike, and another guy on a road bike.  No one together (except each couple) but all with common interests, meeting by chance on a random Sunday morning.  Waiting for the light to turn green, we all struck up a conversation about the pros and cons of recumbents and tandems.  We were so engrossed in the discussion that we all missed the green light and had to sit through another cycle.  No one cared.  We were all going places, obviously.  But none of us seemed to care about how we got there, just as long as we did at some point.  When we did all notice the green light, we all pedaled off in the same direction.  I don't know about the other riders, but I'm glad I had to stop.  Random camaraderie on a solo ride is something I don't encounter very often.  And the civil discourse among people from different walks of life was priceless.  Which brings me to....
  • Do away with any pre-conceived notion you might have about people.  When you're riding 33 miles through metro Denver, with about half of that on the most used recreational path in the urban corridor, you are bound to pass all sorts of people.  Today was no different.  I passed groups, couples and solo exercisers.  I passed white people, black people, Asian people, male people, female people, fit people, seemingly unfit people, young people, old people, very young people and very old people.  Everyone of them was out enjoying the morning with some pursuit of fitness or another.  Some were on bikes, some were on in-line skates, some were walking, some were jogging, some were paddling.  Some were fast.  Others were slow.  We were all moving to our own beat.  We were all breathing at our own pace.  We were all living.  I kept away from the guy I thought would surely eat me for breakfast on the uphills.  He never stayed with me.  I was passed, rather quickly, on another long uphill by a guy who had to be in his 60s and was riding an old Schwinn beater that was as old as me.  Does that make me a better rider than Tree Thighs or worse than Father Time?  No.  For all I know, Tree Thighs had just ridden 80 miles before 8am and was at the end of his trek and was warming down or had nothing left in the tank from a harder ride than mine.  Father Time could have been on the first of his climbs, legs still fresh, while I was on the last climb of the day for me.  We don't know where others are coming from or where they're going.  We just know we're on the same road and we ought to give them the safety and respect they need to get where they're going in one piece.  Its the same we ask of them.  And lastly and perhaps most importantly...
  • If you dog shits in the middle of the trail, pick it up!  There's not much worse than being starved for oxygen only to find the stench of a fresh pooh in the middle of the trail.  Okay, this is clearly not the most important thing I learned today, but seriously folks.  Pick up your shit.  It stinks and nobody wants to run or ride the next three miles with your shit in the back of their mind.
Yes, I had a lot of time for contemplation today.  My time for that is often found on a bike.  Yours may be something else.  Whatever it is, we all need to find.... nay... MAKE time for it. 

Ride on, everyone!  And thanks for taking the time to read!  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Something A Little Different - (Post from Tug)

Here's something a little different for today's post.  Instead of updates on the exercise (which is going well), a little poem inspired by the recent debates in the news and some discussions with my best friend.  Hope you enjoy.

Come into the Open
Your eyes avoid mine
I see you there

Lurking in the shadows.

Wanting to come out

To feel
the wind warm against your sun-kissed skin
To smell
the dew fresh on cool morning grass
To hear
the ocean meet sand in ritual fits of anger and sadness

I see you lurking in the shadows

Your eyes saying more than your lips ever will

Who will embrace you?

With the wrong color skin
The wrong eyes
The wrong hair
The wrong shape
The wrong clothes
The wrong love

You are different

And you lurk
In the shadows

With walls so high
And boundaries cloaked in tradition

Wanting to come out

The tight fit of molded expectations
Impossible to meet

Be This
Be That
Black and White
There is no Grey
Why can’t This (or That) be Love?

You lurk
Just outside the periphery

Oversized clothes draped over hunched shoulders
Never looking up
Afraid of what the light might show

Faults or beauty?
Love or objectification?

Have your eyes have seen too much?

Joy and Pain
Hope and Despair
Love and Hate
Life and Death

How can you know
Up from Down
Inside from Out
Left from Right
Right from Wrong?

Have I pushed you away?

Have I tried to put you where you don’t fit?

I have said that no matter
What you’ve done
What you’ve worn
What you’ve said
What you’ve heard
What you’ve thought
What you’ve read

I will embrace you.

I have said that no matter
What others think of you
Or what you think of yourself

I know
Your heart.

Take my hand and
Look into my eyes
Let me see you

All of you

I will walk with you

Together we will
feel the sunlight on our naked skin
smell the dew on the morning grass
hear the ocean as it dances with the sand

You are Loved
There is Hope
There is Life.

Be the one you were made to be
Be the one with me
Be one with me

I am here
I am now
I am always with you


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Post. Because It's Been a While. Not Because I Have Anything Profound to Say, by Andi

The past few weeks have been much of the same.  Eating decent with a few mishaps and circuit training 3-4 times a week for about 50 minutes each workout.  I have not seen much change in my shape and I have not weighed myself.  I suppose it's a bit of a rut.  It's too hot to move the workouts outdoors.  My life is too busy to change the days or times of my workouts.  And frankly, I am too scarred of looking like an idiot in the gym if I try new things.  So I circuit train with running on the treadmill and weight training with the same 6 machines.  Come mid September I will start a Zumba class twice a week with my friend/cousin-in-law.  I am sure that will be fun!  I am a bit concerned it won't be as good of a workout as the circuit training but I'll be glad for the change of pace.  I am two weeks away from reverting to the morning workout.  I've been doing after-work gym visits this summer due to the kids' later summer camp schedule.  Sleeping in to 6 has been nice.  But I do think working out at 4 pm lacks some gusto.  Back to the 4 am wake-up call!

Speaking of gusto, yesterday I put a little extra effort into my workout.  Yesterday was my birthday.  Sunday I was in my mid thirties.  Monday I turned late thirties.  And for some crazy reason, I wanted to prove to myself that 38 did not mean I would start slowing down.  I decided to up the treadmill from the typical 5.5 to 5.8 and then I got nuts and went up to 6.0.  Hardly felt a difference.  So that's good.  And now I have decided I wont go below 5.8 on my runs anymore.

Accepting body size and shape is coming easier.  I went to two pools this weekend and I must admit I hardly thought about my roll of fat that protects my abs. 

Has anyone else noticed that Olympic track and field athletes display six pack abs when standing still.  And hugging.  And laying on the track.  And probably while eating ice cream.  It's a bit annoying.  They are not even flexing.  That's not normal. 

Does anyone else get  those Athleta catalogs and think these are normal healthy women whose body shapes are attainable?  I used to think that but their bodies look very Olympian to me.  

This post is clearly going nowhere.  The bottom line is that despite a rut, despite the birthday cheesecake in my fridge, despite skipping a workout today because I did not have my shoes, despite constant reminders that there are many women with coveted six pack abs, despite becoming a member of the late thirties club, I have decided (key word in this post) that I will not slow down and I will not revert to old unhealthy habits.  In fact, I will turn it up a notch. And I might even take the cheese cake to work tomorrow and share the fat-I mean joy. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Finding Inspiration In Likely Places

It's been a few weeks since my last post.  I've been wanting post, but I haven't really wanted to just post about my workout routine and how my cycling is going.  Those are beginning to become boring and tedious posts to me.  I have been waiting for some sort of inspiration.  Something with a little more depth than the number of reps and miles i've managed to make my body do (for those tuning in to know, my workouts are going well and my biking has gotten up to between 20 and 50 miles a day, two to three times a week).  This week, I have found my inspiration.  It's really quite embarrassing that it has taken this long to see it.  It's always around me and is one the biggest influences in my life.  My reason to get out of bed in the morning and muddle through another mundane day of work.  The cause of so much of the happiness in my life.  The backbone of my body of work to date. 

Two nights ago, after another evening of rushed dinners, scrambled time with the kids before the bedtime routine, and that awkward silence between the kids going to bed and our own bedtime (ahhh... silence at last... i feel like I should be doing something to take advantage of the freedom... yet I don't want to do anything but sit on my butt and enjoy the quiet), Andi and I went to sleep like we normally do.  For the most part.

She is usually in bed before me since she gets up earlier and leaves for work earlier.  That night, I went to bed earlier and Andi stayed up later to read a book she's been working on, no doubt enjoying her very rare "Mommy Time".  One of the reasons she was staying up later was she was planning on going in to work later.  We had no help from her parents scheduled for Friday since they were out of town.  So she was going to be doing the dressing, feeding and dropping off of the kids.  She was going to get an extra hour or two of sleep than normal.  A minor cause for celebration in her mind, I'm sure of it. 

As is it seems to happen in our household, whatever we may have planned is often rudely disrupted by simple acts of Life.  Two planned trips to the Caribbean for some R and R?  Two pregnancies that caused cancellations.  One turned out great... the other not so much (but that's a topic for another time).  Finally get student loans paid off and ready to really start socking some money away?  National economic disaster that leads to layoffs, job loss and the disappearance of paychecks.  Plan to sleep in a couple of hours later than normal?  A 2am phone call to come to work because some jackass with mental issues decides to shoot up a theater full of movie goers in a neighboring city.

Yep.  As fortunate as we are (and trust me, we are truly blessed and lucky to have everything that we have), sometimes it feels like we can't catch a break.  I'm sure that everyone and every couple out there has felt this way at some point in their own lives.  Some might be feeling it now.  Some might have felt it a year ago.  Some might feel it tomorrow or a year from now.  Friday morning was another one of those times for us.  Well, at least for me. 

When that phone call came in at 2am, it startled me from sleep.  Andi said she had to go to work because there was a mass shooting at an Aurora Theater.  "Aurora???"  I thought.  "That's not Jefferson County".  I figured it must have been pretty bad for them to have called her department to help out.  She then said as much, and proceded to get dressed to head out.  No complaints about not being able to sleep in.  Ashamedly, my initial reaction wasn't a hope that whoever was involved was okay.  My initial reaction was "Crap.  This is going to ruin my morning.  How in the hell are the kids going to get to daycare and camp at 8am if i have to be at work at 7am???"  I was thinking about the inconvenience this was causing ME.  At times, and then was one of them, I can be a very selfish prick. 

Needless to say, we figured out ways of getting things done (mostly involving me being late for work).  After dropping the kids off, I started the drive to work and turned on the radio to one of the local news-talk stations.  Until then I didn't know anything about the shooting aside from the fact that there had been one.  I had avoided the news in the morning with the kids around because I didn't want to have to try and explain anything bad that might have happened.  Once the eye-witness accounts started coming out, and after listening to a recording of some of the back and forth between the officers on scene and the 911 dispatchers during the shooting, I came to realize that my wife is a hero.  Not a badged or caped hero, but an unsung hero that ought to be recognized as one.  She would hate that I'm saying this and propping her up on a pedestal, but it is the truth.

For those who don't know, my wife has worked the last ten years for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.  Not as an officer, but as a Director for their Victim-Witness Assistance Program.  She coordinates the day-to-day tasks of her staff and volunteers to handle issues with victims and witnesses of crimes.  Some of this seems rather boring and mundane.  Such as calling up a victim or witness to a crime to let them know that a court date has been rescheduled.  But there is a TON of stuff that she and her department do that is simply amazing.  There is on-scene assistance which is immeasurabley important.  They provide an enormous amount of support for these victims and witnesses beyond the courtroom, such as guiding them to counselors, coordinating safe houses for abuse victims, dealing with death notifications.  The things they hear and see on a day-to-day basis are things that can ruin other peoples lives. 

To know that she and her department were involved in helping the families and loved ones of the dozens of victims and hundreds of witnesses is something that I am very proud of.  The fact that she can take a 2am call and head off to an unknown but surely horrific scene, provide the assistance and care and support that these people need and deserve, to listen to the stories (almost always tragic in some way), and then come home and be a full-time mother to our two kids and a full-time wife to me, is nothing short of heroic.  Just being a wife to me is heroic enough.  The other two can seem like piling on at times.  And i'm completely fine with being piled on.  She will help anyone in need of help.  She undoubtedly always puts herself last on any running priority list that she may be keeping.  And she does all of this work without complaint.  Well, at least the professional, monetarily compensated job.  There are certainly 100% justifiable complaints about the mom and wfe jobs.  Again, a topic for another post. 

The truth is, I worry about what she does.  Mostly, and selfishly, about how it will affect her and us and the kids.  I have already seen affects in some areas.  And she would acknowledge it.  How does this affect ME?  MY LIFE?  It takes a monent like the theater shootings to put some perspective on it. 

You see, my wife has never taken a pledge to "serve and protect" like any police, firefighters, or military personnel would.  Yet she most definitely serves.  And she protects.  Not lives, but peoples rights.  What she does as a profession every day is incredibly under the radar.  Yet it is every bit as important as some of the other professions that get all of the attention (cops, firefighters, military and teachers).  I have come to realize this truth and have learned that as much as I don't like to sometimes, I have to share this woman with the rest of the world.  Because the world needs her and the many people like her.  She is the Wonder Woman of my world.  I thank God for her every day for what she gives to and does for me, and for what she gives to and does for our community. 

She quite simply is

my inspiration.