Sunday, July 28, 2013

Running the Gauntlet

I thought of this phrase as I was bemoaning my painful and swollen knee that sometimes occurs when my Rheumatoid Arthritis is flaring. I am a person who likes to research and know about things. One if the things I have learned that movement is good for RA. Too much sitting around makes for even more stiffness and pain. I can run through achy joints and mild pain but not a knee that is twice its normal size and so painful that the 3 day back labor I had was sounding like a walk in the park. This is one of the many reasons I started running again. To lose weight to help the joints and get the joints moving.
I was just plain aggravated that here I am, literally working my tail off to improve my health and I get hit with a flare. Besides the physical issues, I've had some stressful things going on in my life.
I felt as though I was being attacked on all sides and no matter what I did, I could not protect myself from the blows. I thought " This must be what it feels like to run the gauntlet." The researcher in me wanted to know the origin of the phrase. I found quite interesting stuff. Here's the short version.
 Dictionary.com defines the phrase as follows-
gaunt·let2   [gawnt-lit, gahnt-]
noun Also, gantlet (for defs 1, 2, 4).
1.
a former punishment, chiefly military, in which the offender was made to run between two rows of men who struck at him with switches or weapons as he passed.
2.
the two rows of men administering this punishment.
3.
an attack from two or all sides.
4.
trying conditions; an ordeal.

While I don't feel I am being punished and I don't actually see two rows of men waiting to pummel me, I do feel I am being tested. I believe God tests us to show us how strong we really are. A lot of my fellow Fatty Must Run Marathon Challenge girls are going through tough things. Many, it seems, are being hit on all sides as I have been.
I also believe that God has a tremendous sense of humor. Why else would my Pastor be preaching on David and Goliath right now? Why would we be learning all about "the fight before the fight the fight" that was going on before the showdown between the giant and the little man. This story is particularly fitting for us marathon girls if you think about it. David was not physically right for the challenge he was to face. Most would say we aren't fit for this challenge.In fact, someone has actually told me I will not be able to do this.
 Part of the reason David was able to succeed was because he had not been listening to this giant hurling insults for the 39 days. His heart and mind were not full of the fear that kept the Israelites trembling in their tents. They had let Goliath live for free in the space between their ears. David had spent those 39 days singing and praising and fully focused. When David heard Goliath insulting God and his people David, in so many words said "Ya want some of this? Come and get it." When questioned by Saul about his ability to slay Goliath David told Saul "I have have been watching my fathers sheep and when a lion came and snatched one of the lambs I struck it and killed it. When a bear came and snatched one of the lambs I struck it and killed it." We need to be like David in that we need to be confident in our abilities and we need to keep the "giants" in the form of naysayers, insulting people etc. out of our heads.
 Of course the gauntlets we are experiencing are not usually physical blows to our bodies. Our gauntlets or giants if you prefer come in the form of those thoughtless things people say or the bad habits we struggle to break or the problems we all face from financial to loss of a loved one to actual physical pain/injuries.
One of the interesting things I learned about running the gauntlet is that if the culprit was to make it to the end of the line upright his faults were forgiven and he could return to duty with a clean slate.
I imagined myself running the gauntlet, my body flinching with each blow and yet I remained upright. I refuse to quit. I don't expect that this will be an easy journey. Things will go wrong. Idiots will yell stupid things as they drive by me. People will doubt me. And that is okay.
Although, if it comes down to it I will CRAWL across the finish line if I have to!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Move it so you can lose it! Even if the neighbors think you are crazy!

Many of us are experiencing extreme, oppressive and downright dangerous heat these days. As motivated as I am to meet my goals, they are not worth heatstroke or an asthma attack. So I have come up with creative and fun (well mostly fun) ways to burn calories and stay cool beyond going to the gym.
Some of them may be out your comfort zone. You may be concerned that the neighbors may be watching. Let 'em watch! In fact, invite them over to join the fun! 
I know that not everyone has access to a pool, pond, beach or lake but if you do,visit as often as possible! According to the physical therapist in charge of my aqua therapy after my last knee surgery, one hour of water exercise equals two hours of land exercise due to the resistance. Run, jump, swirl. Heck! You could even swim! 
If you don't have access to any of these facilities try a few of these.
 1. Fill several buckets or tubs with cold water, add ice if desired, set them strategically around the yard. Get several packages of cheap sponges and soak them in the tubs. Have a water sponge fight. Separate the colors and play in teams. The possibilities are endless!
2. Get out the sprinkler and run through it!
3.Break out the slip and slide! Don't have one? Buy a plastic drop cloth,secure at each end, aim a hose and a little dish soap and off you go.
4. Gather up 1 can of shaving cream per person. roll out a tarp or plastic drop cloth preferably on a soft surface. Have towels and a hose ready for wipe off. Set up the rules ahead of time, no shaving cream in the face, it stings when it gets in your eyes. Kids and adults alike love playing this. If you have a sturdy table try some table diving! Have a strong "catcher" at the end of the table to prevent injuries.
5. We call this one porch ball. Mom and Dad-or two other people-Sit or stand on the porch, deck, etc. with buckets of water and squishy pool toys or sponges. Then throw them in the general direction of the other players who attempt to beat the others to the toys and throw them back. It gets quite competitive.
6. Try dodge ball with the sponges. 
7. Speaking of dodge ball- In the comfort of of your home, revisit your high school gym days and do some old school exercises. Jumping Jacks, sit ups, butterfly stretches, toe touches or whatever exercise was a favorite torture of your gym teacher! 

Whatever you do, don't stop moving!!!!  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"Don't worry about the scale, just keep running."

Those were the words my doctor said to me on Friday. He has been my doctor for 18 years and he has never ever told me not to worry about the scale. 
In fact, he usually says quite the opposite. Things like " With your family history of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's, high blood pressure, cancer, lung disease,  so on and so forth, you need to lose weight. " and I would agree with him and tell him all the things I was "trying". But the results showed that my attempts were not lasting changes in my lifestyle.
Things have changed. For both of us. Here's a quick rundown of the changes for me.
1. I spent the last week of my grandfather's life on a pull out couch in his hospice room every night. Or sitting beside him holding his hand.
2. My father, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago, began to fail rapidly.
3. High school friends suffered heart attacks. 
4. A friend younger than me had a stroke.
5. My three beautiful grandbabies were born. I want to be around to play with them for years to come. I want to dance at their weddings.
It finally sunk through my thick skull that I am not invincible. I don't fear death, my eternity is settled. But I would prefer to go peacefully in my sleep. Or maybe performing some miraculous rescue or something like that. Something cooler than ways I have injured myself (flushing a toilet is one of more memorable injuries) 
The main thing that has changed for my doctor is that he has witnessed my resolve. We happen to go to the same gym and he has seen me on the weight machines and plodding around the track. He knows how hard I am working. He knows the advice he gives now is getting more than lip service. 
Friday was a victory.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ABC's of me


Attached or Single? .  Attached to my love since Nov.2, 1996 

B. Best Friend? Jill, we met when my husband was her teaching assistant, we always told her that she'd get married when she found a guy like my hubby. She did!


C. Cake or pie? White or yellow cake with white buttercream icing

D. Day of choice? Friday, I am off and get a little time to myself!

E. Essential Item? I think I am addicted to my kindle fire

F. Favorite color? Purple! It's the color of royalty and I am the perky positive princess!

G. Gummy bears or worms? Lived around the corner from the Gummy bear factory in Nuremburg so I am going bears.

H. Home town? Moorefield/Switzerland county, Indiana

I. Favorite Indulgence? Long bath with a good book

J. January or July? January-when its cold you can put on more clothes and be warm.  when its hot you can be naked and still be hot. Yuck!

K. Kids? Furry kids: I know this seems like an easy question but not so much. Together we have 6 children I gave birth to 3, Troy, who died at age 3 from multiple birth defects, Sam, 22, & Carrie Beth,17. I have been blessed with 3 children from another mother, Josh, who is 26, Carrie Lynn,24, & Ashley,20. Then I have 3 grandchildren, Austin, born 2-25-2010, Connor, born 2-18-2011, & Alyssa,born 2-12-12. Cool, huh? 2 fur babies, Mazey,12 year old boxer/shepherd mix, Roxie,4 year old foxhound mix.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Love and peace

M. Marriage date? 3-7-1997

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 2

O. Oranges or Apples?  Apples-pink lady or gala

P. Phobias?  Does an aversion to open cabinet doors count?  

Q. Quotes? If you find a road without obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. Frank A. Clark
R. Reasons to smile? Life, glorious life!

S. Season of choice?  CHRISTMAS!:-) ok, i know thats not the question but there is something I love about each season!

T. Tag 5 People  oh gosh, this means I have to think! 

U. Unknown fact about me? 
Ummmm, I like to watch people and I am a hugger but I hate large crowds with people squished around me.
V. Vegetable? Cucumber

W. Worst habit? Trying to be superwoman

X. Xray or Ultrasound?  Ultrasound

Y. Your favorite food?  Seafood and watermelon

Z. Zodiac sign? Gemini

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Don't get lazy.

There is something to be said for having a lazy day every now and then. Its good to rest,relax, and recharge. Vacations are awesome, even long ones.
What is not good is to blow off your workout while you are recharging and going back to square one.
Gather round children, Granny's got a story to tell you.
Once upon a time there was an old lady who decided she was going to run a marathon. She started training and things were going along swimmingly.
She had a 4 day weekend coming up and she was excited! She had big plans! The day before her big weekend she came home from work to get everything ready for her weekend and skipped her run/workout. Then mother nature smashed her plans to smithereens.
She was a sad old lady. She skipped her run/workout. For 4 days. Alternate plans were made which were fun yet exhausting. She went to bed at 6:45 after work on Monday.
Tuesday she popped out of bed at 4:30 am, jumped in her clothes and hit the gym.
Her body was in shock. Her legs screamed, her legs burned,her lungs were on fire and her feet forgot what they were supposed to be doing. But she refused to give in and kept going. It was like starting all over again. She was exceedingy happy that she finished before her doctor, who goes to the same gym, came in. 
Before she left the gym parking lot she made sure her alarm was set for the next morning because she never ever wants to start all over again! 
I hope you have learned a lesson from this poor woman's tale. Even if its only a short brisk walk, exercise everyday! You wont regret it.


Friday, July 5, 2013

An ephiany of sorts..

I was sitting at a redlight while doing errands in town yesterday when I noticed a woman standing in front of a store with an oxygen tank on the ground next to her. Her hands were busy above her head then she leaned over and I realized she was laying her nasal cannula on top of the tank. She then reached in her purse and pulled out a cigarette and lit it up. 
I thought to myself " How can she continue to do something that is clearly harmful to her health? She could die too soon from self inflicted sickness!" I took a bite of my sausage McMuffin and continued my rant as the light turned green and I went on my way.
Then the hypocrisy of my thoughts smacked me full in the face. I have certainly known for years that good nutrition and a reasonable weight are important for good health. At least my head did. I tried to rationalize the difference in the way I have been killing myself and the way this woman chose to kill herself. The conversation went a little like this-
"Her smoking is nothing like my eating and exercise! Her smoking is affecting her immeadiate quality of life , clearly clearlyshe has trouble breathing !"
" And eating so much that you can't sleep because of acid reflux isn't affecting your quality of life? Or the way you huff and puff going up a flight of stairs? Or the things you cant do with the grandkids the way you want because you can't fit in the swing or on the slide"
I argeud" Just a little wont hurt." The problem is that a little turns into a lot. One more bite turns into a whole serving.
I argue that I can't afford healthy food.  Lies, all of it. A local produce shop have 4 for 5 deals. A recent deal was a1lb of strawberries, 5lbs of red potatoes,carrots and a pineapple. I know that if I get this deal plus a few other items, my family will have filling frsh veggies. I say "I just don't have time." Again lies. I do have time. I could cut up veggies while I watch tv. 
As I said, all these thing I knew in my head. I didn't fully grasp that these truths were for me as much as anyone else. It is my job to embrace these truths,let go of the lies and move foward in my journey of wellness.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A few ways running has changed this fat girl

There are the obvious things like better fitting clothes, better stamina,extra energy, etc. 
But there are some changes I was not expecting. I didn't expect to have quite as much energy directly after a run. I expected to kinda be dead and ready to sit for a while. Turns out, I am ready to take on the world when I get done with a run. I have ADHD so I am ALWAYS going. I shudder to think how large I would be if I didn't have ADHD. But it turns out, I can be even more energetic! One day when I came home after a run and started doing stuff around the house my husband said "I didn't think it was possible for you to have more energy!" Cool!
Another-I have had pain in my left hip when I lay on that side for literally years. A few weeks after I started running again I noticed that pain was gone! Unfortunately, I have been a slacker for the last couple of days and the pain is back. Back to work.
I love the time running gives me to process and reflect on life in general. I find that I can work out problems while plodding along. 
But one of the coolest things to me is the response and encouragement I am getting from the people around me. I did have one negative reaction from my former cross country coach. He has seen me at my laziest. Not my super motivated-ness! 
Some friends and family were concerned for my health and rightfully so, I admit. I am notoriously clumsy. I have had 3 knee surgeries due to injuries. I wish I could say that at least one of these injuries was due to some heroic act. Alas, the first was from getting my daughter out of her car seat. The second was from trying to make my bed while recovering from first surgery and falling over a pillow and destroying the repair. The third, flushing a toilet. Talent, pure talent.
But mostly I have been encouraged and supported and cheered on. From the very buff lady who works at the gym to my coworkers to friends. 
One of my coworkers was forced to quit running this past October for health reasons. She checks in with me at least once a week. She told me this morning that she is living vicariously through me. She told me where to find a running shop that will check my stride and my feet and help me find the perfect shoe for me. She has given me advice on everything from chafing to training. She has also told me that she is going to be on my back throughout this process. She and my other coworkers have said they will be at the finish line of my marathon. That makes me happy. and motivates me even more than failing on a global scale.