Week Twelve Time to Refocus

Day 1 – Today I got up and got everyone out of the house earlier than usual. I am a co-chair for the elementary school book fair and needed to meet my partner. The fall book fair is a mini-fair and will run today and tomorrow from 8:30 am until 8:00 pm. We got everything set up and had a few customers. It is a half day both days because of conferences so I arranged for child care for the boys until 4. I then went home to get the organized for swimming, homework, dinner and a sitter before heading back out for a conference and to help close the book fair for the day.

Day 2 – Today is a repeat of yesterday but I could only stay at the fair until 1:30 when one of my boys had a well visit and the second had an appointment to check out his sore ear. One ear infection and a successful well visit later and we headed home for homework. We then took Nate to the pool and headed to Target for an antibiotic. The sick child had tubes but they are both sitting on his ear drum, so I hope this isn’t the start of many ear infections. Luckily our ENT is conservative so he won’t rush to do a second tube surgery. After the boys went to bed, I got my “run” in on my trampoline. Aerobically, I work harder outside because I sweat more and seem to get my heart rate higher, but I think I work my muscles harder on the trampoline.

Day 3 – Jack and I took a nice walk in the woods. It was beautiful and no squirrels bothered me so it was a successful outing.

Day 4 – I got back outside for my run which felt great. My pace has slowed, but as long as I keep getting out, I am not going to beat myself up about it. The goal is to move my body and get fit any way I can.

Day 5 – We walked in the woods again and my nearly ten year old dog was more playful than I have seen him in quite a while. We ran into many other dogs and owners enjoying the day. I am starting to panic slightly about the ten people I am hosting for dinner tomorrow. My house is still littered with camping gear and detritus from our New York trip, but I am making progress one step at a time.

The walk today was so good for me as I am also thinking about the two deaths I learned about today. One is the mother of a close friend whose cancer ended her life and the other is a young man from our summer pool who was killed in a home invasion. I am thankful for my health and every day I have. I am trying not to take anything for granted.

Day 6 – Today is a big day. I probably should try to get out for at least a walk, but the piles of laundry to put away along with the dusting, vacuuming and bathroom cleaning is stressing me out too much to leave the house. I got a bit of exercise running through the house. I enlisted the help of all family members and we got it all done. We were ready for dinner group at 6:00. I even delivered my oldest to his swim meet and transferred him to one of our very capable teenage babysitters. I will leave dinner at some point to pick him up.

Day 7 – After church this morning, I wanted to go for a run or at least a walk, but I spent a lot of time on the phone making arrangements for a wake and funeral early next week. My middle son got invited to a last minute party and my oldest had part two of his swim meet. I may not have gotten all the exercise I wanted in this week, but I am making healthier eating choices and have stepped back from the Halloween candy. As long as I don’t gain my usual “holiday ten” I will be happy. I also plan to refocus on my goal of doubling my 2012 bike mileage. I have about 120 miles to go so I need to fit about two rides in per week.

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My Seasonal Struggle

I am seeing evidence of my struggle at this time of year to eat healthy and exercise.

Day 1 – I woke up this morning with a terrible headache. I was able to get my kids breakfast, but luckily school lunch was something they were willing to eat. My husband took them to school and I crawled back into bed. I managed to get up late morning and have a bowl of soup before sleeping again. By the time I had to pick up the kids my head was much better. I even managed to lead my Cub Scout Den meeting.

I am not quite sure what the trigger was for the headache, but suspect it could be the lack of sleep from the campout and a combination of the Halloween candy I have been pilfering from my kids.

Day 2 – I was feeling much better today but not well enough to run because I do sometimes get a slight headache after my runs. Jack and I got a lovely walk in though.

Day 3 – Today is my volunteer day and the rest of the time I spent preparing for our trip to NYC tomorrow for the weekend

Day 4 – I got my first run in of the week. My conditioning is suffering somewhat but I feel happy to have gotten out. After school and swimming, the kids and I loaded into the van and headed to NY to see my sisters and some good friends. Matt took the train early in the day. We always do a lot of walking in NY so I hope that compensates from all the dinners out in the next few days.

Day 5 – this morning I got up and went for a good walk in Central Park with my friend. It was cold, but the brisk fall day was lovely. I really enjoyed the walk until I realized as we were leaving the park that I had lost my cell phone. This started an hour or so of panic. Claire went back to search a bit and I headed to the hotel so Matt could make it to work. I was so lucky because a nice couple found my phone, called my sister and Claire went to meet the man and got it back!! What a relief. Thank you all. I got in a bit of walking around the city too.

Day 6 – I got up early again after a huge dinner and headed to Central Park. I ran a little and walked a lot. Mostly I ran to warm up. It is a brisk morning. I now know where the expression “everyone and their dog” comes from, because everyone and their dog was out for a walk. It was a beautiful fall day.

Day 7 – We headed home this morning. We dropped off my sister in Newark at the airport and continued the drive. We are all exhausted from a busy weekend. My plans to get a lot of stretching in didn’t really materialize, but I did a lot of walking so the end of the week somewhat redeemed the first part. I also got to see two of my sisters, my good friend, Claire, and several other friends. It was a fun weekend for us all.

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Week Nine – Intervals Beat Injuries

Day 1 – My dog and I walked for an hour or so in the neighborhood and did about four miles. I love walking especially in the Fall. The air is brisk and the foliage is amazing. I wish I had time to walk for hours.

Day 2 – I do not love running. I thought I would be further in my conditioning than I am. I still can not run continuously for a mile and I was feeling discouraged today. I focused on form and breathing and used the poles as markers. I am still running/walking 2.25 miles in just under 30 minutes. The cool air goes right to my lungs but I am still out there. I will keep running.

Day 3 – Today was my big volunteer day but I got some stretching in. Any activity helps.

Day 4 – Another running day, groan. I got out there even though I just wanted to hibernate and eat. I made myself productive by doing laundry and stretching while watching a little tv. Then I got out and did my 2.25 miles. I ran a little better/faster than Tuesday. I felt good getting out especially since I really did not want too.

Day 5 – Jack and I went out for a good hike in the woods near our house. I am still on the alert for squirrels especially since My kids tease me that squirrels hate me. The other day I got hit on the head with some acorns and they said it was squirrels throwing them at me.

Day 6 – We were gone all day at my nephew’s confirmation so I did not get any exercise in. We had a nice day with family and good food grilled by my brother.

Day 7 – We ended up with a rare Sunday at home so I got my run in. I pushed myself and ran several lengths to every one walked but at various points had to take long walks. I know from my treadmill run last week that I am doing a good job at hitting my target heart rate for my age. I still felt somewhat discouraged by my progress until I read an article and had a conversation with a friend. The friend, thanks Shawna, pointed out that I am not as young as I once was and it is better to do the interval training than to get hurt. I am out there trying, which is more than some 45 year olds. The premise of the article was that it takes longer to form exercise habits than previously thought. Exercising three times a week may take as long as six month to form the habit! So my new mantra is “Intervals beat injuries” and I am still getting out there. I have been running three times a week for nine solid weeks and walking or doing other exercise as much as possible besides the running.

It isn’t easy getting out and running and I don’t know if I will ever love it, but I am going to give myself a year to create what I hope will be a lifelong habit of interval training at MY pace.

Week Eight – I am still running!

Day 1 – I did a lot of walking over the weekend and am going to try to keep it up in between runs soJack and I walked our four mile loop in the neighborhood. I am still avoiding the woods due to nature and all the recent rain.

Day 2 – today is a running day but I noticed right away that my pace is slower/shorter and I couldn’t run my initial distance that I had gotten up to. I ended the run pacing myself between telephone poles.

Day 3 – I was at the elementary school all day volunteering and meeting with a member of our county council, the superintendent’s staff, school officials and other parents about the ongoing mold issue. It is frustrating to all of us.

Day 4 – my oldest was up late last night because he was sick. He either has a bug or the combination of after school snacks he had did not agree with him. He is home from school but feeling better so he rode his scooter alongside while I ran. I paced myself using the telephone poles again, because that was easy to explain to Nate. He kept trying to talk to me, but it just was not possible because I breath so hard. I ran better today. I took long strides and it felt good to get out. We are heading to Virginia tonight because my kids have a three day weekend.

Day 5 – we were in the car quite a bit so I did not get any exercise. I find it challenging to be healthy when I am away from home, but I am working on that. We drove all over Central and Southwest Virginia. The mountains were amazing and the leaves are just starting to turn.

Day 6 – we went to Natural Bridge, VA today and toured a cavern and the natural bridge. We walked for about two hours and climbed many stairs. It was a lovely day with my family and the exercise was a bonus.

Day 7 – I got up before everyone and went to the hotel fitness center. I did 40 minutes on the treadmill. I did more walking at a pace of four miles per hour, but I also got a bit of running in. I don’t like the treadmill as much as running outside, but it beats the alternative of not exercising.

Week Seven and the Running Tramp

Day One – I got up this morning and put on my running clothes. I want to run Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week because my friend is visiting for the weekend and we want to walk or bike. I went to wake up the kids only to hear the familiar barking/honking sound of croup. My middle son would not be going to school. I fed everyone and got the other two off to school and took Will to the doctor. His lungs were clear but he had an ear infection.

While we wandered around Target waiting for his prescriptions, I saw a mini exercise trampoline. I had been thinking it might be good to get one to “jog” indoors without the cost of a treadmill. I could run and watch tv! I could also get workouts in during bad weather.

After dinner and getting the two youngest in bed, I decided to open up the box and put together my trampoline so I could still get my Monday run in. Luckily my ten year old has mad skills after putting together dozens or maybe hundreds of Lego creations so he helped me decipher the directions and figure out how to use the “spring tool”. His way worked much better than mine.

Then he went to bed and I jogged on my trampoline while watching last weeks’s Grey’s Anatomy episode. I ran this way for 40 minutes which is about ten minutes longer than my outdoor runs. I don’t think I was as hot and sweaty but I felt muscles ache (especially in the gluts) that I haven’t for awhile. It was definitely different than running outside, but I think I got a good workout in.

Day Two – I went for a walk today with Jack. We walked in the neighborhood for about 70 minutes. I stretched those sore gluts.

Day Three – I ran outside but it was hard today. I am not sure of my actual pace, but I did my usual 2.25 miles. I had to walk more than I did my last run. I don’t know if I am tired from the walk yesterday or just a little sore from my trampoline run.

Day Four and Five – It is raining cats and dogs so I did not get outside to exercise. I could not get myself to exercise inside either. I feel very tired. I am also upset about some extended family issues as well as continued mold in my kids’ school. I helped Matt and Nate pack for their camping trip.

Day Six and Seven – My good friend Claire is visiting and we walked both days in the drizzly weather. Saturday we walked four miles per hour for one hour and Sunday we walked a little longer at a slower pace. We had the dog and Claire was wearing Fit Flops because she had some gnarly heel blisters. Claire also got me to log my food into MyFitnessPal. We did quite well over the weekend with our food and drink choices. Gone are our days of squirt cheese product and Ben and Jerry’s pints. It helps to have friends to encourage and motivate me on the path to fitness.

Week six and the flipped course

Week 6
Day 1 – Today I took a walk in the woods with my dog. We had a nice long walk but the entire time I was scanning the trees in fear that squirrels would attack me again. I felt like I should be banging sticks together or ringing bells to let all the animals know that I was coming and they should stay away. Eventually I relaxed a little and got a nice walk in. The beauty of the area helps to relieve the every day stress I feel in my life.

Day 2 – I started out my run running farther than I ever have. I pushed myself and ran until I got to my first real hill. Then I walked for just over a block and ran again as far as I could. I am pretty sure that I ran my fastest time but was not keeping track. Today I had a hard time running again after I had stopped to walk. I know that I need to stretch and can really feel that my muscles are sore. I have not been this sore since my first week.

Day 3 – Wednesdays are a day that I volunteer in my kid’s school and we do a lot of running around, so I was not able to get a walk in. I did do some stretching, but still not the level I would like.

Day 4 – Today I brought my phone along so I was able to use the Endomondo app. I ran for .75 miles before walking for the first time. Then I walked three telephone poles and ran again. I feel like I am running for much of the time now, but today I felt slow. I am running at 12.52 minutes per mile. I certainly wouldn’t win any races but just a few weeks ago, I could only run a block at a time.
Over the years I have heard of so many people injuring them-self, that I really want to avoid that. My negative alter ego was asking me why I am even doing this. As I get older I really realize how important it is to be healthy not just for me, but also for my kids. Since I started my family later than many, it is even more important.
During dinner my ten-year-old was talking to me about muscle soreness and muscles breaking down and re-growing. He also asked me if I was going to run a 5K that many people from his school run in the spring and offered to run it with me. This is why I run, to set an example for my kids and to teach the how to live a healthy life. It makes it all worth it.

Day 5 – I took my dog for a long walk, but today we went through the neighborhood because the squirrels still freak me out. We walked for over an hour and I would guess about four miles, but I wasn’t keeping track. Never once on a walk, have I questioned why I do it and I really enjoy this form of exercise. I look forward to feeling the same about running.

Day 6 – I decided to run today because we have a lot of things planned tomorrow. I also had the bright idea of flipping my run and running the same route but the opposite way. It. Was. Hard. I thought the normal way was difficult because of the big hill and a long gradual hill, but this way was harder and I ran less than I have been. I also got a headache part way through it, but I kept on. I hope to run on Monday and hope that run is better.

Day 7- I finished off week six with a leisurely walk around several blocks while my middle son and his friend sold popcorn for Cub Scouts. It was slow and easy so I can’t really count it as exercise but I thought we were going to be sitting in front of a grocery store selling so I can’t complain.

Week Five and the Dangerous Squireel

Week FIVE
Day – 1 Today is Monday and I did not plan to run but managed to get in a hike with my dog. We went in the woods for about 45 minutes. We both enjoy these nature walks.

Day – 2 This is the first day that I have kept track of my time and pace for a couple of weeks. I was stunned that I had cut almost a minute off my time per mile. The fastest that I have run so far was just over a 13.2 minute mile. Today I ran 12.2 minute miles. I am running much more of the time and I pushed myself harder than I have recently. I am running 3 to 4 times per walk at least in the beginning of the run. By the end, I am walking more, but I am still going the same route and doing 2.25 miles. I also walked about 1.5 miles with the two younger boys in the afternoon while the oldest swam for an hour. Then we went to the park.

Day – 3 I was supposed to volunteer at school today but had a sick child at home. He was sick in the night and had a slight fever, but I believe it was a reaction to having two teeth pulled yesterday afternoon. My middle son has inherited my overcrowded mouth and will possibly have more baby teeth pulled prior to some orthodontic work in the future.

Day – 4 I started my run out by running 5 blocks! That seemed like a huge accomplishment. Our neighborhood is called Hillandale so there are quite a few uphill portions that I am not running yet . I ran most of the flat and downhill parts and walked when I was going uphill. There is a big hill toward the end that I ran part of. One day I will be able to run the entire way. I am not sure that I will manage it at the end of six weeks, but we shall see.

I always seem to do a hike with the dog on the same days that I run and today was no exception. I feel sorry for his sad face when he sees me go out without him. He sees the sneakers and knows that I am off to stretch my legs. Today was probably the scariest and funniest hike I will ever take.

Often when I hike in the woods, I worry about coming into contact with the wildlife. We have seen deer, fox, copperhead snakes and various other critters down there. Today, a squirrel jumped from a tree onto my back, down to my leg and took off running in one direction while I took off in the other. Wen I could breath normally again, I realized it really was funny, but I hope it never happens again.

Day – 5 and 6 I am combining these two days because I did no exercise to speak of. I must admit, I have not been stretching as regularly as I did initially and my goal is to return to that habit.

Day – 7 I set my alarm for 6:30 am so that I could get my run in before taking my son and his friend to the pool and then going to church. At this point I am running most of the flat/downhill portions and even short distances uphill. I started out by running four blocks, walking half a block and then running four more before walking just over a block uphill. I encountered two deer on my run, but luckily no squirrels! It was a beautiful fall am but I felt a little of the burning throat again that I did a couple of weeks ago. When I got home I felt like I just couldn’t clear my throat. It eventually went away. I did a little stretching and used the foam roller, but probably not enough. I plan to stretch more in week six and do some biking.