Happiness, Thy Name is Viv

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Family, Health, Kids, Running

L.T., my 14 year old son, flew in yesterday from his dad’s house for his summer visit. My oldest son, Naughty Bear, offered to go with me and we also picked up my 14 year old nephew, codenamed Roboto Dude. Because of my overly excited self, NB ended up having to drive because of a migraine and mild dizziness.

A few rough patches later and my baby boy strolled off the plane with his deep voice saying “Hello, Mother.” It’s always hard to remain upright when I see my babies after such long spans, but to see my youngest biological child approach in the guise of a man-sized human? Nearly impossible to reconcile with the mental image I carry between visits.

Add to that the text messages I got from him on Saturday night, and I was completely twitterpated at his arrival. His excitement at getting here, down to knowing how many hours remained, had me over the moon. After that, a full migraine hit and NB had to drive home, as well. We met my dad for dinner to celebrate his 75th birthday and had a wonderful time. He and I were quiet at times, just watching them. I finally asked him where our babies went, as we were faced with three young men. Each one is taller than us and have deep voices and facial hair. He shrugged and looked as confused as I at the passage of time.

I sometimes wish that Chooch and I had a child together, and that it was a girl. It has more to do with wanting to selfishly have a tangible symbol of our love than any real desire to have another child, which is why we won’t have one. Besides, and I say this without hesitation, I never want to mess with the relationship we have with our boys. To have another child would mean we’d have to turn our eyes from the three loves of our lives. Our bonds are extremely strong, unbreakable by distance of any kind.

LT, NB and RD all want to go with me to the track for a run later today, my sons insisting that they want to lose weight. LT, already fit butwanting to get healthier said, “Who better to ask how than you?”  Instantly, the exercise rut I’ve been in since Balticon is over. Maternal need to set a good example has pushed me out of it. Today I run. With my sons.

It’s the morning I’ve been waiting all year for: my boys sleeping in after staying up all night gaming, laughing, and playing music too loud.

Pure bliss.

Stupid Irony is Stupid

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Exercise, Friends, No Whining, Running

I’ve been on the fence about this weekend. There is hubby’s Ditched by Kate band practice, which is non-negotiable with a hot show coming up at IOTA on Saturday, June 18th.

Then there are two book events for dear friends on Saturday and a party I truly hate to miss on Saturday night. All are in different states, naturally. Then there is the 10k that I had been training for months for on Sunday morning. And an alleged get-together with far-flung members of my Mom’s family. There has been no information on that for two months, so I’ve no idea if it’s even happening, or when.

This does not count the other things on my to-do list: the 2 month procrastinated yard sale, writing the submission guidelines for the breast cancer anthology, scrubbing the house down, continuing work on launching both a record label and publishing house, and recording and editing for our own projects and planning future projects.

So, as we’ve just decided that we cannot afford the time or funds to travel to three states in one day and I’ve re-dedicated myself to the 10k, I of course catch Chooch’s cooties. He’s on anti-biotics, with the usual catch of the doctor not being sure if it’s viral or bacterial. I loathe taking them unless they’re absolutely necessary. If and when I create a super bug capable of ending life as we know it, it will be on purpose. Still, my lung capacity will frak up my hopes of success at the 10k.

I definitely won’t be running the entire 10k, but I’m hoping to be strong enough to go anyways. Not having run for 3 weeks means my knees and shins feel entirely healed, but it’s my endurance and breathing I’m now concerned about. Luckily, there is a half-marathon at the same time, so no matter how crappy my pace, I’ve been assured by race organizers not to sweat it.

I wish we could bag it and go to our friends’ stuff instead, but sadly, I’m not coughing up gold coins to pay for the gas, food, hotel  and kennel fees. Nor has a time turner cleared my esophagus to make it possible to actually travel to all these places in a very short time. At least not yet.

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*It is irony, right? Feel free to correct me.

Weight Loss Progress

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: 5k, 5k, Dizzy, Dizzy, Exercise, Half-Marathon, Health, No Whining, Vestibular Migraine, Weight Loss

Today I busted through a milestone weight. I honestly cannot remember the last time my weight was this low, no foolin’. It was definitely before Naughty Bear was born.

It’s been a lot of work and a big sacrifice since I started back up again in September. I had gained somewhere around 20 pounds back after I got hit with the vestibular migraines and the medication had me drugged and sleeping a lot. That on top of the now inherent fatigue kicked my ass. I still tried to eat healthy, but gave up on South Beach during that time because I felt like I was just eating and sleeping all the time.

While I still believe that the maintenance phase of South Beach is the best way to eat long term, I just couldn’t keep it up anymore with the slow creep of weight gain that was occurring.

I started eating carbs again, although not pigging out or going overboard. I know their effects on me. I get sluggish, puffy, sleepy and am quick to hunger again. But having them limited for so long, I dove straight into whole grain breads and pastas. Om to the nom!

I finally got fed up and started the Couch to 5k program again, which naturally led me to watching what I was eating. Eventually I made my way to Weight Watchers Online and haven’t looked back. Since I started that I’ve lost 24 pounds, surviving Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and other excuses to gorge. I definitely did some backsliding, but have come pretty closely to finding a balance that works for me.

After successfully running an entire 5k on Thanksgiving, I felt amazing and motivated to do more. About a week after that, my medication changed and it literally knocked me on my ass. I was unable to really get moving again until January when I eased into walking again. My running started again with the Runkeeper training program that fellow runner Mur Lafferty told me about. I really love it, but will go into that in another post.

I’m now training for a 10k in June. It’s difficult because I never know from day to day if I’ll be able to run, since the migraines make it impossible. I’ve found I can run dizzy, but I can’t run with a migraine. So I’m registered now for two 5k’s and one 10k and I don’t know if I’ll be able to run all, or any of them when it comes to race day.

I am also prone to getting migraines after a tough run, but I figure I’d likely get one anyways so don’t let that deter me. I always am dizzy after a run, to varying degrees. And dizziness is less noticeable when I have a migraine, so there’s a silver lining, right?

I think my motivation is driven by being out of control of my life. I can’t control how I feel, at least not yet. My current doctor feels that if this treatment doesn’t improve things, short of tweaking dosages there is nothing else he can do for me. I’ll be seeking a new doctor after we move to an area with a wider pool of medical specialists. Not being able to control how I feel means that I can’t control if I can work. I already discovered that college coursework was nigh impossible due to memory and comprehension problems I’ve developed. I’m hoping these are due to medication, because it is very troubling.

I decided to embrace the things I can control – what I eat and whether or not I exercise. So I do what I need to in order to reach my goals, and so far it’s working. I’m not saying I’ll make it all the way to my goal, but I’m nine pounds from where the doctor wanted me to return to her for a health evaluation to see how much more, if any, I need to lose. My own goal is ten pounds more than that because as I look at myself I find it impossible to be only nine pounds away.

No, this isn’t bragging or lecturing or my telling you what to do to lose weight. I’m not that arrogant. This is just a post I wanted to write for my own blog, so that when I begin to slip I can remember how I felt at this moment in time. I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m humbly proud of myself. When I finally reach my own goal, I’ll have lost over a hundred pounds. I’ve grown tired of using my illness and near constant fatigue as an excuse. I feel more energized after a workout, and feel better emotionally afterward so it’s no longer an excuse, it’s a lie.

I did this. Me. No weird pills, no crash diet, no tricks.

Sweaty, breathless, aching, exhausted and sore, I did this.

Baking healthy desserts instead of the fat and sugar laden ones of my childhood.

Trying one bite, maybe two instead of a whole serving.

Tracking everything I eat and drink, and every calorie I burn during exercise.

Trying healthier alternatives and exploring vegan and vegetarian meals, thus bringing more and more variety into my life that keep me from getting bored and stopping at (gag) fast food restaurants. (More on this in another post.)

I. Did. This.

And I can keep going until I reach my goal, unless I get in my own way. I’m refraining from posting ‘before’ pictures until I reach my goal. It feel presumptuous otherwise, so that will be my reward. Well, one of them.

No more excuses, just forward motion.

Second Honeymoon

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Exercise, Half-Marathon, Knitting, No Whining, Soulful

We lucked into a fantastically cheap but very brief “weekend” away. It actually began Sunday and ended on Tuesday when we packed up and left gorgeous Virginia Beach. It’s pretty chilly and deserted in early March, which suited us fine because it also meant fewer people. Besides, you just cannot beat the view if you’re an ocean lover.

We’ve been through a lot in recent months, with a lot more coming up and needed to recharge our batteries. We had no plans upon our arrival, although we had some toys to entertain ourselves, and just wanted to “be” without any demands. I don’t think I tweeted or FB’d much, except for a few DM’s to keep plans on track. The bass we brought for my lesson sat untouched and we didn’t even open Game of Thrones.

We emerged from a nasty rain storm, but the weather almost immediately turned sunny with temps in the mid-50’s. Warm enough for us, to be sure. Our hotel was beautiful and we even got a free bump to a larger, oceanfront room due to a low vacancy rate.  After hanging on our balcony and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean and hanging in our room for a bit, we headed out for dinner at a place that I immediately envisioned Chooch’s band playing in, and would love to wave a magic wand and make that happen. (Ditched by Kate tours Virginia Beach? Sounds good to me!) We headed back and settled in for the night, door thrown open to hear the ocean in spite of the cold.

The next morning, I arose and headed out for a run. It was the single most invigorating run of my life, what with the view, the biting wind, and ocean sounds. My pace really suffered because I kept stopping to take pictures. With our “no plans” rule, I wasn’t sure that I’d make it back out with Chooch before we left so I took full advantage of having remembered my little all-weather camera.

I even found the spot from 2 (or was it 3?) years ago when I did a break-neck paced drive to Virginia Beach with a visiting friend from New Mexico. She’d never seen an ocean before, and I found that unacceptable. On the last day of her visit, we had just enough time to race down here, play in the sand for 15 minutes or so, and then race back to Reagan airport for her flight back home. It was a deliciously fun time, and reminded me of my teenage years where no plan was too crazy.

After my run yesterday, I inadvertently woke up Chooch when I returned to the room to stretch out my tight muscles. I ran for a bit on the sand for the first time, but even tougher was running into the very strong winds. My skin was very smooth after the sandblasting it got, but I don’t recommend it.

We got moving, and headed down for our complimentary restaurant breakfasts. (Did I mention this trip was cheap? That was partly due to breakfast being served until 11, which we decided meant we only had to pay for one meal each day.)

Chooch had some stuff going on at work, so we headed up to the room so he could plug in the laptop and get to it. We then remembered a beautiful spot next to the restaurant with an internet cafe/work stations so he grabbed his work stuff and I grabbed my knitting and we sat in this beautiful seating area with a wall of beach and ocean in front of us. Way better than a wall with a TV, don’t you think?

After that was done, we headed out to the aquarium. This is something that we do in every city we visit that has one, a tradition we started while dating with an aquarium on the Oregon Coast when I first visited him in 2002. Although it’s not terribly huge, we spent hours because we love marine life so much. Seals, jellyfish, sharks, rays, coral and all manner of underwater life were beautiful and charming as expected. I’d say the otters were the most fun to watch as they frolicked and played as only they can, but we also have a special affinity for turtles. My favorite was seeing both a pair of cardinals and the seahorses, for the significance they hold for me. <3

At this point, we were starving and we grabbed a tasty dinner and headed back to the hotel with some ice cream for later. (The room had a mini-fridge.) We chilled out with the ocean sounds serenading us and eventually we … well … it was romantic and all … so … we couldn’t resist… recording our podcast, Into the Blender. HA! You thought you were going to get some naughty time info, didn’t you? Not gonna happen, loveys! What happens in Virginia Beach stays in Virginia Beach. Mostly.

We actually are behind on our self-imposed bi-weekly schedule, partly because of my impromptu trip to Arkansas and partly due to social gatherings we committed to before I knew I would be traveling. So we sat and recorded enough content for either a two hour episode or three 45-ish minute episodes. The editing goal will be three episodes, which pleases me. I like having buffer for exactly the type of events that delayed our release this time.

Tuesday morning, I woke early, started writing this post and headed back to bed for a bit. We eventually got up, got ready for the day and grabbed our tasty free breakfast again. I grabbed some waffle sections from the buffet, and couldn’t help but giggle when the sign said “waffle sticks” as it brought to mind the South Park “fish sticks” bit. I shared that with hubby, and we recited the funniest joke of all time, slightly modified.

Joke Teller: “Do you like waffle sticks?”
Butt of Joke: “Yes.”
Joke Teller: “So you like to put waffle sticks in your mouth?”
Butt of Joke: “Yes.”
Joke Teller: “You are a gay waffle.”

Yes, that’s how my mind works on a romantic weekend. And yes, you should pity Chooch.

We then went for a walk on the beach, the first one for Chooch since we arrived. We went up to water’s edge, but I chose not to put my toes in considering how cold it was. We were bundled up in heavy coats and the wind was strong and stinging. We took some photos and walked along the beach as I wanted to show him a Neptune sculpture further down the boardwalk.

We chatted, cleaned up some trash on the beach and met a beautiful and loving dog that was being walked by the family that rescued him from near death by an abusive owner. The dog, Russell, was part Akita and part … breeds I don’t recall. Lookit, he was sweet and beautiful, I was distracted. Check out the photos below to see how he looks now. Shockingly, he was only 17 pounds when the family rescued him a few years ago and is now healthy and content with just a few remaining behavioral issues, none of which we witnessed. I’d have never guessed how terrible a start he’d had in this life if they hadn’t told us.

Being so close to the air base, every time a plane went overhead Chooch would look up and announce what type it was. After marveling at the Neptune statue, we made our way back to the car. It was a beautiful ending to our trip, as Chooch drove home and we hammered out some story ideas.

Home now, I refuse to sulk that it’s over. Instead, I choose to be joyful that we had this time away from most of the demands of our life and I feel even more in love and dedicated to my husband than ever before. I already was, but somehow feel those things even stronger, which I didn’t think was possible. We just needed to unclench from the stress we were feeling and experiencing and knew this was our only chance for a very long time. We also knew we’d never be able to do it this cheaply again, so dove in.

I feel more than grateful for him and our life together, and suggest that if you can steal a few moments away for yourself, either with or without a loved one, just to luxuriate in unstructured playtime, you should definitely do it. Take a day or two and slow down, sleep, relax and just be. It will serve you beautifully, at least it has for us.

I’ve loaded a bunch of photos (90 or so), about a quarter of those we took. There are also some videos. Most of the collection is from the Virginia Aquarium at Virginia Beach. Note: The very last photo is prolly NSFW or kids, but it is jokey in nature. I’ve marked it as restricted, but you’ll be able to view it if you click that you want to.

Hard Work and Good Fortune

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Exercise, Family, Friends, Half-Marathon, Mom, No Whining, Soulful, Weight Loss

In these days of migraines, allergy symptoms, and tiles being blown from our roof it’s easy to get a bit saddened. Add to that financial issues from a now longish-term illness preventing me from making any real income and it’s a down-right downer of a time.

But take heart, dear reader, because you never know when fortune will befall you and hard work will pay off.

  • We have a fantastic week ahead full of fun, frolic and friendship that we’ll carry in our hearts for a long time.
  • I’ve hit the “lost 10% of my flab” goal. I’ve got a long way to go, but am damned encouraged.
  • My half-marathon training is coming along nicely. I will never win a race, but I will definitely finish it.
  • Today I’m submitting paperwork that will create our very own small business, teensy even, in the hopes of generating income at home since I can’t get traditional employment until I can hopefully get my health issues better managed.
  • And the best news of all? My father, sister and brother are 100% behind the publishing of my Mom’s short story. I’m giving myself two weeks to develop a good plan to move forward in the request for submissions, and will post details as soon as I have them. This is a passion project that I can’t wait to begin shaping.

Happy Friday, indeed!

Spring Peek-A-Boo

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Exercise, Firsts, No Whining

The First Day of Spring 2011 isn’t until March 20, but my day was brightened by this peek of what’s to come.

As I was driving home yesterday, I noticed this peeking up through my dormant grass. If you look closely, you can even see a bit of green grass.

Come on Spring! Bring on the beautiful blooms and choking pollen, as I’m tired of this cold weather. I can’t wait to return to a more reliable running schedule, and for my treadmill-less life that means no more ice on the roads!

 

The Great, The Meh, and the *So* Not Cute

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Dizzy, Exercise, Family, Friends, Health, No Whining, Our Kids, Soulful, Vestibular Migraine

As life is a roller coaster, I thought I’d bundle up some recent events into one post and call it “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” I did slightly modifiy it to better fit my situation. Now let’s start with The Great because I’m DYING to share this news.

Setting the scene:
Two years ago, my then 12 year old son L.T. moved far away to be closer to his younger siblings and to have more time with his dad and get to know him better. (After our divorce, his dad moved away when he was 5, remarried, and had two more children.) At the same time, my 19 year old son, Naughty Bear, moved about an hour away from me to live with his dad’s parents and begin college. His grandfather is a university professor, and by living with him as “a dependent,” Naughty Bear gets a radically reduced tuition. While I was thrilled for the boys and what this meant for them, it was extremely hard on Chooch and I to suddenly turn around and have an “empty nest.”

While seeing L.T. now means flying or spending two long days of driving, Naughty Bear was close by and we still got to see him quite a bit. Then last fall, after seeing how much L.T. had changed between Christmas and summer break (much taller and a deep voice), he realized how much he was missing with his younger siblings and wanted to spend more time with them before they are all grown up. He rented a house in the city where his dad lives, got a room mate, and continued with studies with online classes through his grandfather’s university. A few months ago he also started working at a grocery store.

The Great: Last week, he told me that he had decided to move back to Virginia! He’ll move back in with his grandparents and return to school full-time in order to focus more on his studies and graduate soonest. While he was greatly enjoying the freedom out there, he realized that it was detrimental to his college and life goals with all the distractions that come along with the freedom. The details are still being worked out, but he will hopefully be back here before the end of this month. Obviously, I’m overjoyed at having him close by again and also at the maturity of his decision. I think he realized the opportunity offered him and he didn’t want to waste it.

Edit: I will be flying to Arkansas, helping him close out his apartment, spending time with LT, and then driving back with Naughty Bear. Yee haw!

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The Meh…

At a joyous birthday party yesterday that was literally packed with magnificent old and new friends, I realized that I hadn’t updated on my health stuff in over a month. Well, I did start the recommended medications, and it’s definitely better than being on nothing at all. I still have frequent migraines and dizziness and break down in certain stressful situations, however they are not as often, nor do I have the extremely uncomfortable side effects of the previous medications. There are a few new side effects that I’m trying to wrangle, but they are much less troubling than the previous ones. I’m still significantly diminished from what I was like before any of this started, but  honestly that was so long ago that “normal” has kind of reset for me now. If I get three days of productivity (household and paper work) a week, it feels like I can keep things current, although any more than that and I can actually work on projects that sorely need attention. I’m not taking classes this semester and am now working to finish a class that I got an extension for last semester when things were so very bad. So while it’s an improvement, it’s not a huge one that lets me resume life to what it once was. So, meh…

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Finally, my poor Twitter followers have been forced to suffer through my whining about my recent dental woes. After having a few months of intermittent pain, I finally broke down and went to the dentist. Money has been tight, so I had been unable to go back after an exam almost two years ago to get the recommended dental work of replacing a filling from my childhood and also deal with a cavity. Pain makes you find money, so back I went to finally overcome my dental terrors that exist because of my wisdom tooth removal when I was 19 or so. Yes, I’d been going for cleanings, just put off the recent drill work required because of my horrible experience.

I screwed up the courage to face the drill by taking two Valium, laughing gas and I had my headphones blasting the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack during the entire procedure. It was still AWFUL, but I did it, Brave Little Toaster that I am. Two weeks later, I returned to the dentist because I could no longer stand the terrible pain and temperature sensitivity. I was waiting for it to heal and stop hurting and when I was told by multiple people that it shouldn’t hurt, I finally screwed up the courage again and returned. He “filed down” some “high points” in the fillings (more traumatizing than having the fillings done) and gave me a muscle relaxer for bed time and some kind of low level pain killer. Those helped, but I still had extreme pain and sensitivity all over my mouth which made no sense. I was waking up in agony in the wee hours of the morning every night, possibly caused by rolling onto my side without ensuring there was no pressure on my jaws.

Going back last week, he determined that I’ve either started grinding my teeth or clenching my jaw in my sleep. It’s definitely recent, as I’m pretty sure the sleep study I did at the beginning in 2010 would have uncovered it.  Plus, there doesn’t seem to be any damage to the enamel from grinding.

So now, I have dental guard that I have to sleep in every night. Add to this the ankle brace I sleep in (helps prevent soreness when running) and the occasional carpal tunnel wrist brace and you get a full picture of the sexiness that I display at bedtime. You should feel very sorry for Chooch as it is *So* Not Cute…

Cipro Concerns for Runners

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: 5k, 5k, Exercise, Health, No Whining, Weight Loss

In December, I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and was prescribed the antibiotic Cipro in order to knock it out. I didn’t find out until later that it is a medication that has some cause for concern for folks that enjoy high impact activities, such as running. There is evidence that tendon damage can occur after taking it, which caused me great concern as a runner. In fact, in 2008 the FDA told “companies that the drugs must now carry “black box” warnings alerting doctors and patients that the drugs can increase risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture in some patients.” Black box warnings are the sternest warning issued by the FDA, and it covered the entire class of fluoroquinolones (cipro included).

Digging in and researching, there are the typical conflicting reports. Running forums detail every degree of injury and nearly all suggested waiting out activities until anywhere from 2 weeks to six months after cessation of the medication. The greatest concerns were for those that were on the six week treatment duration. My treatment was only ten days, but I was still very concerned about rushing back into running after having not run for a month at that point.

I decided to give myself a month before hitting the pavement again, just to ensure that I don’t add to my list of injuries and health problems. I’m paying for it now, as the total of two months break from running has me huffing and puffing on short distances. Still, I am confident that I did the right thing, and am being cautious and gentle as I ramp up to longer distances. I’m not concerned about my performance having decreased, with what I learned that I’m capable of last year.

There is a lot of information out there, so if you are prescribed the medication you should do your own research to see the newest information and to make the best informed decision you can. I just wanted to let you know of the concern in case, like me, you weren’t told when it was prescribed to have the option of requesting another antibiotic. Corticosteroids may provide protection, but I’m not interested in taking steroids because of other issues that may arise from them.

I have big goals for 2011, and I think being cautious while pushing myself to reach them is the best way for me to proceed.

Happy trails!

What I Learned When I Wasn’t Watching

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Cooking, Dizzy, Exercise, Family, Health, Kaylee, Our Kids, Soulful

– Watch what you wish for – I’ve learned this countless times over my life. The best example is the one I’m currently afflicted with, my goal for 2009 of “Twirling More.” My intention was to allow myself to be more free. Not closeting myself off behind walls of defenses because of the hurts I’ve suffered in the past. But, more specifically, to twirl more. Especially in the rain, as I’ve loved to do my whole life, but stopped doing because it wasn’t cool (late teens) or too busy to get rained on with job/infants/kids/teens for the last 20 years.  What I ended up with, if you want to interpret it as cause and effect, is dizziness. Or, the near constant sensation that I’ve just been twirling. Meh. I still go out on the rare occasion to twirl in the rain.

Running with a “gentler landing” from playing Lord of the Rings Online has helped reduce my knee and ankle pain.

– Don’t trust appearances, as those with the biggest smiles and kindest words may be hiding more manipulation than can be believed. How did I forget this one? Re-learned and not to be forgotten again.

–  When editing audio, inserting pauses is just as important as deleting flubs. Thanks to Martha Holloway for teaching me this during an interview for my Girls’ Rules Podcast.

– Kids are heart breakers. Looking into the eyes of our children melts my heart. I first experienced this when my sons were born, in the first nanosecond I looked into their eyes. I relived that rush of joy, sadness and overwhelming protectiveness when they returned for Christmas break. I love them completely and the selfish, ugly part of me wants to guilt or beg them to move back. But I won’t do it. I want them healthy, happy and confident in life and the choices they make. I’ve sacrificed since they were born to help with this, and I’m not going to mess with it now. If the only negative to their choices is that I’m sad, then I have to suck it up as a part of motherhood.

– Don’t be a doormat. Either confront it or remove myself from the situation. This is something I’ve worked on for a long time, but it’s become physically necessary this year since stressful encounters amplify my migraines and dizziness.

– Don’t sweat what you can’t control. All the preparations in the world won’t ensure success, so if a last minute problem surfaces and you can’t fix it just relax and make do. Training for 5k’s and weight loss has been stalled for me several times this year, resulting in missing a 5k earlier this month. Twisting my ankle a few days ago and being on antibiotics that increase risk of tendon damage have likely postponed resuming training on Monday as scheduled. I will resume as soon as I’m able, and if I have to walk instead of run for awhile, then I’ll just continue to do my best without risking long-term injury.

– Brussel sprouts can be damned tasty.

– I over-commit. I’ve been working on this, but as I sit here amidst mountains of desserts I realize that I need to share the load of work more often. I’m the only one that does the traditional baking for our family, which includes my sister and her husband, my brother and his kids, my dad, and my guys. I shortened the list from list year, but am still baking 2 batches of Chewy Noels (brown sugar bar cookie), peppermint brownies, applesauce cake, 3 traditional cheesecakes, 1 “Reese’s cup” cheesecake, a chocolate/cherry pi-cake (I added this one on myself) and double chocolate cookies (delayed). This is the last year I’ll be doing it all on my own, methinks, as I baked from Monday to late Wednesday. Less is more and it’s time the rest of the family learns all the recipes. Right?

– Marshmallows are not vegan. Unless you seek out vegan marshmallows, they will contain gelatin. Gelatin, which everyone else probably already knows, is made from animal parts. ‘Nuff said.

– We’re becoming those dog owners. You know, the ones that act like their dog is their kid? It’s happening. We’re completely smitten with Kaylee. Luckily, everyone else seems to be as well, so at least we aren’t deluding ourselves that she rocks when she doesn’t. I think the shock of the suddenly empty nest is the impetus behind this. Watching her play and frolic with the four boys this week has been adorable, and they have a new found love for her as well.

Thanksgiving 5k Race Results

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: 5k, Chooch, Computer, Exercise, Firsts, Health, No Whining

Chooch and I headed out early on Thanksgiving morning for the local Turkey Trot. It was cold, but we’ve run in colder and felt well prepared for it. I had my mittens and my hoodie over yoga pants and long sleeve race t-shirt. I had been tempted to wear shorts, as I’d overheard a hard-core runner tell incredulous friends at a January race in 25 degree weather that he runs faster in shorts because after a while he can’t feel his leg soreness due to numbness. Luckily, I’m not that insane. I haven’t baby stepped my way back to 5k’s by taking risks that could cause a long-term setbacks.

I was super excited because this was my first race since all the silly health drama started. We had to forfeit our registration in 2009 as that was the beginning of my health issues and I was having a ton of tests for scary illnesses being run. I was not running, exercising or psychologically prepared in any way last Thanksgiving.

This year’s race was held at a new location on an unfamiliar route, and I secretly hoped there wouldn’t be many hills since I seem to have knee pain more on the hilly routes. I’ve altered my stride when going down hill using lessons learned while covering hilly lands in the Lord of the Rings Online MMORPG. Laugh if you like, but in game you can run up hills as fast as you like, but running downhill at the same speed you’ll get a “broken bone” injury.  I now take what I call “gentler landings” and I’m already seeing improvement. Genius that I am, it took me forever to put the two together, and maybe they are unrelated but I’m certainly having less knee issues since I’ve made the change.

We made our way to the race start to pick up the optional race time chips. These are small, lightweight loaner chips you strap to your ankle to track your start/finish time since it’s impossible for everyone to cross the start line at exactly the same time. It also allows you to track your pace. After the race, the results are provided with your race time and pace. I have no expectation of having a winning race time, rather this is how I track my progress across races, as do many others.

We next headed over to the start line along with the other racers and walkers. We again survived the push and shove of over-adrenalized and aggressive runners wanting to start as close to the front as possible. Having been stuck behind walkers and strollers in the past, I can understand wanting to ensure you don’t have to try and run an obstacle course to keep your running pace. Still, there is no need for such rudeness. Personally, I would prefer if they said, “Excuse me, but you’re clearly not an elite athlete so I’d like to get in front of you now so I won’t have to run around you in a few minutes.” I’d find it far less rude than people averting their eyes as they elbow past. Chooch and I just shook our heads and laughed at their need to be “first” at the start. They should consider arriving earlier next time. Just sayin’.

The race started and off we went at a steady pace. Chooch was having trouble breathing because of his recent illness, and we’d already discussed the possibility of me continuing running if he needed to walk. I’m supremely proud of him pushing past the 1 mile marker before stopping to catch his breath and I continued on alone.

I had no music with me, so I just ran with the street noise and conversations of runners around me. I told myself I could stop when something hurt. I told myself I could stop at the water station at the 1.5 mile mark, but only for 10 seconds. I never had pain, only muscle fatigue. And I was stopped less than 5 seconds at the water station. Adrenaline wouldn’t let me stand still for long while the clock was ticking, but I truly needed water for my throat. The cold air had my throat very sore and very dry, but three sips were all I needed and off I went. Honestly, if I didn’t think it was bad manners to snatch a cup from a volunteer, suck it down and throw it on the ground as so many other runners do, then I wouldn’t have stopped at all. I make sure and say thank you and put the cup in the trash next to the station and continue on my way. Nope, I’ll never win any races that way. And nope, I don’t care.

I’m very happy to report that I ran the entire 5k for the very first time. And the race results showed that I solidly beat my previous best time by more than six minutes. I still have a very slow pace, but I’m thrilled with these improvements. Chooch also had a great improvement on his last race time and I’m proud of him for going when he had an excuse not to go. He’s got a warrior spirit, just as I’ve always known.

I also want to give a Universal thank you to those that cheer for runners along the route. As with all the races I’ve done, there were people that had put up signs or were standing outside on the streets or their porches lending their strength to us as we plodded past. I’ve always appreciated it, as it does indeed add a spring to this gal’s step.

I know hubby took a tally of the oddly costumed folks at the race, and I’m hoping he’ll post those in the comments. There was one very memorable one that had us laughing and wishing we could snag a photo, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The next race is in 2 weeks, and I’m not so cocky as to feel that my successful completion is assured. Even if I’m a bit slower, or can’t run the whole damned thing, I’m just happy to be in motion again.

Baby steps, indeed.