Maybe I’ll have to do bullet entries for a while until I have more time to think?

1. Turns out I LOVE cycling classes. I had never done one before, but have been to a few now and am increasingly motivated to continue.

I don’t really know much about gym classes. I just show up and do what I’m told. Somewhere in the periphery I’ve understood that there are branded classes, but haven’t ever given it much thought. So, I think I’ve been to 2 regular (?) spin/cycle classes and one Les Mills RPM class (all taught by different people). I LOVED the RPM class. I don’t know if it was the instructor or the structure of that particular class or what, but it was different. Harder. Very worth the hour in a dark room on a nice warm day.

2. Last week:

Monday – Spin class at 5:30AM, Trainer for an hour at 6PM
Tuesday – RPM class at 5:30PM
Wednesday – Nothing
Thursday – Walked Molly 2M
Friday – 3/2 walk/run intervals for 30 minutes (Jon’s PT homework) plus an extra mile or so of walking, 30 minutes of strength training homework from my trainer (150 air squats, 150 lunges, planks, etc.)
Saturday – Friend from MI in town. Walked multiple miles showing them around downtown Knoxville.
Sunday – Walked Molly 2-3M

3. Henry turned 8.

(My hair was sweaty/wet from the gym, but whatever.)

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4. I am loving the timehop app and am feeling thankful I’ve taken so many pictures over the years.

This one showed up on a particularly warm and sunny day and made me VERY thankful for my current life. Michigan is great – I just need more sun and warmth on a more regular basis.

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5. I almost never take food pics anymore since nothing much has changed recently. It was interesting (to me, at least) when we were overhauling our lives and learning a new way to eat. Now? Same old stuff. I think I want to start making more of an effort, though.

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6. I do, however, always have dog pics available.

Somebody is always biting somebody else.

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They love it, though.

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Jon’s child #2 brought his 6mo puppy over to play this weekend. Much chaos ensued.

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Molly got a dose of her own puppy-behavior medicine and was worn out. I was shocked at her patience with the puppy, though. He was driving her crazy, but it took her a good hour before she ever put a stop to it.

Such a sweet girl.

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State of things:

1. I haven’t mentioned Jon’s cancer situation lately – mostly because all is well. His last check-up with the oncologist was the last quarterly visit. He’s now doing check-up visits every 6 months for the next 3 years. They still do a CEA level check and a lung scan each time. We’re far enough removed now that I feel mostly ok with the infrequent tests. I doubt that I will ever NOT be afraid, but I’m a little less petrified with each passing year.

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2. I haven’t weighed myself lately, but I’m pretty sure I’m back to close to normal. I’d guess that I’ve lost 5-6 of the 10 pounds I gained (this year) based on my clothes. I have some jeans that I couldn’t wear at all when I was solidly 10 pounds up. Wore them very comfortably yesterday. I’ll probably get around to weighing myself eventually, but I wanted to get my head in the right place first.

3. Jon became super sick around the time of the half marathon we’d registered to run (that we switched to the 5k). We woke up the morning of the race and almost didn’t go because he was hacking and coughing and miserable – which is extremely rare for him – and he’s still dealing with plantar fasciitis. I had been planning to run it, but I didn’t really want to go alone. He took some meds and rallied, so we walked the 5k.

(I told him not to look sick, so I got crazy instead.)
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It was a nice morning. We’d paid and had picked up our bibs the day before at the expo, etc. No reason not to at least walk. Maybe next year we’ll both be up for the half.

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We had about 20-25 of our running group friends over for a party that night since the race was the wrap-up/goal race for most. Fun night. The next session starts later this month, so I’m taking a complete break from running until then to (hopefully) re-energize myself. The next session is focused on strength and speed, which means shorter distances. I’m totally on board with that.

4. I’m still doing a couple of days a week of strength training (one day with a trainer, one with homework). This sort of exercise will probably always be my favorite. I’ve taken breaks here and there over the past few years, but I always go back pretty quickly.

I walk Molly a few miles each day, too. Our neighborhood is great since we have sidewalks, but we often load them up and take them to a nearby part of the greenway to mix things up. Henry can’t make it 3M, so he accompanies only when Jon is along to help (carry).

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5. Molly’s up to 71 pounds. She fits in so well here. Still very happy to have her.

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It’s just a completely different ballgame having a dog so large.

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6. I resigned from my job as of July 1. I’m still working out a semi-PT situation (meaning I love my job and really want to stay at least a few hours/clients per week), but I’m moving ahead with going back to grad school. Some days I can’t believe I’m shaking my life up so much and am terrified of failing, but I’m mostly excited. I gave a talk to a master’s level class last week and had so much fun being back on campus and being in a classroom. It will be a good thing.

7. I was asked to volunteer some time as a facilitator for a support group for people taking part in a community-wide 8-week fitness challenge. It’s happening in a pretty small rural(ish) community outside of Knoxville, so I don’t know what I was expecting … but I wasn’t expecting what I found. I went to the kick-off last weekend and learned that 350 people had pre-registered! There was a line of people wrapped around the building waiting to get through registration to have their pictures taken and measurements gathered, etc.

They divided participants into groups, each headed up by a trainer/coach. They’re offering free nutrition classes, free workout classes all over the community at many times throughout each day, the support group, etc. Completely full calendar of events catering to all sorts of schedules and lifestyles (including group bike rides, a couch to 5k group, crossfit, etc.). I think I understand that participants wear wristbands and sign in to the classes/gyms/activities to earn points for whatever they attend. I am not totally 100% on everything since I’m not actually participating, but I think there are prizes to be won based on effort.

It’s a completely volunteer driven effort and I’m just shocked at what the organizer of the event has been able to pull off. She heard about me from a friend of a friend and reached out regarding the support group since I’m both a therapist and someone who has some experience with improving my health (and losing weight) via better nutrition and exercise. I agreed to do it because I was SO HAPPY to hear that someone considered the emotional aspects of weight loss/fitness/life change and chose to incorporate a space for people to talk about what they might be experiencing and learn from/help each other. I was even more pleased to learn that attendance at the support group counted as a workout (earning points).

We had the first support group yesterday. Of the 350 registered participants, 7 showed up. Honestly? I didn’t think anyone would show. I told Jon I’d give the effort 10 minutes before coming back home if nobody arrived. It was at noon on a GORGEOUS day. All kinds of things happening around town (including local football stuff). It’s a free fitness challenge. Etc.

The support group wasn’t about/for me, of course, but I was so happy to be a small part of it. I loved listening to the participants talk about why they joined the challenge, what they want to gain, what they want to lose, how they hope to change their lives.

I listened to them talk about the struggles associated with being overweight and wanting to make changes and found it all to be so weird. I’m still processing why it was weird, but I think the fact that I’ve lived two lives is something that’s just … weird.

I’m 6 years out from starting down the path they’re starting (!!!), so it’s not as present in my mind – but yesterday reminded me very much that I’ve been where so many of them shared that they are right now – afraid to walk in a gym, unable to buy workout clothes because they’re not made in a size large enough, afraid to fly because of seat belts and buckles. I am so profoundly impacted by my past experiences – as I’m sure is the case for most everyone – but I think there’s something unique about having had a completely different body for so much of my life. I didn’t just lose weight. I gained a completely different way of living and experiencing the world.

Anyway. I’m glad I chose to volunteer my time to sit with this group. I’m sure I’m going to walk away having learned so much.

Last week sort of flew by in a blur of work, dog walking, house cleaning monotony. I was in a bad mood for most of it (up to and including the entire weekend) and I’m not sure what was going on other than a lack of ability/time/emotional strength to cope with the stress of the changes that are happening around here.

Jon and I are reevaluating some things since it seems like we’re both overwhelmed with work and life right now and are being stretched in ways we don’t want to be stretched. Things will get easier when I have the flexibility of an academic schedule again (which is easy to say right now when I don’t have a million pages to read/words to write BUT I’M GOING WITH THIS FANTASY), but for now – we’ve got about 3 free hours after work each night (since neither of us will sacrifice sleep) and 2 weekend days to accomplish the many things we want to accomplish. I think we’ve let things get a little out of hand since it’s starting to feel like all of that free time is being spent on drudgery.

We just need to reign things in and re-prioritize so we’re spending our time the way we want to spend our time vs. just surviving our days. One attempt at that: changing our minds while standing in Home Depot on Saturday morning about to purchase a lawn mower. We both voted to adjust the budget somewhere else so we can keep the lawn service we’ve had for several years now once confronted with the reality of the situation. We REALLY thought about how much time we’ll spend doing yard work each week and decided it’s just not worth it. We called to make arrangements with the lawn people as we stood in the store and put that issue right to bed. Who knows why we even thought about making life harder right now?

Anyway. Here’s what last week looked like re: exercise. Not so great.

Monday – (first ever!) spin class at 5:30AM, strength training at 5:30PM where I did something like 150 air squats and 90 lunges without a trainer making me do it (which is generally unheard of for me)
Tuesday – nothing (skipped running group because I left work too late and was too tired to rush to one more thing)
Wednesday – 1 hour strength training session at 6PM
Thursday – walk around the block with Molly (maybe 3/4M?)
Friday – date night followed by a walk around the block with Molly
Saturday – 1.5M walk with Molly (skipped running group again because I didn’t want to get up at 7AM)
Sunday – nothing

Hopefully this week will see some increased running. I’d like to get at least a few miles in every other day.

I had planned to make it to the spin class again this morning since I really enjoyed it last week, but it didn’t happen. Jon and I were up, but were running behind and neither of us felt super motivated – so we went back to bed and slept for another hour. I have strength training “homework” to do tonight that includes finishing up with 30 minutes of cardio, so I think I might run if it’s still light enough outside when I get to it.

Jon still cooks for the week every Sunday so our weeknights will be easier (weeks he’s home, anyway – I am never able to eat all of the leftovers if he cooks for weeks he travels). Last weekend he attempted Callaloo: garlic, onions, thyme, chives, habanero pepper, red & green peppers, okra, squash, spinach, chicken broth, coconut milk.

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Yesterday he grilled a bunch of chicken, roasted a bunch of squash, okra and broccoli and stocked the refrigerator with quick meals.

I’m not sure what else happened last week.

Molly grew, I’m sure. The vet told us she’d likely only gain 5 or so more pounds over the next 4 months (when we think she’ll be a year old), but she gained 6 pounds over the course of the last month, so uhhh … not sure what’s up there.

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She and Henry continue to really like each other a lot. She could probably bite his head off if she wanted to, but she doesn’t.

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She’s surprisingly gentle with him, which is great since they play/fight CONSTANTLY. He’s much more aggressive with her. Makes sense, I guess, since he’s so much smaller.

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She’s super sweet.

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So is this one, of course, who will be EIGHT YEARS OLD in a couple of weeks.

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Seems crazy.

Also crazy? Deciding to try to groom him myself after all of those 8 years. Worked out fairly well – to my complete surprise.

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Time flies. Definite reason to spend it wisely, IMO.

Things seem to be chugging along around here. The weather is improving, which means my mood is lifting, for sure.

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I struggle with the darkness and the cold, so this time of year always brings about some extra happiness.

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I’m still working on the 10 pound weight gain situation. I don’t recall whether I mentioned this, but it happened WHILE TRACKING CALORIES.

I’ve stopped focusing so much on food and am already feeling a lot better.

I’m eating “normally” again and am at least feeling more sane. My clothes seem to be fitting better, too.

What I was in the mood for one night: plain/raw coleslaw mix from a bag, chopped up grilled jerk chicken thighs and a few blue cheese crumbles.

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Weekend morning, courtesy of Jon:

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I haven’t really done anything differently exercise-wise. Last week I had 2 strength training sessions and went to the running group’s core class. I attempted to run a few miles with Molly on Saturday, but only made it about 2.5 before ditching her with Jon. She just wasn’t feeling it for some reason and started stopping in the middle of the path and digging her heels in. Quite frustrating. Jon is injured right now, but he had tagged along to walk with Henry, so I passed her off to them and at least made it to 3M.

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On Sunday, Jon, his child #4 (who’s home for spring break) and I ran a 5k.

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This was the 3rd year for them to run this 5k and her 3rd year placing in her age group.

I had organized a small group of co-workers to sign up as a team, so we met up before the race.

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A bunch of our running group friends were there, too.

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Not sure what prompted me to spontaneously wave during a group shot, but I think I was delirious with excitement over the sun being out.

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As I’ve moaned about lately, I haven’t really been running much this year. This was my first 5k since Jan 1. It was super hilly and I had to walk A LOT, but I think I did ok.

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Overall, it was a lot of fun and motivated me to try harder re: 5ks. I’m just not feeling the half right now, but can get excited about improving my 5k ability, so I’m going with it.

This week, I jogged 2M with Molly on Monday since my strength training plans were cancelled. I took a few hours off work yesterday to take care of some stuff, so I had a chance to squeeze in a quick 3M walk with Molly before heading to running group practice. I did a run/walk combo for 5M with the running group (probably ran 3.5M and walked the rest here and there).

So. Things are going in the right direction.

I’ve been catching up on blog reading today and have noticed several day-in-the-life entries. Love them! I love learning about other lives and routines and opinions and habits. I think it’s fascinating that there are all these records of life floating around out there – stories and struggles and adventures and monotony. I’m a big fan.

Today I’ve done absolutely nothing (meaning I’ve made it so far as to take and post pictures of the dogs, paint my toenails, take a shower and put on clean pajamas – but that’s it as of 3PM), so I’ll rewind to yesterday (Saturday).

6AM – Woke up to Molly scratching here and there on her crate to go out. Waited to see if she’d go back to sleep and debated about running.

6:30AM – Got up and took both dogs out. Made coffee. Decided to run, so started getting ready to leave by 7.

6:45AM – Got a text from a friend reminding me that the group was pushed back to 8AM vs. our typical 7:30AM. Took advantage of the extra time and ate some yogurt with a little honey, some walnuts and frozen blueberries for breakfast, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, swept the kitchen floor, started a load of laundry.

7:30AM – Buckled Molly into the backseat and left to meet up with the running group.

8AM – Ran 4.15 miles with Molly. Everyone else went further (and faster), but I saw them here and there on the greenway. Lots of people out since it was a beautiful morning.

9:30AM – Home. Decided to take advantage of the sun and 60 degree weather and tackled some yard work. Cut down a bunch of dead Pampas grass, picked up limbs that fell during a recent storm, etc. Hauled 5-6 wheelbarrow loads to the debris pile.

11AM – Discovered Molly digging in the mud when I returned to the yard from taking the wheelbarrow on a debris pile trip. Brought her in and unsuccessfully tried to clean her feet. She wound up in the bathtub since the dirt was caked in/on her paws. (That hose thing hanging down? LIFE SAVER. Makes bathing her way easier. She’s not super challenging – jumps right in the bathtub and seems to enjoy it – but she’s big and cumbersome. It’s very easy to attach and use when needed.)

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11:20AM – Decided to bathe Henry, too, while I was at it.

11:45AM – 2PM – Cleaned up the mess I made bathing the dogs, cleaned the bathroom, dusted stuff, vacuumed the main level of the house (where I primarily live), mopped the main level of the house, watered plants, started another load of laundry (all of the dog bedding/blankets since the dogs were now both clean – usually wash their stuff once a week or so, anyway, though).

2PM – 3PM – Finally took a shower, got dressed in something other than running clothes and ate lunch. Lunch was about half a cup of leftover rice with salsa and sour cream on top, a cheese stick and some nuts. I had been busy and wasn’t super hungry. Checked email and made a shopping list while I ate.

3PM – 4:30PM – Ran to Target to pick up a few things. Totally crashed from not eating enough, so stopped at Chick-fil-A and ate a chargrilled chicken breast with the lettuce and tomato (no bun) and a fruit cup. Stopped at the food co-op and picked up a fancy pound cake to take to a friend’s house later since I didn’t feel like making anything.

4:30PM – Home, put everything away, took the dogs out, gave them some new toys/bones to play with so they’d leave me alone, set my alarm for 6:30PM and sat on the couch to watch tv/take a nap for a couple of hours. My legs and back were hurting from the nearly non-stop activity, so I stretched a little. Jon called from Germany, so I talked to him for a while.

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6:30PM – Got up and got ready to leave (took the dogs out, etc.). Ate a banana and a few nuts. Drove to a friend’s house.

7PM – Midnight – Hung out with a group of friends eating, drinking (them) and playing Cards Against Humanity. Missed Jon. Fun night.

Midnight – Home. Took the dogs out. Asleep within 30 seconds.

So. That’s my life right now. Today I’m doing nothing. Tomorrow I’ll return to work and go to a strength training session after work and wait for another Saturday to start all of this stuff over again.

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Other than wishing Jon didn’t have to travel so much right now, I really wouldn’t change a thing. (Except maybe the decision a month or so ago to let the house cleaner go.)

Well, that little snow storm I mentioned last time? The one that kept me from running? Totally outdone last week.

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It started Wednesday afternoon (and my office closed just after lunch), but was pretty insignificant throughout the day. Thursday, though? Woke up to 6″.

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I was excited for two reasons, one being the free day at home (even though I still worked all day – just in my pajamas which is SO MUCH BETTER) and the other being Molly. I waited until the sun was up before I dug out my Michigan snow pants and boots that have been mostly untouched since returning to Tennessee (WHERE THIS IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN) and took her outside to play.

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This one wouldn’t risk wading through it, but I don’t blame him.

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Molly was in heaven.

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Most of the pictures I took are just a blur of her zooming around the yard.

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Or are similar to this.

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Fun morning.

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Unfortunately, Jon was in Canada and was due to be home that night – but wound up stuck there. He was still stuck on Friday and had been rescheduled on flights that were being delayed and were otherwise risky, so he wound up rerouting and terminating in Atlanta. I headed down after work to retrieve him and to spend at least a couple of Valentine’s Day hours with him.

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We stayed overnight with his mom and drove back home yesterday morning.

(I think I’m likely eventually going to be shopping for a bigger car.)

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So that’s February so far. Bad weather, Jon has traveled both weeks and I’ve mostly been sitting around with an electric blanket and a couple of dogs on top of me.

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It snowed again overnight, so there’s about half an inch on the ground right now. A good, fun snow is one thing. This ongoing drama? Not acceptable.
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I ran 3M last Sunday, but that’s it for the past week other than a couple of strength training work outs (I’m doing with a friend).

Honestly, I’m struggling right now. With a lot of things.

I’ve solidly gained 10 pounds this year (yes, in a month and a half) – the declared “year of rededication to health.” This is not a 10 pound blip or fluctuation (that I’m more accustomed to). It’s obviously here to stay until I do something about it.

I could say that I’m concerned about it – and I AM – but I could also say that I’m obviously not THAT concerned or it wouldn’t have happened.

I could say that I’ve still lost 100 pounds and have maintained that all this time (I’m currently weighing in at 170 – highest recorded weight is 272) – but I could also say that I know very well how easy it will be to justify and chip away at that number until I’m down to 0.

I could say that I have no idea how it happened – but that would be an outright lie.

I would like to say that I don’t care about the weight and I’m just worried about the behavior that led to the weight gain – but that would be a lie, too. My clothes don’t fit well and I can feel the extra 10 pounds and I don’t like it.

I could blame it on a lot of things – but I’m just unfocused and stressed and not handling it well.

I know better.
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I’ve been thinking about the running situation and trying to determine why I’m so unfocused this time around (as compared to last year when I worked very hard to be able to run my first 5k – and enjoyed it). I think a few things are going on, but I think I’m primarily just intimidated by the half marathon I’m registered to run next month. It requires way more training time, which I’m not super thrilled about given all of the other things pulling at my time. And – if I’m going to be totally real about it – I don’t enjoy it right now. It’s hard. I’m slow. I’m overwhelmed every time I have 10M on the schedule and I wind up just not doing it. I feel SO MUCH PRESSURE and it’s taking the fun out of it.

SO. I’m dropping back down to the 5k training plan. I want to enjoy it again and have fun with it vs. dreading it. I’ve argued with myself about how I’m giving up and just taking the easy way out, etc., but I really don’t have time for that shit. One thing I know? I will keep doing things I enjoy. Also? Life is just too fucking short and I have too little free time to be spending it forcing myself to do something I don’t enjoy – or berating myself for not being “enough” at anything.

I’m going to run 3M today and I’m going to be thrilled about it … and I’ll go to my running group with joy next week instead of stewing all day and then making excuses to skip … and I’ll run 10M if I feel like running 10M or I’ll walk 5 if I feel like walking 5 and I’ll be happy about it.

That’s the life I want.
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The running is a worry, but it’s a small one compared to my real issue.

A quick scan through flickr about sums it up.

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I just realized all of that happened within a one week span.

This is where I’d insert a wide-eyed emoji if I knew how.

I’m not interested in myfitnesspal or any of those things. I know how to eat for health and well-being. I’m just not doing it.
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All of this is always a work in progress. It will work itself out. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and am taking active steps toward pulling myself out of my current tailspin.
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I got a call last week from the PhD program director (at the Univ of TN here in Knox). The official letter arrived last weekend.

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I accepted!

So I just need to finish up my clinical hours/supervision and take my clinical licensure exam and probably take a refresher statistics class and take a vacation to Iceland and get ready for a baby that will be living here in July and figure out what to do about my FT job (that I love and want to try to keep at least PT) and wrangle a 60 pound puppy while Jon’s gone nearly every week and find time to run and have fun and …… try not to bake and eat a pan of those peanut butter cookies every other day.

I am so screwed.

I started the year off limping along with a sinus infection, then was totally wiped out for a week with the flu. Right on the heels of the flu, a super intense work situation happened that sucked up most of my work days last week, a Friday night and a full Saturday.

And now?

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I live in an area that doesn’t manage this sort of thing quickly, so there’s no chance I’ll be out running anytime in the very near future. I’m not sure that snow shovels are even sold around here – or that it would occur to anyone to shovel their sidewalks. I COULD walk to my gym and run on a treadmill, but I hate it. HATE IT.

(Upside? SNOW DAY! Looking forward to catching up on my life.)

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I ran 5 miles 2 weeks ago (on a Sunday) with Molly. Her first 5M distance and my first attempt since the flu. I ran 5 miles with her again this past Sunday, too. That’s all I’ve done throughout the past couple of weeks, though – I think – other than some strength training and a Body Flow class.

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Molly is a fantastic running partner. We bought a Gentle Leader to prevent pulling and it’s been a great. She trots along beside me with no problem whatsoever. She didn’t like the Gentle Leader at first, of course, but doesn’t care now. She jumps around and gets excited when she sees us get it out since she knows it means we’re going somewhere.

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The runs wear her out, which is much needed. I wouldn’t say she’s overly hyper or has the energy of a lab, etc. – but she’s definitely a puppy.

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She is completely fine with other people or dogs – even dogs that lunge/snarl at her – but she’s afraid of bikes, which is a problem on the greenway. She leans into me or tries to get between my legs and/or as close as she can when one rides by, which throws me off balance. It’s getting better with more exposure. Traffic noises are mostly ok now, but trains are a different story. I stopped right at the edge of tracks on Sunday as a train went by and she flipped out trying to get away. By the end of the run, though, we heard another one coming and she just looked around in curiosity. I think her size and having had a dog around for so long (who doesn’t react to a lot) both tend to help me forget that she’s still a baby and hasn’t been exposed to much.

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Anyway. She came around at the perfect time. I’m slow enough that training her to run with me doesn’t cause any heartache. I’m on the hunt for a lightweight backpack for her, though, for her water and poop bags. I’ve been looking at the waist leashes I see some runners wear, too, but I’m hesitant about them for some reason – one being I feel like I wouldn’t have as much control of her, just in case.

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I have no idea how my upcoming half will shake out since January has been mostly … awful? I’m not too worried about it. I’ll eventually get back on track.

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I’m panicking a little this morning about the half marathon. I started the new training plan with the 5K on Jan 1 and then made it to ONE running group practice (and one core class and one separate strength training session) before being sideswiped by the flu.

I woke up on Friday, the 10th, and was so tired and sore that I had difficulty getting ready for work. I should have known something was up when I found myself stretching out on the floor for a nap because I thought the bed would be too much work (I had already made it, didn’t want to redo it). I thought I was sore because I’d spent the previous three nights doing the core class, a 4 mile run and then a strength training session. It was a weird sore, though, that didn’t make sense since I’m not THAT out of shape. I guess I now know what “body aches” really means.

I had a super busy day planned that included back to back clients and a late afternoon meeting, so I plowed through. I remember talking to my boss in the parking lot a little after 5PM, though, and thinking to myself that I might get in my car and call Jon and ask him to come get me because I was just DONE. I had zero energy to drive home. (But I drove home.)

Walked in the door and my fever was 101.9. Thirty minutes later it was 102.3. Jon called the express clinic I’d just been to that Monday (where I’d been diagnosed with a sinus infection and given an antibiotic), but I didn’t feel well enough to get back in the car and go anywhere. I went the next morning, though, and they swabbed my nose and diagnosed me with the flu (type A) – AND the sinus infection that was still lingering.

I spent last weekend in my bedroom completely isolated from Jon and his (pregnant) daughter (which seems to have worked, though Jon also took a preventive dose of Tamiflu). The doctor mentioned that dogs can catch a version of the flu, so they had to stay out, too, until my fever was down.

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I was bored, but I was mostly delirious/out of it. I couldn’t focus my brain to read because I felt so awful, the TV was just annoying and I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t breathe. Misery.

My fever finally broke on Monday, so I tried to go back to work on Wednesday. I made it half a day and then came home and slept the rest of the afternoon.

I’m just now – one week since being diagnosed – feeling mostly normal.

Most concerning is the fact that I haven’t been THIS sick in a really, really long time. I don’t think I caught any sort of cold or other illness at all last winter. I whined about being sick, I’m sure, but NO. I will never again whine about a small cold.

(At least not while this flu is fresh on my mind, anyway.)

I’ve been sort of sick since the very beginning of the year, though. I posted this on Jan 3 and said: Fresh ginger, green tea, lemon, honey and an absolute determination that this illness is NOT HAPPENING.

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Ha.

I’m blaming it on the total junk-fest/laziness that I participated in at the end of the year combined with the stress associated with having a new member of the household and the stress associated with the PhD situation. It’s GOOD stress, but stress nonetheless.

I’m just 100% sure that I set myself up for this.

Anyway. Now that I feel better, I feel like this was a good kick in the butt to make sure I truly focus on the 2014 goal (re-dedication to health).

I’m not sure that I’m up for today’s 5 miles, but I think I’m going to give it a try tomorrow. Hopefully wiping out a week and a day or two of training won’t hurt TOO much.
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We just spent our entire morning going over our budget and calendars planning the year. (Something we do every January.)

The exciting news? We picked Iceland!

Jon travels so much professionally that we were able to use frequent flyer miles to get us there for $113 TOTAL. We’re going to have to do some crazy layovers, but fortunately they’re just long enough to make them fun.

On the way, we’re going to have an overnight (20 hours) in Detroit, so we’re going to spend an afternoon/night in Ann Arbor – and then we’ll be in NYC long enough to leave the airport and have dinner somewhere or do something fun there for a few hours, too, before flying to Reykjav√≠k for a week.

Coming home won’t be so crazy, which is good since I’m sure we’ll be ready to be done. It will be exhausting, but worth it. $113!

I would emphasize how fortunate we are, and WE ARE – but the tradeoff to this is Jon’s crazy work travel. He works for these perks, for sure.

I’m excited, of course, and ready to start planning since that’s half the fun (for me). One thing we want to do (somewhat) differently this time? We’re going to try to plan an “active” trip. Not sure what that will look like just yet, but hiking, running a race, etc. will be included, I’m sure. None of our trips are exactly inactive – we just want to be more purposeful in planning outdoorsy/active things to do. The nearly all day hike we did in Ireland is one of the best experiences of my life. Looking for more.
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Molly is 6 months old now and weighed in at 52 pounds last weekend.

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I have a feeling she’s going to be a giant.

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Picking up where I left off (recapping 2013) …

June

It looks like I did a bunch of running despite the heat.

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We bought fancy watches and got a super discount because of a website glitch (that I felt really badly about).

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Jon went to Guatemala for nearly 2 weeks and came home super sick.

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July

5k #4 happened. Fireball. July 3 around 9pm.

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I took the pictures below on July 5 and said: Having largely detested this sort of thing for the first 32 years of my life, I still can’t believe I look forward to it now. #RunKNOX

It was probably 90 degrees. I’m sitting here now amazed at my motivation.

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We went on vacation (Tybee Island, GA) and took Jon’s child #4. His mom met us down there.

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We tried to run each day to keep up with our running schedule and because his child #4 had a rigorous training schedule to prepare for her (college) freshman year of soccer, but it was too humid down there for me.

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I fell pretty hard on one of my attempts to run early in the vacation, too, and banged up my leg (and still have scars on my hands).

It was a good trip, though.

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I even kayaked without dying.

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I ran 5 miles for the first time once we got home.

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And then did it again 1 week later with a goal of completing it in under an hour.

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I also had my first colonoscopy.

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And it appears I was doing pretty well balancing indulgences.

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August

5k #5 happened on August 3. Hotter ‘n Hell was the name. It was.

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I ran 6 miles for the first time. Slowly but surely.

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We celebrated Jon’s child #4 leaving for college.

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I turned 33.

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My mom came into town to celebrate.

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At the very end of the month (Labor Day weekend), Jon and I went to Charleston, SC.

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We ate a bunch of good food, saw a bunch of stuff and mostly just had fun hanging out together.

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(The afternoon on the tiny submarine was the best part.)

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September

September appears to have been pretty laid back.

We had friends over a few times.

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Kept running (6M for me before this picture, 8M for him).

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We celebrated Jon’s 45th birthday with a quick lunch at a small restaurant in Oak Ridge near his office.

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I made a homemade german chocolate cake for him, as usual.

My caption on this picture netted a couple hundred views on flickr very quickly: Home from an 8 mile run with bloody nipples, but birthday cake!

I was surprised and confused until I considered the nipples part.

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I prepared to spend October doing a Whole 30 challenge by cleaning out my junk …

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And restocking …

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And cooking …

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October

Molly!

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We brought her home on October 11.

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She was so tiny!

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And so sick.

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I ran a 15k for the first time. CrossKnox.

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We took a day off together during the week just because … and went out to breakfast.

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Had a lot of fun on Halloween.

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November

We went to Nashville to support a friend as she ran her first marathon. Jon wound up running the last 12 miles with her, which was a distance PR.

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Molly grew freakishly quickly as her health improved.

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5K # 6 happened. Turkey trot in McDonough, GA with Molly. She hung in there pretty well.

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We celebrated Thanksgiving in GA with Jon’s family.

Thanksgiving 2013 (pic courtesy of Sue)

We ran a (very cold) 10k for the first time at the end of the month (just after Thanksgiving).

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They placed in their age groups.

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December

Molly kept growing.

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I ran 5k #7. Santa Hustle.

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Jon, however, ran his first half marathon!

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We traveled to West TN the week before Christmas to see my family.

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Molly was scheduled to be spayed as soon as we returned.

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Jon and I were both off work the entire Christmas week, so we spent it pretty much exclusively on the couch being lazy.

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He rallied, though, to make breakfast Christmas morning before we took the kids to the movies and out to dinner.

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We were asleep at midnight when the new year began, but we started 2014 pretty well …

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What’s to come?

This is the year of recommitment to (physical and mental) health.

Very generally, we want to refocus and go back to the 2008 days when we began becoming healthier people. We’re not necessarily unhealthy now – just ready to more tightly string together the skills we’ve been practicing (i.e., running, reducing stress, etc.).

Jon is planning to lose 20 pounds and wants to run his next half in March under 2 hours.

I just want to be able to run my first half without absolute misery. I’d like to lose about 15 pounds, too, but I’m not going to go crazy to do it. Most importantly, I’m going to focus on the emotional/mental aspects of all of this and get some things under control. I’m still contemplating and determining exactly what that’s going to mean/look like.

I had planned to maybe have a tummy tuck or lower body lift at the end of 2013, but I obviously didn’t do it. I thought about it for months after my initial consultation and changed my mind. I’m not ruling it out forever – it’s just not the right time for many reasons (one being I’m scared to die, another being I’d rather spend $20k on other things and another being I’d rather find some more peace with my body as it is).

What else?

We’re planning to take a big trip in June. Iceland and Scotland are the contenders.

I’m (hopefully) going back to school. I have a PhD program in mind that I’d like to attend and am hoping to start receiving acceptance letters/offers this month. I will have completed all of the hours and supervision required to obtain my independent clinical license (LCSW) by mid-late summer and hope to pass the exam and get all of that done before starting classes in August. I don’t know yet how this will change our day-to-day lives, but it will, of course. It will be a pretty significant career change for me, but this has been the rough plan for a while. Just wanted the clinical training/experience first.

The bigger news?

We moved Jon’s child #3 out of her apartment and into our basement yesterday. She’s a little over 12 weeks pregnant, so it looks like we’ll have a baby living here, too, by mid July – meaning Jon will be a GRANDFATHER. We’re still processing (though we’ve known since very early November).

So. The 2014 plan: refocus on health, keep running, start a PhD program, baby-proof the house.

Sounds like the year of no stress/intentional change is officially over, huh?

I completely love this time of year. NYE and NY Day are probably two of my favorite days (and it’s definitely one of my favorite holidays – if not my favorite). I love the idea of new starts, chunks of time marked out with a new chunk all ready to go. It’s no secret here that I’m a big fan of resolutions (goals).

2013 was the year of no changes/intentional stress. We made this the plan after a pretty rough 2012. We wanted to take a break, so we made it a priority. Overall, we did very well. Molly is the only real deviation.

(She’s worth it.)

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(Especially now that she seems to be housebroken, though I could do without the taking advantage of the bell whenever the mood strikes to sit outside for a minute.)

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So, 2013:

January

The caption on January 1 at my first 5k (to try to run – it was my time trial for the RunKNOX program): Pouring rain and 30′s and I sat on a couch for 2 weeks, but I’m doing this 5k. I will get out of my car. Eventually.

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I got out of my car and did it, but I had to walk because I couldn’t run but 30 seconds or so at a time. I think I finished in around 45 minutes.

The rest of the month must have been spent in a cold, miserable haze as I forced myself to run in circles around a local HS track. I don’t have many other pictures.

February

We went to San Francisco! It was a fantastic trip, but is super memorable because it’s the very first time I’ve made a strong effort to exercise while traveling (meaning I kept up with my running plan vs. blowing it off).

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We also traveled to West TN because my mom got married.

(I didn’t think much about the fact that I packed black until later. In my defense, it wasn’t a full wedding – just immediate family at her church for a simple ceremony. And yes, my mom is many inches shorter than me. I’m standing awkwardly and slouching in every picture. Bad habit.)

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Also notable in February? I ran a mile (without stopping) for the first time on the 11th.

March

Henry developed his first cataract and I legitimately had some sort of crisis reaction about his age, his health, etc. It was just completely depressing.

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I was still running and gearing up to run the 5k on which I’d focused my training. I was also going to a Body Flow class on a regular basis, though Jon could (and still can) completely show me up without even trying.

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April

Henry developed his second cataract and was nearly completely blind, so we scheduled him for surgery.

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He spent just about the entire month on a crazy med regimen and in a cone.

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I took several of these sorts of pictures for some reason – maybe because I was in the 150′s for the first time?

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I ran a 5k for the first time! I think I finished in about 34 minutes.

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May

I did it again (KTC Expo 5k).

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In addition to going to the Body Flow class regularly, I was also doing the running group’s core class each week.

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We met my mom in Chattanooga for a fun day of touristy stuff.

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Jon’s youngest child graduated from HS.

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We also went hiking, but I only posted one picture (of a lonely grave we found way up on a mountain).

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To be continued because this is taking forever for some reason …

One thing that’s sticking out this morning: most of my memories as I look through pictures from the early part of the year are of discomfort about my body. The wedding with the black dress? I wore a cardigan to cover up … something? The running pictures? SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE. Also, first time I’ve ever worn spandex in public. I remember freaking out the morning of the race over the clothes – NOT the running. The Chattanooga pictures? I wore that billowy white shirt because I was feeling like I wanted to cover up.

I feel sad about this. This is not how I want to live – and I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I think I’ve just become accustomed to it?

I’m thinking that I need to revamp my plan for 2014.

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