Archive for the ‘shrinkage & growth’ Category

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Farewell, January – Hello, Return to Normalcy

February 6, 2012

As I alluded to yesterday, I largely failed at last month’s One Month Goals, an idea stolen from Jen on the Edge (not really stolen, since she generously invites all to share . . . )

My goals were modest:

  • Make my bed every day
  • Catch up and keep up with my laundry
  • Run 5 days/week
  • Lose 2-6 pounds

I came closest to keeping the running goal.  I think I did hit 5 days most weeks, and dropped to 4 once or twice.  Not so bad.  I did get to the point where I can round the reservoir (about a mile) without walking breaks.

I did not lose 2-6 pounds. I held steady.

I made my bed every day for 2 weeks.  And it was lovely.  It worked to keep the whole room cleaner, through the power of suggestion, and to keep the sheets and blankies at their maximum comfort level every day.  But then David was sick, and I started staying in bed more once my interviews wound down, and the bed was overlooked.  I’m putting it on February’s list.

I got my laundry better under control.  I got rid of some of the backlog (sheets, blankets, summer clothes that have been waiting so they could be put away), and my general pile is smaller.  But I did not “catch up.”

I am not going to take this first outing’s failure as a reason to stop the exercise.  No.  I’m going to look at this last month, and the craziness it brought to my life, and I’m going to say “fair effort,” especially considering the lack of a routine and the weirdness brought to life because of interviewing and job hunting and stuff like that.

So, on to February:

  • I will lose 2-6 pounds.  I will keep my fitness momentum from January, but now I’m going to focus on eating better.  I will start with looking for healthier lunches.  (Which will tie in with my budget revisions, since lunches out aren’t gonna cut it anymore.)
  • I will make my bed every day.
  • I will buy (and therefore drink) less wine.  This merges the health and the budget.  Less calories, less money. So my plan is to buy a bottle on Fridays, and that’s it.
  • I will really catch up with laundry.

Let’s see how it goes this time.

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Running – Speed v. Stamina

January 3, 2012

I ran alone today for the first time in a long time.  I’d been running with a partner since May, and when she was out of commission with a foot injury, I did NOT get off my butt as early as would have been required for me to run before work.  We’re back at it now, but we only run when the other does – we both end up lazy when on our own and stay in our houses.

When we first started running together, I was overwhelmed by her faster pace.  I believe that my trying to dive in and keep up led to my back pain (first time ever, and hasn’t repeated since).  Since then, when we run together, I take walking breaks – at least 2 times during our 1 mile loop. I’ve tried – in vain – to get rid of those breaks.  It’s very frustrating for me, because I want to build up to a 5K.  (I do know about Couch to 5K, but that’s hard to do with a partner, and getting up early to run before work is hard (impossible) to do without a partner . . . so no Couch to 5k for me.)

Today – I went alone.  Since I’m in “transition” at my firm, I really don’t have anything to do, and do not really need to be there.  My partner wasn’t going to run today, because today is a yoga day for her, and so I was going to go alone, after the kids left for school.

But then, last night – I ended up staring at the ceiling until 3 a.m., and woke up at 7 to feed the kids* feeling like utter and complete shit.  So when they left, I crawled back into bed.

I woke back up at an embarrassingly late hour, and thought I’d have to skip the run for the sake of a trip into the office to send out resumes and otherwise work on the employment pursuit.

Instead, I skipped the trip to the office (since the internet is, in fact, everywhere), and went for the run.  I didn’t want to ruin my mini-goal on the first week – and tomorrow is supposed to be prohibitively cold (under 10 degrees – 18 degrees is my threshold).

I went for the run, and . . . I jogged the entire loop without a walking break.

I know I was slower than I am with my partner.  But . . . I jogged the entire loop.

I follow a few other bloggers who have started running, and have had considerable success.  Kim and Jen have been my biggest inspirations (read those posts to see why).  And I know that they both started off slow and THEN worked on speed.

So now I have to decide – do I ask my partner to let me set the pace?  Or do I have to break from the partnered runs?  Or do I just keep the walking breaks in?  I don’t want to do that, really, because I can’t build up as long as I’m doing the breaks.  If I can get to a place where I’m jogging the loop entirely, then I can either (a) work on speed, or, more preferable to me, (b) start increasing my distance.

I also wish I’d timed myself today.  Because I say I was slower, but I was home in considerably less time than I usually am, and I took a longer walk home.  So maybe I wasn’t even that much slower?

 

*usually, they take care of their own breakfast, but I’d promised “first day back to school” eggs.

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Solo and Floundering

October 19, 2011

Since May, I’ve been running/walking at least 4 times a week, often 7 times a week.  I haven’t lost much weight – which is the real goal – but I’ve been out there, and I’ve been increasing my stamina (i.e., no walking breaks), and I’ve felt good.

10 months of close-to-daily running?  That was unheard of.  Let’s just remember that it was happening at 6 a.m.  I was getting up at 5:15 and out the door by 5:45, and meeting my running partner at 6.

See that key phrase?  Meeting My Running Partner.

Last Wednesday, we went running.  I took a walking  break at one point.  Usually, if I take a walking break, she keeps the time and starts us running again within 30 seconds.  This time, she didn’t.  I was about to start running  but wasn’t sure why she wasn’t ….

Her foot hurt.

She’s not a whiner or a complainer.  Even if she does whine or complain, she runs through it.

We emailed later in the day – her foot was feeling worse and worse.  She didnt’ think she could run on Thursday.

I slept in on Thursday.  (To be fair to me — it was POURING rain. Not that I can’t run in the rain, but this was extreme.)

Her foot hurt enough on Thursday that she made a doctor’s appointment for Friday.

I didn’t run on Friday, either.

The weekend came with sporting events, sleep overs, etc., etc.  One sporting event that required a 5 a.m. wake up call even without running.

I met my running buddy at one of my weekend activities (the Boston Book Festival, where the author of our last book group book was speaking), and she shared the bad news:  Stress fracture in her foot.  Will take 4-8 weeks to heal.

And so far, I haven’t been running one time without her.

If this happened a month ago, I could have probably slept in a little later and still gone running without her.  But now work has picked up, and I don’t have as much flexibility to show up at 10 (or 11 … during the slowest of times).

I need to get my stupid fat butt out of bed in the morning.  At 5:15 or 5:30. And I need to go out there and RUN.

Grr.

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More on Running & the Related.

July 7, 2011

I have continued to meet my friend to run 3-4 days a week.

My back pain has continued, too.  It doesn’t really hurt (often) while I’m running – the pain hits later in the day, and mostly comes while sitting.

(My job = desk job = sitting all day long)

Last week, I ran 6 days out of 7 and counted calories like a very good girl.  I also drank close to zero glasses of wine or beers.  And I lost 8 pounds.

This weekend, I went to my parents’ house, and didn’t run for 3 days, and drank wine and didn’t count calories. And it looks like I gained 6 back.

In 3 days?  What the hell?

I also went to the doctor.  For the first physical in several years.  She did the old, “Your back hurts since you started running?  So stop running.”  And I did the typical Suzie, “uh, no.”  She told me to do the elliptical.  I said not until they install them around the reservoir.  And not until my friend who meets me in the mornings chooses an elliptical.

Look – before I was meeting someone in the mornings, I wasn’t getting up.  I wasn’t exercising.  Now I am.  My back will survive.  I’m sure of it.

My mom has Type 2 diabetes.  It’s one of the reasons why I’m determined to lose my extra weight and develop healthy habits of exercise and strength.  So I don’t become her.  And when I went to the doctor, she took some of my blood (4 vials worth, actually).  It said that I am a fraction of a decimal away from pre diabetes.  Reinforcing that I need to do this.

I also have slightly elevated bad cholesterol.

The only recommendations were – lose weight.

I guess that’s what I’ll do, then.

I wonder how much I can lose in the next 6 weeks (i.e., before the Ex comes to town to visit Mouse; I’d love to avoid his smirky glance as he silently appraises my weight.  Only “silently” since the time I told him very plainly that he no longer is in a position to comment on my appearance.  If he ever was.)

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Struggles with Exercise

June 2, 2011

When I turned 38 last December, I set a goal for myself – by the time I am 40, I want to be fit.  Not thin, but fit.  And fit, to me, does not mean “at the bottom end of a yo-yo arc.”   It means I’ve changed my lifestyle.  I’ve created new habits, new loves.   When I envision this fit-Suzie, I envision someone who goes for a 5 mile run on a regular basis, and loves it.  Someone who is strong, not soft and flabby.

And so my sub-goal was to lose my weight by the time I’m 39, and then spend a full year maintaining the weight.

Well, I haven’t been motivated enough to think that I can safely lose all of the weight by December.  I guess I have 6 months – but I am not really all that interested in a crash diet.  I am interested in making healthy choices and ensuring I have healthy habits.  But quite frankly – I think I already do.

Based on past experience with my personal brand of weight gain and maintenance, I know that the only real way for me to lose weight is to exercise.  Despite this knowledge, and despite this goal, I still spent at least 2 months pushing snooze and sleeping until 7 or 8, instead of getting outside and running.

However, for the past two weeks, I have enlisted the partnership of a friend, and we have been meeting up at our local reservoir at 6 a.m., and holding each other accountable.

Before we met the first time, we both shared “Oh, I’m embarrassed to run with you because I’m so slow” politeness.

The reality, though, is that she kicks my ass.

I was shocked the first day at how thoroughly she kicked my ass.  I took a couple of walking breaks and panted and struggled.  But afterward, I thought “now THIS is going to work!”

I was kind of sore afterward, but I was okay with sore.  It meant I was pushing myself, and I was going to do better.

But then the muscle soreness kind of took a back seat to lower back twinges.  Twinges I don’t really have a history with.  Something new.

Then after the second day, the lower back twinges were joined by a horrible feeling in my right hip.

On day 3, I was limping.  I still walked to the reservoir.  I was unsure how my very, very sore hip would feel running v. walking.  I didn’t feel like walking was pushing anything.  But when I did a test jog, that right leg was like dead weight.  I could not jog.

She walked with me, and then I took a couple days off.  I went back out on Monday alone, and tested my hip.  I felt “okay.”  Still having lower back twinges now and again, and my hip was tender.  I jogged on and off.

We met again on Tuesday, and she ran while I walked.  I did more jogging than on Monday, and didn’t feel like I was pushing myself.

Yesterday, she had to cancel, and I didn’t go by myself, as I had an important presentation at work, and talked myself into staying home so I wouldn’t be late.

But on my way to work yesterday, I got irritated with an old, slow man walking in front of me in the T station, and went to dash around him.  My foot grabbed a crack in the stairs, and I stumbled. That stumble sent shock waves through my lower back where it had been twinging.   It went away during my walk to work, though.

This morning, we met again.  She was in a slower mode, and so we walked and jogged on and off.  Since I jogged with her, my jogging spells were faster than when I’m alone, and I also generally jogged more than I had in the past couple days.

I’d like to just run with her tomorrow, but I’m a little scared.  I’m scared that something is brewing, an injury that won’t just let me walk through it.

I also think that some of these problems are caused by the extra weight I’m carrying around.  At least 50 pounds of extra weight.  And I’ve been carrying 40-50 pounds of extra weight for quite a few years now.  And I’m not a spring chicken anymore.

Inasmuch that my weight is causing the problems, I’m 100% disinterested in NOT exercising.  But I am thinking about how to do this safely.

  • Should I add in yoga, for better stretching (I never used to have to stretch, I was always so flexible).
  • Should I see a doctor?  A chiropractor?
  • Should I keep running, as long as I listen to the signs and twinges?
  • Should I add in weight training, to strengthen surrounding muscles?

These are my questions.  I’m trying to figure out how to answer them.  I think I know that I should do strength training, and I suspect I should see a doctor.  I don’t want a doctor to be over-conservative and say “oh, don’t exercise if it hurts.”

I am unhappy.  I don’t want to have my body fall apart.  Apparently “fit by 40” was too late.

Well, not really too late, because I’m not giving up.  I’m going to work through this.

 

 

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Brats & Stuff

May 19, 2011

Mouse is gonna need a new moniker.  Something like “porcupine” or “pirahna” or “evil child who is rude to all parental figures.”

Rounding the bend to 13, it’s not a fun time.  Who knew that trying to create a special birthday celebration for your child could result in such animosity?  Such drama?

________________________

I had my bi-annual review yesterday, and all went well.  The department remains on the quiet-side, but I still have things to do from older re-activated cases.  I still feel like I want more to do.  I’m also starting to explore job postings.  Not to actually apply, but to get a sense of what’s out there, what employers are looking for, etc.  I keep dreaming that I’m a family law lawyer.  Interviewing or practicing.

_________________________

Relatedly, I met with a family law lawyer yesterday about my own struggles.  It went well.  I think even if the Ex and I are able to come to an agreement without the need for lawyers, I will utilize a lawyer to get my whole agreement updated and moved to Massachusetts.

_________________________

WD and I are both working on tightening our belts.  In two ways at once.  We’re working on doing better with finances, as our financial advisor has us shoving significant 4-figure amounts into savings each month, and we’re both working on trimming our waistlines.

Needless to say, we’re grouchy.

_______________________________

Crew is almost over.  I think there’s only one more meet.  That was a very fun ride.  Lemon will be doing crew all summer – starting before school lets out and continuing until the first week in August.  She may have only a few weeks with no sports, and then start right up into field hockey.  OR, she’ll skip field hockey – depends on her auditions for the Shakespeare play.

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Lunch with the Exes. All of Them.

April 19, 2011

As I’ve mentioned (ad nauseum?) – I am driving to the middle of the country this coming weekend.  Mouse doesn’t want to be there alone (of course, however, she’s doing FINE now that she is), and she hates to fly. In an attempt to make this easier for her, I am going to fetch her, instead of putting her on a plane.

I’m still pretty much fine with it.

I had toyed with asking the Ex to meet me in Chicago.  A 2 hour drive for him, shaving that much off my drive.  Mouse was actually the one to suggest it:  “Seriously, mom, if you’re driving 18 hours, I think he can drive two!” But then, within a heartbeat or two, she said, “although, if you come all the way, you can see the baby!  And you can see dad’s apartment!”

I’ve had the ex here, at my house, before.  Him and his wife.  They’d come to town for one of the girls’ many plays, and I had them over for brunch.  It actually went well.  I brought out the baby albums, we all laughed.  There were no bad moments.  Not a one.  I was very proud that I could show the girls that they are not being torn apart by their parents, that they didn’t have to choose, that we could all be together.

He’s come a few other times, too.  Incidentally, when on the east coast for a conference.  It was always fine.

So, he texted me today to ask when I planned to be in his town.  I thought about saying, “can you meet me in Chicago?”  Instead I said, “noon.”  He said … “we’ll make lunch for you.”  I said, “okay.”  He said, “is it just you, or WD, too?”  I said, “Just me.”  He said, “Well, of course, we would have made lunch for him, too.”

Oh, the kindness.

Honestly, if it were just him, his wife and their babies, I would be pretty darned neutral about the whole thing.

But it’s not.

It’s him, his wife, one of the babies (because of the whole, “our family is above togetherness” that goes on with them), and his parents.  His parents!

Agh!

I do not like his parents.  I honestly never did.  His mom is hard.  Very hard.  His step-dad is mean.  Very mean.  He’s mellowing with age, but he was mean when I first met him, and even meaner when my ex was a young child.

I’ve seen them a time or 2 since the divorce.  It didn’t go so bad.  I’ve emailed with his mom.  It didn’t go so well.  I’ve been clued in about things they’ve said about me – they weren’t such nice things.  But I know that I’ve said more not-nice things about them (with confidence it wouldn’t get back to them).

So this will be challenging.  And, as Lemon said, “Awktopus.”  (Ridiculous word, but still an understatement.)

And it’s true.  I’d feel a hell of a lot better about it if I were thinner.

[Why is that???]

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Another Snow Day that Isn’t.

January 22, 2011

Although, you know, walking around Boston’s Government Center in the snow was actually quite enjoyable.  I like living in New England.  I like living in a snowy climate.  It was pretty, and I didn’t mind.  In fact, news reports are telling us another blizzard may be heading our way, and I am excited about that, too.  [I also think this may really be my snow day … I could stay home and shovel!  Yee ha!!]

Also, the non-snow day for me meant I got to have my first use of my new gym membership.  If I’d stayed home, it wouldn’t have happened.  Also, the office was just quiet enough, in snowy Friday mode, that I was able to disappear from 2:30  – 4 without being noticed.

It felt great to be back at the gym.  I did the elliptical machine and the stationary bike, and I burned around 400 calories (according to those machines) in about 40 minutes.  I was surprised at the stamina I had right out the gate, and was pleased.

I remember the last time I was really successful at gym work outs, I was absolutely obsessed with the number of calories burned.  It was like a game, or a puzzle, for me.  What speed do I have to stay at in order to burn 600 calories on this machine? [I know those read outs aren’t accurate, but I’d like to think – at least – that they’re consistent, so if I work to increase my calories burned on one machine from one day to the next, it is truly an increase].  That obsession still resides within me.  I was so determined on that bike yesterday to get to 200 calories … I increased the RPMs as much as possible without getting ahead of the peddles.

I burned 400 calories at the gym, but then came home and indulged in not only Friday Night Wine, but also ice cream night with the family.  But I still feel thinner and more fit today.  Just knowing that I started on the path toward fitness.

 

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Not Very Resolved

January 2, 2011

I fell asleep last night thinking about what I want from 2011.  I first, and instantly, thought two things:

1)  Lose weight.  In line with my “Fit By Forty” goal.  I have 2 years not only to lose weight, but to keep it off.  I want the yo-yo to be over by the time I’m 40.  I want to have solid and permanent work out routines and a permanent mind toward fitness:  food & exercise.  So, this year will require solid work toward that.

2)  Draft my resume.  I don’t know that I need to do much more than that this year.  But I came to this job thinking it was “for a few years.”  The “few years” are over, and my time with the firm is not.  I really don’t see myself on partner track; I don’t love it enough for that, and I love my family too much.  Which means I should be thinking about what’s next.  I made it through the economic wasteland, where firms had layoffs and firings left and right.  It was a scary time because even the most employable were not getting new jobs.  That seems to have passed.  This means I can really think about what’s next, and start working toward it.

But I looked at these 2 things I want from the year, and they felt pretty self-centered (MY body, MY career).  So I thought a little bit about what I want to do for my family, and my community.  Some are more specific than others, so I’m not sure they’re really resolutions, but these are my Early Year Thoughts:

Family (extended):  I want to continue to strengthen my relationships wtih my parents and siblings.  I don’t want drifting apart as we get older, just because “life got in the way.”  I want us to all remain important to each other.  And all it really requires is that I pick up the phone.  Hell, I can even send my sister a text, like I did on New Year’s Eve:  “Listening to the Police … reminded me of you & the Renault!” [when we were both in high school, and I had a greatest hits tape, and listened to it every time we got in my car – which was often – singing at the top of our lungs].  She called me within minutes, and we just chatted for 20.  After most of 2010 being little to no communication between us (a story for another day), this was nice.

Family (home):  Things feel good on this front.  But I know I should help WD with more around the house – kitchen clean up at night, especially.  My abdication of the duties was a relatively slow process, but I think immature of me.  Even if it is true that he gets upset if things are done my way instead of his way (which he may interpret as the “wrong” way instead of the “right” way), I can still pitch in.  Also, in general, this house just doesn’t stay clean.  I do think part of the answer is to do as many others who are in our situation do, and get someone to come in and clean on a semi-regular basis.  I think it would help all of us keep our respective areas in better shape in between, and would help for the grime not to collect to the point of frustration.

Community:  My time of volunteering and giving to the girls’ (now only Mouse’s) K – 8 elementary school is coming to an end.  2011 will be my last year of it.  I’d like to find something new to take its place.

Finances:  WD and I would like to have a house fund.  We also should have a college fund that does not include the emptying of the 401K and/or pushing the kids to start practice SATs in the 7th grade for scholarship purposes.  I have been feeling so paycheck-to-paycheck for the past few years, this has been hard.  But I believe the time has come that we have enough wiggle room to come up with some solid plans.  This should happen in the first quarter of this year.

Travel:  Funny to put this after finances.  But I would like to travel both with the girls and alone with WD.  Our trip to New Orleans was our first kidless trip in eons, and it was great.  We need to do it more.  I also really want to be sure that the girls enter adulthood with plenty of memories of the places we went together as a family.  There are plenty of foreign and domestic destinations on our list, still … I want them to happen.

So there we go.  Plenty to work on.  I also just generally hope that 2011 is happy & positive.  I was in a snit for a good part of 2010 (work-related, mostly), and would hope that doesn’t repeat itself.

 

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Dammit.

November 2, 2010

Another day of the snooze button* sabatoging my plans to get up and go for a run.

By the time I’m in the midst of my commute, I have already re-formulated the grand plans for an early rise the next day, and every day thereafter.  I look forward to the refreshed and awake feeling that I have when I start my day with exercise – the feeling of accomplishment before I’ve even arrived at work.

Not sure what the answer is.

 

* I really don’t want to hear anything about how the snooze button is an inanimate object and makes no decisions independent of the person pushing the snooze button.