running

I Never Have Been One To Give Up

Late October of last year I was having a crummy day and took off for a run. I needed the fresh air and movement to calm my mind, and I don’t use the word need lightly. There’s nothing absolutely nothing like a run to organize both my thoughts and my day and give a hefty lift to my spirit.

At the end of my run I limped up the driveway and decided to call the doctor and take a month or so off, just for good measure. The crankiness in my knee was becoming downright ticked off, and running was the obvious culprit.

Fast forward to today, a year later, and I have attempted two runs since then.

Darn.

In August, I decided to quit going for walks too.

I had been beyond worried that it would be a surgical case, that I’d be laid up for several weeks. Instead it’s a complex scenario of bursitis, patellofemoral syndrome and IT band syndrome. None of them are particularly severe, but none are readily treatable.

We tried two different types of injections in two different places, and I’m none the better for them.

What more is there to do but rest? This particular malady, or combination of them, isn’t awful, in fact, when I just sit around, it calms right down.

Alas, that’s easier said than done. Running not only keeps my mind on track, it tones and sculpts my body. It’s my go-to for managing stress, grief, joy, frustration, my ADHD and my weight and health. I have literally been self-medicating every part of my physical and mental health with intense and prolonged exercise. It’s like the snake oil of yesteryear, guaranteed to fix everything from the vapors to sleep.

And now, like dust in the wind, it’s gone.

Not that there is such a thing as good timing, but during the first year after losing our daughter to an overdose, I was in a lousy position for losing my primary coping mechanism.

I prefer to keep a positive attitude, but in this case, I have been just plain pouty. I’ve lost my ability to run in the past, and against the odds, worked my butt off getting back on my feet. I just wonder aloud why me, when there are millions of people who would no sooner run than be swarmed by bees. A knee that only gets cranky with exercise would be no burden to many, why, once again, do I have to suck it up and give up something that I love and that’s good for me in so many ways?!

I won’t BS you and try to say that I understand any of this. But I will tell you that I’m not about to stay down.

Instead I’ve been seeing a counselor and learning new and more coping skills. I’ve developed many new hobbies like collecting maple sap and making syrup and tending chickens, as well as cultivating my largest and most productive garden yet and canning and freezing the bounty.

I’ve enjoyed living the slower pace of homesteading, and it’s indubitaly beneficial to have my pocket full of coping skills to better equip me for whatever life throws at me.

But. . .

I won’t give up on running.

My shoes have moved to the back shelf in the garage, and they’re mighty dusty, yet I’m clinging to them with just a tiny glimmer of hope.

I never have been one to give up on anything.

family · running

Everything I Need To Know About Fitness I Learned From My Mom

My mom started running in when she was in her 30’s, and became a fitness phenom before it was cool, especially for women. There was no Target, let alone an affordable fitness department, so in winter she would don her sweats with cotton tights underneath with an old stocking cap, a scarf and jacket and get out to run, no excuses, ever. She ran in freezing cold and blazing heat, wind, rain and ice. She ate “clean” long before it was even a thing, and pumped iron in the garage. I thought she was nuts at the time, but she left an impression. Her steadfast example went unheeded through my youth, but in my 20’s when I decided to get into a healthier lifestyle, I found I already knew what to do, I had to look no further than example she had set.

There were no gimmicks or secrets to her fitness routine. She never fell for a fad diet or nutrition drink. She just looked at her circumstances and added a huge heap of common sense, which is free for all to use.

  1. Eat real food, heavy on the fruits and veggies.
  2. Skip the artificial junk. Yes, it goes with #1, but it doesn’t go without saying. If it comes in a package, less is more.
  3. Portion size matters, don’t get carried away.
  4. Sit down and savor your food, you’ll be more satisfied with less.
  5. Pass on the alcohol. Maybe wine has benefits, but it has sugar too, save it for special occasions.
  6. Treats are treats. A little goes a long way.
  7. Play, it keeps you young.
  8. You won’t melt. Go outdoors in crummy weather.
  9. It’s okay to get dirty. People are washable.
  10. Heavy work is for women too, you get great muscle definition shoveling snow, push mowing the lawn and raking.
  11. Get outside your comfort zone. When my mom first started running my sisters giggled as she struggled to make it a quarter mile. When she finished first a 5k, then a 10k, and eventually a 25k, they could only cheer.
  12. Movement helps what ails you, especially when paired with fresh air.
  13. It’s supposed to be hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

It’s been almost 40 years since something clicked in her head and my mom decided to get fit, and she’s never looked back. When I see her playing tag with her grandkids and great-grandkids at the playground and swimming with them at the lake, my heart swells with gratitude for the health and strength she has maintained well into her 70’s. Not only has it served her well, she pays her health forward to her children and grandchildren and even her grandchildren’s children. She has passed down to us all a legacy of health and well-being that I am proud to carry on, and can only hope serves me as well as it has her.

 

running

Back to Basics, Back to Balance.

I’m getting back on the wagon. No, I am not on a diet. (Well, not really).

I have this pair of snow pants that are my “reel it in” gauge. I’ve had them for over 20 years, and while their primary purpose is insulation while playing outside, the serve me well as the canary which signals that things aren’t what they should be. I’ve taken to doing a serious wiggle dance to get them over my hiney, so that is my signal that it’s time to eat less and move more.

My presumption is that it’s far easier to lose 10lbs, (even if it’s the same 10lbs that I have gained and lost umpteen times) than it is to let it go any further.

The first thing I do is start a food log and get a handle on portion size.

Because I love to eat.

It’s not easy to calorie count when 90% of your food is made from scratch, but at least I know I’m in range.

Next step is moving more. I’m not exactly sedentary, but let’s just say that writing isn’t an aerobic workout. But, my knee and my thyroid are back in shape, which removes my limitations.

There have been a few times in my life when I have been strong, healthy and fit. Though I know that as I age regaining and retaining that level of fitness will get ever more difficult, I will get as close to this as possible.

It might sound like I’m getting carried away, it might sound like vanity, and sure there’s some of that, but that’s not all.

When I make time to exercise and eat right, it’s the best self care I know how to do. It improves my physical health, my emotional and mental health, and there’s enormous benefit to loving the way I look.

The Lee I like best is the one who comes in soaked with sweat and flying high on endorphins and endocannabinoids after running for an hour or two. She’s the one who is a better wife and mother and happier person. Probably because I treat her so well.

It’s all about balance, and my balance has been teetering, so here I go again.

running

A Not Running Runner

Hi, my name is Lee, and I am a not running runner. My knee is funky and my thyroid is wonky and running just isn’t in the cards lately.

I don’t know how many runners you know, but when a person transforms into a runner, truly a runner, it’s like getting a factory reset. It’s an identity change, which transcends everything. Being a runner changed the way I eat, sleep, drink, and think. It gave me community and a vision of myself that shifted my paradigm.

But mostly, running keeps my head on straight.

It doesn’t matter how long my to-do list, how frustrating my circumstances, how chaotic my environment, and how upheaved my emotions, if I can bang out a few miles on the pavement or trails, and especially if I can squeeze in a 10+ miler at some point, I can hold it together, no matter what life throws at me.

And when I’m not running, the opposite is true.

Just as my shoes sit in this disheveled pile, gathering dust and cobwebs, my mind stagnates for need of a run.

I wonder what the doctor would (will) say if (when) I tell him that I would let him sell a kidney on the black market if he can get me going again. I suspect that the sports medicine doctor has heard it all, the endocrinologist might be a bit appalled.

I try not to whine, I know it doesn’t help but I just want to run! When can I run again? Will someone please tell me?

Please tell me this condition isn’t terminal!

running

Putting the “Running” Back into the Writing, Running Mom

I haven’t written about running hardly at all in months. Because I have hardly been running at all in months. 

I could say it’s because of my vein ablation or the busyness of moving, but those would be excuses and I’m a no excuses woman. 

The real deal is that sometimes running is hard. Really hard. Like, I’m somehow prompting my legs to move forward by force of will and I look down to find the darn cheating things walking instead of running. So I goad them back into a run, and low and behold they quit on my again. 

And in those times I wonder if I’m just not trying hard enough. Or if my determination or desire is the problem. I don’t rightly know. I just can’t make my legs do what I’m telling them to do, even under duress. 

I walked a lot, but walking isn’t running. It doesn’t cleanse my soul and mind the way running does. It’s good, lovely even, but it doesn’t make my spirit soar. And I have a spirit that craves a good whoopdeedo on the air currents. 

Whether it’s because I’m stubborn or stupid, I keep trying. I’m always just sure there’s some super secret combination that will unlock the run for me again. 

Don’t tell anyone, but I think I found it. I’m not sure exactly what it even is. I stumbled upon it in the dark somewhere and unlocked my chutzpah.  I’m back. (Maybe, I mean, at least I think I am). 

It’s nothing special, except to me, but doggone it, the past few weeks when I tell my legs to run they do it. I don’t catch them cheating these days by sneaking in a walk while I’m not paying attention. And I’m pretty sure those two ton ball-and-chains that had been shackled to me fell off a ways back, because my legs feel like legs, not like cement bags. 

I’m a touch slow on the uptake, but I do believe that sometimes my body can tolerate and thrive on running, and sometimes it can’t. (I know, quite the in depth analysis, no wonder the epiphany took so long). But right now it can, and I’m going to run with it!  

parenting · running

Staying Active in Order to to Stay Active

It rained this weekend, a socked in, chilly spring rain. So this afternoon when the sun finally peeked out we had plenty of stink to blow off. I hauled the boys outside for a rollicking game of frisbee with a little tug-of-war with Meg and fetch with Abbi thrown in.  

We shared some laughs, mostly courtesy of Meg, and Alex taught me how to dab and nae nae, which evidently means I’m almost as cool as Betty White. (Apparently I have some work to do).  

It was bliss

I kept thinking that this is what life is really about. Horsing around, laughing and making memories together. 

And it occurred to me that I want to keep doing this kind of thing. Not just until my kids are grown, but as long as there’s breath in my body.  

I took a moment to deeply appreciate today, realized that I am not guaranteed another second here, and yearn for the ability to continue to create and enjoy moments like this.  

It’s at the core of my passion for exercise. Activity begets activity; I stay active so I can stay active. When someone suggests going for a hike, I want to be the first to don my boots, not only now, but for as many years as can.  When I see those videos of octogenarians running marathons, I don’t just find them inspiring, I want to do it. 

Every single step I take today is an investment in the steps I want to take next year, and every year after that, hopefully well into my 80’s or 90’s. And every single step I take today is a return on the investment of last year’s steps.  

Lastly, movement is an act of gratitude. Gratitude for my health, my ability, my strength. It’s not lost on me how fleeting it all is, and that my ability could be altered this very day. While I do hope to maintain it as much and as long as humanly possible, it’s not entirely up to me when or how it will no longer be possible. So today, while I am able, I will be active as an act of gratitude and investment. 

running · Uncategorized

The Pros and Cons of Lularoe Workout Capris

I have been outspoken about my opinions on Lularoe; opinions which are essentially based on my annoyance at being added to sales groups without the consultant or party holder asking first, which means that I despise everything about them on principle. So in a brilliant move, my friend Kristy challenged my prejudice.  She offered to send me a pair of workout capris in exchange for a completely honest review. 


I got the capris, here’s my review:

PROS:

They’re cute!  The accents are fun and match one of my favorite workout shirts. 

The brushed lining feels delightful. 

They’re comfortable and I can move easily in them. 

CONS:

The waistband felt tight at first, and seemed to need breaking in. I’m pear shaped so usually waistbands aren’t tight on me. 

On first wear the waistband was stiff, it did seem to improve with time. 

They are not in the same league as my favorite brands, Brooks and Nike, which are dedicated workout brands, as far as both fit and performance. 

NEUTRAL OBSERVATIONS:

The fit is high waisted, especially in front. 

Tied in with the above observation, there was a bit of “extra” material on my lower tummy, which could be because of my build. 

I don’t plan to wear them in hot weather because the soft fuzzy lining wouldn’t be ideal in high sweat conditions. 

BOTTOM LINE:  

These are cute, comfortable capris which would be great for walks or other light to moderate workouts. If you’re a serious athlete, they won’t perform like the dedicated athletic brands, so you might be disappointed. Overall a good pair of capris for a day of light to moderate activity.