Monday, March 29, 2021

Two old girls...

So a baby step for getting outside today. An hour walk up to the campground gate. First a little splash and drink for the canine girl at one of my favorite spots. Next goal is to head up through the campground to the trailhead. Not much snow left now, though possibly more snow will come this next month. 

Walking or more importantly running at nearly 8,000 foot elevation is to suck a bit of air at times. As I was walking I was reminded when as a much younger and tougher chick—hanging out at 16,000 felt like drowning. Making a climb on Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains of then Soviet Georgia in the mid-80s was amazing and awful at the same time. At this point I find it sad that I carried a lot of shame about not making the summit. Who the heck cares now? It was an incredible trip of a lifetime.

I have put this body through so many intense experiences. At this point my health is excellent. I need a few tweaks on a regular basis to keep my back happy, but overall I'm grateful for my stamina and general health. The older I get the more awake I feel. The follow up to the Soviet climbing exchange was here in Colorado. Soviets, Hungarians, and Americans climbed Snowmass Mountain. 

Sadly, it's a trip I hardly remember. I tripped and then slid down part of a mountain side and had to self-arrest with my ice axe just before hitting an outcropping of rocks. I was a bit of a mess after that and one of the guys just dogged me because every step I took I felt so scared. Also my boots were killing the bottoms of my feet and my pack though top of line was too big and truly too heavy for me. Is it any wonder my back now suffers?

What's so amazing is how much great gear there is now for women that is designed especially with women in mind. Back in the 80s this was not the case. "We've come along way baby..."

The picture on the right is the view heading back down into town. I tried a little jogging, but the tweak I had on Sunday morning with a new craniosacral practitioner greatly improved things, but not quite enough. Tuesday evening I'm going for another appointment. 

The other thing that came up after thinking about the Snowmass incident was how I would like to go on a Wild Women Adventure to Alaska. This company has great itineraries of women-guided  women only expeditions through out the world. One element of this Alaska trip is climbing with crampons on a glacier—maybe a chance for me to work through that old BS. And then I thought wouldn't it be cool to do it with my daughter. Something to save for and plan on doing in a few years. Interestingly I had a book (now pack away in a box in my storage) back in college titled Wild Women Adventures. An incredible evolution has happened for outdoor sports for women: awesome clothes, gear, trips—all just for "the ladies." And even running gear. I need a beanie with the hole for a ponytail. Yes that is a thing and I want one. This morning I was overdressed and just before I headed out the door my daughter said I would overheat once I got moving. I took off two layers and then added a knit hat over my ball cap. Kind of a silly look but it kept me comfortable. Neck, ears and core must be warm. Too many close calls with hypothermia...I hate being wet and cold.

On the writing front I have almost nailed my essay. I thought I could write tonight, but this essay is tricky and my head needs to be in the right place to finish. I have two more paragraphs, which will expand into adding another page. Also I'm submitting three poems with the piece à la John Berger. And a dear artist friend is letting me use a photo his late photographer dad shot, which looks like it's never been shown—lucky me.

Final thought: no to coffee and Swiss Miss. Even half a cup of espresso at 10am was too much caffeine. The Swiss Miss also had something in it. This body is like an old car, I can go forever, but I must have the right fuel. Tomorrow organic cocoa that's light on the sugar and some decaf coffee, both from the health food store to prepare for next Saturday's treat.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Finding Rhythm

Confidence, resiliency, and finding rhythm—I could be speaking of music, but really all of these are needed when creating a life, a writing practice or in this case also a running practice. 

My daughter is now apart of a youth symphony and I'm much engaged in the process of helping facilitate her success—modern mothering: a fine line between helicopter parenting, a tiger mom, and just general mothering—which also includes the process of parenting oneself. What I say to my daughter (who is very much a perfectionist) is often what I need to be saying to myself. The very best thing about parenting is the messiness of it and the bigger reflections on learning to living well.

So what is confidence and is it over-rated? Confidence is a catch word that actually now has a connotation—so much of communication is understanding the nuance of how individuals use words. After pondering the word confidence I realized that I think of confidence in this way: working towards a goal—floundering through the messiness of the process—and reaching an outcome that is satisfying (and possibly successful, though success is not always required.)

I am not a confident runner. Hell, I can't even call myself a runner at this point. But I persist. I have a goal and I will run a marathon in this life. I just reread a post I did for Motherhood Later Than Sooner about my 50th birthday resolution to run a marathon and create a writing life for myself. Poof: seven years have gone by and I have been doing the heavy lifting of caretaking on many fronts, through job loss, moving, uncoupling, death, homeschooling—basically what most women are doing (without a paycheck). And trying to have a quality of life that includes self-care. 

Frankly, I have read so much about women's empowerment, creating time for self-care, and trying to push myself to lean in that I could vomit. I have tried to do all the things I noted in a previous list here on this blog that I thought I should do everyday. That took four hours: one hour of exercising, one hour of journaling or blogging, one hour of meditating, and one hour for a nightly routine. And after that I wanted to do some writing work. Truly, that plan was and is unsustainable. I hope everyone is having a good laugh because I finally woke up and unsubscribed to every female empowerment newsletter that was clogging my email accounts. 

And now for my whack to the head—a lá the great comedic teams of Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, and The Three Stooges. I have a new plan for self-care and it looks like this. And actually might be sustainable.

Monday – one hour early morning for exercise: walk or run or weights or bike or recumbent bike (mostly weather dictating the choice).

Tuesday & Wednesday – one hour early morning meditation. I have found two early morning IAM-35 groups through the Amma website. Thank you COVID-19.

Thursday & Friday – one hour early morning of personal journaling.

Saturday & Saturday – all day both days in the writing cave (kind of like the Bat Cave, but my adventures are in my mind). On these two day mostly no visitors—I have informed my child, wasband, and my mom in an attempt to limit the interruptions so I can think, write on my blogs, and meet other writing deadlines. And I can stay in my pajamas all day. My other new pleasure on Saturday is caffeine in the form of a homemade mocha using my new (used) stove top moka maker plus discounted surplus Starbucks Breakfast blend, with hemp milk, and three pouches of instant hot chocolate. This is my weekly treat as I must give up the sugar addition: ice cream, sorbet, chocolate, and the amazing homemade cookies my sister-in-law sends the family. Also I can handle the caffeine as I usually on Saturday night I stay up late working into the night.

So I may be able to create a rhythm for myself, and after awhile build some confidence in reaching my goal of running a marathon. If nothing else I am resilient and persistent to the point of nausea. New day, new plan, new life: GO Team Mo!!

My new best friends. Finally, these need to stop being paper weights.

And my fabulous writing space with a standing desk. Much better for my back. It's not the office I had when I started this blog, oh so long ago. But my space is really nice and I love it. With our three little apartment units next to each other: wasband, myself, and the mom—we all have the autonomy we each need. We are the wave of the future. Life is good.

For more about confidence check out my posts at Welcome to Mommyville and Motherhood Later Than Sooner.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Spring is here, sort of...

Just from the title, I know I need this book. Spring has arrived and the urge to renew my commitment to running instead of say swimming (no local pool) finds me checking out Brendan Leonard's new book (I Hate Running and You Can Too), as noted in an Outside Magazine online article. Check out Leonard's abbreviate list below. This list are the moments that I laughed out loud. The full article and how to get the book are in the links at the end.

26 Useful Facts About Running (Outside's title)
A nonexhaustive list

1. It is OK to take breaks while running. Sometimes breaks last a few seconds, and sometimes they last a few years.

3. There is no requirement that you have to own a couch to do the Couch to 5K program.

4. One hundred percent of the participants in the first marathon died upon completing the event.

11. The top recorded running speed of a human, sprinter Usain Bolt, is 27 miles per hour. The top speed of a running grizzly bear is 35 miles per hour. Data does not yet exist, however, on how fast a human can run while running from a bear.

14. 13.1 miles is half the distance of a marathon, which is 26.2 miles. When running a marathon, at the 13.1-mile mark, you are halfway. However, at 14 miles, you are also halfway. And at 15 miles, 16 miles, 17 miles, and 18 miles, you are also still only halfway. This continues every mile until mile 25.5, when you are almost finished.

19. Lots of longtime runners say they love the simplicity of running because all you need to do it is a pair of shoes.

20. Any real runner knows that in addition to a pair of shoes, you also need a steely resolve and the hard-won psychological tools to continually, day in and day out, drag your procrastinating ass out the door and actually begin running.

Link to article:
26 Useful Facts About Running

Link to book:
I Hate Running And You Can Too



Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Day 1 – Back Again

This is the Calvin Coolidge quote I have taped on my old Remington typewriter.
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Let's do this. Some times there truly is a shift, immeasurable and invisible that moves us to be bold. Today is Day 1 of my writing life and marathon training. I commit to nothing and everything all at the same time. But my biggest commitment is letting go of perfection. Here are the pictures to go with my first day. 

The pandemic manicure...
This is an okay number, but a few months ago back in
February—before my stepdad died—the scale read I32 lbs. Stress eating of lots of candy and Jack-In-The-Box cheap tacos with french fries—comfort food...a little got added to the middle.

And now for the body picture. My cat has a little saggy belly. It looks like she's had a litter of kittens. She does not judge herself harshly for this. She's a cat and couldn't careless. My goal is to have the zen of a cat. A cat who doesn't think about her body. And that's where I want to live as I move through this life.
Girl got belly...just like a mama cat.
Can I say that selfies are hard? Kim K. is quite skilled at taking the perfect athletic selfie. Since this is a blog about running, and finding my writing voice—with the zen of a cat—I will let go of perfection and just be okay with this body as it is. It's a strong body in pretty good health for 56 years old. I want to admit to a personal struggle with self-censorship. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't self conscious, so posting the picture is about loving this body exactly as it is. Also even as I have lost weight my belly is still around so I need to make peace with that. Maybe do some ab work though that has in the past been hard on my back. Personal desire is to work on my plank.

I decided that I wouldn't make any goals beyond committing to walk or run four days a week and writing the same number of days. 

Day 1: 45 minutes of dog walk/run. There is a long low grade, which I walk up and run back. Pretty easy on the knees. Feels good even though I'm at 8000 feet. I will definitely sleep good tonight.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Catching Up

I am persistent. As my husband likes to say "I'm like a dog with a bone..." Well, I'm back. More than a year, but still pushing to do my goal. It has been an intense time for me, but things have begun to settle down. I have spent the most recent past year: homeschooling my daughter (she hated it); and moving my parents from their remote ten-acre property of 20 years to a retirement community in a town with a hospital. 

Through all of it I ended up with a very intense allergy related rash. Also a very close friend died. But I am still standing and getting settled into my new home and town and this morning as I was journaling I thought "why not come back here to my blog?"

Under my doctor's care I have been keeping a food journal, which was very interesting, particularly in times of stress and also when it is hard to get good healthy food on the go. My food choices have aggravated my joints and so now in my new place I've been thinking that I need to do to some version of a Paleo diet as skipping most grains, corn, potatoes and dairy really keeps away the joint pain.

Along with the food allergy rash (connected to almonds and coconut) that I had last December and January (with few flare ups in the spring); I was also having heart palpitations and tested as borderline pre-diabetic. Ackkkkk!!!

Can we say "WAKE UP CALL!" And I did. Doctor's orders included walking, meditation and keeping a food journal. So that's why I thought maybe blogging would be helpful as I continue to re-focus myself on my health for the second act of my life. 

As an update: my rash is gone; and my heart palpitations have stopped. I will be checking my numbers regarding being pre-diabetic in another month or so.

Life is intense, but shifting in really good ways. My daughter will be starting at a really good charter school next week and can walk or bike to school, which she loves.

Yesterday, I did absolutely nothing to care for myself (see my list below) though I did watch hours of Graham Norton and laughed my head off. The Graham Norton show on the BBC is brilliant and I've taken to watching the tiny clips at night when I go to bed after really intense days just so that I can be smiling when I fall asleep. I think it's helped.

In the evening yesterday after an intense and heated conversation with my husband, Graham Norton clips couldn't save me, but getting dressed and eating out with a friend helped though I did get lost in talking about really negative old history.

But here it is: a new day and another chance to get it right or maybe just be gentle with myself. Hence the reason that I decided to make a list of things I like to do each day:
  • Each morning when I wake up before I get out of bed, I try to thank the universe for all that I am grateful to have in my life.
  • I like to have a large mug of warm lemon water first thing in the morning.
  • I like to oil pull and dry brush if possible before I shower or get dressed.
  • I feel really good when I journal for 30 minutes.
  • I am now meditating using the IAM program from Amma. I do it in a couple of different ways but I like the version with the stretches best.
  • I would like to go for a walk or run. This is the piece I really need to work on doing. In my new house, which is situated in a small town, everything I need is a walk-able distance. This lifestyle change feels like the best thing that could happen to me. My goal is to add running into my weekly routine and come back to my marathon goal.
Nothing like getting things down in black and white. I am feeling pretty thankful for being able to leave my car driving habits behind. Yippee. I think it's going to be a fun new journey of self discovery.  

And I will do a marathon in this lifetime because I am persistent that way.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Back At It...

So I am going for a smaller goal of running a half-marathon. No more reading books and pining about running a marathon. I am letting go of perfection. I need a goal to help me focus on my work tasks and so I decided to do a half-marathon.

Close to me here in Santa Fe is the 30th Annual Taos Marathon on June 5th. Three months out, that is a doable goal. Also I found on MORE Magazine's website a 12-week training program for running a half-marathon for those of us going from couch to half-marathon. Just what I need: a schedule and a clear plan.

My biggest goal for this project is to let go of perfection and just go for it. I really liked the WEEK 1 Schedule. Monday, today was cross training. The scheduling fits with my life. Today I just started with a walk and a bit of core training. Not as much as I wanted, but it's a start. I also I found a great running path not far from where I live and drove the length of it to get a mileage reading. The path is perfect in that on Sunday, I can have my girl ride her bike with me for my 3-mile day and since we are not on the road, it will actually be relaxing for me.

Check out my new training board. I decided to write the week out for myself so that I can see what I am doing instead of having things in a binder. Frankly, the whole point for me is to focus on a doable goal with benchmarks that don't break my back and in a time frame that is realistic, but close enough to feel like it's coming up quick. Hocus Pocus let us focus on our task right now. A line I used to say to my daughter when she was little. Oh how it rings true for me now.

Regarding this blog, I decided that I would write here on cross-training days so I wouldn't be overwhelmed, but I'd have some continuity to my process.

Final thought: still drinking hot lemon water in the mornings, but I have added lime and cucumber to the water I drink during the day (with no lemon). I am liking the taste and I seem to drink more of it, which is a good thing for hydration.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Life Is Like A Helix

Today I went for a run. I like to say run, but really it was a walk/jog/run. It felt good. I know I will sleep much better than I did last week when I was shut in and sick.

So thoughts for today. I reread my old posts when I was doing my blog redesign and I wanted to share that I have simplified my liquids in take. Now every morning I have 32oz. of warm to hot water with a lemon slice before I eat anything. Some mornings if I get up early enough I drink it leisurely, other mornings it might be gulped. For pre-breakfast and what I run on I have a muffin tin frittata.* Now I'm drinking my second 32 oz. of lemon water and then I will have one more mini frittata.

Also today with my running I am also adding in doing the "plank." I happen to read about the plank last year and felt that core strengthening is something that I need. The first time I tried to do the plank I lasted about 15 seconds. Today I did it for 1 minute. By Wednesday I will really feel it in my abdomen, but I think that is good. (One can Google the plank and find out more about benefits and draw backs. The link above is just the one I picked to highlight the exercise.)
The Helix
After my run, I pulled out my training binder, which had my training dairy sheets in it. The top sheet was my best day way back in May 2013. That really put a smile on my face. So while I feel like I'm starting over, I'm not really. Once along time ago when I was complaining to a friend about starting something over, they said that I wasn't. Really instead of thinking that I was in loop or trapped in circle, the situation was like a helix. I may have circled around but I was higher. Opening my binder and seeing my previous accomplishment noted on a training dairy sheet felt good and helped me to see the helix of this moment.

Lastly, I got out my stickers. What is that? I have little stickers that I used to use to highlight all the tasks that my daughter had completed during the day. It was part of process that I called Operation Cooperation. I started it because one night when my daughter was in kindergarten she told me that all I ever do is tell her what she hasn't done. I felt really sad about that, so I figured out the list process so that we could both see all that had been accomplished in the day towards the formation of good habits.

Now today I am going to use the little stickers to put on my calendar when I run, do the plank, and write at this blog. That way on the days when life intervenes and things don't go quite as I planned, besides the training dairy, I will have visual record of what I am doing. It really helps to track the habit making process. My goal beyond doing a marathon and also a triathlon is to have the habit of exercise.

Here's to the helix and continuing my process.

*One can Google muffin tin frittata and find many variations. I follow the base of six eggs and 20 minutes of baking at 350º F from the recipe link above, but after that I like to be creative. I make mine with broccoli and my daughter likes bacon and cheddar cheese. Room temperature or 20 seconds in the microwave make them great for traveling. I make up the tin and then refrigerate and eat them for the week. Also size-wise they are perfect for the whole family. For breakfast my daughter eats one, I sometimes eat two and my husband will have two to four.