Friday, February 24, 2017

Pilates on Steroids!!!

I've been going to pilates on the reformer now for a couple of months.  I really love it.  I see it making a difference both mentally and physically. But, my favorite instructor took another job at another studio (and I have no idea where she went) and the new instructor at the Y, well, I don't particularly like her style.

So I took a break.  I didn't do it for a few weeks.  I missed it so I wanted to try to find something else, something similar.  Most studios are STUPID expensive, but there was a first time fee for a local place call Butcher Shop Fitness.  As my mom says, only a masochist would go to a place called Butcher Shop, but I've got to tell you, I loved it.  It was like pilates on steroids.

Meet the Megaformer.  Pictured: not me.

The megaformer is about twice the size of the reformer and has more pulleys and has a front and a back and has about a zillion different weight settings (springs).  The workout itself is called Legree Fitness, which is like some dude that made up his own version of pilates.  The workout was intense.  I shook and sweated and felt like I had zero fitness.  But it was awesome.  I went back a second time. And now I have to find a way to afford to get a monthly pass or something so I can go all.the.time.

Have you tried Legree Fitness before?  Have you seen the scary megaformer?  Would you go to a workout facility called Butcher Shop Fitness?  :) 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Warm Up Columbus Half Marathon 2017

You can't win them all.  Or even come close, I guess.

I'm in the thick of marathon training.  It's four weeks until the race which means I have 1-2 weeks of heavy training left.  My body is shattered.  I have back pain that is not going away.  My calves and hamstrings are tight.  I am so tired I could sleep at the drop of a hat.  My mind is fragile.  I'm teetering somewhere between excited for the race and wanting to not do it at all.  I want to quit with every workout I do and yet I'm excited to run every day.  I am a mess.  You would think with this fitness, now would be a good time to run a half marathon.  Except, it wasn't.  My body and my mind just said no and I had to work to finish the race.

 That's me in the grey tank with black arm sleeves and green shoes.

I started off well, maybe even a little too fast.  I was in the 7:30s-7:40s - a pace I should be able to hold.  I was trying to calm down, though, as it felt a little tough and I knew there was a lot of race to go.  With longer training, those first couple miles lie to you, so I kept telling myself that.  Unfortunately, it wasn't until mile 5 that I felt good and also unfortunately, that seemed to be the only mile that felt okay.
You'll see in a lot of these pictures that I'm looking over to the right.  Lots of speculation on Facebook as to why.  It is actually because the husband and kid stayed home and I was hoping they'd surprise me and show up.  I was always looking for them.  I really wanted them there.

In my head I wanted to drop out of this race so badly - at the 5K mark, at the 10K mark.  But the course is a one mile loop you do again and again.  I could talk myself into doing "just" another loop.  
In the last mile I got passed by two women and that didn't make me happy.  I wanted to go with them but I really had nothing left.  In the end I came up 10 seconds short of 10th place and an award.  This may be the first time I've run this race and not gotten an award.  I'm not going to lie, I was super disappointed with this race.  I wanted it to be better.  I wanted to be faster.  I want to look thinner and leaner like I feel.  I want to be fast like those chicks that were whizzing past me.  This wasn't the confidence booster I needed going into the last few weeks before the marathon.

 Don't I look exhausted?

But, the marathon is a different beast and I don't have to run balls to the wall like I do in any other race.  Plus, the marathon is at the beach so there will be other things to see.  And the husband and maybe the kid will be there.  I need my support team. 

Just a few more weeks of focus and then the real goal. 

For bonus blogging this 26point2ers Amy's KOB?  Dude, he was FLYING!!!  He lapped me no fewer than 4 times during the half marathon.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Life Update

It's winter.  It's dark outside.  I'm working all day and surviving the evenings.  And I'm running lots of miles.  There's really not a whole lot to say.  But I swear there's a few of you reading this that would probably like an update. 

Let's start with the dog since I left you hanging last week.

We brought Sloopy home from the hospital one week ago today.  The first two days were rough.  We cried a lot.  We didn't sleep much.  I worried we had made the right choice in doing the surgery.  I worry about her quality of life.  I worry about our quality of life.  But after several days we have settled in and seen improvements that give us hope.  Honestly, the bathroom thing is not that bad.  She's easy to squeeze the pee out of her (most of the time) and when she has to go #2, she does.  She doesn't leak and I've only been peed on twice.  It's kind of like having a baby all over again, except I can put the dog in her crate and she will sleep all night.  The first couple of days were rough in getting her to eat and especially with taking her medicine.  Now she eats her own food and we're down to one medicine a day which she easily eats with a chunk of cooked chicken.  She still has no use of her back legs but we have seen improvement.  She now wags her tail, which, from what we read, is voluntary and a good sign that signals are moving down her spinal cord.  She also stiffens her legs when picked up and can hold herself up for a blink because she's still not stable.  She has started licking in hindquarters which may mean that she has regained some feeling and is trying to get the pins and needles she's feeling.  We have even seen her move her legs a few times.  She does not respond to pain, however, she doesn't respond to pain even on places she can feel.  She's never been a dog that yelps when she gets hurt.  Her staples come out next week and we have a follow-up in a few weeks.  From what we have learned and read, this is a VERY long process.  We are trying to be patient and still holding out hope that we have made the right decision.

My marathon is coming up fast.  It's only about 6 weeks away.  My training has been okay, at best.  I was on a roll until I got sick the entire month of December and then I basically had to start over again.  Two weeks ago I did an 18 miler that felt like death.  When I got home I had to have Dave take off my shoes and pants and help me into the bathtub.  This past weekend, though, I did a 20 miler that was great.  I hit all the paces and it didn't seem so bad.  I wasn't that sore and have been able to return to working out quickly.  This week is another big week of training ~45 miles for the week, and I will conclude with yet another 20 miler.  I, finally, get to race next week and am hoping for something good.

Back to Work
I've now been back to work two months and things are starting to fall into place.  Those first couple of weeks were really rough.  Anderson and I both battled some serious illness.  We both had sinus infections.  We both had pink eye.  We had a cough that wouldn't quit.  We both visited the doctor twice.  And then one day we were better.  Now every time I see a kid with snot all over his face at daycare I get nervous, but Anderson has been in preschool and child watch programs for years so hopefully we are over the initial sickness shock to our system.

Just a few weeks after I started at my job they informed us that we were moving offices to a different suburb.  I was PISSED!  I specifically chose this job over a different, probably, better option because it was walking distance from my house and I could keep the little one in his preschool.  I was so upset that I even thought about calling the other company and seeing if I could continue with the interviews.  But, I have decided to stay put.  Yes, I will have to pull Anderson out of his preschool and put him in his daycare all day (which is one of the best preschools around, but not a Christian preschool like he is currently in) and yes, I will have to drive to my job now, but I have to give this a chance.  It's good for me to get back in the game, refine my skills, and then decide what I will do in a few years once Anderson starts school.

In addition to the full-time job, I have continued to fill in time-to-time at the Y.  It's kind of a pain in the butt, but I like it there, I'm comfortable there, I adore my manager there, and I also get to keep my reduced family membership.  I have no plans on leaving and they have no plans on getting rid of me, so I'm sticking with it.

God's Watching Over Us
Probably the most stressful thing for the last several years has been finances.  It's hard to be on one income and my part-time job paid for nothing.  We thought me returning to work would allow us to live a little more comfortably and be able to do the things we wanted to do.  But our dog getting sick really threw us for a loop.  I have been scared out of my mind.  Would I be able to do my marathon in March (it's out of town)?  Would our vacations we planned this year be put on hold?  Should we cut back on some of our expenses like TV, etc. (things you don't need but would struggle to live without)?  But God's been watching over us.  We did our taxes which is going to help out tremendously.  And Dave got bumped from a flight this week that gave us big money in airline vouchers.  So this month is still going to be a challenge as we pay off our credit card debt but barring any other craziness, life should return to normal soon.

- - - - - - - - - - -

So that's what new.  Life has been busy.  Life has been uncomfortable.  We're managing.  We're going to get through all of this and see the sunlight again.  And I swear I will revive this blog with rainbows and puppies sometime soon.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Weekend

I was planning on an easy weekend.  I didn't have to work at the Y; I had easy training; and the goal was to work on our bathroom remodel.  Unfortunately, the weekend didn't go that way.

Friday afternoon was hectic.  Anderson was tired, I was tired, and we were not getting along.  There was a lot of yelling on both sides.  Our dog, Sloopy, is a very nervous dog.  With loud noises, especially yelling, she begins to shake and pants and wheeze.  I noticed she was doing this Friday but didn't think anything of it.  We snuggled her and babied her and went to bed as normal.

Saturday she continued to wheeze, which seemed odd.  In addition, she wasn't really going anywhere.  Usually she is my shadow and follows me everywhere.  She just stood in one place and when she did move she was limping.  Her back legs weren't working right.  She looked like she was drunk.  I was very concerned.  We decided to take her to the emergency veterinarian.

They evaluated her there and the news was not good.  She had a herniated disk in her back which would require surgery and shouldn't be a big deal, EXCEPT, our dog has a heart murmur and she would need to be seen by a cardiologist to determine if her heart was even strong enough to make it through surgery.  Sloopy is only 7 years old and a member of our family so we had to give her a chance so we agreed to go forward with all of this.  We had to leave a $4400 deposit up front. 

The cardiologist evaluated her on Saturday evening and said her heart looked better than they thought so they approved her for surgery.

Sunday morning, the phone rang at 7:55am and it was the vet hospital.  Sloopy had gotten worse overnight.  She now no longer had function of her back legs.  The possibility of recovery had dropped significantly.  She needed surgery right away and even then may never be able to walk again or go to the bathroom by herself.  Again, we agreed to have the surgery done.  They did more test on her and did the surgery.  We did not hear back again for nearly seven hours.

The update we got after the surgery is that she had a very bad herniation and because of the force of the hernia, her spinal cord had been badly bruised.  They told us not to come that day, that she needed to rest and recover.  A tech called us later in the night to let us know she was alert and responding and even told us she had moved her back legs.

This morning, though, the doctor called us to report there was no news.  Sloopy was alert and happy and sitting up, however, she has not yet moved her back legs (unlike what the tech had told us) and she has not responded to any pain stimulus.  The doctor said that's right where she should be, that only time will tell if she gets function of her legs back again.  We get to see her today after work.  Oh, and the financial people are probably gonna tell us we need to spend another $2000.  (Guess, we'll be putting that camper up for sale!)

This has been extremely rough.  Dave and I have cried all weekend.  Our dog is not that old!  We want her to come home with us and be the dog she was before.  But we also have to make tough choices about what happens if she never regains mobility.  And on top of all that is how all of this is explained to our son.  He has been with us through all of this and we've been very delicate in our wording to help him understand what's going on without scaring him.  I wish this didn't happen.  I wish this nightmare would be over.  I want my Sloopy girl to come home.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Wash Your Running Clothes

After much trial and error I have finally figured out how to wash my running clothes and get the stink out of them.  Silly, I know, but they get stinky and good running clothes are expensive so you've got to make them last.  I have tried every detergent known to man, including those fancy ones for workout clothes (made me break out), but finally Google gave me the answer.

First I soak the clothes in cold water with some cleaning vinegar.  I usually do this for about 30 minutes unless I forget about setting a timer and forget I'm doing laundry (pretty typical) and then they may be in there for who knows how long.  Then, after draining the washing machine, I wash them in warm water using Arm & Hammer baking soda detergent.  Although the embedded yucky smell may not come fully out it's sooooo much better than it was. 

And because a blog post without pictures is just plain boring I give you this...

My kid is sick for the third time in 7 weeks.  Again!  Daycare is kicking our ass.  We just cannot keep him (or us) healthy.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The magic circle, aka, the circle of death!

I have a new passion.  Pilates.  I have tried yoga in all different variations, but don't love it.  But I am in love with pilates.  Even better, I have discovered pilates on the reformer. 

Sex toy? Exercise equipment? Torture device?

Our YMCA has a boutique location that has small, specialized classes that include pilates on the reformer.  I have been going now for three or four weeks and the class size has been just me or one other person.  I love it.  I love the personal attention.  I know I am doing it correctly and she has been tailoring the workouts to what I need as a runner.  For example, last night.

I have mentioned to my instructor that I don't have a lot of hip strength and I would love to get my inner thighs tiny enough again to wear booty shorts while running.  She listened.  Last night we worked on inner and outer thighs as well as hip strength the whole.damn.class!  It started with the magic circle, aka, the circle of death.

Circle of Death!

This magic circle is used in all kinds of torturous ways.  Usually we put it between our ankles or our knees and squeeze it while we're doing all kinds of core exercises.  Last night we used this almost the entire class.  We also put our legs through it and used it to strengthen the outer thigh by pushing out with it while doing some other exercise.  Oh, and she wasn't done there.  We also stood on the reformer and the carriage and slid one leg out sideways with the springs on to strengthen the inner and outer thigh and hips.  It was so hard and yet so awesome.  I came out of the class with jello legs but feeling strong and ready to tackle the world.

Booty shorts!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 Plans

Yeah, yeah.  It's the 10th of January and I'm just now blogging about my 2017 plans.  I've got some goals, some big goals, but I'm going to keep those private for now.  I'll let you know if I achieve them.

So, here are my plans athletically.
  • A couple of half marathons.  I was thinking one next month, but I'm frozen to the bone.  Winter running is stupid.  I'll keep thinking.
  • Early spring marathon.  I would really like to qualify for Boston again.  In 2018 it falls on my 40th birthday and I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate such a big milestone (who the hell would say that running a marathon for their birthday is fun?!?!)  I have yet to sign up for the marathon, but I'm planning on the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach on March 19th.  I haven't done a race yet in Virginia so this also checks that off.
  • Aquathlons, aquathlons, aquathlons!  Surprisingly there are three or four aquathlons in Ohio that are eligible towards USAT ranking points.  I'm going to do as many as I can to help my ranking and to give me experience towards....Aquathlon Nationals.  I've got some BIG BIG goals for this race.  Nationals will be October 1st in Austin.
  • Also some fun stuff like run 2000 miles (that'll never happen but I'll at least try for it), swim 200K yards, do pilates once a week, stop skipping strength workouts, continue to eat healthy foods, etc.
Let's talk about personal stuff.  I love the new year.  I love new goals and resolutions and all that jazz.  Here are some thoughts I have personally.
  • Read more than 12 books.  I know this is the same goal every year, but my Kindle is awesome and I read much faster with it.  Now if I could just get the ebooks faster from the library.
  • Take more pictures.  I swear this is a goal I set every year for myself.  I was making a Shutterfly calendar this week and struggled to find enough pictures from last year to put it together.  Unfortunately, the memory is full on my phone right now and my laptop is on it's last breath and I really can't afford a new one so I'm not sure how I'm going to accomplish this.
  • Be more present.  Honestly, I am still really struggling with having put my kid in daycare to go back to work.  It's been 6 weeks now and he still cried and throws a fit every time we go (although he does the same at the end of the day because he doesn't want to leave).  When we come home I want to pay attention to him.  I don't want to be on the treadmill leaving him to play by himself.  I don't want to be on my phone reading Facebook.  I want it to be family time.  Truly, this has been hard.  Aren't we all addicted to our phones and Facebook and Instagram (and for me, the TV)?  As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer I think family time is going to become even more special.
I thought 2016 was a great year.  2017 is going to be even better.  I'm back to work.  I've got money again.  I can make improvements to the house.  I can camp with the family now.  The kiddo is a fantastic age - he's so fun.  I'm really looking forward to what lies ahead.

What are your thoughts on 2017?