runner girl: week 4 (grief)

Sometimes you’ve just got to survive.

EXERCISE

We did not complete the fourth week of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule. This was supposed to be a “recovery” week and it happened to fall while we were scheduled to be out of town. Exercise while traveling is already difficult, but I had high hopes of sticking to the plan. Unfortunately, life took a different turn.

Monday morning, the 14 year old, my mom, and I rose early and hit the road. Mom did part of the run/walk with us, which was fun. I was sweating up a storm due to the humidity, which isn’t something I’m used to since living in Colorado. Later, we played in the pool for a few hours, and while that didn’t count for many steps (not sure how it knows I’m not walking when I’m swimming or treading water), it was a good additional workout.

I thought maybe I had injured my big toe (tripped) a couple of weeks prior (I’ve broken it before), and by Monday evening it was really bothering me. So, I decided not to walk on Tuesday, but rather swim with the girls and my mom instead (the guys were working at a golf tournament). This proved to be a good thing for my body. It needed a break and I wasn’t too worried about it since I had planned to continue the schedule the rest of the week.

Well, I was awakened early Wednesday to the sound of my mom rushing through the house. My grandmother had taken a bad turn and she needed to get on the road to be with her (an almost 3 hour drive). While I helped mom get ready, she got another call… the call. My grandmother was gone.

I no longer cared about anything but helping my mom. Yes, in hindsight, going out for a run after mom left probably would have been helpful, but I just didn’t care. I ended up caring for her animals and sifting through pictures to gather some for the funeral. I spent most of Wednesday crying.

My family stayed at my parents’ house until Friday afternoon so we could care for their livestock, and then we headed over for the visitation Friday evening. Most of Saturday was funeral, more visiting with family, and the drive back to my parents’ house. This is a stark contrast to the 90th birthday party we had planned for her on Saturday.

There were moments when I thought about the run/walk schedule and wondered if I should have pressed through anyway, but I had to reach a place where I let it go. I needed brain space for other things and I chose to release the workout plan.

NUTRITION

What I refused to let go of though, was my food boundary. By the end of the week, I reached 35 days on the nutritarian diet and it was far from easy. Just being out of my normal routine is difficult, but couple that with the fact that I generally cave at some point when I’m at my parents’ house… it was already a challenge to keep my mind in the right space.

Then my grandmother died. Then more overnight traveling. Then restaurants. Emotional and temptation overload. It is only by the grace and strength of God that I didn’t cave. There were times when I had to wait hours to eat because what was available wasn’t within the nutritarian guidelines. Others were eating… the smells… oh my Lord in heaven, I prayed and prayed…. and prayed some more.

I did get emotional and cranky once, which was brought on by grief, temptation, the smell of Mexican food, and hunger. I had to apologize for my rudeness and thankfully they were understanding.

I had gone into the week with the resolve of “I will not break my boundaries… no matter what!” Of course, I also had no idea what the week had in store. Had I known, I probably would have decided to take the week off and resume next week. Coming out on the other side though, I can say with absolute certainty that sticking to my boundaries actually helped me to grieve properly. Instead of stuffing my emotions with food, I felt them, processed them, and took them to the Lord for comfort. This is new territory for me, but I feel like I’ve come away with increased confidence.

My resistance muscles were worked really hard, and with God’s help, I am stronger for it.

I didn’t take my scale out of town with me, so I don’t know if I released weight or not. I think I probably did, but it isn’t unusual for me to swell initially when I go to lower elevations. I was afraid if I had swelled due to travel, and it showed on the scale, I might not stick to the program while away. I’ll weigh again next week though.

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runner girl: week 3

Now it feels like we’re beginning to make some progress. Three weeks is a significant benchmark in any habit change process.

EXERCISE

We completed the third week of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule. Jogging three consecutive minutes at the top of each interval was tougher than I had hoped. My body just couldn’t seem to find a groove for some reason. I tried to remind myself to go slow though. The husband stayed in the back of our little formation, which helped some, although it was somewhat stressful to hear so many foot strikes behind me.

The workout on the 18th was the most difficult. We had to go downhill, with the wind on the outbound part, and uphill into the wind on the return. The 15 year old remarked that if we jumped into the air, the wind would probably push us backward. My legs were screaming during the fight to maintain some semblance of a jog. Plus, it appears maintenance has dumped a bunch of rock/pebble/sand on the trail and it felt like we were constantly battling tripping/twisting hazards and sand pits.

So, I know this sounds totally negative, but again we felt like rock stars because we only encountered one other runner on that morning. I told the kids, “This is what makes you a runner – when you get out in these conditions and tough it out to the end.” Hopefully next week will be a little easier.

I was genuinely trying to earn a couple of available Garmin Connect Badges this week and walked away with the 20K Steps Badge, I Am The Night Badge, and Challenge Champ Badge.

I have been very sore and probably need to be more diligent about foam rolling.

NUTRITION

28 days on the nutritarian diet. I think, for the most part, the cravings have subsided. If they come, it’s a very fleeting thought. Another thing I noticed this week is that I am finally sleeping better (and through the night most nights). Thank you, Jesus!

My eyes look brighter most days, but I’m still battling “fat eyes” frequently. I struggle with the fact that all I can see is how overweight I am (I call this fat eyes). I get it no matter how big or small I am, so I must renew my mind and talk to the Lord about it frequently. The enemy and my flesh try to convince me that I’m not doing enough and I should be looking better faster. God reassures me that I am doing all I can and I need to trust Him with the results. Before I weighed Friday morning, I was convinced I had gained weight. You see, I don’t feel like I look any different than I did four weeks ago. Even though some of my clothes are clearly too big for me now, I just cannot see it yet.

My body released another 1.2 pounds this week, which is a blessing considering I’m working with a crazy thyroid. That’s 11 pounds in less than 4 weeks (weighed Friday), so clearly something must be getting smaller even if my eyes try to convince me otherwise.

runner girl: week 1 (take two)

My emotions have been all over the place this past week… taking its cues from the weather I guess. Crazy weather (crazier hormones), but we managed to stay the course.

EXERCISE

We got in all three scheduled workouts (The Beginning Runner’s Handbook), and added two more people to our little walk/jog group. We ran in the cold and rain this week, and decided we felt hard core for doing so. Plus, we had to work around an out of town jaunt to experience the Newsboys united tour concert.

I’ve added my daily step total to the spreadsheet. Obviously, I do more walking than what is indicated by formal workouts. Since I’m actively trying to reach my step goal now (10K/day), I thought it should be listed. Nothing super exciting to report from this week, except that attending a concert is very conducive to racking up steps.

I did earn a few more Garmin Connect Badges in the past two weeks. I think the coolest one was called “well oiled machine”, which I received for improving my running VO2Max levels.

I’m not paying attention to those numbers right now (although, eventually I will care), but it’s cool to get notified that something improved.

NUTRITION

Yes, we’re still doing that nutritarian diet thing. Even more impressive is that we were able to do it on a weekend road trip. How? We took our meals with us. That’s right, I planned ahead and packed all our food for two days.

Normally, we eat in the car, but it’s rather difficult to eat a salad while you drive, so this time we built in a little extra travel time to stop and eat lunch both days. We ended up eating outdoors in the sunshine and it was such a nice break in the drive. One of the times we even ventured off the beaten path to a quiet little park… birds chirping… breeze blowing… lovely.

I cannot tell you how badly I wanted junk food over the weekend though… oh my goodness! Clearly, snacking while on a road trip is heavily ingrained in my system. We did chew gum, which helped a bit.

After the concert, we were exhausted and my mind kept going to our normal routine of grabbing take-out on our way back to the hotel. We had eaten the Tailgate Chili I brought at the hotel before we headed to the venue, but we were so hungry after hours of worshiping with the Newsboys.

Of course, after singing about breakthroughs (Zealand) and being free (Peter Furler, Newsboys), I certainly knew I wasn’t going to cave, but I was genuinely famished… and sweating (Texas is warm). Fortunately, the 14 year old had made us a “strudel” recipe she found in my Eat to Live Cookbook. So, we had that instead instead of our usual junk feast. Yum!

Sunday, when we rolled back into town, we had to shower and head back out for the 15 year old’s piano/voice recital. I cannot even begin to describe how strong the urge for french fries was. I was whining about it to my husband, but mentioned I was afraid I’d gain weight if I ate them. He replied by asking me if french fries were good for my thyroid. Um, no, not at all. Well played, Husband!

Plus, I truly feel God has asked me to give up certain foods for now and eating french fries would certainly be acting in disobedience for me. We didn’t have french fries, but we did have a frozen fruit “dessert” that the 14 year old made in our own kitchen that night.

So, how did the scale pan out last Friday? My body released 1.2 more pounds. At first I was a bit disappointed, but then I renewed my mind about the scale and was able to thank the Lord instead of grumbling. The fact that the scale is actually moving should be a celebration when you’re working up against thyroid issues.

Another week has passed, and now it’s time to focus on the current one.

runner girl: cough, cough

I haven’t been this sick in a really long time. It’s been over a week, I’m still dealing with it, and it’s moved into my chest now. I spent most of the last week laying around, but I wasn’t completely unproductive (more about that later in this post).

Needless to say, my quest to complete The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule is off to a rocky start. At first, I was really angry about this, but it’s a good thing I’m currently going through Barb Raveling’s new Bible study, RALLY. The Taste For Truth Support Group (Facebook) is going through this and last week we were on the chapter about letting go of your “have to haves”. Realizing the reason for my anger was my death grip on my “have to haves” helped me to relax a bit and just rest.

So, as you might have guessed, my spreadsheet was rather unimpressive this week:

The plan for next week is to get some walking in and pray this nasty bug leaves soon. I’m also returning to a nutritarian diet. My immune system seems to be out of whack, so merely being vegan isn’t enough. I’ve read several of Dr. Fuhrman’s books, but recently checked out The End of Dieting as a means of reigniting my motivation. During the foggy days of illness, I’ve also been perusing Kristen’s site, Hello, Nutritarian, for added inspiration. Love her fridge photos!

In February, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and while I don’t agree with her spiritual views, I’ve been “magical tidying” my house since February 5th. It’s not a quick process, but lately I’ve been working on my “Kitchen Komono” (as she calls it).

Using Kondo’s method of “Tidying Up” (keeping only what sparks joy), Kristen’s inspiring fridge photos (which are gorgeous), and other tips gleaned from the myriad of books I’ve read, I am starting the day with a fridge full of veggie goodness:

And my dry goods “pantry” organized:

I’ve placed most of the non-nutritarian stuff out of immediate eye-sight to keep the temptations at a minimum as well. I also have a small pantry pullout with canned beans/veggies for convenience meals, but most of what I eat will come from these two places. This little bit of organization took me a week because I’d work for a few minutes and then have to rest… of course, there were whole days where I hardly got out of bed.

I had the husband record my weight this morning, but I don’t plan to look at the scale for a bit myself. My goal is to eat for health and let the weight-loss be a nice side effect. So, while I do want to know what’s happening there, I’m hoping weighing blind will lessen the scale’s impact on my life.

Well, that was last week 🙂 Hoping to get this runner girl back on the road soon!

runner girl: week 1

Well, the first week of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule began great, and then we had a weather detour in the program. Still we managed to complete all three workouts this week.

I feel like I probably look ridiculous when I “run” as I’m trying to keep it slow. I looked up several videos on how to focus on proper form and go slow. I’m convinced I look silly, but I didn’t care because I was getting out there and doing it.

The husband and I felt a little under the weather, but it didn’t seem bad enough to skip getting in the workouts. In fact, I felt recharged after, which is highly unusual for me when I’m first starting back to running. Usually I feel pretty worn out and am dreading going out again, but not this time. Going much slower proved less taxing and more motivating.

Plus, my new Garmin Forerunner indicates I’m getting stronger – that’s always encouraging. I even added a bit of jump rope for good measure.

Unfortunately, the week didn’t end as well as it began. Frigid weather (and snow) blew in again on the 13th and we probably should have forgone the workout in the cold on the 14th (although Garmin gave me a Frosty Badge for that one). The workout itself wasn’t difficult, but my body went through some dramatic temp extremes during it. It didn’t once cross my mind that I might have already come down with the 15 year old’s cold (had already gone through the husband and the 13 year old) and any bit of strain would push me over. Well, I was down for the count shortly after we got back and spent all of the 15th in bed.

I hoped this would help me recover more quickly than everyone else, but you’ll have to wait till my next post to find out if it did. Most of this week, I stuck very close to eating Nutritarian… not perfect, but close. That came unraveled once I realized I was truly sick though. There are go-to foods that being sick triggers a craving for and I gave in.

runner girl: returning to the land of the living

I’ve been away dealing with life and surviving… for the most part anyway 😉

I’ve read quite a bit already this year (I’ll consider sharing my reading list soon), and I recently read a book recommended by one of the Taste For Truth Support Group members titled, Every Body Matters. This was packed full of conviction about my lack of consistent exercise.

So, I decided to make a change. Yes, I need to move more, but specifically I want to run again. I feel like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life when he cries out, “I want to live again, please God, let me live again.”

I want to run again, please God, let me run again.

I’m starting from the beginning and will be baby steppin’ my way through this process. I picked up a copy of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook to get myself into the mindset of being a true beginner. I’m trying to wipe out my preconceived notions and reservations from injuries past. I’m refusing to look back wistfully at my “glory days” and choosing to accept that I am starting from a place of excess weight and lack of consistent conditioning. It is what it is.

No amount of whining is going to change the present facts, but devising a plan and taking it one day at a time will likely change my future. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve begun walking more consistently to prepare for the training schedule outlined in  The Beginning Runner’s Handbook. Here’s what those walks looked like:

As you can see from those average paces, I’m not fast. On April 2nd, I made the mistake of trying to hit 3 miles in a time constraint I had. I shouldn’t have been doing any jogging yet. I was overdressed, got overheated, and then got sick. Now, if I can’t carry on a conversation, I slow down. I’m not trying to win any races, I just want to slowly build up and avoid injury in the process. Plus, I don’t want to dread going.

Yes, that’s correct, on the 6th, I stopped to pet a donkey. If you’re following my “God delights my heart” photos on Instagram (@ImBJuled), you’ve already seen this little darling.

Sometimes I get distracted during a workout, but hey, I’m trying to enjoy life a bit more these days… some might call it stopping to smell the roses, but in this case, I just had to stop and pet the donkey.

When I first started walking again, I had to renew my mind about it every time because I really didn’t want to go. I was in the mindset that walking a couple of miles wouldn’t really make a difference anyway, but that was a lie. Thankfully, I didn’t listen to it because now I look forward to walking. Plus, now I’m not missing out on as many sunrises, sunsets, and donkey encounters.

Trial by… water?

I haven’t been online as much as usual of late because almost 11 weeks ago our home flooded (all three floors). We’ve been living in a hotel and trying desperately to find a new “normal” while we wait to move back in. It has already been such a long process and one that has had me asking God a lot of questions… of which He has yet to answer most of them.

So, I wait.

In the meantime, I reached a point where I simply could not deal with the pain I was in a moment longer. Long story short, I need chiropractic treatment for a neck and hip thing and bloodwork revealed that I am vitamin D deficient with a whopping case of Hashimoto’s disease. Lovely.

Now, I honestly don’t know how much of this has to do with all the stress we’ve been under the last few months and how much was already there. Since the flood, my diet took a downward turn to the land of fast and processed food-like stuff. I’m sure this affected the blood work and I know it affected my waistline.

The diagnosis explains a lot of course.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I got the diagnosis and I’m still in the process of researching this thing. I’ve gone through a bit of denial and of course outright anger, but I think for the most part, I’m coming to grips with the reality that my diet-style must change dramatically and permanently. No, I’m not going to start eating meat and drinking milk, but there are things I should stop eating… um, like oreos and fried tofu… and things I need to include… like lots of greens.

“Everything in moderation” is not a mantra that supports healing for someone in this condition. Prior to the flood, I had converted back to Dr. Fuhrman’s “Eat to Live” plan to help with the pain I was experiencing. It was working and I felt like I was on the road to recovery.

This came unraveled quickly under the stress and inconvenience of the situation. Almost 11 weeks later, I am finally returning to the strict version of the plan. I am also taking a Vitamin D supplement and immune boosting supplement (per my doctor). She will retest at the 3 month mark.

Other things I’m doing include: good multivitamin, getting outdoors daily for at least 15 minutes, a daily pinch of kelp granules (for iodine), exercise, and increasing water intake.

All of this is in addition to continuing to renew my mind to the mind of Christ. Without this crucial piece, I would certainly be wallowing in self-pity right now. Instead, I am hopeful.