Saturday, November 22, 2008

One minute writer

I found this site, referenced in a previous post, where someone gives me ideas to write about each day so once in a while you might see something new and unusually.

Today it's a question of growing older.

Older is relative when referring to a group of people, but when referring to one self, older is what we get every day if we're lucky. As a teenager, older seems like a curse, why would I want to do that. As an adult, someone who's felt the pains of loss, older seems like a blessing. Growing older is our reward for making it through yet another day. In this day and age, when we take such good care of ourselves, watch what we eat, exercise, have the benefits of advanced medicine, older is not as old as it used to be. 40 is the new 30 and so on. Good thing, cause even though the calendar says 40, I sure don't feel it most days. I'd say, overall, 40's not so bad after all. Certainly not ancient, life is over, like I thought when I was 16 :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

More firsts

Things that have shaped my life... the monumental firsts, days of remembrance both good and bad.... in no particular order
My first wedding.... not so good. My husband forgot to pick me up on the way to the church. Not the best beginning.
My first day as a divorcee ... free, scared, excited, broke.... but so happy to be out, to be on my own, to be moving forward instead of stuck in limbo. (hopefully the LAST divorce as well)
My first day happily married (that would be my second husband!)... we got married in Key West and it was fabulous. Woke up the next day and took a walk to the beach where we gave the left overs to all the homeless people. In case there were any doubts.... I knew he was the one. I knew then and there that we would have a wonderful life together. And we did.
The first time I saw the cabin in the snow... there must have been 15 feet on the ground... it was the day I got to California as a married woman
The first time I left my husband... after our honeymoon, I had to go back home. We went our separate ways... living in different states for the first two months of our marriage while I looked for a job that would take me to California
The first day I met my college roommate... excited, scared, speechless... there was talk of marijuana, alcohol, and sex ... she hardly waited until my mother left the room. Boy did I feel like a small town hick :)
First Christmas in the new house.... there were no floors yet, just concrete, but we set up a Christmas tree and some music.... it was the only Christmas we ever celebrated in that house... by the next one, my husband was gone and I was trying to hold it together for my family
The first day without him.... lonely, empty, tearful.... in physical pain from grief
The first marathon I ever ran.... scared, melancholy, painful! You see, almost 16 months to the day prior to that, my husband lost his life on almost the exact spot of the start of that race. It was a race of remembrance, in a place I had once called home, with an old friend, and a big roller coaster ride of emotions.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


The first time I saw my husband was a company outing. We had spoken on the phone too many times to count before we finally met. That day we finally did meet, we just knew it was meant to be. Wherever he was, I knew he was there without looking. I could feel his presence within my world. We couldn't stop looking at each other. There were tons of people around but it couldn't have been more special, more personal if we had been there all alone. For the entire time we were married, we felt this way - we could be alone in the midst of millions, everyone else disappeared.

The first time I saw the Eiffel Tower, I was in awe. I'd read about it, heard about it, learned about Paris, about France, the French language, the French people for years. I first saw the Eiffel Tower in the dark on a drive up to Paris from the coast. It was amazing, all lit up, welcoming me to my home away from home.

Things to think about when I'm feeling blue... moments of happiness... little joys that meant the world... memories that I can almost touch because they were such phenomenal experiences then and still live within me even today, years later.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's winter

That means snow. While this isn't the first snow of the year, it looks like it might be the first one to stay around. It was definitely the first time I went running while it was snowing this season. And it was a struggle. I got dressed then got curled up on the couch under a blanket trying to convince myself to go out and run - for an hour.

I used to like snow a lot more when I was living in California. It was something to look forward to because my husband was such a little kid when it came to winter and skiing and Christmas. Rain in the valley in the late fall meant winter in the mountains. It was so exciting to think just a couple more days until the weekend and then we can go skiing.

I remember Friday afternoons being full of packing for the trip to the cabin, stops at the grocery store and the gas station on the way up. Arriving in the dark and unloading the car. Turning on the heat and starting a fire. Taking the dog for a walk in the neighborhood in hopes the cabin would be warm by the time we came back. If we got there too late for the heat to really make a difference before bed, we'd get dressed in long johns and cuddle under ice cold blankets to fall asleep. Wake up in the middle of the night sweating and run down the stairs to turn the heat down.

Saturdays we'd be up early for a pancake breakfast before hitting the slopes. So exciting when the sun was up, the ski was clear. Deciding what to wear - trying to get just the right combination of clothes layers so you didn't have to take something off midway through the day and carry it around in the back pack. Giving people tours around the mountain on skis. Going on some crazy runs, sliding on our butts down a ravine because it turned out to be too steep and narrow to make turns. Having lunch on the deck at Sugar Bowl, enjoying a bloody mary made special my Reb. Going back to the cabin feeling exhausted and exhilirated all at the same time. Reliving the days turns, runs, falls (not many usually), guests, and weather. Having a drink by the fire while we waited for the homemade pizza to finish cooking. Or walking down to the neighbors' cabin for dinner and a movie. Or hanging out at the lodge, sharing stories of the days skiing.

Sunday getting up to do it all again and then clean up, pack, and go back down the hill. Leaving the snow behind like some magical mystery, knowing it would be there when we wanted to go back again in a few days. Hoping we'd get there right after a big snow fall and enjoy first tracks in the sun out on strawberry fields. Knowing where to go off trail to get the best snow.

Yes, it's winter. Somehow this time of year isn't as much fun as it used to be. It's kind of bittersweet. There are lots of good memories, but sometimes those memories make me sad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Radical Steps

I admit. I'm obsessed. And I've finally decided to go to the experts for help. I need it! You see, I want flat abs. I look at my stomach every day - first thing in the morning when I get up and last thing before I go to bed. Am I skinny this morning? Is it flat? Ridiculous? Yes, a bit. But I'm 40 now and it's not getting any easier. It gets harder and harder to maintain weight, let alone lose it. I know my problem isn't my exercise routine. It's not like I sit on the couch all day. I workout 6 days a week. I know it's the way I eat. I know it's in my head, getting my head wrapped around food as fuel not friend.

Now I recognize that I'm not fat by definition. I have muscle. I am within a healthy weight range for my height - barely. But I'd like to be lower within that range. I want those flat abs :) So I took radical steps. I joined weight watchers this week. I thought what the heck. These people have helped LOTS of people lose real weight, change their lifestyle, get on track. Surely they can help me figure it out, get back on track, learn to focus on things other than food.

I signed up and chose the flex plan. This seemed like a good option. You count points, but you can eat anything you want. I've written down my food intake in the past for various nutritionists, the coach, my own piece of mind. I like to record things so this shouldn't be a problem. On Monday, my first day, I ate DOUBLE the amount of allotted points. And that was just a normal day for me, nothing too radical, nothing too out of the ordinary from what or how I normally eat. Hmmm... I might have found the problem right off. By Thursday, I had exceeded my WEEKLY extra points allowance. This takes into consideration the workouts I've done for the week. You see, these get allotted points as well.

Normally, I'd crawl into a hole about now and give up. Sit down with a bunch of chocolate and a bottle of wine. I decided to take a different approach. This is, after all, not a diet. It is a lifestyle change. I decided to carry on. To at least stick it out through these three months. Try not to gain any weight over the upcoming holidays. Try to stick to points - or at least get closer to the daily allotment and see what happens. Adjust my thinking. So that's where I am.

I'm afraid. Afraid of failing. Afraid of getting fat. Afraid of having to change my lifestyle. Afraid that if I don't I will be unhealthy. And there must be some part of me who is afraid of success as well because in the past every time I've gotten on a roll, lost 5 or 7 pounds, I've rewarded myself with food. Dug into a bag of potato chips or a batch of brownies. I have to slowly make these changes, slowly change the course I'm on. Slow is hard for me. Slow means baby steps, not seeing immediate results. But if I don't do this right, I'm afraid I'll have to continue to buy bigger jeans. And that, is NOT acceptable!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

300 pushups

Seriously... 300! We did 300 pushups and 110 sit ups today in bootcamp. The instructor just about flipped out when I decided to do a cartwheel after class - then another woman did one too :) Sometimes it's fun to be goofy even at 8 in the morning!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top 10 Reasons I'm Not a Triathlete

10. After getting up early for running and then bootcamp, getting up even earlier to get to the pool just never seems to happen
9. My goggles are too tight (are those bruises under my eyes)
8. My goggles are too loose (seriously, is there any water left IN the pool?)
7. Transition?????
6. After 45 minutes on the bike, I have bruises on my sit bones.... I don't like bruises on my ass
5. I don't like running when it's 100 degrees outside - haven't you heard that can kill ya?
4. My skin is so dry from the pool that I think I'm starting to shed
3. I like to watch tv
2. No one else will go to work to pay the bills or feed me so I have to choose work over training sometimes
And the #1 reason I'm not ready to be a triathlete today
1. I like to sleep

All of you triathletes out there amaze and astound me! You are both inspirational and crazy! When I get past my "problems" I want to be just like you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A run in the woods

There's something about almost 60 degrees and sunny in November that brings out the couch potatoes and their un-socialized dogs. You know the ones, the dogs who haven't been on a walk since Bush took office? Yea, those dogs. I will grant you, it was a beautiful day for a run. I decided to take advantage of it by going for a run in the woods. After a nice little warm up to the park, I arrived under attack - attack of the Jack Russell terriers and Irish Setters (and the surprisingly friendly greetings of the German Shepards). There I was jogging along, minding my own business when suddenly there were dogs running at me full throttle. Okay, I'm a dog person, I can handle this. The Jack Russells scratched up my legs as they jumped on me, attempting to bite my heels. The Irish Setter appeared to be a much bigger threat as I was afraid it would knock me over when it hit cause it was going so fast. Luckily there was no impact, but it was also under no apparent control. The owners gave a fleeting apology, "Sorry. We didn't see you." And I waved it off. "That's okay." As I tried to regain my stride after they had finally gotten the dogs under a bit of control.

The thing is, it's not okay. So why did I say that? Why did I let them off the hook? Because, you see, I hate conflict. I avoid it like some people avoid the dentist. Unless I know you very well and am very comfortable with you (i.e., I've seen you naked) or you're a complete stranger who I know I will never see again and am confident that you can't physically hurt me, well, I'm just going to let it all pass. This isn't always the best solution, but it's the one I've used for years. I know in some cases I need to be more assertive, but was this one of them? Was it more appropriate to stop and give these strangers a piece of my mind or at least a suggestion on how to actually maintain a bit of control over their dogs... or perhaps socialize them more... or, I don't know, actually pay attention????

Like I said I'm a dog person and I have a very friendly dog, one who LOVES people so it's not beyond the realm that he'd go say hi to someone, but he wouldn't if I told him not to. And later in the woods I ran into a couple of nice, well behaved German Shepards, under control but problem. But all these dogs made me jump like a wild boar was after me the first few times I heard a squirrel scurry through the woods. Guess I'm not a country girl anymore.