4:30 am is REALLY EARLY!

My adorable daughter and granddaughter who came to visit recently.

Okay, I’m back. It’s been about 3 months since my last post and time to write again.

This morning I awoke at 4:30 am to get up for my new morning workout schedule. I’ve been trying to determine the best time to workout as my life is much busier than last year. I finally concluded (with the help of my husband and daughter) that 4:30 am would have to be the time. I’ll admit that I had mixed feelings about getting up that early but I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself actually excited to head to the gym. I actually think I’m going to like that time.

When we walked in to the gym there were only a few people so it was wide open for anything we wanted to do. My husband, daughter and I all walked off in different directions as we had our own plans in mind for our morning workout routine. It was fun to have them there with me and just knowing that we are going together makes it a little easier to arise so early.

My goal is to go at least 5 days a week (preferably 6). After my injuries last year its taken me a while to get back into working out regularly again. My first day back was Saturday and just after Saturday’s and today’s workouts I am already feeling sore. I must admit that even though I’m sore, it feels good to be back.

I grew to love P90X last year and will most likely toss some of those workouts in now and then, but for now I’m hitting the gym and varying my workouts to keep my muscle groups confused and constantly improving. The one session of P90X that I plan to implement regularly is the Ab Ripper X routine. It’s brutal but REALLY WORKS! I’m going to start adding that in again next week.

Wish me luck as I “get back on the wagon” so to speak.

The photo I’m including was taken recently when my daughter and granddaughter came to visit. I just returned from visiting them last week as well and my granddaughter started walking while I was there. So fun to spend time with them. For those of you who are family, I’ll try to post some new photos soon of Ady’s first birthday.

Starting Over…

Yes, it’s true, I feel like a slacker. It’s been over a week since my last blog post. Life’s been busy! Last weekend I drove for 28 hours within a 38 hour time frame. I didn’t mind though. I was headed to pick up my oldest son from college, so the drive was fun. It was great to see him and to bring him home to be with the family again. My younger children are thrilled to have their brother home and so are we.

Yesterday, I finally ventured out for a walk to see how my leg & back were holding up. If you’ve been reading my blog then you know that after I finished my P90X Challenge I injured my leg. What you probably don’t know is that as soon as my leg healed, I injured my lower back. Both injuries have taken time to heal. It was difficult in the beginning and I ended up re-injuring myself on a couple of occasions by exercising before my body was fully healed. I finally conceded that I needed to listen to the doctor and let my body rest. It’s been hard for me to let my body rest as I feel like I’m going backwards in my efforts to get in shape. I’ve finally reached the point where I can begin exercising again and I feel as though I’m starting over.

This time I’ve decided to take things a little slower in the beginning. My back injury was extremely painful and I’m a little hesitant to push myself too hard at first. I definitely don’t want to endure that kind of injury again.

I’ve decided to mix things up a bit in the beginning and will not be as strict with myself for the first few weeks until I’m sure my body is fully prepared for the intense workouts of P90X. I’ll toss some of those in, but will most likely begin with walking and interval running to see how my body reacts. Once I’m sure my body is fully healed I’ll begin P90X again. I loved those workouts and want to get back to them soon.

With all that being said, wish me luck as I start over…

Two Weeks With My Own Personal Chef

Ryan & Jessica decided to use the leftover fondant from their previous cake to decorate this one.

I didn’t know it at the time, but with the arrival of my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter I also received the added gift of having my own personal chef for 2 weeks! My son-in-law loves to cook! For the past two weeks I have come home each day to the delicious smells of dinner cooking. As I would enter the house I could not only smell the food but hear the laughter and noise from the kitchen. It was fun to walk in to the kitchen to the sight of my daughter and son-in-law cooking. We were delighted each night with delicious meals and often a yummy treat as well!

Ryan has a delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe that he must have baked up at least 4 times during the past two weeks. He has it memorized and loves to tease everyone that he will not divulge the recipe. The cookies are absolutely HEAVEN! Twice while he was here, my daughter helped him make delicious cakes from scratch and decorated them in fun ways.

These cookies are super soft and chewy and VERY delicious!

I realized early on that Ryan was fabulous with the grill. He loved to marinate meats and cook them on the grill. He even added grilled pineapple one night which was absolutely divine. I think my absolute favorite dinner was the chicken enchiladas. I don’t know what all he put in the sauce (he refused to tell me), but they were incredible. I think I could have eaten them every single night and been extremely happy. I must admit that my goal to “eat healthy” was severely challenged during the past two weeks. But hey…it’s only two weeks, right? I probably should have taken photos of all the fabulous meals but quite honestly, I forgot. Sorry.

I know that I have slacked on my daily posts over the past two weeks but I have been busy enjoying the company of my daughter and her family. I have spent much of my free time holding my granddaughter and visiting with family. The time has flown by so fast and I was sad to have to say goodbye this morning as they left to head back to their own home. I will always treasure the time we were able to spend with them. I’m already trying to figure out how I can squeeze in a trip to visit them this summer.

Ryan & Jessica made this delicious cake and then had the audacity to bring it to my sister's home where there were a ton of rival college fans! It was absolutely hilarious!!

On another note….Yesterday I finally went to the doctor and had him look at my leg (I injured it 3 weeks ago). It was as I had expected…a bad muscle injury. He said the type of injury I have, takes at least 6 full weeks of complete rest to heal. I guess that explains why I keep re-injuring it each week as I try to push myself. I’ve finally accepted the fact that I have to give my leg the full 6 weeks to recover. Since the injury is in my right leg I’m hoping that I can still do upper body workouts. I’m going to at least give it a try so I can get some exercise in. This was disheartening news but I know I need to follow the doctors orders so that I don’t make it worse.

Gotta Get Back On Track

She is way more fun than exercise!

I was all set to get back on track this week with P90X but then my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter showed up. I am having so much fun spending time with them that I’ve been neglecting my exercise. When I visited them a couple months ago I faithfully exercised every day. Why not now? I can tell you why…

Here, I am in my own home with children of my own to take care of, work to accomplish, meals to be cooked, a house to be cleaned, baseball games to attend and so on. When I was visiting them I was a visitor with nothing to do but help with the baby and help around the house. There is always more to do at home.

Jessica and I did go walking a couple of days ago but that is the extent of my exercise since my injury a couple of weeks ago. I NEED to get back on track. Time to kick myself back into gear and start working out again. Two weeks off and I feel like I’m turning into Jello.

If only I could put my granddaughter down long enough to exercise…

They are only here for a little while and I want to enjoy as much time as I can with them. Oh the struggle I face each day…LOL

The Honest Truth

My sister asked me recently, “How do you get your motivation to work out like you do?” As I’ve pondered her question I’ve come to realize a few things.

Here’s the HONEST TRUTH…

I used to hate to exercise. Honestly, that’s the truth. I hated sweating. I disliked the smell of sweat and disliked the feel of it on my body. I avoided it whenever possible. With the exception of 2 times in my life (18-19 yr old & 25-27 yr old) I have never really worked out on a regular basis.

It’s not that I didn’t want to…well, maybe that’s not the truth…I didn’t like sweating, remember? I always seemed to have the excuse that I didn’t have the time. Quite frankly, that statement was true. I was a workaholic and I was a wife and mother to 5 children. No matter how hard I tried to adjust my schedule, there were always other things that seemed more important…until last year.

I can remember the exact moment that it finally “clicked” in my brain and I knew it was time to do something. I finally got the motivation I needed.

What was that moment? Well, quite honestly it was the day I finally stepped on the scale for the first time in quite a few years. I was shocked by the number I read on it. I had NEVER weighed as much as I did on that day. That’s when I knew something had to change.

I have struggled with losing weight for years. My life was always busy and I often ate on the run, grabbing whatever was easy. More often than not, what I ate was not very healthy. I rarely ate breakfast, and quite frequently skipped lunch, as I rarely had time between appointments. That meant that when dinner time came I was starving.

When I finally saw the number on the scale I was blown away. That is when my motivation finally kicked in. I believe for each person, motivation comes in different ways and at different times. I had finally reached a time in my life where I knew I had to do something about it, and I finally had the time to devote to it.

That’s when I discovered the book, “Master Your Metabolism” by Jillian Michaels. It came at the perfect time for me. I was finally ready to DO SOMETHING about my weight.

My goal is not to just weigh less. It’s more than that. I want to BE HEALTHY. I know people who don’t weigh very much, but they’re not necessarily healthy. My goal is to be FIT & TONED. I want to LEARN TO EAT HEALTHY by making better choices. I want to have a HEALTHIER ENVIRONMENT in my home and I want to EAT HEALTHIER FOODS. I want to FEED MY BODY the proper nutrition so it can HEAL itself and thereby provide me with the ENERGY I need to LIVE A HAPPIER LIFE.

That may seem like a lot, however it is truly how I feel. My motivation initially came from the weight I saw registered on the scale. Yes, in part, that still provides motivation. However, something finally clicked in my brain and propelled me into motion towards living a healthier life. Sure, I still struggle from day to day, just like everyone else. I’m not sure how I keep my motivation going….only that it’s there, every day, moving me forward.

What is it that will finally motivate you? It’s a choice. You have to make it. Noone else can make it for you. ARE YOU WORTH IT? Of course you are!! ARE YOU WILLING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT? That is the question that only you can answer. Will today be the day that your brain finally clicks on and DECIDES to ACT and DO SOMETHING about it?


The Challenge – Are You With Me?

As I climbed into bed last night, I turned to my husband (who was reading a book on the iPad), and asked him if he would mind looking up the weather report for the next day. He kindly switched applications and we looked at the weather report together: “Cloudy with 20% Chance of Rain”. I was inspired to see a sun next to the days report and said, “20% – that’s not that bad. Besides, they have a sun on the report so that’s a good sign”.

I had a restless night as my sore throat persisted from the weekend. It felt as though someone had taken sandpaper and run it across my throat repeatedly. After apologizing, for the hundredth time, to my husband for my frequent bouts of coughing, I told him I couldn’t help it, it felt like flakes of skin were floating around in my throat and I couldn’t get them to stop. He asked if he should go downstairs so he could get some sleep. I didn’t want that, so I got up and went to the kitchen to take some cough medicine. That helped for about 4 hours, at which time the coughing began again in earnest. Needless to say, I don’t think either one of us got much sleep.

Morning soon came and I began the usual routine of getting the kids off to school. I checked outside to see what the weather was like and said with a sigh, “Of course the 20% chance of rain has to be this morning”. It wasn’t raining too hard, more like a cross between a light rain and a gentle mist. I could deal with that.

As I stepped outside for my morning run, I was grateful to be working my legs today instead of my arms. Yesterday, I had spent the morning carrying 50 lb buckets from the garage to our downstairs storage room. There had been 19 buckets, as well as an additional 22 buckets that weighed between 15-20 pounds each (which I had carried two at a time). I had determined, after moving all of them, that it would suffice for my workout for the day. My biceps were sore today and they had good reason to be.

As I ran, I reflected on my current exercise program and a thought came to me. At first, I brushed it aside as ludicrous. As I continued my run, the thought persisted. I let it bounce around in my mind for a while, thinking of all the reasons I should ignore it. If I put that thought into writing, it would be a commitment I was not sure I was ready to make. By the time I ended my run (4 miles later) I knew it wasn’t leaving. The thought had planted itself firmly in my brain and had nestled down in a nice cozy corner, unwilling to leave.

As I sit here, typing away my post for the day, I am still unsure as to whether I should put that thought in writing. If I do, it will be a major commitment on my part. It would also require participation on your part (as a reader), if you are willing.

(Five minutes have passed as I continue to sit here contemplating…”Do I or don’t I?”)

Okay, why not? The thought that persisted in my mind this morning was that I should commit to Tony Horton’s 90 Day Challenge to do P90X for 90 consecutive days. Some of you may be thinking, “That’s no big deal.” If you are one of those, then you are not familiar with what that entails.

I completed Tony’s Power 90 program quite a few months ago. It was tough, but I did it. I started implementing some of the P90X routines and just about died. I still remember the first time I pulled out the P90X Ab Ripper disc. I thought to myself, “No problem. I can do this easily”. I had worked up to 200 crunches on the Power 90 program so I thought the P90X routine would be a snap. I could not have been more wrong! The P90X Ab Ripper routine is 10 times harder than the Power 90 routine. Needless to say, I have only completed some of the P90X programs and those have been sporadically tossed in, one at a time, here and there.

Committing to complete the entire program in 90 Days is like asking for a death sentence. I know that I will most likely be crawling to my grave, wanting to die, every day if I commit. I also know that I will need all of you (my readers) to pull me out each night and encourage me to continue. With that said, here is my proposal:

I will commit to completing Tony’s 90 Day P90X Challenge if I can get a commitment from you to follow my journey, and a promise that you will provide encouragement along the way. What I am asking for is 30 comments to this post (they must all be from different people). You must give me a reason as to why you think I should complete the challenge, and you must commit to offering support along the way. (If you want to be serious about following my 90 Day Challenge, you might even decide to sign up to receive email notifications of my daily posts. Hint-Hint.) By support, I mean that you will read the posts from my journey and provide encouragement through your comments.

What you will receive in return is the opportunity to watch me die, repeatedly, as I attempt to complete the challenge. You will get to read about my struggles and my successes (at least I hope there are some). I will be honest with you about each day’s workout. If nothing else, I hope you will be inspired. Who knows, in the end, you might just decide to try it yourself.

So, that’s it. Will you support me in this challenge? Do you even think I can do it? If you want to watch me try, then post a comment to this post telling me why you would like to see me complete the challenge. Then let me know if you would be willing to offer encouragement and support along the way through your comments to my posts. I cannot do this alone. I am going to need a lot of encouragement. If I receive 30 comments, from 30 different people, then I will commit. I would like to begin the challenge on February 1st (one week from today). Are you with me?

Running At Night Changed My Life

It was cold outside and the rain was coming down, bathing my face with soft gentle drops. I had decided to go for a walk that morning. I was feeling a bit down and needed to clear my head. My walk slowly turned into a run as I remembered the last time I had run. It had been years…

I awoke with a start to the sound of someone knocking on our front door. I lay in bed and listened intently to see who it was. I could hear my mom opening the door and the voice of the visitor. I knew immediately who it was. I squeezed my eyes shut and pulled the covers over my head, willing myself to fall back asleep. I could hear their voices getting closer as they approached the door to my room. “Please fall asleep,” I repeated over and over in my mind, trying desperately to do so. The door to my bedroom opened, but I did not move. I tried desperately to keep my breathing even so they would think I was still asleep.

“Get up and get dressed,” I heard my friend say. I lay motionless, praying they would think I was still asleep and leave. Without warning, the covers were pulled off my head and there stood my friend and my mom. I can still remember vividly, the look in my friends eyes as he said, “You can either get up and get dressed, or I will get you up and dress you myself.” One look into his eyes and I knew he was telling the truth. I turned to look at my mom, with pleading in my eyes, but she just looked at me as if to say, “I’ll let him do it, if that’s what it takes to get you out of bed.” Mortified, by the thought of him actually dressing me, I slowly got out of bed. “We’re going running,” he said as he walked out my door.

Running? Was he serious? That was the last thing I wanted to do that day. What I WANTED was to lay in bed forever and never get out. I was depressed, hurt, confused, angry, sad and so many other emotions. Running was the least of my concerns. But my friend knew all that. That’s why he was standing in my room demanding that I get out of bed.

As I dressed to go running, I thought about what had brought me to that point in my life. My older brother had passed away a few weeks before and I was still dealing with the grief and trying to make sense of it all. I missed him very much and was hurting like I had never hurt before.

My friend had been there with me through it all. I had met him the year before and we had developed a strong friendship with one another. He was there for me the night I discovered that my brother had passed away. He came and picked me up and we drove for hours as we talked, cried, and tried to understand. I could talk to him about anything. He would listen, then listen some more. He had the uncanny knack of knowing when I just needed to talk and when I wanted his advice. He was a true friend.

We did go running that day and he continued to come and get me just about every day, rain or shine. I could barely run a mile in the beginning. I would gasp for air and beg to stop. “No,” he would say. “Keep going. You can do it!” He pushed me. Running was easy for him. He was a marathon runner and could run 10 miles without even breaking a sweat (or so it seemed). I knew running with me was like walking for him. He never complained. He kept with me. Encouraging me and teaching me what he knew. I ran my first 5K that summer and it felt great!

After a few months of running, we found ourselves running side by side one night. It was late, after 10pm. We were running around the track of the local junior high. The weather was perfect. It was warm and the air was still. As we came around the corner of the track, we stopped and stood in awe. There before us, just above the trees, was the most beautiful moon I had ever seen. It was HUGE! I’d never seen anything like it. It looked as though it was close enough to touch. We both stood for a moment and drank in the beautiful sight, commenting on its beauty.

As we started to run again I felt the tears slip down my cheek.  I realized in that moment that instead of always looking down, I had looked up. What a glorious sight I saw before me. I realized then, that while my friend had been teaching me to run, it was not to run away from my pain, it was to run towards something better.

I realized in that moment, that life moved on. I could choose to cover my head, and wallow in self-pity, or I could get my butt out of bed, lace up my running shoes, and participate in the journey of life. The sun would continue to rise, and the sun would continue to set. The choice was mine as to whether I would participate in the journey.

My friend taught me some valuable lessons that year. He taught me that you need to pick yourself up when life gets you down. He taught me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, such as; sitting on the beach while tossing bread to the seagulls for the simple pleasure of watching them dive for it; stopping the car by the side of the road, just so you can capture a photo of a coyote foraging in the brush; eating watermelon in the backyard and having seed spitting contests; or simply listening to music for hours on end, while singing at the top of your lungs, just for the fun of it. He taught me to laugh again. He taught me to trust again. Most importantly, he taught me to have HOPE. Hope that life would get better. Hope that the pain would eventually ease. Hope that my heart would heal. Hope that I would feel completely whole again.

My friend saved me that year. He taught me what TRUE friendship is really all about. He knew my pain and knew that I was hurting. He cared enough to be gentle but tough. He wasn’t going to let me sleep my life away, he would do much better than that. He would teach me to LIVE again.

Eight months after my brother passed away my friend moved to Hawaii for a new job. It was with tears in my eyes, and a lump in my throat, that I said goodbye. I still remember the look in his eyes as we parted. It was a sad day for us both. My heart was breaking again for I knew I would miss him greatly. I think, deep down, we both knew that I would be okay, but it was still hard.

We kept in touch for a while, but life moves on. I have only seen my friend twice in the past 27 years but the impact he had on my life has remained. The lessons he taught me were invaluable later on in my life and critical to helping me endure and overcome trials. He will never know how important his friendship was to me during that difficult time of my life.

Friend, if you are reading this, “Thank You.” Thank you for saving me. Thank you for teaching me to laugh again. Thank you for making me feel like I was important, AND that I was worth saving. Thank you for teaching me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. May you know that YOU made a difference in someone’s life. MY LIFE. I will be forever grateful.