Friday, October 29

Says, Means and Hears

Thursday, October 28

The Weigh Things Go

I have had an interesting few days.
Tuesday, I was completely immobile, thanks to Bootcamp and my running spree. Seriously, the tops of my thighs were so tender it hurt to sit down and pee. So I took a rest day. Nothing major, just enjoying the sound of the wind howling and my Netflix subscription.
Wednesday is where things got wacky.
I was doing really well until 11am. I got a hankering. A BIG hankering. And I broke.
I broke so badly in fact, that I not only ordered Dominos breadbowl pasta, but I threw in an order of Cinnasticks. (I told you it was bad.) And I sat there and ate it all.
As I sat on my couch, drowning in misery, guilt, and icing from the Cinnasticks, I felt that old way of life creeping in- overeating, mourning on the couch and dealing with it the next day.
Instead, I decided I was going to do something about it.
So Wednesday night, I went to work out with McMuscles again. I didn’t have too much strength, but I gave it all I had. I also did 3 miles on the YMCA’s exercise bike. And I started feeling better about things.
Then I came home, hung out with the family for a while, and once the kids were off to bed I headed to my brother’s house. He was feeling under the weather, so my nephews came along with old aunt Charlie for a nighttime run.
Of course, those boys in the prime of teenagehood, could have run a mile in 6 minutes or so. I at least doubled their time. But after learning I could go farther than I thought thanks to Bootcamp, I got to the end of my mile and WANTED MORE.
So we ran about another half mile. It wasn’t easy, but I pushed through it. Cause that’s the new me. The me that understands eating Dominos isn’t the end of the world, or even mean I should give up for that day.  It only means that I have to exercise and burn off as many of the calories that I can.
This morning, as I nervously stepped on the scale I was pleased to find that I had actually lost weight!!!
And as I thought about the day ahead… water aerobics, another weight lifting session with McMuscles, and a day of “thoughtful eating” I realized that my body is burning calories differently. It’s like a fire that is burning hotter than it ever has before. That is nothing but good news for me.
I think this new weigh of life is suiting me. It suits me just fine.
So that’s the midweek update. I’m still pressing on, and doing my best to keep up with the crazy schedule of my new life.
What are you guys doing this week to change things in your bodies?

Monday, October 25

Go tell it on the Mountain

Saturday, October 23

McMuscles and Me

Ladies and gentlemen (at least the ones who endure my talk about boobs and periods long enough to still be hanging around)-
I would like to introduce you to my new workout partner.
That’s not his real name, you know. But it’s really fun to say. And it’s pretty gosh darn appropriate. I mean, just look at him!

Yeah, he’s a big feller. And he has graciously offered to whip my fat butt into shape. (My words, not his)
Whipping my butt into shape consists of a whole new workout regimen for me, focused on taking advantage of my YMCA membership. Intense cardio (hence my newest affliction and challenge- Boot Camp and the evil-iptical, along with running along side my brothers), light cardio (water aerobics and walking with Tricky Nikki), and the piece de resistance of the YMCA experience- WEIGHT TRAINING.
This is not for the faint of heart, folks. Lifting weights is far tougher than I could ever have imagined.
Back in the days of my high school career, I remember spending a semester in the weight room. I’m pretty sure it was mandatory, but during my brief stint in the weight room at DHS I learned that I don’t like weight lifting. Boys were not the best audience to have around while I was trying to eek out bicep curls with the girlie weights. And that had tainted my view of ever winning the Miss Muscles of the Universe competition.
Now that I am on the (dare I say) final leg of my journey to get to goal- losing the weight, cause it’s a whole other ball of wax keeping the weight off, but I’m tackling one mountain at a time- I understand what my half schnockered phys. ed. instructor was telling me back in 1994.
In order to burn fat faster, you need to increase your muscle mass. And that requires heavy lifting. Of the dumbbell kind. And for that, I now have McMuscles to steer me in the right direction.
So we are in that “first date” phase of our new partnership- learning each other’s routines. Ok, he already knows his routine. I’m the one who is 20 years behind. I should have paid better attention in the high school weight room instead of fixing my hair in the mirror the whole period…
Anyhoo, it’s amazing to me how simply complex weight lifting is. Simple in the fact that it’s not step aerobics and requires no choreography. Something I am very thankful for. Complex in that it is really hard to keep proper form while lifting metal. Or rubber. Or whatever weights are made of.
One fantastic thing about McMuscles is his willingness to teach. And instruct. You can totally tell he’s married by his comments. Today he said “Not that what you are doing is wrong, but you might try it this way…” Mrs. McMuscles has trained him well!
Now, I know that some women may be uncomfortable working with a male partner. For me, having been raised in a house with 2 older brothers, and being prone to competitiveness in all things, working with McMuscles doesn’t scare me at all. In fact, I think I would work less hard if I had a female trainer. I’d pull the “we are bonded in sisterhood” card. No such moves can be made with this guy. My goal is to work my body like I never knew possible. And I think it’s gonna pay off in the end.
For the most part, I am learning that the testosterone filled side of the room is where I need to be. The side that grunts and sweats and suffers for 15 reps and then gets a drink of water. (Seriously. I love it.)  Most importantly, it’s where I am increasing my muscle mass so that I burn fat quickly. The more muscle you have, the faster the flabby parts melt away. And McMuscles is teaching me good form, exposing me to diverse routines and machines, and showing me that there is no reason for women to steer clear of the “big boy” weights.
However, there are some major differences between how a man and a woman work out. 2 big differences in my case. 2 big somethings that can’t be avoided. And that is really where today’s story begins.
The first night of working out with McMuscles, we worked on a machine that does some super intense leg presses. You lay down on the seat with your legs up in the air, and push a massive plate up with your feet. He told me that lots of women avoid that machine, but it’s a great “compound” exercise, meaning that it works several groups of muscles at the same time, instead of isolating one muscle- like a tricep. (See? I listen to people sometimes…) This compound exercise works hammys, calves, glutes, and a bunch of other leg muscles. The trick is to lower and raise the big plate type thing by bending your knees to your chest.
Yep, to my chest, which sticks 2 feet out from the rest of my body. Especially in my minimizing exercise bra.
So I had to try not to snicker as I am boob bouncing off my knees in front of my new trainer.
Today, however, I figured we needed to address the elephant in the room. Cause we were working on chest and arms. I kept avoiding the subject, and worked really hard to be on my best behavior. Finally I said “Sometimes things fall out of my mouth. They may be off color. I have a mouth on me. So I wanted to warn you.” I think this statement put us both at ease. He knew I was ok with laughing at myself, and before the day was over would probably laugh at him too. And then, like I perfectly timed orchestral crescendo, we came to this is the machine.
For your information, I am going to share the “normal” way a person is supposed to use this machine. You sit on the seat with your chest pressed up to the big pad, elbows resting on top of the pad, firmly grasp the handles in front, and pull the handles towards your face. That's what is supposed to happen.

Only I am physically incapable of using the machine in this manner. You may recall I had a similar problem while using the abdominal machine a while back. The big pad, short arms, and big boobs do not an easy workout make. My choices in this department are fairly limited. I can maneuver the girls under the big pad, which cuts off all oxygen to my body, and eventually I will slump over, causing a scene. Or I can pop those suckers right on top of the pad and half smother my own face. What was the lesser of two evils going to be? I didn’t have a clue, but was pretty sure we were about to find out.
As McMuscles was showing me how to do this machine (I might add that since he is Goliath, he put it on the max weight and did one arm at a time) I kept thinking to myself “He’s gonna do the math. He’s gonna figure out that this is gonna be awkward.” So I am standing there half smirking and trying not to giggle. Walk around with cups like mine and you learn to have a sense of humor about it.
After he had finished his reps he stood up and said, “Go ahead and give it a shot.”
By then, I was just beside myself, desperately trying to hold my laughter inside, at the risk of giggling till I peed in my Poise. And I sat down. The pink elephant in the room made a mighty roar.
Even as I scooted up to the proper spot on the machine, the girls kept me a foot away from being where I needed to be. It was like I was hugging watermelons and trying to get to the machine.
“I’m sure you see my problem here…”
Poor McMuscles. I’m sure he was questioning what he was really getting himself into with me. Out of respect, I didn’t look him in the eye, just became very clinical about our predicament.
“So I can do this…” shoving the boobs under the pad and into my stomach, “or I can do this…” laying them on top and hiding my face. “Suggestions?”
(It probably didn’t help matters that I was wearing a tshirt that said “Jesus loves you, but I’m his favorite” which was laying out on top of the machine…)
At that moment, I was kinda thankful my eyeballs were buried in my mammaries. I couldn’t see if he was embarrassed or shocked or amused. I just heard his response.
“I really don’t think it matters.”
So I kept them up top, and we went on with our workout. I really pushed myself, all jokes aside, and I’m pretty sure that tomorrow I won’t be doing anything with my arms. Just running with the brothers on some trails. Working on making it to a mile and a half.
And as for McMuscles and me? Our next workout is Monday night at the Y. And as long as we keep laughing, we are going to get along just fine.

Thursday, October 21

Boot to the Head Camp

Monday, October 18

Charlie VS The Woods (Take 2)

Needless to say, I'm a bit jumpy at the thought of ever entering the woods again. So when my big brother called and said he couldn't run tonight, but we could go run a trail right then, I mentally balked at the idea. Matt wasn't home this afternoon, so I had kids with me. Todd suggested my nephews could keep the kids busy while we ran.
He's always thinking about what is best for me (hoping to get a good story out of it) and convinced me that running a trail was a great idea. So I caved. And he picked up me and the kids.
We met my nephews at the state park, where they promised to go on a trail the boys had taken many many times. I stopped at the bathroom, realizing that I had forgotten to wear protection. (aka- an Always Infinity pad) So went ghetto and got a hunk of toilet paper, tucking it safely in my undies. Todd and I drove over to the trail and began our ascent up, walking at first. We always warm up first.

Pretty soon, we were past the mega hill, and ready to start running. Now, last week, I managed to eek out a mile in 11:21, but it was TOUGH. So we decided that we would take this nice and easy.

Unfortunately, nice and easy was far from the plan the trail had for us. It was rough. The terrain kept changing: up, down, up, rooty, up, flat, up, grassy, up, covered in piles of leaves... I was struggling to keep up. Worst part was that neither Todd nor I was familiar with the trail, so we had no clue how much longer it really was. Brought back lots of memories of the last time I was in the woods.

I'll be honest, I had to stop and walk several times. I have gotten better at knowing the usual route we run. I know where to slow the jog pace, where to speed it up. It's amazing how quickly the body adapts to something painful like running. But there in the woods, beautiful with the changing leaves and promise of beautiful fall weather, I was thinking one thing.


I know, this is probably silly. It wasn't like I was walking at the mall and peeing. I was working hard. Working new muscles from all the uphill distances. My arms and shoulders were beet red, a common occurrence when I run. So my bladder was the last thing on my mind. Until I realized the cheap state provided toilet paper was finished doing it's job. Had I had half a presence of mind, I would have looked behind me and observed a trail of toilet paper pieces, much like Hansel and Gretel left with bread crumbs. Worst of all, we were still jogging, with another mile to go.

With no barrier, I was forced to ignore the fact my pants were getting wetter with every running step. I had to figure out what to do. Keep running with a wad of soaked toilet paper in my drawers, or find a way to get rid of it?

I determined the best thing would be to lose as much of the soggy wad I could. I let Todd run around the next curve ahead of me, so I had privacy. Then I stopped, reached up my shorts, and tried to shake the toilet paper out doggie style (with one leg pumping). That didn't work, because the soaked TP was firmly stuck to my underwear. I finally reached into my pants, and pulled it out.


It turned into wet confetti in my hand. So there I was, in the woods, shaking off wet TP pieces off my hand like an idiot. Trying to hurry, because in order to catch up to my long legged brother, I was going to have to hustle. When the impromptu party in my pants was resolved as much as it could be, and the majority of the confetti was removed, I ran to catch up with Todd, which caused me to finish getting rid of what was left in my bladder into nothing but my shorts.

I felt like I was 5 years old all over again.

Sitting in my brother's van on the drive home I sat on one side of my hip, trying to keep the bulk of my wet shorts from touching his seat. I think next time I go to the woods, besides bringing emergency supplies, I ought to highly consider bringing a towel....

When it was all said and done, we ran at least a mile, walked another one, and also got to do step aerobics. Laundry is a great calorie burner.

Wednesday, October 13

By the Light of the Silvery (greyish) Moon

It started off as a normal Tuesday. My NEW normal is making Tuesday the night I wreck myself with ridiculous workouts. I have no idea why, it just feels like a good night to knock myself out into oblivion. And I did myself proud tonight. 8 miles, 2 pound weights in hand, and a “go get’em” attitude to beat the band with.
Walking has become my obsession. I love it. The first mile always hurts, because my legs are sore and tight. Mile 2, I start hitting the sweet spot- when I feel like I could walk all night. I start walking faster, more thoughtfully. Standing tall and proud. Mile 3 is when I start questioning if I will make it home unless I turn around soon, a notion I am learning to ignore. It also happens to be a little place I like to call “French Fry Alley.” All the fast food joints are on this mile. It pleases me to no end to smell all those places and know that I am finally stronger than that.
Mile 4 is when I ask the critical question:
Do I have to pee, and if yes, where is the closest bathroom?
Last night, the answer was yes, so I stopped at my church to pee. (I knew there were classes going on and people were there.) I knocked on the window of my minister’s office and shouted through the glass “can I come in to pee?” Poor guy. He shook his head laughing and let me in the building. Normally, I would have stopped to talk for a minute. But tonight, dripping with sweat and working off of old deodorant, I decided it was best for me to move along. I quickly peed and hit the road again.
The church having been my halfway point, I turned around and headed back home. My MP3 player blaring, I walked and wiggled and walked some more until I got back into French Fry Alley. My willpower starting to wane because of hunger, I decided this was a good place for me to jog. So I ran for an extended block, holding my 2 pound weights in each hand, pushing me forward. Because of traffic, I had to stop. And while I stopped I made another decision.
My hands hurt, and my arms needed a break. So I placed my hand weights in my fanny pack and kept moving. I keep my not-so-fashionable fanny pack rather loose so I can move it around as I need to. For fresh sticks of gum, repeating a song on the MP3 (something I am very prone to do) or to get a tissue so I can blow my nose if it’s chilly. But it was empty enough to put my weights in. Problem solved. And my arms were extremely grateful for some rest.
Until I encountered a new problem. I have to say I think my saving grace was it was dark last night. Because as my walk was going toward home, and I was lost in American musical theatre land, my weighted down fanny pack was slipping downward and hitting me in the goody patch.
This being quite uncomfortable, I turned it around so the big fanny pack part was resting on top of my fanny. And I kept hustling for a few more blocks. I thought it was odd that the fanny pack kept slipping down further and further. Apparently, my hips have shrunk quite a bit since the last time I adjusted the waist band. And pretty soon the fanny pack had slipped down to almost the bottom of my bottom.
Little did I realize what had also happened: it had taken my shorts down with it.
Yep, I was losing my drawers as I walked along the main drag in Danville. My booty hanging out for all to see the answer to a pressing question.
 Boxers or Briefs?
 (please, like I could stand boxers. I was wearing white boy cut shorties. Saying they were white is a stretch, though. More like grey- with a faint recollection of ever being white. I’m happily married and trying to lose weight. Underwear is not a priority. As long as they are clean and stay up. I’ll invest in my skivvy collection when I’m at goal.)
So there I am, bopping down a busy street, with my black workout shorts hanging down off my butt crack. Pretty soon, I stopped at the water fountain outside of Custard Cup to get my normal drink, and as I bent over the fountain, I realized I could feel a wonderful breeze. Unfortunately that breeze was not in a place I wanted to feel it and I realized my under-covered rear was on display. I grabbed the saggy fanny pack and tried to pull it back up. Which made me give myself an atomic wedgie because everything was falling down.
Standing next to the Custard Cup (which is now closed for the season), I began pulling. I pulled the weights back out of the fanny pack. Pulled up the shorts. Pulled out the wedgie. Pulled the last bit of pride from the ground. I was practically stripping on the main drag of my hometown. I’m not proud, but it happened.
You may think that the moral of the story is to not put your weights inside your fanny pack. Perhaps it is.
But most importantly, I learned that I have lots of gravitational pull on this earth.
Heck, I created a full moon!

Tuesday, October 12

Personal Ad

Looking for a TRAINER: Must have endless courage to deal with a whiney dieter who's tired of being stuck. Must be willing to work with flabby bat wings on arms that have extra skin from previous weight loss. Must be able to flatten stomach, while ignoring outcries of discouragement by said stomach's owner, who will tell you it's from having 3 kids. You must accept this, which she sees as truth, is a lie. Also, please be willing to be extra tough during workouts while dieter is fighting tooth and nail because she's afraid of pain. You must resist the urge to give in to her, despite her convincing desperate ramblings. If she cries, know this is a defense mechanism. Crocodile tears, nothing more. You must be willing to deal with 5 feet 4 inches of fury from time to time, especially 3 days a month. And finally, you have to be willing to call whiney dieter out on her crap. If interested, please contact me, Whiney Dieter. 
Last night, while at the YMCA with Tricky Nikki, we discovered this clever little kiosk sitting in the corner of the wellness center. And Nik and I, being total suckers for gadgets (Nik owned the shock belt for your abs and I own 3000 exercise DVDs and have more “bands” than I know what to do with) gleefully signed up. It’s a program through the YMCA called Mobile Fit. And we are now proud members.
What shocked me was the number of questions they asked on the little automated screen. Health questions, likes and dislikes, weight and ability, etc.. But there was one question that really tripped my trigger.
“Have you ever started a diet/exercise program and then quit?”
That question took me off guard. I wasn’t expecting it. And while my pride took a look around the room to see if the moral police was watching me so I could say NO, I realized that anyone with half a brain could read 3 posts of mine here on the Al Gore invented internet, and know I was lying my fat butt off.
Because for just a moment, let’s look at all the things I have started and stopped over the life span of this blog.
Weight Watchers
Fat Girl Yoga (which I still do, actually- win one for Charlie)
Broccoli for dinner (a gassy mistake, to be sure)
Colon Cleansing (with a special appearance from Frank the hemorrhoid)
Wake Up with Fitness (the 6am class Tricky Nikki and I hit for a month)
Couch to 5k
Pink Hair
LOTTE BERK METHOD (My legs still tremble at the thought of her)
Swimming a mile
The Turkey Tutorial (which we may be doing again this year. Now that I have a better camera!)
Jillian’s 30 day dread. I mean shred. Either way…
The introduction of Domino’s bread bowl pastas
And folks, that is just 2009.
I am the queen of stop it and quit it. (Ironically those are the names I have given the girls. Thanks to high school boys with grabby hands, that’s all I ever said about them for 4 years. “Stop it. Quit it.”) I start things, but never seem to finish them. I can’t do something consistently for 30 days. I can’t keep up things for a long period of time. That’s just not who I am.
But who I am is changing. Who I am is no longer Charlie who hopes for the best. It’s now Charlie who is WORKING for the best. Eating better. Working out more consistently. Fighting to be the person she has never been before.
So what was my answer for that nosey little kiosk? I said “Yes, I have started and stopped programs.” Because I can’t lie about that.
But I can change it.
Tonight is the night that I walk. I’m planning to get 7 miles in. But something has to give. I have to break my own will and spirit to become the girl who knows that anything is possible. Even losing 100 pounds. And I’m well on my way. Sure, I’ve been sidetracked for a while, but that’s all part of my process. The process to wean the old me out of the new me.
And now I have help. Turns out you are given a “wellness coach” to help you along the way. And I still need to check with the fellow I have been given- to see if he’s prepared for full disclosure on the blog. (Some people are funny about that) But if he’s willing to go through this part publicly with me, then we are all in for a real treat. He’s got a body builder no-nonsense attitude. In fact, the reason I picked him was because I had a list of names on the screen and he was at the wellness center desk.
I asked him “Who will train me really hard, and not listen to any of my excuses or take crap from me?”
He kinda grinned and said, “There are 3, and I’m one of them.”
Plus, he asked what my goals are, and LISTENED to me. That is worth spades in my book and on my blog.  I think a body building trainer might be exactly what this whiney- diet- cheating- flabby- girl needs in her workout life right now. If he says yes to full disclosure, we will have to think up a good nickname for him.
The idea of having a trainer is something I have toyed with for a long long time. And now, it looks like it's just what I need to push me over the edge of my comfort zone and into something tone and fit, and maybe even a size 6. I really like that.
So tonight, if you see a girl bebopping down the main drag of Danville with blonde pigtails and sweating like a pig, you should honk and holler cat calls out the window. I’ll know it’s you.
(And to the gal who I saw last night at the YMCA who reads my blog??? I can’t thank you enough for reading! I’m sorry that I don’t remember your name (I’m bad with real names) but I really appreciate you saying something. It made my night! I worked twice as hard because you were there!!! My arms hurt like mad, but my heart is light! I can’t wait to have a real conversation with you sometime!)
Let’s go out there today, kicking fat butt and taking names. It is ON!!!!!!!!!!!

Have any of you invested in a personal trainer before? If so, how were your experiences?

Monday, October 11

The Sky is Falling!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m not exactly sure what has gotten into me lately.
I seem to be fighting against something I can’t see. Something so deep inside of me I never realized it was there. I am fighting to get back something I had lost a long time ago as a child and have never seemed to find until now.
I’m fighting for self control.
And if you think this is one of those posts where I’m going to whine and cry about how I blew it over the weekend, you are going to be disappointed, because it isn’t like that. I am fighting for self control by actually having it- a novel concept in my world- and getting rid of my Chicken Little attitude. And it’s a great feeling!This weekend, I walked, I ate well, I walked some more.
And then I ran. A whole mile without even stopping to power walk. I even surprised my big brother, I think.
But I wanted to do it. Sure it hurt like h-e-double-hockey-sticks, yet I kept wanting to go just one more block. Just keep jogging to see what would happen if I did. To see what was on the other side of that elusive rainbow of fitness I keep looking for but never seem to find…
So when it started to burn, and my legs were clomping forward in utter agony, I just reminded myself “I can do anything for 12 minutes” and kept going. I knew as long as I didn’t stop we would make it by 12 minutes.  And we did. Right now I’m not too worried about speed. I’m worried about giving up. Cause that’s what I always seem to do when the going gets painful.

Yet last night, running in the warm Indian summer evening air, the last thing I wanted to do was give up!!! And that is the first time in a long while I have felt like that. There’s an internal fire burning that wasn’t there before. It’s not about running either. It’s about being in control of my physical destiny. Taking charge of my own abilities instead of listening to my mind saying “STOP! Don’t go here! It’s painful and scary!” That voice no longer holds the megaphone in my head.
So I may be a disgruntled runner- a frustrated dieter- a person who has never swam these frightening waters before. But my goal is to get to the land of 160’s before Thanksgiving. As of this morning, I am 7 pounds away from that goal. Much better than my 180s from last week. 177 looks and feels good, especially knowing how I got it.
And here’s how I got it:
I am no longer eating like I am on a “diet,” but am eating like I intend to live for the rest of my life. Portion control. Stopping when I am full. Not counting carbs or calories. Just learning how to skip out of the clean plate club and say ENOUGH.
Walking as often and as much as I can. Last week I got 25.5 miles in. with 2.5 miles of that being attempts to jog. One full mile of running. (GRIN)
By asking God to retake control over my diet life. Not everyone has to take this step, but for me it’s important. In fact, it’s more important than eating right and exercising. When He is in control of me, amazing things happen.
And finally, by learning that pain is NOT the enemy. In fact, it just might be my friend. We have all heard it said that when your muscles want to give up, that’s when real change happens. I think there might be something to this after all, and it may not be the hogwash I once thought it was!
So what should you do? Stop being afraid of the unknown. Oh sure, your heart is going to pound outside your chest with fear, and you will second guess yourself constantly. But take a lesson from this Chicken Little. Do it, and you will figure out it isn’t the sky that is falling.
But the scale will!!! And before you know it, you are one step closer to being a Foxy Loxy!

(Quick update- I just took my measurements for the first time in 2 months. I have lost an overall 9 INCHES!!!! (2.25 on my hips and 1.75 on my waist! LOVE THAT FEELING!!!!)

Saturday, October 9

A Mad Walkin' Fool

So I have to tell you guys, not much is breaking on the weight loss front. I'm hanging on to my 179 (at least I still was this morning) and I'm doing my best to eat moderately. That's all I can do. I'm sick of thinking about dieting, so I'm no longer eating like I'm "on a diet." I'm eating until I'm satisfied, and stopping when I've had enough. Plus Mother Nature is pummeling me this weekend, so I couldn't give 2 hoots about being a success. I just want to get through the weekend without bouncing up too much.

However, I have been walking frequently, every night or every other night. And I have been hitting 6 and 7 miles consistently. Plus Todd and I are going to continue our 1 mile jog on Sunday and Wednesday nights. At the moment, while the kids are still on fall break, I have to do my walking when Matt comes home in the evenings. But once the kids go back on the 18th, I will be back in full force, going for workout overload.

Tonight, I am giving thanks for my oversized bottle of advil and my coke zero that's waiting for me in the fridge. Because tonight, after dinner, I went for a walk and it was rough. I could only eek out 5 miles tonight, but I carried my handweights for the first time in a long while. The 3 pounders. My arms feel like they are going to fall off. So I figured I better write this post before they do! It was a hard walk, but I did my best to keep my steps consistent with my music. I was also thankful for the slow songs... VERY THANKFUL! I'm sure I looked ridiculous mouthing the words to every song along Danville's busiest street on a Saturday night like a nerd, sweating my butt off. But I didn't care. I was working on me. People can laugh if they want. But if I keep doing this, they won't be laughing much longer!

I hope everyone is having and inspiring weekend, and working hard to achieve their dreams. Tell me, what are you doing this weekend to ???

Thursday, October 7

The Running of the Bull

So last night, I gave my first attempt at running. Jogging.

My big brother, Todd (proprietor of Fine Music and Hot Sauce) , has been a pseudo runner for quite some time now. For the past 2 years, he has been trying to get me to take a night jog with him. And until last night, I always declined. But something deep within my dieter self snapped, and I realized that I wanted to run. I wanted to hurt, to push, to give birth to a new way of life.

So I causally mentioned I was going to go for a jog/walk last night while listening to his latest track of the song “Some Other Year” from his band, FP.

And I saw that light in his eyes that I have seen so many times in my 33 years of life.

It was the light of “friendly competition.”

When Todd and Jason and I were growing up, we were usually cooking up some form of chaos. My mother once got a phone call saying “Do you know where your children are?” to which Margaret the Saint replied “They are upstairs.” To which the friendly neighbor replied “Yes, up on your roof.”

We went through babysitters like they were toilet paper. After 1 night of watching the Reynolds Rascals, one babysitter left us high and dry and chaperone free. Looking back, I can’t blame her. As she was tucking me into bed, like a good babysitter should, my brothers popped out of the attic doors in my room, wearing Halloween masks shouting they were going to steal the babysitter’s soul. The babysitter ran out of my room and right out our front door. We never saw her again. We perfected our swearing techniques, practicing all the foul words we had ever learned on cable, while we had rubber band gun fights in the living room while Margaret the Saint went to the store. We had sockball fights late in the night, which were not limited to wet-then frozen- sockballs. Many spankings and groundings occurred while I was growing up along side my brothers.

Now that we are older, our shenanigans are much more mature and well planned. We went on a family trip to Lake Shelbyville, and all the boys were sleeping in a tent right outside our cabin. About midnight, with the blessing of my dear Gma Bush (who had planted the idea in my head, mind you), I snuck outside and stood next to their tent with a large piece of aluminum foil. I shook the foil and started screaming. The “men” including my brother, my husband and my nephews, started screaming like little girls and jumping out of the tent. I couldn’t do a thing except stand outside in the crisp cool night next to the tent- peeing right there on the ground full force because I was laughing so hard.

So when the light of “friendly competition” began blazing anew, who was I to turn it down?

You all know that I jogged a little bit on Monday night with Tricky Nikki. And while it was a little more spread out, I did OK. But when Todd asked how far I thought I could go, I had no idea what to say. And finding me speechless is a miracle in itself. So Todd had me exactly where he wanted me.

“I’ll go with you. I’ll go slow, cause I haven’t run for about 3 weeks.”

“Sure, why not!” I replied. If I had turned him down, he would have called me a chicken.

Leaving their house to go change my clothes and mentally prepare for running, I told Julia (Todd’s wife and my BFF) what the plan was. And she got HER look. The look I have seen several times in our 20 year friendship. The look of “You have no idea what you are getting yourself into, but for the sake of humor I’m gonna let this thing play out.” She gives me that look long and often.

Then I went home and told Matt what the plan was. “I’m going to go run a mile with my brother.”

Matt kept watching the TV and just snickered.

Exactly ½ hour later, I was standing back at my brother’s door, praying for every ounce of grace and mercy sweet baby Jesus could spare. My bladder was empty, my mind was overly optimistic, and I was ready to run.

Now, my brother is a little over 6 feet tall. He has more legs than a bucket of chicken. I am a mere 5’4” while wearing shoes. I am short armed, short legged, and big boobed. Nature was on his side, not mine. But we chit chatted as we walked 4 blocks to warm up. Then we came to the Woodlawn Hill. The hill we lived on as kids growing up. The hill that I hated going up on my bike as a pudgy child.

“You ready? Once we get to the top of the hill, it gets easier.”
G  U  L  P
“I’m ready.”

And my big brother, who I was sure was going to laugh at me while running, did something wonderful. He turned into the caring big brother who had my back.

“You can do this. Let’s go.”

And we jogged up that hill. We jogged and jogged and just about the time we hit the crest of Woodlawn Hill, I switched to a power walk. I had no choice. But my brother didn’t laugh.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah, just need to catch my breath.” But I didn’t stop moving.
And pretty soon, I figured I better start jogging again. Todd was trying to help me learn to control my breathing, but at that moment I was unable to control anything. It HURT. But I kept going, because I wasn’t alone.
Everytime I thought we were going to finally head back towards the house, Todd kept turning. In the wrong direction. Of course, it was exactly where he wanted to go, as he has a 1 mile running course set, but as my side was searing in pain, I ignored my homeward bound bearings and followed the big guy. He would not have a reason to make fun of me that night.

Every few minutes, I had to power-walk to keep from collapsing, but other than that, I pushed myself. I pushed and pushed. And pretty soon, Todd asked “Do you want to know where the mile ends?”
“Nope, I just want to get there.”

And as it turned out, we were 3 blocks away from the stop sign that ended our jog. And about ½ block away from it, I had to finish the mile in a swift walk. But ultimately, we did a 12 minute mile.

Todd is used to his little pain in the rumpus sister playing the victim card and giving up when things are hard. It’s what I usually do. I fill the air with excuses and bullcrap that makes me feel better about quitting.

But last night, I didn’t. I kept thinking about all those people on the biggest loser that weigh a lot more than I do and learn to run. I thought about my friend Shannon, who perseveres through hard times by running until she can’t feel her legs anymore. And I wanted to be like them. I wanted to know that I achieved something I thought I could never do. RUN away, but end up at the finish line where you belong.

And as we walked (I was limping) back home, with a hot poker stabbing me in the side and legs asking “WTFreak just happened?” I felt pretty good. Eventually the muscles screaming in revolt stopped, and I was able to enjoy the fact that I had run a 12 minute mile with my big brother by my side.

And even better was knowing the fact that I had just earned some SERIOUS bragging rights.

I ran a 12 minute mile. And that's no bull.

Tuesday, October 5

Charlie and the Track ABOVE

Tricky Nikki has a way of getting me to do things. I have no idea how she does it, I only know that she is my greatest catalyst when it comes to dieting.

So last night, she and I met at the YMCA while her kids were at their assorted lessons. And it was our intention to walk our hearts out.

Now, the YMCA has a track that is above the gymnasium where they hold lessons for gymnastics. It’s a about 2 stories up in the air, where you can look down at the children, who are jumping and vaulting and parallel baring below us. My niece was one of those children.

Meanwhile, at the ABOVE, there is a small track where 28 laps equals a mile. So it’s tiny. But that isn’t the issue I had with the above track. The above track has netting to keep you from falling over the railing onto the sweet little gymnasts below. You are surrounded by netting, except for a foot at the bottom, where it is still open. And if you walk closest to the open foot part, there is nothing but your good balance and common sense keeping your foot from falling through the gaping hole.

At first, the hole didn’t bother me so much. Perhaps it’s because the tiny metal staircase was holding my attention. The tiny metal staircase that looks like this…

…except without the frilly style railing and quaint background. It’s not nearly that pretty. Just functional. And it’s kinda creepy to climb up it. Which got my heart racing to begin with, and that is the goal of exercise. I was thinking how odd it was that the YMCA, so clean and bright had an Addams Family staircase in such a modern facility. And that’s when we started walking. So I wasn’t thinking about the big hole my foot could potentially fall through.

In fact, what I was really thinking about is knuckle-headed me signed up for a running 5K at the FitBloggin’ 11 conference that I am speaking at. I have 7 months to learn how to run 3 miles without lungs collapsing or my calves spontaneously combusting. (I have nightmares of those exact scenarios, trust me.) And Tricky Nikki has been talking about the fact that she has been jogging on the above track for about a month. (I think she was really frustrated after we tried to jog at the Shamrock Run this past St. Patricks Day… with disaster not far behind.)

So Nik is determined that WE WILL RUN. And I know who I’m dealing with on this. I’m sure she has a 7 month plan lined out on her huge calendar with steps to get my fat butt running. That girl can do anything she sets her mind too.

We started walking round and round the tiny above track, looking down on my sweet niece perfecting her back handspring. We got through the first mile with no problem. And that was when I asked the innocent question.
“So you usually jog up here?” said Charlie.
“Yeah, I have normally run 11 laps by now.” And the look of the triple dog dare was dancing in Tricky Nikki’s eyes.
“I think I could jog a little.”
“OK, we will start when we pass the clock.”

And we did. We jogged and jogged and jogged. 7 laps in total. (Which for me is a miracle.) But the benefit of running with Nik is that neither of us wants to be the first to admit defeat. So we push each other further than we would normally go. It’s a phenomenon we discovered down in the workout room last year.

Once we finished those laps, I realized that I was unprepared to be a runner that night. I had neglected to put on any sort of bladder protection- AKA a poise pad. And my sweat pants were going to become wet pants if I didn’t hurry down the Addams Family staircase and run to the bathroom.

When I returned, there was Nik, jogging her little heart out. And she said “I’m going to go pee now. I ran 5 laps while you were gone.” (Obviously, a veiled triple dog dare…)

Not to be outdone by my skinny counterpart, I decided I was going to jog as much as I could while she was heading to the can. And jog I did. I jogged and felt the fires of lack of oxygen burning my lungs and calves.

It was during this moment that I stepped one step too close to the gaping hole that goes straight down to children flipping and twirling below and my foot narrowly missed the hole. By mere centimeters. For some reason however, my mind didn’t see things happening that way. My mind went ahead and played out the entire event of what would have happened if I had fallen, not accounting for my size 14 hips being too wide to fall through the opening. No, my brain processed my entire body falling through a hole no bigger than a shoe box, and landing on the balance beam below, and terrifying little gymnasts below from ever being properly balanced again.

The realization of how close my right foot came to falling did WONDERS for my aching body, as the endorphins kicked in and I was given a second wind. Which I used to run a total of 5 laps on the most middle portion of the track, away from treacherous holes, and then swiftly walked another 3 before Tricky Nikki returned.  

By the time I left, we had cranked out 4 miles, having proudly jogged a total of ½ mile, and I left Nik upstairs to continue running (and potentially falling) without me.

It’s no wonder all night I dreamt about falling…

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