Slowing Down

As I mentioned in my last post, it was a huge disappointment to end up with a severe ankle sprang just a few days before what is one of the most important races of the year for me.

I spent the first week after my injury wallowing in my mire and eating lots of chocolate.  I tried to continue with my 10,000 steps a day, but it soon became obvious that this was more than my ankle could tolerate right now.  The doctor kept telling me, “You’re going to have to lay off.”

The first thing I did was to cut my daily step goal in half to 5,000 steps.  This is equal to a couple of walks around the block each day, which is enough to make my ankle feel better, but also enough to make it want to swell.  I’ve also been concentrating on my eating.  No more chocolate and back to Bright Line Eating.

This time of year is always a big switch in schedules for me.  Our running group has quit meeting three days a week and it’s now back to school time, so there’s a big switch up in our daily activities anyway.  This year’s switch up has been bigger than expected.

I started a project last summer of going room by room, closet by closet, and drawer by drawer getting rid of things we no longer need or use.  We have gotten rid of so much “stuff” and have so  much more that needs to go.  I’m continuing that project as I can.

The time that I spent running in the past is now spent doing strengthening exercises for my ankle every day.  I’ve discovered that they can easily be done while sitting in the recliner with the footrest up, so that makes them more comfortable and enjoyable.  After those are done in the morning, I then spend time getting my electrodes placed and then wrapping my foot in some way to help keep them in place.  I use a TENS unit all day every day, 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off.  Yes, these are my electronic shock treatments.  At night I’m sleeping with a compression sock to help with the swelling and a brace which immobilizes my ankle and helps with the pain.

I’ve had to face one of my biggest fears:  If I stop running or exercising, I’ll never start again and go back to being a couch potato.  I’ve finally decided that this is not true.  Where I am now is temporary.  I’ll do what I can, slowly increasing my activity, until I’m back to where I was.  It will probably take months, but that’s ok.  There’s nothing like having goals to work towards!

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever
circumstances I am.  Philippians 4:11

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Finished

Just as this past week was the end of summer for most, it was also the last week and big finale for our Couch to 5K group.  The last week we do a taper down, which means we back off on our running so we can run with fresh legs for our 5K.  The 5K our group was to run was the Bill James 5K/10K Classic on September 9.  This is the same run our group finished with last year.

Monday’s run was a little odd because we met two hours earlier than usual due to it being a holiday.  Tuesday night, we met at our regular time.  To show the newbies how far we’ve come, our coach had us do the running schedule from day one which was run for one minute and walk for 90 seconds.  We did this several times, and our mileage ended up being right around a mile.

I went home that evening and looked at my Fitbit to realize that I had 9,000 steps in.  I told my family that I was going to go walk around the block in an effort to break the 10,000 step barrier.  It was starting to get dark.  My daughter was concerned about my walking in the dark.

I went around the block at a quick pace.  It was getting late, and I wanted to finish and get to bed.  I was about 3/4 of the way around the block and was walking on the street on a stretch where there is no sidewalk.  I looked to my right to a group of people talking, and at that time my foot went half off the pavement and half on the curb.  I completely rolled my ankle and felt it pop.  I almost fell, but managed to recover.

My first thought was, “Oh, no.  This is really bad.”  However, I continued to walk and amazingly enough didn’t have a lot of pain.  I immediately went home and put some ice on it.

The next morning, walking around the house wasn’t too bad.  I decided to put my shoes on and try to do some walking around my neighborhood.  That was a completely different story.  It was very painful.

I decided to pay a visit to my sports injury doctor.  X-rays revealed that the tendon on my fibula has pulled some of the bone away.  The official diagnosis is that I “sprang the heck out of it.”

This, of course, was a huge disappointment.  Not only did I have a race coming up in three days, it was the big finale for our Couch to 5K group!  This was an event that I wasn’t going to miss, so I decided to focus on what I could do instead of what I couldn’t do.

I went ahead and went to the race with electrodes attached to my ankle and compression socks to help not only keep the swelling down but to also help wrangle the cords.  When I arrived, I went to the registration table and asked them to change my registration to the one mile walk.  I knew there was no way I could even walk three miles, but I was convinced I could walk one.

The race started, and everyone quickly left me in the dust.  I hobbled along the best I could.  This race was an out and back.  By the time I got to the turn around point, I was meeting 5K runners.

I did the best I could for that day.  I walked the one mile and had plenty of 5K runners pass me along the way.  I borrowed my daughter’s pompoms and spent the rest of my time cheering my fellow team members across the finish line.  For some this was their first race ever.

For now, running and anything else that requires being on my feet is on hold.  I’m finished.

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
  II Corinthians 12:10

OD5K: Officers Down 5K

We had a great time on August 26 running the Officers Down 5K.  This was the first year for our community to host this event.  Here is their mission from their website:

It is our mission as The Officers Down 5K to celebrate officers who put their lives on the line daily to keep our communities safe and honor those who have fallen in the line of duty. While officers give to the community on a daily basis, it is now our time to give back.

Officers Down 5K was founded in 2011 with a goal to bring the community together on “just a day” rather than just when an officer is killed, to show support to the men and women in blue.

The race did not start until 10:00 am, so packet pickup was the morning of the race.  This was a disappointment.  I prefer to pick up my packet the day before so that I have everything, including my bib, ready to go before the race.  Packet pickup also is usually near the actual event, so that gives me a chance to preview the race route.  Instead, a friend and I made a special trip out the day before the race to preview the route.  It reminded me of the last race we did on July 4, so I felt like I really knew what to expect.

Since the race had a late start, I was able to get up on race day and eat a full breakfast!  After breakfast, I got ready for the race and went ahead and headed down to the event.  I arrived by 8:30, and decided to do some walking before the race.  I’ve been walking lately before my runs and I do think it makes a difference.  The event took place in a large parking lot, so I made several laps around.  After 9:00 rolled around, more people and friends and relatives started arriving, so we congregated and chit chatted.

The opening ceremonies began with the Star Spangled banner.  Then there was the kids’ fun run.  Once the kids were done, it was our turn.

The race was a simple out and back, which I like.  At least on the way back, you have a good sense of how far you’ve gone and how far you have to go.  I immediately noticed that their mile markers seemed to be a little long.  Whether or not that would effect the entire race, I didn’t know.  I’ve participated in races where the mile markers were off, but the entire course overall was accurate.

Fortunately for us, we have had a mild summer, and particularly the last month.  It was 65 degrees when I got up and about 70 degrees when the race started.  That is unheard of this time of the year.  Often in August, we don’t see 70 degrees, not even as a low for the day.

Unfortunately, with the race starting at 10:00, that put the sun right overhead bearing down on us.  It made the run very warm, but tolerable.  Besides that, it was a typical city-street run with your gradual hills rolling up and down.

Since this race was not timed, and the course seemed to be long, I kept an eye on my pace and my time.  At the 3.1 mile mark, my time was 40:55, which is what I’m recording for this race.  This would be an unofficial PR for me!  My average pace overall was 13:08, which is very good for this old, slow lady.  (Let’s not mention that there were officers running in full uniform that finished long before I did!)

All participants received finishers’ medals.  After the race we were given sack lunches from two different local restaurants!  There was a raffle for some gear, and we got to see a K-9 demonstration.  We also got some really cool swag at packet pick up.

With the damage from Hurricane Harvey there’s a lot of focus on giving and donating to good causes.  Participating in some kind of run each month, regardless of the distance, is a great way to give to causes you deem worthy.  That’s why you won’t see me doing “fun runs.”  Some months have more runs to choose from than others, but I try to choose runs that benefit organizations that I am comfortable giving to.

But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.  Matthew 6:3-4

Gone Fishing

I’ll be back next week.

Totality Awesome!

This past Monday was a once in a lifetime total eclipse.  We were fortunate enough to live right in the path of totality!  We’ve been preparing for this day (August 21, 2017) for a few months now.

We were told that the protective glasses would sell out so to order early.  I ordered my glasses in early July.  I made sure we had enough for the extended family and was glad that we were all prepared.  Then, about eight days before the eclipse, I got an email from Amazon.com saying that our glasses could be fake and not to use them!  So, we went into search and find mode at that point.  Everyone in town was sold out, but someone told my husband that Menards might have some.  He gave Menards a call, and he was told that they had 500 glasses in stock.  I couldn’t help but think that something wasn’t right if everyone else was sold out, but Menards had plenty.

My husband went to Menards, located the glasses, but could not find a manufacturer on the glasses.  He gave me a call and we were talking about it on the phone.  He even sent me a picture of the glasses, but all he could find on them was “Made in China.”  A passerby heard my husband talking to me on the phone.  He was a science geek and understood our concern.  He told my husband that he lived close by and had bought a package of 50, so he would be glad to let us buy some from him at $2.50 a pair.  They were made by one of the companies listed as safe by AAS, so we thought he should snatch them up.  So, yes, my husband entered the home of a total stranger to buy our solar eclipse glasses!

We did some research to find out just when the eclipse would fall in our area.  We poked around NASA’s website which was full of information.  We did some reading.

IMG_20170821_114632861.jpg
Sporting our one-of-a-kind, designer t-shirts.

Cinderella made multiple trips to Grandma’s to make several solar eclipse t-shirts for extended family members.  They came out really nice.

My mother and I reminisced about the 1979 total eclipse.  I was in school that day, and it was only a partial eclipse for our area.  If there were viewing glasses at that time, we didn’t know about it.  We made the cardboard shadow boxes and went outside during the eclipse to view it in our shoeboxes.  I’m not sure what was more exciting, actually seeing the eclipse or the fact that my shoebox really did what it was supposed to.

We watched a couple of videos.  We thought this one did a great job of explaining the various stages of the eclipse.  I also downloaded the Solar Eclipse Timer app.  It was totally worth the $1.98 that I paid for it.  It gave you an audio warning of the various stages of the eclipse and told you what to look for.  The developer did a great job making this app.

We were fortunate that we could watch the whole thing right from our front yard.  It rained and rained all morning, but it stopped raining and cleared off ten minutes before the eclipse started.  We dawned our eclipse t-shirts and glasses and went outside right before C1.  The app counted down to contact time, we looked at the sun with our glasses, and really didn’t see anything.  We noticed what we thought might be a little indentation in the upper right hand corner of the sun and thought that might be it.  As we waited and watched, the indentation became bigger and bigger.  The big moment was finally here!

It would be nearly an hour and a half before totality, but we were able to occupy our time with occasional looks at the sun and observing our surroundings.  The lighting became dimmer and dimmer, but it was different than how the light gets dimmer at dusk.  It was almost like the bad lighting of a soap opera.

At about fifteen minutes before totality, we walked around the corner and up to the top of a hill.  There is a vacant field there and we wanted to have a good view of the 360 degree sunset.

It got quieter and quieter.  By the time totality arrived the temperature had dropped several degrees, the birds had stopped chirping, the squirrels were quiet, the crickets started chirping, and small children had put themselves to bed.  (It was wishful thinking, anyway).

Once totality was here, we were able to take our glasses off and look directly at the sun.  The view of the sun’s corona was amazing, and something no camera could ever truly capture.  It was very, very dark as if it were early nightfall.  The street lights came on.  It was truly an incredible event.

We had totality for two minutes.  Once C3 started, we had to put our glasses back on to look at the sun again.  The sun was a sliver once again, our surroundings slowly became lighter and brighter.  And within a few minutes, the sky became completely overcast and we were no longer able to view the eclipse.  We felt so grateful to not only be in the path of totality, but to also view as much as we did considering the weather.  It rained for the rest of the day and throughout the night. There was record flooding all across town.  We received a total of eleven inches of rain that day!

Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
Isaiah 40:26

Bright Line Eating

Bright Line Eating is a lifestyle routine created by Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson.  She recently published a book by the same name.  What makes this book interesting, is that it is written from an addict’s and scientist’s point of view.  Instead of talking about nutrition and how this is good for you and that is not, Dr. Thompson addresses how addictive sugar and flour is and how we need to break that addiction.  She even has an addiction susceptibility test that you can take on her website.

First she tells you her story of drug and alcohol addiction.  After getting clean and sober, she decided to study addiction.  Then she became a food addict and obesity set in.

After successfully conquering food addiction and obesity, Dr. Thompson has created her own food plan.  Except, that it’s much more than just a food plan.  Bright Line Eating is a lifestyle.

The idea is to make your eating automatic–to move the decision making of what you’re going to eat, how much, and when to another area of your brain so that no emotions are involved.  Just like you automatically do certain things every morning when you get out of bed–make the bed, brush your teeth, etc., –the idea is to automatically plan and prepare your meals.  The decision was made the night before, now all you have to do is eat it!

Bright lines are lines that you don’t cross.  The four bright lines are:

  1. No sugar:  no sugar or sweeteners of any kind.
  2. No flour:  no flour of any kind.
  3. Meals:  three meals a day, no snacks, bites, licks, or tastes.
  4. Quantities:  all food is measured.

Dr. Thompson also covers a myriad of topics and situations to keep you on track.  She recommends having a buddy that you can text or call when you’re about to go off your food plan.  She covers situations such as restaurants, traveling, and parties.  She also covers what to do should you break your bright lines.

Dr. Thompson also recommends things such as meditation, journaling, and a nightly check-off list.  There is also an 8-week boot camp and online support groups.

You do not have to be overweight or wanting to lose weight to benefit from this book.  This book could be helpful to anyone wishing to get their eating habits under control.

I have been following the Bright Line Eating plan the last few weeks and have been steadily losing weight.  This is a great feeling after maintaining my weight for the last year.  Following this program has taken away the worry of ‘what am I going to eat?’, ‘how much?’, ‘am I eating enough?’, ‘am I eating too much?’, etc.  Overall, I am now eating more food than I was before I started following the program, so I have never been hungry.  This is truly the simplest thing I’ve ever done.

A warning to you juicers, Dr. Thompson is not a juicing fan.  In fact, she is completely against it.  However, she does hint at customizing the program to fit you and coming up with your own bright lines.  That is what I have done.  I am following a 5:2 plan, where I am juicing two days a week.

I am also continuing to exercise even though Dr. Thompson recommends not exercising while trying to losing weight.  I know it completely goes against everything we’ve been told, but her reasoning for it makes sense.  Since I’ve been exercising regularly for a few years now and it is not something new that I’m trying to add into my life, I’m going to stick with it.

I recommend this book to anyone wanting to get their eating habits under control whether they are wanting to lose weight or not.  I found the science sited in this book very interesting.  I was expecting this book to merely be an introduction to Dr. Thompson’s program with a ploy to get you to buy more of her products, but it is not.  Everything you need to know is contained in the book.  With this book and a food scale, you’re set!

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. I Cor 10:31

Another Year, Another Birthday

Last week was my birthday, and as always, it was a time to reflect and ponder.

Am I where I want to be?  Not at all.  I had hoped to reach my weight goal by my birthday, but I am not there yet.  I have maintained my weight for the last year.  I still would like to lose 50 pounds.  I have a plan, and it is working, so I’m going to stick with it.

To look on the bright side of things, I have never felt better or been in better shape.  I’m exercising five days a week or so.  There’s always room for improvement, and my biggest competitor is myself.  I’m running with my running group three days a week.  That will come to an end in about a month, so I am trying to plan now how I will proceed after that.

Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting old!

Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.  Isaiah 46:4

What If . . .

What if . . .

there weren’t roofers at my house that day which caused me to park my car several houses down the street?

What if . . .

I hadn’t left my bluetooth headset in my car and had to walk several houses down to go get it?

What if . . .

the Dam Road was open and I ran the route I had planned?

Then . . .

I would’ve never heard as I passed a house in my neighborhood,

Ma’am?!

I stopped and saw a young mom putting her toddler in the car.

I’ve been watching you for a long time, and you look amazing!

I had just started a 4-mile run and hadn’t run anything over two miles for a couple of weeks, so these were good words to hear.

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

305 lbs. 5 People, 5 Tons of Baby Paraphernalia

Once the Couch to 5K program was over, it was over.  It was up to each one of us as to whether we were going to continue any kind of running or exercise regimen.

One of the ladies in the group, Marie, wanted to continue to run regularly, so several of us continued to meet once a week.  We met on Tuesday nights and would run an out and back that was about a two and a half mile run.  My daughter and I also started running together even though she runs at a much faster pace than I do.  She literally ran circles around me.

We continued to run in the evening because that fit our schedule.  As winter approached and Daylight Savings time came to an end, we began running in the dark.  Darkness was what brought my running to and end the winter before.  However, my daughter and Marie were determined that we were going to keep on keeping on, so we did.

We soon discovered how treacherous running on the sidewalks at night can be.  If there was an uneven spot in the sidewalk, I would find it and trip.  A few times my daughter caught me, a few times I fell palms down with my phone in my hand.  After a few incidents, I was blessed with a running belt as a gift.

Running at night was almost like it’s own little sport with it’s own equipment.  The year prior I had bought a reflective vest but hadn’t used it much.  It was now a necessity for every run.  I tried to wear bright-colored clothing along with a light–not only for my benefit, but for the benefit of oncoming traffic as well.  I eventually fell and got scraped up enough times on the sidewalk, that I started running in the street to avoid injury.

In October we did the Pumpkin Run at a farm.  It was my first off-road race, and it was tough going.  It was still a fun day with perfect running weather.

October also brought us a new granddaughter, this one belonging to my son and his wife.

It had come to the point that my job was detrimental to my health.  I gained a few pounds and was not feeling up to par.  I left in the morning before anyone else was up, and often came home after dark when everyone was winding down for bed.  I might as well have packed my bags and left for two days every week.  It was adding a lot of stress to the family, and they weren’t handling it very well.

Worse yet, I watched the drivers.  They were all battling diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and the list goes on.  Some were battling the physical that they’re required to take every two years.  To sum things up, their job was killing them.

I took a weekend off in October so we could take a trip.  My oldest daughter and granddaughter also went with us.  It was five people and five tons of baby paraphernalia, but we had a great time.  My daughter and I even did some hiking/walking on the trails where we stayed.

When we returned from our trip, I handed in my resignation.  I agreed to stay until the end of November if they were willing to let me stay.  I was very saddened because I liked my job and the people that I worked with.  My reasons for leaving had nothing to do with the job, but 100% to do with my personal life.

In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  Psalm 56:11

4 Miles on the 4th

We celebrated July and Independence Day with the CRMC 4-Mile run.  This was a 4 mile run in a small community, and the funds raised went to support their local hospital.

Packet pickup was on Monday.  Cinderella and I made a day of it by getting a haircut and then heading up to packet pick up.  We got our packets and then went to attempt to find the route for the race.  I had a map of the route of the race, the only problem was that it did not indicate the direction.  It did not take long to find the arrows already marked on the road indicating where to turn and for me to realize that we were going backwards.  I turned around and we then drove what we thought was the route of the race in the correct direction.

After that, Cinderella and I found a local diner, and we both had a delicious and inexpensive meal.

I was a little apprehensive about this race because I had not been consistently running distances over two miles.  My last race was a 6K (3.8 miles) and I had walked a lot of it.  My goal for this race was to run a majority of it and to finish in at least the same time as the last race even though it was a longer distance.

On the morning of the fourth, we had typical summer weather (hot and humid) but we were blessed that it was cloudy and overcast.  When we lined up for the race, we lined up going in the opposition direction I thought we’d be going, so I didn’t know what to expect.  I had told my daughter that it was a pretty flat course, and she’d be fine.  The first thing we did was run up a big hill!

Evidently, I had somehow missed the first leg of the race.  I was not mentally prepared for the two big hills that were in that leg.  I decided I wasn’t going to wear myself out on the first mile and then be pooped out the rest of the race, so I did go ahead and walk some of the hills in the race.

I was about the same pace as a guy that told me he had been running for 30 years, hadn’t done any running in the last 11 years, and was starting to run again.  After I told him I had just started running two years ago, it seemed like he was trying to be an encourager.  Evidently, we had opposite strategies, so we kept passing each other.

The race was exhausting, and I definitely felt like I had reached my max.  However, not only did I reach my goal, I actually finished over a minute under my last race which was a shorter distance!

Afterwards, we hung around for the awards and then went back to the same local diner for breakfast.  It was a great way to kick off the Fourth and enjoy the freedoms we have thanks to so many that have gone before us and made many, many sacrifices.

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36