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And the winner is...Winter

Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter is kicking my butt, and until it gets warmer, I cry Uncle.

Those crazy long holiday work hours at FedEx that I wrote about before were quickly replaced by long and far more stressful days battling the snow and ice that the Polar Vortex dumped on us. But most of it's gone, and for the past week, workdays have been in the 8- to 10-hour range. Finally, I'm been getting my life back!

In fact, I don't have to be at work until 8am now. So this week, I decided it was time to go to the gym and get in a run before work. I've hardly used my gym membership in the past six weeks.

My gym is on an alternate route to work. I figured I needed 15 minutes to get to the gym, 30 minutes to work out, and 10 minutes to cool down and change clothes in the locker room, as well as 20 minutes to drive from there to the terminal.

So I planned. The night before, as usual, I set the coffee pot on automatic with my travel mug next to it, and laid out my cereal bowl, spoon and box of cereal. I pre-packed my lunch. I laid out my work and workout clothes. I put my running shoes and socks in my backpack. I went to bed on time, with my wake-up and "gotta go" alarms set.

Still, the morning felt rushed and disorganized. Winter is very much in command here in the Midwest. It was 0 degrees overnight, with a serious wind-chill. It's not as though I can dash out the door wearing just my workout clothes under my winter coat, as I did in November.

Every day, I wear a ridiculous number of layers along with my uniform pants, shirt and shell wind-jacket: several thermal undershirts, fleece vest, tights and two pairs of socks with hiking boots. Plus scarf, hat and gloves. It takes time to put on all of that clothing. More time than I realized.

By the time I finally got myself out the door, the time remaining had dwindled. I hesitated. Should I forget about it? No, I figured even a short workout would be worth it. This would just be a trial run.

It was a trial, all right. Well-bundled against the bitter cold, I finally squeezed through the front door carrying my backpack (with running shoes, uniform shirt), my work bag (containing maps and papers, lunch, water bottle, extra gloves), my FedEx outer shell jacket, and a travel mug of hot coffee. Plus, food and fresh, warm water for my two chickens, who don't mind the cold but are anxious for their breakfast.

Somehow, in the chicken coop, I managed to spill the entire mug of hot coffee all over my work jacket, down my pants and into my work bag, staining the papers and soaking my extra gloves.

Grumbling, I drove to the gym. Once in the locker room, it seemed to take ages to get out of all my winter layers, and exchange boots for running shoes.

By then, there was hardly any time left. But I was there to run, so I got on the treadmill, walked for 4 minutes and ran for 5 minutes. Then I laboriously changed clothes for a THIRD time in an hour. At least with so many layers, no one would notice my stinky armpits; I'd forgotten to bring deodorant.

That's when I realized that despite all my planning, I'd also managed to forget my warm fleece vest that I wear under the jacket. Great! I was going to spend the whole day freezing in -10 windchills.

And to top off the whole misadventure...I was late to work. Exasperated and under-caffeinated, I felt distracted and off-stride half the day.

I bow in admiration to all of you who go to the gym and work out before work. I have no clue how you pull it off. One thing I am pretty sure of, I cannot. At least not right now, when the deep freeze means so many unavoidable layers and preparations. I can do cardio at the gym on weekends and strength training at home during the week. From now on, I'll savor my relaxing weekday mornings at home, with cats and hot coffee...and wait for warmer weather!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

68ANNE 2/2/2014 10:13PM

    If it wasn't for the sheer frustration, your tale is almost humorous. I have many cardio videos and have resorted to them on the chilly months. I admire your persistence in trying to get it done!

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AGILECAT 1/26/2014 5:33PM

    Thanks for the cheers and ideas...I have been frustrated with my inability to get to the gym. In the past, I tried yoga DVDs and found it difficult to follow along, especially in inverted poses where I can't see the TV. But maybe a cardio routine would be easier? I may as well give it a shot!

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COOP9002 1/25/2014 1:33PM

    Nice job on staying focused. I am having to exercise a lot more indoors this winter and am thankful for a local rec center when I can.

Blessings upon you and let's hope that Winter's icy grip is almost done.

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MAGGIEC2014 1/25/2014 8:48AM

    Wow -- impressive determination! In this weather, I work out a lot at home. I use workout DVDs, like The Firm and Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred. All I have to do is put on my workout clothes, which I like to lay out the night before (it helps with the motivation in the morning if I don't have to run around and find everything), go downstairs, and press play. There aren't many excuses to not do it, especially when some of them are only 20 or 25 minutes long. I do have a variety of DVDs -- that helps with the boredom. And trust me, I'd prefer having better weather so I can run outside, but what can we do?

Keep up the good work! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Change is good!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hello! You haven't seen much of me recently because last month I started a new temp job, delivering packages for FedEx. It's six days a week, sometimes 12+ hour days. I get up at 4:45AM in order to be at work by 6AM. It's surprisingly fun; I'm happy that they've asked me to stay on after the holidays.

One reason I enjoy it is that I lucked into a beautiful, remote rural route, where I take a ferry across the Mississippi River every morning and evening. I see Bald Eagles, pelican, herons, hawks, deer and red squirrels, as well as cows, goats, sheep and chickens, while driving through picturesque orchards and cornfields. (If only people would put their rural route box #'s on their mailboxes!)

Being away from home 10 to 13 hours a day was a huge adjustment at first; I have so little time for shopping, laundry, etc. But now it's a routine. I always pack a full Camelbak bottle of water and a healthy lunch: lean turkey or ham sandwich with spinach, some baby carrots, fresh and dried fruit, a granola bar and/or a SP 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffin. After a long day, I often just have Progresso soup for dinner, but I add fresh spinach leaves or green peas.

I do 10-minute workouts at home most days; on shorter workdays, I head to the gym in the evening for a run. Sundays are for longer runs. I have a 5-K race next weekend, and that's been a great motivation to not let my workouts slide until life calms down. I haven't lost weight, but it has held steady, despite a couple of holiday parties and snack bags of Cheese-Its!

I can't even imagine being able to handle this job with energy to spare if I hadn't lost 30 lbs this year and become a regular runner. Last winter, I always felt drained, mentally and physically, and had a hard time enjoying anything as a result. I'm so thankful for the SP community for being there for me and helping to make 2013 a pretty great year!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

68ANNE 12/16/2013 8:33PM

    What an exciting job. Good for you with keeping the fitness going with such a hectic time

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COOP9002 12/15/2013 2:46PM

    Hope your new job is more than you could have asked for. Blessings upon you on your wellness journey as well.

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_VALEO_ 12/15/2013 1:40PM

    Congrats on your new job! How great it is to enjoy what you're doing in a world where many complain!
Have fun in the countryside, and I hope you have time to a quick chitchat with the persons to whom you deliver parcels.
It is so important for us living in remote areas to have contacts. I am so glad to see my UPS guy -it is this company over here-, he is so a nice and smiling person.

Keep bringing joy and parcels!

Comment edited on: 12/15/2013 1:42:19 PM

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VKKESU 12/15/2013 12:46PM

    Congrats on the job ! It does sound like something I'd love myself !! Yes, losing the weight helped a bunch I'm sure.

Great that you are being smart by taking healthy food and snacks !! Too many people would have given up working those hours. You will be happy that you didn't !!

Have a great holiday and stay safe !

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JOHNMARTINMILES 12/15/2013 12:03PM

    Continue to enjoy your job, that is the major hurdle that most people can't jump.

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Help with Cool Weather Workout Challenge?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I'm looking for advice, and to see if anyone else shares this issue.

When I run or even go for a long walk in chilly weather (wearing layers, of course), I cool down very rapidly afterwards. I put on dry, warm clothes and eat something substantial the moment I get home. But before long I start shivering and my fingertips turn blue.

Putting on a sweater or crawling under the covers doesn't help--I can't generate enough heat. The only thing that brings me back to human is a hot bath. That works like a charm, but it's time-consuming, and makes me sleepy--bad for weekday mornings.

This is not a new problem. I've had my thyroid checked numerous times--always normal. And I love exercising outdoors, year-round, don't want to give that up. Besides, I should be able to handle temperatures in the 40s and 50s without an internal thermometer malfunction!

So...what to do?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AGILECAT 12/15/2013 12:00PM

    Thanks, I checked out the Raynaud's symptoms, but they don't fit my experience. I think it was just a matter of making sure I don't cool down too fast. Warm hat and jacket, hot tea--and finishing my runs closer to home instead of a mile or more away!

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_VALEO_ 11/20/2013 11:08AM

    Don't you suffer from this disease? (It runs in my family.)

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68ANNE 10/22/2013 9:30PM

    I just started running in the cooler weather but I believe you do want to wear a hat and maybe gloves when you get back. How about putting your hand in warm water? That may help and take less time than a bath

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AGILECAT 10/21/2013 2:24PM

    Thanks, appreciate any feedback! Most of my outdoorsy friends don't experience this. You're probably onto something about the hat and warm fluids, though. I will get in the habit making a hot cup of tea when I finish a run.

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JULIEPIZZ 10/21/2013 10:32AM

    Hi there...I have been catching up on SP today and saw this. I know this is common for runners in Turkey Trots and the cross country runners in the Northern States. My children get major chills and drop body temp after 5k''s " a thing "-they know of it and they cover their heads right away and drink fluids. I don't recall why...but I will ask for you. I know it is uncomfortable and it does happen in warm weather also. Check back with me if I forget to write back with advice. But I did want to assure you this is common...I am just not remembering the cause - body cooling or core temp is part of it...and the way to ease into a remedy... like an extended cool down routine, or something...:)

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Vacation Revelations

Monday, September 23, 2013

I just returned from a rejuvenating five-day visit with my family in central Ohio, including one sister, her grown daughters and their families. It was gratifying to get reacquainted with my great-nieces, ages 12 and 14, and the twin boys, nearly 6, who are delightfully funny and sweet. I had not seen most of them in almost two years.

I didn't log onto SP even once--limited computer time was reserved for an online class, writing an essay, and checking for urgent work emails. I went for one run and several short walks, and took my water bottle with me everywhere. I prepared a healthy dinner for my sister and me one night, and kept an eye on portions.

But after two all-day drives, lunches at small-town diners, pizza for dinner, family brunch at IHOP, a county festival and countless offerings of "snacks" and "treats", I was afraid I'd packed on several pounds! My waistline, tummy and thighs were noticeably flabbier by the time I got home late Saturday night.

So I worked out twice yesterday, and to my relief, the scale showed my usual weight this morning. Whew!

Revelation #1: Alluring snacks seemed to be everywhere. I was struck by how often people talked about them, too--what is there to snack on, let's have a snack, I need a snack. And most were about 500 calories! We're a snack-obsessed culture.

#2: When did dessert replace breakfast? While eating my well-balanced brunch at IHOP, I watched many adults, not just kids, dig into stacks of chocolate, chocolate-chip pancakes drowned in chocolate syrup; red velvet cake pancakes saturated in "fruity" syrup, and waffles coated with icing and whipped cream. Might as well set a whole frosted chocolate layer cake in front of someone and call it breakfast! It was appalling, not appealing.

#3: There is a time and place for indulgence, of course, and for me, that was at the Jackson County Apple Festival. We shared an "elephant ear"--deep fried dough coated with powdered sugar; "Buckeyes", rounded tablespoons of peanut butter partially dipped in chocolate to resemble the state nut; and a classic cherry Sno-cone. Given all the walking and running to keep up with the twins, I'm glad I indulged a bit instead of just saying no!

Someday, I'd love to have a "spa" type vacation that includes sunrise yoga, horseback riding, canyon hikes, hot-stone massages, and healthy, gourmet-quality meals. But nothing is quite as satisfying as time spent with family. And that is the best revelation of all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VKKESU 12/15/2013 12:49PM

    A spa vacation would be SO AWESOME !! Glad you had a great time with your family and yes , breakfast is far from healthy it seems and they wonder why they gain weight !

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GRYPHONBABE 9/23/2013 11:38PM

  I had a similar experience with a trip to Idaho. And I totally agree. The junk we pass off as food sometimes is appalling! Good for you for keeping on track!

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68ANNE 9/23/2013 9:14PM

    You had to have done better than you think with not gaining!

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PRINCESS_SOFI 9/23/2013 1:44PM

    You are so right about snack obsessed and eating cake for breakfast. I think it's gross too.


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NINJALINDA 9/23/2013 12:19PM

    Glad you were able to re-charge over vacation without losing your healthy focus (or gaining weight!). I'm with you - one of those 'spa' vacations you described sounds fantastic!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

The rotten, no-good one pound that stands between me and a 30-lbs-for-the-year weight loss had better pack its sorry bags and buy a one-way ticket outta SPARKVILLE!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAWNSJOURNEY 8/23/2013 10:19PM

    love it and you !! send it packing baby .. send it packing !!!

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68ANNE 8/19/2013 9:17PM

    Wonderful !
You'll get 'em gone!
Running scared now

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AGILECAT 8/19/2013 7:31PM

    Edited from "outta Dodge" at Juliepizz's hilarious suggestion! Just picture me with a squint, a sneer and a swagger until I finish off this dirty weasel of a pound, lol.

Comment edited on: 8/19/2013 7:37:37 PM

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STEFIGURL 8/19/2013 6:05PM

    FABULOUS!!! :-) Go get 'em, Mama!!!

stephi :-)

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JULIEPIZZ 8/19/2013 4:55PM

    Haahaha! Awesome! Pack it and get out of Sparksville lb! You got this girl! Go Go Go for it!

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SUEPERWOMAN 8/19/2013 3:22PM


LOL, you've got this!!

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SPERRIN2012 8/19/2013 2:47PM

    Cool Blog. I have a wanted poster as well, which is "Motivation". I did get to the gym three times last week but didn't go this weekend which has me a bit concerned.


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