CARILOUIE   83,796
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Not a plan in the world.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Today I was awake at 4:30. And not in an "oh shoot it's only 4:30" kind of way, but in a "hooray it's Friday! I want to get this day started!" kind of way.

For April, I planned not to plan. I have been trying to focus on a million things and because of that, I haven't been able to focus on a single thing.

I know, deep.

So this month, it's strength training. I have to get these limbs in shape for skirts and short-sleeves weather. Which, according to the 10-day forecast, looks like it might start on Monday of next week. (78 degrees!!!)
My schedule is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at the gym. That's all I have planned. If I feel like going another day, I will. And if not, well then, I won't go. I've been planning my weeks for so long that I think it finally caught up with me. Why should I have EVERY SECOND planned? I'm allowed to have nights where I don't have a plan... where I don't have a to-do list...

Off to brush brush brush my teeth and head off for some weights!

Happy Friday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GONE2014 4/8/2011 11:16PM

    Hope you enjoyed your Friday!

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KARVY09 4/8/2011 9:11AM

    Happy Friday!

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GRANLUND 4/8/2011 7:14AM

    Sometimes no plan is a great plan! I am with you on the strength training...I've been neglecting this part of my exercise and I can really tell. Hope you had a great workout and a great Friday.

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    Amazing how just a few weeks ago you had a snow day and now you are talking skirts and short sleeves. I think there is still snow forecasted here boo

Have a happy Friday!

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Just me and my April goals.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

As lots of you know, Brad (my honey) is a chef and he works crazy hours. The very nice thing is that he cooks at home (when I came home from school today I had some bread dough all ready to go in the oven for dinner) but the not so nice thing is that we don't get to spend a whole lot of time together. I often come home from school and I am alone.

Now before we get all sad and pity party (well, *me*, mostly), I will write that I actually *like* to be alone. I prefer lifting weights with my iPod to taking a BodyPump class. I prefer running by myself or with a buddy to running with a big group, and I have absolutely no problem going out to eat alone.

So what's the problem?

I've been putting together my April goals and I've been considering lots of things. I already know that I've become complacent (thanks for the word, John!) about tracking my food and tracking my workouts. I know that I have not earned as many Spark Points as I should have, and I feel like I'm falling behind on my Sparking. I also know that the key to moving forward with my goals is for me to stay involved with my Spark community - comment on lots of blogs, read and post to the message boards, and give lots of Goodies and encouragement.


One of the very first lessons a Sparker learns is that setting small goals at first and not trying to change everything at once leads to success. My first thought about April was to schedule tons of working out - strength training, yoga, running, stretch... phew! When was I going to have *me* time? And what would happen when I didn't make all those workouts? I know what happens - I look at myself as a "failure." And then the excitement for the rest of the month is lost. Since I took so much time off during the winter, I decided to focus on one thing for April. And that is strength training. I really like this New Rules of Lifting workout - so that is my focus. When I get other workouts in there, I will celebrate those.

Um, ok so what does this have to do with being alone?

Well as I was sitting here this evening, I kind of had an "aha!" moment. I was scheduling so much working out so I didn't have to sit here with my own thoughts. Which is weird, because I like to be alone.

So I put a positive spin on this.

Instead of being upset that I missed a workout (which I won't do because I'm not scheduling a million workouts), I will take my evenings to do Sparking. It's important to me, and I haven't been taking enough time to do it. I must be involved more in Spark for success...

So this blog is a little rambling, I know... but here are April's foci anyway.

- Strength training. Three days a week. The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I am doing really well with it - I can shoulder press 25 pounds (woot!) and I'm working on getting some super legs with all my squats, dead lifts and lunges. Oh, and step ups on a high bench with weights. I love "lifting like a man."

- Track food, or at least write it all down. This is to keep me more mindful about what I'm eating. My complacency about tracking has caused me to make excuses about my eating. "I'm running today." "I ran yesterday." "I'm running tomorrow." "It's Tuesday."

- Instead of scheduling tons of workouts, I will have Spark time instead. Like tonight. I thought about going to yoga, but you know, I don't have to be at the gym every minute. Having me-and-Spark time is important, too. My meditation coach is very wise - I once told her I wanted to spend more time meditating, and she said that if it was that important to me, I'd find time to do it. So simple, but sometimes it takes someone else saying it to you to make you go "oh yeah, that's a good point."

- I will continue sending out cards. This is a New Year's Resolution I made, and I really like it. I love picking out fun cards and sending them out.
- I will continue buying fresh flowers for my room at school. It's just a little thing that makes such a huge difference in my mood. And the mood of others! I had three people stop in my room today and comment on how wonderful it was to be in the music room - fresh flowers, nice lighting... I am very proud of how I've turned my music room into such a wonderful place to be.
- I will continue being mindful and patient. I learned in my meditation class to really be in touch with my feelings (it sounds a little cheesy, I know, but really it's the most amazing thing) and I've brought that into my teaching. Since I have done this, I have never had as many hugs as I've gotten in the last few weeks and I've never had fewer discipline problems. I feel as if my kiddos want to do well in music just to do well. I don't give out rewards and I don't have a "time-out" chair. My kids just want to do well. And I feel like that makes me a success.

So it's off to drink some more water and cut up some fruit. I feel really good about my choice to have fewer foci but really concentrate on the ones I have.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    great job on these goals,Carrie!!!

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    Hi Carrie,

I'm catching up on some sparking myself! And first, I want to say I'm so glad you love the NRLFW - it is AWESOME! What stage are you on? I've done the whole thing once, but I'm on a hiatus right now because of my knees - still, I try to get in the gym and do the core and upper body exercises.

I'm finding new energy this month to really get back to healthful living - I'm going to make it happen! I know you can too!!!


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CLALIZ 4/6/2011 1:21PM

    oh first of all your room at school sounds wonderful, one of the office assistants at my work always has fresh flowers at her desk and they DO make people smile, well at least make me smile :)
Second, looks like our goals are similar for April, refocus on working out and tracking food, and unfortunately I read the "excuses for not tracking" and ohhh I think you heard me say those! I used just about all of them (the running one mostly)
Let's do this! Have fun in April!!!

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JOPAPGH 4/6/2011 12:04PM

    Very measurable goals, and not too many. Sound like a great plan for April.

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    I think your goals are smart! I think itís so easy to start a month all psyched to run a million miles and work out every day, but then the disappointment when we donít complete those goals is huge and discouraging. I think goals are important, but I think REACHABLE goals are the most important. I tried not to go crazy with my April goals, too. I know that I can only do so much (or that I WILL only do so much), so why set myself up for failure? That said, Iím SOOOO excited that one of your goals is to Spark more! I LOVE getting your comments on my blogs, and Iíve missed seeing them. I wish you the very best April!

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ROOT4HOME 4/6/2011 10:38AM

    Simple and doable! Love it!! You're going to have a GREAT month!! emoticon

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LYNNANN43 4/6/2011 10:30AM

    Just took a meditation class. I've been trying to be more mindful myself.

As for SparkPeople, aim for a certain number of SparkPoints per day. Maybe 30 or 40. It doesn't matter how you get them, just aim for that #. This goal really helped my sister.

Best of luck with ALL of your April goals! emoticon


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CHELLES_BELLS 4/6/2011 9:38AM

    You make me miss being a music teacher, for real. I wish their were more open jobs here in Illinois (or other states, for that matter).

And congrats on your meditation. I've been wanting to take a meditation class, but I do find time to meditate once a week or so.

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PINKCOCONUT 4/6/2011 7:51AM

    Love this post and I love that you're taking some "you" time. I know what it's like to try and fill the "void" of not having your partner around even if you do like to be alone.

I think your April is going to amazing!

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KALIGIRL 4/5/2011 9:16PM

    Love your goals and particularly your 'others' - glad you are taking your evenings for yourself.

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BAM0827 4/5/2011 8:55PM

    Sounds like you're going to have a great April!

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ROLLERCOAST11 4/5/2011 8:32PM

    Very Nice!! emoticon

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The Impetus

Monday, April 04, 2011

According to Merriam-Webster online, impetus means:
a (1) : a driving force : impulse (2) : incentive, stimulus
b : stimulation or encouragement resulting in increased activity

Impetus has always been one of my favorite words. When used correctly, it is the *perfect* word. But incorrectly, it just sounds silly. Like when I hear people try to use the word "myself" in a sentence. "Give the paper to Mary or myself." No, "give the paper to Mary or *me*."

But I digress.

I was thinking of what my blog was going to be about, and the word "impetus" came into my mind. I don't know why, it just did.

Last week's race in Pittsburgh (JASR!) was really the impetus for my spring activity. This winter was miserable... weeks and weeks of COLD, nine snow days (alright, *those* weren't so bad), lack of excitement for running and working out...
Meeting all the Sparkers last weekend and hearing training stories, workout stories, eating stories, goals met and goals people are working toward... all this really made me want to get off my duff and get moving again.

I *thought* was doing alright on the nutrition and fitness fronts, but I was wrong. And I am comparing me to ME, not anyone else who was there. I realized that I had once been in love with running and in love with tracking my food. I ate mindfully and I drank all my water. So where was this girl? I think that girl got lazy. Lazy about tracking, lazy about water, lazy about getting out there and running, even if it was for 15 minutes.

So I came back from Pittsburgh and made a chiropractor appointment for my tight hammy (I had it today and it was wonderful!).
I scheduled workouts and STUCK TO THEM.
I filled up my brad-spankin'-new SparkPeople water bottle (thanks Coach Nicole!) and DRANK THE WATER. (Give me a new water bottle and I'm drinking like a camel.)
I didn't eat a single bag of M&Ms at work! Or a single M&M, for that matter.

And for the first time in a long time, I feel really really good. Not that I was feeling bad, but now I feel good. I'm ready to reevaluate some things and get back to really thinking about this lifestyle of mine. I know that I can change my lifestyle even more and get my body to live its life as a smaller and more fit body.

I cooked some salmon for dinner tonight. It's going on some lettuce with some raisins and maybe something else. I don't know yet. But I do know that I am very excited about this impetus I've been blessed with.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROGUE_1 4/6/2011 12:46AM

    You have made such tremendous progress in your journey towards your goal weight as well as your running and overall fitness, and though you may have gotten lax in comparison to your old ways of tracking and doing all that, I truly don't doubt that you will reach your goals. It's really motivating to read that you are feeling good and that you have found that awesome spark again.

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ROOT4HOME 4/5/2011 10:02AM

    Oops! I think I may write "myself" in sentances sometimes! emoticonWill be more vigilant about using "me" instead! emoticonSeriously, Carrie, I'm so happy to have met you and even more happy to hear your Spark has been reignited!! emoticon

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PINKCOCONUT 4/5/2011 7:46AM

    Nice work! It's amazing how we feel when we take control of our lives, eh? Sometimes if I've had a bad weekend (or week or what have you) I look forward to not just getting back to being healthy but getting back to that healthy routine where I consistently feel good about my choices and my body thanks me. That's what we need to remember the next time we want second helpings of fries! :)

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UROPA40 4/5/2011 6:04AM

    I came back from the weekend with sore quads from the hills and took a cut back week and ran 14 miles instead of 20-25. Gave me time to think, I have not been tracking until this week and know I have gotten into the habit of using the miles I run to justify poor food choices. I have no long races until July so plan to track and lose the last few pounds and focus on the food intake and track again. I find I can maintain my weight with running and not tracking but can not seem to lose weight unless I focus on the food. I also know that the 10 mile and over runs set off a lot of hunger. I do wonder if the insulin response to using GU and depleting the glocogen stores are the culprit. I am going to experiment with different fueling for the long runs. Suzy

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BOBBYD31 4/4/2011 8:29PM

    glad JASR helped you find your inner spark but how could it not with so many inspirational stores. i was so awesome to meet you in person, you are as awesome in person as you are online!!!! you are such a sweet young lady and it was nice to spend a little time in a small group sunday. if you are ever our way anytime let us know, we would love to see you.

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MIAMIA7 4/4/2011 8:29PM

    It happens Carrie. We get a little bit oblivious to our healthy plan. Moving along thinking all is well. Then something comes along (like this weekend) and jump starts us again. Good job on pulling it all together and getting back on track!

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CFMOSS 4/4/2011 8:09PM

    Good job - nothing like getting impetus to mooooooove.

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JOPAPGH 4/4/2011 7:00PM

    I know what you mean. I didn't jump off the tracking wagon, but all of a sudden I wasn't on it and the wagon was gone.

Complacent is the word I would use for where I currently am.

I see the wagon ahead. Now I just need to get back on it for tracking and make the best of the warm weather just around the corner to up my fitness.

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KALIGIRL 4/4/2011 6:53PM

    emoticonback on track with a purpose!

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In like a lion, out like a lion...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I know this is cliche, but I really *don't* know how the days got away from me and I haven't blogged!

Last night was my final meditation class. This class has helped me in more ways than I know... I'm sure I will be reaping the benefits for the rest of my life. Last night was especially good for me. I won't get into it, but I found out a lot about myself and my feelings. One of the feelings I'm having right now is "sad." And the woman who runs the meditation class is really wonderful, and one of the things she always came back to was that it's ok to feel sad. It's not good or bad, it just *is*. And I really took this to heart. It's ok to not be happy all the time. It's important for us to be in touch with how we're really feeling, and important for us to acknowledge those feelings and not just push them aside.

So today I am emotionally exhausted. It was so wonderful last night to get all this out and to really just let it all out. If you have never taken up meditation and/or mindfulness practice, I highly recommend it.


The weather forecast for my area is 6-10 inches of snow tonight. I would actually LOVE to have a day off tomorrow - April Fools' Day is so UGH. I wrote on my Rookie Runners thread that I can't stand it - hearing that your shoelace is untied or that there is a bear in the room is kind of funny the first time, but multiply that by 300 six- to eight- year olds, and you can see how the humor quickly fades.

On the happy side of school though, yesterday I had a really nice moment as a teacher. Two first-graders were upset with each other about something and the nastiness was flying. So I talked with them, and long story short, the conversation ended with the two kids hugging, and then skipping down the hall back to class. It was a really special thing for me.

Off to school... i am stopping somewhere for breakfast today. There is nothing in the house to eat, save some bread dough, so I must stop for something.

Have a great day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GROOVYCHICK9 3/31/2011 10:11PM

    SNOW DAY...SNOW DAY.... I am keeping my fingers crossed for you!!!!!! I totally get the April Fool's day thing with the kids. I heard my first graders plotting this morning on how they are going to try to get me. Maybe I will get a snow day too. NOT.


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MOXIE-IN-MOTION 3/31/2011 8:06PM

    Meditation sounds interesting, I'm glad you enjoyed your classes. As for the snow, I've been looking for the lamb portion of March as well. Guess we won't find it this year. Hopefully, you'll have a snow day tomorrow!

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BOBBYD31 3/31/2011 7:17PM

    here is to a snow day for you on april 1st! those comments would drive me nuts after about the third one. if the snow doesn't come have a few tricks ready for the kids to get back at them.

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TORTUETOO 3/31/2011 4:20PM

    Hang onto that sweet little moment for tomorrow...when you want to throttle them. emoticon emoticon

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MIAMIA7 3/31/2011 3:29PM

    Next on my list...learning meditation! Thanks for reminding me sweetie!

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    Meditation class would be fabulous!!!!
I guess I hope you get yourself another waffle day tomorrow...but, just keep it to yourself,I do not want anymore snow!!!

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PINKCOCONUT 3/31/2011 11:24AM

    I totally miss my regular meditation and would love to get back into it. I actually joined the local zen centre a few years back and, like you, it really helped me to realize that emotions, all of them, have their place. A regular meditation practice is something I plan to work on again in the very near future!

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ROOT4HOME 3/31/2011 9:18AM

    First off Carrie, big virtual emoticon!!!!
I'm so happy meditation helped you feel and release the sadness inside. The weather certainly doesn't help but I'm so glad the meditation does! And what a great moment w/those two 1st graders! I love it when I can turn around my own two at home after a fight!!! Have a great day!!! emoticon

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    I am like you I am tired of winter, and it is affecting my moods I think. Most of it is because I want to be running outside and I can't because of the snow, and it is just finally getting to me. This winter has been long and aweful!

What a nice moment at school! Have another super day!

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CFMOSS 3/31/2011 7:44AM

    Have a great day yourself - glad for the good teacher moments and hugs to survive the roll your eyes moments.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Since I did the 5K, I don't have a very long race report.

Wake up after less than five hours of sleep following a late flight into Pittsburgh.
Break my no-coffee-for-Lent thing. (But I went back to tea today.)
Bundle up.
"Warm up" at the Rose Barn. And I noticed today that in all the pictures I *still* have on about 39 layers. Inside! I am the one wearing a hat, ear warmers, a scarf wrapped around my neck, and a sweatshirt over two other shirts. And I'm from the Poconos!

Race starts. Big WooHoo!!!

Think, "Shoot, it's cold."
Think, "Shoot, this hill is crazy."
Notice my left knee. The good news is that because I was wearing my knee brace, my *right* knee didn't hurt. I made a chiropractor/sports doc appointment for next Monday.
Take off my gloves and shove them in my sweatshirt.
Take off my scarf and tie it around my waist.
Run a little bit with a girl who was running her first 5K and her friend! I was SO happy for her. For that little bit of time I was running with them, I didn't even notice my knee.
Crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face! I have to search for my finish line photo...


But the real story about this weekend for me wasn't the race. It was the amazing time I had meeting Spark Friends. Typically, getting picked up at midnight at the airport by someone whom you've never met is a little odd-sounding. But I *knew* John.
And when I came into the hotel room at 12:30 and Suezette was peeking out, I *knew* that face.

It was a very liberating experience for me - not for one second did I feel like anyone was judging me. No "do they think I'm fat? does anyone notice the giant bags under my eyes?" and the BEST feeling was that I never thought for a second if anyone was thinking "*SHE'S* a runner?!?!?"

When I met my first live Spark Friend (Hi Mike!) I wrote about how it kind of felt like meeting a celebrity. I had seen his picture and his blogs and everything and then there he was! In his car! Ready to run! Up lots of hills! (The first Spark Friend I meet and the evening was spent running hills!)
So this was like some kind of movie opening for me! To put a voice with the blogs... a real face with the avatar... a hug with the emoticon...

This past weekend was such an amazingly wonderful experience. I learned so much from everyone and I got back my excitement for running. It's one thing to read someone's post about how they ran in the nasty weather, but it's another to see their facial expression when they *tell* you about it.

And it's funny - we were all brought together by running, but there is so much more in common. As I talked to people, I learned that perhaps we were brought together by something more. People on SparkTeams come and go, but this group of people was different. Why else would anyone travel to Pittsburgh in the FREEZING cold to run hills?

And now as I sit here crying, I feel like you all aren't just Spark Friends anymore, but Friends. I can't explain how Spark People has changed my life, it just *has.* And how you all are such a wonderful important part of my life - I can't do it justice with my words...

You are the best!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ETTEZEUS 4/23/2011 10:33PM

    Can you believe I'm still reading JASR blogs and I've yet to write my own....LOL
I really don't like blog writing but I should get it done since it WAS such an amazing weekend!

I'm so happy we roomed together! You are really an amazing woman! (and the cookies were good too! Yum!)

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LOTUSFLOWER 4/6/2011 10:01PM


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MIAMIA7 3/31/2011 3:43PM

    Carrie-not sure how I didn't comment on this..thought I had. was great meeting you and getting to know you. There is something special about meeting up with people who have the same ideas about healthy living! I left feeling like my heart was so full! I felt the same way after the spark convention. Can't wait until we can do this again. But next time...I am running! Hugs!

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MADZOE 3/30/2011 2:47PM

    Really great blog. I definitely know the "celebrity feeling" I saw a sparker at a walk in October and it was all I could do to introduce myself. It was amazing!

Sounds like you had an awesome time!

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PILLOWFOOL 3/30/2011 12:56AM

    emoticon - I have this image in my head that one day we will meet and already be bffs :) I'm so glad you had a great weekend!

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BOBBYD31 3/29/2011 8:51PM

    i was so excited to meet you this weekend, your right it was not just about racing or running it is about the friendship. it was great getting to know you face to face but the time was way too short. i know i have a friend in the poconos at least for now. hugs!

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ROGUE_1 3/29/2011 4:34PM

    That's great that you met spark friends! This community is so amazing, isn't it? Congrats on your race!

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IPA-RAY 3/29/2011 1:40PM


What a great report! I'm sorry I didn't get to spend time with you. But I think if I had people at work would be wondering why there is a tear or two in my eyes. This Blog reminds me of why


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TORTUETOO 3/29/2011 10:26AM

    See, I thought you were just competing with Suezette over who could wear the most layers! emoticon Also, I'm glad you still like us, even though we accidentally left you at the hotel emoticon

You are just as sweet in person as I knew you would be - I truly hope Brad lets you come to Portland in August so we can spend more time together! Big hugs emoticon emoticon

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PINKCOCONUT 3/29/2011 9:46AM

    Awww!!! I love this post, Carrie! And it's so true, I've met people on here who are much more than just Spark friends, they are TRUE friends, including you even though I've never met you (YET!). I think it's such a wonderful surprise after effect of being part of this community!

I'm feeling all warm fuzzies at the moment! This place rocks!

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UROPA40 3/29/2011 6:34AM

    It was nice meeting everyone, I have running friends in my local running group but spark runners are different. They understand the changes you make with losing weight and becoming a runner and don't judge or make you feel like runner should be in quotes. Hope your knee is feeling better. Suzy

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APIRLRAIN888 3/29/2011 12:00AM

    aww LOL I was too shy to approach all of you ;I

now I regret it! good job on your 5k

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SP_COACH_NANCY 3/28/2011 11:14PM

  Carrie, OK I am bawling my eyes out reading your blog (no surprise there...hehehe). It was such a joy to meet you! THANKS for coming and making this one of the BESTEST weekends in my life!


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DREBENEZER 3/28/2011 10:43PM

    Meeting you was fantastic. You summed up so many feelings we all had this weekend. I truly think the cold of race day brought us even closer together as "family". I'm happy that we were able to meet in person and can't wait until the next time!

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LYNNANN43 3/28/2011 10:38PM

    You seemed so genuinely surprised that if John couldn't have picked you up so late that we also had a Plan B & C. We would never have let you take a taxi. You're one of us! We're all SparkPeeps!

Who ever knew that when we joined this site that we gained a whole new family? emoticon

emoticon on your 5K!!!

Comment edited on: 3/29/2011 7:27:53 AM

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JOPAPGH 3/28/2011 10:28PM

    Carrie, it was great to meet you in the real world. Your vibrant personality comes through in person just as it does in your blogs and posts. Glad you had a great time in the 'burgh.

If you ever want to come back for a visit, I got you covered for the ride from the airport.

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RUNNINGWILD 3/28/2011 10:20PM

    Well, if you can cry, so can I.
I wish I could've been there.

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GOEGIRL 3/28/2011 10:10PM

    Aw, Carrie, you really summed it all up! I was so glad to meet you. I felt like we had so much in common and I was very surprised just how MUCH I felt like I had in common with JASR Sparkers! Seemed so unlikely that people with 'just' running in common could be so alike at heart.

What an awesome weekend! You rocked your run and I'm so impressed at how you stepped outside your comfort zone. You are totally a 'real runner' and an awesome chick! Spark on, girl!

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ROOT4HOME 3/28/2011 9:16PM

    Carrie - It was SO great meeting you this past weekend!! You're making me cry reading your blog about our weekend! I TOTALLY understand how you felt about meeing Sparkers...making Friends! Just LOVE it!! emoticon

PS: LOVED the cookies too! emoticon

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    Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience!

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ASKILLMAN 3/28/2011 8:33PM

    What a wonderful post! I wish I was able to meet up with all you Sparkers at JASR - I got to a late start after my 2 friends canceled on me!

Your experience makes me want to get out there and comment on blogs, send encouragement, and meet up with fellow sparkers!

Comment edited on: 3/28/2011 8:34:40 PM

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