Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Right next door to where I work, there is an on-going construction project. I've been watching it for several months, as it moved from phase to phase. And I can't help thinking, as I leave the office each day, how much it reminds me of my cousins and I playing with their toy tractors and bulldozers and such in a sandbox, decades ago.
As I left work yesterday, a smallish machine tied to a tether was being used to tamp down and even the ground... and a guy was controlling it remotely on the other end of that tether with something that resembled the controls for a toy car. It brought a smile to my face, and I couldn't resist taking a photo.
What's the Spark analogy? Why that we are all "under construction" with our bodies, every single day. We are making progress... and we can look to childhood for the "play" that models the construction work as "serious" adults. And we can still smile over our progress, our "tools" that once were toys...
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. It is at its best when the connection sparks with kindred spirits. Creatively, consciously and consistently making choices that support that construction in progress... I remain GRATEFUL for each, and every, day!
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Guess the KC Royals are about as close to a "home team" as our area has in terms of Major League Baseball. Besides, we have a former Cornhusker on the team in Alex Gordon (left field). And it's been a long dry spell for them. I admit to being a spiritual Yankees fan, from back when Mickey Mantle was in the outfield and Yogi Berra was a player. But if I can't have the Yanks there, I'll root for the Royals. I'm one of those infuriating sports fans who roots for good play, no matter who performs it.
My kid sisters will testify that I used to root for both sides when I dragged them to basketball championship games. I just love seeing the amazing things these folks can DO!
I interrupted myself long enough to stand for the National Anthem, and now I'm going to hop on the treadmill, because that's how I roll during sports broadcasts. Go team! And at the same time, keeping my promise to myself with a little strength training.
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. And it is at its best when kindred spirits touch at points on the journey! Creatively, consistently and consciously making choices to support a healthy lifestyle, I remain GRATEFUL for each and every day!
Monday, October 20, 2014
Two years ago following this race I declared the phrase "I'm not a real runner" no longer applied to me. Here's my blog from the Governor's Cup 2012: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
By now, of course, y'all know I've accepted my athletic, competitive self. And Constance came out and had a good time yesterday at this year's Governor's Cup. Poor Constance didn't have a very good 2013. But she's having a great 2014!
First, let me say, I had company for this race, although my company was doing the 5K, and I was running 15K as prep for my Half Marathon coming up in three weeks (Nov. 9th). Here's our obligatory Selfie from before the start, while we're still milling about along with other folks who arrived early.
I don't see my son terribly often, he's busy living his life on a schedule that differs from mine. When I do, it makes any occasion special! Oh, and it's extra special because he reminds me every week that he still hates running.
Here's a shot of the fall colors at the Governor's mansion, where the race begins and ends.
We lined up on the far side of the mansion, aiming North on 14th street. I found a fellow 15K runner who said her target time was 90 minutes, and stood next to her. I tried to get my Garmin Connect to start a session, sending links to my brother and my son... but turns out that somehow I didn't get it paired right, so they weren't able to see where I was on the course. I had given my son the approximation that he'd have to hang around an hour for me to finish.
Mile splits looked like this:
Mile one, obviously I started out too fast. Deliberately slowed for mile 2. By now I was down to following the Garmin watch prompts, which I had set to run 5:30, then take a 30 second walk break. A bit after mile 3, past the first 5K marker, a gent I often follow to guarantee I get a good time in races caught up to me, and we ran together for a while. I notice I got slowest in miles 4 and 5, which is when I took two of those 30 second walk breaks as full minute walks to take on nutrition. I downed half a gel packet in the first such minute break, then jogged for five, and downed the other half. And then I was all set to run... and the times got to where I kind of expected them to be.
When I crossed the finish line, I still had gas left... and passed one of the gals I'd been following closely in the final tenth of a mile. You can see her in the background, with the coral top.
And the finish was good enough to be second in the ten year age group, F60-69. The gal who finished first? Not even close... she was 10 minutes faster than me, nearly a minute a mile faster.
What you learn over time as a runner is to rejoice for the victories of others, and recognize there will always be runners faster than you, and runners slower than you. And any given year, your race will be what it is. This turned out to be a PR (personal record) for a 15K for me, with an official chip time of 1:31:39 and an average pace of 9:50.
Three weeks away is the Good Life Halfsy... the one I thought I was crazy to sign on for when I did. Who runs a Half Marathon in November in NEBRASKA? Apparently, I do, along with 3000 of my running buddies. Stay tuned for that one... just hope it's not a blizzard day.
LIFE is good. It's so much better when I'm fit. And it reaches the top when I find my journey to a healthier life parallels and touches those of kindred spirits. Creatively, consistently, and consciously making choices to support the fullness of life, I remain GRATEFUL for each and every day.
Namaste, my Spark buds!
Sunday, October 19, 2014
I named this blog to match an earlier one: "Paying the Price".
Here's the deal: it takes time for lifestyle changes to truly have a big reward. You don't suddenly lose 100 pounds. It takes time for your body to give those pounds up when you change what you eat and how you move.
Beyond that time, it takes time for your mind to get around the fact that your body size has changed.
And beyond that time, it takes time to accept your new "identity". In many cases these last two can take years.
One of the rewards is the changes in the conversations you have with your health care providers. Case in point, my Friday appointments. I got all the annual stuff out of the way, but the conversation was completely different from the ones I might have had five years ago.
What did we talk about? Well, for one thing, my doctor had a health coach shadowing him... she wanted to know about my ah-hah moment in making my lifestyle changes. So we were talking about successes. They seek to learn from their successful patients in the hopes of helping others with similar goals or needs.
For another, the questions I had for them were related to being able to keep doing what I'm doing. I asked about my cramping in the water... he did exams related to my knees and ankles and the stress I put them under with my training. Found nothing in the muscles of the calf, he'll look at the blood tests related to electrolytes. *Did* mention the dreaded a-word (arthritis, welcome to the family, Barb) relative to my left knee being a little stiffer than my right... which might, in fact, be a contributor to changing my swim kick... which could be related to that cramping.
Bottom line: I have become an athlete. And the conversations at my medical exams reflect that.
LIFE is good. It's so much better when I am fit. It is at its best when kindred spirits have journeys that touch at points with mine. You might have to look back a few years to find the point where we parallel, or ahead in your journey to where you want to be... but if you are a kindred spirit, seeing the loops of a more experienced traveler could be a preview of a point you haven't even envisioned yet... one where YOUR dreams are realized, whether they look like mine (athletic) or otherwise (just living with more ease).
Creatively, consistently, and consciously making choices that support the mission to live fully... we can remain GRATEFUL for each and every day. Because we're worth it. And the world needs what fully living people can contribute to it.
Friday, October 17, 2014
That's my classic response to the question my doctor is going to ask me in an hour and change: "How are you this morning?"
Yep, it's time for that annual checkup. The fasting so they can do the blood panel. And of course I'll be stripped to the little gown thing. But as I showered and dressed for the day, I looked at the full length mirror and gave myself the assessment. And it was a positive one.
I'm by now used to seeing the fit me in the mirror. I feel good about what I see. Am I a model? Heck no! But I see muscle definition. I see that I use my body in ways it was meant to be used. I see loose skin, too, which is not pretty, but it's reality. It is the result of the life I have lived. And the life I have lived is what makes me who I am today.
When people ask "what do you like about your body?" What do YOU respond with?
When I began this journey, what I said was "I love my body for what it does for me. It's where I live. It functions." Today, I keep that thought right up front and central: that it functions! That it allows me to do the things I want to do in life - from waking to lying down to sleep.
Living an active lifestyle, nurturing myself with appropriate foods... these are some of the best things I can be doing to support my body continuing to function. There is so much we can do with lifestyle to support health, and I feel confident that I will once again see a smiling doctor when I tell him I'm "hungry and cold". Because if your only complains in your doctor's office are that you are hungry and cold? You're probably doing just fine.
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. It is at its best when the journeys of kindred spirits touch. Creatively, consistently, and consciously making decisions that support the best health that body will give me... I remain GRATEFUL, for each and every day.
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