Saturday, July 23, 2011
I've been whining about and questioning my sanity in signing up for the Cornhusker State Games 5K for however long it's been since my son talked me into it. Last night was the night.
We got to the Minor League ball park where the event was starting and finishing way early. I follow directions well... when they tell me to show up early, I do. So we had a lot of hanging around time watching them prepare the ball park for the baseball game that would be concurrent to the run.
Interestingly enough, they are featuring their Friday home games as "fitness Fridays". You know the drill, "T-Shirt Tuesdays"... etc. Well, it's Fitness Fridays. Which made a great tie-in for the State Games to start their 5K between the two ball parks and finish inside the stadium itself.
We stood in respect as the national anthem started off the ball game, then lined up for the 7:30 p.m. start to the footrace. I spotted HOT4FITNESS and her husband, and introduced my son, who had missed meeting her at the Half Marathon since I'd so badly estimated our performance and finish time.
It started rather abruptly with an air horn. Large group of runners began that slow-motion start. It was HOT in the setting sun, but there was a good breeze, especially inside the stadium. Son promised to run "mom's race", staying with me to prod me on. Jogged until the first water station, which was beyond mile 1. I dropped to a walk telling son that I would walk through the hydration... and I really needed the water by then. Didn't matter how much I took on earlier in the day. I walked several more times, but each time I did, I got recovery and started jogging again.
The hardest part was getting back into the stadium around that huge concrete parking lot, radiating heat absorbed during the day. I was speed walking at the turn back toward the stadium, and the workers said something nice about my form. Pride puffed me up as there was a photographer along the sidewalk along the outside of the stadium leading around toward the finish line. Guess who started jogging yet again? I finished in 32:51. This is not a personal best, but I figured it's pretty respectable for me under the conditions. I was NOT going to kill myself for this race.
Son was right behind me at the finish, pushing me on. We returned our timing chips, hydrated, stretched, and walked around, cooling off. I had to go get a paper towel from the women's room, as I was dripping sweat into my eyes! But it felt good. We did it!
We each had a hot dog... probably my one concession to that particular nutritionally suspect food for the year... it tasted wonderful in the aftermath of the run. Then they started announcing the finishers. First the overall winners, male and female. We're talking 16:30 (almost half my time) for the fastest finisher overall... young men, obviously fit and serious runners. You know there are a whole lot of serious runners out there, but the State Games are a special deal: more to promote activity for the joy of activity than a competition for the elite.
They also do the age/gender division awards... and they started with the youngest runners. We applauded and oohed over the times as they handed out the medals. As they got to my son's age division the times were awesome... I think the three top finishers in that age group were within seconds of one another.
When they got to the 40 something females, the times started sounding more reasonable... and my son kind of joked at me that I could be among the top finishers in my division. I discounted this at once, knowing we have a number of "real runners" in town. You could have knocked me over when they said, "Females, 55 - 59" and announced my name as "first place". O-M-G! So, when you see the photo, there is this look of amazement on my face.
This "tough old bird" is now in possession of a gold medal. And can't stop grinning. Who'd have thought?
Friday, July 22, 2011
When I was growing up, I was part of a group of five siblings. My mother was a talker (you KNEW I got it from somewhere) and there wasn't a one of us five who didn't know what our teachers said about us in conference.
One of mom's favorite kind of story to share would be about going to meet some teacher or another and having the conference about one or another of us kids, hearing something good about us (of course telling us just what good thing it was, to reinforce it), and commenting, "are we talking about the same kid"? Which is the *real* identity? As in yesterday's blog... both are the same kid.
My son explained it to me, years later. The phenomenon of why children behave so much more responsibly for people other than their parents is really pretty simple, his ten year old self said. "You HAVE to love me, no matter what. My teachers don't." I could go into that being an accolade for getting the message across about unconditional love, but it would be a digression.
Yesterday's blog about among other things, my nature as a compulsive eater elicited a comment from KALIGIRL, whom I met for the first time in real life last weekend: "but you seem so easy and self-assured..." Becky, so do you! You're an amazing woman.
Yes, we are talking about the same kids. You met me while I am living abstinent. It is similar to the difference between the sober and the binging alcoholic. I once heard a fellow traveler comment (about her abstinence) that she could not live the life she was currently living without it. I recognize how right that statement was.
I like me a whole lot better abstinent. It is my hope and prayer to live this way for the rest of my life. To be given the willingness to do so, one decision at a time. It does not require perfection, but it does require vigilance.
Life's good. Spark on!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I recently got a comment from a Spark friend on my "before" photo in my gallery, to the effect that she had no idea I'd come so far... we had mainly "seen" one another on a community board where we might talk more about activity and family things than about weight loss.
An interesting thing about meeting new people is that they see your "outside" and make assumptions based on what they see. If you are currently thin and fit, they may easily assume you have always been relatively thus.
On the other hand, from the "inside", you know your own history. You are still adjusting to your "new" size, for some time after changing it. You know how many rides on the roller coaster you have taken, and may have confidence issues.
This usually isn't a problem, until you overhear and take to heart comments that are sometimes made by those (thankfully not as many as you think) folks who don't "get it". There will always be days when I think of myself as this:
If you met me back then, you would have found me huffing and puffing and wishing that skirt was not so tight. I have come down from there (all the way there) twice. I have come down from somewhere in between probably three times in addition.
Today, I feel good about me. Today I truly see myself as this:
Folks who meet me now don't know. Folks who have known me in both extremes do know. Me? I know now that I am both... this is the difference between the disease of compulsive eating being in charge, and a higher power blessing me with abstinence from the compulsion. One day at a time.
Spark helps. Healthy living programs help. But all in all... you have to follow those programs, and light that Spark. Motivation and action are gifts of grace.
Life's good. Spark on!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Yesterday I blogged about showing up for life. Every day.
Today's is also a tie-in to a KALIGIRL blog entry, this one about Listening. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
The importance of listening to our bodies, hearing what it is they really are needing, and providing it is an important factor in living LIFE, and maintaining those life support systems. And in some cases, the body, the mind or the spirit says, "SLOW DOWN, ALREADY!"
Sometimes it is hard to recognize when you're overdoing. You can get so pumped up with a sense of accomplishment. Ever feel like you're being lazy if you don't run a race every day? This is a marathon, not a sprint, this LIFE thing. It is meant to be savored and balanced... it's not a race to see who finishes first.
When one gets overtired or out of balance, it makes the whole of the program more difficult. Like walking at the bottom of a swimming pool, or through sand. It is essential to give oneself rest and recognition and rewards. Sleep is an essential part of identity, too: the deep dreaming sleep is part of putting together the pieces and events of life and learning something about oneself.
A healthy balance requires some time alone to put the things in perspective. This is particularly vital for those of us who have elements of "people pleasing" or a history of allowing others to define us. In the end, each must find his or her own identity.
Here's to pacing ourselves, being conscious of what's going on in any given day or moment, carefully weighing our options, making good choices that support LIFE, and allowing ourselves enough quiet time to get to know who we really are.
As we keep saying, here on Spark, ... and you're worth it.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This is for those of us who are very focused on work, or volunteer work, or projects. Yesterday my friend KALIGIRL blogged about LIFE... her L in the alphabet blog series.
As usually happens when I read blogs here on Spark, I got to thinking... and my reverie on LIFE goes something like this. LIFE is a series of decisions. Life is something that happens every single moment of every single day.
It is not something that is going to happen at some future point ("When I get done with this project", "When tax season is over", "When I retire", "When I graduate")... it is happening right now. With every breath you take.
My brother MOBYCARP and I have talked at times about "project" versus "process" thinking and getting things done. We may have slightly different takes on what's interrupting which (see his blog www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
In my case, weight loss was a project, weight maintenance a process... and processes can easily be interrupted by shiny new projects. In his case, weight maintenance was a side effect of how he naturally lived his life... until recently. Now he's working on what it will take to make health maintenance a priority... weight being an element in the mix.
Back to LIFE. What I am discovering as I Spark on is that there are some systems of life support that are requirements, no matter what. We may get away with ignoring them but if they are not maintained, eventually LIFE breaks down. These life support systems have to be maintained.
A nutritious and calorie-range appropriate way of eating is essential for a healthy life. So is sufficient sleep. A certain amount of moving around is also vital. One important shift that has taken place in my thinking which gives me hope is the recognition that it is not WEIGHT that I am seeking to maintain. It is these life support systems.
Also important to my mind-shift (which is what is required to go from being an apparently naturally thick person to an apparently naturally thin one) is the concept of showing up to LIFE, the same as I would show up to WORK. I would not dream of skipping work!
Yet, when I avoid making the decisions which make up my LIFE, am I avoiding or putting off living? Food for thought... and part of the impetus behind the "do one thing" initiative.
Life's good. Spark on!
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