Getting Back to Healthy

The beginning of the year always seems to be the time people look for a change. Everyone wants to be a better version of themselves in the previous year. They start off with so much hope and great intentions. But, unfortunately, they don’t tend to stay on the course.

Well, guess what…I’m joining those ranks (the ones looking for a change, not the one straying off course). However, I started my journey at the end of November.

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When I finally got a full-time job that allowed me to have a little more cash flow, I knew I immediately needed to get back into the gym. While I haven’t been in a “normal gym” for three years, I knew that I had to make the most of it, until I can afford to join a new CrossFit box. So I joined Anytime Fitness in my hometown. I chose this gym because it was close to my office, and open 24 hours a day. My plan has been to use my lunch break the days I work in the office to workout to get in short cardio sessions (25 minute hill or speed intervals on the treadmill). On days that I work from work from home I hope to hit the gym early in the morning before my husband has to leave for work for some weights.

It’s been so hard to be my normal self. When I lived in Lexington I had the support and community of Man O’War CrossFit. My guys were always looking for me every morning. Even after Baby A&W was born, I still managed to go almost every day. But that’s when she would sleep throughout our WODs, which made it more manageable. Our neighborhood was so perfect for walks of all lengths, and I would walk the dogs everyday after work (whether Baby A&W was in her carrier or stroller).

But now, I don’t have the CrossFit community for support. I don’t have the flexibility of a sleeping baby in her carseat to bring with me. I don’t have sidewalks, street lamps, or multiple routes for walks–country roads aren’t the best to walk on come dusk/dark. And the winter weather isn’t conducive for a baby to be out in the elements for long periods of time.

But I can’t continue with the excuses. I’m at a stage in my health that I never thought I would be at, and it’s frustrating.

So I looked for what I call “Forced Motivation.” Knowing that I’m paying for a gym membership means I need to make the most of it. For Christmas my sister paid for my registration in two half marathons (April 16 and May 7). Knowing that I have two big races. so close together, means that I need to be getting my strength back before adding the mileage.

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So, I’ve been hitting the gym more regularly now. I’ve set goals–not only in weight loss but also in ability when it comes to getting back to my old self. I’m already feeling a difference and I look forward to the workouts. There have been some exhausting nights with A&W not sleeping through the night, teething, or just being sick, not to mention that I’ve worked a lot of late nights trying to hit my freelancing deadlines. But those aren’t an excuse.

I’m thankful for Coach Taylor that he continues to post the weekly WODs for MOWCF on their Facebook page. When I’m preparing for my weight lifting days, I check to see what my old CrossFit family did as far as WODs and then try to see if I can do them in some form or fashion at my “boring gym.” Or, I’ll make up my own.

Here are some workouts I’ve done:

WODcollage

I’m also going to get back to blogging more regularly, as I want to use this as an accountability tool again. I’m excited about the two half marathons I’ve got coming up, but also very nervous about training on my own and getting back to being fit.

Your turn: How are you getting back to being fit in 2016?

Saying Goodbye to 2013

Happy New Year’s everyone! I am definitely happy to see 2013 go away–this was one year I didn’t feel bad was going by so quickly.

The past year has been one of so many changes for me. From professional, personal, location, and physically, I’ve changed in so many ways.

Professionally:
A crushing blow slapped me upside the face mid-year in which I was forced to take stock in what I wanted to do with my life. I dove back into my freelancing, only now full-time. I had to push myself to get out there and network with other publishers. It’s been fun writing for different magazines and trying to create my business. I’ve started a professional site for my work and will continue growing my business throughout the year.

I’ve since accepted, and started, a new job at an animal health technology company in a newly-created position. My boss is hilarious and very laid back. The job itself is a little mundane as I start sifting through 15 years of work that’s been lacking. I’m interested in seeing how this job and my career grows in 2014.

Personal:
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so down. But I’ve never felt as crushed, lost, bitter as I did midway through the year. I was diagnosed with depression and put on some prescription medication to help with things. It wasn’t meant as a permanent solution, but just to help balance me so I didn’t alienate my husband, family, friends, and ruin things like my partnership with my dogs in agility.

If I hadn’t dived into CrossFit like I had, I don’t know where I’d be today. My Man O’War CrossFit community helped me make it through everyday more than they really know. I was forced to wake up to my alarm clock in order to make it to the morning class. After class, I knew I had to walk the dogs, take a shower, and take care of myself. Without those workouts, I probably would have stayed in bed, been a slob, etc.

Physically:
Speaking of CrossFit, I became stronger in so many ways this year. My mental and psychological strength grew while I was getting myself out of my slump. I learned to focus on different things rather than the “I can’ts” because of CrossFit. I’m stronger physically because I can know deadlift and back squat my body weight, hit the 100s in cleans, and continually see improvement on things everyday.

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I ran my half marathon PR on the hilliest course in the area, and crushed my 5K PR on the anniversary of my race running debut. I overcame injuries, thanks to physical therapy, and I realize that strength is more important than anything. I haven’t run as much as maybe I should the last half of the year, but I’m going to get back into it and learn to balance CrossFit and running training and hope for an injury-free 2014.

So proud!

So proud!

Location:
Finally, M and I moved to a new house just a few weeks. We may have only moved a few miles away, but it’s a symbol of a fresh start for us and our lives, which is something we desperately need. The new house allows us to start new, positive memories. (I’ll have a post about it soon, because we’ve been doing some speckling and painting!)

Sean even helped pack--he wanted to make sure we didn't forget him.

Sean even helped pack–he wanted to make sure we didn’t forget him.

I’m still considering my goals for 2014, so that will come at a later time. All I know is that I’m hoping for a happier, healthier, luckier year. It’s a fresh start, and I’m happy to dive right in!

Your turn: 2013: Good or bad year for you?

The Stress of Looking for a New Home

I’ll admit it, I haven’t been a very good blogger lately, and I’m sorry! There’s been lots of stuff on my plate, but I wanted to thank you for all the kind words I’ve received about my depression post. It was a very hard post for me to write, but I’m thankful for the encouraging words from everyone.

gg63232454Another thing that’s been a bear on my shoulders has been house hunting. M and I have been renting the same house for more than four years, and in the last week our home owners have decided to sell the house. Since we are not in a position to buy, this means we’re out–unless they sell the house to someone willing to continue renting to us. That also means we’re having to keep the house tidy and clean for the listing photo shoot, showings, and who knows what else. When someone wants to look at the house, we have to straighten everything up, remove personal items/photos, grab up the pups, and leave for however long. (The cats get to stay, and we just hope the people don’t let either of them outside.)

It’s stressful.

On top of that, we’re house hunting so we can move quickly–there’s some bad blood recently and it’s probably just best if you move on. Still unable to buy, we’re searching for houses in our area (we love where we are) for rent. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many houses available in November and December because, like we’ve moaned already, who wants to move in November or December??

It’s very stressful.

But no worries, I’ve been taking my house-hunting stress out at Man O’War CrossFit just about everyday–it’s my kind of therapy!

In all of our time searching for houses, I’m trepidacious about having complete strangers coming and looking at the house while we’re gone. I know what we do and where we look when we’re looking at houses, so I know potential buyers will look in our closets and see my bras hanging there (I have nowhere else to put them), they might look in our bathroom cabinets to see how much storage there is, they’ll see photos or nicknacks that we haven’t hidden… It just seems like you’re being violated every time someone new comes to look.

So M and I just try to take things easy and make people wonder about us. I mean, what else can we do, right?

I’ll keep you posted on how things transpire. We think we’ve found a cute house just a mile or two down the road, which is good. It’s more in rent than we’re used to, but the back yard is bigger (yay for the pups) and so is the garage. Until then, I’m working on some posts for the next few weeks. (Soup/chili round-up anyone??)

Your turn: When you’re house/apartment hunting, what’s the one thing you have to look for/at when touring a potential home?

Depression Affects More Than You Think

This post has been months in the making. I started it in August…then re-worked it in September…and now it’s October. This has been tough for me to really wrap my head around and come to terms with. I have been suffering from depression.

My depression was caused by a catastrophic life change earlier this summer, when my world was rocked and I began to question everything I’ve come to know about myself. Now that I look back on it, I think I was battling the initial stages/signs of depression for almost a year before things finally snapped. I was so miserably unhappy in my job and where I was career-wise, I barely had any support from those I worked with, minus a few friends. There was no direction as to what I could really do to make things better, until it all just came to a blow.

I was also dealing with some personal issues, too personal to really talk about here, but I believe it definitely contributed to the state I’m in now.

I’ve talked with a counselor and with my general practice doctor. I’m on medicine with the idea it would help balance things out, help me concentrate and focus again, and be my old self. It’s not meant to be a forever thing–only to help me get through this rather rough patch…whenever that might be.

I started back down this road of “getting better” with the intention that it would happen quickly…but it hasn’t. I know things can’t be solved overnight, but some relief would be nice.

The scary thing is? They say you get good endorphins by exercising…if I’m still feeling this way even after a kick-ass CrossFit workout and 2 mile walk with my dogs, in the fresh air, how much worse could I feel if I didn’t workout as much as I do??

I’ve been using CrossFit as my escape lately. I’ve gone everyday, and when I can’t go it sends me deeper into the mess I’ve been feeling.

I’ve seen my sister struggle with her depression and other issues when we were growing up. I never imagined I could suffer from the same thing–I always thought, “I’ll never be like that…I have everything together…”

Apparently I don’t have everything together. I’ve spent my entire life trying to live up to such a high standard that maybe I’ve set for myself, or maybe it’s been set for me…but for me to admit what I used to consider a fault is hard.

It’s really hard.

But I’m trying.

I’m trying to think positive.

I’m trying to make my body move often.

I’m trying let go of a lot of things that hurt me.

I’m trying to forgive the people that have hurt me.

I’m trying to not let this crush me and change me for the worse, but instead push me to change for the better.

Change

 

I hope this post is the positive right step. I’d appreciate any support or any words of wisdom. For now, I’m trying to keep my chin up and mind clear.

Your turn: Have you dealt with, or do you know someone who’s dealing with, depression?

September Goals

It seems like everyone is doing monthly goals–I think it’s the new way to combat the lack of follow-through with New Year’s resolutions. But, it’s a good idea–the best way to accomplish something is to break it up into smaller pieces. Once you complete one small step, you’re more prone to want to continue working towards that next step to finally accomplish the ultimate goal.

I’ve been experiencing a serious lack of motivation lately. There are a lot of different explanations for that, but mostly it’s because I’ve been depressed lately (more on that lately) and it’s hard to really pull yourself out of the gutter when you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything, so I’m going to give monthly goals a chance.

So here goes:

  1. I’d like to finish LaMesa’s Excellent titles in agility this month. (Update: I already completed this goal this past weekend!! She finished her Excellent Jumpers title on Saturday, Aug. 31, and her Excellent Standard title on Sunday, Sept. 1! Way to start the month!)
  2. Meet my September deadline early, and then get a good head start on my October article deadline.
  3. Take my women’s multi-vitamin everyday. (My mom recommended I start taking vitamins–I’m usually really bad about it, so I really want to try to get into a habit of taking them.)
  4. Get in at least 70 miles of walking this month. (I’m trying to take it easy on my heel as I work through plantar fasciitis, which means less running. Plus the promised cooler weather will be good for the dogs.)
  5. Keep a positive attitude and try to not let things get to me as much as I have lately.
  6. Work on my kipping pull-ups everyday I’m at the box. (Taylor worked with me last week on my kips, so now I need to put it to work and work on it everyday.)

Six goals might be a lot, but I think I’m up for it. You gotta start out somewhere, so why not stat like this?

Your turn: What’s one of your goals for the month of September? Do you like monthly or yearly goals?

Sleep — The Most Important Factor

How’d you sleep last night? Or have you not even gone to bed, yet (if you’re like my husband and work midnight to 8 am), how exhausted are you right about now?

Lately I rarely get more than 4-5 hours of sleep it seems. There’s a few factors coinciding with this (Dally’s on meds that keep her drinking and needing to go outside at all hours of the night, lots of thoughts going through my mind, inability to relax…), but my worst nights are Monday nights. I ref volleyball at a local German bar/restaurant from 6 pm until about 1:30 am. I’m exhausted through the night, but lately it seems like when I get home around 1:45, I can’t fall asleep right away. For example. this past Monday night/Tuesday morning I think I finally fell asleep around 3 am. And guess what…my alarm went off at 6:43 (don’t ask–I’m strange about time) so I could make my 7:30 class at Man O’War CrossFit.

I do this every week–Tuesdays suck for me! Sure I could probably sleep in and make the noon class, or even the 5 pm class, but I like my peeps in the 7:30 am class. And I like to get my workouts done for the day early–even when I’m working from home and no longer have to be in an office by a certain time. So, yes, I still wake up early everyday (even Saturdays) for my workouts. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I digress…

So, every Tuesday morning I walk into the box and proclaim “I hate Tuesdays” because the workouts are always tough ones. This week’s was no exception:

Talk about rough!! This was the first WOD where I felt like I could maybe throw up (which is pretty good, considering I have never felt that way, even when I started CrossFit in April). My asthma was affecting me for the first time in a long time and I had trouble breathing about 7 rounds into the WOD.

This was one workout where I definitely thought, “Maybe I should have tried sleeping in and tackling this at noon…” But by then it was too late–I was already dressed, had my half banana with peanut butter, and starting to fully wake up.

Sleep

How important is sleep to fitness?

According to research, growth hormone is produced mostly while you sleep. What is growth hormone? Growth hormone does many things: promotes fat loss, reduces fat storage, increases calcium retention, and can help boost your immune system.

Also, getting a full night’s rest has been known to satiate your hunger. (Which I’m always hungry…)

Read more from Men’s Fitness.

Sleep also allows your body to repair itself–hello recovery from tough WODs and long training runs!

It can also impact your mood (yes, I tend to be a tad cranky on Tuesdays) and your performance in anything–using your brain or physically. So I probably don’t do my best on my Tuesday workouts.

Hmm…so with all this in mind, maybe I need to rethink my Tuesday routine to include more sleep? (Though I do admit, every once in a while I’m actually able to take a nap during the day, but that’s pretty rare.)

How does lack of sleep affect you in your workouts? Everyday life? 

Ending (Your Gym Membership) is So Hard To Do

Wednesday morning, after a tough double workout of a 4.3 mile run followed by CrossFit, I drove over to my old gym with the intention of canceling my membership. I walked in, started to stand in line and then…I balked.

Was I sure I wanted to cancel my membership? What if things change down the road and I want to start going back? I’ll have to pay a signing fee (again) and probably be charged more monthly than I do now ($24.95 a month, plus bi-yearly fees). What if it’s been decided that I shouldn’t be running and need more cardio (spinning class)? 

All these thoughts just flooded my mind and I turned around and walked back out.

I haven’t been in my old gym for three months, since I started going to Man O’War CrossFit. I’ve been running, walking the dogs, and doing CrossFit, not spending time in the gym like I used to. That’s about $75 down the drain because I haven’t used it. When things are tight financially like they are in our house right now, that’s a lot of money.

My regular gym has let me down in the past--most of the treadmills didn't work this winter during my half marathon training. But there was always spinning as a back up...

My regular gym has let me down in the past–most of the treadmills didn’t work this winter during my half marathon training. But there was always spinning as a back up…

I love my box, and I love spending time outside, but soon the weather will be turning and I’ll need to take my runs indoors again. Sure the cheaper gym ($18 a month) closer to our house has treadmills, but there aren’t classes there, so goodbye spin class. Is it worth it?

I’m traversing into the unknown–it’s been a long time since I didn’t hold a membership to a conventional gym.

What have you done when battling tighter budgets and gym memberships? Should I jump ship, or continue to keep paying for a membership I may or may not be using in the next few months?

Little Struggles

**I got to write my first guest post for my friend Nicole’s blog while she’s on vacation! The post is up today, so be sure to check out Fruit N Fitness for my post, plus to see what all Nicole has to offer!**

We all have them. Those things that frustrate us so, wreak havoc on our good moods or ruin a good workout. Things you know you need to work on, and you do, but it seems like they’re always going to be a struggle.

Yesterday I was confronted with one that I’ve known I needed to improve during our workout at Man O’War CrossFit. My CrossFit struggle/demon?

OVERHEAD SQUATS

(Insert the “dun, dun, duuuuun” music)

The strength portion of our workout was to work on our overhead squats for 3-3-2-2-1-1, gradually increasing our weight. Then the WOD was a 15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) 3 pull-ups, 3 box dips, 6 kettlebell swings (35 lb), and 9 overhead squats.

For some reason with overhead squats, I get in my head way too much. Granted, with the move you have to make sure you’re pressing up on the bar to lock your elbows, making sure you core is tight, and you’re looking up to keep your chest up and balance in order. So, there is a lot to think about, but if you start thinking too much it can spell disaster.

Luckily I have a patient coach who knows when to push me and when to let me walk away. At one point I was so frustrated that after I dropped the weight (75 lbs) I walked around the box and he just said, “Walk it off, clear you mind, then come back when you’re ready.” And that’s what I did.

It was still hard. I start to feel my left arm try to bend or give out, I try to use my core to strengthen my upper body, but by then it’s too late and the bar is moving forward and I drop it.

And when the weight gets heavier, it gets harder to get the weight over your head. So then you have to do a thrust and get under the barn and use your legs to push it up more before you even do the overhead squat. So as if you’re not frustrated enough…

What little struggles do you have?

Another little struggle I have is pacing myself on my runs–I go all out way too much and then tire after a few miles. However, if I run with a group of friends, they help me pace myself, which is what I need. I just can’t do it by myself? Anyone else?

 

Mom’s Surgery Update

I’ve appreciated all of the well-wishes for my mom as she underwent surgery on Monday. I’m happy to say she came home Wednesday afternoon and is progressing really well!

During her Roux-En-Y surgery, they also removed her gall bladder. It was discovered, upon final examination, that it was full of stones, and it was best to go ahead and remove the gall bladder while they were already in there. A family friend, who had the same surgery years ago, said that was a great thing, since doctors had to remove her gall bladder just a few months after her initial surgery. That would not be fun for anyone, let alone my mom.

Mom’s recovery will be slow, but she’ll see progress along the way. Right now she’s still on a mostly liquid diet–2 ounces of some sort of liquid three times a day. But she can have some soft foods as well. For instance, today she had some cream of wheat and some 100% fruit juice (no sugar added) for breakfast, butternut squash soup and jello for lunch, and mashed potatoes and cheese for dinner. She has to learn to eat her small meals in a 30 minute timeframe, which when you’re only eating 2 ounces at a time (and she can’t drink anything while she’s eating, or else she’ll fill up on fluid instead of her meal).

I’ve got her started on some protein shakes because during her walks she was talking about getting shaky and maybe a little light-headed. Well, at the moment she’s not getting a lot of protein in her meals, so I figured it was time to start her on some protein shakes. She already felt a difference with just 4 ounces of my V-Core Vanilla Bean protein shake with 2% milk.

She’s also staying hydrated with either her sippy cup full of water, or I got her a CamelBak water bottle to help her sip water without getting a lot of air in her gut. It’s really easy for patients with bariatric surgery to become dehydrated, so she really has to have water with her at all times.

She’s also making sure she gets up every hour or so and at least walking the length of the house (which is pretty long) and back. She’s going to start walking down the driveway at least once a day if the weather is nice, too, which will be great for her to get some fresh air and natural Vitamin D from the sun. Today’s walk included all four dogs (my two and her two) and one of the horses, Quila, who decided to join us for the walk. The weather was perfect–not too warm, with a great breeze. I think it helped lift my mom’s spirits.

We’re hopeful for continued progress for mom. She’s been getting on the scale every morning and gets excited to see the weight dropping. Of course, right now she’s losing water weight from the swelling in her legs, but hey, a drop in pounds is a drop.

Her first follow-up appointment with her doctor is August 20. She already read when she can start adding foods back into her diet, and she’s looking forward to being able to fix things like her summer squash and puree it for a meal in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working to clean the house and re-organize it, along with the barn. Everything has been dusted, floors mopped, stalls stripped and re-bedded, cobwebs removed, blankets washed, etc. It’s been an exhausting week of taking care of the farm, plus ride horses, care for mom (and dad), give riding lessons to my brother-in-law, and try to fit in meeting up with friends…it’s been a great week that I’m happy I’ve been able to spend with my family, but I’m looking forward to being back in Lexington with the husband.(I finally got him to admit he missed me and the pups, ha!)

I have some scenes from my Iphone I’ll share with you from the weekend, as well as my workout with CrossFit Clay United on Thursday. It’s been fun doing drop-in workouts with other boxes, but I’ll be happy to be back in Man O’War on Monday, ready to cuss Taylor. 😉

My Mom’s Gastric Bypass Surgery

I’m up in Indiana for about a week or so because today my mom had surgery. It’s been in the works for a while, and the day has finally come. We’re all anxious and excited for her, but also a little nervous about the days ahead. She feels the same way.

You see, my mom is having bariatric surgery.

My mom has always been overweight since I can remember. When I was younger, it wasn’t too bad–she worked a full-time job as a head injury nurse and was able to enjoy spending time at horse shows and rodeos with us with no problem. The weight wasn’t a big issue then.

Then my mom was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. If you don’t know what fibromyalgia is, here’s a nutshell explanation:

Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, and anxiety.

She had fibromyalgia before it became a more popular term (to where you now see ads for medicine). With this diagnosis, it was almost like her health instantly went downhill. She retired from being a nurse and I think that’s when depression started to slowly hit get a grasp on her. Then I went off to college and moved out on my own, thus leaving an empty nest (my sister lives next door, but leads a busy life as well). The horse shows stopped, but dad continued working. Slowly she started having troubles even just walking–the past few years she’s had to use a cane when he legs were too stiff or too full of fluid to really bend and move very well.

It’s been hard seeing my mother’s health deteriorate. She hasn’t been able to walk down to the barn in I don’t even know how long, and I was worried about the length of her walk for my wedding when my brother-in-law walked her down the aisle. We’re hoping this surgery is a restart to her life, and that maybe this will allow her and my dad to enjoy their golden years together.

Christmas 2012 with my momma

Christmas 2012 with my momma

Her surgery is called the Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery. In this type of gastric bypass surgery, a small section of the stomach is used to create a new stomach pouch that is about the size of an egg. The smaller stomach is connected directly to the middle portion of the small intestine, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. (According to WebMD)

The past few days mom’s enjoyed her “lasts”–last McDonald’s sweet tea, last dinner at her favorite Mexican restaurant, last chai latte from Starbucks. She also went shopping with my dad to get some of the things she’ll need for her recovery, including V8 Juice, baby food, and a Nutri-Bullet to make smoothies. I brought my protein powder for her to try (we all know the trials and tribulations of finding a protein powder we like) and my sister bought her a bunch of samples from her nutrition store.

I’ll be home for the next few days to make sure things go smoothly with the start of mom’s recovery, and to help out on the farm. Mom will be in the hospital until Wednesday, then her real re-start of her new life begins. We’re all hoping it’s the jump her health needs to tackle her golden years.

Do you know of anyone who’s had gastric bypass surgery? How’d it go?

Do you have any experience with fibromyalgia?