Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekly Update #2

I've had a good exercise week.  I ran for the first time in YEARS.  It feels good to be active and enjoying my time outside.  It will feel even better when we get rid of the 100 degree heat with daily heat advisories.  
  • Saturday-swam ~600ft in 30 mins & walked laps in the pool for 20 mins
  • Sunday-hike at the Botanical Gardens ~ 2.5 miles in the 100 degree heat
  • Monday-2.28 miles in 47 mins
  • Tuesday-Couch-to-5K, Week 1, Day 1 workout (5 min warm up, 8 intervals of 60s running/90s walking, then 5 min cool down)
  • Wednesday-walked about 30 minutes (extremely hot & humid)
  • Thursday-Couch-to-5K, Week 1, Day 2 workout (same as Tuesday)
  • Friday-Yoga, sit-ups, push-ups

Friday, July 30, 2010

In Honor of Nicolas

I have chosen my first 5K!  I will be running (& walking) the 3rd Annual Butterfly Dreams 5K on September 4, 2010.  To encourage me to train, I'm choosing races that have a special meaning to me.

Let me introduce you to my friend, Nicolas.  Nicolas is an awesome little boy who has Autism.  He is one of the sweetest little boys you will every meet.  Nicolas goes to our church and we've become good friends with his family.  Nicolas has very attentive parents (Bonny & Stephen) who are doing everything in their power to give Nic-Nic all the opportunities in the world.  His big sister, Natalie, is always there to help him out, too.

So, why did I choose this race to be my first?  Butterfly Dreams Farm is a therapeutic riding and hippotherapy farm in our community.  The farm serves children with a variety of special needs, but one of those is autism.  According to their website, hippotherapy aids the children by:
The horses walking gait almost perfectly simulates the movement of a child walking. This provides the perfect opportunity for children with motor deficits to develop muscle strength, normalize tone, and gain endurance. This movement also facilitates improved auditory and verbal processing, communication and interactive skills.
Although, Nicolas doesn't currently have therapy at Butterfly Dreams, I am very thankful to have such a wonderful opportunity right in our own neighborhood.  I want to support these types of local businesses so that they can continue to provide for our friends and neighbors (and possibly our family, as well).

I want to challenge you.  What will do you to make sure that opportunities such as these remain in your community?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wow! What a Day!

Today was just the kind of day I needed.  Isn't it cool how that happens, sometimes?  I woke up with a headache and a heaviness in my chest.  In the last year or so, I've been very prone to bronchitis and at times have asthma-like symptoms.  I've been checked for asthma and the doctors say I don't have it.  However, I respond to bronchitis like an asthmatic.  (This is all because of my autoimmune issues stemming from celiac disease.)  So, I thought this was going to be a pretty bad day.

I needed to get the kids out of the house, so my husband could work from home.  I took them for new haircuts for the start of school, to lunch at Barberitos and to see Marmaduke at the dollar theater.   Even though I wasn't doing anything strenuous, breathing was rather difficult at times.  I have 2 different inhalers and used both, but I didn't have much relief.  I wasn't in distress, but it was pleasant, either.

So, after our errands and the girl's gymnastics class, I knew I needed to walk, but I really didn't feel like it.  Guess what?  I did it ANYWAY!  I walked 3 laps in my neighborhood (2.28 miles) in 47 minutes.  When I left the house, I planned to walk very slowly and just see how I felt.  My first lap was very slow.  During the other 2 laps, I picked up the pace.  I finished in the same time it took to walk the laps a few days ago (without breathing issues).  The BEST part of today is that I feel better right now after walking than I have all day.  My breathing is still not 100% normal, but it is better.

I had LOTS of reason to not exercise today.  My head hurt all day, I needed my inhalers for normal activities, the temperature has been at 100 for several days now, there has been a heat advisory for the heat index over 105, etc.  However, I didn't let the excuses get to me.  I walked and I feel pretty darn good about it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekly Update #1

I've done some exercise daily, which is a good start for me. The best part of the week is that I feel pretty good. I've been tired each night and feeling some muscles I haven't felt in a while, but overall it is a good feeling.
  • Monday-walked steps for 5 minutes twice during the day
  • Tuesday-walked around the parking lot while waiting for my girl to finish gymnastics
  • Wednesday-walked a mile in our neighborhood in 20 minutes
  • Thursday-hiked for an hour at Heritage Park with friends
  • Friday-walked 2.28 miles in our neighborhood in 47 minutes
I know this doesn't look like half-marathon material, but I'm starting from NOTHING. The more I think about my goal, the more excited I get. No one has said I was crazy, yet, but I have gotten some interesting looks that told me exactly what the people were thinking. That's okay. It adds to my motivation. I have the internal motivation, but when I experience the ebb and flow, I will draw on my external motivation. People who doubt me, don't know me very well.

Monday, July 19, 2010

One of My Obstacles

In a previous post, I mentioned my health problems. Here is the beginning of my health journey.

After much frustration and anger with a previous doctor, I made the decision to change primary care physicians in March 2009. I liked my former doctor well enough. He was a kind man and had a decent bedside manner. His office was easy to work with and I’d been a patient of his for several years. I was nervous about change, but I knew it was what I needed to do. The voice in my head got louder and louder until it was finally louder than the voice telling me it doesn’t like change. I sent out a request for recommendations for a new primary care doctor from my local friends. My ideal doctor would be easy to talk to, have good listening skills, be a good diagnostician, have a good office staff and welcome my input. I’m a reader and a researcher. I like to be informed. I am the patient that will ask the doctor why this or that is the case and what all of the options are before proceeding. It isn’t that I doubt the doctors, but I am an intelligent person who wants to partake in her own health care. My friends had several recommendations, but one name came up over and over again. Luckily, she was covered by my insurance.

I had my first appointment with my new doctor (Dr. L) in late May of 2009. I went in with an open mind; although, I thought I knew what I might hear from her. I told her about my symptoms and she immediately thought a celiac panel was in order. Although, I had recently had digestive symptoms, those were not my primary symptoms. The most frustrating of my symptoms were fatigue, anemia, depression, and an inability to regulate my thyroid levels for any length of time. The fatigue I felt was indescribable. I would have slept for days on end without getting up, if I didn’t have a family. I didn’t have that option. I needed to get up and care for my family. For months, I got by with doing the bare minimum of everything.
After that appointment with Dr. L, I was referred to Dr. G (a local gastroenterologist). I had an upper endoscopy, a colonoscopy and more blood work and we finally confirmed that I had celiac disease. I got the diagnosis on August 4, 2009. That day I ate one last Big Mac and started by journey to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. It is NOT an allergy. There is no cure. There is no medicine one can take. The only treatment is to live the rest of your life gluten-free.

I’ve been on my journey for nearly a year and it has had many twists and turns. I’m not free of issues, yet, but I’m working on it. There is much more to the story.

Pleasantly Surprised

This past weekend we took a trip that I’d been dreading. It wasn’t the trip so much, but the things we had planned to do. I know it sounds crazy. Why would I PLAN a trip that I was dreading? Well, my mother-in-law and father-in-law live in our old college town and very near a water park. They really wanted us to bring the kids down to play at the water park. I really didn’t think the water park would go well. I thought the kids were not great ages to go and really enjoy it. I was WRONG. Okay, I said it….doesn’t happen often, so pay attention. We got up early Friday morning and made the 3 hour drive. We dropped my husband off at his parents’ house to work (he telecommutes some days) while I took the kids to the water park. It was a great day and we probably would have stayed longer had we not been completely exhausted.

I knew the kids would love the beach (our day trip for the following day). Even so, I underestimated how much they would enjoy it. We looked for sharks’ teeth and walked along the beach. After a short walk and finding a shark’s tooth, we were ready to play in the surf. My son (nearly 5) had the best time. He’d been to the beach at Dewee’s Island when he was about 17 months old, but he doesn’t remember. Since then, we’ve taken trips, but none to the beach. My daughter (8) LOVES the beach and would go there all.the.time if we lived close enough. We introduced the kids to one of our favorite restaurants and they had fun there, too.

Lesson learned. Think positively. Your children may really surprise you with their love of new places.

Setting Myself Up For Success (Part 2)

The next order of business is planning my training program. My plan is to spend the first couple weeks making sure I get in SOME type of exercise every day. At this moment, I'm not being overly concerned with how fast or how far. I just want to get moving.

Once I'm consistent at making time for exercise daily, I plan to start the Couch-to-5K program. The goal is to fill in the other days with an appropriate exercise. I'm not sure whether that will be strength-training or something else at this point. Remember, this is all new to me. I want to do the best I can, but not burn out on trying to do too much too soon.

When I have successfully completed the Couch-to-5K program, I plan start Jeff Galloway half-marathon training schedule.

Setting Myself Up For Success (input needed)

My first order of business is choosing my races (2 5Ks and a Half-Marathon), so that I can plan my training accordingly. I'm not concerned about the 5K races, because there happen fairly often close to my house. The most important choice at the moment is the Half-Marathon. I live in Georgia, so I would like the race to be within driving distance. I need all the time I can get to train, so I think a spring race would be a good fit. In the spirit of setting myself up for success, I need a race that is doable and good for a beginner.

I've found the following races:
  • Callaway Gardens--Jan 30, 2011
  • Critz Tybee Island-=Feb 5, 2011
  • Mercedes Half in Birmingham, AL--Feb 13, 2011
  • Disney's Princess Half in Orlando, FL--Feb 27, 2011
  • Seaside School Half--March 6, 2011
  • Georgia Half in Atlanta--March 20, 2011
  • Country Music Half in Nashville, TN--April 30, 2011
I know there are others. Do you have any suggestions? What do you know about these courses and which would be the best choice for a beginner?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Year of Dawn--My List

This list will probably be added to throughout the next year, but here is the beginning.

  1. Complete a 5K--walking, running, crawling, whatever!
  2. Run a 5K--no walking
  3. Have a minimum of once-a-month "me" time to do whatever I want outside of the house and without my family
  4. Declutter the house & organize what's left
  5. Camping trip with the family
  6. Decorate the living room including curtains (finally)
  7. Decorate the dining room
  8. Sew a skirt for me
  9. Knit a sweater or shawl for me
  10. Complete a Half-Marathon
  11. Enjoy a day at a spa sometime after the Half-Marathon
  12. Spend more time doing daily devotions
  13. Have a family picture made
My plan is to check these items off and have my list finished by July 15, 2011.

As I look down the list, one item stands out above the rest. Can you guess which one? Of course, it is #10. For a long time, I've wanted to complete a half-marathon...13.1 miles. No, I'm not a runner. Heck, I'm really not even a walker if we are talking about doing it for exercise. I don't know why I want to do it other than I need a BIG goal to work toward. I want that sense of accomplishment when I cross the finish line. I know it will be a difficult journey to complete that goal, but I think I will learn a lot about myself in process. I will need a cheering section. I can do it. I will do it. I'm excited to begin.

Today is a Big Day for Me

Today is my 35th birthday. I enjoy celebrating my birthday with my family and typically the number doesn't matter very much. For some reason, that is not the case this year. This birthday has had an emotional affect for weeks before the big day. A couple weeks ago I was overly sensitive about my daughter turning 8 at the end of June. My children's birthdays are always bittersweet for me, but this was over the top. My health has not been great (more on that later) and I'm trying really hard to do whatever it takes to get healthy again and live life to the fullest.

As I look back over my last 35 years on this Earth, I think about what I've done in those years and what I want to do. The last few weeks approaching this day have been a time of reflection. It has been good for me. While I won't go into great detail in this post about my reflections, I will mention a very important one and the main reason for my blog.

In a lot of my 35 years, I've been the caretaker in some form. Most of the time I'm the keeper of everyone's emotional and physical needs. There is one own. In my constant concern for everyone else's needs, I've neglected my own to a degree. That will change this year. I am hereby declaring this year the Year of Dawn. I have created a list of things that I want to accomplish in the next year. This is not a "bucket list" of to-do items before I die, though. Some items on my list will seem mundane to people, but they are things that I *think* will help my emotional, mental and physical well-being.

This declaration of Year of Dawn does not mean I will be neglecting my husband or children. Quite the contrary. I will be taking care of Dawn, so that I am better able to meet the needs of my family to the fullest extent. I look forward to sharing this journey with you. This will be an AWESOME year.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere

I'm glad you came by to read my blog. Tomorrow we will get things moving and I'll share my intentions for the next year or so.