Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘half marathon’

Rocking Retirement

You know what day is coming soon in Wisconsin, don’t you? The day we have to put away our sleeping bag coats. Guess what happens then? Everyone gets to see what you’ve been hiding under there all winter. You’re gonna be sorry. You’re gonna be very sorry you haven’t been walking the dog a few blocks in the morning, and doing 4 squats every other month while you stand at the copy machine like I have. That’s just how I roll; I’m hard core.

Oh sweet mammacita. Don’t make me put my sleeping bag coat away. I have an idea what’s happening underneath my coat, I’m just not ready to see it, think about it, or take its picture. I’ve gotten soft. I’m so far from the fit specimen I was in my competitive speed skating days. When I was training for the Olympics. The nice thing about blogs is you can just make stuff up.

I’ve never been a super fit specimen, but I have always attempted fitness. I actually am fairly interested in fitness, health and nutrition; always have been. As I’ve rolled into my early 40’s my philosophy on health and fitness has changed.

I want to tell you that I’m not vain, but I always feel weird when I lie. I’ll admit it. I feel compelled to be my best self. For as long as I can remember, I have probably spent a disproportionate amount of time thinking about how to pull off being my best self. I am relieved to say that I don’t usually think about these things in relationship to other people. People who are very healthy and fit inspire me. I just feel competitive with myself. I like thinking about my highest physical goals and how to achieve them.

My highest physical goals have changed. I still want to be strong, and I still want to be fit; not just because I want to feel comfortable in a swim suit, or see a nice number on the scale (you’re right, those things are cool too). I want to be strong because I have a vision. I have a vision of this retired lady. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I didn’t know this lady existed. I never thought about her. Now I do.

This lady is busy. She is excited about life when she wakes up in the morning. She chases her grandkids (if she doesn’t have any, she finds someone else’s) around and has the stamina to watch them when their tired parents need sleep; she goes on short term mission trips to help women and children in third world countries; she’s still curious and tries to learn new things; she enjoys adventures with her husband like hiking and kayaking; she enjoys her husband. You know. Like a friend. Let’s not be gross.

This lady feels good. She does not take pills just to keep her body going. She can tell she’s getting older, but only before bed, after a long, productive day. She wakes up refreshed.


I want to be that retired lady, only I might join a basketball league instead of the cheer squad. Do you think it’s possible? I do. But I need to revamp the routine.

Hear me on this. I’m not looking for the Fountain of Youth. I don’t want to look younger than my age. And, I am not afraid to die.

I love that song that goes, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.” Wait a minute. That’s such a good song. I need to sing it out loud. Okay, I did. I wish you could have heard me. That was outstanding. I gave myself the chills.

That song is what I believe. My time on Earth is temporary and short, relative to eternity. But, I also think I’m here for a reason. I like it here, and I want to make the most of the time I have. Being the best version of whatever age I currently am, is one way to do that.

In an effort to be the best version of the retired person I envision, I decided to preserve my joints. I quit running several years ago. Before that, I had run regularly since my freshman year of college; a long time. I eventually started training for half marathons and then a marathon. My hips and knees started to hurt. Not in a good way; in a bad way. In a, this-will-eventually-require-surgery-way. I could tell I was sacrificing my joints in pursuit of my running goals; and why? So I could run the slowest half marathon in the history of the world. That’s silly. I just needed to get a little older before I figured that out.

I quit the marathons and I started walking every day. That felt much better. I also did a little homemade yoga, cross-fit and good ol’ fashion strength training. I like that mix.

This winter has been sooo fleepin’ cold; my 30 – 45 minute walks have turned into 5 – 15 minute walks. My strength training, yoga and cross-fit have almost disappeared, except for the 4 squats by the copy machine. Those are intense.

That kind of fitness regimen is NOT going to help me achieve my vision. I’ve got the nutrition thing worked out. That’s important. You know what they say; you can’t out exercise poor nutrition. I totally agree. We could eat all the garbage we want, work out for hours every day, and be just as skinny as we’d like. That kind of skinny has nothing to do with longevity and good health. Longevity and good health are what I’m after. It’s the fitness portion of my plan that has been unraveling. Now I’m back.

I told Scott that I was ready to get back in shape, and I could use some help. Why did I do that? You DON’T do that. You NEVER ask Scott to help you get in shape, especially if you don’t like working very hard, and I don’t.

Scott gave me a note card. He said, “Write this down. Do 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 jump squats, 20 push-ups, and 20 jump lunges.”

I asked, “When you say 20 lunges, do you mean 20 lunges on each leg, or 10 on each leg?”

He said, “10 on each leg.”

I said, “Oh, that’s a relief. I was thinking you meant 20 on each leg, and that would be really hard.”

He said, “Finish that cycle. Repeat it two more times.”

Then I said, “I’m filing for divorce.”

I made it half way through one cycle. Guess what? It didn’t actually feel too bad; until I woke up the next day. Oh, dear, sweet, mother of pearl. Pain. Pure pain. I thought about just cutting my legs off to get some relief.

Those legs were perfectly innocent. They were very happy to slowly walk a few blocks each morning. Then I had to get all crazy on them. They did nothing to deserve that, and they really didn’t understand the point.

Those legs are starting to toughen up. I’m still not up to even two cycles of that leg work out though. But, I’m back. Maybe I won’t ever achieve my vision, but I won’t let it be because I didn’t try.

And another thing I won’t do is ask Scott for more tips on getting in shape. I don’t need another note card. The next one might say, “Run to nearest tall building. Take body to top of tall building. Throw body off tall building. Repeat twice.” I’ll figure this one out on my own.

healthy retired lady 2


Positive Thoughts

positive thinking

Have you experienced paradigm shifts in your life? You’re going along knowing what you know, ignoring what you don’t want to know, or don’t believe. Then, suddenly, something happens that makes you understand things in a new way. You wonder why you passed by this information so many times before without grabbing on to it. It was there. You just weren’t ready for it.

I have recently experienced a paradigm shift. Have you heard people say that positive thoughts attract positive results? I think that when I used to hear this, I interpreted it as, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” I am a practical girl at heart. You know, a let’s-just-stick-with-the-facts kind of person. I have never been keen on taking time to meditate on inspiring words and slogans. I’ve got things to do and a whole semi truck full of problems to solve. I like action.

We are seeing a new Doctor. Yes, another one. Every time we see a new Doctor, I find myself wishing we could just fast forward through all the stuff we’ve done hundreds of times before. I want to skip the part where we tell the Doctor this long, ridiculous story that we hate to tell, and get to the part where the Doctor tells us if there is anything she knows that we have not heard before. Because, we’ve heard a lot, sister. We’ve heard a lot.

This Doctor told us that Eddie’s body is reacting (allergic) to almost everything. We knew that, but it’s a little reassuring to have someone else confirm it. So, I’m not going to go in to all the other stuff we learned and the stuff we’re going to try; I just wanted to share the highlight of this appointment.

The Doctor did a demonstration. She had Eddie hold up his arm straight in front of him. She pushed down on his arm, and he was to resist the pressure. While he resisted, he was supposed to say two different statements. The first was, “I am getting better.” The second was, “I am not going to get better.” When he made the positive statement, he was able to resist the pressure. When he spoke in the negative, his arm weakened, and the Doctor could easily push it down. SHABANG!!!! Paradigm shift!!!

Now THAT is practical information that I can use. Positive thoughts and positive talk can help my son get better. I am so ON it!! See, I’ve been doing it all wrong. I have been hedging my bets and managing my expectations all these years. That’s all wrong. Sure, I can’t live in crazy town, making up fairy tales. What I can do is speak and pray into existence what I hope to see. That is something practical I can do. Something that will help.

I have a great friend who has been telling me about this mind/body connection for years. I’m so sorry that I only heard her say, “Blah, blah, blah!” Let me tell you about this friend. You would hate her. Not only is she beautiful and looks like she could be on the cover of a fitness magazine, but she has five kids and is even nicer than she is fit. See? It’s better to not know people like this exist. Wait, that isn’t very positive.

I mean, “I am beautiful. I am nice. I am fit.”

Anyway, several years ago this fit friend of mine some how got it in her head that we would be good training partners. She is a runner. A very good runner. I had done a few races, including a couple of half marathons. I could have sworn I told her that I finished “running” with the speed walkers (now there’s a cocky bunch) in my last race, but people hear what they want to hear.

We were out training one day. I was having a hard time keeping up. I told her to just go ahead and let me run at my own pace. She started talking about this positive thinking stuff. She said I needed to believe that I could accomplish a faster pace. I needed to tell myself that I would run a 7-minute mile. I tried it. I said to myself, “Self, you are a fast runner. Your legs are lean and strong. You run fast, and you are running a seven-minute-mile.”

It worked. I ran the first mile faster than I have ever run a mile in my life. Then, “Self” had a morsel of wisdom to say in return. Self said, “You are on CRACK, lady!” I begged my friend to run ahead, and she finally did. My legs didn’t know how much I believed in them, because those suckers boycotted big time. They seized with cramps. I had to start walking. I seriously considered crawling. It took me so long to get back that my friend finally came back in her car to get me. She was worried about me, and was certain something serious had happened. She knew it couldn’t possibly take so long to finish the route. I told her my body knows no boundaries.

I kept trying to use my friend’s advice. When I was on long training runs by myself, my positive thoughts were like this, “I’m not sure I can keep going. Oh, that car is going fast. What if that car hits me? If that car hits me, I can stop running and I can rest in the hospital. I hope that car hits me.” I can save you some time, and tell you that line of thinking does not improve your running times either.

I know speaking, praying and thinking in the positive is not a magic wand. But, being positive is a tool I have not been using to help Eddie. Remember, I told Eddie I would use everything and anything to restore his health? I think when you get beaten down in life, you start to think you are better off hoping for nothing. Better to get what you expect, than continually experience crushing disappointment. There may be some truth to that theory, and let me tell you I have been clinging hard to that mindset for years; what I understand now is that thinking and praying that way is not physically, emotionally and spiritually helpful to Eddie. Helping Eddie is all I want to do.

From now on I will be praying like this, “Dear God, thank you for the healthy body you will be giving Eddie. Thank you for the Doctors that you will be leading us to that will solve this complex issue. Thank you for trials that are making us stronger and smarter.”

Do you think it is a coincidence that our Pastor pointed something out that confirmed this new paradigm? Let’s be clear, I’m kind of hit and miss on my Bible trivia. But, it’s for sure my go-to-guide. Our Pastor pointed out a passage in the Gospel of Mark. The disciples were complaining about not having bread. Jesus said (and this is a direct quote), “Listen, you silly little guys. Don’t you remember how I fed thousands of people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread? Why you gotta be so negative? Have some confidence in my miracle making, and let’s stay positive, okay?” There you have it. I know what you’re thinking. I should be teaching theology somewhere. I’ve just got a lot going on right now though.

Now when you meet me on the street, instead of me saying things like, “No one knows what’s wrong. We may never figure it out.” I’m going to say things like, “We know more than we ever have. We are working on a cure right now and Eddie is going to be well!” Wow. That just feel good, and it works. I’m totally running a seven minute mile today!

more positive thinking

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