Category Archives: Training


Last weekend, the ten-year old and I went on a little hike together. That’s me, looking out onto the valley below. I’m afraid of heights, but when I’m around the kiddos, I try to put on a brave face. So, when it came time to snap a few photos, and my son had asked that I sit on a rock overlooking everything around us, I swallowed the trepidation, and went for it.

He’s not afraid of heights. There’s not a whole lot he’s afraid of, not that I can tell. Here he is, standing a little too close to the edge, at least for my own comfort.

We share a love for nature. It’s the strongest way the two of us connect with one another. During the climb, we’d periodically look down towards the bottom, amazed at how high up we were. At the top, he tried to catch a whiptail, but it was much too fast. It scurried along the hot desert sand, seemingly within the blink of an eye, only to disappear behind a scattering of sagebrush.

I thought of so many different things while our hiking boots crunched the pebbles and dirt. My mind never shuts down, even when I’m ensconced by nature. I imagine when others say the fresh air clears their heads, for me, it signifies the ability to let my mind become as large as the bright blue sky above me, no longer feeling small, but a part of something, a part of everything, really.

Why am I here? Am I fulfilling my purpose? Do I continue to inspire, to be inspired, to take care of my family, be a good mother, to treat others with love and respect, am I working on being a more open-minded individual, am I cutting the negativity out of my life as much as I’m able to, focusing more on the love and positivity that I want to surround myself with, can I stand strong in the face of adversity, will I ever get to a place where I can truly say it’s okay, that it’s enough, will it ever be enough, or is it too much?

Those are the thoughts rambling inside my head, a long drawn-out sentence. I’m sure I could work on zoning out, finding some sort of meditative state of mind while I’m standing under the hot Arizona sun, yet I’ve recently discovered that for me, allowing myself to think allows me to accept it, to make it more or less tangible, depending on the outcome I’m searching for, to be okay with the fact that I’m a thinker. It’s okay to think, giving myself the peace and quiet of my own private thoughts, not dictated by time or other obligations and a to-do list.

My boy, he’s a thinker, too. He ponders a lot, broods over something like he’s examining the smooth surface of a shiny pebble, looking for the creaks and cracks within it, eyes scrunched up in deep thought. We’re silent up there on the top of the mountain, lost within our own thoughts, our own worlds.

And then the butterfly comes.

A swallowtail, black and yellow blending together within a flutter of wings, silent but loud in its approach. It plays within the sparsely laid brush and bush, catching the attention of my son, who decides to capture the moment on camera, as best he can. I smile while watching him, thinking back to my own youth, the many times I begged someone for a camera, a camcorder, wanting to capture every moment possible, because I’m nostalgic like that.

The swallowtail is none the wiser, darting back and forth, stilling our thoughts, even if for a moment. There’s a delicate balance between the butterfly’s wings, and the wind, tilting it this way and that, an equilibrium I’ve tried to replicate in my own life many, many times before.

I want balance. I’m sure we all do. But there are many things that throw a wrench in the delicate balance of my life, and I keep trying to find the equilibrium. It’s hard. I’ve mapped out a plan for how I expect my life to go, then something happens, derailing everything.  It can be the tiniest nuance, a small gust of wind, or at times, movements that feel like a hurricane.

There is no such thing as perfection. I may not ever find that perfect balance, even though I try. I have decided that the best course of action, for me, is to do what I can, what I’m able to do. To do the best of my abilities, and let the rest go, allowing those thoughts to expand. My own special balance. My own special peace.

My Mind is Worth a Thousand Pictures

If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies,  giving insight on various topics.  Click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

Melissa read this post, regarding a husband who’d asked his wife to draw what’s on her mind, and this prompted Melissa to ask the rest of us, “what’s on your mind?”

Every week, my family receives an organic fruit/veggie pack from local farmers in a nearby CSA. It’s something I signed us up for shortly after moving to AZ. (If you’re in the East Valley, check it out. It’s awesome, and decently priced!)  My husband picks said pack up every Wednesday from the Farmer’s Market, on his way home from work.  Funnily enough, the couple who runs it lives right next door to us, so hubby has learned a bit about them, a little every week.

Yesterday, the wife asked my husband if I work nights. She assumed so, because when she’s up nights tending to her infant, she notices a light on upstairs in our house.  He told her I don’t, but that I have trouble sleeping a lot of the time, and the light always stays on.

I sleep with a light on because I live with hypnagogic hallucinations, and have since teendom. I see weird things on occasion, and if there are a lot of shadows, the hallucinations can get worse. For some reason, it’s spiders. I’ll see large limbed spiders crawling around on the walls. Or, on rare occasion, I’ll hear a buzzing sound, like a bee. I promise, I’m not crazy.

It’s like having a  nightlight, just like when I was a kid, and it helps. Not to mention waking up in the middle of the night. I do that at least once. Often, I’ll reach over and grab a book. That always helps me conk back out. As long as it’s not something from Stephen King. I’d never read a King book in the hopes of falling asleep.

My mind never shuts down. There’s always so much to think about. I’m sure the lack of sleep in my life ties into that, and the hypnagogic hallucinations, but it’s something I’ve learned to live with for many years. I’ve grown accustomed to it. Just a few of the snippets going on inside my head:

My 5th grader’s impending field trip, in May: He’s going on a long-distance trip with all the other 5th graders from his school. I’m nervous about it. I’ve researched coach buses and how safe they are. There will be teachers and parent helpers with him, so I know he’s in good hands. There were only five spots available for chaperones on his bus, quickly snatched up by other parents, so that option was out. I have to stay home with his little brother, anyway, so it wasn’t an ideal option for me. He’s so excited about it, and I know it’s going to be a wonderful experience for him, but I can’t help feeling a little nervous.

The Flat Stanley Project: A couple of years ago, I participated in a Flat Stanley project for a teacher I met up with on my honeymoon cruise, 2009.  We had a lot of fun with it, and I’m doing it again this year. I am trying to remember to take Stanley with us when we go places. Yesterday, we went to the Riparian Preserve and this weekend, we’re going to the AZ Renaissance Faire. I really like that the students get into the project, color Stanley, and get to learn more about the United States.

At the Riparian Reserve
At the Riparian Preserve

Homeschooling: A big chunk of my Monday-Friday mornings consists of home school, and making sure the little guy is learning, and staying focused. I’m trying to find more flexible ways to engage with him, so he stays interested in what he’s learning.

The gym: This has become a new norm for us. Right after school, the little guy and I race to the gym, to meet his dad. The little guy loves going to the gym, because he gets to play with other kids in the Kids Room. In fact, every day he asks me, “are we going to the gym today?” Usually it’s an hour, tops, but he complains. He wants MORE time. I feel like I’m getting plenty of time. The aches and pains on my body are proof of that!

Writing: I want to finish my book this year. It’s a gigantic goal of mine, so I’m trying to write/edit every day, even if it’s a little bit. I’m going to take a few writing classes at the local community college later this year, too. I am very determined!

Reading: I read, every single day. It’s always on my mind, even if it’s lurking in the background. There’s always a book to read, or review.

Dance Lessons: I need to sign my husband and I up for dance lessons. It’s something we’ve talked about off and on for years, now, and have never done it. He’s sort of put the ball in my court, and we’ve lined up a sitter. I just need to find a class and get it going!

Alice in Wonderland photo shoot: A very talented friend of mine, who does photography here in AZ, has done some really unique things, including fantasy photo shoots, where you come dressed as a character. I did some Alice in Wonderland shots, and my family participated, too. I can’t wait to see the pictures. I don’t wear makeup, so this was a new thing for me, I even wore fake eyelashes! But, it was a lot of fun. I wonder how the photos turned out.


Misc: This is the laundry list of things, like cooking, cleaning, keeping the kids alive, keeping the pets alive, trying to figure out how to do it all in a day, and never feeling as though twenty-four hours is enough time to get it all done. Maybe one of these days, I’ll learn how to slow my mind down, to where I’ll just zone out, and not think of anything. That sounds like absolute heaven to me!

So, what’s on your mind?

A New Outlook On My Health

I had some expectations after moving to Arizona. One of the biggest ones was a renewed love for running. I expected I’d have a change of heart, considering weather wouldn’t be a barrier for me. I could train to my heart’s content, get in those long miles, reconnect with the girl who planned on running a marathon in every state, just a few short years ago.

And while it’s true, the weather here is phenomenal, and I do love running, I’ve come to a realization.

I hate long runs.

I hate saying it. Admitting it makes my heart heavy, but I also feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders in being honest with myself. I’ve tried really hard to recapture those feelings I’d had while training for my marathons, but I can’t do it. I’ve lost my marathon mojo.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy lacing up my running shoes. Getting out there and busting out a 3 miler, a 4 miler, even a 5er at times feels good. But as the miles creep up, I feel… bored. Restless. Even annoyed. Most of my long runs are on weekends, and all I can think about is what my family is doing back home, how we could have gone on an outing somewhere.

I respect running immensely. I respect the runners, I know how hard it is to get out there and give it your all, especially while training for a race. There’s always a give and take, and for some reason, I just don’t have it in me, to give anymore. I haven’t in a long time.

So, where do I go from here?

the first race ever- the Omaha marathon. Ran a half
the first race ever- the Omaha marathon.

I’ve been bouncing around, trying different things, trying to get back into long distance running, trying to find what works for me, what makes me feel good, what makes me feel healthy. Finding what works, what doesn’t, and coming to a point where I have to accept it.

A couple of years ago, I’d run across a website from a woman who’d been struggling with her own expectations with health. She’s my age, has two kids, like me, and although she was doing everything “right” (exercising, eating healthy, etc.) she still felt tired. She didn’t have much energy, and looking at her, you’d figure she was doing just fine, but inside, she didn’t feel fine. I’ve been feeling the same way.

She decided to invest in weight training, and reverse dieting, and it changed her life. I’d never heard of reverse dieting, until reading about her journey. At the time, I was very interested in what she was doing, but I told myself, “You’re a runner, not a weight lifter.” While I’m not sure the reverse dieting aspect of things is the right formula for me, yet, I do want to incorporate a lot more strength training into my life, because I feel as though I’ve lost my strength as I’ve gotten older. And from everything I’ve read/researched online, weights are a great addition, especially the older we get.

My husband is doing it, too. He’s joined a fitness challenge at work, and it’s really nice having him motivate me. He’s the one who keeps me on track, now, and we’re working together to stay healthy, not just for us, but for our kids, too. Bike rides. Walks. Basketball. Hiking. Stuff we can do together, on the weekends. Family time.

I will still run. Running will always be a part of who I am, a second skin, but I want to run because I love it and I enjoy it. Sticking to the lower miles right now will help me to keep those passions alive, vs. killing the drive. The new expectation I have for myself, where my health is concerned, is to expect that there will be changes. That I won’t be who I was five years ago. That I will change, my wants/need will change, and I have to change, too, in order to get the most out of my health. And that it’s totally okay.


My 21-Day Fix Results

I had my own personal check list of the things I wanted to accomplish with 21 Day Fix. I wasn’t intent on losing weight. I wasn’t expecting some miraculous overhaul of flab to fab, fat to fit, or for anything that was already toned to be hard as stone. What I needed was something to get me back into fitness again. Something that would inspire me, motivate me. And, something that would help me with my eating habits.


The first week of the program was definitely the hardest. I’ve never been much of a conformer, and I did feel as though I had to conform and follow strict rules in order to get from point A to point B. In reality, though, this program is probably one of the least stringent out there. There’s no real calorie counting. You don’t have to monitor each and every bite that goes into your mouth. The caveat is to fit the food you’re eating into containers, aiding in portion control. I kept fairly active, following the DVD workouts and combining a 5K training schedule along with it, so I chose a higher range of caloric intake (1499-1700). It wasn’t as though I felt hungry. I was eating every 2-3 hours. My issue was, when I really got down to the core of things: desserts.

Like any well-balanced diet, desserts should be consumed in moderation. That hasn’t been my MO. I love, LOVE sweets. It’s comfort food for me, so I felt as though someone was slapping my hand, telling me those naughty foods are a big no-no. I wasn’t happy about it. I even confessed to my husband at one point, “I feel depressed.” He told me he had a similar reaction months prior, when he’d decided to eat healthier and care more about what he’s putting into his body. I imagine it’s pretty normal to initially feel sad that you can’t eat two servings of cake, or a heaping bowl of ice cream, foods that normally bring a sense of enjoyment into my life.

It’s not as though this program doesn’t allot for desserts. You just can’t eat ’em the way you probably are used to eating ’em. You know, multiple days a week. Or, lots of it. Okay, we’ll maybe that’s just me who has that problem. The first week was hard, but I really worked on keeping with the eating plan. Nearly two weeks in, though, I decided to do away with the containers. I felt I had grasped the concept of portion control, which was one of my big goals. I still stuck with eating smaller meals, more frequently, and nearly every day, I did the work outs as prescribed.

Sunday was the last day of 21 Day Fix. When it was all said and done, I missed two days of the DVD workouts, due to misc. reasons. I consumed dessert-like foods 4 times total, but did really well with portion control. At one point, I even shared a dessert with my husband, totally unlike me! I did well with not going back for 2nd’s, or 3rd’s when it was dinnertime, most likely because I was eating more frequently in the day, which meant I wasn’t ravenous at dinner. I’d say overall, I didn’t do a bad job. I’m sure I could have been more stringent, but I am happy with my results.

I’ve lost a few lbs (went from 135, to 131). I lost a few inches from various areas on my body (a little from my hips/stomach), and I gained an inch around my thighs, most likely muscle. Not bad, for 3 weeks of work! What I’ve really gained, however, is a new perspective, and a new-found enjoyment in working out. I’ve never exercised to be the skinniest body or the sexiest creature on the planet. I’ve done it because I feel good, inside and out. I’ve missed feeling strong. I love how my core feels now, after sticking with this program. I can feel the muscles engaging, my lower back feels strong, too. My posture has improved, and so has my attitude.


I wrote out a new workout plan yesterday, incorporating some of the workouts from 21 Day Fix, along with running and bicycling. I’m also throwing in some yoga, too. In October, I will start training for the Arizona Marathon, Feb 2016. I’m going to stick with halves for a while, and see where that takes me. I’m so glad I found my mojo again, looking forward to what’s in store for me, and for my fitness goals!


Why I’ve Jumped on the 21 Day Fix Bandwagon

Something happened to me, while driving on the road to fitness and health.

I got derailed.  Multiple times.

It’s happened before. I’m not new to feeling blasé about my workouts, yet I’ve always hopped back on with new-found determination. I somehow pull it out of my ass at the last-minute, and it clicks for me. Getting in that daily workout, filling my body with nutritious foods felt like second nature, every time. But not this time. Not in a long time.

There’s been a lot of upheaval in my world, recently. Months of packing, preparing, traveling, stress and strain. Too many days where it’s been easier to run through a fast food drive-thru then to try to formulate a meal plan, when living out of hotel rooms and a rental home filled to the brim with boxes felt overwhelming and exhaustive. The last thing I want to do is work out, or prepare a healthy meal.

Sure, those are excuses, but they are valid ones.

Only now, I’ve run out of excuses. I’ve been in Arizona a month. Belongings have been put away, for the most part. Being Cancerian, I need to have order and a proper home surrounding me, so putting things in drawers and having a place for everything is a top priority. My oldest son started school already. The youngest is doing a home school preschool program with me (a blog post for another day, believe you me. It’s a good thing.) I naturally wake up around 5:30a.m. every morning, every time I feel the sunshine on my face. I’ve got the time. I can put in the effort.

When an old friend posted her recent success with 21 Day Fix and how she wanted to plan another go around with the program, inviting friends of hers to join along, I jumped at the chance. I signed up, I’ve got the program, and I started it on Monday. Considering I’d been so fit and a professed fitness enthusiast, I thought it would be a piece of cake! It’s only 30 minutes, right?

Well, yeah, it’s 30 minutes, but there’s a lot jammed in there. It’s a great work out! I’m also training for a 5K (something else I want to get back into) later this month, so on a few days a week, I’m combining my runs with my workouts from 21 DF. And, I’m following the meal plan, the portion control 1500-1799 caloric range, to accommodate for my active lifestyle. Well, my recent active lifestyle. I can’t count the last several months, because there really wasn’t any lifestyle.

So, what’s my motivation? I used to think people hopped on a workout bandwagon in order to lose a substantial amount of weight. I’m wrong in that assumption. Every fitness level, every size, every person has a different story, a different reason. For me, I need something to get me back on track. I don’t want to lose weight, not really. I’m sure a few pounds will be lost, but I feel as though I’ve lost my strength! I don’t want to feel weak. When running up the stairs, I don’t want to feel winded! And when I wear my clothes, I want them to fit correctly. That’s the bottom line for me.


I’m already having a tough time with the food aspect. My mentality has always been, “If I eat healthy ALL DAY, I can eat 3 pieces of cake!” Or, “I’m training for a marathon, so it’s okay if I eat crap, because I’ll just burn it off when I run.” And then I’d wonder why I was gaining weight vs. losing it. Or, how really, I’m craving macaroni and cheese, a big fat juicy cheeseburger with all the fixin’s, and more than anything, sweets and cakes and pies. Ice cream. This workout plan has me eating every 2, 2 1/2 hours! I’m not hungry. My body is craving the food that doesn’t give me energy or make me feel good. My stomach is always a mess when I eat a lot of processed garbage, but it doesn’t matter. I’m still craving it!

I just want to get healthy. I really feel 21 Day Fix is the right step, in the right direction, for me. Share your workout secrets! What helps to keep you motivated?