A Long and Narrow Road

Here, the struggle begins, one step at a time.


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In Reverse

Today was one of those days where I just didn’t want to get out of bed. I stayed up late last night to watch Halloween and when the alarm went off at 4 a.m., I felt the unmistakable tickle of a sore throat. Oh man, how I groaned. BUT, I tossed myself into the shower and managed to get myself on the road.

The walk from the car to my office was frigid! I mean, we are talking 39 degrees and by California standards, that is damn near freezing. I got it into my head that I couldn’t possibly walk in this cold. I already had a throat tickle and walking in the cold air would just make it worse. By the time I got to my office, I had convinced myself to skip the walk. I mean, it’s so easy to do. Just skip it. No one would know and I’d save myself from getting a nasty cold.

With all of this going on in my head, I decided to change my clothes “just in case” I changed my mind about the walk. I added a scarf for warmth and did some stretches, telling myself that I will stretch first and then decide. Then, I set my fitness app and decided that if it didn’t get a good signal right off the bat, then that would be a sign to stay in today. The signal registered as POOR so then I took a few more steps out into the frigid weather and then got a FAIR. I took a few more steps and got a GOOD so I kept walking.

I decided to take my normal route, but in reverse.

Taking my normal route, in reverse, should not be a problem. It’s the same distance but normally I start off up hill and this of course meant I started off down hill and within 10 minutes, I had shin splints.

Plus, I had a horrific wedgie because guess what? I put my pants on backwards. Tagless clothing is the ultimate in comfort, but not when you can’t tell which way your damn pants go.

So there I was, limping WITH a wedgie. It did not make for a comfortable walk and in fact, I think I bitched the entire way. It was HARD. I felt weak and uncoordinated and could not wait for the darn thing to be over. How could it get any worse?

I’ll tell you how. I almost got run over by the ROTC guys that blew past me. I see them regularly but with this being a reverse route and all, I don’t think they expected to see me as they rounded a turn, so I quickly jumped out of the way and slipped in the mud. I didn’t fall, but my shoes were soaked and the next few steps afforded me ZERO traction so it was one of those floundering, “I am gonna fall” moments.

It wasn’t pretty.

Of course, I was really limping after that so when the end of the route loomed, happiness flooded over me in waves. I could take these wet shoes off, take my backward pants off, have coffee and be WARM. Happiness. Pure happiness. As sucky as the morning was, I am glad that it happened this way because looking back, I have had a lot of really good mornings and now I will appreciate them just a little bit more.


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Progress

I never took a “before” pic so I can’t show you a before and after when this is all said and done but I did that on purpose because I set out to do this as simply as possible. The “this” that I am referring to is my decision to make better choices, and that’s it. That is the only thing I committed to, and so far, I have done that about 85% of the time.

The walking has steadily increased and has become easier (most days). I still have one or two days a week that seem to give me more trouble than others. Chalk it up to stress or lack of sleep or some ache or pain taking my mind off the prize. Whatever it is, THAT is still there but yes, the walking as a whole seems to be getting easier.

I’ve lost a solid 10 lbs but now it’s fluctuating between 10-12 so I am thinking I may have dropped another pound which of course would be fabulous.

I have gone down two sizes. Yes! TWO sizes! Apparently, all of the weight that I have lost seems to have come off of my stomach and waist so my pants are huge in the waist and tight everywhere else. I am on the last notch of my belt (the tightest notch) and will have to look for a smaller belt soon.

Someone asked me if I had lost weight! Why yes, I have, thank you very much! It was dark and I was standing next to a huge tree so I probably looked smaller, but I’ll take it.

It’s surprising to me that a little activity, and a new found awareness for what goes in my body, can produce such results in such a short amount of time. This is encouraging, no? I mean, if I can do it with all of my complaining and drama, than anyone can. I seriously believe that.

I’d like to go for a nice long walk this weekend. So far, I have not been able to do squat over the weekend. Kids, Hub, Dog… they all call to me and I didn’t mention the laundry, the house, and everything else that goes with it. I took the Otter Pup for a walk once and she pooped out in just a mile and I had to carry her! She’s a tiny pup, but she isn’t up for long walks.  She prefers her short jaunts around the neighborhood. BUT, I am going to try to get a walk in. We’ll see how that goes.

And if I haven’t mentioned it before, my goal is to be able to run away from a Zombie, should a Zombie apocalypse take place. I am not there yet, but that is the goal. BTW, I have been watching The Walking Dead, Season 2 so now you know where the zombie stuff is coming from. Just in case you were wondering.


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Conversations

I cannot lie. This morning was quite possibly the toughest morning yet.

Last week was a great week for a lot of reasons. I hit a lot of personal goals with my walking. Speed increased, distance increased and I am down a solid 10 lbs since I began this journey a little over a month ago.  But this morning was awful! It was one of those mornings where your body forgets HOW to walk. Do you know what I mean? Last week, I really hit my stride but this morning, it was as if my arms and legs were not in sync with one another. I felt it right away and within ten minutes I had full-blown shin splints.

I attribute this to a couple of things:

  • I was a complete slug this weekend.
  • I ate a rich meal last night and I seriously do not think I have digested it yet.
  • I had a little more wine than I normally do.
  • Too much salt.

When you start to do things right, it doesn’t take much to wreak havoc on your system and because of the things I noted above. my morning routine was much more difficult. Oh, and of course, it’s Monday too and we all know how Monday plays tricks with our heads.

So, the conversations started. The ones that I continually have with myself when I am in massive amounts of pain or experiencing buckets of frustration and in this case, both. Shin splints, as simple as they are to get, can be so incredibly painful. You just don’t know if you can continue on without causing further damage. They hit me early on and I hobbled along as best as I could, but although I was sympathetic to my body’s needs I was also terribly frustrated. After a weekend of sloth, I REALLY needed to get a good walk in.

Why did I eat such a rich meal last night? Why didn’t I get a walk in over the weekend? Why didn’t I stretch a bit more before I started?

When I go walking, the last person I want to hear is myself. I think I even told myself to shut-up a couple of times.

A person can make herself miserable with all the self-defeating cross talk. I know this, and yet it comes so easily to me. I suppose that is why I am battling the bulge in the first place. There’s so much more than just losing weight when you are trying to make yourself healthy. Long practiced habits have to be broken for sure but the mind-set, that is REALLY hard to get a grasp of. I mean, what makes you do the things you do? That’s a tough question. I think a lot of people know the answer but then why do we keep repeating the bad behavior?

I am the queen of making poor decisions when it comes to health. I’ll take a morning on the couch with my book over a perfect walk in the park. I know this about myself and it’s something I am trying to deal with each and every day. That’s why this walking blog is so valuable to me. It holds me accountable for my actions, This bad morning of mine is a direct result of my actions over the weekend. If I can bottle up this feeling for later use, I’d never make the same mistake twice but that isn’t how it works. I will make the same mistake many more times before it finally sinks in, and that’s okay. I have to believe that each time it happens, something is rubbing off on me in a good way. I have to believe, or I’d never put the shoes on again.

So, I believe.

With a cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee, I think I will believe more so off I go to make some. Happy Monday to you. It will be over soon.


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Hate. It.

Walking Path

Has it really been five days since my last post? I guess with the weekend and all, it has been.

Well, it hasn’t all been good. Last Friday, I made a discovery that really knocked me for a loop. It’s personal stuff but it affects my family and when my family is affected, it brings me down. I didn’t turn to food though which is what I normally do but man, the craving was there. All I had in the house was fruit, kale, yogurt and oatmeal. You can’t really go to town with those items so I was safe. Who wants to binge on oatmeal or yogurt? No one! Yeah, and a pear binge did not sound appealing either.

So, I walked. I did that “angry” walk that you sometimes see people do. My arms were swinging, my hips where sashaying and my feet were landing in thuds. A pleasant sound when you are working off anger and frustration. Thud. Thud. Thud. Graceful, I am not. Boy, did it feel good though! I can’t say that getting out the door was an easy task, but once I was out, I was flying.

But today, oh man, today was a bear! I just didn’t want to go! The weather was breezy and warm and I had absolutely no aches or pains but all I wanted to do was pull out that yoga mat and take a nap. Yes, the yoga mat again! I really need to get rid of it. It’s too tempting sometimes. Even with all the bitching, I didn’t allow myself time to do anything but get dressed. And then I took off on an uphill path. Gripe.

Needless to say, it was one of those mornings where my heart wasn’t in it, but I still got it done. That’s saying something, right? I do get bored, and the audio book I was listening too practically put me to sleep so I started up another one and it really pulled me through the walk. I sort of forgot how miserable I was after the first mile. I think with walking, it’s important to switch it up or you will bore yourself to death. Pick out some different music or change your route just a tiny bit. With all of these fitness apps these days, you can take off in any direction and know how far you’ve gone. I like that aspect of the app because sometimes I will head out for a certain path and then all of a sudden change directions and that’s okay, because I can still see how far I am walking. Do you use an app? I highly recommend them.

That’s it from me. I am crossing my fingers that the week goes by quickly because I really do need a nap.


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Pain Don’t Hurt

Strange title for a post, huh? It’s from the 1989 movie Road House, starring Patrick Swayze. It’s one of those funny, ironic lines because everyone knows that pain DOES hurt. Somehow when Patrick Swayze says it, you believe it. I certainly did not believe it this morning when my hip socket began to scream in pain. This pain-in-the-ass hip flexor will be the death of me!! I hobbled along. I looked like a total goof out there. Limping, wincing and carrying on. I mean, it hurts and all and I am not exaggerating that part of it, but I also got frustrated with my body giving out like that and after just a few minutes in.

Plus, it was cold and I did not want to be out. Truth.

What did I do? I plowed through it the best I could and when I got back to my office, I l collapsed into a heap upon my carpet. EVERY inch of that leg hurt and I spent a good 15 minutes whining to myself about it. Then, when I was done with my pity party, I struggled to get up! That part was funny because along with the hip thing, I think a little bit of my “forty-ness” kicked in. Yeah.

I am wondering when this exercise thing will become routine. I am also wondering if I will ever like. it. I try to stay positive and I try to trick my brain into thinking it’s a treat but my brain isn’t buying it. At least not now. Maybe I need a little more time and a little more success? Probably.

As for food, still making good choices but I recently found out that in addition to gluten, I am now sensitive to cottonseed oil. Good grief. It’s in a lot of gluten-free foods. I am thinking it makes the bland flours taste better. Anyway, it’s not jiving with my system so I am on heavy doses of Benadryl (Zzzzz) and hope that within a week, it will totally be out of my system. It may be contributing to the inflammation response in my leg too as my body goes into overdrive when a contaminant enters the blood stream.

On a side note, I was in the women’s restroom here at work and the gal in the stall next to me was sporting some killer running shoes. For a split second I told myself that if I had those shoes I’d race through my walks like a champ. She probably had no idea I was checking out her shoes but come on, who wouldn’t? I cannot find them online and of course she was not running… she was actually just a student going to class which is a total waste of a good running shoe in my opinion.

The Benadryl is kicking in which means it’s time for me to sign-off. Until next time…


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The Path

It’s been a few days since I’ve checked in. The hip flexor issue proved to be a tad more serious than originally thought. Pushing through the pain the other day made it a tiny bit worse so I took the weekend to recover and only did two short walks. Short, meaning a mile or so and at a very slow pace.

On Monday, I was a complete nudge, meaning that I had to be nudged to do anything! It was my daughter’s birthday and I took the day off to be with her. With the day off, my entire routine was thrown out of whack. You know how that goes. I wouldn’t say it was an entire say of self-indulgence because it was far from that (salad and soup), walking around a mall, etc. But, I didn’t get any good walking in and my food choices could have been more nutritious. By the end of the day, I was feeling polluted by all the coffee I had consumed over the weekend and oh yeah, that gluten-free bagel. I swear, bagels are dense food items anyway but gluten-free ones sit in the stomach like a doorstop. No chance of me blowing away in the winds with that thing in my stomach.

Today, I woke to the news of a sexual predator attacking women on campus. Wonderful! I walk in the early morning hours and it’s dark folks. The Hub told me to skip it and I was tempted. Actually, on my long drive in, I had convinced myself that it would be a wise decision to stay inside, behind the safety of a locked office door. But then from the parking lot to my office, I changed my mind. Then, once I got to my office I changed my mind again. Nope, I wasn’t going to chance it.

Two minutes later…

I had my clothes and shoes on and I was heading out the door.

I followed a different path, one that had more lights along the way and I took my trusty Buck knife. Not sure what I would do with it if I had to use it but it’s a mean ‘you know what’ and I felt better having it than not. I felt as if I needed to get back to walking. This is only my fourth week of walking and I have already been derailed a couple of times and it’s just too easy to not walk. If I spend too much time thinking these days, I can talk myself out of anything, especially walking so I just keep ignoring myself. It’s tough to ignore the negative stuff going on in your head. I think that is my toughest challenge.

I am going to list out a few thoughts that crossed my mind this weekend. Some are positive, others, not so much but I am putting them out there so I can face them plainly and perhaps do something about them.

I could use another pair of walking shoes to keep in the car.

No, I really DO look like that in the mirror.

I need to stop thinking of food as a reward.

My daughter saying that I look like Roseanne (yes, this happened!) cannot be a good thing no matter how I choose to look at it.

I actually use my hair as an excuse to not exercise. But it will mess up my hair!! (Please).

A ten minute walk is better than not walking at all.

I do not need to walk fast for it to count. It all counts.

If you have two choices, and one is to make the better choice, then why is it so hard to choose?

That’s it for today. Have a good one.


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Grin & Bear It

I come to you today with a slight injury. Years and years ago, when I was actually an active person, I did something to my hip flexor, which is the area where your upper thigh meets the pelvis. Before I was diagnosed with Lupus a severe bout of inflammation to the same area caused some damage. It’s never fully healed but after years of inactivity it quietly disappeared.

Well, with all this walking I have been doing, it’s back.  When you are pathetically out of shape, it doesn’t take much to injure yourself and that is exactly what I’ve done. I noticed it yesterday after my walk and today, which was mostly an uphill battle route, it reared its ugly head.  Somehow, in between the pain of it and some woman who needed help parallel parking (seriously!) I managed to set a time and distance goal. How did that happen?

It happened because I sucked it up and let’s face it, after walking all that way I HAD to walk back. It’s not like someone could give me a ride or I could easily hop on a bus. No, I had to grin and bear it and hope for the best. I did slow my pace down because I could literally feel it getting worse but even with it aching right now, I am so glad I got dressed and went out the door. Oh, and I know it’s just walking. I keep reminding myself of that because even such a simple task seems daunting to me, the out-of-shape person.  Breaking it all down into its simplest form seems to make it more manageable. It’s so easy to overthink things. It’s a negative habit I have and I am trying really hard to break it and I do this by not allowing myself to spend too much time on it.

I could be in the process of convincing myself that my body needs rest, but I am doing it while putting on the walking clothes.  Once they’re on, I can’t really turn back at that point, it would just seem silly. My plan for now is to just throw myself into autopilot and hope that my body complies with the request.  Right now, it’s rebelling a tiny bit. It happens and I am sure it won’t be the first time.