Observations From A Month Of Daily Exercise

Those are words I never thought I’d type. I am the laziest piece of *mumblemumble* you would ever care to meet when it comes to exercise. I don’t like it, I have trouble making time for it, there are 100 other things I’d rather do – like clean toilets with my tongue. It’s not high on my list of priorities.

But. I knew I needed it. I knew I was getting more out of shape every day and it’s not like I’m getting any younger. It was time to stop screwing around and stop pretending it wasn’t an issue.

We acquired a treadmill and for whatever reason (ahem: WE SPENT MONEY) it motivated me. With it in the house, there are no more excuses about whether I can or have time to exercise. It’s right there; taunting me until I give in and move my ass.

That is exactly what I have done for the entire month of September. I’ve gotten on the treadmill every single day if I wasn’t doing something like mowing the lawn or yard work. I missed one day due to a power outage but I was right back on it the next. Believe me, there were days when the very last thing on earth I wanted to do was get on that treadmill. You could have asked me to go shave yaks in the Himalayas while naked and I would have preferred it. But there it sat, mocking me, until I gave in and got to work.

Here’s what happened.

I can sweat! I know, who cares about that, right? Well, I have always been a person who only sweats under extreme circumstances and never, ever, ever on my head. That means that I turn beet red any time I exert myself. I thought I just couldn’t really work up a good sweat. It turns out I was wrong. Not only can I do it, the more I exercise, the easier it becomes. Now, my body starts the cooling process at the first hint of physical work. It’s actually kind of cool.

Pro Tip: Don’t use earbuds if you’re going to sweat a lot. I managed to get an infection of my ear canal (swimmer’s ear) from it and it hurt a lot. My doctor swears it’s because I use q-tips but I’ve used q-tips every damn day for most of my life and never had swimmer’s ear until I started sweating with ear buds in every day.

I can run! This one is completely amazing to me. I can run. On purpose! And not die! More amazing – it feels GOOD. Like, really good. Like, runner’s high, good. It’ll start to get difficult and I’ll want to quit but I tell myself I can do it, that I won’t let a measly tenth of a mile beat me, and I take a few deep breaths and keep running through it. Suddenly, my skin begins to tingle from head to toe. It’s amazing. I’m hot, I’m sweaty, I can feel my legs tiring, but when I tingle from head to toe I don’t want to stop running.

I have stamina! Right now, I’m running quarter-mile intervals (walk .25 miles/run .25 miles) and I’ve suddenly found that 5.5 mph is a great, comfortable pace for me. It’s also the fastest I’ve ever run continuously. I can’t run 3.0 miles straight but I can do a 3.0 mile workout on the quarter-mile intervals, running 1.5 miles total. The other day I ran up the stairs and walked into my bedroom without being winded in the slightest. That’s new.

But my arms are weak! Seriously, when I’m running, my arms get tired faster than my legs. I don’t know why. I can swing them back and forth all the live long day when I walk but when I run, that’s what winds me most. Given that I haul 45 lbs of Jamie around fairly regularly, this is a bit of a shock to me.

I like exercise! This right here is the most profound change. Even when I don’t want to work out and push myself to do it anyway, it still feels good. I’ll start walking and think “eh, even if all I do is walk for 30 min it’s better than doing nothing.” By the end of 30 minutes, 9 times out of 10, I’ve run as well as walked. It’s been really good for my depression, too – so much so that I’ve missed a few doses of my Zoloft on accident and completely didn’t notice. I have started to look forward to my weekend workouts because they’re longer. Yes, that’s correct. I look forward to and enjoy spending MORE time exercising, not less.  And I feel amazing when I’m done.

Good music is a motivator. I know being on a treadmill can get really boring so I have a couple of playlists set up for working out. They’re full of upbeat songs that get me pumped. Great Big Sea, Spin Doctors, The Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Queen, Vanessa Carlton, rockabilly and swing music, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Ray Vaughn, Tori Amos, Ben Folds, KT Tunstall, Rusted Root to name several. My iPod knows me well because I can be really starting to tire and a perfect song will start to pump me up.

The reason I wrote this post is not because I’m trying to brag. I’m honestly really amazed at myself and don’t recognize this person I’m becoming. What I really want to say is this: if I can do this, so can you. I mean that. I really do. I was That Person who hates to exercise and has every excuse in the book about it. But here I am, a month later, and I have a new habit. It hasn’t necessarily allowed me to drop a bunch of weight but I still feel a lot better physically than I did before. I believe in you, I believe anyone can do this, so I think you should believe in you, too.

My Day

Ever have a day so filled with things going wrong that you start laughing because otherwise you’d just cry? That was my day yesterday.

As you can tell from the lack of posting, it’s been hectic around here. Before I get into what went down yesterday, let me tell you about a storm we had a week or two ago in which it got very ugly, very fast. Jamie and I were playing at a playground. It was overcast but not ominous. Jamie eventually decided he was done playing and hungry so we headed off to Eat n’ Park for a quick lunch. As we approached McKnight Road, the sky looked like this:

It cometh.

It cometh.

On the other side of the road, it was brightly sunny. We hightailed it to the restaurant and ran inside just seconds before the skies opened up. We watched very heavy rain pour down and listened to thunder as the restaurant lights flickered. Forty-five minutes later, at the conclusion of our lunch, the rain had cleared off and the skies were sunny again. We headed home and everywhere we went there was tree debris on the roads and we hit at least one spot of flooding.

We arrived home, parked the car in the garage, shut the garage door, and promptly lost all power. I then looked out our back windows and saw this on our back hill:

TIIIIMMMMBEEERRRRR!!!

TIIIIMMMMBEEERRRRR!!!

No, really. Earth shattering kaboom.

No, really. Earth shattering kaboom.

Took out two other trees on its way down.

Took out two other trees on its way down.

Now, about yesterday…

It all seemed to start out as normal. Getting kids up, ushering Liam through school prep, getting him out the door for the bus. Then, in the space of 20 minutes I cleaned up 2 spots of dog pee, spilled my coffee all over our library carpet and walls, and broke one of my favorite mugs on my murderous kitchen floor. I got all of that cleaned up (mostly, I need to steam clean the carpet) and then went upstairs to get dressed to take Jamie to school.

I turned around, wearing pants but little else, to find Ellie peeing on the floor right in front me. I chased her outside and then cleaned up that mess. I was pissed off. I had things to do, dammit, and no time for this!

I finished dressing and realized that Liam had forgotten his library books for school. So I spent 5 minutes searching those out then ran downstairs to get Jamie dressed for school. Luckily preschool drop off and book drop off went fine.

I’m hoping that this was going to be the end of it but the universe had other ideas.

Remember that tree? Well. I had an appointment yesterday morning to have a tree service come out, look at the damage and give me an estimate on dealing with it. To make a long story slightly shorter, they wanted TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS. $2,000!! I almost died. Who the hell has that kind of money just lying around? Not me. They are HIGH if they think I’m paying that.

(Scot and I talked about it; I talked with the neighbor – the tree is between us – and we all agreed that it’s not endangering houses or children so we’re going to leave it. Neighbor’s husband is going to at least cut it so that the main trunk is on the ground and we’ll leave it at that.)

Early afternoon: I head outside to take care of a quick chore only to step in dog shit that one of our dear pets so helpfully left on the back patio. I came inside and Ellie curled up next to me – chewing on one of the kids’ wooden blocks. Of course.

At this point I just want to get to bedtime without the house burning to the ground. Did I mention that my *ahem* monthly guest showed up 3 days early yesterday?

The final kick in the pants came when the kids complained that the main light in the family room wasn’t working. The switch has been temperamental for a good while now but it’s worked just fine. Well, yesterday, it gave up the ghost entirely and we’ve lost our overhead light in that room. The one we use the most. It just flat stopped working. Flicker, flicker, flicker….DEAD.

The only way to end such a day was with gratuitous violence and pithy remarks. So we watched Iron Man 3 and went to bed.

Today has got to be better. Right?

Whirlwind

It feels like I’ve been caught up in a non-stop frenzy of go-go-go since I last posted.

As of today, the kids are now both back to school and on their regular school year schedule. Liam is adjusting to third grade though we’ve had some bumps in the road with this. I feel for the kid. He seems to be having emotions he’s not entirely sure what to do with and they’re coming out in odd and inappropriate ways. If this is hormones already – at 8.5! – I don’t know what’ll happen in his teen years.

Jamie, on the other hand, is absolutely ecstatic to be back in preschool. He ADORES learning and I can tell he was getting pretty bored here at home. He’s already talking about going to Kindergarten and he’s a little miffed that Liam gets to go to school 5 days a week while he only goes 3 days. There’s been no tears at the change in classroom and classmates (another story altogether) just happy smiles all around. I’m so proud of him.

I have also begun school. I started my Anatomy and Physiology course and it’s … interesting. I have 15 modules I have to get through in a 15 week time frame. Each module is designed to last a week, working 10-15 hours per week. There’s reading the text book, lecture slides, review activities, and then a test included in each module.

I’ve complete 4 modules in the last week.

I honestly don’t think it’s the course. The text is comprehensible and easy to follow, the slides are well done for the most part, the review exercises are handy. I find the module tests to be a little too easy but it helps my grade so who am I to complain? But 10 to 15 hours on 1 module?! No way in hell. I’d be reciting the textbook line for line from memory if I spent that much time on it. Which leads me to the conclusion that this course is not just Anatomy for Dummies, it’s Anatomy for the Eternal Dipshit. If this is how the course is structured, I can only assume they think the students taking it are really stupid.

At this pace I figure I’ll finish the course in a month or so, leaving me with a decision to make. Once I finish this pre-requisite, I can get down the nitty gritty of my coding courses. I have four clusters of classes to take with three classes per cluster. I’m allowed 15 weeks per cluster to complete the courses. If I finish Anatomy and Physiology by October, that puts me working through the holidays on the first cluster of coding courses and I’m not sure I want to do that. Christmas stresses me out. Every single year. I can handle that and one course but I’m dubious about Christmas Stress and THREE courses. Therefore, I think I may wait until January to begin Cluster 1.

Despite the busy schedule, I’m happy. The kids are in school and learning so much, I’m finding ways to take care of the house, take care of the kids, and be in school. My days are filled and so is my heart.