Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Part II

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Everyone has one: something they struggle with in their life. Usually their whole lives. Weight is definitely one of my struggles. Many of my local friends don’t really get it, because while they’ve seen the photos, they never knew me as a very heavy person, or it’s not a struggle for them. By the way, you can find the first post on this subject here.

Still, we all struggle with something. I read something recently — we all have speed bumps along our journey. If we didn’t, we might speed right into an accident.

Fairytales and Fitness

A little course correction
Like many people, I have times when I can easily maintain my weight. I have times when I really struggle to maintain my weight. Once in a blue moon, I even have time when the weight seems to just melt off of me.

I’ve had times in my life when I’ve been very sick. We all know that the weight we lose when we’re sick doesn’t stay lost, right?

Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it’s actually been the catalyst for weight loss for me, like my nasty stomach virus a couple of months ago. It was a speed bump that helped me in my journey toward a more comfortable weight for me, and also in a new direction: practicing intuitive eating. No tracking, just eating. I hope that I can continue to maintain my weight and intuitively eat what I need.

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You can keep your wine. Food’s my drug of choice!

Hitting reset
One of the hardest parts about losing weight is that we can’t eat the way we’ve been eating. There are plenty of programs that promise you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight, if you just eat it at midnight standing on your head and rubbing your stomach (or so it seems).

Fad diets never work, and truthfully, if I could just eat whatever I wanted and still lose weight — well, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have struggled with my weight as much as I have my whole life.

Whether we struggle with weight or not, we all need a little reset from time to time . We let foods that we know are not our friends creep back into our lives, because they taste so good and make us feel so good — temporarily. Except somewhere down the road we realize we really don’t feel so good.

Then it’s time to hit reset. Minimize the foods that aren’t your friends, maximize the foods that are (this is different for every body). Never starve yourself, never cut out a whole food group, and never beat yourself up when you slip up: it’s all part of the journey — remember the necessity of speed bumps?

What do you need to hit reset on?
It’s not just food that people need to hit reset on. Maybe you stay up too late. Maybe you’re on your devices too much. Maybe you buy too much. Maybe you exercise too much. So many things can give us pleasure when done in moderation, but cause us pain when we go overboard. Then it’s time to hit reset!

What’s gotten out of moderation in your life?

Do you practice resets on a regular basis? 

Any reset tips? 

Whatever Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, Part I

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While I was sick, I used some guided meditations focusing on being healthy. One of them said words to the effect:

I allow myself to go through this illness, because I know that I will come through even stronger than before.

Fairytales and Fitness

No one ever wants to be sick. Sometimes, though, we truly need that down time — and we come through the other side even stronger.

You have to allow yourself to go through it . . . 
. . . but sometimes you have to hit pause first, or you’ll be down for the count even longer.

I’ll repeat it: no one ever wants to be sick. It’s why we say things like “I’m fighting off a cold“. Sometimes, though, we just can’t fight our way through it, no matter how hard we fight.

Our body is begging us for rest — and if we don’t give our body what it needs, it will find a way to force you to rest. You will have to rest a lot longer than if you had taken the time to rest in the first place.

Running injuries can be the same way. We’re training hard for something, or we’ve committed to meeting up with a group, or we’ve committed to a run streak; we know we need that break, but we ignore the messages our body is screaming at us.

If we just listened the first time, though, and stopped at the first sign of a problem, we wouldn’t be down as long.

Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.— M. Scott Peck

Once you’re sick or injured though, you have to heal. You have to allow yourself to heal. You will only set yourself back or injure yourself worse if you just try to ignore the fact that you’re sick or injured. You have to go through the problem, not around it.

Coming through stronger
Have you heard of the Japanese art of mending broken pots? It’s call Kintsugi.

Kintsugi uses lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver, platinum, copper or bronze, resulting into something more beautiful than the original.

Instead of simply trying to glue a broken pot back together and trying to hide the fact that it’s broken, they take that broken pot and make something even more beautiful out of it. Something stronger.

I have a little Murano glass cat my brother brought from Italy for me many years ago. It’s seen several moves without incident, but recently a little piece of it was broken off. Mr. Judy glued it back for me, but it broke off again when it got tipped over (very gently).

I wonder what would happen if we tried Kintsugi on it? Rather than trying to pretend it’s still whole, instead letting the beauty in the imperfection shine through?

We are stronger because we’ve gone through hard things. The key is the going through it — not around it.— Chocolaterunsjudy

Next week I’ll be sharing how going through hard things in another area of my life made me stronger.

Do you always try to push through things?

Do you think pushing through helps or hinders you? 

Do you think you’re stronger because you’ve been broken? 

Why do YOU race?

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Some runners never race at all. Runners who do race, though, race for all sorts of different reasons. Your reasons for racing may change over the years, too. I do think it’s important to revisit your why. What is it about racing that motivates you? Why do YOU get out there to race?

Fairytales and Fitness

Ironically, at the moment, I am not racing much. Even though I did a lot of races in 2018, my racing year didn’t even really start until July. It had been almost 8 months since my last half at that point; sometimes life (and Winter!) get in the way.

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No big goal race plans, but still running. Consistency will help me be able to race when the time is right!

You can run without racing
Let’s face it, racing is hard. If it’s not hard, then you’re not racing. It’s hard on the body, too, especially when you run a lot of races with little recovery time.You can run without racing– heck, running is hard too; we all know that!

Running will always challenge you:

  • Making time for runs
  • Bad weather
  • Those days when your legs feel encased in molasses
  • Those days when it just doesn’t feel very good

When you’re running without racing it’s a lot easier to tell yourself: “I don’t need to run today; tomorrow will be better weather”. Or “There’s no reason to push myself if I’m not training for a race”.

Maybe you do push yourself even if you never race. Maybe that helps you stay sane. Or maybe you just love running fast. There is no right or wrong when it comes to running, there is only what is right or wrong for you.

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Exploring the US . . . on the run & one state at a time

Why do I race?
Like most people, there are many reasons why I race:

  • To challenge myself
  • To improve (which doesn’t necessarily mean a better finish time)
  • To run in new places
  • To work towards a goal
  • To chase that runner’s high
  • To push myself and see what I’m really capable of
  • To earn cool swag
  • To enjoy time with my running friends (sometimes)

When I began to race, I knew very few runners. I raced by myself. Some days I still race by myself. Is it more fun with friends? Sure! The reasons I race keep me racing whether or not my friends are with me.

I showed you mine . . .
. . . now you show me yours: your reasons to race. Drop me a comment and let me know why you race!

Do you like to race by yourself or with friends?

What is your number one reason to race? 

Do you push yourself even if you’re not training for a race? 

Fair Weather Runners,Unite!

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I have run in some pretty gnarly weather conditions: snow, sleet, thunderstorms, extremely windy, a Nor’easter (yes, I’m going to milk that one for years to come). Sometimes the weather changes when I’m already out on the run and I have no choice but to run back to the car. Other times, yes, I know the conditions and I choose to run anyway.

I may be smiling, but damn! It was cold! And slippery.

Fairytales and Fitness

Getting ready to run my longest race ever — in high humidity & raining at the start

Given the choice . . . 
. . . for training runs, I will more often than not choose not to run in bad weather. That may mean running on a treadmill or running on a different day — or time of day. I am lucky that I don’t work and have the flexibility to change when I run (sometimes; I still have other responsibilities!).

My first half. Also still my coldest half ever. Don’t I look happy?

I find right now, as I’m not in training for anything specific, I’m even more of a wuss. There have been a lot of days I know I could run outside if I’d just accept being blown around by the wind and cold (not to mention being pelted by cold rain).

I don’t want to so I don’t. I also know that when push comes to shove, I will run in those conditions. That I have run in those conditions. There’s no reason (for me) to put myself outside my comfort zone right now, because I don’t have to worry about what race day will hand me; I already know I can run in adverse weather.

This has been what it looked like before, during, and after quite a few runs

And yet . . .  
. . . I signed up to mentor for the training challenge of our Women’s 5k in June. It started with a snow/sleety morning. There have been rainy days. Very cold and windy days. Because I volunteered for and am meeting the group, I show up no matter the weather — including running in a cold rain this week.

I might grumble a lot about it, but I’m there!

If you’re not a weather wuss like me . . . 
If you absolutely have to get it done outside, no matter the weather, here are a few resources for you:

Do you even care about the weather?

What type of weather causes you to bail?

What getting out the door tips to you have to share?

It is important to experience running in all kinds of weather if you plan to race, because you truly never know what race day will hand you. Each bad weather runs builds your mental game, knowing that you have — and can — run in bad weather. — Chocolaterunsjudy

7 Random Hospital Thoughts

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You have a lot of time to think in a hospital. I thought of one more thing after I made this graphic . . .

Fairytales and Fitness

I had not been in a hospital — for myself, that is — since I was 12 years old.  Since there isn’t a lot of movement going on, I thought I’d just share a few hospital thoughts from last week. You never know when knowledge can come in handy.

Mr. Judy catches me at my “best” — NOT! Waiting, waiting . . .

Don’t expect anything to happen quickly . . .
. . . unless it’s a true emergency. Thankfully the ambulance got here really quickly — not that I really needed it, but it’s good to know going forward should another emergency arrive.

I arrived at the hospital around 5:30 pm. I was admitted to a room about 10:30 pm. The rest of the time was spent laying in the ER, receiving fluids, getting vials of blood taken, seeing like five different doctors (not even sure that’s really an exaggeration!).

Mr. Judy brought my phone to the hospital, but not a charger, so I had to make that last. It was pretty darn boring. The next day I was pretty sure I’d be released, but in the morning I asked if it would be possible to get a magazine, and the nurse said she’d tell a volunteer. Never saw a volunteer, never got a magazine . . . we joked in three days some random woman probably got one.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the medical staff is overworked and underpaid — but I’ve also seen this with my parents. Sometimes for issues that are more important (again, truly no disrespect to hospital staff). So if it is important, you’ve got to be the squeaky wheel (it wasn’t obviously, so I wasn’t).

You’ll be asked lots of odd questions
Does your husband hit you? Not kidding; they asked. Do you want an HIV test? Do you use a walker? Are there any stairs at home? Are you worried about going up them? What, am I 100 years old?????

We all know about hospital food, right?
I only ate breakfast and lunch there. The food wasn’t horrible (maybe because I had a 24 hour fast), the main thing was that so much of it was just so unhealthy. Maple syrup like substance with high fructose corn syrup — blech!

I wasn’t put on a bland diet, but obviously I needed one. Mostly there were heavy foods — pizza, grilled cheese, fried chicken — I mean seriously, what?  I ordered a turkey sandwich with butter and chicken noodle soup for lunch. The soup never came. The sandwich had some creamy pesto like sauce on it.

Which brings me to my next point — the waste! They brought breakfast, and it included: scrambled eggs, french toast, oatmeal, fresh fruit, coffee and milk. I ate the scrambled eggs and french toast — I’m sure the rest got thrown out. Lunch came with salad, chips, milk — again! — none of which I ordered. More waste.

Jello might have been good for an upset stomach, for instance, but I would bet that the jello they use has artificial colors and lots of sugar and just no thank you. I made my own this week. Just juice, gelatin, and honey. Cookies, brownies, ice cream . . . can you gain weight eating in a hospital? Glad I wasn’t there long enough to find out.

You need to be your own advocate
They came to take blood at 5 am (yes, thank you, because I got so much rest). I questioned whether it was necessary since I know they told me that they had extra blood what they took while I was in the ER just in case they wanted to run more tests. Apparently they don’t share.

Then they came back at 9 am wanting to draw yet more blood. I questioned that — and yeah, apparently they don’t communicate that well either because they checked it and didn’t need to draw more.

I regretted telling them I take a vitamin D supplement because they brought me one the next morning. It wasn’t necessary and God knows how much that cost us.

When I got to the room at 10:30, the left me there. I had to actually make the bed. 

You won’t get much rest while you’re there
I knew this already from adventures with parents. It’s a little more eye opening when it’s you, though. There was some older guy making lots of lots of noise pretty much all night. I don’t think he was actually in pain or anything.

The heart telemetry machine beeped almost all night. A nurse came in and said she’d do something about it (I hadn’t asked, she just noticed it when doing rounds), but you guessed it — it stayed beeping all night. Did I mention I’m a very light sleeper? They finally fixed it the next morning.

Initially I was in a room by myself, but they brought in someone in the wee hours of the morning. The rooms aren’t dark. Medical personnel are walking up and down the hall all the time. Medical personnel are coming in to take vitals and blood and whatnot all night. Not to mention it’s really uncomfortable trying to sleep with an iv in and electrodes all over your body for heart telemetry. At least I was mobile — but of course dragging an IV pole around isn’t a lot of fun either.

You will leave without paying anything
The first time we were in the hospital with my Dad — for brain surgery — 7 years ago? It blew my mind that you leave without a bill. If you have insurance you leave without ever showing a credit card. They never seem to be in a hurry to send you a bill either (they first bill your insurance company).

Keep track
Try to take notes about what meds and procedures you were given. It’s not at all unusual for there to be mistakes. Also it is your right to get a copy of your records, but they will not just automatically send them. You’ll need to ask for and sign a HIPPA form. Don’t expect to get those records quickly, though (yup, I’m waiting). I’m really very curious just what blood tests they ran, and the results; they just told me “your bloodwork is good”.

If you’ve ever had to be in the hospital, what did you learn?

Have you been shocked by a hospital bill? We’re still blissfully ignorant of what it cost.

Jello yum or oh heck no!? I’ve never really been much of a Jello person, but with a little whipped topping it’s pretty darn tasty. It still does have a fair amount of sugar from the juice I used to make it, but at least there’s no added sugar.

Do you remember your first?

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Your first run, that is?

I don’t. Apparently I really don’t.

Fairytales and Fitness

As I was moving around running clothes — putting away some (not all) heavier clothes, bringing out more skirts — I happened upon an old journal. If you asked me when I started to run, I would tell you about 10 years ago. I would tell you I had never run a mile before starting to run 10 years ago. I was wrong.

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I ran a mile? In 1993?

Why journal? Because my memory sucks!
I have journaled, off and on, since I was a kid. I’ve kept some of them, gotten rid of some of them. This particular journal just happened to be on top of the box I had my skirts in for the winter, and it almost knocked me in the head as I got the box down.

Curious, I opened it and skimmed through it. There weren’t many entries in that particular journal. The journal was from 1993. 26 years ago.

Imagine my surprise to see myself writing about running. I knew that I had tried to run, on and off, for a while when we lived in TX, but I also knew it didn’t happen much and didn’t think I really was serious about it. In 1993, we had only lived there one year. I didn’t belong to a gym and I didn’t have a treadmill.

Yet I wrote about running a quarter of a mile . . . working up to one whole mile.

How in the world could I have forgotten that? How did I track it, anyway? I certainly didn’t have a GPS watch. I didn’t have a cell phone. I never went to a track. My best guess is maybe I was wearing a pedometer, but again — I have no memory of this at all.

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That “lake” in the background is Town/Ladybird Lake. There’s a wonderful path that goes around it. I walked many miles there — and apparently ran one. A very young Chester with Stevie Ray Vaughn.

I do have some fuzzy memories of trying to “jog” (that’s what I called it in my journal) at Town Lake (now called Ladybird Lake). Just a little. A whole mile? Apparently I blocked it out of my memory.

Do I remember the first time I really ran — and kept running?
Again, no. I know I had started to run, as a way to hopefully lose those last few pounds, while we lived in TX — shortly before we moved here. In 2009. I would just run occasionally when I walked the dogs: Chester and Lola were young, then, and they loved those extremely short intervals.

I remember I used to take them to a nearby grade school that had a round walking path. I’d put them in a down stay, and I’d run around that “track”. I slowly increased the number of laps I ran. I remember those “runs”.

My first run when I decided I would train for a 5k? No, I have no memory of it. I’m pretty sure it was on the treadmill. I know I did a lot of my training on the treadmill, but eventually I moved it outside, because the race was outside and I figured I needed to get used to running on the road.

Once I got serious about running, I started to keep running journals. I wrote about it on FB, but it’s not always easy to find old stuff on FB. Now I have this blog, as well.

Do you journal (online or actually pen to paper)?

Do you go back and read old entries?

Do you really remember your first run? Do tell!

Journaling keeps memories alive. A photo may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes you need those words to really remember what happened and what it felt like — Chocolaterunsjudy

Are you a Sugar Burner?

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Or a Fat Burner? Does it even matter?

That’s the $64 million question, isn’t it?

Fairytales and Fitness

Sugar burners rely on sugar for that quick energy burst: think refined carbs, gels, beans, chews. Sugar burners tend to have a quick burst of energy and then a crash (hello, mile 10 slump in a half!).

Fat burners are also called fat adapted, as they believe that they are burning fat for fuel, basically by eating much less carbs: think Paleo, Atkins, Keto. Fat burners claim it helps them to sustain their energy and bring mental clarity.

I am not a coach, a nutritionist — you know the drill. These are just my own thoughts.

Am I a fat burner?
Oh heck no. Consuming 20 gms of carbs a day — seriously, how do you even do that? Fat burners typically report higher energy (I wish!), less cravings, and the ability to go a long time between meals — some days I do go a long time between meals; and some days I’m just inexplicably hungry. And hangry.

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In fairness, that’s my post race treat, not pre race (or during!)

Am I a sugar burner?
I usually do rely on sugar for fuel. While I may make some of my own, in general I’m consuming chews and simple carbs for fuel when it comes to running.

Who am I?
I think I fall somewhere in between being a sugar burner and a fat burner. I’m careful about sugar, but it has a way of creeping into my life, which causes me to crave more of the sweet stuff, which in turn causes the scale to slowly and steadily creep up.

I am not afraid of fat — healthy fats like almond butter, avocado, butter (yes! in moderation), coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, whole eggs. We need some fat in our lives, for certain vitamins, to keep us feeling satisfied — but again, the question remains: how much is too much? And the answer is it’s going to vary from person to person.

Most of my carbs aren’t refined (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats), but the truth is that an excess of anything in our bodies is going to turn to fat.

How to put the damper on a sugar burner
Here’s the interesting thing: I am still working my way through the Eat Live Thrive Diet book (Amazon Affiliate link, hoping to have a review out soon — maybe next week). It is not keto, but it does suggest that most of us that struggle with our weight are probably eating too many carbs — even if they’re unrefined carbs.

I’m always open to exploring, so while going through the elimination phase, I was still running (a little — including that 5 mile race you can read about here) — without eating any grains. I was still getting in plenty of carbs, though — but I was eating less carbs than normal. In addition to no grains, I was also easing up a bit on the fruit (which also helped me to eat less carbs).

Where did my carbs come from? Fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables like butternut squash and carrots, sweet potatoes (occasionally), greek yogurt, protein powders, and a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup. You’d be surprised how many carbs you can get in your diet without ever consuming a grain. I have to admit I was!

So what did I eat for breakfast on race day? I made pancakes with half a banana, a scoop of protein powder, and some egg whites. Which seemed to work just fine. I had meant to bring a snack with me because I knew I’d be going 3 hours between breakfast and the race, but I forgot it. It might have helped with the whole energy thing towards the end of the race but maybe not. Again, we’ll never know.

I did find it interesting that when I embraced this change and eliminated some foods (temporarily); that are problematic for many women, my cravings for sugar did, indeed, go way down and my overall feeling of being full went way up. I could eat less calories — even when running — and still feel satisfied.

Unlike my initial return to running after my last half, I did not have a spike in hunger on the days I ran (read my thoughts about runger here). I almost never dealt with rungries at all.

What is the perfect diet?
It’s highly individual, is what it is. What works for you in your 20s will almost definitely not work for you in your 50s, unless you have really good genes. What works for me may not work for you. I personally believe that carbs are not the devil, that we do literally run on carbs, and cutting out an entire food group is never a wise decision (unless it’s based on real health issues).

Have you ever heard of sugar burners vs fat burners?

Which do you think you are?

Have you found your perfect way of eating?

I don’t think that we need to become fat adapted, but I do believe that most of us would benefit from less carbs in our diets. What carbs we do consume should be *mostly* unprocessed (there’s always room for a few fun foods!). We don’t need to fear fat, either. Sugar . . . that’s a different story. — Chocolaterunsjudy