Sunday, December 19, 2010

I run because...

A lot of people ask me how I run at my age? Why in the world I want to run as much or as far as I have?

I got started running when I was in basic training for the United States Air Force and instantly fell in love with it. We only had to run a mile and a half at a time, nothing really strenuous, but I remember running for so many various things. I flashback to being in my PT clothes (gray shorts and a gray t-shirt with the words Air Force on them) running a long someone and pushing them to run further and harder, telling them to imagine the breakfast we would be getting in only thirty short minutes, each step, each breath, getting us closer and closer to that white line on the dark concrete.  I loved pushing people to do their best and in the military, you never left anyone behind, regardless of how fast or how slow someone was. You were a team and the team had to get through the run, not just you. I would run every morning for those chow hall breakfasts of ham, grits, French toast, and juice...YUMMY! I still dream about that breakfast! It was so good to me. There's only one place that has a better breakfast and that is The Original Pancake House in Salem, Oregon...Hands down, THE best breakfast EVER! I remember a sense of freedom I had never felt before  and an instant addiction to it. That's not surprising because I'm one that can get addicted to something fairly easily. The high of running is like no high I've experienced before. It's beyond euphoric and constant. I can get grumpy just as an addict could and if I go run, I feel much better. The daily dose of endorphins that comes with running is far better than any induced high because it's natural and controlled by your mind. Over the years, I ran to keep fit, on treadmills, to pass my PT tests, and to just be outside, in the world, with myself. I abandoned running after the military because I was in a dark place mentally and didn't pick it up until a few years ago.

Now, I run for a lot of other different reasons. It took me some time to grow up before I could really appreciate it as a sport and what it is to me. I run.... because I love it. for my sanity. for ice cream. to stay young. to be fast. to look damn good in my jeans. so that boys can't catch me. to feel the wind in my face. to have a private concert of whatever music is on my mp3 player that day. to escape from toddlers. because I'm mad. to be a role model. because I GET to. to feel the pain so that I don't hurt so much on the inside. to move the clouds out of my head. to be present with myself and the world. to come up with new ideas about anything. to be a part of a group. to push me. to test my will power. to push my body. because it drives me to accomplish the impossible. to find my own inner strength.

I just recently watched a documentary on the Iron man triathlon and it was astounding for me. The way those humans push their bodies was an eye opener to me. It is so easy to get caught up in the daily routine that Americans have created for themselves, work, work, work; come home, sit in front of the TV for a few hours and eat. I know not every American does this but a lot of us do. The guys and the females in the triathlons were running 3 minute miles! That is NUTS to me because there are some days my head says "No, not today, Amanda. I don't feel like it." Yeah, I think about one of those girls and my ass gets out there really quick and my mind and my body are happier I did. I also can flip through a Victoria Secret catalog and that will get me out there too, running to get those sexy abs. ;)

Running for me now is more than just a sport. I believe having healthy goals for your body is what contributes to stability in your mind, in your heart, and in your soul. I say contribute because I strongly believe a person has to keep their mind healthy too. Different people have different ways of doing that and I feel that's the beauty of living in this world and in America. We are all different, we all do things in our own way.  I think our society stemmed away from taking care of your mind and your body for a while but I've noticed a turn around. There is more focus on taking care of the body and finding your own individualism. Running has helped me to define my individualism and has allowed me to take care of myself and the things I care about most. I'm a lucky girl because I'm one of those that GETS to run and as long as I can, I'll keep pushing my willpower, setting new goals, singing to myself, crying when a thought crosses my mind, watching the hot air balloons launch in the morning, all while I'm running to get this body in pristine shape :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Running away 21 pounds! AHH!

So, I've been avoiding weighing myself for the past month because I did not want to see the number. I knew in my heart it was higher than it's ever been without a baby in my belly. I'm really making a big deal out of this because for some reason I fear it. I do not know why I do, yet, but for some reason I do not like being bigger than I've ever been. I think part of it is the fact that I enjoy eating. I really do. I know why I do and I know I need to change this habit of mine. I think that's it right there, I'm not going to be able to use food as my comforting piece any more. I've taken away everything that I know that gives me comfort. I don't like drinking much anymore...I hate the hang over. I don't like popping pills and getting a false sense of being happy and I can't eat any more because, well, I'm not going to spend any more money getting another pair of fat girl pants or fat girl shirts.  I've hit the size "Large" and when I told my husband that, he just stared at me in disbelief. I'm sure in his head the story went like this "How in the world could you be a size "Large"? You know that is grounds for divorce?" TOTALLY KIDDING, but wouldn't that be horrible if that's what they thought. I understand I'm not fat. I'm actually in the healthy range of weight and my BMI is still in the healthy range, but I have a problem; I don't fit any of my clothes without looking like I'm carrying my five month food baby around. I'm not even going to tell you my won't believe me, I PROMISE!

I've always been that skinny bitch that girls know the ones that can eat and rink whatever they want and they look fantastic. At 25, that changed for me. My arrogance turned into complete desperation to keep up the skinny bitch profile and when I couldn't I realized I was a little more human than what I thought. I'm a person that has always found happiness in things like alcohol, drugs, food, things that are not very healthy for you at all. When I became more humanized the things that made me happy changed but not the food thing. I've always loved food and drinks. I think because it's instant gratification. To top it off , the sweeter, the greasier, the better. When I was pregnant with Zach I could win any eating contest, especially if it was cake eating. Jeff and I would make a cake every three days and down that bad boy like it had no business being in our house. I never experienced hunger like pregnancy hunger and I had quit smoking on top of it, so I was tasting food for the very first time. I'd have to try all new things because my taste buds were going through a transformation.

I'm not one that is obsessed with being skinny or has a model that she looks at and wants to be like. I do look at women who are my age and wonder how in the hell they do it, raising kids, working, going to school, and not eating until they can't see below their bellies any more. I am curious how efficient my body would be and I do miss wearing some of the cute clothes I had back in the day...not anything risqué just jeans and t-shirt that didn't have this pooch big enough to be an additional head on my body. Just the other night when we had some friends over for the UFC fight, one of the Tap Out girls came out waving the sign for the round in her little bikini and I was throwing a small pity party for myself and told the girl next to me "She seriously needs to go have a baby or something, instead of waving all that around." I know, a little harsh, but it's how I felt...just because I would love to look like that again.

Doing this plan that I've created for myself leaves me with no alcohol and no unhealthy food. Some people will say, "Don't stress about what you eat; just eat healthy and exercise." Ok, I did that, and I maintained my fat girl weight. Each body type is different, I think. Some people can not stress or not count calories, exercise and watch the weight fall off. Some have to count calories, not worry about exercise and the weight goes away, well, I'm one of those that has to do both or NOTHING happens! AHH!

The frustrating part of this is that I tried to not stress about what I ate and for the past two month have worked my way from running 0 miles to running 7 miles and have lost NOT A POUND...NOTHING! I've chosen running as my sport of choice on purpose and I'll write about that on a different day. Now, if you're a runner, you know how grueling getting back into the runs actually is. It's worse than maintaining a weekly goal of miles. Those first runs are so hard and you never feel like you're gonna make it. Carrying around 10 extra pounds while trying to run does nothing but slow you down. Right now, I'm SLOW but I'm running so that's good.

According to SparkPeople (a website for free diet plans and trackers) I will meet my weight loss goal of 21 lbs in March IF I stay with my plan of 1200-1500 calories a day, exercising six days a week, and not crying every day while doing it. I have to have a plan, a structured one. One where a little military TI (training instructor) comes out and yells at me if I'm not following it. I have to write down the days of the week, plan out the exercises, my meals and stick to it...give myself a few options and stick to them. The time period I cave is after the kids go down. I LOVE to reward myself with a glass of wine, a beer, or a snack. Jeff helps me with it too because we share this love of eating and procrastinating when working out. SO, I went on SparkPeople, joined the site, joined a few motivating teams and planned out strategy.

I'm also training to run a half marathon. I'm still debating on which one to do because if I do PF Chang's it's $110 for registration right now! WTF! I may just skip the half and go straight for the full in February. Regardless, my next course of action is to run a half very soon. Damn, I'm running 7 miles on Saturday, I can't let all this effort go to waste for nothing. Training for a half marathon means running at least four times a week like running 3 to 4 miles every other day and then doing a long run on the weekends. On the days you don't run, you cross train, do something like biking or strength training. My goal is to do a little bit of both. I'm a member of Anytime Fitness and they have awesome cross training machines, Zumba and Yoga which are all things I love, so I feel confident I can mix it up. I just have to have the PLAN down and on a calendar.

Now my weakness in this is not to isolate myself. I'm great at isolating myself. If you ever need to do for whatever reason, let me know, I'm an expert. I isolate myself when I feel imperfect or not happy about something. I feel like the world is judging me and because of that I don't know how to act around people. I'm learning how not to isolate myself, especially during these times when I loathe my body. I know I shouldn't loathe my body because it is what keeps me alive every day, however, I also am realistic and know until I get some "head work" done, that part is going to stay there for a minute.

I'm sharing this for two reasons, one because I'm human and I know I share the same frustration with other women and two, writing it for me makes me more accountable for my actions. So, here I go, running after March 4, 2011 where I should be 21 lbs lighter!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My husband ROCKS!

I am lucky to be with a guy who is just plain awesome. Yeah, we are like all the married couples that have their struggles but I can't imagine spending my life with none only than the one and only Jeff Longie. He is a unique mind, I tell you. He's done a fabulous job of taking care of me during this surgery experience and I want to see if I can come up with a few  things that describe his awesomeness.

1.  He loves unconditionally with an enormous amount of loyalty. This man has been through a roller coaster ride dealing with a person like me and has chosen to love me unconditionally through all of it. He also loves with an extreme amount of loyalty and is very, very protective. If anyone comes close to even saying something that remotely hurts someone he loves or considers a friend, you better watch out, because the rath of Jeff Longie is not a pretty thing.

2.  He is a GREAT father. Jeff is a big kid himself, as I think all men are. Some hide that big kid quality and some don't hide it so well. For some women, it's irritating as hell. For me, I adore this quality in him.  He has taught me how to be a child around my children; how to engage the fun side of being a parent. For Father's Day this past year, I bought him a Nerf gun that he'd been eying for months and his adult side couldn't justify spending $30 for it. He giggled like a school girl when he got it and has already talked about how he's going to "mod" it out. He's shown me what playing with children actually is and has soothed my fears of being a good mom because I didn't know how to do that with my kids.

3.  He is a natural born rebel. I fell in love with Jeff's rebellious side instantly because I'm a rebel myself. He is not afraid to go against what is normal and what may be considered right in society. I admire this quality in him because I have always believed in standing up for what you believe is right regardless if everyone tells you that you are wrong. I flash back to a day when I was running and daydreaming about an imaginary party that will happen when Jeff and I hit 10 years of marriage because it always takes the "run" out of running for me. I was thinking about how the party would go and daydreaming about how the renewal of the vows part would run in my head. When I came to this characteristic, I got all chocked up and almost had to stop running. I didn't realize it was a quality about him that I admired so much. It falls into place with what values I want my children to learn and how I live my life, so I appreciate this quality dearly.

4.  He is SO funny. Just the other night, our babysitter had no idea who The Jeffersons were. Well, it's because she was born in 1988!!! I won't even touch on how old that made us feel. So, I did what any other person would do, grabbed my lap top and "you.tubed" the video, showed it to her. Right in the middle of it, Jeff walks in, yanks his pajama pants up to his chest and does the infamous Jeff dance which consists of moving his hips back and forth in a forward and then back motion while moving his arms in the opposite direction, all the way to our bathroom, turns around and points his index fingers down like George use to and walks towards us, screaming  "MOVING ON UPPP!". Who couldn't laugh at that seriously!? Me and our babysitter were rolling on the floor laughing, it was that funny.

5.  He is sensitive. This really makes being a woman much easier, really. If I didn't have a guy that was sensitive, I don't know what I would do. Jeff has his "girly" moments just like I have mine. He PMS's the way that I do and I think that it's cool.  I love it because he can relate to me when I have my "girly" days. He also tears up at a precious picture of our children, any child really, and adores animals. Children and animals are drawn to him, instantly. About a week ago, he told me every time he sees a baby, it makes him want another one. SEE! He gets what women go through when they get that longing to have and to hold another baby in their arms. I think what contributed to this was because 8 weeks after Jessie was born, he played the role of Mr. Mom while I went back to work for a year. He adored her and so wishes he could go back to those moments when our babies were little. Anytime I see this side of him makes me appreciate the heart he has; it's what makes him beautiful.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Surgery number four on the girl parts...a lose-lose situation

I've always been a writer, since high school English class with Mrs. Inabinet, probably even before then, but I don't remember so well. I've also wanted to always do a blog but always made excuses for it.

ANYWAYS, what better time to do it than while I'm recovering from this stupid surgery. It's stupid in my mind. I know it's necessary and it deals with my health, but quite frankly, it's just like having to go pee, it takes so much time to go in, pull down your pants, sit on the toilet, do your thing (rolling the eyes), tear the tissue while battling whether really which way is the right way for the roll to be on, wipe, pull up your pants, flush, and go about your business. Now if you're a mom I dare you to try and go pee when your two year old is asleep. In my house, I would come out of the bathroom and my hallway wall would be covered in a new color - SHARPIE. Nope, didn't stutter, yes, Sharpie, marker because my two year old decided that nap time wasn't going to happen that day. That was fun.

So this surgery is just as irritating as having to pee in the middle of writing a paper or cooking dinner or heaven forbid, talking on the phone. It's irritating because it's gonna take me about two weeks to not walk like a 70 year old and 4 weeks before I'm exercising, still working on that battle to lose the last 10 lbs of my 2 year old. That is another story for a different day, I tell ya. I'm slightly impatient when it comes to things and just now after 30 years realizing this.I understand it's unrealistic, but I still am aggravated that it takes a month for your body to recover from a surgery. I mean, now, they can go in and replace parts and make life expectancy about 20 years older and you can basically get a catalog ordered baby, packed with your own eye color, stature, and hair style, but it still takes FOREVER to get back to normal from removing a little blood and scar tissue? There's gotta be a pill for speedy recovery, there's gotta be.

In case your curious, surgery number four on the girl parts included removing blood from my pelvic cavity and abdominal cavity. The docs also removed scar tissue "aka" adhesions from my left ovary and small intestine. Apparently, my menstrual blood decided it was going to go backwards into my pelvic cavity and not into my uterus like it's supposed to. My husband has called my girl parts "an angry beaver" before...there's a new definition of it. These adhesions formed when after I was sewed up from my two c-sections. Apparently, scar tissue forms to heal the body and my body decided my left ovary was broken and my small intestine was broken and needed extra tissue. The doc also informed me that I had quite a bit of scar tissue on the bladder caused from one of my c-sections. I didn't know this but they sometimes injure the bladder when they cut you open. This would explain the repeated bladder infections and the colicky cramping I get. The third surgery was to remove some ovarian cysts from the left ovary, and the other two were my c-sections for my lovely children.

My mom, after telling her about the ovarian cyst surgery, recommended getting a hysterectomy. At the time, I was still dreamy eyed about not doing that because what if something were to happen to the kids, what if something happened to me and Jeff, would removing my girl parts make me less of a woman? A year later, talking to the doctor who did this surgery and enduring four ovarian cysts rupturing, I asked him if he could PLEASE remove at least the left ovary. Yeah, I was serious because being a woman, already has it's sucky moments, but no woman should have to endure the rupturing of a cyst AFTER giving birth to children. You've put in your time, done your duty, after bearing children. I'm still pissed women have to go through menopause and get ridiculed for it. "HA, HA" the doc said, "You're ovaries are still in great shape despite the complications you've had." Other women tell me "No, I know friends who did just a partial hysterectomy and struggled to get the hormone cocktail correct." What flashes through my mind is my poor husband's face when the Exorcist in me decides it wants to come out and I have no control what so ever, very similar to what pregnancy was. This person, hell, I wouldn't even call it a person, this hormone devil, came and took over my body when I was pregnant and said and did things I, Amanda, would never, ever, say or do. I can't do that to me and Jeff again, we've been through it twice. I need to give him a few years before he has to go through that again.

So here I sit, with my angry girl parts, injured and full of piss and vinegar. I'm here for a reason though. I think that reason is to slow down and to not be superwoman any more; I have a strange feeling my body doesn't like it too much...three years and two surgeries...HMMM.  I'm lucky because I have great friends and a great family. My girl friends have brought over meals for a whole week and my in laws, who I think of like my mom and dad, have helped Jeff take care of our kids and him this weekend. Tonight, I've gotten to create something that I've wanted to create for years, so really, this surgery isn't a lose-lose situation...turn that frown upside down, girl, it's a win-win. :)