There’s Always Gonna be Another Mountain

I’m finally getting excited about this fitness thing, and I feel like I’m settling into a routine.  Yay me!

In preparation for a quick hiking trip at the end of this month, I’ve been hiking a local “mountain” after school.  It’s a quick up and back with an elevation gain of a little under 400 feet.  It’s a good workout, but it’s definitely no Mt. LeConte!  On May 31 we will be doing the Alum Cave Bluff Trail up to LeConte Lodge for lunch–an elevation gain of about 2700 feet.  I am SO excited, and this time, we are taking my hubby’s boys, Zach and Tucker, along with Zach’s gorgeous and super fun fiance.  This will be her first trip and I’m happy to get to be the one to take her.

When I arrived home, I did the bodyweight exercises I had planned for myself.  I did three rounds of 10 kettle bell swings, 15 squats, and 10 lunges per leg.  I thought about going for a run, but a shower sounded better.

I have about 27 days to get in shape for this trip.  I love setting goals for myself, planning an attack and executing that mother-lover!  I know I won’t be in the shape I was in when we went in October, but I know I’ll be 27 days fitter than I am today.

Here are some pics you’ve probably already seen from my October trip.

Smoky Mountains 2014 077

Smoky Mountains 2014 066 Smoky Mountains 2014 068

Smoky Mountains 2014 086

Happy trails! 🙂

Advertisements

Hello Heartache (Part One)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

134

It finally happened.  My gorgeous, vibrant, hilarious, dear mother died.  She was miserable in her final years and had become confined to her bed and wheelchair in the last months of her life.  Her death: a blessing…and an unfillable void.

She lived a beautiful life.  She had beautiful children.  Her children had beautiful children.  And life goes on.  We love her and we miss her terribly.  Such a beautiful sadness I have in my heart.

I wrote her obituary and a poem, both of which my dear friend of many years read at my mother’s funeral service.  I wanted her to have a special send off–one befitting such a lovely woman. (Some information has been left out/changed for privacy purposes).

My mother passed away peacefully on the afternoon of February 25, 2015 at the age of 66.

A loving mother and grandmother, Carole was born in St. Louis on November 29, 1948.  In 1967 she married Tommy and made her home in Southeast Missouri.

She worked very hard to provide for her family, enjoying the years she spent as a secretary most.

Each spring, Carole took great pride in planning and planting her many flower beds and large vegetable garden from which she would spend her summer canning fresh green beans, tomatoes, and pickles. 

In winter months, Carole decorated every square inch of her home for the holidays. She bought an obscene amount of gifts for her children — and later in life, her grandchildren. She cooked and baked for days in preparation to host extended family on her favorite holiday, Christmas.  She also enjoyed reading and shopping; she simply could not pass up a good sale.

Carole once said her greatest accomplishment in life was her beautiful family that includes her children whom she loved beyond measure, and her grandbabies who were her greatest joy in life.

Carole is survived by two sons — Eric (Amy)  and their three children, Michaela, Hadley, and Haydon; Matt and his two girls, Molly and Autumn; two daughters — Tammy and her two daughters, Jade and Lily, of New York; and Becky (Dave) and their two children, Layni and Lucas, all of whom treasured her beyond words and will dearly miss their sweet mother and grandmother.   She is also survived by her husband Tommy, two sisters, Mary Ellen and Linda, one brother, Michael, numerous nieces and nephews, and a host of wonderful friends who will remember her for her kind and compassionate nature in troubled times and for her one of a kind sense of humor and witty comebacks.

Carole was welcomed home by her parents, Anna Marie and Homer, and firstborn son, Wayne Thomas, Jr.

In lieu of flowers, you may donate to the American Diabetes Association in Carole’s honor via mail or phone.

(Untitled Poem)

For a time, we held her hand with our tiny hands,
While she held our whole world in the beating of her heart.
We grew and changed and gave her new hands to hold;
New babies full of sticky kisses and eyelash wishes.
She watched them grow as she grew old,
Treasuring every moment spent, every memory made,
Reveling in the love and the legacy unfolding before her watchful eye.
And though she is gone from this world,
We can never be apart
Because her heart beats in our hearts:
Every thump, every beat, a reminder
Of the rhythm of her love passing through the ages.

Toward the close of the service, my sweet husband, who loved my mother very much, sang In the Garden while my cousin played the piano.  It was beautiful.  They had a special relationship, my husband and mother…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After the service as we lined up in the procession that would take my mother to her final resting place, several people saw a bald eagle swooping low and circling over us while we waited. I can’t help but think this universal symbol of freedom was more than a mere coincidence.

Eagle

But those who wait on the Lord. They shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

If I am being honest with myself, I have been stress eating since she was hospitalized on October 8th.  The main reason I started my weight loss journey was not only preventing the same outcome for my life, but to help honor hers.  I have been out of sync with myself for months, and it’s time to get myself back on track for myself..and for my momma.

I’ll post more in Part Two, and I promise to be more upbeat.  I just wanted to get this off of my chest and out of my mind.

Thanks for listening. 🙂

Yeesh…What the Bleep!? Droppin’ like flies over here…

So…it’s been a while.  In blogger world, it seems that’s almost never good news.

I have fallen off the face of the earth with marathon training.  I will still run one, but it may be Octoberish instead of April.  Here’s why.

My life is a wild and crazy ride right now.  I’m crazy busy at school.  I sponsor student council, and we just put on homecoming festivities.  It was a lot of work and even more chaos.  I thrive on organized chaos.  This was not organized chaos.  It DID go VERY well though, so there’s that.  Live and learn.  Next year will be even more awesome, and I won’t have to pull out as many handfuls of hair.  Get some, homecoming.  Get some.

I’ve also had a few “injuries”.  I had an issue with my back recently that kept me out of work for 2 days.  The chiro said I need to strengthen my core and back if I want to continue running.  Fine by me.  I never want my back to hurt that bad again.  It. was. excruciating.

My hips also hurt. And pop. Every 5 seconds.  They need a break.  They’re getting one.

I’ll start training again in about a month.  I think I may do a half sometime this spring and try for a full in the fall.  We shall see. 🙂

Another reason is that my mother…my reason for running…is not doing well.  She is in such poor health that the nursing home she is in is suggesting palliative care.  Other doctors say she is doing well and may have another year left in her.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster.  Momma  is not fully lucid anymore.  Sometimes she is off this planet, and other times she is orbiting somewhere in our atmosphere at least.  Tuesday she was a mean ol’ bat.  She wanted a drink so badly, but she is on fluid restrictions, so…no fluids for her.  That meant that she mostly fussed at me all day long, which was okay with me because it was the first time she had recognized me for three weeks.  The poor thing has 2 broken knee caps (from one of her FIVE falls at the nursing home), is hallucinating, and is in a lot of pain with her knees and her feet.  I’ve been burning up the highway between her town and mine trying to get her medical care lined out.  No one communicates well: the nursing home doesn’t communicate well with dialysis and vice versa.  It’s frustrating because I then have to act as the go between–and although I’m intelligent, I do NOT have a medical background.  It’s difficult and upsetting. Boo-freakin-hoo.

Tomorrow I have to go sign durable power of attorney papers so that I can take over medical decision making for her.  She never did that when she was healthier.  She never filled out an advanced directive either.  I’m meeting with a social worker and the notary to take care of all of that.  It’s fun. 😉

In addition to the rest of my out of control life, I had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life tonight.  My hubby started feeling sick to his stomach after dinner.  He continued to feel worse and worse.  He sat on the side of the bed for a few minutes, and then began walking toward the bathroom because he thought he was going to be sick.  A few feet short of the door, he stumbled, fell to his knees, grunted and slumped over face down in the bathroom floor.  I ran to him and he wasn’t moving or speaking.  I did notice he was breathing.

I grabbed my cell and dialed 911.  To my surprise, I was able to dial properly and someone picked up right away, unlike multiple dreams I’ve had where I can’t dial or the phone just continues to ring or I get put on hold.  I was back at my hubby’s side in our cramped bathroom where he still was unresponsive.  I was giving our address as my husband began to seize (or something!).  His body went completely rigid. It felt as if I’d shatter him if I touched him hard enough.  He made and awful groan and then some clenched labored breathing sounds…almost like gurgling.  I seriously thought he was dying.  And then I noticed blood pouring from his nose.  At this point I KNEW he was dying.  I was certain it was an aneurysm bursting in his brain.  A very long  minute or so passed and he loosened up and regained cognition.  He was weak and disoriented.  The EMS flew passed our house because the dispatcher gave the wrong address.  Hubby at this point was still worried he was dying there on the bathroom floor and was asking if they were close.  I called 911 again and gave my address once more.  Ems arrived shortly after.

Hubby continued to improve as ems checked him out.  Then the ambulance arrived.  They loaded him up and took him to the hospital.  I found an emergency sitter for my poor scared kiddos, packed a “just in case” bag and headed out the door.  I drove the icy roads (we were getting bad weather at the time), and made it to the er about 20 min after hubby.  All tests came back negative, so I’m hoping it was an isolated incident.  It sure was terrifying, and to be quite honest, I was scared to bring him home.

I’ll probably spend most of the night (what’s left of it) watching him sleep…like a newborn…to make sure he continues to breathe.  And in 12 hours I’ll be signing POA papers to become my mom’s medical decision maker.  Jealous?

First Long Run of Marathon Training

Welp, it’s done.  I just ran my first “long run” of marathon training.  I was planning to do 6, but it ended up being a 5 miler instead.  It wasn’t too bad, though.  I will say it wasn’t as enjoyable as some of my other long runs from previous training, but it was doable.  I cut it short because I think I just hadn’t eaten enough and my body was tired.  I’m also getting strange feelings in my legs and feet, so parts of the run were very uncomfortable.  The feeling is kind of an itchy/crawly/light buzz or tingle.  It doesn’t hurt, but it feels very strange.  As I type this, I notice the same feeling in my left hand.  Usually, if I feel in in my hands, it’s my right hand–not the left.  Weird.  Anyone have any ideas?

My hubby ran with me for a bit.  I did a 1.2 loop and then he met me when I came back by the driveway.  We ran down across the dam, which offers pretty views even in winter, and then looped back home.  Hubby ran so much faster than me, and it really ticked me off!  I’ve been serious about running for almost a year now, and he can out run me–at least with speed.  He lost his momentum when he hit almost 2 miles.  I kept going strong for 3.4, then I walked up a huge hill and ran the rest of the way home for a 5 mile run.

Along the way, I found a cell phone on the dam.  I called the last person they had talked to, and a neighbor from down the street answered.  She came by to pick up the phone and was very grateful.  When she called me back on the found phone to let me know she was on her way to my house, the ring tone was Me and Bobby McGee.  I told her it must have been fate for me to find it, since that is probably my all time favorite song…or at least top 5!  Too funny.  Anyway, I did my good deed for the day, so I hope karma was watching! 🙂

1207141321

I’ll be running three 3 milers and my 6 (that I was supposed to do today) next week.  Wish me luck on week two! 🙂

Marathon Training: Week One (Did I Really Just Say That!?)

Soaked!

Soaked!

AHHHHH!  What have I done?

Something awesome, that’s what.

A few weeks ago, I registered for a full marathon scheduled for April 12, and this week has been my first official training week.  Hal Higdon’s half marathon plan worked well for me, so I’m following his Novice 1 Marathon plan.  This week I have run three 3 milers.  The first two runs were r-o-u-g-h…rough, an the third run ended up being a 3 mile walk, so I went out for my third real training run tonight.  The weather is nasty.  I always feel kinda bad ass when I run in the rain.  I feel even more bad ass when I run when it’s cold.  Tonight run: cold+pouring rain=(bad ass)2!  I was soaked to the bone, but I wasn’t cold after I got going.  I’m not gonna lie…I LOVED when cars passed.  I’m sure they all thought I was crazy.  If they knew I was out there punishing myself with a cold, wet run in order to train to torture myself with 26.2 miles, I’m SURE they would think I was crazy.  I, on the other hand, love it.  I doesn’t feel like punishment or torture…it feels amazing.  I love that all these small steps will help my achieve a huge goal.  It’s kinda how I live my live these days!  Anything is possible! 🙂

At 1.2 miles, I was passing my neighbor’s house, and disembodied voice growled (good-naturedly, I think!), “Why are you runnin’ in this rain?”  I just laughed in the general direction of the taunt since I couldn’t find the owner.  I run in the rain because I’m hardcore.  Or at least, I keep telling myself that.  I run because I love it, and because of this:

run in the rain

I’m going to crosstrain for 60 minutes tomorrow.  It may just end up being a brisk walk, or possibly some elliptical/stationary bike.  On Sunday, I’m due to run 6 miles.  I just hope my shoes dry in time!

Squish, squish!

Squish, squish!

I’m pretty nervous about it, but I’m sure it will be fine.  I’ll be rested up and ready to go.  I just need to remember to pace myself and not run out of energy toward the end.  6 miles doesn’t seem as daunting as it did 6 months ago when I started training for my half.  I’m not worried about my runs until I hit double digits again.  Even then, I’m sure I’ll be fine.

I’m also doing this squat challenge for the month of December.  The last month has not been kind to the scale or my boot-ay!  Time to fix that!

I’m off now to cook some chicken breast and green beans, and then take a hot bath and drink some coffee.  When I got inside and cooled down, the chill hit me.

Happy running! 🙂

Hiking Healthy: Crushing the Smokies!

Hubby and I took a quick weekend trip to the Smoky Mountains.  We drove down Friday, hiked a gorgeous hike on Saturday, and drove back Sunday.  It was a lot of driving, but oh-so-worth it!

We Went to the Smokys last June with the whole family.  I was only a few months into my weight loss journey, and was probably sittin’ not-so-pretty at roughly 260.  I hiked once with the family–it was a short one–and it was rough.  I have always loved hiking, but it was so difficult.  This is me last summer.

298 208 223 273 275

We hiked Andrew’s Bald that day and also went up Clingman’s Dome.  I was beat when we were done.

Here I am this year.  We hiked my absolute FAVORITE hike.  We started on Alum Cave Bluff trail at 6:20.  That was an hour and 24 BEFORE sunrise. 🙂

Arch Rock, 1.4 miles in.

Arch Rock, 1.4 miles in.

Smoky Mountains 2014 006

After Arch Rock, we continued up to Alum Cave Bluff to watch the sunrise.  This was 2.3 miles in.

Smoky Mountains 2014 024 Smoky Mountains 2014 023

We continued on our way. I was rocking my MO’ Cowbell half marathon shirt.  I even scored a compliment on it!  People love that SNL skit!  We finally arrived at the lodge which is 5 miles up from the trailhead.

Smoky Mountains 2014 077

We were feeling better than ever, so we decided to head to Cliff Tops–another .3.

Smoky Mountains 2014 051 Smoky Mountains 2014 052 Smoky Mountains 2014 047

Still feeling awesome, we ventured farther up the mountain than EVER before!  This was my 4th trip up and my hubby’s 5th.  We made it to the summit.

Smoky Mountains 2014 063 Smoky Mountains 2014 059

There were no views at the summit, but we hiked a bit farther–.7 miles from Cliff Tops–to Myrtle Point which was absolutely gorgeous.

Smoky Mountains 2014 066 Smoky Mountains 2014 068 Smoky Mountains 2014 069 Smoky Mountains 2014 064

After taking in these b-e-a-UUUUU-tiful views, we headed back to the lodge for a sack lunch that consisted of a bagel with cream cheese, summer sausage, oreos, a fruit roll-up, trail mix, and hot cocoa.  It was delicious.

Nom Nom...

Nom Nom…

The trip down was nice.  We saw a TON of people though.  On the way up we were virtually alone, but the trail was packed late that afternoon. Hubby twisted his ankle pretty badly, but we still got a ton of great pictures.

Smoky Mountains 2014 120 Smoky Mountains 2014 080 Smoky Mountains 2014 086 Smoky Mountains 2014 091 Smoky Mountains 2014 095 Smoky Mountains 2014 101 Smoky Mountains 2014 102 Smoky Mountains 2014 103 Smoky Mountains 2014 116

I felt like I was flying.  I was so light on my feet. I was sure-footed.  I didn’t feel like I would keel over dead at any given second!

In years past, I would be dragging my exhausted body up to the lodge around 3-5 pm.  This year, I bounced up the trail and made it to the lodge at 10am!  In fact, when we made it back to the parking lot after the hike, I was sad to see it end, whereas with all my other hikes, I was dying to get in the car and get my boots off!  This was an amazing day made possible (or at least more enjoyable!) because of my weight loss.

#LiveLifeHappy

Healthy living, folks! 🙂  Do it.

Long Time, No Post.

Things have been hectic since I ran my half marathon.  I’m overwhelmed (and underpaid) at school.  I’m teaching two new classes this year in addition to being the Student Council Sponsor (an unpaid position).  We’ve had Pink Out for Breast Cancer Week including a Pink Out game, we held a blood drive on Friday, October 10th, where we met exceeded our goal, and we are in the planning process for the Halloween Dance which is scheduled for next Thursday after Parent Teacher Conferences.  I’m tired just thinking about it all!  At least we have saved some lives in the process!  Have a gander at our spoils:

I vant to suck your blood!

I vant to suck your blood!

It was extra cool to donate and to see so many of my students brave the big, bad needle, since my momma has been in the hospital since last Tuesday, and has received 5 units of blood.  She’s not doing so hot: end stage renal failure, heart failure, low bp, bradypnea.  Lots of other fun stuff.  She goes in to have a cardiac cath done tomorrow because her heart is functioning (ejection-fraction rate) at <25%.  This is worrisome because she just had a cath done a year ago and they put in 11 stents.  It’s pretty unlikely that she has clogged up that much in a year’s time.  They may put in a defibrillator too.  It’s scary–even scarier since I can’t be there due to being so bogged down at school.  My brothers won’t be there either.  I hate to leave her hanging.

The reason this ties into my fitness blog at all is that my mom is the main reason I made a change for the better.  She saved my life (by proxy).  I saw how imprisoned she was in her own body.  She is sick all the time.  She is uncomfortable all the time.  She has so many meds that a nurse has to come refill her pill box for her.  Her eyes are so bad from the diabetes that she can no longer see the lines on her syringes to dose her own insulin.  My dad–a heavy smoker and drinker–is legless and feels as if he is suffocating despite each ragged breath.  I knew at 300 pounds, I was careening toward that same life…if you want to call it that.  I saw my mother’s misery, I saw my father’s helplessness, and it scared me straight.  I turned my life around.

My parents will probably both be gone within the year, but I will live my life to the fullest to honor them.  I know they are proud of what I have accomplished, and I will continue to make them proud. I even have marathon aspirations, so maybe with their motivation, I will actually be able to cross that finish line. I will take them with me for each step of a Sunday afternoon jog.  I will run every race for them.  I do it now, and I will do it long after they are gone. ❤

Run far. Run happy.  Just run.