One Little Thing Un-Diet, phase 2

**We’re having a flash giveaway of an Ergo brand baby carrier: Click here to read how!  Ends soon!**

The school year is under way, our paperwork is submitted, and I have been drinking nothing but water (mostly) for the past month.  I have to say, I don’t really like that not-drinking thing.  I have had a few celebratory Dr. Peppers, and three cups of flavored coffee, but they are few and far between.  I have never done that before.

I think I’m pretty much the same size, but oh well, it was about changing something.  Just switching to only water wasn’t enough to make me lose some size.  No biggie.  I bought 3 adorable scarves on clearance yesterday and an outfit for court (wishful thinking, but it was a sweet deal).  I can look good at this size (like a 16 in jeans).

JR, me, and Cal at the Buddy Walk this Saturday–doing some PR for Reece’s Rainbow!

But, I think a 12 in jeans would pretty much let me wear whatever I want and be a lot better for me physically in the long-run.  So, on to phase 2.

I’m sure I had a plan, but I didn’t even re-read that blog post.

Because there’s no “must do.”  Just one little thing.

So, starting this week, I am exercising Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for an hour with a group of friends.  They’ve been doing it for a while at this discount workout place (we spend more on our weekly milk budget than the monthly fees), and today I joined them.  I am doing an hour because I can easily take it slowly and work within my fitness level.  I trained for and ran two half-marathons this spring and on Memorial day weekend.  I have done almost nothing since.  I didn’t increase jean sizes this summer, but they got a little tighter.

So, I think adding working out back in will be a good way to get back to size 16, not snug.

Remember, the goal is to change as little as I possibly can to lose weight, using these guidelines:

1) No removing food groups from my diet, cutting out fat or carbs
2) No deliberate calorie restriction of any kind
3) No powders, shakes, meal replacers, pills

And, whatever I do, I have to be able to continue it for the rest of my life, so it has to be reasonable.  So, give me a call at 5:45 on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.  I’ll be up, working out in a way that doesn’t destroy me for the rest of the day.  Tuesday or Thursday, don’t call before 9.  I am probably still sleeping.

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Kona Inspired: RODS Racing Giveaway

Well, while you’re waiting for me to spill the beans, I have a little job for you, and a little incentive as well.

Go to this video, and watch it, click “vote” in the lower left hand corner, then repeat LOTS of times.

(It’s a Facebook link, but don’t worry, you don’t need to have a Facebook account to view it, or give them access to any of your personal info!)

Click me and go to the video!

I have to tell you, I think people who run IronMan races are nutty in the head.  And that’s the kind of nutty this world needs.

I attempted to do a t-shirt giveaway on my Facebook page, but I set “goals” that were blasted through by the time I woke the next morning.

So, now, I’m doing a little giveaway without limits.

I am giving away 2 RODS racing t-shirts (proceeds benefit RODS racing orphan of the year).  It’s the easiest giveaway ever:

1) Click the image above to view and vote.  I’ll give you one chance for every ten views you log (honors system here, folks, and sneakily,you don’t need to watch the whole video every time). No limit.  Just list the last view number you were in your comment below, on my Facebook Page, or heck, even email me at biglittedays at gmail dot com.

2) Share this blog on your Facebook page for one chance, and tag @Big Little Days Blog.

3) Share this blog on your Twitter feed for one chance (shortlink: http://wp.me/p1yMao-b4 ), and tag @biglittledays and @ironmantri.

If my blog is chosen, we will win $500 to put towards our adoption!  Join RODS racing Facebook group page if you would like to give me some competition and post this on your own blog.  If his video wins, Reece’s Rainbow will receive national coverage during the IronMan competition in Kona this year, where (the slightly nutty) Brady Murray will be racing.  Media coverage like that could cost $100,000!

So share, advocate, and most of all view.  And maybe you’ll come out a winner, too!

Giveaway ends Friday, June 22 at 10PM EST.

Running Alone and the Holy Spirit

Remember Mel Gibson’s awesome Nike ad pitch from What Women Want? 

  Don’t you just want to be that kind of runner?  Well, let that go, and you’ll have me.  I want to run so I can catch up with my buddy S at 6 in the morning on Saturdays, trucking it at our impressive 13 minute mile pace, listening to sweet tunes, scaring deer and waving at passersby, saying hello in baby voices to dogs (ok, that’s just me).

I am a social runner.

When my dear running buddy, S found out her brother’s wedding would coincide with our planned trip to Traverse City for the Bayshore Half-marathon over Memorial Day weekend, I was bummed.  I actually thought about skipping it.

Then, in a moment of clarity, I realized Andy’s awesome Aunt A, who lives along the race course might be interested in running with me.  Through a series of unfortunate events, neither of us were able to train like we had planned.  Between injury and trips to scuba dive in Belize (I’ll let you guess who’s who), both of us met at the starting line under-prepared.  As I scanned the flags to organize the runners, I felt incredibly inadequate.  There were flags for 6:00 pace, 7:00 pace, 9:00 pace, and 10:00 pace.  Ever the honest person, I lined up at the “walkers” flag.  A biked up and met me there.

A few minutes later and we were off.  About three miles later, A sent me ahead and settled into a more comfortable pace for her.  Now, I have to tell you, A is no slouch when it comes to feats of athleticism.  She has completed a 50 miler, runs regularly, and is pretty much one of the coolest women you’ll ever meet.  There were only 5 women running in her age category.  There was only one category older.  I tell you this to tell you that at the age many of us will be signing up for nursing homes, A is running half’s.

And just like that, I was running alone.

I passed a few walkers, but didn’t see many other people running at my pace, and certainly not continuously.

Just like every time I’ve ever run more than five miles, the sense of futility overcame me.  On a quiet stretch, in open sun, with just a few other runners ahead of me.  No one cheering from the sidelines.

Why are you doing this?

Everyone ahead of you is walking faster than you’re running.

Sure, you’ll finish, but just stop running.

You’re being ridiculous.

This doesn’t matter.

***

Today marked the end of the Easter season in the Catholic church’s calendar year.  Today was Pentecost, when Christ bestowed the gift of the Holy Spirit to His followers.  I also happened to be teaching the Children’s Liturgy of the Word (Oh my goodness, the most fun ministry ever.  I’m sure God doesn’t even count this as service because I get so much joy out of teaching it.).  So, I went to mass wearing this:

Not your typical Mass garb

And I told the kids about my friend, S.  And how much I missed her when she wasn’t there.  And that A stayed with me for three miles.  And then she went away, too.  And then, when I thought I was all alone, and wouldn’t be able to run the whole time…

Jesus sent some helpers.

All along the way.

Families in lawn chairs, volunteers at the water stations, kids holding homemade signs, and coach Susie who ran alongside a fellow runner for all of mile 11 and invited me to join them.

All saying: You’ve got this! 

When I couldn’t find a way to do it alone, God found a way for me to not be alone.

Preparing for the children’s mass this morning, I made some medals for the kids to decorate for the hands-on part of the lesson.  I asked them to make medals that showed how they were being helpers with the Holy Spirit to nurture, inspire, connect, befriend, and comfort.

Holy Spirit Medal

According to the children’s liturgy book, Celebrate the Good News, the name for the Holy Spirit in Greek, Sophia, is feminine.  And it means sister, mother, beloved, hostess, chef, tree of life.  The feminine part of God’s three persons is decidedly a helper, an encourager.

I hope I’m not going too far, but I think the Holy Spirit is a midwife.

What is a midwife?  Someone who works endlessly to stand aside and let a woman say “I did it myself.”

So, I finished my race.  Running the whole time.  Ten of those miles at a 12 mph pace.

And every step, I was alone, but not on my own.

Bad Run

Let’s start off by saying that I am a huge runner.  Not in the “huge part of my life” huge, but the “size 16, dear gussie, didn’t I see her in that Sweatin’ to the Oldies video” huge.  And, I am at Peace with how I look.  My body size has absolutely nothing to do with this post. That being said, I am also pretty in shape.

I know, because I just ran for 2 hours, 45 minutes straight (well, except that potty break we all took).   That’s right, a real half-marathon.  Well, one without timing chips, water stations, numbered bibs, or blaring music at the finish line.  Just two women who wanted to know if they could.

Well, we can.

I started running again last August when my buddy S said something ridiculous like “let’s run a 5 k in October, a 10 k in November, and a half-marathon on Memorial Day.”  I agreed, with the same indulgence I gave my kids when they tell me we are a shipwrecked family of dogs who are trying to get away from a band of evil kitty pirates for the afternoon.  That’s sweet.

Our 5 k went well, but I was sidetracked by surgery in mid-October.  When a mutual friend heard about our idea, she cheered us on, and began re-training for a half-marathon herself, despite being just a couple months postpartum.  At the end of January, I figured I better get serious if we wanted to do this thing.

S is a super-motivated, organized go-getter, but in this insanely balanced and admirable way.  She’s just such a better grown-up than me.  I loved our early morning runs, both of us keeping that perfect pace of being able to talk, but not sing.  We watched our runs go from grueling 3 milers to rewarding 10k’s and eventually up to a 9 miler that didn’t destroy the rest of the Saturday.  Unfairly, I took full advantage of my 6AM therapy session, and we laughed, and talked, and learned that, no matter how good the run, the first 2 miles will always suck.

We bought fuel belts and energy wafers, and actually felt the difference after we used them.  We looked into pacing and bought new shoes, and stretched far too little.  One week we warmed up quickly, but S had refused to leave her coat  on a bench we would be returning to in 2 more miles, because “someone could take it!”  California girl, I taunted.   With intentional bravado, I left my first racing shirt on the bench the following week.  When we returned 30 minutes later, the shirt was gone, and hasn’t been turned in to the lost and found, either.  I like to think an enormous bird of prey swooped down and is lining her nest with my Turkey Trot 5 mile victory t-shirt.

We saw herds of deer and listened to the chirping of frogs open up the spring morning.  And we talked some more.  When I say training was a joy, I really mean it.

So, the morning of our race, a few of S’s amazing friends came to join us on our run.  I mean, seriously, amazing.  A beautiful mother of 5 who was just finishing chemo, but had run the last Boston marathon.  A mother of 6 who has this amazing, balanced life, and as in-shape as a 17-year old.  Standing next to these two women, I felt amazed.  Inspired.  Inadequate.

They were loving and supportive, and taking time out of a packed day to take these steps with us.  And when we started out, all I could think of was “If we keep running this fast, I won’t make it a mile!”  And they were really slowing it down for us.  After a few miles, we reached the “finish” for the Boston marathoner, as she had a lot to get done that day.  I was so grateful to have her there.  What couldn’t I do if she could do that?

And then, I realized the answer: “Um, you couldn’t run a marathon, that’s for darn sure.  You cannot keep up with these women who are slowing everything down to barely get their heart rates up, and you are a poser.  An egotistical poser, who has been posting these huge runs on facebook, but really, you aren’t in the same league.”

Dang, that sounds harsh, but I swear it’s true still.

We ran that whole 13.1 miles, and at the end, with the encouragement of our experienced mother of 6, and our families cheering us on, S and I finished our race.  My two dearest friends in town met us at the finish line with home-made medals and Chuck Norris signs.  Who could ask for more?

The BLD Fam came at 9:30AM to cheer me at the Finish Line

But, like a strange darkness, I felt incredibly deficient.  I am having a hard time explaining it.  Even with a 5 minute restroom stop, we came up with a pace of 12:45 per mile or so.  And it was too fast.  I felt a little tired, had even said I couldn’t sprint to the end, because I didn’t want that headachy/ruined feeling that accompanies it.

And writing that, just now, trying to figure it out, it has just hit me.

I didn’t want to give it my all.

Because my all is just nowehre near these incredible women who ran with us.  Nowhere near my friend who PR’d her half the previous week by 10 minutes.  I had been running to feel like I had achieved something.  Maybe in the anonymity of a large race, where I didn’t know the stories of the women who whizzed by me, I wouldn’t have to admit that giving it my all was just not enough to be impressive.

You ran 10 miles?  Impressive.  You didn’t see your time?  No big deal.

But seeing myself being pushed to the 99% of your physical ability (you know, just shy of puking), I really wanted to say, no thanks.  80% is all I ever really want to give to running.  I have a whole rest of the day to get on with.   I have things I might succeed at waiting for me.  I am willing to drop this endeavor like a bad habit.

But, running with those two women, who S brought in as our inspiration, just made me see how far from awesome my 80% was.

And, as I went home and stood in the scalding hot shower, stretching my calves, I wished I hadn’t done it.  I wished I could go back to just me and S, running our 8 miler a few weeks ago, not knowing how far from the extraordinary I was.  We got a flat tire, and I had to take over getting the kids to their first t-ball game alone, and I was physically destroyed.

I honestly could think of nothing else, especially when Andy got angry that the kids were being so rotten, except this was the single most selfish thing I had ever done.

What the hell is this?  The devil?  The Holy Spirit convicting me of sin?  A days-long energy drop from the runner’s high?

I just couldn’t say.  But, I do know that I will run the one more half-marathon I signed up for, at a nice leisurely pace, in four weeks.  And that will probably be it.

Maybe a weekly 5-miler or something.

But this just doesn’t feel right.  Right now, this bad run is worse than if I had just slept through my 5AM alarm that morning.

Now what do you make of that?