Here I Go Again…

Menopause. It’s a rite of middle age. Actually, post-middle age because I doubt I will live to be over 100. I’ll probably drown in a puddle of sweat in my own bed. Menopause can make life pretty tough, especially when in my head I am still young and thin. Unfortunately in the mirror I am aging and chubby. I volley back and forth between acceptance and disbelief. Somedays I think I’ll just roll with it and buy bigger clothes and invest in better wrinkle creams, and other days I just want my old body back – the one that didn’t sweat profusely several times throughout the night, and fit nicely into skinny jeans. The body that could run a decent pace and could do – and enjoy doing – burpees.

I thought I understood hot flashes until I actually had one. When I was young and birthing children, I thought what I experienced was hot flashes, but I was just hot most of the time. A menopausal hot flash is different. It always awakens me as I begin to get restless. Then when I am awake enough to fully experience the heat, I can feel it start at my core, and then it spreads throughout my extremities until sweat is pooling under my boobs and my hair is wet. I kick the covers off, or at least attempt to. Two dogs sleep with my husband and me, so sometimes kicking covers off means sending a dog sailing off the bed. I’ve found they don’t appreciate waking to my flailing arms and legs as I work to extract myself from the sheet and comforter that suddenly feel as if they’ve caught fire.

My nightly hot flashes became so regular that my husband bought a king-sized bed. Not only do the dogs keep me from cooling off, but my husband feels like a furnace when I am already hot. One touch of his hand makes my arm feel like it’s melting.

Another effect of menopause is weight gain. For me, this is much more difficult to deal with because I’ve been petite my whole life. It took no time after having a baby for me to get back to my pre-baby size, and I didn’t exercise back then. I thought the weight gain was bad in my forties, but could still control my weight with exercise and sensible eating. Now, however, it’s getting out of control. I find myself buying only loose-fitting tops and dresses and I finally gave in and bought a larger size pant. I don’t want to just give up, but damn, I can’t eat anything good. And when I am trying to avoid crap, every other commercial is for Blizzards and Monster burgers.

So, how am I going to combat menopause? Wine is an excellent option. But it also has a lot of calories. I do believe that menopause is the reason so many middle-aged women enjoy a glass or four of wine regularly. If we can’t be skinny, we might as well have fun. Drink enough wine and you won’t notice those wrinkles when you look in the mirror and you’ll be happy to wear leggings and a tunic (Thank God for that style!). My dear friend got me a wine Tervis that says, ‘This wine is making me awesome!’ Yes. Yes, it is. But I still need to workout because I can’t drink wine every day.

To try to get in somewhat decent shape, I am going to run two half marathons this fall. I had about given up the idea of distance running because it’s just getting harder and harder, but rather than quit, I am just going to have to accept that I will never run a half marathon in close to two hours again. I will have to accept that I might even have to walk a portion of the course. I’ve completed 13 half marathons so far, and I’ve never regretted any of them. I hated a few of them (Hoosier Half in April – 20 degrees and hills!), but I was always glad I finished. I am going to run the Monumental Half in November with my daughter Bethany, and before that my husband and I are going to run the Purdue Half in October. It wasn’t in our plans, but we will be there that weekend for his class reunion, so why not? My training for the Monumental had me running ten miles that weekend, so I might as well add three point one and get a medal. I hope the medal goes with the dress I’m wearing to the reunion.

So, menopause sucks. I can’t find one positive thing to say about it other than every woman seems to survive it. It would help if I had some sort of timeline. If I knew there were an end in sight, I could suck it up and take one for the team. I could promise my husband that this craziness would end soon and he would get his wife back. But no, there is no timeline. This crap can last years. I really wish Eve hadn’t eaten that damn apple.

 

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When do you feel beautiful?

Today as I was scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, I came across a post by a young man who is in his mid-twenties, and in his post he was making fun of others’ posts. You might have seen that people (women) are challenging friends to post five pictures of themselves in which they feel beautiful. As I read through the comments on this young man’s post, I saw that his friends had joined in making fun of these pictures and challenges. I found it irritating (and somewhat immature), and later when I was out cleaning my car, I  couldn’t get it out of my mind – I was pissed.

What right did these kids have to make fun of others’ posts, especially when these people are supposed to be their friends? My first inclination was to delete the poster from my friend list; I don’t really know him very well. The more I pondered, I realized that he and his friends are just young, and have not yet experienced the extreme highs and lows life has to offer. They are at an age when they are likely confident and don’t have to think much about their looks. They haven’t had kids, experienced the middle-age pooch, or had wrinkles and gray hair suddenly appear. One of the commenters said something to the effect that we can only feel beautiful when we compare ourselves to others who are less attractive.

As a fitness instructor and Tabata coach, I work to help women see their beauty. So many do not feel beautiful. What I have seen in the pictures that have been posted is women not comparing themselves to others, but rather to their former selves. I see women who have raised their children, and finally have time to focus on their health and fitness, and are discovering that they are beautiful. I see women who have lost weight that had held them back for years, and are now confident enough to step out of their comfort zones and post ‘selfies’. I see young mothers who feel beautiful holding their babies; I see girls who feel beautiful when their new husbands see them in their wedding dress.

Feeling beautiful isn’t easy. I can’t think of many times when I actually felt beautiful. I guess it depends upon our definition of beauty, which depends upon whom you ask. I think beauty means strength, confidence, kindness, and happiness. There are people who might appear to be beautiful when we first see them, but the moment they open their mouths, they become ugly. Likewise, I’ve seen people who might not be physically beautiful according to today’s standards, but their compassion, determination, and personality make them stunning.

I much prefer to see women encouraging one another to feel beautiful than posts in which people are constantly complaining or making fun of others. I hope as the young people mature, and they realize that beauty sometimes alludes us, they will have more compassion and understanding. I’m sure when I was in my twenties I made fun of people, and it probably wasn’t appropriate. As I have aged, had kids, battled weight, required more makeup, and experienced true grief, I have learned to be encouraging and supportive.

So keep encouraging your friends and telling them they’re beautiful! Be grateful for the positive posts. If you are entertained by making fun of others, perhaps you should find a new hobby.

Do something nice for someone just because you can. Peace…

Fitness Friday

I don’t really know why I chose that title, other than I do like alliteration.  It is Friday, but it’s doubtful any fitness will take place since we, once again, have a snow day.  I also did seven pretty intense workouts the past four days, so a little rest might be in order.  However, as I am dusting and mopping, my mind wanders to exercise, eating, and my goals (and other random thoughts).

As I have written about for the past few months, I have been struggling to shed the weight I gained when I was out of exercise commission because of knee surgery.  Deep down, I knew what the problem was.  I expected that since I was back in an exercise routine, the pounds should just melt away.  I didn’t eat that much.  They didn’t melt; they multiplied.  I realize eight or nine pounds might not seem like a lot, but I am five feet short.  My eight pounds is an average person’s fifteen pounds.  I have a couple of dresses that I cannot wear until I lose those nasty pounds.  I don’t like how I look and feel.

Around Thanksgiving, I decided I might as well wait to really work on my routine until after the holidays.  I knew that I could not bypass the temptations of cookies, cakes, and all the foods that scream Christmas.  Part of my personal holiday tradition is baking, and it’s one of my most cherished parts of December.  So, I added a couple more pounds as I ate whatever came out of the oven.  And then I ate what was stored in the freezer.  And I ate the cookies my daughters baked.  Then January 1 hit.  Time was up.  Cookies were trashed.

The last two weeks I have really been trying to watch my food intake.  I am not a fan of vegetables.  I prefer sweets, meat, and potatoes.  I love pastas and breads.  I will not give those things up, so portions are key to my diet.  I am also trying to limit evening snacks and before I begin grazing in the kitchen, I ask myself if I am actually hungry.  If I am, I try to make better choices, of if I really want something bad for me, I just eat a little.  I really haven’t sacrificed a lot, and as of this morning, I am down three pounds since last week.  Have I been perfect?  Heck, no.  Tuesday after school, I was starving.  For some reason, I wanted McDonalds (don’t judge me).  It started with Gosh, a Diet Coke from McDonalds sounds amazing.  That evolved into a double cheeseburger and small fries to go along with my Diet Coke.  When I added up the calories, it wasn’t that bad.  I just didn’t eat the rest of the night, and I did Zumba and Spartacus.  It was worth it.

That little fast food indulgence also reminded me why so many people are overweight, especially those with lower incomes.  My McD’s purchase was just over $3, a cheap meal.  Had I gone to Subway (which I do at least once a week), I would have spent over $7 for a healthier meal.  Many people don’t have a choice.  Healthy food is expensive, and a lot of people, at least here in our small town, just can’t afford it.  Heck, it’s hard for us to afford.  I have heard many people judge poor people for being overweight.  Our society makes it nearly impossible for them to be anything but overweight.  Healthy food is expensive; they can’t afford a gym, and probably don’t know how to begin a fitness routine.  Though we say there are free exercises, one needs good shoes or his or her feet will hurt or become injured, and proper attire.  Gary and I thought running would be a cheap sport – it’s anything but.

I saw evidence of this on our trip to Lake Tahoe.  One of my girls said, “Mom, there are no overweight people here.”  I hadn’t really paid attention, but when she mentioned it, I realized that we had maybe seen three or four people who were overweight that weekend  .  But think about it – it’s a pretty affluent area.  Fitness is a way of life there.  It was obvious just by the way they dressed – it was a North Face catalog in the making.  They could afford healthy food, fitness equipment, and gym memberships.  They could pay a sitter while they got their runs in or went skiing.

How can we change this?  I think it starts with our kids.  We started a Biggest Loser for our high school students this week.  We made the fee reasonable (those fees will be used for prizes at the end), and if a student couldn’t afford the fee, we made arrangements to cover that cost.  We will offer advice and suggestions to these 17 students who have a desire to lose weight and improve their health.  I am so excited that we can do this.  What if every school offered this type of program?  If we could instill in students the importance of taking care of their health, gradually our society might change.  We adults have to take the initiative to teach them.  We have to show them we care, we don’t judge, and we want to help.

What can you do to make a difference?  Who can you help?  Where can you volunteer?  How can we get other schools involved?  I will keep you posted on our progress.  I am sure that we will tweak the program along the way, but if we can help a couple of kids learn to love themselves, it will be time well spent.

 

 

See ya 2013!

I always write an Old Year/New Year post, and it’s typically long, jumbled, and possibly somewhat boring, but it’s also my way of processing the old year, and welcoming what’s to come.  So, if you’re sitting at home, avoiding laundry and housework, and need a reprieve from the daily chaos, read on.  What follows is a wrap-up of random thoughts.  Here we go…

  • Sunday, as I was waiting for my hair color to work its magic, I transferred birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates from my 2013 calendars to my 2014 calendars (one of which I bought for half price because I waited until the last minute).  As I was carefully writing in the upcoming events, I thought about how wonderful it is that each January, we get the opportunity to reflect on the past year, and start all over with a new year.  I don’t really make resolutions, but I do have a few goals.  I will share those at some random point in this blog.
  • 2013 was filled with both blessings and frustrations for us.  Health-wise, it was a tough year.  Last spring, I had the flu, and stomach bug, and then six weeks worth of eye infections.  The entire year I dealt with knee problems that resulted in surgery in August.  It isn’t completely healed, but I am hopeful that it will continue to get stronger, the pain will continue to lessen, and eventually I will return to my running routine in 2014.  Gary had to have hernia surgery, and Addison had (and continues to have) foot problems.  Because of changes to our health insurance (that are infuriating), my rates have doubled, AND we went from a $500 deductible to a $3000 deductible in 2014, so I pray for good health because we can’t afford to be sick.  We will limit trips to the doctor to dire emergencies, and suffer through all other illnesses.  We are educated, middle-class working people who can no longer afford to go to the doctor.  There’s something wrong with that.
  • Blessings…We added two members to our family in 2013!  Gary’s son Bryce was married to Krista in October.  It was an amazing weekend in Lake Tahoe.  Krista is a beautiful, intelligent, kind, and adventurous young woman, and we are thrilled to welcome her.  We also welcomed a new grandson in December.  Rhett Cail was born December 15, and we met him the following weekend.  He is a beautiful little boy just like his brother Layne and his cousin Gabe.

A Perfect Lake Tahoe Wedding

A Perfect Lake Tahoe Wedding

  • Rhett Wayne Cail December 15, 2013

    Rhett Wayne Cail
    December 15, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 2013 was a year of travel for Gary and me.  We went to Virginia Beach, Chicago, Atlanta, Kansas, and Lake Tahoe, and we added some short trips to Indy, Northern Indiana, Louisville, and Nashville.  We are fortunate that our family has chosen great vacations spots in which to live.  We won’t be traveling as much in 2014, but are grateful for the experiences we had.  In our eleven years together, Gary and I have had some awesome trips.  Most included the girls, some were just the two of us.  I am so grateful that we enjoy being together and have had some great opportunities.  I look forward to many more!
  • We also added to our family by hosting an exchange student from Germany.  Benita was already in Tell City and a student at our high school.  She had been placed with a couple who had no kids at home, and was new to our town. Because they knew no one, they wouldn’t let Benita do anything with anyone.  The poor girl was miserable.  She came to stay with us in November, and has truly been a blessing.  We have learned a lot about Germany, have enjoyed lots of chocolate, and have loved getting to know this amazing girl who, at only 16, chose to move away from her family for a year to experience America.  She will be with us until the end of May, and I already dread telling her good-bye.  On the bright side, with any luck we will one day visit her in Germany.
Our day in Nashville

Our day in Nashville

  • Along with my knee issues came weight gain.  As of this morning, I am within one pound of my pre-exercise-running-Tabata-healthier-eating weight from 2009.  I knew I would gain weight when I had surgery and could not exercise for six weeks.  After four plus years of exercising four to seven days a week, it was inevitable.  But I also thought that once I jumped back into my workout routines, the pounds would melt away.  They didn’t.  Not. One. Pound.  Finally, when December hit, I decided to not worry about it until after the holidays.  Given my love of baking – and eating what I bake – I knew it was pointless to try to shed weight during the best eating month of the year.  And so I gained another few pounds.  Right now, I am so disgusted with myself.  I worked so hard to get in shape and get to my ideal weight, and now I have to start all over.  My clothes don’t fit, I feel gross, and working out is hard.  Because I am so short, an extra eight pounds makes a huge difference.  I have two new dresses I can’t even wear until I lose the weight because they accentuate my belly flab.  Since they are winter dresses, I am going to have to make progress quickly.  Gary and I went grocery shopping Sunday and bought only healthy food.  I threw away the chocolate caramel cake that we left, gave away cookies, and refrained from baking more (even though I am dying to use my new Kitchenaid Mixer).  I have to get a grip.  I also hope to add more running to my routine because it seems to help me keep my weight down better than any other form of exercise.  I have been teaching five classes a week at the gym for the past two months, so I really haven’t had time to run as much as I like.  Enough on that – I will keep you posted.
I NEED TO RUN!

I NEED TO RUN!

  • Another goal for 2014 is to be more in the present.  I spend too much time on Facebook, and need to spend that time reading a book or chatting with my family.  I completely enjoy Facebook because many of my friends and family members live away, and it is a great way to keep up.  I love seeing their pictures, sharing my pictures, and being motivated by the fitness groups to which I belong.  But I love my family more.  I know it won’t be easy, but I will cut back on computer time, or at least spend some of that time keeping up with my blogs rather than mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.
  • I want to get some bills paid off.  I am still working on my hospital bills from August, so that is my first goal.  I also have some added credit card debt from Christmas, so that’ll be next.  I am going to keep my checkbook balanced and stick with my budget.  We finally took a leap and got rid of our home phone, and I have looked for other ways to cut monthly bills.  I think I have scaled back all I can (without causing an uprise in our family).
  • I want to nurture friendships and gently let go of relationships that cause stress.  I value my friends, and would do anything for them.  I pride myself on being a good listener, keeping confidences, and being honest.  I expect the same in return.  I am blessed with some amazing friends, and hope I never disappoint them.  I have also learned that even at our age, there are still those who choose friends based on their social statuses, what benefits they will gain from those friendships, and how it looks to others.  I care about none of that.  I choose my friends based on their character, their sense of humor, and how they treat people.  And my life is so much better because of it!

Friends!

Friends who would stand in the pouring rain to support one another!

Friends who would stand in the pouring rain to support one another!

  • Life is a gigantic lesson, and I believe we need to keep on listening and learning until we take our last breaths.  While we need to know where we stand, we also need to listen because sometimes our opinions can change.  We need to be accepting of others, and gentle with our words.  We need to let go of relationships that are no longer healthy, and hang on tightly to those that matter.  We need to love everyone, but that doesn’t mean we have to like everyone.  But we need to make our own judgments and not judge others based upon what we hear – what ‘they’ say.
    Words to live by...

    Words to live by…

    We have to – and this is big – work to positively influence our youth.  We need to encourage them to work hard, to follow their dreams, and to know that character is just as important as intelligence.  We need to model being good citizens, talk to them about our world, and show them how to treat others.  Our children are reflections of us.  Teach them well.

Some of our influence actually worked!

Some of our influence actually worked!

I wish for all of you a happy, healthy 2014.  I hope to continue with my writing, and it would help me greatly if you would share this with your friends if you enjoy reading my random thoughts.  I would also like to add some followers.  Thanks for reading.  Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Bethany, Chris, Tamara, Krista, Bryce, Gary, Me, Addie

Bethany, Chris, Tamara, Krista, Bryce, Gary, Me, Addie

Three Months Post-Op

I can’t believe it’s been three months since my knee surgery.  When I was still in pain, time seemed to move at a snail’s pace, but lately the weeks are flying by.  With each new week, my knee and leg feel stronger.  If I have a hard workout, I might still limp, but I don’t mind because I am so happy to have worked out.

Today I ran six miles!  I haven’t run that far in so long,; it felt awesome to be out on a gorgeous fall day, running with a good friend.  This good friend, Debbie, asked me to run a relay marathon in December, and since running a relay is on my running bucket list, I decided to try it.  Besides, having an upcoming race keeps me motivated to work runs into my busy schedule.  Debbie has only run six miles a few times, and I hadn’t since April, so this was an important run for both of us.  We started out fast – too fast – and slowed a little each mile.  Since speed was not our goal, our time did not matter.  I need to build up my endurance before I can even think about speed………….I can type that, and in my head I know it, but admittedly, on short runs I am trying to run faster.  I know it isn’t smart, but I want to get back to where I was, and I don’t want to take the long, arduous route.  I just want to be there.

Debbie and I finished strong!  We ran three miles, and then walked about four blocks, and then we ran the last three.  It was a great run!  Debbie hasn’t been running long, but I think I see a half marathon in her future.  I don’t know if she realizes how convincing I can be, but I am going to work on her.

I am thrilled to be running again.  It has become so much a part of who I am, and life without running seemed a little empty.  Running makes me feel strong; it makes me feel confident; and it makes me feel calm.  It also helps me keep my weight down, and right now I need to run about ten miles a day.  I expected to gain weight after surgery, but I also expected to lose it when I got back into my exercise routine.  That hasn’t happened.  In the four weeks that I have been back to working out five or six days a week, I haven’t lost a pound.  Not one freakin’ pound.  How is that even mathematically possible?  I know I am burning up calories; sometimes I work out two or three times a day.  I am not eating any more than I did after surgery.  I didn’t even buy Halloween candy (which I love).  It is incredibly frustrating.  This week is going to be better.   Those of you who attend my Zumba classes know that means your classes will be kick-ass!

I was reminded this week, once again, of how precious life is, and how it can change in an instant.  Embrace life.  Take care of your health, if not for yourself, do it for your family; set an example for your kids and grandkids.  Love deeply your friends and family.  And tell them.  Let the little annoyances go, and appreciate their unique personalities.  Live in the moment.  Don’t dwell on the past (you can’t change it anyway), and don’t fret about tomorrow – plan for it.  Notice God’s gifts every single day.  Hear the birds, notice the colors of fall, smell the brisk air.  Hug your kids.  Always, hug your kids.  Teach them to be kind.  I want my girls to be smart and successful, but more than anything, I want them to be kind.  I want them to love God and to be thankful for what they have.  And whatever you do, do it well.  Take every opportunity to make someone’s day, whether it be helping unload groceries, or just calling someone to say hello.  Think about who you want to be…and be that person.

Peace….

Schweizer Fest Road Run…Day 5 Post Op

No, I didn’t run.  However, I have been asked about my knee so much, that I made up a great story to try out tonight!

Person:  UGH!  What happened to your knee?

Me:  Well, you won’t believe it, but I was running the 6 miler this morning, and I was in front.  I was so excited to run up Mozart in the 100% humidity, and I was just flying!  Suddenly, when I got right in front of the Nobles’ house, a gigantic buck ran out in front of me!  I know!  It was crazy!  So, since I am an athlete, I did what any respectable athlete would do, and I hurdled the deer.  Just as I was crossing over, he turned his head, and his enormous antler caught my foot.  I landed right on my knee!  That was it for me.  I had to drop out, and now I have several stitches, and I have to wear this wrap for a week!  How embarrassing!

What do you think?  It sounds a helluva lot better than having an arthroscope for arthritis and IT band surgery.

I have to be honest, though.  Many people have said they were sorry I couldn’t run the race this year.  I just nodded and smiled, and acted like I certainly would have been running had it not been for having surgery this week.  Confession:  I would probably not have been running.  Really.  I haven’t run the Fest run in three years.  Last year I worked the finish line, and if I would have been confident that my knee would hold up, I probably would have worked it again this year.  As it was, I dubbed myself official race photographer, and worked to get pictures of as many of my friends as possible.

So, why wouldn’t I have run?  The reason is that I have crazy anxiety.  It makes me so stinkin’ nervous to run a race in Tell City because I know most everyone there.  I literally get heart palpitations and belly upset just thinking about running in front of my home town.  In my head, I know it is ridiculous, but the last time I ran it, I was so nervous that I couldn’t even enjoy the race.  I have run half marathons with thousands of people, and I don’t get that anxious, but stick me in front of people who know and love me (and some who don’t like me one bit), and I totally freak out.  Don’t judge me.  We all have oddities – I just admit mine online!  Today, I thought maybe I should try it again next year, assuming my body will be healed and I am running in a year.  Next summer, I’ll get all nervous just reading about the race in the News.  And I am such a great photographer that I should probably stick to that.

As for this morning,  I had an absolute blast!  I completely enjoyed watching everyone finish!  I got some pretty great pictures, and was so glad to capture those moments for my friends.  I wasn’t stressed at all!  I am so proud of so many people, but I am going to mention just a few.

Melinda Jacob….She is incredible!  She has lost 117 pounds by eating right and working her butt off.  I have literally watched her shrink over the last year.  I remember last fall when I asked her to come to Zumba.  She told me she would when she lost some more weight.  Of course, I told her that made no sense because doing Zumba would help her lose that weight.  She caved, and she loved it!  She came to lots of Zumba classes, and many times did three workouts a day.  She is a shining example of perseverance to her children.  She ran the six-mile race this morning, and I was so very proud of her!

Ginger Alvey….In January, when we began the third season of the Biggest Loser at Everbody’s, Ginger joined.  I will never forget her first night on the elliptical.  She could hardly eek out 4 minutes.  Ginger never gave up, and she kept coming back.  She now rocks that stupid elliptical, goes to Zumba, and has begun to run.  Today Ginger ran the two mile race!   How far she has come in such a short time!

Caroline Johnson….sometimes hates working out.  I have seen her laugh during workouts, but I’ve also heard her cuss, and seen her leave because she’s ticked she can’t do something.  But, she always came back.  She has pushed herself beyond what she thought she was capable of, and continues to push (even when it sometimes takes a kick in the butt).  Caroline and her husband Scott have completely changed their lives in the past seven months, and are living a healthier lifestyle with their daughter.  When Caroline and I have been out walking/running, we get honked at constantly.  While I would like to think some of those honks are for me, they are all for Caroline.  Don’t think that girl isn’t inspiring others to get out there and move.  Caroline walked/ran the two mile this morning, as did her daughter, Bailee.  Her husband Scott ran the six-mile.  This family rocks!

My husband…Gary has been running for over four years now.  Because he has an artificial knee, it takes more effort for him to run than most anyone else.  He ran the six mile today, and I have never seen him run stronger!  He inspires me every single day by his dedication.  I kinda like him!

Debbie Elder…I know I’ll get this number wrong, but Debbie has lost 50+ pounds.  She is at the gym working hard all the time.  She is also a runner now!  She has the best attitude, and makes me happy when I am in a class with her.  She ran the two mile today, and I suspect she’ll run the six mile next year.  How ’bout it, Debbie?

Emily Miller….I can’t possibly write this and not include Emily.  She has also lost 50+ pounds, and has shared her journey with anyone who would read (she’s a lot like me!).  This year, she set a goal to run the six mile, stuck to a plan, and she ran it in under an hour!  But is she stopping there?  Heck no!  In October, Emily will run her first half marathon!  I am so hoping to be there to witness this great feat, and if band allows, I’ll be screaming ’til my lungs blow as she crosses the finish line.  She has inspired so many people in our community to get healthy.  She is a ball of energy and positive vibes.

TCJSHS and PCHS Cross Country Teams….You make all of us proud!  Two TC junior high students won the two mile race today – Katie Goffinet and Nate Kaiser!  How incredible is that?  All of the kids are so dedicated and so supportive of one another.  They are terrific representatives of Perry County.

The Biggest Loser and Corporate Challenge Participants…All of you!  It is so great to see how our community has become so focused on getting in shape.  Seeing you all out there, either walking or running, made me so proud!  You all are doing a great service to yourselves and your families.  You deserve to be very proud, and you are worth the effort you’re putting in!  Keep it up!  I want to see all of you – and more – out there next year!

To all of the 694 people who joined the action today, thank you!  It was a memorable morning, and I was so happy to be there, basking in your glory!  I had so many friends who ran that I would not dare try to name them for fear of forgetting someone.   Just know that you all are the reason I was willing to go through surgery.  I want to be like you!  I want to run…………..just not in Tell City :-/.  You made my morning:  I envied your smiles, your pride, and your sweat (yea, really – I wanted to be sweating from a hard run).  I envy the sore muscles you’ll have tomorrow, too.  Afterall, it’s a good sore!

Lessons Learned

It seems my blogs get fewer and fewer as we get busier.  I figured I might as well take advantage of being home sick today.  I have been plannning to write about the next chapter in our fitness journey, and the lessons we have learned along the way.

The past four years, Gary and I have been working on creating a healthier lifestyle for our family.  We have been eating healthier, and though we are not always successful, gone are the Little Debbies (except the occasional Nutty Bar after a long run), the bags of chips, and desserts baked for no reason.  We also added exercise to our days.  First, we began to run and bike, and then the running pushed everything else aside.  We began to enter races, and have since run countless 5Ks, 10Ks, and I am preparing for my fifth half marathon.  Gary is training for his second marathon.  I became a Zumba instructor, and now teach four classes a week.  We, along with our daughters, have become active at the gym.  When we began we also wanted to set a positive example for our children.  It took a couple of years, but the girls are now exercising regularly, and have actually found joy in working out.

This winter, we began a new chapter in our lives.  Gary and I are now coaching a team in our gym’s Biggest Loser competition.  Gary won the first season of Biggest Loser last summer, so he was an obvious choice as a coach.  We decided we would coach together, and it has been an incredible experience.  We coach the orange team, and are so blessed to have so many dedicated members.  They have made working out fun.  While they have thanked us for helping them, I don’t think they have any idea what they have done for us.  Some of our members had never exercised in their lives, yet they have taken on every challenge we have given them.  They have mastered the treadmill and elliptical, suffered through their first spinning classes, danced the calories away in Zumba, built muscle in pilates, and consequently, lost weight and inches.  Stepping into a gym can be intimidating, even for those who are in shape.  Trying new classes isn’t easy.  One doesn’t really know what to expect when the music starts.  The orange team, along with all of the other Biggest Loser contestants – 180 of them! – have stepped up and met the challenge.  Their dedication and bravery has inspired me to keep going.  I am trying to learn as much as I can about living a healthy lifestyle so that I can share that information with our team.

While I will always be proud of the accomplishments I have seen through running and working out, the pride I have in our team members cannot be surpassed.  Getting their texts on weigh-in day, seeing their pride when they’ve gone just a little further or faster, and watching them laugh together as they sweat their butts off is so very fulfilling.  We have told them over and over that this is not a 12 week program; this has to be a lifestyle change.  We want them to make choices they can maintain.  They need to make food choices that they can keep long after the final weigh-in.  They need to find exercises that make them happy so they will stick with it even after they complete their Biggest Loser journeys.

I have to say, Everbody’s Fitness is an amazing place.  The staff and clients are so supportive of everyone.  We all, no matter our size or fitness level, are working for similar goals.  We want to be healthy and more fit.  We want to live active lives so we can keep up with our children and grandchildren.  We want to see just what our bodies can do when we step out of our comfort zones.  While one might be uncomfortable during that first trip to the gym, once he or she experiences the support, that discomfort will quickly dissolve.  We are all cheering for others at the gym.

The friendships I have made over the past year are invaluable.  I have made friends with fellow staff members, people who attend my Zumba classes, clients, and now our Orange Team.  These friendships will last because we have sweated together, opened up to one another, and because they bring me joy.  Orange Team, I am so stinkin’ proud of each of you!  I know that there have been times you’ve wanted to quit, but you haven’t.  I promise that you won’t regret sticking it out.  You would regret quitting.  Remember that first workout?  I told you that if it were easy, everyone would be thin and fit.  It isn’t easy.  It will likely be the hardest thing you ever do.  But it will also be the most worthwhile thing you ever do.  Promise.  And Gary and I will be here through it all, whether you want us to or not!

Now get off the computer and do something active!