What else you got?

Posted: June 30, 2015 in challenge, family, fitness, stress

I remembered who I was today.

I’m determined, motivated and love taking on new challenges. I don’t give up. Tell me I can’t do something, and I’m going to show you I can. Hit me with one stressful obstacle or JUST ONE MORE THING after another and I’m going to kick its ass and keep going.

I just haven’t been that person lately. I’ve been overwhelmed, unmotivated and just sick of dealing with everything. There are a lot of stressful things going on in my life right now, some good and some bad. While at my son’s college orientation last week, for instance, I traded e-mails with my soon-to-be-wed daughter regarding hotel room booking, and filled out important documents for my job while dealing with an uncertain situation there. This was after our basement flooded and we lost most of its contents. And that was after my kids have experienced several deaths in the past few months: a special coach and teacher, the dog, a close friend.

While water poured into our basement from the floor drain last weekend, I had a moment (after spending an hour or so unsuccessfully trying to bail it out) when I just slumped over and cried. No more.

I’ve also been questioning myself and beating myself up quite a bit more than usual. I’m thinking things like: I’m not qualified for anything but what I do; I’m not sure I even do that very well anymore; Am I making good decisions?; What was I thinking? My confidence is low, obviously.

But this morning while working out with my trainer, he challenged me to lift more, to push more and to learn why. I accepted and met all of those challenges, as I always do with him.

I don’t say, “meh, I don’t feel like it”. I say, “BRING IT”.

Thanks for the reminder, James.

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My daughter, Danielle, after graduating from Ohio University

May is certainly a weird time to catch a cold. But I was not surprised when I woke up with a doozy a few days ago.

I wrote here about my marathon of a day last Saturday. The next day it hit me. Not so hard at first. But then on Monday, boy. Down. For. The. Count.

Now, I’ve prided myself the last couple of years on the fact that I rarely get sick anymore. I’m healthy, you see, and, therefore, I have a healthy immune system! I probably got a little cocky about that, actually. And when I get cocky, I’m taught a little lesson.

Fact is, when you have a compromised, weakened, or otherwise impaired immune system, you are more susceptible to illnesses that you may be exposed to. Check out this article by Dr. Mercola. This is why the elderly and children are strongly encouraged to get flu shots. Otherwise healthy people, notsomuch. When you have a strong immune system because you: 1) eat whole, unprocessed foods and lots of fruits and vegetables, 2) exercise regularly, 3) manage stress, and 4) get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, well, you’re more likely to fend off any of the nasty bugs floating around. Doesn’t mean you won’t get sick. Just means you improve your chances of not getting sick.

I managed to get through the winter with not so much as a sniffle. In fact, I haven’t had a cold in probably a year, I believe, because I do all of those things mentioned above. Normally.

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My son, Josh, looking snazzy for prom

Problem is, lately I have been slacking on everything but the exercise. My diet has been less than perfect. Not that I’m eating crap (though I did cheat a lot last week), but I’m not often getting the veggies I used to get. On some days, I have skipped them altogether. BAD BAD BAD. I’ve also been consuming too many sugary treats. I’ve gotten lazy, really. Just because I’ve finally reached goals in regards to body fat and strength doesn’t mean I can suddenly ditch part of what got me here.

Then there’s stress and sleep. The last month or so has been rough in many ways, most of which I don’t need to go into here. Some of it is simply the time of year. Every parent of schoolchildren ever will tell you that May SUCKS. And by SUCKS, I mean there’s a shit ton of stuff going on with each of the kids in regards to end-of-school-year activities. Yeah, yeah, yeah, they’re all good. It’s just SO MUCH. Not sure how I got through it when my Big Three were all school-aged. I feel for my neighbor who has four in school right now.

With a senior in high school and a senior in college, plus the kindergartener, April and May have been pretty ridiculous. Senior pictures, senior trip, senior video submissions, planning parties, announcements, cap and gown order, spring fling, prom, moving out, moving in, this thing is due, that thing is due, field trip, field day, musical performance, teacher gift. I could probably add about 10 more things here, but, honestly, I can’t remember them. And I’ve likely forgetten to do some of them.

Then graduation/prom/wedding Saturday happened. And, well, the cold followed.

So now that I’m starting to feel better, I’m going to refocus my energy on making sure I get those veggies every day and cooling it on the sugar. My immune system will be much happier.

I’ll be running a different kind of half marathon tomorrow.

Last fall, I thought May 2 would mean bettering my half marathon time from last year. Then I learned what else May 2 had in mind.

Tomorrow is the Cap City Half marathon, which was my first half last year. I ran it on May 3, my 46th birthday. I wrote about it here. While I was proud that I could simply cover the 13.1 miles, and I felt pretty good through mile 10, I was eager to run it again and see if I could do it without slowing to turtle pace on the last two miles. Not to mention my aching feet. Geez.

But, bigger things were on the agenda. Check out my day tomorrow:

1) My daughter graduates from Ohio University

Danielle will get her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from OU at 2 p.m. tomorrow. It’s been a fun and enlightening four years for all of us. OU is an awesome place, both for a college education and also for, well, college life. Danielle did her share of participating in the latter, but I’m most proud of her for what she wants to do with the education she received. She plans on helping disadvantaged kids, perhaps with City Year, or rape victims or abused women. She wants to do important work, and it makes me tear up to realize the wonderful woman she has become. She is much like her big sister, who graduated from Ohio State two years ago and is currently a caregiver for a developmentally disabled girl. Proud mama.

2) My son has senior prom

Josh has a date. And a suit and tie. And he’s excited about this. This is all very weird for me. So, he’s doing pictures at 5:30, about an hour after Danielle’s ceremony should be complete. Josh will, therefore, miss his sister’s graduation, and mom will, therefore, have to high tail it from Athens to make it in time to take countless prom photos an hour and a half away. He doesn’t care if mom is there, but mom cares. Can’t imagine missing this photo op.

3) My niece gets married

We’ll miss Maria and Earl’s wedding, as it’s at 3:30 (when we’ll be in Athens for graduation), but we plan on hitting the reception after prom pictures. It’s an open bar, right?

So, I won’t be running the half marathon, but I’m going to treat tomorrow like I’m running: just keep going, because if I stop I’m unlikely to start again.

Good luck to my running friends tomorrow!


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My kids with Louis in February 2014, not long after his cancerous spleen was removed. He loved running around in the snow, so we all took him to a nearby open space to do just that.


I sat at the storm door with the glass cleaner and paper towels in my hand, staring at the slobber marks for a good two or three minutes. I wasn’t sure that I really wanted them gone.

They were one last reminder of Louis, my black lab mix who died a week ago.

But I did it. And I cried. Again.

It was a week ago today that I came home from the gym to find Louis stuck on the landing of our stairs. He could no longer get up and down, so I had to carry him. Bawled my head off afterward.

Then I spent some time on the phone with my husband, making that crappy ass decision that no pet owner wants to make. My oldest daughter stopped over to say goodbye. I did a FaceTime with my other daughter, who is away at college, so she could see the dog she selected from a litter of 13 puppies at a makeshift shelter in Bay St. Louis, Miss. after Hurricane Katrina. The six-year-old came home from school, and though he didn’t quite get how we knew Louis was going to die, he said goodbye and went to a neighbor’s house to play.

Then there was my 18-year-old son, Josh. He was the closest to Louis. He would annoy me CONSTANTLY with pleas to “come and see Louis” because “he’s so cute”. Louis would simply be laying somewhere not doing a damn thing but being a dog. But Josh loved him more than anything else in his life, I think.

So when Josh walked in the door after school and immediately started hugging Louis and crying, I was toast. There is absolutely no worse feeling than watching your child feel such a deep emotional pain. Especially a child who rarely shows much emotion. This went on for about 10 minutes before my husband and I had to tell him it was time to go. All three of us were with Louis as he passed.

There are so many constant reminders in my house of this dog who really was not very well behaved and often did things that made us angry. But, you know, dogs.

I expect him to go berzerk when the mail carrier approaches the house.

I want him to greet me at the back door, licking me, with his tail wagging excitedly as if I’ve been gone for years.

I expect him to lay at my feet on my bed, even though it made for awkward sleeping.

I still worry about leaving food on the counter, because he would eat anything left out. Anything. He ate an entire pan of roasted cauliflower and asparagus from the stove top not long ago.

His food dish is still half full in its place on the kitchen floor because, well, we’re just not ready.

The cushions on the “new” couch are still smashed and ruined from him laying on top of them.

The window bench seat he often occupied is oddly neat and clean.

I think the cat even misses him.

Dogs are the best. Even when they’re the worst.


deadlift barbell

Here’s my personal best: 180 x 3 reps


Finally got around to blogging about MY MOST FAVORITE LIFT EVER IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

Check out what I wrote about deadlifting over at Dispatch.com …



It’s random thoughts day here at To Di For Fitness.

I had a busy, hectic night at work last night thanks to OSU football, so I woke up this morning feeling kind of hungover. That’s not a problem, really, except that I consumed zero alcohol. If I’m going to feel like shit the next day, it better because I had me some damn good beer the night before. But, no. Ohio State played in and won the national championship, so I was at work in the Sports department of the Columbus Dispatch until nearly 2 a.m. designing today’s sports sections. Check it out here.

Anyhoo, when I feel like this my mind wanders (OK, maybe it wanders at other times, too), usually ending up on something fitness related. Because that’s my happy place.

Today I landed on how happy or unhappy I am with my body, now that I’ve made a boatload of changes and have finally hit that point where I’m mostly satisfied. Or am I? Despite having lost more than 40 pounds and 17 percent body fat in a little more than five years, I still sometimes focus on my imperfections.

I’m 46 and I’ve housed four babies in this body. Weird shit happens. Since I had my last kid at age 40, I’ve managed to get pretty lean, specifically in my mid-section. I see muscle tone everywhere, and I’m especially proud of my back and shoulders.

But you know what else I see? Stretch marks and wrinkles and strange lines and varicose veins and loose skin. These things won’t go away no matter how hard I work in the gym or kitchen.

Once I had my little “ew” moment, I got over it. Not that I won’t revisit it from time to time, but I’m generally OK with these things because they show I’m not perfect and I never will be. I’m not supposed to be. I’m just supposed to be me and that should be OK with me. Whether or not it’s OK with you shouldn’t matter.

Haven’t posted on my other blog in quite some time, so I thought this topic was a good one for the Dispatch.com readers. Check out my post about bench pressing here!