It's hard for me to know where to even start this post. My mind is "running" in several different directions so please excuse tangents and paragraphs that don't seem to belong.
This week there have been so many reminders of how important health is. I've read about the death of Garrett, a fellow blogger who died at the way-too-young age of 28. A tragedy. Marisa and her daughters witnessed the death of a woman at a restaurant. A man I know was diagnosed with diabetes.
There are many things that motivate a person to seek a healthy life. What got me going on this journey was vanity, plain and simple. I wish I could say it was something as noble as health but I wanted to look good.
I started to focus on health reasons after my heart started skipping beats. I know there is a fancy medical name for it but I can't remember what it is but it feels like my heart skips beats. It usually does it during times of stress. Don't worry. I've gone to the ER for it before because I was scared and it had continued for hours. I was hooked up to all kinds of fun (and expensive) equipment and was told that I should lay off the caffeine and/or I was involved in a stressful situation. Other than that, I was perfectly fine. Still, it's not cool to have your heart do funky things.
After losing a few pounds, my vanity got a little high five when I was able to get some smaller clothes and could do the before and after shots and actually see some results. When I ran/walked/crawled through my first 5K it gave my healthy ambition side a big high five. Eventually I ran my first mile. Then my first two miles.
Running brought new challenges. At first I couldn't breathe. I literally could not breathe. It was the hardest thing I've ever tried to do. Every one says, "Keep trying. You'll do it eventually." I didn't believe them but I kept trying and I finally did do it. After conquering the mental and physical challenge of running, I felt like I could do anything.
What never got easier with running is the pain I would suffer afterwards. Especially after a race. I use the term "race" loosely because I wasn't really racing anyone. I was just trying to finish! Anyway, after running my hips would scream. I just guessed this was part of running and you had to get used to it or it would eventually go away. It didn't. It actually seemed to get worse.
During the summer I quit running because of the hips and the heat. But then I felt a breeze outside and could feel fall coming. It got me in the mood to try again. And I've been easing in to it. I'm afraid of doing anything that would cause an injury or make my hips hurt again. I've been re-reading Running for Mortals by John Bingham and using the Weight Loss Phase I program in the back of the book. It starts out really slow with walking and strength training (today is a strength training day).
Last night my mom calls while I'm making dinner after a long day of being on the road with the kids playing taxi. I feel bad: I haven't called her in a few days. We chat for a little then she tells me that she hasn't been well for over a week. Crap! How long has it been since I called?! (Bad daughter award, right here) It seems that she has arthritis in her hips that has been flaring up and she has had trouble walking. So much trouble that she can barely get to another room. So bad that my dad actually went out to pick up dinner last night. My dad (I love him to death) does not do things like that. He's more of a "bring me my dinner and it better be fixed the way I like it" kind of guy. This is bad. My mom can't take pain killers because she's allergic to all (or most) of them. She almost died on the operating table having my brother because of the anesthesia. I feel helpless. And scared.
I feel a little selfish but when she was telling me about her hips I thought about my own hip problems. It scares the snot out of me. I've been having some soreness in the joints of my fingers too. I can't have these problems. I'm young, damn it! And if I ignore them they'll go away, right? Or maybe if I lose more weight I won't get arthritis in my hips?
With the death stories and health scares going on around me this week, it makes me more determined to get my butt in shape. I'm not sure what is a better motivator now: vanity or health. This week it's health. After I lose another size it might be vanity again. Hey, whatever works.
Along with all of the fears I'm also tossing in another variable to play with: eating without counting calories. I love knowing numbers so this is tough. But I also know I don't want to have to be number obsessive the rest of my life. I want to eat without freaking out: "Oh my god! Was that low fat or fat free cheese because I think there is a 20 calorie difference!!! Ahhhhh!" No. I don't want that. Peace. Balance. Moderation. That's what I want. But it's a learning process.
With all of this going on in my noggin, I go forth. Eating good food without worry. Trying to learn to run without pain. Finding motivation within myself to do things I may not want to do (walk or run in the heat or cold when I'd rather curl up with a good book). This isn't easy but it's worth it because I'm worth it. Life is worth it.
On a happier and lighter note, I took Rachel to her biology class yesterday so Charlie and I had two hours to kill. Driving back home is not an option because it takes almost an hour to get back home. So we went to Borders book store. I browsed through the books and found several I was sure that I couldn't live without. I grabbed a few and found a seat. Charlie found a rubber chicken that, when pressed, begins to lay a squishy egg out of its rear that quickly gets sucked back into the chicken when you release pressure.
I'm happily flipping through my books while Charlie makes the chicken lay its egg several times. Then the chicken's butt explodes right in his face. He just stared at me without an expression on his face. I don't think he knew how to react. Fake chicken butt juice dripped off his face. He placed the chicken on the table (who probably preferred death than laying the same egg over and over) and walked calmly to the bathroom to clean up. Gross!!! Cleaned kid comes back and we resume life as if nothing happened.
I did find a book I had to have: Restaurant Favorites at Home by the editors of Cook's Illustrated. It was only $4.99!! Regular $29.95. With a buy like that I couldn't just leave it at the store even if funds are running on the leaner side. But when I went to the cashier and gave him by Borders Reward card the book was on sale even more. I walked out of there paying only $2.14 for that book! I am so thrilled to find such a bargain that I'm keeping the receipt in the book as a reminder of just how awesome of a deal I got. Plus it's the Cook's Illustrated people so I know everything is going to be awesome. And these aren't the fast-food copy cat restaurant recipes. These are places without kids' menus! The places we rarely get to visit. :) Good day. Life is good.