SoCS – Sunshine in the midst of rain

I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself lately.  Oh, there’s been moments of light where I realize things are going pretty well, but for the most part, my brain spends many, many hours a day drenched in negativity.  It was actually a breath of fresh air to wake up to Facebook this morning and its sometimes annoying “memory” of the day.

Today, it gave me a post of my “Spring Memories”.  It was heart-warming to see the photos because my Spring memories are full of hospitals, pain, pain meds and healing.  Not to mention the nasty thoughts that swirl around my brain, creating an alternate reality.

It’s sometimes hard to remember that I GOT MARRIED!  I also went on the best hike with my boys on Mother’s day.  It was one of the more perfect Mother’s days I can remember, to be honest.  Then there was the fact that my husband survived heart surgery…!

We are trying to look at the whole thing as a positive because, you know, he’s still here.  But sometimes it’s so easy to only focus on the two weeks in the hospital, the terror of wondering if I would ever see him alive again and the freshly healing scars.  It’s hard to see the sunshine when it seems that the rain is pouring down and the clouds are darkening every day and there doesn’t seem to be a break in sight.

The reality is that the clouds dissipated for days at a time, and there was so much sunshine.  I’m just wondering when my brain is going to catch up…

I suppose I should remember that I’m not a slave to my thoughts.  It’s not like my brain has some demon entity in there controlling my thoughts and making me miserable all day, every day, even though it seems like it.  The logical part of me remembers that depression doesn’t define who I am, but the emotional part of me wonders if I’m strong enough to hold the demon at bay.

Anyway, this is just another reminder today that life is worth living and there are moments of joy even in the midst of the worst times.

It’s my goal to return to the things that make the depression easier to bear – writing and exercising.  Although, the exercise may have to wait another month or so because my 40-year old body just doesn’t heal as quickly from surgery as it used to and two surgeries for me in less than six months just about did me in.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday  is hosted by Linda G Hill. Today’s prompt is “rain/rein/reign”.



Mindful Monday – Finding What Works

I’ve been so excited to write this post.  I’ve had so many amazing insights this week and while it wasn’t easy to keep motivated and to workout as much as I said I would, I did much better than I could have imagined.

If you didn’t already know, I am a person of routine and habit.  I go to the grocery store and follow the same path and buy pretty much the same things every other week.  If something comes up that is out of the ordinary, I can handle it as long as I have some kind of warning.

I think that’s why my exercise has been so random in the past six months.  I didn’t have a plan.  I was sort of enjoying what I was doing, but I didn’t feel like it was having an impact and it definitely wasn’t a habit.

Last week, I found an app that showed me some exercises on the workout machines at the gym.  Not only that, it actually walked me through how to do it so I didn’t have to guess.  Most times, I don’t use the machines because I have no idea what they do or how to use them.

I ended up doing “leg” day on Wednesday and honestly, that almost did me in.  I didn’t start walking normally again until yesterday… which means I completely overdid it.  I was thinking I was at a certain level, but your body has a way of letting you know that nope, you shouldn’t have lifted that much weight no matter who was looking at you or judging you.  But now I have a routine I can use to do leg day.  I ended up winging it for arm day because I’m not as concerned about my arms.  I did an assortment of machines that worked out a lot of my upper body and I’m happy with it.

So, my new routine is as follows:

  • Monday – Rest day
  • Tuesday – Leg day
  • Wednesday – Arms (and maybe the bike if my legs are okay, haha)
  • Thursday – Run
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – Combat class (An hour of high-intensity cardio)
  • Sunday – Run

I feel like this is something I can stick with and I’m actually excited that I figured out something that will work for me.

The other thing I realized this week was that exercise isn’t easy.  Every single day I struggled with that voice saying it was okay to skip the day because (insert lame excuse here).  I also learned that I need to be nice to myself.  I have a tendency to push myself farther than I should because I need to have a better time or I need to lift more.  I’m not here to win a competition, so it really doesn’t matter how fast I run that mile and a half or how much weight I lift.  The goal right now is to be consistent and to have fun!  There will be time for pushing myself once I’ve established a routine.

So there you have it.  Basically restating my goals, but finding new and better ways to accomplish what I set out to do.

Once again I have to thank my sister.  She is still the voice that keeps me going and I believe I wouldn’t have run yesterday if she hadn’t texted me and said, “I hope you go for that run.”



This post is part of Mindful Monday hosted by Colleen at Silver Threading.


Mindful Monday – Goals and Whatnot

When I started following Mindful Monday, I don’t think I realized it would become my exercise platform, but here we are.  And today, I’d like to talk about my goals.  I’m not a huge goal person, meaning I don’t have a list on my wall of things I need to complete.  In fact, I try to avoid them; or at least, that’s what I tell myself.  I know they happen whether I want them to or not.

Two years ago, my sister and I set a goal to run the Tough Mudder and even though that didn’t happen, there were a few  things that did happen.

  1. I came to realize that I am stronger than I ever imagined, not just mentally and emotionally, but physically.
  2. I also realized that I am capable of committing to an exercise program for an extended period of time, but it helps to have someone walking the same path who is there to push you when you just don’t feel like it.
  3. That summer, I was in the best shape of my life and I felt fantastic.
  4. I found that I don’t necessarily like all exercise and while that doesn’t always matter, it helps to find things you like to do in order to sustain momentum.

Two years later, I am in a huge rut and trying to find what works for me.  Writing that list has helped me a lot.  Just knowing what I accomplished makes me feel like I can do it again.  I’m beating myself up that I let it go and fell into a rut, but I know I don’t have to stay here.

Today, I am making the decision to work out every single day in one form or another with Friday’s off.  The thing that happened the last time was that I didn’t let myself have excuses because I couldn’t let my sister beat me; and I knew she didn’t take days off unless absolutely necessary.

Now, I don’t have my sister pushing me to be a more healthy me.  In fact, most days she needs me to lift her up and keep her going.  But whether she realizes it or not, she has always been and still remains the voice in my head pushing me further.  She is honestly my hero in so many ways.  She can’t exercise hardly at all anymore, but that doesn’t stop her.  I know she walks her dog every single night, even when she can’t do it alone.

I know I’ve said it before and I am saying it again.  I’m going to exercise for both of us, just like she asked me to two years ago when she realized she no longer could. (I love you Sissy! )

Happy Monday everyone!

This post is part of Mindful Monday hosted by Colleen at Silver Threading.

JustJoJan Day 5 – Looking forward to an amazing 2016

I can only imagine that 2016 has to be better than 2015. I think I only say that because at the start of 2015 I was so hopeful. It was going to be the year, even though I started the year out getting laid off and starting a new job. I had no idea at the time how much I would need to go through in order to get where I am today.

It was a long road.

The only thing I feel like I kept up and actually increased was my blog. It warped into something new and different and I sometimes miss the longer stories I was writing, but I just don’t have the time right now. I’m happy to write shorter stories, poems and little snippets of my crazy life. I even managed to start my own prompt which I feel is more successful than I ever imagined it would be. Even if I didn’t have other bloggers  participating each week, I have so much fun sharing my favorite music and music lyrics every Sunday.

I’m not one to write down goals or to carry a bucket list, but I do have some plans that are coming together for 2016. I’m hoping to have some amazing news soon in my personal life and the new day job I moved to in September has only one place to go, and that is up! I’m more excited than I can say that I took that particular plunge. Even as miserable as I was at the job I had last year, I still almost canceled the phone interview I had in September. I thank my boyfriend almost every day that he talked me into keeping it.

As far as writing, I am starting to feel the novel coming back to life in my head. It’s been sitting dormant for the past year and I’m feeling it tickling the back of my head again. It’s weird how I can ignore it for a while but it starts to sit in my head again, and I know I spend too much time thinking about it rather than writing it down. So much of why I don’t keep going is insecurities. I know we all go through it as writers, but writing for the blog has helped tremendously.

Anyway, this turned into more of a retrospective post about last year, but I am looking forward to everything coming together for this year.

I want to thank all those who have clicked the follow button on my blog. I am over 400 followers today and I can’t even imagine how that happened. I am incredibly grateful for this amazing community and to be a tiny part of it.

Just Jot It January is hosted by Linda G. Hill. The prompt for today, 2016, was given to us by Fiona’s Favorites. Feel free to join in the fun!


Sense or Not, Writing and Running Happen

I’m finding that there are times when I just need a reset; a full stop; a “whoa, slow the hell down and take it easy” day or two; not only with my writing but with my exercising as well. I’m starting to wonder if both these activities require a small lack of sense. Is it really sensible to write words and create characters and put them down on paper (read computer)? Is it really sensible to run until your muscles are sore and your lungs hurt and you feel like you can’t move?

That makes it sound like I don’t like what I’m doing, but the truth is, I love them both. They have both become serious passions in my life, and sense or not, I’m going to continue doing both. I just need to find how they work in my life so I don’t need this full-stop, recharge moments that start out as one day and sometimes turn into a whole week.

I started NaNoWriMo like a whole bunch of other people but didn’t finish. I know there are many people who do the same. The one thing it did was recharge my love for my WIP and I have more words than I did before the beginning of November. It also made me realize that so many of you writers out there who have offered advise about writing were absolutely correct. In order to get down your first draft, you have to let go of perfection and just get the words down. I was doing that, going along better than I thought when I happened to write some things that I thought were crap. At that point, I stopped and couldn’t even bring myself to look at it and then it was like all sense had left me and I went, I don’t know, three weeks without even thinking about it. Last week, I finally decided to read that last part that totally freaked me out, and you know what? It wasn’t half bad. So, I learned some lessons during NaNoWriMo that I think will help me going forward and I have more words to show for it, I just don’t have 50,000 words to show for it.

But you know what? That’s okay too. (Or at least, I need to tell myself this rather than the torrent of bad stuff I normally tell myself about not achieving a goal). Writing and even exercising are more about the journey for me, even though I have a goal I’m working towards.

I ran in our Utah Human Race on Thanksgiving Day. It was pretty amazing knowing that at least half the proceeds go to the Food Bank. I’m happy my sister-in-law signed us up as a team and even though I was the only one who ran the 5k, it recharged my love for running. It also made me wonder how much sense there is in it. Who runs in 30 degree weather with wind blowing in your face and making your eyes water and run, freezing down your face? Who enjoys  that?

Apparently I do.

Before Thursday, I hadn’t run or really exercised in about two weeks. I was feeling lazy and pretty horrible, but the weather really freaked me out. It don’t think it’s so much the weather as it is the lack of light. Running in the dark isn’t as fun as running in the full light of day (for me, at least).

I guess what this post is about is that I’m still a work in progress. I’m still trying to figure it all out. Maybe I never will. Maybe I will always have days or weeks where I have to just stop and rest and then start it all up again. Maybe that’s my process and I don’t even know it?

I’m going to repeat what I said above, but that’s okay because SoCS…

Sense or not, I love writing and running and I’m going to continue struggling through and doing what I love however I can, even if that means taking some time off to recharge.

Thank you all for tuning into my late SoCS post (because I was in a recharge moment yesterday and didn’t want to force myself to write anything). Linda prompted us with the words sense/scents/cents/sent.



Learning Lessons and Achieving Goals

I’m pretty sure I have stated here somewhere that I didn’t have any expectations about this training process I undertook about two months ago.  The only goal was to be strong enough and have enough endurance to at least attempt the Tough Mudder.  Once I paid for the event, I was locked in and was not about to give up training because it was too hard or I was sore or I couldn’t do a single push up, which I couldn’t.  I also couldn’t do jumping jacks for longer than 30 seconds or jump rope – weren’t those activities actually fun as a kid?

Today, I have seen so much progress I’m almost overwhelmed by it.  I have hesitated to put any actual numbers on the blog because I’ve been comparing myself to other people; people who have trained longer and harder and actually deserve the numbers they have.  I have the numbers I do because they reflect the amount of time and effort I have put into them.  Over the last two months, my numbers have been steadily increasing (or decreasing if you’re referring to running time).  As much as I beat myself up for not being able to do something and feeling like a worthless pig half the time, I also tell myself to just do what I can and increase it a little bit every time.  I have consistently done that and I can now do jumping jacks for the full two minutes I’m supposed to; I can jump rope 30 times without stopping and can make it the full two minutes with minimal stoppage; I can do actual push ups, I think I’m still only up to maybe 10 real ones in one minute, but when I first started I could do maybe 2 and they were ugly!

Quick side story… My first week of training, I read someone’s blog (I’m not naming names!) where she posted her numbers for the week.  The running time was amazing but the thing that stood out was the fact that she did 50 push ups.  I actually got super depressed and ended up telling my boyfriend about it.  His response was understanding and loving and he told me I just needed to keep training and I would get there; but he also said, “hmmmm, I wonder how many I can do?”  It sounds dumb, but it made me mad.  Here I was, looking for sympathy for what I wimp I was (am) and he decides to “show me up” and do push-ups.  I was an ass and had to apologize later (I really am sorry) because he wasn’t showing me up or trying to undermine me, he was really just curious.  Fast forward two months and he decided to come exercise with me a few nights ago.  When I did my push ups he said,  “look at you go. You’re doing them and they look great!”  It was so good thing to hear positive feedback, to have someone else notice the progress I am making.  So thanks, baby!

Back to the regularly scheduled post…

When I started running the first part of May, I couldn’t make it a full mile and a half without stopping and my time was SLOW.  My first three mile run of the year was back in January and my average pace was 14:06 per mile.  I barely ran at all for the next three months and on May 24th I clocked my second three mile run of the year at 13:36 per mile.  I improved, but I was still not able to make it the whole distance running.  Circuit training has really helped with my endurance and speed but consistency has also really helped.  I run three times a week every week, now, whereas before I was running sporadically here and there.  I told my sister last week that my goal was to get my average pace under 12 minutes per mile.  I am happy to report that I did that last night, I ran 2.6 miles and my average pace was 11:59 per mile.  I was so excited, I almost cried!

It might seem small and insignificant and I KNOW it is slow to all the avid runners out there, but for me, it is pretty amazing.

Me and my sister are scheduled to run a 5K on July 12th and I am looking forward to it more than I can say.  I really want to cross the finish line with her, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.  Her time has been improving too and she has been WAY more consistent than I’ve been over the last few years, so her pace is almost a full minute faster than mine.  (I am actually clocking the times she had when we first started this process, so I’m feeling really good overall, even if I can’t seem to catch up)

The whole point of this post isn’t to toot my own horn.  It’s really just to point out a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Stay consistent and do a little bit more each day and that thing you thought you couldn’t do becomes a possibility.
  • Having one big goal is good, but achieving small goals along the way is exciting and pushes you to do more.
  • Having a support system is amazing – posting my workout every day to our group page on Facebook is fun and it helps me feel like we are doing this together, even though we can’t actually do the workouts together.  Also, a huge shout-out to my boyfriend who has supported and loved me through this process (which sounds simple enough unless you’ve been in a situation where the support wasn’t there).
  • Seeing what other people are doing can inspire you to work harder and do better, i.e. Martha’s 50 push ups or my sisters 11 minute per mile pace.  It should NOT be used to beat yourself up or tell yourself you aren’t good enough.

I’m sure I will continue to learn lessons and achieve goals along the way, but the best part is how much fun I’m having.  Who knew that working out every day could be this rewarding and this much fun? (Actually, a lot of people did, I’m just showing up late to this particular party!)

The Why and Some Goals

It’s funny to me how I have thought about writing for years.  I’ve had moments where I thought I had it and many more moments where I thought I would never be good enough and why even bother.  I have had a support system of loved ones who, whenever they read something I had written, raved about it and told me I should go for it!  I have also had other people in my life say other things… But none of those voices have been as strong as the one in my head saying “I’m not good enough”.  I don’t think I have magically silenced that voice in my head… in fact, it took well over a year for me to actually put up a post on a blog site I created over two years ago; a year of lurking on blogs and over a month from the time I finally decided I could perhaps, maybe do this thing.   The one thing I have learned from reading and following blogs this past year is that I am not really different from all the other writers out there, even the ones who are published.  We all have that voice.  The only difference is, they did it anyway.

I came across Chuck Wendig’s site a few months ago.  He has some great writing advice and posts a flash fiction challenge every week that I plan on doing here.  The most helpful thing I got from him was that writers write.  I know, that sounds pretty simple and straightforward, but sometimes it takes a certain voice (style if you prefer)  to actually penetrate the mind-numbing negativity of self doubt.  His style spoke to me and pushed me out of lurking and into actually doing.  I think the other thing I learned is that it isn’t about having a book published.  That goal is far too big and if I know myself, which I’m pretty sure I do, I become paralyzed when a goal is too big.

A few years ago I decided to run a 5K with my sister.  I had no idea what a 5K even was, so I looked it up and almost fainted.  3 MILES!?!  Who does that?  I don’t remember if it was my sister or some other phantom of unknown origins who told me to just do what you can and eventually, you will be able to run 3 miles.  I finally decided to just start already. (That was another few months of torturous thoughts and self-doubt)  I ran for as long as I could that first time and made it almost a mile, which surprised and excited me.  I could do this!  The next time, I don’t think I made it as far because I was sore and it hurt!  Side note: It can be just as hard, maybe even harder, to stop that voice when running because it is pretty loud not just when you start your run or on days you don’t really want to run, but every step you take feels like a battle.  It hurts!  I need to stop!  I can’t breathe! On and On and On!!  But there is the other voice too saying just one more step!  Just make it to the next street and you can stop!  I like that voice better.

The point is, I kept doing it.  I kept running as consistently as I could and lo and behold, I actually did it.  I ran 3 miles and loved every minute of it!  I was able to do a 5K with my sister that year and even beat her time!  It helps me to think of writing like I am training to run a 5K.  I am not going to write The Book today or tomorrow or next week.  Not even!  But I can write 350 words a day.  I can do a little bit each day and before I know it, I might actually have a first draft of this book that has been haunting me for years!  I have finally decided to get out of my own way and take the steps necessary to do it.

In the process, maybe I can also get out all the random madness that lurks in my head, which is why I have decided to post on the blog.  I read another blog recently, thanks to Chuck’s site and all the writery types who comment and post.  Pav (if I can call him that without him reaching through the screen to punch me in the face… In my own defense, it is how he refers to himself on his blog); Pav uses his blog to get out all the unnecessary stuff  in his head so he has more clarity for his current project.  I really liked that idea and plan on adopting it shamelessly!

To recap the goals in case you got lost along the way:  Write 350 words (or more) each day on the current project and Post at least once a week on the blog.

I’m excited to start what I consider to be a journey.  Many changes are happening in my life right now.  I can either step aboard the change train or I can sit safely on the platform and end up kicking myself in a few years for the what-ifs.

Thank you for reading.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have so far!