Friday, October 22, 2010

The Plateau is Official

This Monday, my first real weight-loss plateau in 45 weeks of Weight Watchers became official. Did you know that a plateau actually had a definition? I didn't until a meeting a few months ago in which the leader actually gave the formula for a plateau. You take four weeks worth of weight-loss (or gain), add them together, and then divide by four. If the result of that equation comes out to be less the 0.5 pounds a week, you are in a plateau.

This definition was very helpful to me, as when you're on a weight-loss journey, it's easy to have the paranoid delusion that you're in a plateau every time your weight-loss slows down. Now, am I bemoaning my state? Surprisingly, no. I'm relatively unconcerned for the following reasons.

1)It's my first plateau in nearly a year of commitment. I think that's pretty good, and I know I'll eventually get past it.

2)I'm training for a marathon! I don't think its coincidence that I've been training for four weeks and that the plateau has occurred over the last four weeks. In order to give my body what it needs to accomplish all this running around in circles, I've increased my lean protein to nearly half my daily points. There's going to be a serious exchange of fat for muscle going on.

3)I am five pounds away from being a healthy weight! Even if I only lose 5 pounds between now and the marathon, I will enter 2011 with a healthy BMI!

4)I have breached the single digits. Now, I know I have expressed great disgust for enemy-of-the-state Nutri-system woman (you know “LOOK AT ME! I'M A SIZE 2!!! bimbo); however, much to my surprise, I have slipped quietly over the size 10 line, and though I seem to be in a holding pattern as mostly a size 10 individual, I bought a winter coat last month that was a size 6! I was elated! Also, a friend gave me some clothing this week, and among the goodies were three dress suits—a 12, a 10, and an 8. I buttoned and zipped all three. Granted, I probably would have ruptured a kidney if I'd tried to sit down while wearing the size 8, but I zipped it never-the-less!

5)Victories aren't always about the scale, or even a dress size. Victories can be about keeping your commitments to healthy eating; they can be about sticking to the exercise you've decided to do; they can be about running 25 to 30 miles a week right through the holidays to pay it forward.

That's what I consider this marathon—paying it forward. I have been tremendously blessed this year. I have had victory over a monster that has haunted me since pre-adolescence. Caden hasn't even had a chance to get there yet. I am running every step of every mile, hoping that if enough of us run enough steps and enough miles, people will be moved to dig deep and give to a cause that could guarantee Caden a future that includes teens, and twenties, college, family, and a legacy that includes a senior citizens discount! My little weight-loss plateau doesn't matter a bit, but a plateau in funds for leukemia research could mean EVERYTHING for this little girl. Bring on the hills! I'm running onward and UPWARD!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Guess what? Today is day one of the blog-a-thon! I have so much to write about since my last entry, and since I don't want to miss remembering a single, juicy detail, I have decided to make this week the BLOG-A-THON! The reason I haven't written for nearly two weeks now, is that I was having to exercise some exer-wisdom. I used to be the type of person who just kept stubbornly plowing through, trying to achieve that PERFECT result, even if I was absolutely exhausted. Well, as it turns out—life ain't perfect, and neither am I.

Soooo. As much as I wanted to get all this writing done last week, and catch up on the mountain of laundry in the basement, and canvas businesses for silent auction donations, and keep my household fed and happy, and teach my son his school lessons, and run my scheduled 27 miles; I had to LISTEN to my body, when it screamed at me: HELLO! I'M POOPED! REST, WILL YOU?

Consequently, I got everything in the above list done last week, except the blogging, and I purposed to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. I even took a couple of naps and canceled a couple of planned events. I won't be doing Caden or the LLS any good if I have to drop out of the race because I'm in a self-induced coma.

I wish, wish, wish, I had learned this lesson much sooner; however, my troubles as an OGER-achiever are as old as my eating problems. I remember studying myself into a state of hysteria in high school. I would look at the list of homework I still had to complete, and the tests and quizes I still had to study for, and I would be reduced to a sobbing sponge on the bedroom floor. My mother would encourage me to go to bed for a few hours and get up early to finish, but I would stubbornly persist—not wanting to go to bed until the work was done.

Later rather than sooner, I discovered that she was so right. Whether it's sleep, or a situation, or a job; we all have the potential to reach a point where we're better off stopping, clearing our heads through rest or a change of pace, and then coming back to the object of focus when we are no longer distracted by our own fractured thought processes.

The weekend of my first fundraiser, I had done all of my required running, with the exception of Saturday's long run. I knew there was just no way that one more thing was going to fit into my Saturday, so I instead planned to do something unusual and take care of the run on Sunday. I was supposed to go eight miles.

Well, by the time I lived through Saturday—taking Wade to work, unloading my bakesale/yardsale from the van, sitting in the hot sun for six hours, loading every back into the van, waiting for a jumpstart, unloading van, eating fried chicken, bathing children . . . yeah, you get the idea, I was done. Saturday night, my daughter woke me up four times out of a deep, tired sleep. When the alarm went off, it was lucky to survive the blow. I was NOT getting up. Other than church, all I did that day was sleep. I just had to listen to my body.

Monday dawned about fifteen minutes after my children dragged me out of bed, but I felt much more rested and ready to go. Later that day, I went to the track and had a phenomenal run. I had planned to push for seven miles, but I felt so good at the end of 49 laps, and ran an extra 7! I'm extremely thankful, that after all these years of denial, I am finally learning to be flexible and listen to my body's signals of fatigue, anxiety, and hunger—and learning not to mistake them for what they are NOT: weakness, vulnerability, and failure.

Perfectionism, at its heart, is selfishly motivated. It has just taken me SO LONG to figure this out (DUH!). Perfectionism isn't about the people around you, and how they are going to benefit. Perfectionism is about how great you hope the people around think you are. We all need to regularly check the motivations behind our goals—especially if we claim that our goals are about other people. Someone asked me this week what my time goal was to finish the marathon. My response was that I didn't have a time goal; I just want to FINISH! I want to finish for Caden and the many others suffering from blood cancer. They are in a marathon of their own, and they don't have any choice but to finish their race. I pray that in God's strength and some exer-wisdom, I will persist through pain, unexpected obstacles, and utter impossibilities, to FINISH the race!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fried Fundraiser

Today, I ate my first piece of fried chicken in the year 2010. I guess it seemed to fit the occassion. After all, I was nice and crispy, why shouldn't dinner be?

This week was absolutely jam packed with activities--regular life, marathon training, finalizing fundraisers, and getting ready for today's bake sale and yard sale behind Great Clips. Everyday felt full, and last night I was up until 11:30 making peanut butter blossoms, popcorn balls, and carmel apples. It took considerable effort to stay awake, since my 6 mile run that afternoon had really proved challenging. I think I'll save that for another blog though.

This morning the alarm went off at 6:30, and I peeled my eyelids off my eyeballs, got dressed, and made coffee. At 6:45, my grandma arrived. She had graciously offered to watch my children during the fundraiser. It was a good thing too--as about 11:00 last night, I had realized the children and the yardsale stuff would not both fit into the van simultaneously. As it was, I had to drop my hubby off at work before I could put the last of the baked goods in the passenger seat.

At 7:45, the sun was just coming up, and I was parked behind the Great Clips, unloading my van. I had already discovered that though I had dutifully shoved in everything on my list, I had missed obvious conveniences--such as my cell phone. By 9:00, I was also wishing I had brought my sunglasses, a hat, and some sunscreen. Though the air was cool initially, the day was quickly becoming the "cold soda" type and not the "hot coffee" type. Unfortunate, as I had just prepared a large pot of coffee to sell with my cookies.

Yes, I was the only one to drink the coffee. The morning wore on, and by 11:00, I had had less than five people visit my sale; but those who had stopped, had purchased some items, so it wasn't a complete loss. Still, I got a bit more pro-active with the coupons that Great Clips had given me for a dollar off a haircut and a dollar to the LLS. For a while, I ran across the parking lot when I saw folks park and handed out the coupons. Then I'd sit in my camping chair. And then I'd open the back hatch of my van and sit in the shade for a while. I repeated this curcuit several times over the next few hours until around 1:20 when I started putting things back in the van.

Ironically, that's when quite a few people decided to stop and look through the boxes I had already started to pack up. It was a few minutes after 2:00, when I sighed a happy sigh (because it hadn't been a bad morning), and got behind the wheel of the van. When I turned the key, nothing happened. Apparently, the combination of my shade breaks, and the extra long load-up had drained the battery dry. And no cell phone. And no cables.

Can I be tired now? A kind employee of the Great Clips let me call Grandma and Wade. Wade made a few calls, and pretty soon, he let me know that my mom and dad were on their way to give me a jump. In the meantime, I sat on the curb and waited. That's when I noticed the sunburn. It was the last thing I expected in the middle of October! The sun had almost moved to the other side of the building, so I found a small spot of shade and waited until my parents arrived. Dad had the van running in no time, and pretty soon I had picked up my husband and headed home.

Before long, all of us--including grandma--were gathered around a KFC supper, and sunburn and all, I just felt HAPPY. I hadn't made a huge amount of money, but it was a start. I had enjoyed talking to people about a good cause, and I had enjoyed doing something that was bigger than me. I felt happy to have had a husband who would cheerfully help me out of a bind. I felt happy to have a mom and dad who would still come to my rescue even though I was thirty-two. I was touched by my grandma's gift of her time, as the day certainly would have been much longer with two kiddos to chase; and there's nothing like coming home to two little people who run to you for hugs like you're the best thing they've seen all day.

When is the last time you were just thankful for well-being? For being loved? For the meal on the table? For the smiles of your children? So often, I have been guilty of the letting my day be ruined by the one forgotten thing, the car that won't start, the sunburn. Learn a life-lesson alongside the fried fundraiser, and in spite of the sunburn, don't forget about the beautiful sunshine behind it all! Bring on the aloe vera!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Shoes, New News

"SHOOOOOOEEEEEE! SHOOOEE ON PEEEESE!" I hear this several times a day from my daughter, Maggie, who is more enamored of shoes than I thought any two-year-old could be. She loves her shoes, and your shoes, and anybody's shoes she decides look interesting enough to wear. She will take them on and off to infinity and get tremendously upset if she is unsuccessful in her attempts. For that reason, I spent the month of July hunting through thrift stores for glitzy little girls shoes. I picked them up for a dollar here and there, and then packaged them individually for Maggie's birthday.

Unfortunately, the shoes I found myself needing last week were not the kind I could pick up at the thrift store. I've been staying right on track with the training schedule, and had made plans to do the group run last Saturday, but by Wednesday night, I knew I was going to have to make some adjustments. I was having a lot of pain under my right outside arch, especially when the support of my tennis shoe was removed, and I suspected that my now nearly two-year-old Nikes were in need of replacement. The only way I made it through my 6 mile, one hour run on Thursday, was by wrapping the foot in an ace bandage to give it some support. The next morning, I saw some light bruising, so I decided resting the foot until I could replace my shoes would be prudent.

Fortunately, our TNT group had plans to meet at the Fleet Feet store this Tuesday, so I did some shopping around, and then, having informed myself of my options, I went to the meeting. The group enjoyed some good information on shoes, nutrition, and running gear and clothing; and afterwards, as I observed their prices to be fairly reasonable (and they handed out coupons!) I explained the troubles I'd been having, and asked for some help. About 20 minutes later, I left happy with comfy new running shoes and a great pair of in-soles. Did you know a good pair of in-soles should last as long as three pairs of running shoes? I sure didn't!

So yesterday, it was back to the track to pick up where I'd left off. I ran 5 miles yesterday and 4 today. Tomorrow, I need to run 6 miles, and this weekend I'll be taking on my first 7 mile run. I feel like I can do it, and I get oddly excited everytime I face a new challenge. I think I'm actually more nervous about my first fundraiser on Saturday.

Though I may have taken a four day sabatical from running, I was not idle on the fund-raising front. After my meeting with Kimberly last week, I kicked my efforts into high gear and started making phone calls. As of today, I have four events definitely planned, and I am excited about each one! Here they are, in chronological order.

This Saturday, October 9th, I'm doing a bakesale and yardsale behind the Great Clips in Cherrydale. Many thank to the manager there, Janet Cash, for being so willing to share her back lawn with me, as well as hair cut coupons for a dollar off a hair cut and a dollar to the LLS. I'll be setting up a yardsale, and selling coffee, cocoa, peanut butter blossoms, caramel apples, and popcorn balls. Yum! The trick will be, not to eat the goods!

Two weeks from Saturday, I will be giving a benefit piano recital at Pecknel Music here in Greenville. I'm not a concert pianist or anything, but I do think anyone who comes will have an enjoyable 45 minutes or so of pleasant listening. I've been playing most of my life, and it will be fun to share some of my favorites for a good cause. The recital will be on the 23rd at 3:30.

On Friday, October 29th, there will be a silent auction in the Denny's family room. There should be some great items for early Christmas shoppers--including giftcards to local stores and restaurants, $300 off coupons to Hyman Photography Studios (look for their display in the mall; they do INCREDIBLE WORK!), and a couple antiques as well. The auction will begin at 6 and close for bidding at 7:30. What an opportunity!

Finally, for the BBQ lovers, there will be fundraising evening at Mutt's BBQ in Greer on December 9th (Thursday) from 5-8. Come and dine! All tips and a percentage of the evening's take will benefit Caden and the LLS.

And that's just the beginning. I'm excited about doing some gift wrapping at Macy's during the holidays, and participating in other TNT volunteer events. I've never done anything like this before, but I'm finding it extremely enjoyable and fulfilling. It's fun to do something that is not about you. It's great to draw your children's attention to how lucky they are to be healthy, when so many are NOT.

I did find out that Caden's necklace has more than 40 beads on it, and those 40 beads represent more than 100 treatments and procedures. She didn't start the necklace until after she had been sick more than a year. I am touched by this child's bravery. I am rebuked by her smile. If I had been through so much, would I still SMILE!? For that reason, I think of Caden at the end of every training mile; I push hard until everything hurts, and then I smile.

I sincerely hope, though I know Christmas is coming, and I definitely know what it is to be economically pressed--that people will be touched to give well, perhaps until it hurts, and smile. Say a prayer for Caden please, everytime you lace on your shoes.