Go Take a Nap!

The older I get, the more I appreciate a short nap. Short meaning less than 20 minutes.

Some people think a nap is 60 minutes or more…no, that’s sleeping. 🙂

Naps started for me when I was in college. I went back to school as an adult with a family and full time job. So I had to figure something out.

I had always thought if I didn’t sleep for an hour or two, it was a bad idea to nap. I worked a full time job from 3ish until midnight and went to college full-time during the day. So I quickly learned how to catch 10 or 15 minute naps in my car in between classes.

To this day, naps (15 minutes or less) renew me tremendously! 2 or 3 times a week, I leave work and drive to a local park, park in the same parking place, lock my doors, keep heat running if it’s cold, turn radio on low, lay the seat back, put my feet on the dash, cover with a blanket that I keep in the and go off to dreamland for 10 minutes or less. I get rested and energetic from that short nap.

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It is said in “10 Benefits from Power Napping” that naps are good for your heart, increase memory, reduce stress and so many more great benefits.

Today, it was raining so I thought I’d really enjoy my nap today. I couldn’t even close my eyes. Someone playing that frisbee golf game in the rain, hit my car with his frisbee. He apologized and I tried to return to my nap but it just wouldn’t happen. I really needed that power nap today! But most days, I get a nice rest. 🙂

Only on a rare occasion do I get to take that nap when I get home with 2 big dogs breathing in my face or licking my feet…wanting to go on a walk or just play. I kinda like the licking my feet part! Eli loves doing that.

On the matter of sleeping, except for those 6 weeks after my surgery, I may very well be the best sleeper in the world! In 2005 I bought a Tempurpedic bed and it’s the best $$$ I’ve ever spent. I don’t dream, I don’t toss or turn, I don’t wake up a lot and wake usually feeling rested. I don’t always get enough hours of sleep. I get to sleep at about 11pm each night and wake at 4:45 am (work days) but that seems to be enough for me.

People who sleep too much annoy me. Do they not know what they miss? Again, maybe that goes back to age and wanting to take in all of life that I can, but that does bother me. Maybe I associate too much sleeping with laziness or being unhappy with your life. I think I slept a lot more when I was 300 lbs. Maybe I did that because I was unhappy….plus lazy.

If something unnecessarily interrupts my night’s sleep such as dogs barking, husband snoring or farting, text alerts.. etc….I get pissed off and I am not above throwing a pillow and screaming obscenities.

I am still regretting that bacon burger concoction that I shared with Daniel and Kevin yesterday at Budweiser Brew House at the Grand Opening in St. Louis.

I'm not keen about fried egg on my burger...Kevin loved it but Daniel and I, not so much.
I’m not keen about fried egg on my burger…Kevin loved it but Daniel and I, not so much.

I’m back on target with good, lower calorie eating and tonight is a 110 squat night and a quick run.

~Sweet Dreams~

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Daniel and Flat Stanley

Squats at the Arch
Squats at the Arch

Today has been a really fun day. First of all, I spent it with Daniel so that always makes it better.

Daniel got in on our squat challenge last night and has been doing squats all day and every place we went! And, he has pretty good form. 🙂 He said he’s going for the world record of 1000 squats but admitted he made that record up and has no idea what the record is. He possibly did 500 or 600 of them today!

This year is the 250 birthday of St. Louis and 250 artist made cakes (not real) are all over the city so we went and hunted and found many of them. Flat Stanley helped.

One of the 250 Birthday Cakes Around St. Louis (St. Louis Art Museum)
One of the 250 Birthday Cakes Around St. Louis (St. Louis Art Museum)

My niece, Maggie mailed us a Flat Stanley to take around St. Louis so Stanley went with us. If you don’t know what a Flat Stanley is, check out the link. He visited the St. Louis Arch, Busch Stadium, Forest Park, The Muny….and many other places.

Flat Stanley at the St. Louis Arch
Flat Stanley at the St. Louis Arch

I got a lot of exercise this weekend but I did not eat very well and I did fall off the wagon on “No Sweets” challenge. I helped Daniel eat his frozen yogurt with goodies piled on the top. I’ll get back on the horse tomorrow.

We spend 5 hours out in the sunshine with my favorite person in the world, Daniel.

As a warning for those who don’t know, when you take a 6 year old boy to an Art Museum, be prepared for him to point out (sometimes loudly) all the butts and boobs he sees. 🙂

It was good to see Daniel and Sadie this weekend. That always makes my week better.

~Good Night~

Rembrandt, Daniel and Flat Stanley at the St. Louis Art Museum
Rembrandt, Daniel and Flat Stanley at the St. Louis Art Museum

7 Miles Featuring Pitbull

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I ran my seven miles this morning from my apartment to downtown St. Louis and back for 7.1

I could have done more. I had good time also at a pace at about 11. I did have right knee and hip issues but it worked itself out.

We are going to the Go! St. Louis expo next weekend and planning on switching our 5k entries to half marathons if they have the available space. I was told by the organizer that they likely will be able to do it.

I wrote about on another day that it haunted me that I ran the half at Go! St. Louis last year and settling for the 5k this year. There’s nothing wrong with 5k and they are very challenging but the half is fun once it’s over! 🙂

There is a 2 mile incline from downtown up to St. Louis University called “Holy Hill” and at the top of the hill, a priest (make-believe, I’m sure) throws water on the runners! The run is great with bands and music along with thousands of spectators cheering the runners on. I had originally slotted this on for my first marathon but after the surgery, I realized I would not be ready for that.

Oct 19 in the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis will be my first attempt, god willing and if my body holds up.

I’m constantly looking for upbeat tempo music for my runner’s playlist and the recent addition of Roar, The Man, Moves Like Jagger, Blurred Lines along with a dozen various songs featuring Pitbull…just some of those I really enjoy and keep me going on a run.

Also pretty excited about Baseball opening day Monday…Rock the city again this year, St. Louis Cardinals!!

~World Wide~

Momentary Lapse…

Charlotte's Enemies
Charlotte’s Enemies

I am so near my goal weight. Those special goal jeans are looking better and better when I put them on. I’ve been a healthy eater, runner and a squatting fool. Last night was 80 squats on the squat challenge. You can almost bounce a quarter off my butt….well, not really.

But then last night we went to Quinton’s for a date night and that can never be a good idea! Fun but not very healthy. I drank a couple bud lights and nibbled on nachos.

I woke up this morning so low on energy that my co-workers noticed it. Also, I have fought the urge all day to buy a big bag of almond M&Ms and eat the entire bag!

Thank goodness that Fridays are half days for me. I got home, took a nap which I never do and made a strong cup of coffee. I put my hand in a cookie bag (which I keep as treats for the dogs) and grabbed a handful…but put them back.

I ate a healthy snack instead and put on my running gear and hit the road. That was all it took. I did almost 3 miles with ease and felt amazing afterwards. Lesson learned??? Probably not but it worked for today.

Each day is a struggle for me.

Tonight we are headed to our apartment in St. Louis. A 7 mile run is on schedule for the morning.

Then I get to see my babies: Daniel and Sadie 🙂

~Out~

The Race in Your Head

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I read occasional articles about being a competitive runner. I have read and tried the tips and advice to get faster. I subscribe to “Runners” magazine.

I have run in dozens of 5ks, a couple of 10ks, a couple of half marathons and various other runs. While I wish I could run faster, I am not a competitor against others. I never have been. Maybe it’s because I am older and I know my limitations. Maybe it’s because I have come a long way and know where I am now.

But…I am a fierce competitor against myself.

I try to beat my previous time. I try to go further than before. I do love pushing myself and lots of times, I surprise myself.

On my first half marathon 1 year ago, at the 10 mile marker….I almost quit. Those people holding up funny and clever signs, pulled me through that tough spot. Those things actually do help runners on long races. I love the crowds and cheerleaders along the way!

Some memorable signs are “There’s only a 5k left”; “Run like you stole some bread”; “Run stranger, run”; “If you think you’re tired, try holding up this sign”; “Your camel toe is sexy”; “I heart man boobs”; “Sweaty cracks make me hot”; “Hurry up I’m cold” “Yeah, I’ll look at your ass after you pass” Many funny signs….I love it! It gave me the strength to push on for 3.1 more miles. I don’t remember those 3 miles but dammit I remember that finish line! HA

I’ve said before that I love talking to other runners. I don’t know many, unfortunately.

I spoke with someone today who is a runner. She is very fit and close to my age. When we do talk occasionally, we talk about running. She loves running. But she has never run an official run of any kind. Now, there is nothing wrong with that but I was surprised by it. I asked her why and she said that she doesn’t like to compete against others. It stresses her. I went through my spiel about it’s a social thing, it’s fun, it’s camaraderie, it’s inspirational…etc. She shrugged that off and said if she ran, she would have to compete and running is not that for her. It’s her own run. Well, I first thought she was a snob of sorts..I still think she is but maybe if I think about it, I can understand her.

It is easy once the race gun goes off to try to sprint ahead of others. I learned that on my first official 5k. Maybe it’s because I know I can’t do that anyway so I keep a fairly constant pace. I analyze the race, the terrain and usually know the routes and for the most part, know my capabilities.

I get something special out of each organized run that I enter. My favorite by far was the “Marine Run” in St. Louis in June of 2011. I ran with hundreds of marines in a drill like formation with the chanting, drill sergeants who were encouraging and yelling at us. An added plus was that sexy and handsome marines were encouraging me. I ran my PR on that 5k. And at the end, I hugged so many marines…I was sweaty and smiling.

Maybe it’s because I’m not a competitor against other racers but I have never analyzed why I run if I don’t want to beat others! I will admit that toward the end of my races, I look around to find women who are near my age to try to beat them so I can place in my age and sex. 🙂 Maybe I do compete.

I have placed in 3 races in my age and sex bracket. I must admit it felt good to collect my little medal or trinket!

What I’m saying is enter a fun run or race! You’ll get a cute t-shirt, it’s usually for a charity and you will be with your own kind….runners! 🙂

Mostly, run your own race in your own head. That’s my advice to new runners. And especially to runners who will never win medals or place in races. Once you run across that finish line, you won.

~Now, go get that cold beer~

I was a little heavy but very happy
I was a little heavy but very happy
A Run to Honor and a Honor to Run (Marine Week - STL June 2011)
A Run to Honor and a Honor to Run (Marine Week – STL June 2011)

From Dairy Queen to Lean

Best Thing I've Ever Eaten..hands down
Best Thing I’ve Ever Eaten..hands down

It’s been 3 months since my plastic surgery. I had the circumferential body lift and brachioplasty (arm) lift for people who don’t know. After losing 131 lbs I splurged and got that extra skin removed and parts tightened up from a wonderful and talented plastic surgeon! You can see my 6 pack abs now! Well, maybe a 4 pack. 🙂

Time for an update….

I suffered much more right after the surgery than I anticipated. I’m a tough girl so I always think I will recover miraculously. I was wrong, I’m so very human! 🙂

It was a long process of healing but I can tell you that I couldn’t be happier.

Outside of some of my wounds separating a bit and not healing as fast as I wanted, I feel great. And….I look great if I have to say so myself. 🙂 Now, I’m not a bikini ready body but I love my flat stomach, tight butt and thighs and small arms. Dr. Boswell (St. Louis) is a great surgeon who specializes in circumferential procedures and doing multiple procedures in one operating room setting.

I still have a couple of places that have not healed completely. One is on my left hip and the other is under my right arm.

As of today, I have lost 131 lbs by changing my eating habits and exercising and especially running. From 288 lbs. in 2009 to 157 lbs. today. Most of my weight loss came in 2010. I did find out that the smaller you get, the harder to take off pounds. Those two simple things changed my life: diet change and running.

I still can’t believe what I see when I look in the mirror. At first, I actually didn’t recognize myself but as years went by I slowly stopped seeing myself as a fat girl. Now I’ve just moved on to thinking I need better boobs! 🙂

I feel my stamina is coming back on my runs. I will say that was my biggest disappointment besides the damn 4 drainage tubes coming from my lower tummy after the surgery, was not being able to run and having to start back from zero. I don’t think I’m being arrogant or shallow (or maybe I am) when I say that a big part of my identity is being a runner.

I hear people at work whisper or even to my face talk about how obsessed I am with what I eat and exercise, running etc. “Why in the world would someone want to run?”, “Haven’t you lost enough weight?”, “Do you ever eat?”….I try to be good-natured with my answers or joke it off but many times I want to be rude.

One woman who says those things to me has told me that she doesn’t understand why she is so big (~300 lbs). She says she doesn’t eat hardly anything. Yeah, I’ve said that before too. One morning for breakfast in the cafeteria, she was eating a huge Dairy Queen Blizzard. Ok, now we know why. BTW, Pumpkin Pie Blizzards at the DQ are to die for during the fall season.

I discovered that eating often/much and eating high calories are 2 different things. I used to think I didn’t eat much that day but ate a double whopper and large fries! That was an entire calorie day for me….in reality.

I’m 54 and feel like I’m 30…oh, yeah…I’m obsessed. I’m obsessed with living longer and feeling better. Looking awesome in my clothes is just an added benefit.

~obsess this!~

And They Call it Puppy Love

I just really want to blog about my dogs today.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love my dogs (Peyton and Eli) in a way that cannot be explained. Of course I love my 2 grandchildren infinity plus 200 million (a thing with Daniel and me). But the love I feel for my dogs make me a better person. I have my dogs tattooed on my shoulder for pete’s sake! It is actually a love I cannot explain especially to non dog people.

I have never really been a dog person. I loved horses but other than that, all animals were the same to me. I had a black German Shepard named “Baby” when I was a young girl that I loved more than I loved my human family. His mother died when he was less than a week old and we raised him on a baby bottle. He was killed by a car before he was a year old and that day will never leave my memory. He died in my mother’s arms as she cradled him in the middle of the road with all 4 of us kids crying our hearts out. We gave him a burial and I remember people in our community laughing at that silly family that gave their dog a funeral and spoke at his burial. I’m crying just typing this. I have no pictures of Baby but I remember exactly what he looked like.

I hardened my heart to dogs at that point and never wanted another one. I had a few dogs in between but I did not love them.

Fast forward to August 2009. My husband wanted a dog more than anything in the world. He doesn’t have kids of his own but he too was haunted by a dog he left behind in Buffalo, NY when he and his family moved to the Bay Area in Cali. That dog was named “Chad”.

He kept practically begging me to allow a dog in our lives. I just couldn’t tolerate the smell, the hair, the pee pee puddles, poop on the floor and claw scratches ruining my $15,000 hardwood floors.

The first time we sat Peyton on the floor at our home, he pottied on my area rug. I knew my life as I knew it was over! When he grew bigger and while out doing a potty, he jumped the fence in the backyard in almost knee-deep snow and I had to try to go catch him running around the neighborhood. I wanted to get rid of him. He was a constant thorn in my side. I would pet him and take care of him but I didn’t quite love him. My husband adored him. Kevin might possibly be the best doggie daddy in the world and I say that with sincerity.

I had leg surgery in 2010 and while I was recuperating, Peyton rarely left my side. He knew I didn’t like him the same as his daddy did but he seemed to put that aside and took care of me. He would nuzzle me and lay his head on my lap, stare at me and never take his eyes off me. I fell in love with Peyton. I love him now like he is better or at least more special than a human. And to me, he is.

I can’t or thought I couldn’t love but one dog at a time. I only had one kid because I worried I couldn’t love another. It was the same with dogs. I would never love another dog or treat him the way I treat Peyton.

Then a year and half after Peyton, on our wedding aniversry, came a little fat ball of brown fur named “Eli”. We got him at 6 1/2 weeks. I loved him immediately. I love him in a different way than I love Peyton. Peyton brings me comfort, Eli makes me laugh. Eli is a 85 lb awkward dog with greenish eyes. Peyton is a 85 lb sad looking boy with amber colored eyes.

Daniel named our new baby “Eli Bitey Thomas” Thomas is for “Thomas the Train” and “bitey” because he was bitey! 🙂 I gave them the names Peyton and Eli for obvious reasons for people who know I love football.

I know if I live long enough, I’ll lose my babies. But thinking of that day sends me into a weird depression with tears streaming down my face. I cannot imagine my life without them.

They are well cared for, loved, pampered, exercised and not as disciplined as they should be. I can’t even scold them anymore. 🙂

They have taught me many things. How to be kinder, patient, loving, organized, calmer, happier and on and on…

I can’t wait each day to come home to them. When I walk on my porch, my heart rate goes up when I hear their pitter patter feet anxiously waiting at the door and a loud bark from Eli. When I open that door, I get a heroes welcome that every soldier deserves when he comes home. You bet your ass I love that! No one does that for me but them.

I know that a lot of people frown on buying dogs from breeders. I get a bit pissed off that people would look down their noses that my babies are not “rescued” animals. I worked with rescued animals, I donate to them and it’s wonderful to save a dog. But my dogs needed a good home too. They didn’t ask to be born and I didn’t put in an order them. By some miracle, I just found them and paid for them to come to my home.

I rescued my dogs and they saved me.

I know my Mama (in heaven) smiles down knowing that stinky dogs run my life! I used to berate her for her silly love of dogs! 🙂

My dogs own 2 humans…

Now, my house is covered in brown hair, muddy paws jump on my clean bed sheets, my once beautiful backyard looks like horses run around in it and my hardwood floors look like shit but I thank God they came into my life.

~BuhBye~

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Sore Muscles and a Clear Mind

I'm sore on all these muscles plus some! HA
I’m sore on all these muscles plus some! HA

I’ve been a ball of energy lately….and that is good. I’m usually a high energy person on the go all the time.

With my new exercise regiment, yesterday and more so today, I can hardly walk! It’s the good hurt but it still impedes my mobility.

I’m going to say it again, if you don’t know anything about kettlebells and you want a super cardio and weights at the same time, give it a try. Every muscle in my lower body is sore as hell! I remember this feeling from a few years back when I got heavy into kettlebell workouts. You have to do them properly or you can be hurt but doing them right will murder your muscles! In a good way, of course.

I love it!

And also, I’m on day 8 of my 31 day “Squat Challenge” and last night (even with my sore muscles) I did 60 full squats! Tonight is rest night, thank god. I need to run 3 miles but I don’t see that happening! 🙂

I’m doing well with my “no sweets, junk or fast food”. I don’t eat after 6 so I have lost about 3 lbs. I have about 7 more to go…I think. I have a number in my mind but more importantly, I have a pair of expensive, tight and awesome jeans that I want to fit comfortably into. I’ll be “there” then.

Work is hectic but priorities of what is important are re-focused. Some things are just more important than others.

~Peace & Love~

24 Hours

It’s funny how life can change or at least your perception of it can change so quickly.

Yesterday, I was at the top. Running, eating and feeling young and well and enjoying my fortunate life. That changed with a phone call from one of my younger brothers. It was his birthday and I had left him a message on Facebook. He lives in Alabama and I am in Missouri. He called which was unusual because we are texters.

He told me that he has a ailment that will drastically cut his life short and no cure for it. He said a year and half at the most. I’m heartsick and have been crying a lot. I hurt for him. He sounded so strong and I sounded weak. He has always had the best nature and heart of us all. Why him?

I had forgotten what was important and I regret that.

~Heartbroken~

A Short, Long Run

I have a nice collection of different weights
I have a nice collection of different weights

I now remember why kettlebells are so effective as cardio and body sculpting. I woke up this morning and could barely walk! Kettlebell squats, throws etc work every muscle and many you don’t remember you have. Like the ones on the inside thighs, butt and quads. I’m also still on my “31 day Squat challenge” and last night was 50 squats.

I woke up starved also. I did not eat a very healthy diet yesterday. Most of my calories went to wine I’m embarrassed to say.

When I was walking the dogs, I realized how I must have looked walking to passerbys caused my sore lower muscles all the way down. HA!

Today was my long run and I got in a full 6.2. I had planned 6-8 miles but didn’t quite make it. I enjoyed the run and I felt good after the kettlebell soreness had worked out. I ran on the MKT trail and it was beautiful. So many runners were out enjoying the cool, sunny morning. My knee is a bit tweeked and I could really feel it at mile 5 but I pushed through. Next Saturday I’ll try for a 7 mile run.

I went to the local runners store today to look for a new running belt. The one I’ve been using is awful and it bothers me the entire run. It’s too bulky and doesn’t fit right so flops and hits my stomach or hip. I love my new one! It fits tight and snug and its light weight. I need a running belt to take keys, ID, Iphone etc when I run. This one is perfect and about ~ $30. It’s made my Ultimate Direction Jurek Collection. I won’t be running tomorrow but I’ll be tempted to try it out.

Day 6 of Squat Challenge tonight is 55 squats. I’m so sore now, that will be hard.

Yesterday was 77 degrees and today is a high of 47 degrees. It’s still beautiful and sunny here in Mid Missouri so not a bad day.

I’ve decided to run the Rock ‘n Roll – St. Louis Marathon Oct 19, instead of the Chicago. I have plenty of time to train. I need to do this!

We had planned on going to Glenn’s Cafe tonight for Cajun Cuisine but Kevin decided he wanted to make jambalaya himself. He’s a great cook so I know it will be delicious plus lower calories.

I’m camped out on the sofa watching the Blues lose to the Penguins with the dogs at my side. 😦 I turned the channel to watch March Madness – Go St. Louis Billikens!

~Happy Saturday~

Ultimate Direction Jurek Collection
Ultimate Direction Jurek Collection