Thank God it’s summer! I was actually ready to wake up when my alarm rang at 6:15 this morning. Unfortunately, so were O&Z. The children in this house take the old “early bird gets the worm” to heart. In this case, the worm is an iPad.

Anyhow, I despise WordPress. It’s a spam magnet. Memes selling Air Jordans weren’t exactly the wider audience I had in mind. What’s a girl to do? Excuses, excuses.

I started this blog in an attempt to engage with others and share my story. It was also a way to keep things interesting as I started 2013 feeling a bit anxious about maintaining my progress and setting new goals. Winter was a beast – in a first world, white collar problem sort of way. Career opportunity misses and lack of focus begot stress and some sort of guilt, which seemed to trigger loss of will power in the face of sugar.

Damn you, sugar! You make me feel crappy, but I love you so.

In order to avoid the death spiral into negativity, I shall recap my high points: 5K PR, finished my first 10K race, lessons learned about interviewing for management positions, getting out more with friends, first plane ride with three kids, 3 days at Disney Parks with no nap or stroller, O&Z are potty trained, kept up the exercise regimen, tried new workouts, still wearing the same size clothes.

Well, if I do it like that, my winter was pretty awesome! I haven’t written a post in forever because I’ve had some really awesome business trips, read some books, played with the kids, and kept up with my General Hospital addiction.

Why did I even initially say that winter was so tough? I suppose part of it is some form of seasonal affective disorder. But maybe it’s because I had to manage daily feelings of anxiety about gaining weight and guilt about not doing _____ (fill in the blank) even better.

As June approaches, I will regroup. Focus on productive emotions. Fix that damn sore shoulder. Keep on running.

Stay cool, folks! And I promise a full Sketchers Go Run-down next post.

Habits Undone

I am a terrible blogger. So many habits have been undone. Life is constant change and motion!

First, the triumphs:

No, I haven’t been avoiding the blog because the sleep training went wrong. My behavior modification worked like a charm. Miss Z now proudly proclaims that she “didn’t cry” last night or upon awakening. Her bro is a bit more challenging, as he enjoys a little game of cat and mouse before calling it a night. Lights ablaze in the room, though. We are working on that.

Daytime potty training – Yay!

Blasted my 5K goal – Yes!


Time change has killed me. My punishment for sleeping in – dealing with 3 small children under the influence of peak cortisol levels and zero coffee load. Must try harder tomorrow.

I am slowly recovering my focus after attempts to switch gears with my professional goals. It is a work in progress, but everything happens for a reason!

Diet has been challenging. Too much sugar in the diet lately and my ab flab is not ready for summer. Good thing it still feels like winter around here (not really). And, thank God for tankinis. Perhaps a change in weather will motivate some more outdoor running!

That’s the scoop. I couldn’t face the cold today for a run, so I did some TurboFire in the climate-controlled studio I call my family room. I am still contemplating a last-minute sign-up for my first 10K race on Saturday. Encouragement welcomed.

Sleep reTraining

All good sleep habits went out the door during our vacation last week. No formal naps for O and Z, boys slept with daddy and little Z got mommy all to herself. Add in later bedtime and no routine: Viola! Pure hell on re-entry. Well, delayed hell.

Friday through Sunday seemed to be OK. We didn’t try to do naps, but bedtime was OK. Zoe protested a bit, and seemed satisfied with Mike lying on the floor until she drifted off. Then Monday happened.

After a blissful Monday morning and easy drop-off at daycare, the three cherubs returned home for dinner in good spirits. They scarfed down some Trader Joe’s chicken chow mein (extra chicken, lots of ketchup), and happily danced while watching Grease! It all fell apart for Zoe at bedtime.

Screaming and crying, demanding that somebody sleep with her (apparently Owen in the crib next to her wasn’t good enough), and climbing out of the crib repeatedly was how our evening went down, from 8:30 to 11:00. Then we picked right up again at 6:35 am, which meant all 3 were wide awake.

Perhaps I’ve been spoiled up until now, with at least 10 solid hours of sleeping children every night. But, as my heart wrenched with every plea, I had visions of disrupted evenings for years to come (and flashbacks to pulling the same thing on my parents). Sorry, little Z. In our house, everyone sleeps in their assigned bed.

Parenting strategies used: yelling, guilt, begging, promising to check on her when she stopped crying, ignoring, waiting out, and repeatedly returning her to bed.

Moving forward, the plan is to convert the crib and offer a reward for sleeping in her bed all week (she has requested purple sheets). Quietly and repeatedly returning her to bed will be the tactic for avoiding creating an unwanted habit.

People have different views and comfort zones regarding children and sleeping arrangements. That’s cool with me. I know the joy of snuggling with a sweet, sleeping child. It feels heavenly. For me, the problem begins when I can’t get anything done at night or early in the morning, and when it infringes upon my sleep or time with my husband. I also want my children to feel OK with sleeping alone (especially don’t want Zoe cuddling up to any warm body that’s available when she grows up!). So, for those parents who want to reclaim their bed (or don’t want to give it up in the first place) – hunker down for some painful nights and put those kids in their own beds! Repeatedly. Until they get the message.

Entering the Asylum

Here I am in my post-vacation glory (same weight as the day of departure):
Asylum Day 1

Last week was quite a time for M&M+3! The 3 troops were generally awesome, notwithstanding the usual whining and tantrums. It was nice to have so much nuclear family time.

I also gained some closure regarding some professional opportunities I’d been pursuing to the point of impending stomach ulcers. Didn’t get the promotion. Now that my ego has healed (after some rumination and with help from the happiest place on earth), I am generally relieved and in the mindset that it wasn’t meant to be.

This morning I was free to start fresh, get focused, and move ahead. I have a 5K on 3/19 and decided to switch up the training a bit. So, in addition to running, I started the Asylum program today. I did a Speed & Agility workout. It was killer. I’ve been hungry ever since.

Until tomorrow…

Be. Feel. Accept. Move On.

As winter drags on and stress catches up with me, I am focusing on feeling comfortable with whatever emotional state I feel, but not allowing the hibernation urge to take over.

I’ve been battling a cold and the horrible feeling of waiting for someone else to make a decision that has the potential to change my current trajectory. I feel so impatient and exhausted from the stress. Instead of running from these uncomfortable feelings, I am working on just being with them. I am hereby acknowledging that I am not functioning at 100% positivity and energy. I am feeling and accepting this moment, and slowly moving on. I usually exercise through most minor illnesses, but my body is begging for rest, so I am honoring it, for now.

How do you manage uncomfortable states & emotions? How do you know when to stop and rest vs. when to push through?

This, too, shall pass….

Chi: Is it for me?

I recently read an article in Runner’s World Magazine, “Find Your Chi (Running)”. Chi Running is a method designed to reduce effort and avoid injury. I was intrigued.

I pulled back from my running last September, after achieving the ability to run 10K. I never thought I’d run that far, so I was pleased. Unfortunately, my knees started clicking and my left hip was a bit sore. I decided to back off in order to avoid major injury, but I couldn’t stay away for too long.

I am back to running, and have some goals in mind. One of them is to actually register for a 10K and complete it in, oh, 56 minutes.

I confess that I did not do my strength training workout yesterday as planned. Sleep won. Then there was chocolate lava cake….

So, today I decided to venture outdoors for some Vitamin D and a chilly run. I somewhat arbitrarily chose 50 min or 5 miles as my goal and decided to focus on some of the Chi Running principles: Shorten my stride and increase cadence; power from the core; and avoid the cross-body arm swing.

Holy Crap! I think I’m hooked, and I have only read an article on it! I usually start to fall apart by mile 4 – either pain or fatigue set in. None of that today! Also, my pace was pretty consistent, except for the long downhill in mile 2. In fact, the 9:30 min/mile average really did seem relatively effortless! The 10K in 56 is right there!

I can’t wait to learn more. I am thinking of buying the book. Has anyone else used Chi Running training plans? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Loving Deliberately

Happy Valentine’s to All! I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Perhaps it is PTSD from my single years. Or, maybe its just a dumb commercial holiday.

I was amused to hear today’s topic on our local public radio show, “Radio Times“: Learning about love from arranged marriages. Aside from shared values, backgrounds, and family support, the key element discussed was the commitment to deliberately develop a loving relationship. This was contrasted with Western norms of love at first sight and finding a soul mate.

I am not a hearts and flowers kind of girl. Ten years ago tonight, Mike and I made a deliberate choice to create a loving relationship. Best decision ever!

Mike, you are my foundation! I could not stand so tall without your constant support. I love the life (lives) we have created, and look forward to decades more!

So, my Valentine’s wish for all is that you love deliberately. Love is not out of your control, nor can it be neglected. It takes real work, and it has nothing to do with candy or flowers.

Recovering from Business Travel

One of my biggest challenges is recovering from a long business trip – the unpacking, exhaustion, domestic duties, and reorganizing priorities.

As I anticipated my arrival home on Saturday, I immediately started panicking about how I’d ever catch up on everything before shoving off to another adventure. I am overwhelmed. How do I manage?

– Hug those kiddies tight!
– Update my to-do list
– Identify priorities
– Go through the motions
– Keep the guilt at bay (the guilt I feel over not being superwoman in every aspect of my life)
– Add in some indulgence (massage!)
– Move forward

And so I embark on another overnight journey to explore a new opportunity. T-minus 4 hours to departure. I suppose I should pack.

Longest Week EVER!

Sorry I fell of the wagon with the daily updates. Mike thought this implied that I’d gone completely off the rails and didn’t want to share the defeat. This was not completely the case, but last week was quite the roller coaster ride. Eastern storms also held me up until Saturday, making this the longest business trip in several years.

Let’s see….my last update was Wednesday morning. Tuesday night was the high note – a big celebration dinner with dancing. I hit the wall on Wednesday and was more than ready to head home when the snowmaggedon rumors began. I was slated to return home Friday night, but the flight was already cancelled by Thursday morning. Finding my family on the other side of airport security when I finally arrived home on Saturday afternoon was pure bliss!

Here is the report on surviving my long trip:

EXERCISE!!! I pushed the workouts hard, starting with the bonus run on Monday. Early wake-ups on Tues, Wed, and Friday for more running, some high intensity intervals, and stretching. I danced for at least 90 minutes on Tuesday night, and ended up with 2 workouts on Friday (am and pm).

Food – Good thing I exercised, because my defenses were totally obliterated in the face of Texas BBQ, Mexican buffet, and tempting desserts! I did manage to begin every day with a healthy breakfast and skipped the extra afternoon snacks (stuck to my apple). This helped.

Alcohol – Well, I exceeded the 2-3 drink max on Tuesday and Thursday, but never so much that I awoke with a headache. I drank my first margarita in more than a year.

Sleep – This was my big deficiency. I don’t think I exceeded 7 hours any night. Most were 5-6. Needless to say, I was in bed before 8:00 on Saturday night, and 11 hours still left me wanting.

What was the end result? I am still tired. The scale revealed a 0.4 lb gain – not bad for exceeding my calorie target by at least 3,000 calories for the week.

Lessons learned – If I focus on doing a few things really well (like exercise and breakfast), I can afford to indulge in other areas. I’d still like to work on the sleep.

Back out overnight on Tuesday….and it continues.

The 5-day Business Trip: Prep

The stress has been mounting. Tomorrow at 5 am, I will leave home for a 5-day business trip. I’ve been busy with wardrobe, workout, meeting pre-work, and food prep. Did I mention laundry??? Oh the laundry!

Here are this week’s challenges:
– Don’t overeat. Stay away from the rolls and dessert buffet!
– Stick with the 3 drink maximum.
– Get a decent night’s sleep
– Exercise daily

Here is a sampling of my travel snacks:

2 servings Fiber Select cereal, 2 Quaker Life Nutrition Oatmeal bars, Luna Chocolate Peppermint Stick bar, apples, orange, and a banana!

2 servings Fiber Select cereal, 2 Quaker Life Nutrition Oatmeal bars, Luna Chocolate Peppermint Stick bar, apples, orange, peanut butter, and a banana!

A fair portion of the above is for the long flight. And, while there is no shortage of delicious meals and snacks at these corporate events, the buffets tend to overwhelm. They are also heavy on the carbs. I try to load up on the fresh fruit offered during breakfast, and stick with my high fiber cereal or a breakfast bar. The apples help during that mid-afternoon slump.

Aside from breakfast buffets, some of my other meeting downfalls include the ROLLS! Gotta stay away from the rolls! I used to fall prey to the desserts offered at every lunch, but they are not as tempting as a good roll with butter. Alcohol is another challenge. You’d think I’d learn to adhere to the 2-3 drink max, given how gross I feel when I exceed my limits. This time around, I vow to stick to no more than 2-3 glasses of wine or light beer.

Another thing to work on – Sleep! Ugh. My work day begins at 5 pm tomorrow evening. Yep, that is 12 hours after I leave home. I have this thing about not wanting to miss out on the social networking opportunities at these things, and I end up staying up way too late.

Finally, the exercise: I’ve been doing pretty well with this one, and the time zone change should help a little. My workout plans include 2 running days, one high intensity interval workout, and yoga.

Wish me luck!