Monday, January 19, 2015

8 min at 4.5 mph- who would of thought what it'd bring...

Tonight I ran for the first time unwatched, unobserved, on my own in the basement on the treadmill.  I had been waiting to get the "OK" from the surgeon to move forward with my PT's plan for transitioning back to running.  Day 1- I decided- was today, in fact tonight. 

I'm not really a night workout girl.  However, I just couldn't make myself get out of bed and get at it before my kidos woke up and I was on "duty" all day as they had the day off from school.  Which side note- was quite enjoyable until about 7pm when we returned from my youngest hockey practice.  I think my crabbiness/edginess set in because I knew that I was going to be facing my own personal challenge after they retired for the night.  Having to jump on the TM and put in a few minutes, but not knowing what those minutes would bring was not a happy feeling.  The day, prior to 7pm, was good: grocery shopping with kids who are super helpful now that they are older, early lunch at "the arches" (today was not a clean food eating day), followed by browsing shelves at Half Price Books before heading to see Big Hero 6- which was really great.  So it was a good day.  I was suppose to meet up with one of my favorite peeps tonight to catch up but alas life happens and it didn't.  So once I knew those plans were no longer I told myself I'd make myself start the return to running program tonight. 

I look back now, after completing the workout and wonder what I was so scared of, or what was it that had gotten under my skin and put me on edge, not finding bathroom antics/dilly-dallying by children at bedtime funny.  I read to the kids while they showered- yes, I know, I'm very strange, but while they shower I take advantage and sit on the bathroom floor and read to them- helps me get some reading in while they get cleaned up.  Then I followed my youngest to bed to listen to her read The Bearenstein Bears and Mama for Mayor!  I was feeling my eye lids getting so heavy while laying next to her warm body.  Then I really was not looking forward to heading to the cold basement to hop on the TM.

They were tucked into bed and I headed for the basement.  My PT's plan incorporates running/walking with a certain goal of speed and time for each run portion and as much walking as I want/can stand.  My goal tonight was 5 minutes walk, 8 minutes jog at 4.5 mph followed by 5 minute walk. The walking is not a problem at all and I am able to get up there to about 4.0 mph walking quickly with no discomfort or pain/strain.  Then I start jogging and it is just such a surreal feeling.  My feet are of course moving quicker, my legs are moving muscles they haven't used in months, and I'm feeling very heavy.  Yep weight heavy.  The kind of heavy I remember from starting out running- many moons ago.  I feel heavy footed and like I'm just bogged down.  I never felt pain, strain, stress, but did feel strange and hesitant and watchful of my right leg/knee.  The first four minutes of the jog were the hardest.  I told myself if I got through the first half and felt pain, stress, strain, then I'd just walk.  I never felt any discomfort and made it through the full 8 minutes followed by a slower pace of walking for 5- a grand total of 1.2 miles over 18 minutes. 

I'm overjoyed and I'm also stunned.  I'm excited and I'm also apprehensive.  I'm feeling great being physically active while at the same time feeling like a whale trying to run on water.  So many different mixed emotions.  So many lingering questions.  The biggest one- when and if I will feel discomfort or strain- how will I handle that.  The plan is if I can't do the time/speed plan that I have to repeat that time/speed until I can fulfill it and then move on to the next time/speed on the plan. 

I also have a lot of questions I'm asking lately: specifically how I'm living this great life I've been given.  I'm trying to do a better job of some self-reflection, deep breathing and just being and stop with the questions. I'm a planner so the unknown kinds of drives me nuts! I also really think if I want to live life to the fullest, which is kind of what exhausts me on a daily basis, I also need to live in the present and just be me. 

I love these quotes/pics I found on Pinterest and immediately put into my "sayings" board.  I think these are great reminders daily as to what I can do, how I can live, and who I am and can be. 
                                                      Yes. :: Words to live by

 Photo by Liz Lamoreux

Remember than when you walk away. You made the decision on your own.
Here's to 8 minutes at 4.5 mph!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

"Balance" a word I strive to get.

My good friend and I were talking on Tuesday, actually I was complaining and whining to her about my seasonal depression/Januaryitis  (I don't clinically have this diagnosis, but every January I seem to get in the same funk).  I start to question the "what's" and "if's" in life.  Personally and worldly I start to throw different questions around in my noggin. What could I be doing better?  What could I do to be a better mother?  If I worked harder on my writing/reading will that really matter? If I don't run again in a race of substantial distance how will I maintain a healthy weight?  If I don't find my exercise mojo again will I ever know that happiness that training and running gave me?  What am I doing with this great gift called "life"?  What is faith?  What does all of "this" mean?

I like celebrating New Year's Eve and like to think about all that is to come in the new year- you know me and my planning.  This year it has been different.  I'm not scheduled for any races or really following any training schedule.  So I'm filling this void with trying to focus on more reading, more writing, and trying to work on my "faith journey".  By "faith journey" I mean I'm trying to figure out what I believe about faith, religion, God, and how that all somehow intricately entwines.  Don't worry I'm not becoming a religious fanatic- I'm just trying to figure out what "faith" means to me and for me. 

So with the missing piece of the puzzle being physical exercise (other than PT, and some cardio) I'm also awakened to the fact that my clothes are fitting tighter and I'm really not liking the numbers on the scale.  I've gone from a sometimes two times a day workout girl with a training scheduled planned out for months in advance- to a once every other day of cardio and some weights/PT, and still not feeling 100%post knee.  One week I will have great workouts and then the next week my knee just feels not quite right: tight, sore, stiff, etc.  No pain so I keep doing the PT and cardio, but the weeks I feel 50% I don't do as much.  So to add to my new year's improvement list gets added the ever fun revelation that I need to eat healthier, get control of my food portions, cut down on adult beverages, etc, etc. 

All of these desires to be better in the new year sometimes makes me feel overwhelmed and a little panicked.  Ever since last year I've been feeling this urge to live life to its fullest- be the best chattynatty I can be.  A tall and tough order and easy to fail at. 

So as I was talking to this good friend on Tuesday I said the word "balance" and she responded that balance is one of those unattainable goals (my paraphrase of what she stated).  It is an "elusive" word as she put it.  Balance is something I would like to strive for, but is this goal of having it all and feeling balanced at the same time possible?  Can I be a professional and be fully passionate about my profession, my care of patients, and continually better my knowledge on the patients I care for while also being the best mom I can (not an inpatient, tired, crabby, really done with meal planning), or trying to be the best writer I can without paying a fortune for higher education, and reading with a "purpose" not just reading for the sake of reading.  Oh- and add the other lofty goal of finding the answers to my "faith journey" questions.  How does all of that fit evenly to keep my see saw of life in balance- well my friend is right I think this balance is elusive and unattainable.

So good friend talked me down from the ledge and all my problems and my "Januaryitis" weren't magically treated, but I did feel better, as I always do after commiserating with good friend about solving life's problems.  Then another dear friend sent me this beautiful verse stating that she read it and thought about me.
Isaiah 58:11
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."

I responded that I really needed to read and hear this because I was having a tough time of it.  I told her my "woes" of the week- feeling frumpy/dumpy because of my weight, my frustration with my exercise life, etc, etc.  Her response-
 You must also realize that everybody loves you not for that 1 or 2 pounds over or under but for that effervescent personality of yours and the way you listen and care for others with such attention.  Focus on your strengths, your intellectual mind, your faith, your deep love of family and the joy you bring each other, of your professional demeanor, of your listening skills and your ability to laugh, of your ability to bring people together like in book club...the list goes on.  Celebrate your many strengths sister!
Then she told me to chant "I'm a well watered garden."

The reality check I needed from two dear friends.  I think I'll give the word "balance" up and just focus on "life" or better yet "living life".  If I focus on "living life"  instead of looking at January, post holidays, post celebrations with family and friends and finding the cold and lack of sun seeping into my pores, I will instead embrace this "life" as a time to sit, think, ponder, and then go out and find those answers to all the "what's and if's" out there.  Throwing out "balance" for "living" the  best chattynatty life I can.

I'm a well watered garden. I'm a well watered garden. I'm a well watered garden... 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


I think I've kind of been avoiding writing here of late.  I've been doing a good job of writing in my kid's journals, my 642 writing prompts book, and some "smash" writing (found this fun thing called a smash book- like an adult version of journaling, collages, collection for memories).  However, I've really not been wanting to open up imchattynatty and post anything.

Some bloggers write about losing their mojo or the drive to write in their blogs.  I think for me I've felt a lack of material of late.  I normally have posts about books I've read, and current training schedule for races, and then the global- goals for the year. 

This year I'm kind of on hiatus in many ways.  I'm not signed up for a single race/tri and don't plan on it.  I'm not following any current running plan, but this may change after I see my doctor this coming Friday.  My PT would like me to do incremental baby steps with my running on the treadmill.  I've run twice (really jogged at max pace of 4.4 mph for 5 minutes).  The plan is to have me continue to increase time on treadmill slowly over time and also increase pace slowly over time. 

My reading is going great this moth- I'm trying to use some of my previously funneled "goal energy" into my reading- with and without kids.  My goal is to read one chapter book with each kid/month, and also get in reads for myself.  I've just finished a wonderful read "I'll Be Seeing You" by Susan Hayes and Loretta Nyhan.  These two authors have put together a wonderful story of friendship between two women who have never met, but through letters.  The two main characters are both wives of military men, and one has a son who is also in the armed forces during WWII.  There are no chapters, just letters.   I found it a great read, and even more interesting was to find out at the end of the book that the two authors have never met in person.  They met via a blog.  Decided to write a book together based on letters and as of the publishing date still had never officially met in person- Amazing!

Besides some good reading this month I really have been trying to work on my writing.  I've been trying to write, something, daily.  I have a few goals, but the current one is more academic in the sense that I'm trying to finish taking notes, typing up and putting the nurse practitioner organization's, I'm a member of, history together.  It will be our 40th anniversary this year-2015, so great time to compile information and share with the members.  Although I find the history very interesting I'm finding myself less motivated to work on this project.  Funny how I can be very passionate about aspects of my career/profession, but less so in other areas/aspects. 

Besides this writing project I'm also trying to follow some podcasts and blog posts in social media on writing: i.e. Writer's Digest, The Writer, and DIY MFA.  I really like the DIY MFA site and mantra/mission: Write more, write better, write smarter.  I've found the Podcasts to be educational and am taking notes in hope to use the wise info in bettering my writing.  One of the most recent podcasts was about "Life is Short, Read with Purpose".  I found the information and strategy to better, more purposeful reading, helpful in guiding me in my reading for 2015.  Here's a quick breakdown of what I gleamed from the Podcast:
4 categories of reading:
1. Comps- books that compete with your writing.  For example, if I want to write a memoir about my 70.3 training experience I need to read other memoirs on running, traithlons, 1/2 ironmans, etc.
-hint: look at publisher and agent that represents these books and authors and use this as contact list when you go to pitch, query, or try getting your book published.
2.Contextual books- books that are on background or research of your topic, similar themes, but don't directly compete with your book. For example, I should read other memoirs or other nonfiction books about running, triathlons, nutrition for the athlete, training plans, etc. 
3. Contemporary Books- books that came out in the last 1-2 years, any category or genre.  Pick books up to see what the "buzz" is and to compare how your book fits with contemporary literature
4.Classics- "anything written from 2000 and earlier". I found 2000 to strike me as surprising, but as the author stated writing changes a lot over time and 2000 is 15 years ago now.  Look at what books have lasted and what has given these books "staying power". 
These four categories will make up a comprehensive reading list for you.   She recommended picking books from each of these categories for your "to read" list for 2015. 

I'm hoping to take the above and put it in place a become a more purposeful reader, however, I'm also not wanting to ever lose the enjoyment and entertainment and the utter happiness reading gives me, so am a little fearful to become too serious about reading and then rid myself of that life happiness. 

So despite no races in my 2015 calendar I feel like I daily/weekly fill up the schedule with activities and "to do's".  I know that my posts are another way for me to work on my writing and better yet I'm sharing my writing, which some authors say is the best push to become a better author/writer.  Long term I don't really expect to publish a book, but I would like to follow through with my goal of writing abut my training for 70.3 race.  I can celebrate what I accomplished, the challenge and also maybe even share it with others as a way to motivate or at least lead in example by saying "if I can do it, by gosh, so can you!" 

Here is to hoping it won't be two weeks before I post again.  ChattyNatty over and out!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Year End Review-Training Miles and Race Miles

From Jan 1st through August 31st I logged a total of 1450 miles total.  These miles were accomplished by running, biking and swimming.  The most miles I put in occurred in July with a total of 90 miles ran, 244 miles biked, and 7 miles swam.  This was ramping up for my big race of the year- Pigman Long - half iron man 70.3 miles. 

I participated in a total of 5 races throughout the 2014 race season- all I had planned on, no DNF for me.  The first one was in February: Indoor Tri at Iowa: placed first in my age group for gender.  10 min swim 0.28 miles, 10 min spin 5 miles and 10 min run 1.25 miles.  I ran the Ronald McDonald 1/2 marathon 13.1 miles in 2:04 on 5/4/2014.  Followed by Pigman Sprint Triathlon 6/1: 0.28 mile swim 11 min, 15.6 mile bike 58 min, and 3.1 mile run 29:03.  August 3, 2014 Oswego I Tried a Triathlon, 1st in age group for gender, swim 0.14 mile 4:57, 6.5 mile bike 23:44 and 2.1 mile run 18:06.  Last one 8/17/14 1.2 mile swim 46:27, 56.2 mile bike 03:52 and 13.1 mile run 2:26- Pigman Long 70.3 miles.

Just writing the above paragraph brings forth so many different emotions: pride, disbelief, happiness, and sadness.  Pride- for accomplishing what I set out to do.  Disbelief that prior to 2014 I had never owned a road bike, let alone had my own bike trainer, swam in the long lap lanes, and bigger yet swam in open water, including the Atlantic Ocean.  Disbelief that someone who has only done sprint tri's would be able to sign up and complete a half-ironman triathlon.  Happiness that I was so active and so busy throughout the racing season, and did well in my finishing.  Sadness that it all ended August 31 when riding my bike on a leisure ride with hubby on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, IL. 

Seems like forever ago that I had a workout schedule on my docket or a race/training schedule.  From Jan 1st-Aug 31st I used a personal calendar and wrote almost 6 days a week different workouts and training accomplishments I had done based on my training plan.  Then after August 31st the daily note pages, and monthly calendar pages are all empty and blank.  No scribbles, words such as spin,bike, run, or swim with miles and time written next to them are found. Its like a double life- one so full and the other so empty.

I've made it through a major knee surgery including a bone break/healing and am now back to walking almost daily for my exercise.  However, I'm still not really sweating and feeling that "happiness" factor that I use to have with my workouts, training schedule, and race goals. 

Part of my upcoming weekend "to do" list is to find some time to really sit down and think, meditate and contemplate what my strategy moving forward is in finding my "happiness" factor again with working out.  I am not signing up for any races this coming year and really my ultimate goal is just to be able to run again, but I struggle with that goal because of what it overall means for me, my health short term and long-term, along with the impact it has on my family. 

If I decide to keep running I will continue to wear and tear on my right knee- stage 2 arthritis already present prior to my surgery, right medial meniscus pretty shot due to much of it being surgically removed with my first ACL tear years ago, and the fact that I'm not getting any younger.  So is running really an option?  If I run will that push me towards a knee replacement sooner than later?

However, if I don't run will I have that "happiness" flowing in my blood ever again?  People say why don't you bike and swim?  I don't mind biking and swimming, but I don't LOVE it.  Now I'm not an elite athlete and am not winning races as a runner, but during the Pigman Long I finally had my "AHA" moment and realized "I AM A RUNNER"!  Then the rug was swept out from under my feet with the accident and that "I AM A RUNNER"! mojo was no longer present. 

I will meditate, pray, think very hard the next couple of days and come up with some sort of plan to get my "happiness" back in 2015.  I have so much to be thankful for- overall great health, ability to do activities of daily living with little to no pain despite just three months ago having a major surgery, and of course the other minor things like having a great family, roof over my head, food/clothing, job and wonderful friends (just in case you didn't get it- these really aren't minor- they are MAJOR). 

So I don't have any major races, training schedules this year to blog about.  I don't have any mileage goals to report or shoot for in 2015.  However, I think this will be a great year and I hope to have all the same reactions to 2015 as I did 2014- minus sadness: Pride, Disbelief, and Happiness!

December Reads and Year in Review 2014

Happy New Year!

It has been an interesting year and looking at the diverse reading selection I read this year is a good indication of the variety of my life in 2014.

December was busy with life and holiday preparation and parties and so I didn't feel I did a good job of reading this month.  Here are the books I read/finished. 

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (#10 in the Armand Gamache series)  I love this series and needed a good read and this didn't disappoint.  One day I would love to find "Three Pines" the setting/town of her many books in this series.  I also find the characters in the book very interesting and also would like to be friends with them.  If you haven't read anything by Louise Penny what are you waiting for.

Operating Instructions: A Journal by Anne Lamott was a book I've had on my "to read" list for awhile.  I really enjoy Anne Lamott's nonfiction, in fact I have yet to read any of her fiction- maybe a book to add to my "to read" list for 2015.  This book was great filled with Anne's great crisp, clean, truthful, and honest writing.  The story line is from the beginning of her life with her son Sam (actually in utero/pregnancy) through to the first year, his first birthday.  I enjoyed it, but I still find her books on life and religion speak to me more than this one did.  However, I think if you are a new mom or going through pregnancy/first year of life with your baby this is a totally appropriate read and would make some of your "crazy ideas/frustrations" seem less "crazy".  I'm on the "hold" list for her newest book "Small Victories"- another "to read" for 2015.

Handling the Truth: On Writing the Memoir by Beth Kephart  This book has taken me about two months to read.  It wasn't hard, but it is the type of read that every chapter is a "learning" experience in itself.  I marked this book all up, underlying great lines, ideas, words of wisdom on writing memoir.  I will reread this book frequently as a handbook of sorts for how to better my writing. 

It has been a great reading year.  81 books total.  Here are some of my favorites- can't really pick just one:
Inside Out and Back Again by Thannha Lai  (YA book, but everyone should read it- Beautiful prose!)
Mr. Penumbra's 24 hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (fascinating book, interesting story line)
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo (Harry Hole mystery #8- great series and I think this one is my favorite thus far)
The Storyteller by Jodi Piccoult (I've avoided reading her books becasue I feel she is so hyped up, but alas this book was excellent and one of my favorites!)
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (GREAT BOOK!- loved it- my favorite "book club" read of 2014)
Least Favorite of 2014: The Circle by Dave Eggers and Some Luck by Jane Smiley

So what is in store for 2015.  Normally I have a whole list I share of "to reads".  I have decided not to have a "to read" list, but instead would like to shoot for a round number- how about 90 reads in 2015.  It is doable, but also challenging.  Looking forward to seeing if I can accomplish it.  Happy Reading!