A Case of Winter Snark: Five-Step Recovery Program

For two weeks I have battled a case of winter snark. Despite an appearance of happiness, peace and goodwill my inner voice continues to have more snark as the winter days linger on. Last night, the snark would not shut up. I was trying to fall asleep. It kept listing one complaint after another. Finally, I demanded silence.

While I am not anywhere close to being snark-free, I stopped living in denial last night. I admitted to having winter snark and signed myself up for a self-imposed, five-step recovery program.

1. Listen to my favorite music when and wherever possible. Blink 182, Foo Fighters, Korn, Rob Zombie and  Journey are among the artists who help take me to happier places.

2. Girlfriend time puts winter snark in its place: out in the cold where it belongs. Without fuel, the snark does not have energy to thrive.

3. Exercise is my number-one defense against any kind of snark: winter, cleaning, marital, parenting, alcohol shortage, etc. Fitness is a natural outlet for all negativity to escape. Too bad this doesn’t work while I’m driving. Sign language isn’t enough.

4. Writing is my second line of defense. Again, it is another method I use to relieve stress. Once I write it, it’s no longer a burden. I may still need to resolve a problem. But, I no longer feel it clouding my thoughts. Somehow, I achieve clarity on the direction I should take.

5. Attack action item list, which is always growing. After crossing items off, I felt accomplishment, not dread from excuses for not “doing.”

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Seven Silent Monsters

Spinning Toward the Rush

Next week is it folks. The onslaught of holiday fun amps up in a big way. Feasting on turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, holiday parades and tree-lighting ceremonies, parties, family time, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all advancing toward me at a lightening-speed pace. But, that’s not all. Issa and Riff each have holiday-themed activities and projecting coming up at school. This is all good. It’s what I — and many others call — organized chaos.

In preparation for weeks of indulging, gift, giving, baking, decorating and partying I went for my first spinning class, this morning. Exercise is a regular segment to my daily routine. But, I admit to being a bit lazy through most of this fall. This class is just what my fitness program needed: a challenge.

Let me tell you. A spinning class is not biking the Macomb Orchard Trail or Stony Creek Metro Park. It’s biking, cardio, strength and interval training all mixed up. For weeks, I searched for something to keep me motivated to work out regularly. This class is it. I’ll be back each week for the entire winter.

 

Deep Feeling Procrastination

Remember that ’80s song, Deep Feeling Fascination from Human League? Whenever I am in procrastination mode — like now — that song plays in my head; nonstop.

Keep feeling [procrastination]. Passion burning. Love so strong. Keep feeling [procrastination]. Looking learning. Moving on.  

— Human League

Here I sit in my writer’s chair. The elliptical machine in my home gym is lonely; waiting for my motivation to fire me up. What is it about cold, autumn mornings?

At the start of the school year, I did so well. After putting both kids on the bus, I would go for either a bike ride, run or walk. I still go walking. But, only if a friend wants to join. That way I get my social fix along with my fitness.

But, now, six weeks in, I no longer have the spark. I would rather sit typing while nursing steaming hot cups of caffeinated goodness. Then, at day end, I feel weak and undisciplined for not pushing myself to get off my butt.

I think I know what the problem is. I give myself too many outs. For instance, I spent too long lingering on Facebook, checking e-mails and looking at the LOFT online sale for clothing and accessories I don’t need. Had I jumped on the elliptical instead of Facebook, I would be humming from a good cardio boost and a hot shower.

But, now, I have less than 20 minutes to ready myself for a meeting with the Green Committee from the school PTO at Panera. So, I have given myself a valid excuse, “I don’t have time.”

To console myself, I keep saying it was too cold outside at 8 am to walk, run or bike. Plus, it’s still too confining to work out in my home gym. There isn’t snow or ice on the ground. I’ll just do my workout later. Yeah, right.

BTW, that sale at LOFT offers an extra 50-percent off at checkout. So, my procrastination was not a complete waste.

 

Twisted Hues

Having a blast at the Color Run’s post-race color fest. Photo Credit: Jennifer Lott

Yesterday, at 8:38 a.m., I participated in my first Color Run. While the race encourages people to live healthier, this 5k promotes diversity, creativity and community and not speed, competition or athleticism.

I ran the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor course with my second cousin Jennifer and her sister Katie. Thousands danced to Top 40 hits waiting for their wave in the race to begin. Dressed in mostly white, racers were blasted in a rainbow of non-toxic, paint powder after completing each kilometer. At the finish line, racers experienced a post-race party with beautiful hues of powder.

Prior to race day, preparations focused mostly on creative aspects not training runs. On the eve of race day, we gathered at Jennifer’s apartment to transform ourselves into the Twisted Hues. The team name represents our ideology that all colors are beautiful and that our inner warriors carry us through even the toughest of life challenges. Twisted Hues is hopeful that more family members and friends will join the team roster at future, active events that promote healthy living, unity, peace, and charity.

Twisted Hues (L to R) include my cousin Jennifer, her sister Katie, and my cousin Meghan, who created our look for the event.                       Photo Credit: kateschannel

Twisted Hues’ race style was mostly created around the idea my cousin Meghan had. She inspired and taught each of us to make rainbow-colored tutus. She planned to take part in the Color Run event. But, unfortunately, at the last moment was not able to join us at the start line. Her contribution to the Twisted Hues resulted in boosting our self-confidence as well as plenty of style kudos from fellow Color Runners.

What a finish. Katie, Jennifer and I enjoy watching all the beautiful hues. Photo credit: Jennifer Lott

I believe the next event the Twisted Hues will be signing on for is the second annual Run and Play for Ariana Mae at the Fitzgerald Park in Grand Ledge, Mich. The event begins with a 5k run and one-mile walk, followed by a Candyland Scavenger Hunt. The event supports the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) Program. Proceeds from this year’s event will fund the addition of a new play structure at Fitzgerald Park in memory of Ariana Mae. To learn more about the event, register, or make a donation visit www.arianasrun.com.

School’s Out: Week 1 — Hot Stuff

Issa, Riff and I sprinted through Week 1 of summer break. It was a streak of hot, warped-speed fun, which included …

pancake mornings, swim suit afternoons, and scorching-hot evenings that called for grilling out whenever possible. After-hours indulgences include ice-cold Bell’s Oberon long-necks, Hard Luck Candy Rootbeer Flavored Vodka on the rocks, Cherry ICEEs and Rock of Ages.

Issa and Slim. Photo Credit: kateschannel

critter camp at Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center. Issa continued her exploration of reptiles, amphibians, insects and plant life during this four-day camp. Each day from 10:30 – 2:30 pm she joined other nature-lovers for hands-on instruction and fun. Plus, she got to see her adopted, pet ball python, Slim. In February, we donated funds to the nature center to help them care for Slim. In exchange, Issa visits him on a weekly basis to help with the provision of that care. Slim is very charming and loves for Issa to hold him.

weekend birthday bashes for my niece and nephew gave Issa and Riff two days of play with their cousins, introduced Riff to Jackson 5 magic, and gave me quality time with a very creative, over-the-top mistress of celebrations — my sister. Sisters do rule. Mine made her children a beach-themed birthday cake, which included a palm tree made out of rice krispy treats. She also woke me up at 5:15 am Sunday to ensure I made that 5k at Comerica Park in Detroit. Blaring Blink 182 as I zoomed along M-14 to meet up for a carpool with a long-time, college friend helped, too.

Just beachy! My sister is an artist in the kitchen, garden or wherever inspiration takes her. She made the palm tree out of rice krispy treats. Photo Credit: kateschannel

running with 2012 Heart of Detroit for Kids on the Go (KOTG) with the best coaches. Two avid runners — my cousin Joe Duris and my long-time, college friend, Lisa Brady — signed up to run the 5k at this event. There was something special about all these good people running for good people; down a quiet, traffic-free Woodward to the riverfront.

My A-Team. L to R: Joe Duris (my cousin), Lisa Brady (long-time college friend) and I envision the finish behind home plate at Comerica Park. Photo Credit: Kristy Schena, Kids on the Go

a home plate finish at Comerica Park. I came in at 35 minutes, 24 seconds and placed 12th out of 28 in my age group. Sweaty, running attire did nothing to stop my growing addiction to running; and to racing. In fact, Lisa, has helped me set my next goal: my first 10k at the Flirt with Dirt next June. My motivation to train more consistently and with greater conviction starts after the July 4 holiday week.

Comerica Park

Comerica Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

training on how to change shirts — without showing boobs — when one is without the privacy of a restroom. Lisa and I had decided on a post-race breakfast at Leo’s Coney Island in Plymouth, Mich. To save fellow diners from breathing our BO, we ditched sweaty race shirts for fresh ones prior to entering.

This week I need to do laundry and scrub toilets. But, there are only 12 weeks left. That means the priorities are painting, fishing at the subdivision retention pond, swim lessons, and taking time to make new recipes for dinner.

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See It: Rock of Ages

Back Health Issues

Get Moving! Forward is a Pace

About Slim

Back Health Issues

One would think the back pain issues I have been experiencing resulted from the 3.1 miles of trails, I ran Saturday in my first 5k since August 2011. My friend, Sue and the Mathes Team challenged us runner to dig deep; and to run a course consisting mostly of hills and switchbacks.  The two 5ks I ran previously were a combination of street and trail. Plus, my training runs are usually through my neighborhood because that’s what my schedule allows.

Amusingly enough, the 5k is not what caused the snap in my lower back …

It was a peaceful Sunday morning. If I remember, correctly, it was a little after 8. I  finished taking Buddy, my Pekingese for a walk; and felt healthy and ready to take another longer walk through my neighborhood. But, I needed relief. You know what I mean? Too much coffee.

As I finished, I sang Pink’s So What in my mind. It was next in my cue on the MP3, which was waiting patiently for me on the ledge in my garage. Then …

All of a sudden, I couldn’t move. Would I finish my time like that other lady who was stuck to her toilet for two years? All of a sudden the scene playing in my mind had me starring as Miranda Hobbes from Sex in the City. Remember the episode where she fears she’ll die alone in her apartment and be half-eaten by her cat? A panic attack was imminent.

I reminded myself I was way too short and had the wrong hair color to play her. So, I remained calm and managed to complete the most basic of tasks. Then, hunched over, I  waddled like a duck to the kitchen for my next coffee.

This image of myself did not bode well. I kept saying the quote I shared with you the other day — Forward is a pace — as I envisioned myself being ran over with a cart during my next trip to the grocery store.

I admitted the possibility of having to adapt to slower mobility. After all, I had graduated to a new age category (40-49) for 5k races. Perhaps I would have to adjust my pace down a notch rather than up. But, what kind of thinking is that?

Shah! I survived playing with my children, driving my daughter to Critter Camp at our local nature center, mowing the lawn, and cooking dinner two nights in a row. There is hope. Walking behind the mower actually seemed to help. I am now able to move around more rapidly.

This Sunday — on June 24 — I am at it again. I am racing a 5k in the 2012 Heart of Detroit Run/Walk.  My cousin, Joe, and a longtime college friend, Lisa — both avid runners — have agreed to run these 3.1 miles with me. Collectively, we are all running as Kate’s A-Team and are running to support Kids on the Go (KOTG), a non-profit pediatric program I advocate for. KOTG provides speech, physical and occupational therapies — tuition-free — to children with special needs in metro Detroit.

Related previous posts …

Get Moving! Forward is a Pace …

Get Moving! Forward is a Pace …

Two of the 5ks I am running this summer are quickly approaching. While my training runs have been a bit sporadic, my mental game is on, consistent and positive. I consider any preparation (biking, walking the dog, chasing children, etc.) to be a step forward.

My first run is the Mathes 5k/1 Mile Fun Walk, which happens Saturday, June 16 at Stony Creek Metro Park (West Branch Picnic Area “C”). Sue Mathes, one of my amazingly strong and smart girlfriends, organized the event, which is in its 2nd year, to raise awareness and support for the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA). Her husband, Thom, was diagnosed with three brain tumors in January 2011.

To read more about the Mathes’ story, make a donation to Team Mathes or register to run, click here.

To keep me motivated to continue training as well as signing up races, a longtime college friend and Western Herald alum  — Lisa Brady — shared a couple of quotes with me this morning. The first she read on a sign during one of her races last year. It said …

 Forward is a pace

Lisa signed up to run a 5k with me at the 2012 Heart of Detroit Run/Walk on June 24 at Comerica Park. She will join me as well as my cousins Joe Duris (another runner who inspires me) and Jennifer Lott (a strong, positive, forward moving young lady), my Aunt Kate (I was named after her), and a longtime high school friend, Kelly Pelt (we were tennis partners). All of us are running as Kate’s A-Team; and we are one of 10 teams running to raise awareness and support for Kids on the Go (KOTG), a non-profit pediatrics program I advocate for.

KOTG, an affiliate of St. John Providence Health, provides physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to Detroit-area children with special needs during the summer months at no cost to the families. Both of my children receive services through this pediatric program.

Through participation in the 2012 Heart of Detroit Run/Walk, KOTG and I, are looking to raise $5,000. To support our efforts

1. Donate via check. This is the preferred way to donate because KOTG receives 100-percent of your donation, which is tax deductible. The company organizing the race collects a processing fee for all donations made online.

To donate by check, make it payable to Kids on the Go and mail it to:

Kids on the Go

C/O Kristy Schena

21229 River Road

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI  48236

2. Link to the following fundraising page for KOTG and Make a Donation Now.

In closing, I need to share the second quote Lisa sent me this morning, which I love …

DFL > DNF > DNS

The translation …

Dead F-ing Last is greater than Did Not Finish, which is greater than Did Not Start

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