So, What’s Your Excuse?

I have excuses for everything. They are at the ready for missed workouts, disconnect with family and friends, not walking the dog, serving chicken nuggets for dinner, or any occasion. I catch myself firing them off whenever I fall short of meeting my expectations.

At the school bus stop, Friday morning, one of my girlfriends commented on having finished her workout already. All of us other moms congratulated her motivation and commitment to fitness. But, I also heard myself rambling down my list of excuses. Not only was I excusing myself from morning workouts, I was  excusing myself from workouts at any time of day.

Part of me wanted to hear my friends tell me my excuses were valid. Thankfully, they are no-excuse-girlfriends. They didn’t let me off the hook. So, that’s when I decided it was time to stop with the excuses; not just on missing workouts. But, on all other areas where I know improvement is required.

Perhaps part of the adjustment required is creating realistic expectations. For example, I whined about being too sleepy to work out before my children wake up. They wake up at 6:30 am. Instead of whining about why not, I decided to work out at 8:30/9:00 am, which is after my oldest gets on the bus. That I way, I accomplish my daily fitness goal before I become distracted with other high-priority responsibilities. So far, I’ve made two consecutive workouts this week.

I also have alternative workout plans to eliminate weather-, television-, or hunger-related excuses. It’s a given that scheduling conflicts will mess with my plan to workout every single morning at 8:30 am. So, rather than give myself an out, I have my answers ready to ensure I stay on track. Changes to workout locations, programs and times are not difficult. Plus, mixing up the routine a bit is beneficial.

So, what’s your excuse?

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Monday at 11:50: Blue, Lions, and Three Supermoms

Living north of the “D” has been anything but normal this January. Temps have surged toward 50 for several consecutive days. The Detroit Lions made their first post-season appearance in more than a decade, and two fellow supermoms and myself won a 3-on-3 and horsed around Friday afternoon.

Blue, Brilliant and Green

This morning blue skies and brilliant sunshine greeted me while walking Issa to the bus stop. Usually, winter’s bleakness is a constant companion until early April. Snow, ice, and cold have yet to arrive. I guess upgrading to a pair of snow skates will have to wait.

Lions and Sanders’ Chocolate Stout

Last Saturday at 8, my beloved Lions roared into the Superdome to test themselves against the New Orleans’ Saints. After the half, I felt that glimmer of hope for a win quickly fade. Thank goodness I had an ice-cold Sanders’ Chocolate Stout at arms reach. Despite the loss and early-out from the NFL playoffs, I am truly impressed with the progress demonstrated from this young, talented team. Hopefully, off-season tweaking and practice will return the Lions in September to continue their quest for greatness. I am looking forward to an unstoppable 2012 season.

Supermoms Reach Close 3-on-3 Victory, Horse Around Hoops

It was Friday afternoon. Three fourth-grade boys wanted to practice their three-point and dribbling skills. So, they challenged two of my mom friends. To give the two teams an even number, I was asked  join them. The new team — Supermoms — took to the driveway half-court and clinched a very close victory: 21-18. As the boys left the court for snacks and some XBox fun, the Supermoms continued with a game of H-O-R-S-E.

 

My Love Affairs with Technology: The XBox Kinect

Where would you be without technology advances? I would probably be lounging on my couch watching subpar television.

As 2012 moves into its fifth day, I am feeling the love for a number of  technology advances. But, the devotion I have for my new XBox Kinect has penetrated deep into my heart. The other three — Kindle, social media, and my-time entertainment — will just have take  numbers. Perhaps, I will give them blog space later in the week.

My connection with the XBox Kinect all began on Christmas Eve when Santa plugged the device into my family’s entertainment system. He had good intentions. The XBox Kinect was requested to promote active family bonding and to rekindle the passion I once had for daily exercise.

Kinect Adventures  and Your Shape programs are just two of the four Santa left for us to try. Each time a session ends with either, I want more. Every muscle in my body feels my inability to just turn off the box and watch a movie.

I can truly appreciate why Microsoft had to post the following question/suggestion every 10 minutes or so, “Feel tired or sore? Take a break.” But, a permanent break from this new love, would probably result in posts about hiding in some closet while eating Hershey’s Special Dark bars.

NaNoWriMo: Week 1 – Setting the Stage

This first week of NaNoWriMo has been all about setting the stage for my characters as well as for myself. Since this is my first 50k, I have put five contingencies in place to ensure a strong finish. What tips do you NaNoWriMo veterans have for us newbies?

1. Working Outline translates to flexible. Previously, I was just going to write until I reached 50k. But, I scraped that plan. Today, I stopped typing to think about the story coming to life on my pages. Are the characters engaging enough? Am I spending too much time on certain scenes?

2. Playlist of tunes to keep me in the moment with my characters. Fellow blogger and NaNoWriMo, MB, shared her playlist this weekend. Tonight, my list included:

3. Running Goal of making one mile in five minutes on my elliptical. This is a 50k, right? So, while I attempt this first with my writing, I might as well train for that Freeze Your Fanny 5k on January 29 at Stony Creek Metro Park.

4. Escape Plan to the living and the real. One can only revel for so long in the fantastical storytelling world. Now, I know why there is a suggested daily quota.

5. Interventions to divert focus from writing to my husband, children, dog, friends, house, neighborhood, etc. Today’s successful diversions were taking my daughter to the salon for a haircut, voting, a trip to the Rochester Cider Mill for a blueberry, maple-glazed doughnut, cooking dinner, helping with homework, and blogging.

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My First 50k

My First 50K

2011 has been a year of first-times. I started this blog, ran my first 5k in May, took my kids to Cedar Point, published a newsletter for a non-profit I advocate for, turned 40, attended a Foo Fighters concert (better late than never), and…

began writing my first novel on November 1. My motivation for this first is two-fold. First, a long-time friend and fellow writer, MB, blogged about her experience participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge last year. Her blog, Tickling My Fancy, briefed aspiring authors — like me — about writing the challenge’s minimum 1,600 words a day in addition to managing a full plate of professional and personal responsibilities. At month end, the result was a 50,000-word novel. I thought … if she can do this, I can do this.

Second, these story bits in my head need escape to a wider audience. For years my wild imagination has mixed kagillion fantastical scenes with snipits from my past and present into what I think are humorous, romantic, thrillers. Some scenes I have journaled, but none had ever been weaved into anything substantial.

So far, I am at 13,133 words.  I admit to developing an outline for my story prior to Halloween. Also, I wrote about four days worth of words prior to November 1. Call me a cheater if you will. But, the words have been written and I’m not taking them back. Besides, I just gave myself some wiggle room. There will be days ahead when I will not meet the daily 1,600-word quota.

In homage to those inspiring me to write this first 50k, I want to encourage followers and browsers to check out MB’s Vigor. This is her first release of self-published fictional writing. I have known her to be a brilliant storyteller for decades. I believe you will agree. Also, I should mention additional two self-published authors — Richard Fancy and Linda Cassidy Lewis — who inspired me to risk putting my stories into words on a page.

Richard Fancy, father to another long-time friend, has written a multi-part mystery series featuring Frank Healy, who dreams of becoming a car stylist. Red Crush, the first in the series is set in Detroit, the global machine of the auto industry in the 1960s. It is a timely read considering the return of intense labor and racial conversations taking place in our country and around the globe.

I discovered Linda Cassidy Lewis soon after transferring my blog to WordPress at the start of 2011. Her book, Brevity of Roses, captivated me from the moment I turned on my Kindle. I couldn’t turn away until I finished the story at 3:00 am the next day. Her blog, Out of My Mind, helps aspiring authors stay the course on becoming published. It is an empathetic read full of tips, real-life experiences, and inspiration.

Finally, I believe it is important for those participating in the NaNoWriMo to help each other along. After all, 50k is no small feat. Fellow participant, Pat Bean, makes me smile with her daily NaNoWriMo posts; and makes me feel as though I’m in good company.

Related Posts…

Chincoteague Island and NaNoWriMo Update 

Write Tunes and 7036 Words to Boot  

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Sweat Ideology

I had a falling out with my exercise regimen. For nearly two years I stayed the course of mixing up various cardio work outs with interval strength training. The results: less stress, fewer inches, more energy and volumes of blog post ideas.

But, something happened in the midst of summer. I was catching grasshoppers with Issa, star gazing with my husband and drinking root beer flavored vodka on the rocks. The hiatus was only meant for a week.

My outdoor gym is waiting for me

After a week went by, I still wasn’t feeling the love for a good sweat. Oh well, I thought. Two weeks away isn’t so bad. Then, two weeks turned into three, then four, then … you get the picture … I dumped my exercise.

Since the bust up, I developed a sweat ideology. I noticed an increase in moodiness, stress, inches, and preference for the couch instead of a walk around the block.

Also, I noted more difficulty in coming up with blog post ideas. When I sweat ideas formulate in my brain. As I walk, run, cycle or kick box my mind shuts out the immediate and the detail. My heart beat quickens with my pace and with each big-picture thought.

When my running shoes collect dust and my elliptical is still, ideas I feel at the fringe of being do not have the energy to come forth. They stay locked away. Sometimes they fade. Other times they just wait patiently for me to get out of my chair and step away from my laptop.

I Love Football

I love football. Nothing compares to the unmatched athleticism during local high school, Big Ten and NFL match-ups. Plus, memories near and far make each season. My favorites include:

Pumping fists and exchanging high-fives with Riff when the Detroit Lions make a touchdown. There have been many of these for two consecutive Sundays. Here’s to the Lions going 3-0 this afternoon! Are you with me?

Listening to Issa and Riff belt Louis Armstrong‘s, The Saints Go Marching In, at the start of Superbowl XLIV. Maybe we need to start memorizing Kid Rock‘s Born Free. It’s just a hunch. But, I think the Lions are contenders this year.

Spending sunny Saturdays at the Big House in Ann Arbor with my sister, Tina. Have you listened to Pop Evil’s In The Big House?

Taking road trips to rival territory to watch the Western Michigan University Bronco’s battle Eastern Michigan University and Central Michigan University. WMU spanked CMU last weekend, 44-14.

Tailgating prior to WMU and University of Michigan games.

Passing people up the bleachers — and sometimes cats — at WMU’s Waldo Stadium.

Drinking beer from shot glasses with my dad — when I was a wee lass — on football Sundays.

Mixing the Lions, family and turkey. That’s right. Every Thanksgiving, I watch the Lions battle it out for drumsticks while eating mixed nuts, drinking beer, partying with family and smelling turkey dinner. What else do you need?

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Healing From Loss

How do I help when the loss is so tragic; understand when the pain is beyond comprehension; comfort when the hurt is so deep; answer when there are none?

Death is tough. I have been touched — often and recently — from the passing of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, a sweet angel baby, and even a stuntman I didn’t know.

Tragedy happens. No one knows why. It calls upon me to find words — I am still looking for — to explain its finality to my children and to comfort those with closer proximity to the loss. But, there are times when words, explanations and answers allude me. There is just an empty abyss; a black hole; a void.

Here’s what I do know. Life on this planet is short. None of us know when our time will be done. Some of us continue on this life journey for decades. We learn, laugh, love, cry, scream, fight, hurt, heal, play, work, overcome, battle, travel, sleep, eat, watch, listen, talk, lead, follow, invent, investigate, judge, ignore, pray, give, take, share, begrudge, fornicate, nurture, care, grow, enlighten, guide, lie, pretend, run, cower, scam, cheat, etc., etc.

Others only join us for mere seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years. Then, their journey is complete. Why? No one knows. All I know is that I’m here along with my big beautiful family, friends and neighbors. Love is all around. I have my mind that thinks, creates, pushes; a heart that loves; a soul that cares; eyes that see good in others; ears that hear meaning in music and wisdom spoken with well-intended words; and senses that allow me to smell, taste and touch all things wonderful.

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Love to My Big Beautiful Family

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Live Your Dash

Fit Trail Interval Training

My view from Fit Trail start

The bright blue skies beckoned me. Scorching temperatures and increasing humidity did not deter me. Today, I began using the Fit Trail at Stony Creek Metro Park for the interval training portion of my summer fitness program. It includes 32 stations that blend a mix of exercises to improve balance, flexibility and strength. All of these stops are set against the natural surroundings of the park grounds, which include the beach, shady woodland trails, meadows and a six-mile, black-top trail.

This morning I spent time acquainting myself with the directional flow of the trail, the three trail options available to me and with the exercises at each of the stops. I brought my camera along to provide you with a visual of this beautiful park and the Fit Trail. But, as I began jogging the trail, I soon realized the photographs taken would also help me remember station order as well as exercises; and would be great motivation for those stops I thought to be above my current fitness level.

32 Fit Stations
Body-tuck challenge for another day in longer exercise shorts

Stony’s Fit Trail, which begins and ends at Eastwood Beach, offers three different trail or course options: short, middle and full. I love options. The short will be perfect for those sessions when time is tight, middle is what I did this morning, and full is a challenge for me to meet by the end of summer. Another bonus to the Fit Trail is the breeze off the lake and shade from all those gorgeous trees. This made training bearable today despite the dense heat.

Shady woodland trails

Until the snow flies, the Fit Trail is going to be my place for weekly interval training sessions. My home fitness center in the basement just doesn’t motivate me enough to get the job done. Summer in Michigan offers so many outdoor fitness options that are only feasible for such a short time.

My outdoor gym for the summer

What’s Your Take?

My interest in watching NBC’s Biggest Loser dwindled this year. While I still believe in the opportunity given to contestants on the show, I do feel the show has moved further away from the original message used to build its audience. During the season finale last night NBC announced and introduced — tennis star Anna Kournikova — as its replacement for Jillian Michaels next season.

Upon my read of quotes from NBC executives in this EW article, my suspicions are right on. Biggest Loser is moving away from its original purpose, which was to help people who have battled life-long weight management challenges transform lifestyles and to live better. While I have not battled significant weight management challenges, I do identify with some of the daily obstacles contestants face with achieving healthy living goals. Being a work-at-home parent, classroom volunteer and advocate for a local non-profit means inconsistent workout times, sporadic food diary entries, and less discipline with food choices.

The reason I felt a connection with Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels is that they have lived and talked about confronting these very same daily challenges. When they started out on this show they were not the celebrities they are today. I believe that their distance from fame enabled show viewers to take their advice more seriously; and to buy into their workouts at home. I have about five of their DVDs, which I still incorporate into my fitness regimen because the routines achieve results and are easy to follow.

In all fairness to Kournikova, she did appear to be genuine in the praise she offered to contestants from this season. Plus, I suspect she confronts many of the same real-life, healthy living challenges everyone else does. But, that’s not my perception of her. I have always seen Kournikova as a very beautiful, slim, athletic, successful celebrity. I’m willing to bet most viewers share this same opinion. For most women, achieving this media-induced body image is unrealistic and even unhealthy.

NBC says Biggest Loser is evolving to encourage “overall well-being and health” with Kournikova as a celebrity trainer. I am not buying it. This show is no longer about healthy living. NBC is saying very loudly that like all other shows, Biggest Loser is about scoring high viewer ratings, maintaining/attracting advertisers, and entertaining a certain targeted demographic.