Six Sentence Monday: Entry #11

What is beauty? I cannot answer that. Everyone looks at the world with their own eyes. Each views people, places, and things from a perspective of personal experiences, history and media influences. What is beauty to me? A Beautiful Me®, a 501c3 charitable organization that fosters girls’ self-esteem, is at the top of my list.

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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.

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 …

Nine Ways I Diffuse Stress

It must be that time of year. School is out in 46 days. The social calendar for May, June and beyond is filling quickly. There is little time to accomplish all those “to-d0s”; and just when I cross one off the list another quickly takes its place. So, this morning, I was thinking about ways I could rid myself of all the stress threatening to turn me into a snarly witch.

Here’s what works for me. What about you? Maybe you have some strategies I could try.

1. Clean house/household chores/yard work. For some reason any of these work wonders to diffuse volatile emotions. In addition to gaining a clean home and beautiful landscaping, the sense of accomplishment helps flush out all that unproductive negativity.

2. Hair therapy. Sometimes 30 minutes in the chair with my hair stylist at the helm is all I need. It also helps that she often has a hot, foo-foo, cup of coffee at the ready as well as a pretty impressive list of books she recommends reading.

3. Walk the dog or myself. Add the benefit of warm temps., sunshine and my favorite MP3 selections; and this is my surefire way of coping with challenging tasks.

4. Music. When I run errands or take self-imposed timeouts, I crank up my favorite tunes. My selections depend upon many variables such as the weather, time of year, and mood.

5. Cardio exercise. Nothing removes stress from my pores like an outdoor run at a local park, interval training with Bob Harper DVDs, or striving to beat my best elliptical times.

6. Shoe therapy. I tried this Sunday at DSW after my two angels broke world-records for five days of off-the-charts meltdowns. This maneuver earned me a couple pairs of sandals and a pair of boots for next fall/winter. Ooh la la!

7. Writing. When I write out my feelings, I am much more able to communicate with loved ones about issues that need resolution. Taking this step enables me to think before I speak, which saves me from saying words I will regret in the future.

8. Date nights with my girlfriends. There is nothing like spending a couple hours with girlfriends who are experiencing similar situations with their own partners, children, families, etc. These nights out offer a chance to feel less alone and to obtain suggestions for how to better manage challenges we all face.

9. Laughter. Looking at challenging, stressful situations with a sense of humor makes all the difference. If nothing else, life makes for some great storytelling.

Related previous posts  at kateschannel …

Seven Silent Monsters

Life on Friday: A Snarl Unleashed

Defiance Test

 

A Season of Beauty, Growth and Meaning

Simple things delight. An example would be drinking a steaming cup of coffee mixed with just the right amount of half-and-half and sugar. When combined with some quiet minutes to write a blog post or journal entry that simple joy is made even grander. Add the bonus of watching the brilliant sun dazzle against a clear, blue morning sky; and grander morphs into a forward-thinking mindset about what the rest of the day will bring. Possibilities are infinite; nothing is untouchable.

One week ago, I struggled to overcome my first sinus infection. Today, I am nearly recovered and am able to keep pace with my spirited family, which includes my daughter, Issa (9) and my son, Riff (5). Until this illness, I was able to perform daily tasks independently — without outside aid. The sinus infection taught me it’s okay to ask for — or even demand — help when it’s physically impossible. My body was telling me what it needed to function at its best. I listened. The result: acknowledgement that help is available. One just needs to ask for it; and one needs to be clear about what is needed.

Spring arrived early near the “D”. My daffodils bloomed nearly one month ago and treated me to a brilliant display of cheery yellow until last week. Along with the arrival of so many natural wonders this season, my daughter, Issa, is making her First Communion in three weeks. Since January, we have been studying and preparing for this significant milestone. This opportunity to watch and guide Issa in her spiritual development was a journey rich with reflection, self-exploration and discovery. I am proud of her willingness to learn more about God, Jesus and living as a disciple.

On Thursday I will have my blogroll updated to give you easier access to all the wonderful writers and thinkers I have the pleasure of reading. Their wisdom and willingness to share their perspective with myself and others is a true gift.

Have a great Tuesday wherever you are.

Out Sick and Freaky Friday 13th

I did not ditch you. This week, I believe I contracted a very vicious sinus infection. It was my first one. So, I didn’t realize the nastiness I was in for until yesterday. We are slugging it out as I type. It will not win. I have drugs, faith, and nothing else creative to say. So, when I recover I will share more about my Freaky Friday 13th weekend.

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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Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago, I waited. The medicine the doctor gave to induce labor had started to work. I was told, it could take hours or even days before I would meet my baby. I was about to become a mom for the first time.

Up until the previous day, my pregnancy had been a breeze. I felt good, could eat anything and still maintained a fairly active lifestyle. But, at 38 weeks and at my weekly OB check, my blood pressure was way up and there was protein in my urine. My doctor directed me to the hospital. While I felt a slight twinge of fear, I was optimistic. Surely, the hospital staff would check me out and send me home.

Upon my arrival at the mom/baby unit at the hospital, a nurse promptly informed me of my situation. I had developed pregnancy-induced hypertension (i.e. pre-eclampsia or toxemia). Symptoms included high blood pressure, protein in urine and swelling due to water/fluid retention. I would not be leaving the hospital until after I delivered my baby.

While my ordeal with toxemia was scary, my husband who also served as my delivery coach, kept worry out of my mind. He helped me focus on breathing through labor pains, staying still while receiving the epidural, and enjoying the first few moments of my daughter’s life.

When I delivered my beautiful, baby girl, Issa, she was incredibly sweet, just like she is today. I was thrilled to be mom to this little angel who continues to  grow into a smart young lady who loves her family, friends, planet, snakes, roller coasters and the solar system.

Recovery from toxemia took longer than I expected. I suppose I really didn’t appreciate how sick I was. Prior to this experience, the only illnesses I ever experienced were brushes with common ailments such as the flu. This experience taught me to count my blessings: family, health, faith, and a positive outlook.

Isn’t it interesting how the birth of a child can teach us so much about ourselves and about the world?

Happy Birthday to my Issa!

Cards Wanted for Boy with Leukemia

This young man attends school with my daughter, Issa. While we don’t know him personally, a number of my neighbors do. One of them provides him with home physical therapy services.

Cards Wanted for Boy with Leukemia.