Monday, January 31, 2011

5K Challenge - Day 2

So, still at it. Yesterday was Sunday and therefore my self-appointed "day of rest."

Today we went to the Y and I hit the treadmill. I decided to not take it easy on myself and after my five minute warm-up at a brisk walk, I pushed myself to 15 minutes of running at 4.6 (or about 1 mile every 17mins). Not exactly record-breaking, I know, but considering that I haven't really pushed myself with a cardio workout of serious proportions since my running class in college, and I am now over 30..... I'm very impressed with myself. I then walked at a brisk pace for 2 minutes (or until I quit sucking wind and the stitch in my side went away) then went right back to running at 4.6 for another 5 minutes. I used the last 3 minutes to cool down, and I ended up with 2.1 miles in 30 minutes. Now, to squeeze another mile in there by April..... I think I can do that.

If you are wondering why I always keep my cardio to approximately 30 minutes.... it's a courtesy rule at the Y. They like everyone to keep their workout to 30 minutes per machine to give everyone a chance to use the one they want. You can go over that if it is very empty, but it's Monday. Everyone was feeling guilty for eating junk over the weekend and gorging at the all-you-can-eat buffet after church, and therefore tonight it was far from empty! And for me, I want to be able to run the 5K in 30 minutes or less. So having the 30 minute block helps me gauge how well I am progressing toward my goal.

Tomorrow, cross-training. Yoga or pilates on the Wii....maybe some Just Dance.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 1

Warm-Up:  5:30 minutes on the bike for 1.54 miles
Treadmill:  10:00 minute run at 4.5 pace, 6:00 minute walk at 3.5 pace, 5:00 minute run at 4.5, 6:00 minute cool down for 2.0 total miles in 32:00 minutes

Actually felt pretty good. Didn't have to push myself until last minute of first run, so I have a lot more confidence in myself to be able to do the 5K in a pretty decent time.

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Year - Healthier Me

I've never had a problem with getting older like some women do. I don't mind telling people that I am 33 years old. After all, I don't really look it. Most of the time don't act it. And I certainly don't feel it. In my head I am still 25. But I wouldn't want to be 25 again.

Getting older has made me more comfortable in my own skin. I know more about myself now, and I actually like it. I've stopped worrying about my body and how it measures up to the "Hollywood" standard. My husband loves how I look, and that is all I need to know. I have stopped caring what number is on the clothes label and just get what looks good on me. (Notice how I didn't say I look good in? That's another trick I've learned. I wear the clothes. They don't wear me.)

This week I went to the doctor to get a physical. (all good so far, but don't have blood work back yet) I know that with my family history I need to be taking care of my heart, but since I quit cheering I have been a slacker. Preferring to sit and read a book to getting out and walking, I am not in shape. I have a good figure. My BMI is in the normal range (just barely). But as far as being able to keep up with my midgets.... not so much. I see people everyday at work running and lifting weights. Going to group exercise classes. And all of them able to run circles around me. So I am going to push myself out of my cushy comfort zone and get moving.

My challenge: running a 5K
Confession: I have never liked running. Dancing, yes. Cheering, yes. Fifteen-plus miles on a bike, cake walk. But I think it is the mental game of me versus the road (or treadmill) that has been difficult to beat. It is not a game. It is monotonous. It is never ending. But I am not entering this race to win. I am entering to force myself to get in shape. To prevent health issues down the road. To be able to keep up with my kids!

So there. I have put it out there. I now am going to be accountable to all of you. I am entering the Race to Nowhere at the Y in April.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chew on this:

A friend on Facebook had a link to this article that was posted online by Relevant Magazine: The Dangers of Emotional Pornography. It talks about how we have to be careful to not get sucked in by movies and shows that romanticize love and relationships. It references author Elizabeth Gilbert who discussed on NPR the proliferation of the "Soul Mate Complex" in Western culture that was reinforced by the now famous line from Jerry Maguire "You complete me." And the article also slams all fairy-tale princess stories because they give girls unrealistic expectations of a prince that will rescue them from all their troubles.

While I see and agree (to a point) with what the article is saying, I have some serious problems with the blindly thrown wet blanket on the entire romance / romantic-comedy genre.

Yes. Girls (and women) in general do love the emotional high from a romantic movie / show / book.
Yes. Girls in general do tend to hold boys to the unrealistic expectations set by said media.
Yes. Guys in general do feel the pressure to live up to these expectations.
Yes. Guys in general fight the "jealousy monster" when they think another guy is a better representation of that stereotype.

But are we really being fair to put all of the blame on Hollywood? Where are the parents of all these kids that are binging on romance without having real conversations with them about love and relationships in the real world? Why are they not starting these conversations when their kids are in elementary school and telling them that having a boyfriend or girlfriend is a waste of time at their age because the whole purpose of dating is to find the person that you want to marry? When did parents stop parenting? Maybe it was when we were seduced by the emoporn high ourselves.

I also do not agree with Elizabeth Gilbert that the "Soul Mate Complex" is a bad thing. If you think about it, all great partnerships (including marriages) are made up of two people who "complete" each other. One's weaknesses are balanced by their partner's strengths. We should be looking for the one person who brings out the best in us, who makes us complete. Now I know that the other side of this argument is the thought that we should raise our children to be complete in themselves through Christ, to be confident in who they are and not be dependent on someone else to fulfill them or make them feel whole. I totally agree!  What we have to realize is that these don't have to exist separately. You need to know who you are and be confident and comfortable in that knowledge before you can find the one person that complements your soul.

That takes me to the fairy-tale princess argument. This one can only be solved by purposeful parenting. Talk to your girls from a very young age about how and why this is fantasy. How a prince cannot save you from all of your troubles by riding in on a white horse and slaying the dragon. Why getting married doesn't equal happily ever after. You save yourself from your troubles through personal growth and trusting God. Happily ever after comes only through communication, compromise, and hard work. That doesn't mean we should ban fairy tales or squash the desire of our little girls to play dress-up. If we talk to them and help them understand the good and bad, fairy tale princess can teach them some very valuable lessons.

How many princesses do you see chasing after the prince? I can't think of any. In fact, Pocahontas and Mulan thought their "prince" was less than desirable at first and served as the hero in their Disney movies. (which are based on real events and people) We should teach our daughters that girls don't chase after boys. They have to come for us.

And while some of the more traditional princess stories have been overly romanticized, there are still great lessons to learn. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are put under a spell by the witch and are rescued by true love's kiss. How many tweens and teens are put under a spell by main stream media? Be the voice of true love in their life to fight the pressure of conformity.

Cinderella was oppressed by her step-mother and was rescued by the glass slipper. Or was she? She used her cunning, available resources and friends to escape her jail in order to shine the light of truth and proclaim that she was there and worth being seen. Hollywood tells girls they aren't good enough on their own. Tells them they need the glitz and glam. That they need to be flirtatious and seductive. But it is all a lie. We need to make sure our girls know that they are worth the wait, the struggle, the hard work. The boys should have to pursue the princess. During their journey they will become men.

I love the song Average Girl by the Christian band Barlow Girl. In it the sisters declare that they aren't like the average girl. They are giving up chasing boys and instead are waiting for their princes to come for them. I want my daughter to take up the declaration and not have to deal with the heartache and disappointment that comes from obsessing over boys and instead just wait for the frogs to turn into princes. This goes with the "soul mate complex" -- if you stop trying so hard to find the perfect man and work on yourself, become comfortable in your own skin, you will actually start to attract more of the type of man you want and need. Desperation only attracts predators and other desperate people. Confidence can only be handled by another mature and confident person.

(more songs I love on this topic are Song 4 Tricia (Princes and Frogs) and Wonder (if she'll get it) by Superchic[k]. Some YouTube videos of these songs are below.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Love -- it is complex, wonderful, painful, and always worth it.

My man and I were going through all our important papers the other day to figure out what we needed to put in our new fire safe. Aside from the dust bunnies we spooked (and the subsequent sneezing fit that ensued), I found and started looking through our old shoe box of love notes and letters from our five year courtship. The first thing I realized was that I was smitten, completely head-over-heels in love, with the boy who would become the man I married within the first few weeks of our relationship. The second thing I realized was that if the time-space continuum was ever tampered with and I had to relive that 5 years leading up to our wedding day, I would kill myself. They were necessary for personal growth and shaping who we are now, but my memory of that time had been romanticized over the years, and the times of pain and struggle were wiped away. I don't wish they had never happened, but I have no desire to relive them. Ever.

In reading through the journey we traveled, I was reminded of a poem I read and clung to during year four, my freshman year of college (without question the toughest year of them all). I share it here with you and give some new insights that have come with time and age.

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
by John Donne

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
The breath goes now, and some say, No;

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we, by a love so much refined
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion.
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.

And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

valediction: (noun) an act of bidding farewell or taking leave
Whether separated by distance because of travel; or time because of death; or spirit because of doubt or loss of trust, lovers often have to experience a valediction, and in doing so throw themselves in the refiner's fire to be tested, purified and stretched.

But like a compass, they are joined at the very middle, at the soul, and as such can never truly be separated. For while one may wander, the other is a fixed point that doesn't waver and brings its mate back around to where it began, home. And there too lies the heart and truth of any committed long-term relationship. If you can step away and view it from a different perspective, an overview of the thing in its entirety, you will see that each partner at one point or another trades roles playing the fixed foot or the wanderer / explorer / wayfarer.

The journey may be one of self-discovery, or it could be fueled by anger or guilt. But the most important things to cling to during these times of leaning / stretching / hearkening are trust and hope. Trust that your partner is remaining faithful to you and hope that they will indeed return. In the midst of the stretching that will seem like a big thing to ask of the fixed mark, but really it is no different than what we must do every day. Every morning we kiss our love goodbye as they walk out into the world. Every night we anticipate their return. But you can never know for sure when or if they will walk back through that door.

My biggest reward for pushing through the difficult moments, for trusting and clinging to hope is this: the moment, the long anticipated time in each day when I see that my love has found his way home. My heart still skips a beat when I hear his truck coming up the driveway. My heart melts when I see the joy in his eyes when he realizes I am the one who has walked into his office. I still want to run into his arms when I hear his voice call my name. I find myself sneaking moments to stare at him; drink in my favorite parts of him; wonder what he is thinking.

Yes, I am still smitten. Totally. Completely. Passionately.