These Boots Are Made For Hiking…

I’m the poster child for late bloomers…but I like to think of myself as a perennial. I go through cycles of blooming and live to bloom another day. I bloomed a couple of years ago with my long-distance running. That’s not to say I won any awards (ok, ok, I did come in second in a small 10k), but I did run four half-marathons and live to tell the tale.

My latest blooming, or rather struggling to dig my roots in and raise my leaves to the sun, is to go back to school at night for a masters in environmental science. If I were going to college now, I would pick it as an undergraduate, but back when I went to college it really wasn’t an option. No worries…I believe in reinventing myself at every age.

I started my new degree a little over a year ago. I took a groundwater modeling class just because it was the only class offered in my degree. Last Fall, I took a course in restoration ecology and fulfilled one of two prerequisites, geology. Now I’m taking environmental communications and environmental chemistry. It’s more of a struggle than I would like to admit…

In all of this, though, is a wonderful adventure…the other prerequisite that I need is a field course. So, I’m going to Iceland. Yes, pity poor me, I “have” to go to Iceland! I will study the geology of volcanoes and glaciers in the place where the earth is visibly tearing apart. I will hike up volcanoes, ford streams, swim in geothermal pools, and sketch land forms into a notebook as the wind and sleet assail me.

The first thing I’ve done to prepare myself physically, is to buy my first pair of hiking boots. Off I went to REI…I joined the team as a member…which means $20 to be used to support local trail systems. I bought my first pair of hiking boots, and a pair of water shoes…for those times when I need to ford a stream. I bought hiking socks too. My premise is that if my feet are happy, I will do well.

IMG_0043

Back home, I put on my socks and boots and went for a “hike” around the neighborhood to break in my boots. Three miles later, I felt as if I’d made little progress in breaking in my boots. The next morning, however, I felt differently. I had shin splints. My calves, and various and sundry other muscles, were inexplicably sore. I had expected to get blisters as part of the breaking-in process, but apparently it wasn’t really the boots that needed to “break in”, but my own body that needs to prepare for my trip.

I woke up sore today, but after work I put my hiking boots on and headed out for a walk. This time I only went two miles, but I felt as if I were wearing ski boots. Each step felt heavy and filled with import.

Now my boots are five miles into breaking in…and so is my body! I can easily walk, or even run a few miles with no negative effects, but hiking must be a different experience all together. Good thing I am starting two months in advance to prepare my body for my next, big adventure!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and never stop finding new journeys!

 

Advertisements

The Courage to Start Over Again

I find myself “back at square one” when it comes to my fitness goals. After a year of limited ability to exercise, followed by surgery, followed by recovery, I find myself with the ok to exercise from my doctor and no motivation to do so. I did go out one day and I ran three miles. I felt as if it were a half-marathon and that I was under-prepared. I was sore for four days afterward. Apparently I’m not ready for that and need to start slower.

Dejected and unmotivated, I decided to re-read my blog to see how I was able to get started the last time. Not only did I find my initial posts motivational, I found that I have left a record that, if not beneficial to anyone else, is a goldmine for me.  I struggled just as much back then just to get started walking on my treadmill. The difference is that I know just how far I got from that humble start. I need to do it again, and I need to find the courage to do it. I think I just did.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling that I already did this and shouldn’t have to do it again (the “poor me” trap), or the trap of thinking that I am just not the fitness “type”, or the trap that it just doesn’t matter. I do have to do it all again, but hopefully this time I will learn from past lessons and not get discouraged or take too many false steps.

I am the fitness type, because I’ve been fit and I loved it. I learned this late in life, not having been much of an athlete as a child. I learned that strength training makes me more stable…more graceful (I was never a graceful child). Running, eventually, makes me feel healthy and energized…at least the shorter runs do. The longer runs make me feel powerful in a whole different way…conquering my fears and proving to myself that I can do it.

It does matter. Being fit and healthy is a gift that only I can give myself and one that will extend my life and enhance my quality of life as I get older. It matters because it makes me better at all I do, provides me with endurance, energy, and perspective. It gives me confidence. I was getting used to the words, “I am a long-distance runner”, now I’ve removed all my “13.1” magnets from my car because they made me feel like a fraud. I earned them with blood (not much), sweat (a whole lot), and a few tears.

It won’t be easy, but what worthwhile goal ever is? I have new commitments that will make it harder for me to find time for fitness, but I’m used to scheduling challenges. I have my own, personal record of how to get to my goals, and I will…

Find the Joy in the Journey!

I Signed Up For This…What Is Wrong With Me?

I have three children, but two are theoretically “grown”. Now it’s mostly me and my baby…uh, I mean high-schooler. She’s always been extremely active, an extrovert, an athlete, and a joiner. Last year she played summer-league softball and played on an American Youth Basketball Tour (AYBT) team. I about died…

Therefore, this year, I made her pick between softball and basketball…after all, she’d played both in their normal seasons and this was just extra. She picked basketball, her favorite sport. Last year, her CYO program couldn’t field a softball team, so I felt compelled to put her in the summer league. She loves basketball, so I also let her join AYBT…This year, however, she could play spring softball and when I made her choose, she chose basketball. Then her softball coach e-mailed me…

So, this weekend was the confluence of three teams…play-offs for CYO softball, first AYBT tournament, first scrimmage for summer softball. On the schedule were 2 softball games, 5 basketball games, 2 softball practices, and one basketball practice. You can imagine a lot of overlap. So, on top of helping her prioritize, I faced an entire weekend of driving, sports, and no personal time.

Fortunately, a few of us parents have joined forces. The first weekend was a success. I had a conflict on Saturday morning and couldn’t take my daughter to her playoff game. No problem! Another parent picked her up and I joined them later and watched the last half of the game. Unfortunately they lost, but my daughter wouldn’t have been able to play any more playoff games because she’s going on a school trip starting on Monday. We drove home and had some lunch, then she was picked up again for the first two games in her basketball tournament.

I tried to take advantage of my free time, and I did make it to the gym to do both my upper and lower body workouts. Other than that, though, I didn’t really do a whole lot. It dawned on me that just having down time was essential to my well-being. On Sunday morning, it was my turn to get the girls to the AYBT tournament, so I picked them up and drove for almost an hour to the “local” high school hosting this weekend’s event. I stayed and watched them play their third and fourth games. Unfortunately they lost all of their games, but they did play very well and the games were very close, including overtime in the fourth game.

At that point, another family arrived to relieve me and I drove home alone. I was ready for a six-mile run and set off in the sunshine. It was a little tougher going than I’d anticipated. I was about a mile from home when I gave out and walked the rest of the way. Later I learned it had been ninety degrees out. I hadn’t brought any water with me and the heat and dehydration had done me in.

Back home, I found my daughter ready for her scrimmage, so I drove her over and dropped her off before returning for a shower. Tired but refreshed, I headed back to the ball field to watch her team play for the first time this season. I pulled out a book and read while they played, putting it down when my daughter was up at bat.

I survived the first weekend, so there is hope for the next two months of nearly non-stop practices and games.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy in joining together with others to accomplish your goals!

Half-Marathon Training–Week Six: The Battle Between Psyched and Psyched-Out

Ever since limping home last Saturday after my 8-mile training run, I’ve worried about this week’s 9-mile run. Can I do it? Should I do it? Do I want to do it? All week I was plagued by worries. I knew that I would do it, because psyching myself out of even starting would be self-defeating and I’m not into that any more.

Around the 7-mile mark last week, I started to get some aches and pains. My thighs were sore from rubbing together and I started to get a stitch in my right side. When I got home and took my shoes off, some of the skin near my big toes was rubbing off. I looked up these problems online and found some good advice.

For chafed thighs, I needed to wear compression shorts or running tights. It’s August and tights, even my light ones, are just too warm for summer. I’ve been running in skorts because shorts ride up on my thighs and the shorts under the skirt were pretty tight…they rode up anyway. At least the skirt hid that unsightliness. The next day I went to Target and looked for knee-length running tights. At first all I could find were skorts with built-in knee-length tights…not a look I like. Finally, I found one black pair and a grey and blue pair of knee-length running tights to add to my fitness wardrobe.

For the stitch, I learned that there can be multiple causes, like having eaten too recently, bending over at the waist, and breathing too shallowly. For me, it was that final ascent from the river and a certain level of exhaustion that had me leaning over at the waist and breathing too shallowly. As for the blisters, I decided to just keep using the socks and shoes I’ve got, since the skin healed so easily I thought maybe that was a one-time thing.

I was rested, hydrated, and fueled…as ready as I could be for the run. I’d even downloaded 15 more songs to get me to close to two hours of music to keep me motivated. I could procrastinate no more and left the house a little after 10 a.m. Once I got to the park and started my run, I felt silly for worrying so much. With each mile, I reassured myself that I’d done this before. The new tunes added to my motivation. The very first song was Let’s Get It Started by The Black Eyed Peas…Indeed!

I ran four miles, to where I’d turned around the week before, and crossed the street hitting it just as the cross-walk turned green. I entered the part of the county park system where they close the road to traffic on Saturdays to encourage runners, cyclists, walkers, and families to enjoy the park without worrying about traffic. I knew to expect this half-mile to seem like a mile or more and it didn’t disappoint. I got so far that I was really wondering if I’d missed the marker or if it had been removed. The song Maniac by Michael Sembello came on just then and I did indeed wonder if I were crazy to train for a half-marathon…but just then, I rounded a bend and saw the marker in the distance.

I ran the mile and a half back to my old six-mile trail, which meant I’d just run six miles with three to go. I ran into the familiar woods and across another bridge over the river, dreading the steep incline ahead. Just then, Jump by Van Halen came on, reminding me that nothing could get me down. At the seven-mile mark, I checked my watch…1:37:38. I was disappointed. To run the nine miles at my “usual” pace of 11 minutes per mile, I should have been done in another minute and a half and instead had two more miles to go.

I got to the eight mile mark with sore hips, knees, and feet, but otherwise fine. As I made the final ascent from the last crossing of the river, I was very careful to hold my spine straight and bend at the ankles, not the waist. I took slow, deep breaths and kept any stitches at bay. When I finally got to my finish line, my watch said 1:50:35. Not exactly as fast as I’d have liked, but I reminded myself that at this juncture, it was all about adding distance and I had done it…run 9 miles without stopping!

Find the Joy in the Journey…I am SO thankful that next weekend I run a 10k race (my first) and get a week off from adding distance!

Related Posts:

Half-Marathon Training–Week One: Slow Going

Half-Marathon Training–Week Two: Hammered by Humidity

Half-Marathon Training–Week Three: Back In The Running

Half-Marathon Training–Week Four: Questioning My Sanity

Half-Marathon Training–Week Five: Pushing My Limits

Half-Marathon Training–Week Seven: My First 10k Race

Half-Marathon Training–Week Eight: Tweaking Breakfast

Half-Marathon Training–Week Nine: My Second 10k

Half-Marathon Training–Week Ten: Running With A Buddy

Half-Marathon Training–Week Eleven: My Longest Run

Half-Marathon Training–Week Twelve: This Is It

My First Half-Marathon–Women Run The D

Half-Marathon Training–Week Three: Back in the Running

I’ve been struggling for the past three weeks with my running. I started the Hal Higdon Novice 2 Half-Marathon Training, 12 weeks in front of a half-marathon race. I had been running 6 miles, three times a week. I always rested at least a day between runs. I am not a fast runner, but I’ve been comfortable with my 11-minute per mile pace, slightly faster during a race.

I started out the program three weeks ago and it starts out with three-mile runs. The entire 12-week schedule is shorter runs Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and increasing longer runs on Saturdays. Even though my weekly mileage was cut back from 18 miles to just 13 the first week, 14 miles the second week, and 16 miles this last week…I was running slower than I have since I lost weight last fall. We’re talking 12 and 13 minutes a mile.

The recent heat and humidity were surely contributing to my slow-down, but I think that running more days and consecutive days played a part too. I’m definitely building up more leg muscle despite the shorter runs. Unfortunately, my left hip also started to get really sore during my runs.

I’m still going to the chiropractor for an old shoulder pain, so I told her about my hip and sure enough, I’d knocked a couple of lower back bones out of place. She nudged them back into place and taught me a nice stretch to prevent my muscles from tightening up and messing with my spine. Between the chiropractic adjustments and lots of stretching, it’s starting to get better.

Finally, after days and days of thunderstorms where the weatherman said that the next one would knock out the heat and humidity, it was finally a bit cooler and less humid this morning. I set out for a six-mile run, telling myself that this is what I was doing before I started the training, so no big deal. I dreaded plodding along at a slower pace and hoped it would be easier. I set my chrono watch and turned on my iPod and took off.

After the first mile, I was doing well…running under 11 minutes. I forgot to check again until mile 4 and saw 43 minutes and some seconds. I was doing it! I was back to my regular pace! After five miles, I was exhilarated and kept up my speed to the end. I was anxious to know my time and accidentally grabbed the watch from two corners, pushing two buttons at once. LAP and SPLIT flashed back and forth over and over again as I frantically hit button after button. Finally, I got to the time, still running and it was 1:05:57…so no matter what, I beat 11 minutes per mile. I’m BACK!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the joy in knowing that perseverance is the key to success!

Related Posts:

Half-Marathon Training–Week One: Slow Going

Half-Marathon Training–Week Two: Hammered by Humidity

Half-Marathon Training–Week Four: Questioning My Sanity

Half-Marathon Training–Week Five: Pushing My Limits

Half-Marathon Training–Week Six: The Battle Between Psyched and Psyched-Out

Half-Marathon Training–Week Seven: My First 10k Race

Half-Marathon Training–Week Eight: Tweaking Breakfast

Half-Marathon Training–Week Nine: My Second 10k

Half-Marathon Training–Week Ten: Running With A Buddy

Half-Marathon Training–Week Eleven: My Longest Run

Half-Marathon Training–Week Twelve: This Is It

My First Half-Marathon–Women Run The D

Running on Empty–Redux

As I make the transition from running 3 miles three times a week to running 6 miles three times a week, I find myself constantly exhausted. I know that my body will adjust and then I’ll be fine, or at least I hope so! I’ve considered cutting back my weekday runs to 3 or 4 miles, mostly to save time, but then it seems like too much trouble to create more running routes so I just run my 6-mile route.

Thinking back to when I transitioned from the Couch-to-5k program to actually running 5k three times a week, I recall it being a rough time. Having written about my journey, all I had to do was review my old posts to look for some inspiration, or at least proof that I could get through it successfully. I’ve given myself fresh reminders that I have run in the rain, run at 9000 feet of elevation, run at 5 a.m. on a treadmill in a darkened fitness room at an airport hotel in Mexico City. I’ve run through snide looks and comments when I was my slowest and heaviest. I’ve run when I didn’t feel like it. I ran on the treadmill through the winter, watching French-language movies for distraction. I’ve persevered. I’ve surpassed my own ambitions.

So, I know I can keep this up…at least through the summer. Summer provides so much daylight that I have time to run 6 miles before work…if I get up early enough. I could even run it after work if I didn’t have to worry about my daughter’s basketball and softball games. But come fall, the days will shorten and I’ll need a different plan. Meanwhile, I really should take advantage of the daylight to move my goals forward.

One elusive goal is to lose 50-60 pounds…weight I mostly gained in my forties and want to leave behind. I’ve lost close to 30, so I’ve made it half-way. After nearly 6 months of no weight loss, it’s time to pick it up. Looking back at my older posts, I know what I did to lose the weight and I know I can do it again. It’s a pretty simple formula, if a difficult task.

First and foremost, I need to watch what I eat and cut back on calories. Spring has been party season with weddings, graduations, and many opportunities for over-eating. I’ve got one more wedding weekend to go, and then I need to buckle down. Second, I need to increase my exercise. I’ve already done that by doubling my running, but the last time I lost weight, I made sure to walk, swim, or fence on my non-running days. Now that I’ve built up my mileage, it’s time to think about my off days. Third, I need to get back to tracking. My Fitbit One does track my steps and stairs, and (when I remember) my sleep habits, but I haven’t even looked at all the data that has accumulated.

Today, a co-worker and fellow runner, told me I should be training for the city’s half-marathon in October. I was flabbergasted. I’ve only just succeeded in doubling my distance from three to six miles…a half would mean more than doubling what I can barely do now. But, deep inside, I know she’s right. I COULD train for a half and complete it in October. Hmm…It is amazing how much confidence I’ve gained through my running.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the inspiration all around!

Related Post:

Couch Potato to Runner–Running on Empty

The Return of the Sniffles and Sneezes

Mornings, evenings, and weekends when I gather with my kids, I hear a lot of sniffling and sneezing and some of it is coming from me. This spring allergy season hit me pretty hard, but I’m managing with a daily allergy pill and occasional decongestants. I’m watching my kids closely, and they all have symptoms. My youngest, a very stubborn gal, insists she just has a bad cold…but I am not fooled. Allergies run in our family and without intervention, lead to ear and/or sinus infections. The older two are proactively taking an allergy medicine, but the youngest tried for one day and declared that it didn’t help.

Last summer, in between the spring and fall allergy seasons, I stopped getting my allergy shots. I had gone off of my anti-histamine prescription the prior year and was working my way towards a “cure” from allergies. I can’t say that I am cured, but I am better than before I went on the shots, over 17 years ago.

I managed fairly well through the fall allergy season, but this spring has been a doozy! News reports everywhere declare it the worst allergy season on record. Earlier springs have led to longer allergy seasons, and therefore more misery. I don’t regret going off of my immunotherapy, and most of the year I am fine, with symptoms only when I eat certain foods.

I know my food-triggers, which cause respiratory allergy symptoms in me, so I’m pretty careful to stay away from them. Some are hidden in many foods, barley being the worst as the surprising secret ingredient in processed breads these days. It boosts the fiber content without changing the color or texture of the bread…the infamous “whole grain white bread”. Every once in a while I’m surprised to find a new food allergy, most recently red grapes.

This year I was going to take up the job of mowing the lawn, but a broken mower and a rampant allergy season led me to hire a service. I was surprised to find it very affordable, so now I will close the doors and windows to grass and tree allergens. I’ve saved enough money in medical costs to pay for seasonal lawn service, a hidden bonus. Too bad it’s not enough to cover a housecleaning service too!

In my quest for a healthier lifestyle, reducing my dependence on medications and immunotherapy has been mostly successful. I know that getting into running and a more active lifestyle is also great for my health and will reduce the need for medications in the future. If I stay fit, I’ll be much less likely to need drugs for cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and a number of other problems that are aggravated by poor diets and being overweight and underactive. I thought that this part of my journey would be too hard, but I’ve found that anything is doable if I take it one step at a time.

Find the Joy in the Journey…take that first step, then take the next, and keep on moving until you accomplish your goals!

Related Posts:

No More Allergy Shots!

 Withdrawal or Kicking the Anti-Histamine Habit

My Health Experiment Fail—Next Time, Just Give Me Drugs!

Hay Fever–Day 285 With No Anti-Histamines

I Am Not A Meth Queen…Now Give Me My Little Red Pills!

Feet First Into The Water

Last Sunday I planned to add a weekly swim to my exercise repertoire, but as I wrote in Power Outage Trumps Swimming Plans, it didn’t work out as planned. Today I planned to be at the gym at 8 a.m. when the doors opened. Procrastination is one of my nemeses, and what with playing computer games with friends, the Sunday paper, and other easy diversions, it was 8:30 before I knew it! I jumped into action mode and donned my swimsuit, grabbed my gym bag, and hopped in the car. By 8:50, I was dropping, feet first, into the pool.

As I first purveyed the three lanes, each with a swimmer, I chose the middle lane. The swimmer in the middle lane was gliding smoothly through the water and I figured him for a former swim-team member; someone who knew proper swim practice etiquette. Sure enough, when he got to the far end of the lane, he executed a neat flip-turn.

Once in the water, I had to deal with the swimmer on one side who chopped through the water like a buzz-saw, flinging water up into the air, sometimes up to 15 feet and then down into my face. Fortunately, after only a couple of laps, the woman in the lane on the other side, signaled that she was leaving. I swam alone for about 2 minutes when a man joined my lane, saying “good morning” on our first passing. He wasn’t much of a swimmer, but at least he didn’t splash! Finally the man in the middle finished-up and I switched back to the middle to swim alone…I figured it was worth being next to the splasher to have my own lane.

I swam alone for the rest of my time, in my swim-zone. I love swimming, always have. I took my first lesson at 3 years old and by 5 or 6 passed the test to swim in the Olympic-sized pool that we simply referred to as the “big pool”. I swam on the swim team for a few years starting when I was 10. I took every single American Red Cross swimming class offered and wanted to be a lifeguard. I was so far ahead, however, that I’d taken every class offered including Swimmers, learning every stroke ever invented, and Swimmers Aid, aiding swim instructors with the little ones, and I was still a year or two too young to take advanced life saving. By the time I was old enough to take advanced life saving, I’d tired of classes and had a land-based job.

Growing up, I had to have my glasses to see. I’d bring them into the pool area and put them in a case by my towel. When I was 13, I got contact lenses and I let that get in the way of my swimming. I was self-conscious about my glasses, and would bring my contacts case into the pool area and remove my lenses before going in the pool. This got to be too awkward and I found myself going to the pool less and less. It wasn’t until I was 39 that I had Lasik and no longer needed contacts or glasses. Now I’m ready to take advantage of it!

So, this week I fought down my fears and insecurities, including wearing a bathing suit in public, changing in a public locker room, and swimming with strangers. I swam the breaststroke for a full hour, which I very well may regret in the morning. I challenged muscles all over my body, including many that don’t get a work-out at all with running and fencing.

Find the Joy in the Journey…face-down your fears and rediscover the things you love!

Power Outage Trumps Swimming Plans

My latest attempt at diversifying my exercise routine, is to swim once a week. I chose Sunday mornings when the gym opens as the likeliest time to find an open lane. So, with my new swimsuit and my aging gym membership, I was thinking I’d get there around 5:15 a.m. on Sunday. I hadn’t bothered to check the schedule…

Then my cousin called me as she was driving to my state for her grandmother’s 90th birthday. We decided to get together for breakfast on Sunday at 9. I thought this was perfect! Then I checked the schedule at the gym and determined that they were open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. Huh. Seems counter intuitive to me to have such a reduced schedule on weekends when people actually have time to work out…the rest of the week they are open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

No problem, I thought. We’d meet up near her grandma’s place, about a 40 minute drive for me, and then I’d catch the gym in the early afternoon. When I got back home, I tried to figure out when the gym would be busy on a Sunday and what was my best shot at getting an open lane in a three-lane pool. When I was done procrastinating, I donned my new swimsuit and looked for my gym bag and lock. Hmm…nowhere to be found. I was sure it was in my closet, but it wasn’t visible. I looked all over the house and finally found it in my closet. It was covered with a year’s worth of dust.DSCN3509

My next problem was finding a lock. I was sure I’d seen a combination lock in the house recently…most likely mine. No luck. But when I found my gym bag (replete with two expired gym membership ID’s, one from when my 17 year old daughter was a newborn) there was a keyed lock. Next, I tried to figure out how to take the key with me to the pool.

When I was a young girl, swimming at the local rec center in the summers, I would put my clothes into a tomato basket and exchange it for a tag on a big piece of elastic. The elastic would go around my ankle like an ankle bracelet and off I’d go for an afternoon of swimming, knowing my clothes, and the dime for a Moon Pie, were safe. Thinking along those lines, I grabbed a couple of rubber bands. I could attach the key to one and figured I’d hang it on the hook under my towel in the pool area.

Fighting my natural inclination to procrastinate, I grabbed my gym bag and jumped into the car. I drove to the gym and was relieved, at first, to see no cars parked in front of the gym.  Apparently I had chosen the perfect time! Then I realized, there were NO cars parked in front of the gym…and there were papers posted on all of the doors to the gym. Hmm. It turned out that the gym had no power and was closed.

I was thwarted at my attempt to add a day of swimming to my routine this week. I’m going to try to fit a swim in during the week, but it’s tough with work and drop-off/pickup with my younger daughter’s schedule. If all else fails, there is next Sunday at 8 a.m.!

Find the Joy in the Journey…even if the journey proves circuitous!

Drop A Dress Size: Weights And Measures

The other day I was despairing that I’d hit a weight-loss plateau which I wrote about in, The Horrible, Awful, Weight-Loss Plateau That Wasn’t. Five days later, it’s starting to look more and more like a plateau, but I am not despairing any more. A thoughtful reader pointed out that maybe I am putting on muscle; adding lean mass while I’m still losing fat. I was hopeful that this was the case, but didn’t know how I could really tell.

I weigh myself every day, which I do find helpful, if a bit obsessive. (I did state right at the beginning in Time To Drop A Few Dress Sizes, that the only way I lose weight is to be obsessed about it, so my readers were fairly warned!) I also take a few measurements every four weeks, and it turned out that this was one of those weeks. Even though I’ve only lost a net of 2 pounds in the last four weeks (both in the first of those four weeks), I have lost inches. I went back and plotted my measurements (I use Spark People, so it does the plotting for me) and saw that my measurements are coming down whether I am losing weight or not. Wonder of wonders, I am getting more muscular and less fat…the scale just isn’t the right instrument to tell me this.

Even so, I know I’ve been slacking off and need to re-motivate myself. The doldrums of winter have set in and my energy level has dropped. Recent family events have sapped my energy as well. While my son was home recently for surgery, I found myself making more substantial evening meals too. So, things are getting back to normal and my son is back at school. Fencing is starting to kick in as a fun way to get some exercise once a week, but I was looking for something else new.Swimsuit

As I drove home from taking my son back to school, I decided to stop at Costco. It’s enough out of my normal way that I rarely go, and this seemed like a great opportunity. While I was picking up some staples and something for dinner, I passed a stack of bathing suits. I stopped and went back and looked at the suits. They were $19.99 Speedo’s…I saw similar suits at a sporting goods store for $79.99…so this was a bargain! I love to swim and I even belong to a gym with a pool. I’ve lost enough weight that I know my bathing suit doesn’t fit me anymore, so an idea was born. I would buy this suit and find one day a week to go swimming.

I joined the gym almost a year ago and I’ve gone exactly two times…almost a year ago. Both times I went to swim. I can be quite the procrastinator, but this time I am going to be smart about it. With my younger daughter’s drop-off and pick-up schedule, not to mention all of her extra-curricular activities, it would be a struggle not worth having to get to the gym during the week. Besides, it’s really crowded right before and after work. So, I will scout out the quietest time in the pool, probably early on Sunday, and make that my swimming time.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and don’t be afraid to take a detour once in a while!