safe_glass

Censorship

I open my fingers and the shards fall, spraying geometric patterns of glass onto the tile. I use the heel of my boot to crush them into sand: insignificant. Worthless.

Using tweezers, I manipulate the remaining dregs, like tiny teeth, out of my palm and the pads of my fingers. Soothing, comforting blood runs like raindrops on a windshield, cleaning the wounds, letting them heal.

Finally, I vacuum the insignificant, ground remnants from the floor, and they are unable to inflict pain anymore.

Another Sunday Workout

What an inventive title! Anyway, I just finished another wonderful Sunday strength training session and wanted to share it here with you.

For this workout, you will need two dumbbells (preferably 10lbs or more), some sort of chair, box or step, and roughly 33 minutes of your time.

Do 3 rounds of the following:
– 10 incline pushups (if you’re in good shape, skip the incline but either way make sure your chest goes all the way to the surface you’re on)
– 10 squat presses (change your foot position for each round)
– 10 mountain climbers (each side, for 20 total)
– 10 bent-over rows
– 10 chest fly hand-offs (each side, for 20 total): lay on the floor and fly one hand at a time, handing off the dumbbell when you get to the top
– 10 overhead triceps extensions
– 10 half-kneeling curls (each side, for 20 total): alternate the knee you’re kneeling on and keep the other thigh parallel to the floor
– 1 minute plank
– 10 reverse woodchops (each side, for 20 total)
– 10 side step-ups (each side, for 20 total)

The majority of these exercises are supposedly really great for women and can help strengthen your back. Have fun!

World’s Worst Runner

I’ve had an interesting time in my young running career.

For starters, I didn’t run when I lived at sea level (450 ft. elevation, to be exact). I thought running was something painful, hard and not for me. Sure, I used to jog on the treadmill and on the weekends I’d alternate jogging and walking from telephone pole to telephone pole, but that was enough. As I became more fit through boot camp classes, I entertained the idea of running a 5k, but quickly talked myself out of it.

Let’s fast forward to when I moved to the Rocky Mountains. Here in Estes Park (elevation 7522 ft.), something in me decided to try this whole running thing. Yes, running at high elevations blows, but I’m glad I started here and not at 450 feet. I started either in February or March, because I remember how awful the wind was. Side note: the wind in the winter is so extreme here that it almost took off my knit cap once, and frequently steals your breath as it hits you. I started just by walk-running around the Lake, with intervals sometimes as short as five sidewalk partitions. I was dabbling.

I don’t quite remember how, but something about changing most of my life with a 2000-mile move encouraged me to finally try that 5k. I did the Couch to 5k training program and constantly belittled myself for being so slow and out of shape. I ran the first 5k in May and came in at a whopping (seriously, no sarcasm) 31:19.12. I was shocked. It was the first time in my whole life to ever run 3.1 miles, and I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily I’d done it!

I turned my efforts to the Couch to 10k training program and signed up for another 5k in August. I figured it would be a breeze and I’d definitely beat my previous time. Hm. No. The majority of the course was gravel, and I twisted my ankle about .25 miles in. Luckily, I continued without injury, but it shook my confidence. I got a side stitch, which doesn’t normally happen to me. I ended up walking about four times and beating myself up all through it. I finished in 33:12 and couldn’t have been more disappointed.

But THIS time it would be different! I signed up for yet another 5k in September – today. I looked and saw that it was a course similar to the one I’m used to running here at home – around a lovely lake, and surely paved. I consciously told myself to not repeat my last mistake: don’t start out fast and have to slow down. Instead, I forced myself to keep a slow and steady clip until about the last mile, where I picked it up and went for the gold. I was convinced I’d done a good job – until I saw the finish line and my as yet unofficial time of 36:05.

36:05? But I ran the whole thing, and loved it! What the bleep happened?

Look, I know the important thing is that I enjoyed myself and supported Breast Friends, a breast cancer support group in Northern Colorado. It was a nice, emotional and fun way for me to spend my morning. But what on earth is wrong with me that each race I do ends up with a slower time?!

I have dubbed myself the World’s Worst Runner, but it’s not going to stop me. The wise words of my friend Caitlin roll in my head: “It took me a long time to get here.” I suppose it’s pretty great when you consider that six months ago I couldn’t run a mile and now I’m running over three.

So, onward and upward. Next race: October 25 – the Phantom 5k. Let’s shoot for 38 minutes!

Tears

Do movies, songs, or other forms of artistic expression easily make you cry? Tell us about a recent tear-jerking experience!

Good Lord, I cry at the drop of a hat sometimes. I’m easily overwhelmed by my own emotions. The last time I teared up was just this morning, in my bedroom, dancing to Lady Gaga. I was doing my hair, putting on my makeup, checking my look in the mirror and doing it all while dancing and singing. “I just love Gaga so much!” I said aloud. I always feel the need to explain my behavior to myself.

I wished I didn’t have to go to work and could just dance around all day long and drive the upstairs neighbors crazy.

True story.

The Dumping Ground

I forced myself to read through my old journals over the last few weeks.

I destroyed the ones from early high school a long time ago. I had to. My sister used to steal them and use them as fodder to tattle on me. My mom was furious when she found out and offered to hide my journals in her room so they’d be safe. I chose to destroy them instead. Quite frankly, I’m glad I did, because the college ones are unbearable enough.

I have four in my possession. One begins at Christmas in my senior year of high school (it was a gift from cousin Kerry) and continues through freshman year of college. The next picks up where the old one left off (it was a gift from Ginny) and continues through junior year of college. The third picks up from there (it was a gift from an old friend Sarah) and runs through my first year of working as an adult. Finally, I have a journal (a gift from Aunt Cheryl) that’s just a few pages shy of being finished. I began that one in September of 2010.

The red flags jump from each page. How could I have ignored these truths? Tolerating someone because you’re afraid to be alone is not love. It’s not healthy to feel like a sullen 15-year-old every time you see your parents. It’s not OK to constantly panic, worry about dying, drink to excess while on antidepressants, throw up after eating, dream of slicing the fat off your body, and choose never to confide in anyone because you’re afraid they’ll think you’re a monster and oh no, you cannot let anyone have a bad opinion of you.

My first instinct was to think, Why didn’t anyone help me? But I already know the answer to that. I didn’t ask for help. I didn’t tell anyone how awful I felt. I just crept through life, miserable and afraid.

The good news is I hardly know who that person is anymore. Yes, there are similarities to my current life: my journals are chock-full of snide remarks about my perceived rivals, dreams of the future, and many of the friends have stayed the same.

I’m dying to start a new journal now, because I genuinely enjoyed reading about my day-to-day life and reminiscing about some things. I have a feeling that the new journal will become just as depressing as the old ones because it’s the only place I feel safe to be myself and let my demons out. It’s the only place I can hide from everybody except myself.

It’s the only place I can really tell the truth.

Hanging Out

Get ready…

Ready to start your week off right? [Almost] every Sunday I like to try something new in the realm of strength training. Usually, the moves themselves are familiar, but mixed into an unfamiliar sequence and/or combination keeps it fun and interesting! I get a lot of my inspiration from Women’s Health Magazine (you’ll find the majority of what I’m about to write here on pages 56-59 of the September 2014 issue).

P.S.-I’m not going to go into form here. If you don’t know proper form, learn it.

Get set…

You will need a bench, box or chair; a pull-up bar; something flat to rest your shoulders and head against (I used my couch); 30 minutes of your time; and of course, our good friend the stopwatch.

Go!

The first three moves are eccentric, meaning you need to execute them as slowly as possible. Do each one of these moves three times for one minute.* Your aim is to have each move take up to 30 seconds and use the remaining 30 seconds to rest.

Single-Leg Squat
Stand a few inches away from your bench, box or chair. Put your arms straight out like a zombie and lift one of your feet. Squat on your standing foot until you sit down. Repeat on the other side.
*I broke this move in half by doing each leg for roughly 20 seconds and resting for about 10.

Chin-up
Jump up on your pull-up bar so your chin is above it. Lower yourself as slowly as you can and let go when your arms are extended.

Pushup
I modified this by doing it on an incline. Once again, lower yourself as slow as possible and then pushup to rest.

For the next two exercises, do as many reps as you can in 45 seconds and rest for 15.

Single-Leg Hip Thrust
Put your arms, shoulders and head on a bench (or couch). Get in a table position and lift one leg at a 90-degree angle. Lower and raise your hips. Repeat on both sides.

Bear Crawl

Finally, the last two exercises in this series follow the Tabata method: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 6 minutes.

Rotational Skater Jump
Okay, Women’s Health wants you to do a skater jump but also rotate 90-degrees as you do it. I just did regular skater jumps. By the halfway point, I was no longer hopping, either. Do what you can.

Spider Lunges
Oh my goodness, did these feel GOOD after running yesterday! Get in a plank and bring your left foot to the outside of your left hand. Repeat on the other side.

I rewarded myself with 1 minute of rest during which my little heart kept on hammering, and then went for some core work:

1 minute of “draw a D” – I don’t know what you really call this. It’s a move we did in Pilates class. Lay on the floor with your legs in the air, toes pointed. You can curl your torso up if you want. Keeping your legs together, lower them to roughly a 45-degree angle and then circle your legs up and around to meet in the middle again: your right leg will make an uppercase D and your left leg will make a backwards one. At 30 seconds, reverse the motion.

1 minute of tick-tock – Put your feet on the floor like you’re going to do a crunch, curl up and alternate reaching your hand to your foot so you’re tick-tocking.

1 minute plank

1 minute bicycles

1 minute regular ol’ crunches

That’s all folks!

Goals

I’m certainly not one of those people who always has a goal-oriented plan, but my competitive side (really more like three-quarters of myself than a “side…”) likes to blow things out of the water. Two recent accomplishments come to mind:

  1. Back in April or March I brainstormed our special summer campaign here at work, setting a goal to raise $27,500 between Memorial Day and Labor Day. To date, $29,511 has been raised. If you include the golf outing sponsorships I worked to bring in, we’re at $38,611.
    yessssss-for-the-win
  2. In February or March I walked-ran around Lake Estes and came in around 48 minutes for the 3.75 mile loop. Yesterday I ran with just three one-minute walk breaks and came in at 43 minutes.
    3dd