Category Archives: exercise

Finding the words

I haven’t written much lately. You may have noticed. I’ve had trouble finding words. That’s not normal for me.

While I am super stoked that I made it through the winter and pretty much accomplished my goal of not complaining about the weather ALL WINTER. Woo hoo! I never promised a Spring complaint fast…but I’ve been doing well. Caught myself once or twice. But seriously, it doesn’t help to complain so I swallowed it. You know what? I think it made it feel like the cold weather passed more quickly. Also, I didn’t look at the tropical pictures people like to torture others with. That helped too. I especially am NOT Looking at them this week. It helps me not complain ūüôā Of course I had to torture others last year when we went to Jamaica, so all is fair in love and holidays.

While this winter was, by a thousand miles, better than last winter it was another kind of painful for us. Last winter (2012-13) was a long and dreadful winter filled with pain and fatigue that I have NEVER experienced the like of before. I spent days, weeks and months begging God to take away my pain and to allow me to get back to “normal”. My normal is a healthy person’s sick day. God has been so amazing in giving me the strength for many years. I wonder, at times, if I went so hard for so long that my body just up and had to have a reboot. I entertained thoughts I had never thought I would¬†let jump around in my head. When your body is that rebellious your head starts to think crazy thoughts.

I am thankful that I had family and friends who put up with the nutty talk and prayed me through it. The Reverend still has a little PTSD from how hard it was for him. On my bad days, this winter, he had the look of sheer terror in his eyes. I know that he was a super hero and got this family through some of the most difficult times we’ve¬†faced. On those days he wondered if this time it (my inability to deal with life) was back again. I’m thankful to say that, for the most part, those days lasted only a few days at most. It was never as intense as it was before.

This winter was different. Oh man, how thankful I am for that! I can truly say that God has allowed me to see a bit of the normalcy back, though I am far from what I used to be, even still. I think part of it is that he worked on my heart so much that I just am NOT the same as I used to be. None of us are. The “Bad Winter” was a changing time for me spiritually, physically and mentally. I cut out food that was making my body more stressed than it had to be. I started running (OH MY WHAT¬†A MIRACLE!!). I had friends urge me to think outside of my spiritual box that I had put God in. God worked through it all. Wow!

I am healthier in so many ways.

But…then there is a different sort of pain.

The pain that people in ministry are not supposed to talk of. The type other people cause.

I had a feeling that something was coming. Call my weird but it’s true.

The church we are in has been so amazing and so full of grace for us as a family. We were growing, thriving, excited. I felt like we were on the cusp of something amazing for our little community. I still do. I think God is up to something. But that makes Satan (and yes, I think he’s working hard) upset. When the people of God are on fire and full of purpose¬†there is sure to be backlash. He doesn’t want people to be victorious. He doesn’t want people to be SAVED. He doesn’t like people to feel the love of the Father for his created.

And there has been backlash.

And that’s all I can say. It’s been tough in ways I can’t speak of.

I know that the battle is NOT lost. I know that there are incredible things happening in people’s’ hearts around this place. If the battle is this fierce, then it must be something crazy good. I see the seedlings of something.

Just wait. It’s going to happen!

 

 

Motivation to get back into it!!

English: an exercise of rotator cuff

English: an exercise of rotator cuff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So much about life is temporal. Just when you think you know what you are doing, life does an about-face and you must learn how to deal with whatever it is this time that life has thrown a curveball into.

Just when I thought I’d gotten the¬†inspiration ¬†to exercise tucked in close to my heart, it went and changed its mind. Motivation is a tricky little beast! Why can’t I seem to want to get on the ol’ elliptical like I would get out there and run, back in the summer? I mean, I was not eager, per se , but I went and I did it even if I wasn’t 100%. I think it was the sun or the warmth or getting out of the house for a little while. Those are all motivations for me. It worked. I progressed more than I had thought possible and ran that 5 km. I didn’t run it well, but I did it.

Now, why oh why can’t I just get on that elliptical beast? I was¬† intent on keeping my muscles that I had built over summer I was¬†fierce about fostering¬†my endurance.¬†¬†I was also determined to keep the kinks out.

Then two bouts with the¬†flu happened this fall.¬†¬†Homeschooling the older kiddos got distracting. Then there is the weather. ¬†I could call them all excuses but I won’t. I’ll just call them “life”. A big part of my life is the Chronic Pain, but that is getting better little by little. Fatigue has been one of the sneaky fellows that comes and drags me down¬†when¬†I least expect. When living with Chronic illness, life really can do a 180 and you need to adjust expectations.

Obviously “life” and I have a few things to negotiate.¬† Since aging and muscle strength are both telling me I better get back in line, I should probably listen.

My new challenge is doing something I hate INDOORS. I can neither get out to “enjoy” the weather (as cold temperature¬†is painful and roads that are slippery¬†are not cool with me) I need to embrace the indoor exercise that¬†I can do. I should probably look at it as a possible gym class for my Home Schooled kids.

Enter in responsibility. I have the responsibility to myself, to God and to my¬†family to keep the mobility I gained last spring/summer. I don’t want to go back now.

I learned this summer that I need to do a few things to make myself more apt to succeed. The right gear, the right timing and let my body tell me when it’s one of those days I truly shouldn’t push it. The trick is to push my body when I can!

My basement is cold (remember I hate cold)¬†and since¬†it is where we have room and the equipment, I need the right clothes to deal with that. If I’m not too cold, I’m good.

I need the right music. I’ve downloaded some better running/exercising music.

Most of all I need God.¬†¬†I need to let God be¬†a part of the¬†inspiration to get back into a healthier lifestyle. He has been silently cheering me on and I can’t let my best cheerleader down! I know he will give me strength.¬†¬†I’m not that far away from the discipline and positive effects of running that I’ve put the memories of the accomplishment in the past. It must become my present as well as future goal.

My plan is to stay healthy enough to bounce back into running when spring commences it’s lovely season. There are a couple of things that could change my plans like…. a probable rotator cuff injury or a significant injury to the area that might need to be dealt with…but I will continue to think of how I can keep myself in a state of health that keeps me going. We’ll work with whatever life throws at us. “God is our refuge and strength very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Who is in to run with me in something local? I don’t want to do the cold and muddy one, but I would like to do something in the spring. Ideas are welcome!

Running with Pain, Part 3 – How I did it

English: This breathtaking view of the famous ...

English: This breathtaking view of the famous Canadian Rockies Three Sisters Mountain Range is taken from Canmore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was told that if I had chronic pain or fibromyalgia, or CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) etc then I should definitely not do hard exercise. I have been so incredibly ok with this advice that I just decided that exercise was not that important. I was wrong. What they also told me is that it was essential that I get moving and continue in a regular exercise program to keep myself as good as I could be. I have been told many times to keep up with exercise programs that were low impact but strength building. Swimming, walking and yoga were exercise regimes of choice.

Laying in bed a few months back, I figured I should probably do something drastic to get me out of these drastically awful circumstances. Yes, I would go against the “soft” exercise program like swimming, walking, or yoga and go headlong into the world of running. I always hated it, had seen healthy people doing it and put two and two together. I should do exactly as they don’t recommend and specifically what I hate to do¬†and… RUN!

I figured I may as well do what I could do to make this actually happen and that’s what I’m going to tell you now. It took a few steps and trial and error along the way, but I came up with some strategies I will go on to use in life.

1. I gave myself a really rewarding goal. I was going to run in a 5 km run/walk. I was going to RUN the entire way!! My goal was the 5 km. The destination was the reward. Canmore, Alberta!! The mountains. How much more motivating could that get? Running in the mountains. Join me at my humor blog to see how that really went when I got there.

2. I made sure that the equipment I was using to run was good enough for me not to be¬†bothered by discomfort. With fibro¬†my whole body is sensitive to extra pain/discomfort. I affirmed my shoes were good to go, that my clothes were light and easy dry and that chafing was at a minimum. Jogging in my cotton shorts that rode up every step I took was a no-go. Running in a raincoat that didn’t breathe was not helping. I went and found what I could within my budget to make sure I was as comfortable as possible during the excruciating¬†thing called training.

3. I found a program that works and used my son’s iPod that would¬†help me in the training program. I downloaded the Couch to 5km program. It was great to have the program tell me when to walk/jog rather than me having to keep track on my watch.¬†As the program progressed it was helpful to see what I had accomplished. ¬†I moved through the weeks very slowly at first, making sure I could do what they were “asking” before moving on. Week three kicked my butt but I made sure I could run the interval that it was scheduled for before I moved on. I also downloaded MapMyRun which is a GPS program that showed the pace I was at, how far I had gone etc. It was all helpful in seeing how I was doing and how I was improving. Very encouraging!!

4. I celebrated my¬†improvements and forgave myself for the “bad” days. I had a group of people I could call or send an email and receive encouragement from right away. I told myself I would not let the failure mentality bring me down as it had so often in years past.I used to beat myself up inside when I didn’t do¬†it (Any physical discipline that was hard) at ¬†the level I should so then I would quit. I determined NOT TO QUIT!¬† If I had a bad day I would get back at ‘er.

5. I prayed and acknowledged that only God could do this in me and through me. I prayed that HE would get the credit for any good that came out of this. He was the one who led and directed¬† me in this. He gave me the dream. The dream of the impossible, for it truly felt impossible in the beginning when I couldn’t even walk 3 km.

6. I DID it!!¬† Even though I found out the race would be at an elevation higher¬†than I was used¬†to and that my body would most likely react to that in some way, I decided that all the training wouldn’t let me down. Not only that, my determination and God’s¬†strength would keep me going. I did it, even though I had a migraine of horrible proportions that week and couldn’t train even once. I kept on going, knowing that it would be an accomplishment to do the¬†5 km even if I had to walk, though I was determined not to.

In the end,¬†my time was terrible. I was not in a race though. Even if it was a “race” I was not racing against people, I was racing to beat my own fears and doubts into submission. I ran to overcome all the lies that told me that I couldn’t do it, for so many reasons. I did¬†it to show God’s mercy and grace and love toward this one little gal from the prairies. He did it!¬† He did it through me!¬† A broken and weak vessel.

I set myself up to succeed as much as I could, but God¬†gave me what I needed in the¬†end. He gave me the pep talk in the rain. HE whispered “You can do this…you can run a little further…you can stop listening to your legs screaming and listen to¬†me.”

We ran it together and together we will stay forever. It’s cool to think what could be next with God and I. It’s a wonder!¬† It was a miracle!

Disclaimer: I would advise that if you suffer from Fibro, CFS, arthritis or any other debilitating and deteriorating disease that you consult your Dr. I did. He thought I was crazy but that it was good.¬† When you find something you want to do then¬†do it,¬†and do it safely. I wanted to make sure I didn’t injure myself while running and learning how to do it. Please do learn how to do whatever exercise safely for your condition and take it slowly. You will improve in time. I have been sick a long time so don’t expect myself to change very fast. I still have a long ways to go and have set a goal to work toward slowly.

Running with Pain, Part 2

I have had a pretty decent summer with pain levels. Yes, I’ve had pain, but the intensity has not been unbearable most times. That all changed this week.

I believe it is a combination of things, but it’s all guesswork, really. I think it’s allergies, stress (think home school¬†start-up, Aspie kid adjusting, getting programming for my other gal with challenges and meetings, etc…) and peri-menopause. It’s kicking me in the rear.

Migraines are NO FUN at all. Even when you are laying in a room with blinds drawn and earplugs in (for the noise issues) there is still cloying pain. It is close to unbearable except that life goes on. Any mom who knows the chaos of children would give a front tooth for a dark room without noise. This I know. Except those that have migraines. Those people know they would give up a set of teeth to never have another pain in the head again. It’s disruptive to everyone.

“Shhh. Be quiet. Mommy’s got a headache.”

“Can you stop moving? I can’t focus on anything when you are moving like that in my general area.”

“Kids, can you stop being kids for this week because what you do as children makes my headache worse.”

Running hasn’t happened either. I tried on Monday, but then I collapsed with defeat on someone’s lawn. It was a beautiful moment as I looked up into the sky through the trees. I was reminded why I was running. To point to the One who made me.

I have felt the pressure build as I stumble through the week and the 5k gets closer. I pray and I hope that the pain subsides. I have prepared¬†for this for months (obviously, because I won’t stop talking about it). It would be a kicker if my pain won in the end.

I will NOT. LET. THAT. HAPPEN!

More importantly, I believe that God will give me the strength I need to get to the goal.

Running with pain. Well, it is a given that pain will be there. It’s just how much can a person take? I guess I’ll find out this weekend.

As a fabulous aside, I have now been able to raise $530 for CAUSE Canada and feel fantastic about that!¬† I had a goal of $1000 so if you want to help me reach that by Sunday, then please go to my donation page here. I may even attempt a backflip for that. No, I won’t don’t worry Mom!

Thank you to all that have helped raise money for CAUSE Canada so far!  You have made a difference in lives who would not have a chance without you.

 

To Write or Not to Write?

Mainstreet Canmore

Mainstreet Canmore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a published author yet. I am only a grade 12 grad with a two years in college to my credit. I really don’t know the technicalities of writing and yet I LOVE it!¬† I love writing, I think it’s my new calling (by God) ¬†in life and I find myself drawn to it like a butterfly to a colorful flower. My blogs have¬†been a source of learning the art and¬†growing in the love of writing.

I wonder, is it worth my time learning and hoping that eventually I can say something that will change lives through my writing? Am I too optimistic that I can publish something that God will use to his glory?

I feel driven, as driven as a golf ball on the right side of the club, belonging to Tiger Woods. I’m sure the balls that he drives have a great trip while they are on their way to their destination but don’t know exactly if they will hit the mark until they get there.

Part of the question is, why would my words make any difference in this world? Why would anyone want to hear my story? I know I have several stories to tell and of them I am eager to share.

I suppose I am nervous about how bad my writing technique will be and if I’ll ever actually get them done?

I am looking at my writing projects as I am of my foray into jogging this summer. I didn’t know¬†if I would be able to do it. I saw that maybe, just maybe even though my physical body was so weak and the task so large, God was right there with me walking those first laborious 3 Km. After that discouraging and painful walk, he still gave me the dream to jog the 5K in Canmore. Little by little, minute my minute, pain by excruciating pain, I have come farther than I thought was possible. In fact, a few short months ago I knew…I (thought I) KNEW that for¬†me, running 5k would never be possible. And yet, here we are and I am jogging 5K already in 25 minutes, which is a decent pace for anyone let alone ME who thought it was highly unlikely. Glory be to God!!

Back to writing. If I look at becoming an author as something that is  definitely possible, instead of thinking that it is a highly unlikely event, then maybe I will start getting somewhere, little by little, article by article and book by book. That last part makes me super excited!!

Writing is a little like running. It takes a vision, passion, learning the right techniques and then doing everything you can to make it possible (like the right equipment and knowledge) oh and it takes¬†a lot of¬†discipline. Even when you don’t feel like it, it¬†is necessary to keep on going.

It is a steep learning curve but I intend it to be the next big thing I conquer…that is after I run my 5K in Canmore, raise $1000 for Cause Kids and actually survive it.

Remember, if you want to contribute to Cause Kids then there is the link to my pledge page. cause-kids-logo-sm

I’m not dead and I can prove it

I am doing something I thought I’d die happy never doing. Jogging. I know I posted about it before but it’s seriously a big deal around these parts. Family members don’t believe it. Friends are skeptical. Kids are puzzled.

How did this strange thing come about?

About a year and a half ago, I started having migraines, then I started having anxiety symptoms that were uncontrollable, after that I had what I thought was strokes or MS. To top it all off, I was pretty certain I was going to die. I’m not talking the type of thinking that hypochondriacs do. I’m talking about all these weird symptoms that were coming out of nowhere and smacking me down. Lumps in my breast area really freaked me (and the ER physician) out. Fatigue punched me in the face and pain became a constant presence that I wanted to hurt back. If I could have kicked pain’s sorry butt I would have.

The good news is that I’m not dead from breast cancer, I’m not suffering from MS, and my fatigue, while still ever-present, is not hanging from every limb like an overgrown fungus. I am alive!!

There were so many moments with God this last year that I can’t recount every one to tell you how amazing they were. Some of those moments were rending the air with curses. The pain got so intense for so long I secretly wanted to die. If you’ve ever had the kind of pain that is so endless that you would cut off the limb or body part and throw it out the¬†nearest window just to be done with it, then you know what I’m talking about. That kind of pain and tiredness can drive one into depression, which is where I ended up eventually.

The other times with my sweet Jesus were times of healing.¬†When the Dr. felt lumps under my arm¬†instead of diagnosing me with a stomach ulcer I freaked a little.. I felt the lumps, felt the other strange symptoms and knew that if I did have cancer it would probably be the end for me. At that point, I didn’t think there was much to lose by starting to exercise and get closer to my Lord. I know, that sounds so stupid. I wanted to make my last months, if that was truly what was happening, good ones. Physical exercise would¬†help me if I was either dying or not. I plugged my iPod in and got on the elliptical.¬†¬†This song came on and my heart came undone. God ministered to me in those minutes.

Hold My Heart (Tenth Avenue North)

How long must I pray
Must I pray to You
How long must I wait
Must I wait for You
How long till I see Your face
See You shining through

I’m on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I’m on my knees
Father, will You turn to me

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

I’ve been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye
But if there’s no other way
I’m done asking why

‘Cause I’m on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I’m on my knees
Father, will You run to me, yeah

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

So many questions without answers
Your promises remain
I can’t see but I’ll take my chances
To hear you call my name
To hear you call my name

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart
Hold my heart
Could You hold my heart
Hold my heart

I had previously felt like one¬†tear in the driving rain. One voice in a sea of pain. I had felt like I was one insignificant little girl who didn’t have the attention of the Maker of the Stars. At that moment I knew. I knew He loved me. He saw me. He cared. He cared about my anxious heart. He knew I could barely stand. I knew he would hold my heart and heal it. It became my prayer.

“Jesus hold my heart.”

That was the beginning. I’ve posted about how I asked God to deal with my anxiety if it was something I could do, or confess or whatever. I wanted that physical feeling of anxiety to be¬†GONE. I’ll go into how that has been a burden that has been lifted in a bit.

Through prayer¬†and many hours wondering how I could make some steps toward healing, I decided that I would try to¬†jog this spring. Inspiration has come in a few different ways. My cousin’s daughter, Lindsay,¬†who has suffered with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and had achieved an amazing feat. She had run a 5 Km. I have also been inspired by someone who has no arms or legs but has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to millions. If Nick Vujicic¬†can touch the world, minus all of his appendages, surely a small town gal like me could at the very least be healed enough to shine light to my family and possibly to my community. Even if I were to stay in pain to the degree that I was, would I allow God to use those “good days” to reach others? The bad days are impossible to do much but exist. Still…Would I try the impossible?

I started looking at possible ways to train to run a 5 Km. I found Couch to 5K and thought it was doable. I got excited about it and even found an app that would make it easier.

I began seeing a psychologist as a part of my healing. She said something so key, so healing that it made a difference in major ways. She told me that she hears “I feel like the anxiety is a physical thing.” from a lot of women over 40 years of age. This lifted a huge weight of anxiety I had about the anxiety. She also encouraged me to do the little I can do every day. She told me that she does just five minutes every day. She said that if she only does 5 minutes it was better than nothing. I thought to myself, I can do just 5 minutes too! Something is better than NOTHING!

I thought to myself, “how do I make it so that I can succeed?” My brain messages were changing course. God was showing me that the¬†impossible is possible. So, how do I make sure I don’t injure myself with this new exercise with all the health issues I have going on? I have had this problem before. I go all gung-ho and take myself out with a too-high karate kick to the sky or a too bendy bend. Take it slow. The Couch to 5K seemed pretty slow and realistic. So that’s what I did.

The messages I play in my head now¬†are “With God all things are possible.” and “I can do the hard thing.” When I feel like giving up I figure out a way to make myself successful and consider setbacks only setbacks and do not think of them as monumental failures and that I should quit.

It’s almost like a switch has gone on inside me. I had nowhere to go…I was at the bottom. I¬†knew it would be painful to start moving my body but really, I was already in pain.

I am going to do this thing I formerly and daily hated. That’s right, I may have decided that I like jogging. Don’t quote me on that yet.¬†I like that I’m feeling better. I am still finding severe times of fatigue and pain, but not every day like a weighted blanket is¬†covering me. Now, I have more “Go get ’em.” days as opposed to the “I will lay down and try to will my pain away.” I am so thankful to the Maker of the Stars that he has given me the will and the hope and the STRENGTH to Keep on going when my mind and body say stop.

Get moving!!

Chapter 4: "Desperation", illustrati...

Chapter 4: “Desperation”, illustration for Penrod by Booth Tarkington, page 30. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What makes a 40-something mom of four, who lives in the middle-of-nowhere, Alberta and who hates exercise, take on jogging? Desperation. That’s what.

If you don’t hate exercise, you don’t really know what I’m talkin’ about. Just imagine your most hated food or music or whatever-it-is and making yourself do it three times a week or more. I know, it’s pretty grim, right? If you had to then you’d do it, but if you didn’t? Would you? Probably not.

That’s exactly the place I’ve found myself. Desperate.

When you are a child, you just don’t think of yourself as a forty-two year old person. Goodness! I didn’t even think I’d see the ripe old age of 30. Yet, here I am in my rocking chair…oh wait…I meant, rocking in a corner, in a fetal position. My rocking chair went out with the baby crib. Too much room, too tiny a house.

So there I was rocking myself with too much pain and too little energy and I thought to myself that I should have taken up exercise much earlier because, darn it, it was going to be tough to get this big butt moving! I knew with a certainty, as if God had told me in a big booming voice, that it was move it or else.

I knew that he was talkin’ about more than just moving my butt. I knew that it meant “moving” in many areas. I have a propensity toward the feeling of being overwhelmed. It happens to me a lot. When I feel that way, I tend to just do nothing.

Doing nothing is not a choice I have anymore. Oh sure, I could just do nothing, but I am pretty sure I’d die there. So, I really don’t have a choice. Sad that it’s taken desperation to get me moving.

Let’s just keep it to exercise for now, shall we? I have a reason for that. It’s because for me to JOG means that a miracle has happened. I hate running, very much. I’ve been thinking about doing a 5 km for a while. I’d heard of the Couch to 5 Km a few years ago and thought to myself that if ever there was a person dedicated to the comfort of a couch, that was me. I love being comfortable. Couches are comfortable. So are squishy, huggable Mommies. But my kids will have to settle for a less squishy and more active mother. Sigh. The things they will have to give up!

The fact that internally I hate running so much and for me to almost register (I am going to before the June 15th deadline ok? Just a few details I must see to) and for me to actually say it out loud to more than one person? OY!  Scary miracle going on here.

By the way, if you want to jog (walk…you will be walking because that’s how slow I move) with me then please do email me at impeppy@gmail.com. I will be taking down that email link so as not to get too many spam thingies in my email inbox. But seriously, if you want to witness a miracle in motion then either come and watch or commit to join me. One hint, it’s going to be in the mountains…

I”m so excited! I am calling it my God Run because it will take Him to get me there…every step of the way. And you know what? I don’t hate it that much on my third run.