Is THIS Bliss?!

Lorina's Blog

Put one foot in front of the other, then repeat, faster.

In other words… “How to run.” It’s something we all do, as kids. We learn to crawl, then to walk, then we feel the need to get somewhere faster, probably so our Moms won’t have time to stop us, and we begin to run.

I never thought of it as something I had to learn how to do. I knew how to do it. I just wasn’t any good at it. I accepted that as my lot in life around the time I was twelve or so, when my best friend was asked to try out for our junior high track team and I wasn’t.

“It’s okay,” I told myself. “I don’t need to be athletic.” And I kept telling myself that for another twenty-six years.

My brother, on the other hand, always jogged. He’s about fifteen years older than me, and I clearly remember him running when I was a kid. Like Rocky Balboa, without the speech impediment. And I don’t recall Rocky ever wearing a t-shirt that said, “Jogging gives me the runs.” But my brother? Yep. He wore it. Proudly.

He still runs, and the past few years, he’s been running 5k races with his daughter. And I was with that daughter when I first heard about the Warrior Dash. They were my inspiration… I mean, genetically speaking, I can’t be that much different than my brother and my niece, can I? If they can run, I should be able to, too!

Internets to the rescue!!!! I googled, “How to train for a 5k,” and discovered the Couch to 5k Running Plan. I’d heard friends mention it before, but never paid much attention to it. Hmmmm… It promises to be able to get a couch potato (me!) off my ass and able to run 30 minutes straight, or approximately 5k, in just nine weeks. You start off running just a one minute interval, followed by 90 seconds of walking, and repeated for a half hour, and you do that three times a week. The next week, you run 90 seconds, and walk two minutes. The following week, you run three minutes straight, and so on and so on.

One minute?! I can do anything, no matter how distasteful, for one minute! (Trying so hard to avoid bad jokes about ex-boyfriends…) Even running!

First, I tried running in the park with our dog, Beavis. A Pekingese with three inch legs does not make a good running partner. Not when he wants to stop to pee on every tree, shrub, fence post, and particularly high blade of grass he sees. Still, we did it. I think. I didn’t have a stop watch, so I counted out the seconds in my head. Probably not the most accurate form of telling time. One hippopotamus. Two hippopotamus. Three hippopotamus… Until I felt like all sixty hippopotamuses were standing on my chest.

The next time, I left the dog at home, and hit the streets. It was a little better, except a few times when I forgot to count and ran a little too far and too fast.

Then Mother Nature decided to play a mean trick on me. Snow, snow, and more snow. Then a little bit of a thaw, then a freeze, so the snow that didn’t get shoveled turned to ice. Great.

I did what I swore I’d never do. I joined a gym, our local Planet Fitness. The concept really bugged me. I had to drive about 6 miles to get there, so I could run in place on a machine. It seemed so WRONG. But it worked. I got back in gear with my Couch to 5k running.

I clearly remember week two, when I was on the last run of the intervals. Ninety seconds left to go. Then thirty. Jeopardy was on… Final Jeopardy. The music was playing. I remember thinking, “Thirty seconds. The music lasts thirty seconds. You can keep going until this music stops, dammit!” Do do, do do, do do doooo… Do do, do do, DO, do do do do do…. Do do, do do, do do do. DO do do do do… do. do. doo. BOM BOM. Yay! I did it! Rocky had “Gonna Fly Now.” I had “Jeopardy.”

A few weeks later, I ran my first mile. I was so proud of myself. I did it ahead of schedule, too. It took twelve minutes, at 5 mph, but… I… RAN… A… MILE! Then it was two miles, then two and a half, then two and three quarters, then when I was going to try for three miles, I ran 3.25 miles instead! That’s MORE than a 5k! I did it! I was a C25K graduate!

Happy dance!!!

Now I just had to run a race…

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The Tipping Point

So many things should have been my wake-up call that I needed to do something about my health and weight.

Clothes not fitting should have been a clue. (No! It’s that they… they shrunk in the wash!) Not being able to button the waist on my jeans (Bah… It’s just that my belly is sensitive… I just got a tattoo there, and a navel piercing!) Shirts not fitting right on the arms. (Stupid clothes. The sleeves are cut funny!) And besides, when I tried to wear Spanx-type undergarments, they didn’t compress anything. If I was really fat and blubbery, they’d suck me in, right? Right?!

And maybe that I had to stick my neck out like a crane in photos so I wouldn’t have fourteen chins should have been a clue. And that I had fat rolls on my back… I had bigger back-boobs than I had front boobs. I still don’t understand where they came from. I swear they were secretly snacking while hiding behind me.

And the time the dog got out of the yard, and I had to run to the park, just a block away, to retrieve him. I gasped and wheezed for hours and had to take a hit on Fritz’s asthma inhaler.

And going to my 20th high school reunion weighing 50 pounds more than I did when I graduated. Granted, I was a little twig back then. And I also didn’t know I weighed 50 pounds more. I didn’t get on a scale. I thought I weighed maybe 40 pounds more. Plus, I wore five inch stilettos, so while I might have been a little overweight for someone 5’5″, I was in perfect shape for someone 5’10”!

But really, I didn’t feel bad about my weight. I felt like I looked perfectly fine for a 38 year old woman. Especially one that didn’t exercise at all and ate DiGiorno Pizza three times a week, and Hamburger Helper or Rice A Roni the other days of the week. And besides, every time I tried to lose weight, I failed, so what’s the point, really? This must be my body’s happy weight.

So what was the tipping point?

The Warrior Dash.

I was at a party, drunk as a skunk (Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka!), when a friend showed my niece pictures on her iPhone of the Warrior Dash. It’s a 5k race with obstacles like scaling walls, wading through a lake, crawling through mud and under barbed wire, and leaping over fire. Then you celebrate with a Viking hat, a turkey drumstick, and a beer.

I always considered myself to be a bit of a badass, even though I was the biggest wuss on the planet and as already mentioned, I couldn’t run one city block without almost dying. But.. mud, sweat and beer! How awesome is that?! I had to do it. It was exactly six months away… I had six months to go from wuss to warrior.

And that, my friends, is what started this crazy roller coaster for me.  I didn’t care about gaining or losing weight. I didn’t care about going to my reunion chunky. I didn’t care that my clothes were getting too tight. I didn’t care about being out of shape. But get me drunk and tell me about an opportunity to get dirty and leap fire, and I’m there!

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I followed my bliss… and got lost.

First post. Intimidating. Where do I start? How is it that the woman who can’t shut up can’t think of what to say?

It’s like staring at a blank canvas. Except I usually have an idea of what I want to put on a canvas before I stick it on the easel. I guess a little bit about me would be in order?

For those who don’t know me, I’m Lorina. I’m 39 years old, married to Fritz for almost ten years. We have seven cats (really, only 3.5 cats apiece… we’re not crazy) and a one-eyed Pekingese named Beavis. We live in what was formerly a little mom-n-pop corner store in a little mom-n-pop town that you’ve probably never heard of.

I bought the house about 15 or so years ago, when I was a fresh faced (and really dumb) 24 year old. I’d been selling cute little arts & craft stuff at local fairs, and thought it would be cool to have my own store. And it was cool, except I didn’t have customers. Turns out they’re pretty important. So after about a year of barely eking by, I closed up shop and became a web developer, a skill I’d learned while trying to find customers online, instead of relying on people from the little mom-n-pop town.

I was a web developer for a few years. I had some minor success online with some of my own published sites, mostly humor based. Then realized that my geek-knowledge was becoming obsolete. I couldn’t keep up with the current trends in web design. And I was so stressed out that I slipped a disc in my jaw. Seriously. I clenched my teeth so frickin’ hard that dislocated my jaw. That’s when I knew it was time for a change.

While recovering from my jaw problems, I became addicted to watching Emergency Vets on Animal Planet, and decided to become a vet tech. And I did THAT for a few years, until my parents passed away. I’ll get into that more at another time because it’s a long and painful story.

Let’s condense it a bit… In a little less than two years’ time, I lost my Mom, my job, my Dad and then one of my cats.

It sounds really crazy, I know, but it was the cat who really threw me for a loop. Losing my job was a blessing. Losing Mom and Dad sucked beyond anything imaginable, but sweet gentle Fergus was only two and a half years old. He was a great big healthy moose of a cat, and it was shocking that he could go downhill so quickly. And I was supposed to know about taking care of sick animals!

Guilt. Depression. Remorse. Helplessness. More guilt. Anxiety. More depression. Entire bags of Butterfingers. And weight gain.

I’d had enough by December of 2010, and decided to DO something about it. Start reinventing myself. And that’s where I am now. Thirty pounds lighter. A lot more active. Still trying to figure out who I am and what I’m supposed to do.

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