Monday, October 24, 2011

A Jolt of Motivation

First off and most importantly, I want to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the most important people in my life.  Those who know her can attest to the fact that she is amazingly warm, kindhearted, laid back, and wise and there are seven people in the world who are privileged enough to call her "MOM".  I've told her over and over again how lucky I feel to have been raised by her and to have someone like her to call whenever I need advice about anything,  help in finding a bright side and perspective, a sympathetic ear and someone to share in the joyful and simple things.  Somehow it just never seems to be enough, though.  I could never accurately tell her and so I hope she knows how special she is, despite my failure at expressing how unique and vital she is to so many people.  Hope you had a great day, Mom--we were thinking of you!  XOXOXO

We had a beautiful day in Colorado today.  Upper 70's and sunny...a bit windy but with the beautiful fall colors it was pretty much as good as it gets.  The beauty gave me a shot of some much needed inspiration and I finally, FINALLY solved my "what to do about this exercising regularly" conundrum I've been wrestling with for a couple of months now.  My motivation has been back for sure, but with Nathan working such long hours and the time change causing the sun to come up just late enough to make it impossible to go for a run before he leaves for the day I've been left with the problem of WHEN to exercise.  I was randomly inspired a bit ago to get more creative and not let the fact that I can't really go for a solo run first thing in the morning (my favorite time to go) stop me from staying active and in shape.  When I say "randomly inspired" I mean that I randomly had this conversation with Zoe which resulted in a fire being lit under my butt:

Zoe: Mommy, why do you and Daddy go to bed after me and Owen?
Me:  Because kids need more sleep than adults do.
Zoe:  Why do kids need more sleep than adults?
Me:  Oh you know, because you're still growing and stuff.
Zoe:  And because kids play around on the playground and stuff and adults just, like....sit around and chat?
Me:  (pretty unconvincingly) Hey!  I run, you know!

So, I've been trying all sorts of things like workout videos and "Exercise TV" On Demand while Owen naps, running with Owen in the stroller first thing in the morning and right after I drop Zoe off at school, "running" to the Family Housing Office with Owen in the stroller with Zoe "running" alongside me (ie: she's in charge of when we run and walk and needless to say, given her tiny stature, we don't run all that much, and when we do it's not very fast).  When we do this, I do high knees as fast as I can during our "running" spurts.  All this has been great and I've been proud of myself but all of these things have at least one problem which makes them difficult or impossible to do on a regular basis, so it's been hard to find a rhythm and therefore the confidence that I'm going to be able to get a workout in on any given day. 

Today though, I was about to put Owen down for a nap while Zoe was at school when my eyes were all of the sudden opened to the possibility that the green area behind our apartment could help my current situation.  The green is in the shape of a square and is bordered by a nice wide sidewalk.  It's very quiet and there isn't much foot traffic at all.  It's where Zoe and I spend a lot of time while Owen is napping if we want to play outside.  She rides her bike around the square often and sometimes has running "races" around it but I had never considered it for a workout area for me until today.  I was introduced to a workout that I think is part of the Crossfit plan that's popular right now, but my sisters Rachel and Jill were the ones that told me about it.  You take a deck of cards and assign each symbol in the deck it's own exercise.  You can do whatever you want with it and make it all about strength, all about cardio or mix it up but the best thing is that it's all designed by you and whatever you want to focus on that day.  Anyway, you just draw the cards one by one and do the corresponding exercise for the symbol and as many reps as the card calls for...for example, this is how I set myself up today:

hearts = running around the square
diamonds = jumping jacks
spades = situps
clubs = plank position

I drew the Queen of hearts first so I had to run around the square 12 times.  After that I drew something like 10 of diamonds so did 10 jumping jacks..then maybe 8 of spades so did 8 situps and then the 5 of clubs so held the plank position for 5 seconds....etc.  I only got through half the deck before my alarm went off telling me I had to go pick up Zoe from school!  I'm so thrilled because finally I found something I can do every day if I want to.  I didn't have to change Owen's naptime or make him sit in the stroller instead of play and practice moving around, I got really tired, worked out hard for at least 35 minutes and got to run outside without pushing anything or following the workout plan of a 3 year old!  PLUS, when the FedEx carrier walked by and saw me he said, "You're a madwoman!" and you know that put an extra spring or two in my step.   The next time I do it I think I'll challenge myself to get through more of the deck and if I get bored with it I can just change the exercises all together.  If the weather is bad I can do it inside and just change the running part into mountain climbers or some other cardio thing.  Meanwhile my friend Jessica and I have worked out together that we can help each other run twice a week by watching each other's kids in the morning so I'll be able to get all my working out done during the week and save the weekend for relaxing with Nathan and the kids.  Hooray!  Now to work on not eating whole bags of chocolate chips when nobody is looking.

Zoe and I did a really easy, fun and visually satisfying art project the other day.  We cut a few strands of yarn and put them in bowls with different color paints.  We saturated the yarn, squeezed them out and put them on one half of a folded piece of paper in whatever shape we wanted.  We each did one string of every color we had and then folded the paper and pressed down on it.  After we pressed down, we opened up the paper and carefully took off the pieces of yarn...voila!

She said she thinks hers looks like a tiger (the red splotches on top are the ears) and I think it looks like a frog (red splotches are the eyes)...neither one of us thought mine looks like anything but we both like it anyway. :-)

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