Nature finds a way: Runfessions January 2020

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I’m runfessing and sipping tea all in one post. There wasn’t a whole lot of running in January, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have things to get off my chest. There always seems to be a steady stream of things to tell you and odd things going on in my life. I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours!

The Vitamix has been christened. It will be used a lot in the coming years!

I would tell you . . .
I’d been eyeing a new Vitamix for a few years. Mine is at least 12 years old, maybe older. It sees a lot of use. Mr. Judy found me a good deal, and it sat on the the counter. And it sat . . . and sat . . .

I had soups I wanted to make (I don’t use it as much for smoothies in Winter) but I just never could seem to find the time. I finally made a Potato Leek Soup and the new Vitamix is christened. Now to figure out what to do with the old one  . . . which still runs, by the way.

I runfess . . .
#thestruggleisreal when it comes to getting out the door in Winter. January was actually on the mild side, despite some snow, some freezing rain, and some bitter cold. But mostly it was unseasonably warm, including running in that skirt for one long run!

Finding the skirt? It was not something I expected to need in Winter, so it was packed away. But in which cube? Getting out the door is hard enough without having to go through the Summer running clothes!

I runfess . . .
Running on the treadmill usually means I do a more thorough warm up, because I’m not out there freezing my butt off waiting to get started. Things got intense mid-month, I was stressed, I was busy, I was tired. I realized as I was running on the mill one day that foam rolling never even entered my mind — I runfess that I didn’t do it afterwards, either (because it was already lunchtime and I was hungry!).

I runfess . . .
I did pretty good with food through most of the holidays. Until I spent much of the week between Christmas and New Years at my moms. Of course spending another week with her after my Dad passed was also a struggle, with more eating out and not many healthy choices available some days.

Who knew eating at a senior living community could be such a food struggle?

I shake my head every time I see this. It’s not the only one, either!

I would tell you . . .
We had a planter outside on the deck, and we brought it in knowing it would probably fall apart out there during Winter. It has pots with dead herb plants on it. In those pots, which have not seen a drop of water in months, these seedlings are growing — that’s what the subject of this post refers to. Seriously, how?

Have you ever seen plants growing without any water (other than cacti)? 

Have you had to haul out Summer running clothes this Winter?

Open stuff immediately, whether or not you’re ready to use it?

What do you have to runfess from January? Come join us

Runfessions

I am also linking up with:

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Coco and Deborah for the ultimate coffee tea date.

As well as Fairytales and Fitness

It’s a party this weekend!

5 Reasons you should do speed work . . .

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. . . even if you’re not training for anything

I am not training for a race. In fact, I won’t start seriously training for my summer half until about the end of March. I still include some type of speed work into most of my weeks. I’m going to share why you should, too.

Fairytales and Fitness

 

For some of us, sometimes speedwork means getting on the treadmill

What is the purpose of speed work?
Of course you never have to do speed work if you don’t want to; it’s a completely personal choice. Here are some of the benefits of including speed work in your running:

  1. It can help you increase how quickly you get oxygen to your oxygen hungry muscles, allowing you to run faster.
  2. It can help your body store more glycogen. Hitting the wall? That’s what happens when we use up our glycogen stores (and is why it’s important to take in fuel on longer runs). It’s a no brainer that being able to store more glycogen could be helpful in holding off fatigue longer (even though at some point you will deplete your stored glycogen).
  3. It’s generally accepted that if you want to run faster, guess what? You need to run faster!
  4. It can help you strengthen the muscles that help you run (glutes and hip flexors)
  5. It helps to prevent burn out. I don’t know about you, but running the same distance at the same pace all the time is really boring to me.

A potential bonus benefit: adding in a little speedwork might help you manage your weight. Your body quickly adapts to anything that you do all the time — and that includes those LSDs (long, slow, distance runs) and those easy 3 or 4 milers. You’ve got to shake things up if you want to maintain or lose some weight.

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Sometimes it means getting out there to race as training

How often should you incorporate speed work into your running?
One to two speed sessions a week is plenty (it depends on how many days a week you run). You shouldn’t do two hard runs in a row: if you do speed work on Monday and you run Tuesday, it should be an easy run.

Pay close attention to your body, as always. If you find that you’re not recovering well, or if a niggle — and especially a pain! — shows up, either skip you planned speed work or reschedule to later in the week (if you’re feeling better).

Hill repeats, by the way, are speed work in disguise.

Speed work can be playful
Right about now you’re probably thinking — ugh! I don’t want to have to run hard.  Speed work doesn’t always have to be hard, or even long. Add some strides (short, fast intervals — we’re talking maybe 30 seconds) midway in your run or after you’ve completed your scheduled distance.

Consider a Fartlek run (which actually means speed play). I have several routes that are lined by trees. I love to run hard between two trees, easy between the next two, and so on — I just do it until I don’t feel like doing it anymore.

Whether you want to get faster or not. speed work can help you get out of a running rut and put a little more pep in your step. Give it a try and see how you feel!

Do you ever do speed drills?

Do you preferred structured speed workouts or just inserting a little speed here and there?

What is your favorite type of speed workout?

Hospice: it’s not what you think

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Last week we were able to get my Dad onto Hospice. No, my Dad doesn’t have a terminal illness, although he sort of does: it’s called old age. I also pointed out to my sister that dementia actually does kill — people with dementia slowly lose their ability to move, and to eat properly. They are at higher risk for aspiration pneumonia because of this (when food goes down into their lungs).

I know this sounds very sad, and it is, but the fact that Hospice is still available to him gives us hope that his remaining days can be eased at least a little.

Fairytales and Fitness

 

What is Hospice?
Hospice (you can access the Hospice site here) is covered 100% by Medicare. My parents have Long Term Health Insurance, and that covers part of the Nursing Home expenses — but not all. Not nearly enough, quite frankly. It was a big relief to hear that Hospice won’t be an extra expense.

Hospice is for people who are not expected to live more than 6 months, although people can get better on Hospice, to the point that they are on it much longer. They are re-evaluated every six months.

Hospice adds a whole other layer of care for my Dad, potentially including:

  • A nurse who visits once a week and can help determine what medications will keep him comfortable — and what medications are not necessary (although the family has the final say about all medications)
  • Aides who visit one or two times a week, who feed him, shampoo his hair, shave him, and a lot more
  • A non-denominational minister
  • A social worker
  • Music therapy
  • Pet therapy

Because this is all new to us, we don’t yet know what services will be recommended. There is also a 24/7 hotline that the family can call, even if we just need to talk.

How to know when a dementia patient can be eligible for Hospice?
There are guidelines for whether or not a dementia patient is eligible for Hospice. My Dad was right on the bubble, but thankfully the nurse deemed him eligible. If she had visited him before he entered the nursing home, I don’t think that would have been the case, but in the short amount of time he’s been there there’s been a sharp decline, including being non-verbal and not recognizing family; not even my Mom.

The Hospice Intake Nurse follows the Reisberg Functional Assessment STaging Scale (better known as FAST).

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You must be in Stage 7 to be eligible for Hospice

My Dad was definitely Stage 6 prior to going into the nursing home. He was still verbal sometimes. Often he wasn’t, but when he was, he was quite definitively — and not in a good way. Not in a way that he would ever had acted when healthy.

All the stays in rehab, hospital, the moves, the strange caregiver, and now the nursing home . . . change is very bad for a dementia patient. All these changes definitely seem to have driven him into Stage 7, and quite frankly, I thank God for that. The last day I say him (after New Years Day) he didn’t speak and he didn’t seem to recognize me, my sister, or my mother.

He wouldn’t have qualified for Hospice before, and would have spent his days in a recliner by the nursing station, because he gets up and tries to walk and he’s at risk to fall.

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Hope for a peaceful ending

Hospice can be hopeful
Of course I am not happy to see my Dad this way. No one is. He doesn’t have cancer, although he does have some serious heart disease, but in the end, mainly what he has is old age. His birthday is the end of March. He will turn 94 if he lives that long, and no one really wants to see him live that long.

He is deeply depressed and unhappy, and has been for a long time. It will blessing for him to pass and be at peace, and I visualize that often.

Hospice is historically underutilized for dementia patients, and that is so sad. We didn’t really know it was an option until recently. I wish I’d known about it for my FIL, who also suffered from dementia for many years. I’m sure both my FIL and my MIL and SIL would have benefited greatly from Hospice care.

That’s why I’m writing this post: I hope that it will help others that are unaware that it’s an option for their loved ones.

Hospice means that my Dad has a whole team trying to make his remaining days as peaceful and comfortable as possible. The nursing home seems very caring and competent, but they can’t give him one on one attention.

My sister visits him often, as she lives close, and might begin to take my Mom on a weekly basis if she wants to go. I will go when I can, but it’s a long trip and the weather during Winter makes it impossible to go on any routine basis.

Hospice can give my Dad that individual attention. Hospice gives me hope that my Dad can finally have some peace.

Do you have loved ones with dementia?

Have you ever known anyone on Hospice?

Do you have any other resources to share for those with dementia, or caregiving for those with dementia?

Thinking about choosing a word for 2020, or some intentions? I’ve got you covered! Check out my new video that can help you do that here. Sign up for my newsletter here to find out when I add new videos, and you’ll receive a free companion PDF and a bonus Abundance meditation.

There’s a little dog in all men: Tea/coffee Date January 2020

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Mr. Judy and the dogs figure largely in what I’d tell you if we were meeting up for some hot beverages today. I’ll bet you’re really shocked — not!

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Pull up a chair and mug with Coco and Deborah and me for the ultimate coffee tea date, while I forgive the dogs for the disgusting things they do because they’re cute. And maybe Mr. Judy, too.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I would tell you Mr. Judy was going through some old stuff, and came across some papers from his Dad (who also suffered with dementia).One was a list of passwords. One was JLITT.

We had a good laugh when at first I was puzzled about why he would use my name as a password. His first name was Jerry. I needed that laugh!

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that Mr. Judy got a bee in his bonnet about making latkes (potato pancakes) from scratch. Yes, Mr. Judy can cook, but doesn’t do it a lot, so it’s often filled with me finding almost everything for him and some swearing. If you’ve never made latkes, it’s a labor intensive procedure and this fell in the week we were moving my Dad to the nursing home.

I made the frozen latkes from Trader Joes — as did one of his aunts and his sister — but that wasn’t good enough for him. I runfess I’m glad he did it while I was away from home.

It’s a good thing they’re cute

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you I came home from yoga last Sunday, put away the groceries, sat down and talked to Mr. Judy a bit. Got up to make myself some tea. Walked back over and . . . someone had thrown up.

Lola has done her share of “redecorating” as I euphemistically call it

My money is on Bandit. Lola had just gotten up on the couch, and I think we would have noticed if she’d gotten back off.  I don’t remember Bandit getting off his couch, but he is the one that randomly throws up.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t there when I was talking to Mr. Judy, we didn’t hear anything (Bandit tends to do it pretty quietly). It wasn’t me and it wasn’t Mr. Judy. Good thing the dogs are cute, and at least this time they missed bedding, furniture, and carpeting.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you I have actually gone from someone who loved to bake, and often baked simply because I enjoyed it and found it stress-busting . . . to someone that doesn’t bake so often anymore.

Could that be part of the secret to being able to maintain my weight without tracking? It’s mostly been that I am just too busy with other things. You know how when you’re really engaged in something and you don’t even think about eating? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

If we were enjoying tea/coffee . . .
I’d tell you that starting my YouTube Channel (you can check it out here) has been hard! I seriously knew nothing about editing video before I started. It seemed like with each new video a different problem would pop up.

In my latest video, I’d recorded an intro to it — at the moment I film using my Ipad — and for the first time, for whatever reason, the audio came out completely garbled. Unusable. Hence no intro to that video.

In that same video, I recorded the audio early one morning. It’s a longer video, clocking in at almost an hour. I finished, hit done, and poof! No audio. I simply didn’t have another hour to sit & re-record it. As I was venting to Mr. Judy, it finally appeared. I guess it just needed some processing time.

What was the last good laugh you had?

What was the last thing you had to learn that really challenged you?

What was something you used to really enjoy doing that you no longer do? 

I am also linking up with the  Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness from Fairytales & Fitness.

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The Cookie Monster . . .: Runfessions December 2019

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. . . and #allthechocolate too! Actually, I haven’t done too badly with holiday eating. Yet. Why does all the sugar, carb laden food have to come out just when I’m at my weakest due to the cold and almost nonexistent sunshine? I runfess I’m actually glad I don’t have to attend #alltheholidayparties.

One thing does not look like the other. At least it was a left & right shoe — and I realized my mistake before I laced up.

I runfess . . .
It’s no secret that I am often misplacing things: my carkeys, my phone, my running clothes. The phone is a constant struggle for me because I’m not a power user when it comes to my phone. I’ve been pretty good with the keys since I’ve had a long stretch at home, although I’ll probably be on the road a lot again with my Dad in a nursing home.

Last week I couldn’t find the leggings I wanted to wear for a very cold long run. Anywhere. They’re thick, they’re fleece lined, I knew they were here somewhere . . . it was driving me crazy.

I did eventually remember where I’d put them, and yup, surprise! There they were. Not sure they were the right choice, even with the fleece my butt was frozen!

I runfess . . .
One morning in the beginning of December I woke up expecting rain to start soon — but it was going to hold off a few hours. I managed to hit the road by 7:30; the fact that it was a little warmer made it easier to motivate myself outside. I wasn’t expecting to run outside that day, though, and I swear those miles felt loooong.

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Breakfast of Champions

I runfess . . .
I fueled that unexpected run with the last two leftover cookies from our holiday party after Last Run (read about that race here). Hey, they didn’t have any flour, they had oats, they had nuts. Okay, they also had a whole lot of chocolate . . .

I runfess . . .
I further runfess that after that run, after walking the dogs immediately post run (one of my favorite ways to cool down), after eating my planned protein bar and feeding the dogs . . . I proceeded to chow down on a few Len & Larry’s protein cookies (the small ones, not the humongous ones).

#thestruggleisreal when it comes to the Cookie Monster in Winter

I runfess . . .
I also grabbed a few Little Secrets chocolate peanut butter candies before my run on Wednesday of the same week. After eating a  sensible breakfast, of course. These are like PB M&Ms, but with natural food coloring and less sugar. Which doesn’t mean no sugar. I took far less than a serving, but still. I blame the short December days!

Is healthy eating getting away from you this holiday season? 

Have the miles felt super long to you lately?

What was the last running item you misplaced?

What do you have to runfess from December? Come join us

Runfessions

I am also linking up with:

5 Questions to review 2019

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Have you reviewed 2019 yet? I’m not just talking about a trip down memory lane, I’m talking about really thinking about what made 2019 great — or not so great — why, and how you can take everything you learned in 2019 into 2020 to make it an even better year.

Fairytales and Fitness

What was your greatest triumph of 2019?
Hands down my greatest accomplishment this year had nothing to do with running — it was gathering my courage to enroll in Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) and becoming a Yoga teacher.

What steps did you take that helped you complete this accomplishment?
There were so many small steps that led up to graduating YTT:

  • Discussing it with Mr. Judy, because it would be time consuming and it would effect him, too.
  • Online or in person?
  • Researching reviews of the program — and I’ll be  honest, it seems few people actually do review their YTTs online, so that was difficult.
  • Actually enrolling.
  • Watching all the videos and taking notes.
  • Showing up to almost all the live calls (there were three a week). Sometimes that meant not being able to hang with friends.
  • Doing the homework (yes, there was homework).
  • Practicing yoga with my friend.
  • Developing my practicum.
  • Figuring out how the heck to film my practicum!

It’s a long list, and it really doesn’t cover all that I did, but you get the idea. If you want to achieve a goal, you have to break it down into little steps.

Just like training for a race — most of us don’t just go out and race a marathon, we lay down our base, add in certain workouts (tempos, 800 repeats) and slowly increase our long runs. That’s why people say it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

What did you learn from your challenges in 2019?
There are always bumps in the road. We don’t learn as much from smooth sailing. One of my biggest challenges this year was dealing with my parents’ health problems and just being there for them through the good and bad — and there has been a whole lot of bad.

I learned that sometimes you just have to lend a compassionate ear. I think we all know this, but we want to fix problems. Often that’s not really what the person needs, but fixing something feels good — to us. It’s harder to listen to complaints and just be compassionate. Yes, that’s even part of the Yoga Sutras!

By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.” — Patanjali

It’s not always easy to just show compassion to the unhappy, but the point is to not let their unhappiness make you unhappy — and not to try to fix them, just listen. Sometimes that’s all someone needs.

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Yup, Bandit wants to help you destress, too

Did you let fear hold you back from doing anything in 2019?
If it did, I can’t remember it. I have definitely let fear hold me back from doing things at times — sometimes as simple as going to a party. I’m an introvert; I don’t particularly like large parties, I much prefer small, intimate gatherings.

On the other hand, going to a party where I knew no one except the host was exactly how I met Mr. Judy. Here we are, more than 34 years later.

Fear is there to prevent you from doing something stupid that could hurt you, but it’s too easy to let fear prevent us from doing scary things that will help us grow. I have definitely done a lot scary things this year, not the least putting myself on video and uploading it to Youtube.

By the way, if you missed it, I released a longer Yin Yoga video that can help you destress and calm down after a hectic day. You can find it here. Yin Yoga involves longer holds, and that means they’re not short practices. Trust me, though, you’ll feel a lot more relaxed after trying this video. Comment on the video and let me know what  you thought!

What are you going to change in 2020?
If we’re not changing we’re not growing. Status quo is calm and safe — but where do you feel the greatest sense of accomplishment — from staying in your comfort zone or pushing  yourself out of it?

I’ll be honest: I don’t know what I want to change in 2020. There is no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be a tough year. Probably even tougher than 2019 was. This is a question I still need to ponder. I’ll leave you with a few more questions to ponder — and feel free to add more questions to this list in the comments!

What was the hardest thing you did in 2019?

What was the most rewarding thing you did in 2019?

What worked great for you in 2019?

Not HIITing It

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Every Winter I go through the same routine, unless I’m training for a mid Winter half: I figure I’m not training for anything, so it’s time to really hit the strength training. Often after months of ST taking a back seat to running.

Fairytales and Fitness

 

These weights will get used the normal amount

Not giving up on ST, but . . .
Not this year. I am strength training, yes, because use it or lose it — those muscles will shrink and you’ll get weaker every year if you don’t keep strength training. It’s important!

Winter isn’t the time to go hard. We are hard wired to want to go inside and rest and recover during the short, snowy (for us!) Winter days. Even though our electricity means we can work out 24/7, it’s still not what our bodies need. I found an interesting read on the hibernation habits of some humans here.

I have been using a lot of Pahla Bowers’ Workouts for Women over 50 (but any age can benefit) found on her Youtube channel here. I’ve followed her for many years, but I love that recently she’s begun to showcase many workouts with cardio and weights — but no jumping. Trust me, you’ll still get a good workout!

I run, and I usually do at least long run a week, and another run that’s speed work or hill repeats. Maintaining my fitness base overall.

I’ll bet you’ve indulged in a few cookies, too

It’s ok to pack on a few pounds
I’m not giving you permission to chow down at every holiday party.  I recently read an article (which alas, I cannot find),  that said yes, we’re hard wired to want to eat more during Winter. It goes back thousands of years to when food was scarce during Winter.

We crave comfort foods: high fat, high sugar, carbs — all foods that can insulate us and give us energy. Deny yourself the foods your body is sure you need, and chances are instead of losing weight, you’ll struggle even more. You can read more about why we may gain weight during Winter — and reasonable things to do about it — here.

What’s a health-minded person to do in Winter?
Does that mean I’m throwing in the towel on maintaining a healthy weight during the Winter? Heck, no! Just as I’m not going to throw in the towel on running during Winter, because I don’t want to have to start over with C25K, neither am I just throwing up my hands & saying what’s the point of eating healthy if my body is just going to fight me anyway?

It’s natural to gain a little bit. Just keep an eye on it and make sure a little bit doesn’t turn into permission to #eatallthefood. Accept that you may be a little fluffier in Winter (what are cozy sweaters for, anyway?), but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to move that fluffier body.

This Winter I’m trying to give in a little. To accept that I’ll be up a few pounds, but to make sure I don’t turn a blind eye about how my clothes are fitting. To continue to move my body, but take it just a little easier on it so that I get a true off season. To try to work with my body and the natural rhythms of the season, instead of fighting nature.

When Spring comes, I’ll be ready to get out there and go hard again after a Winter of semi-hibernation!

To everything there is a season.
— Ecclesiastes 

Do you change your healthy lifestyle with the seasons?

Are you enjoying an off season now?

Does Winter send you running for the comfort food?