About Me

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Return to Running

After over a week of not running, due to injuries and sickness (mine and the family), I went for a nice easy run yesterday. It was a pleasant 45 degrees out, which felt warm compared to the below zero windchill we've been having lately. I decided to run near my house, so once I got home from work, fed the family and changed, I was out the door.

I had my tracking app going (I'm currently using Nike+ Run Club and I love it), but I had my phone locked and tucked away. I wanted to track everything, but I wanted to run based off of feeling instead of numbers on a screen. I'm still recovering from being sick and having my family sick, as well as some strange injury I've got going on with my rib area. I started out at what felt like a nice, slow pace, especially since the first part of my run has a nice gradual uphill climb to it. I really like to start out that way, because it gets me warmed up pretty quickly.

That eases into a wonderful almost completely flat road that feels amazing after running uphill. I didn't set out with any particular time or distance in mind. I just knew that I needed to get out and run. So when my app told me that I'd completed my first mile in an 11:59 pace, I was pretty excited. I wasn't tired feeling, but my ribs were starting to twinge, so after a little bit further, I decided to go ahead and turn around. The run back is always a joy, because it's that nice flat road and then I get to run downhill the same hill I had to run up at the start. It's a great way to end a run and a fun way to get a negative split. I did my second mile in 11:24, though to be fair, once I finish the downhill, there is a much steeper hill that I have to climb to actually get into my neighborhood, so it isn't all downhill.

I ended up with an overall pace of 11:41, 2.17 miles, for a 25:23 minute run. It felt amazing during the run and after. My body and mind really needed that last night. Though I'll admit that my ribs are not the most pleased with me and I'm back to needing to move around a bit more gingerly. I'm fine with that and I'll probably see how it feels to try another run tomorrow. I don't know about today. I might try some cross training. I'm horrible about that and I've got to do it if I want to be in proper shape to run the OKC Memorial Half Marathon without injury.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sorry

Hello.

I'm sorry for not posting. 12/15 was the start of inventory for my company and I was working late. When we were done, it was late, the weather was nasty and I was too tired to contemplate running in the snow.

12/16 was the finishing of inventory, which meant that I had lots of paperwork to go over and reports to run and file (I work in purchasing - all paperwork, all the time). We were surprised with our end of year bonus checks, so when I got off work, I headed home, picked up the hubby and we went Christmas shopping. That was the end of my good weekend.

Hubby and Acacia were sick this weekend. Not nice, gentle head cold sick, but violent stomach flu sick. I will spare you the gory details, so suffice it to say that I got no sleep this weekend. The one high point is that since Hubby and I did all our shopping on Friday, all presents were bought and since they were too sick to bother me unless they were actively soiling something, in between bouts of cleaning and laundry, I got everything wrapped.

As my reward for doing better than my set goals, I ended up buying myself a new phone. I am now the proud owner of an iPhone 7plus, black, in a plum colored case.

I'm hoping to get in a run this evening. This weekend was essentially below zero with wind chill, so even if the family hadn't been sick, there's a good chance I wouldn't have made it out anyway. I need one at this point though, so I'm going to try my best to get a nice, slow mile in before I end the day.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and that Christmas/Holiday planning is going well. I will try to get more/better posts up, but life has really been smacking me around this past week.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

No Running For a Bit

I'm clumsy.

It's somewhat of a joke everywhere I go, because I'm clumsy. Really clumsy. I can't help it and it's fun to joke about when I pinball myself around the office or look like I'm doing a weird dance around the furniture. It isn't fun when I'm finding bruises and can't remember where exactly I got them, because I hit so much stuff. I spent three weeks trying to figure out where some bruises on the back of my left thigh were coming from, before I realized that it was a bar on my car's seat.

Yesterday, the left side of my lower rib area started to really hurt. A coworker checked and didn't see any bruising (it's kind of on my side/back, so I couldn't really check myself), but it was sore to the touch and it hurt to move. It didn't hurt to breathe, so I wasn't worried about broken ribs. When I got home, my husband was checking me out and asked if I'd fallen. I was so sure I hadn't and we argued about it, because he was sure I must've and I was sure I hadn't. Surely I'd remember falling hard enough to hurt myself this badly, right?

Wrong!

I took off my socks and felt the abrasion on my left ankle. The ankle that I'd swung into my heavy wooden dresser that morning, causing me to fall into the dresser on my left side, before bouncing onto the floor. I admitted as much to my husband, who sighed in frustration, before checking my ribs again. Nothing seems to be broken, swollen or hot to the touch. The pain isn't so bad that I can't move at all, so we've opted to avoid paying a doctor right now. I've been through this before with strained muscles. They'll tell me to ice and heat it, take mild painkillers as needed, usually alternating acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and use it as little as possible.

So that's what I'm doing. That does mean I probably won't be running today. Depending on how I feel, I might try tomorrow, but we shall see. I have to work late tonight, so I don't know what I'll be getting done.

I hope everyone else is being safe and less clumsy than I am.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Getting Back Into Things

I took a couple days off after my recovery run on Sunday. I haven't been feeling the greatest and my legs were still a little worn, so I was worried about pushing too hard too fast. I felt pretty awful yesterday though; sick to my stomach and tired, so I didn't want to run even though I kind of felt that I should. I'm very glad I didn't though.

I woke up this morning feeling sick. However, I'm stubborn and not always that smart, so I got up, got dressed and after a quick 4:30 am run to Walmart to get Ding Dongs for the hubby and Acacia (the preferred treat in lunches around here), I stopped by the nature trail to do a quick run. I decided to do a 22 minute run and set out. The first half mile was awful. The second half mile wasn't great, but it felt a lot better. The last .8 miles were somewhere in between good and icky. When I was done, I really felt like I was going to toss my cookies.

1.8 miles, 12:11 average pace, 26 degrees. I honestly felt like I was going a lot slower, since my stomach wasn't happy with me, but I'm pretty proud of this, since I set out to run an easy 22 minutes.

I'm at work now and I can't say that I feel much better. My stomach calmed down a bit after I ate a few orange wedges off my husband's breakfast. He works out in the elements, so I always give him something hot with fresh seasonal fruit. Today he had a breakfast sandwich (biscuit, egg, sausage and cheese) and orange wedges. I stole some of his orange, but really don't feel up to eating more than that right now. I've got some yogurt and an apple and jar of peanut butter here, so if I get hungry, I'll be fine. They also stock our break room with food, so I have options.

I hope everyone is staying warm (or cool, if you're lucky, I guess) and I hope you're enjoying the holiday season, whatever it might be that you celebrate.

Monday, December 12, 2016

My 5k Race!

I didn't do any running on Friday and I tried to make sure that I hydrated and ate well. I went to bed at a good time and got some pretty good sleep.

I woke up on Saturday and my stomach was filled with butterflies. I had picked up some Pho the night before, so I heated it up and ate while I got dressed. I was feeling pretty good and it was a lot of fun to check in and pick up my shirt. It's actually really cute.

We started (there was a loud gun shot and a cannon that shot confetti and ribbon) and I'll admit that I let the crowd carry me faster than I should have gone out. I'll try to avoid that next time, but overall I had a great time. They did have a water station around half way, which I was surprised to find that I really appreciated. The last mile was done fairly level, but with a nasty headwind. I crossed the finish line and immediately burst into very ugly tears. It prompted one lady to ask if I was okay. I assured her I was.

My legs were shaky and I was already doing that irritating thing where my body rapidly cools down (I get SO hot when I run - it was 35 degrees out and I spent most of the run in a t-shirt, still feeling very warm) and I start shaking from the temperature change. My husband is trying to get me back to the car, but I insist on going inside for my official chip time. Remember: My A goal, my pie in the sky goal, was to run under 38 minutes. It was something that even a few days ago I wasn't sure I could do. My official chip time for my 5k was 35:32, 11:27 pace. 184th out of 238 overall, 106th out of 142 women, and 20th out of 28 women in my age group (30-34). 

Taken by themselves, these aren't amazing stats. Taken with the understanding that I am lucky to have run at all, these are amazing. I am so proud of myself. I am so proud of my body, because while my body is shaking from muscle fatigue and a rapidly cooling core, my knee does not hurt. My back does not hurt. I am sore, but I am not in pain.

I got home and took a hot bath, finishing up the rest of my Pho. Yes, I took my food into the bathtub. I am not ashamed. I took it pretty easy the rest of Saturday and woke up on Sunday just a little sore. I did a recovery run and ran by feeling. I did 1.5 miles. I ran 1/2 a mile and paused, assessing how I felt. I decided to continue, but when I got to 3/4, my legs were starting to feel a little lead-like, so I opted to turn around and head home. 1.5 miles, with a 12:42 pace. It felt good to get home and shower. Acacia and I did church and then other than some laundry, I didn't push too hard. I did take a mid-day nap after lunch (street tacos!), but I got a lot of laundry done.

I will probably not run today. I had errands this morning before work, but even if I hadn't, I'm not sure I feel like it. I'll reassess this evening and if I feel alright, I might head out for a nice, slow mile.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and I hope that we are all ready to go into this last bit of time before Christmas. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

20 Minute Run

Goodness it is getting cold here. I hope wherever you are, you have a nice warm place to sleep.

We had a holiday program to go watch for Acacia. They did crazy carols and it was cute and enjoyable. That did mean that I went out for my run later than I wanted to, given the temperatures. My run ended up being done in 26 degree weather. It was definitely not pleasant at the beginning or the end, but I heat up so much when I run that I certainly wasn't cold for most of my run.

I did 1.71 miles in 20 minutes. Average pace was 11:40. The first mile was done in 11:50 and it was an out and back run, so the uphill portions I did at the beginning were offset by that lovely downhill at the end. An 11:40 average pace is pretty nice though, but I don't know if I'll be able to hold that kind of pacing on Saturday. It would be so amazing if I did though. My big time goal is to finish under 38 minutes, but if I could hold an average 11:40 tomorrow, that would give me a finish time under 37 minutes.

I'm not counting on that though. My baseline goal is to finish under 45 minutes. This is something that, barring another blowout, will be easily accomplished. My mid-line goal is to finish under 40 minutes. That's a 12:53 average pace, which seemed a little harder several weeks ago, but now seems like something I shouldn't have trouble with. My high goal, the one I thought would be a struggle and a miracle to accomplish was under 38 minutes. That's a 12:14 pace and something that I feel like I can do, but I'm not pinning all my hopes on it. Just finishing, no matter the time, is going to be huge for me. My last distance for time race was my last APFT, where I blew out my knee and finally got a doctor who took me serious, and that was in April 2007. I did 2 miles in 17:27, which is an 8:44 pace. One day, I'll be that fast again. That won't be tomorrow, but it is a goal that I've decided I'm going to reach for.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Running by Feeling and Facing Fears

When I first got back into running, seriously, it was back in September of this year. Before that, I'd start and stop....mostly stop. I was just so afraid. My fears were somewhat justified. After all, at the ripe old age of 30 (there is much sarcasm in that statement, in case anyone was unaware), I've been dealing with the same issues for over a decade. I've been considered disabled, albeit at a low rate, for almost 9 years. The VA has my disability date as of February 29, 2008. Interestingly, because I was pregnant at my time of discharge, my knee and my back are both rated at 0%. It was explained to me that because of my history (the short 3 years of it), they are obviously both so bad that the VA cannot deny me disability, but because they were unable to take current X-Rays, they won't estimate the percentage that this affects me. I can apply for re-evaluation at any time, but that means a lot of appointments and that just isn't something I can quite afford yet. I'm thinking next year, perhaps.

In any case, over the last 12 years (yes, 12; I was originally injured in December 2004), I've spent so much of that in and out of emergency rooms, physical therapy offices, occupational therapy offices (I had to learn how to get in and out of bed in a way that wouldn't hurt me), on crutches, canes and braces, that the fear of re-injury is very real. So real that just the thought of hearing that pop again sends me to the edge of an anxiety attack. The thought of running, of running more than the 1.3 mile block I live on, of running faster than a 14:00 mile, sends waves of fear over me.

It is a fear I face every time I open my door, dressed in my running gear.

I was trying to find something to motivate me, something that would be more exciting and worth facing that fear. In October, I found it. I found a local 5k. 3.1 miles. I thought that even if I ended up needing to walk part of it, it was something I could enjoy. So I looked up a training plan that looked like I could manage it, and I got started. I started out trying to hit certain paces and while they weren't speedy, it was something I was struggling with. I spent almost the whole month of November beating myself up because I wasn't meeting these arbitrary goals I'd set for myself.

This month, I've been trying to run more based on how the effort feels. Toward the end of November, I was starting to get frustrated and irritated and it just wasn't quite as fun as it had been. It turns out, that's really what I needed. I enjoy running, even as I'm doing it (most of the time), and forcing myself to try and maintain a certain pace by constantly looking at my phone was just making me miserable. It also turns out that I tend to be faster that way. I'm able to maintain my speeds better and when the run is done, my average pace for the entire run tends to be below what my overall speed needed to be. It's been a real eye opener and exactly what I needed. I was having difficulty not taking breaks on runs just over 2 miles, but now I'm easily able to go over 3 miles.

I did a nice 30 minute run last night. It was cold. It was 33 degrees, but with wind chill, we were looking at a toasty 24 degrees. I ended up doing 2.56 miles, some hills, with an average pace of 11:42. Mile 1 was 11:54, Mile 2 was 11:51 and the last half mile was at 11:21. To be fair, that last half mile was mostly down hill, but since it is the same hill that I ran UP at the beginning of my run, I'm going to happily take an average of 11:42.

If I had tried to take that same run the way I used to, staring at my phone, trying to hit certain speeds, I'd have ended up much slower. I'm learning and as I'm learning, I'm fearing less. The fear is not gone. It is still there and I still have to fight it back and take deep breaths and count to myself to avoid anxiety attacks, but I have reached a point where I am able to fight back. I have reached a point where I know how to listen to my body and run (or not) according to how I feel. I will always be afraid, at least a little, because my injury is not something that will ever truly go away. It is a permanent disability and one that I have to learn to live and train with. I used to be so angry about it. I was barely an adult and my life was changed. I've learned to count myself lucky though, because now that I'm in my 30's, my friends are slowly starting to get where I've been for over a decade. I can help them learn to live with their aches and pains and I can remind them to listen to their bodies.

I've got a 20 minute run on the schedule for tonight, with some sprints at the end. Tomorrow, Friday, the day before my race, I'm going to do a nice, slow mile, to keep my body limber. On Saturday, I'm going to face my fear head on. I'm going to run a set distance for time. This is something that I've been afraid of for 12 years, having it reinforced every six months for the first 3 (Army Physical Fitness Tests are 2x/year), and too afraid to do it again for the last 9. I'm scared. I know I can do it, because I've ran further just a few days ago. I know I can do it at a reasonable time, because I've been able to maintain some decent paces. I'm still scared. I'm going to go out there, line up, and run based on how I feel. My daughter and my husband will be waiting for me at the finish line. My daughter has never seen me run for distance and speed and my husband has seen me collapse every time I have. She is excited and he is afraid, but on Saturday I'm going to make all three of us proud, no matter how I finish, because I will have faced my fear.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

45 Minutes

My last long run on my training plan was a 45 minute run. I was terrified.

Since my last major re-injury in April of 2007, but before beginning training, I hadn't run more than around 1.5 miles. These last couple months of training have been a lot of "first-in-a-long-time" things for me. It was this one, this 45 minute run, that has had me scared since I first decided to start a training plan for my 5k.

In fact, the fear has been so bad that even though I felt good enough to run on Sunday, I kept putting it off. I didn't run Monday morning either. I just kept thinking, "What if I can't do it?" "What if I hurt myself again?" Hubby kept encouraging me all yesterday evening and finally, at about 8 pm, I decided to just go do it. If I couldn't do it, I'd just figure out where I went wrong and try again. If I got hurt, I'd scale back and maybe racing just wasn't in my future.

When I left, I decided to make sure that I started slow. My longest run in almost 10 years (!) was 35 minutes so far and 10 minutes can feel like a lifetime if you're not prepared. I set out going slow and kept it at a nice and comfortable 13:00 pace. When I hit mile one at 13:01, I told myself that I could pick it up just a bit, ignore the clock (or in my case, phone app) and just run a tiny bit faster. Mile two was completed in 12:40. I still felt really good (and I've decided that what I had for dinner will be my pre-race meal), so I gave myself permission to go just a tiny bit faster. Mile three was completed in 12:20. Overall, I ran 3.62 miles in 45 minutes. My total average pace was 12:25.

I didn't manage to see where I was, time wise, when I hit 3.1 miles, but I saw it at 3.17 and it was under 40 minutes. I finished my run last night feeling I could keep going. I was excited and I cried. I cried when I told Hubby about it. That is my longest run in almost 10 years. That is also just slightly slower than the pace I need to hold to complete my 5k at the fastest time I thought I was capable of. There was no pain. There were some sore legs, but there was no pain. Almost 12 hours later, there is still no pain.

I feel like I conquered something very big last night. I proved to myself that I am capable of so much. I am strong and I know what I'm doing. I know when I line up to race on Saturday morning, I'm going to be nervous, but I always get nervous. What I won't be is scared. I won't be scared because I've already proven to myself that I can do this. I've done the work and I can go out there and I will crush my goals.

Also, in case anyone might be wondering, I had a big bowl of Pho last night. Roughly 1.5-2 hours before running. I have never felt so good, so I think I'll be buying some on Friday night to reheat and eat on Saturday morning before I run. Noodles, broth, brisket, 2 lime wedges and a healthy squirt of sriracha sauce. I felt amazing, didn't feel dehydrated or tired. It was pretty neat.

To those who are reading, thanks for the views, and good luck with your next goals.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Very Busy Weekend

At some point, I will get a computer so I can blog on the weekends. Until then, I feel a bit lazy about not posting, but I am not going to attempt to write a blog post on my phone. I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms and I'm just not up to that.

I did manage to get up and go for a run on Saturday morning. It wasn't anything particularly fantastic as far as numbers go, but I felt great afterward. 1.29 miles, average pace of 12:29. My Saturday wasn't extremely busy, and I did get a nap, but I ended up going out with friends. I was driving, so I didn't do much drinking, but I was out way too late and didn't get home until well after 3 pm. By the time I was heading to bed, it was somewhere around 4.

Around 6, my dogs started whining, which woke me and the hubby up, and we realized that our furnace wasn't working. Given that we live in central Oklahoma, this is definitely cause for panic. So up we got to try and fix it. We sort of got it working, but we turned on our space heaters in both bedrooms, just in case, and went back to bed. Amazingly, I felt pretty damn amazing not long after 8 am, so we got up, did breakfast and then headed out to get some things done.

Hubby spoiled me yesterday. We did some window shopping and he bought me a bottle of wine from a local winery that I absolutely love. He took his girls out to a late lunch/early dinner and we had some delicious Mexican food. I ended up with a fish stew which was amazing. Once we were done eating, we headed over to our local home improvement store to buy a new thermostat. This, thankfully, solved our problem and actually really helped, because the house hasn't been too hot or too cold since.

I was debating about going for a run in the evening, because it was cold and I was a little tired. I'd finally decided to go ahead and just do it, since I wasn't ready to end my running streak. I went out to pick up a couple treats for Hubby, who was hungry, and when I got back, he was watching Suicide Squad behind the scenes things. We had a quick discussion, in which he admitted that since it was already almost 8 pm, he didn't think I was going to run. I begged him to wait on starting the movie, that I'd be right back. I left the house and banged out a quick (for me) mile. 1 mile, 11:34 pace, back in the house before he expected me and we were able to start the movie.

I'm starting a body weight based strength training plan today. I'd tried one with some equipment, which I have, but it wasn't working out. I will also be doing my last long run before my 5k on Saturday (12/10!! So close!!!), which has me both nervous and excited. I'm so thrilled to have made it as far as I have, because when I started I really wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it to this point without having been back to the doctor for something. I haven't had to use a brace or a cane at all, and since we've had some not so great days, weather wise, this is especially amazing.

I hope that whatever you do to stay active, it makes you as happy as running is making me.

Friday, December 2, 2016

It Gets Better

Good morning!

I ate pretty decently yesterday, though I did break and have some of the holiday candy that our company sends to our customers and vendors. It was a tiny piece and it was GOOD. I hydrated pretty well, ate a moderate dinner and was in bed shortly after 9 pm. I set my alarm for just before 5 am, giving me over 7.5 hours of sleep. I still had to give myself a pretty stern talking to before I got up the courage to get out and run this morning. It really came down to the fact that my #RWRunStreak was something that I've talked about a lot on my Facebook page and even though I know my friends and family would understand, I just couldn't give it up without a try.

I'm so glad I did. It wasn't my fastest mile, but it wasn't painful and I really enjoyed it. 12:20 pace, 1 mile completed, and my faith in my ability to understand my body has been restored. Yesterday really knocked me down and I was worried. I was worried that I wasn't as strong as I thought I was. I was worried that I wasn't as fit as I thought I was getting. I was also worried that I just wasn't meant to be a runner anymore, which was really heartbreaking. I was scared to get out there this morning, because if today went bad, it would just confirm what I was thinking. I'm glad that I ended things early, because if I had pushed, I probably wouldn't have been able to get out there today and do well and feel good.

I've lost some more weight. I'm down to 183.5 (yes, the .5 matters to me right now) and I've lost 1% in body fat. That isn't a number that I feel ready to share on Facebook, but I'm going to be brave enough to share it here. Probably because I'm not entirely sure anyone will see it and more sure that no one will comment. I finally had the courage to use the body fat calculator built into my scale. Is it really accurate? I have no idea, but it is something that I can still use to monitor my progress. Weight loss without fat loss isn't a good thing, long term. At 188 lbs, it was showing 38% body fat. This is bad. Really bad. My weight may not indicate obesity, but my body fat is telling a different story. Today, it went down to 37%. Still not good, but progress is progress.

I dislike BMI for many reasons. Body fat percentage is a much more reliable indication of total health, in my layman's opinion. You can be very skinny, but have a high percentage of body fat. As a 30 year old woman, I need to try to keep my body fat under 34%. That's C goal. B goal is to get it under 30% and A goal is currently under 26%. That may change, but that's where I am right now.

I hope everyone out there IRL is having a fun time preparing for the holidays, whether you're spending it with family, friends or solo. Be safe.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not All Runs Go Well

Not all runs will feel good. I'm not one of those crazy people that thinks running feels amazing while you're doing it every time. Most of the time, I'm struggling a bit (or more). I enjoy the feeling of a little struggling and after a mile or so, I usually feel pretty good. Over the past couple months, I've actually had to regularly stop myself from continuing on once my scheduled workout was supposed to be over. I mean, I feel great, why can't I keep going past my scheduled time/distance?

Not today. I started out and I felt pretty crappy, but I figured I'd give it my best shot.

My training schedule called for a 30 minute run today. That first mile, usually tougher than the rest, was awful. I ran 15 minutes out, turned around, and within 5 minutes, my body was telling me I was DONE. I had to end my workout after 20 minutes. You know what sucked even more? I still had to walk back the same distance I'd run out. I was a little later than planned getting home, which meant my whole morning was thrown off.

Not only that, but the walk back was distinctly uncomfortable. My shins were angry and they were telling me. I couldn't walk right. My stomach was rebelling and I'm honestly surprised that I didn't end up puking. It was a close call a couple of times. This has only happened a few times, all back when I was active duty Army, so it really caught me by surprise.

All I can figure is that I have been pushing myself a little too much the last few days. I haven't been getting over 7 hours of sleep a night for the past two nights. I, shamefully, haven't been hydrating quite well enough, even though my nutrition actually has been getting better.

I know better. I got a little lazy. Well, I'll walk that statement back a little, and this is why:

I suffer from chronic depression and anxiety. It's diagnosed by several psychiatrists, so this isn't some self-diagnosis as a way for me to explain my bad moods. It was officially diagnosed in 2005, though the evidence suggests that I've struggled for much longer than that, and I actually have a disability rating through the VA for it. Yes, it is that serious. Over the last decade, I've learned coping mechanisms to help my get through the cycles of depression, and I've spent much of the last few years really focusing on my anxiety.

It's interesting, because I can feel a depressive episode coming on. It's like watching a black cloud roll in. Sometimes I can mitigate it and make it through without too much of a problem. Other times, nothing I do seems to help. I understand that I make poorer decisions when I'm in a depressive episode, but even though I know this and I can see myself making these bad decisions, I just don't care.

One of my goals in my path to whole-self-health has been to stop beating myself up for the silly decisions I make. If I neglect to pay some bills, sure I'm going to scold myself and come up with ways to help avoid that mistake in the future (I have a method, now, and it works surprisingly well). Forgoing my bedtime because I'd rather stay up and cuddle with my hubby? A poor decision in terms of health, but I think that I can forgive myself because he seems to have appreciated these last couple nights of connection and discussion. It would get old, because he actually likes some time alone in the evenings, so there's motivation to get back on my regular sleep schedule. My lack of hydrating? I'd stopped putting my water bottle in front of me, so today it is back, smack dab in the middle of my desk, right by the computer monitor.

I don't share any of this for pity or to invite criticism (FYI: any comments ever received that lecture me on mental health will be deleted. Unless you are a mental health professional and I have requested your professional opinion, please keep your words to yourself. This is not a joke and it is not something simply cured by certain foods or activities; believe me, I've tried. Prayer is not the answer either.), but to simply share a part of my struggle in the hopes that someone who is going through their own struggle will know that it is okay. It's okay to have crappy days and crappy workouts. It's okay to realize you've made some poor decisions. The important part is that you take the steps to remedy the issue.

I will be upping my water intake, strictly limiting any added-sugar treats, focus on getting back to a good sleep schedule, stretching and foam rolling, and most importantly: reminding myself that my setbacks, whatever form they take, do not define me. It is how I respond that makes me who I am.