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So Long, July

July is the end of a lot of things. In my school world, it’s the end of summer. My teachers come back next week, and the kids come back the week after that. The days are already getting noticeably shorter, and the watermelon festival is over.

The 38th annual Cave City Watermelon Festival was July 27-29. I spend a lot of time working on the festival. We have a committee of 10 people and we work on it all year long. Which in a way is crazy if you think about it. We work for 12 months on an event that lasts 3 days! That just shows how important this event is to our community. The people on the committee LOVE this community and work really hard to put on a top-notch festival.

The festival was great this year. Saturday is our biggest day. The weather was perfect. Cool and sunny. The crowds were huge, probably the biggest ever. The entertainment was awesome! Even as great as I thought it was, there were plenty of people to tell me otherwise. But I refuse to dwell on them. To quote Taylor Swift, “Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off, I shake it off.”

You see and hear a lot of unusual things when you are at an event like a festival.  Apparently it is the going thing now to have service animals. I’m not talking about dogs that help the visually impaired either. The first thing that caught my attention was  a man walking through the park with an iguana strapped to his chest. Now, if you know me you can imagine the thoughts that went through my head.  The park has a “No Dogs” policy, but nothing about iguanas. So we didn’t say anything. But one of the police officers did. The guy had a doctor’s prescription for this thing. It helps him stay calm in crowds. Hmmmm. My first thought was, “I wouldn’t be too calm if that thing decided to pee down the front of my shirt.”

There was one lady pushing a baby stroller…full of chihuahuas. Another pulling a wagon with a puppy. At least 20 more on leashes. At first we reminded people that they couldn’t have dogs in the park. But honey, that was a losing battle. We finally just started telling them that if the dogs pooped, they had to clean it up. Which they all agreed to. They had the supplies they needed with them to do that.

As a dog owner/lover this is what I don’t understand. Why do you want to bring your dog to a festival with thousands of people? Most of the dogs I saw were trembling with fear. They were overwhelmed with the sights, sounds and smells.  If you are using a dog to keep you calm, who is supposed to calm the dog?  I completely get if you need a service dog to help you get around and I have seen news reports of soldiers with PTSD using them and I think that is great. But goodness, your dog doesn’t have to go EVERYWHERE with you. Yes, they miss us when we aren’t home, but I would much rather mine miss me a little while than traumatize them by taking them to a stressful event. And really do they miss us when we are gone short periods of time? I’m pretty sure mine stay busy during the day chasing squirrels, cars, and buzzards to give me much thought. Yes, they are always happy to see me, but do they really pine away missing me???? Would they be happier going to WalMart with me or staying at home?

My running has suffered this month. Three runs a week is the best I’ve been able to do. Two days of strength work. Except last week, 2 runs, 1 strength.  I tried to run this morning and all I could do was 1.5 miles. After a week of long days and late nights working at the festival, this old gal is tired, bone tired. I don’t bounce back like I used to.

August is a new month, I’m starting with a clean slate and hoping for the best!

Run happy. Be fierce.

July, Where Did You Go?

Could a month be going by any quicker than July is?  I have always heard that is a sign you are getting old!

July is always a challenge for me to get my runs in. Work, cows, watermelons, dogs, and the heat determine when I run. For the first couple of weeks in July I tried to keep my evening/night running schedule.  This quit working for me for a number of reasons. By the time I leave our melon stand and get the cattle taken care of it is at least 8:30 p.m.  I have to use my headlamp for the majority of my run, and it is a bug magnet. I have eaten more bugs than I care to think about!

Since I don’t let the dogs run with me, I put them in the garage. It is unbearably hot even with the windows open and a fan running.  I just can’t keep them in there for the 45-60 minutes I run. Plus, if the windows are open Gus has learned how to knock the screens out and he and Walt come find me!

I finally decided that if was going to run in July I was going to have to run early in the morning. Now, I roll out of bed about 4:45 and hit the road. It is cool enough to put the dogs in the garage and  it is much cooler on me. I don’t have to use the headlamp that much and I guess the bugs must be asleep that early, because I never see any.

Surprisingly, I am loving running in the morning. It is quite, there is zero traffic besides Phil going to pick melons, it is cooler, the birds are everywhere, and the sunrises are stunning.  Once school starts, I’m not sure yet if I will keep it up. I will have to get up even earlier to get to work on time, so I may have to go back to the evenings.  Time will tell. At least I know I can do it!

I have added a few other changes in my routine lately. I have added sprints to my runs. I’m hoping this will help me get a little faster. I am also paying very close attention to my breathing. I am taking breathes as deep as possible. This extra oxygen has really helped my stamina and kept me going on many runs. An added bonus is it makes me stand up straighter too.

The other change is that I have added strength training. Two days a week I hit the local physical therapy clinic and work on my arms and legs. (Since I am a former patient, I am able to buy a membership and use the equipment.) I am really loving these workouts. I don’t want wings and this is absolutely preventing that!

Phil and I celebrated anniversary #32 this month. I do not know how that happened. I don’t feel much older than that! Phil is a saint for sticking it out with me. I’m  hoping we go another 32 at least!

Our big watermelon festival is next week and I will be praying to get at least 3 runs in. With all the stress that comes with the festival, I definitely will need those runs!

If you get out there, be careful and stay hydrated.

Run happy. Be fierce. Be kind.

 

26 June 2014

June 26, 2014 was a turning point in my life. After years of  dieting and feeding frenzies and a basement full of exercise equipment, I finally found my “thing.”  On that hot Thursday afternoon I began the Ease Into 5k program, and life as I knew it changed.

Up to this point I found myself overweight, unhealthy and miserable with my appearance. It had gotten to the point that I was avoiding old friends and family because I was so embarrassed by my weight gain.  I had to make some life changes, little did I know that running was what I had been missing.

Ease Into 5k is an 8 week program you do every other day.  Day 1 starts with a 5 minute warm-up followed by a 60 second run, a 90 second walk that you repeat 9 times, then a 5 minute cool down walk.  It progresses with each session, gradually adding running time. The program stresses that you are not to repeat sessions, once you finish one, move to the next one.

For the 8 weeks of the program I ran at home. We have a circle driveway that is ¼ of a mile. I thought it would be best to do this in my front yard in case I fell out. The first few days, I could NOT run the entire 60 seconds.  If I couldn’t run, I walked it. When the voice prompt said “Run” I ran as long as I could, when she said “Walk” I walked. I did NOT quit.

Every other day I would lace up my shoes and head out. I didn’t know or care  about shoes, shorts, moisture wicking fabric, sports bras, etc. Once I began running more and walking less I learned fast about the shorts and sports bra thing. There is nothing like having your inner thighs chafe so bad you have to wear Spanx 24/7 just so you can walk or having the underwire in your bra come out and nearly take off your left bosom to make you an expert on those items!!

Ease Into 5k is the only program I have ever religiously followed. I did everything exactly as laid out. I didn’t add to it or take away from it. I have had a couple of people tell me they tried it, but didn’t make it through it.  Both of them tried to tweak the program. You can’t do that, you have to trust the process.

I don’t know how many miles I have logged in 3 years. I have tried to run 3-4 times a week, 3 to 5 miles a run,  every week. I was sidelined with the flu for a week, sinus infection for a week,  and shin splints for  3-4 weeks, but other than that I have not missed more than 3  days in a row running.

I run when it is hot or cold. I run in the wind and rain. I do not run in lightning or ice. I hate treadmills and running early in the morning, but I will when I have to.   I am not fast and I do not care. I do not enter races. I have nothing to prove to anyone. There are people that make fun of me. I do not care. I have found that the running community is the most supportive group of people I have ever encountered. Any time I have doubts about myself, I always find encouragement from a fellow runner.  I have also found that running has given me a world of confidence.

Please don’t think that this running thing is all sunshine and roses. I have had multiple setbacks, both mental and physical. I have suffered from more self-doubt than  you can imagine. If you have read any of my earlier blogs, you already know these things. The most important thing is regardless of any roadblocks thrown in my path, I have not quit. God willing, I will not. I may have to stop sometime due to age or health issues, but I won’t do it voluntarily.

We all have a weight or size where we feel our best and I’m not at mine yet. I have returned to the gym and have added two days of strength training to help. I really, really enjoy my workouts so, fingers crossed.

I’ll end this with two things. I think it is critical to have a diet and exercise plan. Not necessarily a weight loss diet, but a healthy eating diet. (I have a lot to work on in that area.) It is also important to move, especially the older you get.  Running isn’t for everyone, fine. Find what you love. On my running days the first thing I think of when I wake up is “Yay, this is a running day!” I look forward to it all day, and I get madder than hell if something messes it up. I’m fast becoming the same with my gym workouts, I look forward to them all day. Find something that you look forward to and challenges you.

The last thing is a before and after shot of me. The photo on the left is from August 2014. The photo on the right is from last week. I was a size 18 on the left, I’m a size 12 today. I don’t know exactly how much weight I’ve lost, but its in the 60 pound range. Sorry for the goofy after shot, I hate pictures of myself.

Before&After

Run happy. Be fierce.

Accidental Farmer

I never intended to be a farmer.  I was going to major in business and live in a big city like Dallas.

I was raised on a farm that has been in my family for over 100 years. My dad worked for the U. S. Department of Agriculture, taught a Veteran’s class at night and raised cows. Being the youngest of four and the only girl, I didn’t have to do a lot of farm chores, the boys got to do that. Mainly, my chores were to care for the zoo that Dad allowed me to keep.

There were times that he would make me “work” too. I went to the hay field a few times to do something… I’m still not sure what. I was too small to load hay bales and too young to drive. I carried water and whined as much as I could without get my jaws slapped.  I often checked cows with him, but I was scared to death of them and he carried me on his shoulders until I was about 13.

When I was 16, my brother James went to college leaving me the only kid left at home. This is when I became Dad’s farm helper. I checked cows for him when he couldn’t and helped him feed  in the winter.   I helped him get the cows up and “work” them, which might include vaccinating them, medicating them for various ailments, worming them,  getting them up to sell, etc. My dad had zero patience with cows and most of the time zero patience with me. He had one hell of a temper and it was always a good idea to do exactly what he said.

The most memorable cow experience we had was once when we were getting cows up to send to the sale barn. We had a Hereford cow that was a little high headed (wild and mean) that he wanted to send. Our corral was at the corner of the barn. We would get the cows in the barn lot and then separate them. The ones we wanted to keep, got turned out and the ones we wanted to sell got put in the corral.

The said Hereford decided she didn’t want to go. I let her get past me a couple of times. This meant she was running around like a wild animal and not going toward the corral and I was letting her.  I was 17 or 18 by this time and still had a respectful fear of cows. Dad was livid. His face and bald head were red as red can be, and I still remember his exact words.  “RENO! What the hell are you doing? Whatever you do, do NOT let that damn bitch by you again! Do you understand me??” Me: “Yes, Sir I do.” And I did…

As he brought her around the barn again, my job was to stand in an opening to keep her from going through. She was running at top cow speed and I got down in the defensive stance I had learned from playing basketball. I was NOT moving, she was not going around me again. As she got closer I  held my ground. When she was within about 4’ of me Dad started yelling again. “SISTER, get the hell out of the way!!!”  I never moved and by the grace of God, she turned and we got her in.

Once the dust settled, I thought I had done good. She was penned up and Jim Baxter would be to pick her up shortly. I was wrong. Apparently, I had scared my dad so bad  he couldn’t speak for several minutes. When he finally did, he asked me what I was thinking by not getting out of the cows path. There was a lot of cursing in there too. Since I was his child, I replied “YOU said NOT to let the damn bitch by again, and I DIDN’T!” He just shook his head.

When Phil and I bought our farm in 1988, Dad gave us our first two heifers. We still have descendants of  one of them and it has been nearly 30 years.  When we first got cows, Phil told me that I would never know they were there, that he would take care of everything.  That didn’t last long.

That first spring/summer when he got so busy with the watermelons, I got the job of checking the cows and I’ve been doing it ever since. I check them daily. I talk to them, walk around and through them. My face is typically the first human the babies see.  Phil does the hard stuff like pulling a calf that can’t be born on its own, giving shots, untangling wire from around a leg, etc… but typically I’m right there with him. He puts the hay out in the winter. He won’t show me how to do it, because he says if I can feed them on my own I will have no use for him. They bring me a lot of joy and sometimes a lot of sadness.

This morning Phi and I got calves up to sell, my least favorite thing. Phil is much calmer than Dad was and for the most part our cows are pretty easy to handle. Very seldom when we get the cows up do I not think about my dad.  He loved living on a farm and having cows. He was raised a “town” kid in Ash Flat and he wanted nothing more than to live on a farm.

A few weeks before he died I was visiting him in the nursing home. The nursing home can be seen from the school so I was there often. On this particular day he started talking about my brothers and me. He was talking about the things my brothers had done and the all the things they had accomplished in their careers. When he came to me, he paused. This made me so nervous, I was so sure I had been his biggest disappointment. He looked up at me with those blue eyes sparkling and said, “Then there’s you. I have 3 boys and you, my only girl, turned out to be my farmer! You turned out good Reno!”

Only because of you Dad. You gave me the best gifts of all, the love of the outdoors and animals. You taught me to care and respect nature and the land. You taught me in you own way that I can find God among the trees if I will just stop and look.  You taught me to be independent and stand up for what I believe in. You taught me to love deeply and that when you love someone so much, you will grieve for them everyday they are gone. You also taught me to curse like a madwoman, but we won’t get into that!

This is absolutely not the post I intended to write today. In my head, it was going to be a short blurb about farming and mostly about running and some of the new things I am doing.  I guess I will have to save that one for later… it has just occurred to me that Sunday is Father’s Day and that I’m missing someone a little more than usual today.

Run happy. Be fierce. Hug your daddy if you can.

I Don’t Know What To Call This One

To say it has been an interesting week would be an understatement.  It started with my elderly mother taking a nasty fall while out shopping and winding up in the ER. By the grace of God she didn’t break anything. She was badly bruised and had a huge knot on  her head, but otherwise she was ok. She refused to go to the ER in an ambulance so the owners of the store drove her to the hospital. She didn’t know them, they didn’t know her, they just did it. They are good people! They were probably amazed that she insisted on doing her shopping before going to the hospital. Only my mother would do that. My friend Lori was my lifesaver that day and went with me to drive Mother’s  car back to her house. Lori never blinked an eye when I asked her to go,  she just said, “Let’s go.” I am blessed.

That night I had a watermelon festival meeting. On my way home, I discovered one of our calves out on the road. Phil was at Melbourne, and since I have a tendency to be independent I decided I could get him in on my own… in the dark.  One thing I did have going was the moonlight. It was so bright and beautiful.  As I was making my way down the road walking behind this thing, a truck stopped. Most people would when they saw someone walking down the middle of the road at night with a flashlight herding a calf, but since this is the beer run road you never know.  I had no idea who it was since their lights were shining in my direction. A man’s voice said, “Hey Julie, want me to open this gate?” Absolutely I did and was so grateful these two men had shown up when they did. They parked their truck where the calf couldn’t get by, spread out, shined their lights toward the gate, and the calf went in as pretty as you please. I was so relieved by the ease of it all.  The man said, “You can take the man out of Sidney, but you can’t take Sidney out of the man!” To which I replied, “Who are you??!” It was my former neighbor and student Tyler and another former student Zack. I told  them they were an answer to my prayer. (The first thing I do whenever I’m in that kind of situation is ask God for help. He always supplies it too!)  They just laughed and said no one had ever said that about them!  I was so glad they picked that night to come to Tyler’s parents farm to coon hunt! I am blessed.

The next afternoon I had more cow drama. Walt and I went to the farm to check the cows. I noticed a cow laying on the creek bank, but didn’t think anything about it. It was pretty warm, and she was in a nice cool place. I had to make my way around the creek to see all the cows. When I got to the side of the creek she was on, I happened to notice her stretching her back leg out behind her. That’s not normal, cows don’t do that. As I approached, I saw she was tangled up in barbed wire. Phil was in the watermelon field and had sketchy cell service. Between repeated calls and texts I finally made contact and he headed my way. While waiting for him, once again I thought, I can do this by myself. Wrong. The cow was so calm, she didn’t even twitch when I started trying to free her. She had been there so long and had tried so hard, the wire was wound  tightly around her leg, there was no way I could do anything. I also realized Phil was going to need wire cutters and someone a little stronger than me to help him. So, I called our neighbor Chance and asked him for wire cutters. When I told him what was going on, his reply was “I’ll be right there.” He and his wife Kate pulled in when Phil did.

As soon as Katie saw the cow she said, “”You always have the oddest things happen to you.” She and Chance have helped me with coyotes a couple of times and a few other oddball incidents. Phil and Chance were able to free her pretty quickly. She had been down so long and the wire was so tight she had lost feeling in her leg. She was wobbly and we worried she would roll down the creek bank into the water, but she didn’t. Once she got her balance, she just stood still for a while. She is doing well. I am blessed.

If you follow me and don’t know me personally, you may not know that I am the IT Director for my school district. I have a degree in Business Education and taught for 17 years before taking my current job. I work at the school Phil and I graduated from. Many of my friends kids and  grandkids go to school there, so I take what I do extremely personal. Our area is very, very poor. I know that education is the only chance many of these kids have for a better life.  I will fight you to make sure they get the best education we can give them.

Since we are a small school, the staff is close knit,  like family. We will fight among ourselves, but NOBODY from the outside better mess with one of us.  That became very clear this week.

The end of the school year is filled with field trips. On one such trip this week, there was a little unnecessary drama. While playing at our local park, a few students called their parents to ask them to bring them drinks from the local fast food restaurant. They told their parents they had  playing and were dehydrated because they had no water. Which was not true. Instead of checking out the story, a parent took to social media to criticize the teachers on the trip and the school.  Several people chimed in on criticizing the teachers and the school as a whole. Then, someone posted that the “teachers at that school needed to have the crap smoked out of them….”

Needless to say all hell broke loose. When I was shown what had been posted about my “family” I got about as mad as I have been in a long, long time. The teachers felt threatened, I would have too. The person who made the post should have known better than anyone else not to post something so stupid. After a lot of talking and discussion the situation was resolved, but the damage was done. The person who made the statement has lost all credibility with a whole lot of people.

As a school family we all rallied around our fellow teachers and was reminded that we truly are a family. I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I am blessed.

*I guess I need to tell the entire story since I always try to give you the good, bad and ugly. In case you are wondering why the remark was such a big deal, it is because it was made by a police officer. We probably won’t have thought much about it if it had been made by just some good ‘ol boy in town.

Speaking of social media, I was blocked by an old friend this week on Facebook. My politics lean to the left. I don’t make any apologies for my opinions, they make me who I am and I have the right to speak them from time to time. But, since I live in a very conservative area, I don’t talk politics often. I have no desire to argue with people and do not feel the need to defend my political position.  If you want to know where I stand on an issue, ask. I will be happy to tell you. 🙂

My so called friend had posted a rant about respect. He said if you wanted respect you had to give respect and that liberals needed to learn that lesson. My co-worker and right hand man Jonas replied to the post with something like, “yes, that is true, but it usually doesn’t work that way and the Bible has that part about doing unto others…” That’s a bad paraphrase but you get it. I posted three words, “as do conservatives.” The friend blocked Jonas and I both. The irony is the friend is a preacher. 

I am constantly amazed by the intolerance of people these days. If you don’t go along with their way of thinking, you are an idiot. And they will tell you that. I love people who have different viewpoints and life experiences than me. I love to hear others opinions and thoughts. I love a good lively, but civil debate! Unfortunately, I am in a very small minority.

That is what I love about the running community. Runners stick together, runners encourage each other, they build each other up. In the nearly 3 years that I have been running, I have NEVER had another runner say one thing negative to me. If I say, “I’m not a real runner, I’m too slow.” They say, “You run. You are a runner.” They don’t say “Wow you had a slow run yesterday.” Instead they say “Great job, you ran 5 miles yesterday.” They look for the positive. I like that, I like that a lot. 

I think there is a life lesson there. Be like a runner, build people up, respect the differences in others. Be kind, be supportive, be a positive voice in the world of negatives.

Run happy. Be fierce.

Chasing The Crazies

This is one of the craziest times of year in my little world. School is winding down, and you would think this would be the one time of the year where I could take a breath. No such luck. Everyone is scrambling to get any leftover money spent, making technology requests for next year, and turning in all the broken equipment from the year.

On the farm, we are in the midst of planting watermelons, and winding up calving season. With Phillip in the melons, that leaves the cows and  yard work for me. Throw into the mix that I am one of the organizers of our local watermelon festival and we are two months away from the big weekend, I literally don’t know whether I am coming or going.

This year another “bump” in the road involves my sweet husband. Come July 1, he will be a full time farmer. After 32 years teaching agriculture, he is calling it quits…he is retiring. Quite frankly, I am more than just a little freaked out by this.

When we started dating 33+ years ago,  his dream was to farm full time. At that time, he knew it would be hard to make a living in Sharp County farming raising watermelons and cattle. The chicken business wasn’t what it is today, and that really didn’t interest him anyway. He thought that being an agriculture teacher would be the best of both worlds, and for the most part it has been.

Sometime in the  fall of 2015, Phil started talking about retiring in 2016. I pretty much fell apart. It had never crossed my mind he was considering retirement. We weren’t financially where I thought we needed to be, but mainly we were NOT old enough to be talking about retiring.

One of our good friends is our banker.  He is also a lay speaker for the Methodist church, and one of the most godly people know.  One day while I was in the bank, John came up and we were chatting. For some reason, and I don’t know how the conversation turned to Phil wanting to retire, I told him of my fears/concerns. John is just one of those people that knows the right thing to say at the right time.  Over the next few days, I pondered on what he had said, and prayed about it often. Soon, I was at peace with whatever Phil wanted to do and I knew that everything would be fine.  Plus, as Phil kept telling me he would be getting a retirement check and he would be farming, not sitting under a rock somewhere.

By the time the school year ended in May 2016, Phil decided he wanted to go one more year. By Christmas of 2016 it was pretty clear that this was it. It was time to do something else. And to my surprise, I have been very supportive. More than anything I want Phil to be happy. We are still healthy and not too old, so he will be able to enjoy his time farming.  He will finally get to live his dream, and do what he loves so much.  I will very happily continue working for another 9ish years, doing what I love.

What I’m not dealing with is how freaking old we are. (Shocking, I know!) For the love of cats, I do not know where 32 years have gone. It seems like we just started our life together and our careers.  The years are a blur, it’s like when you fast forward a video.  I get that the 50s aren’t old, it’s just that “retirement” word. <shudder>  We are calling it a career change instead!:)

I read a lot about running. I also follow Women’s Running Magazine on Facebook. The article “Slower Runners Live Longer–Here’s Why” showed up in my feed last week and the timing was perfect since I struggle with the aging thing and being a slow runner.

Researchers studied around 1,100 joggers and 4,000 non-joggers. The people were various ages, men and women in relatively good health.  Non-joggers were folks who did not do any type of strenuous activity. The joggers were put into 3 categories, light joggers, moderate joggers and strenuous joggers based on how often, how many miles and the pace they ran.

Ten years later researchers checked into the death rates of those in the study. Not surprising, joggers had a longer life expectancy than non-joggers. What did surprise researchers was that light joggers had the lowest death rate of the jogger group. Strenuous joggers life expectancy MATCHED that of non-joggers. *The full article can be found here:  www.womensrunning.competitor.com/2016/07/inspiration/slower-runners-live-longer-faster-runners_62194#k4VfEzkXWftZzCVL.97

I couldn’t believe my eyes! “…the ideal sweet spot for jogging and gaining full benefit was 2 to 3 times per week. The optimal speed was slow, and the optimal weekly distance? 1 to 2.4 miles!” It’s healthier to be a slow runner! I felt so vindicated!

The study proves (again) that exercise is key to good health and a longer life expectancy. I don’t see myself cutting back how often or how many miles I run, however, I am going to stop beating myself up for being slow.

As I’ve said before, running is as good for my mental health as it is for my physical health. Here are my top reasons for running (in no particular order):

  1. Running aids in weight loss, it burns more calories than most other activities.
  2. Running gives me the opportunity to push the rest of the world out and clear my mind.
  3. Running is cheaper than therapy.
  4. Running is better than going to prison.
  5. Active people typically have fewer doctors visits.
  6. Running strengthens bones.
  7. Exercise helps to boost memory.
  8. Running gives me confidence to tackle anything.
  9. There is a huge community of runners and they are the most welcoming, supportive group of people I’ve ever encountered. There are several folks I only know through social media because of running. They are so supportive and encouraging. Even though I have never met them and may never, I consider them friends.
  10. Running increases stamina and energy.

The weather is beautiful, the honeysuckle is in full bloom, nature is in its most glorious, get out there!

 

Run happy. Be fierce.

 

Sore Muscles and Laugh Lines

If you have read any of my past posts, you may have gotten the idea I’m not too keen on this getting older business.  Well, I’m not and I don’t plan on taking it sitting down.

Since turning 50, I have been amazed at how things are changing. I don’t know if I hadn’t been noticing or if things really did start falling apart at 50. Most of the time, I don’t think about aging. I just go about my merry way. But lately I have discovered my mind and body do not belong to the same person. My mind believes I’m 30ish. Because of this, I am constantly doing things that my body wants no part of.

For example, last Sunday morning I got up early to do the weedeating in our yard. It takes me  anywhere from 1 1/2 – 2  1/2 hours depending on the time of year and if I have used any Roundup. Because I weedeat such a big area, Phil was good enough to get me an industrial trimmer. It weighs about 40 pounds and I love it. Sunday, I worked a little less than 2 hours before I had to get ready for church. This was my first time this year and my arms were a little tired, but I didn’t think much about it.

Sunday evening rolled around and I had been planning a long run all week. The Sunday before I ran 7 miles and was shooting for 8 miles that day. The first couple of miles were good. At mile 3, things started getting harder. Mile 4 knocked me on my tail and I did the walk of shame home. All during miles 3 and 4 I was racking my brain trying to figure out where I had gone wrong. I was well rested, well hydrated, had a good lunch, was looking forward to my run, so what was it? Then it hit me, it was the weedeating.

Sunday night I made a post on Instagram and Facebook about my dismal performance. On Monday my friend Theresa asked me if I was still sore. I told her I wasn’t sore, that I was just old and couldn’t do both the same day. :-O  On Tuesday, my arms were so sore I had to wear a button up shirt, because I couldn’t raise my arms. (I told Theresa she jinxed me and it was all her fault!)

As I thought about it, it occurred to me that I am an idiot. I did relatively hard manual labor for nearly 2 hours and ran 4 miles. Not anything to be ashamed of. Especially if you consider before I started running I always planned my weedeating on days that it was the only physical activity I was doing because it would completely wipe me out.

I’m thinking as the mowing/weedeating season goes on, it will get easier and I won’t plan a long run on the same day. Plus, I may  have found an ace in the hole. Our neighbors have a grandson in the 7th grade who is wanting a job.:)

Since I’m on the topic of aging today, another thing I have been noticing lately is how deep the lines and wrinkles are getting. Good grief. The wrinkles are terrible around my eyes,  temples, cheeks, and mouth.  I read one time that many famous women don’t  smile, because they don’t want “laugh lines.” I guess all these lines mean I’ve had a lot to smile and laugh about in my 50 years, so I will wear them with pride.

To quote my brother David, “at the end of the day” I realize I need to be stronger and I need to be logging more miles.   I may not be able to jump in like I could have 20 years ago, but that’s life, and I’m ok with it.  Because “at the end of the day” it’s a good life, it is a very blessed life.

Run happy. Be fierce.