Sunday, December 1, 2013


In the past when I have hit obstacles during an attempt to start up a new workout regime most of the time I end up giving up if they don’t “give way” easily or quickly.  I have allowed an obstacle of having sick kids the past few weeks to grind my newest attempt to a complete stand still.  I did throw caution to the wind on Thanksgiving Day to participate with my family in the Mesa Turkey Trot and take baby (all bundled up of course) on the 1-mile walk even though he is a little congested so that we could also have Caleb participate in the race.  It was a good family outing and a fun new tradition to start, but I am not sure when I will be able to get back to the gym because now Caleb is sounding sick again.  He started with a cold two weeks ago and I thought he was getting better when baby started up, but alas he is back at the super hoarseness.  Caleb has a physical abnormality in his trachea that normally doesn’t slow him down, but he develops a nasty sounding cough about every 2 months that sticks around for weeks on end.  Most of that time he isn’t actually sick, but because he sounds so horrible I can’t take him out much out of respect for all those other mothers trying to keep their kids healthy.  After 4 years of raised eyebrows when they hear his hacking-up-a-lung cough and countless attempts to explain that he is not sick it is just easier to try not to take him many places.  So because I can’t really take my little boys out I have not worked out.

In the past I would let this excuse continue until I finally give up on trying to keep a regime, but I don’t want to do that this time, so what is my solution?  I am still working on that.  I have an XBOX Kinect at home with a yoga “game” that I suppose I could play, I have never been very good at working out at home.  I am one of those that when I am home I feel like I need to clean or straighten up or do laundry or work on some other project, and if I ignore all those feelings it is to spend time being lazy on the couch in front of the TV, not working up a sweat.  So this is one way I can remedy the exercising with sick kids in the house.  The other thing I guess I could do is to as others for help.  I could get those people that I know and adore that understand that my 4-year-old really isn’t sick to watch the kids while I go on a jog or to the gym.  My problem/obstacle there is that I tend to not want to ask cause I usually feel like a big burden and I do all in my power to not be a burden to others.

The other big obstacle that I suppose I am dealing with is that of allowing my desire for change to out shine my habit of laziness.  This is so not an easy obstacle to overcome.  There are those days that I think if I could sit down and write in my blog every day it would force me to be more accountable because my failures or successes would be out there for others to scrutinize, and I would like to hope that I would have more success than failure that way.  I was all prepared to blog the day after my last post about the difficulty I had on the treadmill at the gym, something I hope to document because I feel it will be a good part of my journey to have written down, I just had such a busy, crazy, hectic day after I did that the best I could do was to record my thoughts in a voice memo on my phone on my way to pick up my kids from school that day. 

That is my other really large obstacle, finding the time to exercise, the time to plan to exercise even.  I am still really struggling to figure out the balance needed in this latest phase of my life.  I have school starting in just over a month and it scares me to death that I am going to get too overwhelmed with everything and quit the exercise and/or schooling to be able to cope.  This is what I have done in the past.  I have wanted to change and improve and grow, but the moment things get hard instead of looking at the not-so-good habits I have and taking some of those out of my life to make room for the new better habits, I stubbornly hold on to the bad and give up on the good.  How to I change to not make this happen?  I am praying that this week I can really strive to begin to confront these obstacles so that I can then begin to overcome them.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Taking a REAL step forward

So over the past few days I have been putting my house in order so I can start focusing on new challenges that are important to me to get started.  Some of the clutter that I have needed to get out of the way is to literally de-clutter my house.  Over the past month I have been slowly, but surely going through each room and brutally deciding to get rid of things that we don’t need to hold onto.  I got to got through my entire garage for the first time since we moved in over 5 years ago, so that was awesome.  Now my third car garage has only our bikes and the things I will be getting rid of in a garage sale Saturday and then off to a thrift store with the remainder.  It is SOOOOO liberating to be rid of the extra baggage.  The only thing I have left to do to finish this organizing is to re-sort all the kids’ clothes and get them stored away. 

I have also focused on planning better.  I started small, first by planning out each day in increments, not trying to have the whole day mapped out, just a general idea of how I want it to go and then take that list and chip away at it in several hour increments so that I don’t get overwhelmed and give up.   Then, if I have a moment of weakness where I sit and do nothing but watch TV, it doesn’t mean I haven’t done something with the rest of the day, not a total loss.  This has helped me move on to the plan the whole day and even have a general idea for my entire week.  I have to admit that my to do list that I start with in the beginning of the week or day never gets very far by the end, but I am making a difference.  This has helped me gain some confidence in my abilities to start trying to tackle larger goals. 

I have been disappointed over the past long while at my inability to set a goal and see it through.  I have felt so bogged down with emotional baggage that I was just in survival mode.  Having to be “slower” in my life during the pregnancy gave me a chance to reflect, to search myself and why I was feeling so bogged down.  After I had Abram I was forced to stay in that slower state to heal after the surgery and I realized that it was only temporary.  At the time it feels like eternity, but eventually the difficulty will pass.  I believe in happy endings you see and so I know that no matter how horrible things get, it WILL get better sometime.  Being forced to slow down helped me accept this on such a deeper plane that I feel empowered to add onto my load. 

So one thing that I have decided upon getting back to (like an insane person) is to get back to seeking my degree.  I have been going to college off and on since I graduated high school.  I cannot wait any longer to get it finished.  I have put off finishing my degree for so many things, first it was my mission, and then it was to get married, and the rest of the time my kids have been my excuse.  I was fully prepared to use the “I have a new baby so I won’t go back to school for a while” excuse until after I actually had Abram.  That was when I realized the time for me to do this is here and now.  I know it will be hard and slow going, but BS or BA in Mathematics here I come!

The other thing that I am super excited about getting back into is exercising and training for races.  I spent so many years making up excuses as to why I didn’t have time to make the ironman dream happen:  no time to train, I can do it next month, my kids need me at home, I have to work to help support the family, and even, I need to focus on school.  Then when I couldn’t exercise for medical reasons I realized I missed working out.  About September, when I was still not healed up enough to exercise, but knowing it was just around the corner that I was going to be able to, I started longing to go to the gym to lift weights, get out and walk/jog/run, start swimming again and especially I wanted to get back on the bike.  I have started walking a little.  The first day I did I walked 2 miles and I was tired and sore when I finished.  I was shocked at how much I have lost in terms of stamina and strength.  I didn’t walk any kind of fast and it is flat ground…I have my work cut out for me! 

Today I took another step and went to the gym to do some yoga.  It was great to walk in there again.  Can I tell you I did not get to finish the session because I forgot to bring a pacifier for Abram!  But to be completely real, I was so glad when they came and got me about 20 minutes into the hour-long session…I could barely do anything!  I am super tight and have lost so much muscle tone that I honestly don’t remember the last time I had it so rough trying to start an exercise regimen.  I think I am officially in the worst shape of my life.  Knowing this I have set myself a goal, SOMA half-ironman next October.  Am I out of my mind?  Yeah I probably am, but I am thrilled to have this goal because even though it is currently so COMPLETELY out of my capabilities I know I am going to do it.  This is going to be AWESOME!!!

First thing I did after deciding to just go for the half was to look online and find a training program.  The one that I was using before is probably what I will be using again; it is a 20-week program.  This means that I will need to start on it end of May, beginning of June.  Good to know.  When I look at the plan I will need to be able to handle being on a bike for 90 minutes, swim for 45 and run (jog for me) for 50 minutes.  Currently I have difficulty walking more than 20 minutes at a slow pace, and I can't handle the warm up phase of a yoga workout.  This should be fun. J I am going to ask again, do you think I am totally insane?  I hope I am, because I don’t think any sane person would be able to pull this off, and I AM GONNA.  Is that real enough?  Maybe not realistic, nope, but very real. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


When I started this blog I had high hopes of being an inspiration to people, possibly even some I didn’t know.  I was looking forward to sharing a super exciting and realistic journey of mine towards completing an ironman triathlon.  When I found out I was pregnant shortly afterwards I was determined to not have the blog become all about that, but with the stress that I started to be under I could hardly think of anything else, so I stopped blogging because I couldn’t think of anything positive or witty to write about.  Since having my baby I have avoided writing because I felt I needed to have something really important to say in order to write.  Over the past week though I have been feeling like this idea that each post has to be “perfect” and super well written (like something that could possibly go viral) is counterproductive to my original goal.  Life happens and I have realized that my reality is what I need to document.  If no one else reads my posts at least I hope I will be able to look back on my journey and know that I have actually gone somewhere over the course of time.  Because of this I have decided to write when I can squeeze it into my schedule, not worry so much about content or length or some kind of universe altering jibber jabber, but to write what I am doing, thinking or feeling.  I am going to make a journal of my journey, for the good or for the bad.

So with that in mind I want to first quickly update on the whole heart thing.  I had an MRI and when I went into see the doctor for the results I fully thought I would be getting instructions on how to prepare for a surgery to fix the PDA.  The visit turned out to be a bit anticlimactic.  Though the news that my PDA isn’t big and has not caused any additional problems to my heart and thus does not require surgery at this point is good news, I have to admit I was a little disappointed.  I had hoped that surgery would allow me to experience a change in my physical well-being.  The cardiologist thinks that my out-of-breath-when-exercising thing is because I am overweight.  He never said so much in words, but you can get a feeling for these things.  So now I will just have annual echos to check the heart and when (maybe a slight chance of if) things start to go south with my heart, that is when they will do something about it. 

Because of this slight good news disappointment I have decided to go ahead with my ironman plans and when (not if) I am moving along strong in this goal and I still have trouble feeling like I can’t push myself to my true limits, even though I should be in a good enough physical condition, I will go to the doctor and say…something needs to be done, and/or I get a second opinion, but I do feel like I need to prove to myself at least that it isn’t just because of my weight.

Speaking of my weight I have recently also decided that I need to own up to my obesity.  It is really hard for me to say that about myself.  I really don’t like the current definition of obesity (using the BMI I think is a load of dung), but no matter how you slice it I am more than just overweight.  I was able to keep my pregnancy weight under 250 (249) J and I successfully dropped weight after this one (phew!), but I am still wearing my “fat” clothes and instead of trying to deny it, I need to face it and own it.  I have had 4 kids and that takes a toll on the body, I am not one of those women who is able to kick it into gear after babies and lose that baby weight, or most of it.  I feel like part of that is because I have been so embarrassed by the way I look for SO long (pretty much since 8th grade).  I have a very unhealthy self image and that isn’t going to go away overnight, but I feel like admitting to that is going to be my first step to accepting myself, and when I accept myself I am going to be all that more likely to make a positive change.

I have always felt like for me it isn’t about what the scale says.  I want to find a healthy lifestyle that I can maintain indefinitely.  Right now I am trying to define what that means.  Does it mean a specific diet or specific exercise routines or a combination?  Does it mean loving who I am no matter what?  I kind of hope I can achieve some level of all of that, especially the loving myself.  If I can do that then I can be a positive influence on my children, probably other family and friends and yes, maybe even strangers.  Here’s to the next chapter in this crazy journey.  Here's to being REAL!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

When Bad News is Actually Good (originally written in April)

So it has been quite some time since I have written.  Just when I was getting into the swing of writing, I allowed life to get in the way.  I wrote a draft for a post on April 20, but never took the time to finish it and put it up on the web, so here is what I wrote back in April.  In February my family took in a house quest that threw off my mojo for quite some time.  Not that that should be any kind of excuse to not work on my goal, but it was what it was.  Then at the end of March I started having some medical issues that consumed my mental time. Then last week (April) we got the news that I have a congenital heart defect.  Bad news, right?  Yeah, not the greatest, but it has actually been rather relieving for me.

My defect is called Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA).  Go look it up…ok if you insist I will explain it:  when we were all in utero we get our oxygen from our mothers, this is possible because of a duct that connects the pulmonary artery (the one that takes unoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs for oxygenation) to the aorta (the heart valve that takes the oxygenated blood to our cells in the body).  When we are born this duct (ductus arteriosis) conveniently closes so our heart does the oxygenation on our own.  Well my duct didn’t close like it was supposed to.  What this means is that when my heart pumps some of the oxygenated blood going through my aorta passes back through my PDA into the pulmonary artery and into my heart as well, thus mixing oxygenated blood with the unoxygenated blood.  To my mind this means my body doesn’t get all the oxygen it should and adds unnecessary blood volume to the left side of my heart, pulmonary artery and lungs.  This can cause shortness of breath, tachycardia (fast heart rate), heart murmurs, bounding pulse, etc., etc. If untreated it can lead to congestive heart failure (which usually wouldn’t happen until I was in my 50’s or 60’s).

Oh no! Scary Kae! … My cardiologist didn’t feel like it was anything to be overly concerned about right now.  He says we will do a procedure to “fix it” after I have healed up from having baby.  He told me the echocardiogram showed a very normal healthy heart other than the PDA.  The only bad is that I need to listen to my body more during the pregnancy and rest more than I would and not push myself too hard.  But is that bad?  I like to feel like I can do everything by myself and only ask for help if I can’t push hard enough.  Lately I have noticed that I have way less energy, so I have backed off and not pushed like normal.  I have felt guilty to a fault sometimes and I guess what this does is allow myself to rest.  My family has stepped up spectacularly to help fill in the gaps.

So how can this news be a relief?  I mean I will have to get it fixed right?  Yes, but my relief comes from looking back at my life and speculating that some of my issues in life can possibly be explained by this condition.  I have moaned in this blog before how I have struggled with exercise and being physically fit and felt fat for most of my life.  I remember in elementary how frustrated I was every year when we had to participate in the presidential fitness test to receive that “award.”  I loved to run, but I was so slow that I hated the 50-yard dash.  Sit ups were a joke because I would run out of breath if I tried to do them too fast, etc., etc.  My scores were always VERY low and I was embarrassed every year.  I loved to play soccer, but I always ended up playing goalie cause I couldn’t get to the ball fast enough.  Hiking was another activity that I adore, but I felt bad for those forced to hike with me cause I was one of the slowest.  There were so many times that I felt like my legs were capable of so much more, but I just couldn’t tackle it with all the struggles to breathe.

When I was a teenager I remember feeling like I couldn’t “keep up” with my friends.  Not really being able to quite put my finger on the exact problem we called it exhaustion.  I went through tests for mono and thyroid problems, nope, no mono and a perfectly healthy thyroid.  Then one doctor tried to tell me I had exercise-induced asthma.  This never made sense to me.  I had siblings with asthma; I knew what it looked like.  I never believed I had asthma. (PDA causes shortness of breath.  Imagine that!)  This same doctor also tried to tell me I had depression and needed to take Prozac.  When he said that my mom grabbed me, we got up and walked out of the office.  This bad experience effectively ended the search to discover why I was “exhausted.”  I have just dealt with it like I always had, but it was always a frustrating feeling, like I couldn’t perform like everyone else could.  I never really told anyone that though.

Then about 6-7 years ago I started noticing weird heartbeats.  I had moments, random moments not tied to any particular activity I was doing, when I could FEEL my heart beating super strong and irregular.  Sometimes they would last so long that it kind of started to hurt a little.  After I had two or three of these “episodes” that lasted longer than a half hour Brad took me to the ER while one was happening.  Of course when I was hooked up to the EKG (for like 10 seconds) I wasn’t actually having a palpitation so the ER doctors treated me like I was faking it all.  By the time we were able to convince the doctors to monitor me the episode was ending.  They did catch some irregular heartbeats, but not as much or as strong as they would have had they hooked me up right away.  They said the irregular beats were on the “abnormal side of normal,” nothing to be concerned about.  I mean what is that supposed to mean anyway?  I figure the words abnormal and heart together isn’t really a good thing, but they blew me off and I had no desire to go see a cardiologist and have them blow me off as well.  Over the next few years I learned to deal with the episodes and sometimes I could go months between irregular palpitations.  I pushed it aside like the exhaustion issue and let it stay at the back of my mind.  It wasn’t until this pregnancy and having palpitations a whole lot more than normal that I decided to go see a cardiologist about it.

Now I speculate that all these things in life are being explained by this condition, I haven’t had the doctor tell me that this is the case.  I am just speculating.  But this speculation has been such a relief to me.  It has allowed me to accept the fact that I have not been able to push myself as hard as I have wanted to in the past and it has also allowed me to accept the much weaker me that I have been with this pregnancy.  Another thing that this discovery has allowed me to do is accept help from others where before I would have been super stubborn to ask for help. 

I am hopeful that after I get my heart “fixed” this fall I will be able to have more stamina and push myself to that point in exercise where I feel like my body is truly at it’s limits.  I really have never felt that way, I always felt like because I was “so fat” and “out of shape” that was why I couldn’t go as fast or far as I felt my body should be able to go.  I guess I hope that the reality is that my body wasn’t getting the needed oxygen to go past that point so that is why I was always so slow.  So if my heart stops pumping oxygenated blood into areas that can’t use it and my body gets it all I should be able to function like a normal person right?  I know that because of my “down time” during this pregnancy and the obvious need for recovery after having the baby I will truly be out of shape so it will take some time to get up to a good standard, but at least I will know why I am where I am, instead of feeling like I am inadequate because I am fat or lazy.  Like I said at the beginning, bad news, but it has and will do me so good.