A Walk in the Park…

Or the zoo as it were.  I was blessed today to be able to sneak out of work just a tiny bit early and head off for a much-needed walk.  I am still making a recovery from my Fitbloggin cold, but I am getting some activity in.  I went swimming at a new outdoor pool this week.  That was super fun! My eating has been on par, I am tracking and making good choices for REAL food.

So what did I see on my walk? Well, since I had a camera with you I’d love to show you!

There were beautiful flowers outside the Zoo (I didn’t make it to the conservancy portion of Como this time… there is never enough time at these places! I will have to go back!)
magentaflower purpleflower purplelotus





I wandered around all of the animal enclosures. Yes I feel bad that the animals are there… but you know what this is quite possibly the only way I am ever going to see things like a tiger, and a lion so I will take advantage of it.

There are a TON more photos from my adventure, but you get the idea. I had a great time wandering around the Como Zoo alone this afternoon seeing the animals, smelling the popcorn enjoying the sights. I hadn’t been there in a while. I even had a chance to speak with the zoo keepers about yesterdays “gorilla escape”. It was a pretty awesome way to spend the afternoon.

Did you do anything fun? Do you have big weekend plans? I’d love to hear about them!

Crying During Bootcamp

So Monday morning I went to my very first Water Bootcamp. Many of you know that I have been a HUGE advocate of water aerobics for years. It dawned on me as I introduced myself to the other ladies of the morning class that I have been doing aquatic fitness classes for over 20 years now. I am so glad that I went Monday morning before work… little did I know I would end up crying during bootcamp.
October of this past year Margaret V. passed away. She was my water aerobics instructor here. She was an amazing woman. Thanks to my crazy schedule I hadn’t been to many of her classes in recent years, but she still managed to keep in touch with me. Word of her cancer, and her quick passing hit me, but not as hard as it should have. I wasn’t able to attend her memorial, but I have a book that sits on my bookshelf from her. So thats all good right? I moved on? I still think I will run into her at the store, I still think I am going to hear her laughter somewhere.
As the workout wound down memories started to fill my mind. I thought about her smile, and the sparkle in her eyes. I thought about her sassy attitude, and how welcoming she was. I thought about how she introduced me to her daughter because she was inspired by my dedication to my 5k’s. I thought about how sad I was that I had fallen off my path, not that I had given up, but that I had veered from what I loved. I thought about Margaret, and Buzz and how we would all yell hello as he walked past the pool. I thought about how she would talk about Chelsea and her grand-babies.
The tears pushed toward my eyes and I started to feel… I was feeling things I hadn’t really let myself feel before. I have taken a few water aerobics classes since Margaret’s passing, but nothing had connected quite like this class did. I am unsure why this class was different but it was. I can’t wait to go back, it will be my Monday, Wednesday, Friday tradition before work. I guess it will be my way of honoring my old Monday Wednesday tradition with Margaret while getting back into honoring myself.

Four letter F word…


    Never let your fear decide your fate.

    So picture this… It’s dark outside, my eyes are fuzzy… the bed is warm and there are TONS of things to watch on Netflix now that I have my Roku and DVD player hooked up from Christmas. Maybe I’ll just stay in bed a little longer. … My mind drifts to the fact that I posted to instagram that I was going to the gym this weekend. The earlier I go, the sooner I am done. The later I go the more crowded the gym will be, the less likely I am to find a parking spot, the more likely I am to just pull in circle the lot and then head to the movie theater and hide out in the dark all morning.

    I didn’t plan very well, I had to replace my lock the last time I went to the gym, I bought a cheap $2.00 one at the drug store, and I don’t know what the combination is for it… so no lock… I also cannot find one of my gym shoes. Here in Minnesota the land of 10,000 lakes, and 100,000 puddles this weekend (thanks to the polar vortex moving away!!) I find it best to just have 2 sets of shoes, one for the gym and one for everything else. Some gyms require that you have a set of shoes for the machines. (the salt/gravel/etc is bad for them, anyway). I couldn’t find my shoe, and I figured the hell with it I am staying in bed.

    Robb was seeing my frustration and helped me find my missing shoe, he had been getting ready to sleep as I was stomping around looking for my stuff. Why didn’t I pack the night before? Well I was out late, honoring my friendships with quality bonding time with some very dear ladies. So I made the trek off to the gym…

    I parked… the lot was full-ish, not nearly as full as I have seen it, the upper lot had plenty of open spaces, and I found one that looked to be as safe as anything else. I try to find spots that allow me to have good footing and a relatively clear path from ice/snow the ehlers-danlos makes my joints all wibbly-wobbly and the last thing I need is to fall. I sat in the car for a minute or two, seemed like forever. I grabbed my bad and walked toward the door of the gym.

    As I crossed the lot… there was the 4-letter word. I neared the door and the panic set in… What if I couldn’t work out as long as I wanted to? What if people were judging me based on how fast I was walking? What if I couldn’t do it? I knew I was not going to be anywhere near in the shape I had been. There are a hundred reasons why I haven’t been to the gym, my mind went to the levaquin and snapping tendon fears came flooding in. What if its been so long my membership isn’t valid anymore?

    I shook my head and shifted my thoughts into a better place, I remembered that this is about honoring myself, being honest with myself. I grabbed the door pushed my way through it, they scanned my card said welcome back and that was it, I was in the gym. I started on the treadmill, walked a while, not as long as I wanted to. I felt the pain in my foot from the PF that plagues me, as soon as I felt it I remembered why I stopped working out in the gym. I finished up my segment and decided I was not quitting. I wanted to leave with a positive feeling. I made my way to the recumbent elliptical, which may be my favorite piece of gym equipment that I have tried so far. I saw there is a new lateral running type machine I want to try but I need to get my stamina back first. Sadly one of the things EDSers deal with is the even more rapid regression of muscle tone. I pushed through about 2 miles in somewhere around 11 minutes and then I was done and I was okay with that. I had spent the time that I was on the machines thinking about my fear, thinking about why I was afraid and that in the end it is all controllable.

    This morning I got up, later than usual, but before the “get up or else” alarm and trudged off to the gym with my New Years present padded bike shorts. I have some serious pain sitting on the bike, but its good for my hip, it helps rebuild the range of motion that I lost from the 3 surgeries I had, and it has to be good for my knee too from the lateral and medial meniscal tears. Its a non-impact activity, something I need more of. I knocked out 25 minutes on the bike before changing gears, or rather machines for a 30 min cooldown. I didn’t want to go to the gym this morning, my abs hurt! A reminder that there are muscles under there, clearly from the elliptical, keeping my core engaged properly, go me!

    I fueled my body after my workout with an apple, a black Americano and 2 hardboiled eggs. I really wanted to go out for breakfast but the no dairy and no gluten thing makes it really hard to just grab something somewhere. I used to hit Panera Bread for an after workout breakfast, (Their hidden menu is awesome! and I believe it has been unhidden finally). I headed to Lunds (a local grocery store) that has Driscoll’s Strawberries 2/$5.50 right now and blueberries on sale too. I picked up a few Opal Apples which are super hard to find, but I really like them some zucchini and I got a few other bits and bobs there too. Next I headed to Target and grabbed some other things, chicken breasts, lean ground beef, frozen veggies, it was a productive quick trip, shopping the outer isles makes it so much faster.

    The afternoon has been a lot of meal prep, and stretching. My body, I believe, thinks that it is being punished right now. It is sore all over, super achy. I am dealing with it, I have the electric blanket turned on, and the fan blowing on me to cool me off. I am reminding myself that the choices I am making are to honor my body. It isn’t being tortured, or punished, As I stretch, and roll my body I speak gently to myself that the pain is temporary, that it is a gift, a reward for finally being healthy and strong enough to fact the challenge that this day brings.

    Each day brings a new set of circumstances that we cannot control, we can push through them with the skills and tolls we each have. We can work to adapt and try and teach ourselves and bodies to keep fighting, but I’ve learned I must do so gently. I am trying to live more from my heart these days. Being honest with myself about my feelings, my intuition. It all starts from inside. So dear body, thank you for letting me push you, bending but not breaking. I will continue to nourish you in the way you have told me you need. We do need to co-exist afterall. Mind and body. We just cant the that f-word be running us both ragged.

    Training Day!

    So guess what? I am training for my virtual run.  Yep, I have resigned myself to the fact that I can’t compete in or complete traditional races due to the obstacles that I face.  Uneven terrain, the pavement, risking falling, the pounding on my knees, it’s all too much.  However I have discovered my love of medals.  I have my Happy5k medal hanging proudly on my wall.  The one I did in the water.

    I think I am in love with the idea of virtual races probably for the same reason I am in love with the online community in general.  It’s super supportive, you get a sense of community and you still get to do it your way.

    I am currently signed up for the *gasp* There are 3 options, 5k 10k and 13.1mi.  Since there is no pressure, I am going for the half marathon.  You can do it however you want, walk, run, bike Just do it! I have discovered that the recumbent elliptical is super great for my joints! I am currently able to do about 6 miles in a 30 minute session on there before having to really push myself mentally, as opposed to 2 miles on the traditional one before my knees start hurting from the hyper-extension.

    I may even make it a mini-tri and break it into a bike/swim/run distance.  At this point I am trying to find ways to make my activity more about fun and less about working out.  (it’s why I got my hula hoop right?) So why not find a fun way to make it happen!

    The thought of “training” for something seems daunting especially with my schedule the way it is.  So much of my time is spent at work, and trying to maintain my relationships, and making sure I sleep, and eat right that I just need a goal to keep working towards.  If I stumble its okay… I can take 2 or 3 days to “cross the finish” and I wont be judged.

    Are you involved in any virtual races?  Before I signed up for this one I looked at the Dr Who race, but since I don’t really watch the show much it didn’t hold that much interest for me, but I am looking for some more options.  Share with me!


    Crying and Zumba

    So I am here… and I am loving every second of this conference so far! i slept well last night, the Sponsors have been awesome, the hotel is posh as all heck! The food has been amazing! I went to a vegetarian place for lunch (with leftovers for dinner last night), I walked more in the last day than I have in a while, my PF is sore and I don’t care! I walked to voodoo doughnut for my brothers birthday cake, even though it wasn’t where I set out to go when I went to explore.

    This morning was freakin amazing. I took my very first Zumba Class. I didn’t care about how weird I was gonna look, i didn’t care about the risks associated with my medication, I just wanted to experience it. The Instructors were Amazing… and let me just say… it is so good that you can’t tell the difference between tears and sweat at some point.

    As the end of the Zumba class neared, I started getting choked up. I choked back tears a few times, I had no idea that I was going to be able to finish the class. I had no idea that I was actually strong enough to do this.

    I cannot wait to take another Zumba class, I got sweaty, it dripped from my body, the tears the sweat running into my eyes, it felt good. It was amazing.

    More updates to come… but as I needed to take a little bit of down time here in the Amana suite I thought I would share a little bit about what’s going on!

    Working Out.

    As we are all aware working out is a key piece of any healthy lifestyle, and for those that have followed my writing here for a while, or that know me, you know that this is something I have struggled with. In part it has been the desire and drive to work out that I have issues with and it is also in part the actual activity. The chronic pain, the injuries, the setbacks, but I keep coming back.
    Last night I was curled up in bed, rubbing ketoprofin into my knees in hopes of finding some small bit of relief and to find a cause. My fingers reached behind my knee and rubbed the worked went to stars and started to go black I screamed in pain. Yep, I’m there again. Living on the edge. I was trying to pinpoint the problem. Robb pointed out I took a fall, and my knee is STILL covered in bruises from it. I don’t want to blame the fall, but perhaps that is it. Perhaps I did something, or maybe it’s simply that I just don’t heal as fast, and my tissue is more susceptible to damage. I thought back over the last year or so and I have taken FOUR significant falls. Falls that have resulted in significant bruises to my shins and knees. Still I press on.
    I tell one of the most significant ladies in my life that self care if so important, that you have to remember to give your body what it needs, or it will take what it wants when you aren’t planning on it. So I keep pushing along, trying to listen to my body. So how does this relate to working out? Well, Way back when I started this lifestyle shift, getting healthy, eating better, making the right choices more than the wrong ones, I started at the YWCA, it was a good place for me, close to home, and it worked, my body responded. I switched when I changed jobs, and that change didn’t agree with my body. The change in machines and the lack of the pool killed my body. What did I do, well I reverted to old behaviors, that hadn’t been working that led to the change. Now I am in a better place.
    I cannot sing the praises of the YMCA I am at now enough. While I don’t love that it takes so long for me to get there, especially with gas prices the way they are, I am making that investment in myself. While I don’t love that there are kids in the vortex when I am trying to get my workout on during the week… it is made all the better by Sunday Mornings when it is ADULTS ONLY, if I had a different job where I worked normal hours I would totally be taking advantage of the adults only evening hours to get my workout on as well. What a simple but smart idea that I wish the YWCA would have had. I can’t even begin to explain the endless frustration I experienced “fighting” with the aquatics staff to get the bullying that was going on to stop. Teenage boys would actually try and bully me when I would workout in the pool. I was intentionally kicked and splashed in the deep end of the pool. I was jumped in on top of, it was a very negative experience at times.
    So right now I am trying my best to listen to my body when it comes to working out. I want so very desperately to be like everyone else and just be able to pick up and go for a run, or answer the pleas of friends to be their gym company, but sadly it isn’t in the stars for this girl right now. It likely wont be in the stars for me anytime. Running seems to disagree with my body. It doesn’t make me a failure, it just means I have to find a different activity.
    I will keep pushing forward with what I can do.
    Babysteps are still steps. I just have to keep moving, even when it hurts.

    You are my Favorite!

    Every few weeks on twitter I see someone tweet about drama in their gym.  Someone was witness to a fellow member having a hissyfit because they didn’t get the machine they wanted.  I have seen only one machine related meltdown in the time I have been at my gym and it was because there was only one of that particular machine.  We are adults and need to learn to share.  Lessons I would think most of us were taugh in kindergarden, even if you were an only child!

    So when I head into the gym at 5:30am the people that are there lined up at the door with me all have their set machines.  I know that this woman is going tho machine 21 and that gentleman is headed over to machine 17 etc.  I don’t dare grab their machine out of respect for them.  When I started coming to the gym at that hour of the morning I looked around for a few minutes surveying the landscape.  Luckily my favorite machines are usually empty in the morning.  I have a particular elliptical of each style that I like one is open in the morning right away, one opens up 30 mins later, because there is a woman who is on it every morning.  If I were to get there first I would have every right to get onto that machine… but I don’t.  I am there long enough that I could hop onto it after she leaves.  I have a favorite treadmill that is more off to the side of the gym, I like the view out the window.

    A few weeks ago I got to thinking about why I like the ellipticals that I do, and it could be the fact that it is near the tv that is tuned to either cbs or nbc in the mornings, which means I can get my news or whatever, but truly if I cared so much about that I could be watching that at home.  So as I ran on the elliptical, I looked aroung trying to figure out why I was so drawn to those machines.  They are partially infront of a mirror… I KNOW that isn’t something I like.  Infact if I could I would remove those from the gym.  Very rarely do I find a use for them, ocassionally as I run I try to look at my stride, but that is about it.  Then it dawned on me.  My ellipticals are in the front row.  No other elliptical users can be infront of me.  Mentally this makes me the leader.  This puts me ahead of the pack! I am front and center, I don’t have to worry about how fast anyone else is going I can just focus on doing my best.  I think being ahead of everyone else makes me work harder also.  I have to prove I am better than they think I am.  I know that it is all about me,and my self worth, pushing myself to be better and try harder.

    Do you have a single particular machine that is your favorite?  I don’t mean I like the elliptical, I mean I like elliptical 20 not elliptical 12-20.  I will use them all, but I have my preferred ones for different reasons.  Have you ever thought about why you have a preferred machine? Do you try and step out of your comfort zone?