Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I often hear comments from people who knew me as a teenager who read this blog like "I had no idea you struggled with your weight so much" or "I never knew you had such an issue with your self-esteem."  Though my performance as "Airport Announcer #1" in the White Bear Lake Area Central Junior High School production of "Central Follies 1987" would give you the impression otherwise, I am apparently, quite a good actress.

It's well known that someone who appears overly confident is often quite insecure on the inside.  Bullies, for example, are often the most insecure people around.  While I was definitely never a bully (nor am I now), I learned when I was young to mask my insecurities by expressing outward confidence. Somehow my successes didn't convince me, however, that I had reasons to be confident and I never quite felt good enough.  I struggle with this still today, but I've definitely learned just how fortunate I am.

Every time I look in my daughters' eyes I realize how blessed I am and it inspires me to keep this journey moving along.  Not because of a desire to be skinny (though let's be real, of course I want to look good!) but because I want to be strong and healthy (inside and out) and be a good role model for them.  I want that confidence that I exude to be as real as the innocence on their faces and the love I feel for them in my heart.  And I'm getting there, one step at a time.  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Cleansing

Life hasn't allowed much time for blogging lately but I don't want you to think that means I haven't been moving forward.  On the contrary, I've made really big steps over the past few weeks that I've been dying to write about here.

I will start with the craziest part.  For the past 12 days I have been doing the "14-Day Total Body Re-Boot and Cleanse" developed by Tracey Webber at Eat! (which is located within the Clay Fitness + Nutrition studio).  Tracey opened EAT! about a month ago and I'm so excited about all the amazing things she is doing that I've been helping her promote them on SuzySaid.  A few weeks ago Tracey approached me and asked if I'd like to take part in her Re-boot and Cleanse program as a thank you.  Ironically a few days earlier I had mentioned to Hyam that I knew that if I was going to get off the plateau I've been on for the past few months what I had to do was really commit to a better, healthier eating plan.  Though I've never even contemplated doing something like a cleanse Tracey's offer intrigued me so I said yes.

So here I am 12 days later, down 8 pounds and feeling fabulous!  The purpose of the cleanse was not necessarily to lose weight, but it is a fortunate side effect of ridding your diet of all processed foods, sugar, dairy and animal protein.  Sounds restrictive, and I guess it kind of is, but it's only two weeks and you do get to eat as much as you want of "approved" foods.  I've definitely had my fair share of greens lately!

Though I still have a few days left before I start adding things back into my diet (Phase 3 of the Cleanse) I think it's safe to say that this experiment has been a success.  I've tried more new foods in the past 12 days than I had in the past 12 months and it's taught me a lot about how was I eating.  I don't miss processed foods from a dietary standpoint at all - though I do miss the convenience of them a little.  And the sugar...remember how much I craved sugar?  That is gone!  People kept telling me it would happen once I gave it up but I didn't really believe them.  I don't even miss it.  Well...maybe a little.


Yesterday I met with Dr. Chang at Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle to make the casts for my custom orthotics.  I was honest with him about the pain I felt toward the end of the two weeks, which had not yet completely subsided.  After re-assessing my gait he decided that the structure of my calves may be part of the problem.  I inherited my dad's large calf muscles, which are great for strength but not so good for skinny jeans, knee high boots or - apparently - shin splints.  It's kind of complicated but essentially my girth of my man-calves may be causing pulling on the tendon and bone equating to some of the pain.  Thanks, Dad.

That said, I had success with the taping for most of the time (and there's really nothing we can do about the size of  my calves) so we think that the orthotics are going to be a big help.  The process is like getting a cast on a broken bone, only much faster.  Dr. Chang casted both of my feet in a straight prone position.  I just sat in the chair while he worked his magic.  About ten minutes later they were done and ready to be sent to the lab.  Here they are.  Pretty, huh?

It takes a few weeks for the lab to create the orthotics so I will be wearing temporary inserts in the meantime.  I ran with them this morning and though they felt really weird when I first put my shoes on, I felt great after the run.  They definitely provide support that I need and kept my foot in the proper position.  

Now, what to do about those man-calves???

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

So I've been taping my feet for a little over two weeks now.  I have to admit it was a total pain in the ass at first. It looked so easy when they did it at the clinic, but I struggled.  I worked in the Training Room in college for a few quarters so I figured it'd be a piece of cake, but taping your own feet is really different than taping someone else's. Go figure. After the first few days I got the hang of it though, and it no longer took me an additional 20 minutes to get ready to exercise (thank goodness, because you know I'm always running late anyway!).

Everything was going great until yesterday. I ran 3 miles each on Friday and Saturday relatively pain-free.  I took Sunday off as my "rest day" knowing Monday would be a tough one at Clay. When Monday arrived I was feeling strong. I made it through the first 40 minutes on the bike with no pain.  This isn't that surprising as the pressure on your shins is minimal when cycling, but I had had pain on the bike in the past when I was running consistently so I wasn't sure what to expect.  When we got to the gym, however,  it didn't take long for the shin splints to rear their ugly heads.  I modified some of the exercises (no jumping or jarring) to minimize the amount of pressure I was putting on them, but it was already too late, I was in a lot of pain.

Unfortunately I couldn't do the whole R.I.C.E routine when I got home because I had to go to work, but I popped a few ibuprofen and went on with my day as I usually do.  I'm a little bummed out, but hopeful that after I tape myself up this afternoon Scout and I will be on our pain-free way this afternoon.  Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On The Road (to recovery) Again

One of the cool things about being so wide open (like I am here) is that you occasionally connect with people that you may not have otherwise.  I had this experience this week, and I feel very fortunate.

Dr.'s Change and Murray of Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle, are two orthpaedic doctors in Charlottesville.  In addition to being extremely good at the medical side of what they do they have also embraced social media as part of their marketing plan.  They've been doing lots of fun things on-line in an effort to not only get their message out, but truly connect with the community.  If you have questions about sports injuries - any type of injury related to feet and ankles you can find information on their website at www.brfootandankle.com .  
Recently the doctors decided that blogging about the experience of helping someone through their exercise injuries and/or ailments would be a great story. Ironically, about this same time I wrote a blog post about my shin splint issues  and how they have thrwarted my efforts to do a longer race (either mentally or physically) in the past.  We were a perfect match!
I met with Dr.'s Chang and Murray for the first time on Wednesday, March 2.  I have to admit I was super excited about this because though I've known I needed professional help I'd never gotten around to making the appointment (typical mom-thing). As I considered this appointment "work" it was something I wouldn't put off - and I knew having these two doctors on my side was going to help me get to where I wanted to be.

You can read Dr. Chang's assessment of our first appointment at the Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Blog. Essentially I presented with a classic case of shin splints with pain that appears after I've been exercising about 30 minutes, disappears when I rest, and reappears the following day. I also have a cavus foot (who knew?) that doesn't absorb shock well making me a prime candidate for shin splints.  They prescribed R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation), stretching, ibuprofen for immediate pain relief and then taught me out to tape my feet for exercise,  I admit I didn't totally understand how taping my feet was going to help, but figured these are two doctors who really know what they're doing so I went with it.  The recommendation was to tape not only for my run days, but also when I am at Clay.  

The taping is a temporary thing to assess if orthotics would be helpful for me. I'm scheduled to go back in two weeks for a gait assessment and possibly orthotic fitting. The doctors think we will be able to conquer this with proper treatment and orthotics.  I'm very hopeful, too!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

That Lovin' Feeling

As I posted earlier this week, Wednesday's class Clay it wasn't exactly my best workout.  This wasn't surprising as between illnesses (both of my kids and my husband contracted influenza, strep and some type of stomach virus in February), a mini-vacation to NYC and a mega-vacation to Panama I'd had close to three weeks off.  I struggled, to say the least.

Here's the cool part though - that class was so amazing that I've felt like a kid at Christmas waiting for Monday to come so I can jump back in again.  And no, it wasn't just the camera that pumped me up (Clay was featured on CBS 19's Make Dan Sweat last week)  - it was that amazing energized feeling that I had when I walked out the door that I love.  That is why I return to Clay week after week.  

Really, I love it!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Back from Vacation

This quote from Hyam pretty much sums up my first day back at Clay:

"I see a lot of huffin' and puffin' 
but not much moving, over there Amy!" 

And you'll see proof of it on tonight's Make Dan Sweat

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Progress Report Part II

A few weeks I posted a "Progress Report" that gave the low down on where I'm at in my journey from a physical standpoint, so now I thought I'd give a little info on the emotional side of things.

My two main struggles have been eating healthy (if there is such a thing as a sugar addiction, I have it) and making working out a priority when life gets crazy (and beyond crazy, as it has been lately).  While I definitely wasn't "swimsuit ready" by the time we departed for Panama, I'm in such a better place both physically and mentally than I was 9 months ago that I can truly say I feel I've been successful in this journey so far.

I emphasize "so far" because I assume that I will be on this journey for the rest of my life.  Don't worry, I won't blog about it forever - hopefully once I reach that "magic number" or somewhere near it I'll feel I've reached the end of this story and be able to move on to another one.  But that won't be the end of my journey to be (and stay) fit and happy.  Life fluctuates on a daily or weekly (or sometimes hourly!) basis, and I'm not naive enough to believe that being thin will change any of that.  That's why I keep calling this a "journey".  It's not a diet or a phase or a fad - it's my life.  And I see life as a journey in itself.  The changing nature of it is what makes it so fun - and challenging - for all.