Thursday, April 25, 2013


By 9 o'clock last night I was hopping around on one foot because the pain in my ankle was bordering on unbearable.  If anything so much as touched it I winced. After four ibuprofen, a large bag of ice numbing my propped up foot,  Modern Family on the television and my two girls waiting on me hand and foot (literally) I started to think I could get used to this it was much worse than I had initially thought.

When I woke up this morning the bruising was up but the swelling and pain were down significantly.  Regardless, I decided that attempting to pound my way through a boxing class was probably not in my best interest so I cancelled with Laura in lieu of a trip to the doctor. I'm sure it's not broken, but I damaged it somehow and figure I should probably get it figured out before I spend the entire day traipsing through Williamsburg on the Woodbrook Elementary Fifth Grade Field Trip (and no, contrary to popular belief, I did NOT 'conveniently' sprain my ankle two days before a trip on a bus with 50 screaming 11-year-olds). 

While I was laying in bed last night I started to feel angry about this possible setback. I had really just started to feel I was back in the workout groove and had finally gotten over the weight loss plateau (eight pounds in the past few weeks!). And now this?  I know, I know, I'm being overly dramatic. After watching Kevin Ware's broken leg and incredible reaction to it a million times during March Madness how could I possibly be feeling sorry for myself with a silly sprained ankle? I don't know, but the fact of the matter is, I was.  Then I remembered the Facebook post that Laura had posted, ironically, yesterday.  I loved it so much I immediately wrote to her asking if she would be willing to be a Guest Blogger on Finding Amy...Again so that all of you could feel as inspired by her as I (and so many others) do.  Thankfully she said yes, so instead of my whining you can all hear her beautiful words today instead! here (she deserves her own post, don't you think?) 

Enjoy the Ride

Today I have a special treat for you - a Guest Blogger!  Meet Laura Conklin, one of the incredible trainers at Clay. Laura has a long list of qualifications (BS in Health & P.E., NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, CrossFit Games Finalist, US Army Reserve Military Police, years of training experience, etc) but for our purpose it's most important to note that she is a kick-ass trainer who has a knack for bringing her clients to an entirely different level.  Our boxing sessions have made me believe that I'm bad ass (I'm a blonde haired, blue eyed, 40 year old mom from White Bear Lake, Minnesota, we all know I'm about as bad ass as a kitten, but she convinces me otherwise!). And if all that isn't enough - her dog's name is Scout! 

A reminder about life...from my mountain bike and the trail, with love:

As I entered the woods today on my bike, I could feel my balance was off and my legs felt a little tired. But, a beautiful day, out in the solitude of the woods, riding with Scout by my side could never be a bad ride, no matter how my body felt.

I found myself hesitating in areas I normally don't, slipping in others, throwing a foot, etc., etc. Then came a decent sized hill with moderate technicality. Today, that 'moderate technicality' seemed more like the 'hill from hell'.

I hit it as I always do, but today, I wondered if I would make it to the top without coming off. About halfway up, as I was heaving a lung and my quads on fire, I took my eyes and focus off the trail in front of me and looked up at how much I had to go and how steep every part of it was. The only thing that went through my head in that moment was "holy shit". That moment of negativity taking even more energy from my body. I immediately returned my eyes to the trail, rocks and logs I was dealing with, and just kept pedaling. Within moments, I was at the top, enjoying a nice downhill.

What hit me is how life can be exactly like that. 'Off days' can take challenges/struggles and make them seem harder to deal with than other days. Little mole hills can become mountains. And, taking your eyes off what's right in front of you, what's in the moment, can cause things to seem momentarily overwhelming.

My advice, keep pedaling and face one thing at a time. You'll be at the top before you know it, "woohooing" an awesome downhill! :)

Enjoy the ride...!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oops...I Did It Again

When we adopted Scout I read every dog training book I could get my hands on.  One of the best pieces of advice I read was "A tired dog is a good dog."  Sure, there are dogs who love to just lay around, and Scout can hang with the best of them, but given the choice between lounging and exercising that dog would be outdoors running, hiking, skipping and jumping all day long if he could.

So in addition to my workouts at Clay and running on the treadmill I try to walk him at least a few miles a day.  We miss a day here and there, but It averages out to about 15 miles a week. This seems to be enough to keep him happy and me moving (though we'd both benefit from more, of course).  

I also read was that exposing your dog to new places with new smells is good for them and can actually help tire them out.  So, I try to make sure that we try a new route - or one we haven't been on in awhile - a few times a week.  Sometimes that means checking out one of the great hiking trails we are lucky to have in and around C'ville.  Other times it simply means venturing to an adjacent neighborhood.  Either way, Scout always seems happy. (Am I the only one who ever thinks being a dog would be pretty awesome?)

Unfortunately today we only had time to do the adjacent neighborhood thing.  We live on a hilly, windy road with no shoulder, let alone sidewalks, so I often get in to the car to get there (honestly this is about safety, not laziness).  The nice thing about this is that even if we only go a half mile, the fact that he got to go somewhere in the car seems to totally make Scout's day.  Again, wouldn't being a dog be awesome?

Today I chose a nice, long street with a good sidewalk.  Round trip would give us a solid 3 miles and leave me time to shower (maybe even put on make-up!) before heading off to Women's Health Virginia to deliver thank-you goodies for National Volunteer Week.

It was a great walk until the dreaded squirrel crossed our path.  Scout has, to put it mildly, a thing about squirrels.  And deer. And trucks. Mostly squirrels though.  When he sees one he has a very hard time not chasing after it.  Even though he's never - not even once - caught one, he never gives up hope. (that whole, not being able to climb a tree thing really hurts him).

Unfortunately I didn't see the squirrel or, apparently, the edge of the sidewalk, so when Scout took off in one direction, my body went the other direction and my ankle went some place completely different.  The end result wasn't good. 


 and swelling

Unfortunately we were over a mile in to our walk when this happened so the old RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) trick didn't take place for awhile.  These pics were taken after we got home, so you can see how well that went. I, of course, did the smart thing and e-mailed Laura to see if we could do an upper body only boxing workout tomorrowOh, and I made an appointment to see my doctor, too, just in case. 

After stressing that I needed to ICE ICE and MORE ICE Laura told me that Michael Jordan once severely sprained an ankle, iced it and was able to play the next night. The way I see it Michael Jordan's got nothing on me, right?  Time to put on my boxing gloves! 

**And if you're thinking you've seen something like this from me before, you just may be right...

Friday, April 19, 2013


I spent a weekend at the beach in Port Aransas, Texas with my sister and mom at the end of March.  It was a great weekend filled with lots of laughter, reminiscing and making new memories.  I love both of them immensely, and having time like this is about as good as it gets. 

As good as it was for the soul, however, it was difficult on my self-esteem.  

My sister and mom, you see, are both quite thin and beautiful.  I often joke that if you sliced me in half both vertically and horizontally you'd have my my sister.  At 5'3" and about 110 pounds it's not actually that much of an exaggeration.  And while she's always been petite and thin, she recently discovered a passion for (obsession with) tennis that has taken her tiny, cute body to hot rockin', cute body with some serious muscle (you should see her guns!).  

And then there's my mom. At 70 years old she could still rock a bikini if she wanted to (she doesn't) and can put most 30 year old women to shame when it comes to energy levels (without drinking a 5-Hour Energy Drink).

So you can see why I might feel a little out of place...

Most of the time I am good at separating my weight from my self-worth. I know my body size doesn't define who I am, and the majority of the time I'm truly okay with - actually proud of - who I am.  I work hard at being strong and I've almost completely overhauled my diet in the past few years.  I am not the insecure, overweight, unfit, bulimic girl I used to be. But sitting in a swimming suit next to your hot 44 and 70 year old family members makes it pretty impossible to deny that you are not nearly as thin or fit as you'd like to be, either.

Prior to my trip I had spent several weeks telling myself that it was time to kick it up a notch. I'd been stuck at a certain weight for several months and I knew that it would only change if I did something about it.  Being with my mom and sister was actually a good reminder that I needed to do more than just think about it.  The only one who has control of this is me, and sitting around wishing I was smaller has never been an effective way for me to get where I wanted/needed to be. Go figure.

So, we're now two weeks post spring break and I have, indeed "kicked it up a notch". i'm happy to report that, thanks to a major change in my diet (which I will blog about this weekend) and the addition of a hour of boxing with Laura at Clay (which I will blog about soon, too!) I am five pounds down!  

It's a good start.  Now, I just need to keep it up.  Forever.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


If you know me at all you are aware that it's pretty rare that I am at a loss for words. When it comes to the bombings at the Boston Marathon, however, I just seem to have nothing.

I wanted to sit down at the computer and come up with something profound, like so many people I've seen on Facebook, Twitter and other media outlets. But I've been back to this chair ten times in the past few days and still, nothing.

I've never even dreamed of accomplishing something like a marathon, let alone the Boston.  My father-in-law has done it. My friend and colleague at Clay, Elly Montague completed it that very day (fortunately she had finished long before the bombs went off).  And I have quite a few friends who have done other marathons.  All beyond amazing to me.  I still can't get through my head why someone want to hurt a bunch of runners and their supporters. Still, nothing.

So, I will do what quite a few others have done, and pass on the words of the beloved Mr. Fred Rogers, and the idea of wearing the race shirts we have accrued over time, in support of all the Boston Marathoners, the spectators, the citizens of the great city of Boston and America.  I donned my Charlottesville 10-Miler shirt Tuesday, Cherry Creek Sneak (circa 1994, my favorite) on Wednesday and Hilton Head Heritage 5K today, even though I know it won't really make a difference.  And when I head out on my run today, I'm going to cherish every moment (or at least try not to whine quite so much).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cancer Sucks

Last night I received a text from a friend that said "will u pls call me when u can".  While it's tough to read inflection in a text, I sensed something was wrong for some reason. Unfortunately my instincts were right.  She had just found out one of her girlfriends was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  She thought that because I have experience with this type of thing I might be able to guide her as to how she and others could help this family. 

I still can't believe that I have "experience" with this kind of thing. 

While I don't know this woman well, I know her well enough to know that she is not the poster child for cancer.  From the outside she's a strong, thin, active, healthy-looking, beautiful, 30-something-year-old woman. 30-something. She's a runner who takes good care of herself and her family. She has a strong faith in God, puts Him and family before anything else. And until that fateful day when she decided she had been feeling under the weather just a little too long, there was no indication that the inside of her was any less idyllic than the outside. 

That picture was wrong though, because somehow - in the midst of all that perfection - cancer had grown inside her liver, escaped through the bile ducts and rapidly torn through her entire body.

Last Friday, while I was enjoying the last night of our spring break at the beach playing poker for seashells with my kids, she was having a conversation with hers about her impending death. Earlier this week she asked a friend to take her to get her hair cut because she thought it would be less dramatic as it started falling out from the chemo.  The chemo they've told her most likely won't work.  After the haircut they went to the stationary store.  She wanted paper because she needed to start writing letters to people - to her family - to her children - to read after she's gone. What do you write in a letter like that? How do you put a whole lifetime in to words on one page?

I hate cancer. I really do.  I don't care which organ it clings itself to - liver, breast, colon, whatever - I hate it all.

My freshman writing class taught me that the end of this story should end with a resolution to the climax. Sorry Mrs. D, I'm afraid I have to break the rules this time because right now I've got nothing.  

Is there a way to resolve cancer? 

I hope so. I really hope so. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The New 30

I may have forgotten to mention this, but I turned 40 last month. Yep, the big 4-0! I honestly thought I'd be more freaked out about it than I was. I mean, this is 40 after all - I'm old now, right?

That is what I thought when I was 30, but now I keep hearing "40 is the new 30" so it must not be all that bad. To be honest, I'm crossing my fingers that 40 is nothing like 30. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't an entirely bad time, but I remember that birthday like it was yesterday for a reason. 

We were in Denver for a visit and the Spicy Chicken organized a surprise party for me at Wazee Supper Club (one of my faves).  My parents and sister completed the surprise by showing up in a limo (from Minnesota!) and all of my best Colorado friends and family were there. Sounds wonderful, right? And it was. The part I'm leaving out, however, is that what I left behind when that limo showed up was an 8 month old baby who cried 24/7, wouldn't take a bottle at all and refused to be held by anyone but me (not even her father). I couldn't remember the last time I slept more than a few hours at a time because she had horrible reflux, could only sleep sitting up and did I mention she wouldn't let anyone else hold her but me? Oh - and I had a two and a half year old who was completely angelic but had a bowel obstruction that sometimes caused her to get so constipated she'd throw up. I wasn't working at the time, which you'd think would be a good thing, but was a major source of stress for me. Do I want to go back to work? What will people think if I don't? What will people think if I do? How will we pay the mortgage if I don't? How will we pay for daycare if I do?????

It was a really uncertain time for me, shrouded by insecurity and an obsession with what others though of me. Couple that with a really bad haircut (what going on there, anyway?), clinical depression and an immense struggle to lose the rest of that pregnancy weight and I was a hot mess!

This isn't to say that I don't have some of those same issues at 40. I'm still struggling to lose that pregnancy weight (what? It's only been 10 years...) and I can't claim I've really figured out the whole career/mom thing yet, but I've definitely learned that my choices  and decisions are just that - MINE - and what others think of them really doesn't matter. Add that to the fact that Katie finally takes a bottle....and 40 is looking pretty damn good!

(PS I apologize to the person who took this picture - I can't remember where I found it)