Look At Me, I’m Sandra B.*

*Sung to the tune of Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee, the catchy Stockard Channing ditty from 1978’s Grease.*

However, the Sandra who I know and am fond of, Sandra B., is likely not “lousy with virginity” considering that she has five adult children and several grandbabies, but I digress . . .

Sandra B., who I have now known for nearly five years, is a woman I not only respect and appreciate, but I admire her and aspire to be like her in one particular way.  Sandy is the epitome of the expression:

fountain

Sandy is a REAL runner!  <~~BTW, this is not me downplaying my abilities, but I am describing her this way to provide some insight into my perspective and image of her.  Sandy has been running for years and years and years; a “leisurely” eight-ish miles is how she begins most days, and I doubt she even breaks a sweat, tbh.  As seasoned and capable a runner as she is, from day one, Sandra B. has been one of my supporters.  When running 1/4 mile non stop was an accomplishment, when I finished my first 5k, even though I walked most of it, and when I did my first Torch Run and had to ride part of the way in the struggle bus, Sandy was supportive, encouraging, and motivating.  When I entered my first Dempsey Challenge 10K in 2016, I kept pace with Sandy and her sister for the first mile or so, and I use the term “kept pace with” loosely; when they finished long before me, they waited for me at the finish line.  When Sandy and I went running in the park together a few times last summer, during breaks, and the heat was so oppressive that I had to walk, she never once made me feel bad about myself, nor did she make me feel like I was holding her back.

Sandy is a force to be reckoned with as far as fitness and athleticism, but in addition to this, she is truly a model of empowerment.  I wish to and strive to be that person to others.  I doubt that Sandy envisions herself in the same manner that I visualize her, but I hypothesize that nobody sees themselves from the viewpoint of others.

Last week, while in my office, I overheard a colleague say that she didn’t want to go for a walk outside because it was torrentially raining.  I stuck my head out from my doorway and told her that I was going to go downstairs and use the gym if she wanted to join me.  She exclaimed, “No way!” and indicated that she can’t keep up with me; as of late, she’s been pushing herself harder and harder to get her 10k steps in before she goes home for the day, and I always give her an attaboy for her efforts.

Just this week, I received an email from my best friend, Callie, that reads, “You are the only reason I have been pushing myself.  If not for you, I would have been much lazier this summer 🙂 Glad to have you beside me :)!”

Holy shit!  I’m someone’s Sandy!

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Mainely A Stereotype

I reside in a small town.  Not only do I live in a small town, I live in THE stereotypical small town.  Think: Mayberry combined with Cheers (yeah, the bar) ’cause my residential township is quaint, peaceful, and the locals know everybody’s name (exception: seasonal tourists, but many of the locals are nosy / social so they know the tourists’ names too!).  So, for the sake of my privacy, all the while giving my home a name, I shall refer to this quaint land of familiarity as Cheersberry . . .  or Maycheers . . .  or . . .  ORRRRR . . . I will use these interchangeably.

I have various run routes established.  There’s one route that I like to do either very early in the morning or later in the evening because 1.5 miles in, I reach a very small beach, and to witness the sunrise or sunset there is breathtakingly beautiful.  Plus, there’s the added bonus that if it’s a wicked hot day, one can jump in the lake for a little swim!  The picture I have does not depict the rise or set of the sun, but it’s still a glorious view, even at midday.  Also along this route are fellow Cheersberry residents who have become familiar with me and will oftentimes whoop words of encouragement or offer me water.  The Friends on the 4th 5K is mapped along “downtown,” but there is a portion of the run that is residential; many people sit on their lawns to cheer and lightly spray runners with their garden hoses – this is my favorite!  The garden hose incidence is less frequent during one of my “regular” runs, one that isn’t a big to-do / event, which makes it even more special if it should so happen, and once in a while, it does.  Small town livin’ is the tops!  . . . at least for eight months of the year.

Narrows

Summer is now in full swing, and the tourists have come from near and far!  Adding to the small town stereotype, the locals are not always so fond of the tourists, and by this, I mean I am not so fond of the tourists.  The environment changes when the out-of-towners flock to Maycheers in gaggles.  Just last week, I was pushed around and rudely cut in front of at the farm stand, and all of the commotion was caused by non locals.  When running, the out of state cars do not move over to share the road; in the last few days alone, my Radin and I have had several close calls with vehicular modes of transportation.

Yearly, I am prepared for the sudden change in environment at the grocery store and other shopping venues.  What is typically a friendly and patient setting becomes a climate of superiority and brouhaha.  When it’s the off-season, patrons of the grocery store chatter with one another as they wait in line, say “excuse me” if they need to reach something that is in another’s personal space, and offer to help those who may need helping.  Now?  Now, it’s a free for all.  Overall, the from-awayers are impatient, crashing their shopping carts into others because they’re ceaselessly using their cell phones, they loudly insinuate and make certain that we, the townies, are aware that their vacation time is valuable and that they cannot be bothered to wait, and the number of people that aggressively invade personal space is utterly galling.  My intent is not to generalize because I am certain that there are just as many delightful vacationers in our area, but I’m just indicating that the poor behavior is noticed.  I can adjust to the sudden influx of strong personalities, but what I tend to have difficulty acclimating to are nightly fireworks and unleashed dogs.

I love fireworks, but I much prefer them when they are appropriate.

  • Q: So, when are they appropriate?
  • A: Holidays such as the 4th of July or New Year’s, and on Friday or Saturday nights should the desire be to launch the works of fire just for the pure sake of doing so.

I wish beyond all measure that my town ordinance did not change, that fireworks were still banned and illegal.  The nightly fireworks wreak havoc for the wildlife, not to mention the pets who are terrified of the loud noises and riddled with anxiety over the ruckus.  *I am not a parent, other than fur babies, but I imagine that it is exceedingly arduous for those with babies, toddlers, and young children.*  The late night annoyances are also not appreciated by those of us who get up at 0400.  I understand that many of the temporary residents are on vacation, and I acknowledge that they should enjoy their vacation time, their relaxation time but not at the expense of those who live here full-time, year-round.  Cheerberry is not The City That Never Sleeps; we sleep . . . or at least, we used to.  I’m not requesting that the fireworks and drunken carousing cease altogether, I just ask for the commotion to wrap up at a sensible time.

Finally, leash your dogs!  How do I know that the offenders of the leash laws are out-of-towners’ dogs?  Just like with the humans, the locals, especially those of us who are actively outside and running about the town, have familiarly with the local yokel puppers.  Sunday evening, I took Radin for a long walk.  *Radin and I are not able to run together because we are equally clumsy and end up in calamitous, though comical, conundrums.  So, when Radin accompanies me, it’s for the slower paced meanderings.*  About a mile from home, during our return expedition, an unleashed dog bolted toward us.  I have no doubt that this dog was friendly, but my Radin and I were recently attacked by an unleashed, not-so-friendly dog, in our own yard.  It is fair to assert that Radin and I are now a little suspicious and mistrustful of foreign dogs that come darting at us.  Stranger danger is real, folks!  I should note that Radin does not get along remarkably well with other dogs as a rule, and because I know this about him, he is always harnessed, leashed, and kept close to me.

During our aforementioned adventure, I pulled Radin close to me and commanded him to stand between my legs.  Because my thighs are much stronger than my arms, I know that I can hold him still and protect him that way.  (Hey, I’ve been credited with saving his life during our attack, so I know that I could (and would) do so again).  We began to simultaneously walk backwards, taking slow and steady steps, but the dog continued to dart toward us.  To my horror, the unleashed dog scampered into the road and into oncoming traffic.  Now, I don’t want problems to arise between this dog and my own, but I also don’t want to see harm befall this visiting dog.  I’m typically the person pulling over and rescuing dogs (and cats and turtles and whatever else I find in the road that needs an assist).  Meanwhile, drivers are annoyed because traffic is slow going – Radin and I were nearly hit by two or three vehicles that refused to move over!  Out of approximately seven passing motorists, only one man stopped to help us.  Coincidentally, the other six vehicles had out of state and out of country (Canada) registration plates, respectively.  The man who stopped to help me, he was a Mainer.  Summer folks, enjoy your stay in Vacationland, but please, consider the residents of your interim abode.

. . . I don’t want to be the stereotypical, vacationist hating, country bumpkin so please, do your part in not turning me into a stereotype . . . just sayin’.

Incentive Inception

::sigh::

I’ve recently begun to backslide, and as a result, I have come to the conclusion that I need to evaluate my prior successes.  What was I doing right previously, and how have I strayed?  By honing in one why and how I was successful two years ago, I will likely begin to see many more successes emerge in the present and the future.

One past behavior that I was so proud of myself for overcoming was my scale / number obsession.  Well, the compulsion to weigh myself once, twice, and sometimes, three times daily has returned.  I’ve been battling this numbers fixation for a month or more now, and it has got to stop.  Logically and rationally, I know that this behavior is completely and utterly counterproductive.  I am also aware that by being so focused on a number, especially if it’s one that I am not accepting of, I’m inhibiting myself in various other ways.

Two years ago, when I lost the bulk of my overall weight loss and saw the most significant changes in my body, I was consistently working out with my childhood bestie.  Since she loathes cardio, we spent our time doing a plethora of body weight exercises.  When she ceased coming over due to a change in job, marital status, and residential area, I altogether discontinued that workout / routine.  I know that my gains in muscle were making an impact on my weight loss.  I am also aware that it’s tremendously important to be well-rounded, and I’ve lost that aspect of my gymming persona.

Now that I’ve pinpointed what’s different between then and now, what is my plan?  Incentives!  I’ve been attempting to reel myself in, in regards to incessantly stepping on the scale, for over a month now, but when I am held to only my own accountability, it’s fail after fail after fail.  So, to start, if I stay off of my scale for two weeks from today (until July 11th), I will be the recipient of an incentive.  I think incentivizing myself will assist me with re-focusing on and re-engaging in favorable behaviors I have abandoned.

. . . TODAY IS A NEW DAY, and I’ve got this!


. . . TODAY IS ALSO A NEW DAY, and I’ve still got this!

I just wanted to provide a brief follow up regarding yesterday’s post because this morning, I realized just how ingrained our habits are, whether they be good ones or bad.

This morning (06/28) in my bathroom, before my shower, I automatically went to the scale.  My route to the scale, from my bed, was quite obviously programmed in my body and mind’s GPS, and I was locked in on autopilot.  Luckily, I was able to break free from the trance, and I did not step on!

Last night, even though it was after 1900hrs, and I had already run 5 miles, I started a 30 day booty challenge.  It’s on my Day Zero Project / goal list to complete a 30 day challenge, and I think this is just what I needed to introduce body weight exercises back into my routine.

I must admit that I am pleased with myself for seriously implementing a plan to improve upon where I’ve determined that I’m currently lacking.  So many times before, I’ve had little to no follow through on my intentions.  Now, consistency is the key!

 

 

 

No Payne, No Gain

LETR 2.0 – FU

FU in this case can either mean eff you or follow up . . . maybe a bit of both, but more follow up than anything else, I promise.  According to my Fitbit, I ran 5.25 miles of the 6 miles that comprise our leg of the LETR.  I did take a water break, in what I have dubbed the “struggle bus,” but I don’t think I was sitting out for .75 miles.  However, even if it was only the 5.25 out of the 6 that I did run, I am extremely proud.  My main goal was simply to perform better than I did last year, and I certainly accomplished that!

My next endeavor may be the David Payne Memorial Run.

The David Payne Memorial Run is on July 23rd, annually.  The run is 7.2 miles so I figure that with a little more practice, I can do it.  There is also the comfort of the cruiser escort and the “struggle bus,” as outlined above, so, if I need a break, I can take one.  FYI, the “struggle bus” is our critical incident response unit – it’s not an actual bus.

On July 23rd, 1988, Officer David Payne was shot and killed in the line of duty.  The run begins where he died, and it ends at his grave.  I was hired July 22nd, 2013, and I remember observing several of the department’s employees returning from the run.  It was pouring that morning, and everyone came back drenched with sweat and rainwater.  In July of 2013, I was 50lbs. or so overweight and not even in the mindset to change that.  Furthermore, I wasn’t even close to starting up with running, and I could not and did not envision myself as a runner.  However, I knew then that I one day wanted to join that group, albeit  a small one, that I saw on my second day of employment.

I think 2018 is the year!  I have yet another opportunity to continue to push myself to step outside of my comfort zone.  Ironically, the discomfort at the prospect of trying something new has its own uniquely comfortable feel.  Nearly five years ago, I half-heartedly committed to “maybe one day.”  I’ve had quite a few “maybe one day” tasks on my perpetual to-do list, and I seem to have found a fondness for ticking those maybe one day to-dos from the bucket list.

In 2013, I was still two years away from beginning my weight loss journey, from finding my love for gym time and fitness, from becoming a “real” runner.  By Urban Dictionary’s standards, the appropriate ones anyways, I am indeed a real runner:

“A true runner is always in one of four states: 1. thinking about the next run 2. thinking about the last run 3. running 4. talking about running.”

Fast forward to 2018, particularly today.  As of today:

  • I’ve lost 52lbs
  • My goal, as far as my desired / goal weight, is 91% complete
  • I’ve participated in numerous 5Ks and 10Ks, improving my performance dramatically, given my very first 5K was completed in 42-45 minutes.
  • I have a gym schedule that, for the most part, I’m fastidiously abiding by
    • 30 minutes at 0900hrs Monday – Friday
    • 30-60 minutes at 1100hrs Monday – Friday

I think it’s only appropriate that I delve into new territory this upcoming July and try the David Payne Memorial Run.  In addition to honoring Payne’s life and EOW (thirty years ago this year), to tick off another one of those “maybe one day” goals, from so many years ago, feels like I’ve come full circle.  Five years ago, when from my office I saw the runners return, I never dreamed that being part of that group would ever be one of my realities.  I never dreamed the four aforementioned bullet points would be my reality, but here I am.

No Payne, no gain.

 

 

 

LETR 2.0

Despite how many runs I go for or how many races and events I add to that notch on my belt, I may always battle anxiety, jitters, and self-doubt the day prior to an event.  The day before an event is when the Anti-Amy makes an appearance, and AA is currently in mode: full-bore with ill-intentions to wreak absolute havoc in my self-confidence.

Tomorrow is the 2018 Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), and I am as ready as I possibly can be, yet I am still riddled with self-doubt about my potential performance.  June 2017 was my first LETR, and I did not do as well as I would have liked to, and though I was not alone in that, I have carried the disappointment with me for a year now.

I have a list of reasons I did not do well, and though they have been sufficient for the last year, now that it’s the day before another LETR, I’m wondering if these are solid reasons, or have I been making excuses?

  • Last year’s LETR was on a freakishly hot day, with equally as freakish humidity; I do not cope well with heat and humidity on any level, let alone of aberrant proportions.
  • I did not carry water with me, and there are no water pit stops along the way, but the evidence van (which I have dubbed “the struggle bus”) that escorts runners is loaded with water; I chose not to drink it, however, because it’s kept very cold, and cold water, while immersed in heavy activity, gives me intolerable stomach pains.
  • I did not have my iPod with me.  Though this is seemingly so very minor in the grand scheme of things, the BPMs included in my workout playlist help me with finding a comfortable pace.  Finally, and almost certainly, listening to music must be significantly better than listening to all of my thoughts of, “I can’t do this,” “quit,” or “this sucks.”
  • I succumbed to Anti-Amy, and therefore, my self-doubt and negative thinking overshadowed and eventually overtook the version of myself that is typically dripping with positivity and affirmations.

So, in order to counteract last year’s follies, I have used the afore outlined reasons (or excuses) to devise a plan for a successful LETR 2.0, my second attempt at the Torch Run.  I have a bottle of perfectly room temperature water, in my office, just waiting to quench my thirst.  I have upgraded to AirPods, and I have groomed and perfected my running playlist.  I will not be without water or music.  The weather is entirely out of my control, but I’ve been checking up on it, and as of right now, it’s looking to be about 65 degrees Fahrenheit with a side of cloudy.

Finally, and probably what needs the most work: how to stuff Anti-Amy back down into the recesses of my brain.  AA made a brief appearance this past weekend, as I was at the midway point (1.5 miles in) during the Safe Voices 5K, a fundraiser event for victims of domestic violence.  However, amidst all of my self-deprecating thoughts, I still found a small opening for Amy to glimmer through.  AA was hard on me because I had not run for 9 consecutive days prior to the 5K, and I left the gate already discouraged, thinking I would not improve on my 5K time from my first race of the year (Dash for Dogs, April 29th).  Luckily, Amy stood her ground when faced with Anti-Amy and finished the 5K with a time improved by 1 minute and 15 seconds.  It was again a freakishly hot and humid day, for June in Maine, but I survived the heat though I was quite uncomfortable, to say the least.  So, I CAN do it.

Granted, the distance of our leg of the Torch Run is about six miles, double that of a 5K, but I’m going to keep it simple and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.  If I have to climb into the struggle bus again this year, then so be it.  My goal for this year is simply to do better than I did last year.  Perhaps there truly are a plethora of reasons as to why I didn’t perform well last year, or maybe there is only one: I just didn’t have the will.  If the latter is the truth, I have plenty of will this year.  Underlying it all, the Law Enforcement Torch Run is for a good cause, and you can read about the LETR Maine here.

Wish me luck!

 

#juststrong

June 1st.  A new day, a new month, and a new chance to focus (or REfocus) on all of those things I want to progress on.  OH, and it’s National Donut Day, and YES, I accepted a free donut (thank you, Dunkin’)!!  However, I will be gifting my freebie donut to my Dad.  In fact, I may try to see how many I can wrangle up throughout the day.  National Donut Day is also one of the jokiest days of the year around work because . . . Well, you know . . .  cops and donuts.

Image result for national donut day meme

So, it’s on my Day Zero Project (I’m not sure I am quite ready to link in my DZP) to write in my blog at least 50 times throughout the duration of the project.  This is update #3 since I started the DZP in December of 2017, which is just not acceptable.  Hence, my desire to “focus (or REfocus) on all of those things I want to progress on.”  For those of you who are unaware of what Day Zero Project is, quite briefly, it’s 101 goals in 1,001 days.  I have some seriously for serious goals such as: run a half marathon, run 1,001 miles, get to my goal weight, and inspire someone.  I also have some silly ones such as: use an entire tube of Chapstick, color an entire coloring book, get up to 1,000+ followers on my Instagram, and get a 500-point game on Words With Friends.  <~~ I’ve come so close with a 493!

In order to obtain my blogging goal, I may need to shift the focus of my blog.  When I began this one, I loved the idea of having a blog devoted solely to my fitness accomplishments and weight loss journey.  I then attempted to maintain a blog showcasing my incoming and outgoing mail endeavors, a blog for my creative and crafty endeavors, a blog for my creative writing and poetry, and yet another for my basic idiosyncratic blatherings.  However, I think I am going to convert this blog into just one big representative hunk of … ME.  I’m not compartmentalized, why should my shared experiences be?  Not to mention, that is a ridiculous number of blogs to not only attempt to maintain consistently but just to have, period.

So, in keeping on topic regarding DZP, one of my goals was to be selected to represent something . . . vague, right?  I am thrilled to check this goal from my to-do list; I was selected by Just Strong – Clothing for Strong Women as one of their ambassadors!  I began my ambassadorship in April, and it’s a constant reminder to stay motivated because I am now representative of strong women everywhere.  However, I believe that strength is versatile and does not necessarily require being on point every. single. day.  I believe that strength includes getting back up when I trip, when I flat out take a digger and fall, and even when I skin my knee (this is intended to be a metaphor, but seeing as I’m clumsy,  it also applies literally).  Strength is doing better math after a calorie miscalculation.  Strength is striving to make today better than yesterday, even if it’s a small tweak that’s the tipping point.

In addition to the opportunity to #bestrong and surround myself with other strong  and likeminded women, the product itself is amazing!  My tank and cropped hoodie are among some of the best pieces of fitness attire I own (and I have a vast variety of clothing that doesn’t quite fit right, doesn’t stay put, or met my needs briefly, but now, not so much).  Part of my ambassadorship is to promote Just Strong’s clothing line, and since I know that there are a lot of women out there also writing about their fitness goals and accomplishments, I’m extending my 10% discount code to you all, should you happen to stumble upon my blog and be in need of some new and high quality workout clothes.  Simply use code: AMY BLAISD10    upon checkout from juststrong.com  You work hard, treat yourself to some of the best fitness gear you will ever own!juststronglogo

 

Finally, and last mention of my DZP goals for today, follow my blog (goal: at least 10 followers) and my Instagram (60 away from goal)!  Once I move these goals from ‘In Progress’ status to ‘Done’ status, I may host some sort of giveaway, but you’ll have to follow me to find out!

 

Fitbit Faux Pas

In looking back over my previous posts, there are a whole lot of I’ve been sucking, but I’m ready to not suck type posts.  In fact, these are the majority of writings housed in this here blog.  In keeping with my newfound mentality that I need to be kinder to myself, it’s about time I start writing about the (what I deem as) small victories, the battles I win within the war.

I was absolutely exhausted yesterday.  I am no stranger to poor sleep, but after a stretch of sleeping well, the poor sleep is hitting me with a vengeance, harder than ever before.  However, despite my complete and utter exhaustion, I worked out.  Granted, it was a short workout, but it was exercise nonetheless.  I’ve been sticking to only cardio as of late, and I know that in order to become a better runner and to get toned, I need to throw in some weights.  So, I busted out the kettlebell.  Side note: while I am fueling my rejuvenated desire to establish a fitness routine AKA working my ass off literally and figuratively, I am also mid-remodel.  So, I’m awake by 0430 hours each day, commuting approx. / more than 1.5 hours each day, I am working my FT job, exercising like a fiend, and at the end of the day, I’m doing manual labor / construction projects in the rental home on top of keeping my own household afloat.  Yeah, I’ve just blown my own mind in regards to the time I’ve wasted trying to figure out why I’m so tired these days.  Thank you, blog, for making my fatigue obvious.

As I was writing . . .

Despite being extraordinarily tired yesterday evening, I busted out the kettlebell.  The workout was difficult, and I was panting like a laboring dog, but I know it’s not supposed to be easy.  I was encouraged, motivated, and inspired when I began to feel that familiar burn.  IMO, there are some pains that are pleasurable, and the burning and aches from exercise fall into this category.  I was proud of myself just because Hey!  I did it!  However, there was a tiny piece of me that remained disappointed in myself because I did not obtain 10,000 steps yesterday.

I have realized that to gauge my success 10,000 steps at a time is a Fitbit faux pas.  I need to focus less on the numbers (Fitbit, scale, etc.) and focus more on my feels.  Right now, I feel pretty proud of myself because Hey!  I’m doing it!

*P.S. Any recommended kettlebell exercises are welcomed!