Category Archives: health

July Magic

Hi! This is July and usually, I hate to say, I’m sort of in the Summer doldrums by now. My lovely humid hometown makes it easy to leave you feeling dirty and gritty in July and August. But not this year. And what a magical thing that has turned out to be! I say that because, as an Atlanta native, this is the first year that I’ve decided to run the Peachtree Road Race. It is the world’s largest 10K (or at least billed to be) and is a major event every year. Typically, I’ve equated running the Peachtree with being as dumb as a lump on a log — because who runs in 98+ degree with 80+ humidity and NO RAIN? Well, about 60,000 do, that’s who. And this year, I was one of the idiots.

Except I wasn’t. The weather was its mildest ever for the race. They had the fewest numbers of heat related incidents. It was remarkable. Mother nature smiled on me and I was able to finish the race in spite of the past few months of aging body problems (you know, feet, back, the like). Sure, it was a run and walk event for me, but I did it and am super happy that I participated in an Atlanta institution. Even happier that I didn’t have to be walked to Piedmont Hospital during the event.

And for more magic, today I did something that I completely wouldn’t have expected to do (well, my 12 year old self would have). I woke up at 5 a.m. and went to a yin yoga class that started at 6. It was in a hot yoga room which I was not expecting. So two of my resistances were dismissed in one morning. Getting out of my comfort zone (and comfortable bed) was definitely worth it this morning. I feel like electricity and lightening bugs. It’s a great way to start the day and I may be a believer.

Send out good vibes to the universe. I know a lot of people that could use the extra lightness right now.

Needing a name….

But before it’s named, I want to share some of the calm and tranquil of the cabin that dad and John Miller created behind the Kamama gallery they run. Mom keeps calling it “Julia’s Cabin” only because I’ve asked her not to. It’s absolutely a cabin that will be enjoyed by many — but I’m admittedly already looking forward to going back. The photos are courtesy of Suzan Buckner— because, yes, I forgot to take my camera. (Maybe I was using that as an excuse to go back up?)

Without further ado …

Here is the link to some pictures. Now help me name it please.

 

Today’s stars

Lots of stars are excited today with the Academy Award nominations coming out. And stars are some of my favorite shapes (I have them hanging from my ceiling, in my windows and scattered about my abode). But that isn’t really what I’m talking about here.

Today’s stars are all about the little foil types that we would get in grade school when we did something right. I’ve carried that tradition into my adulthood. When I quit smoking over two years ago, I’d give myself a star every day that passed without a cigarette until months were full of stars. When I began running and exercising, I would put a star on the days I’d go over 30 minutes. So, in my year of no excuses, I’ve got decided to give myself a new goal every month. This month’s goal involves getting at least 3 stars in the work week for working out (running, working out with a video, getting on the NordicTrak, etc). Seems simple, I usually do more than that in a week. Except apparently not so much in the work week. I was great on weekends and would manage 2 (sometimes) 3 Monday through Friday— but trending stars is proving a bit more difficult.

And today I woke up with swollen glands and feeling cruddy. But, I’m pushing on. I did cancel plans with my friend Jennifer (because I don’t want to hold her back). However, I’m going to make myself —even for just 30 minutes — work out when I get home.

Wish me luck! Send me star vibes. Trust me, I won’t overdo it — but I’ll at least get it done.

All Saints’ Day

Today I put a gold star on my calendar and noticed that it was All Saints’ Day. Not being especially religious, I had to look up the significance of the day and discovered thanks to Wikipedia that today Western Christianity commemorates those that have attained beatific vision. Wow. Let me just say, I’m not there. However, the placing of the star on the calendar for me today has taken on something akin to communing between the individual and the universal. Today marks the 1 year anniversary of me quitting smoking.

This is a deeply personal day and entry in my life. First, I should just say to all of you non-smokers out there that you may want to suspend judgement or stop reading. I, more than you, do understand that smoking is by and large a self-inflected torture and slow suicide. So, if your impulse is to say “well you shouldn’t have been dumb enough to smoke in the first place” you are correct. Bravo. Good for you. Now shut it. Talk to me about addictions that you may have (chocolate, work, sex, cocaine, heroine, anger, exercise, coffee, TV, food, etc.) And if truly you have lived your life without a crutch or addiction, then I still ask you now to just be quiet. Because this isn’t about you.

This is about everyone else.

Addiction, especially in the case of tobacco, lives in the psyche and the body. On many levels, the psyche is the hardest place to scrub. The body will eventually forget. But the psyche will cling to the crutch and I wonder, even a year later, when it will stop seeking the soothing beast of nicotine. Just last night I had a dream that I was lighting More’s for a friend of mine (a friend that in reality doesn’t smoke). The guilt and shame of that act lingered even upon waking. Smoking is still that powerful.

So, today, a year out, I am celebrating the long road I have ahead of me of learning how to live without a crutch. And one way I’m going to do it is to provide a little bit of advice on how to quit for anyone out there that may stumble upon this post.

Quit everything at once. Go online and find what is usually called the elimination diet. It is a diet that was created mainly to find out what food allergies you may have. The goal of the diet is to eat 3 main foods (chicken, turkey, rice with a few acceptable greens) and that’s all you eat for about 3 to 4 weeks and then you slowly add food back in and see if you react to it. (I tried to find my doctor’s version of this, but all of the ones online allowed more than I could eat. Seriously, ground turkey, rice, baked chicken, water, lemon and spinach are the only foods I could eat.) I had to do this last year and decided to go ahead and make it a pure test and to quit smoking. I can’t emphasize this enough — quitting is tough. I tried it several times and several different ways. But quitting everything (even pepper!) is brutal. And so, I think that’s one way it worked for me. The nicotine demon was competing with a whole lot of other demons. The simple fact of the matter was that after 2 weeks of that lifestyle, the thing I wanted more than ANYTHING in my life was pepper and spice and flavor. Easy? Absolutely not. Effective? Well, I wouldn’t be writing this entry if it weren’t.

My other advice is to surround yourself with compassionate and supportive people. As hard as it was, I avoided my few friends that still smoked. I had to. And, when I did see them, I made it very very clear that not only was I not going to, but I wasn’t going to be around them smoking. Quitting all foods and flavors takes care of the physical addiction, but what really got me through the inner struggle was having 1 or 2 close friends that I could talk to and they would cheer me on. Yes, cheerleaders do help.

And that’s it. Will it work for everyone? Probably not; you have to really be ready to let go and that is something no diet or advocate can do for you. That’s all you. But, just so you know, as someone on the other side, I have replaced one deadly habit with being more active, smelling like the perfume I put on, having more money, walking up hills or stairs, not hiding, having no shame, feeling clean. Being happy. Most of all, being free.

Happy All Saints’ Day! Go out and quit something you should. Let me know if I can help.

September rush

Well, well, well. What do they say about the best made plans? Right. So, about Mid-July, I was having a fairly good time of it while running and boom! Bursitis. Anyway, for those of you that have had it, you’ll understand that my imminent 5K plans were post-poned. However, I’m back in the saddle (or hitting the pavement) and am finding that balance of pushing myself and being realistically gentle. Eventually, mind and body will be in harmony. I look forward to that moment. I did sign up for another 5k that is at the end of September and this one promotes literacy — so really, that’s more my cup of tea anyway.

And, I’ve been insanely busy. Probably will continue to be insanely busy. However, I spent a gorgeous Labor Day weekend with friends. Some of these friends even reminded me that I need to be writing. So once again, here I am and at least trying to give you some words now.

If I were a good and true blogger, I’d relay the downward spiral that took hold of me when I was forced (after only just getting acquainted with my physical self) to be stagnant. Mentally, it was exhausting to try to tread those pitfalls.

Oh, and since everything is ultimately about words and what we do with them, I did go to the Decatur Book Fest this weekend and found a copy of Murakami’s book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I’m curious and looking forward to see how one of my favorite all time authors sees the mind body connection. Maybe I’ll learn something from it? Will keep you posted.

In the meantime, here’s hoping for cooler climes to do outdoor things. Whether it’s running, strolling, swimming, lounging on a hammock or just smelling the shift of season — enjoy it! Soon soon fall.

progress, planning and prose

Ahhh July. It is a good month to get things done. I’m still on track (so punny) with my preparations for a hot, hot, hot 5K in August. Realize all too often that my skeletal self is still in denial. However, I’m very happy I’m meeting my body for the first time in 40+ years.Hopefully my body will feel likewise soon.

Beyond that, it’s turning into a busy Summer. I have plans to visit friends and family, work has plans for me to visit other places and then life always has a plan of its own. In short, there is travel ahead of me and behind me. I did, for pleasure, recently return from my first ever trip to Boston. There was a Fenway outing and the Freedom trail and lots of walking that helped with the lots of eating . . . it was a perfect trip. Loved the city, history, baseball and food. Definitely the best Braves loss I’ve ever witnessed. If you’ve never been, please make a point to do it and take some good walking shoes. I may try to put together a photo album of some pics, but am swamped at the moment planning everything on the horizon.

I did, however, take a personal day off and decided to upload a book to my Kindle. After some hasty research that involved Salon, random questions to trusted reading friends and a glance at some Amazon reviews, I selected The Fault in Our Stars. I finished it last night. Yes, it’s so good you cannot put it down. You must devour the beauty and brilliance in one sitting because it’s so heart breaking that you may not be able to pick it back up. They (you know who they are) consider it young adult fiction for some reason. I think because the 2 main characters are 16 & 17. But really, this is a book that everyone except the very young should read. Absolutely gorgeous.

Hope everyone is happy post-Independence Day. And if not happy, hope you are all progressing forward anyway!

Let’s begin again

Several months have passed in complete silence. This is primarily due to the fact that I have undergone a complete metamorphosis and spent my energy on positive life changes. Most of which I’m not going to tell you about — but you can just know that they are huge and empowering. Indeed, one reason I haven’t written is that some of my old friends and loves would not understand or believe me. There has been a lot of letting go of the past and negative residuals — hopefully anyone impacted will one day understand. My bigger hope is that maybe me changing will prompt positive action in others.

I will, however, share the fact that I am trying to get in shape and have begun training for a 5k in August. Ah, yes, August. The dreaded Atlanta month. The peak of humidity and sweat and grime. I’m not being an idiot about it though. I am starting slow and only training in the cool of the day. I’ll let you know how my reconnecting with my body goes. I’ve lived a life of contemplation and have decided that action is called for.

Wish me luck and more words from me sooner than you think!