Stop. Don’t Stop.

I’m spending the day catching on things around the house.  The list is long but I’m just working on what I can – starting with our swimming pool.  Every year around this time, the weather turns warm quickly (we’re hitting 100 degrees now) and our neighbor’s Palo Verde tree quickly drops ALL of it’s yellow leaves straight into our pool.  And every year we find ourselves battling the green

My green pool starting to get a bit more blue...

My green pool starting to get a bit more blue…

pool at almost the exact same time.  It always seems like something is not quite working correctly (maybe because during the winter it doesn’t matter all that much) and, before we know it, our pool is getting greener by the day despite our somewhat belated efforts to get it under control (hmmm, sounds a bit like a weight maintenance analogy now that I type all that out…)  Anyway, we determined that our fairly new filter is under too much pressure so we had a guy come out and clean it (a somewhat laborious process that my husband and I didn’t want any part of).  Unfortunately, the pressure must have been too high for too long because we managed to pretty much blow all of the cartridges up inside it.   So, $325 later, we have a cleaned out filter with new cartridges….and our pool is still green.  Now we are left with adding another $100 worth of chemicals and back-washing and brushing the hell out of it for a few days.  And then, we decided, we are hiring a pool guy!  We’ve had enough of this sh*t!  We get behind on the maintenance and then we lose swimming days during the summer trying to get it back under control.  I often think we spend more money playing catch-up on the chemicals than if we had just let someone handle it for us.  Ah, this goes against my nature to pay someone to do something that we can do ourselves…but there is also a time to get help too.


So I had an appointment with the psychologist yesterday.  My main motivation to see her is to make sure I take the steps I need to in order to not gain weight back, especially given the stress with my dad’s death and propensity for emotional/stress eating that I have had in the past.  I am seeing her in conjunction with the grief counselor at hospice.  I am coming to the conclusion, though, that I am OK.  And the reason I believe I am OK, is that somehow by the grace of God over the past year or so, I have managed to create a new “life”, if you will, in which I can manage things so much better.  I have eating and exercise habits and self care strategies in place, as well as a strong network of people that support me.  Because of all this, I really don’t think I will put 100 pounds back on.  I have that confidence now.  I might swing a bit within my weight range, but I can stay on top of that.  Anyway, in talking with the psychologist, we are also working on helping to reduce the stress/chaos/”busy-ness” of my life – or at least talking about working on that in the future.  This, the month before school gets out, is almost always the busiest time of year for families with school-aged kids.  So now is not exactly the best time to re-invent my life.   And, the reality is, with 3 kids, that time is probably not anywhere close, but I can do things to help make life smoother and more enjoyable.  So, one of the things she encouraged me to try to add once in a while is meditation.  This word sort of makes me cringe, for several reasons.  One, I’m just not into that sort of thing – and I know it is wonderful and healthy and centering blah blah blah – but I just don’t have an innate interest in it.  And two, and this is a biggie, I have a very strong association with meditation with my mom.  My mom was a big believer in it.  In fact, she had a cassette player next to her bed and would often play a meditation tape which I can still almost recount in my head (“I feel quite quiet…my lips, my forehead, my nose, and my cheeks are heavy, warm, and com-for-table…”), along with the guy’s monotone voice.  Every afternoon she would lie down on her bed and listen to that tape – often “encouraging” me to do it with her, which, as a 5 year old, I wanted no part of.  As I got older, I realized there were a lot of reasons for her doing those tapes – I’m sure much of it had to do with her health (she had had breast cancer) and she was such a worrier.  I know it helped her, but like a spoiled kid, I react exactly opposite of what my parents suggest I should do.  Incidentally, I did, however, follow through on a commitment I made with the grief therapist to take some time for a little “self care” and I had a wonderful massage last week.  My friend is a massage therapist (how convenient!) and I finally went to her house where she has a cute little spa room all set up, and had an awesome 1 hour massage.  Because it wasn’t a big fancy resort spa (although she works at one of those too), it was quite affordable and probably something I could schedule more regularly. I made the mistake of booking the estate sale walk thru meeting (that didn’t go so well) immediately after the massage so I missed out on some of the lingering “relaxation” effects of it, but I won’t make that mistake again!  Anyway, back to my therapy session … Dr. G suggested we do a short meditation to end our session.  I sort of wanted to run away screaming but I played along.  And, guess, what?  It was actually pretty awesome.  Maybe because she did the meditation herself and it wasn’t a creepy guy’s voice on a cassette tape, but she basically just had me remain sitting on my big comfy couch and close my eyes – then slowly focus on relaxing each part of my body and slow my breathing down.  I honestly felt like I had become one with the couch – and I easily could have stayed that way the rest of the day.  So she suggested that every once in a while I take 10 minutes or so of quiet time to STOP, sit or lie down, and go through that….without an iPhone, iPad, or any other distraction around.  Maybe I’ll give it a try at home, I’m all about trying new things lately…


stop giving upRe-motivated and energized by my little running clinic last weekend, I have had a couple of good but short sessions running on treadmill at Koko.  I decided that today it was time to really do a decent run.  Anyone that runs will tell you that it is largely a big giant mental game, and that has been my downfall lately.  I’ve allowed myself to stop and walk way too much lately.  There is nothing wrong with that, but I feel like most of the time, I could keep going and I’m just taking the easy way out.  That was OK over the past few weeks/month because I am not really training for anything.  But, I’m quickly losing any stamina I have and, most of all, my confidence as a runner.  I feel like I still have the legs and lungs to run further, I just keep giving up on myself.  So, today, I decided I was going to run a 5K and I wasn’t going to allow myself to stop.  This seems ridiculous because not too long ago I could run 8-10 miles without thinking twice about stopping, but this is where I am now … and I don’t want to slip further.  Today I would focus on the things I learned at the clinic, but I did not care about speed at all and I would allow myself to go slower, but my mantra was “DON’T STOP“.  I got into my running clothes and stuff (hat, sunglasses, Garmin, HRM, water bottles, etc.) but first I walked down to the elementary school because Erin was playing in the 4th grade band (she’s a drummer) and they were having a concert for the rest of the students.  The concert for the parents is tonight and since I’ll be sitting in a 2 hour long mandatory high school choir parent meeting, I won’t be able to attend the concert.  This is actually a blessing (ha ha).  But, there are only so many elementary band concerts left in my life, so I decided to take a few minutes before my run and go watch this “matinee performance”.  Afterward, I headed out on my run straight from the school parking lot.  I listed to the Another Mother Runner podcast about time management (really good – I might give it another listen and do a blog post about it!). I tried to focus on my cadence but not let it speed me up too much so that I could run longer – such a tricky balance.  There was a strong wind and it was getting warm but, overall, conditions were pretty good.  And, I didn’t stop!  (Well, I was forced to for a couple of lights, but they were short.)  I ran the full 5K with an average cadence of 159 spm (steps per minute) which is still short of the 165 spm or so I’d like to build up to, but I have to start somewhere.  It was a bit of an improvement even over my run on Saturday.  I like how the Garmin Connect website shows the areas in green where I did hit a faster cadence.  It will give me a good visual feedback as I continue to work on this.  I’ll have to see if those limits are set automatically or if I can adjust them…


My splits were pretty good (for me, lately) and pretty even too.  So, all in all, it was a good
garmin_05_06_14_splits run and I’m glad I pushed myself a bit.  As it turned out, just telling myself I wasn’t going to stop was a great idea and once I got going, it really wasn’t even an issue.  I felt really good the whole time – probably because I knew I didn’t have an option!  I think I’ll just have to make that my new rule.


stop when done




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2 Responses to Stop. Don’t Stop.

  1. Carole Matte - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada says:

    Hi Martha, I’m happy that you are taking time for yourself inside and out. I like the last picture your posted: I don’t stop when I’m tired I stop when I’m done. Since my retirement in July 2012 I find that I really enjoy taking care of myself with facials, massages, manicure and pedicures. Maintenance is not easy as I have gained 3.5 pounds. I’m taking one day at a time. Keep up the good work and also your blog.


    • Hi Carole- thanks for your post. Glad to hear you are doing well – 3.5 pounds is pretty easy to knock back down, just go back to what works for a short while. Hang in there!


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