Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Saying Goodbye To Dolce

Coming off my second breakup, I did not go the route of getting drunk with my sorority sisters or buying a lot of unnecessary ideas.  Instead I went to the pound.  I made my first adoption of a cat the
year earlier so I was ready to add a dog into the mix.  Missing my parents’ chow, I immediately took to a red chow mix.  Then I saw her.

In the kennel across the way was a white lab/husky mix.  Her eyes were downcast as dogs around her made a ruckus.  She slowly came to the gate to put her nose to my hand.  Being the dog lover I was, I asked to take her out of the yard to play thinking to myself, “Might as well let her have some fresh air.”

We went out to the yard where she followed at my heels.  I sat down to pet her.  She proceeded to put her head on my shoulder and lean into my neck.  For that moment, she chose me…I do not choose her.  This is how Dolce came into my life.

Dolce was in her terrible 2’s but beyond that she had significant separation anxiety due to prior abuse.  She hid from guests particularly men.  She would not stay on a piece of furniture when you sat next to her.  She destroyed numerous DVD, remote controls, and even a hot tub cover.  But I finally gained her trust, and from that point, she was continuously loyal to me.

Her loyalty went beyond greeting me at the door.  Dolce would sleep in her bed next to me where we would have daily cuddle times.  She would sit in the passenger backseat with her nose just slightly outside traveling to different locations with me. When I left for the day, she would watch me from the window as I was driving away.  Her wagging tail and smile brought me happiness every day. 

Everything changed this past Sunday.  Just 72 hours prior, Dolce started showing signs of exhausted and refusing food.  Thinking it was potential dehydration; I changed her diet and encouraged increased water.  She slightly rebounded to enjoy a cooler summer Friday and Saturday, but on Saturday night, her conditioned worsen.  She has having difficulty breathing and refused all food and water.  Early on Sunday, thinking about anything to make her excited, I asked if she wanted to go on a car ride.  Using her last resource of energy, she wagged her tail, heading to the door, and left my house for the last time.

Dolce was strong and loyal to the end.  The cancer which caused the bleeding in her body would have been causing her pain over the last month, but she never showed in.  Even on our last walk together last Sunday, Dolce sniffed every spot, chased after every animal, and wagged her tail the whole time.  The night before she left, Dolce laid right next to me struggling breathing and trying to get rest.  Even when I said goodbye, her tired eyes kept focused on me as she fought to stay with me.
Dolce saw the worst of me and enjoyed the best of me.  When I was going thru depression, she would require me to get out of bed and take care of her.  She would get me up from walks, and I would reward her with ice cream.  She lived in different houses, dealt with varied work hours, and different people during my life.  Dolce never stopped being by my side and being the sweetest dog I have ever had.

I have cried so much over the last three days that I don’t have the energy to cry anymore.  I am worried about Chanel who has never been without her sister.  Chanel has cried a little when laying on the coach Dolce and her shared nightly.  She looks over at her sister’s bowl and looks around the corner when I come home.

Dolce chose me, and I am so grateful she did because I was blessed and loved more then I deserved. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What I Learned from iPhone Withdraws

I am a modern girl, and I need my iPhone.  Looking at all the items I have owned, I have had an iPhone in my pocket since 2007 (the original!).  It is the longest relationship I have had.  We have been going steady for 6+ years.  I have upgraded, but always stuck with the iPhone.  

In addition, I have always stuck with purchasing AppleCare for every apple product because (a) the customer service is great and (b) when I needed a replacement phone due to equipment error, they get one to me.  Unfortunately, with the holiday and the phone deciding to "die" over the weekend, the wait is a little longer then the standard 24-28 hours.  

So I have had a couple of days to realize some things about not having a phone:

1) I receive a lot of emails:  Just checking my emails three times a day, the volume of email subscriptions in which I receive and alerts is significant.  I am already opting out of those in which I typically delete without even reading.  

2) Social media controls my life: I have been making a habit to try not to check social media the first hour when I am home and especially during dinner with Josh.  It is surprisingly difficult!  With this self imposed vacation from social media, I have realized how much I have had more time to read and spend time taking care of the house.  I am going to start planning social media time on my schedule!

3) My daily alarms are based on my phone: I rely on a four alarm system.  With my alarm clock, I only have one so when I snooze that alarm or worst, turn it off.  I miss things!  Workout was missed on Monday and made my whole day off balance.

4) No one is EVER available when you call:  Since I do not have a call back number, I have been the person calling saying "I just need to talk to them".  I am the girl who did not get the callback.  Trying to make appointments and arrangements have been exhausting this week.

5) My shower really is only like 6 minutes long: I listen to podcasts in the shower every day.  It increases my shower time by 12 minutes.  When I do not have anything distracting me, I focus on the task at hand.  I might stop listening to podcasts to reduce that utility bill.

6) No one can multitask - stop driving with your cellphone:  I am guilty of it..driving on the phone.    Now I am 100% focused on driving, I realize everyone texts or talks on a cellphone when driving.  As much as you think you can can't.  Focus on driving only! Another habit in which I am going to give up!

7) I can't run without music or sound: The reverse of the shower and driving..if I do not have something to listen to when running, I am less motivated on getting a good pace and a good mileage.  Thank goodness for my nano!

8) Where to leave notes: I left a note for Josh on Monday informing him I was going to the store.  When he came home, not seeing my note, he left thinking I had not made it home.  This resulted in a delay supper as both of us were unaware of what was happening.  Note on notes: Leave on the front door

9) A watch is still needed: How do you check the time when you are out?  Your phone!  Thankfully I had a watch from two Christmas past to keep me on schedule.

10) I need to put the phone down: This week, I have been able to have conversations with people without having a phone in my hand consisting checking it (for whatever reason).  I can only imagine what I have missed by having a small screen controlling my vision.

That being said, when I get my new, working phone...I hope to remember this lessons.  Maybe I will set an alert to remember!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The ABC's of BetterJNel

I never realized on how attached I was to my iPhone until I did not have it.  My phone died on me Saturday night.  Thanks to AppleCare I will have my phone by Wednesday.  Due to my careless this AM, I forgot to set my regular alarm (instead of relaying on my phone alarm) and overslept my training sessions.  This has caused a significant off balance all day long!  

My online friends came to the rescue as Karen at tagged me the ABC of me  post.  It was great to get to know my online friends in a different matter.  So here we go....

A. Attached or Single? Attached to my domestic partner, Josh, for 4+ years.  
Josh, My Guy

B. Best Friend? Josh & Jennifer (my sorority little sis)

C. Cake or pie? Vanilla Cake

D. Day of choice? Friday: Due to my work schedule, this is my first day of my weekend so I get to mark tons of my list!  It is a truly a "Jennifer" day as Josh works on Fridays so I am able to get everything I need done.

E. Essential Item? My phone (as I am learning this week)

F. Favorite color? Silver, but I do wear a lot of pink these days (#sweatpink)

G. Gummy bears or worms? Neither!  Gummies hurt my jaw. Rock Candy!

H. Home town? Even if I was born in Iowa, I consider my hometown as Quincy, IL as I lived there from 2 years old to 18 years old.

I. Favorite Indulgence? A southern tea: long island iced tea with peach

J. January or July? January as it is my birthday month!!!  (But last year, I may July my birthday month as well)

Dolce & Chanel
K. Kids? Furry kids: Dolce (dog), Chanel (dog), Godiva (cat), and Turbo (step dog)

L. Life isn’t complete without? Family and a good book

M. Marriage date? Passing on this question...

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 1 older brother, Todd

O. Oranges or Apples? Apple.  

P. Phobias? Being off the ground (like more then two feet freaks me out), snakes, and sedatives 
Our recent Bike Night/Date Night

Q. Quotes? You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching; Love like you'll never be hurt; Sing like there's nobody listening; And live like it's heaven on Earth" - William Purkey  

R. Reasons to smile? Date Night/Bike Nights with Josh

S. Season of choice?  Spring.  Excited to see all the new growth and having warmer days

T. Tag 5 People  @annicanicole @missriki7 @FromFattyTo @thinfluence @holleyjollyk

U. Unknown fact about me? Washington DC is my favorite city.  I have all the metro stops memorized.  The city energizes me!

V. Vegetable? Spinach

W. Worst habit? Burping

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Had my fair share of both.  Xrays are quicker!

Y. Your favorite food?  Kraft Mac & Cheese (not clean eating, once a year treat)

Z. Zodiac sign? Capicorn 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tri Training: Already Feeling Stronger

Week 3 of tri training started out victorious for me.  Prior to my Monday AM training, I completed my homework with a 8 mile date night bike ride with the boyfriend.  The spinning classes are helping with my speed as at the beginning of the ride, it was asked if this was a race as I was going faster then normal.  I slowed down my pace as a couple who rides together, stays together.  

Monday morning started out with a strength workout at Thrive ( A lot of new exercises were introduced which means I have transitioned from my former workout routinue.  Usually after 4-5 weeks our bodies usually adapt to the exercises so we need to change it up. The new sets are challenging, but they are making me feel strong when I complete them.  

Right after my strength, I headed to join the ladies for spinning and running.  We started out spinning,
and I immediately knew it was going to be a challenging "hill" day.  We worked on a  lot hoovering over the seat and leaning forward to get up those hills.  We learned "jumping" which requires you to stand up/lean forward for eight seconds and then sit down for eight seconds and then back up for eight seconds.  Wow...I was feeling my hamstrings on this movement.  The class ended with what I call the "waterfall hill challenge".  Everyone starts spinning at the same resistance and increases during the ride.  When the resistances requires you to stand you stand up, and we continue to ride until the last people stands up.  Usually the instructor would be the last to stand, but one of the girls was able to go beyond her.  

My total mileage was only 6 miles, but those were a hilly 6 miles.  After the bikes, we went outside for a run.  Everyone I have talked to said one of the hardest transitions is from biking to running as the loss of your legs during the spinning.  Today was the first day I felt that uneasiness.  The first 0.25 miles was a warm up by walking and then I was able to transition to my running intervals.  I really pushed during my run intervals including at the end when I ran past the normal stop time to get back to the YMCA.  Total run distance is improving with being able to run/walk 1.3 miles.  

We were back on Tuesday for another swim lesson.  After my diving board experience this weekend, I was sad there was no diving board in this pool.  We started out with warm up laps of freestyle and breaststroke.  We are really using Tuesday to work on form.  I was actually shocked on what part of your body you are actually working when you are swimming.  Today I learned the kicking does not come from your legs, but from your hips.  

During our lessons today, we swam over 12 laps which is twice the amount needed for our tri so our endurance is increasing! The weakest of my swimming will be in the inability for me to breath underwater.  I have a tendency to take in water when I attempt to breath during swimming.  I hope to get to the pool this weekend to practice as I think this will give me a better time and of course, a better me!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Facing a Former Fat Girl Fear

While there are a lot of great benefits of having a significant other, the benefit of having access to a neighborhood pool sometimes outweighs those typically dating benefits.  It is great to have someone to hang out with, someone to laugh with, someone to hug you...but having access to a pool during the summer is amazing.  Starting from the time the pool opens, every weekend, my mission is to get to the pool.  

I already overcome the fear of wearing the swimsuit last year as the body I have might not be perfect,
Pool Selfie
but I have worked hard to get to this body!  This was especially in my mindset after I finished a 5k on Saturday and then heading to the pool afterwards.  Being that it was a neighborhood pool and the weekend, the majority of swimmers were children.  

Spending time at the pool brings back childhood memories biking up daily to our neighborhood pool with my two friends, Erin & Erin.  The pool opened at 11 AM, and we were there.  Hanging out in the four different pools the swim club had until 5 PM when our parents were heading home from work.  Having swim lessons early in my youth, I was very comfortable swimming in the deep end, flipping off the edge of the pool, and going off the diving board.

As my weight increased and my activity level decreased, my freedom around a pool decreased. When we traveled or I had access to a pool, I would not get into the water even as I craved to.  The thoughts of others saying something about my size, my weight, or worse, calling me a "whale" was always in the back of my head.  So here I found myself on Saturday at the neighborhood pool embracing another fat girl fear.  There are certain things in which as a larger person, I used to avoid: sitting in a booth, getting in an elevator after people who can feel the increase weight, eating in public, and getting on the diving board.  

The neighborhood kids were all gone, and it was just the lifeguard, my boyfriend, and I at the pool around 5 PM.  The diving board was calling out to me.  I have been watching the neighborhood kids jump off during the day with no fear.  Knowing the last time I was on a diving board was before my teen years, I wanted to do it.  

I walked over and stepped up to the board.  Then...that fear set in.  What if I slip?  What if the board does not bounce?  What if I make a huge splash showing my size?  What if I weigh too much and break the board?  This diving board is just a foot off the ground.  But to me, it was me overcoming 20 years of pushing aside my desires because of my weight.

Not knowing what was going on in my head, the boyfriend became increasing frustrated as I kept getting on and off the diving board.  He proceed to get on the board and jump in without a thought.  I followed him by getting back on the board and walking out again to the edge of the board.  I checked with the teenage lifeguard that he would be able to save me if anything happened.  

Then I plugged my nose and stepped out over the edge...screaming the whole way until I hit the water.

I immediately pushed myself up to the top of the pool and started giggling above the water.  There are moments in my journey in which I say goodbye to the former me and embraced the new me.  This was one of those moments.  I laughed because I remembered how I was able to overcome those barriers in which I put in front of me.  

And just like I was as kid, I immediately got back out of the pool and proceeded to jump off the diving board for the next 30 minutes...screaming and laughing the whole time.  

Tri Training: Reverse Triathlon

(Sorry for the delay in posting.  Due to a storm on Thursday evening, I lost power and Internet on Friday. Just now getting back to being able to update)

There are 44 days until my sprint triathlon.  I have 6 weeks of training left and after the first 2 weeks, I am excited to really see what I can do during this triathlon.  At first when I signed up, I really thought it was going to be a struggle to do all the components, but with the way our training is going, we are all seeing it is possible to finish!

This morning started out with a 7 AM run at a local park with my trainer, Pam. I do not frequent this park often so I got lost on my way there.  Prior to our session, Pam warned me that she was going to take me out of my comfort zone, and she did.  She made me run a concisely under a 15 minute pace with NO walk breaks.  She would not tell me to distance prior to us running and said I have to move the entire time.

Her reasoning: I have to get my body used to running concisely without stopping.  That the first 15 minutes of moving, our body and energy level is wanting us to stop.  By "powering thru" we can get our body to in a sense "wake up" to exercise.  

It worked because I now know I can run for 0.8 miles without stopping and without dying!  I wanted to stop a couple of times, but Pam would not let me.   Afterwards, we did some more short run drills to run to certain areas on the track.  I did not have my watch, but in total, I am estimated that we ran/walked a total of 2 miles.

Then after a short refueling break, I heading to the downtown YMCA for my tri-training.  Today it was
biking and swimming.  Thursday's spinning lessons are more about pacing and consistence when increasing our speed.  Today we did that while climbing five "hills".  Totaled, I biked 7.4 miles in the 36 minutes.  Over halfway to the distance of the tri.  

We immediately transitioned to the pool.  I was excited to attempt to get the 300 yards in, but that was not my swimsuit's plan.  As I was putting on my suit, one of the neck ties broke.  I was unable to tie my suit around my neck.  Even after some MacGyver moves, I was unable to get the strap to stay.  But due to the creativity of our instructor, Kyla, I worked on my legs by using a kick board which allowed me to ensure I would not lose my suit.  I was able to get 3 laps in using the kick board.  Halfway to my six.    

So at the end of my morning training, I ran, biked, and swam...I completely a reverse triathlon!  I am really happy and surprised at where I am after the second week.  The more I am training, the more confidence and stronger I am feeling.  In addition, I am starting to bond with the ladies who are facing the same challenges as me.  When my swimsuit broke, one of the girls offered to sew it for me.  Excited to keep training and pushing myself to be a better me.