Category Archives: Exercise/training

One Word: Perseverance

As I am sitting here on my patio with my two cats and a cup of coffee. I have Rend Collective blasting into my earphones, and I’m reflecting on the past two months.

Let me just say this – It was crazy.

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, two months ago I was in a car accident that crippled my SUV and damaged the front right end of my car. I’m still feeling the anxiety from that whole experience. I had no hearing aids on when it happened and flew into an anxiety attack as I knew this one little incident would make things messy.

Why?

My vehicle was my only way to help my blind husband to get around. With working on my Master’s degree, I still needed to get around to do my field experience hours, and with two kids, having no vehicle was going to be difficult, to say the least.

“Why not get a rental?”

Sure. That would make things so much easier, but I had made the mistake of not adding that to my insurance plan, and we weren’t in the position to be able to afford to rent one out of our own pocket.

I prayed they wouldn’t take too long to fix the car… But little did I know how much of a mess we were in.

It ended up being a case of severe case of mishandling by our insurance company, and being deaf didn’t help at all. The only people who really took care of us and respected our deafness/blindness was the body shop who worked on our car. (I also had friends who helped us get to the grocery store and brought us food when we needed it, too.)

It took EIGHT weeks to finally get our SUV back.

It was a long battle, and when I reflect upon it, I realize there will always be that battle for me. Being deaf means I have to fight every time I need to make sure I understand and am being understood in practically every situation.

That is exhausting. I questioned God, “Why? Will there ever be a time where I don’t have to fight to be understood?”

I had to fight to get some of my professors to understand my challenge of doing field experiences with no interpreter. I have had to resort to using my lip-reading skills and depending on my hearing aids, which isn’t at it’s best with the earmolds getting old.

Fortunately, I’m almost done with my field experience hours. I will be glad to be done with that.

I just have to worry about who will hire a teacher who is Deaf. Will I be understood and accepted?  Okay. I can’t worry about that right now, but it does poke back into my thoughts from time to time.

On top of all of this, I’ve been trying to lose weight and failing miserably. I need to lose it for health reasons, and it’s been a frustrating journey.

I had hopes that with having no vehicle that losing the needed pounds would be easier as I would be forced to walk, and walk, I did, but I didn’t lose anything.

angry-penguin

I realize now that it’s another thing I have to overcome.

I’ve been walking with my husband every morning to the light rail, and I have yet to see any loss. I keep telling myself it takes time… But it’s hard to have hope when you’re exhausted emotionally.

What do I do?

The only thing I know how – I hold on. Like everything else I’ve gone through, I will just push through and PERSEVERE.

Paul, my favorite writer in the Bible, puts it best in Philippians 3:14 –

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

It’s an uphill climb right now, but I have a small bit of hope right now. I’m going to hold on to that. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for one of my goals. I’m not far from graduating with a Masters degree and will soon be able to teach.

Today, I am taking a muchly needed respite and will be creative. I have some art in my head that needs to get out on a canvas.


My Dogs Were Howling

Yesterday, in all my excitement of getting some nice hiking boots for my birthday, I thought, “I need to break them in!” I thought I would go for a nice hike and enjoy wearing some really good shoes for the adventure.

I had decided to go to a mountain that was close to home and pick a trail path from a trail app I had on my phone, Alltrails. I saw one I thought would be good. “Green Mountain Trail” had a moderate to hard rating (I wanted a good challenge) and was said to be 8.7 mile loop. I was feeling pretty confident that I could do that just fine. I had done a couple of long hikes before, so this was supposed to be a piece of cake.

I just didn’t consider one factor – New shoes. Another factor I learned afterwards – You need good socks for hiking boots! I wore dress socks, thinking they would be just fine. I was in for a surprise.

The first hour of the hike was fine, even though I had to adjust the laces on my boots a couple of times as the ankle portion of the boots felt a little uncomfortable. The hike itself was beautiful. There was some mud from melting snow and the wind was blowing pretty strong. I could hear it howl and blow into my hearing aids, which, honestly, was annoying after a while.

I didn’t take off my hearing aids for one reason only; I needed to hear for any bicyclists coming down the path behind me. I can’t say it was a perfect solution as there were several of them who called out last minute and I couldn’t tell if they were saying “To your left!” or “To your right!”. There were a couple who I know didn’t even say those words, but I couldn’t catch what one word they yelled as they passed. However, I did get a clue of what  one rider yelled out from another bicyclist, who was riding down in front of me, as he came and apologized to me for the other biker’s behavior as he politely rode by. All I could do was roll my eyes at myself as I could guess what rude word the other man used.

Dress socks don’t work with hiking boots for several reasons, as I came to learn at about the 4 mile marker. One, they’re a thin slippery layer of fabric between my feet and the inside form of the boots. I tighten the laces, but I felt the chafing of the fabric more around my ankles as I walked. I loosened the laces, but it made my feet move a whole lot more inside the boots. You know what happens when your feet shift around in new shoes.

By the 6th mile, I was leaning into my hiking trail poles to ease some of the pain in my ankles and my toes. I began to pray I could make it to the parking lot where my beloved car sat waiting for me. I had no music to distract me, but after that rude biker, I knew I was better off being more aware of what was around me. So, instead of music, I began to focus on my surroundings and try to figure out where I was according to the map I had. That might have been torture, but it kept my mind on pushing through the pain to make it back to my car.

It wasn’t long before I was beginning to think about having a glass of wine when I got home, and soaking my tortured feet in hot water. I was also thinking, “I have got to get some better socks before I go hiking again. I’m also not going to take a long one until I KNOW these boots are ready for it.”

Hope of reaching my car very soon came in the sight of seeing some familiar trail markings I had seen from previous hikes at the mountain. I realized I was at the part where the trail reaches a fork into another trail I had been on previously. “I’m almost there!” Sure enough, the trial marking, which was a weather beaten fence rail at the top of a small peak of the Green Mountains, I see the parking lot down below. “Oh, hallelujah.” I breathed as I moved as quickly as my aching and throbbing feet would allow me. My hiking poles became my crutches, balancing me as I went to down the rocky and uneven trail path.

Once I reached the bottom, my dogs howled. No, not literally, but my poor feet felt like they were howling as I finally came to a stop at the trunk of my car. When I got home, I found a nice blister on one toe, several sore spots on other toes, and a nice bruise on one ankle. My glass of wine was a nice reward from that life-learning-adventure.

So, if you get some nice hiking boots, don’t do what I did. Wear good socks and go for a nice 3 mile hike to break them in. I know I’ll be doing that for a while until my boots feel awesome and ready for some really great hikes around here.


Running through the Battlefield

I ran today.

And boy did it feel good, despite the 90 degree weather outside.

I had always wanted to trail run since I’ve always enjoyed being around nature, and today, I grabbed a chance to do it, albeit the timing wasn’t probably the best.

I live probably one and a half mile away from Battlefield of Manassas National Park, and there are beautiful trails all around the park. I decided to take the 1.3 mile trail to the stone bridge and back. I knew I was in for a rough one with the heat being up and the humidity slightly making the 90 degree weather feel more like 95.

Did I care? No. I was going to do it anyways.

I packed my android with some fun funky music – Green Day, Black Eyed Peas, Shania Twain, and, my favorite, Safri Duo, (I am in dire need of updating my library, but what is this mom going to do? LOL) turned on my “Map my Run”, and started jogging through the grassy hills.

Once I hit the woods, it was fantastic. My energy was at an all time high, and the trees cooled the air around me. I was able to keep up a good pace for probably a half a mile to three quarters of a mile, and then I had to slow down to a native of the lands – a doe staring at me jogging towards her. I was so sure she would dart off as soon as I made eye contact with her, but she didn’t trot off until I was at ten feet away from her. There was no fear in her eyes, but she was still wary of us humans. I was able to keep going until I took a left onto a new path toward the bridge. I had to slow down to a quick walk to check my heart rate, and I was able to get back into running down the path for quite a while. It was until I hit a patch of the trail where there was no tree coverage and the heat began wear me out. I decided then to turn around.

I did try to run back, and it was hard doing that when my body was beginning to reach the point of exhaustion. Yes, I wanted to throw up. I walked until that feeling went away for the most part, and then I would start run again. One thing I noticed is that I ran better when I just looked ahead three feet in front of me, instead of looking way out. “It’s just like the lamp onto my feet. I only need to see what’s right in front of me. There will be strength to make it through those three feet. ” It is the same way with everyday life. God knows we get easily overwhelmed with the vastness of our lives, and we can handle taking one step at a time, even when we feel like we are running in high heat. It was an encouraging life lesson as I ran. To encourage me even more, I ran into another deer, and this one stayed there until I just about passed her, and even then she just lightly trotted away as if she knew I wouldn’t hurt her. God’s nature is beautiful!

I couldn’t run the whole way, but I did the best I could, and I will continue to do better. Next time I will pick a much cooler time to run! Hopefully I will have an opportunity to do so… Being a mom with two kids doesn’t give me too many chances to do that. Perhaps weekends when the hubby is home. 🙂


Getting Dirty

I’ve got less than a week and a half before I take on the biggest challenge I’ve yet to face physically, and I’ve never felt such a drive in my life as I do now. I’m going to be taking on a three mile run combined with military style obstacle courses… In the MUD! Can I do this? I certainly hope so. I’ve been running a lot this past month, although this past week I’ve been down with another flare up of tendinitis in my ankles. I’m not letting it stop me though.  With an ankle brace, I’m planning on attacking this challenge with whatever energy I have. I’ve had too many times in the past year when things have kept me from running or achieving something as big as this in my life, and I’m not about to let anything else ground me now. The awesome thing is I’m not doing this alone. My “brother” and his son are joining me to tackle this feat as well.

As I think about this challenge, I began to think about this as a life lesson…

Paul wrote about our life being a race, and I wonder how many times you can say you’ve been in a muddy obstacle course?  I have been through a real muddy obstacle course, and I can remember how much energy it takes to fight through all that muck. Sometimes life can be that way. Financial stress, parenthood challenges, family conflicts, and even marital conflicts are like muddy moments. They wear you out, don’t they?  I’ve cried out to God at those times saying, “Oh God, I don’t think I can make it through this!”

The difference between the physical obstacle course and the spiritual one is the inner energy doesn’t come from us, but God.

His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect.”  -Steven Curtis Chapman ~ “His Strength is Perfect”

Instead of looking for inner strength to find the energy to push through the muddy obstacle course, as I will find myself most likely doing in two weekends from today, we have to turn to God to give us the energy to push through.

Do I do that? Not always.

I admit that there are times when I fight to be able to do it on my own like a stubborn child not wanting her parent to help her reach for that beloved toy on the shelf. I’d end up sitting on the floor pouting and crying because I can’t do it myself.

Can you relate?  I know I do. I have that inner stubborn child still in me with the will to be independent from any kind of outside help.  Being hard of hearing has had me learn to depend on other people to be my ears at times, and it’s not always easy for me to accept that I do need that extra help from someone else sometimes.

Maybe that’s what God is trying to tell me…. “Hannah, stop trying to do it on your own! Let me help!”

That seems to be the theme this season in my life… I’m learning to “let go and let God”.


On my Journey

A friend of mine said that my aim to becoming healthy isn’t a goal but a journey.

How true is that.  I was once at a fairly comfortable weight and getting close to my goal when I lost focus and gained quite a bit back. I was very angry at myself for letting go when I was struggling with so many things at the same time. I now have to fight and get back to where I was. It’s not easy this time around, I will admit. I’ve had tendonitis, runner’s knee, tonsillitis, and several other health issues pop up in the past several months that have put me on hold in getting back to where I once was.

But I know I have a goal in my mind of what I want out of life… And what I want to do. I will – I repeat, I  WILL – run a 5k one of these days… Hopefully before the year is over.  I also want to break this hold of this sweet tooth I’ve developed in the past 6 months of dealing with some of the challenges I’ve had lately. That was not a good habit to develop – but, thanks to the same friend who told me of the journey, he gave me a tool to help me – A yummy shake mix called Shakeology. Hopefully, once I start drinking it regularly, I’ll see some of the changes he professes to happen to those who drink it.  He’s trying to see if I can become a coach… We’ll see about that. lol

Call me crazy, but I want to get back into rock climbing. I fell in love with it when I was in Minnesota working for a camp up there. A dear sweet soul I met there introduced me to it and I was hooked. Sure, I have a healthy fear of heights, but once I get that gear on, I’m ready for the challenge. In college, I took a outdoor adventure class which involved rock climbing and canoing. The latter was not my favorite, as I did not have a favorable canoing partner. When we got to rock climbing, we did the serious stuff – Right along a cliff side by a river in Maryland. I remember the day very well as some of us girls (and guys) were afraid of coming across a spider or a creepy bug on the way up. That was one of my biggest fears as spiders are not something I care to come across ever. I watched one friend make his way up to the top, then it was my turn. I started to go, and I found myself enjoying the challenge of planning my steps as I went up. Bugs or spiders were the last thing on my mind… I’m sure I came across a few bugs, but I don’t remember them. All I remember was working my way up and the joy and exhilaration I felt as I pulled myself up to the top. Looking down was a little dizzying as I saw how far I came up (as well as spying a huge black river snake making its way down in the currant), but I will always look back and know that was one of my high points in life.  I do hope I can feel that again soon.

Those three things are the major goals I have as far as my health is concerned.  I know that as I work towards changing my life to be able to do them, I’ll reach some of the littler goals such as my weight goal and the toning I’m wanting out of it.  I know I’m going to have to keep myself focused and not let the little hold ups discourage me.  It’s going to have to take a lot of discipline to change some of the habits I’ve developed lately.  But I know I can do it.  I’ll write it on my arm or something to remind myself everyday I can!


Chomping on the Bit

In high school, I’d be semi active, but I was never one to be considered an athlete. My eye-hand coordination was practically nothing since I am blind in one eye, so I knew sports involving balls were going to be my thing. I didn’t push myself in anything else because I always saw someone who was better than me – Especially when it was my brother. He was the athlete in the family. He swam really well in high school. i did try it, but I gave up too easily, mostly because I could never get myself to go faster and didn’t see any point in trying. I was the quiet mouse who sat in her room listening to music and doodling away in her sketch book. That was my talent, but as I’ve gotten older things have changed for me.

I had it easy in my younger years. My metabolism was fantastic and I was already skinny, thanks to my genes. I didn’t think I would come to face the fact that it changes once you get older.

The freshman 15 pound gain was very true my first year in college, but I was able to maintain my weight fairly well with all the walking I did, but once I got married, that was when things changed dramatically for me. Midwestern food was definitely something my body wasn’t used to, and my mother-in-law was a fantastic cook. I was too polite to turn down food she prepared for me. Then having children made me pack on more pounds. What really made me wake up was the day I weighed myself and found myself staring at the scale showing a number I never thought I’d be – 162 lbs. It was upsetting, and it made me realize I needed to change the way I did things. I bought Jillian Michael’s “30 Day Shred” and intensively started working on that every day… It slowly came off. I changed the way I ate. It helped that I was the chef in my home and made my own meals.  But now, two years later, I found an exercise that is like a drug for me – RUNNING.

I never thought I could do it, being the fact that I was never athletic. I tried cross country in college, but gave up when my knees started hurting. Looking back, it was an excuse. I know whats wrong with them as I have found that I have Runner’s knees and have to keep them evenly strengthened to keep them from hurting. I’m still learning on how to do that for myself.

Why did I get into running?  To be honest, it was something I had always wanted to do.

If you were to go inside my head… this is what it would look like:

If  you knew me, you would nod your head and say to yourself, “of course.”  I’ve been a horse lover from a very young age, and the imagery of the noble horse running was always one that I loved. I would run around the school yard in my elementary age, imagining I was riding the Black as the young boy in the above picture. During long trips, I’d stare out the window imagining that a beautiful horse was running along side and I’d be riding it.

Its been a long time since then, and horses are still in my dreams. I still like to imagine running like one. One day, I got on the treadmill at the gym and started running. It took me a while to get myself in shape for it, but when I found myself running better and better every time, it was like my dream of running like a horse was getting closer.

Realistically speaking, I’ll never be able to run as fast as a horse, but to feel the air on my face as I run is close enough to it!

I’ve not been able to run since last Thursday and with having a sprained ankle, it has made me restless. It doesn’t help when I see shows on TV where people are exercising or hearing music I usually run to. This injury feels like a bit in my mouth and its not giving me my head.  If you know anything about horses and riding them, you would know what I mean.

And that bit is going to have to be there until Friday…. If it heals by then. Yet, I know I’m going to have to try to have some self- control when I get back into running next week, since I know that if I just dash right back into it, the chances of me hurting myself again is pretty high. I do want to be able to complete my 5K this spring… So I better do it right in my training and listen to my doctor to let this injury heal like it should.

Until then… I’ll dream of my horses and running with them.