Not living, not dying…

Matt, Damian, and I
Surfside Beach, Texas
20 April 2008

I returned an aquatic plant to Petco yesterday.  Our Macquarium betta tank is a very low-light tank.  The java fern, java moss, and moss ball are doing really well with the extreme low light, but this other aquatic plant (I don’t know what it was) was not thriving.  When I was talking with the manager, I told her, “This little guy is not doing well in my tank — not living, not dying.”

As I was driving home, I was thinking about that statement: not living, not dying.  When I talked about it with Mom and Deb, I mentioned that it was the environment that had created that condition, and what environments did they think created the same condition for people.  Mom immediately said, “Work.”  They started naming jobs that destroy the human spirit: mining, factory work, etc.

But as I was lying in bed this evening, getting the baby to sleep, I was planning and prioritizing.  What do I need to do?  What is the first step?  Everything in my life seems beyond my control.  I feel like I have too much to do and too little time, so I get farther and farther behind and finally give up… which of course leads to mild depression.

I was thinking: first things first, I need to clean up.  Clean up my body, clean up my house, clear my mind.  I am suffocating in clutter and mess, inside and out.  I feel like I’m living in a fog from all the unhealthy food, abuse of caffeine, and lack of exercise.

And I thought of that statement again:  not living, not dying.  And I’m going to tack on another quote from Crazy Sexy Cancer:  “Fish are only as healthy as the water they swim in.”  What if we ourselves are creating the toxic environment that does not allow us to thrive?  The fast food, the lack of exercise, the fast-paced life filled with cheap, disposable stuff — this is the environment we create voluntarily.  And through our own actions, we simply exist.   We live a life dampened and covered in a haze of fog.  Not living, not dying.

So I’m beginning an experiment.  I’m cleaning up my personal environment.  I’ll let you know what it’s like — if there is any difference — on the other side.  But it will take awhile.  I’ve made quite a mess of my body.

April 25th, 2008 | Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

Training for the Middle

Damian and Lani playing in the back garden.
27 February 2008

When Matt was a teenager, he participated in a 22-mile race-walk a couple of times, so he has more experience in long-distance endurance sports than I do.  He didn’t train for the race-walks; he was a teenager and naturally had that boundless energy.  But he did say that the hardest part was the middle.  He said the beginning and end are easy, but the middle is tedious.  He said in regards to this up-coming marathon, “We are training for the middle.”

This morning, while eating cheese and bread with my gorgeous son, I was thinking about how we were so excited for the first two weeks of gym and training for this marathon, and then — very easily, mind you — we dropped gym completely for three weeks.  The excitement and newness had quickly worn off.

We had entered “the middle.”  The middle of most things are tedious: training towards a physical goal, sewing, wood-working projects, curling Ariel’s hair (which we did last night by the way; we being “Matt and I,” so Matt has another experience tucked under his belt that he never even conceived of before having a daughter and a wife).

So let’s salute the character-building tedious middle, the wall that’s a pain in the ass to climb.  You are the true test.

February 27th, 2008 | Marathon/Fitness, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -


Lily playing on the couch in the computer room.
26 February 2008

We met Shelrie’s new honey this past Saturday (we both really like him by the way, Shelrie) when we all met for lunch.  And Shelrie said she may run the Walt Disney World Marathon with us, which I would love because that would make the race really enjoyable.   And Carla and Steve have already ordered a packet from Walt Disney World on taking a vacation there.  And my mom has said she will go with us …

… and we just skipped gym for three weeks.  We’re back to square one with our training plans.

I still have hope, and more than hope: excitement and motivation.  It would be so much fun to actually run a marathon through Epcot and the Magic Kingdom and then spend a week vacation afterwards with our kids and my family.

I just need a little dedication. 😉

February 26th, 2008 | Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

My Enigmatic Body

Great Grandpa helping Lily with her new horse on Christmas Day.
Lincoln, England
25 December 2007

I have another secret to share with the world wide web… another personal truth to release onto the net:  I eat a LOT of food.  In our society, women are not supposed to eat a lot of food, except when pregnant.  And, even when pregnant, one’s food consumption is closely monitored and commented upon by health professionals.

I eat every three hours, and that is at the longest stretch.  Am I hungry that much?  Or is it emotional eating?  I couldn’t tell you.  It’s a bizarre thing.  I don’t get food hunger pains every three hours; I get cravings for sugar about every three hours.  I’ve been trying to not eat sweets as much.  So, instead of reaching for a bowl of ice cream, I have been reaching for a bowl of muesli or cheese and buttered bread.  Eating every three hours contains the incredibly painful sugar cravings, but I’m still eating every three hours.

We have been exercising at the gym pretty heavily and I still nurse the baby (who, by the way, is officially a toddler now; he walks all the time now), so perhaps I am hungry this much.  I’ll keep the curious informed on whether I gain weight.  I am actually tracking my weight at the moment as we train for the 5k, so I’ll post any weight fluctuations.

Understanding one’s body as it relates to food is difficult at best in our weight, size, and food obsessed culture.  I just know that I crave sweets every three hours.  And, I guess, from there it’s an adventure as I solve the puzzle that is my body.

January 29th, 2008 | Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

Day Off

These two photos are from the year 2000 when Matt and I first started dating. 🙂

My legs are so sore.  Today is our cross-training day, and we have decided to do swimming as our alternate aerobic exercise.  I intend to gently paddle around in the pool for twenty minutes and then go to the hot tub.  My legs need a day off.

January 29th, 2008 | Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

Photos, Running, and Sadness

Matt’s brother, Ben, is getting married this coming June.
This is his fiance and our soon-to-be sister, Allison, with Lily.
31 December 2007


I post photos with my blog entries because I have found with other blogs that I read, photos really break up the text and actually add to readability.  And personally, I like seeing photos of the folks I know, so I figure that my family and friends who read this like to see the photos too.

And, to be honest, I fancy myself a bit of an amateur photographer… that is, until I see pictures like this one.  The exquisite beauty of that photo, taken by an amateur by the way, is beyond words.  The funny thing is: that site is supposed to be inspirational to other photographers.  All I thought, when I saw that photo, was, “Boy, I suck!”  Heh heh… I have a lot still to learn about photography… and perhaps inspiration as well. 😉


I told Matt that I would post our 5k Training Schedule.  So here it is.  There is some bizarreness to the schedule, such as it begins on a Tuesday.  That’s because we weigh ourselves on Monday night, and I post our weight with the week’s schedule.  Also, there was a random “Spa Day” last Wednesday because Matt forgot his gym shoes and we couldn’t work out.  So we took a spa day (the kids stay in the child center at the gym, and we go to the hot tub 😉 ).

I don’t know much about training for long distance races, but I’m reading and learning, so I’m sure the schedule will change as I learn more.  Our schedule is a hybrid between this schedule and this schedule.  I added weights because I think weights are very beneficial and do not want to give them up.  However, we are just doing hi reps, low weight to build stamina and not bulk.  We do two sets of 12 for upper body and two sets of 15 for lower body.  I ordered this book, and will modify the weight training as I learn more.  We also added stretching because I have learned, from the bit I have read so far, that if you don’t stretch, you are much more likely to get an injury.

Our training is slightly different from most long distance runners because we are not training to be competitive.  We’re just training to have fun, for general fitness, and to just finish the race.  I’m quite okay with just walking part of the race.  My intent is simply to finish and to enjoy it along the way.

We’re still excited by all the newness.  Let’s see if we can keep this up week after week after week.  I figure, if we actually participate in a 10k, then we are serious and I will start to plan our vacation to Orlando next January.  There is a huge leap between excited talk and actually doing the work — let’s see if we make that leap. 🙂

Oh, and one more unusual thing happened with our exercise changing to meet these new goals: I’m a lot happier and motivated.  Before, we had a “goal weight” because Matt and I are tired of being unfit and overweight.  But we no longer have a goal weight.  Our goal now is to simply finish a marathon next January.  For some reason which I haven’t figured out yet, that goal is so much more motivating.


Auntie Vera, Matt’s great aunt and one of Lily’s namesakes, passed away last night.  I only knew her for a little while, but I truly liked her.  So, in honor of Auntie Vera, here is a photo so others can see this beautiful lady:

Auntie Vera with Damian when he was six-months-old.
Newark, England
18 July 2007

January 25th, 2008 | General, Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

Mondo Beyondo madness

Last weekend we celebrated Christmas with Papa and Nan in Conroe.
Since there were five grandchildren present, there were lots of toys
by the time all the Christmas gifts were opened. In this photo,
Lily has brought a bunch of toys over to Clara.
Conroe, Texas
20 January 2008

As mentioned before, I love lists.  To me, lists are hopes of the future.  And every year at the New Year, Matt and I do a Mondo Beyondo list.  The Mondo Beyondo list is, to quote the lovely Andrea Scher, “the list of things that are outrageous, wild, and may not even happen for 5 or 10 years from now. This is the list of things that are SO JUICY and unlikely to happen that you are afraid to even write them down. This might be the most important list of all!”

For the past few years, on Matt’s side of the paper, “Run a marathon” keeps popping up.  I was never really on-board with that one.  I thought I would train with him simply so we could be together, but I was never a driving force in making this particular Mondo Beyondo dream come true.  Matt would have to be the motivator behind that one.

But then Scotty, one of Matt’s co-workers, ran the Walt Disney World Marathon this year.  The office had a betting pool on his finishing times and were generally very supportive of his marathon training.  After he finished the race, he sent the office an email detailing the race, and it sounded like so much fun!  It also sounded painfully hard, but it sounded like so much fun at the same time!  And we could take the kids on a family vacation as well!

So I’m finally on board with the “Run a marathon.”  I am really keen to go next year with the kids.  They offer a half-marathon as well, so depending on our fitness level as the time approaches, we will run either the full or the half.  I am so excited!

And my family wants to go with us to Walt Disney World and take their kids.  So, over the next year, Matt and I will be training to run either a full or half marathon, and I will be researching how to take a vacation to Walt Disney World on a budget.

I am so excited.  I am excited about attempting a marathon.  I am excited about taking my children on a family vacation.  I am excited about my extended family going with us.  I am so excited!

Good thing I’m starting so early.  I think it will easily take a year to train for a marathon and a year to plan for a large group to go to Walt Disney World within a budget.

January 22nd, 2008 | Marathon/Fitness, Planning Nerd | No Comments -

Snapshots of a personality

My Dad having his morning coffee in Surfside.
We had an excellent time in Surfside this past weekend
with both my family and Donna’s family.
04 November 2007

I’ve been listening to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People while on the elliptical at the gym.  Did you get that picture in your mind?  Here, let me paint it again.  I have finished doing the weights (or “resistance training” for the physically-inclined out there), and I have moved onto my cardio workout on the elliptical — the elliptical being like a new and improved treadmill.  I have my iPod on with its little lime green earbuds in my ears, and I’m listening to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

If you saw me at the gym, I would seem like the caricature that is portrayed in movies of the win-at-any-cost businessman.

And yet, the thing is, I’m not that at all.  Our house is a mess.  I’m in my housecoat as I write this.  I just happen to work out, and that book is quite good.  I’m enjoying it immensely.  Stephen Covey hasn’t started talking about habits yet; I’m on the bit where he is discussing a paradigm shift.

Anyways, if you took a snapshot in time of me on the elliptical listening to that book, you would have entirely the wrong image of me.  Interesting, huh?

If I had to pick a snapshot to define myself, I would probably pick this one:

The Woodings Family
Christmas 2006

There is still so much of me that is not in that picture, but it shows what brings me joy daily. That’s Damian in my belly, so he’s in the picture too. 😉

November 9th, 2007 | Marathon/Fitness, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

Processed Food is Poison (or What I Have Learned Recently)

Lily sometimes likes to take her nap in the dog bed.
(Since we have a 92-pound German Shepherd,
we have quite large dog beds.)
26 September 2007

I am quite moody.  Living with me is an emotional rollercoaster ride.  The ups with me can be quite fun — laughter, silliness, happiness.  But the downs, when I become a fire-breathing b*tch… well, those aren’t so fun… for anyone involved, including me.  And my sweet almost-three-year-old daughter seems to have the same emotional make-up as me.  She is our moody little diva.

What I have learned recently: processed food makes Lily and I much much worse.  Candy or processed food bought in boxes at the grocery store or fast food and sodas all will do the trick.  Have you seen the t-shirts that say “Instant a**hole, just add alcohol”?  Lily and I need t-shirts that say “Instant b*tch, just add processed food.”

I have been trying to stay away from processed food, but it is hard.  1) Processed food is ubiquitous in our society; it has saturated every nook, cranny, activity, moment… everything.  There is definitely a learning curve when one has decided to live without processed food in modern American society.  And 2) I have cooked, eaten, and lived with processed food all my life.  It not only requires learning new skills, but also changing habits.

I think we’re doing quite well.  And trying to stabilize my moods is definitely a motivation.  When I go on a processed food binge and then become evil incarnate to all the people I love, I remember, in a very harsh way, that processed food is poison.

October 12th, 2007 | Marathon/Fitness | No Comments -

Life is what happens…

Carla and Lily feeding baby Clara
22 September 2007

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.  — John Lennon

I keep waiting for things to settle down. I keep waiting to get back into a “routine.”  I think, “Oh, we just have to do this, and we’ll be back into our family routine afterwards.”

But I realize now that I am living the fantasy life of an overactive planner with a mild case of OCD.  Things will never settle down, and I will never be caught-up.

Lots of family came to see the new baby this weekend, and, of course, I thought, “Well, once we finish hosting for the family, we’ll get back into a routine.”  But now we are going to paint the living room/dining room area — including the ceiling.  Matt is skipping gym this week, and the children and I are going to gym early so we can all be home by 5pm to start the painting project.

I’m not very good at moving with the organic flow of life.  I’m a planner, an organizer.  I like predictable patterns.  It’s the personality trait that makes me good at math, languages, and organizing events.

I’m really not flowing with the chaos very well.  I still have to give up a little more control.

September 24th, 2007 | Marathon/Fitness, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -