Monday, August 17, 2009

Mother {Nature} Knows Best

$2300?  No problem!  Not for the folks who are cheering me on!  This week, I busted through the 100% mark on my fundraising thermometer.  I was thrilled to hear from the Brock Family in Tallahassee (Robyn, Brad, Precious Jackson,-that is his official name-Precious Jackson-and my best buddy Parker-the Yorkie) and the McMahon Family (Kim, Jim, Cutie Pie Leah, and the almost 1yr old Ian) who are old Tallahassee and recently reunited Columbia friends.  To top off an already great week, I have finally added a celebrity to my list!  Katie Holmes made a donation this week!  She was on the run from the paparazzi and noted that in the 24 hours before she donated, she visited North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.  Thanks to everyone who continues to join me in the fight to find a cure for Breast Cancer.

This week I fought with Mother Nature, and the score is MN 4, Jenn 0!  To be honest, I blame karma.  (WARNING:  Gross understatement ahead!!!)  I am a creature of habit. If variety is the spice of life, I’ll have mine unsalted.  I have a routine about my life and it is a very rare occasion that I divert from that routine in any way.  It never fails.  A change in my weekly habits = disaster!

I eat the same thing for breakfast every day (English muffin with spray butter, container of yogurt, Diet Coke).  I select my yogurt based on which container is at the front of the row in the refrigerator.  I know this is the best way to make my morning yogurt selection because I load the yogurt into the fridge based on expiration date.  Even if I really wanted a banana crème pie, if the strawberry banana is in front, strawberry banana it is.  I know the yogurt will be there because I go grocery shopping every 2 weeks and I purchase 10 yogurts to get me through the 2 work weeks.

I take the same route to work each day.  A year ago, my supervisor told me there was a shorter route and it took me at least 4 days to finally get the nerve to try it.  He was right and I have adjusted my route.  See-that is variety!!  

My after work routine is designed to be the most efficient use of my after 5pm hours.  Prior to the 3-Day event, my arrival home was a precise sequence of clothing change, puppy play time, dinner, after dinner walk with previously played with puppy, and a series of work, household chores, or television line up-depending on the day (Yes, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…all had a weekly routine as well including things like Tuesday laundry night or Thursday dusting extravaganza!).

Some folks criticize my staunch need for structure.  However, I am an incredibly efficient human!  Following a Monday-Friday schedule allows me to enjoy the weekends nearly schedule free knowing that all of my work and household “to dos” are neatly crossed off my color-coded and prioritized list. 

Because of my already structured weekdays, it was surprisingly easy for me to work the 3-Day training into my life.  For example, I incorporate Riley’s walk with the training walk.  I plan quick fix dinners that allow Tuesday’s laundry to still get done on Tuesday and guarantees that Thursday’s dusting has a check mark by Friday morning. I still attend Monday aerobics and Wednesday cycle classes after work.  Prior to this week, I had never missed a training walk nor strayed from the suggested number of miles. Prior to this week….

It’s late August and that means the kick off to a new semester!  This week was opening week at Carolina and because of the work I do to support first-year students, there had to be a few adjustments made to my schedule.  Luckily, I saw this coming and had time to devise a-GASP-Plan B.  I usually take Friday as a rest day.  However, there was no aerobics this week so I switched my rest day to Monday.  My mom was in town and this allowed me to spend time with her.  So far-so good!  Tuesday there was a film/discussion at a local theater that I was attending with some colleagues and wanted to take my mom to see.  My plan was to see the film first then come home and walk.  However, the film started late, we got home late (with 3 kiddos in tow-for a middle of the week sleepover—very much a diversion from the norm), and it was too dark to walk.  I could have moved my walk inside to the treadmill but the kids were headed to bed and it is not the quietest machine on the market.  So, I decided I could bump my Tuesday walk to Wednesday since there wasn’t a Wednesday cycle class. 

Wednesday was one of those days when the rain just never quit.  I should have known not to mess with Mother Nature when I fell and busted my butt after a meeting that afternoon.  The floor near the door was wet from all of the rain and dripping umbrellas and my flip flops caused me to flip and flop. Despite her clear warning, I checked the radar when I got home and it appeared that there was a short break in the rain. With Riley and Joplin in tow, we ambitiously headed out (before dinner-totally against my typical schedule).  We finished 1 mile and the clouds continued to follow us.  I knew the rain was coming-I could smell it!  The temperature dropped quickly and the breeze picked up.  I encouraged the girls to pick up their pace, determined to finish 2 outside miles.  Just as we rounded the ¾ mile spot, the bottom fell out!  This was not just a casual summer rainstorm. This was, as Jeanne Whisnant would say, “Fallin’ a flood!”  In a matter of seconds, we were soaked!  Here I was dragging 2 soaking wet dogs-who’s instinct was to stand completely still and look up to see where the rain was coming from.  It was raining so hard that I could not see, with my eyes open! I had to shield my eyes with my hand, creating a make shift umbrella, so I could see to get us home.  Okay, Mother Nature-I hear you!  Wednesdays are not walking days.

When I shifted the Tuesday walk to Wednesday, I also moved the Thursday walk to Friday. The training program is designed so that you have your 2 shorter walks during the week, separated by a day. I was just sticking to the program!  Friday evening I was headed for my Thursday bumped 5-mile walk. I started my walk with Riley and Joplin in tow.  We did an easy 3 and I dropped them off at home.  I took off for my final 2 and noticed that it was getting dark-again.  The rain found me with about 1 mile to go.  It wasn’t nearly the strength of the rain on Wednesday, but it was enough to send me home with damp socks and a mop of wet hair.  Mother Nature was sending her signal-Fridays are not walking days. 

Saturday was Move In Day on campus!  The training schedule called for 13 miles on Saturday.  I was concerned that I would not have the energy to complete 13 miles after helping students move into the residence halls for 4 hours.  So, I switched my Saturday 13 for my Sunday 9.  I also wore a pedometer during my shift and determined that we traveled close to 5 miles.  That counts!  5 miles while carrying Rubbermaid containers filled with shoes, books, and fur lined boots-yes, in SC!  up 4 flights of stairs is no small feat.  I had a party to attend Saturday evening so I only had a short window of time when I got home during which I needed to exercise the pups and finish my missing 4 miles.  We got through 3.  The rain was not to blame-this time it was the heat!  It was 3pm on an August day, in South Carolina-enough said.

At this point, I had kept up with all of my miles for the week except the lost 1 mile from Saturday.  Still, not bad!  For my Sunday walk of 13 miles, I broke it into 3 parts.  I would take the dogs for 3, then do a 6-mile loop, stop at home for a break, and then finish with a 4-mile loop.  It was raining when I started. I put on a hat, pulled out the rain cover for my backpack, and hit the road reminding myself that if it rained in October for the actual 3-Day event, it would be a no whining zone.   It was not hard rain but that annoying drizzle that makes you wish your windshield wipers had a “quasi medium” setting-harder than intermittent but lighter than the lo setting. For a short walk, this kind of rain may not have been discouraging.  However, after 3 hours of this, I couldn’t take it any more.  I was drenched.  I was almost at the end of my 6-mile loop and I needed a restroom break.  This route takes me right by my subdivision so I considered stopping at home and finishing the final 4 miles on the treadmill-if at all.  Just as I was thinking about this, the sun came out!  It was approaching 11am and, as promised, the rain had stopped.  It was a blaring sun-and it blinded me as I rounded the corner to my street.  I knew that the temperature was going to skyrocket and I said, aloud, to my friend Mother Nature, “Okay, Sister, you win.  I promise to end this madness and stick to the routine next week if you promise to give me some dry weather and an occasional breeze.”

And with that, I ended Week 11 of my training with a commitment to the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday schedule that has brought me such success so far.   I know Mother Nature won’t let me down! 

I’m disappointed in my 5-mile deficit this week but will post my totals-because it is part of my weekly blogging routine, and I fear the bad karma that may accompany any further rebellion! 

Miles Attempted:  31; Miles Completed:  26 Steps: 50,328

Total Miles: 232 Total Steps: 463,569

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