Practice, Presence, Peace

Last weekend I walked twelve miles with joy. I watched stories of human ingenuity, triumph over struggle, and fulfillment of lifelong dreams. I saw how stars are born and thought about how very big and very small we all are.

I stressed about wearing shorts, wore them anyway, and then didn’t realize until the end of the day that I DIDN’T spend the day worrying about my legs; in fact, I never thought of them at all.

And then I watched my little girl. I saw her very much she still adores herself, how she embraces her body and brain as one fantastic package. I watched her check herself out in a mirror, and declare that she knew she looked cute because she’d seen a picture I took.

I thought about myself. About how far away I am from that kind of love. And about how much I stand to gain from shifting my mindset…how much closer I could be to living a shining life if I could make the jump.

So what happened? I promised myself that for just ONE day, I’d try to love myself just as I am, in all my glory, with absolute acceptance. That day became two, and then three. I slept more. I worked out more. I ate more vegetables. I felt calmer, slept better, and spent more time coloring. I drew an adorable donut in my bullet journal. Things felt manageable again for the first time in a long time.

I still went to work, came home, picked up the kid, went to swim lessons…everything in my life was functionally the same, but it began to feel ever-so-slightly different. Moment by moment, the layers of stress and fatigue and sadness began to lift, to peel, to crack and flake away in the light of genuine self-love. I’m not quite out of the woods here, but at the midpoint of day 3, I started feeling more at peace than I’ve felt in months. I went back to my beloved Camp Gladiator twice last week, and then again yesterday (woohoo – holiday workout) and am feeling more and more like I can get this done.

It’s a conscious effort every day, sometimes every moment, not to let this mindset slip. I start to fidget, to chafe under the feather-light touch of unaccustomed ease. I spiral out into worry – how will I keep this up, when will it end, what will I do? And then I make the conscious choice to stop, to breathe, to write or color or just close my eyes, and the feeling begins to pass.

The gentle joy ebbs and flows, sometimes barely whispering at the edges of my awareness and other times entirely overtaking me for a moment – a quick, breathless moment of bliss uninterrupted.

I’d like to hang on to that. And so I move forward, spending moments where I need them. Taking little breaks to sketch out a cute coffee cup or try out an alphabet in a new handwriting style. Disappearing for a moment to read a few paragraphs or do some under-the-radar office yoga. Allowing a “no” when a default, because-I-should “yes” is on the tip of my tongue. Saying YES when it feels right.

I’m signed up for (and starting today) a gorgeous 8-week challenge that will simultaneously get me back to a regular yoga practice and help me come back to a place of intuitive eating and movement. Join me if you’d like. The more support we all have, the better we do.

It’s such a gentle process, so unlike the full on, semi-hostile takeovers of past attempts at change. It fills me with a warm anticipation of things to come and makes me smile.

This. Life could be like this.

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The Cake is A Lie

the_cake_is_a_lie_515The cake is a lie. It isn’t even cake. It’s a vehicle to further solidify the truth I have created for myself right now, which is that I’m beyond saving. I’m too far gone. I’ve lost all of my motivation, slipped far from my health and fitness goals, and so now this is what I deserve. I deserve to eat a huge piece of cake, not because I’ll enjoy it but because the sugar will make me sluggish, and I’m not even that hungry, and it’s there so I might as well eat some, since that’s what I do.

And so I go to bed. Another day with too much sugar and not enough movement. Another night I’ve pushed myself to exhaustion before collapsing into bed to lie awake.

It’s become clear that my own well-being isn’t enough to motivate me out of this place. Not right now. And so instead, I’ll do it for her. Because I want to keep letting her spend one night a week in my bed, letting her believe it’s an indulgence for her when it’s just as much a treat for me. Because I want to feel alive and exhilarated and strong through every moment I get to spend with this fantastic kid. Because I want to have the energy to give her the attention she deserves in the precious few hours I get with her during the week. Because I want to keep up with her, challenge her, and teach her to own her own power.

20160523_174544For her, I’ll sleep more. I’ll hydrate more, move more, stretch more. I’ll do more yoga and meditation. I’ll stop mindlessly eating for punishment, for guilt, for boredom and sadness and stress and frustration and social ease. I’ll be mindful, purposeful, and honoring of this one body I have, that I get to share with the most amazing soul to ever walk this earth.

For her, I’ll recommit to my yoga practice, which does my heart and soul so much good.

For her, I’ll go back to Camp Gladiator in June, as planned. I’m scared to go back, terrified of the heat and the difficulty and returning after two months off. I’m worried I won’t be able to do it, that I’m so unfit that I won’t be able to finish the first workout, that the frustration will keep me from going back more than once, that I won’t go back at all. But I will. I promised her I’d go back, and so I’ll go. Because it makes me happier, healthier, better prepared to face the world with m very best.

It won’t be easy. I’m in such a rough spot that it’s going to take near-constant recommitting to my goals. I need to be prepared for gentleness, for patience, and for extra focus on being aware and in the moment as much as possible. But I have to remember I haven’t completely run out of sparks. I did do a half-marathon on an exercise bike to earn my first Hogwarts Running Club medal. (It’s awesome.)

It’s time. Summer is coming. My incredible kid is GRADUATING FROM FIRST GRADE. We’ve got a busy, fun summer ahead of us before starting a whole new school year. We’re looking at maybe moving, in the same area, but to somewhere a little closer to her school or a little closer to my office while still in the school district. My career is really shaping up beautifully, with a job I enjoy and work I am proud of. It’s time.

So help me out. Tell me how you climb out of a funk, what you do to get back on track, and how you handle setbacks in that process.

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The Secret of Change

The secret of change…

The truth is that I’ve been thinking about change a lot lately. Specifically, that I think it’s time for one. I injured my tendon, which led to a month off from bootcamp to let it heal. In that month, it was my job to wait for the pain to fade, and then focus on daily yoga to help stretch out my tight, overworked body and let things begin to heal more fully.

And maybe that’s what my mind needed too. So the pain began to lessen, and…I got bronchitis. For the 4th time in the last 3 years. I am a bronchitis machine, it would seem. And so I didn’t do yoga, and I shouldn’t have. I listened to my body. I took time off. I slept. I hydrated. I rested as much and as often as possible.

Two weeks later, when the exhausting hacking cough finally abated, I was finally ready to return to yoga…only to discover the pain was back, but different this time. Sharper, lower, less severe but more insistent. So I went back to the doctor and…my tendon is healing nicely, but it turns out that some of the pain was thanks to a build up of uric acid that has formed a sizeable crystal on my heel.

I’m taking a medicine to dissolve the crystal, but as it’s dissolving the pain is much worse and any impact or weight bearing is rough.

So it looks like I’m out another month until the crystal is dissolved. I’m super bummed about it, but sticking with daily yoga and doing the workout Mike sent me a few times a week.

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Baby girl. You’re seven today.

Seven.

Not days, or weeks, or months, but seven whole years. And they’ve been such wonderful years. You’ve taught me about the world, ignited my inner science geek, and made everything brighter.

You’ve challenged me to be a better mother, and I’ve learned to fight for what you need most. Every day I learn more about how to raise a gifted, highly sensitive kid.

You make my world better. You see the world in a way that helps me remember that life is awesome. You’re endlessly curious, amazingly creative, and tender-hearted beyond compare.

Because of you, this year we’ve:
– gone to Kennedy Space Center
– read a million books
– become vegetarians
– walked a family 5K
– explored the Everglades
– met Chewbacca
– visited the train museum
– cosplayed at ComicCon

And so very much more. You continue to make our world a brighter place, and I’m so lucky to have you. You fill a place in m my heart no one else could fill.

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And That’s How We Became Vegetarians

Her face was already crumpling as she came up the sidewalk to meet me. We barely made it into the empty cafeteria before she fell into my arms, a sobbing bundle of gangly arms and bruised legs, smelling of sweat and playground dirt.

I held her close with one hand, signing her out of the after-care program with the other. She sobbed it out for a minute before the words finally came, in heaving, hiccuping stutters. “They killed it.”

Oh baby. What happened?

“The boys. They killed a saddleback caterpillar.”

Honey, I’m so sorry.

“They had a ball. The kept throwing it at him and he died.”

Oh baby. I’m so sorry. That’s so unkind. But I think maybe the caterpillar didn’t suffer. He probably got squished fast, and didn’t feel anything at all.

“No, mommy.” Heave. Sob. Sniffle. “They hit him in the back first, and he curled up. And then…”

A shuddering lower lip. Eyes brimming over with barely controlled tears.

“They just kept throwing it.”

Oh, my love. I’m so sorry, baby.

“I told them to stop.”

I know you did, baby. That was a really good thing to do. Thank you for being so brave.

She cried a little more, the heaving slowing down and her breathing settling back to normal.

“Penny says that when she’s President, she’ll pass a law that no one can ever hurt animals.” She’s barely breaking a whisper against my shoulder now.

That would be nice, huh baby?

She nods, and then is quiet for a while.

“Mama, we have to kill animals to eat them.”

Yes baby. But when we do, it’s much kinder. They don’t get squished. They aren’t in pain.

“I don’t think I want to eat them anymore.”

Okay baby. Let’s be vegetarians for a while.

Finally, her tears began to dry and her little spirit lifted a little. By the time we got in the car, she’d moved on to a much lighter discussion of how anyone could be so awful, and why the boys didn’t make any sense to her. And that she wasn’t sure she would permanently stop eating bacon. (#iknowright)

So for now, we’re trying it out. Meat-free until she decides otherwise. And I know I could “cheat” and eat meat at work, but then I’d have to tell her. I tell her everything, and I promised her I’d do this with her. I’ll be packing pbj or cheese tortillas for her lunch every day so that she has a meatless entree option, and we’ll be talking about how she’s feeling, what she’s thinking…

I’ve never seen her take anything so hard. My sweet, tender-hearted, fragile little bean.

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Adventures in Achilles Tendonitis

Last Friday, I finally went to the doctor after a super painful tearing feeling in my heel left me with consistent foot pain. Per the podiatrist, I have a small tear in my Achilles tendon, a whole lot of swelling, and something that’s probably a bone spur but could be a crystal built up from too much uric acid.

The treatment? Rest. Ice. A blood test to determine the answer to the spur/crystal debate. A corticosteroid to decrease the inflammation and give things a chance to heal. And, once the pain passes, regular yoga to keep things loose, warm, and stretched out. Oh, and a doctor’s order to stop wearing cheap, unsupportive shoes.

What caused it? Increased bootcamp and running alongside nearly no yoga. Age. Bad luck. All of the above and a sprinkle of who knows.

What am I doing? Well…not what I should. Since Friday I’ve done no yoga. I didn’t pick up my steroid until today. I went to the zoo on Sunday and walked all over the place, even after my foot started hurting. I’ve been using cold packs at night, and wearing braces or compression socks. I got supportive shoes for work. The things I’m doing right are helping, but they aren’t outpacing the things I’m doing wrong.

So I’m committing to doing what my body needs. I’m taking the month off from bootcamp, resting and wrapping as needed. I’m wearing good shoes with braces all the time. I start my steroid tomorrow, and will call to schedule my blood test. I’ll ask for orthotics when I go back to the podiatrist next week. I’ll take my medicine like a pro, and once the pain passes I’ll stretch like I should.

It turns out I’m a terrible patient, and awfully stubborn. I don’t like not being able to do what I want, feeling weak, or being limited. BUT it’s time to do the right thing so I can heal completely, or I’ll end up even more injured than before.

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In Which I Explain Catcalling to my Kid

Last week the kid had a dentist appointment, which meant we were done with work and school a little earlier than usual. Left with a couple of extra hours in the day, we headed to the library to return some books and pick out a few more. At which point I found myself in the decidedly irritating position of having to explain catcalling to my six year old.

A group of 20-something guys, 2 or 3 of them, were hanging out in the library parking lot smoking. Whether it was that or something else that set me a little on edge, I don’t know. But the moment I got out of the car it started.

Hey, beautiful.

Smile for me, pretty.

Hey, miss thing.

Hello? Come on mama.

I ignored it, wrapped her in my arms, and carried her into the library. Which isn’t something I’d normally do, but I already didn’t feel safe I guess. We got all the way through the doors before she said anything. She’s a perceptive kid.

Why were they saying that stuff, Mommy? Why didn’t they stop when you didn’t answer them? Why do they think you need to smile?

And there it was. Me, standing in a public library children’s section, explaining catcalling to my daughter. Explaining that it’s not about attraction or kindness, but about power. Explaining that men who can’t or won’t pick up on the cues that you’re uncomfortable are, for better or worse, something we have to be afraid of. Explaining that it’s happened to me for most of my life.

Will boys say things to me too like that?

Yes, honey. Probably.

Should I ignore them?

Mommy? What if they get angry because I won’t answer them?

What if they do? I had to admit it was a possibility. I told her I’ve generally had decent luck with ignoring catcalls, that it’s more than once brought on an onslaught of insults but I’ve been lucky enough to never come to harm.

Find a safe place, I told her. Go into a business. Stay where people are. Get on the phone and call the cops. Call me. Make noise. Be seen.

Protect yourself. You aren’t a prize to be won, an object to be controlled. You don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t owe strangers a smile, and you don’t have to be “polite” or make other people happy, particularly when they’re busy making you uncomfortable.

It was a necessary conversation, I guess, but one I never thought I’d be having with my elementary schooler. I guess it’s good that I did. She hasn’t talked about it again since. She needs to sit with things for a while. I’ll be interested to see, in a few days or weeks, what bubbles up.

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Cheer Me Up (+ a GIVEAWAY)

We said goodbye to our pup of 16 years on Wednesday and, honestly, I’m still in the grieving phase. So, to cheer myself up a little bit, I wanted to talk about some of the things that are making me feel really happy right now.

StarburstCabooseSoybu – I’m on a mission to find incredible, easy to wear, doesn’t break the bank workout clothing. So when I got the chance to review some Soybu gear thanks to getting to know them at FitBloggin last year, I jumped at the chance. And you guys? It’s amazing. The Starburst Tank is insanely comfortable and looks incredible on, and the Killer Caboose pants might actually be dangerous! Both of them move beautifully for yoga, and breathe well enough for outdoor bootcamp. So in love.

Want your own Killer Caboose pants? Leave a comment after you complete each step! Every comment is an entry.

  1. Follow Soybu on Facebook
  2. …on Twitter
  3. …and on Instagram.
  4. Join the Soybu mailing list  (and get a 25% off coupon when you do!)
  5. Tell me in a new comment what you want most out of your workout gear

I’ll choose a winner by next weekend!!!

20160101_135606St Ives – I got some amazing St Ives stuff from a recent Influenster box, and I am LOVING it. I used to rock the old school apricot scrub when I was in high school, and I switched away from it for a LONG time. Now that the oatmeal scrub is hanging out in my bathroom, and it smells amazing, I figured I’d give it a go. I’m SO glad that I did. It’s great for getting rid of dead skin without being harsh on my face. They also sent an awesome citrus bodywash and pear lotion that are equally incredible.

Camp Gladiator – I can’t say enough about how Camp Gladiator has given me back a love for challenging myself physically, and the camaraderie is unmatched. Trainers check in on me, other campers friend me and add their support to mine. People encourage each other, no one is out there to judge anyone, and I’m FIRED UP. I hate missing it, and even when it’s incredibly tough and I am DYING out there, I love it. I’m SO glad I found it. You should try it if it’s near you. Check out the locations here.

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I Am a Gladiator (or FREE CAMP GLADIATOR BOOTCAMP)

879957dfc17a10151c7You guys.

I’m not saying everything is perfect right now. I mean, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I’m having an early morning surgery to remove some impressively gigantic ovarian cysts. So…there’s that. And food? Still far from perfect, so I’m still trying.

BUT…otherwise? I just canNOT say enough about how much I’m enjoying my workouts lately.

  • I get sweaty and gross, to the point that my ponytail drips and I could legitimately wring out my clothes.
  • It’s all outside, so the humidity is a beast.
  • I get sore, so sore.
  • I have to drink electrolyte water with BCAAs or I get dizzy.
  • Anytime I can, I get up at 5am to do the 5:30am workout.

And I am loving. every. second.

It’s SO hard, and some days I can only do half the reps I’m supposed to, or I have to skip things all together. But I’ve long since stopped feeling embarrassed or weird about it.

The truth is that the environment is amazing. I can go to any camp, anywhere they’re offered, at any time. I can hang with all different trainers, get used to different styles, and no one cares how slow I might go as long as I keep trying.

There are people at EVERY level, from super beginner to competitive athlete, and we all work together to make our workouts awesome.

The trainers are impeccably trained, and all certified.

The workouts are shockingly fun, and the hour goes by SO quickly.

I’ve never, ever felt this good about working out. The group atmosphere keeps me going, the trainers text me if I bail but aren’t obnoxious about it, and I’m already starting to see some legitimate strength and endurance gains.

So, since I signed on the dotted line and put myself out there for a YEAR of this, I want to get as many people as I can hooked on it too.

Want to try it out for yourself? Live in one of these cities? Check out the links to see when and where there are camps near, you:

Sign up with my code, and get the JANUARY 4 – JANUARY 30 camp FOR FREE. That’s a four week camp, that you can go to anytime you want. And it’s free.

Ready? Here’s how:

 

  1. GO to www.campGladiator.com and click SIGN UP
  2. Click REGISTER NOW
  3. Click Single Camp $189, SIGN UP
  4. Click CAMP January 4 – January 30
  5. Select a primary location where you will attend camp most often, you can attend all locations
  6. Click proceed to CHECKOUT
  7. Create an account
  8. Enter promo code in the Promo Code box (HEATHERHURDCHEER2016)
  9. Click APPLY PROMO and the price will change from $189 to $0
  10. Credit card number is required to sign up for camp, but your card will not be charged
  11. Click PLACE ORDER

 

 

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Becoming a Camp Gladiator Convert

633b6127b6515c03486ea73cda8a074cIs it hard to get up at 5am to go to bootcamp? YES. Especially on the mornings when I didn’t go to bed early enough.

Would it be easier, and even more fulfilling in some ways to go back to bed? Yes, yes, yes. Sleep is important too, and I’m sure I’ll choose it sometimes. In fact, I slept in this morning.

So why get up? Because I can. Because right now my body needs, and us even beginning to crave, the challenge. My head needs the community, and the push. When I go to bootcamp, I eat better. I sleep better. I feel stronger. And when I can’t make it in the mornings, I’ll find an evening camp and get in my three camps a week because I want to keep that going.

Have I seen results? Yes? No? I don’t think I look different, and I haven’t weighed myself. But I FEEL different. I’m happier, stronger, and proud of what I’m doing. I do think I’m seeing small gains in what I can do during the workouts. It’s happening slowly, which is how I’d prefer it anyway.

I never, ever thought I’d like bootcamp. It’s outside. It’s (playfully) competitive. We get on the ground. I come home filthy and irredeemably sweaty. There are a lot of other people there who are faster, stronger, leaner.

And it turns out that every one of those things plays a role in how much I LOVE going. Outside can be fun. The competition is truly playful and not mean or weird. We DO get filthy, and sometimes it helps me feel even more like a badass. Those other people? Are too wrapped up in kicking the butt of their workouts to give a flip what I’m doing or not doing, and they’re supportive of everyone else to boot.

I really love it. I signed up for a whole year. It’s not the easiest for me to work it into my schedule some weeks, but I’m determined to make it happen.

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