A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Taper time: Looking back on a walking training plan

Yesterday, I did my last long walk before my “Mom’s Mystery Medal Walking Half Marathon” on October 15. My last long walks were 9 miles the weekend of 9/24 and 10 miles this weekend (which ended being pushed back to yesterday due to scheduling issues). In that sense, long workouts up to 9 and 10 miles before a two week (ish) taper seems very similar to my prior training to run half marathons.


Oliver helped me finish the last of my 10 miler yesterday.


I thought this would be a good time to think through the differences between training to walk a half marathon and training to run.

  • Undoubtedly, this is physically easier for me than running (which is what I needed for my neck!). I haven’t been great about the midweek speed and tempo workouts and still I’ve had no real trouble with the weekend long walks. That likely reflects the leftover muscle strength from running more than anything else, but even though I’ve done mostly easy walks through the weeks, I’ve been fine with the steadily increasing weekend long walks and have no doubt I can walk 13.1 on October 15.
  • I have to block out a lot more time to get these long weekend walks done! It turns out that a difference of 5 minutes a mile between walking & running pace really adds up once you get to 7+ mile walks!
  • I haven’t really needed any fuel during the long walks. I always bring something, in case I feel like I need it, but haven’t felt the same kind of fatigue or hunger in walking 10 miles as I do running 10 miles. I also haven’t really focused on eating specific things before the long walks and haven’t felt any fatigue or GI distress at all.
  • I haven’t felt the same fatigue or hunger AFTER the long walks either. I haven’t felt like I needed naps or been starving when I get back home.
  • I do need to replace my shoes with long walks, just like with runs. I’ve been using my shoes from the marathon in January and they are definitely DONE at this point. My feet are the sorest thing about me after the workout is over. (Treating myself to new shoes before my race!)
  • I don’t get the same rush of accomplishment after a long walk. 😦 That might have something to do with the fact that my heart rate stays fairly steady and low (120s) even as the hills and miles pile up. Even as I push my pace to 17-ish minute miles as opposed to 18-19ish minute miles, I can only get my HR to the 130s with walking. I just don’t get the same kind of endorphins without that massive effort I guess.

Ultimately, this training plan has been educational (still need good shoes, still need water, still need to gradually increase miles, don’t need much fueling) and has served its purpose in getting to me to move. It’s also served an important purpose in making me realize how much I want to get back to running, even if I will be starting back at step zero in terms of rebuilding stamina.

Now, I taper, which is weird since I don’t feel like I’ve worked nearly as hard as I do in a running training plan. Nonetheless, I’ll respect the plan – and my busy schedule for the next two weeks! I’m heading to Florida this weekend for a bachelorette party at EPCOT’s Food & Wine festival and then heading to San Diego next week for a work meeting. Both will be chances to get in lots of walking, but not a long workout so my race will wait until I get home. That also gives Oliver plenty of time to make my medal while I’m not around to see it. I’m looking forward to the surprise of my medal and to plotting out the path of my one-woman half marathon. I’ve been saving a walk in my usual park for race day so I get to really soak in the scenery and feel-good vibes on my race day.


Isn’t it a gorgeous park? And isn’t that a gorgeous photo? Our family photographer rocks!!

The take home from all of this is that walking a half marathon (or any distance really) is a gentle way to challenge yourself to move more without jarring things around too much. I’m so grateful I’ve had this plan to keep me moving since my injury!

I can’t believe I’m about to walk 13.1 miles just for the fun of it! What’s the furthest you’ve ever walked? Want to take bets on how many miles I get in at EPCOT this weekend? 🙂


Ta Da Friday!

This morning, I listened to the “Happier” podcast on the way to work and heard a fantastic idea: the “Ta Da” list. You all know I live by a To Do list (several to do lists sometimes!) but many times, those “to do” boxes go unchecked because of other things that come up. That doesn’t mean the day or week was a failure though – it just means you succeeded in different things than you originally intended. I mentioned earlier this week that I wanted to get back to recognizing my #NSVs as a way to stay motivated during this slow recovery from my post-neck injury weight gain. The “Ta Da” list is a way to incorporate NSVs and all kinds of wins. Thus, “Ta Da” Fridays are born.

– I hosted the second session of Happy Hour for a group of young female trainees and young faculty at my hospitals. So far it seems rewarding for all of us! We’ve discussed mentoring and how to figure out what you want to do with your life so far. 🙂

– I decided to keep the size 14 pants not the size 16 pants I just bought because the size 14s were a little snug and the 16s a little loose. I am confident I will get smaller and not bigger!

– I tracked my food all week (and the scale is going down to reflect that!).

– I covered another working mom so she could get home for an evening with her kid.

– I recognize that my legs are getting stronger and more toned thanks to all of this walking. It feels good to work out again!

What are your TaDa’s this week?

CoffeeHaving a kid tall enough to reach the Keurig and make me coffee is also a big Ta Da in my world!




Weekly Wrap-Up: Back in the saddle and it feels so . . . SORE!

After two weeks off track, last week was MUCH better. I got in some good workouts and have more confidence that I’m actually going to walk a half marathon next month. One month to go! October 15th!


Monday Rest day – gotta find a way to get moving on Mondays again!

Tuesday: Speed intervals, which were interesting this week: A rotation of easy walking, power walks and speed walk (which I ended up making into hill segments because I wasn’t sure how different my “power walk” and “speed walk” are for 3 and 1 minute intervals).

Wednesday: Stretching and rest

Thursday: An easy walk before spending fours in the car for a quick work trip to Iowa City. Iowa City was lovely and I got in a short little walk in their downtown too!

Friday: I spent the day in Iowa City for work and got up early to get in my tempo walk on the treadmill before I sat all day in the conference.

Saturday: A bonus easy walk from breakfast to the grocery store while my guys got a haircut before family photos!

Sunday: I woke up ready to go on Sunday but got delayed by a storm complete with lightning. Boo. I’m super proud of myself for not letting the delay deter me completely though. As soon as the storm broke, I headed out to walk and got in 7.7 miles, just short of my planned 8. We were up against the clock for family pictures, so I cut it a smidge short. All in all, it felt good. I still haven’t figured out the fueling for these long walks. It doesn’t feel like I need anything in terms of carbs like I did when I was running, so I went without during the long walk this weekend and felt fine afterwards (and the next day). Apparently the lower intensity effort doesn’t deplete glycogen quite so much?

All in all, things feel good. Relatively good anyway – my shins, ankles and knees still feel that long walk! This weekend, I’m up to 9 miles (Sunday), with a 45 minute power walk (Friday or Saturday) and another set of speed/tempo/easy intervals on the schedule tomorrow.  I got in my easy walk today taking my kiddo back and forth to school.


I think my guy needed a little extra mom time this morning with all of the travel and late work I’ve had lately. I came home to this lovely note (covering his school pictures!) after my trip to Iowa City. 🙂

It’s been a while since I’ve had a NSV but I definitely think getting back in that habit will help the “funk” that’s come with the slow weight loss of middle age. I have two this week:
– I had a piece of carrot cake at lunch at my meeting in Iowa City. I tracked it (28 points!) and moved on with my day. Unlike the last 6 months, I didn’t say “Oh well – today’s shot; might as well have pizza for dinner!” I had a healthy dinner and finished my week well within my points thanks to my activity for the week.
– I looked at my online health record today and noticed that my doctor had entered “Wow great!” and “Look at that cholesterol!” comments on my labs. A little thing, but it reminded me that my health is about more than the scale and I’m definitely still making wins.

We’re heading this weekend for the pumpkin patch and some early corn maze adventures. It may still be warm, but I’m going to pretend it’s really fall because I’m more than ready!

What are you looking forward to in fall? Less eventful weather for a while? (Hope all of you in Florida are safe!)

Weekly Wrap-Up: Can I get a do-over?

The last couple of weeks have been less than ideal on the workout front. What happened?

Things started well:

Monday Yoga

Tuesday Strength training (Big win!)

Wednesday Speed work on the treadmill while O was  in swim lessons – my legs were that “good” kind of sore after this!

Thursday My easy walk . .  . and then

The rest of the week just fell apart. Friday and Saturday I helped lead a writing workshop, which required a lot of faux-extroverting on my part and lots of running around dealing with logistics. During that running around, I dropped a 2 L Coke out of the back of my car, which had apparently also been shaken up in the drive. When it hit the ground, it shot 30 feet across the parking garage. It went under three cars (and thankfully didn’t anything or anyone!). At least I got extra steps in when I was looking for it, right?

At some point in my trips loading the car, I apparently banged my heel with the cart and ended up bloody. Not a great start to the day. Still, I got through the day with reasonable food choices and lots of steps as I ran around facilitating the workshop.

Saturday, I started the day with the workshop and finished it with Oliver’s birthday party. By the time I was through with all of that, I was DONE. Dinner was pizza in bed and there was zero workout other than surviving. And licking the last cupcake so no one else took it. Not proud of that.

Sunday, I was so tired there was no waking up  for that 7 mile walk. Instead, horrible food choices and more faux-extroverting as we had dinner with a candidate to join my group. I spent all day Monday facilitating that interview. Like most introverts, all of  this pushing OUT just wore me down. I thought I’d bounce back last week and get back on plan, somehow that never happened. I am only now feeling like I’m recovering a bit of my inner oomph. For the last ten days, I’ve been worn down. Thankfully, the bad food choices stopped after the first week of my two week “break” but workouts have been hit or miss. I’ve just been exhausted and so, I’ve done a little more resting and crafting and a little less exercise.

Craft time

All of this has happened against the backdrop of Harvey. I lived in Houston for my junior high and high school years and still have many friends there. Many of them are now out of their homes. My sister had to evacuate and for days we didn’t know how her house faired (okay thankfully!). My former school is significantly damaged (check them out on Good Morning America here).

I have friends in Florida barricading themselves in so that they can stay as safe as possible while they provide desperately healthcare in their local hospitals. We wait with bated breath to see how bad it will be, again.

And yet, we’re fine. Like many of us, we’re feeling helpless to help what is a massive need. We’re looking into legit places to donate and praying for everyone, of course, but nothing feels like enough. Houston is a tough amazing city full of tough amazing people, so I know they’ll recover. Florida will be the same. I just have to keep reminding myself of  that.

And telling Oliver that everything that goes  wrong here in Omaha this  week is not due to “the flood.” His frequent mention of the flood as a problem reminds us how closely he’s paying attention to us, even if he doesn’t completely understand what is going on.

Thursday is not  too late in the week to turn things around. I got in my speed walk this week and my easy walk today. I’m going to do my tempo workout tomorrow and my long walk Sunday. I missed two weeks of workouts essentially – one recovery week and one week with a 7 mile long walk (initially wrote run – man, do I miss running!). This week was supposed to be the 8 mile week. I think I’ll be able to do the 8 miles without causing any difficulty, but since it’s been three weeks now since that last long walk (6 miles), I’ll also pay attention to how I feel and cut it short at 7 if I need to. The last thing I want is to get this wiped out again! August was definitely rough on the lupus front between the fatigue, the kidneys and the arthritis. September will be better.

l feel like I am mentally ready to get back on track and finish this week’s workouts. I saw a back to school thing on Facebook that said:

In this classroom, mistakes are




Every day with lupus and with middle age and with trying to lose weight again without running, I learn new things. Weeks where I need a do-over are an important part of that learning.

I hope you’re all safe after the flood and the fires and with the impending storm.



Weekly Wrap-Up: Back to School!

It’s back to school time – and back to long workouts again! First up school: I have a first grader now! This transition is easier for all of us so far than kindergarten was. Thank goodness experience counts for something!
First grade!

Thank goodness elementary school teachers are so patient, too. 🙂 We still haven’t gotten around to printing the lunch menu, so Oliver is not going to school with his lunch option picked (which is what they request) other than us saying “Shoot, no menu – Just go with #2. You normally like that!” I’m sure I’m not the only parent in that position.

This week, I got in all of my workouts (even if they’re still not on the right day!), some nice stretching AND implemented my no caffeine after 3 pm goal. Wow am I am sleeping better since that started! Apparently that was disrupting sleep more than I realized.


Monday No workout on the schedule, although it ended up being a really high step day thanks to a morning a spent doing presentations at Girls Inc in Omaha. I do lots of walking around when I do small group discussions!

Tuesday 35 minutes of easy walking, plus walking from our house to school for back-to-school night. Oliver was so excited to see his classroom!

Wednesday I took the day off and had a delayed “birthday” day with Oliver. We went to the movies (Despicable Me 3 – not great) and to paint pottery with Oliver. We also got some crafts to work on at home and in general, had a great time with each other all day. It definitely made up for the fact that I had to work all day on his actual birthday. No workout, other than hugs! It was raining so no zoo which was our initial plan. Despite a no-exercise day, I still managed to get an injury! I slipped in the rain and pulled a muscle in my left leg a bit. Boo 😦

Thursday Speed work day, with 8 rounds of 60 seconds speed – 3 minute recovery (confession: only 2 minutes recovery, but I added on the extra minutes walking to take O to school!). Today’s speed work was all about effort more than pace because I’d tweaked a muscle in my leg when I slipped in the rain Wednesday. Walking definitely help stretch that out, even if it did keep me from walking as fast as I’d have liked.

Friday 20 minutes of easy walking

Saturday 5 minutes warm up, 25 minutes power walking (where I was finding fall colored leaves on the road already!) and 5 minutes cool down. I keep ending up in the position where I’m working out on Saturday and Sunday thanks to getting distracted from the schedule. I need to be sure that I’m doing the easy walk for the week on Saturday rather than the tempo walk, to avoid two “hard” workouts back-to-back.

Crispy spring rolls

Saturday we also made some absolutely divine crispy spring rolls that Darrell & I learned at our Thai cooking class earlier in the summer. They were easier than I expected and came out great in our air fryer (rather than deep frying them). Even Oliver loved them and had a great time making them with us. If Paula (who runs the Creme de la Creme cooking class where we learned this) ever posts the recipe, I’ll link it. Do you love my notes I’ve got scribbled all over my copy of the recipe? LOL!

Sunday This felt like a REAL workout and reminded me that I’m training for a half marathon. I had 6 miles on the schedule, so I headed out with my water and a mini Lara bar (still not sure how much fuel I need for walking as opposed to running). I walked from my house, toward our neighborhood taco bar. Darrell and Oliver came to pick me up when I got 6 miles along the way, to take us all the rest of the way. I really like walking TO something as opposed to in a loop around the neighborhood and especially liked walking to TACOS. I was definitely hungry after 6 miles of walking, which made me think fondly of my running days.

I confess that I got down about the no-running thing on Sunday. This weekend is my “run-i-versary” and for the first time in the five years since I started running, I won’t be out running to celebrate that milestone. (Even reading the blog just now to find the name of that post to link, I found myself thinking how much happier I seemed when I was running as I skimmed posts!) This weekend, I’m also doing another writing workshop for our faculty, which is the same thing I was doing six months ago when my stupid neck herniated in the first place. And of course, this weekend while I walking, I had to jog across an intersection for a few seconds. That afternoon, I had horrible pain in the same spot it hurt when my disc herniated. It only lasted a few hours and I think it was a muscle strain thing, but it was still a VERY unwelcome reminder. I really want to go back to being a runner. It’s a small, selfish thing but that’s my truth. Sigh. Here’s hoping I get the chance!

All right, enough moping. Here’s some happy: A first grader’s view of the eclipse.
1st grade view of eclipse

That would be O, in  his glasses, in front of his red brick school watching the eclipse. I’m glad he went out to see it because for a while, he was afraid of hurting his eyes. I definitely enjoyed seeing everyone outside and excited about something for all of this on Monday. 🙂

This week, I’m up to 7 miles on Sunday. I’m swamped Saturday, so I definitely won’t have to worry about avoiding back to back hard workouts (writing workshop and birthday party Saturday). My plan is to do my speed workout today, an easy walk tomorrow and my tempo walk on Friday. Know what I did yesterday? Strength training! I know – it’s been ages! Maybe if I give myself two stickers for strength training I’ll be more motivated to keep it going? I’ll also keep up my no-caffeine rule, which is definitely helping my sleep, and stay on track with eating through this weekends events (more on that coming later this week!).

What are your plans this week? Anybody get awesome views of the eclipse? We were 98% or so in Omaha. It was still fun!


Happiness Project #1: SLEEP

I’ve got to work on non-pharmacologic management of my lupus symptoms now that I’m staying off of the Alleve for my joints. I know from the last couple of years that poor sleep is a huge trigger of bad lupus days for me. Poor sleep also makes it harder for me to deal with stress in general and might make it harder to lose weight (more on that in links below). All together, these things are ample motivation to make improving my sleep the first big Happiness Project I tackle in my #40by40 goals.


I’m a task oriented person and certainly more successful when I have concrete habits to track. From the Happiness Project book and website with Gretchen Rubin (here), I found some great charts for keeping track of my sleep related tasks. In addition to buying a new pillow (little things help!), I’m going to incorporate these as my daily tasks to sleep better:


Stop caffeine after 3 pm. I love my coffee, so this may be painful, but on the plus side maybe it will steer me toward drinking more water in the evenings.

Elixir of the gods

Make tomorrow’s task list for work BEFORE I leave work. Frequently, I’m swamped by stress at night about what I have to do tomorrow. I’m going to try reviewing my schedule for the next day and making my task list before I leave work, to try to head off some of this angst.
Turn off devices at 9 pm. Period. No TV, phone or other blue lights. This might seriously impact my ability to watch TV with Darrell, but we have the weekend for that (and I’m already down to only a few shows that I watch anyway).
Have a consistent bedtime and wake up time. 9:30 pm – 5:30 am would get me 8 hours of sleep and have me up in time for 7 am meetings or for workouts in the morning. Getting into a consistent pattern would help tremendously (with exceptions for date night and other rare occasions, of course).
Adopt a bedtime meditation. This can help both with transitioning to sleep and with dealing with those twilight anxiety episodes that often derail my sleep.


This bedtime meditation might have helped Wednesday night when I couldn’t sleep because of stupid Mom-brain anxiety over whether or not anyone would come to this guy’s birthday party:

First grade!

He has a back-to-school birthday, which is a really hard time to schedule a party both because everyone is busy and because it’s hard to know who to invite – old friends? New friends? Both? We elected for a party a little after his birthday and the start of school (it’ll be next weekend) and an invitation list of both new first grade classmates and some kindergarten/summer program friends. Because O wanted to invite first grade classmates, we had to wait for the class list to come out – which it did last week, while I was away. By the time I got home, got the invitations written and mailed, most people would be getting their invitations Wednesday and Thursday of this week, with only 10 days before the party. In the meantime, we found out that another classmate has a party on the same day (AM and ours is in PM). I was freaking out with Mom-guilt over sending out invitations too late and would anyone come to his party and how would we handle it if no one came. All totally unnecessary mental drama, I know, but my brain is like that at bedtime sometimes.


All is well. I’m at 5 RSVPs now, which is enough of a party for me and for O. I’ll sleep better now. 🙂 Bedtime is a hard for those of us with a worry-wort mindset so a bedtime meditation will be very helpful I’m thinking!


What are your strategies for better sleep? I also got a lavender spray for my pillow that’s supposed to help sleep, but mostly it just annoys Darrell.


Resources for Sleep & Weight Management:
Lack of Sleep & Weight Gain (WebMD)
Sleep Loss & Weight Gain (USA Today)
Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain (NIH news release)
Sleep and Obesity (Review article in Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care)
Sleep & Lupus:



Weekly Wrap-Up: A Change of Scenery in New Hampshire

First, good news: After ten days without Alleve, my kidney function is back to normal. That means it isn’t the lupus itself so I don’t have to worry about taking any immuno-suppressants or getting a biopsy or anything. Bad news is that my arthritis is back with a vengeance without the Alleve. I look like an 80 year old woman creaking around until noon. I hurt everywhere. It could be worse though – I’m SO relieved that my kidneys are okay and I can still get around, even if it is slower and creakier than I’d like. I also stopped putting off getting my cholesterol and diabetes screening tests done – still normal, thank goodness!

Now, on to workouts for the week, which were great even if they weren’t necessarily the long walk/easy walk/tempo and speed workouts I’d get at home. I think the varied terrain and hills more than made up for that though!

Monday Lots of walking back and forth across the resort, where the conference center was a 10(ish) minute walk from my room. Lots of time to get in extra steps!

Tuesday An hour of kayaking, or more accurate – half an hour of kayaking and half an hour of lounging about taking selfies with the ducks. 🙂
Wednesday 5 miles of hiking, with lots of hills and dodging rocks and trees. It was gorgeous and tough! I tweaked my knee a little on the down hill side, but overall really enjoyed myself and was pleased with how quickly I could navigate everything.
Thursday After Wednesday’s big hike, I settled for a shorter but still super hilly hike on Thursday. I think those hills count as a tempo workout given how steadily and hard to work on that walk!

Friday Travel day, but I woke up for an easy flat walk around the resort. Travel was thankfully uneventful and I got home to have dinner with my family, which was lovely. It was a carb-a-licious and not remotely healthy dinner given how tired and cranky I was, but at least it was dinner with my family.


Saturday My parents came to visit for a super quick weekend. I decided to go to breakfast with Oliver before they arrived rather than workout, which meant I had an unchecked box on the workout calendar but it was worth it to have that time alone with my guy.

Sunday I spent hours in the pool at a party, which counts as a workout of sorts, right? 🙂 The biggest success of Sunday was making cakes for the party. Both Oliver and my secretary Raven have birthdays this week, so I somewhat foolishly volunteered to bring a birthday cake for each of them to this work party. They turned out well, I must say.

Lemon cakeLemon blueberry cake with cream cheese frosting (AMAZING!)

Bb8Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting (our go-to birthday cake)

It’s funny, but I made reasonably good food choices all week while I traveled (aside from alcohol) but once I got home, it was a whole different story. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were full of choices I KNEW were bad choices. I did what I know how to do – pick back up and start again on Monday. Maybe this time I’ll go a little longer before I have to start over again. 🙂 The stress of travel, worrying about kidneys, frustration with hurting and the stress of my parents’ flying visit were all things that trigger my most carb-craving comfort food cravings. In the interest of giving myself credit, I had only one piece of each of those gorgeous cakes. That’s a VAST improvement over how I’d handled cake plus stress in the past. Baby steps in the right direction.

Now, I’m back to normal workout schedules. This week, I have speed work, a 35 minute easy walk, 25 minute power walk and a 6 mile long walk. I’m going to try to get those walks in first thing in the morning as much as possible because moving early in the morning seems to really help the arthritis.

What’s your families go-to birthday cake? We’re chocolate people, but that lemon-blueberry cake is divine and may make its way onto the regular rotation!




Goals for August!

I got away from setting goals every month and you know what happened? I stopped maintaining my healthy diet and my exercise habits. Between that and the fact that I have 40 fun new things on my to do list this year, I think it’s a good time to get back to goal setting! Of course, I’ll stick with my training plan and work my way up to 7 miles by the end of this month’s workouts. However, it’s good to make a couple of extra goals too.

Goals for August:

  • Meet the Garmin’s step goal every day: Seems like a good way to steadily work up my movement, even on rest days.
  • Get 25 workout stickers (21 last month – raising the bar!)


  • Master the recipes from my Thai cooking class: Spring rolls, pad thai and crying tiger steak.
  • Have an adventure (I think kayaking and hiking to see waterfalls in New Hampshire count so this one is already done, but an adventure a month is on my #40by40 list so gotta keep track!)


  • Another one of my #40by40 goals achieved for the month: I made what I think will be a good mentoring connection at the meeting I just attended. Huge win for this introvert!
  • Make the next cake in my Great British Bakeoff book with Darrell.
  • Happiness Project for the month: SLEEP! (more to come on this) Improving my sleep is going to hugely important for my lupus if I’m going to have to stay off of Alleve thanks to my stupid kidneys.  **Technically I’m going to give myself 6 weeks and have this by my August and September project given both its importance and the fact that I was traveling at the beginning of August.

Of course, surviving the back to school chaos is also on my to do list for the month. Next week, it all begins again!

What are you hoping to get done this month?


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Weekly Wrap-Up: 4 weeks down!

I’ve checked off four weeks of boxes in the training plan “Mama’s Mystery Medal Walking Half Marathon” and apparently that’s enough to make this feel REAL in my mind. Yesterday, I was flipping through my calendar trying to find time to schedule something in October and steered clear of my scheduled race date. It feels like a small but very important win in committing myself to this training plan, in that I’m treating my race of one just as seriously as I would a big race I’d paid for. Wins!

Weekly Workouts: This week was a recovery week in the plan, so no speed or tempo workouts – just lots of easy walks. With the distraction of my lupus nonsense and travel, I was grateful for the easier week.

Monday Rest day, although I did get in lots of walking at an Omaha museum doing their cool new spy exhibit with Oliver (solved the mystery!)
Spy games

Tuesday 30 minutes easy walking

Wednesday Rest day

Thursday This was supposed to be 40 minutes, but I was slow getting out of the house. I’m proud of myself for getting at least 20 minutes rather than nothing at all though – again, a sign I’m moving in a better direction in terms of commitment to exercise!

Friday 20 minutes of easy walking (and I had to grab a jacket thanks to a lovely freak cool spell in August!)

Saturday 2.5 miles easy walking: Darrell & Oliver decided not to meet me at the ice cream shop, so I ended up walking an extra half mile home from the ice cream shop. That makes up for shorting that earlier workout, right?

Sunday 30 minutes of lovely walking in New Hampshire!  I wasn’t sure  if the giant culvert you see behind me was something that I was supposed to walk through or not but decided to take the chance. It was. 🙂 I felt very adventurous plunging into it nonetheless!
New Hampshire
It’ll be nice to be here among these gorgeous trees for my walks this week. This week, speed workouts and tempo work are back on the schedule. My 5 mile walk will actually be a 4 mile hike with the conference group (I’ll tack the extra mile on somewhere in the day). I think the added hills and technical challenges of the hike more than make up for the fact that I won’t do all 5 miles at once, don’t you?
Today’s workout will be cross training in a kayak and/or on the stand up paddle board. I won’t lie – I’m wary of any workouts at all this week. I’m hurting. I ache everywhere. Even one Alleve a day was apparently doing a ton to dampen my arthritis aches and I am seriously feeling it. It makes me pretty grumpy, which is probably dampening my effectiveness in networking at this meeting. Ah well.

Moving is definitely helping. Beer helps (the grumpiness and the aching and the impaired networking) but I’ve got to keep an eye on that – not the healthiest compensatory mechanism! I don’t have much of an appetite, I suspect due to the aching, but am trying to make the healthiest food choices I can.

Hopefully, this will be worth it and my kidney function will look better when we recheck next week. I think I’ll adjust to the aching with time, so long as I keep up with my activity, my rest and my sunscreen.

My goals for this week are simple: Get my workouts in. Get my sleep. If I can do that, that’s a big win for now.

Thanks for your good thoughts and wishes regarding my stupid lupus. 🙂 I know it’ll all be fine – just a bump in the road.

Anybody else having freakish cool August weather? I wish I could share ours! It was such a lovely break and definitely one of my favorite things about Nebraska. These little cool spells almost never happened when I lived down South!




Stupid Kidneys (aka Bump in the Lupus Road)

More accurately, a bump in my creatinine. Boo.

Creatinine is a molecule that’s a byproduct of muscle metabolism / breakdown and it gets used in medicine as a marker of kidney function. If it is high, particularly if it is higher than your normal and you haven’t suddenly massively increased your muscle mass, doctors get worried about your kidneys.

Worried is exactly how my poor little rheumatology fellow looked the other day when I ran across him in the hospital after my check up this week. (One of the minor inconveniences of working in a medical school is that you run across your doctors in the hall occasionally – awkward!) You never want to see your doctor look worried. It turns out, my creatinine has gone up a lot since last time we checked it and is in officially “elevated” range. The good news is that there’s nothing else that seems wrong and my other kidney tests are okay so far.

It could be a blip. It could be due to the Alleve I take every day (although I’ve been cutting way back on that over the summer, so I’m not sure it’s that). It could be the sign that I’m developing kidney complications from my lupus, which is unfortunately very common.

For now, I’m stopping the Alleve, drinking a lot of water and stepping up my vegetable intake. Turns out, the best diet for chronic kidney disease is the DASH diet – aka the hypertension diet, which I’ve followed before and is generally a pretty “eat healthy stuff” kind of diet. Other than the massive amount of veggies it recommends, it’s pretty much the way I eat on Weight Watchers – just need to step up those veggies. I’m already good about watching my sodium intake and don’t eat a ton of red meat, which are also in the “good kidney” diet guidelines.

It’s also going to be very important that I do all of things I can do to help my lupus settle down, which means REST, manage my stress, get my exercise in and wear my sunscreen. Not only will this help lupus overall (and maybe my cranky lupus-kidneys), but it will help my joint symptoms. Today is my first day without Alleve in ages and my hands have been stiff, sore and swollen all day. If I’m to go without Alleve to help my kidneys, I have to do everything else I can to help my hands settle down.

Action items:

  • Loads of water!
  • Loads of veggies!

Amping up veggies

  • Walk every morning!
  • Hat and / or sunscreen every time I go outside, including walking around campus at work.
  • Work on sleep (looks like that’ll be my first task in my “40 by 40” happiness project)

Think good thoughts for me. We’ll recheck my labs when I get back from New Hampshire. Hopefully things have trended back down and this was just a blip. I’ll keep you posted!