Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The "B" Word...

I know that when you think of the "B" Word, your first thought is to that oft-quoted classic: B*tch, or Beotch, or whatever. That's not the one I am referring to here. I am talking about that new 4-letter word that should be quickly banned from our vocabulary:

How many times have you heard this, or even said it yourself, in recent history? My bet would be more than you think. I believe that it has become so ingrained in today's society that we barely even notice it anymore. A typical exchange goes something like this:

P1: Hey how are you doing, I haven't seen you in forever!
P2: Oh yeah...I've been so busy. I'm just buried with work; and then I get home and I don't have any time because I'm busy doing all the family stuff. I'm just busy, busy, busy.
P1: Oh I know it...I've been busy running around too. And next week doesn't look any better...just more of the same.
P2: Well, I'll "see" you around Facebook! Talk to you later...gotta run to my next meeting.

Another exchange might go like this:

P1: How's your exercise plan coming along?
P2: Oh man...I just got too busy to do anything.
P1: Yeah, life can get like that sometimes. How about going for a run tonight after work?
P2: I would love to, but I can't. I'm super busy in the evenings once I get home.
P1: Well, alright...maybe next week?
P2: Yeah, sure...we'll see what we can do. I'll hit you up on Facebook or Instagram later!

Now, don't get me wrong, I do know that we all have a lot of responsibilities in today's day and age. I know that I could easily fill every minute of every day with something. But how often are we filling the time with just that...something. As in nothing all that important, but something to fill the time, or kill the time?

We live in a world where we are more connected than ever through social media and instant news on a global scale. But are we really connected. Or are we actually more disconnected than ever? I tend to go with the latter. We don't have conversations anymore, we have status updates. We don't do coffee breaks, we do Tweets. We don't peruse our friend's photo albums while reminiscing about memories, we Instagram our lives away rarely looking back.

We are missing the point and are getting lost in being busy for the sake of being busy.

I'm guilty of this to a fairly large degree myself. I have gotten to the point where saying I'm busy, thinking I'm busy, hearing other people talk about busy is so cliche I want to scream the next time I hear it!!! Because it's a load of crap on so many levels.

I'm "busy", but I'm also choosing to fill spare moments with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin, blah, blah, blah the list goes on. I could call it "downtime" or "recharging" or whatever else I want to, but at the same time I can't then turn around and respond to someone "oh, I've been SOOOOO BUSY". Busy is a manufactured state of being a majority of the time.

And I think it is time for us to stop the crazy BUSY train. Let's get off at the next stop and I think we can take the first step by banning the word "busy" from our vocabulary.

What might happen if the next time you see a friend and they ask how you've been that you actually tell them something positive about what you've been up to instead of talking about how busy you are?

What might happen if the next time a child asks you to read a book with them that you just sit down and read it instead of responding "later, I can't right now, I'm busy making dinner, or folding clothes, or fill in the blank with whatever you want"?

What might happen if you actually stop feeling like you're busy or overwhelmed all the time (even if you are!) and you just started prioritizing and getting one thing at a time done? Sometimes just the act of saying "I'm busy" makes us feel, well...busy!

What might happen if next time you have a break in a meeting you don't grab your phone to check Facetwitgram or emails? You might actually get to know your coworkers might actually find some connections with people in REAL LIFE.

I could go on and on and I'm not here to lecture anyone. As I've said already - I am totally guilty of all of these things!!!!! I'm saying this as much to myself as I am to anyone that might read this. I am not without reproach and I'm not throwing rocks at glass houses.

In an article about the top reasons people don't exercise, can you guess what the number one reason was? If you said "don't have time" or some variation of that then winner, winner, chicken dinner! You are absolutely right. I could probably find a dozen surveys and they would all come back with the same - no time. People often ask me how I fit in running with everything else and they are always shocked when I say that I make time for it one way or another and how I usually do that is by getting up while the rest of the world sleeps. I'm not saying that because I want kudos or to brag like I'm some superhero, it's just the reality of it. I make the time because I need to.

You find a way to make time for the things that matter. And what matters should NOT be Facetwitgram, emails, busy-body tasks, etc. What matters should be connecting with others, finding beauty around us, reading a book, writing a letter, crunching fall leaves, riding a bike...this list is ever-changing and depends on each individual person, season, time of life, etc.

What I think we should all take away from this is that we should NEVER EVER EVER be "too busy" to live life. Let's stop saying that we are "busy". Let's start connecting with the people that are in front of us. Let's remove that one simple word and see what happens! You never know...

So will you pledge with me to remove the word BUSY from your vocabulary?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Celebrating, a Dam Run and Where are the Dam Bathrooms??

First things first...Yesterday, this happened:

Yep, got the privilege of celebrating another year past while looking forward to the year to come! It was a fabulous day and I certainly couldn't have asked for more. I had my family (including my little grandson Joshua peeking above the counter there in the picture!) - my son Robert and DIL Auxi were there in spirit but she was recovering from her first half marathon so they didn't drive down - I had good food, perfect weather, and most of all, my health! I am so excited for what this coming year will bring while being so thankful for getting back to a place where I actually feel healthy after spending so much of last year dealing with that knee infection.

It was a good day!

I also had some fun this weekend on a dam really, it was on a dam. womp-womp-womp  I live in a flat valley so finding hills can get hard, but this spot has them in abundance in all shapes and sizes. And city streets around my parts are not very pretty...I envy those of you that run down tree lined streets or on shaded paths through parks. Because that is just about opposite of what I have when it comes to running my streets! To remedy those issues I've been doing my long runs at a local spot that is just around the corner from my house - Diamond Valley Lake. If you don't want to take the time to read all about the construction of DVL, I'll give you the short version: It is a man-made reservoir that sits at the South end of our valley. It is one of the largest water reservoirs and also happens to be a popular spot for fishing. The lake has a no body contact policy, so no swimming, but boats that meet certain specifications are okay. Here's a couple of pictures to set the mood:

We (me, my mom, & my sister) all park at the base of the lake (since it is man-made, it has a fairly steep climb up to the Marina which totals about 1.75 miles) and then walk up the hill that we have named "The Beast" as our warm-up. There's no doubt that by the time you get to the lake that you are warmed up and ready to go! After you check in at the Marina, you have the option of heading West or East and there is a dirt trail that goes around the entire lake that totals out at 21 miles.

We have been doing the lake trail for a couple weeks now and some of my favorite things about it are:
  • An abundance of CLEAN seriously CLEAN!
  • Dirt trails offer a softer cushion
  • The dirt trails are still somewhat rocky so it offers a little technical work and requires you to stay focused
  • Because the dirt trails are still somewhat rocky, it really forces you to use a variety of muscles so you're getting a great workout
  • It is scenic!
  • There are a variety of hills that are fairly manageable ranging from rolling to short climbs
So there's a lot to like and I have absolutely come to love running long up there! Okay, so the first several times we did the trail we headed west and it was fabulous; as I mentioned, lots of porta potties...for the first 3 miles at least. I did find out that they get a little more sparse as you get further away from the main shoreline fishing locations. Since we had already done the west route a few times, I figured that it would be grand to run east for a change!! Makes sense right? So the east route takes you across the East Dam and I thought that would be pretty cool...HA!!

Exhibit A for Why it was a Dam Run:
It turns out that when you run across a dam, there's no DAM BATHROOMS! I don't know why this hadn't clicked for me prior to doing this particular jaunt, but it hadn't. I mean, look at the second picture up there, you see that long dam? You see any bright blue porta pots? No??? Me neither...

About halfway across I really started having the urge to tinkle and yet there wasn't anything as far as the eye could see. And you're on a it's dam steep terrain. It's a man-made dam, so no dam bushes. If you got the runners trots while out there, you would LITERALLY be sh*t outta luck! Literally... If I had been truly desperate there was two options as I saw it: 1) pee my pants and run on; or 2) pop a squat in the middle of the dam and give the dam fishermen a real show! Neither is a very pretty option, eh?

Exhibit B for Why it was a Dam Run:
It turns out that when you run across a dam, you enter some freaky parallel universe where your worst nightmares come true - you really DO run uphill BOTH WAYS!! I know that it isn't actually possible in the space-time continuum that we know, but out on the dam, all bets are off!

As Wikipedia states in their information: The 2.1-mile (3.4 km) long East Dam, constructed by a Kiewit-led joint venture, is the longest of the three dams. It measures 1,200 feet (370 m) wide at the base and 40 feet (12 m) wide at the top.

I recognize that nowhere in that does it mention that you warp into an alternate universe, but you know you can't take what Wikipedia says as absolute fact. That's just the facts...

So I head out across the dam and keep thinking "okay, there's a slight uphill grade here, but as I look off into the distance I can see that it is going to go downhill eventually". So I keep running towards the downhill and it never comes! So I start thinking to myself "well, alright, at least it will be ALL DOWNHILL on the return trip and that will be pretty freaking awesome!"

I finally made it across, found a bush and became one with nature and did my part by watering some shrubs, then continued on to the turnaround point. Then headed back, watered some more plants before heading back to the realm of no dam bathrooms, and got ready for the downhill, baby!!!

But to my surprise it was UPHILL...AGAIN!! How is that even possible?!? I swear to you that this was not a figment of my imagination...that damn dam was freaking uphill in both directions. The ONLY explanation was...dunh, dunh, duhhhhh: The Twilight Zone.

And lest you think I'm totally crazy, I confirmed this fact with both my Mom AND my sister!! If three people agree, surely that makes it fact, right???

So it was a dam run, but I still Can you say that a long run is fun without sounding like a total nut job? Oh whatever...I should probably just own that fact.

After all, I do have this magnet on my car:

So proof positive, I suppose...

Needless to say, I'm going to be sticking with the west route for the time being. :-)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Changing Perspectives...

Okay, so I know that the picture above is specific to marathon training, but I really find that it is funny how our perspectives change along the way about what is hard, challenging, easy, etc.

My Daughter-in-Law, Auxi, is training for her first half marathon that will take place THIS WEEKEND!! So throughout her training she's been sending me little texts when she's done her long runs and it sure has given me some great reminders of when I was doing the training for my first half back in 2010.

Like when she did her 5 mile run, which was her longest distance to date, and she told me that she was so tired she was toast the rest of the day. I then realized that I remember feeling the same way - when running for 5 miles seemed ridiculously far and I would get home and sit on my arse the rest of the day because that was all I could do.

I remember when I first did the North Hills Trail Hike back in 2009 on my birthday and I was so freaking sore for DAYS I could barely even move!!

I remember when I started C25K and running for a minute seemed close to impossible. And then in Week 5 when I ran for 20 minutes straight, I cried tears of joy because it seemed like something that would never be possible!

There I was just a few short years ago thinking 5 miles was crazy, that a hike would wipe me out for days, that running 20 minutes non-stop took superhuman effort. And now? Now a lot of those things are what I consider "easy". I run five miles ON A TUESDAY without barely even a blink. I don't just hike that North Hills trail, I freaking RUN parts of it. And soreness afterwards? Barely even noticeable. I don't just run 20 minutes, I can run for hours.

It just shows to go ya that we can achieve a lot when we put our minds to it! It might not always be easy - heck, it shouldn't be easy! - but it is so worth it!!

And I would be remiss if I didn't spend a moment reminding myself and others to have a Happy Memorial Day this weekend! Although I personally love to celebrate this un-official kickoff to the summer season with BBQ's and water play, we also need to remember the reason for the day and spend some time reflecting and remembering those that have served, and those that continue to do so! From a granddaughter, a daughter and a mother of servicemen that has been blessed enough to see all come home in one piece, I can definitely say to our servicemen and women that I THANK YOU for your service!!! You are not forgotten...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Harshest Critic...

There are a couple of things that happened yesterday that have still lingered into today as far as self-reflection goes.

First, you know I talked about how I was struggling with confidence after a tough couple of weeks in eating, training, and life. And then I go to the race website for the 5k and find my race pictures. Not a good idea when confidence is low, let me tell ya! I never felt like this meme was more true:

Sorry I don't have a source for this one, but it is all over the interwebs...

Why yes, don't I look attractive (on the right in the pink and black)...hello double chin, weird arm swing with fat bulge near the pits, and ultra white thighs that just look massive! Lovely...

Alright this next one doesn't look as bad...but all I see are the imperfections and the fact that the little old(er) lady in the picture finished in front of me. She was probably speed-walking (I swear I get beat by a speed-walking Grandma every. single. time).

I am definitely my harshest critic, and I recognize that! But I still have a hard time not doing it to myself and I'm surprised constantly by how I *think* I look all cute and fit while I'm running and in reality...yeah, just go back to that first meme up there. NAILED IT!! ;-)

Okay, so the second thing that happened - well, let me give you a little background first. Yesterday's training plan was a non-optional workout. I think I've mentioned before the the Train Like a Mother plan that I'm using has a non-optional workout (move heaven and earth if needed, but get it done) and others that you can skip if you need to. This was one of those "don't even think about skipping this" workouts, so I was bound and determined to get it all done and to hit the paces even though I hit the snooze button a few too many times and was getting a later than planned start. So the workout was 5 easy miles, with the mid-3 at race pace. I go to get my Garmin 220 on and set up and it was bizarre because even though I wasn't charging it (the battery life is fabulous so I only have to charge maybe once a week before I do my long run) it was turned off. So I tried to power it up and got nothing. I plugged it into the charger and it came right up and showed a 68% charge. So I took it off and got the GPS turned off, hit the workout on the training calendar and it shut off unexpectedly! I plug it back onto the charger and it now shows a 42% charge...keep in mind that only a minute max has passed since it showed 68%. So I decided that I would need to leave the Garmin off since I didn't A) have time to screw around with it; and B) I thought maybe it needs a full charge to reset itself...we'll find out tomorrow if it is behaving now and if it isn't then it will mean shipping it off to Garmin for diagnostics as it is only about 5 months old. So a major PITA, but no real worries since I'm on the treadmill and won't need the miles counted out for me...I know what I need to do, I just don't have "proof" (anybody else feel like if you don't have the electronic log of your run, it didn't really happen? Just me??? hahaha), so I get through the first mile as a warm-up and then bump up to race pace...and there I stayed for the entire three miles. I even continued to bump it to the faster end of my race pace range.

But do you think I gave myself any credit whatsoever for running those three miles at race pace without a single walk break or even wanting to die? No, of course not. Instead I berated myself over the lack of training last week, the horrible 5k this past weekend,  the fact that I want to sleep constantly, my horrible food choices, and on and on and on. Not once did I congratulate myself for hitting my paces and nailing my workout. I just thought about all the things I was doing WRONG.

The reality is that I need to be kinder to myself. I need to celebrate my successes. I need to own my effort. It might be different than the person next to me, and it might be different than my own tomorrow or next week...but it doesn't mean that it isn't MINE and that it isn't enough to be celebrated or doesn't mean I was successful.

What do you do when you find yourself being your own worst critic?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Struggle...

I will completely admit that I'm struggling right now with...well, life I suppose! Training is hard, eating is hard, sleeping is hard, work is hard. It just all feels like so much. And because of that I can definitely say that the doubts are wiggling their way in to my head. The doubts in my head opponent is most definitely the toughest opponent of all!

So I had a little local 5k race on the schedule this past Saturday. I didn't really set any goals for it as I knew that I also had 12 miles on the docket and I wasn't sure how all of that was going to work. But in the back of my mind I knew that it would have been so freaking fantastic if I could pull off a 5k PR. You see, at the beginning of this year one of my goals was to set a PR in all the major race distances of 5k, 10k, Half-Marathon, and Marathon (since it is my first it will be an automatic PR...HUZZAH!). The plan in my head was to get up at my normal weekend time of 5:00 AM and have a quick bite to eat before jumping on the treadmill and grinding out at least a couple miles before I had to leave for the race at about 6:15. Then check in at the race at 6:30 and do a couple miles there before the race started at 7:30. Bang out a 5k (with a PR) and then throw in a few more miles to finish off the 12. That doesn't sound so unreasonable, right?

Well, nothing - absolutely nothing - went as planned outside of getting up and getting a bite to eat. But life conspired against me and before I knew it the time was gone and I hadn't even done a warm-up walk on the treadmill. I got to the race and checked in no problem but got caught spending a few minutes socializing with the team from work that was running the race together. I did get in a small warm-up jog of about 1.3 miles but my body was just super tight. My calves were on fire and just refused to loosen. I took a couple stretch breaks to try to loosen my tight legs up to no avail. But I still felt like there was a chance of putting in a good effort on the actual race.

The small group gathered at the start line and someone said something but had no bullhorn so there was absolutely no hearing a single thing...and then the horn blared and we were all off. (Side note: This was a 5k and Half Marathon in Menifee, CA that benefits Central County United Way. It is a super small race - so small they could have the 5k and Half all begin at the same time without any issues whatsoever. My boss in on the Board, so we pulled together a small team of about 5 employees to participate in the 5k. Since I knew I had 12 on the plan, I did consider running the half, but it was $90 (!!!) and I wasn't going to pay that to run in Menifee...not scenic at all, mostly along city streets, so small the course support was minimal, and there were no cheering my opinion, that price point is WAY too high and they would do a lot for themselves if they lowered it to about $50 until they grow it a little bit.)

I headed out at what should have been a manageable pace but my body just wasn't cooperating in the slightest. I ended up walking a lot of it and by the end of the first mile I knew that it just wasn't my day for anything better than that. BUT all I could think about during my walk of shame was the fact that in three weeks I have that hilly 10k in the mountains that I really, really, really want to nail. That, outside of the marathon, is really my big goal race for this year. And if I couldn't even shake it out on a stupid little 5k on fairly flat ground and not at altitude then how was I going to be able to nail a 10k at altitude with a HUGE hill for about 1.5 miles of the race???

I won't has shaken my confidence a LOT. I was able to do a light jog several times throughout, but remained tight the entire time. I did help one of my co-workers who was also struggling though...we took it nice and easy and then we pushed through at a sprint to the finish line. My final time was 39:59. To put it into perspective my previous 5k PR is 34:22 at the Hometown Heroes Race last October.

I am happy I supported my boss and spent some time with my co-workers (my Mom & Sister were also there) but I was pretty frustrated with my body at that point. I still had almost 8 miles to run so instead of doing those, I went home. I said in my head that I would do them the next day, but I didn't. I got home and napped for about 1.5 hours!! I was shocked that I fell asleep on the couch and especially shocked that I slept for that long. Typically a nap might be 20-45 minutes. This was double. I must have been exhausted...

And it certainly didn't help that when I got home and stepped on the scale I was up 2.6 pounds. UGH.

So now instead of feeling accomplished I felt fat, lazy, slow, and sore. Not so conducive to the confidence needed for a marathon, eh?

My runs on Monday and Tuesday of this week have been decent...not great, but not bad either. I continue to be super tight in my calves so I am sticking them every night and doing some self-massage throughout the day. I'm going to do yoga tomorrow instead of strength training. The most important things for me right now are:

1. Get my muscles and body looser
2. Get my confidence back up through solid training runs
3. Make better food choices

It's not going to be easy to fight that opponent in my head, but I'm determined to knock that mother trucker out...even if it is only for a moment and he's able to pick himself back up before the 10-count is up. I'll keep coming out swinging...

How do you combat the opponent in your head?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

It's a Major Award!

Bonus points if you get the reference from the title! Okay, so you know how you see those various "awards" that float around blogland all the time? Just as an example, off the top of my head, I can recall seeing Liebster Awards come around on a semi-regular basis where bloggers "nominate" other bloggers to spill the beans about themselves and then pass along the "award". Well, I haven't been nominated for *that* award...BUT if there was an award for world's worst blogger...I would surely be nominated for that one hands down! haha

I've been seriously neglectful of this little space, but is life and I would love to say that I'm going to stop the neglect, but I can't purposely put a lie out there. How about this...I will certainly try to do better. :-)

So I've been in marathon training for a bit now...I'm on my fourth week of marathon training actually, if you can believe that. Time sure does fly, eh? And if I had to give myself a grade so far it would definitely be in the average range - probably a C but maybe close to a D. In other words, I could be doing better at this whole training thing, but then again, I'm trying the best I can for the most part. Let's take a look at it for a moment...

I've been doing the Train Like a Mother Finish It plan from the book "Train Like a Mother" written by two of my favorite ladies in the running world: Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. These gals are real people living life; in other words, they have kids, and families, and responsibilities and yet they still train for, and complete, some pretty amazing feats! Just last year Dimity completed an Ironman Triathlon!! And Sarah, well, she does all kinds of half AND full marathons! And she's pretty speedy too...I can highly recommend anything that they do and if you want more of them, check out their Facebook page, their website, their podcasts and so much more!

Anywhoo...all that to say that the training plans in their book take into consideration the fact that most of us have other responsibilities outside of just logging miles in preparation for a race and that fitting it all in is going to be challenging, but achievable. But that doesn't mean that the plans are EASY, especially when you are talking about a marathon. Here's what they say in the plan overview:

Week 1:
Easy 3 miles with 4 strides - I did 3.25 miles on the treadmill and it all felt great!
Easy 3 miles - I completed 3.22 miles on the TM with an average pace of 13:57...not great, but easy!
Tempo for 1.5 miles - My tempo pace target is 11:07-11:29 and my actual pace was 11:09 - nailed it!
Long Run 8 miles - Completed 8.1 miles but definitely didn't nail the pace on this one as it was windy and cold and I was going up a pretty big hill at the beginning/end
So it was a pretty good start to marathon training! I did make a big mistake though when I went for a 5.8 mile hike/walk with my son and DIL on Sunday because it was a rest day and I really should have taken it as such...I paid for it big time during Week 2.

Week 2:
Easy 3 miles - Only completed 2.5 miles on the TM
4 miles with 2 at Race Pace (RP) - completed the 4 miles, but didn't hit race pace at all
Negative Splits for 6 miles (3, 3) - Only completed 5 miles and didn't negative split it
Easy 4 miles - Hey, I actually nailed this one! 4 miles...but then again, it was easy so no prescribed pace. LOL
Long Run 10 miles with Strong Finish - This run was a DISASTER. I chose the wrong trail to run on, the sun was out in force, and my legs were really feeling the cumulative miles. I only completed 9.4 miles and was nowhere near my long run pace and believe me when I say that simply making it back to the car WAS a strong finish! HA!
This week definitely made me re-think everything about this whole marathon thing. There were many times I wondered what exactly I thought I was doing and if I hadn't bitten off more than I could chew.

Week 3:
Fun Workout - I can't even tell you how happy I was to see a "fun workout" on the plan. The book outlines what these might be, but I didn't care...I took it to mean that I could do something fun so I did the Lolo Fitness treadmill app that has you do walking intervals at varying inclines and paces. And it was wonderful!
Easy 5 miles - Nailed it! I find it so strange, and hard to believe, that I completed 5 miles...on a Tuesday...before work. Just weird...those kinds of miles are usually reserved for long runs on the weekend.
Tempo for 2 miles - Total fail on this alarm wasn't on for some reason so I overslept, didn't have time, didn't have energy, so I just did a walk with my Mom around the 'hood for about 2 miles at a very slow pace of 19:26. 
Easy 4 miles - Another total fail...didn't do it and didn't even attempt it at all. In my defense, this was a hellacious week at work and I was just wiped out. I did run around taking pictures at our annual work softball game, so lots of squatting, walking, etc. 
Long Run 11 miles with 5 at RP - Stayed pretty much on pace and did 11.2 miles around the lake trail and it was fabulous!! 
Week 3 was the first week where I really feel like I totally dropped the ball. As I mentioned, it was a tough week at work with a lot of stuff that I was responsible for happening, so life got the better of me. I feel like I made up some of the lost ground with the long run on Saturday though and thoroughly enjoyed myself the entire time I was out there. There is going to be a casualty from that run though as I have the second toe on my right foot looking like the toenail is going to be a goner in the near future. I'm kind of surprised that I'm only 3 weeks into training and one of the toenails has already bitten the dust! But it is what it is...we'll see how many more join that one along the course, eh?

Week 4:
Easy 3 miles - Fail...didn't do one at all, but I did do a considerable amount of walking at Disneyland with the kiddos! That counts, right? hahaha
Easy 5 miles - Again, fail...didn't even try. I was wiped. I had a blister. The excuses could continue.
Tempo for 3x1 mile - Only managed to do 2 of the 3 repeats, but nailed the pace on the two that got done. I can tell I am going to have a hard time fitting these higher mileage days in during the workweek...but I'll keep trying!
Easy 3 miles - TBD
Long Run 12 miles with 6 at RP - TBD...I still need to figure out how this one is going to work because I have 12 miles on the plan, but I also have a local 5k race, so I need to add some miles before and after to get the 12.
Week 4 has continued my less than stellar record that began during Week 3, but I am bound and determined to right my wayward ship. 

I still have a long way to go and now is not the time to start slacking off. The reality is that work is going to continue to be busy, but hopefully not as busy as it was last week. I am going to start getting my Fridays off starting in June, but that comes with the price of 10-hour days which tend to completely wipe me out. There are definite challenges, but I am determined to keep going! After all, time certainly isn't slowing down or waiting for me!