Countdown to my wedding

Ll0qpDs0STuyV5ElAzJfWwFor the life of me, I’m trying to remember if I have gone to a friend’s wedding since George died, and the only one I can think of was my friend Nick’s wedding which was nearly a month after George died. I attended another wedding as a person’s date, but there wasn’t anyone there who I knew. It felt like being at a strangers house party.

But in a matter of weeks, I’m going to a friend’s wedding and then there’s mine.

Planning my wedding has been a mindnumbing experience. I’m going through the motions with little to no emotion. When I tried on my wedding dresses, it was like looking at a stranger. I selected my dress based on comfort and price. And when it came back to get it altered, it wasn’t me who I was looking at. It was a mess of a woman who is so broken and fractured wearing a big white dress.

I want to get married, but this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. The emotional consequences attached to planning this wedding is like steering a boat into a thunderstorm. Every forward movement is creating larger waves with each passing day. Something is about the break, and I feel the horror building inside of me.

But I know it will be blue skies once I get through this. And I know I’ll be making lifetime memories with the people I love. But I also know that these carefree and jovial memories carry a darkness behind every smile and pose. But what kind of way is it to live with fear and anxiety on days that are supposed to be the greatest experience of your life?

What’s wrong with me?

I’m widowed. I will always be a widow. The amount of grief, guilt, and regret I carry cannot be healed by remarrying. It’s a burden I’ll carry for a lifetime. But the grief moments lessen as days push forward. I am excited to be a wife again, I can’t wait to start building a life and perhaps a family with my soon-to-be husband. But my ghosts will always haunt me and they’ll continue whispering and tormenting me until I become still.

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How Do Half Marathons Parallel Widowhood?

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I made the vital mistake of not training for my last half marathon. My body is not cooperating with me and my legs, I think they’re ready to detach. The exertion of yesterday is beginning to take a toll on my mood today. But I’m still beaming with pride that I got through it, and that’s one of the best parts of racing

When I first started getting into running, I did so to clear my mind, sort through my feelings, and reflect on being only 28 years old and widowed.

I would talk to George on my runs, tell him about my days, what I miss about him, what used to make me laugh, and then on those rough days what I hated about his absence. It was cathartic and assisted in my healing. But I also think running gave me a feeling of false positive.

When looking back, vision is always 20/20, but at the time I didn’t know. It was so new and fresh and I wish I knew better. But I didn’t, how could I? I feel like I started dating too soon, made poor decisions with my friends and how I treated them, how I acted with my co-workers, how I spoke to my players, and of course making a decision that will change the course of my career.

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But running also provided me a new sense of what is important to me. I am a full-time
fitness professional with a collegiate coaching background. I love the training process and the end result of all the hard work it takes to gain strength, speed, self-confidence, and of course mental gains. Pairing up with Widow Dark Thirty and helping the Widow Dark Fitness line, I have the opportunity to help other widows use exercise to heal.

So what does this have to do with Half Marathons?

Having done a marathon, I know half marathons are my bread and butter. I know how to handle the distance and I know when my body begins to struggle and fatigue. However, this last Montgomery Half Marathon…the lack of training did me in… If only I could turn back time.

Vision is always 20/20 in hindsight… But it made me reflect on valuable lessons about training for races, and how it parallels widowhood and readjusting to life after loss.

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5 Lessons of Running and Widowhood

  • When running, there needs to be a level of relaxation. Your body needs to be prepared for the long haul, whatever speed and distance it is. That’s why most people can’t roll out of bed and run 10+ miles.

Try telling a widow to relax, is almost as bad as telling a widow to “move on.” Easier said than done. Learning how to relax on long runs takes time and practice. It doesn’t just happen. Just like with widowhood, figuring out what words, moments, trinkets, smells, clothes trigger grief takes experience and unfortunately practice on how to deal with it. There isn’t a choice of distance because the distance is the rest of your life. How to deal, and get by daily becomes a lifetime of emotional and mental training. Over time it does get easier, but the cost is damning.

  • The mental fortitude to keep pushing even when fatigue comes in is another aspect of race training. Figuring out ways manage physical stress along with mental negativity is a fine line between a successful run or a struggling run.

The evenings or mornings after horrible grief waves can allow for projects, daily tasks, bills, cleanliness all to become secondary. Sitting in bed is soooooooo much easier but not really gratifying. And when the bed wins, that’s when the regret comes in. There are countless reasons why to shun the day and stay locked inside. There can be thousands of reasons why to do something, but the one dagger of I’m grieving can turn life into a ship that cannot be repaired before it sinks. But those days when the kids need you, there’s a crucial work deadline, important recruiting meeting, those are sometimes the most accomplished moments. The times when you feel you conquered grief. I feel in these moments, a person learns more about themselves and how to be more successful the next time crippling grief rears its ugly head.

  • Reading the course is vital too. Seek out others who have run the course to know if the hills are as bad as the course map says. Is it a slight slope for 2 miles or steep and grueling for 1/2 mile?

Seek out others who have been widowed. Seek out others who are fresh to widowhood and see if some of their experiences are similar to yours. Two of my closest widow friends were both widowed in 2013. One was widowed in April 2013, and the other was widowed 20 days before I was in November 2013. We have stayed in contact for 4 years and have talk hours on top of hours about anniversaries, birthdays, random grief waves, new relationships, first breakups, etc.

Know your course also, because grief is individual at the end of the day. Something you might never have expected might send you into a tizzy of grief, depression, despair, anger, etc. Make a mental note of it, and understand that bump is one to be mindful of. Also, in my case, when I listen to voicemails from George, I better be ready to know that it comes with an emotional consequence. Think about your own personal course, and master it the best you can.

  • Invest in proper footwear. Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to increase physical stress and eventual injury. If you suffer an injury on your training runs, understand how you might be compromising your form.

Invest in yourself! Widowhood is a time to learn more about yourself than you ever wished or wanted to. Life changes, and it cannot go backward. So there are two choices a person has: Kill or Be Killed

Grief can kill you. But invest in yourself and finding HEALTHY ways to deal with the unavoidable. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs only prolongs the feelings that need to be felt. Running until exhaustion also only puts off what will eventually come back to rip you apart (lessons I’ve learned). If life gets to be unbearable, seek out a source that can help you, whether it’s a grief counselor, or attending Camp Widow, or talking with The Grief Consultant, or a Life Coach. Your mental health is valuable and should be an investment so in the long haul, you are becoming the best version of yourself under these circumstances.

  • Put in the work, enjoy race day.  Though the training was long and grueling, not every race day will be a Personal Record. But go in, do your best and be proud.

One thing I love about running is it’s you versus yourself every race day and each time you lace up your shoes to hit the road.

One thing I hate about grief and widowhood is it’s you versus yourself. There are days when you wish to be anyone else but you, and what makes it worse is, it’s an uncontrollable emotion that you’re fighting against. Some days are better than others, but as the saying goes, with two steps forward one step back. There will be setbacks, there will be victories, but at the end of the day, how you react to each one is individual. As days become weeks, and week become months and then years, as long as there’s personal growth you are proud of when it comes widowhood, no one can strip that away from you. But just know, life will be different, but it can also be different in an enjoyable way.

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Progressive Overload

IMG_3159There’s a style of lifting called Progressive Overload. This consists of doing heavy weights with low reps. A good example of this is Strong Lift also known as 5×5 program. 5 reps for 5 sets. It’s three exercises to be performed three days a week and over time the weight increases.

Ex. Day one

  1. Bench Press- 85lb 5×5
  2. Squat- 110lbs 5×5
  3. Barbell Row- 75lbs 5×5

Next time revisiting these three lifts together:

  1. Squat- 115lbs 5×5
  2. Bench Press- 90lb 5×5
  3. Barbell Row- 80lb

Eventually overtime a person builds a ton of muscle and strength.

IMG_2504So what does this have to do with widowhood and grief?

As widows grieve and learn to adjust to life after loss, I feel this is an emotional version of progressive overload. A lot of times, widows, especially after their first break up cannot handle the realization of rejection. I was like this 110%. When I went through my first break up after George died, I did just about everything to numb the rejection– Run miles, swim miles, bike for miles, drink hard on weeknights, incapacitated on weekends. Yeah, did the abuse the body inside and out. But, the hurt and pain subsided, and I got back on my feet and kept trekking forward. Also cleaned up my act quite a bit. Gave up the booze because I felt it made me more unstable than I already was. I still feel I am so I don’t drink much in present time either. But what matters most is when the next rejection came a few months later I skated on by like it was nothing. I see this as a version of emotional progressive overload.

Grief makes us vulnerable, and with rejection on top, a person is bound to shatter but then get back together. Stronger than before. It doesn’t take a lot of reps or practice to build up, and that’s why this ensures emotional fortitude and strength.

My fiance is currently on a 2 week business trip and this is the 5th little hiatus we have had in the last year. This is not including the 6 months he was deployed. That wasn’t a little hiatus. That was a straight-up life adjustment for awhile. These 2-5 week TDYs are inconvenient but they don’t rattle me too much anymore.

Losing George has made his TDY and deployment much more manageable for me. And I chalk this up to the style that makes Strong Lifts so effective, and why I am applying a lifting style of Progressive Overload to dealing with widowhood.

 

 

feature photo cred: Suzanna Wasserman

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Great article on AR-15 ownership in America

via “Fuck you, I like guns.”

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Don’t Pay Someone to Count Your Macronutrients

Get your pen and paper out and get ready for some math problems. We are calculating macronutrients.

‘Macros’ is a buzz word in the nutrition world, but they are the fundamentals of how we function, they are energy and a significant player in the thermodynamics of our human system:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats

Before we enter into the conversation about customizing your macronutrients, and catering a macro diet plan to YOUR needs, not your cousin or sister or husband’s needs, you need to figure out what your daily caloric needs are.

Huh?

If you were to lay around in bed all day long, only to get up to go to the bathroom, how many calories would you need to survive? This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). To do it manually this is the equation:

BMR = (height in centimeters x 6.25) + (weight in kilograms x 9.99) – (age x 4.92) + 5

Or you can google that shit and get it done for you here:

https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/bmr_calculator.htm

results-56083e3fb7d046db9a0c-Peavine Falls BTC 2017-450That count is if you were totally inactive all day, that’s what you would need to maintain your current bodyweight.

But this is a fitness group, and we all seem to be actively engaged in some sort of physical activity. So to determine your CUSTOM MACRO DIET, we need to determine your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure)

TDEE can be estimated by a complicated equation here:

Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age 👍 + 5
Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age 👍 – 161

Or this much easier one to give a range:

Weight (lb) x 12= minimum
Weight (lb) x 18= max

A lot of people find the comfort zone in the middle of 14-16 range.

Or you can use this online app:

https://www.bodybuilding.com/…/calculate-your-total-daily-e…

imageSo as you see each individual has different caloric needs based on height, age, weight, and of course activity. This is why diet plans work for some and not others, but with macro dieting, you can customize it to your needs.

It offers flexibility in dieting, and if you want to eat waffles as a way to get your carbohydrates, well damnit eat your waffles.

But how do you determine your macros? Take a seat and get ready to have your mind blown and get really pissed off you actually paid someone to do this for you.

(I do accept Venmo, PayPal, Cash app donations)

I’m going to determine my TDEE based on the weight x 16.
I believe I’m moderate to high degree of activity.

My TDEE is 2160 cals per day to maintain my body weight.
My BMR is 1380.

Because I am active, I need to make sure I have 1g of protein per pound of my bodyweight.

  • Editor’s note: There’s a bit of controversy regarding this amount. It’s mighty high. I’ve researched and cross-references it with the American College of Sports Medicine, and also with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and in addition to American Heart Health Association. Potentially take your body weight and divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms and then multiply it by 1.3 for your optimum protein. You personally can tinker with it, but I like the 1g per pound.

So I need to be consuming between 135g of protein a day.

Here’s a nice little guide to determine your amount of protein:

💪Protein Requirements in Grams per Pound of Body Weight per Day💪

•Sedentary Adult (RDA) 0.40
•Adult Recreational Exerciser 0.75
•Adult Competitive Athlete 0.90
•Adult Building Muscle Mass 0.90
•Dieting Athlete 1.00
•Growing Teenage Athlete 1.00

1g of protein= 4 calories.

So 135×4= 540 calories from protein.

imageCool beans.

Determine grams of fat is a little different. The American Heart Association recommends fat intake to be between 20-35% of the diet. To make life easier let’s go with 25% of the diet will be fat.

Take your TDEE and multiply it by .25
This is mine: 2160x .25= 540

So 540 of my calories should be from fat, but to figure out fat per gram, divide your calories from fat by 9

1g of Fat= 9 calories– 540/9= 60

So I’m getting 540 calories from proteins, and 540 calories from fat, that leaves carbs to be determined.

540(protein)+540(fats)= 1,080 calories.

2160 (TDEE)- 1080 (fats & protein)= 1,080 calories remaining in carbs.

1g of carb= 4 calories

1080/4= 270g of carbs

So to sustain my weight at the activity level, I am doing I need

270g of carbs
135g of protein
60g of fats

Featured Image -- 4600Personally, I am looking to lose fat, so I get have my muscles pop more so I want to “cut.”

A sustainable way to “cut” macros is cutting carbs and fats by 10-15%.

So from the 270/.15=40 so to cut fat if I drop my carb intake to 230 that will be a 160 cal deficit.
For fat, cut will be 60/.15=9 so I’ll drop my fat intake to 51g per day, and that’s an 81 cal deficit.

Totaled 241 cal deficit which leaves me at 1,919 calories consumed with my level of activity to help burn some fat.

230g carbs
135g protein
51g fat

That’s macro dieting. Wordy but easy to figure out.

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