Please excuse me for a moment…

cat-fukken-win-5990-1I sincerely apologize to anyone who might be offended by the language used in this picture, I only used it because it was absolutely necessary… ūüôā

Why am I posting this particular picture? Two reasons: #1: this picture makes me laugh out loud every time I see it; #2: it is an exact representation of how I feel right now.

Not only did I manage to jog a full 1.5 miles (in one go, no stopping!), I FINALLY achieved my goal of a 12 minute mile. I came in at 11 minutes, 53 seconds, to be exact. So, yeah, I’m feeling pretty awesome. When the little voice came through my headphones to tell me what my mile time was, I actually (half) shouted “hell yeah!”. Yes, I was in the middle of a park, and I should probably also apologize to the elderly couple who I startled with my little victory cry; I am terribly sorry for scaring you half to death, I just got a bit carried away.

In other news, I have decided to try my hand (or maybe I should I say “feet”?), at an 8k race. In just over four months, I will be participating in the 8k portion of¬† the 2014 Shamrock Marathon. I haven’t decided on a plan of attack just yet, but ultimately, I would like to finish it in 45 minutes or less. That would put my pace at about 9 minutes/mile… Don’t worry, I’m already questioning my sanity, so no need to call the men in white coats just yet.

Right now, my biggest concern is whether or not to join a gym. Why? It’s too darn cold. I know, it’s only November and it’s not even “cold” yet, but without my protective layer of blubber, 50 degrees is just too cold. I barely even broke a sweat after jogging 1.5 miles and once I cooled down from the workout, it literally took me hours to warm back up. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll get a very good workout if I’m dressed like Randy from “A Christmas Story”, so I’m thinking maybe joining a gym for the winter months is the way to go.

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My only concern is that running on a treadmill is going to bore me to tears. How on Earth am I supposed to entertain myself if I’m trapped in one spot? Trust me, trying to watch a movie or TV while running is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. I DO NOT have the attention span for that kind of multi-tasking. I enjoy jogging outside because even if I take the same path every time, there’s always something new to look at. It also gives me the perfect opportunity to spy on my neighbors and come up with bizarre stories to go along with my observations.

For example, the other day, I noticed that two of my neighbors were home extremely early. It seemed awfully suspicious that they pulled into their respective driveways (right across from each other) at the exact same time… Sure, it could have been pure coincidence, but what if they planned to come home early that day to perfect their zombie apocalypse plans? Perhaps they belong to a secret cult of cat worshippers and had to get ready for some kind of gathering? This is exactly¬†the kind of thing that keeps exercising interesting!

Unfortunately, since the cold always has a negative effect on the fibro, I’ll probably end up spending the winter on a treadmill. Maybe I’ll take a few tours and choose a gym based on its people watching potential!

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Laughter is awesome!

Here’s a question: aside from being pictures of cats, what do these two photos have in common?

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The answer: they make me laugh like a lunatic. Hopefully, most of you reading this find them at least mildly amusing as well, if not, well, I can’t help you. ūüôā

These pictures are part of a photo album on my phone that I call my “laugh arsenal”. I’m trying to start a new habit. The idea is that whenever I start feeling down or just bad in general, I pull up my funnies and get in a good laugh. We’ve all heard the saying, “laughter is the best medicine”, and I’m finding it to be totally true. In fact, I’m even forcing this new habit on my bestie;¬†if one of us is having a “sad moment” or just feeling down, the other texts over something hilarious. It’s amazing how much better you feel after a good laugh, and laughing burns calories! Hello, weight loss plan!

The best part about including someone else in the fun is picturing their reaction to whatever bizarre image you’ve sent them, assuming they aren’t sitting right next to, of course. I find that imaging my friend’s face when she next picks up her phone, (especially if it’s first thing in the morning…), often makes me laugh harder than whatever I sent her in the first place. Admittedly, I do have an odd sense of humor, so she does get a lot of very strange pictures… It’s amazing what you can find on the internet when you google “funny pictures”.

The only major problem I’ve encountered with this little idea is that sitting in a room by yourself and laughing aloud for no apparent reason can make people question your sanity. That’s ok, I just show them this:

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Viola! No more questions… Just kidding! Although, I’m betting that if I really needed a laugh, that would be a great way to get one! I’ll have to tuck that idea away for later. Maybe I can use it the next time I’m sitting in a doctor’s waiting room… ūüôā

Earl Grey, hot.

Yep, that’s a Star Trek reference and no, I’m not a Trekkie. It just happens that my parents watched a lot of Star Trek when I was a child and it seems to have affected my brain. As a kid, I’d always wondered what “Earl Grey, hot” actually was. A strange thing to fixate on, I know, but my parents mostly drank coffee. Growing up in the South, the only kind of tea I was familiar with was “sweet tea”, so I was curious about the drink Captain Picard was so very fond of. Once I actually tasted it, I was hooked; I’ve been exploring teas ever since.

My tea cabinet, no kidding.

My tea cabinet, no kidding.

Why am I telling you all of this? Simple: because¬†I loved tea before anyone called it a “super food”. I¬†am not one of those people who will go¬†out and buy something just because it’s¬†suddenly become popular and in reality, calling something a “super food”¬†is probably the¬†most effective way to make sure I’ll never try it.¬†I know that tea (especially green tea) has been getting a lot of attention lately for its many seemingly miraculous qualities. “According to research”, it can help prevent cancer and other diseases, lift your mood, help with weight loss, and even¬†make you immune to the Zombie Virus. Ok, I may have made up that last one, but the rest are said to be true.

However, I’m not here to report on what everyone else is saying. I’m only telling you what I have personally found, and in my experience, drinking a hot cup of tea is a great (and tasty!) way to alleviate some of symptoms of fibromyalgia.

I did not¬†scour the web for information on which teas to drink and then try them. I simply¬†enjoy¬†drinking tea and love to try different varieties, purely for the pleasure of it. It just so happens that while exploring the many different possibilities, I discovered that there are¬†real, tangible¬†benefits to some of them. I¬†truly wish that I could tell you I’ve found a miracle tea that makes all of the pain and random symptoms of fibro go away, but if it’s out there, I haven’t found it. What I have found is that certain teas seem to make some of the symptoms more bearable.

One of my favorite “go to” teas¬†is the Sleepytime¬†blend by Celestial Seasonings. Seriously, this stuff does wonders for me; it’s the only thing besides toilet¬†paper that¬†I make sure to never run out of. I¬†buy another box when I get down to the last four tea bags in the old box. If the zombie apocalypse happens,¬†this is what I’ll be hoarding.

Anyway…

It’s a caffeine free blend of chamomile and spearmint with a hint of lemongrass, which makes it great for anytime of day (or night).¬†¬†I find it to be incredibly soothing, just inhaling the aroma while it brews knocks my stress level down a notch. Since stress and anxiety have an immense impact on my pain level, anything that helps me keep calm is wonderful. This tea is also perfect for bouts of insomnia; chamomile has been used for centuries to “soothe¬†the nerves”¬†and help people sleep. You can buy plain chamomile tea, I’m sure it would be just as effective, I just don’t care for the flavor.

I absolutely adore a good cup of Earl Grey but,¬†it’s really just “regular”¬†(black) tea infused with bergamot and sometimes other flavors. I’ve tried many different flavors/varieties of black tea over the years and while I haven’t found it to be particularly useful for fibro symptoms, it does help with headaches. Add a bit of sugar (real sugar or honey, no fake stuff!!), to a hot cup of black tea (not decaf) and suddenly you have a drug free headache buster. It even helps with migraines, although I’ve never had a cup of tea make a migraine completely disappear.

There is a ton of research out there concerning green tea, but since I haven’t really consumed enough of it to notice any benefits, I’m not going to make any claims about it. What I can tell you is that if brewed correctly, it’s very good and it does have a lower caffeine content than black tea. I am, however,¬†planning to try a few different varieties of green tea very soon, so if I notice anything amazing, I’ll definitely report back.

In the mean time, I think I’ll go check on my Sleepytime stash. ūüôā

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