Healthy Writers Club: Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Photo Courtesy of Shallee McArthur
Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you achieved your fitness goals this week, and I can't wait to tell you about my foray into the world of stand-up paddleboarding.

I have decided to segment my milestones into three different categories each week: body, mind and spirit. Here is my progress:

BODY

I attended my first stand-up paddleboarding lesson on Sunday, and I also rented a board and went paddleboarding through the mangroves with a good friend yesterday. I was completely nervous the first time I paddled out, but the boards are way more buoyant and stable than I expected. It wasn't long before I made the leap into actually standing on the board, and paddling came fairly naturally once I figured out the proper stroke technique.

Photo Courtesy of ingridtaylar
The physicality and grace was exactly what I thought it would be, and I felt determination solidify inside me as I balanced and stretched and succeeded.

I want to be good at this.

MIND

I have been between manuscripts for a few months now; the stress of my everyday life has been so overwhelming that the last thing I have wanted to deal with is a new project. However, a conversation with my fabulous agent this week finally inspired me to jump back on the wagon. I decided to start a project I've been marinating on for about a year now, and I can already feel those creative juices beginning to flow again.

The project will be a YA Magical Realism called THE PUREST SHADE OF WHITE, and it will star polar bears, zoos, ghosts and snow. I think this picture pretty much sums it up:

Photo Courtesy of Me
I have been playing with this novel's characters for so long that they already feel like good friends. I can't wait for them to finally tell me their story.

(Want more story hints? Check out my brand new Inspiration Board on Pinterest: THE PUREST SHADE OF WHITE.)

SPIRIT

As part of my journey of getting reacquainted with myself, I made it a point to stretch myself this week. I visited the Lowry Park Zoo and the Florida Aquarium, and I took my parents on a Tampa Ghost Tour. I spent time with amazing friends I've barely seen since college, and I allowed myself to be distracted by beautiful things like oak trees and art festivals. I soaked in soul-soothing music, and I took time to listen to the things I was feeling--even when they weren't happy or convenient. I'm keeping a journal again these days, and that has been helpful, too.


Here are my weekly Healthy Writers Club milestones:

1. Weekly Stats: Two paddleboarding sessions; two cardio sessions; two ab, bun, arm and leg workouts; three long walks

2. In-Flight Entertainment Favorite: I'm the type of person who puts a lot of weight in songs and song lyrics. The Zac Brown Band came through for me at the perfect moment this week with the entrance of "Goodbye in Her Eyes" into my life. I have played that song many times since then, and I have smiled and cried and sung along with it more times than I can count.

Here's a link if you'd like to check it out:


3. Coolest moment: Feeling that knot of determination solidify inside me when I stepped onto that paddleboard on Sunday... I was a little afraid I'd been putting too much emphasis on how important this lesson was going to be to me, but that moment told me I'd been exactly right all along.

4. Hardest moment: The two-year anniversary of the car accident that nearly killed my husband, our two dogs and me was this Tuesday. (You can read more about it here.) So many things have changed since that moment that I couldn't decide which facet I should mourn first.

How did your week go? Any healthy milestones or set-backs? I'm looking forward to visiting your blogs, and I hope you have a great weekend.

The Healthy Writers Club: True Confessions

Photo Courtesy of Shallee McArthur
True confession time.

When I joined Shallee McArthur's Healthy Writers Club three weeks ago (see my first post here), I mentioned my life has been filled with stress, and my fitness has fallen by the wayside lately. I told you I was making some life changes that would hopefully conclude by October 12th, and I promised I would begin a resurgence of my healthy living at that time.

Well... There is no reason to be coy anymore. Thanks to my Two Roads Diverged post, you all now know that my stress and life changes center around this question: Are my husband's and my lives are still heading in the same direction?

While we attempt to figure out the answer to that question, I have relocated from Colorado back to my home state of Florida. I am now living in the Tampa Bay area--just arrived on October 10th--and I hope to spend the next few months getting back in touch with myself and reconnecting with my spirit.

(I would like to give a special shout-out to Lora Rivera for supporting me so much during this transition. She is one of the most thoughtful and encouraging people I have ever encountered, and I feel honored to call her a friend.)

It's funny how your essence burns down in times of stress and sadness. I used to feel full of life and rich, and now I feel a bit like a shadow of myself, like the fire that was my spirit has begun to weaken into an ember. More importantly, I feel I've become disconnected from my body--like I've retreated so far inside myself that I can no longer see or hear or feel things like I used to.

So, my entrance into the Healthy Writers Club is particularly significant to me. Not only do I pledge to begin treating my body with the respect it deserves, but I pledge to likewise treat my mind and heart and soul and spirit with respect.

Here are the goals I have accomplished so far this week:

Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons
1. Return to the ocean. I have always lived near a coast, and I feel a deep connection to salt water and all its creatures. I have felt my gills drying up the past two years I've lived in Colorado, so I took a trip to the ocean earlier this week and sunk face-first into the waves. The feeling of the current and the tides against my hair and skin is one of the best soul therapies I have ever discovered.

Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons
2. Figure out my food allergies. My sensitive stomach has plagued me for years, so I finally broke down and spent the money for a proper Food Sensitivity Test. Tampa Rejuvenation took my blood samples earlier this week, and I should be receiving my food allergies results within three weeks. (They apparently test for 100 different types of foods, so I'm crossing my fingers they figure out SOMETHING for me to remove from my diet.)

Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons
3. Start putting healthy foods into my body. When my life is out of balance, I subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) sabotage my healthy eating to get my body out of balance as well. (It seems strange to have one in line and not the other, so I inhale everything I possibly can to make my outsides better reflect my insides.) I decided this week that the time for food mourning is officially over. It's now time to start pulling myself back together.

Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons
4. Start an exercise routine. My sister is in way better shape than I am, so she and I have been working our abs, buns, legs and arms this week. I also found a stand-up paddleboard shop and signed up for my very first paddleboarding lesson this weekend. (I was never very good at surfing, but I love being on the water, so perhaps this will be a better fit.) This paddleboarding shop also apparently offers paddleboard yoga and core workout lessons, so maybe I'll dive right in if it feels like a good fit.

Here are my weekly Healthy Writers Club milestones:

1. Weekly Stats: Two ab work-outs, two bun work-outs, two leg work-outs and one arm workout... A couple of nice walks, and one (very) short bike ride

2. In-Flight Entertainment Favorite: I have been listening to the 180 Degrees South soundtrack pretty much non-stop lately. Beautiful, meandering ocean-inspired melodies... Perfect for my return to the coast. (Check out the full playlist here.)

3. Coolest moment: Taking the plunge and finally reconnecting with the ocean

4. Hardest moment: Pretty much every single thing about this week has been hard--especially those few days when my immune system finally shut down on me. I have been trying to get sick for weeks, and my body finally collected on that debt earlier this week. Still trying to recover from that.

How did your week go? Any healthy milestones or set-backs? I'm really excited to officially be part of the Healthy Writers Club now, and I'm looking forward to all the motivation we can give each other.

P.S.- I'm going to start using the #healthywriters hashtag when I post about fitness on Twitter. Would love it if you guys would use it too, so we can all find each other!

The Healthy Writers Club

Photo Courtesy of Shallee McArthur
Shallee McArthur is an uber-talented science fiction and fantasy writer who just signed with Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates. I'm so excited to have her as an "agency sister," and I'm also excited to join her Healthy Writers Club. Here's what she has to say about it:

"As writers, we hear a lot about the "butt in chair" tactic, which is great for our manuscripts, but not so great for the actual butt in the chair. Hence the Healthy Writers Club. If you're game to join the fun, you can run, walk, bike, make a healthy dinner, play tag with your kids, etc. Then, post about it on Friday (or whenever you want). Sign up here!"

I jumped on this opportunity, because my butt has been doing a lot of chair-sitting lately. As a matter of fact, my butt has been chair-sitting nearly non-stop lately, and I hate it because I feel like I've lost sight of the active, healthy side of myself. 

Stress has been a HUGE part of my life for the last several months. I have a tendency to burrow inward and disappear inside myself during times of trouble; I also have a tendency to bury myself in comfort food. I have a very weak immune system to start with, so this is quite the recipe for disaster.

I am in the midst of making some life changes, and my goal is to begin exercising (and eating nourishing, real food) by Friday, October 12th. This gives me two more weeks to wrap up some important things, and then I will begin with a vengeance. 

(I have so many plans, but I won't bore you with my details. Instead, I will put my money where my mouth is, and I will PROVE how serious I am about this soon enough!)

How about you? How do you balance your writing life and your fitness? Please click on Shallee's link above if you'd like to join in on our fun!