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“The Race is Long and, In The End, It’s Only With Yourself”

I thought about giving up the minute I started.  I saw the turn for the 5K racers and I almost took it.  I was convinced at the second mile marker there was no way I was going to make it to 13.1.  By mile 2.5 I was in the back of the pack and already feeling like I had nothing left, my legs were already screaming, my lower back was already aching, my lungs were already about to explode and I was wondering what in the world I was thinking when I decided to run a half marathon.  The mind is a powerful thing, and for the fist 4 miles, mine was in control of my run.

At mile 4 I knew I had single digit miles left to run, I was nearing the halfway point, and my pace, while I felt awful, was fairly spot on for where it usually is.  I just kept telling myself to keep moving and kept saying out loud to myself, the only one you’re racing is yourself.  You just have to finish.

My husband, my kids, my mother in law and my sister in law were parked right around the 1 mile/12 mile marker (it was an out and back race).  At mile 4.5-5 I was praying I could see there faces to encourage me to keep moving.  That was when runners who had already made it to the turn around started passing me.  While generally during a race I get discouraged to be passed by returning runners so early on, it was amazing.  It was the encouragement I needed.  There were some runners who smiled, some who offered a wave, others words of encouragement, some high fives; whenever I passed another person, I ran a little faster.  While the turning point was still over a mile away, this was the turning point for me.  I fought back tears with each person that passed, not because I was in last place, but because I knew then I was going to finish.

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The volunteers working this event were amazing as well offering applause and encouragement.  I didn’t feel like they were put out by me slowly bringing up the rear.  Even as they passed me to go from station to station to pack up (they’d pack up after I passed), they would applaud out the window.

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From mile 10 on I was struggling.  I had trained to 10 miles.  I planned to train further but then I had sick kids followed by a sinus infection and it just didn’t happen for me.  It was obvious looking at my splits I hadn’t gotten past 10 in training.  I was fairly consistent with times until that point.  I dropped off 1 minute from 10-11 another from 11-12, and another from 12-13.  I wanted to walk, I wanted to cry, I wanted to be done.  Every inch of my body hurt.  And then across the way I saw my boys.  There were 2 minute long stretches I walked and when I saw them I pushed through tears and the pain so they would not see me walk or see me cry.  I yelled to my husband to come with me for a few minutes and he did.  He walked next to me while I ran (that’s how slow I was moving at this point).  I knew I was only a mile away, but that mile seemed impossible.

boyssignsWhen he left me to go back to the car so he could drive ahead to the finish line, I cried again, knowing I was going to make it.  No matter what, I had come 12 miles and I was going to get to 13.1.  I smiled at them as they drove past me yelling encouragement out the window.

After they drove off is when I met my angel in a kilt.  He had passed me on his way back probably somewhere around the 5 mile marker.  This man with paint on his face and a feather in his beard ran towards me and asked if he could accompany me to the finish.  I told him that was fine and spent the last half mile chatting a little and moving faster than I had in the last 3 miles.  He distracted me from the pain I was feeling and I might have even smiled a little.

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My angel, Kip!

When we rounded the corner and saw the finish, Kip assured me I was going to make it in under 3 hours and that’s when I gave it the last bit of gas I had in me and I finished strong.  medal

I was so glad to be done and at the same time, in aw of the fact that I had finished.  I cried, I laughed, I cramped… It was amazing.

I posted on the half marathon group Facebook page about my experience and thanked everyone for their support and this was my favorite response: “Congratulations!!! As has been said already, you did not finish last. You finished ahead of everyone who didn’t put the effort in to accomplishing what you just accomplished. I actually mentioned you to my friend on the ride home. I said, “When I passed the woman at the back of the pack she looked so happy and she gave me an encouraging smile.” It was honestly the highlight of my run. Good for you and thank you!”

Later that night when I checked the official race results expecting to see my name listed last (which was OK with me as I was racing with myself) I teared up with I saw Kip, my angel in a kilt listed last.  He finished 4 seconds behind me.  He could have been done long before that but he waited at it meant so much to me.

I am more than proud of what I accomplished and more than a little amazed at what my body has done over these last 2 years.  2 years ago I was that person who didn’t put in the effort.  I was sad, morbidly obese and I couldn’t walk around the grocery store let alone run a half marathon.  I did this!  All on my own.  I had to push myself far outside of my comfort level, push through the pain and the mental and physical exhaustion and get it done and I did.

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My ultimate goal of a marathon is still out there and I will get there, maybe next year or even the year after but for now it’s time for some much needed rest and a break and some time to be proud of what I have accomplished.  I look forward to my next half marathon and finishing in less than the 2:55 it took me yesterday.

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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Set backs, set backs and more set backs

It has been a rough couple of weeks of half marathon training.  Last week, both of my kids were sick and miserable.  I managed to still get in 2 runs, but they were both short runs.  Sunday was supposed to be 10 miles, but it was also my sons 2nd birthday party.  I had a ton to do in the morning so decided I’d go in the evening, which never happened, since, like I knew I would, I started coming down with my kids cold on Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday I managed a short run, but it was awful.  I didn’t think about how much my cold would effect my running since I didn’t feel all that awful Tuesday morning when I went running.  Since then, it has been all down hill and not in a good hitting a smooth stride kind of way. Yesterday I was completely and totally miserable and couldn’t get out of my own way.  Today I’m feeling a little better but I still can’t breath out of my nose.

On another note, I have my new running shoes, which I love.  I ran in a friends and they were like running on clouds so imagine my surprise when my non-broken-in shoes killed my feet.  My calves and my hips scream every time I run in them. 

I have 24 days to my half marathon and my doubt is growing.  I know I can do this, I know I’m capable, but the more time goes by without training and without being able to build on my progress the more I wonder if my brain will over power my body before I cross the finish line.  Here’s hoping that is not the case, and here is praying I can run tomorrow so I can get back on track. 

In the meantime I’m going to have to do some tweaking of my training schedule.  I was going to get to 2 miles just in time to taper the week before my race.  I’m thinking since I’m going to be 2 weeks out of a long run, Sunday will be a repeat of 9 miles, getting me up to 11 before I taper.  I know if I can get to 11 training on race day I can get to the 13.1.  Wish me luck and good health!  I really need it.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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I Never Would Have Thought

I have said more than a time or two that I’m not a “runner.”  I keep a fairly slow pace and I’ve always had it in my mind if you are a ‘runner’ you should be good at it, and I’m not.  I’m not fast, in fact I still struggle to get under a 12 minute pace, I’ve still never ran a mile in less than 10 minutes and I’ve never looked around at the scenery and thought I love that I’m out running.  Shouldn’t I at least enjoy it to be a ‘runner?’

But here I am, entering week 3 of my half marathon training and if nothing else, I am starting to feel like an athlete.  I have logged right around 40 miles in the last 3 weeks.  Yesterday I ran 7 miles!  The only time I stopped was for a quick water break right around the 6 mile marker.  I’ve come a long way since the first time I ran last year when I struggled to make it from 1 telephone poll to the next.

So you might wonder why I bother running when I really hate it so much and I have some really good reasons.  The obvious, it burns a lot of calories and is helping me tone up some of those tough to tone spots, but it’s more than that.  First, it is a goal I have set for myself.  I want to run a marathon.  I started me weight loss journey at 26.2 pounds and to me running 26.2 miles would be coming full circle.  Second, it challenges me like nothing else.  I have to force myself to get out and run, the entire time I’m running, I have to will myself to keep going and when I’m done, I feel accomplishment I can’t explain.  When I run, I push my brain and my body to do things I never could have imagined I was capable of doing.  It makes me feel empowered, strong and it makes me feel like I can conquer the world; like anything I put my mind to doing is mine to accomplish.

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I spent a lot of years not challenging my body or my mind.  I used the pounds as an excuse and my self-esteem dwindled until I saw myself as nothing more than a failure.  I had failed my husband, turning from the healthy active woman he married to a couch potato who didn’t want to do anything and who only felt sexy looking at pictures of my past self; I failed my children, not spending time with them playing on the floor because my feet fell asleep, not playing at the park because I was winded after just walking from the car; and I was failing myself, for all the above reasons and so many more.  I was not the woman I wanted to be and I was convinced I never could be.

Even after seeing success on the scale, this change in my mentality has only come from working out, and nothing proves to me what I’m capable like running does.

So far in this training I have learned where my wall is.  Right around 2-3 miles I just want to quit, I want to give up, I want to go back to the couch and put my feet up, but when I push through that, I can go beyond my wildest dreams.  Along the way yesterday I kept saying to myself, I’ll break for a walk after 3 miles, I’ll walk for a minute when my pace drops off, I’ll run to that sign, I’ll stop at the top of this hill… and I never did.  When I started this training, I still doubted it was even remotely possible for me to run a half marathon.  I mean, do you know how far 13.1 miles actually is?!  But I’ve got this.  No more sitting around letting the world pass me by, I want to be out moving, even if it is only at a 5 mph pace.  It may take me a little longer, but I’ll get there, and then I will keep going.  And who knows, maybe someday I’ll see myself as a ‘runner.’

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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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I’ll Take That as a Compliment

I was talking to a friend of mine the other night and she mentioned she had seen my dad in the grocery store.  He had told her I had lost more weight and he just didn’t want me getting too skinny.  Last week, I saw my uncle at church and she said, “I see you’ve lost more weight.” 

The truth of the matter is, I’ve actually gained 5 pounds!  I sit happy and healthy at 112 pounds lost.  I take these comments as a complement.  I see this as a perfect demonstration as to why even though I am at goal weight, my workouts continue.  I work harder now than I did when I was losing.  When I was trying to lose weight, I was completely focused, and while I allowed myself to eat what I wanted, I didn’t want to eat the treats because all that mattered at that point in time was the end result.  Now here I am at the end result and know I have to allow myself to be a human being.  I need to allow myself to indulge every once in a while and my workouts help me to do that.  Not only that, but they make me feel strong, healthy, energized, refreshed, de-stressed and on and on I could go.

Along the same line, out of curiosity, I decided to check my BMI again.  While for my height my max weight should be 150 (which I am 150) the CDC and my insurance company still calls me overweight!  Really?  Why do we have to put everyone into a box?  I know it’s the easiest way to standardize but I find it hard to believe that my xs, size 4 body is overweight.  While my BMI says I’m overweight, my waist-to-height ratio says I’m 1 pants size away from being underweight. 

A friend of mine reminded me of this: ” Instead of BMI we should be measuring our happiness, our strength, our ability to run around with our kids, our confidence in ourselves, our desire to consume real food most of the time and splurge now and then. The government, CDC, insurance companies, and major food producers want us to be constantly herded sheep striving after goals that are either unattainable, unrealistic, and most obvious, unhealthy. I prefer to be a goat, since they eat what they want, do what they want, escape the artificial boundaries around them, and dare to be silly just because they can.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Zumba for my Best

A couple months back I got my license to be a zumba instructor. I’m super excited to say I’ll be instructing a class this fall 2 days a week. In the meantime, I’m participating in a fundraiser for local families dealing with cancer. I lost my best childhood friend to cancer a few years back. I miss her everyday and am so glad I can be a part of this fundraiser. My cool down song I chose with her in the very front of my mind.
Every time I dance Lace, I think of you and today I will close my eyes and let you surround me and wish for the day you could “beam me up” for just a minute.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Temptation at Every Turn

This past few days have been rough.  I finally got rid of that 2 pounds that’s been bugging me for a couple months now and I’m pretty sure I found it again this weekend.  Seemed like temptation was lurking everywhere I turned. 

Saturday was my nephews birthday with was Chinese food and cake (I never used to like cake, but now I LOVE cake!), followed by my grandmother’s birthday party on Sunday.  And like I was saying, back in my bigger days, could have taken cake or left it, but now I just can’t seem to say no.  I want to eat entire cakes worth of frosting and groan with each taste.  The cake on Sunday was nearly life changing, it was that good.

Today I promised to get back on track and I’ve done pretty well so far considering the jelly donuts in the lunch room have been calling my name since about 10 this morning and just when the donuts were almost gone, someone leaves half a carrot cake and did I mention, I LOVE cake?  Please 5 o’clock, get here soon so I can go to zumba and think about something other than delicious frosted treats.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Words Will Always Hurt Me

Oh, the innocence of a child. Today I was taken aback when my 5 year old simply stated an observation that has left me teary. I was laying on my bed and my shirt had ridden up exposing about 2 inches of my belly. He asked me to cover it up, and I have no idea what I was expecting when I asked why but the answer I got stung. He replied with, “it’s so big I just don’t like it.”

There are areas I am more self conscious of than others and my legs and stomach top that list. I have carried 2 babies and 112 extra pounds and while I continue to work at it, I will likely never have a six pack, or washboard abs. I will always have stretch marks and unless I strike it rich, I will always have some skin that will likely never tighten.  I have accepted this yet it still hurt. He appologized when I told him he had hurt my feelings but he was simply stating something he saw as a fact.

This on the heels of a rough dressing room fitting yesterday when I tried on a pair of workout shorts and all I saw was rolls of skin. I usually try to stay positive and try to see how far I have come but sometimes all I see is if I hadn’t gotten so far gone to begin with I wouldn’t have had to make the journey I have and maybe those words wouldn’t hurtso very badly.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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