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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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Struggling to Find my Way

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how hard it it to lose weight.  As someone who has managed to drop a large number of pounds to this point, I have come to the determination that 15 pounds is way harder than 100.

With a big amount of weight to lose you have the determination and the drive to get the weight off.  For me, I knew it was life or death, happiness or misery.  For me, the pounds came off so much faster 100 pounds ago.  2-3 pounds a week was the norm, and if I had a week that I lost less than a pound, I considered the week a loss. 

At this point in my weight loss, if I lose a pound in a week, I’m ecstatic!  Right now I’m about 12 pounds away from my goal weight.  I’m pretty certain, I’ve been 12 pounds from goal weight for the last 2 months (I’m being dramatic, but it feels like forever).  I go down a half a pound, then up a pound, then back down a pound and I just keep hovering around the 161 mark.

There are a couple of reasons I see this being the case.  I’m happy with my body and my health where it is.  The main reason for my desire to get to goal weight is for the coveted Wight Watchers lifetime membership.  If that wasn’t a goal I set for myself in the beginning, I would say forget it and move on to maintaining on my own.  My doctor offered to “Support me in whatever” I decide to be the best weight for me at this point, She told me if I plateaued, to let her know, and we’d come up with a goal weight number together.  That being said, I think I’ve still got those last 12 pounds I can lose, if I can just figure out the right formula for it.

When I started doing weight watchers, I never used my flex points.  I didn’t feel as thought I needed to, I had plenty to use, and when I started working out in January, I never used any of my activity points either. I kind of felt like it defeated the hard work I was putting in at the gym if I then ate the points I earned.  I was working out to lose weight and get healthy, not so I could eat more.

Now I have found at the minimum daily points allowance of 26 I have to eat some of those extra points.  Not because I’m starving, but my body thinks it is.  If you figure on a given day, I earn 5 activity points, subtract that from my 26 daily and I’m only having 21 per day.  The average point (according to internet sources so take it how you like) is 38-40 calories.  That equals out to about 1,000 a day, no wonder my body thinks it’s starving!  One the days I do zumba, I burn between 550-600 calories!  That leaves me with only 400-500 to survive!  So now I’m trying to find the balance.  Trying to figure out how many activity points I need to eat on the days I hit the gym, and how many flex points to keep the numbers going down.

I feel like I’m eating more now than I have in months.  I feel guilty to splurge, but actually had a week a couple weeks back that a gained 2 pounds in 3 days while not using any flex or activity points than dropped 2.5 in the following 4 days be eating all my flex and activity points.  I’m so confused because the plan I’ve been doing for so long is no longer working for me.  I’m doing a lot of guess and check which isn’t helping put consistent numbers on the scale.

On Tuesday, one of the trainers at the gym I go to has offered to take a few minutes to go over some weight training with me.  At this point, burning all those calories with cardio may not be the best option for me.  We’ll see if I can get the balance figured out.  Until then, it’s more guess and check…and after reading this blog, it appears to be almost as jumbled as my thoughts on my diet!

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Lot Can Change in a Year

it has been 1 year since I walked in to my first Weight Watchers meeting.  I remember that morning like it was yesterday.  I was nervous, clammy; I was ashamed.

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I walked into the room a woman who hadn’t looked her husband in the eyes in months.  I walked in unable to stand for long periods of time, unable to go grocery shopping without discomfort.  At 27, I weighed 262.1 pounds and I was ready to make a change.  I had no idea when I walked in to that room how much this journey would change my life.

It started slow for me.  A lot of people talk about how the first week of a new diet they drop pounds like crazy, but I didn’t.  At least not as fast as I wanted to.  I was afraid I would fail.  I had failed before, and I was certain I would again, but I refused to let it keep me from trying.  I beat myself up everyday for allowing myself to get to the point that I did but somewhere along the way, something in me changed.

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As the pounds came off, I gradually hid myself a little less.

In January, I started going to the gym and that’s when the real changes were set into motion for me.  I was proud of the weight I had lost, but I still felt weak.  I didn’t think I was capable of achieving my goals, even though I was working at it and getting there.  I was still ashamed and still looked in the mirror and saw 262 pounds.

Working out has changed not only my body or the numbers on the scale, it has changed me.  I no longer feel weak but I feel strong and capable.

I often find myself thinking after a sweaty, grueling workout, ‘Who is this person?’  Or after watching the sun rise on my ride home from the gym; after using the excuse on more than 100 occasions that I couldn’t get up to workout because I needed my rest, I wonder how I would start my days without accomplishing something before the sun comes up.  I look my husband in the eye, I play with my kids, I’m not to goal weight yet, but I’m happy.  I’m ok with myself.  I’m ok with my body and I’m thrilled with how fair I have come.

I am capable of so much more than I ever gave myself credit for and one thing I have learned over this past year, is I will never sell myself short again.  In April, I was convinced I could never run more than a mile without stopping to walk, and a couple weeks ago, I ran 3; when I was a cheerleader in high school, I couldn’t do 1 push up, and now I’m able to do 5 at a time (not much to some, but a lot to me).

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I have 12 pounds left to my goal weight, but that is now the after thought rather than the per-cursor.  It’s no longer about the pounds, or the numbers on the scale, it is how I feel, which is the complete opposite from what it has ever been.

I have fought myself every step along the way.  I’ve wanted to give up.  I have struggled to finish workouts, but I have finished them.  I have lost 100 pounds and more than that, I feel comfortable in my own skin.  I no longer have a BMI of 43 (I’m down to a 27 BMI).  I tried on a dress yesterday that was a size 4!  A size 4!  From a size 22!  At first I was self conscious about the skin on my legs left behind from loosing 100 pounds, but then I felt hot!

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After years of trying my hardest to blend in, I’m ready to be seen.  Yesterday I bought my first ever “little black dress” and a pair of blue pumps.  I cant wait to wear them for our wedding anniversary this coming weekend.  I haven’t worn heels since before I got pregnant with my first son (about 5 years ago).  I never could have imagined when I walked into that Weight Watchers meeting year ago how my life would change, how I would change and how amazing it would feel.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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