Monday, September 3, 2012

Too Much Time Passed

     Well,well, well... Look who decided to come by and make a post! It's been a year, and oh so much has happened. There's been a new house purchased(!!!), a major health scare in my family that thankfully is much better, and oh yes, a large amount of weight gain on my part. The last part has certainly been hard and sad for me. After all the weight I lost ( almost 60 pounds) I back-slid pretty bad and gained a big chunk of it back.  I could give you plenty of excuses but I'm not. Let's just say that I allowed other things and situations to take precedence over me and that is never good my friends.

     So on with the return. A return to self, a return to eating waaaay better (put down that Doritos loco taco for crying out loud), a return to cutting the crap and just doing. I started last week and am focusing mainly on getting the eating stuff down...tracking everything that goes in my proverbial  taco hole and taking vitamins, etc. I'm getting a little exercise in there too. The same girls I'm friends with that were running ( we still do on occasion) go to a boot camp type of thing which is really more like circuit training and I've been going to that once a week and wow, am I out of shape! All that hard work down the tubes, it makes me want to cry, which I have. A lot. BUT this is not where the story ends nor begins. It's the middle again. After a solid week under my belt, I'm happy to say that I'm 3.5 pounds lighter and I already feel better. My mood is improved, my skin is loving all the extra water and less of the nacho cheese powder/ toxic stuff I was eating on a pretty regular basis. I'm enjoying carving out time to cook good meals for myself to take to work. These are happy things, things to embrace. I have been tempted over the past week to try a little chocolate here a little extra something there but I haven't really felt the need to indulge. I'm proud of myself for jumping back on that horse even though it's hard and its back is buckling from my extra baggage but I'm here. Every day that passes where I'm keeping myself accountable is a day where my body is re-learning how to just do life again.

     It's going to be a long journey and when I peer down the winding road it seems never-ending and a tad scary. However, I feel very resolved for some reason. Even more so then when I first created this blog. Perhaps it's maturity or just a quiet sense of knowing that this time is different for some reason.   So here I sit: a crooked smile across my lips, my arms wrapped lovingly around my very capable body, and the peace of knowing that the will to do this properly has been within me all along...I simply needed to lift my chin a tad more defiantly towards that overgrown road and start heading back to myself.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Heat, Humidity and Self-Realizations, OH MY!

It's been a real scorcher this week in the East and I'm dumb enough to say I experienced it first hand. On Thursday, J and I met up with our friends who are training for a half marathon. they started at 6am and we met at 7am. It was REALLY hot already, in the 90's and very humid. So humid in fact that I was unable to sweat properly which meant for a lot of overheating and inefficient running on my part. I'm sad to say that my over all time was pretty unremarkable but there were moments to enjoy. I saw a cardinal and a blue jay and I can neither confirm nor deny that a 31 year old woman was seen running through the sprinklers of many people's homes shrieking with delight. We all finished up our runs at various times and we were high-fiving each other and commiserating over the amount of suck that it indeed was. Which brings me to a fairly unlovely realization about myself.

My somewhat competitive nature has at times posed undue stress to my inner mental workings. I find that I tend to judge my athletic worth and a little bit of my self-worth to be honest on what people of similar body shape are doing (are they running faster, longer, better?). I'm finding this particularly challenging while my similarly body-shaped co-horts are finishing up their 7 mile run and I barely finished up 4. It's important to note that I am very proud of them and encouraging of their running endeavors, but this is secret me speaking...(*tap, tap* is this microphone on ?*), confession time: IT DRIVES ME NUTS! (*dropping microphone and stomping offstage*).

 I have been thinking about this a lot over the past few weeks since their running schedule has them overshooting my baby mileage in to full grown, adult mileage. Here's the bottom line: I have no interest in running 13 miles anytime soon. I have the opportunity to participate in the half marathon but I am choosing not to for multiple reasons. Namely, I just don't feel ready. I don't know where my relationship with running is going to go, for now we're living in the same house but sleeping in separate beds. I'm doing it because I know it is helping me achieve my weight loss goals but I don't want to snuggle up to it clutching my bottle of advil and heating pad every night, because guess what? the bastard talks in his sleep with thoughtful little diddies like: of  "are you going to be ready?" "How are you going to fit in a long run today?" "You are going to poop yourself while running?" (I'm serious about that last one, google it my friends, it happens and it terrifies me every run).

All dramatics aside, I realised that I have come to a little bit of a crossroads, me and this running thing. What else do I want from it? Even longer story short, I have decided that I'm happy to stick around the 6 mile range for awhile. As my Mom would say "luxuriate" in it for a bit...I tend to not do this very well. Once I accomplish something it's often "what's next?" While not an entirely bad motto, (it keeps me from being complacent, hey there's that word again, noticing a theme here folks?), I find that I may rush through these moments of back-slapping and high-fiving without experiencing the whole enchilada. In terms of running, I can acknowledge that there are things to work on. I want to run 6 miles well. This means that I need to work on lowering my pace mile, streamline my stride, etc. Could I run a half marathon by September? Yes, I'm sure I could run/walk it and cross the finish line with an abysmal time that would leave me disappointed in myself. However, I know me. I want to do that with more training under my belt, and the opportunity to do it as best as I can. My motivation is not to say I finished it, but that I finished it well and that is going to take some work on my part. What's that saying? The journey is more important then the destiantion? Hey look at me! I'm waxing philosophic!

With all of this being said, I don't begrudge my friends for working towards their goal of running the half marathon. They each have their specific, personal reasons for doing so. I will be the first one there on that September morning cheering them in and likely shedding a tear or's going to be a great day for these girls and I am so very proud of them. However, I need to realize that my worth cannot be based on what others are doing before or after me. Someone will always be faster, more efficient, etc. I want to enjoy this journey even though it's a huge rock I'm circling everyday. I'm 5 pounds away from being at the 60 pounds lost mark and I need to be able to look back at all that hard work and say "Hey you, the sweaty one over there, with the uni-boob! Yeah you...well done!" And believe it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Decisions, Thy Name is Blogging

So it has been many hours, months , weeks etc. since my first post. Why, may you ask? There's no good reason other then I have been contemplating allowing others viewable access to my blog and have been struggling with the decision. Truly, my awesome mom  has inspired me to pick up this new way of documenting this season of my life. She started a blog a few months ago as a way to learn a new skill and push herself outside of her "comfort zone." Why can't I live my life in such an open (yet reasonably guarded)way? The answer is I can, I will, and I intend to do this on my own terms.

I tend to be more guarded when it comes to sharing my personal life, I always have been. I don't Face Book, Tweet, etc. With all that being said, here I am with my finger poised over the button to allow my blog to be public. I do realize there is an air of vanity in all of this. Who cares about my musings? No one is even going to look at this blog except family and close friends. However, there is a certain jumping off the cliff feeling when deciding to try something new. I too can follow my mother's lead and push myself. I've done it with running, why not this?

Which reminds me, how is that running thing going? Well, It 's the armpit of summer where I live and running outside is pretty miserable. BUT! I am still doing it. Awkwardly, painfully, but with some results! J is still my trusty sidekick and more friends have joined in on the fun. What's great about this is the diversity in our little group...I have two friends training for a 1/2 marathon in September, another getting married in November and wanting to look her best in her wedding gown. We are all so different but we support each other in our respective endeavours.

Running in the summer is tough stuff, certainly not for the faint hearted. On a personal note, I have seen my mileage increase in the last few months...I ran 6 miles for the first time in oh, EVER! it took me about an hour and a half which is terrifyingly long and NOT a good mile pace, but it was 6 miles and I was happy to reach that mileage goal. It's now time to start working on improving my pace...right now I average anywhere from an 11 -15 minute mile depending on the intensity of the heat/humidity. I am daydreaming of running in 55 degree weather this can't get here soon enough.

In May, my running pals and myself ran in a 5k and everyone did really well! My time was 46 minutes...which was a huge improvement over my last (and first 5k), so I was thrilled! Next goals are to run a 10k in October and work on my overall mile pace.

So there's the long and the short of it: making my blog public and running update all wrapped up in a neat little package. Here's hoping for some cooler days in my future (and yours) and lots of painless miles under my feet!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Beginnings, Then the Middle

This may be the beginning to you but not so much for me. In April of 2010 I was having a very regular dinner out with friends and I randomly spouted " I think I want to run." Where this came from, I still don't know. I knew I was overweight, they knew I was overweight. One does not just randomly say things like this... but I did. Over a grilled vegetable salad. With chocolate cake for dessert, of course. I was celebrating finishing up my Bachelors degree and enjoying the feeling of no more finals.
I have lovely friends. Each are unique but all share a common thread of "thinness" to be sure. One in particular, we'll call her "A" is like a tall, graceful Gazelle. She runs on a regular basis among other sporty activities and I knew she would be a good starting point, (she was).  My other friend, my warrior friend,  let's call her "J" has been my encourager, my early morning running partner, and beholder of all things unattractive about me from  physical awkwardness to  poor attitudes. She is petite and beautiful with one of the kindest hearts I know. She functions on very little sleep, is a great mom to her kids, patient wife, etc. She then meets up with me throughout the week to exercise; I'm lucky to call her friend. Our friendship has been cemented through the trenches and happy victories we've shared through running/exercise.
She is the one that met me for my very first run in mid May on a hot day at a park filled with children, bugs, and runners going waaaaay faster than me. I had on new shoes she helped me pick out, a supreme sports bar that I lovingly refer to as "The Iron Maiden" and new sweat-wicking away clothes. Where I run is a great park around a man- made body of water that is 1.5 miles in circumference.  That first trip around took over an hour and I ran approximately 40 yards before I had to stop, gasping for air. Leave it to me to pick a new outside adventure such as running in the throes of summer heat and humidity! Poor J was so patient with me, Things were pretty bleak back then, I was hauling around a lot of extra weight and started out pushing too hard. We walk/jogged for 5 days in a row and I had such bad shin splints and was just sore everywhere...what the hell was I thinking? Regardless, I signed up for a 5k in July with 2 goals in mind, I didn't want to be last and I didn't want to walk any of it. I'm happy to say after months of prepping (o.k., like 2)I accomplished this goal with A by my side and my cousin D who stayed with me the whole time (J had to work, sadly). I was incredibly slow and people were walking faster then I was moving but I did it and was proud to cross that finish line.
I'd like to say that this is what hooked me on running and I've found my niche per se. NOT so, gentle reader. Running and I broke up for awhile the rest of the summer after the race. It was hot and oh yeah, I still hated it. I never and still have not gotten used to the pain of my body pushing itself. I don't enjoy the lung burning feeling and I have never come close to the ethereal, though never experienced "runner's high."
I joined a 24 hour gym with J so that she could care for her kids and husband and then head to the gym (I wasn't kidding about the very little sleep thing) and sweat it out on a treadmill and weight room with me. We have done this 3 times a week for roughly 7 months and I lost a bit more weight but not as much as just pure running outside. A few months ago we decided we needed a goal and decided to train for a 5k in May, we recently started running outside and what a nice change that is! Spring is here and has renewed my inner thoughts towards running again.
I'm happy ( I think) to say running and I are back together, though I still can't say I love the bastard all that much. I have sore hips and legs everyday and a penchant for Advil that keeps Rite-Aid in business. However, I've managed to get over my weight plateau by moving under my own accord outside rather than the treadmill. I still have plenty more weight to lose and I think running will be the key.
So here I am, an awkward runner trying to sort through a brain muddled with negative self talk and an aching body that still has so far to go. I wish I was able to not be so hard on myself...I have made progress. I can run 3 miles under 40 minutes on a good day; this is a HUGE improvement to less than a year ago when I could barely run 1/4 mile. There are days that I struggle still and I can't crank out those 3 miles either at all or as fast as I would like. But you know what? I'm still out there in the early morning hours plodding away the dust tracks of other runners before me. This counts for a lot more than I'm giving myself credit for...why can't I pat myself on the back and quit complaining? "My ___________hurts, it's hot, I'm tired, etc." The simple answer is I'm afraid. I'm afraid of complacency that if I congratulate myself too much I will slip back in to the shadows, that none of this will be real. The aches and pains , though painful and bothersome remind me that I'm actually doing this THING. The feel of my fat jiggling reminds me that I have oh so far to go still, you would think that would be enough to stop the complacency beast in its tracks! I'm hoping as more time passes and my body gets stronger from the years of neglect that there comes a time where I can just love myself. My big goal aside from losing weight and getting myself in to shape is to learn to love myself on this journey at each step. Love my jiggling stomach, love my aching joints, love my mental stalwartness. It will come, it's coming, I see it up around the next corner.