Monday, September 30, 2013

Flying By

Can you even believe today is the last day of September already. It’s incredibly safe to say summer and any trace of it are far behind us now. Tomorrow is October. This year has seriously flown by. I swear the older I get the shorter my years feel. We are definitely in the last quarter of 2013 now. As I thought 2013 has really been very good to me. So much so that I find it hard to think that 2014 is going to be able to top it, but I will just have to figure out ways to make it exciting right?

We all know that with the changing to October we are now like 5 days away from my 1 year anniversary of the big one, I am calling this the big one because this is the last time I am ever doing this and this really is the big one. I really believe that in the history of 10 years going at this weight loss stuff this is only the second time I’ve ever had a 1 year anniversary of being healthy. The very first time I did this, 10 years ago, I managed a 1 year anniversary, followed shortly thereafter by the inevitable backwards slide. This is the second time that I have officially celebrated 1 year clean and healthy. 1 year McDonalds free. I am not even sure how that happened. I have gone an entire year without consuming any McDonald’s. I do however think in the year prior I ate enough McDonalds to hold me over for my entire lifetime. It’s really quite disgusting and yet I was really so ridiculously addicted to it that I pretty much HAD to eat it every day. Do you think perhaps there was some addictive drug they added into their shit? I think it’s highly possible.

I still haven’t quite figured out how I plan to commemorate the official day, this Saturday, October 5, 1 year to the date. In hindsight, probably one of the single most important days of my entire life. Since I know this really is it forever for me this time, that date has become incredibly significant because it symbolizes the moment that I said enough was enough. It is the day I took control back of my life and I am so ridiculously thankful for that. It has become about so much more than my weight. It started as something as simple as eating good for a single day and here we are a year later, learning to love myself enough to no longer limit my life. To embrace all the possibilities and things that I reserved for others. Running ½ marathons, not accepting less than I deserve. It’s really been the best year of my life and the single year where I have taken the largest steps to discovering my true self. I feel so blessed because of the awesome journey I have been on. I am not perfect. It is not a perfect journey by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s my journey and I own it.

As I was riding in the car to the concert Friday night with my sister I talked about this blog. She, like the rest of my immediate family, knows it exists. I am certain Pamela has never come on here to find it because she could care less about my mindless dribble. In fact, I pretty much told her that and she pretty much concurred that she didn’t really care, she got to see me in real life and that was enough :) Ah family, got to love them. Anyway, she was like, do they know how messed up you really are? She wasn’t being mean, just saying that if they “really” knew you… you know… I was like, actually, I swear in some weird way this world gets the true me, whereas everyone else gets the edited; fit for human interaction version. The real world gets to live the events; this place is a retelling of the events with the narrative attached. In some ways it’s the most honest version of my world. I try to be as honest as possible. No sense in painting a picture that doesn’t really exist. Sure, we all hide certain parts of ourselves but I do really try my best to put it out there as it is.

I can’t believe a whole year has pretty much gone by. In some ways it seems like I’ve been living this lifestyle forever and a day, but then sometimes it feels like just yesterday I was sitting in my car, bags of McDonalds everywhere on the floorboards, crying about my lack of control. I remember those days far too well. Maybe that is what we really need to stay on the health path? Maybe you really have to live thru some trauma to really never want to go back. Maybe I needed my 10 years of struggles to really grasp that feeling of true despair. And it was real, honest to God, true despair. Despite constantly being able to lose weight, I was sitting there a year ago, doubting it was possible. It had never taken me so long or been so hard for me to try and lose weight. For months and months prior to October 2012 I had tried to do it. I had even gone back to WW in May of 2012 for 2 weeks, but it didn’t stick. And that is where my doubt came in. Could I really do this? Maybe I had lost my desire or my way and it wasn’t coming back. Maybe I wasn’t that girl anymore? The one who could easily stick to something and drop the weight without thinking.

And you know what, it turns out I WASN’T that girl anymore. Yes, I was able to finally stick to it and drop the weight, but no part of me was the same girl. Maybe it took so long for me to get to this point because I needed the time to finally do it right, to finally understand WHY I was doing this to begin with. I am now convinced that my long term success completely resides in the reasons why I am doing this. They have completely shifted.

Despite what I might have ever said previously, every motive, every intention, every sacrifice was made out of a dislike of myself and a desire to be thin and beautiful. I may have professed health and quality of life as a motivating factor but it was a lie. Plain and simple. I was putting on a front because that was what I was “supposed” to say. It didn’t work. Long term, it just can’t work.

The difference in my life is felt to my core because this time it IS about my health and quality of life and I think I have finally proven that to everyone in my real life and to myself. I am making these healthy choices because I feel so much better on a daily basis. I am not going to the gym because of vanity; I am going because I love the way it makes me feel and because it makes me strong and capable. I am eating good quality foods and fueling my body with more food than I’ve ever given it because it is what my body wants and needs and I no longer have too many days where I feel physically sick as a direct result of the stuff I’m putting in my body.

Mostly my attitude is so shockingly different that even I am blown away sometimes. I want to go out and try new adventures (like going to Vegas to run a ½ marathon), because these are the things that excite me now. Because this is the stuff that makes me have a full and active life. This is the stuff worth living for. I finally get it. I love myself because I believe in myself enough to try. I can’t believe I lived 33 years of my life without really believing in myself or loving myself. That is kind of sad. And I can’t explain it to anyone. I thought I loved myself. I thought I was living my life. If you would have asked me at multiple points in my life I would have told you I was happy and enjoyed my life. I guess, while deep in the throes of it, you can’t see how blind you really are. It was only when I REALLY learned to love me that my eyes opened up and I started to really accept the changes that were happening.

I truly in my heart believe that I have only gotten the results that I have this time around because I finally did it different. Because, yes, I physically did different things, but I mostly believe it’s because mentally my attitude was just so different. I pretty much knew from two weeks in that this really was the last time for me. This is my forever. I never want to go back to that woman I battled with for so long. This is my lifestyle now, bad days and bad meals here and there and all. That is life.

Things are not perfect. I have lots of loose skin on my body, as one would expect from a lifetime of yo-yo dieting. Things are not nearly as tight as I’d like but I’m working on it. From everything that I’ve read basically from the time you get to goal or your maintenance weight and start strength training, your real results, your best results, won’t really come until at least 6 months but most likely up to a year later. Basically, the way I look at it, from the date I started personal training and joined the gym, my ultimate results won’t be achieved for a year. I am a little over 3 months into that process, so I have another solid 9 months to let my body do its best possible job of doing what it’s going to do. I will reserve all judgment for 9 months down the line. At that point I will make an educated decision about what if anything I am going to do about that. Still thinking that a boob job is in my future plans. But I’m not worrying about that too much at this point. I still have 9 months to give it my all at the gym to see what I can accomplish completely on my own.

Thank you all for continuing to take this journey with me. I am so humbled and floored that I have people who read this at all, yet alone, who have walked this journey with me for almost 10 years. I don’t believe in my heart that I could have done it without this place and without some of you nudging me along and reminding me to be Brave… :)

And on a simpler note yesterday despite not really wanting to I made myself go to the gym for a nice long run. I have to stay in running shape since a. I love it and b. I have another ½ now I’m prepping for. I decided to set my sights on a 10 mile run yesterday and am proud to say that is what I accomplished. It’s getting easier my friends. Every time the distance is getting a little more and more manageable. 10 miles didn’t feel that bad yesterday. Honestly, the first 7 miles were a breeze. That is how I know I’m improving. 6-7 miles used to be what I did every night and I was tired by the end. Now 6-7 miles is very comfortable and I barely feel it. I don’t want to sound like a snarky bitch who thinks it’s easy to run 6-7 miles but I’m settling into that distance nicely. Guess I really am that runner after all, right?

Tonight I have personal training and then I get to take 1 class and then I have to leave because my therapy sessions have gotten moved to Monday nights now instead of Tuesdays. So yes, I have to leave to go to therapy but sometimes these are the sacrifices you have to make. Just means more time for me to actually embrace the gym tomorrow night. I think that is about all I got for the day. Be back tomorrow for sure, because I crave this place like my new found drug. Love it!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Chair

A very rare weekend post. I think I’m writing this right now because I am sitting inside my warm house starring out at a nasty outside and I feel calm and cozy and I wanted to write. Sometimes I crave the written word like I crave a good workout. Perhaps it’s the reflection and head clearing that I mostly crave. Regardless, here I am, writing. Which means I will have very little to say tomorrow but I guess that is a-okay. Maybe then I will actually get some real work done.

I want to talk about something that occurred Friday night at my concert. I attended the Kelly Clarkson/Maroon 5 concert, which was quite amazing by all accounts. My first biggest observation was that Kelly Clarkson is phenomenal live. That girl can sing. Of course this doesn’t shock me, but boy she is talented and as sweet as can be. Adam Levine still comes off with a cocky air to him, but that is to be expected. Overall, still seems like he can play the nice guy pretty well and he is pretty danged handsome so I forgive him his arrogance. Of course my second observation comes in the form of holy shit, Adam Levine is skinny. Like I had no idea and get no real perception from the television of how rail thin he actually is. Bizarre. In person, I was just blown away by what a tiny man he was. Anyway, now onto the topic I wanted to discuss.

The concert took place at an ampitheatre meaning that it was partially outdoors. It was covered and I did not get wet. I was a little cold but nothing too major. The point of this is that the seats are more like stadium type seating. Sure they are real seats with backs sandwiched in there for maximum capacity despite how desperately close you are to the person next to you. But they are plastic, like cheap ass plastic. Even I noticed when I sat down how flimsy these things were. Sometime, pre concert, as we were sitting there, my sister Pam shifted in her chair and I heard a slight cracking noise and I got scared. Nothing really happened but I was scarred for her.

A little while later we heard a big crack noise and we both turned around a few rows behind us we saw a larger woman standing and a broken seat. The girl was obviously sad and upset and probably embarrassed. Her friends were hugging her and she had tears streaming down her face. I can not tell you in that exact moment how sad I felt. I literally had to fight back my own tears. I looked at my sister and said, “My heart is breaking for her right now and I literally am fighting back tears.”

Part of me thinks it’s because I was scarred for my own sister in her chair but part of it was because I 100% felt her pain. I understood and I felt like every fat girl in the world in a moment of weight related trauma. I couldn’t help it. My heart broke. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to cry with her. I wanted to tell her I understood. I wanted to tell her that it was okay. I just sat in my chair.

Eventually the stadium people brought her another disposable chair and sat down next to it. Embarrassing to say the least. I don’t want to assume that everyone would feel embarrassed by this because some people are very confident, but I think her tears were pretty good indication of her embarrassment over the situation. Stupid CHEAP ass plastic chairs.

This put me on heightened alert the duration of the night as my sister’s chair kept making cracking noises. I was worried for her. I wasn’t concerned about anyone thinking less of me or drawing attention to myself, I was simply worried for her. I would have battled anyone to the death over saying something to her. I became that fiercely protective. Not that she needs protecting. She is a quite capable woman all by herself, mostly way stronger than I have ever been, but I felt like in terms of weight and health I wanted to tell other people to shut the fuck up because it is HARD ass shit and unless you’ve lived it you have no idea. That is probably why I so instantly related to that poor woman behind me. And I why I wanted to cry for her because every ounce of my being understood her pain. All to well honestly. Actually, I probably would not have been at that concert to begin with because I always let me weight stand in my way of doing anything that I wanted so she was already a leg up on me for sure.

Sometimes I have to fight my urge to be a preachy no it all bitch. Part of me wanted to tell her that she could change and it could be different if she wanted it. That I was living proof that anything was possible, and yet, I realize that this is not something that most people probably want to hear. She probably does not want to hear anything of the sort. Most people are content in their little worlds and who am I to ever say that she isn’t fine the way she is and that she needs to change? That’s not very nice or fair of me at all. I feel this way with my sister too. I want her to be happy and healthy but I keep my mouth shut because she doesn’t want to hear it. Someday, if she ever wants my help, I will be here, but in the mean time there is just nothing I can do.

This was all just one more reminder of why I am doing what I do. Why I have worked so hard to go down a different path. And why I am proud of what I have accomplished this past year. The concert ended up being great, but LATE. Trying to leave the venue afterwards proved to be a nightmare. We literally sat in the parking lot for an hour. Yup, a full hour, before we could move the car. I did not get home until 2 AM. And yet something inside of me, perhaps, the mental image of seeing that woman standing there crying, got me to get out of bed and to the gym at 9 AM yesterday morning. I was exhausted and didn’t really want to go, but I told myself to do it anyway.

Once class started at 9 AM, I pretty much warmed up and was feeling good. So much so that when that class was done I did a 10AM class. It helped my favorite instructor was going for the gusto and was teaching all the classes and told me to stick around for the 10 class because it was strength training. I was in. She had me at strength training.

And then a funny thing happened, she was teaching Zumba at 11 AM, and I decided to just push on thru and do that as well. Not really a Zumba girl, but I figured it would be fine nonetheless. So I did 3 classes in a row. 9 Turbokick, 10 strength training, 11 Zumba. Cardio- strength – Cardio. It was fun and I honestly didn’t have much else to do so it worked out for me. I felt powerful and strong, which is always nice.

And now I am sitting here typing in my living room watching that rain come down in my gym clothes getting ready to head out once again. Its completely quite and peaceful and part of me just wants to stay in, but I know that won’t work for me ultimately. I need the gym to feel my high to get thru the day. So I will head to the gym and put in some solid time and enjoy myself. It’s just what I do. I’ve come such a long way in a year.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mr. Levine bound

I am going to try and sneak out of work early here, like an hour early so I can get on the road for my Maroon 5/Kelly Clarkson concert. I am pretty excited actually. I love doing fun stuff, which obviously sounds like a ridiculous statement because who the hell doesn’t like doing fun stuff? Whatever. You get my point. Most of our lives are not filled with extra fun activities so when one comes around we need to embrace and enjoy it.

I am ridiculously excited actually to start my weekend off this way. The funky mood I was in yesterday has pretty much dissipated. I honestly think it was a combination of a bad day at work and being extremely physically tired. That is in fact what 5 days of exercise in a row will do to you. Pure and utter exhaustion. So yes, I am super glad today is my night off, my body definitely needs it. My ass is sore. Love it when your ass actually is tender. Guess that means I did some serious ass exercises. Someday maybe my ass won’t droop nearly as much as a result of a sore ass here and there. Between my ass aching and my upper thighs being tender I keep telling myself I am building up those strong muscles to make my running all the better. I am in running mode as a result of my ½ on Sunday and in preparation for my Vegas ½ in November. I love saying that. I mean, who doesn’t look forward to a trip?

Can you tell my mood is much improved since yesterday? Even the underlying tone of a written post is much jollier. I did do a ½ hour class last night which left me pretty spent. This is how I knew I was at my physical breaking point. I could barely muster enough energy to finish the half hour workout. I seriously almost considered bailing on the gym after that but instead walked my ass up the flight of stairs to the treadmills to try and improve my mood via a run. I wasn’t going for anything special or fancy. In fact I just wanted to barely move to be honest. I opted for a 6.2 speed on the treadmill which was very comfortable and easy for me. Basically I wanted to knock out a 3.1, 5k in 30 minutes and be done. I have to say that this speed is getting much easier for me to handle. I certainly had a lot of juice left in me when I was done, but I was just done. Good enough.

I still plan on tackling a nice longer run at some point this weekend. Maybe Sunday I will try and run for a while. Based on the big “storm” they are predicting is supposed to be rolling thru Oregon this weekend I am guessing it is going to have to be a treadmill run after all. It’s still better than no run at all. I really don’t know if I will make it to the gym at 9 AM tomorrow morning or not. I am tentatively planning on it, but I’m also not 100% set in stone either, it really depends what time I make it home tonight and how tired I feel in the morning. I will go to the gym tomorrow it really just depends on what time.

Last night my amazing leather motto jacket form Victoria Secret arrived. It is perfection. I have to admit that I have never had a “real” leather jacket and I am completely in love with it. I feel like such a badass biker bitch. I love it. You know, like all those strong kick-ass women I want to be like. I think probably somewhere in the back of my brain I have a mental image of Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy wearing a leather jacket and I was obsessed with it. Of course, couldn’t really pull it off ever, but I think I’m pulling it off now.

So last night in bed I watched the infomercial for PX90. This is what I do late at night when I can’t sleep, I literally watch exercise infomercials. Actually, it started with PX90, which is all about a 60 minute workout every day. Then they had a little commercial for a 10 minute a day workout, and then this was followed up by the 25 minute workout infomercial. I thought it was pretty humorous that back to back they were touting the miracles of a 60 minute, 10 minute and then 25 minute workout. I guess it’s really all about consistency anyway. I think I enjoy watching these stupid things because nowadays I watch some of the exercises and I go, I’ve done that. Or oh, I can do that. Lots of the exercises in PX90 are the exact same ones I do in my classes and training at the gym. So I guess in 90 days they are saying that you have these amazing results with PX90 and then I was like hmm… it’s been 90 days at the gym for me doing this kind of stuff and I really do have some decent muscle growth so I suppose if you really did PX90 every day diligently as they say you’d probably develop muscles as well. You know you’re a bit of a freak when your night viewing is an infomercial. Especially because I have no intention of ever buying them.

I have felt lately like I have been eating an extraordinarily large amount of food. Like I seem to always freaking be hungry and consume more calories than I have in forever. I haven’t really been keeping that good of track lately which is probably part of the reason that my mind is feeling like I’ve been overeating. Anyhow, I am thinking I am up to about 2000-2400 calories a day. It seems like a lot considering coming from the land of weight watchers where it was like 1200 calories a day or thereabouts. Anyway, my mind is starting to do that mental freak out on me. Like, wow, you are eating way too much and then mixed with not tracking and then throw in there not weighing myself in like forever and you have a recipe for disaster. I think that was part of my yesterday as well. I was just so hungry and kept eating. I keep thinking that I must be gaining weight eating the way I have been. I don’t like the lack of control I guess.

So for the hell of it, to put my mind at ease, I decided to weigh myself this morning. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was within my allotted weight range. I have set my weight range between 135-142 pounds. This is where I want to live at. As long as I am living in there than I am a happy girl. And I was within this range. I guess that means that all that extra food consumption is probably just my body telling me to eat to help build up that muscle. As long as I’m not actually gaining weight I guess I can live with it. I just wanted to quite that little naggy voice in my head telling me that I had to be gaining weight. The little voice that made me get on the scale most likely to prove to myself that it was right, that I was out of my desired weight range and therefore needed to stop eating so much food. Of course, that little voice was wrong and I was within my range and therefore I had major relief and could go along with my life and quite that voice up. I guess this is just part of the adjustments that I have never made in the past. Adjusting from that 1200 calorie weight watchers goals to the whole working out like an athlete and needing to compensate with better and more food. I have never done that before and of course it will require trial and error. But I’m learning and adjusting and that is the important part.

I’ve got about 15 more minutes and then I want to sneak out of work and head towards Vancouver WA for my concert. Adam Levine in person in a few hours. I am very excited about this. He is not too bad to look at and I can’t really think of a better way to spend a Friday night than spending a few hours staring at him. Good times. Have an amazing weekend everyone, I am certainly going to try.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

In need of a run

I am having a stressful day. I do not like stressful days. Not that anyone does so I suppose it’s entirely pointless to make such a statement. Sometimes things are frustrating, plain and simple. You can have great days and things are going along wonderful and then WHAM… setback or rather something that throws you off. I suppose this is not unexpected for this to happen. This is entirely something you can count on in life. Two steps forward, one step back. Petty typical. It’s nothing in particular at all. It’s just job related stress. It’s just a mental off day kind of stress.

Here’s the interesting part. Amidst all this stress you know what I want to do more than anything? Run. Yup. I am going to the gym tonight to take a class but what I REALLY want to do more than anything is put on my running shoes and just mentally check out a little. I think that sounds like a better plan to me. I mean, my love of running and what it does for me is very well chronicled throughout my life. The ability for me to just check out and get inside my own head is exactly what I need right now. It’s just interesting to me that this actually is my first thought these days to combat any unwanted stress.

I’m having one of those days where I don’t feel like my efforts are enough. You know, where you just feel a generalized dissatisfaction with things and you are yearning for more. And this time I do mean in the results front and I know it’s such bullshit to say that. I have amazing results, I know I do. But I am only human and I’m fairly certain that no matter what we are given we always want just a little more. This is pretty much customary of the human spirit. I am not dissatisfied or unhappy. I’m really not, so please don’t think I’m being ungrateful. I am super grateful for what my body can do and how it looks. But I’m just off today. In my times of stress I am going to choose to turn to my beloved running instead of food. Better choice for sure.

Maybe I will take that ½ hour class at the gym and then get on the treadmill for ½ an hour and let myself be taken away some. I am thinking that might make me feel better. For the first time in a while, I am annoyed with my gym for some reason. An interesting mental shift has occurred since running my half marathon. It makes me want to run more. I’ve taken a 3 month hiatus from my running and now I am feeling running deprived after having completed my half. I feel like I think I want to introduce more running back into my life. Maybe back away a little from a few classes here and there and instead run. I think I’d forgotten how much I really love it and all the benefits it gives me. I like feeling like a runner. I like feeling inclusive of a small-ish group of people who consider themselves runners. I actually think it’s probably a fairly large group of people; but whatever.

Since I am writing thru my issues right now I guess maybe my slight annoyance with my gym stems from the fact that for the last 3 months they told me how I was not supposed to run that much and to back away from running and consequently as I sit here today really wanting to run I feel slightly like they have robbed me of my running. Now mind you, I love everything else I have gained. I love my muscles that I have never had and quite frankly running cannot give me. I know there’s a balance in there. I think the balance has just been a little off as of late. I need to add a bit more running back into the mix to give myself my release and still feel as passionate about strength training. I want my strength training to make me a stronger healthier, more all-around well rounded person. But I still need my running for the ridiculous amazing benefits its gives me. Mainly my happy, head clearing, peaceful sanity. It’s ironic that while working so hard, running my ass off, sweating like I never sweat elsewhere I find my happy sanity. Running makes me happy. Pure and simple.

It’s also possible I’m annoyed today because its day 5 in a row of exercise and naturally my body is shutting down a little bit. Saying, give me some rest, which will come tomorrow when instead of going to the gym I will be awkwardly gawking at Adam Lavine in all of his glory. I will definitely be exercising this weekend but somewhere in the back of my mind bet you NEVER thought you’d hear me say these words, at least I never thought I’d say them, I am REALLY craving a nice long OUTDOOR run. Suddenly running on the treadmill doesn’t seem as much fun as running outside. Something has gotten into me. I think I’m just desperate for the clarity that I get from running and therefore being outside sounds amazing. I would do good to remember that as magical as the journey I have been on the past couple months has been, that I am in my heart, first and foremost a runner.

I run for my heath, but more importantly, I run because it frees me. Always has. Always will. I think I feel excitement about running half marathons now. Like real genuine excitement and therefore its making me want to run more. I could have figured this would happen. Me and my stupidly addictive personality. One little race and suddenly I want to jump on the running half’s every weekend band wagon. Of course that is not really going to happen but I definitely anticipate signing up for quite a few more of them in my life. The high is just that good. Thank goodness this girl has always and WILL always be drug free because clearly I like a good high.

I might just have to learn to embrace a good run in the rain, I DO live in Oregon after all. Ah, I’m just basically being a whiney bitch aren’t I? Some days I need to just try and look at how far I’ve come over all and accept that not every day I’m going to feel on top of the world. Some days it’s just good enough to simply make it thru the day. Period. So maybe today isn’t amazingly perfect, but you know what, I am exactly where I need to be right now. There is always some greater master plan at work and I don’t always have to be in control of everything. I think I have some issues of control. I mean, I like to be perfectly in control of stuff. Sometimes I just need to let go and allow the universe to do what it is going to do. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Big picture. Always look at the big picture. That’s all I can do right now. One day at a time. I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday. Guess that’s all I can do for now.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Living to the Fullest

I spent a few hours this morning in the car driving for work. Basically I was in the vehicle for a solid 3 hours there and back to a jobsite, this left a lot of time to think about things. That always happens while driving. Some of my best thinking, aside from running, happens while I am by myself in a car. My mind started to wander.

Here’s the thing. There are certain people in life that decide to do something and they just do it. I have always been one of those people who if I truly commit to something and decide I want it; I make it happen. Come hell or high water; it’s going to happen. I also get amazing whims and in the spur of a moment make a decision and run with it. It’s a fun and annoying aspect of my personality all wrapped up into one. Yesterday was one of those such days.

As I was writing my post yesterday you can literally see the exact moment where my brain stopped and shifted direction. I was writing about not having something else on the horizon and having all of these possibilities and then I literally stopped writing and started searching the internet and there was a solid 30 minutes before I came back to my open word document on my screen and wrote the last paragraph that said stay tuned, I am formulating a plan. Plan formed in a solid day and executed. That is how I roll. I didn’t even know it was a possibility until yesterday and then today it is happening. Sometimes you just have to take a blind leap off the ledge and go for it.

And are you ready for another word jump, now I’m back to driving in that car this morning thinking about things. Irony is a funny thing. It is ironic that this plan found its formation yesterday, September 24, 2013. Do you want to know what happened on this exact day one year ago, September 24, 2012 I can see by my emails that I booked a flight and hotel for Vegas to see Pink. I know this because in all of my thinking in the car I remembered last week I dug thru my email history and wrote a post about what happened around this time a year ago and started to realize that I think the booking of my trip was occurring about this time. Sure enough, pretty much a year ago, give a day, I was booking Vegas. I was scared shitless. I was 220 pounds. More sad than the reality that I was 220 pounds is the reality that I grossly hated myself and had zero faith that I could do anything. I also almost didn’t book that trip because of the lack of self-confidence. Isn’t it ridiculous how much we allow our weight to really limit our lives?

I was booking a trip to see Pink because in the back of my mind I made a promise to myself to see her in concert at some point in my life. It was a promise I really didn’t want to renege on. It meant that much to me. I was such a different person, one year ago. And then something funny happened in the car, I started crying. Yes, tears started to form in my eyes. I just love getting overly emotional all by yourself in the car. But it’s like in that moment I realized what a different woman I am. Because this morning, after fully formulating a plan yesterday, I booked a trip to Las Vegas for November 15-18, 2013. I hit submit this morning on a trip to Vegas for very different reasons. Aside from booking a hotel and flights to Vegas I booked something else; my entry into the 2013 Las Vegas Rock and Roll half marathon. I am going to run the strip at night, a half marathon. Who the hell is this girl?

In one year’s time to the day I went from a girl who almost didn’t book a trip at all to flying to Vegas to run another half marathon. Do you want physical real world proof that change is possible? That actually anything is possible? 1 year exactly and I am a different person. That is where the tears came from. A vacation for me suddenly includes running a ½ marathon? Do you know how stupidly excited I got about going to the expo for the run? 100’s of sports and health vendors in the Vegas Expo center. I was like, YES, sign me up. The more I read about it, the more convinced I was that I needed to do this in my life. I needed to once run a half marathon down the strip of Vegas.

Back in the beginning of 2013, I wrote the words on this very blog that I could feel 2013 was going to be my year and nothing has ever been more true. I have had some pretty terrible moments this year mixed in with all the good, but holy shit does the amazing good of this year far outweigh everything negative. I can honestly say in my entire life, I have never been happier than I am right now. How is that even possible? I am that girl. I am that girl that books a vacation to run a ½ marathon and thinks it’s the fun-est thing in the world. I am the girl who willingly chooses to take her days off of work planning and immersing herself in an athletic driven activity.

The reality that a year ago I was booking a Vegas trip for very different purposes as a very different, defeated woman, brought those tears to my eyes this morning. Concrete, physical proof that I have changed. If you would have told me a year ago that give it a year; literally one year, and you’d be booking another Vegas trip to run with 40,000 other runners down the Vegas Strip I would have told you not a chance. Even knowing how dedicated and committed I am to this kind of stuff, I would not have believed this one. This is so far beyond my normal comfort zone and I am in love with the reality that I am doing this.

I really wanted to knock out at least 1 more ½ marathon before this year ends. I was searching for one to run and remembered seeing the Vegas night run in Runner’s World magazine and low and behold it hadn’t happened yet. So as it turns out, my 2013 will include 2 separate trips to Las Vegas for very different reasons. It is the progression of what has happened to me over this last year. I could not be prouder of that fact. I told you that running ½ marathons might be something that I could get used to. Sure didn’t take me long to figure out what one to sign up for next did it. And of course in epic Emily fashion; it just had to be a giant one I have to get on a plane for. I’ve also decided 100% that when the next ½ marathon in Disneyland becomes available to register for I am going to register for it. Bucket list of my life just got a little more defined:

1. Run the strip in Vegas
2. Run a Disney half Marathon
3. Run a full marathon

I am going to accomplish all of these things, I have decided it, and so it is going to happen. I am leaving the marathon for next Spring I believe; after I knock out a few more half’s and do some proper training. But oddly, probably because I am just about crazy enough to believe it, I am not that nervous about the prospect of a full marathon. I stupidly kind of believe that I can do it. So that is going on the bucket list. And of course anything else that I decide to do that is.

Of course this latest trip only puts me thru the middle of November, so I will still have to start thinking about spring and thereafter. But baby steps for now. Geesh. I just decided to go to Vegas yesterday and it’s pretty much all properly planned out now. And that all happened in between going to a funeral and the gym and therapy last night. Sometimes I think I thrive a little better with a little more going on.

So Vegas, we will meet again, for the second time in 2013, but I promise you this, I am a completely different girl coming to you this time. In February I was still 170 pounds and while completely happy with my progress, had no idea yet what was in store for me in the next 7 months. The girl who gets on that plane in November to run a ½ marathon in Vegas is the girl I only ever imagined I could be. She is going with the confidence of a girl who spends her free time in the gym and runs ½ marathons for fun. More importantly she loves the hell out of herself and the woman she is becoming every day. The one who is not afraid to live her life and do the things that make her smile. I keep thinking to myself, no matter what happens for the rest of my life I will have that experience and always know that yes, I ran a ½ marathon on the Vegas strip. I am one of THOSE people. That makes me so incredibly happy and proud. It’s not to say that I’m not scared, I am. But a little healthy fear is a good thing. I’m starting to learn to embrace it.

And I love that in a couple more months I will have an entire year of my life blogged. I think that is pretty cool actually. This is officially the longest I have ever continued to consistently blog. Further proof that this time I am a completely different woman. I have finally made the transition to actually making this my lifestyle instead of a fad or a short term gimmick or something I am doing to lose weight to get to some end game.

There is NO end game my friends. Ever. There is always something else to achieve. I’ve finally figured that out. There is no fancy end point. There is simply living my life healthy and active and enjoying the hell out of it because I am no longer afraid to live. I can decide on a spur of the moment to do things and not let fear dictate. I am starting to believe I am strong enough both physically and mentally to accomplish just about anything I want and it’s time to go for it.

Last night leaving the gym, walking out with my mom, (probably brought on by attending my grandma’s funeral yesterday and it bringing up issues of my dad), I kind of shook my head and asked my mom, “Do you think dad would have ever believed a child of his would be a health and fitness nut? Do you think he would have ever guessed I turn out this way?” It was slightly a rhetorical question because I already knew the answer was no. I think perhaps despite not ever considering it a possibility that he might be proud nonetheless. Most of his entire life he let weight stop him from doing all the things he really wanted. I know he did not live the life he wanted simply because of weight issues. I am certain he never wanted that for any of his children. Obesity really is a vicious cycle. It is so much more difficult for a person to overcome a lifetime of obesity than someone who came from an active and fit household.

Let me put it to you this way, I didn’t have a chance in hell. My dad’s parents were both incredibly obese. My dad and his brothers obese. My mom’s family; obese. My parents simply were never taught better themselves so how could they be expected to pass on a love of exercise or knowledge of health to their children when they were never taught that either? Vicious cycle. Which is why I am all the prouder of my mom for making the effort to take control of her health now. I have so much love for her and no desire for her to end up limiting her existence because of her weight. Honestly, I don’t wish that for anyone. Ever. Especially any of the people I love. I’d be the first person to try and help you out if you want it. I don’t want to be too preachy or pushy though. People hate that :)

I am really excited to go to Vegas and run. I have had a smile on my face for 24 hours straight because I am just so excited to take on new challenges like this. This is how you are supposed to live life. It really is. In the end, some day, when the lights finally go out, I don’t want there to be a list of what if’s and I wish I would have’s. I want the memories of all the amazing things I did to flash before my eyes. I want my obituary to read off a million amazing things that I accomplished in my life. I am determined from here on out to live my life to the fullest.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stay Tuned...

Last night was a fabulous arm workout personal training session. It was exactly what I needed as I was not in the mood to particularly work my legs. I mean, I would have, but mostly since the last time I was at the gym was Thursday night, I REALLY felt like a good upper body workout was in order and she did not disappoint. I literally worked my arms to the point of exhaustion. Ever had that happen? Yeah, it’s pretty much a total body betrayal and by that I mean, my brain says lift those weights up over your head but your body betrays you and literally can’t make the muscles move any longer. It’s an interesting thing really. But I felt a little bit of relief to be honest to get back to doing some weight lifting.

While this last weekend was momentous in terms of my belief in myself and my running, it was slightly less than stellar on the overall health and wellness front. I didn’t exercise Friday or Saturday which already leaves me feeling a little lethargic by nature and then add in completely less than stellar food choices and I’m feeling like a major fatty. That is all mental. It’s just nice to get back to some serious ass kicking weight training.

Of course today is totally going to be off for me. I am not really looking forward to the next few hours or really this entire evening to be honest. I am at work until about 1 PM, when I have to leave, stop by my house change into an appropriately solemn black dress and head to a graveyard for my grandma’s services at 2 PM. Afterwards we are meeting my uncle and his wife at a pizza parlor in the town I grew up in. To be honest I am not looking forward to this at all. This is my dad’s brother who we have very little contact with. He is a nice enough guy but was just never really involved in our lives. He lives in Seattle and works for Microsoft. He is like that rich uncle that you don’t really have a lot in common with. I don’t know about the extent of his wealth but he is pretty well off. That much I know. He’s been working at Microsoft for a very long time as a programmer. Like straight out of college, so at least 30 plus years. I know he started back in the beginning of the formation of Microsoft. All I know is that he has meeting with Bill Gates himself. I only say all this to illustrate how little there probably is to discuss with the man that I’ve seen like twice in 10 years.

I am going to try and not eat pizza because I don’t really need afternoon pizza. I’d like to stick around long enough to be respectful but still make it to the gym. I am not positive this is going to happen. I’m really not. I’d like to go to the gym but if the afternoon does not allow for it I am not going to press it but that bums me out as well. Of course what I HAVE to go to is a 7 PM therapy appointment. So yes, regardless of what is happening I have to leave at least by 6:15 to get back to Salem for my therapy appointment. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Funerals are never fun, especially with people you rarely ever see. Should be interesting times.

I keep forgetting that Friday night I get to go see Adam Lavine and Kelly Clarkson in concert. That should be fun. It’s nice to have something fun coming up so soon. Especially more exciting since watching the Voice last night and being reminded of how handsome Adam is. Speaking of shows last night, can I talk about How I Met Your Mother? Um, seriously, love that show. Always have. I started watching it on the night it premiered like 8 years ago. I have watched week in and week out for 8 years of my life and it was so ridiculously rewarding last night to see the mother and see her interact with the other characters. Perfection. I have always loved that show and it did not disappoint. I will be so sad when it is finally done with.

So in terms of stuff coming up I just have this concert on Friday and then my Pink Concert middle to end of October (holy shit, Seattle and in the pit for my gal Pink, that is AMAZING!), and that is it. I have a lot of things or possibilities in my head of things I want to do, but nothing firm. I think I operate better having future stuff on the books to look forward to or work towards. I seriously need to consider planning a trip or booking something fun to have out there. I will have to seriously consider that in the upcoming months.

Of course we have Christmas thrown in there too. I love Christmas and the whole season, being with family, embracing togetherness. You know, all that cheesy stuff that warms your heart. That’s completely me. This Christmas will be completely different than last though. I remember struggling thru the season with the food choices because I was only about 3 months into losing weight and obviously was still in need of losing weight. I remember fretting over and over about going to frost cookies because I was terrified I was going to pig out on them. Not really a big issue for me this year. I mean, I might actually eat a couple cookies but I don’t worry about that throwing me off completely anymore. Oh, the past year, how you have been the most significant change in my entire life.

I keep getting surprised or caught off guard by how different I really am or the changes that have occurred. I continually surprise myself and am surprised by the things that happen to me and the things I am capable of doing. That is an amazing thing. Like running that half marathon and not really feeling like it was nearly as difficult as it could have been. Why did I wait so long to run that? It honestly had nothing to do with the running part and everything to do with the mental part and not feeling mentally strong enough. Funny how that is so much more of a hindrance than the physical part.

So I just was thinking about something fun to do to look forward to and I’m checking it out, looking into the details. Stay tuned… this could be fun… I’m getting excited now…. Wait for the announcement soon… Hint: there might be more ½ marathons in my plan later this year :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Just maybe

What do you all think... next year, summer/fall 2014 a full marathon? Only took me 24 hours to determine that it might be something I'd like to shoot for. I've got to be honest running a full marathon has ALWAYS been on my "dream" list. To be able to someday run a full marathon.... Maybe... right... Just throwing it out there as a possibility. Just maybe.

Official Results

Thank you to my friend Paige who just alerted me to the reality that the results were officially posted for my race! She left a comment below and I searched it out and sure enough, turns out that 203 people finished the race. 272 signed up, I suspect a lot did not show up because of the weather, a few showed up and did not finish. So yeah, 203 finished the race. I was 66 of the 203 that did finish. I am SO beyond happy with that. I did better than I thought I did. That makes me very happy. I mean, I wasn’t racing to win or to even really care about time or placement, but honestly, it’s REALLY nice knowing that I was pretty much close to the top 30-35% of the people. Now THAT makes me feel like a runner.

Looking at the times, there were like 10-15 people within a couple of minutes of each other before me. If I had realized I was that close to the front I might have pushed a little harder there at the end, dang it. Next time, right??? That makes me want to run more actually. That is inspiring. Not too shabby considering all those conditions and my lack of real training and my lack of outdoor running.

Here’s a link to the results:

I’d say not too bad at all. This puts a big smile on my face for sure. THRILLED with that. It’s all about perspective, and I generally have none.

Less than 1%

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what it means to finally become an official half-marathoner. Every single person who runs a half marathon has their own reasons and story behind it. I cannot begin to profess that my accomplishment means anything greater than anyone else’s. I doubt it very much actually because I didn’t overcome some major life crisis to get to it. I didn’t battle back from a severely crippling disease. Not that these are the only significant means to feel proud of finishing a half marathon. Anyone who finishes has accomplished something great. But as per is typical of my personality I tend to downplay its own value. Is it really that heavy of an accomplishment?

I try to put things into perspective as my brain has a hard time with that concept to begin with but it also likes to rationalize out things. I did a Google search for how many people run half marathons. Turns out 13.1 miles is the fastest growing race in the United States. More and more people are running them and mostly women. Not shocking. And the median age of a ½ marathoner is 35. I am perfectly in line with the statistics. With all that said, despite its incredible growth in popularity in 2012 (the last full official year for statistics), 1.85 million Americans completed a ½ marathon. At first this sounds like a great deal of people completing this run. But then I decided to Google search the US Population. Turns out there are actually a little over 314 million people in the United States. This actually means that as a whole something like less than 1% of the US population actually completes a half marathon. I can handle math that a calculator can do but when it gets in the millions it’s like .05% of the US population completes a ½ marathon. That puts it more into perspective actually.

Of course you will also notice that the statistics are gathered by how many people actually finish the line at a ½ marathon, so there were 1.85 million finished runs in the United States in 2012. This includes every person who crosses the line in every race. What I mean to say is that, if the same person ran multiple races in 2012 than they are counted each time. Reality is, I am guessing, it is quite a lot less than 1.85 million different people finishing those races. If you run a ½ marathon odds are you are probably running more than one in a year. I suspect the number then goes down quite significantly. Even if 1.85 million different people ran a ½ marathon, that makes it less than 1% of the entire population of the United States. This is the perspective my brain is trying to grasp.

I think my brain needs to compute the raw numbers because as I sat in the car yesterday morning, waiting inside the car because it was cold and windy outside, I watched tiny runner after tiny runner exist their cars and I had a typical Emily mental block. They all “looked” like runners. Not that there is ever a single size of anything that looks like a runner but in my mind I have always struggled with the concept of feeling like a runner and self-doubt.

I can tell you that most of the day on Saturday I was indeed fine. I helped my youngest sister and her husband unpack their belongings into a new apartment closer to where we live. But as about 5 PM rolled around and I was starting to think about leaving and heading home the panic shockingly started to hit. I have never experienced panic quite like that. Actually, that is a lie. When I did Speech and Debate in high school, before every speech tournament, despite always being utterly prepared for what was to occur, I would get quite sick to the point of throwing up from nerves. That is my body’s natural reaction to stress. Physical sick. Once before I went to Girl Scout camp in like 6th grade, I literally got so sick the night before I was throwing up non-stop because I was scared. I think this is my body’s way of “getting out of” the things I don’t want to do. Being sick is a perfectly viable reason to not do something we are afraid of so my body musters up the physical sick. I was beginning to feel that way. It has been so many years since that feeling has occurred for me.

I was driving the ½ hour home from my sister’s house and I started to feel the incredible panic set in. I had not expected to feel that. I tried to calm myself down and played Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Sara Bareilles “Brave” over and over in the car. Be Brave I kept telling myself, and I am a champion. Not sure if I really believed it, but I made it home. Then I REALLY panicked. I set out my clothes for the morning and started to do the timing math and realized I had to awake at 5:30 AM to leave the house by 6 AM to drive the hour and a half to the location to pick up my packet to run at 9 AM. I almost had a mental break down actually. Being in the house was freaking me out because it was allowing me to stew in my own thoughts. I decided that I needed a better arm band for my i-phone because I was using an old one that was not designed for the I-phone. I headed to Best Buy to pick out a new one. Being out of the house seemed to help some. I ended up at Red Lobster for dinner. I was trying to distract myself and basically get out of my own way. I loaded up on shrimp and baked potato and opted for water only as my beverage of choice.

I can say with 100% certainty that I was beyond shocked at how panicked I was about running the next morning. I am not sure what I was really all that scared of. Not really. I knew I could run 13.1 miles. Or rather run most of it and walk it out if I had to. I knew my body was physically capable of it. I am certain I was afraid of the mental part of it. I went to bed and obviously did not sleep as much as I should have. I awoke and was on the road when it was still dark outside. I was tired. I tried to stick to my normal routine with food and water. I arrived at the location of the run way too early. I picked up my packet and then had to sit in the car for the better part of an hour until it became time to actually go outside.

Remember the weather forecast was calling for tracheal downpours and high winds. It wasn’t quite pouring yet and it wasn’t quite crazy wind yet but it was COLD. And windy. And on and off drizzle. And I am a wuss. Let’s all take a moment to realize that I am not an outdoor runner. I am a treadmill girl thru and thru. Yes, it means I can run and have endurance but the elements are all new. If I had been at all better I probably would have ran more than once outside prior to the event. In that moment, sitting in the car, trying to keep warm, I regretted my lack of outdoor running immensely.

I think something like 5 or 6 years ago I ran 1 5-K run, and then two weeks ago I ran an outside half marathon on my own. Those are the only times I have actually ran outside in the past 5 years. Seems crazy that I would decide to just go ahead and run a ½ marathon then. But since when I have ever been all that sane in my training/running/exercise life? I don’t know how to run in the cold, and wet. At the last minute I decided to bring a baseball cap and I really was thankful for that. As most crazy girls do, as other racers got out of their vehicles I surveyed their attire to try and determine if I was completely insane in my Capri pants and tank top. Of course I brought a hoodie running zip jacket as well. Some women were in short shorts and I’m like, what the hell? But I quickly realized that perhaps they ran outside so they knew better than me.

The nerves were pretty insane at this point. About 20 minutes before we were to start I decided it was time to get out the car and brave the weather. We all lined up and I saw a bunch of women who I perceived to be runners. I pretty much walked to the back of the line and planted myself somewhere towards the very end.

The race started late because I feel like perhaps this wasn’t the most organized race ever but in the end that didn’t matter too much as it was chip timed and it was still a 13.1 mile course. The buzzer sounded or else the pack started moving, I can’t exactly remember and I started running. It was immediately up a little hill and I thought okay. Then we were out on the open road and I felt good. Like really good. Like, oh yeah, I haven’t exercised in 2 whole days and my body loves this shit kind of good. I quickly realized that I had positioned myself incorrectly in the very back as I started to run around people. I wanted to keep an even pace for sure, something I knew I could keep up for a while, but I also didn’t want to sell myself short. So I scooted up to where I felt comfortable, eventually nearing the 10 minute mile pacer guy. This is where I felt comfortable.

I am not going to lie, it was cold. It was windy. It was rainy at times. And then somewhere around mile 2 we turned off in the forest and did trail running. Real life up and down narrow steep path trail running. Wasn’t exactly expecting that. We ran around an entire lake. Then we’d turn back onto a road and I’d be happy again. Not because I particularly love the road but because my grip and footing felt so off running in the dirt on steep hills where I felt like I was going to slip. But I ran. I didn’t stop running. Around mile 5-6 I realized that I felt GREAT. I felt amazing. I felt really comfortable and not at all fatigued. I knew the fatigue would hit. I knew I couldn’t quite keep up that pace for 13.1 miles, but I felt better than I had on any previous run.

They had water stations or rather people handing out the water as we ran buy. I would slow down, drink it and keep running. I was feeling it. I don’t run particularly fast, but I run consistent and that is all that matters to me. Around mile 9 there was another water station and then we headed back into the woods and the rain started to come down. The combination of the rain and the runners who had gone before me left the trail very muddy and slick. It threw off my footing completely. I ran as much as I could. I had to stop and hop around some giant mud pits. But I kept going. And talk about elevation change. There were hills. A lot of hills. Many more hills than I was expecting. Both in the forest and on road. This was a challenging course by all accounts.

When we finally cleared the forest and was back on the road I ran until I hit mile 10 and then I found myself repeating, it’s only a 5k now. You’ve only got to do a simple 5k now. You are on the home stretch. But I was getting tired. The last 5k is the hardest by all means. And of course as I was fucking with my armband my music stopped and I had to pull it out and try and make it work again and then I heard Brave kick on and I ran. I felt like I was running thru a rain storm fast, but I am certain I was probably barely moving. At this point it was raining and the wind kept blowing it all around us. My feet were muddy and I was carrying around extra dirt from the trail. And I was cold. I was shivering, but I ran. Then I had to stop. I had to stop about mile 11.5 or 12 as I looked up and saw a VERY steep hill. My brain told me no. My brain said just walk for a moment or two. I walked for 20 seconds, I ran for 20 seconds up a hill and I started to think about a year ago and how I could not have even begun to do this. And I started to wipe away tears from my eyes. It was hard to tell because I was also wiping away wind and rain and all around dampness. And I was an ice cube. My extremities were not moving as fast as they could have been I was very cold at this point.

I pushed on thru the hill and I was running and turned the corner I actually saw the finish line below and realized I was seconds from the end. That is when I felt the tears come up out of nowhere. The last .10 meter dash to the finish. In hindsight if I had actually comprehended the finish was up at the top of that hill, I would not have slowed down so much the last little bit, I would have fought like hell up that hill to make it, but I didn’t know. I sprinted down the hill and thru the finish line at officially the time of 2 hours 18 minutes 50 seconds. I was cold more than anything else. My feet were wet. But my body was physically okay. Actually I felt pretty damned great considering I just ran 13.1 miles.

It was the first time ever that I thought hmm… maybe someday I COULD do a full marathon. Crazy thought I know. But I wasn’t nearly as exhausted as I thought I’d be. My body wasn’t completely spent. I still felt like I had a little something left in me. Actually the entire time as I was running, and believe me I pretty much ran most every part of that 13.1 miles, I kept thinking this is not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I feel so much better than I thought I was going to. And mostly, yeah, I do feel like I real runner. As people would occasionally move out of the way for me on the trail, I thought you know, I must be doing okay. By no means was I the fastest. But 2 hours 19 minutes is completely respectable. Respectable considering every obstacle that was thrown at me. I have never run that many hills before while being pelted with wind and rain. I have never run in the forest for such durations in the mud. I mean in 5 years I ran outside twice. I will take my 2 hours 19 minutes and be incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished.

I know if I actually trained or worked at it I could probably improve my time. I could probably get this down to somewhere in a 2 hour time but this is also what I have discovered; I’m not sure how much that matters to me or not. I am not trying to be the fastest person out there. I like all the other stuff I am doing these days at the gym. I like exploring lots of different options and I don’t know if I want to invest all my eggs into one running basket anymore. I rather like that I can train and build muscle at the gym, and not really have to train all that hard, okay, really train at all, and still go out and run 13.1 miles in 2 hours 19 minutes. I am pretty comfortable with that time considering the amount of effort I actually put in. Maybe sometime I will get more into it. Maybe I will want to run that marathon someday. Maybe I will strive for a 2 hour ½ marathon time but for now, for this day, I am simply thrilled that I am in the less than 1% of the American population who have run a half marathon. Today that is good enough for me.

I cannot tell you how incredibly freeing it was to finish. The sense of relief I felt crossing that finish line. Not because I doubted that I could, but because I was finally able to finish something that has been a “what if” or an “I’d like to” for so long in my life. And it was so much easier than I thought it was going to be. Not necessarily the running, but the mental aspect that I struggled with for so long. It was mentally not as awful as I projected. Getting over the mental is the hardest part. That was the part that I felt the relief for. Relief that I had finally done one and the fear of the unknown was over. I am no longer a race virgin. I don’t consider my 1 5-k, 5 years ago, as a real race at this point.

I can actually say I have ran a half marathon. Because I ran 99% of that bad boy. 2 hours 19 minutes is totally respectable. No one can say I didn’t run it with that time. I would like to run another one now that I know I can. Of course I wouldn’t mind a race this time that perhaps isn’t quite as off-roady. I don’t think I am a trail runner. I don’t like feeling like I might slip and hurt myself. I can handle the hills of the road as they happen but the uncertainty of brush and mud and tree roots and slipping are a little much. I actually really enjoyed the run and the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. I could see myself doing this. I really could. I could see myself working a little bit on training more pre run to maybe actually get my body more used to outdoor running. Of course running season is pretty much over as well. I don’t actually love being cold. I was cold all day yesterday as a result. Wet socks for a couple hours left me really cold all day/night. So perhaps this is a good thing to have accomplished for now to mentally prepare myself for next spring. I could see myself running ½ marathons quite more frequently. I could see myself getting addicted to them.

All the self-doubt about whether I can do it or not is gone. I have done it. All the times I told myself running on the treadmill doesn’t make me a real runner is gone. Questioning if I can really keep it together solidly for 2 plus hours on a run is no longer an issue. All of it wiped out in one morning. Yes, I am mentally tough enough. Yes, I am physically tough enough. Yes, I can run in mud, and up hills and in the rain and in the wind, and in the forest, and on trails, and with people around me, and in the cold and I can do this for 2 hours 19 minutes in a row and walk away a ½ marathon finisher.

This girl I am today is someone I only dreamed of 10 years ago, yet alone a year ago. I am going back 10 years now my friends to that 24 year old girl who first walked in a weight watchers meeting and didn’t believe in anything in herself. The one who had never thought she was an athlete. I am going back to that 17 year old girl who for some crazy reason dreamed of running free and letting her legs take her away, despite her growing physical size. I am speaking to that girl right now, that girl who always dreamed of and imagined more for herself. And here we go, to that overweight 17 year old who envisioned herself a runner. To that sad and lonely 24 year old who didn’t envision herself as anything… to that defeated grossly sad 33 year old a year ago sitting in that Old Navy parking lot crying, this I say to you…

“Yesterday you did something you thought always exclusively belonged to “other” people. Yesterday you fulfilled a lifelong dream, whether you always desired it or not, or even knew you wanted it. Yesterday you pushed thru all of your anxiety and fear and self-doubt (and beyond your body’s physical representation of making you sick) and actually decided to take a chance on yourself. I know life hasn’t always been kind to you. I know you have been knocked down many times and find it difficult to sometimes muster up enough self-love to give yourself a chance. But yesterday you accomplished something that will undoubtedly make you feel proud for years to come. Maybe you don’t know the significance or importance of it yet.

Hell, I am certain that from this point forward you will probably run many more races in your life, but yesterday will always be special. It will always be the first. It will be the moment you allowed yourself to really let go and fulfill a dream. It is not often in life that our dreams are so easy to determine and fulfill. Mostly they are abstract big picture things that are harder to really gauge. Yesterday was a clear moment of fulfilling one simple dream and the power behind it will be felt for years to come I am certain.

It was a step to becoming the grown woman that you have always secretly desired to be. The athlete in side of you who runs marathons and breaks down her own self-imposed walls. Yesterday you took a big step towards finding her. I am proud of you. I am proud of the 17 year old version of you, that 24 year old and that 33 year old because underneath each of you was a girl who while muddled at times, always had a little spark of this woman inside of her.

Yesterday you fulfilled a lifelong dream and the importance of that alone makes me want to cry. It might have been simpler than you imagined which only goes to show you that perhaps those other things you have always wanted are easier than you thought possible as well? Maybe it was simpler but the first step, that mental step was the real challenge and that is what I am most proud of for you. Of course like any true champion, you could not have done it alone.

I don’t think you ever realized that at 34 years old you would be surrounded by the most amazing set of strangers you’ve never met but love anyway. That in the days leading up to the big day, the day before, the morning of, and there after you were filled but wishes of love and inspiration. Do you know how lucky you are to have such amazing people in your life? Did you ever think that a bunch of glorious woman from all over the United States would care enough about you to send you notes of encouragement? You must be doing something right to have such love surround you? Please remember that feeling forever. It seemed like the moment you were feeling scared or frightened someone would reach out and tell you that you are going to do this and it put the biggest smile on your face. You are blessed. Don’t forget that. You are not alone in this and don’t ever think for a second that you are.

To my un-athletic 17 year old dreamer, to my lonely naïve 24 year old, to my defeated sad 33 year old self I can only tell you this, always, always believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to dream something, no matter how big it may seem at the time. You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for and yesterday you found that out first hand. You are officially a half marathoner. You earned that. You deserved that. You killed that. Congratulations and thank you for always somewhere keeping that dream alive. Each one of you kept a small piece of this dream in your heart so that yesterday at 34 you finally realized it.”

And I have one more incredible thank you to put out there. Yesterday I met a very dear online friend, Paige. I have “known” Paige online for years and years and years. Hell, probably 10 years. That naïve 24 year old probably met her 10 back on the weight watchers boards. Yesterday Paige came to Oregon and was there at my race with me. I got to physically hug Paige and she was there as I crossed that finish line. Then I got to go to lunch with her and her sister. It meant the world to me that she would be there with me. That I got to experience that moment with her right there is something that will always be part of my memory of that special moment. That is the power of this world. Strangers are not really strangers. The world is smaller than you think and I am never really alone. Thank you Paige for sharing that moment with me. I adore you. Always have. Always will.

From this day forward I will always be a half-marathoner. No one can take that away from me. I now belong to that group of less than 1% of the American population who have completed that task and I can smile because I now believe I am a true runner.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Eve of the Eve of the 1/2 Marathon

Can you believe this day is finally upon us? And by this day I mean the eve of the eve of running my first half marathon. I am in parts in denial I believe. Yup, there might be serious amount of denial wrapped up in there. Basically because I am walking around in la la land ignoring the reality that I am going to be running outside in what is sure to be a rain storm for 13.1 miles, up hills with people watching. Oh boy. I am allowing myself 3 hours to complete this task given all of the extenuating circumstances. I don’t like rain. Well I mean, I live in Oregon so parts of me like rain. Just I don’t want to be outside for hours in the rain. I would prefer to run in the heat actually to the rain. But no one really asked for my opinion before setting the weather forecast.

I thought I’d be more excited than I actually am. Perhaps that’s the nerves as well. I am actually feeling really blah today. I’ve actually felt kind of blah on the whole exercise front all week to be honest. I just feel like while I have been going thru the motions that my effort hasn’t exactly been 100%. I guess some weeks are just like that. It really is okay. At least I put in the effort, right. I mean, I did exercise from Saturday thru Thursday even if some of them were less than stellar workouts; it’s still 6 days in a row. Thus my break tonight. In about 2 ½ hours or so I actually have a massage which will be really nice and much needed at this point. I am on the fence about tomorrow, and by that I mean, I know I am NOT supposed to exercise. I am pretty sure that everyone would tell me to let my body rest but then part of me is like, why is this any different than any other exercise for me? I run 13.1 miles before and I have exercised the day before and been fine. I don’t know. I probably will take the day off but I don’t have to like it. And that is my story and I’m sticking to it!

I wish I was going into the run feeling more confident. I am terrified if I’m being honest. Yes, I am terrified. It is such a weird thought to me especially because two weeks ago I ran 13.1 miles outside so I know I can do it physically. It was hard. But I could do it. The conditions will be very different on Sunday but even in the worst of conditions I have to keep reminding myself that I will be able to finish it. Why do we constantly doubt ourselves so much? We are in the end our own worst critics and enemies.

I am very much looking forward to Sunday afternoon and completing this task to cross it off my bucket list. And then perhaps after having completed it I will have the confidence to know I’ve done it and then not feel quite so terrified of it. Also I’m hoping that there is going to be some amazing feeling of accomplishment or pride kick in after having actually finished one that will kindle my desire to run more of them.

For some reason I still can’t quite shake the feeling that I’m not a real runner. I honestly don’t know why I feel that way at times. I am certain I am as much a runner as anyone else who runs is but in my mind there is something that tells me I am not. I don’t know what it is really. Maybe having run a ½ marathon will shake some of my doubt away.

No matter what happens on Sunday this much I know. One year ago I would not have been able to walk slowly a 5k race, yet alone consider running a half marathon so I have to smile and be proud that I’m even going to be there. I don’t need to compare myself to anyone else. I don’t need to try and keep pace with anyone else running. This is not about keeping up with anyone else. This is about me and accomplishing something that I’ve always wanted to do. It’s about believing in myself enough to even attempt the race. Rain or Shine, I will complete this thing. Even if I end up being a drowned rat at the end, I will be a drowned rat who ran/walked a half marathon.

With all that said, everyone keep me in your thoughts and prayers Sunday morning at 9 AM Pacific Coast time, because that is when it all starts for me. I need all the positive energy in the world coming my way to push me on. So if anyone feels so inclined Sunday morning between 9 to say 11:30 AM Pacific time to send me a Facebook message or a tweet or a little note of encouragement I am going to have my phone on me… I’d appreciate any support that comes my way to push me on. Really, in the end, the support I get from all of you is what keeps me going. It reminds me why I do this to begin with.

Obviously can you tell how scared I am? I know it’s going to be fine. Logically I know I can do this. But it doesn’t stop fear from coming in. But as all the sayings go, you have to get past the fear to find the things in life that truly worth doing. No matter what happens from here on out, I will ALWAYS remember Sunday because it will be my first. Maybe my only, who knows. I kind of doubt it, but it will be my first and therefore memorable forever. So Sunday I run and then Monday I will have a very lovely recap of the event for everyone.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


So this morning I found out that my grandma died. This is my dad’s dad. I have to be honest and say that I am not particularly close to any of my grandparents. It’s not like during any point in my life any real relationships were cultivated that left a lasting impression on me. I think that is pretty sad actually. I am sad that she has passed. I appreciate the reality that she was my grandparent and gave birth to my father who in turn spawned my immediate family that means the world to me. However, my grandma herself was a true 1940’s housewife. She believed that a woman’s place was complacent to her husband and most likely in the kitchen. She also believed that in order to get thru most likely the monotony of this existence that medication was the only solution. For my entire life she was a pretty quiet repressed woman and that is sad. I truly believe she has gone to a better place where she can be reunited with my grandpa, the love of her life, and my father.

In the grand scheme of things her actual passing does not have a major bearing on my life. That makes me sound like a horrible bitch and I want to feel sadder than I actually do. But how much is it supposed to affect my life when I saw the woman but maybe once every couple years. That makes me sound so awful and again, I’m sorry for that. But nothing about visiting her was ever easy. Not that easy is always the best answer, it’s just she wasn’t the easiest person to get along with. None of my grandparents are. I wish I had grandparents that were active and involved my whole life. My mom is a great example of what an active grandparent is. My niece and nephew have incredible love for their grandma because she is involved in their lives. That is the way it should be. I can honestly think of few things worse than dying alone in a nursing home, which is pretty much exactly what happened to my grandma. Worse yet, my uncle, (my dad’s brother that we never see, who is some big time programmer at Microsoft), sent a text message to my sister telling her grandma died. No one actually called anyone. My dad’s family is weird. For as close as every extended member of my mom’s family is, my dad’s family is the complete opposite.

I have a ton of cousins that I am incredibly close to on my mom’s side. She has 7 brothers and sisters each with children that I see frequently. We are a rare exception in terms of families. But my dad’s family barely communicates. I assume some one will let us know when services will be for Grandma. I always knew this day would come. I guess as much as it doesn’t really affect me I have to take a moment to acknowledge and process it because it is still sad. I wish I knew her better. I am certain I would feel sadder if my dad was alive and I had to see him be sad. When my Grandpa died many years ago, my dad was still alive and he fell apart and I felt so sad for my dad. It was hard. Obviously with my dad no longer around it’s not quite the same experience.

When my mom’s parents go, both of them are still alive, it will be more difficult. Not because I am any closer to them, I am not. But because my mom will be a mess and my aunts will be sad and that will be very hard for me. I will feel for them. Not looking forward to that time, as much as I know it will eventually come. Death is such an interesting thing to deal with. Emotions strike you in weird ways at weird times. I think perhaps I will just have to reflect upon it and I might get a moment here or there and remember something. But again, I would be such a hypocrite to actually completely feel sad because I didn’t take the time to be with her when she was alive. You can call me a bad person all you want, but it’s just the circumstances of life. We all have them. Good or bad, things just sometimes are.

Other than that I’m having an okay day. Nothing too spectacular but nothing too bad either. I think somewhere in my stomach are the beginnings of nerves about Sunday. I know I can run 13.1 miles. I have run it before so I am trying to not psyche myself out too much. I guess I am trying to decide if it’s a big deal or not. Part of me is like running a ½ marathon IS a big deal, if it wasn’t I would have done it a long time ago. Then part of me is like maybe it’s not that big of a deal, maybe it’s just something I show up and do. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t really do any “training” for it. Perhaps it’s because I just decided to do it and now I’m going to do it. I read a lot of stuff that tells you all the things you should be doing the night before, etc., and mostly I’m like eh, I’m just going to show up and run. Does that make me incredibly naïve? Perhaps. What’s the worst thing that will happen? The worst thing is that I have to walk more than I want to. Is that really so bad? I know that no matter what I can run a good ½ to ¾ of it even in the worst of circumstances so the worst case scenario is I have to walk a little bit. It’s not really the end of the world actually. I will finish. I have never thought I wouldn’t finish it.

Honestly I feel like I am going to be relieved when it’s over just to be able to fully know I’ve done it. Just to be able to say I’ve ran a half marathon. Relief. I think I am probably downplaying its own importance or significance to me because I am scared. It’s what I do. It’s how I handle things. If I don’t admit how much it matters than I can’t be heartbroken if something goes wrong. Not that I believe something will go wrong, but you know, safe guard your heart. I really think this is our bodies own natural self-protect mode.

I just re-read the post I wrote when I signed up for the half-marathon and my excitement was so real and infectious. I was so ready to do this. Now I am scared, but I am sure after I finish I will be thrilled. I promise to take some photos to share. In fact, I will probably end up tweeting about it on Sunday. I might even tweet during the race actually. I don’t think I will post on Facebook because I don’t want to be one of those people. I will post when I finish the thing but not during; but twitter, be prepared for ongoing updates… maybe that will help get me thru it. Sunday morning 9 AM, this girl will embark on her ½ marathon journey. Wowza.

I guess this is the first step in that whole being brave thing. It’s one thing to run outside by myself, it’s another thing to run with a bunch of people watching me. I wonder how that is going to affect me actually. All unknowns, but it’s time to find out, right?

Tonight I go to the gym, put in one last good workout and then tomorrow night I am taking off, getting my massage that I am quite looking forward to, and then I reluctantly take Saturday off. Do you know how hard it is going to be for me to not exercise on Saturday? REALLY hard. But I am going to do it so that I can be as prepared as I possibly can for Sunday morning. I think my body will probably thank me for a whole 48 hours off. At least I think it will.

I am pretty much looking forward to Sunday afternoon when I am done and just say I’ve completed it and I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Just get thru tonight and then I get 2 days off and then my run on Sunday. I CAN do this. I WILL do this. Yup. I think my massage tomorrow is going to feel awesome too :) Guess I should get some cash for a tip though. I already paid for the massage via a groupon I bought a while ago, but I definitely need to get tip money.

It’s hard to keep motivation alive day in and day out isn’t it? Even I struggle with it from time to time. Like right now this minute to be exact. I just want to curl up into a ball, close my eyes and go to sleep for a little while. Boy do I wish we could still take naps. That sounds so amazing right now. Just push one thru one more night of the gym, just one more. You got this.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On this exact day...

I’m trying to think back to a year ago today. Basically as I approach my one year anniversary of my quiet decent into health and fitness I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head. As I looked at the calendar today it occurred to me that I am in the final two weeks until the anniversary date. And then my brain suddenly jumped to the notion of I wonder what I was really doing and thinking a year ago today. I was on the last hurrah of my free for all in the world of eating like shit. I did an email search to see what happened on this day a year ago and guess what interesting thing I found happened on this day one year ago. Pink’s Truth About Love CD came out and she announced her tour schedule. One year ago today I completely remember lying in my bed waking up in the morning excited to read the email with announcement of where Pink would be going on tour to. This was particularly exciting for me but scary as well. I remember that feeling of dread as my stomach dropped seeing the closest possible location was Vegas.

Wow I’m having a surreal moment right here right now as I scroll thru my emails from a year ago and I so intensely remember my feelings because they were that powerful. I was so excited and anxious, hoping Pink was at least coming to Seattle. At the time she was not. I was disappointed when I saw Vegas was the closest. Disappointed and scared because I knew I was overweight and at my core I was terrified of getting on a plane and going to Vegas hating myself. Terrified because I was not sure if I could make myself buy the tickets despite preaching for years that I would see Pink the next time she went on tour. Terrified because in that moment I didn’t believe I was going to follow thru.

For a solid week before tickets actually went on sale I debated back and forth on whether to actually go or not. I used money as the excuse. Sure, it was expensive, but ultimately money was the excuse. We all know what the real excuse was. Even I was afraid to admit it at the time. As I scrolled thru a few emails I see on September 20, 2011 an e-mailed receipt to me from Old Navy. I remember this day VIVIDLY. This is the last time I went into an Old Navy store and purchased new jeans that were larger because I had outgrown them. From here on out my purchases would be a size down. I vividly remember this day because I was utterly depressed. I remember before I went into the Old Navy store sitting in my car, talking on the phone to my mom crying. I was at Old Navy because I was previously wearing two pairs of jeans that were really too small and in fact, it had gotten to the point where I could no longer button them, but guess what? I wore them anyway, without the button on them. They were tight enough that with a shirt over them no one really knew. How sad is that?

I had to get new jeans because my thighs were rubbing together so much that I was wearing holes in the crotch on them as well. You know thigh rub. I felt so frumpy, because I was. I was not and have never been one of those stylish overweight girls. First, I don’t carry my weight well at all. Second, my insides are such a mess because of the weight that I had zero pride in myself and did nothing to actually make myself feel attractive.

So there I sat in the Old Navy parking lot crying to my mom, sad about what I had done. Sad because I was going in there to buy size 18 or 20 jeans. I see from my receipt that I bought 5 pairs of Rock Star jeans, some were 18’s, some were 20’s. I still wear these jeans. I’m wearing the same style today. I am wearing a size 4. That moment, sitting in the parking lot, was one I won’t ever forget actually. That feeling of utter horror and terror over having to go into a store and try on jeans. Mixed with my internal dialogue over whether I should go to Vegas or not and it really was the perfect storm of chaos.

Scrolling a few days later I see that on September 22 I went ahead and bought the Pink tickets because in my heart I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t. September 24 was the hotel and then it took a few more days of contemplation before October 5 hit and the rest is history, or rather pretty much documented here.

Which brings me to one of my favorite points which is that I LOVE having the last year of my life documented on this blog. I like being able to go back and see what I was thinking or where I was at during any given point over the past year. I didn’t really start blogging again until at least December but really Jan of 2013 so that is when my life’s documentation really hits.

So one year ago today I got the news that Pink was going to Vegas and two days from now was my Old Navy jean trip. Wow. What a hell of a difference a year makes. Today I sit wearing size 4 jeans (I actually ordered a pair of size 2 jeans that will be here tomorrow). I am going to see Pink in Seattle next month but it will be a completely different girl walking into that concert.

I shake my head in awe because one year ago I was a completely different person. Emily on Sept. 18, 2011 would have killed to be this girl today. I know exactly what she was thinking and it wasn’t pretty. She also would not have really believed that one year later she might have finally gotten it right. I guarantee she had no idea her body would have muscle and she’s be going to the gym with personal training sessions. She would have laughed her ass off at that thought. She also would have sat there and cried her eyes out seeing a picture of herself a year into the future.

I think about that sad broken girl sitting in the Old Navy parking lot, about to go in and try on size 18/20 jeans because she had gotten too fat for the jeans she already owned. That broken girl who was so afraid of her own image that she was about to pass on doing one of the major things on her bucket list (See Pink live in concert). That girl would have cried and smiled seeing what she was going to become in only 1 years’ time. Not only would she lose all the weight, but she’d love herself. She’d have the body that she’d NEVER had because she finally stepped out of her comfort zone and took a risk. That girl would probably not have believed where she’d be in a year. But then again, I also have a sinking suspicion that that girl in the Old Navy parking lot probably WOULD have believed it. Inside of even her, was the heart of a fighter, a champion, waiting to break free.

Amidst that crying phone call to my mother was the beginning formation of the reality that I was going to lose the weight again. These were the early days of the brainchild that it was finally time to do something different. Inside that dressing from, 2 days from now, a year ago, stood a woman in a pair of size 20 jeans who promised herself that this was the last time she was buying a larger pair of jeans. I also distinctly remember, after wiping the tears from my eyes, that maybe I had to buy bigger jeans today to start taking better care of myself and loving myself today so that I would never have to do this again. That the next pair of jeans I bought would be smaller and so forth. That I wanted to someday only buy new jeans because I wore them out, not because I needed a larger size. (Or because they were so cute I had to own them!)

I realize that right now, a year ago, and really for the next two weeks until October 5, was the beginning moments that shaped the decision that occurred on October 5. That really today actually, this day, one year ago, was the first time I realized how much I was letting my weight decided my life. The day that I knew I was going to have to travel to see Pink and my insecurities were instantly preventing me from wanting to do it. Hmm…. Today was the day that it all started to change. One day ago. That is amazing to me. And I’m so glad I could go back thru my e-mail and realize that.

Of course, one year ago today that didn’t stop me from eating like crap just yet. The forming of this lifestyle was occurring but it really did take until October 5 before I got it together. In fact, based on my bank account records I can tell you this. And no part of this is an exaggeration my friends. I told you I had a McDonald’s addiction, Just looking back from September 15-September 30, 2011 I ate at McDonalds pretty much every day.

9/15: McDonalds
9/16: McDonalds
9/17: McDonalds
9/18: Olive Garden
9/19: McDonalds
9/20: McDonalds
9/21: McDonalds
9/22: McDonalds
9/23: McDonalds & Applebee’s (where there was no healthy menu options)
I’m guessing between 9/23 and 9/27 I used cash to eat at McDonalds :)
9/27: McDonalds
9/28: McDonalds
9/30: McDonalds

Looks like 9/30 was the last entry I show for McDonalds. I haven’t had McDonalds since. No joke. Almost an entire year McDonald’s free. Coming from a girl who ate it pretty much every single day. No fucking wonder I was 220 pounds again. I remember trying to collect the McDonalds wrappers from my car and hide them from Chris because I didn’t want him to see all the empty food containers. As if not seeing them would somehow hide the reality of the damage I had done to my body. It’s a funny thought that if we don’t see the wrappers then it isn’t really happening. Obviously it WAS happening.

There is a quote that goes, a year from now you will wish you have started today. That could not be more aptly fitting for me. One year ago I was on the verge of starting and I couldn’t be more grateful for that final push towards exactly where I stand today. Today I am the happiest I have ever been with myself, EVER. I can honestly say that there is not a single period of time in my entire life where I have been more at peace with myself and who I am in my own skin. After years and years of yo-yoing and self-hatred I finally get it. I am so ridiculously grateful that almost a year ago I decided that today was the day and I am here today, wearing my size 4 Old Navy Jeans anticipating my kick ass workout tonight at the gym. That is what a difference a year makes.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Love and Hate

I don’t really have a lot to say today which probably means I’ll write a book, ha. We all know I’m wordy. It’s as much my thing as anything else is. I love the written word. Always have. Good therapy. Of course I actually have a therapy appointment tonight at 7 so that might be good therapy as well :) I kind of just looked at the calendar and realized that I actually have some things booked on the schedule. Crazy for me. The first is I have a massage appointment made for this Friday. Seriously, I’m getting a massage? I say this sarcastically because it’s been far too long and somehow right now that sounds amazing. Of course Sunday is the big one. And by the big one I mean its ½ marathon time. Seriously, Sunday I will be running outside, rain or shine, in a half marathon. I will talk more about that as the weekend gets closer. Expect a pondering of it on Thursday or Friday. But for today, Tuesday, I will simply say holy shit, its happening. And it’s here. Am I ready? I’m scared shitless and kind of blocking it, but I suppose I’m ready. As ready as I’m going to be I guess.

Then the following Friday I have a Maroon 5/Kelly Clarkson concert. I am SOO excited about this actually. My sister and I are going and I’m thrilled. I love them both. It’s just fun seeing something on the calendar so close that is so exciting. Fun times. That shall be my reward for the ½ marathon. Well, that and actually finishing a ½ marathon I suppose.

Last night was personal training at the gym. It was leg day. Despite all the constant work I do with my legs it amazes me when I can still get sore from workouts. Today my upper thighs are sore. Crazy. I did a ton of squats last night so it makes sense. Nothing too major to report from my training session. Just another one, which ultimately will help shape and define my body. I’ll take it. Persistence not perfection. If you keep persisting at anything eventually you will get there. My new focus I’ve decided is going to be my stomach. I was focusing really hard the last 3 months on my arms and now I feel like they are looking really good and strong and I’m starting to see the very beginnings of some upper stomach muscles and now I’m excited to see if I can get any of those to show. I knew that going to the gym was going to provide me with challenge and after challenge. All new stuff and I love it. Oh Barney Simpson (How I Met Your Mother)… “Challenge Accepted!”

I have to say that I never thought I’d EVER have any amount of abs so the possibility that perhaps something might start to show is all the motivation I need to actually work on it. I have been so stuck on the reality that I have the extra skin droop, which I totally do, and therefore I thought it was impossible to get abs at all so I didn’t even think about it. I guess I didn’t realize that maybe I could get upper abs… we will see. I actually hate ab work most of all at the gym so I am not sure how much I am going to actually want to do it. I am just having too much fun trying out different stuff anyway. I don’t want to lose focus of my arms either because I am loving getting those muscular and defined. Plus I still think I look feminine. I mean, when I am not intentionally flexing everything I still look pretty damned soft. Too soft for my liking actually :)

I have been gathering all these ideas for comparison photos for my 1 year anniversary, of course that means I would actually have to follow thru which sometimes is not my strongest suit, but we will see. I also was thinking of things to do on my 1 year anniversary since it’s a Saturday and all. Of course the weather will probably be crappy by October 5 so that really limits the outdoor stuff but I thought about maybe doing indoor rock climbing. I have never done it before an always wanted to try it. Plus watching American Ninja Warrior these past weeks has made me think that I want to do that. Of course in reality it will probably be hella hard but I still want to try.

Last night at the gym I saw my aunt. She has a gym membership there as well but ususally goes to Curves, anyhow, we were talking. And at some point she looked at me and said, “This is it, isn’t it?” Referring to the reality that I am never going back. And I said, “Yeah, it is.” I find it interesting that it is that profound and obvious, or maybe it’s the way I’m carrying myself and the belief I finally have in myself, but this REALLY is it. This is the very last time I am ever losing the weight, or rather gaining the weight. I have known since the very beginning this was different and I am so thrilled that a year later I still believe with every fiber of my being that this is the last time. That this is a life style not a diet. This is how I am choosing to live the remainder of my life because it makes me feel so damned good.

I’m pretty sure this is the most consistent I have ever been with this my whole life. The most consistent I have been with blogging, with exercise, with health and nutrition with self-love. I believe a lot of it has to do with the inside of me. The outside changes, but it always changes with commitment and dedication. What makes this time the final time is the work I have done on the inside. It’s the complete change in attitude and perception of myself. I still have bad moments. I would not be human if I did not. But even as I was losing the weight, at 210 pounds, 190 pounds, 170 pounds, I actually loved myself all along the way. I actually embraced and loved my accomplishments during the entire process. That is new to me.

When I went to Las Vegas and saw Pink in February, which was one of the major catalysts for me doing this to begin with, I was 169 pounds but I would never have known it because I felt like I was at a goal weight. I was so love with myself and my body and my accomplishments. Looking back, I was still overweight and was not nearly where I would eventually end up, but it didn’t matter, I was on top of the world. I had a great vacation and felt beautiful and sexy. That is the truth. I figured out how to love myself at 169 pounds. I believe whole heartedly that is one of the reasons that I am going to be forever successful this time. I figured out how to change the inside. There is no part of me that has tackled any part of the journey this time out of self-hatred. I didn’t make the changes because I hated myself; I made the changes because I FINALLY loved myself. Do you realize the difference? I finally do.

For 10 years I lost weight when I got really overweight because I hated myself and the person I had become. It was all hate driven which prompted me to negative self-talk the entire journey and rush towards the goal, even though when I got to the goal I didn’t really love myself any better, thus gaining it all back.

This time I decided to lose the weight because I finally loved myself enough to do it. Because I loved myself enough to take care of myself and do positive things for myself that made me feel good about myself. There was minimal negative self-talk. There was none of the destructive behaviors that dominated most of my previous weight loss endeavors. Just straight up love of the woman I was becoming and acceptance of myself.

I cannot express enough how important the difference between love and hate in weight loss really is. That is the magic answer my friends. That and strength training. If I had to give you the secret to success I would tell you equally its self-love and strength training. That is what I’ve learned this time around. Funny coming from the cardio queen, the EPIC runner who has logged more miles on a treadmill than anyone probably should. Still a runner, I just now believe in the magic of strength training.

Oh, speaking of running, one more thing from last night. During one of my classes we did something different. We ended up going to the treadmills and doing sprint intervals with stair climbing. We were supposed to sprint for 1 minute, and then get off and go up and down the stairs twice and then go back and do another 1 minute sprint. I have never done sprints because I obviously just get on there to endurance distance run. Since we were doing sprints I decided to go ahead and see just how fast I could actually sprint. I ususally run between a 6.2-6.5 on the treadmill. I CAN run at a 7-7.2, which I have for a few 5k runs. In a pinch I know I can run up to about an 8. So as I stood there setting the speed I’m like its only 60 seconds, you can do anything for 60 seconds so for the first time EVER I ran at a 10 on the treadmill. Yup, I sprinted my ass off at a 10. But the point is, I could do it. I could not maintain that for more than 60 seconds, but I can sprint at a 10 for 60 seconds. Yup, I did that for the first time last night. There is always something new to accomplish, always. It’s just being brave enough to try.