Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have to admit that I have found myself so busy as of late that I haven’t really even had a moment to ponder the whole point of Thanksgiving or the being thankful part. Yes, people spend the month of November daily writing Facebook posts expressing their gratefulness for things like coffee and heat and trees and birds, etc. You get my point. But honestly, what are you truly thankful for this year?

As I was running around doing work errands this afternoon I was walking by a bank of windows on my way to the bank downtown and I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection and I had a stop and pause moment where I was like, holy shit, I look strong and healthy. I do not look tiny and breakable or fragile or wimpy. I look healthy. And then as I continued on my way into the bank I got to thinking about the reality that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and that I have so much to be thankful for this year. That truly 2013 has been very good to me and I really feel so blessed this year.

I had a moment where I almost felt tears welling up inside of me because my reflection told me I was physically strong. And then I stopped and thought that my physical strength has led to the most amazing inner strength. Something that I can honestly say now that I have never, in my previous 34 years of life experienced. It is quite funny that when I was making myself physically strong is the first time that I was ever actually able to make my inside strong and confident as well. I have never experienced this level of self-love and inner strength.

I know I talk a lot about strength because it is truly something that is such a foreign concept to me. I never believed it was possible to feel the way I do about myself on the inside and that is probably the single thing I am most grateful for in 2013. This last year has been amazing and epic and I am beyond thankful for everything that I have earned. I did this. I can say I am grateful for what has happened to me or the blessings I have been given which is true, but honestly, it is what I worked for. I am blessed that my body and my mind was able to respond to what I gave it the way it did, but honestly, I put forth all of the hard work to earn the rewards of my efforts.

2013 is the year I finally stopped being my own enemy, my own worst critic and my own victim. Yes, I have to admit that I spent the vast majority of 2012 playing the victim in my mind. I see now, with all my newfound strength how miserable I truly was to myself. 2013 is the year of such tremendous growth on all levels. I truly do feel blessed to at the place I am emotionally, mentally, physically.

I think it is fair to say that just because someone may be strong physically doesn’t always equate to a strong sense of character or vice-versa. One can be beyond mentally and emotionally strong and not physically. I don’t think the two always go hand in hand. Basically from my own personal experience I have met lots of incredibly fit people who are complete assholes in character. Clearly they work hard and have determination, but it doesn’t mean they are nice people. I understand this concept completely. But what was so shocking for me and something that I really had no idea would occur was how changed I would be by becoming physically stronger.

The direct correlation between physical and inner strength was a completely shock to me. It seems the stronger I get physically the more my insides become strong and confident. I find myself expressing myself in all these ways I never would have before. I find myself championing the underdog and feeling confident enough to stand up for what I believe in. AMAZING feeling. Confidence is every bit as magical as I had always envisioned it would be. Albeit I never believed I’d truly have it. And yet, here I am on the eve of Thanksgiving 2013 as confident as I have ever been in my entire life and honestly believing that I am a confident person. Those are words you never would have gotten me to say at any other point in my life. Thank you 2013 for being the year. Thank you for finally teaching me the lessons that I needed to learn about love and tolerance and faith and happiness.

I honestly can’t believe another year is almost coming to an end. I can’t believe that I have survived over an entire year of life changing events. I honestly believed way back at the beginning of 2013 that this was going to be a good year for me. I had no idea that it would be what it has become and that I’d be closing out the last month of 2013 feeling as strong and confident as I do. That is the beauty of a year. It CAN be life changing if you let it. It’s never too late to become what you were always meant to be.

I am now beyond excited for 2014. I have never been over a year into my weight loss journey/life and felt as confident and in control of things as I do now. Or as motivated. I swear I have more motivation these days than I have ever had. Perhaps that’s because I have more energy and excitement for life in general. That is what good physical heath does for you.

This is the thing I know. Somewhere in the back of my brain is this little voice that tells me that I am destined for something greater in this world of health and nutrition. The little voice that says you are going to make a difference somehow. Again, I am not sure how or what, but I know it’s brewing and working towards that. I have to say I feel very passionately about empowering our youth to believe in themselves. It’s not just about being healthy and fit anymore; it seems to have branched off into the territory of confidence and self-love. And I adore that this is where my brain is headed. In showing young women that being strong of character and strong of body is not only possible but so beneficial to our well-being. You can already see that my brain keeps expanding daily into new and deeper territory.

If I keep going down the paths I am travelling, which I don’t possibly see how anything else would occur, I know eventually I am going to do great things. Not only for myself, but for the world around me. There’s that confidence coming into play again. Perhaps I need to find a place to volunteer with young girls or something like that for right now. Hopefully it wouldn’t come off as creepy seeing as I am a 34 year old woman with no children of her own. But honestly we all know it’s just because I want to help, inspire and empower girls. Nothing creepy about it.

Anyway, again, just mind rambling here. This is where I come to process my thoughts and make all important self-discoveries. This is what I know, this whole thing started out about losing weight because I was tired of living my life fearful of everything. It started out about getting back to a healthy weight and somehow 13 months later has manifested itself into something so much greater. It isn’t even about weight or how I look anymore. It’s about the confidence and self-love that results from all of it. It’s about feeling empowered and like women can do anything they set their minds too.

It’s like that feeling I get, like last night, when I was the only woman amongst a sea of men over by the weight racks at the gym, lifting like a beast. Because why the fuck not? Who says strength is only for men? It’s about time we teach our children that women are every bit as strong as any male counter-part.

I am not tiny or stick thin. I will never be that, and have no desire to ever be that. I am not perfect. I have scars and stretch marks and flaws a plenty. But I am strong. I am a fucking bad ass woman. I am building and rebuilding myself from the inside out every single day.

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I am actually beyond humbled and blessed that this is my life. That I am capable of feeling the way that I do. This is exactly the feeling that I want to work the rest of my life helping other women feel. For every single fat kid who was picked on, or average sized woman who was told they were ugly. For every woman who allows a man to walk all over her, I want to help them find their own sense of self-love. I want them to know this exact feeling, of what it’s like to feel like you are worth your own love. That you can be this strong and really, truly, accept yourself.

I sure am singing a different tune than a year ago. I love that I can pretty much track my last year on this blog and certainly completely notice the shift in attitude that has occurred in me. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Enjoy yourselves! I will be starting my day out with an 8 AM, 5.2 mile turkey trot run in the freezing cold. Cause that’s how different this year is for me than last. So I will exercise before I indulge. Cause that’s just who I am now.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A mix of blah and yuck

I cannot fathom being a teenager in today’s online world. I suspect every generation doesn’t understand how the one below it survived and perhaps this is a sign of my aging state but holy cow, how do teenagers do it? Facebook pages, twitter accounts, snap chat messages. Our entire lives are played out online to begin with and throw in the normal hormones and turmoil of middle/high school and it seems like a recipe for disaster.

My sister is a high school math teacher. She often tells me horrific stories of cyber bullying and instant snap chats of young girl’s daily outfits that are passed around and criticized. Can’t believe she wore that, or did you see how fat she looked in that outfit? Of course facebook/twitter provide all the means necessary to publically stalk, obsesses over and ridicule all of your friends/enemies and crushes alike. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would have been a basket case had I grown up today in this environment. I already felt ridiculed, looked at and like an outsider without having to have it seep over into my out of the actual school building life as well.

With all this said, it is not shocking to me that growing up is extremely difficult these days. Again, I am certain it has always been and will always remain difficult but given these added pressures it seems all the more important to instill a sense of self and worth in our next female generation. I am sure men need it every bit as much, but I am particularly speaking to something that I’ve been noticing in my own facebook feed over the past couple months.

I have a young female cousin who recently turned 13. She is in 8th grade I believe. Her entire social life is being played out online for the whole world to see. She is a nice young woman who is actually very physically cute. She is 13 years old and therefore it’s not really for me or anyone to honestly comment on her physical attractiveness. She is a child still but unfortunately peers have a different take on this. Like most 13 year olds in general she is not nearly done growing, developing, changing, becoming the woman she is going to become. I don’t think she is naturally a supermodel, but who is? With that said, she is certainly not by any stretch of the imagination ugly. I am only commenting on her physical appearance because she so often does and it really makes me sad. She is an innocent maturing woman and the fact that so many of her facebook posts come out as derogatory insults to herself breaks my heart.

Recently, in the height of the whole name random facts about yourself trend sweeping facebook she, along with lots of her little friends, posted list after list of facts. A direct quote, “I don’t think I am pretty” For months there have been subtle nudges about her lack of pretty and I just don’t understand. Then yesterday she posted a series of photos of her and 2 of her friends goofing around taking model shots a park this weekend. They were actually gorgeous photos. She looks like a 13 year old girl. They all look like 13 year old young women. They do not look like buxom mature 25 year old super models, and somehow I get the impression this is what she thinks is the ideal image of beauty is.

I thought the photos were cute. Truly, 13 year old girl cute. Lots of friends commented on the photos, one suggested you should be a model to which my cousin responded, I’m not pretty enough, and I’m not even cute. Someone else said you are cute/pretty whatever and again she responded again direct quote, “Haha, thanks but nope I am a mix of bleh and yuck.”

At this point, I could no longer stand by and read this because my heart was seriously breaking. And then I responded with a rant that read…

Can I tell you that you make me sad when I read your comments about not being pretty enough or that you’re a mix of bleh and yuck? Why on earth would you ever think that???? I think it’s so sad that somewhere along the line you got the idea that somehow you weren't good enough. It breaks my heart really. Firstly there is not a single idea of what pretty or beautiful is, every single woman in this world is gorgeous in their own way. Secondly, you are beyond gorgeous. You are so young and beautiful and I wish that every young adolescent felt like they were more than enough for not only those around them but themselves. I hate that something in your life has given you this idea that you aren't enough. This is what is so wrong with our society. You are a young woman that is still growing and maturing and you can do and be anything you want to be and you are more than enough! You are beautiful not just because your outside is beautiful but more importantly because your inside is. That is what is most important. Please don't ever belittle yourself. You’re worth so much more than that. Sorry for the rant but I've seen you make comments a lot about not being pretty and it just really breaks my heart....

I have been noticing for months that she clearly has some self-esteem issues and I am so sad about that. I am sad that a 13 year old has ever been put into a situation where she feels that clearly she is being judged and can call herself a mix of bleh and yuck. She is none of these things. She is a 13 year old child in my eyes. However, I understand that I cannot call her a child and certainly she is testing the waters socially as all 13 year olds do. I guess maybe a part of me could also relate and I wanted to take that pain away. I want to fix the heart of every single 13 year old girl who somehow thinks they are not good enough for some reason.

I partially blame heightened social media for this problem. I blame the availability of skewed images of beauty. I blame mean snap chats and social media outlets where children feel the desire to interact and yet the shame of public ridicule. And of course the age old desire to compare. It is so easy now to compare our lives with Facebook. What for me was always just an image in my head of what these other popular girls lives must be like, is now a constant reality/reminder with the accessibility of images of parties you were not invited to, events you didn’t attend, and friendships you desired but are not included in. Facebook has many advantages and just as many disadvantages. I was always able to pretty much stalk most of my crushes as it was back in the day, I can only imagine how badly it could have gone with social media being thrown into the mix.

It is no wonder to me that kids these days are more depressed and so many children/babies end up killing themselves because of bullying. You are already beyond emotionally fragile as your hormones rage and you try to find yourself.

I imagine at some point my cousin had some stupid person make a comment and call her ugly or not pretty. I say this because I am pretty certain I recall months ago a sad post about some boy calling her ugly and how much it crushed her. And now it is forever stuck in her head that she is not good enough. We should mandatory require every young child to take self-esteem workshops or something like that. No 13 year old should walk around feeling like they are ugly. It just isn’t even possible for a 13 year old to be ugly. They are still growing every single day.

Why do we always all want to grow up so damned fast? Her pictures give me every single indication that she desires to be a sex pot grown up. It really just makes me sad. I want her to aspire to be more than that. I want her to aspire to be anything she wants to be and value the beauty of her inside. Her strength. I know perhaps this seems hypocritical coming from somehow who spends so much time obsessing over her own physical appearance. But it is perhaps because of that obsessiveness that I would not wish it upon my 13 year old cousin and it makes me terrified for my soon to be 9 year old niece. I want more for them that that. I want them to be strong and brave. I want them to be fighters and warriors. If they want to be beautiful physically that is okay as well, as long as they acknowledge and embrace the fact that it is a beautiful inside that matters so much more. I want them to understand their own strength as strong females. I want them to love themselves, all of themselves, just as they are. Flaws and all. These are hard learned lessons that I pray they can and will understand one day.

If I’ve learned nothing it is that strength of character, and strength of your own self is so much more important than anything material or superficial to the outside. Sure I still like fashion and being pretty but that is secondary to my emerging inner strength. The most important thing I have ever given myself. I simply want all young women to believe they too are capable of anything, and certainly more than just being pretty.

Monday, November 25, 2013

One of the scariest nights of my life

So I had a pretty shit evening last night. Well, not me, my mom had a shit evening last night which made me incredibly scared, nervous, and worried. I went to the gym in the afternoon and got a great workout in my some friends. Yup, gym friends. I got home around 6 or 6:30. I had intended to make spaghetti, even stopped at the grocery store for supplies and had everything set out to go. About 6:45 I picked up my phone and noticed that I had 2 missed calls from my mom. My phone was on silent, which is why I missed them. I didn’t think too much of this. She left a message but my phone was behaving badly and I couldn’t retrieve it. I decided to just call her back. What ensured was horror on my behalf.

In my entire life pretty much I can’t recall a time ever when I called my mom and on the other end of the line I hear her sobbing and in obvious physical pain and her answering with “Emily.” I’m like, what, what the hell is wrong? She was like, I am in physical pain, it hurts so bad, it’s like someone is stabbing me. I can’t move. Instantly I went into shock mode. I have never heard my mom like this. I had to try to decipher thru her muddled dialogue what exactly was going on only to ascertain if she was immediately bleeding to death and I needed to call 911 or if it was something else. I got out of her that it was her side; she thought it was her kidney and it was awful pain. I told her I’d be there in a couple minutes and we were going to the hospital. I live literally a mile away from my mom. I was still in my workout clothes, so I Just ran into the bedroom, kicked my shoes off, grabbed a pair of pants and boots, grabbed a jacket and took off. I was still in sports bra and top, that didn’t matter.

By the time I was pulling into her driveway my aunt was there as well. I have to admit because my phone was on silent it was about 15-20 minutes before I got back to my mom and I figured she probably called someone else as well. I sprinted into the house quite panicked honestly. My aunt was helping her up and to her car so we could go to the hospital.

I felt helpless and powerless. I have never seen my mom in so much pain. She is a strong woman. In all fairness I probably get a lot of my grit and determination from her. She doesn’t complain and doesn‘t even cry that often. I certainly am a teary freak comparatively. Anyhow, it was just so sad to see her pained expressions on her face. My aunt drove her car with my mom and I followed behind in my own vehicle. In the end it was probably better to have multiple vehicles so we went that route. Along the way to the hospital my aunt suddenly stopped the car and pulled over and I followed. My mom got out of the car and threw up on the side of the road. I knew something was obviously wrong.

When we finally made it to the ER, as per typical of the ER, it takes forever for anyone to actually administer pain meds. It was probably easily 30-45 minutes before my mom actually saw a doctor. As everyone pretty much concurred based on my mom’s description it turned out to be kidney stones. She eventually got pain med that took away the excruciating pain she was in, thank goodness. They did a cat scan and finally came back and said that this was a GIANT stone and that it would have to be surgically removed. Apparently this is a 6mm stone trapped inside a 5mm tube thus being stuck and severely painful for her. She was admitted into the hospital last night for surgery today. The entire process is very slow and lots of sitting around.

By the time mom was finally taken to her room and we got her situated enough that I felt comfortable leaving her, it was almost midnight. So yes, I did not get to bed until after midnight last night, but honestly I am just thankful that it wasn’t something worse.

Those moments of terror and horror when someone you love so much is in so much pain and you can’t help them is unbearable. It also puts lots of things into perspective. I had a lot of crazy thoughts running thru my brain, fears really. In the end a kidney stone is minimal compared to what it could have been. Thank goodness it was only what it was.

She had surgery earlier today and everything went fine. Hopefully, in a few hours, she will be able to go home tonight. So far so good. It is just incredibly humbling to be reminded of how important and fragile our bodies and health are. Humbling that the things we love and take for granted can so easily be taken away. Not that it was but the moment of panic is all too real. So as this Thanksgiving approaches I feel extra thankful that it was not worse. Humbled that I lived thru that experience. And reminded of the value of good health. Not that this prevents such things, but I sure do not ever want to have situations like this where my own health or lack of health is the cause of something that could have been prevented. That was not the case for my mom this time. Apparently kidney stones are common and unavoidable. My mom is in good health so I am sure that helps make the recovery process easier.

Crap like this just puts life into perspective doesn’t it? I will never forget that phone call where the other end was my mom in such pain. Seriously one of the scariest moments of my life. Ever. That is a phone call you never want to have.

Remember to tell the people you love today how important they are to you and how grateful you are to have them in your life. Lesson learned last night. Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Phoenix Bound

So it all started like this. Friday morning I got an email from the Rock N Roll Marathon series that said hey, all you Vegas runners, congratulations on your run, here’s a coupon code for a special price to register for the Arizona Rock N Roll half marathon and oh by the way, there is a special medal you earn, the desert double down. Run both the Vegas and the Arizona races and we’ll go ahead and throw on this extra medal. I think they had me at extra medal. I like my bling.

You can guess what followed and exactly where this story is going. As of today I am now officially registered for said ½ marathon and have a plane ticket, hotel room and car rental booked for Arizona January 18-20 of 2014. The race itself is Sunday January 19 in Tempe, which it seems is really just Phoenix. I am a bit confused that this race runs thru different cities, as I guess they are all really closely located. Nonetheless, I am going to Phoenix. I have never been to the South, any south. I’ve never been to Phoenix and that unto itself is pretty cool. So yes, I am heading to Phoenix in January for yet another half marathon.

I think somewhere over the weekend I decided that my goal for 2014 is just going to be run ½ marathons and have fun. Sure I’ve been running off and on for the past 10 years but just now is officially the first time I’ve ever enjoyed the official organized run. I want to take a year and now stress about training or times and just have fun running. I have no doubt that at some point in my life I will run a full marathon. I don’t however think that 2014 will be the year. I say that because I want to take the year, run a bunch of halves, get a solid base in the world of running for me and just enjoy it. I guess let the luster of running 1/2’s wear off before I decide to tackle the much longer full marathon. I actually think this is a good plan for me. Run the half marathon distance for a year before venturing down more complex territory.

Usually running a half marathon produces such an adrenalin rush that it is in its afterglow that I end up signing up for another half marathon. After my first one, within the week I was signing up for Vegas and now after Vegas within a week I signed up for Arizona. I see how this goes for me. I can’t even explain the high that I feel after completing the run. I definitely see this year as my year of the half. I am not really planning any other destination runs this year but you never know. I might get that buzz later in the year.

This is my tentative plan

Jan: Phoenix Rock N Roll half
April: Corvallis OR Half and Eugene OR Half
May: Portland Rock N Roll Half
June: Seattle Rock N Roll Half
Then from June-September there are tons of half’s in Oregon that I will probably look at but am not fully committing to just yet
November 2014: Vegas Rock N Roll Half

Running season or marathon season in Oregon is really heavy in September/October so that is most likely when I will have more races to conquer. But at least for now this gives me a good start.

Didn’t we all really know that eventually I would get the itch to run like this? I really do like the half length because it doesn’t require too much of me. I don’t have to spend my life training for it and I can still go to the gym and do my strength training and do my once a week runs and just enjoy everything else I am doing and show up and run and have a great time and get a medal. I’m excited.

I have to admit that I really function better in day to day life when I have things to look forward to, but who doesn’t honestly? So yes, having another running trip planned in January just keeps me going a little and there is nothing wrong with that.

I also have to take a moment to reflect on the reality that I am just capable of doing this at all. That I can plan on running all of 2014 and I don’t question whether I will want to or be able to. That my commitment to myself is just there. That I am fully invested in this life I am living. I just want to smile because a year ago I had no idea I’d be right here, right now. I am so in love with this lifestyle and how strong and confident I feel.

I am so excited to see where else I end up going and what’s next for me because there is just no stopping me now.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The cost of travel

I have to admit that I have been struggling a little since getting back from Vegas. I don’t know, maybe I struggled before and while in Vegas, who knows. It was shockingly harder than I thought it’d be to return from a 4 day vacation and get right back to it. I think it was simply tired feeling. Wait, I am still tired and still mentally struggling a little bit. I did the best I could in Vegas and I don’t regret my choices but some of the less than stellar food options took its toll on my body physically and then complete lack of sleep and the last two nights at the gym have been a total struggle. I have mentally not wanted to go. I have been there in physical spirit but not in a total committed mental capacity. I think my body notices the difference.

I am hoping that after I get some adequate sleep this weekend that my body will finally readjust. I have been detoxing for a couple days now and hopefully the combination of those two things will make my excitement and love for the gym return. I mean, I am going to the gym tonight again because that is what I do, but I am just not that excited about it. Ususally I am VERY excited to go to the gym. I don’t regret my Vegas trip at all, amazing time, but I am just sorry that its taking me so long to adjust again. I feel like I regressed a little and that is never a fun feeling. But whatever, at least I went to the gym Tuesday night and last night. As thy always say, maybe they weren’t perfect workouts or my best ever but a less than perfect workout is still better than no workout at all. That is the simple truth of the matter.

I have no doubt my enthusiasm for what I love most will return soon, but for now I will just make myself go and do what I can. I am grateful that even when I don’t feel like it so much it is such a part of me that I just do it. And yes, I ate crappy while in Vegas, especially Sunday AFTER my run and then all day Monday. But you know what, Tuesday morning, back to the real world and it wasn’t even a question I got right back to my healthy nutrition. Tuesday and yesterday were perfectly clean. Today is perfectly clean. I can do this. It’s not really a question of me doing it. I know I will. At this point this IS my lifestyle. I just know before I went to Vegas I was on a high with my exercise and this week its been a struggle. I guess sometimes are just like that, plain and simple. We don’t all live in crazy happy land all the time with extreme motivation. This is a good reminder to be thankful of the days where I feel completely motivated and passionate. Those are great moments. It will return and I will be thankful when it does.

For now, I am just going to keep plugging along. Cause that’s what I do.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I am an Athlete

When you look back on your life someday you will never regret the things that you have done, you will only regret the chances you did not take, the moments you walked away from and the things you were too scared to attempt. Running the Vegas strip was single handedly one of the coolest things I have ever done in my entire life. Definitely will always stand out as one of the highlights of my entire life. I know each person has a different idea of what life highlights are. Some people have epic moments with their children, which is beyond amazing, but obviously is never going to happen for me. I have vacations, moments with my family that I will cherish forever, but right at the top of coolest life experiences ever will forever more include running the strip.

I was scared. I did not allow myself to get too freaked out beforehand. I knew I was going to be terrified so in the weeks leading up to it, I tried very hard to keep my anxiety in check and tell myself that I could do this. I was getting a little freaked out the days prior but again, it was beyond my control so I went ahead and just tried to let it be what it was going to be.

I think most of my anxiety stemmed from the fact that I don’t really “train” for such things. Yes, I know I run. Yes I know that I am capable of running but the past couple months I have really cut my running down a lot. It’s pretty much down to one longer run on Sundays and if I’m lucky one short run during the week. That doesn’t always happen either. In the 3 weeks leading up to Vegas I only ran 3 times. One 10 mile run, one 6.5 mile run and one 4.5 mile run. That was it. Three weeks before and my nerves were starting to scare me. What if this was going to bite me in the ass? What if I couldn’t run it all and I couldn’t do it? These were the overwhelming almost paralyzing fears that started to enter my brain as I waited for the race to start.

The thing about running an event like a Rock N Roll marathon one is that you are with 30,000 other people. Yes, 30,000 people total were there, divided amongst 3 different race lengths. There was a half of the half, 6.5 miles, the half marathon and then the full marathon. Over 20,000 people ran the half marathon, clearly the most popular length. The race was scheduled to start at 4:30, but the pre-concert was from 3 PM-4 PM and clearly you needed to get there well in advance to make your way to the appropriate locations. Half the fear is the unknown. And of course walking everywhere.

I should back up. The race was Sunday afternoon and we arrived in Vegas late Friday night. Like midnight kind of late. Travel takes its toll on my body. I am not the best traveler in the history of travelers. It just takes my body a smidge to adjust. I get really dehydrated and my stomach always has issues. The entire time I was concerned about actually running and the social phobia of being with 30,000 other runners but I never considered the physical toll travel and vacation would take on my body and subsequently on my performance. Friday night when we finally got to the casino I had a drink. It felt good drinking it but then afterwards not so good.

Saturday morning I woke up and I did feel better but then I forgot the other aspect of Vegas, you walk everywhere. I don’t have a problem walking obviously but add dehydration with lack of good nutrition and your body just being out of whack and by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around my right leg was fighting a severe case of the shin splints. I knew this was not a good sign. As I was walking around I was like crap, my right leg is already tight. NOT good. We went to the runner’s expo Saturday and got our race packets and partook in all of the booths. It was a good time. Saturday night we ended up seeing Zumanity. Which is like the naughty Cirque show. It was all right. It was entertainment but wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen.

Sunday morning I slept in, as to allow my body as much proper rest as I could get, all things considered. I immediately put on workout clothes as for some reason this always makes me feel better and more active. We walked around, had Subway for lunch and I tried to drink water and more water so that I was properly hydrated. I also did not realize how much more difficult it might be to wait around all day until 4:30 to run a race. It was an interesting balance act of not exhausting yourself, staying hydrated, proper fuel and of course not eating and or/drinking too close to start time. By the way, I failed on the last part. It was a good learning experience.

I ended up making my way to my designated start corral, 22; yup; all the way back in corral 22 with the other anticipated 2:10-2:20 time frame finishers. And the nerves were going crazy. I had visions of being dehydrated and already having shin splints in my head. I was nervous that once again I wasn’t a “real” runner and that these people, these other runners, would somehow think I was an imposter. I don’t know where these thoughts come from. Insecurity. I had to remind myself to breathe and had to keep telling myself that I would get thru this and I’d be able to run and even if I had to walk towards the end I would still finish. No matter what, I’d finish and get my medal. The medal was pretty damned cool and motivating all to itself. I was able to see the medal at the expo on Saturday and it was so shiny and pretty that I instantly knew that I had to own it. Just get thru this and that bad boy would be mine. So I had that in the back of my mind.

I think the fear of not having run all that much or training came into my mind. How do I keep showing up to these things and just expect my body to perform without properly training. Geesh. One of these days it will bite me in the ass. When you are in corral 22, turns out you don’t actually start the race at 4:30. You are released in coral waves and it meant that I did not actually start running until about 5:10 or so. Which was fine. We just kept moving forward inch by inch. About the time that 4:30 rolled around and I was waiting to start I got the urge to pee. Oops. But I was not going to leave that line and pee. I am kind of one of those freaks who doesn’t want to miss out. Always afraid I guess. So I told myself to just hold it. I was so nervous. In those moments before I actually started running I must have had a million thoughts running thru my head, most of which were, can I really do this? How the hell am I going to do this?

Once I finally made it to the “start” and I began to run for real, all thought left my brain and my legs began doing what I know they can do. I ran. The biggest issue at first being all the freaking people. It was quite difficult to maneuver around that many people. You do a lot of stop/start’s…. But I wanted to run. That is the one thing that my body was telling me to do, just run. So around people I went, on high alert. Up on the sidewalk, around person after person. In hindsight, I perhaps should have started up higher because I felt like I was instantly trying to pass a giant heard of people.

We all have different strategies for running. Clearly I am no professional runner. This is what I know. When I start out running I don’t mind running at a nice comfortable pace for as long as I can go. If I have the energy I want to use it because in the end my mind is going to do all the work for me that my body can’t physically do. I want to run when I feel like running. It’s probably a stupid strategy but thus far I haven’t really developed any other. Just run. That is my strategy. Do what I can in this exact moment. And I just wanted to run. Getting around people was tough. The first few miles that definitely slowed me down when I had my most desire and strength. That was rough. But about 1 mile in I had this amazing moment, this amazing epiphany, I am a fucking athlete.

Mile 1 down, on to mile 2. About Mile 3 or 4 we approached the Strip and I was passing people left and right. It must have been about 3 ½ miles in because I remember thinking it’s been about 30-35 minutes and people all around me were walking, huffing and puffing and I felt GREAT and AMAZING and ALIVE and I went, holy shit, I am a runner. And then I said, wait, no, I am not a runner. I am an athlete. Which is even better. If I were a runner I would actually train for this shit. I’m not a runner, but what I am is a bonified athlete. I am a person who cannot train specifically for this run, but instead spends 6 days a week training to become a kick-ass athlete and that is what is coming out now. I am an athlete. Because at no point during mile 3-4 did I even consider stopping, I felt great and was just getting started.

The weather was perfect. And I do mean perfect for running. It was probably in the mid 60’s. I was in a tank top and the slight wind chill offset the sweat that I am sure was happening but I didn’t feel because of the weather. I felt like an athlete and then the most amazing thing happened, I literally saw the first part of the Vegas strip ahead and the streets were literally lined with spectators. Thousands upon thousands of people cheering, holding signs and it was beautiful. I am almost certain I had tears in my eyes. This was it. This was that epic moment that people can go their whole lives without experiencing but it is one of the coolest things in the whole world. This is what it feels like. I was running down the closed off Vegas strip and thousands of strangers were cheering us all on. I was still trying to get around people. That was pretty much the story of the entire race. I guess when you have 20,000 plus people running one race you are going to spend the whole thing trying not to trip over each other.

I’d end up on the side of the road next to the crowds and these little kids would stick out their hands for you to slap as you ran by and it was amazing. Any time I saw a little girl with her hand out and a look of awe in her eye I went out of my way to give her a high 5. It was literally the most amazing thing I have done in a long time. I felt it. I felt the power of a marathon. I felt the power of inspiration, and courage and the high all rolled into one.

Running the strip at night was beyond epic. Take Vegas at night and then add doing something not everyone can do and it is just a cool experience. The lights were breathtaking from that vantage point. As I ran by each casino my smile got brighter and brighter. As we approached Planet Hollywood, mid-strip and the big reader board read, Go Luck Runners, Go, Go… the runners around me cheered and clapped. I am literally getting teary eyed this second writing this out. It was that indescribable of a moment that will live with me forever. For whatever reason, running along that stretch of ground, at night, being lit by the lights and sounds of Vegas, was pure happiness. Not to mention the live bands that were playing all along the race course. Yes, I had my music on low in my headphones, but it got trumped by the noises around me which was so much cooler anyway.

I still had to pee but decided that I was not going to slow down to pee unless I beyond had to. I did not. As I ran past Circus Circus at the other end of the strip and started towards the Freemont area it got quieter and I began to settle into a more running mode. Just me and myself and I felt great. Forget any physical pain, I can do this. Eventually we came across Freemont Street and the lights and sounds were back upon us. Onlookers cheering, lights flashing and the extra surge of adrenalin returned. We were at around mile 9 at this point. And I was still feeling great.

I crossed the Mile 10 mark feeling awesome and in control at about 1 hour 40 minutes and then something happened in the next mile or so. I hit the wall. Suddenly out of nowhere, I was exhausted. The miles did not seem to move, even though I was moving. I slowed down a bit. Not massively, but enough. Mile 11 came and went and I told myself 2 miles to go. You CAN do this. This is where my mental strength took over. I wanted to walk but I told myself that I had just freaking ran 11 miles so I was going to finish this crap come hell or high water and you were going to run these last 2 miles, even if you ran slower. You were going to run every single step of this half marathon. I should also mention every single water station was a nightmare. People slowed down, you had to literally jog in place to get around people. Definitely time slowing. But I made myself run even in those moments because I was bound and determined to finish this thing running. Around mile 11 we had one of those water stations and it took every ounce of my mental strength to not stop and instead run around and even in place for seconds while I tried to get around.

The last two miles were grueling. I ignored any physical pain or need to pee that had been forming. And then I saw the lights of the Vegas Strip ahead of me. That was a moment of happiness. We ran down the strip, to Freemont Street and then back up the strip on the other side. When I saw the strip ahead of me I smiled, because that meant the end was near. It seemed so close, even full well knowing it was 2 miles away. Vegas is deceptive like that. But it didn’t matter, I saw the lights and I knew I was getting close. I finally made it to Circus Circus and then I saw Treasure Island. The finish line was at Caesars Palace, right after Treasure Island. I did slow down. No doubt about it. The last two miles were all mind over matter for this girl. Sheer determination to run every single second. Sheer testament to mind over matter. As we got closer a spectator yelled out, you are almost there about ½ a mile to go. And I ran. I sheer willed myself across the finish line and it took me a second to realize that I had actually finished before I told my feet to stop running; I was done.

And then it hit me. Yes, the thrill of victory, the sense of accomplishment. The triumphant mind over matter. But also the exhaustion. The physical wear and tear on my body. My ridiculously aching shin splint. My desire to vomit and pass out. I had no idea I was that tired or exhausted or in that much pain. My mind blocked it all out because that is what our minds do best. I was immediately given my shiny, perfect medal as my visual proof of my accomplishment. Then I had to embark down the “secured” zone which consisted of a quarter mile walk. This had medics of to the sides, and tons and tons of recovery sponsored items. I literally got handed water, then Gatorade, then chocolate milk, then pretzels, a PowerAde bar, apple, a Coors Light, bagels, etc. My hands were full. I was so sick all I wanted to do was get thru this seemingly forever walk to sit down for a moment. My hands were getting fuller and fuller of stuff but I kept smiling and thinking about what I had done. But I wanted to sit.

As I walked by a girl was lying on the ground screaming about her leg and I hear people yelling everywhere, Medic, Medic. I saw medic tents filled with people in pain and obvious discomfort and it made my feeling a little nauseous seem irrelevant. I am an athlete. I have enough sheer grit and will to push myself and come out okay. I finally made it out of the secure zone, which I think was enacted to control security in light of the whole Boston marathon bombing, so I totally understand. But as soon as I got out, I found the first curb I could and sat down and gulped liquid and ate. But I had a medal. An amazing shiny medal and the most amazing memories that I will never be able to replace. So ridiculously cool.

My official time was 2:15:10. 2 hours, 15 minutes, 10 seconds. Not any record breaking pace. Faster than my last half marathon. Totally different conditions. I was kind of expecting a slightly better finish time, but given not taking into account the travel fatigue on my body, the alcohol I consumed, the shin splints prior to even beginning the race, the persistent need to pee for the entire 2 hours 15 minutes, the constant heard of people one is trying to run around, and I will gladly accept my 2 hours 15 minutes. And oh yes, my complete lack of actual training. That always amazes me. I know I should train, I really should train more. But part of what I love about running ½ marathons or rather this distance is that I don’t really have to. That I can do what I want at the gym, live my life and not have to dedicate my entire existence to marathon training. I can show up on race day and just run the thing and be okay.

Sure, if I trained actually I could do it quicker. I am certain I could be more efficient and prevent some of my issues but I like that I don’t have to work that hard at it. I like that despite all of my setbacks I still managed to run every single step of that ½ marathon. That I ran for 2 hours 15 minutes straight. You know what else is pretty awesome and I will take it; I finished 6,705 out of 20,566 which put me in the top 32% of ALL runners. And get this; I finished 3044 out of 12665 women, which puts me in the top 24% of all women competitors. Top 24% of all women who ran the race. Not too shabby, considering it was never really my goal to care about placement. Finishing is ALWAYS just my goal.

It’s insane to me that after I crossed the finish line that there were still like 9,500 more women to cross after me and a total of like almost 14,000 more people to go. But you know what, every single one of those people deserve their medal because of what they accomplished. That is the cool part about running. You win no matter what if you cross the finish line. Yes, I did not “win” the race, but crossing the finish line was my win. My victory. I might as well have won because to me I did. I fought against all of my own self-doubt and esteem issues. I fought thru my physical pains and mentally kicked their ass. I did win my own race.

Fear. It is such an interesting thing. I’ve spent my entire life being so afraid of everything. Not being good enough for myself. How long have I been running? How many times have I lost and gained weight? Always running. Running. Running. And I never ran an organized race. I never once let go of the fear to put myself out there. That is what makes this time different. That is what makes this time around the final time. I am doing this. I am not letting fear control me anymore. Yes, I still get afraid. Yes, I still have self-doubt and have to talk myself down off the ledge, but I flew to Las Vegas, I stood in a crowd of strangers (always scary for me too with my slight social anxiety) and I pushed aside my fear to run. That is winning. That is breaking my barriers. And that is rewarded with one of the coolest experiences of my life. I was rewarded with this giant gift of memory that will stick with me always. I did it. I freaking ran the Vegas strip. I know what it’s like to be cheered on in a marathon situation. I feel humbled and blessed by my body. Humbled and blessed that I can put my body thru everything I have in my life and it come out the other end as an athlete.

It was the weirdest most pervasive feeling of my life. As I saw people all round me, of all shapes and sizes and clearly different athletic abilities, I realized for the first time in my life, that I am in amazing shape. That I am not just some runner, but a true athlete. Someone who could just as easily run 13.1 miles and pick up a heavy set of weights and perform. I am an overall athlete and this is what I am most proud of. I can decide to run a half marathon or push myself to my limits with weights, but either way I am becoming a strong person both physically and mentally and every single thing that I do is a step in that direction. Blessed and humbled.

Thank you body for all you endure and thank you mind for finally understanding and accepting self-love. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to grow and change and mostly for becoming the woman that I have aspired to be my whole life. Thank you for this gift.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Quickest of Quick

I am back from Vegas. I got home LATE last night like 1 AM kind of late. I have been crazy busy at work this morning playing catch up, getting shit done, no time for an update. I am hoping maybe this afternoon I get a second to share how amazing and wonderful my weekend was. To say the very least it was EPIC. It was single handedly one of the most amazing and cool things I have ever done in my life and it did not disappoint. Worth every penny, every ounce of sweat and worry and it was just damned fun. Obviously I have a lot more to say about it but I have to go run some errands for work and then maybe I will get a second to write.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Today is Thursday already. Wow, November is simply flying by as it is now the 14th. We are pretty much almost halfway thru the month. I think this is a classic example of you need to be careful what you wish for because I think at this rate Christmas is going to be here before I really even want it. And that is saying a lot. Tomorrow, after work, I leave for Vegas. Yes, can you believe it, it’s already Vegas time. I am most perplexed by this reality. Honestly I don’t feel prepared. I feel scared and nervous. I am not exactly sure why, but I just do. If I am being honest its slightly less about running 13.1 miles and more about running with that many people. THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of runners. This is where I have to channel that inner brave girl and repeat the mantra, that I am good enough. I do belong. I am just as worthy. I don’t know what it is exactly about such giant gatherings that bring out my insecurities. But I am working on it.

Every single time I step out of my comfort zone and do something that challenges me in some way I am working on it. That is what this weekend will be, a challenge, but a good one. Once again, I am not actually concerned with how fast I run the half. I really am not. It makes no difference to me if I run it in 2 hours 18 minutes or 2 hours 34 minutes. Whatever it is, it is. I will still have run the thing. Good enough for me. And I walk away with a shiny medal. Um, yes, I am swag bag motivated. Not shocking. I am looking forward to the running expo on Saturday where tons of vendors will be hawking their products no less, but it will still be fun.

Unfortunately the race is not 100% timed right with the concept of relaxation and enjoying oneself in Vegas. We get in late Friday night, like midnight. So obviously we sleep, and hopefully get to sleep in Saturday morning if my body will allow it. Then it’s off to the Expo. Saturday night I really can’t drink and need to get a good night’s rest because Sunday is my run. Of course it’s not until Sunday afternoon, but I really want to be in good shape so no indulging for me. Of course that means my only real night to drink is Sunday night but I fear I might be entirely exhausted from my run. I come home Monday night, late. And then back to work Tuesday morning. Should be interesting and tiring. I actually just see lots of tired in my future. I need to stop and try and remember that I wanted this. This is something I chose to do for fun. Oh yeah.

I have to say that I have been slightly off this week. Not sure what that is about. Nothing major. Just not 100% feeling like myself. Oh wait, it might be my period. I am sure that has some part in my emotional slight imbalance. I think I am getting to the tail end of it so all should be fine. For whatever reason I haven’t really felt like writing all that much which is rare for me as well. I think I’m going thru a phase and I guess that is okay. Just as long as I keep at my goals, etc., and am not slacking because I am messing crap up. I’m not.

Last night was personal training which was tough as usual. Some days I wonder why exactly I pay someone to torture me. It’s quite interesting. I really could torture myself all on my own. But there is something to be said about having to perform for a person that just makes you go that extra mile that you wouldn’t do all on your own. Last night I actually did a lot of crap at the gym.

Tonight I am going to do my 30 minute dumbbell fit class and then 60 minutes of iron power, my favorite class and then its straight home for me. I have an incredibly busy evening. I mean, I have to shower and then the fun of packing for Vegas begins. I HATE packing. I am just taking a carry on, no checked bags and yes, it’s daunting thinking about trying to fit it all into that little bag, but I must. Actually what’s more daunting is trying to figure out what clothes to bring, especially to accommodate weather I am unsure of. And then you have the packing the makeup bag and then moving stuff over to a smaller travel purse. It seems to never end :)

Maybe tomorrow, I will feel better and start to actually get excited instead of just feel exhausted thinking about how much I have to do. But on the bright side, after I complete my 1.5 hours of exercise tonight I am done unit 4 PM Sunday when I run a half marathon. That is an entire Friday, and Saturday exercise free and even part of a day on Sunday. That is more rest time than I’ve given myself in a long time. Hopefully it does the trick in giving me enough energy and enthusiasm to kick ass on my run on Sunday. I really need a vacation.... guess its a good thing I am getting on that plane tomorrow and will have a day or so to unwind before I run.

Just one more thing to note, I have been doing kick ass lately with drinking my water. Without realizing it I swear I am drinking almost 100 plus ounces a day with ease. Yeah, water…. That is all.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The beauty of strength

I want to take a moment to talk about strength today. Strength in all forms. Physical strength that is really a representation of the strength of character that it takes to achieve physical strength. Strength of conviction. Strength of character. Strength of mind over matter. A woman who is physically strong is most likely emotionally strong. I very clearly see this connection now, as time is progressing.

What I have noticed more and more over the past couple months is while my body physically transforms into someone with muscles, what is all the more evident is the emotional strength I am acquiring. Strength that I had no idea I possessed. Sure, I always knew I was a determined driven girl. That much is not lost on me. But what has been the biggest and happiest surprise of this entire journey is how fundamentally strong my inside is growing. I am quite simply BLOWN AWAY.

Here’s the deal. I am not a stranger to images of strong woman. Not only did I constantly seek them out as my own personal role models, but when you are forever on a quest for health and wellness you stumble upon image after image of crazy strong, fit, toned women. Being honest with myself, not a single time did I see a picture of a truly fit woman and doubt the effort she put in. I did not doubt that she had to be strong of character and heart. Quite frankly, physical strength is not something that is just given out randomly. Sure, some people might be more apt to build muscle or be more naturally athletically gifted. But true strength is something that is earned with hard work and perseverance.

Given my multiple attempts at sustained weight loss, I have had the rare opportunity to see my body transform on numerous occasions from someone who is considerably overweight to someone of “healthy” size. Not once previously did I ever acquire actual physical strength. I ran and ran and ultimately always did end up rocking pretty muscular calves but other than that I was an average woman. There was nothing wrong with my soft 140 pound body. Ever. It was fine. It was beautiful. It was a direct result of the actual effort I put forth. End of story. But having experienced a healthy 140 pound body and not having it look “fit”, always allowed me to see images of strong fit woman and know how much work they clearly must put in. It gave me this interesting perspective on what it must take to be that muscular and it was always this idea of something that was clearly beyond obtainable for my brain. I am not sure why I always assumed that.

If I could consider the reasons its most likely because I simply put was not strong enough emotionally to endure what I needed to in order to transform myself into a physically strong woman. I couldn’t get past my own self-imposed limits. And yes, there are quite a few self-imposed limits that I am slowly learning to break free from.

In the back of my head I have to admit that I was always happy with being 140 pounds but disillusioned with the reality that I was still so flabby and soft. In hindsight, probably why it was so easy to gain the weight back so often. I never looked exactly like I wanted. Not that this was the most important thing, it never was. But I always admired a strong woman. Physically because it seemed to me that she clearly had to be this strong ass woman in all aspects of her life. I suspect that is what I was after more than a physical representation of strength, the emotional strength I believed she must possess underneath the muscle.

An interesting thing has been happening in my mind the last week or so. This little light is going off and suddenly I am getting it. I am getting the reality that holy fuck, somehow, some way, I woke up one day and I WAS as strong as I imagined all those girls to be.

Now you can call taking pictures of yourself in not a lot of clothing (bikini’s, ass shots, etc.) as skanky or self-indulgent or whatever you want, but for me it is slightly life altering. And I am going to tell you why. I don’t play by the same mental principals as your average, been thin my whole life kind of girl. My mental perception is completely out of whack. Courage is something that is generally elusive and all together evasive for me. Taking a photo of me in a bikini becomes life altering when I finally, truly, see my own strength.

Here’s the deal. The photo of me in the bikini from yesterday, or rather that I took on Sunday, was a physical picture, a physical reminder of how far I’ve come. I am proud of my hard work. And after I snapped this series of photos I was amazed and blown away because for the first time I saw my strong girl. And not just physically, but that girl in that image looks strong on the inside too. You know why, because she is strong enough to not care what other people think. She is strong enough to believe she is beautiful and post a picture on the internet and let the world really see her. I am strong because I believe in myself. I am strong because I no longer am accepting anything less than happiness for myself. Life is hard enough all on its own without us needing to accept less than we deserve.

I did something interesting that you can call dumb if you want but I brought that image up on my computer monitor and I physically used my hand to cover up my head so I just saw a body. My body. And you know what, I saw a strong fit woman starring back at me. I saw a body of a woman I would love to look like. I saw the body of someone who clearly is a testament to the dedication, determination and commitment it takes to obtain a body like that. And for all the perseverance it takes to obtain a body like that, you can’t help but be making your insides strong. So yes, covering my head was this magical moment of holy shit for me. That is a strong body and that is MY body.

The one thing that is not adequately represented in that photo is the growth that has occurred inside my brain. Muscles are not achieved thru weakness or self-doubt. Your body will not go where you mind won’t allow it. My mind is strong. And this makes me want to cry. Is that weakness? Hell no. That is strength too. Because I realize how much this entire journey has made me this woman that I’ve been chasing my whole life. How my insides are matching the physical transformation that my outside has made.

I don’t just look strong, I AM strong. I have my moments of self-doubt. I have freak outs in the mirror. I have freak outs in life. But that body is mine. That inside belief in myself is all earned. I did that. And I find beauty in all of it.

There is much debate about women and muscles and looking feminine or too muscular, blah blah blah. I fucking love every muscle I am earning because it is my sign of enduring inner strength. I have a new theory; all muscular women are kick ass strong fighters. There is a reason they end up pushing thru and becoming muscular, some driving force on their insides that push them on. They are survivors. Fighters. Champions.

I think my muscle is beautiful because I know not only the dedication it took to build them, but I know that the process has done internally for me. Confidence. I am confident. That is something that I have never been my entire life. Not even previous times weighing 140 pounds. I am confident in my body, in my mind, in myself. I believe I can do the things that I want. Anything that I want.

A woman does not build muscle and look fit by accident. It can only be achieved over time with continual patience and effort. Strength is a gift that you give to yourself and one that has far reaching repercussions beyond what you originally could have imagined! I am strong. I am confident, and I am capable. But I am mostly proud of everything that I have managed to achieve because I earned it. I worked for it and mostly I deserve it. So I will keep going, because I am so excited to see where else I can go.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Like Minded Folks

I had a fabulous weekend. I seriously did not want it to end. That is what happens when it’s just me and myself and I. Maybe that makes me a loner? Nah, it just makes me focused on what I like! What woman wouldn’t like free time to do as she wishes. Friday I was utterly sore from my Wednesday and subsequent Thursday night workouts. Friday I was a sore mess and used the time to let my body recuperate and heal and it worked magic. Sometimes the best thing for our bodies is a 24 hour rest. It worked for me because by Saturday morning I was completely feeling better and ready to go.

Saturday I got up and went to 9 AM Turbo kick at the gym. Nice way to instantly wake up I’d say. An hour of sweat dripping cardio is always nice and then I headed over to weight land where I proceeded to spend the next hour, hour and a half lifting heavy shit. I adore lifting. I find it amazing that about 5 months ago I would have told you no way, I won’t love it. But, like all other things in my life, once I really give it a try, my addictive personality takes over. But I am hardcore in love. I am probably hardcore in love because I see the physical changes in my body and I know it’s a direct result of the weight lifting/strength training. It just motivates me to go more.

After my morning gym session I was a free woman and I took full advantage of said freedom. I went to the mall by myself and window shopped for a while. I got a few things that I needed also :) Then I headed to Toys R Us, because they sent me a coupon for $10 off a $10 purchase, so basically a free $10 that expired this weekend. How do I not go and get an almost free toy for my kiddos? It was crazy busy in there and I can tell that the holiday season is already upon us. It also made me very glad I don’t actually have any kids of my own. I can’t imagine trying to take kids into Toys R Us. What a nightmare. Then I went to Big Lots where I walked around, got a few things and somehow totally found myself in the holiday/ Christmas mood. I adore Christmas. Always have. I love the family bonding, the holiday feel good season. Yes, I love giving presents but mostly it’s about the togetherness of the family and the love. I am a sucker for all things Christmas. Seriously, can’t wait. I bought candy canes. Is it too early? Nope. I don’t think so. I bought Star Wars and Disney Candy canes. Because they were adorable and amazing and I am overly excited. There you have it. I want it to be Christmas already.

After that I had a nail appointment. Yes, it really was a day of me. I needed a nail fill before Vegas this weekend and since my week nights shall be limited I had to get it in over the weekend. Truly do love my girly time.

Sunday I slept in which felt amazing. Then I made protein pancakes. I rarely cook and its hard pressed to saying making pancakes is really cooking but it’s about as domestic as I get. It’s a pre-made mix. They are literally called Protein Pancakes. They are delicious. I love them. They taste like regular old pancakes but have lots of protein in them. I got dressed in workout clothes but knew it would be hours before I actually worked out. Normally on a Sunday I would head to the gym about 1 and get in my workout, BUT I am branching out my friends and actually being more social which is entirely an odd concept for me. My trainer friend Amanda at the gym works out on Sunday evenings with two other girls at the gym that I know and am friendly with. The three of them workout together at 4 PM. Last weekend they posted a pic on Facebook after their workout and I commented that they need to invite me next time and so they did. I guess they work out every Sunday and now I am invited :)

Anyway, I went to the gym about 3:30 and did a little on my own and awaited their arrival. I was nervous, not being an overly social girl and all but the 3 of them showed up and honestly it was nice. It was nice to talk to other like-minded people. It was nice to be social. Go figure. We started with a 45 minute treadmill run. I knew I had that one handled. And I did. I have to say that after 45 minutes I felt great and fine and like I could keep going whereas all the other girls were DONE. I knew I could handle my business on a treadmill. But don’t worry I got my ass kicked a little on some weights. But for the most part we are all pretty evenly matched which makes us great workout partners. Anyway, we headed to the weights and we did shoulders. Amanda, the trainer, led the exercises and had us doing these crazy arm moves. And then we did bicep curls. Let me tell you something. I usually pick up the 30 pound barbell for bicep curls. I do about 15 of them and rest. I can do multiple sets of 30 pound curls but I don’t go much beyond that.

This crazy woman put down 70 pounds, 60 pounds, 50 pounds, 40 pounds in a row. We were going to do decline curls. Meaning we had a spotter to help us get the barbell up but then we did 10 reps of 70, 10 of 60, 10 of 50 and then finished out to exhaustion on the 40’s. Shockingly I did it. It was HARD as hell, but I did it. I fucking bicep curled 70 pounds. CRAZY!!! Crazy hard. But it was fun. We were all in the same boat so it kind of pushes us on.

I didn’t realize that I would get such a feeling of togetherness with working out with similar people. It’s like I got to talk to people who cared about the same things and were interested in discussing weight and health and I was in heaven. The people in my real life don’t generally want to talk about it so it was so nice. I actually was smiling and having fun and was completely in my element. I loved every minute of it actually. I seriously was thinking to myself, this is what it’s like to have friends and do things with them. Clearly I missed the boat at some point in my life on the whole friendship thing.

After we did multiple cycles of shoulders and biceps we did abs. I honestly felt like I got a great workout, a personal training type workout without paying for it, but I also got more than that, I felt like these girls were my friends. I understand the bonding process and it just happened. I couldn’t stop smiling and feeling like I belonged which is just such a foreign concept to me. I would definitely do that again and again. Of course next Sunday I will be in Vegas, but I have every intention of doing that again after that. I see how this friendship thing and this gym thing really works now and I am so in love. I could get used to this feeling of belonging. I kind of get it now.

I then came home and showered and then took some new photos. I am kind of obsessed with the progress I am actually feeling in my body the last couple weeks. Things are starting to literally feel tighter. I have this idea that I know logically that I can’t undo all the damage from gaining/losing weight over and over. I don’t think it’s possible for everything to tighten up the way I want it to, but then I kind of go, fuck all that logical and go with your heart. My heart says I WANT to do this. My heart says I CAN do this. My heart says I AM going to do this. I am going to defy all the fucking odds and become the girl I want to be. That confident, happy girl. Yes, physically I am going to be strong but more than that I am going to be mentally strong. I already feel the confidence soaring. It’s been such a great mental change that I can’t even express in words what it feels like to truly change your inside so much.

I have my moments of setback. We all do. But mostly I just keep living the concept of I can do this. I can be the person I want to be, because why not? Why not me? So with that in mind. I’ve been collecting bikini photos over time for comparison pics. And last night after taking some new ones I saw such a huge difference that I had to finally share. I am just going to keep this photo collage going and some day will add new ones where hopefully I look even better but I’m not upset by how I look now. I mean, I feel like I look like I could go out on a beach and be okay being seen in public. I honestly even like my boobs better these days. Yes, they are small but they kind of fit my body and frame and yes, they are saggy and there is issue to be addressed there but hell they don’t look that bad anyway min a bikini. There is less volume so they don’t need to be pushed up quite the same way anymore either.

Tonight is just a quick gym night. ½ hour of cardio interval training with Amanda and then ½ hour of Turbo kick. Then I have to change and head to therapy. Guess it’s mostly cardio tonight for me. That’s okay. Tomorrow I will hit the strength training again.

So here are the photos.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

More of the Same

I’ve been feeling like I haven’t had that much to say lately, which is very shocking for me actually. Basically it feels like more of the same so I spared you the repetitive rehash of the I feel so motivated, I am so happy blah blah blah post. I am still feeling that way today and don’t have too much else to actually report but somehow I am certain I will drone on nonetheless.

Last night I really had an AWESOME workout. Monday night was good but honestly limited because I have therapy so it’s always a quick little rush job to get in a 30 minute class and then I half to admit that I kind of half-assed another 30 minutes of weights before rushing to therapy. I am really liking therapy by the way. I felt like I had another great productive session Monday night. Anyway that meant that yesterday I was pretty excited to really hit the gym hard. And that is pretty much what I did.

It started with a 30 minute dumbbell fit class. And then we were supposed to do a 30 minute cardio class but what happened was that the class got combined with an hour long class that is really like a boot camp style class. I don’t know what it is about boot camp but I HATE it. Like hardcore hate it. It’s not really the exercise itself because clearly I don’t mind working hard etc. It’s just the style does not appeal to me at all. I muddled thru the 30 minutes I signed up for and then I left. I hated it that much. I think it has to do with the instructor. It’s so interesting to me that sometimes you just click with one person and not someone else at all. That is essentially what happened. I guess I feel lucky that I actually clicked so well with the other instructors right off the bat. Having an instructor like last night reminds me how much I love the 2 girls who teach the classes I normally take. After two less than amazing classes I really was not feeling that pushed or challenged so guess what, I kicked my own ass! Yup, I incorporated everything that I keep learning and spent the next hour really kicking my own ass hard with weights and strength training and I did pretty much end up exhausting myself.

I was lifting, and I just kept lifting and lifting. I might not lift he heaviest weight in the gym, but I’ll be damned if I don’t persevere and push thru just as hard as any man over there in weight land. This morning I woke up and my efforts were definitely felt and I was rewarded with some soreness in my body. This is always a great sign for me because this means I actually worked hard enough to produce a sore effect. So long as I’m not can’t walk, can’t move, fall over sore, I really do like feeling a little sore. It’s my body’s physical representation of the effort I put in. Loved it. My workout last night totally made up for the lack of real activity Monday night. Of course this leads me to tonight which is going to be interesting.

Tonight kicks off with a 30 minute high intensity interval class with my favorite gal Amanda. Immediately following that is my 30 minute personal training session. Which I am pretty much guaranteeing is going to kick my ass. And then immediately following that is 30 minutes of turbo kick. I suspect by the end of the night I am going to be ready to be done. Couple this 1.5 hours of work with my already slightly sore state and I am guessing I am going to be tired.

Yesterday I was thinking about this concept of building muscle. I have spent so much time and I guess weight loss as a whole is derived around the concept of shrinking your size and emptying your body of fat surrounding your bones. I worked so hard to slim down and shrink my size and suddenly with strength training and muscle building it’s about filling the skin back up. It’s an interesting concept and transition. Suddenly I want to fill in again. Of course filling in with muscle is completely different than filling in the skin with fat, I understand that. But it is completely a different concept to me. Of course the theory is that muscle burns more calories on a daily basis than fat and I suppose that is true. Not only do “they” meaning the experts say that but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am constantly hungrier than I’ve ever been in my life. Even when I was eating like ½ of what I eat now, I was not as hungry as I constantly am. I feel like I am always eating and I always NEED to eat. It’s not that I’m eating because I’m bored or craving sugary crap or something like that. I eat because I literally NEED to. My body needs the food to function. I really feel a different kind of hunger craving these days. It’s like this need to eat to live to fuel. It’s strange. I really honestly can say I mostly do NOT crave sugary crap. When I get a weird intense craving these days it’s for something like peanuts or bread. I do crave bread. And potatoes. So I guess I am a carb girl. But honestly if that is the worst of my cravings then I am golden.

I can honestly tell you this. It has been months and months since I have actually tracked or recorded any food. I do not write down my entire intake. My body is not gaining weight other than muscle so clearly whatever I’m eating is okay. I have tried very hard to live with the motto of, I will eat when my body is hungry and as long as I am feeding it good healthy things I won’t care or worry myself with the nutritional information within reason. Sometimes I try and mentally compute the calories I consume during the day and I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I eat somewhere between 1800-2200 calories a day these days. That might even be a smidge low. I am sure I forget about things that make their way to my lips. This is on a weekday. I am certain weekends are higher. I was pre warned at the gym that I was going to be hungrier and eat more once I started building muscle and this has been 100% true. When I was doing weight watchers, I got like 26 points a day. Depending on what you were eating, I swear it was more like 1200-1400 calories a day. I am eating almost double the food I was when I was losing weight. Mind you, I am not slamming weight watchers. I cannot imagine going back to only eating that little amount of food but clearly it is what you need to do to lose the fat. I understand that.

As I sit here today I am so glad I am not at that place anymore. I would probably cry if I had to go back to the life I was living a year ago. This is a funny statement to me because I was pretty much happy every step of the way along this journey. I don’t feel like I deprived myself of the things I wanted or anything. But I guess being at the place I am now, I can’t imagine running day in and day out and eating so little food. But honestly, I was not as physically hungry as I am now so I suppose it all works itself out. Oh, and protein. Can we talk about protein now? I will tell you that while doing weight watchers for a million different times I never once learned about or valued the importance of protein. This is the thing that fills me up. This is the thing that feeds and fuels my body. I seriously eat at least 100-150 grams of protein a day. I know this is really high but holy cow I need it. This is probably where muscle building comes into play.

I know that if I just keep doing what I’m doing in another 7 months my results are going to be amazing. I already feel amazed and blessed at what I have been able to accomplish. I have to be honest; it’s kind of like a fun game to see what I can do. I have never worked this hard but I’ve also never gotten results like this and its super fun to see progress happen. It’s really hard to get started; it’s hard to push thru when you aren’t seeing results. It’s hard to commit and go and work your ass off for a month and not really see any change or progress. That is when you have to dig deep and find that inner athlete or voice inside of you that won’t let you quit. Once you actually start to see the results it becomes much easier. That becomes your motivating factor, the driving force that won’t let you quit. It’s like that quote that the hardest thing to do is start exercising but once you start the hardest thing to do is stop. I know its phrased better than that, but I’m too lazy to go look it up at this moment. The point is this, now that I’m actually starting to see the changes I don’t ever want to quit. I want to keep this body forever. I want to be one of those 60 year old women who still go to the gym and don’t let their bodies go. I spent my twenties and early thirties fighting with this body. I’ve done enough fighting with my body to last a lifetime. I want this calm happy acceptance for the rest of my life.

I think it’s possible NOW. Because I don’t feel tortured. I feel adequately nutritioned. I feel happy and excited to do different workouts. I never hate going to the gym and think it’s a chore. I think that’s because I don’t torture myself with the concept that I have to run for hours on end. I run when I want to because I love it, not because I have to.

So I will just keep doing my thing and living my life and being happy and excited and feeling blessed every single day. And oh yeah, working hard…

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy optimistic people

Normally I hate Monday mornings, but today I actually feel pretty okay. It might have something to do with the extra hour of sleep I got, or it may have to do with the fabulous weekend I had, or it may have something to do with how positive and optimistic I am feeling today. Either way, I shall take it. I woke up in a great mood and I feel so happy and motivated. Of course it is like 10 AM and I swear by 4 PM I will be tired and unmotivated and not wanting to go to the gym; but I WILL go. Cause you know, that’s just me.

Honestly I had a wonderful weekend. I indulged a little bit and that was perfectly okay. On Saturday I had not one, but two cupcakes. First we had fancy cupcakes at my favorite fancy cupcake place and then by chance we had cupcakes again later that night at a friend’s house. Saturday night I went to a friend’s house where it turned out the inside of the cupcake revealed the color of the sex of the baby that she is having. Always fun. It was pink, so yeah, girl :) It was nice to go out and be social. As most of you know I am not that social because I don’t have that many actual friends. Mostly I prefer it that way but nonetheless it was a nice time. Oh, and I totally had 2 giant slices of pizza and alcohol. Not that it matters, cause clearly I don’t care one bit, except that afterwards in the car ride home, my stomach hurt so bad. Guess that’s what happens when you feed it shit it hates that it isn’t used to. Major air bubbles in my tummy that I literally was trying to push out with my fists. I was sitting there pushing on my stomach trying to get the air out. It kind of works by the way. Still don’t regret it one bit.

Saturday morning, pre evening activities, I did go to the gym and do turbo kick for an hour and then Amanda, the instructor told me she was subbing as the instructor for the next class and was doing a strength training hour and of course I was in. So 1 hour cardio, 1 hour strength and I felt GREAT. And tired. Then I ran errands around town. Costco. Pita Pit Lunch. Wal-Mart for groceries. I don’t go to Wal-Mart all that often but it was next to the Costco so I ran in there. Always reminds me how much I hate Wal-Mart. At least in this area it is so trashy and the lowest class of people.

Sunday morning, after having gotten home super late the previous night I woke up and watched the NYC Marathon on ESPN2. I was so excited that they televised it this year. I had previously set my DVR to record it so when I awoke Sunday AM it was already well into it and I did not have to watch commercials or anything that was too boring. But honestly, nothing was that boring to me. I was enthralled pretty much start to finish. So fascinating and inspiring. And holy cow I am blown away by how fast those people run. I know they are seriously the best of the best in the world. But I can’t even fathom running at like a 12.5 mile per hour speed for like 2 hours, or 26.2 miles. That is insane. I run at like half that speed and half the distance and that seems like enough for me. And I like running more than your average Joe so I am just so blown away.

However, sitting my ass on the couch all morning proved difficult for me. Mainly because it made me more tired. I had ZERO motivation to do anything. I just wanted to sit on the couch and veg out. I actually think I said out loud and I pretty much meant it at that moment that I was going to take the day off from exercise that I was NOT going to the gym. Of course I knew that was probably not going to happen but for a moment I felt it.

I got up and started moving around and realized that I was in fact waking up and I should go to the gym because I literally had nothing else to do for the day so I really couldn’t come up with a good excuse not to. I put on my workout clothes and started to get excited, so off to the gym I went. I ran for an hour knocked out 6.2 miles, nice easy run. I would have ran more I was feeling so good actually but my body betrayed me and I had to go to the bathroom so bad I had to stop. I could not hold it in any longer. After that I worked my way over to the weights where I spent close to an hour lifting and working and getting stronger and I felt GREAT. I felt amazing, just the way I like it.

Afterwards it was off for a few more errands, I hit up Ross Dress for Less and GNC for quest bars. All was good. Oh and Albertsons where I picked up the most amazing pieces of pork. They are pre-seasoned pork strips and so freaking good that we grilled up LOTS so that I have extra pieces to snack on all week. Pork is so amazing. Great protein and great tasting. Aside from pork, I had grilled onions, homemade mashed potatoes, corn and a slice of bread for dinner. I was stuffed at the end but felt so good because this was a quality meal. I knew I just filled my body with amazing healthy things it needed. Great feeling.

Overall it was just a nice wonderful relaxing perfect weekend. Which puts a big smile on my face and makes me so excited and hopeful for today. Hopeful because I am just so happy. I know I had a bout of insecurity last week where I was really hating on my body but honestly I am so proud and happy with it. This is the general mind frame that I have and love. My body is not perfect but it IS making progress and I am so hopeful and excited about what I can continue to accomplish. I just keep building muscle and getting stronger and pushing harder and I feel blessed that I am capable of as much as I am. I am encouraged to see where I can take all this.

I spent some time last night thinking and reflecting upon some of this stuff, this journey. Mainly I am so happy that I have freed myself of the scale. I really truly feel 100% free of the scale at this point. Occasionally I get on it, mostly as a double check, but mostly it doesn’t move and mostly I don’t care. In fact, some of those random weigh-ins are obscure times and in various states of clothed. Meaning, I don’t obsess enough to strip down naked and make sure it’s the same time, same day, etc. It just doesn’t bother me that much. I know at some point it’s likely the scale will even go up as I continue to gain muscle. What do I really care? What is far more important is the image in the mirror. I am thinking I am clearly not one of those girls who has the physique of 120 pounds. I am built for muscle. My body is built to gain obviously. This time I am just gaining muscle instead of fat and I love it. My body is not designed to be stick thin. Genetics would never allow for that so it’s no surprise to me really that my body is taking to muscle so well. Some girls it seems to be a struggle to gain muscle on their frame. Not me at all. If I can gain, my body certainly will find a way to make that happen.

Anyway, the point is, knowing I am gaining muscle, working hard, it’s likely the scale will rise but I won’t really be gaining weight so I have to learn to let go of the scale number. It is so irrelevant. I keep saying it and I am really starting to believe it, that give me another 7-8 months of personal training and gym time and I AM going to be that super fit, ripped girl. I am on my way now, but I am going to be her. I see her in my mind and I am so excited to keep going because I love it so much. I love how empowered and strong I feel. I have never felt this way before in my whole life. Sure, I ran and got to 140 pounds before. Wait, I got to 130 pounds before but I NEVER, not even once for a moment felt the way I do now. STRONG and POWERFUL and confident. Do you know how confident my strength makes me feel?

This is what has been missing in my life, my whole life. This feeling of I can do anything I want because I am worth it and I deserve it. That I am worthy. The feeling that I am physically strong translates directly to my inner strength. I cannot even describe how much simply lifting heavy weights and growing muscle has changed my inside. My mental outlook on things. This is how I know I am never going back because I can’t ever lose this feeling. This feeling is amazing. I just want to keep going because I love it so much. I am so happy and excited for my future. Every single day. I just look forward to going to the gym, and seeing what new challenge I can face and how I can grow.

In two weeks I will be in Vegas to run my half marathon. Another thing that was previously beyond my comprehension. Beyond my self-imposed limits. I am a different person today in every possible way. You know how else I know that? Because we’ve been looking up runs for Thanksgiving morning. Going to start out my Thanksgiving doing one of those T. day runs. No better way to spend my day than starting it out with a good 5 mile run. I live my life now, which is what I am most proud of. I don’t worry about food. I eat what I want when I feel hungry. Fortunately what I want to eat is pretty much good healthy shit. I exercise because I want to, not because I have to. That is so important. Your brain knows when you are exercising to torture yourself or because you love yourself. I cannot stress enough how important that distinction is.

Last night I had a thought and I realized this was always my problem in a nutshell. If someone told me that I had to go back to running an hour a day, 6 days a week right now I would cry. That sounds like torture to me. Yes, I love running. Yes, I want to run. I will always be a runner. But forcing myself to just run and run and run sounds like torture. That is what always happened to me, once I got to goal, that level of running proved to sound like torture so I tapered off and eventually quite all together and gained all the weight back.

I no longer feel tortured. I constantly feel excited and invigorated for my different workouts. And when I want to run, I run. It doesn’t feel like torture, it feels like something I want to do. It’s very refreshing. In a nutshell, I am just feeling so good and optimistic right now. Like for some crazy reason I believe in myself enough to change myself. To keep growing and changing. I believe anything is possible. I believe that someday I am going to physically look like the girl I always wanted to be. I believe in myself that much!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Competition of the Frenemie kind

Last night at the gym I had my first ever encounter with a gym frenemie. What is ironic is that literally 2 days ago I read an article in the new November/December issue of Fitness magazine (pg. 68) about this exact concept. The article was called, Fighting Shape. (some people have workout buddies. I have gym frenemies- and that’s how I like it.) I was intrigued so I keep reading the article. Here’s the link to the article

In a nut shell, the author expresses that she likes to mentally compete against other fit girls in the gym to push herself. I thought it was an interesting concept. “Pick the treadmill next to the woman who has my ideal body, subtly peer over her shoulder to check out her pace, set my machine’s speed one notch faster and run like hell. When sweat drips into my eyes and my thighs start to feel like fiery Jell-O, I look sideways, and if that jackrabbit of a woman is still running, you can bet I will be too. When she increases her incline to 10, I follow suit, silently swearing, I will chase your skinny ass all the way up this imaginary mountain!” This pretty much sums up the concept of the article.

At the time when I read the article I was like, I can see how that would be motivating, but didn’t really see it until LAST NIGHT. Let me explain what happened. It was Halloween and all was quiet at the gym. Not shockingly it was pretty empty. The night before I had actually discussed with Amanda, my friend, the class instructor about the reality of no one showing up for class on Thursday night. She said if that happened we’d figure something out. BTW, last night she told me if no one showed she planned on just working out with me. Love my girls at the gym! Anyway, turns out 4 people showed up for classes. Me, my mom and two others. One of the “others” was a girl that I have seen before, I believe maybe last week take a class. She is a naturally tall thin woman. We do not have similar body shapes by any means. She is probably 5’8” tall and just much more slender in build. She was probably in her late 20’s early 30’s and she quickly started talking to me. She was nice and pleasant but for some reason I was getting this interesting vibe from her.

The vibe of competitiveness. Not from me, I was NOT competitive. I had nothing to be competitive about. I am more than comfortable and happy with my performance and limits at this point in the game. I am not new to the fitness class rodeo and am pretty comfortable in whatever they throw at me. Since it was only 4 of us Amanda informed us for the first ½ hour cardio class we were going to be doing something a little different and told us to grab kettle balls and head up to the treadmills. We were going to be doing high intensity interval sprints/exercises. As soon as we walked to the kettle ball stand this girl looks at me and says, how heavy are you getting? I was like a 20 pound one. I don’t really know what we are doing with them, but 20 is good.

We walk up to the treadmills and she informs me that she is just back to the gym, only been going for two weeks now and wants to get back in shape. I should tell you, that while this girl is not my body type at all, she is naturally tall and slender; this does not mean she was fit. She probably could lose 10-15 pounds. She looked fine. But she didn’t necessarily look “fit”. I don’t care either way; just we were not competing in my mind so it didn’t matter. I could tell that she wanted to be next to me on the treadmills so I was like, fine, no worries. If there is one thing I am absolutely confident in my ability in, it’s the treadmill.

So Amanda informs us we are doing a 40 second all out sprint, and then get off and 20 kettle ball swings, and then 40 second sprint, etc. Sometimes we would be doing burpies instead of kettle balls, but she’d let us know. And that this would keep occurring for 20 minutes time. That this would completely elevate our heart rates. So we get on the treadmills, the girl on my right. Amanda says put your speed at something challenging for you. And then she said, Emily, you put your incline at 6. Apparently she believes I need to push myself, so I did. Just to test the waters my first interval I set my speed at 7 only. I wanted to push myself but wasn’t sure with the 6 incline how I’d do. The girl next to me started at a 6 but kept peeking her eyes over at my treadmill. I could tell she was competitive.

Next round, having successfully completed the 7, I upped my speed to a 7.5, and she increased her speed to a 7 and started panting and huffing and puffing. A couple rounds later, I decided to push myself all out and went to an 8.5. And this is when it happened. The girl, out loud, looked over at me and my 8.5 on the treadmill and said, and I quote. “Oh, wow, I’m done. I’m done competing with you.” I was taken aback. I was not competing with her. I really was not. I was running my speed and distance to challenge myself. I didn’t realize we were competing because I generally don’t compete. I know what I can do and I only try and improve upon myself. I actually could not believe she said that. I ignored it and went on my way. The last two sprints I did at a 9 miles per hour and it felt great.

When we were all done and getting of the treadmill in a nice way she was like, I kept upping my speed to you but when you got to 8.5 I was like I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. I was like, okay. And then it dawned on me I had experienced the gym frenemie I had just read about. Except the funny thing was, I wasn’t the girl in the scenario I thought I’d be. I was the girl she was trying to outrun. Interesting. There was a certain element of a compliment in there. I was for whatever reason the girl she was trying to be like and that felt good but weird at the same time, because I am not that type of girl. I don’t ever want to make someone else feel bad about themselves or think they have to compete. I am so far from perfect in every sense of the word. But maybe, without realizing it, she was using me for her motivation. I guess that’s cool to. As I said, I’ve been at this for a while now, and there is simply no place I feel more at home at than on a treadmill so it’s easy for me to go above and beyond in that arena. Even Amanda admitted that she could not possibly keep up with me on the treadmill, and that is the truth. Amanda, the trainer, is not a runner and she knows that I am.

I felt very humbled by this experience last night. And slightly weird and uncomfortable at the same time. I am just me, no more, no less. I have spent 10 years of my life obsessing, struggling, fighting, working my ass off and to have it all come down to a few moments where someone felt the need to “compete” against me was so weird. We are not competitors. We won’t ever be. We could be friends. I could encourage you, and share my story and knowledge with you, but I don’t want to compete. It was just a surreal experience to have someone say out loud that they were competing against you. Now, we may all do it from time to time silently, but that’s the point, its silent. I guess whatever it takes to motivate you.

Later, in the second class, Iron Power, which is my favorite, a whole hour of strength training, she kept saying things like, “I will get stronger, I’m going to be able to lift as much or be as good as you. I will get there. I will do better than you.” I kept shaking my head silently like, WTF… am I that intimidating? I’m a nice girl. I kept smiling at her and trying to be friendly. I don’t want someone competing with me because it just makes me feel awkward and then there is that little voice is my head that is like, Hell no. That is not going to happen. So I guess my inner competitive athlete comes out and is like, if you want to make it a competition than I am going to win. But odds are I won’t even see her that much so it’s not really going to be an issue.

There are people in class who do more than me, and people who do less. That is life. We are not competing. We are all there, just trying to be the best versions of ourselves. Do better than you did last week. I don’t care what the person next to me is doing. Sure, I am more than happy to help and share my life, but I’m not judging you and I’m certainly not trying to do more than you. You will never win at that game. Period.

So with all the said, I had a killer amazing workout last night and I felt so good. I finally got a back photo taken of me and then went to put it next to a photo of me from Maui this last June. I was not exactly thrilled with the photo from June and was like, ugh, does my backside really look like that? But then today, I placed the photos side by side and realized that holy shit, there is definite progress happening in 4 months. It’s not exactly a fair comparison because the before photo I was not flexing my arms or back and obviously in the photo from yesterday I am. But it’s still pretty cool progress. The thing I most notice is the “line” down my back is much longer now. And I have real muscles and my ass is definitely less saggy. This is 4 months. I have every intention of taking another photo in another 4 months to compare it to. It might look about the same, it might look better, who knows, but honestly after only 4 months this is pretty impressive to me. I will take these results. These are the things we have to do in order to keep moving forward and keep reminding ourselves that even though some things aren’t changing, in the greater scheme of things, we are constantly changing. I certainly didn’t notice these changes every single day as they were occurring, but clearly in 4 months we have made great progress. Who knew? For the record, I love my back. It feels very strong. And also, for the record, I am pretty much close to the same weight in both pictures. I am literally in that magical 135-142 pound range in both of them. So we are talking at the most a 7 pound difference. Clearly the biggest difference is the muscle mass. Muscle is amazing. And I am in love. So happy Friday my friends. Have an amazing frenemie-less weekend :)