Friday, January 31, 2014


Today I realized I am one of those people we call a special kind of crazy. I am knee deep in ½ marathon thinking-land and it occurred to me that for as much thought as I’ve been giving to the half marathon that I have only honestly ran 3 of them in my life all of which are in the past 4 months. And somehow I want to run an additional 13 of them. This is where that special kind of crazy comes into play. Today I officially registered for an additional 6 races. Yeah, I know I’m that kind of crazy. It is the part of my brain that makes me successful, obsessive and, and terrified all at the same time. Most people might casually go into the running world, I just full force off the high board into a giant freaking pool. If I can run one half marathon than certainly 14 of them in a year has got to be better, right? Where do I come up with this shit? And what on earth possesses me to persue such crazy goals. Sometimes I wonder what my mind is thinking.

Today I purchased the Rock and Roll 3 pack and officially registered for San Francisco, and Seattle. I have previously registered for the Portland race when it was on a special in December. I have one more spot on my 3 pack which is reserved for Vegas. You cannot register yet for Vegas or else I would have. But it’s paid for and that is the good thing.

I also went ahead and registered for 3 other races this morning. The first 1 is the Hazel Dell Half on February 23 which benefits Panda Paws Pet Rescue. I kind of fell in love immediately with this race for the simple fact that it’s in partnership with this organization that could not be nearer or dearer to my heart. They rehabilitate special needs animals. Um… the fact that there are people in this world willing to spend time money and energy on caring for animals in this capacity makes my heart dance. I am 10000% an animal activist. There is not a single cause I deem more worthy than animal rescue. They did not ask to be brought into this world, (yes children don’t either) but animals will never have a voice and will never be considered as important as humans and therefore do not have the same rights. It is heart breaking to me. I don’t want to go get on my animal soapbox because the love of a dog is like the most freaking amazing thing in the world to me. End of story. This race is registered for and that is the point. Oh, and somebody kind of is speaking my language on this one because at the end of the race you get a red velvet cupcake. We all know I might be a huge cupcake whore. Will run for cupcakes! See the race here:

I then registered for the Easter Hop Hop Race on April 19. This race ends with them handing you a mimosa. I was pretty much sold at the instant I read that. They are speaking straight to my heart. I adore mimosa’s. The medal is cool too, and we all know it’s about the hardware for me. It is an Easter egg shaped medal. Perfection. See the race here:

And finally I went ahead and registered for the 4th of July run because today was the last day before a price increase and since I pretty much knew I was going to do this one I thought why not. See the race here:

So all in all this means at this point in time I am now officially registered for these races on my quest to 14 in 14.

January 2014: Rock and Roll Arizona (completed)
February 1, 2014: Scio Half (this is tomorrow, oh boy!)
February 23, 2014: Hazel Dell Half
April 6, 2014: Rock and Roll San Francisco
April 19, 2014: Hop Hop Half
May 18, 2014: Rock and Roll Portland
June 21, 2014: Rock and Roll Seattle
July 4, 2014: Foot Traffic Flat
November 16, 2014: Rock and Roll Las Vegas (paid for, can’t officially register until March)

This is 9 of my 14 planned runs. I have a few more penciled in on the calendar that I have not registered for but intend to probably next month after another round of payday. This shit gets expensive my friends. I have 3 more that I am certain I want to do and will register for and that leaves 2 open slots to play with. There are a lot of races on the calendar I could do but we will have to wait and see. I am not ruling out the possibility of another Rock and Roll destination run later in the year, but that will depend on finances and location and a lot of factors that I cannot predict at this point. We shall see. I am enjoying the destination running so I wouldn’t rule out the idea that I want to go somewhere to run. At this point my 3 officially completed races have been in 3 different states. That will change tomorrow when I run my second one in Oregon which makes sense considering I freaking live here. Nonetheless, right now I have done 3 in 3 different locations. That’s kind of cool too.

So you see, when I make a decision I just go for it. Who decides one day to do something and literally less than 2 weeks later has 9 races on the books officially. This crazy crazy girl! I printed out a year calendar and marked all the possible races on it. So that I can see the year in running at a glance and see how closely they line up. It is my goal to never run them on back to back weekends. I would really like to have at least one weekend in between to recover. Some of them are close but there is thus far at least that all important weekend in between.

I am such an all or nothing kind of girl. I guess my brain sees little point in running a few here and there unless I’m going for the gusto and I’m going to fully commit to achieving an awesome goal. Clearly running Disney is not happening this year. Do you know how ridiculously expensive it is to Run Disney? Crazy expensive. It is still a goal, and I am also certain that someday I am going to run thru Disneyland. It WILL happen. It is on my bucket list, but just not this year. This year I tackle my 14 in 14 and then perhaps the following year when I can ease up on the excessive running I can consider investing my money into a few more important runs. Quality instead of quantity. This year it’s about quantity. Of course I really am in love with my Rock and roll runs; I think they are amazing quality as well. In fact, I adore them so much I am terrified to run other races because I know they won’t be of the same quality.

This one I am running tomorrow is REALLY small. I am kind of scared of the size and quality of it to be honest. But we signed up on a whim basically just to get another one on the books. I read in one location that you get a finisher’s medal but I haven’t heard much about it and I haven’t seen anything so I’m guessing it’s just some cheesy thing but it doesn’t really matter as long as I finish and getting a little something, anything would be nice for my efforts.

That’s about it for today. Think of me tomorrow morning early in the freezing cold completing my second of 14 half’s this year. This one is going to get interesting….

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The journey has only just begun

So I realize it has been far too long since I posted anything here. I keep meaning too but the truth is I have been incredibly busy at work the last 2 weeks and I don’t even seem to have a moment to breathe yet along compose a post. And the few moments I do have of free time I have other things that I need to do. It happens. Doesn’t mean I’ve disappeared or fallen off the wagon or anything. Just means I sometimes am a busy girl. Such is life.

Basically I have been contemplating a game plan the last week and a half. You know I get these crazy ideas in my brain and then decide to just run with them. That’s pretty much how I work. I got this crazy idea and have spent the last week thinking about it and researching the feasibility of it and I think I might finally be ready to officially put it out there. Once I say it out loud on this blog I feel obligated to follow thru so I really wanted to make sure that it was happening before I fully committed to it, but the bottom line is this. I have made the decision that in 2014 I am going to run 14 half marathons. Yup, it’s my 14 in 14 challenge. This might be a bit ambitious for a girl who has only run 3 half’s previously in her life but what the heck, I kind of set my mind to something and go for it.

With all that said, somewhere in the last week I ended up signing up for this local ½ on Saturday. I am running in some cold which is not my favorite, but I will run another half nonetheless. That will make 2 of the 14 done which is nice. And then while researching what races and putting together an overall picture of the 2014 calendar I stumbled across a race in a couple weeks, February 23 in Vancouver, WA, which is pretty much Portland that I can do. So tomorrow I will sign up for that. I say tomorrow because that is when I get paid and boy these races start to add up. Something else might have already happened as well… it’s possible I presently have airfare booked and a hotel reservation made for April 5-7, 2014 to go to San Francisco to run another Rock and Roll ½ marathon. I have not officially registered for the race. That will come tomorrow on payday as well. I have to space this stuff out a bit you see. So tomorrow I will register for said race and then it will become official and all. It is pretty much official given airfare is booked, etc. I am slightly crazy. Wait, crazy is not the right word. I am impulsive. That is the correct word. I impulsively make decisions. I decide I want to do something and I just do it. This all coming from a girl who doesn’t actually run that much in her “off” time.

I might have a slight obsession with medals. I might love my medals more than I love a lot of things in my life. Who knew that a shiny medal would mean so much to me…? I don’t actually think it’s the medal itself obviously; it’s the physical symbol of everything it stands for. It’s the symbol of the effort and life changing that has occurred in me. It is a physical representation, something I can look at and hold in the palm of my hand that shows me how much I have changed, how far I have come in my life. It makes me happier than most things in my life. So I run for medals. But I run because it symbolizes the grit, strength and determination I have to not only change my life, but stay on this path for the rest of my life. I don’t ever want to go back and this is the surest way I know to not go backwards. These are the steps that I never previously took.

When we think about things that keep us going or the goals that we have to set to progress and work towards this is EXACTLY the kind of motivation I need to stay focused and happy in my life. 14 new shiny medals but more importantly, 14 unique experiences, countless memories and the self-worth that comes from accomplishing goals that you set for yourself. So 2014 will bring 14 half marathons. I will do this, because like anything else in my life that I really decide to do, I will make sure it happens. I do not doubt myself in the least. I think it’s probably going to be epically hard. I think there will be times when I want to give up and abandon ship, but in the end I am sure it will be worth all the hard work. At the end of the year, when I see all my medals and reflect upon my accomplishment I think it is going to be one of the coolest things I have ever done.

In the middle of my year of strength, I am going to run races, get my medals and build my self-confidence. I just think that’s damned cool. I have a tentative schedule outlined, but I have not officially signed up for most of the races yet so I am not lying out too many details just yet. As soon as things are firmed up I will share my plans. This is the plan in a nutshell to date. I already ran my first one in Arizona. 2nd one is Saturday. 3rd one will be Feb. 23 in Vancouver. 4th one is San Francisco Rock and Roll. Then I have a bunch of races in between there #5-#13 will happen in the area. Included in there is the Portland Rock and Roll and the Seattle Rock and Roll. I am really looking at a 4th of July race in Portland that looks awesome as well as a cool Easter race in April. I have a few I’m eying at this point. The only other plan is that #14, the final race of 2014 is going to take me to the place this all started, it will be Las Vegas Rock and Roll, running the strip at night. What a cool way to finish the running year, in Las Vegas running the strip again. The place where it really all began. So that is the plan. Seems do-able in theory. But we’ve got a long way to go to get to that place. And let’s not forget that each of these requires running 13.1 miles. I tend to overlook the reality of how taxing that is on a person’s body. It’s not always peaches and creams. It’s a significant distance that leaves you tired.

I think in order to get thru the runs I almost have to block them out beforehand and go, yup, I can run that and then not think about it. Survival by denial. Like the reality that Saturday morning I’m getting up and running another one. Survival by denial. I am however making it a game to collect the medals. Go. Run. Pass the finish line, collect my medal. Next. I am impulsive and crazy all rolled into one. But when I set my mind to something I accomplish it. So aside from my year of strength I might have to revise it to the year of strength with a side of half. As in half marathons. I don’t imagine at any other point in my life I will so adamantly persue so many half marathons in a single year. But the newness is there and with it comes the excitement.

I am obviously constantly evolving into the woman that I am, day by day. So based on my plans above you can plainly see that means that 2014 will include mini vacations to Arizona (done), San Francisco, Seattle and Las Vegas. I can live with this. Exciting times. This is the stuff that makes life worth living. That amazing feeling of accomplishment. The fear yes, but the excitement of doing something epic. I will get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. Much like the Vegas strip, that is a memory that will be epic in nature and will live near and dear to my heart. I am running across the freaking Golden Gate Bridge!!!! I am floored. These are the things that you only quietly think about and ultimately suppress when you are overweight and don’t love yourself. You could not really ever imagine doing something like that. But why the hell not you? Why not me? I am starting to learn that no matter what just showing up and attempting the battle is the most important part. Every single time I do something that takes me out of my comfort zone I get a little bit more confident and comfortable. It’s an epic feeling all around.

Dreams and goals don’t just belong to other people. They don’t belong to the super fit, or the super gorgeous or the super wealthy or the super anything. They are for every single person. No dream may be the exact same, but if it’s your dream it’s worth going after. I am never happier or more alive than when I am in the middle of chasing my goals and dreams. I have learned that about myself. I thrive on goals. I guess the take away is that I always need to have something on the horizon, something on the agenda to work towards. Something in the back of my mind to challenge me and ultimately change me. I am ready!

I promise you this, after I run Las Vegas next year, my 14th in 2014, I will take a picture wearing all of my medals obtained in the year and post it here. This is a promise I make today. I will be rocking tons of medals and that is going to be a happy proud moment. I am fully expecting tears during my Vegas 2014 run, as it is the conclusion to a yearlong quest that I am going to accomplish. Mark my words, it’s going to happen.

Wow, my thirties are so much cooler than my twenties!!!! My twenties pale in comparison to the love I have for life now that I am in my thirties. In approximately 4 months I will turn 35 years old and be in the middle of my quest for 14 in 14 and I am happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I feel like that little missing piece of my life is starting to come into place. I feel fulfilled and satisfied with myself. It’s called self-love and self-acceptance and has taken a damned long time to find. And it has very little to do with how I look. I love the evolution of myself, of this entire process. It isn’t about the mirror or a scale. It’s about much more important things like setting and achieving goals and living my life. It’s about exploring the world around me. It’s about taking meaningful healthy trips to do awesome things like run across the Golden Gate Bridge. This is how I was always supposed to live my life. I know that. I believe that in my heart.

Life is supposed to be amazing. It’s your responsibility really to create your own definition of amazing. This is mine. I have known true happiness and that is a total blessing to me. To finally feel like I know what it’s like to love fully and get the most out of my life. Clearly I’m in a good mood today!

So stay tuned my friends, the journey has only just begun.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Olympic Gold Medalist

So it seems that I all too easily forget how much I adore the thrill of a half marathon or the sense of accomplishment of crossing the finish line. And in doing so, I forget how much I really do enjoy the agony and the ecstasy of running. There is a reason that all thru my life no matter what, for 10 plus years I always find myself returning to the basic sport of running. I may not be the fastest girl in the world, hell, I may not even always be that excited to do it, but in the end everything, absolutely everything goes away when you are running down a goal; literally.

I cannot begin to tell you all the thoughts that pulse thru your brain over the course of 2 hours while you are running, sometimes in agony, sometimes in bliss. That is as varied as the thoughts end up being. There will never be another thing in my life quite as satisfying as the feeling of accomplishment from finishing. I don’t strive for perfection or fast. I am equally as excited every single time I can say I finished the thing. It will never get old. At least I hope it never gets old. I never want to take for granted that my body allows me to do such things. When I start taking it for granted is the moment that I am destined to fail. It is a miraculous thing to be able to push your body to its physically limits for 2 plus hours and come out on the other side. Running is mental. It is one of the most mentally challenging things you will ever endure. Sure, there is physical pain and torture but it’s your mind that you have to push thru. It is your mind that you have to control. And that is why it is total bliss for me when I finish and they wrap that medal around my neck. That is a moment of pure happiness.

I was scared to run. I don’t think I talked about it all that much because I retreated into my head a little bit. I was scared because I have not run very much in the last 2 months. Post Vegas half I can count the time I ran literally on my fingers. It was not a lot and of course the last time I ran it was not fun for me. I felt tortured. Sometimes you feel tortured because of reasons that have little to do with running itself. Maybe I’m over the monotony of treadmill running. Maybe I was just having a bad night. Doesn’t matter, it left me feeling scared and worried about this run. Like I said, I don’t think I’ll ever not be afraid of a half marathon. 2 hours of running is just physically taxing on one’s body. And when you have one of those brains that won’t let you quit it can be pretty torturous to think that your body might give out and you will disappoint yourself.

Post my gym, weight training world, I told myself that I would complete half marathons only if it remained fun and I didn’t have to train too hard for it. I basically wanted to be able to show up and run the thing and get my “high” feeling without putting out too much effort beforehand. Cause isn’t that what everyone wants, right? I was starting to doubt that was going to be the case for me. That whole this is going to bite me in the ass mentality was brewing. I started to feel like I didn’t actually know if I was capable of running for 2 plus hours solid. But here’s the biggest truth, in my heart, I believe I can. And do you know what happens when you believe something is possible? It simply becomes possible.

I have to admit that it did not start out terribly easy per say. I didn’t start feeling magical and happy and like I could go forever. I started out feeling like okay, let’s just run and see where we go from here. Where we went from there was around mile 3 my stomach started turning into knots. Excuse the too much information here, but the familiar knots of knowing you have to go to the bathroom but not the potty kind. And the kind of bathroom experience that was slightly diuretic. Yup, I honestly felt the horrible pain of diarrhea taking over. I really didn’t want to stop. I kept running. It would cut in and out. That feeling of needing to go and then it would subside. I kept on like this for a few more miles. Every time I’d run past a port-a-potty I’d wonder if I should stop, but then I’d see the line of people and I really wanted to keep running.

Finally, right after mile 7, after fighting solidly for 4 miles with my tummy issues, I decided that I could not go on for another 5 miles like this and I had to do the regrettable which was pull over and use the restroom. I saw a bank of potty’s, so at least there were like 6 of them in a row and I figured this would obviously move the line along faster and it would be less obvious if I was in there for a longer period of time.

I have no exact timing of how long I was in line/in the restroom but I’d say between 5-10 minutes. Probably closer to 5 minutes honestly. I tried to go as fast as I possibly could. As soon as I could I was back out on the course, feeling MUCH better, and right back on my running. Other than the bathroom break which I REALLY didn’t want to take, I never once stopped and walked. I ran every second of the race. I am even going to say I ran the whole 13.1 miles, because technically I did. When I stopped, I stood in place for about 5 minutes and then ran. Even with all that said, things turned out all right. In Vegas I finished in like 2:15, this official time was around 2:16, and that includes my potty break. I am going to say that in the end I ran this one faster. Yes, the official time shows slower, but that’s what an ill placed case of diarrhea will do to you.

I loved everything about this race. I loved the scenery. Can I just stop for a second to reflect on the beauty that is Phoenix. I am in love by the way. I completely love the area. Gorgeous! I loved the run course. I loved the support and the motivational signs. I loved the feeling of pushing myself yet again to achieve things that I didn’t think I was capable of. I smile because I can run 13.1 miles. Doesn’t really matter how fast I can run it, the point is I run every single step of that and this is my victory. When my body tells me that I should quit and walk, my brain has to take over and do the work. I tell myself… “I don’t stop when I’m tired; I stop when I’m done.” I told myself that a few times on the home stretch.

Once again at a few points along the race, deep in the heart of the battle I found myself getting teary eyed and emotional. It never gets old. The reality that I can actually do this. The reality that a year ago, even from now, less than a year ago, I never would have dreamed I’d be doing these things. Running a half marathon in Arizona. Who does that? Who wants to do that? More importantly, when did I become a person who does that? And I smile and then those tears well up in my eyes. Because while I may brush off the magnitude of what I’m doing, when I’m in the heart of the race and I see little girls holding up signs, those tears well up every single time. I have a thing for young girls. Not a creepy thing, but a sense of wanting to show young adolescents that females are strong and anything is possible. When I see an 8 year old holding up a sign it makes me want to cry out of happiness. I want to reflect to the world that you are worthy and strong and capable. That you can do anything you want. Like run half marathons. No matter what you’ve had to overcome in your life it’s never too late to achieve your dreams.

And so I ran, tears welling, pain rising and falling. And so I ran, thru water stations, thru people, thru spectators, thru traffic, thru cones. And So I ran with a smile, with an agonizing pained expression on my face. And eventually I saw that magical finish line in sight and I had to fight hard to not break into a full on cry. Because every single time that feeling is magical and something I cannot possibly explain. As soon as I crossed the line everything in the world seemed just a smidge brighter and shiner for a few moments. I felt a supreme sense of self-worth that goes beyond anything else I could ever experience. And all I did was finish. I didn’t win. I didn’t even finish in the top 25% of people, but all be damned if that medal around my neck didn’t make me feel like a winner. Despite over 17,000 of them being handed out on that day, mine seemed so much more important and significant and one of a kind. Because it was. It was mine. It was earned over 2 hours 17 minutes of my life, with all of my experiences and my sweat and sometimes tears. That medal is special and now every time I will look at it, which honestly will be often because I love it so much, I will be reminded of that 2 plus hours of my life and everything it took to get there to that exact moment.

For a few hours in time I felt like an Olympic gold medalist, or what I could only imagine one might feel like. And that is exactly why I keep coming back for more of this delicious torture. I never feel more alive than when I am in the middle of accomplishing my goals. It is a beautiful, magical thing.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Photo Time

If you follow me on twitter than you will know what a photo selfie whore I am. I can't help it. I consider twitter my place to be free to be self-indulgent and super obsessed with progress pictures. Facebook is the occasional photo but I don't like to overkill with people I know in real life. Twitter is my online world where I can be this obsessed fitness girl. Anyway, I post lots of photos over there. Sometimes I forget that I don't post them all that often here because I feel like I am always posting pictures online, but then remember that not everyone cares or does twitter and actually sees them. Regardless, I took some photos today at work while I am trying to kill the rest of my afternoon before vacation. Pre vacation work day is always fun... I am so excited and happy and ready to get out of here already. 2 hours to go.

Again, the point is this, I just have to share this photo because holy crap, its only part of the side of my back but do you see those awesome back muscles there. Some photos just capture things in a certain angle and blow your mind. Progress is sometimes only really affirmed in photos. At least that has always been the way for me.

So here is the photo:

And then just because here's some pictures of the rest of me today....

Vacation ready

I am terribly excited today because I just have to get thru this one and I get to go on a plane tomorrow morning to a magical land that exists in the United States where the sun still shines. I have never been to Arizona but the weather forecast says Phoenix is like 77 degrees. That is perfection in my book. As I sit presently in my extremely cold office with a little personal heater placed close to me. Sun sounds down right amazing right now. My only complaint is that I know on Monday I have to return to this doom and gloom. But let’s not worry too much about that right now. For now let’s focus on the impending sun that is going to be magical for my soul.

I am beyond excited to get on an airplane and fly to a city I have never been before and get to explore. I am once again putting my brain thru the stress of running a half marathon. Or more like the mental torture of worry and fear over being able to do it. I have to admit something that is probably pretty obvious over the past couple months, I have not run that much. I have been very focused on my classes and strength training that I kind of forgot that I run. Consequently running is not as second nature anymore and therefore I have major fears heading into this race. I have to be honest though I am pretty sure that there will never be a race ever that I won’t be worried and anxious beforehand. I believe this is probably just my normal personality. But this one is going to be a struggle, I am pretty certain of that. But with the struggle I’m also guessing will be an even better feeling of accomplishment once I finish. No matter the time, which I am guessing is going to be awful, the feeling of completion will be rewarding and I am holding onto that.

Also let’s not forget the amazing feeling of that medal around your neck. Seriously, ridiculously cool. And this time I get 2 medals. I get the one for running the race and then I get an extra bonus Desert Double Down Medal for running both Vegas and Arizona. 2 medals for the price of one. This is all I am going to be thinking about those last grueling torturous 3 miles. I seem to do pretty well up until Mile 10 and then that wall hits. That I can’t move, I can’t do this. Why oh God Why wall. The answer to my why’s is 2 shiny medals. It’s pretty encouraging honestly.

I have to get up pretty early in the morning honestly to do all this. Well, early for me, I’m certain for some people my early is not that early. Nonetheless, I am used to getting up in the mornings at like 7:30 or 7:45. That’s my every day time. Our flight boards at 8:15 AM. Means I have to be thru security and at the gate at like 8 AM. Give myself 15-30 minutes for security and of course parking and shuttle from the parking garage so basically at the airport no later than like 7:30. We have to drop off our dog for babysitting before. It takes 45 minutes to get from babysitters house to the airport, so that means leave babysitters house at 6:45 AM, it takes an hour to get to babysitters house so that means leave house no later than 5:45 AM. This means in order to get up and ready and coffee, etc. we have to get up at like 5 AM. This is EARLY for me. All of this is necessary because our flight doesn’t get in until like 1 I think. We have to go to the expo center to pick up our race information and they close at 5 PM. So we have from 1 PM on to get our car and make our way over the expo center and get our packets. It’s enough time but not a ton of time to spare.

After we get our packets at the expo we go to the hotel to check in, unload, etc. Then we are going to hit up an Italian restaurant for some delicious carbo loading pasta. Lots of water is the plan and of course no alcohol the night before. I learned my lessons in Vegas. Because we then wake up early to run Sunday. Once the run is over then we have the rest of the day to explore and be tourists, pressure and worry free. We will have already accomplished our big running goal. So it will be all about enjoying the sun and relaxing. We go home Monday afternoon and don’t get back into Portland until 11 PM which is going to make a very long night with work on Tuesday morning, but it will all be worth it. It always is to see that medal earned with pride, sweat and hopefully no blood or tears. I love mini vacations. I love big vacations too but those are harder to accomplish overall so minis are always fun.

I have not done anything to get ready however, so tonight I am taking off from exercise and I have to pack and get all things in order and probably dye my hair. It needs it, but that’s always a process. Everything is a process. I have to create my running play list. Busy times tonight.

Last night was a pretty good night at the gym honestly. Here’s the thing, my personal training session on Wednesday night was BRUTAL. Like high intensity kind of brutal. But then again, most all of my training sessions are beyond brutal so I rarely have anything to compare and contrast against. It’s simply all I’ve ever known, beyond tough workouts.

This is what we did. Started with a giant tractor tire that I had to drag down the center of the gym. The center of the gym is probably 80-100 feet. That seems about right. I had to drag it walking backwards down using my forearms mostly and my legs. Then when I got to the other end I flipped it around and wore the straps around my back like a backpack and went the other way. I dragged it behind me pulling it as if I were going to run carrying a heavy ass tire. There was no confirmation of how much the tire weighed, but it was a lot. Out of breathe at the end. Then I immediately picked up a 30 pound medicine ball to throw onto the ground in slams. 10 of those. Then 20 kettleball swings with a 30 pound one. Out of breathe much. Then we went over to the battle ropes. These are those giant ropes that you have to use your own strength to toss up in the air and back down to hit the ground. I’ve seen them do them on Biggest Loser, etc. They are AWFUL! Probably my least favorite thing ever. I had to do 20 slams. This hurts so bad. And then to finish it off I had to do 200 mountain climbers.

The thing about mountain climbers is that 100 mountain climbers is enough. I can eek out 140-160 before I feel like I want to die, but those last 40 are pure torture. Go ahead and try doing that many in a row without stopping at all. Then for good measure do the entire series of exercises again. I was dripping sweat in an obscene way. That is what a personal training session looks like for me. This is what I expect. To be tortured. It’s my own fault, I told her I did not want to lift heavy and fry out and make my legs sore because I needed to use them this weekend. So instead I got heart pumping stuff. Fine. It worked.

After that I did 60 minutes of strength training class. I went home. The end. Last night I headed to the gym for a 30 minute dumbbell fit class where we did do lots of squats and leg work. I followed this up with an hour of turbokick which is just plain fun. Lots ok kicking and punching. By the end I was tired. Obviously ready to call it quits, but something else happened.

After class I was walking up to the front desk with Amanda talking and she said she had a training session with another client now. I walked up and this girl Stephanie was standing there and I was like, Oh your session is with her :) I smiled; I am Facebook friends with Stephanie. Actually Stephanie is a girl who I encountered at the gym in October in a class and she originally rubbed me the wrong way. Very competitive with me. But I am nice to everyone and gave her the benefit of the doubt. Since then I have been very nice to her. She sent me a friend request on Facebook I accepted and have encouraged and wrote positive responses on her page etc. Somewhere about a month ago or so Amanda told me that in a training session Stephanie was talking a lot about me and telling Amanda how much she liked me and how awesome I was and how much she loved my back. Basically I have to love anyone who says nice things about me. Plus truly I do live to try and help and encourage and inspire people.

Anyway, back to the story, Stephanie is standing there was like I just sent you a private message on Facebook but then realized you were probably in class. I have a personal training session with Amanda right now and was wondering if you wanted to join me for it. I was kind of baffled by this. I don’t really know this girl all that well, but clearly she likes me. I was tired already but it was a sweet offer and I was like, well, I’m pretty tired but I can go and hang out with you guys and do what I can. The thing is I was expecting my awful workouts. When I think of personal training session clearly I think of torturous gonna die kind of events. I wasn’t sure if I had another half hour in me. But I just went ahead and said sure because she clearly wanted me to hang out.

So Amanda takes us over there and says we are going to do a 15 minute routine. Get in at least 3 sets of these exercises. Get thru these exercises 3 times; see how fast you can do them. It’s a competition she said. I was like, ugh, NOOOO. I am not competing with anyone. It was all fun and games honestly. But it was 5 jumping pull-ups, 10 pushups, 15 box jumps, 20 burpees and then 20 crunches. I was like okay not so bad. I started going for it and it honestly felt fine. I didn’t feel nearly as bad as I normally do in a training session. I get thru one round of them and Stephanie is complaining saying how hard it is. I am not trying to gloat or sound superior or anything but it wasn’t that hard for me. I did another round, and then I finished my last round. It took me like 10 minutes 30 or 40 seconds something like that. I wasn’t really trying to go all that fast. Then I got to stop. Stephanie was still going for it. I sat there and chatted with Amanda. When the 15 minutes was up Stephanie was finished and was like, wow, you kicked my ass. She said thank you for doing that with me, because I wouldn’t have worked as hard if you weren’t here. I could not have gotten thru that without you.

It was a nice compliment and I guess what she needs and/or wants is motivation or someone else to push her. I was really trying to figure out why she wanted me to work out with her, but maybe that’s honestly it. She just wanted extra motivation. I smiled at her and said of course you would have and could have. I didn’t do anything. You did it all yourself! Which is entirely true.

The main take away I got from this was that my training sessions are indeed ridiculously hard. I also suspected that I got hard stuff. I have seen lots of training sessions occur at the gym and obviously they are tailored to a person’s fitness level and capabilities, but it’s quite different living thru someone else’s session. My session made me want to die, like pass out can’t do anymore. This other session was like a little warm up. It just put things in perspective for me. Not knocking anyway, seriously, this stuff is all hard and anyone doing anything is amazing. But at least it made me realize how ridiculous my sessions are which actually made me feel better not because I am better than anyone, on the contrary, but because most of the time I feel like I am going to die and like a failure because they are so hard and I can barely hang on and finish them. It makes me feel like I am not that fit or that I am not performing enough. My session’s ususally leave me feeling inadequate. At least this put it into perspective that while I may feel like dying after them, it’s for a reason, because they ARE hard. They are designed to make me feel that way to keep challenging me. If they were easy they wouldn’t be worth my time or money. So perspective achieved. Very good to know. I feel like I want to die because it is hard and it’s supposed to be that way.

By the time I got home I was tired and it was late. But I did manage to actually cook some dinner. This is a rare statement for me. I made rice and veggies with beans and chicken. It was pretty damned delicious and I have leftovers for lunch today. I have made a commitment to myself that starting next week, post vacation that it’s about time to get on this clean eating bandwagon for a while. I am really getting committed to it, mainly because I have been eating something awful as of late. I do fine most of the day, well, I still eat too much, but it’s really post dinner where I just let it go and eat and eat. I know that if I continue eating that way, no amount of exercise I do is going to counterbalance the food. I WILL gain weight and it won’t be the muscle kind. It’s time to cleanse and detox and honestly I’m looking forward to the fresh reboot. Enjoy Arizona and then start at day 1 of being clean. I think I can do this. I really really do. I’m not going to give up all the things I love or not have cheat meals here and there, but honestly a more conscious decision to eat healthy stuff is definitely in order. Plus I forget how much I actually love healthy foods. The meal I had last night was amazing.

So basically, I am excited for the next phase of life. I am excited for this weekend, and boy oh boy am I ready for a new shiny medal!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Long Happy Life

Slowly but surely my mood is stabilizing and normalcy is returning to my brain. That is the good news. After reflection yesterday on the whole menu food plan and a couple comments from my favorite ladies I wonder if it’s totally a great idea for me or not. I think that I am going to pseudo do it once I return next week. I will attempt to do it, but I will listen to my body as well. After all, I really am not trying to be a fitness model or anything. What is more important is health and wellness and if at times that involves eating a dessert or more calories than recommended that is okay as well.

I just spent some time talking to my older sister about this whole concept of clean eating/living. She is struggling with depression and other issues. Her psychiatrist recommended that she go to a homeopathic doctor. Basically he told her that her mind cannot heal until she physically heals her body. It’s an interesting thing that the doctors are making this clear and obvious correlation. I have really come to fully understand the amazing correlation between the two. We pump our bodies full of processed chemicals and toxins and crap and then we physically feel ill and in turn our brains can never actually be happy when we are in physical duress. She met with the doctor today for two hours discussing stuff. I am so proud of her for even thinking about these changes. It obviously gets me thinking about despite thinking I eat pretty clean, the reality is that I am still utterly addicted to sugars and processed crap. I have cleaned it up a ton in the past year plus but my body still literally craves crap. I think this is normal and I always say you have to live your life but perhaps it’s also okay to try and eat cleaner and not have those cravings as well.

As we age, as my older sister ages and my mom ages and we all mature the reality of physical health becomes more and more important. None of us are predestined to naturally thin healthy bodies. Either physically or mentally. My sisters and I come from both sides of family having health and mental issues. We have to fight to find health and wellness in our lives. If left to our own accord we will all naturally find ourselves large and unhappy. It’s so sad, but the honest to God truth. I think it’s entirely possible and true that you find heavier people who are in great physical and mental health. By no means am I implying that they are mutually exclusive. What I am saying is that for me and my family when we find ourselves overweight we all are not healthy. We are eating drive thru crap food and feeling sick and full of pain and of course our mental states go ape shit haywire as well. I have to fight every single day to find that balance of the physical and mental wellness.

I guess the discussion that we had made me think that perhaps that while I am so much healthier than I have ever been and am in great physical shape that I know I am still addicted to processed crap. I have withdrawals if I go to long without it and that is not good at all. It wouldn’t hurt me to try and attempt some better clean eating and just see if I actually notice a physical difference and feel better. While Amanda’s plan seems boring and limiting, perhaps after I get thru the first few days of detox it will actually be more than enough and I will feel better than ever. That’s what people say anyway, that true clean eating makes you feel amazing. I am not 100% committing to it, but I am committing to listening to my body and seeing. In the end I have to remember that all of this starts with the concept of being healthy and pain free. It’s because I want a rich and full and rewarding life. That is all I’ve ever wanted.

I don’t want to wake up one day at 40 something years old and find myself with a myriad of health issues that were totally preventable had I taken care of myself. We all know that our bodies fail all by themselves as we age therefore there is no reason to put extra additional stress on them if we can help it. If eating a little better adds some health to my life then I should probably at least give it a shot. I tend to try to run away from the things that scare me, we all do that by nature, and instead I should practice what I preach and do the things that scare me. I promise to listen to my body first and foremost. I have become in tune enough with it to know when I really need to eat and not deprive myself. Perhaps I will simply start by eating when I am hungry and just eat more of the approved foods instead of candy and crap. Persistence not perfection. I have to be honest I am not looking to be perfect but I would like to overall improve my eating. I honestly know I could do much better in that area. Like eat an apple or banana for a snack instead of processed crap. Those are the baby steps that I need to be taking to ensure a nice long happy healthy life.

Speaking of a nice long happy life, Saturday morning I wake up early to get on a plane to go to Arizona. I have never been to Arizona. I have never been down south at all. I’ve been to Disneyland and Vegas not sure which is farther South but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’m pretty excited to go somewhere new. And of the course the weather forecast looks amazing. I’m very excited about that. I get to wear tank tops outside again. It is just going to make me sad to come back to Oregon next Monday though. Wishing for spring weather already. I love the sun. I’m pretty nervous about running actually. 13.1 miles is actually a lot. And I haven’t been running. I ran last night. For the first time in ages I ran for an hour plus. Just a little over an hour. I ran 6.5 miles so about half the distance I am going to run this weekend. It was hard. Ha Ha. Harder than I wanted. In all fairness I had taken a 30 minute class prior to running, but it was still harder than I wanted. And it reminded me that I need to run more often than I have been. But I will get thru this half because I want my medals. Yup, I am medal driven. I think it’s something like our body achieves what our mind believes. I have never for a second doubted that I would and could do this. Now to convince my body that we got this! I might have to slow down my pace a little to carry me thru but that’s okay with me. This one truly is just about finishing the thing.

Tonight I have personal training and then class. Amanda informed me that we would be doing a HIIT training style workout tonight. Those are killer. High Intensity Interval Training is what that stands for. Basically its ridiculous amounts of work for 30 seconds or so with a 10 second break. It pretty much fries the fuck out of me. Something along the lines of those stupid ropes you have to slam up and down and then something about a giant tire. You know dragging a giant tire across the gym. That is scary especially considering how freakishly populated the gym has been as of late. Lots of eyes to watch me sputter and want to quit. I told Amanda be prepared for me to pass out or throw up. And also for the sweat session that will surely ensure almost instantly. I guess this shit is good for my heart or something!

Lastly, I kind of have a sick addiction to the song “The Story of my life” by One Direction. I can’t believe I have ever downloaded a One Direction song, but honestly I adore it and I just listen to it over and over. Disturbing times. Well we now officially over half way thru the day which puts us over halfway thru the week. That is exciting times. Soon I get to go on a plane and I’m kind of becoming obsessed with travelling. Not that I can really afford much of it, but boy it’s fun to go places. Saturday…

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thick & Dense

Do you ever have one of those out of body experiences where you are floating above yourself and for the life of you; you don’t understand how you got there? Yup… that is what it feels like sometimes when you step back and try to figure out the source of issues. Out of body experiences. I actually woke up this morning feeling much better than yesterday or Sunday for that matter. And when I was metaphorically floating over myself I had to wonder how I ever allow myself to get to such places of negativity at all. That is the interesting thing about life, we are rolling along just fine, better than fine actually and then wham, like a ton of bricks without any apparent warning those crazy shifts occur.

I will not say that I am 100% back to my normal happy self, but I am like a 100% increase in mood from yesterday so that is something to glom onto and run with it. Everyone has those moments and out of body experiences where you just can’t pull it back together. I don’t think I’d be a human if I didn’t have emotional peaks and valleys. Fortunately for me they are not as common as they once were and not as dire in the overall scheme of things. Just irritations that cause an occasion food binge. Still working on that one.

Do you know what I discovered though in the middle of my downward mood shift, that I have real girlfriends. It’s crazy. Amanda was as sweet as could be to me and last night texted me and wanted to know if there was anything she could do for me and even offered to bring me a rockstar drink at work today and talk things out if I needed to. Fortunately I woke up so much better today that I was able to tell her this morning that I was doing okay, but just her offering was super sweet and thank you. So yeah, she’s my trainer, but clearly she’s more than that. I have much love for that girl honestly. Although we have a 10 year age difference we relate on so many levels. Go figure.

With that said, the girl emailed me a meal plan she wants me to do for 30 days. And I have to say it looks rough. Like really almost unbearably rough. Here let me post it for you….

1/2c oats
1 tbl Peanut butter
1scoop protein (if you would like)

2 rice cakes with 2tbl almond butter

1/3c beans
1/3c quinoa or rice
3-4oz lean protein source (or just have 1/2c beans and rice)

15 almonds
Protein shake

Green salad (unlimited for any greens)
4oz Lean protein

Snack: (only if you’re hungry!)
Veggies and protein pudding!
3/4c water
2tbl chia seeds
1tbl peanut butter
1 scoop protein powder
mix all together and let sit for 20mins and it will be a tapioca texture and yummy!

On training days where you’re going crazy at the gym add in a banana for snack 1 :)

So the thing about this plan is that it looks boring and like not nearly as much food as I’ve been eating. And that last snack that says only if you’re hungry, clearly she has no idea what it’s like to be a fat girl at your core because hello, yeah I’m going to be hungry. It seems so boring and I am not 100% sure that I want this bad enough to commit to this crazy menu for 30 days. Can you really have the same foods day in and day out for 30 days? Clearly I am still contemplating this as my ultimate fate. I guess in reality I can do almost anything for 30 days. And given how much I trust her on so many other levels then perhaps I should just go with it and do the best I can and trust her. I would not promise 100% sticking to this plan because I have a life and I do eat out and have freak outs, but if I am good like 80% of the time that would be better than nothing at this point.

I love that all my extra crazy gym time warrants me 1 banana. Oh boy, I guess this is what it takes to get ripped and lean. I also guess this is probably why I am feeling much “thicker” than I want. I have been gaining muscle for sure but it’s leaving me feeling heavy and thick, which is probably where some of my issues have been coming from lately. I don’t feel small. This is an adjustment for me. I spent forever, 10 years actually trying to be thin or small or basically not fat. Now I am not fat but I feel dense. I don’t even know how to describe it other than I am a solid mass. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing but it just takes another mind adjustment which is new to me. To be “small” but feel “dense.” This isn’t some mental issue of thinking I’m fat like one so often does when they lose weight and don’t see themselves clearly. This is very different. This is being solidly thick while still being the same size as before. Does that even make any sense?

I find it hard to describe but the best way I can think of is this. I am still the same dimensions I have been for the past 7 months. When I joined the gym and started strength training in June I weighed around 140 pounds. For the past 7 months my weight has fluxuated between 135 and 144 pounds. Last time I weighed myself it was 144 pounds which kind of freaked me out. But in reality, from June to know I am only up about 4 pounds. Actually when I went to Maui in June I was 142 pounds. Anyway, I am wearing the same clothes. I am not physically any larger even with the extra 4 pounds. Clothes are the same, weight is relatively the same, but I know I am more solid. With all that said, I feel mentally as “heavy” as say when I was 160 pounds or so. Does that make sense? I feel like I have weight to lose because I solid. There is nothing wrong with my appearance or even with the reality that I have muscle. After all, that is what I am working towards but like everything else it just takes time for our minds to figure this shit out. Obviously this is the first time in my entire life I’ve had to deal with this particular issue and therefore its unchartered territory for me. I don’t feel lite as a feather on my feet. I mean, in the end, I think I look better it’s just an adjustment that is taking its toll while I try and figure it all out.

I mean, I am actively trying to get my body to be this solid so I shouldn’t complain I guess. I am not really complaining, I am just seeking to understand the changes that are occurring in me. It’s just a process. No one ever said any part of this was going to be easy. Even once you are at some goal, you really are never done and it really never gets any easier. If I’ve learned anything from all the super fit girls at the gym it’s that they try every bit as hard as obese women trying to lose weight, it’s just a different battle, a different struggle. Different demon, same story. That concept has actually been very helpful to me honestly. To see no matter what, we all our fighting our demons. The grass is not greener on the other side. It’s just different. No matter how you slice it, whether you are 220 pounds looking to lose weight or you are 140 pounds looking to build muscle, it’s all about discipline, commitment and wanting to succeed above all else. It takes the same desire and passion to accomplish any of it.

Thank goodness the one thing I have in abundance in my life is passion. That is in part one of the things that I believe keeps me going day in and day out. Crazy passion for this shit. I guess perhaps it’s time to tap into some of that commitment to tackle this insane food plan for 30 days. It’s not less food than I’ve eaten before in my life. I mean, let’s be honest, how many times in my life did I survive on not nearly as much food? Yup, not healthy at all, but it’s possible. At least this plan above is based on health and getting the right foods to nourish into my body. One can do anything if you want it bad enough. I am living proof of that. I may however wait until after I get back from Arizona next week to start this. I am kind of easing into this eating right now but officially start post Arizona. One can’t eat like this on vacation. Not happening! I mean, I have to carbo load the night before I run a half marathon anyway.

So that’s where I am at today. Better than yesterday and I will take it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Let it go

Holy cow, it is Monday already. I pretty much hate how quickly my weekends tend to fly by. I know this is pretty typical because time flies when you’re having fun, or so they say. Whereas week days can tend to drag out in generalized monotony. Regardless, we find ourselves yet again at a Monday. I had a mixed bag kind of weekend all things said. Friday night after work I headed to the movie theatre to meet up with my trainer and 2 other lovely gym girls for a movie and then dinner. It was nice. I really enjoy the company of Amanda. I like the other girls but I probably don’t know them quite as well. At times I do still find myself awkward. I think it comes from a lifetime of awkwardness or feeling like I just don’t fit in socially. I don’t really understand that feeling. Or perhaps it’s because these girls are much younger than me. I feel like the old chick on occasion. But I try and ignore and suppress those feelings as much as possible.

It’s also true that at times I feel like such a recluse. It was very nice to get out and socialize and girl talk but at points I thought just going home and sitting on my couch and vegging out sounded like a mighty fine option as well. Yup, I am that much of a recluse at times. But mostly I think it’s from feeling slightly awkward more than not wanting to be there. Social settings are fairly new to me and I’m trying. That’s the best I can say. I am trying. A for effort. We actually were out pretty late. I don’t think I got home until about 11 PM. I know, not that late actually, but whatever. I went to bed and then got up and headed to the gym Saturday morning as per usual for 9 AM Turbokick. And then at 10 AM it was boot camp. 2 hours of workout and I was done for the day. Afterwards I went grocery shopping, something I have not done in far too long quite honestly. I bought all the stuff to cook. This is a crazy sentence for me because I RARELY cook. I am a processed prepacked kind of girl. But I really wanted something a little different. After the store, I got my nails done and then I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with my mom. Nice day all around.

Saturday night I started to feel a little off. I really hate when your mood or something shifts internally and things become askew. That happened. They can’t all be perfect can they? I ended up staying on the couch watching TV until like 1 or 2 AM. I just needed to focus my brain on something other than the thoughts in my head. I actually watched TLC’s my 600 pound life show. They recently reaired the previous season which I never saw so I taped them and caught up on them. I am not entirely sure why it fascinates me so much but it does. I swear I cringe, shake my head, want to cry and want to hug them all at the same time. I appreciate their candidness in sharing their stories. Watching that until 2 AM probably not the best idea ever though.

I finally went to bed and at least I got to sleep in on Sunday morning. I slept until 10 which was nice. I got up, did some things around the house, mostly got dressed and ate. I did wake up NOT in a good mood. I can really tell how much my attitude ultimately affects my desire and ability to stay on track. I literally did not want to go to the gym which is so rare for me and not happening honestly. I was meeting Amanda at noon for a back workout. I tried to smile and put aside the raging thoughts in my brain but some days you are just off. When you allow outside force and external issues to enter and reside in your brain it is amazing the damage it can produce on your psyche. I will tell you this, I put the smile on my face and I worked hard with Amanda. We did 100 pull ups to warm up. Let me tell you something about pull-ups…. I cannot do a real one. I do assisted pull ups. Meaning we hold each other’s feet and then pull up. Still lots of pulling up on our part. We did 10 rounds of 10 and then would switch off. By the end I was exhausted. That was the warm up to back day. In the end I had fun and temporarily the endorphins of working out took over and stabilized my brain a little bit, but eventually those wore off and reality came back.

When I got home it was time to make my food that I had purchased the ingredients for the previous day. I have to say I had no idea what I was doing exactly but in the end it turned out great. I started by cooking up a carton of egg whites. Then I added 2 cans of black beans. This was my base of breakfast burritos which I later decided were really just burritos period and therefore could be eaten as lunches which seemed like a better idea anyway. So yes, egg whites and beans for protein. Then in another pan I grilled up onions and peppers. Delicious. Then I laid out 10 tortillas on my counter and tried to divvy it up appropriately. I did not go as far as to measure equal portions. I am not that particular. I did the old eyeball test which was entirely good enough for me. I made too much egg white and bean mix. I had far too much left over in the pan that would not fit on my 10 tortillas. So what I learned was this, if I do this again I can easily make at least 15-20 burritos with smaller inside portions. Good to know. It was delicious however. I did not eat the finished product of veggies with tortilla, that is happening today for lunch, but I did eat the egg white and bean mix and it was awesome! Leaving me very excited to devour my lunch today. And the best part is this, I freaking have a bag in my fridge with 10 of those little suckers in it. Amazing. I feel so accomplished and excited to be eating egg white bean burritos all week.

Yes the cooking took time and was not my favorite thing in the world, but boy is it nice to have healthy home made food options. I am beyond thrilled that this week is the week of burritos. I could almost see myself picking one dish to make on the weekend each week so that I have at least a few lunch options for each week. That whole pre-planning food. Exciting! I understand now.

Of course this will not happen next weekend as I will be in Arizona running next weekend, but at least I get the idea now. Plus its way cheaper in the end than any of the food options I generally do for lunch. It’s cheaper than microwave meals. It’s cheaper than a subway and/or quizno’s sandwich. It’s cheaper than my Quest bars. But it’s more work and I don’t love that but I will see. Trying to work on it in baby steps. That is one of my goals for this year. Work on my eating and food a little more.

So that happened and I am excited about that but then last night something else happened that reminded me again that I am not all 100% beyond old habits. For the first time in ages last night I emotion binged on food. Yup. I was not hungry. I was not even really craving anything. I was upset and off and therefore I ate to try and make myself feel better. I seriously have not done that in forever and it felt gross. It didn’t even make me feel better. Ultimately I just felt worse. Complete reminder of how horrible emotional eating is.

It was in that moment that I realized how much I am so classic clique. It was a relaps, but it is not a trend. It’s a good reminder that this behavior does NOT really make me happy at all. That is the behavior of how I got to be 220 pounds to begin with. Eating my emotions. I really feel much better working them out in the gym. I need to remind myself that food is not happiness. Food is fuel. Period. Yes, it does taste good but it is NOT a substitute for an emotion or a feeling. We all have moments of weakness. I do struggle from time to time.

I am forgiving myself for my chips and chocolate and peanut butter. I am choosing to accept it for what it was and to remember that feeling of it solving nothing and moving on. Today will be better. Today I am going to eat well. I had oatmeal with cranberries and walnuts for breakfast and then I did have a Quest bar for a mid-morning snack and then I will have my amazing burrito for lunch. I will do this. Today I will use food as fuel for my life, for my body, to nourish me. Not as comfort.

It’s also possible that I am pre-pms ing…. Or that its coming up soon which probably explains the extra heightened emotions a little too. Boy it’s nice when my emotions are in check and I am happy. I would do good to really appreciate and savor those moments where things are just clicking along good. I feel like I am well aware that life is not always perfect and I try my hardest to appreciate the little things as they happen.

I am doing a little better today and I am not going to binge today. Not that I actually think that is even a possibility after last night. I did not like the way I felt afterwards both physically and emotionally. Lesson relearned. I think you have to keep relearning some lessons over and over. I think this is part of what keeps this whole process real and forever. I make mistakes, and I move on. I don’t hate myself or give up as a result. I keep moving forward. I should point out a lot of my weekend freak out was my own causing... I was getting inside my head about weight and body fat percentages and how I looked. Stupid crazy stuff that does me NOOOO good. Breathe and let it all go.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

One on One

Last night was my first official training session with Amanda as my “new” trainer. I have to admit that I was terrified. I have to admit that it was every bit as hard as I anticipated it being. I have to admit that I never work as hard as she makes me, ever. I guess this is a very good thing in the end, but boy oh boy in those 30 plus minutes was I sure dying. We led up to the session with many anticipatory text messages assuring me that my arms were going to get friend. In particular I was told that my chest and triceps were of particular target. When the session actually hit, she decided to throw in biceps and ultimately that is what we most fried.

We started the thing with phylo push-ups. Not sure if I even spelled that right. Up until last night I could not have told you what that even was. It turns out this is a regular push up done explosively to the point that when you come back up you literally push yourself off the ground and jump up. These are exceedingly hard. I am not really that good at them honestly. Push-ups are a bit of a weakness for me. I have to admit I kind of hate them. We did probably 15-20 of them and then she told me we were doing 50 push-ups. I laughed at her, literally laughed and said yeah right. That will take me the whole 30 minutes. Push-ups are not my favorite for sure. So I did 10 regular ones and then went to my knees and did 15 more and then we called it good. It was onto chest presses on the bench. She handed me 30 pound dumbbells in each hand and I had to chest press them up. This is a lot of weight, like a ton. She had to help me get them up in the end because we always reached muscle failure. Then we did 25 pounds and then 20 pounds. Then we did them sitting up. Good times.

After that we did tricep extensions and then these extended skull crushers where you actually take the barbell behind your head. It’s crazy. And then we did burn out of the biceps and by that I mean we went over to the isolated bicep bar and she loaded up the 25 pound bar with 20 pounds on each side, so it was a total of 65 pounds that I had to bicep curl. Then we did 15 pounds on each side, and then 10 pounds on each side and then just the bar itself until I was completely fried. I was fried. My arms were tingling honestly. It’s a weird sensation to have your muscles tingle on you. We then went back and did the entire set of exercises again. This time it was obviously harder as everything was on fire at this point. My biceps were screaming at me in particular. They are an utter mess today honestly.

After my class I went and did an hour of Iron Power class, which is all strength training, targeted muscle groups. When we did chest and biceps I pretty much had to stop as I could barely do them. Good times. Today my upper body is sore. My biceps are still sitting here pumped up and tender to the touch so I guess I’d say it was an effective workout. I suppose this means that my biceps might actually grow which I guess is always the point.

Anyway, the first workout was every bit as hard as I expected but I survived and probably will be the better for it. Tonight is a half hour dumbbell fit class with a different trainer, Mary. And then it is an hour of turbokick with Amanda. More cardio time. Then tomorrow is well deserved rest day for me. But guess what? I have a date tomorrow night with Amanda. Yup, girl date. We are going to see a movie and then going out to dinner. So yup, I have a real girl date with my trainer. It’s quite bizarre to me too but I kind of love it. I mean, I love how things in my life are actually turning out. The happiness and the friends and the everything really.

My life is really honestly finally starting to look like what I have always wanted. It’s kind of scary though because how do you hang onto happiness? I am waiting for the shoe to drop because inevitably doesn’t it always? That is so pessimistic of me I know, but honestly sometimes a girl has to protect and prepare herself a little. In the meantime I am going to keep fighting tooth and nail to keep this happiness alive. I’m not saying I don’t have bad days, I mean we all have them but for the most part the good really has outweighed the bad in a big way lately and that is just so nice! Ultimately isn’t that why we do pretty much everything in life? To be happy? To feel alive? I’m sincerely getting there that’s for sure.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pure joy

Good morning world. I am getting sick. I don’t like to say those words out loud because they are very unacceptable to me. I CAN NOT be sick. I CAN NOT get sick. I won’t. I simply refuse to allow myself to become ill and give in to it. (Okay I realize I have very little say in the matter but whatever) The thing is, I am not full blown sick yet. I feel I am in the critical moments of time where the tides could turn either way. I could suck it up and take care of myself and not be sick or else I could give in and say I’m sick and slack and then allow myself to actually be sick. If I were full on sick I’d admit it and there would be little that could be done about it. I am just not there yet.

Reasons I cannot be sick. 1. I refuse to give up my steadfast exercise routine. 2. I have my first one on one personal training session with Amanda tonight. 3. In 9 days I get on a plane to leave for Arizona to run a half marathon. Yup, I am not allowing myself to let sickness enter my life.

With all that said before anyone tells me to slow down and take care of myself and blah blah blah, I will let you know this. I wasn’t feeling too hot all day yesterday so I did go to the gym. I did a 30 minute class where it became evident to me that I was not at my 100%. I was feeling really hot and flushed and not from the exercise. Afterwards I decided it was just best for me to go home and take a shower and rest. I ended up falling asleep on the couch. So yes, I acknowledged that I needed a break and I took it. Which is good because there are no breaks for me tonight. I need to be on my best, 100% game.

Last night while I was in the shower nonetheless I started thinking about plans and goals and trackable progress and what I want. Perhaps it was sparked by a conversation I had with my mom at the gym earlier in the evening. She was asking me what my goal was or where did I want to go from here. She had more obtainable goals, good stuff like she wanted to work on her balance. I think her balance was one of the main reasons she wanted to be healthy anyway. She wants to age gracefully and be healthy. Very commendable stuff. I have to spend more time actually thinking about what my goals are. When I was losing weight it was easy, a no- brainer. Yeah, lose weight. Get to that magical 140 pound goal. It’s not only solid and concrete its easily trackable and for whatever reason fairly obtainable for me. I suspect my body just really like living at 140 pounds better than being 220 pounds. But that is also a no-brainer.

The part that has consistently plagued me for the past 10 years really is what is the goal PAST 140 pounds. What is the real motivation for wanting to be 140 pounds. Where do I go post 140 pounds losing weight. Losing weight is always in the back of my mind but I have to say barring some drastic lifestyle shift I don’t suspect I will ever lose much more weight. This is a pretty solid set-point for me. I am not opposed to being lighter on the scale if it were to happen as a natural by-product of all of my other goals and or lifestyle, but it is NOT the goal. It is not the thing I am working towards. My past history has shown me time and time again that obsessing about my weight is completely unhealthy and unfulfilling for me. It also has shown me that it is unfortunately pretty unobtainable as well. I get down there sure, from time to time, but maintenance is a no-go.

If you never figure out the why of losing weight you will never be able to maintain it beyond losing it. I don’t care how many times you’ve done this, I don’t care how easily or hard it is for you to lose weight. I truly believe unless you get your head figured out first, unless you can fully understand the why of it all then you won’t be able to maintain it. This is the final weight loss lesson I had to learn that took 10 years to get. Unless you can understand the reasons behind all of it, you are doomed to repeat your cycle over and over. I am a 10 year example of this truth. I am sure some of you are probably saying to yourself okay, so what makes this time different? Who is this girl to be preaching at me about finding the reason… she’s not out of the clear yet. She does this for one year and suddenly thinks she’s the expert? Honestly, this is sometimes the dialogue that goes on in my head.

All I can say is that I knew something was different from the very first day I started this time. I knew something was finally clicking forever ago. I kept silent and I let it grow inside of me, my resolve and determination. There has not been a point this entire journey this time around where I didn’t believe this was FINALLY the time that it was going to be forever. It was that resolve that even had me join the gym to begin with. It was that belief in doing it different that has had my world open up to a million new things this time around.

Joy. Can I talk for a second about pure unadulterated joy. I don’t talk about it enough. Because I feel like for the first time ever in my life I am experiencing pure joy. Joy of life. Not just joy of being healthy or skinny or some stupid idea about what life should be. It’s just pure joy. Joy of life. And no it’s not drugs. I am not on any happy drugs. When I spoke the other day about getting drugs that were much needed for a long time, it was for my husband. World of difference in both of our worlds when he got the help that he needs to right a chemical imbalance that is not his fault. His actions are his fault sure, but the actual chemical imbalance in his brain… that’s just life. So yes, drugs for him. Joy in my heart. My life is not perfect. It never will be because perfection does not exist, but joy can.

And now back to the part about goal planning/setting. It’s an interesting thing for me. I don’t think you can honestly stay focused without some sort of goal or plan to work towards. I almost said end-game but that is 100% not right because there simply will never be an end-game. This is forever. New challenges and goals forever. I am a person who needs some sort of goal in sight to work towards. A new challenge. When I think about what that is for 2014, I have obviously previously dubbed it the year of strength and I am committed to that. But in breaking that down, what does that really mean?

That is the question my mom asked me last night. What does that mean? When I stop and think about it, I don’t really care about how much weight I lift or press or squat. I’m not trying to be some heavy ass lifter. If I end up increasing my lifting ability so be it. Great. It’s a great tool to measure progress. But that’s not all that important to me. I care about how I look, sure. I suppose ultimately I have this mental picture of what I want to look like in my head and because my brain is so OCD, if I decide that is what I want I won’t stop until I get it. Even if that takes me years. I am committed to a year’s plan.

This is what I decided my friends. It’s about building muscle and toning. I am not an idiot. The skin damage I have done to my body was 33 years in the making, up and down, stretch and pull. I don’t know how much is reasonable to expect to bounce back. Maybe it’s not, but I also know I’ve never tried before. Not really. I’ve never walked this new exciting path of joy and happiness that I am on.

And guess what, here’s the real kicker, I’m banking on me. Yup, I’m putting my faith and trust in myself. I believe that despite all the odds I can do this. I believe in my core that with much continued effort that I will someday see the results that I want. I also believe it will be years. I do. So 2014 I’m setting aside to love and enjoy my life. I’m making it my year of strength. Pushing and challenging myself and growing and loving my life. Loving myself. I will give myself this whole year to believe in myself and the power of change. Then we will go from there. But I am banking on me succeeding.

My big overall broad plan is just to spend the year going further down the strength training rabbit hole, letting it take me wherever it does. Maybe in a couple months I discover that I want to lower my body fat percentage, maybe I decide that I want to truly eat clean, maybe its one of those obstacle races. I don’t know. The point is, being happy healthy and strong. I am so in love with the feeling of joy that I would fight tooth and nail to keep it.

I have this visual image of where I shall be at the end of 2014 and I promise you, I will bust my ass to get to her. So thank you any and all for sticking around and enduring this journey with me. It’s going to be such a fun year…. Are you all ready for it?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Trainer change

My year of strength took an interesting turn yesterday. There I was minding my own business when my personal trainer approached me and my mom at the gym last night. She is also my mom’s trainer. She told us she needed to talk to both of us. I said okay. I could tell something was definitely up. She told us that she had accepted a new position at the gym, one where she would be in recruitment and sales and therefore no longer would be doing personal training. Basically her evenings were no longer open and therefore we were going to have to get new personal trainers. I was kind of in shock. The thing is that I love Julie as my trainer. She is more mom-like and definitely was what I needed when I started at the gym over 6 months ago. She was sincerely the reason I started to believe in myself to begin with. She knew all the right things to say to me at the right times. She was the first person that opened my eyes to the possibility of something more for myself and I will forever be grateful to her for that.

Julie was approachable and did not intimidate me like so many of the other trainers and employees did. I can honestly say that I am not sure I would have ever even done personal training if it had not been for her support and encouragement from the get go. Therefore, I will always owe her a ton. Now with all that said, I don’t exactly see this move as a bad thing. I am certain it is a good thing for her but ultimately it might be a good thing for me as well. At first I was dumbfounded and had to stop and think for a few minutes. My first reaction was disappointment. Then the second was oh shit, my life is about to change. Why would this be life changing yet again? Well, because it’s no secret that Amanda has become one of my best friends and I work out with her all the freaking time. Amanda is a trainer at the gym and I’ve always felt slightly guilty that I work out with her so much and yet do my actual personal training with Julie. Therefore Amanda does not ever get paid which clearly was never her intent. Clearly she chooses to work out with me because we are friends not because of monetary benefits.

Regardless, there was always a slight guilt that I pay the gym monthly for my training and then I spend more time hanging out learning from Amanda. It was not a choice or option of who was going to be my new trainer. But it does change the dynamics a bit. For one half hour every week we enter a different mode which is slightly scary but we will see. The biggest change already? Last night she sent me a text message telling me that I need to start recording my food, just for a week, in My Fitness Pal, so that she can see what I’m doing and help me. Now, she would have always done this had I asked her too. But now she’s kind of telling me because she’s my trainer. I’m a little skeptical because I have gotten locked into my routine and I’m scared for someone to actually examine my food. I like to have choice and flexibility in my food. Probably why I haven’t taken my food to the next level just yet. But in the end this also could be a very good thing for me. This could be the thing that I need most honestly. Accountability. I am pretty sure there is a reason that while my muscles do seem to be growing that I am not REALLY getting any leaner. It’s my food. I know it.

While I am scared to death, I have to put my faith in the hands of someone else yet again. Just like I was beyond scared six months ago and everything turned out more amazing than I could have imagined. Here I am now standing at that same fork in the road, scared to death to travel down a new path and yet fully knowing that I have to put my faith in someone else. At least at this point I know and adore the girl. I do trust her. It’s just scary.

Also, I’m slightly scared because that girl pushes me in insane ways. I don’t know why I’m scared of 30 minute workout sessions with her when I spend my weekends doing insane workouts with her anyway. And believe me they are more like 2 hour workouts. But it’s that added pressure of her standing there watching me vs. Being in the trenches with me, working out. But that’s what I’m paying for. And in the end I’m glad my money will be going to Amanda.

She is truly one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. She believes in me and my goals. She pushes me and makes me grow and I do think that is what this is all about. She is training to do fitness competitions herself and told me that she is going to show me all those stupid poses they do to make their muscles pop out. I’ve often told her that I have no desire to compete, (Hello, do you think actually letting someone judge me based on my body would ever be a good idea for this girl?) that I am however intrigued by the lifestyle and the results mostly. I told her for sure I’d do that with her. And of course that whole food thing.

I am pretty certain that I would never have picked up weights the way I have if it were not for Amanda. I can promise you that in the history of my life, completely unguided I am sure I would not pick up 145 pound barbells and do dead lifts. Just this last Sunday I met Amanda for a leg day workout. I can guarantee that none of the things she had me do I would have done on my own, or could have done 6 months ago for that matter.

We did the good old leg press. Where you are sitting down using your leg muscles to push up and down weights. The press itself weighs 167 pounds. Then we add on weights. When I started I seriously just pushed up and down the 167 pounds. I remember it very clearly. Eventually I added 35 pounds or so. Amanda adds 135 pounds to each side. That means I am pressing a total of 437 pounds. Yup. But the thing is, I really can do it. It’s hard. And after 8-10 reps, it gets almost impossible for my legs to move that weight back up. But then I rest for a few minutes while Amanda does it, and then I get right back and do it all over again. 4 sets of 8-10 reps. and she is always finding new ways to push and challenge me. I guess that is what a real trainer does.

Nonetheless, I am scared. But as per always, a little fear is ususally a good thing I am thinking. So it’s time to embrace change and usher in 2014 with a bang so to speak. New trainer, new attitude, new approach. We are going to do this. The year of strength. And I’m just guessing that with Amanda as my trainer, watching over me that there’s pretty much no way that I am not going to get stronger and stronger. Imagine me in a year my friends…. Pretty crazy stuff. Pretty exciting and terrifying and crazy. That is happiness.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Ab progress

so I took some new photos of my ab progress today... I posted them on twitter but realize that not everyone follows twitter so I figured I might as well post them here. Yes its self indulgent but I swear sometimes its only thru photos that you sometimes really can see any change. I see myself every day and have a hard time really noticing the changes....

Here's me today...

And for comparison here's some from the end of October so a little over two months now...

Ground Floor

I am really excited it’s Friday. I really shouldn’t be this excited because I’ve only been working a couple days this week which doesn’t bode well for next week when it’s back to 5 days in a row of work, but like I said yesterday there is something to be said for FINALLY getting back to consistency. Isn’t December just a fun filled action packed ride of abnormality? It’s fun while it lasts but eventually our life craves consistency. Or at least I do. Of course our idea of consistency is constantly shifting isn’t it? What was very much my 100% norm 7 months ago is a distant memory now. My 100% norm now is something completely different and who knows what that norm will look like 6 months from now? I mean, I am pretty certain it’s still going to entail kick ass gym going but I am open to the idea of letting my life and passions take me in whatever direction they want to go.

With all that said, I am glad it’s Friday and almost half over at that. I really am looking forward to this weekend. I am not doing anything fancy and that is probably what I love most about it. I am going to the gym tomorrow morning for an hour of turbokick and then an hour of boot camp and then I am done. I am going home, going to get ready and then I am thinking a stop at Pita Pit for lunch, nice healthy turkey pita and then over to Costco and Best Buy for some items on my must get list. I need to do some grocery shopping too. Saturday afternoon is my perfect kind of lazy do nothing kind of afternoon. Of course I just remembered that Saturday night I am going out. I have plans to go to some dirt bike racing show at a local movie theatre… it’s a guy thing… not exactly my favorite but I’m going!

Oh, and I guess I can finally officially announce I am my gyms Member of the month because it is up on their website… here’s the link

Julie my trainer told me a couple days ago it was legit but also that it was a secret until it went official but since it’s up now I’d say it’s official. So there you have it, only took months to get this thing happening but whatever… Also love how it says I lost 87 pounds but only 7.4% body fat and 5.75 inches… that is how much body fat and inches I lost since joining the gym in June at 142 pounds. I can only imagine what my body fat percentage actually was in October of 2012 when I weighed 220 pounds. But whatever. I’ll take it. All I can say is about dang time. I do spend like every single day at that gym. Well, 6 days a week to be exact, so you know I clearly know all the people pretty well at this point. I have been told that the gym manager and assistant manager, both of whom I know pretty well, told my trainer Julie that they were contacting corporate this month, the ones who make the decision about members of the month and were going to MAKE SURE that I was member of the month this month. That there was not a single person more deserving than me and that I simply had to be it. Apparently whatever they did worked.

I am not generally big on recording my actual food consumption. Sure I did it like a Nazi when I was losing weight but have to admit the last 5 months I haven’t written a single thing down. I can estimate as I calculate in my head an average daily consumption. Yesterday was a fairly typical day of eating for me and as I pretty much figured when I calculated it out give or take I literally came in at eating 2,700 calories. Holy shit, I eat like 2,500-3,000 calories a day. That seems crazy high but the truth is, aside from a fluxuation of about 5 pounds I pretty much stay in the same weight range so I guess that is probably the amount of calories my body needs daily.

It’s very funny to me because when I was actively doing weight watchers to lose weight I got like 26 points a day… a point is totally different than calories I get that but as a general assessment I always figured a point was like between 50-70 calories. I know there are TONS of variables but just going with that means that I was eating between 1,200-1,800 calories a day. I have to be honest, I am certain I never ate more than like 1,400 calories a day. I always ate that much. I never dipped below 1,200 I am completely certain of that. This time around I did not starve myself. In my history of weight loss there were days that I would barely eat but this time I always ate my points. With all that said, I was probably only eating 1,400 calories a day. More than enough to live off of and of course more importantly small enough to allow me to lose the weight I needed to. But it is crazy to me that now I am eating more like 2,600 calories a day, or pretty much double what I used to. That’s probably about right. I could tell you without ever looking at calorie counts that I am probably eating double what I used to now. I am always eating something. Pretty much every 2 hours I am eating. My body just gets hungry and won’t allow for me to go to long without putting something in it.

It is crazy to me that a person can eat between 2,500 and 3,000 calories a day and not gain weight. This is probably why some days my brain freaks out and thinks I’m going to gain weight. I have stayed pretty damned consistent weight wise over the past 6 months. As I’ve gained muscle I probably have gained some thickness to me but it’s like solid mass. My weight has been between 135 and 145 pounds pretty much for the last 6-8 months. I am sure someone would say a 10 pound fluxuation is a lot, but it’s probably not that much for me considering the incredible amounts of exercise I put my body thru. And I do think with the solid-ness I am feeling I am probably gaining muscle weight. I hate that excuse. And I do look at it like an excuse. Oh, the scale is going up, but its muscle. That is a damned line I swear, but honestly, my weight is fairly consistent and my size seems about the same but I feel like my density is greater. Does that even make sense? I feel solid and heavy and muscular. I can’t even describe it because I’ve certainly never felt it before. As the muscles keep coming in I just feel dense. I suppose this is a good thing. I haven’t really wrapped my head around what all this means just yet. I just know I love my gym, I love lifting weights, I love how I FEEL so I’m going with it.

There are days where I sit here and think that even at 140 pounds I am too heavy. I am thick. That there are 5 foot 3 inch women who weigh much less than me and are muscular and fit and that I clearly could be less. Then I also stop and go, who the fuck cares about a number? I mostly don’t. I swear I weigh myself once a month if I’m lucky. I honestly don’t remember the last time I weighed myself, it was weeks ago honestly. I am not hung up on a scale. The scale simply cannot tell me the most important things that I care about. It does not tell me what lies in my heart. It certainly is no measure of my commitment, passion or will to succeed. It does not measure my drive. It also does not measure my success any longer. My success goes beyond what a scale can never tell me. It’s funny, once upon a time, not all that long ago really, the scale was the single most motivating and important factor in determining my success. It is certainly the most common means of measure in our society and yet so absurdly unimportant.

Health and wellness drive me. Strength and challenges drive me. Proving to myself that I can do things I never thought possible is the single happiest joys of my life. When I do something previously unobtainable is a pure joy that I have never gotten from stepping on a scale, even when it was the best it ever was. Do you think that crossing the line at a half marathon, or dead lifting 145 pounds when you were certain you could not pick up that much weight comes in anywhere near a moment of standing on a scale and seeing some stupid number? No comparison. Those are the moments that are worth living and fighting for. And those are the moments that I will forever recall when I think of happiness and my success. In all of my life I’ve never remembered a moment of standing on a scale and seeing a number as a moment of joy. That is not shocking. But I can tell you I have had so many wonderful moments of joy these past 6 months. This is why I know that I will never give this up now. I am happy. And filled with amazing moments and memories that sustain me all thru the day. And my weight has nothing to do with it. It’s all from my heart. That is the lesson I learned in 2013. Coolest year ever.

So now moving forward, 2014, my year of strength…. In 16 days I’m going to Arizona to run another half marathon and come away with another medal. I’m going to embrace all the memories and moments I create this year. Boy oh boy, I am going to keep getting stronger and stronger I am certain of that. In a year’s time I am going to be one FIT ass woman. And if you are reading this right now and you are still reading this in a year, you are seeing the start, the makings of one of those really fit figure women. I am going to be that you know. I am going to make all my dreams become a reality. You are here at the ground floor… it’s all up from here.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Secret Meeting

Well it is officially a new year. I survived an entire calendar year of not only being healthy but blogging about it. This is definitely some sort of record for me. But boy are the holidays sure hard in terms of consistency on the schedule. Even today my body is out of whack given the New Year’s holiday. I am honestly looking forward to next Monday and a return to a clean slate in terms of schedule. This morning entirely felt like Monday to me but I guess it is nice that it is actually Thursday and therefore only have to endure another day and a half of work at this point and then get another weekend. Boy this sure can be difficult at points.

I attended class Monday night at the gym but then I had to work on Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, and the gym closed at 5 PM so I was not able to go after work. I REALLY didn’t want to take the day off from exercise since I knew New Year’s Day the gym was also closed. I decided to go ahead return to my old school roots for an evening and came home from work and directly went to my treadmill. I realized that it has been close to 6 months since I have come directly home, changed into workout wear and hit my at home treadmill. Boy how time does fly when you are having fun. I set the treadmill to a 6 mile per hour pace and decided to run without thinking about it. I knew I wanted to get a decent run in so I set my sights on an hour. I remembered the days where I’d come home and run for a solid hour day in and day out without batting an eye. I was just going to try and accomplish that. So I ran. And honestly it was both harder and easier than I remembered. Funny how this contradiction can exist. Some things were much easier than I thought. Some things challenged me. But I kept running. When I hit 60 minutes, 6 miles, I wasn’t quite done. Sure, I was tired but I wanted to push thru a little more. So I went ahead and did another 20 minutes, 8 miles and THEN decided that was good enough for a night.

Here is the part that made me smile from ear to ear. I have a calendar right next to the treadmill where I used to record all of my time. I decided for the hell of it to flip back to Jan 1, 2013. And in the spot for December 31, 2012… I had my workout recorded. One year ago exactly I ran pretty dang near the same distance, it was actually 7.85 miles. I remember being so proud last year that I worked out both on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day. I remember thinking that 2013 was going to be different because I ended and started the year being healthy. And of course this year I wanted to produce the same outcome which was in part why I decided I really had to exercise on New Year’s Eve. Anyway, one year ago I ran 7.85 miles but here’s the kicker, it took me 106 minutes. That put a huge smile on my face. HUGE. I mean, without realizing it or trying, I bested my time in a year by a lot. Close to have an hour all things said and done. This isn’t shocking to me really because on Dec 31 of 2012 I still weighed almost 190 pounds and had honestly only been back at it for less than 3 months. So at the time, even being on that machine sweating it out for 106 minutes was a victory. I completed that same distance in like 78 minutes this year. About 28 minutes faster. When I got on the treadmill I didn’t even realize that this was going to happen. I didn’t even think about it at all honestly. But at the end of my run I was proud.

New Year’s Day my gym was closed. My friend Amanda and I had been texting about working out at my house with my equipment since the gym was closed. What ended up happening was something entirely different, unexpected and kind of special.

Amanda texted me New Year’s Day about 10 AM. She said that some of the gym employees were all going to get together and use their keys to sneak into the gym to do a workout. (Not really sneak in since they had keys and all.) She asked me if I wanted to meet them there and work out with them. I of course said yes. I told her I felt so special being invited and she told me I was special! When the time came, I meet her at the gym and secretly we made our way into the closed gym.

It ended up being 7 employees of the gym and me. I was the only non-employee there working out. It was so cool being there with these trainers and people I see day in day out, music cranked up, doors locked, killing an awesome workout. We had the entire gym to ourselves. I felt like I was part of a special secret club. I’m not supposed to talk about it as to not make the other gym goers jealous so it was not mentioned on any social media for obvious reasons.

We ended up being there a little over 2 hours I think and I had a killer workout with Amanda and another gym employee. It was a really fun time all things considered and I definitely did feel special. This is what 6 months of going to the gym and building real relationships with people will get you. So in the end I did NOT miss my gym workout. But it’s my little secret to keep. My life today looks sincerely nothing like it did a year ago. It’s so crazy to me that so much can change without realizing it. All those small little movements day in and day out can result in a year later things being dramatically different. Never give up I guess. Change is always happening.

I am going to try and get some progress photos taken this weekend so I have some “before” photos… not really before but at least photos from the beginning of 2014 so that when the year is over I have a whole year’s comparison. Since this is my year of strength I really want to try and do a better job of documenting it. That is on my list of to do’s. I want to have a Jan 2014 photo and then a Jan 2015 photo and I intend to see growth and mostly hopefully more tightness of the skin. That is really my goal for this year. Not that I have any actual control over how much my skin will or won’t tighten up. All I can do is keep working on it, drinking my water and pray that things tighten some. I really do think they have tightened a lot already so I can only guess that in another year things will in fact get better.

I have another 6 months of personal training to complete as well. Basically thru June of this year. I don’t know that I will actually continue with personal training once my 6 months are up, basically because I do so much on my own now and might not need it the same way anymore. We will see. 6 months is still a long time though so you never know what will happen. All I know right now is I am still immensely enjoying myself and this entire process and I have mentally committed to kicking ass in 2014 and seeing where this all is going to take me. The sky’s the limit for me….

Tonight I’m back to the gym with a 30 minute dumbbell fit class and then an hour of turbo kick. Should be fun times…. Now I am off to run some work errands.