Thursday, February 27, 2014

Full Family Disfunction

I think I can officially talk about it now because my sister is starting to tell the world and honestly, this world has very little to do with her real world life so I’m guessing it would be fine now. My sister is getting a divorce. I know this is probably not that uncommon at all in this world. This is my oldest sister, the mother of my niece and nephew. It is because of my niece and nephew that this is so incredibly hard. This stuff does not happen to us, to our family. They have been together almost 20 years. Yup, 20 freaking years. Mind you, this is all his doing. Although honestly it should have been her doing. She has always deserved better in some respects. I probably am not at liberty to fully disclose all of the details are particulars because this is a public forum and I don’t want to complicate anything. Let’s just say that there was some incidents that occurred previously that would have for sure made me leave. It is my number 1 deal breaker in a relationship, the only thing that holds any weight for me in the leaving factor. My real deal breaker as it would be for most women and yet, she stayed. She stayed for the kids. And now he’s decided that he wants out. And while it is ridiculously painful and horrific it’s probably for the best in the end.

Of course this brings on a series of complications because she does not work. She is a full time stay at home mom while he is a fireman. She is entitled to half of everything but that is where it gets quite complicated with 401K plans and retirement and pensions and all that jazz. I don’t know, not easy or fun at all. But I totally understand. I will always understand that sometimes in the end this is the best and only option. My heart just hurts for my kids. It hurts for my sister who is in a lot of pain, but those kids are going to be torn apart when the learn. Saturday morning they are officially telling them as per a discussion and plan with a child psychologist that they met with to discuss it beforehand.

It’s been a very tense time around these parts for me for the past week plus. It’s been hard; I have gone thru a series of emotions. He is my brother in law that I have known forever. He has always been there, for good or bad. 19 years. Since I was like 14 or 15 he has been in my life. I was a sophomore in high school when Jen started dating him. SO long ago. It seems weird for suddenly him to not be there. To choose to walk away from all of us. I am dealing with this the best way I know how, which is to fully support my sister in any way I can. But boy it’s tough. Just another part of life I guess. And another reminder of how important family really is. Never take anything for granted I guess. You can wake up one day and suddenly the things you thought were constants are no longer guaranteed. It also goes to show you that you never really know what is going on underneath it all. You can’t judge a book only based on that cover you know. Facebook is the highlight reel of our lives and when you are given the rare opportunity to glimpse deeper under the veil you can see all sorts of uglies. Just heart breaking. We are such a close family that this kind of stuff affects us all on so many levels.

With all that said, my motivation and drive have been a little off the past two weeks. I am still going to the gym every night. I am still putting in my workouts. My food has been shit. But I’m still busting ass. Said the girl who had a personal training session last night and whose upper body is presently sore as can be. Oh yeah, I also ran another half marathon this last Sunday which was my fastest time to date. 2 hours 11 minutes 44 seconds. I have no illusions of getting faster every single time. One of these days I will stop getting faster because I don’t train to go faster. I don’t train at all. One of these days is going to be an epic fail I am sure. But whatever. I’m still loving every wonderful brutal horrific second of it.

I have really found my love of running again. It left me for a good 5-6 months while I fully emerged myself into gym world. But there is something so amazing and epic and freeing about doing a half marathon that I cannot even begin to describe. I am in complete love honestly. I love what it does for me. I think I am honestly only able to really enjoy running this much because I don’t do it that often. If I was constantly training it wouldn’t be that fun to me. But as it is, I get to show up to these runs, and remember exactly what it is that is so exhilarating about the mental torture.

I am running another half marathon this Sunday as well. And then the next one won’t be until San Francisco, April 6. I have a few more irons in the works right now in terms of running. I am pretty sure that running 14 is beyond happening this year and by that I mean, I am pretty sure that when the year is done I will have ran more than that. I love the experience so much. I also love the insane amount of bonding that is happening with my husband. I cannot think of a single activity in the almost 10 years we’ve been together that has bonded us more than the shared experience of running. It is so beyond cool. I guess that’s probably part of why I am so addicted to running, it feeds so many important parts of my life. It gives me a lot to look forward to. It’s pretty damned amazing really.

So, next month, in March my gym is starting some weight loss 30 day challenge. Obviously I am not really competing in it and have no intention of doing so but my old trainer informed me that my picture is going to be on the flyer and poster for the challenge. I am going to be hung up all over the gym on a poster advertising the challenge…. Should be interesting I guess. I gave them permission which is so odd to me that I am going to be on a poster. I haven’t seen it yet. I guess we will have to wait and see. Maybe I will take a picture of the poster when I see it in the flesh and let you all see it.

So yes, this Sunday will be half marathon number 4 for the year. Despite my stress over my family situation these past couple weeks and my subsequent lack of care for my food choices, I actually find myself in these profound moments of happiness over my life. I feel content and happy with my running and how things are going in my own personal life and then I feel guilty because my sister’s life is falling apart so badly. Geesh. I can’t win can I? I’m not sure I should feel guilty about being happy in my life. It’s not as if my life is all easy and peachy keen. I have moments of epic awful and I have to work hard sometimes to keep things happy. I work at this happiness thing and I earn this happiness thing by being consistent and doing the things that make me happy, even when sometimes I don’t feel like it. I have to fight for this happiness thing so I should not feel guilty about it. It is NOT handed to me at all. It is straight up earned.

So I’m sorry if I’ve been a little distracted as of late and not checking in the way I should be but life is getting in the way. If I know anything it’s that things cycle and soon enough I will be back at it. Just bear with me as life throws us for a curve ball.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I'm not Dead

Well hello online world. It’s been a while hasn’t it. What can I say other than I needed a bit of a mental break. We all get like that from time to time. Nothing major, i.e., nothing too bad happening in my world, just got busy. Wait, just got hit with a snowstorm which left me a prisoner in my own home for 5 days. You’d think with all that time I’d have plenty of time to blog, but alas, being lazy is incredibly draining. I just ate like horrid crap and didn’t exercise. Of course that left me in a total mind fuck for a few days after and suddenly an entire week passed without me blogging.

But true to myself and my nature I went ahead and got back into the swing of things and back to the gym. I haven’t been bad. I keep plugging along on all of my endeavors in life so that is good. I ate like shit, I didn’t exercise, I moved on. This seems to be the repetitive cycle of my life but with exceptions. The exception being look who is fully back to the gym pushing forward as if this is truly my lifestyle now. Yup, that’s me. I truly think it helps that I have such a close personal relationship with my trainer; I couldn’t give up even if I wanted to. It would not be allowed and that is kind of comforting too. It’s nice having someone who obsessively has your back.

Regardless Saturday morning I got up and went to the gym and did 2 hours of awesome workout. Then later in the day me and my trainer went to a movie. Chick flick alert. We saw Endless Love. Total chick flick but the only thing that fit in with the timing etc. So yeah, we hung out. Then Sunday morning we got up and hit the gym once again for a ridiculously brutal chest workout. My entire upper body was fried out to the max. Did I mention after working my upper body to dead state we then did 20 minutes of battle ropes. Swinging those big ropes up and down is BRUTAL as well. I was exhausted. Like don’t want to move exhausted after the workout. Yesterday I was sore. Like my entire body, even lower body was feeling it. Last night I did 1.5 hours of classes that brutalized me yet again and today my entire body is in a slow ache. So there you have it. Still being tortured along as per normal. Nothing else that new to report.

Wait, that is not entirely true. Something not great at all has happened with one of my sisters and because it is not me that it is happening to I am not at all at liberty to discuss what is going on, but it’s sad and it makes me cry and I hate it. It has made me want to shut down, probably thus some of the social media isolation as of late. But at least it’s not me??? Is that even fair, it’s not fair because it’s my sister and it might as well be me. It makes me so sad. Thus is life I suppose. I will discuss it when I am at liberty to discuss it but until then I will do my best to hobble onward.

Sunday I will be running another half marathon. Yup, this weekend and then the following weekend are half marathons. Two in 2 weeks. Crazy girl, and then there won’t be another one until April 6 which is San Francisco. Boy time really goes by awfully quickly doesn’t it? Still loving my 14 in 14 challenge. Still excited. I am sure I will be more excited after this Sunday when I do another one and feel that high. Fortunately the weather forecast looks pretty decent for Sunday which makes me happy. Yeah to that!

Clearly I am not feeling my normal chatty self but at least I made it here to even attempt an update so that you all know I am not dead or at the very least fallen off the wagon, as I have not. I am sure one of these days my desire to ramble on excessively about stupid shit will come back.

In the meantime, aside from the yucky sadness for my sister, I am feeling pretty happy. I take happy any day of the week. Life is often messed up and just being happy is the real blessing. How easy we are to forget the good stuff we have and take for granted the days where nothing goes amiss. We are never kind enough or grateful enough for the love and family that we share. It’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves. I am far too guilty of this myself. The grass is definitely not greener on the other magical side. The grass is always as green as you make it no matter what the fuck side you are standing on. It’s just a side. So you sure better figure out how to make the grass green on the very side you are standing, right now. This is directly in relation to what is happening in my sister’s life. Poor thing. Ugh. Just Ugh.

Hug the ones you love and treasure the good because we are not promised a happy tomorrow, EVER.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Happy thoughts

Ah, morning… you are deceptive to me today. The sun is peaking out of a clear sky but the temperature is bone chillingly cold at like 20 something degrees. You’re stupid liar weather and today I am not your biggest fan in the least. For the record Paige, the next couple days in Oregon are supposed to be cold but unfortunately Saturday we are supposed to get snow. I think it’s supposed to go away quickly, but its stupid cold. It has been nice lately so this is rather disappointing all around. I know you are coming in this weekend which does not make the snow forecast on Saturday too appealing at all. Yuck.

So can I just pretend like I’m chatting at my friends Paige and Brianna here who left comments yesterday. Of course anyone can read this but I’m going to answer you nonetheless. Chris is definitely a “new” runner. He definitely trains for this stuff. He runs a couple times a week and he is sore the day of the day after running a half. He is working up his endurance for sure. He plans on doing the 14 in 14 challenge with me but we both are aware that his body might now allow it. At this point in time it is more physically taxing on his body, but I do think that is from being new to this whole thing. He is otherwise in very good health and shape so it could definitely be worse. He runs much more than I do at this point. But honestly I think he has too. I don’t think most people just show up on race day and run the whole thing without at least running beforehand. Sometimes my mental games play with me a little bit and I think I’m going to fail at this. Surely I must be crazy to think that I cannot run and then just show and up and continue to run and not hurt myself. But thus far it seems to work out okay for me. I don’t train in the typical fashion that people do for half’s. But as pointed out to me last night by Chris, it’s not like I don’t “train” to endure hardcore exercise. I train like 6 days a week for multiple hours, building muscles, pushing myself. I train my brain with mental endurance to push thru when I think I can’t go any more all the time. So I am not walking into half marathons after being sedentary eating crap on the couch and expecting to show up and perform. My body is a pretty conditioned thing at this point.

I honestly believe that health care professionals are against the abuse that excessive cardio does to your body. I completely understand and on some level agree with them. I think maybe they believe I am running in between to train for them and truthfully I might on occasion run a 5k just to keep the memory alive but other than that, I don’t run much at all during the week. Let’s see, I ran Arizona half on Jan 19, I ran once, 1 5k last week, and then I ran another half last Saturday. That was it. I have another half scheduled for Feb 23. If I am lucky I might run 1 or if I’m being crazy 2 5k’s on two different days before then, but most likely it will just be once. I think the fear is that people over train or do excessive amounts of cardio and I am a classic lazy runner who just wants to show up and run. I am just fortunate that my body is trained enough in all other aspects to allow it.

I honestly think that there is something very familiar about running in my bones. The movement is so second nature to me that my muscles just kind of blow it off. I think it’s the intense amount of running done in my lifetime. I promise you I suffer more abuse and get sorer from my gym workouts than a half has ever made me. Now a full marathon would be a different story I am 100% certain. But that is a beast to tackle down the line.

Yes Brianna you are right, it’s about my mental health and happiness. It’s fun for me. I guess if you don’t have that runner’s high or bug, then you will never understand that it’s simply something that I enjoy. It’s like going to the movies for someone else or reading a book. This is my entertainment. It might be slightly sick but it’s still my purest form of enjoyment. I am going to ignore the gym world and do what makes me happy because in my heart I don’t think I’m crossing any lines. 4.5 hours of running in a month is pretty acceptable to me. Even if I threw in 2 training half’s in the in-between which is highly questionable as well, we would be talking about 5.5 hours. Not exactly cardio overload here. I know what is right for me and my heart and my head and I’m going to go with that.

I’m not trying to sound like some super runner. I really am not. I run right around a 6 mile per hour pace and I don’t stray too much from that. I do get tired and exhausted and I do slow down at the end. There are tons of people who finish well in front of me. I am just comfortable with the effort I have to put out to get decent enough results for me. I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to do this if it required massive training on my part. I could not justify the cardio abuse on my body if I had to train over and over. But I think I’ve already put in the training hours in my lifetime and my body remembers it. I didn’t just wake up one day and run 13.1 miles without any issue. It is a long time coming and I think I’ve earned the right to just show up and run with everything else I’ve done previously to get to this point.

Enough about that. Let’s talk about something else. I am not sure I want to say too much about the Biggest Loser last night. I was excited to watch it as we all know that I love the show. I know that is completely unrealistic and not applicable to the real world in the least and yes can cause people to feel bad about themselves for not being able to make changes in their own lives. I get all that. But I think the good it produces outweighs the bad. I think generally speaking the concept of trying to happy and healthy is a good one. At least I think that is what the concept is. Less we forget it is actually a competition with a prize there will always be someone to remind us of the game aspect of it. That is sad. I think in the end she was trying to win a game at all costs. I have thought about it some and the truth is I am not sure I would do things any different. I am obsessive compulsive as clearly she is and she obviously wanted to win. I’d like to think I would have stopped at like 120 pounds or so when I no longer looked healthy and fit but it is a game. She knew she was up against bigger men who had more to lose than her so to counter balance she had to go extreme. With all that said I am horrified. 105 pounds is ridiculous for ANYONE. And she looked so beyond unhealthy it wasn’t even funny. She looked gross and it was sad. Not anything anyone should ever strive for.

I find myself wishing that she’d issue a statement of some sort that says yes, I wanted to win the game and I don’t intend to live my life like this. I personally hope immediately following that weigh in she ate some delicious healthy foods. Something to nourish her clearly malnourished frame. I wish she’d just come out and say, hey guys, hey world I know you are talking shit but even I can accept this isn’t healthy. I just wanted to win and I shall return to a liveable weight now.

Let’s face it, most of these contestants do put some weight back on pretty quickly while they try and find that balance in their lives. My only fear is that she has crossed some line into eating disorder land where she can’t see things clearly anymore. It was supposed to be about being healthy and fit and getting your life back. We will see won’t we? Given all the attention she’s getting I am certain we will see stories or photos down the line following her. I will say this though, Bob and Jillian’s expression was classic. Priceless. I love that even they were floored.

So tonight is my personal training and I have been promised biceps/triceps and abs. Oh boy :) It’s going to be interesting because it is ALWAYS interesting with that girl. I kind of love her to death but am terrified of her too. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be where I am today and I also wouldn’t go probably half the time either. She keeps me honest and accountable. And of course today is Wednesday already so we are approaching the halfway mark thru the week. YEAH!!!! That is good for me. I want my weekend already.

I am one very happy girl today as well. I honestly can say with 100% certainty that running has been good for my soul and it has helped bond my husband and I in a unique way. It’s very cool to share this with him and I feel very happy that I get to.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

a shameful act indeed

Today I feel very happy and blessed. I love it when I wake up feeling satisfied in my life. It’s crazy that there are days that feel like this and then there are days where I just wake up pissed off and grumpy. Life is interesting like that. I need to embrace these happy days, but I am certainly well aware that they are not all like this. Far from it honestly. But today I am just going to be happy.

I think my commitment to my goal of 14 in 14 is making me happy. I think setting an epic goal and going for it is really helping my mood. Funny. I guess I am a goal oriented make a list and cross it off kind of girl. I guess I also just like the feeling of success. And the surest way to be successful is to set obtainable goals. Here’s the funny thing though, running is like the black sheep of the fitness world at a gym. I pretty much discovered this the first day I ever walked into the gym. The sentiment is felt by pretty much all employees. It’s a bizarre concept to me. I have had it drilled into my head that for whatever reason running is the anthesis of health. I am still baffled by this concept. I “see” where they are coming from but I’ve never 100% subscribed to their crazy Kool-Aid.

As excited as I am about my goal it is like this shameful dirty little secret that I am not supposed to discuss in my gym life. It’s funny. Last night I told my previous trainer Julie about my goal, I’m going to run 14 in 2014 and she looked at me with big eyes and said, “be careful.” I was immediately taken aback. She said that I didn’t need to do so much cardio and I have an obsessive personality and blah blah blah. I was honestly surprised. We aren’t talking about running those 50 mile uber runs or anything; it’s literally a freaking ½ marathon. It’s not like I am even saying 14 full marathons. I don’t really understand. And a year is a very long time honestly. So let’s just break this down a little. For the sake of argument, let’s just say I got super into this, like crazy over the top Emily kind of crazy and blew past my 14 in a year plan. This could realistically happen honestly. But it wouldn’t be like more than 2 a month. I don’t have all the money and time in the world for this. So for the sake of argument I run 2 half marathons in a month. That is a total of 26.2 miles a month. Its equivalent to about 4 ½ hours of running in a month. I rarely run much in between them. I am too busy doing all the strength training they have taught me at the gym.

So 4.5 hours of running in an entire month. That is NOTHING! Let’s not forget that I have on many occasion over the past 10 years ran consistently a minimum of 5-8 hours a week, every single week at points. In all honesty those 4.5 hours wouldn’t even touch my weekly running quota. I don’t do that anymore. I am happier for it, honestly. I am happier now not running that much. I think it’s because I don’t run that much anymore that I am excited to run half marathons. I don’t think this is excessive or asking too much of my body. Well, no more than I already put my body thru on a regular basis with every other crazy thing I do.

It’s just I’ve been told time and time again that cardio, running in particular is the devil. I’m floored and surprised by this concept as a whole. I am thankful that I no longer run an hour plus every day. I see their logic in this very flawed thinking, but a few half marathons are not going to kill me. If I was in physical pain afterwards. If my body was hobbling along for days post run I could understand. The most I’ve felt is tired for the duration of the rest of the day after I run, but I’m ready to go the next day. I am not in physical pain; I do not injure any body part in the process. Honestly it’s just not that big of a deal to me.

Let me put it this way. On any given Saturday or Sunday I pretty much spend 2 hours in the gym working out. Granted, there are many breaks in there and variety of exercise. It is not a solid my heart rate is elevated can’t stop, 2 hours 15 minutes of workout. But it’s typically 2 hours nonetheless. So on a particular weekend I choose to run instead of spending my 2 hours in the gym. And I get a shiny medal at the end of it for my efforts. I don’t get medals after my gym workouts so sometimes this seems more fun. I guess I’m not doing the runs as a means of physical fitness. I am not doing them to lose weight or even to burn calories. I am running because it is fun to me. I am running to push the limits of my heart.

I am honestly disappointed that it is such a shameful goal in my gym world, but it doesn’t stop me from achieving my goals or moving forward. I will not be deterred. There is no one that will ever be able to convince me that running 14 half marathons in a year is going to be bad for me. My body can take the stress and/or strain if that’s what the issue is. I am conditioned and capable of the task. I am going to ignore the naysayers and move forward with the happy smile on my face. This is what I want and I always make what I want happen.

I keep envisioning myself in a year with a ton of medals and more importantly with the feeling of pride and happiness I will have from accomplishing what some consider crazy. Oh, I should also point out that my father in law thinks that 14 is probably too many to run in a year. I think he’s just trying to be nice and look out for us but it seems more often than not I am getting told what a not good idea this is when I know it’s a perfectly good idea for me. I have never been more capable physically and mentally in my entire life. In fact maybe there are some of you out there that think this is crazy, but if you’ve been reading my blog for any duration of time you should know that 1. I am slightly crazy 2. That crazy is just steadfast determination to achieve my goals and 3. Physically I can handle a lot, I am a work horse. 4. I haven’t backed down from a challenge yet.

I am a rare mix of crazy determination and steadfast dedication. The funny thing is I don’t doubt for a slight second that I will succeed at this. It just is slightly odd to me that some people don’t understand it. I guess there will always be those people who wish to bring you down a little! That is probably true of life in general. I shouldn’t let it bother me at all. Just an interesting observation really.

So tonight is my one kind of “free” night at the gym. There is only 1 30 minute class to do, and then I am on my own to do as I want. I am not sure what I want to do honestly. I can do strength training, I can run for 30 minutes or I just fuck around and barely accomplish anything. Ha Ha. I am tired. Let’s see. Saturday I ran 13.1 miles. Sunday I did a back and ab workout with Amanda for like 2 hours. Yesterday I did a 30 minute butts and guts class and then an hour of iron power strength training. Now today I am tired. Go figure. Doesn’t mean I won’t go to the gym and workout. I just have to figure out how much effort I want to put in. I do like to take it a little easier on Tuesday’s. Like only an hour of workout since Wednesday night is usually brutal for me with personal training and then an hour of Iron Power strength training. I like to kind of take it easy if I can on Tuesday’s. So whatever happens will be fine.

I will say this, it is only Tuesday and already I wish it were Friday and I want the weekend again. This moment I am also very glad I have another mini vacation on the books, for San Francisco in April. I can’t tell you how motivational it is to me to have something to constantly look forward to. It seems that once we take a mini trip I am always thinking about the next one. I guess I need things “out there” to keep me going. To keep life interesting. I have discovered for me that is pretty critical for my mental well-being. Who doesn’t want to take a break from the regular grind of life every now and then? Aside from the immense love of running half marathons I have discovered an insatiable urge to travel and explore. I guess this goes with the desire to truly live my life, step out of my comfort zone and live a little. Life is far more exciting when you are having fun and enjoying yourself.

I am watching all those Facebook videos of people’s lives with that sappy music and it’s just brining a giant smile to my face! You know what mine had, lots of running photos and it just made me happy. I am so in love with the life I am starting to form and the person I am becoming. My life is good. Today I shall smile because despite the fact that is snowing outside my heart is warm.

Monday, February 3, 2014

14 in 2014

So this might have happened. I created this lovely little logo for my 14 in 14 challenge. so now its all but official my friends. It's posted over the right side of my blog as a constant reminder of my goals and dreams and that's pretty damned cool. I kind of love it as per typical. This is REALLY happening now. :)

A Life Lived

Have you ever noticed how I am one sappy, big picture kind of girl? Sure I can take life day by day and embrace the present and live and blah blah blah, but I am constantly looking at the big giant picture and trying to find greater meaning, sometimes to my detriment and sometimes where it often doesn’t exist. That’s just who I am.

I feel like my entire life can get broken down into two major categories. Times when I was unhealthy and times when I was healthy. I will refrain from using the word fat/thin because that is certainly not the goal. I can seriously break down my life in periods of time, increments of measurement based on how I felt about myself in relation to my health. My happiness is directly proportionate to where I am at physically. I wish that weren’t so but it’s easy to track and understand. While one has every single right and I hope ability to be happy no matter what their physical appearance may be, that is simply not the case for me. It’s not exactly the physical appearance that throws me off but the confidence and how I feel about myself. These are the things that limit my ability to fully enjoy my life. We are a fucked up kind of species aren’t we? Because of something so arbitrary and often times uncontrollable we chose to isolate ourselves, belittle our existence and not partake in living life. Kudos to every single person who is brave enough to embrace the concept of living despite whatever flaws bother them. This isn’t restricted to straight up weight issues by any means.

I suppose that is why I honestly champion the underdog, the story of the person who overcomes obstacles to do the things in life that make them happy. We all walk different paths and no one is right or wrong by any means, but often times our journeys have similar undertones. We must overcome the obstacles that we impose upon ourselves to be free. Every single time I look back and think about how much of my life I waste when I am in unhealthy land it blows my mind. When you are living it you may be aware that you are limiting yourself on some level but it’s only AFTER I am able to pull myself out of misery that I see how horrifically I was living. And it was all always my doing mind you. I am a horrible unhappy person. And by that I mean, I tend to become the worst possible version of not only myself, but as a member of society I kind of suck as well. I don’t partake in anything worthwhile; I go to work where all I ever manage to do is stay afloat, mind you dressed poorly, complete lack of respect for oneself, leaving me a horrific representation of my company. I’m sure my bosses love it when I am unhealthy (notice the word choice of unhealthy here instead of fat). I then come home and waste myself away on the couch watching TV and eating nonstop. Certainly fearful of ever leaving the house to face the horrors of public life. (Less I be judged for my appearance or clearly unhealthy choices). Some people pull off their insecurities much better than I do. I have an amazing sister who is a classic example of keeping it all together, dressing appropriately and with love and care for herself despite her size. I am not one of those people. I walk around with ugly ass stained clothes for some reason and a general look of do not care.

In a nutshell I give up on myself. I give up on life. These are my least favorite parts of my life and honestly the ones that I remember the least, as a whole. I remember the big abstract feeling it created in me. I remember the periods of time for sure. But because they produced so few memorable experiences they are often times the ones I don’t have a lot of memory of. Wasting your life and potential is far easier than it should be.

Of course the moment I take control of my happiness and subsequent health I start to change. I start to want to live and do those things that I dream about in the back of my head when I am sitting on the couch eating my life away. I find myself often embracing the concept of why not me? I watched the Superbowl yesterday. I have to admit it’s the first football game I might have watched in my entire life, but it actually was kind of interesting and the Seahawks quarter back talked about the concept of embracing the, “Why not us?” mentality. That his dad told him, why not you? And it made me smile because often times this past year I myself have said out loud, why not me? Quit thinking that life experiences and dreams and happiness belong to someone else. Why not you? Sure, it’s scary, but why the hell NOT you? You are as good as anyone else and worthy of whatever it is you desire. Just make it happen.

When you are in the process of living it is hard to see epic things for what they are. It is only in hindsight that we often really appreciate the beauty of situations. The importance or significance of what has happened. I try very hard to live in some of the moments to really get the fullest effect of what is occurring but admit that it is hard to see the bigger picture in the small moments. This is probably why I adore sitting back and pondering the reality of time and change. I often find myself thinking back in terms of years. This time last year, or this time next year. Those are phrases I say a lot. It is a good way for me to gauge where I’ve come from and where I can go.

For example, this time last year I was getting ready to head to Las Vegas to see Pink perform. This was an epic moment in my life. It was the culmination of all the hard work that prompted me to start to regain control of my life again. Of course this time last year I was still in the 170 pound range. I had no idea what was to come for me. But just going to Vegas and deciding to live my life was a huge first step. That single act took a lot of courage for me and I am so thankful I have that experience in my memory banks. We will never regret the cool things we’ve done, the risks we’ve taken, but we certainly will regret the things we were afraid to do. I can think of so many things that I wish I would have done. Lame. I say lame because I let fear and self-doubt stop me far too many times in my life. That girl a year ago who was getting ready to head to Vegas had no idea what the next year would bring for her. Could not have predicted the girl who is writing this today. And I love this idea so much because it means that even as I am fully aware of my potential today, I have zero clues what the girl of my future, the girl who will write an entry on this blog in one year will be like. That is pretty damned cool. Because I have faith that no matter what it is, it will be amazing and I will be doing things and living my life.

Here’s another mind blower for me. In my entire battle of my weight, 10 plus years, I have consistently come back to running. My life may fluxuate up and down but every single time I get healthy I run. Some of it is because it’s what I knew to do, but on a much deeper level we all know it’s because I have the heart of a runner. There is nothing in this world that frees me like a good endorphin producing run. I may go astray at points in my life but my heart will always come back to running. It is the one thing that I can do for me, and only me. I am not doing it for another soul but instead of feed my own soul. 10 years of this love and it was only last September that I ran a race for the first time. I spent the better part of 10 years being terrified to run in public. Being terrified of I am not exactly sure what. Not being good enough? For who? Running is only about you and you alone. And yet it took me 10 years to learn this lesson. In the past 4 months I have completed 4 half marathons. Prior to that my entire life nothing nada. Wait, I ran one 5k once like 4 years ago but it barely counts.

It took me 10 years to believe in myself enough to decide it was time to go the distance, literally. And in true Emily fashion, it had to be half marathons. In my heart I do know that someday I will run one full marathon. I don’t know that I will run more than one because that seems crazy to me, but I will do one. But the time is not now, it is not this year. I will have to train for that and I am not ready yet. I just want to enjoy the happiness that running is bringing me. I want to enjoy the things I am accomplishing. I still think 13.1 miles is a respectable distance. I think the half marathon is still a hard enough challenge all around. I’m not going to lie, it is still HARD and a lot of work to run for 2 plus hours. 2 hours 12 minutes to be exact this last weekend. By about an hour and a half I want to quit. I think that is what I love about running so much. After 90 minutes my body wants to quit but I have to use my mental strength to keep going. I love the feeling of overcoming the mental battle with oneself. I love crossing the finish line. That is the biggest HIGH I have ever gotten in my entire life. I am addicted to the high of crossing a finish line.

I think it’s knowing that I overcame the mental challenge and finished. I don’t know if I’d love the finish line crossing as much if I didn’t have a struggle that I overcame. Is that weird? I think that’s why I am not addicted to running 5k’s which are clearly a much easier distance. There is no struggle and therefore no reward at this point for me. I think it’s an amazing thing to overcome, if that is where you are at. I am not going to knock someone running a 5k at all. I know what goes into every single step of it and it can be challenging as well. I hope no one takes offence by that. Whatever level you are at, the point is you need to push yourself. For me the pushing comes at the half marathon distance. Okay, really after 10 miles and it is HARD. 10 miles is ususally my body’s break point.

I am not sure why it has taken me 10 years to realize that running half marathons produces this euphoric high in myself. It is a challenge and a struggle every time, but the reward is epic. The sense of self is profound afterwards. The more I do it, the more I want it. I am a drug addict waiting for my next fix. And yet, every time I start a race and the first few miles are epically hard I think to myself, why the hell am I doing this? Why do I want to do this? When I am at mile 3 of 13 I wonder what the fuck I am doing. But I keep running. I guess that’s the point. I just keep going no matter what and that is the metaphor I take away from it. That is the endurance and perseverance that carries me thru, this is the symbol of my entire life. I keep going. Even when I want to quit, even when I have failed, I just keep going. Just a little bit longer and surely eventually I will overcome. I WILL cross that finish line and get my medal of honor. I won’t ever win any races. My time will never be beyond stellar, but that is beyond the point for me. The point is that I ran 13.1 miles, even when it got so tough I wanted to quit, I didn’t. Even when my body was exhausted, I ran.

I guess that is what I love about half marathons so much. They are the ultimate symbol for my entire life. When things get tough, I will push thru and overcome. I can walk this journey because my heart is that of a champion, a fighter. I won’t quit because it’s tough. I will endure. Time and time again I will rise to the challenge and endure the struggle because the ultimate reward is life. It is living my life. I will smile because I lived my life, finally, on my terms.

Starting a half marathon 13.1 mile run is not easy even for me. I have to stare down what I know is a long rough road. But it is always worth it. I learn something more about myself every single time. I am 1000% in now. I am in this for my goal this year. I am going to run my heart out this year and embrace my life. I am going to make up for the past 10 years where I was too afraid to embrace publically running. I am going to make up for the happiness I have denied myself for far too long. I will succeed at this because I believe it in my heart. 14 in 14 are happening. And when it gets tough I will reread one of these posts that reminds me the struggle is worth the reward. And some day, maybe a year from now, maybe years from now I will smile because it was life and I decided to live it!