Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Happiness is an interesting thing. Why are humans so freaking complex? Sometimes I look at my adorable little dog and think that has got to be the life… and then I think of all of the things that are not in her control and think again. I mean, my dog has a great life for a dog. She is the spoiled pretty pretty princess in my world, but nonetheless, she is still a dog and therefore is not in control so I suppose that is not the ultimate life. I digress, as humans we require so much in our brains to constantly be and stay happy. It’s quite interesting. Less you think I’m going to say something different, I want to clear this up now, today I feel very happy and grateful and excited about life. I just find it interesting that a month ago, things were pretty much all the same in my life and I seemed to lack that happiness. I am beyond happy with things at this moment.

My happiness resides in my ability to constantly be looking forward to something, have something on the horizon. At this point I think my calendar is as full as it’s ever been and part of that gives me great happiness. I also woke up and realized that having these amazing shared experiences with Chris, someone who in his own right has found a love of running, is quite simply epic. It’s one thing to go to races and get happiness out of them, but it’s quite another to have someone to share it with. This is probably the story of anything in life. Life is better when you have someone to share it with. I suppose in terms of running having a girlfriend or anyone else really to share the experience with is equally as cool. At this point it’s cool that it is my husband because that makes the prospect of spending hundreds of dollars on travel to run possible. Cause he also sees the value in this. I guarantee as anyone would, if they did not “get it”, the constant spending of money on race fees and travel would seem ridiculous. I have become desensitized to the cost of races, they are what they are and I don’t really think about the reality that I spend $45 for a 5k on average and $85 on a half on average. What I get from it is far greater. These experiences are the magical moments I feel like I’ve been waiting a lifetime to have. This is me, 100% in my element and living my life. It gives me purpose in a way.

I keep thinking about at the end of the year, all of the amazing memories I am going to have and all the cool things I did. I mean, I don’t anticipate that every year will be filled with so many “runs” but right now I’m just going for it and I think its damned cool. I set my mind to something and I just do it. I think the whole point of life is to be happy, to love and share and help along the way if you can. My weight, my appearance means so little in comparison to living my life fully with happiness and passion. I am starting to accept myself just as I am because I am so happy. It’s been almost a year and a half since I weighed 220 pounds and I am so thankful that whatever inside of me finally changed enough this time to understand that its about more than a number.

Do you know how little I weigh myself? I love that. I love that my biggest gauge of my weight is truly my clothes, and how I look in the mirror. Everything fits, then who cares what the scale says. I think that is the way most athletes live their lives. Every now and then I catch a peek of myself in the mirror in an awkward position and see fat rolls and think maybe I should do something about that, try a little harder and then the thought goes away when I accept that I am happy and active and that is the best I could ever expect in life. No need to play psychological torturous games with myself to obtain some skewed image of perfection that I will quite frankly never be. This is the woman I am, and she is pretty okay. She may not be the fastest or the strongest but she’s an athlete and she has come so far and I accept and love her.

So with that said I don’t have too much else to say for the day, but at least I came and wrote something and that is always a good thing as it makes me grateful and reflect in a way that I don’t do anywhere else.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I am a runner

Ah yes, so we are so quickly back to Monday morning already. The weekends fly by infinitely faster than any day during the week. This is always the harsh reality. Guess it’s that old adage time flies when you are having fun. Frida night ended up being pretty good, I got my nails done which was really nice. It’s been far too long honestly. Then I stopped by the grocery store for some items and then just ended up watching some TV for a little bit. Good times.

Saturday morning I woke up and went to the gym despite it not entirely being something that I was completely feeling. But I went. I did an hour of turbo kick and then an hour of boot camp which was really just heavy strength training. I was tired by the time it was done and was ready to go home. I showered, and then spent the afternoon running around doing shopping errands with my husband. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day. It was a good day overall. We had a nice spaghetti dinner to carbo load for yesterday morning.

Now onto the half marathon. There is something infinitely crazy about people who choose to wake up 2 hours earlier than normal on a Sunday morning to drive for an hour to pay a decent amount of money to run. Our alarm went off at 5:30 AM. This is probably not that early for most people but normally we don’t get until 7:30. We were up, getting dressed and freezing. Thankfully the race didn’t actually start until 9 AM, so I knew I had ample time to officially wake up. I was dressed, had eaten some oatmeal and stumbling into the car about 6:15 AM. We had an hour plus drive to get to the race.

The race was a point to point race. This means that we started at one location and ended at a different location 13.1 miles away. This is opposed to an out and back which is more common where the start and finish are the same location and you run out a path for half the distance and at some point either loop around or turn around and run back the other half distance finishing exactly where you started. The only logistical problem with a point to point race is that your vehicle can only either be at the start or the finish. Most races accommodate for this and shuttle you. In this instance we parked at the end location and awaited a school bus to take us to the starting point. I have not been on a school bus since high school. It was instantly a flood of memories and I felt like I was in a bizarre-o land because I racked my brain for comprehension of my last bus ride it occurred to me that it was traveling on weekends for high school speech tournaments. I was such a nerd. Obviously it was an academic endeavor because God knows I was not athletic growing up. But honestly I wouldn’t trade my amazing speech memories for anything. Good times.

My bizarre-o land comes from the fact that I was sandwiched on this bus full of very athletic adults who paid money on a Sunday to run. It is a humbling moment to realize that while you’ve never fully considered yourself a runner, at what point do you have to reassess that thinking? I mean, this was a smaller local race, in the end I believe about 330 runners total. And here I was, one of them, taking a bus ride on a cold morning to a starting point. Does this not really make me a runner? Can’t I really say, that no matter how fast I am running, I clearly must be a real official runner?

Nonetheless, there I was, freezing cold but the sun was peeking out like it was going to be making its appearance shortly, jumping up and down to stay warm, getting ready to run 13.1 miles. Some days I have to lie to myself when I am starting to run. I lie to myself in the sense that I don’t tell myself I am going to be running for 2 hours 15 minutes. I just tell myself I am going to go for a little run and try and enjoy the moments I am in. I lie to myself and just say that it doesn’t matter what happens out there, just get to the finish line. This is a lie because it does matter to me how I get to the finish line. I don’t feel good about myself or the run unless I give it my best effort. My best effort doesn’t require perfection but it does require that I give all that I have on that particular day.

There is something very interesting and mental about standing around and waiting for a race to begin, those 30 minute prior where you are inside your head, for me most of the time trying to convince myself that I really do want to do this, that any amount of tired I feel will wash away the moment I start running. That just showing up is my *win*.

Mostly yesterday I contemplated that the last half I ran was the disastrous Lincoln City Monsoon. Am going to call it a monsoon whether it officially was or not. Despite all of my best efforts to accept the horrible conditions of that race and feel proud that I just finished, which I am, truly, I cannot shake the feeling of fear I had going into yesterday because I was uncertain of my abilities. During Lincoln City I gave up. Yes, the conditions were awful, but I quit running and just walked, fast sure, but it was still a walk. That kind of stuff plays with your mind. This is part of the reason that both Chris and I thought it was a good idea to get another run in before San Francisco so clear our heads of that horrible half. I was having a yucky taste left in my mouth because of Lincoln City so I wanted to have a better, I can do it, feeling leading up to San Francisco. Of course, as I stood at the start line in anticipation of this race, horrible fear overcame me. What if I can’t? What if Lincoln City was the first step in the eventual decline of my abilities? What if all the lack of training is catching up with me? What if I am just getting worse at this? Yup, these are all very real fears that I have.

So this race I decided to wear gloves. I knew eventually I would have to take them off as the sun came out, but for the start my fingers were little ice cubes and I needed them. What I did not entirely anticipate was that when the starting gun went off and I began to run, the gloves made it impossible for me to start my run tracker app on my phone which started my music. What resulted was a horrific start to my race. I had to take the glove off and hold it in my hand which having to pull my phone out of its arm band to start it up and get it going. Then I dropped my glove. I stopped running to bend down and pick it up and could see the onslaught of runners coming for me. It was scary. I fumbled. I quickly shoved the phone back into my armband but then it was all jacked on my arm. I ran a little bit more, flustered. It took me about a mile and a half to calm down, and readjust all of my gear. My phone was finally in its place, I had to yank my pants up repeatedly to get them in the correct comfortable location and then I could finally calm down into my groove.

I am not a fast runner. I have said this on many occasions. Of the 300 plus runners who are clearly active runners who get up and run a random small half, I am definitely in the back 40 of them. That is okay. I am running for myself. Hell, I am running period and that is better than all the other people who didn’t even show up to run a race. Once I settled into my pace I felt good. I was not exerting myself, I was just running. I felt good. I felt like I was just going for a run.

I should mention that the first 2-4 miles of a half are my least favorite. Of any of them including the last 3.1. It’s because it takes me a while to get into my groove and to get over the initial I don’t want to run. Once I find my momentum and my body adjusts I can just run from there on out. It’s the first little bit that is always the challenge for me. It never fails, when I hit 3.1 miles, the first 5k, I always tell myself, great 5k down, 10 freaking miles to go. It is a particularly horrific milestone and one that I must document, as per ritual. The passing of the 3.1 mark. 10 miles to go. My favorite miles are always 4-9 or thereabouts, when I am in my groove and things feel good and I am just running for the enjoyment of running. This is the place where my mental head clearing takes place. Where I find my peace and rhythm. Where I can let go and just enjoy it for what it is. This was a nice course and particularly pretty running next to a river at points.

The race itself had decent support and despite the low number of participants, I was pretty much running with the same group of about 4-5 people most of the way, therefore I never felt “alone” on the road, which was nice. In Lincoln City and a few of the other races I did feel all alone which kind of sucks. I guess while I consider running a completely solo sport, I don’t want to be completely alone either. For me, I get a ton of motivation by seeing people on the sides of the roads. I just perform better when I think someone else is watching, even if they aren’t. This is probably why I like the Rock and Roll races. There is never a dull moment with them. I am certainly never alone in those either. I think the abundance of runners pretty much sees to that.

Once I hit mile 10, my second milestone kicks in. Now I ONLY have 3.1 miles to go. Now it’s just a little 5k left. Of course it’s a 5K after I’ve ran 10 miles and there’s pretty much nothing simple about that. To claim that running 13.1 is easy for anyone is a completely injustice. It is hard. It is exhausting. This is what I have concluded, running 13.1 miles does not physically hurt my body. It does not leave me huffing and puffing and out of breath, it does not wind me or cause me pain, but it does EXHAUST me. My energy level is depleted and I am tired. That is the end result. I just get exhausted. I am fine afterwards, but around mile 10 my brain wants to quit more than my body. I am tired and I just want to walk because my brain says it’s tired, my body honestly can still physically manage. It’s an interesting mix of mental and physical.

I have always professed that what I love about running and especially longer distances is that it more mental than anything else. It is convincing yourself to keep going when your brain is telling you to stop. It is a constant battle between the brain and the heart. I like the challenge and I like walking way victorious. The last 3.1 miles are hard. I think not as awful as the first 3.1, because you have such a far way to go at the beginning but the last 3.1 you know is the last and you are almost done. But at that point you are more exhausted so it’s more difficult. But once I hit the 10 mile mark, I know I am going to finish, and that the end is near. It’s all about pushing thru that last little bit.

This is the end result of this race. I ran every step. So Lincoln City, the previous run, was truly a situation of circumstance not an overall inability to run for that long. I ran every step. I did not run fast. There were hills. More hills than I had anticipated, but also a good challenge given San Francisco is coming up and that puppy is LOADED with hills. I did not have a great time for me, but it was not awful either. 2 hours 18 minutes or thereabouts. Not by best, not my worst. In line with what I can do. I will take it. What’s more important is that I ran every step and allowed myself to enjoy parts of the run. To just get lost in my mental haze of running.

This is what I know. I love running for what it gives me. Sure it is fabulous exercise but that is not why I run. I run because it provides a mental peace that I need in my life. It seems natural to me that since I have given up running daily as torture and instead partake in a rich and varied gym life, that my mind would seek out these organized runs to keep me running and keep that sense of happiness alive. I can experience true running happiness because I no longer use it as a torture mechanism for myself. It is all about a blissful happy experience. It is the thing that makes me feel the best about myself and the most accomplished.

I cannot express to you what happens in my mind the minute I see the finish line in sight. That moment when I run across the line and am presented with my medal. Pure joy. Pure pride. I did it. And that feeling never goes away. I don’t care how many I have run, that feeling is the same every time, because it is never easy and I earn every single one of them. I guess I am a runner, right? I guess I do deserve to be on that athletic bus.

At some point during the run I found myself smiling because I thought, wow, I am in a class of real sick puppies who pay money to run in the cold on an early Sunday morning. This is my idea of a good time. Holy shit, who does this crap? I do. I really seem to repeatedly do this crap.

And so begins what is going to be an epic, crazy summer of running. I have these races like every 2 weeks because that’s just the kind of girl I am. I am really feeling very happy and blessed right now. You can get all crazy and stressed about your weight, or how you look or what you eat etc, etc., but in the end, why the hell did you want to be healthy to begin with? Why did you want to lose weight or eat better? To live a more full and active life, right? Well guess what, I am doing that…. I am living my best life right now and that is exactly the reason that I ever wanted to lose weight. To have these amazing experiences. To feel content and complete. To grow and share and experience life. I am doing that. I am doing that in this imperfect body, with this extra skin and all, with fat still on my body, with less than perfect this and that. Who the hell cares…. I am imperfect and in living with the imperfections find beauty in what I am capable of.

Two weeks to San Francisco, where I will undoubtedly have an epic experience. I am VERY excited for that one. This is my life. And I am proving that there is always hope and the ability to readjust whatever course you are on. The smile on my face says it all. I am beyond proud of the life I am living. This is my peace and clarity. I am a runner. That is who I have always been.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Reset Button

I feel much better today than I did yesterday. I am sure it’s a combination of factors, but when I wrote my post yesterday it was immediately after my text messages with Amanda and I realize I was a little harsh. I was worked up and felt stressed and I do think talking it out or writing it out helped and then I remembered why I like to write on here to begin with. I completely think Amanda is honestly just trying to do better me and push me and be my friend. She is my friend first and foremost. I do think I need to have a chat with her about how much running means to me and the reality that no matter what I’m not giving it up. That I am willing to work with her but we have to include my crazy running schedule into the mix.

I think I left out a piece of the equation yesterday that I should clarify. There is a challenge at our gym starting April 1, that I am actually on the poster for. Here is the image of the poster.

You get a prize of $1,000 plus free training and membership, it’s an AWESOME prize honestly and in another world, a different time and place I’d love to win it. A year ago me I have no doubt would have won that bad boy. But hello, I am present no “before” picture. I am not saying I am the after, although the poster would indicate otherwise. But the thing is, while there is certainly always room for improvement, I definitely do not presently look like anybody’s before shot. I may not be perfect but I am definitely not out of shape. The point is Amanda wants me to win this contest. She real reason is because as my trainer, she would get $500 and bragging rights if one of her clients wins. So she is pushing hard because she wants to win but she does love me and wants me to succeed and I adore her for that. But It’s just not possible for me to win this challenge. I mean I am already on the poster as the before/after, is that even possible for me to compete?

I cannot think of anything I can do to my body in the next 90 days that would result in the biggest transformation. I think that is where my pressure was coming from yesterday. Amanda had mentioned it to me before but I kind of thought she was joking, apparently not. She honestly thinks I can win and while that is a lovely vote of confidence and belief she has in me, I just don’t see it. If I were to take a before picture today, I honestly don’t look like a before. It was just too much pressure at once and I kind of snapped. But I am better today; yes I need to talk to her. I have to do what’s best for me and having some idea that I am not working hard enough or making enough “gains” to win a stupid contest is not something I need to do to myself at this point.

Do you know what contest I have already won? Getting my freaking life back. I far too often forget that. I need to step back and really remember that this woman I am is amazing and strong and living her life and that is the most important contest of all to me. This girl is getting on airplanes and traveling to places to run half marathons. That is ridiculously cool and something that I always thought was meant for other people. I never in my wildest dreams, despite all my running, imagined that could or would ever be me. And suddenly, I woke up one day and it was me. That is what I am most proud of.

Speaking of that, San Francisco in a little more than 2 weeks. Wait, 2 weeks from tomorrow exactly I will be on a plane heading to the Bay. I have never been there and am pretty excited as always to explore a new location and run. Do you realize that the first time I get near the Golden Gate Bridge will be to run across it, like street closed, running down the road on the Golden Gate Bridge? Who the fuck does that? Oh wait, me! I am sure I will “see” the bridge before I run across it because it’s pretty obvious in the area, but the first time I get up close with it, won’t be driving across it, it will be running. That is amazing and most likely one of those ultimate ridiculously cool moments of my life. One of those experiences that money just can’t buy. Well, actually it can buy it, but you know what I mean. Money might have bought me the plane ticket, the entry fee into the race and thus the opportunity to do this but money can’t buy the desire, will or ability to run 13.1 miles. Money can’t buy the experience or the happiness I shall feel in my heart. Money can’t buy that moment when I look up and I am in the middle of the freaking golden gate bridge. That is earned. And earn it I shall with all the hills that I will have to run to complete this half marathon. It shall be intense but I’m guessing well worth all the effort.

Cause at the end of it all, I get this medal:

Yup, I am a medal whore. Love my bling. It’s really the symbol of the experience I just conquered. It’s the visual little clue of the epic journey I have been on for most all of my life. It is such a sense of pride and joy for me to look at those medals and remember the grit and determination it took me to earn each one of them. My visual reminder of my life altering transformation that has occurred inside my head. Not my body, it’s not about a physical transformation at all, it’s truly a mental one. It’s truly the transformation that occurred in myself, in my mind and about loving myself so much that I am going to give myself permission to not only live my life but believe I can do anything I want to do. And those little medals are the ultimate symbol that I am strong, capable and love myself.

Speaking of those little medals, today they revealed the San Diego Medal as well; this is the medal I am going to earn June 1 when I run in San Diego. Excited about his one too.

Each one of these is a trip, an experience to a new place I have not been. Excited to go to beautiful San Diego. And honestly it’s like 2 months away. That’s so cool too.

I am living the life I am supposed to be living, I am sure of that. I need to stop and count my blessings and feel happy and proud more often. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day dribble and shit and this blog has always done a great job of allowing me the opportunity to reflect and be grateful for my blessings. That might have been missing the past 2 months. I need to write to realize that I have come a long way and its okay to have those bad moments but overall I am still ridiculously blessed. I have forgotten that and taken for granted those little moments.

Like last night, in class, before class started at the gym, some regulars, some people who are always in class were talking, I was not listening in on their conversation at all but then one of them was like, well in order to do that, you have to live at the gym right? And he looked at me and I was like, “What?” I truly was not listening to them. And he said, “she said (nodding her head in the direction of the woman he was a conversation with), that she just wants to look like you and have your muscles. And I told her that she has to live at the gym then.” I smiled and laughed and said, well, yeah, you have to work hard. I far too often taken for granted that no matter how complacent you may become there is always someone out there who wants what you have. I mean, I want what I don’t have all the time, so I understand the concept completely. But it’s still humbling and nice to think that anyone would ever look at me and think that I am the “goal”. I feel so far off from the “goal” so to speak. But alas, if I can inspire anyone that is all I’ve ever really wanted.

It’s easy to be hard on yourself and start to see flaws in your 150 pound body, but it’s nice to step back every now and then and be reminded that other people might not see you as a flawed 150 pound fatty but instead simply see you as a strong in shape woman. I think that in the end I am not a stick thin skinny Minnie but that for a lot of women I am realistic and that is what is inspiring. I am not a 110 pound 24 year old with a body that has never been damaged by life. I was born with womanly curves. I have struggled and my body is a result of that struggle. I have hips. I have shape. I have muscle too. I am 34 years old. I am more realistic or a better image of what some of these women could obtain as an end result of hard work. No matter what they do, a 40 something year old woman who is overweight is never going to look like that 110 pound 24 year old. I will never look like her, despite many years thinking I should. I am not perfect but I am the best case scenario for your everyday real woman and I guess I have to embrace that as my place in the gym. I am the symbol for all those people who this does not come naturally for, the ones who have to fight, claw, scratch and bust their asses for their health. Nothing was ever handed to me genetically and there are more women who that is the truth for than not. I will be their symbol if that is what they need and embrace it with a smile and an encouraging word. You will never find me being anything but nice and positive to everyone at the gym. I will be your biggest supporter and cheerleader if you let me.

I got a little side tracked the last two months or so without even realizing it but I’m starting to pull it back in and put the pieces of the puzzle back together again. I do think that is life. I am happy. I should say that. I am happy. It’s Friday and that is also good. The sun is shining, it is rest day, so no gym for me and instead after work I am getting my nails done and that is happiness too.

I am in a good place. I am running another 13.1 this Sunday morning. This is my pre San Francisco run. I honestly felt like I needed a good long run before we headed to tackle the hills and somehow that ended up being another official half. But if I’m going to do a long run it might as well be official after all. BTW, I checked the forecast and it’s supposed to be beautiful all weekend. Thank goodness. A nice run thru Eugene is in store me Sunday then. Good times. Have a fabulous weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cardio bad

“Cause it’s your heart, it’s alive, it’s pumpin blood….”
Lyrics from the song, Pumpin blood by NONONO

And yes my long lost friends, this is my current obsession. One should realize I clearly must have an obsessive compulsive personality when I listen to a song on repeat for pretty much an entire day and I don’t get tired of it. That song is so ridiculously motivating. It makes me happy. It makes me want to celebrate all the good which I have to admit has been entirely hard to tap into lately.

I have to admit that I have been struggling the past two months. It was a slow silent descent into the world of eh. And suddenly I find myself lacking the same resolve I’ve had. But I suppose the big difference is that I have not quit doing what I do. I still am going to the gym day in and day out. I am still going thru all the proverbial motions which I guess is the important part. I can whole heartedly understand that you are not always going to feel amazing and great about every single thing. I sure do wish I had some of my bottled motivation from when I was on fire with it to break out for times like this.

I am struggling. There, I said it out loud. I honestly think it comes from a place of conflicted purposes or directions or goals. I have this gym world where everyone tells me strength, strength, strength. And then I have my head that tells me that at my core I am a runner. I love and appreciate strength and everything it does for me, but at the end of the day sometimes I just want to run. I want the freeing; mind blowing clarity that running gives me. What the hell is so wrong with being a runner? I feel too much pressure to try and coexist in these conflicting worlds. I guess that is what comes of being good friends with the trainer who constantly tells me cardio is bad, less cardio.

What results is a generally conflicted mindset that leaves me feeling, fuck it, let’s just eat. Yup, I said those words out loud. Thank God for continued workouts because they are the only thing keeping me in a relative normal weight range given my complete lack of concern for the foods I put in my mouth.

I have to accept some truths about myself; I am never going to be a stick thin skinny girl. I don’t believe that is ever what I wanted, I don’t. But it’s still hard to wrap my head around the idea that I am always going to be just a little bit thick. I have muscle which is cool, but it does seem to have settled my body at around 150 pounds. I am not exactly happy about this but also at the same time, I tend to not care. It’s hard to come to grips with the reality that apparently for the level of muscle I have and activity that I do, and therefore the hunger that it produces and the compensation with food, that I am just going to be 150 pounds. Is it really so bad to lift heavy as weights, eat what I want mostly and weigh 150 pounds? Not so much I guess. I have to believe that a lot of it is muscle. I am a logical girl and I realize that my 140 pound body that I always shoot for lacks this much muscle definition. These muscles are thick and dense; it’s just the way it is. I’m really not bitching, honestly. Just assessing the situation honestly.

Here is a direct text message conversation that occurred less than an hour ago with my friend, my trainer Amanda.

Amanda: I’m gonna make u a heavy lifting program
Me: If you make a heavy plan I will try and do it, I mean I probably should be lifting heavier than I do
Amanda: Yes, u gotta start lifting daily! Cut down the cardio too 
Me: That’s funny… You don’t want to see my race calendar for the year, it’s crazy… Lots of running…. Oops… But I can still lift more for sure… and not run in between my weekend races
Amanda: Cut back tho on the cardio cuz you won’t build if you do to much… cardio bad!!

Honestly this just put a big knot in my stomach. I am a people pleaser and so I want to try and do what she asks but honestly, I love my races for so many reasons that I am thinking she just can’t understand. And yes, there are a lot of them from here on out, like every other weekend for months. I am certain she would not approve, but at some point isn’t this supposed to be about making me happy?

I have to stop and take a step back and realize that the thing that brings me the most peace and makes me the most happy is running a half marathon and crossing the finish line. It’s the shared experiences with my husband. It’s the excitement surrounding the events. It’s the mind checking out and just running. Literally outrunning my issues, my problems. I love strength training and lifting heavy. But NOTHING brings me the clarity that a good run does. It just won’t ever. So should I really have to explain that to anyone. It’s my freaking life….

I believe that 100% cardio would be bad, but that is NOT what I do. I freaking lift heavy all the time. Last night I did 50 pound bicep curls. That’s a freaking lot to bicep curl. 12 reps, 3 times. I bench press 135 pounds, deadlift 110 or so. I lift heavy. My muscles are evidence of that. It’s not like all I do anymore is run. In fact I find myself missing it far more than I should. Like this last Tuesday night, gasp, I did NOT go to the gym and found myself coming home and going for an hour run outside instead. It was gorgeous out and I was feeling some mental baggage and stress so I decided the best possible decision for me was to run. And It was wonderful and beautiful and amazing and it made me feel so much better. It cleared out the crap in my head. A beautiful outdoor run is about more than exercise. It’s about mental health as well. How can that be wrong?

I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated by my desire to people please and the reality that I have to defend my running far too often in a place of health and wellness where running should not be looked down on so much.

I am not lying when I say I have a race calendar for the year that is literally full of events. Somehow 2014 has morphed into the year of the run. Funny that I run less now than I ever have and somehow running also dominates my time too. I love the races. I love the events. I love traveling. San Francisco is in 3 weeks. I am beyond excited to have that amazing experience and I won’t apologize for wanting to have those magical moments.

I appreciate building muscle. I appreciate how toned and muscular I look. But I am never going to be a fitness model. I am never going to be uber tiny and tight. That was not the cards I was dealt. The years of yo-yo dieting will never tone up some of the loose skin and I am managing with that, I am learning to enjoy my life despite of it all. I am embracing the happiness of life, the way one should, and focusing less of the imperfections of myself.

In the end I don’t want to spend hours fine tuning little muscle groups and focusing on tiny imperfections of skin and muscle development. Fuck, I’d rather go out and run and cheer on other women who are brave and strong enough to have an awesome experience, despite whatever their perceived imperfections may be. That’s the thing about running, I see so many women out there who are amazing and have varying skills, weights, speeds, size, shape, goals. And they are all amazing and brilliant no matter what.

I guess I feel like I have dabbled the last 8 months in the world of extreme high stakes pressure of weight lifting and while I’m standing on the edge of going the route of the true gym rat something is holding me back and I guess I’m just trying to decide if that really is the ultimate end all for me. I am thinking it’s not. I am thinking that in the end, I am not ONLY a runner, or am I ONLY a body builder, or am I ONLY a gym rat or am I ONLY one thing. I am far too many things to give up any of it. Perhaps I will never be great at any one single thing as a result, but I can just be happy being able to do lots of activities that I love. I am almost 35 years old. I think its okay to accept my imperfections and be happy that this girl can do any of the things I am doing today. I don’t have to be perfect at any of it. I just have to love what I’m doing.

I also think in the end I might have missed this place a little more than I realized. I think I need to make more of a concentrated effort to write more again because it does help me mentally talk thru this shit that I’ve been struggling with. So more writing again.

I have to not be afraid to disappoint someone else if it is not in my best interests. I am terrified of telling Amanda that I can’t do something, but honestly I don’t see how I can give up my racing. I love it FAR too much. I’m not perfect by any means but it gives me a real sense of accomplishment and pride in myself. I want to be able to one day look back at 2014 as that one crazy year where I ran all those races. I think that is going to be bring me such an amazing feeling of satisfaction and pride, far greater than spending another hour in the gym lifting heavy shit will.

Although there is no part of me that is giving up the gym, I will never be able to go back to the life I previously knew of running day in and day out. I am freed of the mental torment and torture that I used to inflict upon myself. I am now able to appreciate and love running for the good things it gives me. I have the gym to thank for that honestly.

I’ve been struggling with some of these conflicting feelings and it’s got to be about time to get over it and accept what I am. Who I am. And allow myself to choose my own happiness first and foremost. Stress does no one any good. And believe me I have enough of that without having to introduce ridiculous unneeded stress into my life.

So there you go, I may just have to tell her that I love her and adore her and will do what I can, I will lift heavy and work hard, but I also have no intention of giving up my running because it means so much more to me than she can ever understand. I am a runner. I have always been a runner and I will always be a runner. Up and down my entire life with my weight but for a solid 10 years I always return to running. It is in my blood. I was meant to run and I certainly can’t give it up. End of story.

Besides I’ve already spent like a million dollars in race fees and travel for all the running so it’s not happening that I’m giving it up. It is simply going to have to work into the other plans. This is my choice. I just need to get my head into a better mental place. I honestly don’t think I run enough, I think my head misses the endorphins. I think I should probably run more, but I shouldn’t say that out loud should I?

Guess it’s a good thing that I am running another half on Sunday, but sshhh… I haven’t told Amanda that just yet. I refuse to believe running is BAD. I just refuse to believe it.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sore as Hell

Sore as fuck. This is simply the best way to describe what I am experiencing right now this moment. Wednesday night in personal training we did back which ultimately led to a ridiculous amount of heavy lat pull downs. And then rows with 25 pound weights. The lat pull downs are literally pulling 100 pounds of weight down repeatedly. Ultimately when your back muscles fail you your arm muscles start to take over. Both my triceps and biceps are stinging every bit as much as my back is right now. In all fairness it’s not directly my back as much as my sides and what is often classified as the “wings” of my back. They are all sore to the touch. And yet, in a weird irony of life I keep wanting to touch them because they are in screaming pain and I think they want to me massaged ever so gently, expect all this does is produce pain and a little cry escapes my mouth that says “ouch”… and I repeat the vicious cycle over and over again.

This is the agonizing ecstasy that is heavy weight training. Pure hell and pure pleasure all wrapped up into one. Yes, in a nutshell, sore as fuck. I believe I asked for this and sort of live off the high that this shit produces. Ultimately it means that I am resting today, as Friday has always been my rest day. I do think that I need it. I am kind of counting down the hours until the end of the workday. About 3 and a half to go and that is happiness for me. Tonight is also Friday night date night with my husband and we are going to Olive Garden. This is also why at points I feel like I am spinning out of control and then at points I could care less. I bust ass most of the time in the gym I guess so that I can go out to dinner and eat breadsticks when I want. It’s a fair trade off at this point in my life for me.

I am not one of those over the top crazy girls (well yes I am most of the time), but one of those who won’t eat a single bad thing. I’ve just never been that girl. I can force myself to lose weight but that ultimately is not a single bit realistic, so I eat. I am learning to be okay with the body that it produces for me as a result. I am an exercise junkie and a food junkie and they seem to balance each other out. Said the girl who is so ridiculously sore that she keeps saying ouch, ouch repeatedly…. When I just move.

Also said the girl who has an entire calendar dedicated to upcoming half marathons. I can honestly say I have never been a girl who has a year in advance calendar with anything on it. In 34 years of life I have never planned my life this far ahead. I have a complete 2014 calendar marked up with races that most of which are paid for and planned. I have to attest to the fact that I love that I so confidently can purchase race entry fees for events in September/October/November and whole heartedly believe that I will be in running shape at this time. I don’t even worry about that. This is quite progress for me. Also, I realized the other day that October 5 of this year will be my 2 year anniversary this time around. As I have never had a 2 year weight loss anniversary that is kind of exciting, but as I was looking at my race calendar I realized that on October 5, 2014 I will be running a half marathon in San Jose. What a cool ass way to celebrate 2 years of this change. Awesome!!!

I am that living proof that anything is possible, no matter how many times you have failed and succeeded and failed at this, at anything really. Never give up because any single time, any single moment can be different.

Did I mention that I have literally blown past my 14 races in 2014 as I had predicted, I kind of go full force all the time. As of this minute I am literally signed up for 18 half marathons, paid for and all. I mean 4 of those are already completed and in the books so that means another 14 to run. Cause that’s just what I do. I have this goal in my mind, this end game that I see and I decide I will achieve it. Right now it’s that mental image of me with all those medals around my neck, culminating a yearlong addiction/obsession/commitment to running. Guess I’m making up for the 10 years prior where I dabbled with running but never actually ran organized events. In true Emily gusto we go for the gold medal full force. All or nothing. The complete story of my life.

Anyhow, I am glad it’s Friday. I am glad its rest day. I am glad I get to go out to dinner to the Olive Garden tonight. I am glad I have a weekend and I don’t even have any real plans. I am glad for a lot of things today. Definitely feeling better than yesterday which was better than Monday or Tuesday. And as far as that goes, I will take it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rain and Shit Storm

I shall not lie; the last couple weeks have been rough on me. I think I started out okay but somewhere along the line my attitude just started sucking and the avoidance of things starting kicking in. I am sure it’s not nearly as horrible as I played it out to be in my mind but this last Monday and Tuesday were terrible rough for me and I almost had a mini mental breakdown. I hate those. It is all stupid and completely my doing. It is a case of applying too much pressure to myself and having far too many things on my metaphorical plate. In a nutshell, reached my breaking point and wanted to shut down.

What I hate about this scenario is it’s entirely my own doing. There is nothing really going on causing this stress. Nothing major or in particular happened. It’s just a lot of little things that ultimately led to a giant, I am fucking tired and I mentally am checking out. Did I also mention that the rain is nonstop and horrendous and it’s driving me batty and depressing the fuck out of me. I completely understand that a vast part of our nation is still covered by snow which really blows and therefore I should not complain about the rain but it’s just crazy depressing.

Sunday I ran another half marathon that was the most ridiculous unbearable run of my entire life. It was not just raining, it was a freaking monsoon. It was rain like I haven’t seen in a while mixed with winds that were intense and crazy and of course blowing the rain directly onto my face and body pelting me with what I am pretty certain was hail at some points. It was heavy. This particular race was at the Oregon Coast and I am pretty sure that cold and rain and wind is more intense at the ocean. Whatever. It didn’t start out that horrific or else I might have honestly bagged the whole thing. When we started running it was only raining and I could deal with that. I ran solidly for 6-7 miles as the weather worsened. Then, the dark skies and nasty weather took its toll on me and I had to stop at a rest stop for a drink of water. And as if the earth parted and the skies decided it was now time to torture those people on that lonely highway, it started monsooning. I tried to run. I would run a stretch and then walk. I was freezing. Like a freezing you would not believe, my fingers were literally numb they were so cold. Not to mention that I was getting soaked thru and thru.

As I passed the mile 9 mark I wanted to cry, I still had 4 miles left of this torture and even running that was a minimum of 40 more minutes and I was not solidly running at that point. It literally took every ounce of mental strength I have ever had in my entire life to keep moving forward. Minute after minute ticked by and I was a drowned cold mess. At some point I realized that when I tried to run my feet hurt. Like I knew my sock was rubbing hardcore against my soaked shoe. Excellent times. I kept going. I kept telling myself that I have to finish and the more energy I can expend to get to the finish line is one less second I have to spend outside in this horror. Of course, that did not come easy by any means.

I pushed on. I hit Mile 11 and was like okay, 2 more miles. I always drop that last tenth of a mile when I am computing distance because once you reach mile 13, that last tenth is like nothing. So 2 more miles. And I tried to run and it was at this moment with 1000 percent wet water logged socks and shoes, as if I had just dipped them in a swimming pool for an hour, I realized that running was going to be near impossible as there was now pain. The pain in terms of blisters cascading across the bottoms of my feet. Sure enough, post-race, I was greeted to blisters unlike any I had ever seen, giant quarter sized ones that were painful to the touch. But I did run. I made myself run a stretch, and then I’d walk.

I pushed thru. Even though I swear I was moving at a snail’s pace because I was numb as fuck. When I got to close to Mile 13 the relief I felt was only overshadowed by the horror of what I had just done. Surely, I am so close now. The problem is, somewhere around mile 12.5 and 13 the route distance was off. My Garmin had been dead on with their mileage count the entire race. I hit mile 13 and that familiar feeling of relief kicked in, cause now it’s only a tenth of a mile, I am practically done. The problem is, they freaking lied. My tenth of a mile came and went and I was not at the finish line. Then another tenth of a mile ticked by. Now I am pissed. I have never been so pissed off during a race. And then to make matters worse another tenth of a mile ticked by. When I finally saw the finish line my Garmin told me it was 13.35 miles. LIARS! Normally I would not sweat this stuff but on this particular horrific day that extra quarter mile was quite upsetting. But I crossed the line, full well knowing my worst half time was being recorded officially in the books.

I tried to grapple with some harsh realities. I always swore I knew that one day I would have a bad one. And yet, getting my brain to forgive myself for what I considered mentally giving up was tough. Funny how I consider it a failure or a mental quit because I could not force myself to run every step of it. The fact that I had to walk parts of it just plain pissed me off. Somehow I felt like a failure. In the end my time was 2 hours 30 minutes and a few seconds. The weekend before I ran my half in 2 hours 11 minutes, but as a rule I tend to say that I run them around 2 hours 15 minutes and I am thrilled with that. So in reality I was only 15 minutes off of my normal pace despite some of the worst conditions I could ever imagine. So in hindsight, perhaps I didn’t do as horrifically awful as I thought I did. Yes, I walked far more than I have ever walked, but it couldn’t have been that awful as it only added an extra 15 minutes. I should be proud of just finishing which part of me is. Honestly, I wanted to quit. I was cold and wet and hurting but I finished.

In the end I did get a nice medal so I guess that is something. This one sucked. This one sucked all of my faith out of my desire to run half’s, but I’ve been grappling with the notion that I know in my heart I still love running these things and this one just happened to be a bad one. A particularly horrific run, but it does not define the entire experience for me. It was just a bad run. Not a bad sport, not a bad life you know.

This haze of mental funk continued thru the rest of the day Sunday and then carried into parts of Monday and Tuesday. I decided for the first time ever since joining the gym that I did not want to go and I bagged on going to the gym Monday night. That does NOT happen to me. Quite honestly it scared the shit out of me. I went Tuesday night but couldn’t muster up any desire at all and only managed about 20-30 minutes of lifting weights before I left. So ridiculously unlike me and it scared the crap out of me. I immediately went to my mom’s house where I vented for an hour about my lack of motivation. I tried to put things into perspective, which is always helpful. So what if I took off Monday and Tuesday from exercise. Really??? Why I am such a winey bitch? I mean, when I go back on the calendar for the past two weeks, from February 22 up to Tuesday, March 4… I exercised 8 out of the 11 days including 2 half marathons. So that means I took off a whole whopping 3 days, 2 of which happened to be Monday and Tuesday because apparently what I’m not realizing is that I am burning myself out. So cut myself some slack for not feeling it Monday and Tuesday. It’s not exactly like I’ve been a complete slacker. Geesh.

I did go last night and had a personal training session and then an hour of Iron Power class, all of which kicked my ass, made me lift hard and heavy and consequently left me feeling VERY amazing. Something that I was lacking lately and reminded me that I do love this shit. I sometimes need a good reminder of my love for this life. I got that last night so I have to forgive myself much more than I do.

Honestly taking off Monday and Tuesday were probably necessary as my body was clearly telling me to give myself a break. I feel better today, after going hard last night and feel a little more mentally on track.

With all that said, and the horrors of this last run, I am not letting any of it stop me from my goals and aspirations. I have also determined that I am completely in love with the large organized runs of the Rock and Roll marathon series. So much so that Chris and I have decided to go for the gusto and run some more of them. I have already signed up for San Diego in June. Yup, signed up for the race, purchased plane tickets and a hotel room and that is happening. We will also be doing San Jose in October, but clearly it’s too early at this point to really make definite travel arrangements, but that is going to happen. My next half is April 6 when I run across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. That shall be epic and I am certain return some of my missing love of not only the half marathon but of running in general.

Actually March 15 I am going to walk a 5k with my mom and sister. Sure, I could run a 5k, but that is not the point. The point is that my mom and sister are going to do it and I promised to stay by their side and help them along, so I shall be walking with them. That is much more meaningful to me anyway, than just running 3 miles. I think that will be a good time.

I’ve also been dealing with my older sister and her divorce stuff and it’s so sad and constantly changing and unknown and I think that mentally is taking a toll on me as well. I mean, it’s so sad and I need to be there for her as she has always been there for me and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Everything in life cycles. Up and down. I shall get thru all this, I guarantee it.

Photos from Sunday, sitting in the car before I became a drowned rat, and then the cool medal I got and the VERY bright shirt.... :)