Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Training Away

I have actually had an overall pretty busy 24 hours actually.  I mean since I last posted.  Things have gotten kind of crazy in my world.  But sometimes are like that.  This morning at work has been a giant bear of a day. Putting out one fire after the next. Seems like non stop all morning, but alas, I think it’s finally calmed down enough to breath and take a moment to write.  Yesterday afternoon I actually felt pretty good about hitting the gym. This is somewhat rare these days. Typically by 5 PM my energy and desire tend to dwindle but I still go, because I am kind of crazy intense like that. I have this crazy giant phobia of missing out a single tick on my marathon training plan.

This is why I have decided that the marathon training plan has shockingly been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I mean the decision to actually follow one.  And it’s funny because the thing that has always held me back in part somewhat from attempting a marathon was the training plan.  I didn’t want to be so locked into anything.  Probably because I know my personality and my over the top obsessive compulsive-ness would require me to be so diligent and I was afraid that it would drive me insane.  Turns out I love it.  Turns out ticking off runs on my plan is like one of the best feelings of accomplishment I could have.  Also, it makes me work harder and do things that I otherwise would not do.  I.E., even when I don’t feel like it I run. Even the little 3 milers.  Honestly it has been a very fabulous thing for me overall. 

So here is the deal, I went to the gym.  I didn’t have a clear plan other than you know that 3 miler I needed to do.  I was immediately greeted by Amanda because well she’s there.  Anyway she’s like are you taking my class? Amanda always has a class.  Like Monday thru Thursday night there is typically a 30-45 minute class that she teaches.  They each have a focus or are considered something different but effectively in a nutshell they are all versions of kind of the same thing. A series of exercises, repeated in multiple sets.  The reason they work is that because typically they are not probably exercises I want to do or would choose to do on my own so it makes me get in a few other things that are probably good for me.  Hello burpies much.  Or Ab exercises.  Have I ever mentioned my disdain for ab exercises?  For some reason I truly hate them.

Anyhow, so I decided for lack of a better plan that I would take the 5:30 class since it was only half an hour and then I could run my 3 miles post class and that would be good enough for me for the night. (Silly Emily thinking this would be sufficient!)  Anyhow.  Class.  Yes, class was circuit style cardio moves, body weighted.  Think jumping jacks, plank jacks, burpies, jumping squats, push ups, and abs. Yes, spider planks, and v ups.  30 seconds each exercise, done a total of 3 rounds.  30 minutes and I was dripping sweat.  Okay, so that started the night off in a sweaty fashion, but hey, I was warmed up.  So onto the treadmill I went.  It wasn’t my best run, but it wasn’t my worst.  I knew I needed to hit my 3 mile mark according to my plan so that is what I did.  Hence the loving the training plan because I promise you that without having that mental need to hit 3 miles, I probably would have quit sooner.  Especially on week nights like that. It’s hard. But I did it.  Actually I did 3.25 miles well because I was two tenths of a mile away from being up another mile on my training plan. Don’t ask, its complicated. Regardless, I did 3.25 miles. 

At this point all I had done was basically cardio and I was feeling good, and done with cardio so I decided what the hell let’s throw in a little chest/triceps workout.  Nothing fancy, nothing planned out.  Just did some chest presses, triceps dips, chest flys, triceps extensions, etc.  Nothing too fancy, 4 rounds of each thing.  And then after about 30 minutes I was pretty much done.  I had sufficiently exercised to my satisfaction and wanted to call it.  I didn’t think my chest workout was going to be all that effective but I was wrong as my sore ass chest today will contest to.  I was like ouch, why does that hurt.  And then  I remembered I lifted some heavy weights last night and intentionally tried to hurt those chest muscles. Crazy.  So the workout was good.

And then I came home and everything seemed really pumped up so I went ahead and did selfies. For the love of God someone stop me already.  I feel embarrassed to keep taking these but seriously, last night everything looked like it was on fire and holy hell.

So, here is the thing that makes the marathon training plan like gold to me.  It can make me do things that I would otherwise think were unimaginable.  It’s really actually ridiculous how much I let it influence me.  Because today starts the next “phase” of my training plan. Part 3, which is called the going further distance.  For me it’s not really that much further because I keep running stupid half marathons almost weekly.  But nonetheless what it means is that for the next 6 or 7 weeks my weekly runs consist of a combo of 3 miles/6.5 miles/3 mile runs.  As opposed to the 3 mile/4.5 mile/3 mile combo they were sitting at before.  So now I must run a 6.5 mile run mid week.  6.5 miles isn’t a crazy excessive distance but it’s enough you know. It’s enough that realistically that’s all I would really want to do in a night. But that doesn’t work for me entirely because I end up forced into a weird dilemma.  The dilemma being that if I am going to run 6.5 miles I certainly don’t want to do it on the treadmill. That seems like a long run for a treadmill. Boy how mind frames have shifted right?  Anyway, 6.5 on a treadmill feels like it would be torture.  I’d do it if I HAD to, but there are other options.  Of course running outside being the big option.  But it’s hot. Like way to hot to run outside in the evening when I have my free time.

Too hot for running in the evening, plus I typically have other evening plans.  So really this leaves me with option 3 which is usually a last resort for me.  Wake my ass up early, like before work and run.  Waking up and immediately running is awful. Like my  body hasn’t had time to wake up enough to consider running so I knew I had to wake up, give myself at least 30-45 minutes to actually wake up and then run.  This means EARLY for me.  Yes, for most people this is not early at all, but I am not a morning person.  The only thing in the world that apparently can get me to wake up before work for is a scheduled 6.5 mile run.  Because I really must tick all the boxes right?

So with steadfast determination, I woke my ass up at like 5:45 AM. I just laid there in bed for 15 minutes on my phone having an internal conversation with myself about if I should really do this or not. How necessary was this? Was there another alternative somewhere?  And finally I got up.  I felt like crap because it was early and all. I told myself I really just needed to be out the door at like 6:30 AM or so.  So I made coffee. Yes, coffee will help.  I put on my workout clothes that I very intentionally set out the night before, for no excuses and all.  And I walked around and allowed myself to wake up.  Coffee helped.  It helped a lot actually.  And while I procrastinated quite a bit, eventually at about 6:40 I headed out the door.  I told myself that I would be happy if I could manage a 5 mile run. I would accept that.  I could either make up the other 1.5 miles tonight or else I had already exceeded my mileage in every capacity on my plan so missing the 1.5 miles wouldn’t be too big of a deal.  Just 5 miles I said.   And out the door I went.

The first 3-5 minutes were rough.  And then something magical happened and I remembered why I love running. I remembered why running in cool air with a breeze was blissful. I remembered why morning runs (so long as you are properly awake) are seriously amazing! My body felt good. I didn’t feel nearly as sluggish as I have on other attempts at morning running. I didn’t feel as sluggish as I do trying to force out some evening runs even.  I felt wonderful and alive and peaceful and euphoric all the best parts about running.  It really was a very good thing. I felt so happy just to be running.  I know it sounds cheesy but it felt like possibly the best thing I could ever do for myself. To wake up and run in this lovely perfect running weather and enjoy life to the fullest.

So I ran.  And I ran some more.  Not my fastest run, not my slowest.  Just good enough. The first miles were ran faster of course.  And I hit like mile 3, mile 4 went by and I approached mile 5.  I wasn’t near my house and I was like, nah, you are feeling just good enough that let’s just go for the whole 6.5 miler.  So on I ran.  I was getting tired by the time 6.5 approached and I neared my house. Thankful that I was done at this point. But feeling highly accomplished, happy and downright blissful.

But then I remembered that I probably started a smidge too late for a full 6.5 mile run and time was not on my side.  Yup, it was almost 8 AM and I needed to be to work at 8:30. Although I am never to work at 8:30.  So I went in, and quickly tried to accomplish everything that needed to occur post run- getting ready for work.  I have to say in my scramble I didn’t do too bad. I figured it was worth being an extra 15 minutes late for work to get in the last part of my run. But in actuality I’m typically 15 minutes late for work most days so at least this day had a valid reason behind it.

So there you have it, I freaking ran 6.5 miles this morning before work.  I am certain my blissful run had a lot to do with actually allowing myself 45 minutes or so to be up and moving before forcing the run.  I actually enjoyed it so much that I would consider doing this again and maybe I might just have to wake up a little earlier so that I don’t feel as rushed at the end.  But with that said, I probably have about 6-7 more weeks of this schedule on my training plan so I am thinking this might end up having to be a weekly occurrence anyway. I am not really sure how I am actually going to get in the long runs otherwise.  Plus there is something infinitely nice about having already ran 6.5 miles before my day even started. To not having it linger over my head all day long. Knowing as the day ticks by and I get more and more tired physically that I still have to go run 6.5 miles.  That’s insanity. So perhaps once a week I will have to force myself out of bed and schedule a 6.5 mile morning run.  I think I can handle it if they all go remotely even close to how today went.

And running this morning frees up my evening tonight to go to the gym and take Amanda’s 5:30-6:00 PM class to then immediately be followed by a 6 PM personal training session where we will be do doing back and biceps.  So I am fully prepared for my back to be on fire tomorrow and the following day really.  This is all good stuff because I kill it today and then I can start to tape down Wednesday and Thursday in my exercise before Friday rest day and a 4th of July half marathon on Saturday.  This means that between tomorrow and Thursday night I only have to do one more 3 mile run. That seems easy peasy after the runs I’ve done lately.  Actually Saturday I did 10 miles, Sunday 4 miles, Monday 3 miles and Tuesday 6.5 miles.  That’s kind of mileage heavy.  So classes tonight.  I can take class Wednesday and Thursday night now and just sneak in a treadmill run on one of them. 

Plus my mood is infinity better today as a result of that awesome run this morning.  I mean, why wouldn’t it be?  I ran 6.5 miles and burned  679 calories today already.  Yeah me.  So there you have it.  I am killing it lately.  I am getting my shit done. 

I had this thought this morning while I was running actually, that I wish I could freeze frame this period of time in my life right now because this whole time frame is pure bliss. This is perfection.  This is happiness. This is what happiness looks and feels like.  This is me, loving myself, loving my body, loving my life.  Fulfilling my dreams, accomplishing my goals.  That I promise you this, this period of time, while training for my first marathon on Maui.  (Yes, going to Maui I am certain has something to do with it) that this period of time I will always look back fondly at as like the pinnacle perfection so to speak. I hope its not the highlight of my life. I hope to have years and years of happiness and contentment.  But I just want to savor this, soak it all up and enjoy it.  This is such happiness to me.  All of it.  I feel so good. I feel so good about myself and my life and what I’m doing. 

Ticking those boxes off on the marathon training plan is giving me this sense of accomplishment that I am working towards some greater picture that has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  I never would have imagined.  I ran all the time, but its seeing it all there in list form, that is truly giving me a sense of accomplishment.  It’s like with every single run crossed off I am gaining more and more confidence and feeling better and better.  I truly think it’s the mental fortitude of sticking to a goal.  Setting a goal, crossing the items of the list and eventually ultimately obtaining said goal.  It’s beyond rewarding.  Plus this goal is so freaking trackable. They aren’t all like that. 

This is it. I am living the life I want. The life I have always dreamed of. Loving myself. All of myself.  And I am guessing all these freaking running endorphins and runners high are probably playing a big part in my feeling of self-love.  But come on.  Since May 6, since starting this training plan I have ran 224 miles.  That’s pretty cool. 

All right enough with the crazy high talk right now.  It’s lunch time and I need to eat.  I am one hungry girl!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Lift heavy things!

Here's a fun one that illustrates my point exactly.  This first photo was around August 2013 when I was my thinnest (135 lbs???) Definitely between 135-140. I look small. Looking at this I look small. This is while at the gym but still not lifting that heavy yet. And then this photo was yesterday, at about 147 pounds but clearly much more muscular. I like the 2nd picture so much more!!! Lift heavy things said the runner!

Part 2: The weekend

Part 2: My actual weekend

Okay, so now that I’ve got the vain, yet happy part about self-love and body image out of the way I can talk about my actual weekend.  Friday night I came home and Chris wanted to go out for dinner. We ended up at Chang’s Mongolian Grill. You know one of those places where you pick out all the veggies and meats and then they cook it up on the grill in front of you.  I’d say that 80% of what I ate was just veggies. Heaping piles of vegetables but then I did have some turkey, chicken, and salmon.  I had some noodles but I tried to limit that.  And then of course for good measure I had to throw on peanut crumbles on the top.  I had 2 plates. I was full. And then of course they give you vanilla ice cream laced with caramel and peanuts for dessert. And then once we ate that, they brought us another one. I ate it too.  Oh well.  Still couldn’t have been all that bad.  Mostly vegetables.

The plan for Saturday was to wake up at a decent time, which for us was pretty much our normal weekly time and then get ready and drive an hour to the Oregon Coast for the day to run.  I was honestly terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to make myself do a long run all on my own. Honestly I never have. Not really. It’s easy to run long distances when you are in a race. Doing a half provides all the necessary adrenalin and motivation one needs.  Powering thru mileage all by yourself is daunting.  But I was pretty adamant to Chris that I needed to do this long run if nothing else to prove to myself that I could make it happen.  I think that is always the most important part.  But here’s the thing, Saturday was supposed to be like 102-104 degrees here. This is rare for us and hot.  I had zero desire to run in that.  So Lincoln City Oregon bound we were.

We ended up leaving at like 9 AM or 10 AM or somewhere in between.  I was expecting the drive to be horrible as everyone and there brother was probably headed to the beach to stay cool but I was shocked to see the drive wasn’t bad at all. We made it there in what seemed like a blink of the eye.  The next task was to find a route to run. We drove a little before deciding that the best thing to do was look up the Lincoln City half marathon we ran in 2014 and see that route.  I easily located it on the internet and we headed to that area.  This turned out to be an excellent decision. In a nutshell we ran 10 miles of 13.1 of the official Lincoln City half marathon course.

The course was off the beaten path, not insanely hilly and was scenic along a river.  It was a beautiful perfect temperature when we started running.  I should note we drove the course first and hid water bottles along the course for us. This ended up being a wise decision and the only regret is that we didn’t hide before because it ended up getting hot even for the coast.  So we parked and got out and I was like, okay am I really doing this? Yes, I’m doing this.  And off we went.  It is hard to really push yourself on your own though.  I have to admit to not running my fastest overall or really caring that I wasn’t running my fastest.  But I guess I didn’t need to run my fastest.  For lack of anywhere else to run we chose this course but about 6 of the 10 miles were run in gravel and in hindsight that was probably stupid.  Running in gravel is hard. Extra hard. I endured well enough but it did slow me down.  I know it slowed me down because on the return trek back to the car as soon as I hit the paved ground I instantly sped up and this was at like mile 8 and I should have been more tired and yet I cranked it up a notch on paved ground. 

I have no complaints about the run.  I did it.  That is the magical happy part of all of it.  I freaking made myself run 10 miles just because.  Work around the obstacles.  This gives me hope for a few of those extra-long runs I have on the plan in August.  We shall see though. One weekend at a time. So after we were done I felt amazing. Proud and accomplished.

We then headed to the beach and walked around for a while before realizing we were starving.  So off to Subway we went. Yes, this is a stupid choice for the coast but honestly I didn’t want to eat shitty and most of the little restaurants were not healthy and busy and expensive and at least I knew what I was getting at Subway.  I really wanted to try this weekend to stay on point with my nutrition because I seem to fail pretty much every weekend. We walked around downtown, went into a few shops.  Honestly it was wonderful. It was a great perfect day. 

Sunday morning I was lazy lazy.  I got up and didn’t want to do anything.  I knew I was going to go to the gym but everyone who would have wanted to work out with me had plans so I knew I was on my own which sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation for.  It took me forever to get started with the day.  Chris had to work so I was really on my own.

EVENTUALLY like at 12:30 or 1:00 I made my way to the gym. It was completely empty.  It is a 24 hour gym so you can scan your card and get in, but I was the only person there.  This is lovely because you get the place to yourself, but hard too because all your motivation must be internal.  I started with a warm up run which turned into me feeling awesome on the treadmill and just running. 4 mile run.  Not too shabby. I felt great.  And then I did some legs.  I’m not going to lie it wasn’t as good as it could have been.  Like I can probably still do more legs because I didn’t really max myself out. But at least I put in some effort, right?

So I came home and pretty much spent the rest of the night fucking around.  Showered, took selfies, you know how that goes. For dinner I had a chicken/avocado sandwich and it was amazing and spectacular.  I have been really trying lately to eat a little better. Perhaps that is why I am “feeling” so much better. Things are responding to the good I am doing for myself. More “real” food if that is possible for me. I am a processed food kind of gal unfortunately so I suppose when I try and incorporate more real stuff my body likes it and rewards me.

All I know is that I am generally on such a high right now that I want to keep going and see where I can get before Maui.  I have kind of mentally decided that weighing myself is retarded yet again.  It’s retarded when you first lose weight because your body needs more time and your brain needs more time to adjust. It’s also retarded when you don’t really lose that much because your brain has a hard time handling the lack of movement.  So I think I will weigh myself next Thursday because its July 2 and then I’m going to try and go cold turkey until August. Technically I have 12 Thursday’s until Maui. So 12 weeks until I get to hit the beach.  I’d love to feel this good about myself then, hell I’d love to feel better about myself.  I’d like to see what I can accomplish by then both physically and mentally. Certainly I will be sticking to my marathon training plan so that has got to help.

I also realistically know that I will eat a ton of crap food between now and then as well. It’s life. I like food. I eat out.  It happens. But you can still do all those things and love your body and lose weight or tone up.  Just nothing in crazy excess. 

So I have one more topic I really want to talk about but I am thinking I shall save it for tomorrow since I’ve already written a ton as I knew I was going to. Monday’s are always a large weekend recap post so it’s a lot at once.

Part 1: My body rocks! (Self-esteem) Magical Happiness

Brace yourself this is going to be an incredibly long one as it was honestly quite an eventful weekend for a non-event weekend. I might break it down into a bunch of different sections though.

I may just call this one my weekend in pictures because yes, I took a damned lot of selfies.  I feel utterly embarrassed at times by my apparent obsession with photographing myself but I seem to not be able to help myself. I keep trying to rationalize it with the idea that in a nutshell I just keep taking the photos because I can’t believe the image that is reflected back to me.  Somehow I think that this can’t possibly be real and therefore I must keep taking photos in different situations, different lights, different outfits, anything to confirm what I’m seeing or more importantly show me the “real” me that I swear can’t possibly look like this.  It’s all very convoluted and messed up inside my head.  As anyone would expect someone who undergoes a serious transformation to possess messed up body image issues. The funny thing is, you’d think after 11 years of doing this I might understand the process a little better.  Apparently I don’t.

It’s not like this is the first time I’ve ever lost weight or looked like this.  I’ve been thinner technically on the scale at many other points in my life. I actually think I’ve been thinner in actuality as well.  I know this because I’m fairly certain the thinnest I ever got was around the time of my gallbladder surgery like 6 or so years ago.  I am guessing, I only vaguely remember. I remember being at like 132 pounds. I remember being frail and sickly. Of course I thought I looked okay at the time. Never thin enough you know.  But family members tell me I didn’t look all that good. Of course this was actually kind of true because that was 132 pound empty shell of a woman who had just lost all the weight and hadn’t picked up a single weight to make any strides to improve the appearance of my body.  I whole heartedly believe that is the biggest difference.  I also know in actuality I have been smaller because again when I started on this journey again in October of 2012 and initially lost all the weight, around June, July, August somewhere in there of 2013 (so about 2 years ago) I remember being 135 pounds. I had just barely started strength training at the gym and I know my size 6 old navy jeans were getting too loose and I bought a bunch of size 4’s. Again, I am not totally sure that I was as muscular as I am today. Logically speaking I now I could not have been given it was 2 years ago and I’ve done nothing in the last 2 years but pretty damned consistently lift so there is sure to be gains.

Anyway, my point is that for forever the size 4’s just don’t fit.  Size 6 is great. Been wearing those for the last 2 years pretty much all the time but the size 4’s were a brief period of time in my life where clearly I was at my “smallest”.  Well anyway, yesterday I was able to put on a pair of the size 4’s and probably could wear them.  But they might be just a tiny bit too snug for my liking.  Like squeezing into something that I shouldn’t really.  And today I am wearing size 6’s, and they are just a little bit too big for my liking.  So I am right there, somewhere in between the 4 and 6.  What this ultimately means is that while the numbers on the scale are not anywhere close to the 135 pounds that I was when I was wearing the size 4’s, by body is getting closer to that size.   And I honestly believe this.

I know this is all so convoluted but in my brain I’m trying to sort it out. Thus the excessive picture taking. No one ever claimed this was an easy or simple journey or once you reached any particular place you’d ever been done with any of it.  This is a lifelong struggle and battle.

This is what I realized yesterday. After a lot of picture taking and disbelief over what I’ve started to see in the mirror.  I am beyond a shadow of a doubt, inexplicitly the happiest I’ve ever been with my body right now. Today.  This is such an important statement/feeling that it bears repeating.

I am beyond a shadow of a doubt, inexplicitly the happiest I’ve ever been with my body right now.

Yes, I realized this weekend, yesterday in particular that I actually really truly am happy with how I look. For the first time I believe ever in my entire life.  This is something that I feel like I have only been able to achieve not because of muscles or exercise or sweat or any superficial reason but because I have learned to love myself.  To accept my imperfections. To love my flaws. To find the beauty in myself.  I am not perfect. There will always be things that are less than ideal, but this body is amazing and magical and so freaking strong both physically and mentally that how on earth could I not love it?

I want to freeze frame this time right now, this period of my life where I have come to love myself and my body just as it is because I am afraid that this feeling will fade away. That I will become negative or disillusioned with my body and I will start to tear myself down.  I pray that doesn’t happen.  I think this is part of the whole self-love thru selfie project.  Yes, if I can take pictures that I feel good about myself in then I can look past my imperfections.  I can embrace the confident, sexy, curvy, muscular happy 36 year old woman I have become.  My body rocks.  Yup, this is worthy of repeating again, My body rocks!  I never ever thought I’d say those words.  I have beautiful hard earned muscles.  At the weight/body make-up I am presently at, my abs are really starting to come out again.  And I feel so strong and sexy.  I feel like a beautiful mature woman who isn’t afraid of her own self.  Things any version of any part of me in my twenties was terrified of.

I don’t want to come off as vain or shallow of self-obsessed which is what I fear most of the time. That I am the world’s most narcissistic woman who can’t stop looking at herself. And then I try and preface that with but it’s because I am in shock with how I look or that it’s coming from a lifetime of being so unsure or uncomfortable with myself and then my brain instantly shifts to maybe that’s some bullshit excuse I tell myself to actually give into the vain part of myself.  Who doesn’t like being pretty or attractive? Who doesn’t like taking sexy pictures and actually believing you are sexy and in turn getting compliments?  Is that so horrible? This does lead me to a whole other topic that I want to talk about that happened this weekend but that is another post all together because this one is already going to be way to long.

So yes, I am learning to love myself, my curves, my figure, my fit hot rocking body. And why the hell not, I mean, I worked really hard to get where I am.  I have put in years’ worth of physically and emotional work to be this girl today.  One should note that the emotional/mental part is the harder part to conquer.  I am still working very hard on that. But as I type I feel amazing about my body and happy with the progress and everything I see. And truly whole-heartedly believe this is the best I’ve ever looked.  The numbers or percentages or anything else may not entirely reflect that but I know deep down in my soul that it’s the truth.  Because ultimately the sexiest thing about a woman is confidence.  And that is something that I am finally embracing. And apparently putting out there in the world and it’s giving it back to me.

So I run, I lift, I build muscle, I run some more. I follow my passion, my bliss, I put out the effort even when the effort seems impossibly hard.  And I am rewarded with a sense of self that is unparalleled to anything I’ve experienced in my life previously.  Women get better with age. I am living proof of that. The funny thing is all of this has less to do with my physical appearance than the quality of what is going on up inside my head.  I’ve certainly looked pretty damned decent at various points in my life. But my brain has never been wired so right before.

Perhaps this is that elusive thing where when you age you suddenly start to care a whole hell of a lot less of what other people think of you.  And therefore I can finally go, this is me, all of me, and I am pretty damned fabulous just as I am.  And this is entirely possible and my desire for every single woman no matter their physical appearance.  I want to reiterate that all of this has a lot less to do with my physical makeup than the shift that is occurring on the inside.  It also happens to be fabulous that I am finding my inner confident happy chick as we veer towards Maui.  I can think of nothing more amazing than finally going on a tropical beach vacation and not giving a fuck what other people think about my body because I believe my body is beautiful and worthy enough to walk around in a bikini.  This is the one goal I’ve always secretly longed for. Sure I’ve been to beaches and worn bikini’s but I’ve never had the confidence to really let go and enjoy myself.  And I envy all the women of all shapes and sizes who so freely walk around and love themselves and they are not any less beautiful or worthy because of their physical size.

I am excited to feel this good because it just makes me want to keep going.  Not on some level where I obtain a smaller number on the scale. This is only one measureable tool of things that are fairly irrelevant at this point in my life.  But to continue to feel better and better about myself. To continue to make the choices that make me a confident happy woman.  That get me closer to the elusive true self-contentment and love.

And for what it’s worth I am not entirely shocked. I am sitting around 147 on the scale. Certainly not my thinnest weight but it seems that right around 145 is this magical sweet spot for me.  Where things feel really good. Where I can run my hands across my body and feel the muscles and see my abs at times and I feel small and tiny.  145 is a magical place. It does however require a lot of work and discipline on my behalf to get there.  There are no shortcuts on this path.  It’s all about the hard work and consistency and determination and dedication. You know all those buzz words you see. But they are true.  145 is not a place that I can generally naturally live without working towards it.  It is WORTH it.  The way I feel about myself right now is worth every amount of effort I’ve put out.

It’s this dang marathon training plan.  It’s part of it. The feeling of working toward something, achieving something, is really good for the mind.  It’s making me love and appreciate myself and my steadfast determination in a way nothing else ever has.  I just feel good!  Plus all the cardio is helping me shed some of the extra flab which is making the muscles pop out as I continue to lift and things are just getting so much better.

With all that said, here is the series of selfies I took this weekend that made me just love myself. And the best part is that I swear I felt and looked better in person than in the pictures and that is just magical.  To love yourself and your body is insanely magical and a thing I have really never experienced.  So here they are, the magical photos and then I will write another post about my actual weekend.

And can I just talk about this one for a moment, because this is a transformation. And I was just blown away for a second by how far I've come. This is what sparked it all...