Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Its almost 10/5

 It’s almost the end of the day and almost time for me to get to the gym, but I have been thinking the past couple days about a looming date. October 5 to be exact. Do you know what October 5 is? This will in fact be my 3 year anniversary date of starting my healthy lifestyle. October 5 is the first day I began my transformation 3 years ago. 3 freaking years! Boy how time flies when you are having fun and learning to love yourself and growing beyond your wildest expectations. 3 years. And I do in fact have something special planned for this weekend to celebrate. It’s a secret until this weekend. But I promise it will be a good one.
3 years. I just reread my post on my 1 year anniversary and it was profound and amazing. A letter to myself from the future. Boy it was awesome and I loved the idea so much I do think I might go ahead and formulate another letter for my 3 year anniversary. I just keep getting better and better with time and more and more humbled honestly by what I am capable of.  That girl, 3 years ago, had ZERO idea what she was in for.  And how wonderful her life could be. And how much everything she ever wanted was within her all along.  It was always there. Incredible. 

Do you know what it’s like to truly love yourself enough to go for your epic dreams? I didn’t. It has taken a long time to figure it all out. But I am floored by the fact that I’m approaching 3 years.  In the 11 years since losing the weight for the very first time I have only once celebrated a 1 year weight loss anniversary. The very first time.  No other weight loss stuck a full year. And now we are at 3 years.  Its  beyond evident to me I am a completely changed woman and I won’t ever, like EVER be returning to that former life. I don’t even know how to anymore. I may get moments of blah or feeling lost but overall this is who I am.  This is was who I was always supposed to be.

3 entire years. I feel like that totally calls for an off the charts kind of celebration. Except I won’t. It’s a Monday so what can I really do? But hint Sunday I might be doing something cool.  Anyhow just wanted to pop by and acknowledge the epic-ness that is coming. I need to write a letter soon. Last year to celebrate 2 years I ran the Rock N Roll San Jose half marathon and got my PR at the time.  I remember being incredibly emotional for lots of reasons. And here we are another year down. Whatever I’m doing in my life is clearly working for me. 3 years.  It’s hard to believe how completely different your life can become in 3 years. Like night and day, 1000% different. And better. Never stop believing that you can achieve anything you desire. You have the power within you. Always.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Woo hoo life

 Woo hoo life! Yes, I really said that today.  I feel so much better after my yesterday. Just getting thru the first day back post vacation is typically hard. But mostly it was so good to feel in control again of my food and exercise. Yes, I had a day of good solid clean eating and boy do I feel so much better as a result.  And then there was the gym.  I needed a good workout back on track to remind me that I won’t fall apart. That even if I go on vacation I will always return to my normal way of life. Or at least what is now normal for me.

I really want to dial in on some new goals or plans. Marathon training has in fact changed me.  I didn’t realize how much these last 4 months have made me a different person.  A person who loves life and embraces everything.  How much I freaking love a solid plan. I need a new solid plan of action. I’m going to figure something out. I am certain of that.  This is what I know. I love running. Yes, there was a period of time where I struggled with trying to figure out running vs. gym and lifting in my life.  There was a time where I had a hard time identifying myself as a runner.  But ultimately running is what brings me my greatest feeling of personal satisfaction and worth.  I don’t ever want to lose that part of me.  And I don’t have to.  Lifting weights and having muscles is fabulous and I also don’t want to quit being that girl either.  I know, I want it all.  Always have.  But the truth is, In the last 4 months of my life I have figured out a way to truly be happy and be regimented and still live a fabulous healthy life.

I have never been more clear about who I am than I have been the last 4 months.  I know what it takes to make myself happy.  Running and achieving goals will always be a part of that.  A strong part of that.  I am a runner for life.  I have also developed such a strong sense of self that I realize that aside from Amanda I know no one as regimented and determined as myself.  I know I possess everything I need to be successful already inside of me.  I am past the point in my life where I “need” someone else to guide or direct me.  I know what to do all on my own.  In essence I’ve been at this long enough I am capable of being my own personal trainer as well as someone else’s probably.  Although I have no official actual certificate that says this, I know I could. I’m not trying to train anyone else at this point.  I am more than happy with possessing enough motivation and knowledge to simply no longer fear any gym or any workout life “on my own”  I am glad I have Amanda in my life and I am certain that she will always be in my life but I don’t need her anymore. I love her, and I appreciate her in my life and will always go to her for guidance and encouragement because we all can use that but I don’t “need” her to succeed. This is a fabulous feeling.

I have a hard time putting my finger on exactly what it is about marathon training that changed me so much or how it changed me, but I know the biggest thing I have walked away with is confidence. Confidence in myself in a way that I have simply never possessed in my life.  Coming from a girl who ran half marathons like it was my job, it still didn’t accomplish the same thing as a marathon.  For some reason running half’s always well made me feel like I was half way doing it.  Like somehow, a half wasn’t really enough.  That to be a true runner I had to run a full marathon.  But mostly I was scared of failure. Somewhere along the way in training I knew I was not going to fail.  I did not miss a single training run.  I was 100% completely consistent with the entire plan.  Doing above and beyond what it called for.  I am obsessive compulsive.  I have always known that. 

Regardless I feel good today. Thank goodness.  I really think it’s the spiraling out of control that throws me off.  The two weeks prior to vacation my eating was just well fairly terrible and that mentally made me feel like shit. I am not upset at all about any of the crap food I ate in Maui. That was always going to happen.  But I am glad to have control again. I am glad to be back working towards my normal life again. 

I clearly have made the decision to not weigh myself or measure or anything at all related to weight or body fat or anything like that. I don’t want to know. I want to be happy. And often times I feel like the scale and measurements are counterproductive to happiness.  I am happy with the woman I see in the mirror and it doesn’t really matter what the weight says. The moment I see that number my brain goes into crazy town.  Always has. 

This is what I am doing. This is my new plan of action. I am seriously honestly not going to weigh myself for a long while. I am hoping to hold out a month. But I am not making an exact promise of that. But I would like to just live my normal happy healthy life for the next month and maybe then on November 1 I will consider weighing myself just because. 

I do so much better when I take the scale out of the equation. Seriously. When I live each and every day with health and doing good for my body in mind I am a happier version of myself.  And when I live moment to moment in a real life focused on health and wellness only good things can come from that.  I know this.  Since I have the aforementioned obsessive compulsive tendencies its best to not let the scale be any part of the focus of my existence.  It’s way more important to eat to live to be strong to train.  Yes, eat to train properly. Eat to fuel my body. Eat to build muscles and run.  I don’t believe in depravation. I believe in quality foods that make me feel good.  I believe in drinking water when you are thirsty instead of obsessing about adding that weight to the scale.  That is beyond STUPID.  But someone scale focused will always think twice about that.  I want to eat like an athlete.  And when I do that, perhaps weekly weights and numbers get skewed. But long term when you are kind to your body you will see results.

I am excited to embark on a new path. A new plan of action where health once again takes center stage.  Not that I wasn’t healthy these past 4 months. I was.  It’s just after a couple weeks kind of “off” plan it’s refreshing to regain that control.  A feel a sense of relief honestly about not having to get on the scale. I get to just be me. Healthy old regular me. For now that is simply enough.

I feel good with where I am at right now. I feel refreshed and renewed and like I get to start at ground zero again and there’s always a sense of excitement in fresh starts. I am not exactly sure what I am “starting” but I’m in a much better place today than I was a year ago at this time.  I feel a little bit of that old fire in my belly right now for something epic.  Like I want to set another epic goal to achieve.  Like the old saying, why not me?  I know I can do anything I set my mind to. I know that. Maybe I’m just going to become a marathon runner now?  Maybe that’s good enough for a while. I just don’t want to lose my current level of fitness. I really like where I am at. I like how happy I am. I like being able to do anything I set my mind to.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ve become ADD as I’ve gotten older but I just hate sitting still. I might have something in the pipeline but I’m hesitant to say too much at this point. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 28, 2015

I am a Marthoner

Boy I really fell off the bandwagon didn’t I? I am not going to lie, the two weeks leading up to my vacation were stressful and hard and I fell apart as I tend to do.  Nothing crazy ridiculous. I kept up with all of my marathon training runs but ultimately my diet went to shit.  Not shocked.  But I managed anyway.  I knew there was going to be a fundamental shift in my life post marathon.  I was not wrong.  Today is my first day back at work post Maui.  This is typically a hard day in general. Returning to work after an extended period of time away.  But thankfully my work is actually fabulous and I adore the people I work for and everything went well.  So let’s talk about the one thing that I really need to talk about.  Running 26.2 miles.

The Marathon

In a lot of ways I fully expected the actual marathon to be much different than it really was. In a lot of ways I was anticipating a horrific, terrible endeavor that would leave me depleted, drained and euphorically high.  Some of that was true, some of it turned out to be all hype.  When you spend the better part of 10 years of our life secretly wishing for something but terrified of actually doing it, it’s impossible for the actual accomplishment of it not to be in some ways a letdown.  But in other ways it was also the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done.  Clearly I have a lot of mixed emotions about the whole thing.  So let me back the train up and start from the beginning. Because the beginning is always a good place to start!

Arriving in Maui I couldn’t help but feel happy and high. And nervous.  I tried my best to maintain the nerves in my stomach because I knew deep down I was fully prepared and ready to run this marathon.  I kept  thinking that I was in fact really ready and I didn’t think it would actually be that hard given how much training I had actually done.  But then that little bit of fear crept in. That fear that says, what if I am missing something?  I read articles which in hindsight probably didn’t help much, because they talked about the what-if’s and those worse case scenarios where runners would finish marathons and collapse and be in aching pain and I even read one where the person was peeing blood.  I wasn’t quite sure how this could happen to me, any of it, as I ran so frequently and long enough distances.  But still, there was fear.

I knew Maui was going to be hot.  Pre-race information told us that Maui was in fact experincing record high temperatures’ and humidity off the charts.  I tried to ignore this.  It would be what it would be after all.  I have run in heat before and yes, it did slow me down, but I still managed.  I actually wasn’t nervous about it for some reason.

At the airport I was greeted to a sign that said welcome Runners and I almost burst into tears.  All the months of planning.  9 months of knowing I would be going to Maui to run on top of 10 years of thinking I wasn’t capable of running a marathon all converged into this trip.  And seeing that sign made it oh so very real.  We got our rental car which always takes crazy forever for some reason.  And then we were off to the expo for packet pick up.

I was excited because typically I love packet pick up.  But once we were in place and I saw the medals and the shirts I was actually kind of disappointed.  Not what I was expecting really, but that’s okay.  It wasn’t all about the shirts and medals.  It was honestly about running 26.2 miles and I was still feeling happy and confident. 

Saturday morning we woke up early to run a 10k, then a 5k and then the 1 miler as part of our warrior challenge. I initially thought that this was a great idea because the 10k run would acclimate me to the weather and conditions.  In hindsight it wasn’t the brightest idea perhaps.  What actually ended up happening was this… I ate crappy the night before, first night on vacation and while I didn’t drink any alcohol I severely underestimated what a day of travel and bad eating and dehydration would do to my system.  On Friday night I actually threw up a couple times simply from bad food and yucky feeling. Not nerves. Just system overload.  The minute the 10k started I knew I didn’t feel great. My stomach felt awful and I went out way to fast of course.  And inevitably after a couple miles I knew I was in trouble.  The 10k started at 6:30 AM, where the marathon would start at 5 AM. I thought this would be a great indicator of weather conditions as I would clearly be running at this time the next day.  All it proved to do was freak me out.  By the end of the 10k run it was miserable hot and I knew that I was in trouble.  My side starting aching from dehydration and I slowed down and felt like I wanted to vomit. Oops.  But the 10k time was great.  I finished it in 57:13, with a pace of 9:12 miles.  This is faster than I wanted to run. 

After the 10k, I felt horrible.  Like it was way too hard to run just 6.2 miles in this heat and it honestly psyched me out in a crazy way.  Right after the 10k, was a 5k which I had always intended to walk with my family.  I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone at this point and I thought it would be more enjoyable to share the experience with my mom and cousins and aunts who were doing it.  So that is what I did. 

I honestly couldn’t get the 10k out of my brain and immediately vowed with my stomach issues that Saturday I was going to be 100% clean.  Lots of water and lots of good foods.  We bought spaghetti from Safeway and made our normal dinner in the condo. My body was pretty much demanding consistency.  But the weather really had me freaked out.  Running 6.2 miles was hard.  I wasn’t prepared for that.  Sigh. I managed to remain fairly calm most of the day, putting all the rest of the crazy out of my brain enough to enjoy the day.  But what can’t be avoided or escaped is the reality of the night before. As I set everything out for race day, it all started to hit me.  I was doing my best to not allow a major freak out.  We had to wake up at 2:30 AM, to be out the door by 3 AM to catch the shuttle bus from the finish line to the start line by 3:30 AM.  I am very fortunate that my cousin’s husband Tim was there with us and he volunteered to drive us to the shuttle bus in the morning, at 3 AM.  What a great guy!  Honestly, my cousin Chelsea and Tim were so important and amazing support but I will tell you about that later.

So despite some nerves I still managed to sleep solid, thankfully.  When I woke at 2:30 AM on Sunday morning I was a psychotic bundle of nerves.  On a plus side my stomach felt the best it’d felt since arriving in Maui.  My careful eating and drinking the day before paid off.  My stomach was solid but unfortunately full of crazy nerves at this point.  I started to almost panic as I gathered everything and headed down to the car.  I knew my nerves were on high alert in the car ride in the pitch black to the shuttle bus.  My stomach was gurgling and I had to use the bathroom so bad.  This is how my body deals with stress.  I was beyond nervous and both Chris and Tim in the car knew it. 

But it was all out of my hands at this point.  It’s like the reality of what I was doing was just hitting.  It was what it was but it didn’t stop me from being terrified.   Getting on the bus and seeing all these slender runner types I couldn’t shake my knee jerk reaction which was that, “OH God, everyone will see right thru me and know I don’t really belong here, on this marathon bus.”  Funny how insecurity places havoc on your brain.

I almost hyperventilated. True story. In the dark on the bus I tried to self-calm.  It was nearly impossible. I browsed Pinterest for quotes to remind me that marathon running was about a greater picture than just this panicked moment.  That I was working towards some epic goal that I had set for myself and I could do it.  But I think that bus ride, which felt extremely long was quite possibly the longest and most challenging 30 minutes of my life.  Clearly the distance we traveled was 26.2 miles and it took forever and highlighted the epic distance that I was supposed to run.  I kept trying to breath. I closed my eyes a bunch because I didn’t want to watch the course go by in slow motion.  I needed to quite the voices in my head. 

As soon as we arrived at the start line and got off the bus, I felt a little calmer.  I have done this a million times.  44 half marathons and countless 5 and 10k’s before me, starting lines were something I was familiar with.  There was a feeling of normalcy in them. Although I knew this one was different.  I had to use the bathroom where my nerves kept getting the better of me.  And then I had to use it again. And again.  Yup, nerve city here. 

And then it started to rain. And it was glorious. It was warm, and it was crazy humid already but the warm rain in the dark felt great.  And then we lined up and we started “walking” in a heard to the actual start line.  And I knew that this was it, for better or worse, this was my marathon. This was a lifetime and 9 months of knowing it would happen, and the last 4 months of training all coming down to this. 

And the buzzer sounded and we were off. I have never ran in the dark like that before.  But I wasn’t alone clearly and I felt safe but it was a different experience.  It was dark so I could not see my watch and therefore the first miles were all run on “comfort” not to any particular pace. I kept telling myself just run comfortable. Who cares about the time.  It was already hot. 5 AM and I knew it was going to be a long day. It was hot and humid and it was raining and I knew this first part would be the most enjoyable part of the whole thing.  But getting out of your own way sometimes is the hardest part.  I kept trying to tell myself to breath and not care about pace. But I couldn’t help it when I could check my watch I realized my comfortable pace was much slower than I wanted to be running.  I knew it was the heat already.

The entire first 3-4 miles were run in the dark, with a slight uphill climb to them. Very subtle but enough that my body knew I was slightly inclining.  I felt okay.  My pace hovering around the 10:20 mark.  The rain came down and it was refreshing.  My music played. Nothing hurt.  I have always said that during a run I pretty much know within the first 2 miles how the race is going to go.  I know early if I feel okay vs a bad day. I may always complete my runs on a bad day but they will be a struggle.  After about a mile and a half I knew I was okay. I knew my body felt okay.  My stomach issues from the day before were all better.  My body felt good and capable.  Thank God I thought.

I ran on in the dark for miles, and they ticked by.  Mile 4, Mile 5 and then somewhere around Mile 6 the sun started to rise and I finally could see my surroundings, my legs felt amazing and I looked over to my right and saw the beautiful mountains of Maui, the tropical “Jurassic Park” feeling and almost immediately tears formed in my eyes.  This is it. This was the reminder finally, visually that I wasn’t in Oregon.  I was in fact in Maui running my marathon. 

Mile 6-7 I sped up.  I started to feel REALLY good.  Mile 8, I felt so great I was almost giddy.  It’s the runners high.  Mile 9 was feeling epic, almost ready to break out my phone to text my family to let them know how great I was in fact doing, despite the heat, when all of a sudden up ahead I saw my cousin Chelsea and her husband Tim who had decided to be our on course race support. What lovely people!  There they were with camera in hand, snapping photos, and there with Gatorade and food to replenish me.  I smiled, and gave my cousin a thumbs up because I felt great.  I drank a little and felt so amazing knowing I was doing this.

Mile 10 felt awesome. And I was like, hey only 16.2 miles to go.  Yes, that’s a crazy thought to have I know.  Mile 11 felt great. Saw my cousins again. Still feeling great.  Hit mile 12, and then the fabulous mile 13.  Shortly after that, when my Garmin registered 13.1 I smiled because no matter what  I was now closer to the finish than the start. Every step took me closer to the finish. I was still around a 10:20 pace at this point. I knew I would slow down.  I knew I would get more tired and the heat would take its toll. Let’s not forget that every single step was run in heat and humidity like I have never experienced.  I ran with a water bottle in my hand for the first time and I am certain I would not have survived without it.  I drank constantly. Every water station I would fill the bottle up.  It was vital!  At this point they were handing out wet sponges at each station as well.  I would literally just drip the water on me and wipe myself with the sponge. It was HOT!

But halfway was still feeling okay.  Mile 14, Mile 15.  Mile 16.  Heck, yeah 10 miles to go. I can do this!  Mile 17 I saw my cousins again and this time I was starting to feel it.  Tim asked, do you need anything?  I simply replied, “For this to be done!”  It was hot. It was starting to get so hot I could barely handle it.  My body felt fine. My legs felt great. Nothing ached. Nothing hurt.  I was just HOT.  The air felt so thick almost like I was navigating thru a cloud.  I slowed down.  I passed mile 18. My pace was going higher. I kept trying to do math in my head to figure out times.  I knew an 11:03 pace was a 4:53 marathon.  Because that is what my plan had prepped me for all along.  I had no idea beyond that.  Somewhere at like mile 18 I felt really drained.  I ran on.  Barely.

Mile 19 and I believe I walked a moment and then tried to run again.  Have you ever tried to run after going for like 4 hours in 90 degree weather with humidity so thick you swear you could almost “see” it?  I had to force myself.  The scenery was beautiful.  The ocean on my left.  It’s too bad I was in such misery that I barely noticed it.  Somehow this was not the experience I was expecting.  It wasn’t the run. It wasn’t the distance. It was the heat.  Mile 20 came and I was running into town. My town. Lahaina.  We literally ran right in front of my hotel. My favorite place in the world. And I got teary. I can do this I told myself. I can do this.  But it was SO HOT.  My body no longer wanted to move.

I walked a bit.  We came upon front street Maui.  And unexpectedly I heard my name and looked over to my right and there was my mom, my two aunts and my sister with a giant sign and I couldn’t barely contain my tears. I had no idea they’d be there or with such a fabulous sign.  My mom came over to me and hugged me.  I said, this is BRUTAL. I just want to finish, I don’t care about my time. It’s so hot.  And at this point I meant it.  I am not sure the human body is really meant to endure countless hours in that level of heat.  But I pushed on.  At about mile 21 I had to go to a run/walk method.  Run from this point to that point, and then walk from this point to that.  It was all I could do.  My legs felt like they could run. They could have.  The sweltering heat told a different story.

I wanted to enjoy the moments more, but the misery wasn’t allowing for it.  Plus my own personal dissatisfaction as I watched my pace and time tick by.  I didn’t really care about my time but in my mind I knew I could run better than this. And I just wanted the opportunity to run it. With each mile at this point I knew I was getting closer.  Mile 22, Mile 23 and I was like, it’s just a 5k now. I CAN so do this.

Run/walk. Run/walk. Run/walk.  And then I was on the final stretch. I had no idea what my time was.  I knew my pace had crept above the 11:03 mark which was a 4:53 marathon.  I was in the 11:20 or something range. I had no idea if that would be good enough ultimately to get me below the 5 hour mark.  My brain was dead at this point.  I could not do the math. As I rounded a corner I knew I was within ½ a mile of finishing and all I could do was run it out to the best of my ability at this point and pray I was under 5 hours. My body did not want to run. It was too hot.

I truly felt like I would have been way happier or more emotional to finally see the home stretch.  I saw my family cheering me on.  I saw the official clock and it was at 4:59 something as in hours.  I tried to sprint as fast as I could.  I knew I was within seconds of the 5 hour mark. Now it was just a race to beat the clock under 5. I gave it everything I had and I heard the announcer say my name and say just squeaking in under the coveted 5 hour mark.  Chris was instantly there at the finish with me and I hugged him and I swear almost collapsed into his arms.  Thankful I had at least broke the 5 hour mark, especially considering how challenging this was.

I immediately almost wanted to pass out or vomit. Or both.  We took some pictures but it became evident to me that my body was out of whack. I always tend to get nauseous after I run so it wasn’t shocking that running 26.2 in this kind of heat was going to make me feel bad. I sat down. I thought I would puke or pass out. They had a medic tent that was administering IV fluids. My family tried to get me to go to it. I said I was fine. I just needed a bathroom I was going to puke.  We went to the bathroom. I threw up a little and felt a little better. I knew ultimately it was going to be rough.  But that is my weakness with running. I honestly throw up a lot. 

We got in the car to go back to the hotel. We stopped along the side of the road to watch some turtles swimming. I  threw up again.  The heat was unreal. As we watched the turtles, now almost an hour post finishing, we were along the marathon course route and I saw runners walking/jogging by. I felt sorry for them for still having to be out in the heat.  I couldn’t imagine.  5 hours was horrible enough.  When we got back to the room I spent about 45 minutes hugging the toilet.  I felt pretty sick. I pretty much threw up for quite a while before I must have finally berid myself of all of whatever was upsetting me because suddenly I got crazy hungry.  It was like, finally, my stomach feels fine, FEED me. 

The entire thing honestly went by in such a blur that I swear I didn’t feel the way I thought I’d feel. In so many ways it was so much easier than I thought it would be.  In other ways it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Running in that heat for that long was the hardest thing ever. Running 26.2 miles was easier than I thought. Far and away.  I know my body can totally handle running 26.2 miles. I am beyond certain of that.  So much so that I am desperate to actually run a marathon in Oregon now where I won’t be dying of heat stroke or running in off the charts humidity. 

I felt amazing proud that I did it.  Humbled by the heat.  And I must admit slightly disappointed because I was certain I could physically run 26.2 miles.  I still think I can.  Initially I was happy to have finished off course and proud but I just didn’t feel super great about my 5 hour time.  But it’s all about perspective.  This was not an easy course. This was in fact probably incredibly difficult in terms of marathons.  Because in the end, when I compare myself to the entire race results I realize I did pretty dang awesome.

203 out of 537 finishers
71 out of 256 females
11 out of 39 Females ages 35-39

This is actually fabulous because it shows you that this was a tough course for EVERYONE.  That I truly have nothing to be upset or disappointed about at all.  My age group, females 35-39 is always the most competitive.  I am in the peak of marathon running years, so to finish 11 of 39 is crazy!  And 71 out of 256 females is REALY good. I will take it.  That was not easy.  That was not easy at all.  But I really do want to run one start to finish without walking.  Next one right?

And you know that there will be a next one because the actual distance didn’t kill me. I know this because not only did my body feel fine afterwards. But I felt fine the next day. I felt great. I ran a marathon on Sunday and by Wednesday we were out on an epic hiking/climbing adventure in the jungle and then on Thursday we woke up and ran 4.25 miles.  My body can physically handle 26.2 miles.  It’s the heat. I am not sure I ever want to do that again, but honestly we all know I would.  Of course I’d come back to any of the Hawaiian islands and do it all over again.  Heat and humidity and all.  Of course.

Here’s the truth. I am SO glad to have that running monkey off my back. Yes, I have ran a full marathon. Yes, I know what it feels like. Yes, I can do it.  FINALLY.  There is a part of me that is still in shock about it all.  A part of me that doesn’t believe I am actually a marathoner.  And also a part of me that doesn’t believe how easy it was either.  Now let me say that when I say it was easy, I mean, I was just expecting EPIC struggles. I was expecting feeling awful and horrific tears of pain and feeling like I was going to die.  Those feelings never came.  It was not easy. I don’t mean to imply in the least that running a marathon is easy. It’s not.  It requires every ounce of mental toughness you have. It requires true training and determination. It requires everything I had.  But the thing is, I became the person who could run a marathon.  I was ready. It seemed “easy” because I had put in all the work to get to that place where I could run the marathon.

I didn’t start out the person who could do this.  In February when I signed up to run the marathon. Or rather when I decided I was going to do it, running any distance felt hard.  In January I ran a 5k and it was HARD. I struggled running 3 miles.  Yes, my body knew how to run and quickly remembered but it was a humbling moment in January when I did a 5k and felt like I was going to die.  I put in all the work to get to the place to become a person who can run a marathon.

Over the course of all of this time, training, I somehow became a different person. I knew it was happening. I knew the process was slowly day by day little by little changing me until one day I realized I was somehow completely different. In a way I just can’t even describe.  I am not even close to the same woman I was when I started my training plan on May 6.  Somewhere between May 6 and September 20 I walked away a confident, self-loving, self-accepting individual.  Yes, I have still put too much pressure on myself, things aren’t always perfect, etc. But I am so forever changed as a result.  It’s like suddenly I realize the sky is the limit for me and I am happy with the woman I am.  If I can run a marathon what else can I do?  Why would I ever want to limit myself again?  Why shouldn’t I love myself and my body, it is so freaking amazing!  It was able to withstand 5 hours of brutality and feel fine afterwards.  I am a beast.  I am strong. I am proud. I did this. I earned this with every single workout I didn’t want to do but did anyway. With every mile I endured to get to this point.  I earned that medal. I earned this feeling.

Run a marathon they said. It will change our life they said.  I wasn’t sure. But now I am. AMAZING.  This woman is a full on marathoner. And this of course is just the beginning.  Since when have I ever not gone for the next brass ring.  I don’t quit. I don’t stop.  This is who I am.  I am a runner. Scratch that. I am a marathoner.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Body Fat

It is finally Friday.  This is fabulous because it now is 2 weeks period until I am on my plane.  Crazy to think about really.  My life really has come full circle if you think about it. I just spent some time rereading some old blog posts from before I went to Maui over 2 years ago.  In June of 2013. This also happened to be around the time that I joined the gym for the first time.  I had finally lost the weight AGAIN and was close to 140 pounds and ready for my tropical Maui vacation.  But I was scared what would happen when I returned from Maui because that was the same exact point I have been at in my life so many times previously and I ended up gaining all the weight back.  I knew I needed something different and enter the gym.  It’s beyond crazy to me to think about this entire journey I’ve travelled down.  To find the woman I am today.

If you had told me 2 plus years ago, on the heels of going to Maui that I would return in approximately 2 ¼ years to run a full marathon I’d laugh my ass off at you. Although secretly I think I’d believe it.  I remember that on that vacation I packed 1 running outfit because I thought it maybe might be fun to run outside on Maui once.  It never happened! At that moment in time I was too scared to run outside in public.  Crazy how 2 years can change a person to their core.  Today I read some of my posts around that time and I kept smiling, and shaking my head and mostly just felt grateful.  I had no idea what strength training was. I mean, sure, I knew what it was, but I’d never done it.  

When I got back from Maui within the week I was signing my name on a million forms for a solid years’ worth of weekly personal training.  One of the best decisions I ever made in my life.  Seriously. My random musings told me how I scared I was and afraid.  I know now how life changing it all really was.  I spoke lots of the athlete that I thought I was deep down on the inside.  I spoke of the fit chick that was dying to get out.  And I did cut down on the running as per the trainer.  But what you love will always find a way.  It’s been a long journey and a struggle at points.  Balance is an interesting thing.  I found a true love for my fit chick but also a strong realization that I am actually a bonified runner. And that shit will never go away.  I embrace that now.  Running is my passion.  But I can still lift and build muscles and work on being the best overall all around version of myself. 

I can certainly tell that running changed me.  Truly running.  After I did all the strength training and my body did change I was still utterly disappointed with myself and how I looked.  A year post working out, when I honestly looked great I wasn’t happy.  I still belittled myself and had way to many body image issues.  But I wasn’t running the way I have the past while.  It’s like when I really started to run, all the other stuff went by the wayside.  It’s really been in the past year, but more specifically the past 4-5 months since I really started this whole marathon journey that I have found a sense of love and contentment and happiness within myself and my body.  It’s like I appreciate it in a way now that I never did before.  I feel blessed that it is so strong and capable. 

I remember back almost 2 years ago now, when I was standing at that defining moment where I knew I was at the brink of some major upheaval, something big going down in my life that I pretty much looked at Chris and told him… this is it, I am not turning back now. I have turned a corner and I know now I am a different person.  That I am moving forward full steam ahead with this life and either you get on board for the ride and allow me to soar or you need to get the fuck out of my way.  That sounds harsh but I remember the conversation clearly.  I knew I was in route to bigger things.  To his credit, Chris was never standing in my way.  And to his credit, he got on board.  The man is running a marathon after all.  But it’s like this inner beast in me was awoken and once she was, there was no caging her again. I’ve pretty much felt that way solidly for the last 2 years of my life.  But nothing like I’ve felt the last 4-5 months. 

Marathon training has changed me.  It has once again been that major crossroad of my life that everything is suddenly different and I can’t ever go back.  I can’t explain it.  I don’t know why that is. But it just is.  I am forever altered and that is perfectly okay.  Joining the gym was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life, and deciding to run a marathon was another one.  2 of my greatest most defining life altering moments. 

When I got back from Vegas in May, actually on May 14 to be exact I was 153.1 pounds and my body fat percentage was 26.9%.  I have an OMRON body fat machine I bought from Amazon years ago.  But funny thing is I didn’t hate myself. I didn’t really care about those numbers.  But I just generally knew that I wanted/needed to overall be in a bit better condition to run a marathon.  And thus that Marathon Training began.  REALLY began.  And so to begin the best 4 months of my life.  Funny how I describe training for a marathon as the best time of my life.  But somehow it has been.

I really was just doing the things that I love for the past 4 months and in doing so, found myself completely.  I didn’t “intentionally” lose weight, not really.  I didn’t intentionally try to drop my body fat.  These were all just the side effects of doing what I love.  And this is probably what has made it the best time of my life.  I was truly enjoying my life.  Bonding with my husband.  Doing these epic things and feeling great and happy.  The body was the side result. 

This morning for the hell of it, I took my body fat again. 

Yup. 21.3%.  Yesterday my weight was 134.1  So that means, just by doing my thing, in 4 months I went from 153.1 t0 134.1 and from 26.9% to 21.3%  That is pretty insane.  And because body fat percentages mean not a whole hell of a lot to me, I looked it up.  Turns out that’s LEAN.  For my age that puts me in the lean category. Yes, the high end of lean. But still lean.  Women have 10-13% essential body fats.  Meaning that for us to function we are simply going to be 10-13% body fat.  That is our zero point, unless you are like insanely shredded or doing steroids.  At like 14-15% women start to lose their periods, etc.  That is about the lowest women tend to get 14% ish.  Anyway, without really trying or working at it I will gladly be thrilled with 21.3% honestly.  Who am I kidding I’m not putting out the muscle building effort as of late that I have in the past. 

I actually miss some heavy strength training and fully intend to tackle it again once I get back from Maui.  I am NOT giving up running though.  I will still try to come up with some plan and stick to it.  I need consistent running in my life and basically I don’t want to lose my ability. I want to always be able to run a half marathon on a moment’s notice.  That’s my plan.  

I don’t tend to track my body fat the way I do my weight because well it doesn’t change that often I think.  But I do have a few numbers from my life here and there.  When I joined that gym and signed up for personal training back on 6/17/13 my starting body fat was 27.7%  Those first couple months when I didn’t run so much and hit up strength training really hard I did get my body fat around the 21% mark, somewhere around there.  But that was the only time I’ve seen it that low.  I’m thrilled with where it’s at right now.   Again, I don’t anticipate it getting much lower.  This is pretty much as good as it gets for me.  This is pretty much me in my peak condition right now.  You probably don’t get much better than 2 weeks before a marathon that you’ve spent 4 months training for.  I accept that. I really do. I would anticipate that all the numbers are going to go up a little. But for today, I am just happy with where I’m at.

This all leads me to that whole post Maui what now thing.  Seriously. I anticipate and expect an increase in weight and body fat.   But I don’t want to gain a ton.  I really do like where my body is at right now. I feel so good about myself. Probably partly because I am working towards such an identifiable goal.  But I’m just going to have to try and figure something else out honestly.  That’s pretty much my thinking.  And for the record Chris is experiencing the same kind of results by marathon training to.  He is down almost 20 pounds and dropped about 6-7% body fat too.  He is also loving his body and results right now so he’s not keen to give it up either.  I keep telling him that when we get back I just want to go right back to the way we’ve been living and eating.  He agrees.  So maybe. We will see.

I’m pretty happy and content and excited about life.  Who wouldn’t be excited about going to Maui in 2 weeks and accomplishing a goal you’ve been working towards for a solid 4 months.  Anyhow. As for the rest of it. Well today is a much needed rest day.  I realized last night at the gym how much I needed a rest day when my body didn’t want to do boot camp class.  It was HARD.  I realized my legs were sore.  My butt was on fire and my hamstrings were in pain.  Yup. The night before kind of fried them.  I had mentally promised myself I was going to burn 400 calories.  I was only at 250 post class. I didn’t want to run.  I ended up on the stair climber.  That thing is a beast.  My heart rate doesn’t get higher than it does when I run but I drip sweat in an unbearable way.  I ended up doing 20 minutes and got to 450 calories burned.  GOOD enough.

And I am overall tired and glad today is a rest day. I need it. My body needs the day to repair itself.  No half marathons this weekend.  There is one tomorrow I considered but ultimately passed because I didn’t want to spend the money.  It would be like $80 for each of us and right now, on the heels of going to Maui that seems like a waste of $160.  We don’t need to run another half nor do we need another medal.  And honestly we don’t need the mileage. My training plan is calling for 8.5 miles this weekend. That’s it.  We are going to go to a park and just run.  Run somewhere between 8.5 and 10 miles is my plan.  That’s it.

So this was me this morning. Yeah Friday!

And then these happened yesterday and honestly they are good so I’m going to share them.

Oh yeah, this is my body right now at 134 pounds. I like having documentation of that because I promise you in another 2 years I might be back here reading this exact post. Seriously. Comparing numbers and percentages, etc.  And that transformation. Well, you get the idea.  Okay that’s about all I got for now.