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1 + 3.1 + 5 + 6.2 + 189.5 + 13.1 = Success

Friday, May 20, 2011

I ran my first half marathon this past Sunday - the Pittsburgh Marathon. I know, I've been slow on a recap but I'll be honest, I don't remember a lot of the race. I didn't remember it a few hours later - kind of weird.

The weekend was a good one - except if I saw one more carb, I would have puked! We met a few Sparkers before the Expo, so that is always fun. We walked around the Expo and bought a couple of things - probably was there a bit too long because I was tired when we got home. I went to bed REALLY early (like 8:30 and still a little light outside) because I wanted a good night's sleep and we were getting up at 4:15. Oddly enough, I slept really well that night. I think it helped me think leading up to the race - "You didn't get nervous before any other long run, no need to get nervous before this one." Got up, headed to the parking garage and was there WAY early. Not knowing if there would be traffic or issues finding a parking space, we left early. Well, as luck would have it - we got right there and the lot we chose was perfect - hardly anyone there when we got there and equidistant to the start and finish. The only bad part was there was no restroom and by 5:30 I had to go. We weren't in the best part of town but if you have to go, you have to go. We grabbed a flashlight to go find a port-a-potty. Luckily, we ran into a volunteer and asked where we should go - he said well, the port-a-potties are a little ways down there but if I were you, I'd go that hotel and points to one a block away. PERFECT! Lots of Team in Training runners were eating their continental breakfast when we walked in - so we blended right in!

The starting "line" was pretty neat being a part of. 18, 000 people along the streets. Not as many spectators as I would have thought but then again, it could have been hard to discern who was who. It also started a misty rain right before the gun went off - but it was a nice rain that kept us cool. After about 15 minutes to the start line we were off.

We went through many neighborhoods that I've rarely been in (I'm really a suburbs girl!) so while I had an idea where I was, it was still nice to see the various and diverse parts of the city. Also, I think it helped me not really know where we were going - it helped me take one mile at a time! I only looked at my watch when a mile was coming up or when I thought we should have passed a mile so I could ask Bonnie who was wearing her Garmin (it took me to about mile 5 to realize there were these huge yellow mile marker signs - yes I was oblivous).

I was expecting to see my family at about mile 5 so that helped the half mile-mile around that trying to locate them. It ended up the subway was way behind schedule so they missed me there. Slightly bummed I didn't see them but figured I must have just not noticed them. Felt a little better when they said it was beyond their control - probably missed us by about 3 minutes or so! I did run into LYNNANN43 through the park like area.

I didn't struggle to much except on the "hills". Honestly, they weren't even that bad but I struggled. I ended up walking them beyond mile 6ish. For many people that probably is the best thing, they'd make up some time on the flat and downhill - for me it just meant a slower overall time. As I tell Bonnie - I feel like I have one speed.

My thighs started hurting around 11.5. That was a first and I wasn't sure how to deal with it. I think I tried to compensate somehow with taking a shorter stride - don't think that helped. They eventually worked themself out.

I kept telling myself "finish strong". Honestly, though, when I realized there was no way I was going to finish in under 2:30 like I hoped, I stopped pushing. Mentally, this is where I struggled during the race. It was really hard for me to just be happy that I was running 13.1 miles. I knew this was going to happen, I tried to plan for it, but it bothered me (in all honesty). I ran the end but I could have finished stronger (during my training runs, I was almost sprinting the last quarter mile). The good part was my family was along the last half mile or so. I didn't realize my nephew, Luke, was going to be there. Seeing that little 7 year old boy jumping up and down was great! He's so darn cute! Finish time was 2:37:04. Honestly, it's slightly better than I thought I'd do - not as good as I hoped I'd do. When I seemed a little bummed at the end Luke reminded me in his 7yo wisdom - It doesn't matter how fast you run - it's that you finished! As the week has gone on - I stopped the internal battle and am thrilled to say I finished - no matter the time. I'll just have to run it again to improve my time!

Thinking about the race this week led me down memory lane - hence the title of my blog, today. For me, the journey was just as exciting as the race itself. I could barely run a mile a the beginning of 2010. Looking at my blogs, I ran for 36 minutes (about 3.1m) on 3/5/10. I was happy when I set the goal of 5 miles by my birthday and accomplished it. The 10K was another milestone. Little by little I was becoming a runner.

Or was it I was a runner at the one mile mark a year and a half ago and little by little I was gaining confidence? Gaining self-esteem?

When people asked me if I was going to run the half since Bonnie ran it last year, I basically laughed in their face. I did 3 miles and stuggled with that - no way would I do a half. Well as my brother said once - we (family) set the bar really low and don't expect much of ourselves. Bonnie tells me often I sell myself short (said it once during the race when I saw the last hill approaching and I said there was no way I'd make it up). This is true but by running, this is getting better. I am getting better.

I think people run for various reasons beyond health - for me it makes me feel strong emotionally. That's where the 189.5 comes in to my equation - that's the miles I ran in preparation for my half. That's where I learned that I am stronger than I imagined. That's where I showed myself that if I set a goal, I can accomplish it. That's where I showed myself I am worth the effort. That's where I realized that my past may have brought me to this point and some times they internal scripts are hard to re-record but I have the power to define who I am today and going forward.

I am a Success

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COUNTING_DOWN 6/26/2011 10:56PM

    You most certainly are a success. You are terrific. I know I can do it too. Thanks for paving the way. I am thrilled for your accomplishment. Like I said on one of your pictures....did you ever imagine that you would accomplish this? Woo hoo to you!

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MADDEELOU 6/21/2011 8:48PM

    You totally ROCK!!! Congratulations on completing a half marathon. What a great accomplishment. You are most certainly a success!

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BILLALEX70 5/27/2011 9:23PM

    I tend to 'zone out' for quite a bit of time also, so don't feel bad. I think that if you can keep track of all the details you weren't going hard enough at the race!

I feel just like you; single speed. I guess we need to do some speed work to get faster!

You finished with a good time in the hills of Pittsburgh and you now know that YOU can do it, so keep working towards you destiny!

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CAROLANN27 5/25/2011 1:19PM

    I remember those days when you were just starting running. Look what determination and dedication do!! This was a very inspirational blog. Thanks for sharing. I loved your nephew's comment. He's right!

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SBHPATRICK 5/22/2011 9:11PM

    I love your math! And you are indeed a success! Congratulations on a major accomplishment, Britt!

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DJS-DEBBIE 5/22/2011 4:54PM

    You are awesome, Britt!

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IONA72 5/21/2011 8:39AM

    Very inspiring Britt, you did great, long may it continue!!

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LAUGHIN_ME_THIN 5/20/2011 11:51PM

    That is super awesome!! Congrats!

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BRIAN36 5/20/2011 7:58PM

    I enjoyed your race report. It's nice to know what went into getting someone to the point of accomplishing such a wonderful goal. And it's true, you finish time doesn't matter. If you want to get faster, it sets a benchmark. Otherwise it's just a number. Great job.

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ELAOPET 5/20/2011 5:57PM

    YES YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSS! Congratulations on your run!

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JONEIL513 5/20/2011 5:43PM

    You're nephew is one smart kid!! You did great, I am so proud and happy for you. You've come a long way and you are truly a success! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HABITATPAT 5/20/2011 5:35PM

  I'm so proud of you! Not just for completing the half-marathon, but because of everything you've done in preparation, and the really healthy things you've taken from the experience. You're an inspiration!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BOBBYD31 5/20/2011 5:23PM

    LOL i never remember mine either, i don't know how some people give such mile by mile detail. you did great, your first HM is never about time , it is about finishing healthy. the next time you reach your goal. congrats on being a HM'r!

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My 2 New "Experiments"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I have been too focused on the scale for too long. Like I've written in other blogs (and responding to so many posts on a message board) it's just a number and one that we have so little control over. In reality, though, I'm still overweight and not only want to lose weight but need to. So I can't ignore the scale entirely.

My new things

1) Stepping on the scale every other Friday. I think this will help me have a better perspective on the importance of the scale. It's a huge step for me because I was a 1-3x a day weigher. Granted, I knew that I'd me more at night and never bummed me out - I just liked to see how the weight fluctuated (or didn't). At the end of a month, if I've only weighed 2 times, I think I'll get a new workout shirt. I saw on the other day that I liked the fabric so I'll see if I like that one on. It was really lightweight and would be a good summer alternative to a tank.

2) Eating more. I'm getting 1600-1900 calories a day on most days. I've only beed doing this for about a week so it's still experiemental. I realized that I was eating the same amount of calories as I was when I was burning maybe 1400 calories a week. I'm at about 2400 calories a week now - so I need to fuel that. I am still working on making it quality calories that I'm increasing it with but I figure I'm a work in progress :)

So neither are big things but I hope they help from a big picture perspective. I've done a little bit of strength last week but since I wasn't sore the following day(s) - I don't think I did heavy enough weights or enough. While I don't expect to be sore after every strength session, I'm thinking the initial ones would have some soreness to contend with because they have in the past.

The final weeks of half marathon prep are here. May 15th. I'm feeling confident I'll be able to run most of it. Slow run but run none-the-less.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SBHPATRICK 4/22/2011 10:10PM

    I agree with everyone else - those are both great things to try! I'm so excited for you and your half marathon - I'm already looking forward to reading the race report. :)

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DJS-DEBBIE 4/22/2011 11:46AM

    Good for you, Britt! You have come so far since I met you last year. I am so excited for you doing the marathon. I am going to try to come down and cheer you on!

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ATREAT4ME 4/21/2011 9:07PM

    What clever experiments, Britt! I'm going to start one on May 1 -- a six month effort to follow the workouts and nutrition in the New Rules of Lifting for Women. And, once I'm doing that, I will only weigh at my doctor's office, too. I like idea of putting the scale on perspective.

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2WHEELER 4/21/2011 7:36PM

    Eating a bit more may help--sounds counter-intuitive, but you're burning a lot of calories on the other end, so you might need them. Strength training will really give you a boost in the half marathon; keep working on it, you're doing great!

Saw your update about not eating the pick 2 anymore. I've almost given up eating in restaurants. Our staff gets together once a month and goes out to lunch. I always pull up the restaurant's nutrition information if they have it on-line. It's such an eye opener. Like you said, it's amazing how many calories are in a cup of soup and half a sandwich. No wonder they usually taste so good.

Hope you get a beautiful cool but sunny spring day for the half marathon.

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IONA72 4/21/2011 6:20PM

    emoticon you are doing fine, excited at the half marathon, post all details!!

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KAYEGURL08 4/21/2011 11:32AM

    Good luck, that's what we have to do is just keep mixing it up. Just never quit!

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JONEIL513 4/21/2011 11:04AM

    Those are both great experiments! Can't wait to hear how they work out for you! Also I agree that you should have been sore after a few initial ST sessions. This whole journey is just one big experiment though and you're doing awesome. Can't wait to hear all about the half! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Strength Training

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I rarely ever do it. Last time was at the gym and it's probably has been a month since I've been there since I've been running outside (cross training has been slacking, too). Even when I would do some at the gym, it wasn't a lot.

I need to do it. I know the importance. I know the benefits - both physically and mentally.

I have dumbbells. I have resistance bands. I have a book or two.

I need a plan. I also need a reward. I've learned that I am more likely to do something if I have these two things. I think while dinner is cooking I can do some strength - so that is the start of the plan emoticon

Not sure why I'm blogging about this except it's on my mind lately. I have barely lost any weight in the first 3 months of the year. I wonder if this is one of the reasons?!?!?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELAOPET 4/7/2011 8:06AM

    I didn't used to do it either. Then I started forcing myself. At the end, the best reward was - I was getting stronger and saw the progress I made in a short time. I still don't like it much! LOL
try looking at it as a warm up to running. It helps me...And try and do at least 12 different exercises, it helps also...

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NEWHORIZONSR4ME 4/6/2011 12:41AM

    I like the idea that ST makes muscles look pretty. You know in your arms? They can be strong enough and all, but when you ST they get really curvy and just plain pretty. My arms are a long way from pretty, but I'm seeing small improvements with the 4 mo of ST I've done. Yeah I know that's a long time, but I really hate my arms so I'm doing it. Now my legs are getting some shape from all the spinning I do. I suppose it's really what is important to you. If running works, and there is no issue with flabby parts, and no family history of osteoarthritis, than ST is not so important for you. Figure out what matters to you, and go for there. Don't do it because someone says it's important.

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MSSUNBUG 4/5/2011 9:05PM

    ST is creeping its way into my life in small ways. Really, yoga was my ONLY ST for a long time (and was plenty!). I now do an ab routine and the 100 push-up challenge (you can google search this), and some occasional weight lifting.

Here's what's helped me in thinking about it: had I tried to run 4-6 (heck even 1!) miles right from the start, I'd have given up before I began. The journey towards running was slow and gradual and evolving. It's okay--maybe even better--for the ST routine to be the same way. See if you can set your sights on one small change for now maybe and build from there. :-) It will come.

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LOVESTODJ 4/5/2011 9:00PM

    Strength training is the best thing ever!
I love the feel of lifting heavy weights and shrinking each week.
Find a plan of attack and just go for it!

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MIAMIA7 4/5/2011 7:49PM

    I am one of the weird ones who LOVES strength training! Bobby says I am crazy. What works for me is to have a set schedule for the week. You know, run on Monday, Wed.,Sat., ST on Tues. and Thurs. If it on my calendar I do it. I also do it as soon as I get home from work. If I sit down for "just a minute" then I don't feel like doing it. Yeah, I am tired when I get home but as soon as I get moving I am fine. I use a lot of Coach Nicoles workouts and exercises on the fitness page. It let's you make your own plan or it will make one for you plus it has demos. I do all my ST at home. My schedule at work (and my budget) won't allow the gym. Good luck. Anne

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DJS-DEBBIE 4/5/2011 6:44PM

    I find it hard to strike a balance between strength and cardio. When I do more cardio, I do less strength.

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WONDEROONA 4/5/2011 6:14PM

    I love strength training although it messes with the scale on my part anyhow. I will gain weight, but I'm losing inches. I guess that means I'm gaining muscle which is important. So, keep up the good work, and plan, plan, plan!! lol

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OFFDREA 4/5/2011 1:39PM

    Strength training is wonderful because muscle burns fat. The more muscle you have the more fat your body burns. It raises your metabolism so you are burning more calories at rest. Muscle also takes up way less room then fat. :)
Good luck finding a plan and don't be afraid to lift heavy!!!!! Less reps and more results!

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JONEIL513 4/5/2011 11:15AM

    I personally love Strength training.. it has helped me shrink up nicely even when the scale isn't as cooperative. It also does help you lose weight. I definitely think you should set up a plan and give it a try! it is so good for your body and your metabolism. Let us know if it helps emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JONEIL513 4/5/2011 11:14AM

    I personally love Strength training.. it has helped me shrink up nicely even when the scale isn't as cooperative. It also does help you lose weight. I definitely think you should set up a plan and give it a try! it is so good for your body and your metabolism. Let us know if it helps emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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69NURSE 4/5/2011 11:06AM

    At least you are aware of the importance ST plays in your long term goals. I know you will get back to it - starting today. Remember you don't have to start with a full days workout. I started with wall push-ups and knee lifts, now I'm at the gym doing much more. It is not always easy - days like today it is actually a struggle, but we just have to put forth the effort and reap the benefits. Good luck with "getting your groove on". Have a great week. emoticon emoticon

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ATREAT4ME 4/5/2011 10:00AM

    I'm working on my plan too. I had 10 sessions with personal trainer to learn the rudimentaries of it. Best fitness $$$ i ever spent. There's still a lot I don't know, but I just finished creating my first workout for tomorrow AM. My reward for going it alone the rest of the month? I'm dropping major hints to DH that another 10 sessions would make a fine Mother's Day present. Or just because I did it. Or just as a reward. We'll see if there's $$$ in our bank account. LOL.

I'll be eager to see what you come up with. I know it'll be reasonable and wonderful and BrittPerfect!

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JEN-LOVES-LIFE 4/5/2011 8:31AM

    I have been slacking in that department myself. I did notice when I did do it, I lost more consistently.

My doctor recommended the book "8 minutes in the morning" by Jorge Cruise. I like it and for the most part I had no problems doing any of the exercises. I have not done it since about the first of the year. I think today will be my day to restart.

Good luck getting into the groove and coming up with a plan.

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My sort of weekend review and a couple ah-has

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I’ve been writing this blog in my head for a little while now, when I tried to get it typed last week, I had trouble organizing my thoughts, so I hit delete. After Just a Short Run (JASR) this weekend, I wanted to give it another try - it may be long because I’m realizing another blog I was writing in my head is related – so my apologies in advance. Also I hope it looks OK because I typed it in Word - I hope it transfers OK.

“Shy isn’t a feeling, it’s an action” – a therapist I was seeing in my early 20s said that to me in one session. I don’t remember the context but I’m sure I was saying I didn’t do something because I was shy, a phrase (or an excuse) I said and/or thought often. His words have really stuck with me over the years because they are true. So where does the action, or inaction in this case, stem from? Identifying the feeling that is behind my “shyness” has always been difficult for me. Is inadequate a feeling? If so, maybe that is it but logically I can talk myself out of it. I know mentally that we’re all different, no one is any better than me – but the feeling inside seems to be there.

The blog in my head started a few weeks ago when SANDIEGOJOHN did a shout out for his SparkFriends to leave him a voicemail before his first half marathon. For about 3 days I thought about the message I could leave, trying to keep it short but also, supportive and funny – did I ever end up leaving that message, nope. Then for days afterwards I was beating myself up about not calling. What was my problem? It was a simple voicemail that I “felt too shy” to leave. It was like I was in high school or college and someone asked me to call for pizza – I couldn’t do it. (Yes, I don’t think I called for a pizza until I was in my 20s). What bothered me, too, it was as if I didn’t trust SDJ to listen to the voicemail with the openness and happiness that he intended. I made his request all about me. Icky feeling.

Jump to this past weekend and JASR. For those who haven’t been read the many wonderful blogs and updates from various members – JASR was a race in Pittsburgh this past weekend in which about 50 Sparkers from around the country (and Canada) came to participate in. There were 4 races to choose from, 5K, 8.1, Half, and 30K (the awesomeness that is BILLALEX70 completed that one!) and we all withstood the freezing temperatures to participate. (Coach Nancy had icicles in her hair when she was done). The weekend was full of activities – dinner Friday, lunch Saturday, a social on Saturday night (thanks to Bill, Anne, Lynn and Jan – things were well planned for us all).

Going into the weekend I realized I barely knew anyone who was going to be there. A few were Sparkfriends but not ones who I knew well or interacted with often, except Coach Nancy who I was really excited to meet. I wasn’t too concerned because I’m generally more than OK being an observer of conversations adding bits and pieces into it when I feel appropriate. Since I live in Pittsburgh, we (Bonnie and I) went back and forth to all of the events. A lot of miles put on the car but that is fine (well for me because I never drive – Bonnie was a bit worn out on Sunday). We ended up being a little late for everything because of traffic but I thought it was no biggie. I mention the not knowing people, not being in the hotel with many and running late because in retrospect one of these alone isn’t great for someone who is shy, all three together is kind of setting myself up for large group failure.

Leaving the weekend I realized I barely knew anyone who was there. I did have conversations with a few very nice and fun Sparkers. I don’t want to downplay any of the interactions I had with those who I chatted with at lunch and the gathering afterwards. Oh and the few I met in the freezing cold waiting for the race to start. I am glad I went to everything and met those who I did. In the days since I have had the same “what was my problem” to not introduce myself to people. To not join into a conversation. To think I would be imposing. One would think that it wasn’t a safe situation full of wonderful people – which it totally was. Also,like with SDJ, it showed lack of trust in those around me.

The article I wrote (well blog turned into article) “11 Things I Learned After One Year On Spark” leads off with “1. Treating myself as a friend is the greatest gift I can give myself. Loving, encouraging and reassuring myself are such useful things when some days are difficult.” This weekend I failed at that! When I didn’t call SDJ, I failed. (Fail is harsh but you get my gist). When my oldest nephew was about 3 he wanted to pet a dog at a park and he asked me to ask the owner. I said no, if he wanted it, he had to ask (which he did). I didn’t want him growing up like I did – someone who doesn’t use his/her voice. If I knew what was best for Patrick, why don’t I do the same for myself? Every time I give in to that feeling of inadequacy and not do something, I feed it and it just makes it harder for me the next time.

The feelings of inadequacy have been creeping in way too often lately. A friend doesn’t say “11:59 minute mile is so slow, even if it was 8.1 miles”. A friend doesn’t say “When are you going to be in 8s? I know you started at 16W and are now in loose 10s but why can’t you be in 8s?” A friend doesn’t say “When are you going to be in the 150s?” Heck, to be honest a friend doesn’t even say “what is your problem.” But I have said all of these – especially my first 8.1 race at a pace I didn’t like – to the point of tears.

What I realized today was when I sit on the outside when there’s so many great people on the inside not only do I not get to know them but they also don’t get to know me. An on the slight side of conceit – that is a shame. We are all a gift we share with each other and when we retreat into ourselves we deprive others of a gift. This weekend no one heard my Spark story, no one heard my running story, no one knows what I do for a living, all most know is I can make awesome Spark patches. I didn’t share my gift and it is a shame.

This weekend was an amazing one for about 50 Sparkers. Some ran/walked farther than they ever had before, some entered their first race, some personal records, all tackled a hill from hell (then other “rolling hills”) and others walk/ran through injuries to the finish line. From reading many blogs, some found their Spark again,some went out of their comfort zones of meeting people from the internet, many reconnected with old friends and met some new ones. Most are already planning for JASR in 2012.

This weekend was amazing for me because I came out with a couple ah-ha moments. 1) I need to start treating myself as a friend again. No more devaluing myself to feed the feeling of inadequacy. 2) I need a plan to start being better in social situations. When it comes to Spark – that may be easier than other places. I have added many SparkFriends. If I know them better before meeting them in person it will be easier to feel comfortable. In general, I’ve already started looking up books to read in overcoming shyness. I believe it is something that is able to be developed. I’m 40 and I have to continually tell myself to use my voice. I’m hoping reading some books will help me with that.

For me, Spark is about becoming the person I was meant to be. I recognize that I have a more work to do. This weekend and JASR has helped plant another seed for growth. I am very glad I went, got to witness what Spark is all about – the people, and that I got to meet those who I did. It will be a weekend that will be remembered for years to come.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COUNTING_DOWN 6/26/2011 10:45PM

    Britt. I struggle with this, too. Here is a bit of advise that makes small talk easier.


F = Family. Ask folks about their family. It is somethint that everyone takes pride in talking about. You get to listen and ask questions.

O = Occupation. Ask them what they do for a living. Again, you get to ask quesitons and then go deeper in the conversation.

R = Recreation. What do they like to do in their spare time?

D = Dreams. What are they looking to do in the future? Where to they want to go, what do they want to do, what are they going to try next?

F.O.R.D. makes small talk bearable.

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SPARKIE1964 4/4/2011 9:13AM

    You've touched on several hot buttons for me personally as well. Treating ourselves as a friend is a work in progress for me. While I can't say that I'm shy, I do see that I'm not as comfortable in larger group gatherings which I find intimidating at times. I do admire your strength and courage to share your inner most thoughts. Keep blogging my friend...You are becoming the person you want to be...WTG on your incredible success...I'm itching for loose 10's while I struggle with tight 12's...You are a role model for me. I know that I CAN and I WILL get there one step at a time even if sometimes backwards...LOL

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IONA72 4/1/2011 6:12AM

    Britt you brought a lump to my throat, I wish I could just come over to hug you. What a great and honest blog, I hope you make good progress because you are so worth it.

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ETTEZEUS 3/31/2011 11:41PM

    It was really nice to meet you!
You and Bonnie did a fantastic job on the patches. I will be keeping and using mine for as long as it will stay together.

Thanks for watching me *run that hill*.....that was very challenging for me to do! Other than the one (not so big) bridge we have here in FL, I've never run hills before. And I've never run in weather that cold either. Two giant hurdles that I got over.

I know you aren't going to believe this but several years ago, I never would have gone to an event this big. I guess when I came out of my shell, I really emerged. Hope I didn't overwhelm you as much as I did a couple others. And If I did, I'm really sorry!
I'll try and back off a bit next year!

I will be back!

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MRSSMITH622 3/30/2011 7:59PM

    Thanks for the patch. I love it. I seen all of those people in the Rose barn and everyone seemed to be talking and laughing and I froze. None of them are "my spark friend" They are all just people who happen to be trying the healthy lifestyle, same as me, andI happened to join the race. I did the 5 K. I was so overwhelmed. I was almost too scared to ask where the patches were. I introduced myself to Coach Nicole and ran for my life.

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JOPAPGH 3/30/2011 7:46PM

    It was a pleasure to meet you in person at JASR. I have followed your running transformation on Spark and you have nothing to beat yourself up for. Take a step back and look from the outside: it is amazing how far you have come.

I used to be shy, but no longer feel that way, especially around Sparkers, many of whom I had already met before JASR. I hope we can get together for another running event in Pittsburgh. I would love to hear more about you and your Spark journey.

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BILLALEX70 3/30/2011 6:53PM

    I would be a bit more reserved (I know shocking) if I was in a group of strangers, but these people are my best friends; family. We can be a bit overwhelming due to the fact that we've all met at least once and that in itself can be enough to put someone on their heels.

From our bits of conversation at lunch (when I wasn't packing food in like I was going to the electric chair) I gathered that once out of your shell you're a lot of fun. I'll look forward to following your progress over the next year and plan to "meet" a totally new Britt in March '12.

Thanks for the shout out in your blog. I'm still feeling the ill effects of those 'grades.'

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BOBBYD31 3/30/2011 5:30PM

    britt, i would never guessed shy, quiet but not shy, but it is different on the boards. this group for the most part is not shy, however they can be intimidating because some are very outgoing.( or loud and crazy) the blog was well written from your heart, i applaud you for laying it out there like this. i am hoping we can do something this summer as a group of walkers and runners a few times. a couple of races or training runs then maybe breakfast or lunch, i will probably start a new group just for us in this area. if you have not heard it enough the patches where a huge hit at the race and the spark office. hope to see you this summer

oh by the way you are an athlete walker or runner, slow or fast , you are an athlete. be proud of yourself!

Comment edited on: 3/30/2011 5:32:38 PM

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MIAMIA7 3/30/2011 2:17PM

    Thanks for putting your thoughts out there Britt! Like Deej, I certainly am not shy but talk to much at times! I really have become more outgoing since spark. When Bobby and I were ask to speak at the spark convention in cincy I was PETRIFIED! I mean absolutely scared to death! I have never talked in front of a crowd...ever. But I said yes before I could back out. I was determined to share my story with others. If we helped one person to realize that healthy living is possible despite (or maybe because) of an illness than I was going to get my butt up there and do it! I actually don't remember much of the speaking part. (Think "deer in headlights" here). But when I watched the video (yup, it was taped...and I knew that was going on...yikes) I realized...hey, I wasn't that bad! Since then, Bobby and I have done other talks in front of audiences. Go figure. I found my voice! I am so thankful to have met you and can't wait to see you again. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping to make this such a memorable event. The patches brought the spark to everyone this weekend! Hang in there...keep working at it and never doubt that you are worthy of all! Anne

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MOMONTHERUN1 3/30/2011 2:09PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and feelings in this blog. It is a great blog and I am hoping that along this journey I will be able to meet and greet with fellow Sparkers. There are so many of us and I can so relate to you knowing but not knowing about the Sparkers that you met IRL (in real life).

Glad to read that you will treat yourself like a friend once again. YOU are the most important person! YOU have to put yourself first and take care of yourself because if you don't who will?

Glad that you enjoyed your experience and I hope that one day I will be able to meet fellow Sparkers in real life. Congrats also on your JASR race!

I am interested in the JASR for 2012 if all of those 50 sparkers are going to do it again!

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LAURIE5658 3/30/2011 2:04PM

    Britt, I am no longer shy because I worked my way out of it. My big aha moment was the Spark convention September 2009 when I first met alot of my Spark friends. JASR was a reunion for several of us as we kept in close contact all this time. I was PAINFULLY shy. Not anymore and it is such a freeing feeling. It is my fervent wish that you find that freedom one day.

It was my absolute pleasure to meet you and I want to thank you so much for my special Spark patch. I seriously thought about it while I ran all those stinkin hills during my JASR HM. The pink means the world to me.

You WILL get past the shyness and trust me!!

Comment edited on: 3/31/2011 9:14:46 AM

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DEEJ4FITNESS 3/30/2011 1:14PM

    Great Blog Brit!! I didn't give a 2nd thought to you being quieter than me when we chatted because the majority of people are LOL Unfortunately I've never been accused of being shy! It works the other way too; I talk way too much!!

I appreciate so much your honesty and you sharing a portion of your "self-discovery" with those of us who share a common goal of becoming healthy & well :)

I wish you the best as you continue your journey & look forward to the next time our paths cross! :) heck!! I think you were ready to defend me when the Olive Garden "patron" expressed his frustration LOL that's good enuf' for me!!!! I getcha on wanting to become more social but I also like ya just fine the way you are :) just sayin...

Bless ya!! ~Deej

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JONEIL513 3/30/2011 11:10AM

    Great blog! thank you for sharing. I identified very strongly with the things you were saying here, I didn't call for a pizza or anything else until i was probably about 23! You are a beautiful person and should treat yourself as a friend, because you're awesome! keep up the great work, you are making such positive changes, the ones that happen in the head are just as important as all the amazing physical progress you have made.

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BRIAN36 3/30/2011 11:08AM

    Not only do you make awesome spark patches, you make me want to get to know you. I was really hoping to meet the "patch-maker" because I thought how awesome and selfless it was to volunteer for all that work on such short notice. I would have loved to thank you in person. I regret not making more of an effort to track you down. I'm sure we will have an opportunity to meet again hopefully long before JASR 2012, LOL.

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SBHPATRICK 3/30/2011 10:59AM

    What a wonderful blog! Thank you so much for sharing it. You have articulated what a lot of people, me included, feel in some social situations. Congratulations on your JASR race!

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LILIVW 3/30/2011 10:34AM

    Great blog. I can relate. I am not shy but I often second guess my interactions and worry about how I come across. I am really trying to re-learn to love myself and not question myself so much. I agree that Spark is helping us to change in many different ways to become who we can be. Best of luck to you!

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DIASTER 3/30/2011 10:15AM

  You spoke for so many of us today, thank you for opening our eyes maybe we all need to reach out since we are all in the same salad bowl just in different stages. How many of us would just love to be in a size 10 girl, you need to celebrate your progress. You learned something about being open, bet next year will be so different.

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MSSUNBUG 3/30/2011 8:47AM

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Brit. I would add the book I mentioned in my blog yesterday to your list--The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion--as I think things like this are where we need to be--and DESERVE to be--as compassionate, understanding, and patient with ourselves as possible.

I don't relate to shy-ness, exactly. But I DO relate to what I sense is underneath what you've shared: a fear of being vulnerable, of putting something, ANYTHING, out there that might be judged, rejected, or just perceived in some way you can't control by others. What will so-and-so think of me if I don't leave the right kind of supportive voicemail? For me, if I let people in then I'm left with all these questions, replaying all my interactions and conversations: did it come across right? Did I offend anyone? Do they think I'm a total a$$? Vulnerability is scary and threatening. I don't blame you for struggling with shy-ness. I commend you for recognizing the ways that it's limiting you and for being motivated to change this!

I also relate a lot to the experience of picking on yourself, focusing in on what you think you're not doing well or well enough, rather than focusing on what you HAVE accomplished. I do this all the time. Unless I'm making continual progress or meeting (or surpassing) my own (often unreasonable) expectations, then I'm not doing well enough. I could remind you of all that you HAVE accomplished--maintaining a healthy lifestyle, building your speed AND distance with running, losing several clothing sizes--but I know you already know these things. Perhaps a first step in the right direction would be to imagine making space for BOTH of those feelings or experiences. "I didn't do this in the time I'd hoped for, BUT I finished a 8.1 mile run, holy crap!" Or "Well, I may be in size 10 for longer than I'd wanted, but man, I'm so glad that it's not the size 16W I WAS in!" Sometimes, this is all I can muster, but I've noticed that making space for BOTH of the feelings--the disappointment/frustration and pride/happiness makes the former seem less huge and upsetting and overpowering and the latter feel more natural. And making space for both helps me keep a better overall perspective and balance.

Give yourself the hug that you'd give to a good friend. You're not where you want to be in social situations, but you're acting from a place of awareness and motivation--motivation to make it different or better. What a gift that is. I'm certain that from that place--and from the place of accepting and comforting yourself--you're going to see the changes you want to see.

Thanks for the continued inspiration,

Comment edited on: 3/30/2011 8:50:36 AM

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ATREAT4ME 3/30/2011 8:34AM

    Wow! What a beautiful and insightful post, Britt. You're exactly right (IMHO) about how a friend talks. I also struggle with being a good friend to myself. Being a friend to self is frankly something I never thought about before SP. But I think it is part of the package: becoming healthy does mean moving closer to our individual, ideal weight AND moving closer in feeling to our unique, individual beauty AND moving closer to that place in life where we can trust ourselves and others with this precious gift. What a great post. I'm grateful you wrote it.

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DJS-DEBBIE 3/30/2011 7:57AM

    Thanks for a great blog, Brit! You are inside my head. I have so many of the same feelings. Reading this, I wonder if this is why is has been difficult to get Sparkers together outside of races. Maybe a lot more of us than I would have guessed are actually shy in person. Part of why I didn't even plan to go to some of the events is because I felt that as a walker I didn't really fit in with the group. Now I realize just how dumb that was and I really regret not participating more.

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JEN-LOVES-LIFE 3/30/2011 7:33AM

    What a beautifully written blog. Thank you for being so honest. I never thought of shyness as an action. Now you'll get me thinking another way. I thought it was really cool for you to come up and introduce yourself to me at Second Sole. I did not introduce myself to anyone over the weekend unless they introduced themselves first.

So, let me ask, what do you do for a living? I do bookkeeping for our company, I work from home. Mike runs the warehouse and makes deliveries so he goes in every day (about a 45 minute drive). It's not always easy working together, but we do our best.

As far as pace times go, I think just finishing the race is the biggest accomplishment. Even just having the balls to start is amazing. Maybe I am just too new to running, but my whole thing is to finish and maybe look up at my surroundings a little. I just keep reminding myself that I have legs for a reason, so I'd better use them.

Finally, I noticed that you were from Bethel Park. I lived there in 95-96, I just could not remember where. I used to work at the Concordia Club and at Giant Eagle. I went to PA Culinary school. I love to back, not cook and I only do it now when I want to. No more restaurant or bakery working for me anymore.

I'm glad that we are getting to know each other. Thank you again for this blog.

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    Hi Brit,
It was a real pleasure to read this very honest and open blog. I share some of your feelings and I have also struggled to find my voice and be nice to myself. That critical voice inside my head is just not a friend!
I wish you all the success in your journey. Remember, you are not alone.

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WOMANCHEF 3/30/2011 7:19AM

    Wow - I had no idea - I wish I could have spent more time chatting with you while we were freezing our behinds off. Thanks for being so open about your shyness. It is something that I have had to overcome in my life. Working in a professional kitchen cured me finally (those guys wouldn't let anyone be shy!)after years of therapy when I was younger. You can do it - love and be kind to yourself first and the rest will follow.

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LYNNANN43 3/29/2011 10:53PM

    Wow, Brit! I had no idea about this. You are so brave to share your story with us.

After reading many JASR blogs, I realized that many of you are so shy. But I want all of you to know, that we are family, here at SparkPeople. I have found that we embrace everyone for just who they are.

You have no idea how happy I was when you & Bonnie came to Olive Garden:-) Lord knows that I'm outgoing, but after meeting so many new peeps, it was so good to see and talk with yinz (lol) guys!

You have no idea how much it meant to my sister that you guys sat with her at Second Sole. She was having anxiety attacks about being around so many SparkPeople because she felt that she had "fallen off of the SparkWagon" and that people would judge. She did come to realize that SPers will love & embrace her just the way she is. I hope you found that to be true too:-)

And thanks, once again, for our SparkPatches. i believe that they have become the symbol of the entire weekend!


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Saying No

Friday, March 04, 2011

Means saying YES to me.

I finally stayed awake for a whole The Biggest Loser episode the other night. One of the contestants made this statement after she was home for 2 weeks facing temptations "When I say NO, I say Yes to me!"

Gosh, that's such a great statement. Is it one that's popular and I haven't heard before?

Anyway, I just thinking about it in that way boosts my confidence... I haven't even had a temptation since I heard it but when I think "Says yes to me" it's like an exclamation mark happens inside of me.

I find it very easy to sway from my plan. Sure, I have lost weight, have gotten healthier, can head out the door for a run, all of these things but if there's a bowl of M&Ms in front of me - I'll have some. I am in my calorie range 90% of the time - so I can easily say, M&Ms aren't a big deal. (which in the big scheme of things aren't)... but am I really being true to who I am or want to be? Not really. Every time I walk away from temptations, I'm affirming who I want to be. Saying yes to who I am.

I am worth saying yes to!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MELISSAT123 3/28/2011 8:05PM

    You are SO worth saying yes to. And I'm so proud of you for becoming a runner. You go girl!

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KGLOVER71 3/16/2011 12:06PM

    I love this!! My new mantra.

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ELAOPET 3/5/2011 1:07PM

    YES TO NO! emoticon

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ATREAT4ME 3/5/2011 9:01AM

    What a great observation and a terrific change of thought! It is a practice that strengthens our relationship with ourselves. Thank you, Brit, for sharing this with us.

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DJS-DEBBIE 3/5/2011 8:05AM


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SUMMERSMILES1 3/4/2011 11:57PM

    I like that saying as well. Thanks for including it on your blog.

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MSSUNBUG 3/4/2011 8:45PM

    I really love this! You know that "no" is hard for me; framing it in terms of saying YES to me is so lovely and helpful. I'm going to do that from now on! Can't wait until you have a chance to try that one out. :-)

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URLEEC 3/4/2011 4:39PM

    Thanks for posting this! That is a great quote to remember. Whenever you're at work and someone brings donuts or chips, that statement would fit perfectly. I'll try to remember it.

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JONEIL513 3/4/2011 11:50AM

    GREAT BLOG!! i have not heard that saying before either but it is so true! i'm definitely going to start using it. thanks for sharing!

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JPAJAK 3/4/2011 10:09AM

    Yes you can!!! I watched that too and I agree that it was a wonderful phrase that she said "saying no means saying yes to me" That is something we should all say to ourselves when we are tempted by that brownie or piece of cake or donut, whatever our weakness, just say no and yes to you!!!


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