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A Weekend of Emotions

Monday, March 21, 2011

Let me first preface by saying that this was the most difficult weekend I've experienced in a very long time. I had some of my highest highs and my lowest lows and the up and down made me absolutely sick. Let me also say that I realize this has to do with my headspace and not the people around me. It is not their responsibility to take care of me and make sure that I feel validated and like I belong. But this weekend, in a quick recap, made me relive all my worst junior high and high school experiences. I haven't felt this way in a very long time and I'm spending my day recovering as much from the physical as the mental and emotional. So keep all that in mind, and keep in mind that I'm going to be completely honest about what *I* experienced and what *I* felt because all I have is my own experiences and I need to put down the truth so I can remember how it affected me.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?!

Wednesday -
I left a 10 hour day at work and drove to my mom's house 3 hours north. I'm so glad I decided to break up the drive on the way because the next day was SO difficult. Unfortunately, it left me with only 4 hours of sleep.

Thursday -
The first few hours of driving were the worst. I was still really tired and I knew I was still really far away. I had a muffin from Tim Hortons, which only managed to make me MORE sleepy. I finally gave in and ate a sausage, egg and cheese croissanwich and hashbrowns from Burger King (not the best choice in the world, granted) and I felt much better. I ended up driving from Ohio to Indiana through Illinois and up into Iowa in order to avoid Chicago during the week (and on St. Patty's Day, no less!). I also got the added bonus of stopping off and meeting with ABETTERCHERYL for lunch on the way through Iowa.

It was a great lunch - my club sandwich was almost as tall as my head! - and I ate half of that and then headed on for the last 5 hours or so....which seemed to take forever.

Oh, and let me add that trying to be healthy and driving 12-15 hours is SUPER SUPER difficult. And I had to pee way too much for my liking! *lol*

You can read about our crazy night of dancing in my last blog, so I won't repeat it here. I will say that I was totally able to let go of myself that night and any thoughts of "they're looking at you and judging you" I let fly out the window. I said screw it. I bumped and grind...ed? *lol*, and it felt good that after letting go I was told by a couple people that I danced "crazy" and I *think* they meant it as a compliment. It felt good to let go and just be.

Friday -
We started the morning at the Mall of America. I found some GREAT stuff at Maurice's and Torrid and I was feeling SUPER good about myself. At first I felt out of place, but after trying some things on and seeing how great they were fitting, I started coming around. I'm still a little miffed at how slowly my bottom half is coming along, but I'm working with what I have. Walking into Torrid was a completely different story. It was the exact kind of store I always dreamed of for myself. Everything was available in my size. All options were available. I even got a sexy corset that looks great on me! I was on a bit of a high and then we went for yummy sushi and some fried tofu. YUM! I felt *great* about myself.

And then I left the girls for a few minutes and when I came back, plans had changed and we were going to meet Erin, who had just arrived. Confession? I'm only just now starting to get better with spur-of-the-moment changes. I'm much better when I have time to prepare myself, my mind and I know what's going on. So the quick change and the quick meeting of someone new threw me off a little bit. I still just tried to go with it, but I started to feel the air let out a bit as I was surrounded by 3 skinny chicks and had another "fat friend" moment.

I pulled myself together as we headed over to training with Paula's trainer. And I tried to feel confident going in, but I was scared. I felt like a sore thumb...and that was made worse by the fact that I was the only one who had to fess up to knee and hip trouble when he asked about it. He had to alter some moves for me, and that started the flood gates of the "handicap" feeling and the "not good enough" feeling. As the girls were pushing through the workouts he had planned, Chris had to work with me on "other" things. Granted, I still worked hard. I would have LOVED to make the girls do the V-sit crap I had to do (which made my quads bricks for the next couple days). But, still, I felt like the one person who "couldn't"...a confirmation of all those fears I had about going to WALK a race they were all running. I tried to battle through. Tried. It didn't work.

We went to Paula's co-op after that for healthy food and after 3 looks from skinny girls in the store...those looks of "Why are YOU here?" I felt myself dropping into that place again. And it all came to a head at the running store...which I had to walk out of because I kept hearing "you don't fit don't haven't deserved aren't a can't run" in my head. At the next stop I stayed in Paula's car as she ran in to get a balloon and I cried. I tried to tell myself to snap out of it, but I cried for what I wasn't, what I wanted to be, and what I couldn't do. I cried and then made myself stop so she wouldn't see...but my plans to hide my hurt didn't take me too far.

When we got back to Paula's we met up with the rest of the girls and the "running" talk began immediately as they all worried about the race, about whether they could run, about their finish times for the next day....and I "ran" out the door to cry on the steps. I wanted to scream, "Stop b!tching about how you run. I CAN'T run. Just be happy you CAN run." The sadness was turning to rage, and I didn't want to take it out on the girls because they didn't do anything wrong - it was MY problem, and I needed to deal with it. It took me a long time to get myself together. A LONG time. And soon I was found out and Becky came to tell me to stop beating myself up. But I couldn't stop. I felt horrible.

Becky made a healthy dinner (that was great, btw) and then we were set to get our race stuff together and get dressed for karaoke. I went upstairs to get my stuff together and take a quick shower...I was getting myself out of my funk. Slowly I was pulling myself back up and telling myself to just live in the moment. And then everything changed again. I heard a knock at the door while I was in the shower and was told that plans had changed and we weren't going out. I was confused and out of my comfort zone again. I didn't understand how we were changing plans so quickly from something Paula seemed so excited to do on her birthday to a quiet night in...

Long story short - it resulted in an argument between Becky and I as I struggled to understand why we were bouncing around at Target while the birthday girl was at home, alone, doing dishes. I know now I should've just stayed with Paula. I wasn't ready yet to be back into the fray of emotions. I spent the rest of the night feeling like it was me against 4, and once more felt like I did not belong. I started packing and considered leaving right then and there. I didn't think I had the strength and courage to pull myself together again. Becky and I talked and I agreed to stay, but said I was packing anyhow, just in case I needed to split. It was my fight or flight response and I wasn't feeling strong enough to fight anymore. I went to bed that night wondering if I would even finish the race...if I even wanted to go.

Saturday - RACE DAY
Let me just let you in on a secret. Races are like magic courage. I'll get an actual race report out to you soon, but I can say that throughout the race I didn't feel "don't belong" for very long...within the first mile all that had melted away and I was walking my own race, running a couple downhills and limp-running into the finish line with tears in my eyes, breaking my goal of being under an hour 20 minutes. I had done it! I looked around, hopeful for someone to tell, someone to share it with. There had been talk before of them coming back to walk with me to the finish line when they were done, but I just figured that the race organizers had told them it wasn't allowed. I mean, I saw other people walking past the course, but maybe they had been told no. I looked around for them at the finish line but, again, found no one. I knew they were done...I saw that Becky had come in just 10 minutes before me, and I had been hoping to share the euphoric joy I felt upon finishing with all of them and to share with them that I had beaten my "not enough" feelings to pull out my best time ever...a great time for a walker, I think. 1:12:21. Not half bad. It had taken me over 2 hours to do the 10k last September, and here I was at my 7k only 12 minutes from the hour mark!

I cried at the finish line and pushed aside those "where are they? why aren't they here?" feelings and just called Hubs to tell him that I had done it. I had to tell someone, so I called my kids and Hubs because I knew they would be proud...and I walked back to race village, supposing maybe race officials had told the group they had to wait for me there. I was still feeling pretty good when I took a turn and saw the girls. I think I threw my hands in the air in a "yippee me" type moment, and then I realized that they were taking group finish photos...without me. I know I should've jumped up and down and said, "Wait for me!" but that's just not who I am. I waited in front of them and figured they'd call me in when they were ready...but they didn't see me. As I stood in front of them for like 5 minutes, I was invisible. I knew they were on a race high, but it was impossible for me to not hear that "you're not part of the group" voice and see it right there in front of me.

I went from my highest high to my lowest low, feeling like my worst fears were realized. The voice told me, "That's the real group photo right there. The group of runners. The ones who belong. You aren't a part of it." I grabbed my food and muscle milk and tried to recover. I walked around not sure whether to run or go back. I wanted to run. I wanted to walk back to the car. I was so upset I didn't want to see them and have them see my hurt. I didn't want to bring them down because I was feeling so awful...but I didn't want to disappear and then call even more attention to my pain. I'll admit that my worst moment came as I sat in a port-o-potty longer than anyone should sobbing out my frustrations, pain and hurt.

I decided it would be best for the group dynamic if I shoved the disappointment down and went back to find them. I found them. They hugged me, but it didn't much help. I sat down and tried SO HARD not to cry. I tried so hard not to lash out my anger and pain. It wasn't their fault, I know that. I didn't want to make them feel bad. This was my problem, not theirs. In our "group" photo with me later, I tried to hide my pain, but it shows. It's my least favorite post-race photo ever and just reminds me how I felt so torn apart in that moment.

I got quiet as I led the group back to the car. I spent the mile walk just trying to build myself back up. I told myself again how great I had done. I checked my official race time and felt that pride come back and I was able to hide the frustration with that pride. I drank my free beer and told my voices to quiet themselves. i promised I would deal with the pain later. I tried to tell myself it didn't matter.

Next was pole dancing class. And I found that again I was not one of the group. As they all whipped around the pole I was frozen in fear. I didn't trust my body. I didn't trust the pole to hold me. I was scared. The instructor was great and came over and told me it was normal, it was okay, and that all she wanted was for me to have fun. She told me to just swing around the pole while still on my feet, learning a little more to trust the pole. I made it through the class with tears streaming down my face - this time not from feeling the pain of not belonging or the euphoric high of pride, but with absolute pain. Pole dancing class with a crapton of ab work AFTER a 5 mile race? CRAZY stupid! OWWWW!

I went back to the house and crashed. I was physically and emotionally drained and i needed sleep like WHOA! When I woke up later and got ready for our dinner out, I felt great and sexy in my new clothes from Torrid.

Dinner was yummy and I felt pretty darn good when I felt like the hot waiter was totally flirting with me. Still, certain comments and such made it very difficult for me. When Becky joked that the waiter remembered me because I was next to "the obnoxious girl" (her), I felt daggers. It was SO difficult to feel pulled up and down, back and forth, high and low. I was completely emotionally spent, and that continued on as the girls took boudoir photos. It was a difficult thing for me, agreeing to put myself in that vulnerable situation when I felt my body wasn't sexy, wasn't hot, wasn't anything that should be photographed. Still I first. But after being asked about 4 or 5 times if I was going to do it, the voice inside told me that they were trying to talk me out of it, that I shouldn't do it. "Are you going to do it?" "Yep." "Are you going to do it?" "Yes." "Are you going to do it?" "Yea, I think so." "Are you going to do it?" "Yes, as long as people stop asking me." "Are you going to do it?" "No, I'm not."

I cried again. Mad at myself for not being able to push through. Feeling like the ugly duckling in a house of swans. I had had enough of the emotional highs and lows and I was ready to go home. I packed my bags and went to bed, sad and disappointed in myself and in the weekend.

Sunday -
I drove home with my mixed bag of emotions in the back seat of the car with me. I tried not to think about it too much. I listened to an audio book and just kept driving, telling myself that I was fine. I wasn't exactly "healthy" on the drive home, but my only goal was to get home where I felt loved, validated and where I belonged...where I didn't need to fight the demons because people knew me, they knew my buttons and they avoided them. I got home at 2am feeling proud of myself for the weekend I survived.

So, there it is. And right now what I'm thinking is that I need to focus the positive highs of the weekend.

* I danced like a freak at the club. 2 hours of dancing = 1692 calories burned
* I ate relatively healthy most of the week
* I pushed hard at training and FELT it later. 35 minutes of circuit training = 658 calories burned
* I killed my 5k time and had a great walking time in a 7k of 1:12:21! I finished only 11 official minutes after our slowest runner, which makes me proud. Even when I thought of giving up, I kept going and I made it!
* I did eventually get my leg around that pole and got a great workout AFTER the 7k without dying completely. I don't know how many calories I burned, but my abs still hate me for the bicycle crunches we did.
* I looked HOT at dancing and dinner and caught the eye of several guys. Plus, I'm pretty darn proud of how I look in the pictures.
* I survived a 3 hour drive, a 13 hour drive on 4 hours of sleep, and a 15 hour drive all in the span of 5 days. I'm a trooper, dude!
* As much as I wanted to run, I didn't. I stayed and pulled myself out of my funk more times than I ever could have before. The past me would've been gone Friday night...or would've spent the weekend isolated and telling herself every bad thing without one good thing to combat it. I'm getting better, even if I'm not there yet.
* I'm sore ALL OVER...which means I had a great weekend as far as working out is concerned. Even though the scale says I gained 3 pounds, I'm bloated as all get out, so we're waiting a few days to see if we can flush out the real weight loss. And I'm totally taking today off because I effin' EARNED it.

This was one of the hardest weekends I've experienced in a long time, and I'm sure I learned a lot about myself -- something I set out to do with my "year of adventures" plan. I said I was going to pull myself out of my comfort zone and see what I really enjoyed and what I didn't enjoy. I can't say if I'd do it all again (pushing my body that hard alone was almost more than I could take...add the emotional crap and I'm completely spent), but I think it was an important experience for me to have. Now it's time to move on, refocus my efforts and remind myself what I'm actually GOOD at. One big AHA! moment? After the race when I realized how fast I had walked, I realized that it was faster than my half-running time and out of my mouth came the words, "Who needs running? I can walk super fast!" So maybe I'll just keep working on that for now. Let's see how many runners I can beat walking my next race. *snort* Sorry, runners...I'm going to be one of those walkers you hate as they pass you by. *big grin*

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRANDI.FEY 3/23/2011 9:46AM

    I think you are very brave and amazing to put your true feelings out there like this. I'm also one of those people who struggle with the "I don't belong" feelings, so I can totally relate. I think you're AWESOME for finishing that race (I'm sure you could walk my socks off; I'm the slowest runner in the world) and here's some great big emoticon for making it through the weekend.

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LINDYLIME 3/23/2011 6:54AM

    Good on you for putting your self out there. You were out of your comfort zone, but you continued through it to the end. I can relate to much of what you wrote, feeling like you didn;t fit in etc. I'm sure most people experience that at some point. You are very brave for even going in the first place. Try not to be so hard on yourself for just being human. and finally - YOU GO GIRL!!!! :) thanks for sharing, made me feel more normal for what thats worth.

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SUSIEMT 3/22/2011 9:34PM

    Esther did your family even know you when you got home? I mean being so black and blue surely it made a difference! I agree with SanDiegoJohn about how you took personal responsibility for your own feelings. I hope I never get those feelings again!! emoticon emoticon

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SPUNKYDUCKY 3/22/2011 8:45PM

    Honestly, I think that sounds like a nightmare. I am sorry that you experienced it. For what it is worth, I will ALWAYS meet you at the end of the race, and the pics will be of us both. I know it is about you - but that made me mad. Forget all of that though....I am so proud of your time! WOW! Think of how incredibly far you have come!

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CHICAT63 3/22/2011 4:40PM

    Your blog brought back so many memories to me Esther unbelievable how we can have similar experiences in life. I am very proud of you and your accomplishments. " We must have perserverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that thing must be attained." Maria Sklodowska-Curie, a two-time Nobel prize laureate. Take her words to heart Sista ! emoticon

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RUNNER12COM 3/22/2011 2:55PM

    So many great comments already here about your success and how you amazing you are, so I'll just nod along in agreement with that. I will say this one thing, though. I am most proud of you for something others might seem is odd.

I am most impressed that in this whole write-up, YOU made yourself responsible. Sure, other people impacted your weekend. But you didn't blame them. Everything you wrote her was focused on you, your responses, and your actions. And that is awesome.

You know what pushes your buttons and you are working on ways to protect yourself. That is so amazing. You are already WAY stronger than you know, and clearly, you are only getting stronger.

Well done. You are absolutely a success story!

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KKINNEA 3/22/2011 2:42PM

    I wish I could have met up with you for a pix - in my book, anyone who made it out and finished it BELONGS! Great job on your success with this race!

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MENACE79 3/22/2011 1:42PM

    You are beautiful, but I can so relate to all the ugly duckling inner dialogue. Especially the waiter comment. That feels so familiar to me.

You know what stuck out to me the most when I read this blog? How much freaking DRIVING you had done, how little sleep you had had, and how tired you must have been. When I get over-tired, I get SUPER emotional. And very sensitive. I wonder how much this had to do with the negative self talk, and the feeling of not being in control of your emotions. I know it would with me.

Try not to let it take away from an otherwise fun and successful weekend. And a PR on your 7K! Awesome Job!


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HEALTH-E-CLARE 3/22/2011 10:59AM

    You are an amazing individual. Your strength and perseverance is nothing short of inspirational.... same with your 7k time.

Thank you for sharing all your ups and downs and thanks for ending it on all those amazing positives.

I have no doubt that you will be passing quite a few runners on your next race!


Comment edited on: 3/22/2011 11:00:20 AM

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SHEILA1505 3/22/2011 8:17AM

    Congratulations on the 1;12 7K - I prefer to walk too

Hugs - and wishing you continued strength!

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RIGBY31 3/22/2011 1:09AM

    Your commitment to finishing the race... awesome! You went out of your comfort zone for an adventure. Some stuff worked, some didn't. You are so strong, so beautiful (I've seen the pics... yes even hot!). And I'm glad your family cheered for you after the race.

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RUSSELLORAMA 3/22/2011 12:19AM

    Hugs to you for being such an amazing person!


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HARMONYBLUE 3/21/2011 9:48PM

    Oh wow. How many times have I lived this experience? Even having lost 60 pounds, when I went for my best friends bachelorette party with all of her super skinny college sorority sisters, I initially felt horribly out of place. I showed up at her house, totally sweaty and ragged, after five hours on airplane, after lugging seventy pounds of luggage all over San find them dressed to the hilt in $500 dollar dresses and $900 five inch heels, ready to make every man they passed drool...and I realized I didn't even pack club wear dressy enough to go out with these women! I am lucky enough to have a friend who immediately saw my "dear in the headlights" face and helped me to my room so I could diffuse my emotional time bomb. And after spending fifteen minutes drying my sweat, I decided the knee length pencil skirt usually reserved for work and fitted black bouse-sans camisole to show a daring bit of cleavage, in the dim lights of the club, wouldn't look so out of place after all. And when I saw the photos, like you, I realized I looked fabulous. And I look back on the weekend and remember having a great time (even though I know I was quite miserable for a good part of it). I hope with time, the good memories of your weekend will prevail!

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CAROBEAR1 3/21/2011 8:58PM

    Thanks for this blog and great race!! I've been waiting to see how it went.
I think you are SUPER brave to have done any of this trip. Meeting new people, folks from here, joining into a race with a group of new folks is a great that it wasn't enjoyable but I can see how it all can add up...
I'm getting ready to do a race ths year with a friend and I'm already worried about the details and it's not until the fall...will I keep up? Will she keep up? Where will we park? Do we have to hang out all day? What if she slows me down...what if she's faster than me? will she wait? will I wait? what to wear?
You are brave for all of the changes and new experience....good and bad...Great RACE!!!

Comment edited on: 3/21/2011 8:59:25 PM

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    This blog has brought so many feelings to MY surface... in some ways I could have written it a time or two (not as well though!).. it's kinda hard to separate my feelings about this blog from my feelings about me... in part of me wants to hug you (me) and part of me wants to shake you (me).. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to do a bit of shakin' of your friends who missed an opportunity to encourage you and celebrate with you at the finish line.. and I'm guessin' in hindsight they wish they'd do things differently.. but mostly... I want to CONGRATULATE you on pushing outside of your comfort zone and well, feeling uncomfortable. I think you've really hit on something about the "change" stuff bothering you... being a bit of a control freak myself I've dealt with that too...

Just this past weekend, I took a skinny friend to a kettlebell private lesson... there were several things that needed to be modified because of me (like the turkish get up)... my friend was very nice... the instructor was very nice.. but modified none of the less. Finally I said "Janice? do you feel cheated that he's not showing you the whole turkish get up because of my limitations?" she said "r u kidding? I'm dying over here". I started to evaluate what she said.. is she lying.. but I stopped myself.. if she was "just being nice" and was really feeling gipped.. .well, that's her problem.. I cannot own someone else's problem.. cuz I gave her the opportunity to say "her truth"... and relaxed and completely enjoyed the rest of the lesson... Own your stuff.. and let others own theres..

I hope you'll do this again... venture out... because you've become a stronger woman after this experience... one who can, in part, get her validation from within AND FINISH A FREAKIN 7K FAAAAAAAST! I can't. You can. There are tons of people on here who can't because they CAN'T... and another ton of people who can't because they've never tried.. YOU OWN THIS SUCCESS DANG IT. It's yours!


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MAMADELIGHT 3/21/2011 8:33PM

    You may not feel like you belong, but what matters is you being you. You. You. You. You are amazing. You are strong. You are an athlete. And, I'll tell you it took me several classes to get around the pole.

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SASXONTHEMOVE 3/21/2011 8:22PM are an amazing woman. Strong and sexy and fantastic. You are STRONG!!! You have a new PB!! You walked FAST. It's not about the "running" of the HM, but the completion that is important. And you, love, COMPLETED that race. You are a wonderful friend. You drove 15 hours across states to be with your friend on her birthday and complete a race!! All those ups and downs happen to all of us. I know you think that we don't all understand, but we DO! That 'not belonging' feeling is toxic. but it's still there. You were strong to push it aside and love the things you did this weekend. You showed a lot of strength and courage by staying when you felt terrible. You experienced things you've never done before, and that also takes courage, and pole dancing?? after a 7k?? that takes stamina! girl you are one hot mama!

We love you and value you and hope that you realize how freakin' awesomely amazingly PROUD WE ARE OF YOU!!!

And that there is always a place where you belong. Here with us.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Love you babygirl!

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BAYBELIEVER 3/21/2011 7:06PM

    Esther, I was so proud of you for doing the race, for your time, and now to know the inner demons (and some outer) you were battling, just goes to show you how strong you are! It would have been so much easier to just run from any part of this. But you didn't! You are so much more, even, than when you say, "I'm a trooper, dude!" I hope with time you will relish more and more that awesome drive, dancing, walking, drive you did and remember that you truly are special and have come so far! You know that! And I can relate to that. Because when anyone looks at me they still see super morbidly obese me, with the big hips and butt that don't seem to want to go anywhere. They don't see the me of 90 pounds ago to know where I have come from. But I do. And we both need to remember where we have been, what a great job we have done, and where we are going!

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BECKY_LYNN84 3/21/2011 7:06PM

    Hey girl, you are a ROCKSTAR!!! You are so inspirational! The fact that you can walk almost as fast as I run is truly amazing!! And you are definitely beautiful and was extremely HOT on Saturday night! I'm sorry you felt that way and I wish I could've done something to make you feel better. I'm very happy you stayed and very priviledged to have met you. You are a strong woman. Coming all this way up here to meet new people you've never met before and taking you out of your comfort zone is definitely something to be proud of. And it's certainly scary and emotional so you have every right to feel the ups and downs. Please don't beat yourself up for it. Embrace the positives, learn from the negatives, and celebrate the successes! This is our journey and we only continue to get stronger each day. emoticon

P.S. You got to have "Free Smells"

Comment edited on: 3/21/2011 7:07:42 PM

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STLRZGRRL 3/21/2011 7:02PM

    I love you, E... SO much...


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THREEE 3/21/2011 6:28PM

    wow...i've had those kind of times and i've hidden myself from those people...i am not like everybody else(and i WANT to be unique) and i can handle it, MOST of the hurts more when it is people that you thought of as close who don't see the pain that you are feeling...whether it is their fault OR self-inflicted....i am so glad you had a soft place to fall when the weekend was over
...and congratulations on breaking your own record emoticon

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LAURLEW 3/21/2011 6:28PM

    I totally know what you are feeling here! I go through this all the time and always feel like I don't fit in and I see the littlest things that "confirm" that idea in my head. Just this weekend I went to the beach with 3 friends and definitely felt like the fat friend and convinced myself thats what people were thinking so I know how you feel. We just have to remember that we ARE beautiful and we DO deserve to be in that running store. Hope you feel better and just keep remembering how strong you are for pushing through that weekend and ending up with your best time ever which is awesome!

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HEATHER_TEACHAH 3/21/2011 6:14PM

    thanks for sharing your fears and your struggles from the weekend. I think we have all been there (in some magnitude) and the fact that you're brave enough to share it with us is just awesome. (I mean that as in awe-inspiring.)

You never cease to amaze me with your strength- physically, emotionally, or motivationally.

I hope that you realize that you are loved and "belong" just as much as the next person. I am SO proud of you, Esther!!!!! emoticon

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ERINBEAR1876 3/21/2011 6:13PM

    I said this in my blog today, but I will say it again. You inspire me. You are one of the most strong and courageous women I have ever met, here or in real life. And this blog shows why.

I hope to have another chance to be there for you when you cross the finish line, Esther, but better yet? To finish it WITH you.

I really don't know what to say beyond that, because this just...I feel horrible. You say it is YOUR problem, but it isn't. That is supposed to be what friends are for, and I blew it. I am so, so sorry. emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/21/2011 6:18:35 PM

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GWENAEL 3/21/2011 6:02PM

    I am so proud of you! I read every single line you wrote pausing and feeling you! I'm in tears. You are such an inspiration and your brutal honesty is no joke!

What an amazing person you are! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/21/2011 6:03:22 PM

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APHRODITE2GO 3/21/2011 5:59PM

    Great job on hanging in there and making the best of it! emoticon

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    I can totally relate and understand how you feel on soooooo many levels. You're insanely brave to put it out there - not just for others, but yourself.

I do have to make a note that will *maybe* make you feel better about the pole experience. I've done pole twice before, actual classes and the like and had some time off. So my first month back at it, just a couple of months ago, still more than 200 pounds, I should be able to do some of the beginner spins, right? NOT. There I was, grappling with the mental block, AGAIN, while skinny girls who'd never touched a pole were "naturals". Yeah, that made me feel fabulous. So believe me, you are NOT alone and it IS normal to go through that. I'm still doing it and rocking it, so keep busting out on that speed walking, because it's AWESOME.

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LILLYPILLY24 3/21/2011 5:20PM

    I just want to give you a big (((hug))) and an almighty 'CONGRATULATIONS' for your time in the race, for the way you held yourself together this weekend. You didn't give up, didn't give in to the negative voices, but talked yourself through.

I am impressed with your courage, and touched by your pain.

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_MSAPRIL17_ 3/21/2011 5:18PM


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SHAM47 3/21/2011 5:10PM

    Wow, That sounded just like an inner monologue in my head. Wish I was that good at putting words to it. Thank-you for sharing and reminding me that I'm not allowed and other people feel the same way I do at times.

You should be soo proud of yourself for not running away and handling everything like a trooper!

Thanks for inspiring me to do better!

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MEGSFITNESS 3/21/2011 5:04PM

    Ugh :( Now I see why I kept missing you. Wish we could've gotten together, even if it was just to play the Wii.

Lemme know if you ever plan on coming back to Minneapolis :) you'd be welcome here.

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MAGSA10 3/21/2011 4:46PM

    Well it sounds like the weekend was a huge success if you leave out all the drama. You are strong and have a lot to be proud of. Keep on working it and stay strong and keep right on Sparking. Have a great week and you Rock!!!!!!!

Maggie j. emoticon

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ABETTERCHERYL 3/21/2011 4:41PM

    I love you too. I think it takes so much courage to admit all of these things, and I'm not quite sure I'd have the balls to do it, myself.

There are two parts to this journey. There is a physical one, and there is a mental one. And I'm not sure which one is the hardest to change, but I'm betting it's the mental one.

You have come so far physically dear. Look at your before and after pictures. Pull them out and study how far you've come. Remind yourself of all of your accomplishments this weekend, including all of the ones you listed. That's amazing.

I'm not exactly sure how to start chipping away at the mental thing. That's something a lot of us still struggle with. Keep continuing to vent when you need to though... hopefully someone can point you in the right direction and give you an ah-ha that you need.

HUGS dearie.

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RUNNINGNP2B 3/21/2011 4:35PM

    My dear, what a weekend. Love you, and know that you are loved and appreciated and know you are STRONG.

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YOOVIE 3/21/2011 4:34PM

    I love you so much and Im so sorry that no one was there to care that you finished the race- but YOU KNOW HOW PROUD WE ARE OF YOU! AND I KNOW HOW PROUD YOU ARE OF YOURSELF, EVEN IF ITS CLOUDY RIGHT NOW!

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SPARKIN_REESIE 3/21/2011 4:19PM

    What an emotional roller coaster of a weekend. Man, I could relate to so much of the "I don't belong/why are plans changing without me knowing/omg I should just go" type thoughts! But, you did it, you went, you kicked butt on that 7k!! And there is NO shame in walking. That's what I'd be doing! I don't run, I'm not a runner and I honestly don't know if I ever will be (I know you would probably rather be running, but please don't feel bad for walking). But, like you, I want to be a super fast walker and nobody can take that away, nobody can make you feel "less than" for that.

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ERIN1128 3/21/2011 4:13PM

    I am so proud of you for going ahead and doing that race, even though all you wanted to do was run away. And you killed it - 1:12! Awesome! I'm sorry that your friends were a bit insensitive - I can't believe they weren't waiting for you at the finish line. I hope that sharing your story wtih all of us was cathartic and enables you to hold on to the high points and shred those low points. Big hugs to you!!!

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TIGERJANE 3/21/2011 4:10PM

    I'm so impressed with how you're able to translate your thought and feelings to words, and in a way that it feels like we were right there with you. And Esther, I've definitely experienced this when out with a group. MANY times. So I'm gonna say their behavior had nothing to do with weight, and everything to do with being oblivious, and somehow feeling closer to each other than they did to you. Maybe they've met each other in person before? Maybe they talk more online? I can't say, but I also suspect some people just have poor social skills, to where they want to be the center of attention at the expense of making others feel included (look at me! look at me!) and if you're not a spotlight hog then you're going to be passed over and unintentionally ignored.
And after all the effort you put into making this weekend, too! And your time on that race was amazing. You had been worried about even finishing, and then you PR it! Yeah!!! Lots to be proud about on this trip.
emoticon emoticon

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    I totally related to you so many times in this blog, I know that feeling of "the fat girl" all too well. I am proud of how well you did in your race, you are a RUNNER and don't let anyone tell you differently.

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DOLL2THEWALL 3/21/2011 3:46PM

    Do you have any idea how strong you are for admitting all of this? So many people would just do the "suck it up and keep smiling" thing, and never admit to anyone but themselves (and sometimes not even themselves) that they were struggling with how they felt. But here it all is. This makes you AWESOME. Being in touch with your emotions through this whole process takes some serious guts.

This blog makes me so proud to know you, and so inspired, and most of all, 110% CONVINCED that you have what it takes to get past whatever literal or metaphorical finish line you want to cross someday.

Love you, birthday twin. I am so proud of you and you looked absolutely stunningly beautiful in all of the pictures I saw of you. Simply amazing.


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KARVY09 3/21/2011 3:36PM

    Love ya girl. My reply is in goodie hug form.

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FRENCHIFAL 3/21/2011 3:35PM

    I'm sorry you had such a rough week! I have those moments are just walking along feeling great and loving yourself, and one look from the wrong person just stops you in your tracks and you're right back to being self-conscious!

I'm also sorry that your fellow racers didn't see how much you were hurting. An emotional weekend can sometimes help you decide who your best friends are, and who makes you feel bad about yourself (through no fault of their own, just personality differences and trouble coping!)

Congratulations on finishing a race! You're one-up on me!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/21/2011 3:42:37 PM

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  I love you.

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I Made It...Can I Make It

Friday, March 18, 2011

Okay, ladies and gents, here's my official report that I made it in one piece to Minnesota. It was a little touch and go for a while there, working on about 4 hours of sleep and spending the better part of 15 hours in a car driving made me rather sleepy from time to time, but with a heavy continual dose of caffeine, I arrived in one piece.

The drive went pretty well, and I can add to my list of things that I like about my new lifestyle the fact that my ankles don't swell QUITE as bad as they used to. (Still some swelling today, but I think everyone experiences that. It used to be nearly unbearable!)

I was worried about my food intake because, let's face it, sleepy driving Esther is not quite as good as the every day Esther tends to be in making good choices. I can fully admit to having a BK sausage, egg and cheese croissanwich (I SO needed that protein, though), a Tim Horton's blueberry muffin, a bag of pretzel M&Ms and lots of coffee and (diet) soda. So, no, not the best choices. Also, the sandwich I had with ABETTERCHERYL yesterday was almost as tall as my face!! (But it was relatively healthy considering some of the other choices...and it tasted super good!...and I only ate half.)

And, yes, you heard right - I met up with ABETTERCHERYL on my way through Iowa (in my desperate attempt to avoid Chicago on a weekday and St. Patty's Day -- EEP!) and we had a lovely lunch together. She's just as adorable as I expected her to be and she was super sweet and totally fun. We slipped easily and readily into light conversation and laughed a LOT. Thanks for a great lunch, Cher!! :)

Cheryl and I! :) fABulous!

The rest of drive to Minnesota wasn't all that bad because I knew I was getting closer and closer. I finally made it here about 7pm or so (their time...8pm my time) after starting out at 5am my time. PHEW!

As for all those calories I ate - I think I quite well danced them off last night getting into the real St. Patty's day experience (which I've never done) and not really drinking all that much (it's much more fun to ACT drunk than actually BE drunk! *lol*). As of this morning my legs a teeny bit sore and my hips hurt like WOAH! *lol* I call that a good time and a great workout!

Me, Paula (MEZZOANGEL) and Becks (RAVENSONG37)

Me and Becks droppin' it like it's hot and "gettin' low", yo!

Me, Paula's friend Mo (GREAT British accent!) and Becks (in the back) dancin' and gettin' crazy! *lol*

By the time we got back to Paula's I had officially been up for 22 hours. I was exhausted and even though I promised Becky that it takes me a little longer than most people to fall asleep, I fell right to sleep right after saying it. I was, so DONE.

The plan for the day?
Starting out with a Becks-Constructed Smoothie

Tons of walking (and some shopping) at Mall of America
Training with Paula's trainer in a lite-pre-raceday-workout
Shopping at the co-op and running errands
and then...who knows?!

Sounds like a good day, no?!

Of course, I'm still uber stressed about tomorrow. I'm just trying to stop the "Can I make it?" head comments and move them to an "I can make it!" place...and trying to move the "I'm JUST walking" to an "I'm walking a 7k tomorrow!!" I promise I'm trying, but this mental crap is difficult!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ATREAT4ME 3/19/2011 10:53AM

    You got this! I know it. I am so proud of you, of Mezzo, of Becks. Y'all are amazing. Have fun and enjoy. You got this! You got this! You got this!

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SARAWALKS 3/19/2011 10:37AM

    You will make it! OH WHAT FUN! Photos are terrific, thanks! emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DETERMINED_SOUL 3/19/2011 9:27AM

    I am glad you had fun! This is life and life comes with it's twists and bends.

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BAYBELIEVER 3/18/2011 9:22PM

    You can do it! It is just one step followed by another! I am rooting you on from afar!

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    How absolutely delightful!! (don't you love that word? delightful?).... sounds and looks like a fabulous time!! I am sooooooo thinking of you all for a great race that exceeds your expectations... you CAN do this... I know you can...

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BEATLEBREATH 3/18/2011 5:14PM

    You CAN do it! emoticon Rock it!

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THREEE 3/18/2011 4:16PM

    yes, yes, and yes...
you are doing a 7K -- you are walking a 7K --YOU are walking a 7K!!!
this summer i want to be able to say sounds like you are celebrating BEFORE the fact emoticonfun!

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MAIA2011 3/18/2011 3:45PM


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RUSSELLORAMA 3/18/2011 2:38PM

    How awesome! You guys look like you're having such a wonderful time. Your race will be great, don't worry!

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COCOMAC7 3/18/2011 1:57PM

    So awesome! What a blast. You are going to great tomorrow. You WILL finish that race and that's all that matters at the end of the day!

You got this! Have an amazing time on your adventure!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 3/18/2011 1:40PM

    emoticon You will do GREAT! emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 3/18/2011 12:42PM

    How cool to be able to meet up with everyone! You're going to do AWESOME in the race--go out there and have fun!!

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CHICAT63 3/18/2011 12:33PM

    Woohoo, you guys had fun last night. Onwards for today, all best for your 7K tomorrow. You can do it:)

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TIGERJANE 3/18/2011 12:09PM

    You're gonna do fine - I don't have a doubt in my mind. hey, it's *just* 7K! You KNOW you're capable, and you're gonna nail it! When you want something, you really set yourself and nothing gets in your way! Looking forward to your race recap :)

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RIGBY31 3/18/2011 12:03PM

    You guys look so cute! Good job getting yourself there and being determined to make this happen. GOOD LUCK!

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KARVY09 3/18/2011 11:46AM

    Looks like you're having a blast! Enjoy! Best of luck on the race!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

So I've been doing pretty well, eating what I should without even thinking about it, working out even when I feel so tired I think I'd rather be home sleeping. Last night I pulled into the parking lot of the gym and just sat in my car, exhausted, sleepy beyond belief. I considered not going in. I considered turning around and going home. I called Hubs and he said he likely wouldn't be joining me. After talking to him for a few minutes and explaining I (1) needed a card swipe for the week and (2) really felt I needed to do SOMETHING, even if just ST, I trudged into the gym and changed for a short workout. I told myself I could just go easy - and then I warmed up for 10 minutes on the elliptical, did a bunch of arms/shoulders ST (but only what I wanted to do) and followed that up with 15 more minutes on the elliptical in a HIIT type method. Of course, like always, I walked out feeling great.

And then I walked into the office today and saw the food spread for our "snack day" in honor of a coworker's last day with us. I thought I could avoid it all. I set out my veggie contribution and then went back to my office and proceeded to get VERY hungry. And instead of solving this problem with a regular snack, I ate chicken salad on crackers, a bagel with cream cheese and a ton of veggies with some dill dip. I feel bloated and disgusting right now. UGH! I could either think of this as a ruin to my entire day, or take the rest of the day super light and come out alright in the end. I'm going with the latter, sure that with my stomach the way it is right now, I'll not be feeling much like eating anything until at least 1pm. Life brings surprises all the time. Sometimes our motivation leaves us for a few moments. The trick is getting right back on track and making the most of a day that could leave us wishing we could have the chance to do it all over again.

The scale has been kind lately, giving me ounce losses each day and I struggle to maintain a new schedule, altered thanks to stupid DST and a busy week of too much work and too much on my mind with my plans for this weekend. Again, more curveballs I'm attempting to dodge with grace.

Last night as I stretched following my workout, I felt like a dancer. My flexibility, which has always been quite good, has gone through the roof. As I spread my legs wide and placed my forearms on the ground (yes, my forearms, not my fingertips), I felt a good stretch and came up to see a semi-regular gym-goer gawking at me. I told Hubs about it later and he made some joke about how the guy was thinking about what I'd be like in bed, and I showed Hubs the move that I had intended to follow it with, where I bend in one leg and grab the foot of the other as I stretch it straight up - and Hubs nearly spit water out of his mouth laughing about what the guy would've thought if I really had done that. I then proceeded to tell him that I had also been considering trying to do the splits, but hadn't had the courage - and then I tried right there in the living room and got my butt almost all the way to the ground. Yes, ladies and gents, I am flexible - even at 324 pounds, I am flexible. And I intend to only improve on this with the mindset that even though I will never be the ballerina that I wanted to be when I was 4, I can still stretch like one at 30.

So today will be a little crazy, and I expected things to be thrown off a little from it (though not like the pig-out this morning! UGH!). I have to swipe my card at the gym, but beyond a few minor leg presses and maybe a squat or lunge or two, I don't think I'll have much time for anything tonight. I get off work at 6pm. I get to the gym by around 6:50pm. I have laundry to do, clothes and other stuff to pack, a cooler to purchase for the trip, and tons of getting ready that needs to be accomplished before I head to bed tonight. And, for all that is good and holy in this world, I simply MUST get some sleep tonight!!

My weekend will officially start at 6pm tomorrow. The plan was to leave straight from work and head up to my mom's house in Ohio for a sleepover (and so she can work as my best personal alarm clock on the planet...I don't care how old I get, my Mommy knows how to get my butt out of bed super early! *lol*). Plans may alter a bit. I may have to stop off at home instead to pick up a few things before heading up. It means a bit longer in the car, but I can take it. I ordered a bluetooth earpiece, but it's not due to arrive until tomorrow and I really could use that for the day-long drive.

On Thursday the plan is simple. Leave by 5am with the hopes of getting to Minnesota by 7pm, with likely one gas stop along the way, and a few bathroom breaks and time to stretch my legs and work in some road exercises (something I plan to research today). I need to not be super tight in my body by the time I arrive considering Saturday is the day of the super-long, highly-anticipated and, yes, scary 7k race.

Let's just talk about that for one quick second. I've said it before and I feel the need to say it again - I'm not looking forward to the race. I'm trying to, I swear. I'm trying to tell myself that I've got this, that I've walked a 10k, so a 7k is doable...but I haven't been training for it and I'm very nervous that I won't make it through. What's more, even making it through may make my heart break again. You see, I don't get to run this race...again. Not at all. My hip has been sore for about a month now and I really need some love and attention on it. I've even considering taking an entire week off exercise to see if I can get it to heal fully, but I'm so close to my goals of 100 pounds lost and 298 that I'm scared to even try. If I do it, it will mean super cut-backs on my food intake to compensate for the decrease in exercise.

I've done a LOT of negative thinking when it comes to this race, but I only just realized that what I've accomplished since April is more than enough for me to be proud of. I've worked out at least 1 day every single week since April 18th. I can't remember ONE week where I didn't do something active at least 1 or 2 days. Most weeks I get 4-5 days in at the gym, and use off days to do active things with my boys. I'm a changed woman. I used to hate that when people saw me I was sure they thought I was lazy - and I wasn't. I worked full-time AND part-time while taking full-time classes in college, and excelled in every area I put myself in. I cannot sit back and fault myself for not also taking on this challenge of weight loss and a healthy lifestyle sooner. Just WHERE was that going to fit in? And, yet, at the end of my senior year, I FOUND a way to fit it in...and every time I remind myself of that, it reminds me that excuses can be broken with a call to action.

So with my list of excuses for Saturday's race, I need action.

When I think that I'm not good enough because I can't run.
I need to walk well and hard and remember that a 324 pound woman walking a 7k in under 2 hours (must do, the race course will close by then) is more than most 224 pound women can say. I see people every day who talk about walking every day and never do - and it's not uncommon for me to walk a mile just for the fun of it, to go get lunch or just to enjoy the nice weather. So walking a 7k is NOT nothing. (I'm not quite 100% on this, but I just keep telling myself to be proud anyways..and to have fun, dangit!)

When I think negative thoughts because I'm being passed up or am in last place...
I need to remind myself that I used to struggle to walk a mile, I used to struggle with a 30 min/mi pace, and nowadays a 20 min/mi pace is just me strolling really...if I really push I can see 16-18 minute miles...I've competed at this pace before and I can do that again. And I have to remember that unlike most of my "competitors" out there, I actually have a genuine injury. It helped talking to Hubs the other day and explaining that I experience pain nearly every single day. It helped telling MEZZOANGEL that "sore" is my normal mode of operation lately. Who cares if I'm getting passed up? Aren't I only racing myself here? It's about the friendship and the pride and the bling at the end -- which, by the way, you get for finishing, not for finishing first or fast or even for running, just for finishing. It's for the beer. It's earning my place in the 5 crowd, having 5 races under my belt and starting off this race season with a goal to break later. It's my testing grounds for me and not ONE of these people will be training with me later. Not one of them cares about my PRs and my inner secret desire to run. I will remember that woman in August 2010, in my first race, her obese body looking much like my own as she sat on the stoop of her house watching the runners and crazy people in their crazy shorts go by -- and not until I walked by, me, the biggest person on the field, not until I came into view did she start clapping. I remember her a lot and sometimes make this ideal scenario in my head that she thinks of me as she walks one step more down the street, challenging herself and maybe even getting healthier, skinnier and happier with herself - all because she saw me do what I thought wasn't impressive.

When I think of how my friends are once more ahead of me...
I have to remember that their journey to get here was different, that, in some ways, they still struggle in ways that I do not. We all have our own struggles. Whether food, fitness, motivation, support - we ALL have our struggles. I cannot change theirs. I can only work to deal with and/or improve my own situation. I have to work with what I was given. And no matter how far ahead they are, I'll remind myself that, if they are true friends (which I know these 2 are), they will be waiting for me with joy and excitement FOR ME when I come in. I still hope that one day I'll be able to finish a race WITH my friends, at a pace we share, but for now I have to rejoice in the fact that the truest friends will wait for me without a care of how long it takes, only with pride in seeing their friend finish what she started.

I can either whine and complain about my lot in life, or I can work with what I've got, change what I can, and make myself proud that I've come as far as I have and refuse to give up.

My fitspo today doesn't come from any's a bit more special:

That's me. August 7, 2010 crossing the finish line in my first ever 5k (Debbie Green Memorial)

In my race recap, I said this: "And I pass the finish line panting like a dog on a 13 mile run. *lol* But I did it. And there's my Sparkie pulling me over to the water, cheering me on, telling me I've done amazing! (I only wish I could have seen her and her hubs cross that finish line.) "You did it!" she said. "You're done!" And I kept repeating that one word -- DONE...DONE. "

Before that race, I too wondered what I was doing. I thought it was non-noteworthy, but I do believe that that race recap blog earned me one of my first Popular Blog Post awards. And I have to think it's for a reason. To me, it's a sign that walking a 5k is stellar in its own right. Even when I hear the downturn in emotion when I tell people I'm walking instead of running, look at that face of mine crossing the finish line and you can tell that it took me every bit as much effort as any runner running a 8-10 min/mi pace - perhaps more! Add to that the blister I carried on my foot for 3/4ths of the race and that stuck with me for a month or more later and there is nothing more to say but -- PROUD!

Race 2 - Charleston Distance Walk 10k - September 4, 2010

This race had me experiencing just the opposite emotion. I set out thinking how great this thing was that I was trying to accomplish. I wasn't so concerned with time, especially when my youngest couldn't keep up with me and kept telling me, "Mom! You walk fast!" *lol* But when the 10kers broke off from the 5kers, something started to look different. Mile markers did any sign of real life among the race officials. It were as if we were the stupid, crazy people who decided to keep going...there was no respect or admiration and I was forced to rely upon my son and forms of bribery as he faded (Big Fat Cheeseburgers remains a joke between us to this day). As we crossed the finish line we were quickly ushered off the track for those runners in the15-miler. Even our finish line had been reduced to a one lane forgotten spot off to the side of the "real" race that was happening around us. Here I had this feeling that we had accomplished something, and then I set out to console my 8-year-old when he realized that there was no medal for what we had done, no applause or announcement, no recognition whatsoever - just a push off the track so that the REAL race could continue. I considered giving up races that day. I had finally gotten to respect myself and the respect from those around me faded into nothingness -- couldn't we all just get on the same page here?

And let's not even mention the 461 foot change in elevation going UP in miles 3-4. Climbing nearly 500 feet in the span of one mile nearly killed us!

But then I got back here, and the support from my Sparkies more than made up for the lack of support by race officials (and, yes, they got a damn ear-full from me, and I will be contacting them this summer to see if things have changed. A 10k is not a blip on the screen to most people it's a big effin' banner of WOOHOOness. Things MUST change!).

October 10, 2010 - Dayton Corridor Classic 5k

This race was special for 3 reasons.

(1) I met Becks! (RAVENSONG) Driving all the way down from the CA to see me and run with us was one of the biggest blessings in my life. Hollynn (SPUNKYDUCKY), Ron (PENGUINTO), and Becky (RAVENSONG) are THE BEST things that have come out of any of my races, bar none. Screw the medals! Give me the Sparkies!

(2) I did this race with my mom, my sister, my 2 nieces, my oldest son, and my youngest step-brother, as well as Becky (who, I might add, fit right into my family). There are memories that were made that day that will not match much else in the world...and this picture just shows both the compassion of Mandy (my sister) and Becky on the ends, who are holding back, waiting for my mom and I, two women that have struggled with extreme obesity and have a crapton of problems with our knees, hips, and backs to race to the finish line.

(3) I ran part of this race! Of course, I'm not sure what happened between then and now, but it certainly felt great to be able to run part of it and feel like one day in the not so distant future I might be able to run a FULL 5k.

October 16, 2010 - Auggie's 5k

Another race with Hollynn and Ron, and this one had Joey (my dog) running with me. And, yes, I said running. I ran part of the race even though my knee had been bothering me since a pop-out earlier in the week. And let's mention the fact that this was only SIX days after my last 5k race!

The thing I remember most about this race is thinking "You're last," "you suck" and "you should just go home" before finally seeing Hollynn waiting for me at the end, telling me to finish out strong, running alongside me and spurring me on to really hit the goal I had abandoned all thought of - finishing under 55 minutes. And she helped me through with her smiles and cheers, but it was me who ran uphill, me who spurred Joey on to keep going even though even HE was tired and as the LAST runner in, I passed the finish line at 53:32.

When I get lost in the next few days and think this race is pointless, that it's pointless for me to even TRY to "race" when I have no chance of competing for anything but last or second to last, I'm going to look back on these pictures and remember that the best feeling I had was not at the start or in the middle, but at the end, when I was DONE. When I had DONE what I set out to do.

I said I would do this 7k, and I'm going to go into it remembering to be proud for just being done. People run races all the time and, because there can only be one winner, few of them ever compete with a thought that they're competing for a top spot. So why do I put so much pressure on myself. The goal is not to win - the goal is to finish. Now THAT is something I can do.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    wow... I am impressed... I've never done anything close to any of that cuz i'm a big old scardy cat... you?? you're a brave woman who does what all athletes do - feel the pain and do it anyway...

Can't wait to hear how saturday goes..

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SARAWALKS 3/16/2011 12:18PM

    This is just the most emoticon story.
And I had to tear up when I read about the lady who started applauding you - "I remember her a lot and sometimes make this ideal scenario in my head that she thinks of me as she walks one step more down the street, challenging herself and maybe even getting healthier, skinnier and happier with herself - all because she saw me do what I thought wasn't impressive. "
We all need to think about that more.
And give ourselves a emoticon more often, even if we are not first across the finish line! Or even 101st!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FITMARY 3/16/2011 7:45AM

    Wow, very, very impressive! You're inspirational. Go for it!!!

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HEATHER_TEACHAH 3/16/2011 1:58AM

    I'm SO excited for you to finish this 7k and to see that you CAN do it! You are so freaking determined and strong. I seriously admire you and am inspired by YOU every single day.

keep going cal-killah. You can do it!!!!! :)


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BECKY_LYNN84 3/15/2011 10:34PM

    Hey you have got this 7K! I've been expressing nervousness regarding it also and I'm scared that I'm going to be getting passed up by walkers while running (this happened in my 5K race resulting in me stopping running all together for almost the entire summer because I was ashamed and embarrassed and my first race I came in dead last) but I'm slowly starting to realize how far I have come and recognize that I will only get better. Back in November I threw my entire back/hips/neck out of place and here I am going to attempt to run a 7K. So far I've only made it 2.85 miles of running since my injuries which was attempted on Sunday and that was at a 14.6/mile pace. No worries! If we are in the back we will cross that finish line with achievement and success!! And if we are dead last, who cares!! We are going to have FUN!!! I'm proud of everyone no matter what their time is because that's not what it's all about. Crossing that finish line is going to be a reflection of how far we have come on this journey! Can't wait to meet you, I will see you on Friday night! emoticon

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ATREAT4ME 3/15/2011 10:13PM

    wow! A great recap of your running (pun intended!) accomplishments. Banish those negative thoughts. You are a racer and this weekend your race is a 7K! Go Esther!

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GWENAEL 3/15/2011 9:56PM

    You are absolutely amazing!!!

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 3/15/2011 8:38PM

    "Screw the medals! Give me the Sparkies! " Woot!!

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XIMERAGREY 3/15/2011 6:48PM

    You're going to do it. More than that -- you're going to ROCK it. You're stronger than you'll ever know.

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390TO130 3/15/2011 6:27PM

    This excites me so much!! I am working up to my first 5k and you are so inspiring!!

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ERIN1128 3/15/2011 4:29PM

    Go Esther! Can't wait to read the recap!

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RIGBY31 3/15/2011 4:26PM

    I'm a damn good walker! And proud of it! I signed up my third race this sunday, which means saturday night must be healthy. You are doing such an amazing and brave thing by searching out races (wow, 7k!) and proving to yourself that you are a champ. Good for you! Good for us!

Comment edited on: 3/15/2011 4:32:06 PM

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MENACE79 3/15/2011 4:21PM

    This is awesome. What strikes me is the difference in your body between pic #1 and your last pic. Not just in size, but in ability. Your last pic looks like you are just breezing through!


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MAGSA10 3/15/2011 3:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonHave a safe trip and remember to have fun as well. Don't forget to be kind to your self as well. Stay strong and keep on Sparking.

Maggie j. emoticon

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MAMADWARF 3/15/2011 2:06PM

    Yep, you are gonna finish with flying colors. You have already accomplished so much and i wanna be just like you! (I would also pay to see you do the splits!) LOL, go get 'em Esther. You are just so fabulous. Really!

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BAYBELIEVER 3/15/2011 1:49PM

    Yes you are going to do it! And I can't wait to see pictures, hear all about it, and remind you once again how amazing you are! You are awesome! And you have come so far with each of these races. You are no longer the woman you were 11 months ago, 6 months ago, 3 months ago, or even last week! You are growing as you lose! What a great thing to watch and witness!

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Weigh-In: Looking Forward Edition

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weigh-In Day

Weight Last Week: 327.2
Weight Goal for This Week: 324 ANYTHING!
Actual Weight This Week: 324.2
Weight Loss/Gain: - 3 pounds!

Okay, we're going to take that as a win even though in my mind I'm thinking "but that means I only lost 1.6 pounds in 2 weeks!" I'm also thinking, "If I would have stuck to my guns yesterday instead of getting caught up in emotions and saying F#&% it all and let myself eat whatever, I could've seen 323." I talk down to myself way too often and diminish my accomplishments - something I've been preaching to my friends NOT to do. One pound lost is one pound lost - and you lost 3 pounds this week. Even if you have this feeling that TOM was part of the loss, you still worked through TOM and you pushed yourself most of those 7 days and you deserve to pat yourself on the back, forgive yourself for one of the worst days ever mentally/emotionally yesterday and be proud of where you stand right now.

324 pounds. I don't remember the last time I was 324 pounds. Mostly because I paid little to no attention on the way up, but I have a feeling it was between kids 1 and 2 that I passed 324 and headed my way to the 400s.

Let's be perfectly honest - I struggle with the thought of still being 300 pounds. I see people start this journey in the 300s and move down from there, and it's hard to keep my focus strong when I realize that the same effort I put in, applied to them, will heed better results. I tell myself things like, "That's because they weren't as bad off as you to begin with." or worse, "That's because you were the fattiest fatty you knew. It's going to take a LOT more to not be the fat friend anymore." I have to stop talking to myself like that. I have to STOP comparing myself to everyone else. My life experiences were different. My journey will be different as well.

Let's hit on another honest point -- I have a hard time allowing myself to believe my friends when they admire how much I do, how hard I push and how well I'm doing - because each and every time it's mentioned I come back with a thought similar to: "but I'm still fat" or "but you're smaller" or "it's not enough."

emoticon that, Esther!

Let's hit on the math of it all, shall we?
April 18-March 13 = 47 weeks
416.2 - 324.2 = 92 pounds
That averages out to 1.957 pounds a week. Rounding up, it's 2 pounds per week.

Sure there were times I wasn't consistent. Sure I had gains along the way. I also had amazing weeks where I lost several pounds more than expected. And to come out of the end of it still averaging 2 pounds a week lost --- that should equal a VICTORY in your eyes, Esther. Be proud of that!

Let's get to more numbers.
In 2004, you weighed 466.6 pounds.
Today, in 2011, you weigh 324.2 pounds.
That's a loss of 142.4 pounds!

That's NOT something to scoff at. Very few people can say they've lost 142 pounds and are still losing. You've lost nearly 150 pounds! So what if it took you 7 years to do it? SO WHAT? You did it. And you're STILL going. You're STILL looking toward a skinnier future.

And if that doesn't get you, maybe this will.
When you started out at 466.6 pounds, you couldn't FIND jeans in your size. You lived in elastic waist pants. You were completely out of breath just getting out of bed. Your life revolved around finding ways to hide yourself, being embarrassed and trying to make other people believe you were not a bad parent even though you secretly thought you were.

I don't know if you're a "good" or "great" parent today, but there is NO denying that you are a better parent than you once were. You are active with your kids. You spend oodles of free time with them doing activities like basketball, tennis, walking, and good-for-the-heart type things. They no longer fear asking you to take them to the park, because they know you won't be sitting in the car reading a book. You'll be out there playing with them. On the swings. Hitting a ball. You're not afraid to walk out to half-court before your son's last basketball game, be a little silly, and accept from him a rose AND A HUG - IN FRONT OF EVERYONE! You aren't sidelined anymore because you put yourself in the game. And the fact that your 11 year old doesn't mind hugging you in front of all his friends and letting you kiss him on the head, and feeling his arms pulling more around you (and not your neck, your waist!) and feeling him squeeze a little bit of gratitude in it - all this should prove to you that your kids see you with more pride than they saw the 466.6 pound woman on the couch who "just couldn't" go to the park because it took to much energy to move from the couch to the car, to get dressed, and to brave the million stares from those around her.

And as you walked out in front of everyone, you were wearing your size 26 jeans from Lane Bryant that are already too loose on you. You could've been rockin' your size 24 jeans from CATO that no longer push all the belly fat up around your boobs. And you were wearing a 2X t-shirt, but it could've been any number of XL, 1X and 2X shirts you own and wear regularly, saving the 2x shirts for when you want more room and want to feel more comfortable, when TOM is still stuck to you and making you feel a little bloated. What you weren't wearing was a size 4X shirt, because those make you look like a hobo now as they hang off your body.

And, while you did wear elastic waist pants to the bar last night - it was because even in your state of emotional grief, when Hubs pried you to just get out of the house to get your mind off things, you put on your workout gear, not knowing whether what you needed was a workout or a drink. And even though you ended up with the drink, you didn't feel self-conscious in your workout gear - you felt like an athlete who really just needed some downtime. As you sat there in a too-big sweatshirt that didn't fit two years ago, your mind was allowed to focus on the trauma at hand, and not on how you looked to everyone else around you. And, besides, those elastic waist pants were not a size 34. They were an XL. And sitting on the bar stool with your legs crossed was not only possible, but quite comfortable. How's that for some change?

Sure, if you had skipped the McDonald's french fries and the small shamrock shake you never even finished (BTW - these are like kitty crack! My cat wanted to DIVE her head into the cup once she smelled it! *lol*) you MIGHT have seen 323 this morning. MIGHT. Whose to say you would have, though? Whose to say it still would've been enough for your head to be okay with? Stop telling yourself it's not enough because there are plenty of people in the world today who had McDonald's for dinner, and they didn't get to wake up the next morning to a 3 pound loss on the scale. You did. And, hey, at least for you it's months in between McDonald's french fries. For some people, it's once a week or every day. You've had french fries from there a total of what? 3 times since April? 3 times in a YEAR, Esther. Remember when you used to have them several times a month, a week?

emoticon telling yourself you're STILL fat.
Tell yourself you're a work in progress...and progress you've certainly seen.

emoticon telling yourself nobody will like you because you're fat.
You have a wealth of friends, more now that you've gotten to be the "active" friend.

emoticon telling yourself your husband thinks you're ugly.
Because it's not fair to him, who even told you last night, while you were sitting at the bar with no makeup, glasses on, hair in a messy pony, too big sweatshirt and workout clothes that don't exactly flatter your body that he loves you, you are beautiful, and he is extremely proud of you.

emoticon beating yourself up.
Because there are so many reasons to lift yourself up. A consistent average of 2 pounds lost a week for the past year. Losing 142 pounds. Going from a woman who couldn't hardly get out of bed to a woman that is a boxer in training, who compares her 'guns' to her husbands, whose boys envy the shoulder and arm definition without somehow seeing the large flab that hangs below them, who looks forward to sunny tennis dates and pick-up basketball games and the openings of sports stores with glee in her eyes.

Just emoticon and turn around and take a good look.

Go back and look at pictures of yourself, your mother and your sister. They used to involve all of you sitting around, usually around a table full of food. Now they involve pictures of all three of us, running side-by-side, racing toward the finish line of a 5k.

Go back and look at pictures of yourself with your boys. In them you are seated. You look sad. You look like your world is crushing down around you and the effort it will take to lug them and yourself back to the car could strike a heart attack. Now they involve smiles, sunny days, basketball games, walks around the countryside, hikes through caves and caverns.

You used to worry you wouldn't have enough food for dinner because you'd blown 20 bucks at a place like McDonald's to feed the family for lunch.

Now you worry about what healthy food you'll pack for the trip you want to take them on to this great place that includes tons of walking and sightseeing.

And while you may have had a horrible day yesterday, you woke up today with a renewed sense of determination for the week. You ate your sexy breakfast while reminding yourself that you are worth the time it takes, that yourself and your family are benefiting from all you now have to offer them. And remember that at one time, you used to sink into deep depression over days that weren't even that bad and honestly thought that it was easier to die than to face the morning light. But last night, you simply said a wish and prayer that today would be better. Not once did you think dying would be easier or better, because you now know how beautiful and rewarding LIFE can be.

So, this, my dear Spark Friends, shall serve as a reminder to me to always remember that what I've done is not nothing - it is an incredible, wonderful, amazing thing! I have lost 92 pounds so far this year. I'm just 8 pounds from losing 100 pounds in one year, and I still have 5 weeks to go before April 18th. That's an average of 1.6 pounds a week, which is completely doable. And even if I don't do it. Even if I just lose 5 pounds, or 3 pounds, or none. I will come back here and remember that looking back is a great reminder that we should be looking forward.

Forward to 100 pounds lost in a year (or so).
Forward to 150 pounds lost from my highest weight.
Forward to losing the next 25 pounds and finding myself in the 200's (or, as I like to call it, DEUCEland!)

My kids and Hubs have already voiced this goal for me. 298. For some reason this number, above all others, holds a certain significance to them. Notice it's not 299 - all three of them said 298. And little did they know that this number is like my magic finish line for this leg of the journey...because I can't just think 299 with the fluctuations in weight that I know. I need room for comfort to feel like I've hit upon my goal. (Does anyone else do that?)

Some people say about this weight loss journey that it's a marathon. I've come to think of it as a triathlon instead.

Leg 1 - Losing that first 100 pounds all on my own back in 2004/2005.
Leg 2 started April 18th when I found Spark and started losing again and changed my life. (YES! I HAVE ALREADY CHANGED MY LIFE!) I see this leg ending at 298, and then it's on to part 3...which I won't allow myself to even think about...too much.

Mile markers litter the way, as well as water stops and restroom breaks. And I don't know what the course looks like ahead, but I know I'm doing a great job so far of picking myself up every time I fall and getting back to the task at hand. And while those around me keep applauding my efforts, I have to remember that the biggest applause SHOULD be from me. Because I know the struggles I've faced more than they do. They may not have been there at mile marker 4 where I fell, scrapped my leg and had to get medical attention. They may not have been there when my hip pulled and my knee popped and I had to hobble my way until my legs felt right again. These friends are littered along the race course holding signs for me, reminding me that there are people rooting for me along the way, but they can't be there WITH me because this is one race I have to do alone.

I want to look forward, but not too far forward, knowing that the next two steps are the most important, because without them I'll never find myself to the two that follow. For now, I count in 5 and 10 pounds lost. Each time a new tens place number changes, I get giddy with excitement.

I swam my way to 100 pounds lost alone. I'm now biking my way into deuceland. And we'll have to test my legs before we know anymore once I'm off this bike. Am I right?

In my first race, I kept a route map in my head - and it just about killed me through the first 2 miles - so this time, I will let myself look ahead only as far as I can see before the next bend. 316.2 is ahead. I can feel it, but I can't yet see it because there's a route bend at 319. Let's just work on getting me that far and then we'll go from there.

But even as I look forward, I have to keep reminding myself -- "You've come a long way, baby!" I have to keep my race mantras in my head, like: Now just take the next step and keep going. You've GOT this! You can do this! You've done a mile before, just do one more. Each step is one step closer.

My inspiration for the day:
"The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act." - Anatole France

"It is not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference." - Paul Bryant

"Today is just a good day in disguise." - Paul Venghaus

"And me, I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for, ’cause it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something, and if you find that moment… it lasts forever…" – Richard from the movie The Beach

"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us." - Alexander Graham Bell

"Action is eloquence." or "Be great in act, as you have been in thought." - both from William Shakespeare

"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first." - Mark Twain

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    biking my way into dueceland.. LOL love that! lord I could have written this blog (not as well as you) but your thoughts are my thoughts...

Congratulations on how far you have come.. and for the important mental changes that are happening as well.. amazing..


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PAPER_WINGS18 3/15/2011 9:45PM

    You are incredible.

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MAIA2011 3/15/2011 1:08AM

    *Some people say about this weight loss journey that it's a marathon. I've come to think of it as a triathlon instead.*

ment.EVER, lady!

emoticon saying anything to yourself except for some combination of the words: awesome, Esther, is.


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MAGPIE17 3/14/2011 4:52PM

    What is it about this weekend? You AND Katy (and I'm sure others, but I'm still catching up!) had to tell yourselves to stop and STFU! :P

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TREP13 3/14/2011 3:43PM

    That was a really well-written and powerful blog. You're an inspiration to many. Thanks for sharing.

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SPUNKYDUCKY 3/14/2011 2:02PM

    Pretty awesome blog! You have accomplished a lot and having more to do makes doesn't take anything away from what you have done, and yes, it does make it more impressive because it took more courage. I don't know if you ever watch the biggest loser? There is a girl named Kourtney this season who reminds me a bit of you. She had a longer journey than most of the others and had already lost over 100lbs at the beginning of the season, and every week she is on with this positive attitude, she has completely mastered the process, even though she knows she still has a long road ahead. It is an amazing thing to cheer her on and to cheer you on. Definitely stop beating yourself up, you have nothing to be sorry for.

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HEAVENSSHADOW 3/14/2011 2:01PM

    Awesome blog. Keep reminding yourself that you have had an AMAZING journey thus far and you will continue to do so! You have so so so much more potential than you realize some days, ya know?
Just remember:

It never gets easier. You just get better.

Get it girl! You are so close to DEUCEland!!!! BIG HUGS!!!!

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PELESJEWEL 3/14/2011 12:18AM

    You are strong & amazing! I'll be there celebrating with you when you emoticon the 200s!

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SERENEART 3/13/2011 11:19PM

    You are so amazing and beautiful! Don't you forget it. The things you said are things I need to remember to say to myself.


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MAMADWARF 3/13/2011 10:46PM

    You. are. my. hero.

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RUSSELLORAMA 3/13/2011 8:56PM

    Yes, dear, stop alla that foolishness - except telling yourself how awesome you are!


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    You are amazing! You were the first person I found here on Sparkpeople, your story inspired me then and you continue to inspire me. Do you remember me asking you to share your words of wisdom? I re-read your advice every time I am having a "I can't do it" momment. I am down 20+ pounds and I know I couldn't have come this far without you. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!

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SASXONTHEMOVE 3/13/2011 8:17PM

    Amazing fabulous lovely wonderful!! YES! you need to tell yourself to STFU on negativity. enough of that!

298 is a good honest goal, and one that you will be reaching soon! But even now you are a winner and I'm so proud of you!

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DASH2011 3/13/2011 6:17PM

    ohhh goddd there are way too many things about this blog that i love to list them all out- but this was one HELL OF A BLOG!!!!! you are unbelievable. unbelievable!! You really gave me every bit of motivation I needed - I needed to read this today - I needed to hear all of your wise and LOVE FILLED words to yourself to start thinking again of my own. You have done the unthinkable already. and i LOVE your background!

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RIGBY31 3/13/2011 3:40PM

    At the end of this blog, I was standing, reading out loud... Yes! And like you I feel that people are whizzing by me with their weight loss. But this is MY journey, MY race. I worked hard for a lot of it (and I know when I don't work). Listen for your own applause, clap a little louder to drown out some of the negative chatter. Be your own best cheerleader!

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NUMD97 3/13/2011 3:29PM

    OK, the first word is "Wow!" I've been following you for some time now, but this blog just totally mesmerized me. I could not stop, although I have so much to do today, until I finished it.

Reading your lines, and seeing your pain, was, frankly, painful for me. It's a trite saying, but so true, that we are our own worst enemies. That coupled with the hype of ridiculous TV "reality" shows exhibiting 30 plus-pound weight losses in a week, make many feel like failures. The flip side of that is, who could possibly maintain that kind of a loss with that blinding speed, for the long haul? It's not grounded in reality and it never was. It's passed off as "entertainment."

All the major weight loss programs that are based in reality state the same thing: Expect and work to achieve, ONE TO TWO pounds per week. The first time I plugged in the program with my desired date, SP came back and said, "No, we don't think so. That would mean a weight loss of 2.6 pounds a week, and not recommended. Recalculate." So, I did. And continue to do so.

It's a process. A prolonged process. And it all begins from within, not from without. And it comes from learning to believe that we can be loved and cherished at whatever weight we are. That it never was about the weight. That it's truly about our own self-worth. And THAT is the hardest part of this so-called journey, after all. Believing in ourselves, what we can accomplish, weight-wise and with other personal goals that we set our caps for. And believing that we can be loved for who we are, not what we weigh.

Start there. The rest will follow. And close to 100 pounds lost in whatever time framework, without surgery, is something to be very, VERY, proud of, indeed.

So, yes, Esther, along with your own realization, as well as the words of your fans here, you have accomplished a lot. Even with the slips and slides. IN SPITE of the slips and slides. This is a lifetime commitment, not just for the next social or family gathering.

And once you get all the pieces of the puzzle in place, you will be kinder to yourself. Cherish what you have in your world: Your family (first and foremost), who cheer you on, your friends, who love you for who you are, and for us in the Peanut Gallery supporting you from afar.

We all wish you well,


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CHICAT63 3/13/2011 1:55PM

    While I was reading your blog I am saying to myself, OMG, OMG, she closing in on losing 100 pounds, then more forwarding thinking of she will be out of the 300s by the summer and then some! In my book you are an inspiration, a trainer in training for sure emoticon, etc., be frecking proud of yourself Esther !

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BTINTERNET 3/13/2011 1:36PM

    E, you are so freakin' amazing.

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SARAWALKS 3/13/2011 1:19PM

    "what I've done is not nothing - it is an incredible, wonderful, amazing thing!"
This is the best before and after blog I've ever read.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/13/2011 1:21:11 PM

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MENACE79 3/13/2011 1:17PM

    I understand the negative thoughts... everyone has them (I have them too - and really identified with the part about thinking that your husband thinks you're ugly). I LOVE the positive self-talk though, because that's what I was nodding along with.

Everyone has a public self and a private self. The public self tends to be the good stuff that we let shine, the motivating talk, the accomplishments, all the things we are proud of. The private self knows about all the guilt and the shame, is there when we are beating ourselves up, etc. Sometimes I feel like a phony when I am all public self, and people don't know what's going on behind the scenes in my I'm just faking it... but I'm not. Because the public self is still ALL ME. Just like the "you" that you've created and you are proud of is ALL YOU. You made that woman. When you hit 298? You will have done that. 250? Still all you.

You're creating and controlling your own human experience - and it is beautiful, and full of joy, strength, and promise. Oh, and 100 lbs lost in a year? Freaking incredible. You deserve the accolades you receive from yourself and everyone around you. Awesome, awesome job. And I truly mean that - because I have tried to do the same thing several times and failed. You are triumphing.

oops, I mega-rambled. :)

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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 3/13/2011 1:09PM

    This is a STUNNING blog Esther! Stunning.

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Workout vs. Playout

Friday, March 11, 2011

After reading SUGIRL06 and TUACADOLL1's blogs today, something hit me...and I thought I would share.

Let's just start here. "Work" What does that word mean? has more than a dozen definitions, but the words that strike me in them are "labor," "toil," and "exertion." None of which I consider fun words, really.

Let's be most of us, I'm not a big fan of "work." So is it any wonder that sometimes even the idea of a "work"out makes me want to run away and hide (usually under the covers of the bed or to the cozy couch)?

But I have a little secret for's something I've been toying with since I started back in April and now I'm going to share it outright. Are you ready?.....

Workouts don't have to be so much work.

There, I said it.

Sure, there are plenty of times when it's good to push yourself - at the gym or out on the road. Show yourself what you're made of. Make yourself proud by proving that you can do something you never thought possible of yourself. But at times, it's just fun to have...


There, I said it.

Again, has a wealth of definitions for that particular word - "play," but the words that strike me most are "fun," "jest," and "freedom." Now THOSE are words I can stand behind and smile about.

Work looks like this to me in my head:

But play looks like this:
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

And how's THIS for a definition of play:
"brisk, light, or changing movement or action"

Now I like that!

Workouts can certainly breed results, but they require work. Walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes at a 19 min/mile pace will burn me about 161 calories*, according to Spark. But if I really work at it, I can see better results:

Treadmill at a 15 min/mi pace will burn me 317 calories.
Treadmill with a 10% incline, 19 min/mi pace will burn 367.
Treadmill with a 15% incline, 19 min/mi pace will burn 412.

I have to WORK at it to burn the calories I want to burn...and sometimes, it's all I can do to push myself through and not just throw in the towel and go home, feeling like I'm wasting my effort.

But if I think out of the box a bit, I find myself with better results...

30 minutes of Cardio Dancing (like Zumba) will burn 423 calories.
30 minutes of Kickboxing = 625.
30 minutes of beating the crap out of a punching bag = 368.
Even 30 minutes of Wii boxing will burn 364 calories.

And these are all more fun than that stupid dreadmill!

(BTW - that game sounds hilariously fun! *lol*)

But, let's take this a step further and get into real play. Let's see what Spark has to say about that...

30 minutes - Playing with Kids - 364 calories burned
30 minutes - Badmiton - 371
30 minutes - Canoeing - 589
30 minutes - Fishing in Stream - 328
30 minutes - Ultimate Frisbee - 459
30 minutes - Horseback Riding - 445
30 minutes - Ice Skating - 494
30 minutes - Kayaking - 589
30 minutes - Kickball - 459
30 minutes - Paddleboating - 253
30 minutes - Ping Pong - 224
30 minutes - Riding a Jet Ski - 212
30 minutes - Rock Climbing - 611
30 minutes - Rollerblading and Rollerskating - 494
30 minutes - Scuba Diving - 591

And my favorite -
30 minutes Skipping burns 803 calories! SKIPPING, people. Do you remember skipping when we were 5 just because we were bored at the hardware store with our parents? Do you remember skipping with your friends, singing a song? I can't even imagine skipping for 30 minutes straight, but just think on this --- 5 minutes of skipping burns 134 calories! That's almost as many calories I would burn walking on the dreadmill for 30 minutes at a 19 min/mi pace! And skipping doesn't require thought, or mental self-talk to "keep going" because this isn't wasted time. Skipping is just plain fun.

(Go read that blog and visit and read about the guy who SKIPPED a 5k in a sub-30 time!)

Now doesn't skipping sound more fun than "Insanity?" Sure does to me!

Or how about this one...jumping rope slow for just 15 minutes burns 352 calories!

Now, I'm not saying a good hard workout isn't good. It is. It's great, in fact! Lord knows I get my share of hardcore workouts throughout the week. But if you're dreading the going to gym and just don't feel like putting in the work, try thinking outside the box and do a PLAYout instead of a WORKout.

You'll be burning calories, doing great things for your heart, and encouraging your soul. It's like giving your inner child a chance to smile and remember those carefree days of summer when exercise wasn't even a word in your vocabulary. Run like a 6 year old. Skip down the street. Grab a couple friends and double dutch your way fit! Don't think of it as a "toil"...think of it as "fun."

Still not convinced? Here's a few more things to try 30 minutes of:

Basketball - 564 calories burned
Bowling - 212
Boxing - 634
Fencing - 382
Flag Football - 564
Golf (carrying clubs) - 247
Racquetball (casual) - 494
Soccer - 494
Softball - 352
Swimming (general) - 423
Tennis (general) - 569
Sand Volleyball - 564
Surfing - 423
Whitewater Rafting - 352

This is why my fitspo (fitness inspiration) for today includes:

(all from:

So get out there and play!

And, just once today, I dare you to skip...just to remind yourself what it feels like.

*Of course these are Spark calculations with my weight figured in, so your calorie burn results will vary.

EDIT: And PLEASE go watch this amazing, euphoric high of a vlog! It made me fall in love with just the thought of exercise once again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEAVENSSHADOW 3/14/2011 2:11PM

    You are da' SHIZNIT

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ANEPANALIPTI 3/13/2011 1:30AM

    WOW - GREAT BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I think what mine did for you, yours did for me and I find that so freaking awesome.

I WANT A JUMP ROPE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am putting it on my rewards list. THANK U Esther for this blog!!!

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SPUNKYDUCKY 3/11/2011 8:22PM

    I miss skipping!
What a fantastic blog and great way to think about things

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SASXONTHEMOVE 3/11/2011 5:57PM

    Play is good. play while burning calories is bestest!!

great blog, E!

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CHICAT63 3/11/2011 4:55PM

    Great and awesome blog, thanks for the insights. Funny, you mention skipping I have started doing a Boxing workout which includes skipping rope with both feet, then skipping rope alternating each foot. It's hard but FUN !

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MAIA2011 3/11/2011 4:27PM

    Where's the link to your awesome blog, Missy!


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RORYTA 3/11/2011 3:33PM

    I love this. it's time to make fitness fun. we've spent hundreds of hours WORKING-Out. It's about time we play a little and enjoy this journey.

awesome blog hun

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TEACHDIANN78 3/11/2011 2:55PM

    What a great blog!!! I'm all about some playouts! I was just thinking about that when I took my daughter to the park. I was getting a heck of a workout going through tunnels, sliding, running after her. It was great!! Thanks for the awesome ideas!

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TKPHOTOGIRL 3/11/2011 1:44PM

  Ahhhhh, love it!

I took my jump rope away on vacation with me in December and was amazed at how exhausted I was after just a few minutes! I am a closet skipper too - between the bus stop and my house is a little one way street that just has garages in it - hardly anyone walks down it so i often skip down the road.

There's a free health calculator app, I think it's healthcalc? - you put in your weight and your goal weight and it tells you how many hours, days, weeks etc of the activity you need to do to lose all the weight - e.g to lose 16.5lbs just from exercise I'd have to do 74 hours of boxing or walk up stairs for 110 hours (*dies at the thought*) etc. (some of the things it lists as activities are pretty random - talking on the phone, playing cards, studying, packing a suitcase, putting away groceries)

Sorry, I'm rambling....back to the point - YES. All in favour of exercise being fun and playful!

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CHELLES_BELLS 3/11/2011 1:38PM


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CHELLES_BELLS 3/11/2011 1:38PM


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HEALTH-E-CLARE 3/11/2011 1:27PM

    Love the disclaimer at the end but you are totally right. I also thinking grabbing someone and going to the gym, for a walk or jog can make all the different. It makes the time fly right by.
Oh and I tried a handstand yesterday (did you read Yoovie's blog) and failed miserably. New goal for the end of summer?

What kind of playouts you got planned for this weekend?

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RUSSELLORAMA 3/11/2011 12:58PM

    This is hilarious because last week I was skipping through Wal-Mart and I swear somebody was going to call the mental health professionals with all the strange looks I was getting. But I just needed to get down the aisle and it took me there faster than walking, so I went with it. We should all remember to play more! I can't wait until the weather gets better, that's when my co-workers and I go outside during our breaks to play frisbee and blow soap bubbles.

Comment edited on: 3/11/2011 12:58:50 PM

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MENACE79 3/11/2011 12:16PM

    I LOVE THIS POST! I cannot wait to have spring and summer playouts!

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TIGERJANE 3/11/2011 11:27AM

    I love all these alternative suggestions! Too often I think ofa workout as strictly gym activity or running - but there really are so many more options for a calorie burn! With my injuries raising their head again, this is a great time to look to other alternatives. Thanks once again for a great blog!

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MAMADWARF 3/11/2011 10:52AM

    I love it. That may be why I have been able to stick to walking. It is a quiet down time for me, hubby and my dog.I love taking stitchy walking where she can chase bunnies and be so happy. Frank and I talk and go from work partners to spouses again. I look forward to it so I can stick with it. ANd kicking his butt on Kinect is sooo much fun and it is a hell of a workout! I also have zumba on Kinect although I havent gone to a class yet but when Kady heals up, I am going to her class with her and her friend. You are right. It should be FUN, then we will stick to it!

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SUGIRL06 3/11/2011 10:50AM

    Ah I love this blog!!! So true! I definitely "played" at the gym yesterday. In a different way - did play with weights and machines and just whatever struck my fancy. But workouts should not be torture! Sometimes they are and you push through them but the fun ones are what keeps us coming back for more!

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MAGPIE17 3/11/2011 10:33AM

    Great blog, Esther!!

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CALLIKIA 3/11/2011 10:21AM

    "All work and no play makes Jack [and Esther] a dull boy [except I'm a girl]."

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RIGBY31 3/11/2011 10:17AM

    Thank you for awakening the "skip" in all of us! I love your 30-min list... dang, that's all about getting out there, moving and getting fit with a smile on your face! Slight attitude adjustment and work becomes play!

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LOTUSFLOWER 3/11/2011 10:07AM

    I love this!!!!!!

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SARAWALKS 3/11/2011 9:57AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ATREAT4ME 3/11/2011 9:07AM

    Amen! I try to pick only the things I LOVE doing!

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