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?!
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.
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.
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 here...you don't belong...you haven't deserved this...you aren't a runner...you 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 agreed...at 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.
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*
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 DONE...so, 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!
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 website...it'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 faded...as 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 them...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.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
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."
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?
telling yourself you're STILL fat.
Tell yourself you're a work in progress...and progress you've certainly seen.
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.
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.
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 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
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? Dictionary.com 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 honest...like 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 you...it'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, Dictionary.com 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:
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 iskip.com 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: www.crossfitoahu.com/archive.php?mon
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!
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