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So....What Now?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I've run out of plans, mostly. UH-OH! In Esther land that's a recipe for disaster. This weekend was about all I could manage to think about for a long time, but now that it's over I find myself wondering...."what now?"

I still have to finish out my 8-week ST program with I screwed up a bit due to being out of town and all that jazz, but I'm not worrying about it. Today I'm going to fill up my notecard binder with the rest of the exercises (and the ones I missed) and get some ST in tonight like I normally would. I'm telling myself, though, not to expect too much because my body is still exhausted from this weekend. I tried to Zumba last night...and I had to quit after 45 minutes. I simply could not will my body to do any more and it just quit on me. I guess the upside is that 45 minutes of Zumba is what this instructor has been doing for a long time...only recently has she felt strong enough to do the full hour. I still win, I suppose.

Let me just say that the scale is being mean right now. On March 13th I weighed in at 324.2. Now? I'm holding steady at 325. *sigh* I know, I know...bloat and schedule changes and over training and not eating enough and all that jazz... I'm trying not to let it get to me...but it still does.

So what does a girl do when she's done doing an 8-week ST program, when she's lost 90some pounds and is looking for the last 10 for the century mark, when her last adventure taught her a lot about herself and put her through the wringer physically, and who seems to have a mental AND physical barrier again -- 320s. UGH! (BTW - I do this with every 10 pounds now, it seems. *lol*)

Well, let's start by figuring out what the past 3 months have taught me and what I want to make sure I finish out the first quarter of the year having done...

emoticon I can do a minute and a half plank.
Probably my proudest moment. But who is to say I can't have 2 minutes before this month is out? I still have 9 days left to try, right?

emoticon I'm getting better at cheering myself on.
I think I might even put together a book of mantras I've created for myself. Maybe it's time for another Vision Wall....hrm.... One thing I think I do want by the end of this month is a subscription to a fitness magazine. I know I told myself I could only have this if I finished 2 races in the beginning of the year, but after what I went through this weekend and how hard I pushed through and still PRed while WALKING (beating my previous half-running pace!), I think I more than earned this reward. Sometimes you have to just stand up for yourself and bend the rules a little bit. :)

emoticon Me and food are pretty tight now.
I make the best choices I can when I'm out. Last night pure exhaustion sent me through the KFC drive-thru (I don't think I've been there in over a year!) and I made sure they put in some grilled chicken for this girl...even though fried chicken sounded so good...even though I nibbled a tiny piece of the skin from Ethan's fried chicken, I ate my grilled chicken in peace, knowing I had made the best choice. And this was only AFTER I scoured Wal-Mart hoping to find some Tofu (it seems it is no longer sold in the county I live in...going to try the market today to see if I can find it there...wish me luck!) so I could make the family some fried tofu and vegetables. That was my plan...when it failed, I didn't lose myself in dispair and grab McDonald's or Taco Bell. I made the best choice I could and felt good with that.

emoticon I drink so much water I think there's a swimming pool in my stomach!
I've been right on top of the 10-12 glasses a day water mantra (except for the 2 days driving because, let's face it...this girl needed caffeine and this girl didn't want to pee every 5 minutes while driving 15 hours!). And with the warmer weather coming, I don't see this even being an issue at all anymore. I'll still watch and keep mental note, but it's no longer a struggle to get it in. I win! :)

emoticon I do boxing once a month. I am a regular!
That's right. Every month I've taken a boxing class...and I'm seriously considering doing it twice a month because it's so theraputic, so good for my body, and I get to hit things! :) I actually enjoy watching movies about boxing now because I'm focused on stance and punch technique. I am actually somewhat knowledgable about Hubs' UFC fights he likes to watch, and that's been something else we've bonded over. All in all, adding boxing to my monthly routine has been a great idea. I'll talk to CT this weekend about adding in a second weekend session in April...just to try it out. I think a month is too long to wait between sessions.

emoticon I'm still not running, but I can walk FAST!
Look, it wasn't until my race this weekend that I really came to terms with the whole "no running" thing. I have to face body either isn't ready yet or isn't built for it. Because I'm not fully ready to let the idea go completely, I'm sticking with "isn't ready yet" and pushing forward. And as soon as my feet stop hurting, I'm considering putting together a training routine for a HM - walking the entire way. I used to be scared of this, because most HMs have a time limit of 4 hours...which required me to maintain an 18 min/mi pace for 13.1 miles. That scared me...honestly. More than the 13.1 miles, I was afraid I couldn't maintain that pace for that long. Now? Well, now I'm thinking that's exactly what I could do...and the idea of breaking through the expectations of those around me by WALKING a HM...well, that sounds pretty good too. More than that, I'd love to get myself to a 15 min/mi walking pace...and I'm almost there. So bring on the training programs! I think this sounds like a great idea! (Just have to find a HM that I think is worth it now.)

emoticon I *LOVE* Strength Training!
I have seriously come to love heavy lifting as a major part of my strength training. Thanks to this 8-week program, I have a ton more options for myself. I'm thinking that after this program ends, it might be fun to come up with a training routine for Hubs and I that we can use at the gym...and the idea of ME coming up with the routine makes me almost giddy with excitement! It's my first real exercise in becoming a PT...something I seriously think I must do before I die.

I've done a lot these past three months. Even when the scale didn't cooperate. Even when my emotions got the better of me. Even when I ate everything in the pantry out of spite and anger and frustration. I have still accomplished a LOT since January 1st. And...I've had a ton of adventures.

emoticon 30th Birthday Vegas Adventure
emoticon Grand Canyon 5k
emoticon Boxing Lessons
emoticon Return to the Stage
emoticon My First 7k
emoticon A Country Concert
emoticon A Weekend in Minnesota
emoticon Solo Road Trip
emoticon My First PT Session
emoticon My First Pole Dancing Class
emoticon Exotic Cooking Challenges
emoticon Buying a New Car
emoticon Getting a Promotion
emoticon Change in Work Leadership

That's a lot for just 3 months, right?! And there's a ton more on the list... so me having no plans? Well, that's just a bit of an illusion. It's just time for me to pick what goals I want to accomplish next. Plus, next month is both my youngest son's and Hubs' birthday. AND my friend is coming home for a visit (the one that is getting married in July...the next huge adventure we have semi-planned). It's likely to be a very busy month. And, heck, this month isn't even over yet. I still have a luncheon for my old boss on Saturday and boxing on Sunday!

Maybe I'm thinking too far ahead. Hubs always criticizes me for scheduling too much. *lol* But I just can't help myself! I'm having too much fun, learning too much, and blasting my expectations of myself right out of the water! Plus...SPRING IS HERE! That makes me excited to get into some more of the outdoor activities on my list like tennis lessons and geocaching and a roller coaster ride and frisbee golf and ATV offroading! I'm actually getting excited over all the possibilities now that the weather is warming up! And....dare I say it... I'm looking forward to getting my tan back! The tan I worked not at all for last year, that came naturally through a ton of outdoor activities, gradually tinting my skin even through the pounds of sunscreen I used to protect it from burning! Freckle tan incoming!! :)

Oh...and one more thing we have to look forward to... April 18th. In just 26 days, it will be my 1 year Sparkversary! I'd love to celebrate with a 100 Pounds Lost with SP sticker!

So while I contemplate what's next for me...and I consider my options. While I consider the fact that taking just one week off of exercise sounds pretty darn good right now...I think my best bet to reach my goals will just be to tone it down for a week. Esther Workouts Lite next week. That sounds pretty good, right!? And then right back at it. Give my body a chance to heal. Use things like Yoga and Pilates (evil!) and Walking to keep my activity up. Stop worrying so much about burning 600 calories with every session. LITE ST instead of hardcore "go until failure" heavy lifting. That sounds like the magical combination...because I'm learning more and more that it's never all or nothing, black and white, this or that. It's grey areas and moderation...that's what I'm shooting for. Giving my body the rest it needs without losing all the hard work I've put in until now.

So, this week -- we work the 8-week ST program to its end.
Sunday - Driving
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Zumba
Wednesday - Elliptical/ST
Thursday - Zumba
Friday - Cardio Circuit? / ST (45m cardio)
Saturday - ST and a walk maybe. *shrug* (45m cardio)

Next week -- Esther Workout LITE
Sunday - Rest
Monday - 20-30m cardio/lite ST
Tuesday - Zumba modified to lite version
Wednesday - 20-30m cardio/lite ST
Thursday - Rest
Friday - 20-30m cardio/ ST lite
Saturday - 20-30m fun activity with kids

I'm thinking something like that. No more than 30 minutes. Usually 30 minutes is my minimum, but for that week, it's a maximum. And ST will have to be lite. Small amount of reps, low weight...just going through the motions so I maintain muscle memory.

What do you think? Does a LITE workout sound better than no workout at all? Should I really just take a week off and give my body some time to fully heal or can I get away with minimal effort for one week to let the healing take place slowly?

Spring is here! Fun stuff is coming!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TIGERJANE 3/23/2011 2:33PM

    I have a bias based on my history with injuries and healing, and I would say take a week off - period. Especially if it's your hip that is bothering you, you should avoid things like running, elliptical, walking, etc. If your whole body is tired and aching, then take a whole body break. One week will not derail your efforts long-term, and it may be just enough to keep you from getting a "real" injury. Let all that inflammation heal up and start the next week off refreshed and ready to roar!

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KARVY09 3/23/2011 12:08PM

    You can totally walk a half marathon. There are plenty of walker-friendly ones out there!

So What?! By Pink. One of my running songs, BTW.

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KOMONDOR 3/23/2011 10:14AM

    The nice thing about a lighter workout is that you maintain your schedule mojo.

Woo Hoo!

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Paula's Bootcamp Weekend and Get Lucky 7k Recap

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First of all, let me thank you all for your support yesterday regarding the overflow of emotions I had this past weekend. Let me reiterate that my emotions have nothing to do with the women I met this weekend. Could they have acted differently? Sure. We all could have. But it is NOT their responsibility to make me happy.

Throughout my 30 years of life, through dealing with people from all spectrums, some who, unlike the girls I met this weekend, actually INTENDED to cause me undue stress and hurt, I have learned that it is the way that I choose to deal with things that make the difference in my happiness. Do I wish things had gone differently? Sure! But more than anything, I wish I could have fought harder against the negative emotions I felt welling up inside of me the entire weekend. But...I am a work in progress. The old me would have fallen apart completely, while this new me held herself together quite well. I tried to not direct my emotions into rage against those around me. I tried to be kind and understanding and considerate to their experiences and realize that their experiences were bound to be entirely different than my own. Again, it was not their responsibility to take care of me. I'm 30 years old and I can take care of myself. We are different people, were raised differently, have different ways of handling certain situations. I'm sure there were plenty of things I did while trying to stuff down the hurt that made them wish I had acted differently (I still struggle a lot with voicing my pain and allowing others in to help me through it. It feels burdensome to me, like I am forcing upon them negative emotions and ruining the emotional high and happiness that they are currently experiencing. I hide my crying and shelter myself away, telling everyone I am fine, asking to be left alone to move past it or...more find a way to shove it down until I feel ready to handle it.) I cannot fault any ONE of these women for what happened to me or how I felt. I don't think any of them set out to intentionally harm me in any way whatsoever. I firmly believe that they had nothing but the best intentions...but I was stuck and the atmosphere I was in was too emotionally charged for me to keep my head above water and keep swimming.

That being said, I struggled with whether to even share those feelings with all of you, or, more importantly, with myself. I worried that they would feel hurt and attacked. I tried to stress that it was *my* experience and emotion, but I still worried about hurting their feelings. So I struggled with my desire to not hurt them and my desire to be completely honest with myself and with all of you be perfectly draw some much needed support from this wonderful community that has taught me so much. I needed someone to validate my emotions and someone else (or the same person) to tell me to let them go. And, in the end, my need for support and my promise of honesty to myself won out. So, to the girls, I hope you do not feel as if my last blog was an attack on you. I promise that it was simply my emotions, as I felt them. My inner demons as I heard them speak. And my struggle to preserve my self-esteem, something I've worked in the past year to rebuild from the ashes into which I found myself.

And one final note about that before I get on to the recap part of this blog. Whatever happens, I'm glad I did it. The outpouring of thanks I got from other Sparkers makes me feel that it was important to acknowledge my feelings as they honestly were. Not only does it show people that we can still have huge triumphs while experiencing emotional turmoil, but it teaches me a VERY valuable lesson -- these feelings will never end. We are all silly enough, at some time or another, to believe that our troubles will all be solved when our weight is gone. I have lost nearly 150 pounds since my highest weight, nearly 100 in the past year alone, and when I'm home I live in a place of relative security and stability. But to learn this weekend that those feelings will remain, to be reminded that 100 pound teenage girls are out there right now feeling those same feelings and wasting themselves away because they think losing weight will help them go away...that was a very important lesson to learn. It may have been extremely difficult, but it was absolutely necessary.

Now, onto the good stuff. ;)

Paula's Bootcamp Weekend.

I told the girls on Saturday night that we all needed to make up t-shirts for surviving the crazy weekend of exercise, followed by more exercise, followed by physical activity, with more exercise thrown in for fun. The shirts should say, simply:

I survived Paula's Bootcamp Weekend 2011

I laughed,
I cried,
I nearly died!


Of course the fun started Thursday night when we all decided to go out for St. Patty's Day. I had just driven about 13 hours through 4 states on 4 hours of sleep, but I didn't want to miss an opportunity to have some fun! SO we got dolled up and headed out.

For 2 hours we "got low" and "shook our moneymakers" and "shook it like a Polaroid picture" and "dropped it like it was hot." At one point during Get Low (a song we regular use in Zumba class *lol*), Paula's friend Moe asked us girls "How do you do that?!" I looked right at him and said simply, "Squats!" It wasn't until after he mentioned it that I began to realize that the old me would have NEVER been able to "get low" like that. Sore hip and all, I shook my booty out on the dance floor, I used my hips and my bum and my abs and my whole body and, for once, just let go. I didn't worry too much about what other people would think. I didn't care. I was having fun. Yes, I noticed the couple in the corner who pointed at me, whispered a few things, and then laughed. But do you know what else I noticed? They weren't dancing. They were standing there, drinking, seemingly afraid to show any sign of weakness by dancing and looking a fool. I used to be them and what I realize now's much more fun to drop it like it's hot and be crazy. Who cares if you look a fool? At least I have memories to keep with me and I'm not standing in a corner bored.

2 hours of dancing like that = nearly 1700 calories burned!

Friday we walked some of Mall of America. I'm sure we burned a few good calories there as well, but it didn't feel like that much of a walk. I didn't even think to count it as exercise until I realized -- a mile of walking no longer feels like much exercise to me. My stamina has increased so much that we could've done a mile or two and I likely wouldn't have noticed. I'm still not counting it, but it's something to think about.

Once I found some great clothes and we found Erin, we headed over to training with Chris. Oh Chris. He's actually quite small and I think I could squish him if I tried hard enough...though his muscles, I must admit, are a little intimidating. He had us in circuits.

1 - Pulling a heavy rope attached to some sort of weighted device at the end. Oh, and while pulling the rope, you had to be in modified plank position. Simple, right?! *lol* I thought I would die as he kept telling me to reach more and I kept thinking, "Uhm, arms aren't that long?" I'll admit that I had to fall out of my plank a few times, readjust and start over. Unlike everyone else, I never got the weighted machine at the end all the way to me and never pushed it back to the end. (He stated it wasn't good for my knee anyhow.)

2 - Lifting and flipping the big tire. I have to admit, I've always wanted to do this one. And when Chris decided to push against me, I refused to look at him, glancing only out of the corner of my eye, and pushed even harder against his pushing, pretending I would crush him with the weight of the tire as I pushed it over. *lol* Back and forth, back and forth, at first it felt too easy, but I soon realized I was breathing heavy and my abs and legs and arms were starting to feel it.

3 - Hitting another huge tire with a sledgehammer. It took me a minute to get the action down properly, but once I did, I hit that thing HARD! My confession here is that when he showed us the task, I was honestly afraid I wouldn't be able to lift the sledgehammer. But I did so and had some good fun with this one.

4 - While the other girls did a pull-up jump type thing, Chris gave me a medicine ball to throw at the ground, catch and throw again. I felt like I was 5 and on the second time around, I tried throwing a few other things in the mix to make it more just seemed too darn easy.

5 - Sit on BOSU ball and, with ketllebells, do curls and presses. Of course my ST had paid off for this one. Even when Chris pushed down on my hands as I pressed up, I pushed my way through each curl and press, not stopping once, feeling it in my arms and feeling that rush of ST power I have come to love and adore.

6 - Okay, so the other girls did a "frog" type movement with their hands and feet on weight plates...and I tried, but there was no way I could trust my knee in a deep squat like just wasn't happening. Soon Chris came over and told me to sit on my butt, put my hands on the floor behind me, and raise my legs, knees bent and in toward my body..and just HOLD. UGH! I thought I'd die. On the second time around he figured I had had it too easy, so he came over and grabbed my feet, told me to twist my knees to one side, hold, then middle, hold, then the other side, and hold, then one leg up and one leg down. I wanted to cry out. I struggled not to give up, and Chris looked right at me, counting down the seconds and said, "You've done things harder than this. You can do this!" Part of me wondered how he had known my struggles, and then I shrugged it off as him just using his PT words to keep my legs in the air. I fully believe this one exercise was the reason my legs were absolute bricks for the next 2 days.

Saturday - RACE DAY!

I woke up early on Saturday morning completely freaked out that I had overslept and we were running behind. I got up and got my gear on, and rushed downstairs to find everyone else just getting their stuff together. PHEW! *lol*

Erin, sweet girl that she is, told me that she had got me a Bondiband as I started mentioning to the girls that I refuse to wear the one I bought myself because I believe it's cursed. (I bought an I RUN Bondiband after I finished week 3 of C25k and felt like I had earned the right to claim I could run. Almost immediately after buying the thing, I pulled my hip and haven't been able to run like I was since then. I've seriously considered burning the damn thing and starting over completely.) The Bondiband Erin bought me was perfect! Black with a green shamrock! I hadn't been able to find any good green gear for the race in my size, so I was forced to wear my blue-green shirt, black pants, and black running jacket. I found green gloves the night before at Target (75 cents for the green pair with a pair of white gloves, which Becky was able to use, so that really worked out well!). Thank GOODNESS I bought those gloves on the spur of the moment because I needed them on race day.

So there I was, temporary shamrock tattoo on my cheek, the same shirt I had worn in August of last year to my first 5k ever, my XL black exercise pants, my 2X sized running jacket that makes me look skinny as all get out, my green gloves and my new Bondiband. I looked ready to go!

We walked about a mile from the car to race village, which was a mess of excitement, so much so that we were unable to find all the people we were supposed to be meeting. We pottied on the way to race village at the Minneapolis library (that was a nice change to the port-o-potty lines!) and after a quick gear check by some of the girls, we were ready to go. I wished them luck and walked away to find the pace flag closest to my slow walking time. Weaving my way in and out of people, trying to avoid the ice and snow lining the street, I finally located the 12 minute pace flag and didn't see any 13 minute flag beyond it. "Alright, I thought. This is where I start then." I found Becky there and we snapped a pre-race photo together.

The streets were full of people. I think there were 7,000+ who started the race, even though only 5000+ or so finished. It was madness, and I soon felt like cattle being led to slaughter. In every previous race I've done, there haven't been quite as many people. I think the Charleston Distance Walk had the most people and it was probably closer to 2500. It was madness in downtown Minneapolis!

Now, I usually break up my race recaps by mile markers, but I didn't realize until 4K that they had actually marked the race course. *lol* I guess I was too wrapped up in what I was doing, what I needed to do, and what I wanted out of this race.

I crossed the start line cold and slow. I felt really slow as people began running past me. I reminded myself that it was fine, that this was MY race and I was going to walk it with pride. I caught sight of a few other walkers and I felt a little better. It wasn't just me walking in 7000 runners...that made it a little easier. I started my Get Lucky playlist that I had made the night before with the help of Paula and started off thinking all I wanted was to 2 hours before the course closed...hopefully faster than that. I had put my gloves on and my Bondiband over my ears and that helped a lot with the cold.

As I turned the first corner I caught sight of a man with a stroller. In the stroller was his dog. Everyone around me took notice. I slowed to take a couple pictures and overheard over my music the guy say that this wasn't the dog's first race, that he loved them. And then I watched as the guy gave the dog a drink from his water bottle. It was adorable, and it made me smile...and suddenly I felt better than I had in months.

[and now Spark has decided I can no longer upload pictures...hopefully that fixes itself soon!]

After the first turn, I caught glimpse of the river and of the first downhill. I had remarked to Becky at the start of the race that my hip was feeling better than it had in a month and I SO wanted to try to run, but I knew that I needed more heal time. When I saw that downhill, though, I wasn't able to hold myself back. Downhills are better on my body anyhow because of the momentum. I don't have to force my legs and hips so hard into the motion I want them to perform, it just comes more naturally on a downhill. As the ground started to level out again, though, it was really difficult to stop myself - but I did. I also noticed a few looks from people as I passed them by...and I got a little arrogant and conceited for a moment...just a moment. :)

Now I must mention that the turn onto the first bridge was pure evilness. Apparently I made it to that turn just as the first (CRAZY) runners started finishing the race...and the finish line was right there as I turned into my first real long leg of the race. *growls* I'm pretty sure I actually said aloud, "Now that's just MEAN!" when a guy walked by with his medal dangling over his neck and I turned to start what he had finished long ago. Stupid race organizers! I don't want to be reminded that people are done when I'm just starting to hit my stride! *pouts* Somehow, though, it made me even more determined. I would catch sight of random people ahead of me and I would pretend that I was just racing them. If I could just beat them, I'd be good. In the first part of the race, I was only concerned with not being last...but now? Now I was out for a better finishing place. I pumped my arms, tried to not let the uncomfortable grip on my water bottle get to me, and pushed my way pass certain people, who would then pass me, and I would pass them again.

I ignored the Irish dancers at the first little spot, determined to not lose focus even though I would have loved to have taken it all in. I think I even walked right in front of someone taking a picture. I didn't care...if they had time to stop and take pictures, then I was going to beat them to the finish was my chance, I wasn't missing an opportunity just because I wanted to be nice to a stranger.

I turned the next corner and got angry as I did get distracted by the people around me. Sure, they were walking, but they didn't seem to be exerting much effort. I, on the other hand, was panting like a dog and pumping every brick in my leg to more faster and faster. (A training with a new PT the day before your race = not a good idea, just FYI.) I tried to talk dirty to myself, but with the power of the finish line ahead of me, I gave it up. I had too much to do to chance focusing on negative thoughts. That, my dears, is why races are magical for me. Not much time to think much else than "pass them!" and "go faster for a better time" and "the next mile and then on to the finish!"

I tried to think on the race course in my head. I hadn't seen any mile markers and was frustrated, not knowing where I was or how far I had gone. I knew there was only one water stop halfway through the course and I just kept telling myself "get there and you'll know you're halfway!" There were a few times that I tightened the butt and walked like a crazy speedwalker up the hills, determined to not be cut off by the policeman who was stopping traffic to let us stragglers through, and then letting it go again for a moment. I would NOT be forced to stop. It wasn't acceptable. I pushed harder to catch up to a group ahead of me so I would be able to cross through when they did.

When the water break came, I ignored them. I had my water bottle, sure that I would need more than one water break in a 4.35 mile course. I didn't need their little cups of water and I didn't want to stop. I pulled the sport beans out of my pocket, thankful I had grabbed them at Jungle Jim's with my mom a couple weekends ago. I hoped they didn't taste nasty and started popping them 3 at a time into my mouth. To my delight, they tasted just fine. A little hard, but good enough to not gag on. I pretended they were my magic beans and they would make me sprout exhaust pipes out my butt so I could let off some steam from my emotions of the day and use it to spur me forward. It was also about this time that I realized that they HAD marked the path, and I saw the 4k sign.

More than halfway done. I could do this. I looked at my watch again. I had been looking at it all the time, not sure why considering I could judge how long I'd been going but not how far I had been. I had been using the time as an estimate, and as 30 minutes passed I said to myself, "Okay, hopefully an hour more only. At the worst, an hour and a half. Let's go!" After passing the 4k mark, I realized that if could walk the next k in 13-15 minutes, I would bust through my fastest 5k time of 53 and change. I wanted under 50..I wanted it badly! Too bad there was a MONSTER of a hill between me and my goal.

I bent low, I used every force of energy in my legs and pumped my arms in the most controlled wild manner I could manage. I was almost running I was walking so fast...UPHILL! I passed several people and ignored them. I didn't care about anything but beating my time. And I did. I PRed my 5k time and only then did I venture the possibility in my head of reaching the goal I had set when I registered for the race of finishing the 7k in or under 1 hour and 20 minutes. I turned the next corner as a girl shouted, "Great job! One more mile! You can do it." I checked my watch. I could! If it was only one more mile and I walked even at my slower pace of 18 min/mi, I could finish at or under 1:20:00! I buckled down, vowing to leave it all on the course and finish with excitement.

And then I seemed to go for 2 more miles with no sight of the finish line I had already seen miles before. I got frustrated. I started to think it wouldn't happen. I started to cry in frustration. A mile my foot! Where the hell was the finish!? Why was it taking so long!? I wasn't going to do it. I was going to fail. *sigh* Just then, Pink's song "F#%&ing Perfect" came on and told me to shut up the negative talk. I was doing more than most people I knew were this day. I was walking a 7k. I was running where I could, babying a sore hip, an actual RUNNER'S injury I had suffered. There was NOTHING wrong with me or that or anything. A finish was a win, no matter how long it took.

I caught another downhill and ran again. It was a shorter one and didn't, I'm sure, do much for my time, but it felt good to have the power to do it...brick legs and all. I passed a girl who was only slightly smaller than me walking next to, what seemed to be, her mother. Her mother wore a jacket with "Half Marathon FINISHER" on the back, and it reminded me that finishing was what mattered. I heard her over my music cheer for me as I passed them both..and then moments later when I stopped running, they passed me and I smiled, not once feeling bad that I had been passed. I knew what that was...I'd seen it before. It was mother looking out for daughter, or friend for friend, or sister for sister. I knew the smaller HM finisher could knock out a GREAT time at this race, but she decided instead to support her friend or sister or daughter. And I felt a kinship to them, and a hope that I had made her daughter/friend/sister believe that it was possible. I'm pretty sure they finished the race running. *big grin*

I walked fast, determined to have whatever good time I could pull out, hoping the finish line wasn't TOO FAR ahead. I kept telling myself, "Just around the next bend" and then it wouldn't be so. I tried not to get discouraged as I heard the negative monster tell me again that I wasn't going to get to my time...I was cutting it too close...maybe I could've done more. And then I took a turn to the right and THERE IT WAS! Not down the road a bit, but right there practically in front of me. My hip hurt, and I knew I should walk the rest, but I couldn't help myself. I wanted to run. I needed it. I needed to RUN over the finish line. So I did. It was a sad excuse for limp-running if I've ever seen one, but it was me, running as best I could with an injury...crying with joy because I had finished under 1:20:00 according to my calculations. The clock said 1:23:something, but I knew I had been far enough back to have not started my chip time until 4 or 5 minutes after the actual race start. I knew I had done it and I cried.

You can see my finish video and my lovely limp-running here:

I called Hubs. I talked to the boys and cried and told them, "Mommy did it!" and they didn't understand why I was crying, why it meant so much...they didn't know the emotional sludge I had waded through to get to this point. They didn't know I had told myself not to race at all because I wasn't going to even finish, and they didn't know that I had BROKEN my expectations of myself and gone beyond what even I thought I could do. I cried. I nearly forgot to pick up my medal as I turned and caught the finish behind me, pure joy on my face.

Hubs answered the phone groggy after I collected my medal (I seriously almost walked right past these guys...I guess I didn't do it for the bling! *lol*). "I did it!" I told him through tears. "Good job," he said simply. It's funny, I nearly yelled at him for not being so excited...and then I realized that he wasn't surprised because he knew I would. I wasn't sure if I would finish, but he was. He has more confidence in me sometimes than I do. I chuckled to myself as I realized that he had just gotten out of bed and thought to myself, "I just did a 7k while you were sleeping!" *lol* We talked for a few minutes and he congratulated me on my great time before I told him I loved him and would see him soon. I missed him. I realized that in that moment as I wished he was there to hug me and high five and see my tears and my joy and realize what it meant to me.

The walk back to the car was my cool down, and then I stretched out my extremely tired body before having a free beer that I had certainly earned. I checked everyone's times from my phone as I sipped on a beer that went straight to my head (dehydrated, hungry and straight beer when I usually drink lite beer = me, nearly drunk after 1/2 a glass! *lol*). We took silly pictures and enjoyed the time. I sat down a stool and was happy to have a moment to rest ...and then I realized everyone else was ready to go. We had a pole dancing class we had to get to. I actually cried out, "I just need a minute. Please!" My body was over worked, over trained, and over tired. I wanted rest more than I wanted food or anything else.

We walked back to the car and I tried to fall asleep but couldn't with the built-up energy in me. Straight to the gym we drove, crazy as hell, gluttons for punishment. I changed into my capri pants and begrudgingly took off my medal before walking my tired legs and feet and arms to the pole dancing room.

We got out yoga mats and at first I was overjoyed at the warm-up stretches that felt more like cool down stretches. That was until she had us hold our legs in the air, much like Chris had forced upon me the day before. I couldn't. I just couldn't. I couldn't do this anymore. I was exhausted. My body was so sore that everything hurt. I just couldn't. I took a lot of breaks...and then I looked up, resigned myself and told myself, "Just treat it like a bootcamp weekend like you see on those reality TV shows...maybe this will put you up for a big loss this week!" I still cried from exhaustion as she tortured us with bicycle crunches and then laughed and said she was going easy on us since we had just raced. GRR! EASY? This didn't feel EASY at all!

Finally, she had us up. She explained the form in a 1-2-3 type way, and then counted us off to wrap one leg around the pole, both hands on the pole, and then swing around the pole until we landed on the ground. She counted off...and as everyone else took off for their first attempt, I froze. I didn't trust my already tired body. I didn't trust the pole that felt wobbly in my hand and wasn't connected to the ceiling, just the floor. I didn't trust her or myself or anything. I was a deer-in-the-headlights kinda scared and I just stood there as they did it again. Finally she came around to us one-by-one. Coming to me, she immediately put out her hand and introduced herself. My fear wasn't lost on her and I saw she was trying to disarm me and make me more comfortable. She told me my fear was natural. She told me that she just wanted me to have fun and then showed me a different move, a kind of walking around the pole on your feet that didn't require as much trust to do. "Just pretend you're a little girl!" she said. "I just want you to have some fun." It was a release of every pressure I've ever felt in a class like this to perform as well or better than everyone else. I could do nothing, I could do something, I could do everything. It did NOT matter to her.

I did a few walks around the pole and felt better. And then, knowing I would regret it if I didn't, I tried what everyone else had done. (MEZZOANGEL posted a video blog that shows you what we were supposed to do.) I know I didn't do it right or well, but I did it several times. I ended up with a nasty bruise on my hand and wrist and what seemed like a busted blood vessel in my hand, but I was proud to have tried and trusted only as much as I was willing to.

After that, we took some silly pictures. I showed off my flexibility for some pictures - one thing both Chris and several of the girls took note of and I'm extremely proud's that thing that sets me apart sometimes, that thing that reminds me that I'm still an athlete inside (and sometimes outside too) - and that made me feel better about myself again. I may not be able to swing around a pole but I'm THIS close to being able to do the splits!

Approx calories burned Saturday - something around 1800

So, the scale may say I've put on a few pounds, but I know that's from the bloat of travel, eating out, and change of schedule. It might be from not eating ENOUGH through all those workouts. It might be from overtraining. I don't think for a second it's real, and I'm quite sure it will fade in the next week of getting back to my routine. I burned a BUNCH of calories and ate relatively healthy the whole time. So, yes...

I survived Paula's Bootcamp Weekend 2011! And I'm better for it. (Thanks, P!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BAYBELIEVER 3/23/2011 1:24PM

    Esther!!! Again, congratulations! Love the video...and look at your amazing results! You just keep on going!

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SASSAGAIN 3/22/2011 9:13PM

    YAY for races and bondibands and free beer and YOU and trying new things and grooving on the dance floor!!

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SUSIEMT 3/22/2011 9:00PM

    Way to go Callikia! Esther I am so proud of you! It sounded like you discovered you had a lot of personal growth also. Finishing a race, finding personal growth and learning to be a pole dancer! What else could a husband possibly hope for his wife on a Paula's bootcamp weekend? What a lucky woman, mother and wife!! LOL! You go GIRL!! emoticon

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ATREAT4ME 3/22/2011 8:47PM

    Sweet Girl, can we talk about your "headspace?" When you're not so tired and getting over such an amazing weekend, please come back and read these last two posts. I'm asking you this favor because I think you'll be able to better understand the magnitude of your accomplishments. And, in a month or two, if how amazing, incredible, strong, smart, sensitive and caring you -- and the group you were with -- isn't evident to you, please let me know. I'd love to share point-by-point my perception of what you did. I would submit for your consideration that you may have started the year with a goal of adventures but you will finish the year with more accomplishments than the average skinny-all-her-life girl next door. I am soooo happy for you and Paula, and Becky, and Erin, and everyone who had a part of this magical weekend. And I'll admit it, I'm jealous too!

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    loved loved loved this.. best line? "I pretended they were my magic beans and they would make me sprout exhaust pipes out my butt ".. ROFL

Great accomplishment!! Taking great courage and a whole lot of WANT... you done good!

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CAROBEAR1 3/22/2011 5:47PM

    Thanks for the recap. I really appreciate it. Last year was my first 5K that I did by myself so I like when other people give me a point of reference on how they did races and what they think about. This year I have 2 5Ks planned, the same one as last year around the Toronto Zoo and I feel better equipped when I hear what other people think about when they're out there....I walked the hills up and down and tried to run on the flat bits for mine.

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MAGSA10 3/22/2011 5:03PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GWENAEL 3/22/2011 4:51PM

  You are amazing!

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CHICAT63 3/22/2011 4:37PM

    WOW I am just exhausted reading your blog *lol*. You gals sure had fun. You did AWESOME, congratulations on your finish and your medal. You so frigging deserve it.

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MEGSFITNESS 3/22/2011 4:07PM

    AMAZING accomplishments, Esther. That is a grueling weekend and anything I did is nothing in comparison. You ROCK!

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COCOMAC7 3/22/2011 3:54PM

    What a great recap. I realize you had many other things emotionally going on but you went and you finished the race and your time was Ahhhh mazing! So proud of you! Sounds like there was many positives going on but unfortunately the negatives were winning at the time.

I think our past makes us who we are. We have to change in order to react differently to situations and change is hard. I find there are many times that I expect the worst or even see the worst in situations because that's how it was in my past. I sometimes don't let the people around me prove me different and I assume they are thinking/acting a certain way when in reality they aren't. Personal growth is hard but can be so rewarding. Sounds (looks?) to me like you had a weekend full of personal growth.

Your year of adventure continues. You are stepping out of the box and exploring new activities, new sites and new emotions.

Congrats on killing the race!!!!!!!

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CALLIKIA 3/22/2011 3:47PM

    I rested a TON yesterday. Tonight? Back to Zumba! *lol*

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FLGIRL1234 3/22/2011 3:41PM

    WOW great weekend. Looks like you had a really great time! Now go

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CALLIKIA 3/22/2011 3:29PM

    I love that! And I love that I didn't even THINK about the cobblestones that much. *lol*

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KKINNEA 3/22/2011 3:25PM

    Loved reading your recap. Know that no matter how you attacked the course, we all had struggles. Mine were the cobblestones that seemed to stretch on for miles. Doesn't matter that I've died on them a thousand times, I had my mantra - "I love cobbles. Cobbles give me energy!" You did great!

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MAGPIE17 3/22/2011 3:00PM

    WTG Esther!!

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    YAAAAAAAAY! Git it girl! I loved reading this race recap. You know what, you DID this. You did all of it. So so so proud of you!

And how awesome of Erin to give you a BondiBand! Loves!

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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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SASSAGAIN 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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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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