CALLIKIA   23,798
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Flaky Girl Does Weight Loss

Friday, March 25, 2011

I have become a better version of myself.

Or, wait...this is more like it...

My weight loss has allowed me to be the person I always was.

That's right. I'm noticing something lately. Even after the madness of this past weekend, it wasn't until last night that I realized that I'm more of who I am now that I feel free to be her. What I mean is, I'm not hiding. I'm not covering up who I am because I'm afraid that people only think about how fat I am. Part of my mind wants to remind me that I'm STILL fat, but there's this other part now that tells me I am strong, capable, and worthy of respect...and, surprisingly, that part is much louder than the other right now. Strange, right? Maybe not.

Look, I'm one of those people who can't seem to keep her eye on one serious goal and keep going after it. In some regards I hate that about me because it makes me flaky...I hate flaky people...they annoy me. When I started losing weight again in April, though...I knew I was going to have to deal with this part of myself. Losing 200 pounds is a HUGE goal. I mean...HUGE. It won't happen over night. It's likely to take YEARS to make it happen. How the hell was I going to keep my flaky self interested for YEARS?! I was nervous. It's why I didn't start announcing to my friends that I was losing weight until I had about 60-80 behind me already and I felt like I was already well in to what I set out to do. I never wanted to be that girl who tried to lose weight AGAIN and failed AGAIN. It's the flakiness of my personality that I was hiding.

But I realized I couldn't simply change who I am. Instead, I started to think about it differently. I told myself that it wasn't that I was's that I'm interested in so many different things. I'm that girl standing at the buffet of life wanting to try EVERYTHING. I know I won't like everything, but what the hell is a buffet for if not for figuring out what you like? A bite here, a bite there. By the end I am able to say with certainty "I like ____."

Wednesday night at the gym, as I discussed this last trip with Hubs, I told him that I went because I said I was going to go...that it was something I just had to do, that whole "solo road trip" thing. And I told him I didn't like it and likely wouldn't be doing it again, but there was something in me that just HAD to try it out. He looked right at me and said, "You'd try anything once, wouldn't you?" I thought a moment. Was I THAT person? Because I know I used to be the girl afraid to try anything for fear of embarrassment. I smiled, nodded, and said, "Probably." I like this girl better.

But I realize now that it's not the girl who has changed. Yesterday I was talking to some coworkers about fitness and eating right and somehow we started talking about leg strength versus upper body strength. I told them I was the girl who would reorganize her room every few months and would push my dresser across the floor with my legs...even at the age of 8. (It's funny...Ethan does this now. *lol*) I explained, "I changed my room around a lot. I got bored." But maybe I wasn't bored. Maybe I just wanted to try my room in every possible way. Maybe I WANTED to see all the possibilities I had to find the one that suited me best. Maybe I just liked the small change that I could control. I realize now that that is exactly what I'm doing now. It's always been a part of me - that girl willing to try just about anything...I was just too afraid to show it...too afraid to fail.

So when I started losing weight, on some level I recognized that "bored" feeling that inevitably comes. Some people can stick to a meal plan for years at a time without changing anything. I can't. I can eat the same thing pretty much every day at work, as long as dinner is always something different, or as long as every once in a while I get a chance to go get something new. That's exactly what I do with exercise...and I realize now it's exactly the part of me that was working when I came up with the Year of Adventures for 2011. I wanted to TRY everything I always was too afraid to try.

When I started out here, I simply made sure my calories fit. Soon, I was trying new healthier versions of my favorite foods. Later, I tried foods I'd never had before - quinoa, lentils - I was retrying fruits and things I used to hate to see if I still did. (Found a new love for pineapple...something I always hated...and learned that my body *HATES* lie.) I tried foods from different countries. I wanted to taste what they were eating since I didn't have the money to travel there. And lately I'm kicking into more vegetarian dishes, discovering a love for tofu and loving that.

When I started here I stuck to walking and my inStride cycle. Two things I was sure of. I simply tried to hit the fitness minutes Spark set for me. In time, I joined the gym and tried the elliptical - a new favorite love of mine because, to me, it mimics running without the impact on my body. I can "run" on the elliptical, burn a ton of calories, go farther distance wise without feeling the pain of it later. In time I rekindled my love for the rowing machine. I tried Zumba and found a new love. I did yoga again and remembered that it was one of my favorite exercises because of my innate flexibility. Then I tried tennis and boxing. I ran. I walked long distances. I joined races. I played basketball with the kids. I played racquetball (though I'm still not sure I'm doing it right...but who cares?). I went from Spark suggested ST moves to challenging myself on crunches, planks, and push-ups. And lately I've moved into heavy lifting and discovered a true love for the power that makes me feel.

Throughout the past 11 months, I thought I was improving and that was the cause of the change. And, for some of it, that's exactly what it was. But a big part of it is that I need small changes I can control. There is something that spurs me on when I realize I can make small tweaks and still maintain consistency.

When I started here, I realized I was going to have to address my flaky side somehow. I didn't want to flake out on the big goal, so I flaked on smaller ones. I hated myself for it every time. I didn't finish 8-week training programs because I found something else I wanted to do instead. I told myself it was awful that I couldn't stick to anything! But, do you know what I realized yesterday? Through all the changes I made, flaking out on fitness routines and group thing never changed -- I stuck with the big goal.

The scale is being nice today. Yesterday I blurted out to my coworkers that I had lost 94 pounds or so since April. (Funny, they didn't say anything...their faces didn't change...and as much as I want to analyze what that means, I'm just going to let it go.) As of yesterday, it was only 93 or so pounds...but this morning...94 lost. I willed it so! *lol*

What was I saying?

So last night, exhausted from the day. Happy to have given in on my body's request for rest. I drove straight home. It felt strange not going to the gym, but I powered through, sure that my body needed rest more than my mind needed the Zumba. I went home and looked around and voiced my hunger and looked begrudgingly in the kitchen and didn't want to cook. I asked Hubs to take us out and he agreed...and I let the boys pick where. We ended up at a local pizza place nearby. I always end up with a meatball sub, which I generally only eat half of, and some of their homemade chips. This time, I ordered a huge salad. Lettuce, tomatoes, onions (YUK! Will ask for those to be left off next time), carrots, broccoli, and spinach. I got ranch dressing because they didn't have any light versions (I'll bring my own next time). I told myself that I could be good. I sat down and devoured my salad. It was HUGE and yummy and I LOVED it (except when I had to pick out the onions). And as I looked over at my sub, I thought...I'd rather have the salad than the sub? WTF? (Don't get too excited for me...I ended up eating EVERYTHING. The salad, the sub, the chips...and I was full, not stuffed...maybe a touch over full, but not stuffed. *shrug* Maybe my body needed that. I took breaks while I was eating to see if I was full and I just wasn't yet. STRANGE.)

When we finished eating, Hubs wanted to head across the street to Big Lots. He joked, "You want to walk across and I'll meet you there?" I looked across the street. "Sure!" I said. His jaw dropped and he laughed. "I was just joking." "It's not that far," I said. And I realized as we walked over...a super easy walk...that a year ago, this would have seemed MILES away. I wouldn't have done it. I would've gotten mad at him for suggesting it...or I would have tried and been completely out of breath. As it was, last night was a nice stroll across the street. And, funny enough, both of my kids spoke up, "I want to go with mom!" *lol*

Even after a big meal...I wasn't beating myself up. I accepted it as what my body wanted. I feel more in tune with my body than I've ever been before, and while HALF of a sandwich and that salad would've stuffed me any other night...last night my body needed all of it. *shrug* I'm not sure why. And some of you might say I'm delusional for thinking it and sabotaging my own efforts....but lately I've been thinking "I'm giving my body what it needs." That doesn't mean I let it go wild on me. I know where that road leads! Today I'm sticking to my schedule and sticking to my calories and eating on the low side of my calorie range. It just means that I'm listening more.

I don't want to be the flaky girl. I don't want to be the girl that can't stick with anything. But when all is said and done, there are SOME things I can stick with. I stuck with 3 years of school and working full-time to get my degree. I stuck with almost a year of losing weight and I'm still going strong. I guess I'm better at the big things, especially when the little things within it have flexibility to change. So maybe I am flaky. But I'm also ambitious and successful. I'm also determined and strong. I can be all those things and succeed.

I guess what I'm saying is - you are exactly the person you need to be right now. And that person, whoever she/he is, has the ability to make the changes needed to lose weight. Our roads might look different because WE are different. But if you treat your body with respect and stay true to the parts that are you, there is no reason you can't be successful at this or anything you set your mind to do. You are exactly the person you need to be right now. I am exactly the person I need to be right now. Right now I'm flaky...but it's exactly what I need to keep the big dream alive. Small changes, new workout routines, new recipes...but one common goal - a healthy lifestyle that allows me to be who I am.

Side notes:
No, I still haven't decided on a HM yet. Going to do some training next week and see if I can possibly get to where I need to be by May 1st for the pig. If not, I'll focus my efforts further out.

I made an appointment for next Friday with my doctor about my hip. Until then, I will NOT be running AT ALL. Not even to get across the street quickly. People will have to hit me. Besides, I can walk just about as fast as I can run right now. Walking ONLY. The doc will likely refer me to an orthopedic surgeon, but I'm on a path to discovering what I need to do to unleash my inner runner!

Yes, I went over my calories last night. No, I'm not beating myself up about it. I'm planning a light day today. Low calories but in my range. Low sodium. Low, but healthy, fats. Lots of water. A low impact yoga routine later for recovery. Maybe some lite strength training. And later? I'm thinking a hot bath with bubbles and some fitness magazines with the music turned down low and some candles. Me time. Sounds good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUNNINGNP2B 3/28/2011 10:16AM

    Calli, you are so far from being a flaky girl! I am really happy for you and who you are, and of what you continue to accomplish. You amaze me daily with what you do.

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KASE72 3/27/2011 9:15AM

    This was so inspiring! This is exactly what i want to do with my life! Thank you for writing and sharing.

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RUSSELLORAMA 3/26/2011 1:07PM

    I so identify with this! You come a long way and you realize you have so much more to do, but you can certainly celebrate your victories and appreciate how much you've changed! I also can eat the same thing for lunch every day, but dinner has to be different. I get bored too easily!

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SERENEART 3/26/2011 7:58AM

    Thank you for posting this blog. It's so in step.


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KATIE2POINT0 3/25/2011 4:16PM

    I'm so glad you're feeling better after your rotten weekend. I loved this blog and I loved that I could hear the love for yourself in there. I am feeling inspired... thanks

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TIGERJANE 3/25/2011 4:04PM

    have I told you lately how much I love you? No, seriously. Your blogs are SO profound, and always speak to me on a very deep level. I was almost in tears over the self-love and acceptance parts.

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WALLAHALLA 3/25/2011 2:10PM

    Beautiful blog--beautiful you!

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MEGSFITNESS 3/25/2011 2:09PM

    I'm flaky person but I haven't figured out how to make that work to my advantage yet :(

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MAGPIE17 3/25/2011 12:22PM

    Wonderful blog, E. And I agree with ERIN1128 - "you are exactly the person you need to be right now" is amazing.

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CALLIKIA 3/25/2011 12:13PM

    Erin - It was part of my affirmations, but not until after I wrote it did I grasp the pure deliciousness of the thought. I love accidental insight!

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ERIN1128 3/25/2011 12:02PM

    "you are exactly the person you need to be right now." Love, love, love this! Thanks for posting!

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LULULUCY 3/25/2011 11:54AM

    You sound exactly like me! I too flake out on routines and challenges and feel like a jerk, but I never thought of it the big picture way like this. Awesome. I think learning to listen to our bodies is really the biggest challenge (and reward) from taking care of ourselves just because it'll be useful for the rest of our lives! Way to go darling, enjoy your yoga and bubble bath :)

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FOOD!! and Not Feeling It

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Please mark this week as the week my MIND wanted to work out and my BODY was not having it. Please, mark it down. It's so often the other way around. I've been at the gym the past two nights.

Tuesday I had to stop before Zumba was over because I simply could NOT lift my legs anymore. I started stumbling over my feet and got all tangled up. I lost all speed, coordination and rhythm and found myself several times just standing there, completely exhausted and spent. So I left. I pulled out 45 minutes (the last 10 in a crazy haze of OMG..NO MORE! from my body) and then left.

Last night, I would have skipped the gym altogether if not for Hubs. I called him on the way home and left the choice of gym/no-gym to him. He picked gym and I wanted to cry. I went anyhow. He walked for 12 minutes or so on the treadmill while I SLOWLY got dressed, SLOWLY walked up the stairs and BARELY made it through 5 minutes on the rowing machine. We then went downstairs and he was wishy-washy about what he wanted to work, exercises he wanted to do -- so sad considering I was going to let HIM lead this one. I sighed and then set him up with barbell curls and presses. Then we went to working back muscles, which he actually took a great liking to. (I'll remember that for later.) Finally I just sat there, staring at him, completely exhausted...and he said, "Ready to go home?!" OMG! Magical musical words they were! HOME! I love it!

We did go home, and I set to work both begrudingly from exhaustion and excited in anticipation, making up some tofu fried rice. Fried rice used to make a regular occurrance in our household. Usually chicken fried rice from one of the 2 chinese restaurants in the small towns that tuck us in among the hills. Coated in even more soy sauce from us, we'd eat thinking we were doing our body good. I know better now. And it's sad to think I spent that much money and wasted those many calories and salt grams when I had a perfectly good substitute I could make at home.

3 cups of brown rice in the rice cooker
2 packages of tofu being pressed
I bought a pre-cut onion from Kroger (*LOVE*)
I minced the garlic and put some olive oil into my wok.
I threw in the garlic and onion and let them cook
Then I washed the pre-cut "wild mushroom mix" I picked up at Kroger and let them get soft
I chopped a green onion into small pieces (I have a picky 8-year old) and threw it in
Once all that cooked, I cut up my tofu and removed what was in the pan to a bowl.
Not sure if that was necessary, but it felt like it.
I tossed a bit of sesame oil and low sodium soy sauce in the pan and then tossed in the tofu
I let it cook for a while, trying desperately to get that crispy outside but unable to produce the desired effect.
After a while, I gave up, chopped the tofu smaller with my spatula and threw the onion mixture in with it, mixing it all together.
I let it cook for a bit longer while the rice finished.
Once the rice was done, I spooned all of it into the pan, mixed like crazy and added a touch more soy sauce.

And then we all sat down and ate deliciously. FOOD! Good food! I tell you that it feels so much like cheating, but I know better. With the calorie calculations, it serves about 8 and each serving has:

281.9 calories
16.3 g of fat (high yes, but healthy fats)
0mg chol
375.5 mg sodium (the restaurant version usually has over 1,000!)
259.6 mg potassium
21.8 g carbs
2.3 g fiber
1.1 g sugar
15 g protein

(I'm going to cut back the oils next time. A dash here and a dash there and we should be good because there was a touch too much oil and moisture last night..made it a little soggy. That will help the fat go down as well. Might also try less tofu and lite tofu.)

I'm really looking forward to trying more tofu recipes now that I know where to find it in this state! But as exciting as all this is...I've noticed something. I have stocked-pantry syndrome. Seriously, my pantry is overflowing with food. Why the crap have I been spending so much money every week on groceries then? This weekend it's time for a serious evaluation of what we have, what needs pitched and what can be used to make some healthy dinners for the next couple of weeks. We'll save some money and get some room back so I can get back to my new recipes! :)

Oh, and the better part of yesterday was spent evaluating the various fitness magazines and trying to decide which ones I want. I'm drawn to the Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine because it's got some great lifting tips, but I don't think they have monthly issues...I think it's 6 a year. I want something to come every single month! I'm kinda liking Oxygen right now... What's your favorite health/fitness magazine?! Why do you like it more than the others?!

Finally, I'm toying with that HM idea. Walking or running wouldn't matter - I want to be able to say I did one. I've been searching around Ohio/WV for good ones and have a few in mind. My criteria for a HM is easy.
1) It has to have a 4+ hour cap and be accepting of walkers.
2) It MUST include a medal. I will NOT walk or run 13.1 miles and NOT get a medal.
3) I want it to have some sort of meaning to me, a catch, or something special.

That's why these are the three I'm seriously considering right now:
1 - Flying Pig HM - Cinci, OH - May 1 @ 6:30am

*I know someone running already, so I'll be able to feel like we're doing it together.
*The medal has a pig with wings. Hello, does no one else get the irony/joke here? "When will Esther do a HM? When pigs fly! Oh, look...they did!" ;)
* It's close to my Mom's so I wouldn't have to worry about hotel rooms and the like.

* It's SOO close. The closest one. And I don't think I could be ready in a month.
* It's 75 bucks if I register by April 4th, 90 if I register by the 18th and 100 after that! OUCH!
* 6:30am if effin' early, dude!

2 - Capital City HM and Quarter Marathon - Columbus, OH - May 7 @ 8am

*They have a HM AND a QM option. If I don't do the flying pig, I may consider doing the quarter here to work my way UP to the half.
* It's in my hometown of Columbus! WOOT!
* The company running this one seems to state over and over that it's a "friendly and supportive environment." I'm loving the way they talk about their races and how friendly they seem on the website. This same company is doing #3 too!
* 18:19 pace time or under required. I *think* I can do that.

* It doesn't have quite the ring that "flying pig" does...but there is a medal!

3 - Emerald City HM and QM - Dublin, OH - September 4 @ 7am

* The medal is supposed to be cool, though I can't find a picture. Still, the idea of a "one of a kind" medal that WILL, I'm assured, be placed around my neck (it's this company! they even say on their site - "will place your well deserved medal around your neck when you cross the finish line" has such a nice ring to it!).
* It sounds like fun and I could pull out my Get Lucky gear and fit right in with the whole Emerald City theme.
* It still has that QM option, if needed. But it might be ideal to do the Capital City QM and the Emerald city HM as a back-to-back build up thing.
* I believe it's the same weekend as the Charleston Distance Run/Walk and after the BS way they treated Ethan and I last year I don't want to be anywhere near them. Leaving the state and competing somewhere else actually sounds ideal - like a kick in the face of, "Your race sucks...I'm traveling 2.5 hours to go somewhere else to do one! :P"

* It's not until SEPTEMBER! UGH! I mean, great for training time, but it's plenty of time for me to talk myself out of it too!
* The company, while seemingly friendly and accepting, is also a teeny bit disorganized...I can tell from the messiness of the website. I'd love to go in there and revamp it for them because if they're anything like I think they are, they deserve better! (Hey, maybe it's a new job opportunity! *lmao*)

So, those are my thoughts right now. First I need sleep. Then I need rest and healing. Then I need to get back to working out and set up a serious training schedule. I don't think it's right to expect my body to double it's best in just 5 weeks. I don't even know if it's possible. Still, I can work toward that and guage my progress. If I feel I can do it and I want to spend the 100 bucks to try, I will go up the night before and get registered that morning. I'll still get the flying pig medal, even if I don't get any other swag. And...I actually have another week to decide before the price rockets to 90 bucks. We shall see....we shall see...

As I said, for now I need to focus on healing and sleep. TIGERJANE gave me some great stretching exercises to try. I've got to get my body back where it should be. And I need to call the doc for an appointment. Maybe an orthopedic surgeon can give me some better understanding as to what's happening. Heck, even being properly fitted for a knee brace might correct my obvious gate issues and allow me to run without injury. It'd just be nice to know what's going on. And considering I haven't seen an orthopedic since...well, junior year of high school? I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to have the knee checked and see how the surgery went way back when and what's going on now and if there are certain exercises I could do to improve the function and stability of my knee joints. Couldn't hurt, right!?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEGSFITNESS 3/25/2011 10:57AM

    Lol My votes are for 1 or 3 :)

I never even thought about WALKING an HM. I've been so focused on finishing RUNNING a 5k that anything longer just seems daunting. I think that your approach is better :) I should totally look into that this year.

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    emerald city all the way, but I am a bit of a Wicked fan emoticon

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KOMONDOR 3/24/2011 3:12PM

    Perhaps tossing the tofu with a little cornstarch will help build the exterior texture.

I'd go for flying pig on the basis of the name alone.

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HEATHER_TEACHAH 3/24/2011 12:50PM

    mmm what a great dinner! Now it's time to REST that body of yours!!! sleep, water, stretching, ok?? :)

I think that you have quite a few pros/cons listed for those HMs..... hope you can figure it out! I think you can SO do the flying pig, but maybe go to your dr first to see wtf is going on with your hip!

As for magazines, I get Women's Health and Fitness magazines AND I *just * subscribed to Runner's World (cause WE are runners!) which I'm not-so-patiently waiting for. WH and F mags are good, a little bit of everything (health, food, lifestyle, exercise) but if you're looking for something more hard core, those are not them. They do have good workout tips, but I think most of them are available on their respective websites if you create a (free) user account.

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ERIN1128 3/24/2011 11:48AM

    On the magazines - I checked out Oxygen last summer but felt like it was aimed at body builders, couldn't really get into it. My fave is Cooking Light, love it and have been getting it for years. I like Health - it's kind of like a beach novel, light and fun. And I enjoy Clean Eating, I get some good ideas from it.

On the workouts...I wonder if you need to dial back a bit in general? I may be wrong, but I have the general impression that you do incredible workouts for several weeks on end, then suddenly just crash and have to rest. Maybe you need to take it down a notch so you can sustain? Just a thought.

Hang in there, I'm rooting for you!

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KKINNEA 3/24/2011 11:47AM

    HM - definitely. I hear Flying Pig is fun. I'm not sure if there's a 13.1 around OH but then the medal isn't that unique :)

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XTMONT 3/24/2011 11:07AM

    For me, I've never had the patience too cook tofu on more than two sides...I just want it out of the pan and into my tummy too fast! That being said, I've had some success with coating the tofu first in corn starch, then cooking it in a pan on HIGH. It splatters a bit, but the pan is hot enough to cook the tofu without it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Let me know if it works for you.

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KARVY09 3/24/2011 10:54AM

    Mmmm, your fried rice sounds yum. Do you have Asian supermarkets around? I can find the pre-baked tofu with teriyaki seasoning at some of them and it is delish!

WTG for getting through the gym. Even a phoning-it-in workout is better than none.

I'd go for Flying Pig knowing absolutely nothing about the others. It's billed as a great run for first time marathoners and the swag bags are supposedly top-notch.

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Affirmations and Commitments to Myself

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Affirmation: the act of affirming, something affirmed: a positive assertion
Affirm: to validate, confirm; to state positively
Commitment: an agreement or pledge to do something in the future

Yes, I'm double blogging today, but this is necessary...for me at least. After trolling some rather inspiring blogs today, dealing with the emotional flood of this weekend, and surprising myself by agreeing to give myself a reward I didn't "earn" completely...I've decided something.

I'm Worth It.

That's right. I said it. I've got another for you.

I'm Good Enough.

CREATINGAMANDA wrote about how she read that half-marathons are looked down upon because they aren't full marathons. She talked about giving full thought time to her accomplishments, instead of devoting all her effort and focus to her failures. She talked about giving her all and letting that be good enough...great in fact.

YOOVIE listed, in the great way she does, that she knows her recipe for success and she made commitments to herself in order to create that recipe and get herself where she wants to be.

TIGERJANE wrote about pool season coming, and about how her training stalled so that she could take care of her body, and how that has been an amazing lesson in devoting time especially to that cause.

KARVY is making herself over in mind, body and spirit.
SHARKBAIT is driven to succeed, even if the results she wants ellude her.
MEZZOANGEL is recommiting herself to herself and learning to treat herself nicely.

Let's face it...Spring is here. And with it comes all the renewal of life both without and within. So, along those same lines, I am making some affirmations and commitments to myself.

emoticon I WILL treat myself with kindness. I will work to quiet the inner monsters and negative self talk. I don't like it when I feel that others are "beating me up" and I shouldn't allow it of myself.

emoticon I DO deserve fitness magazines and positive reinforcements.

emoticon I HAVE earned the right to call myself a runner. My hip injury is a RUNNING injury, one I got from RUNNING. In my heart I am a runner. I have been running. I love to run. I am a runner.

emoticon There is NO REASON I cannot walk into a running store, sports store, or other health food or fitness related environment. I have earned this right. Hell, it's not even a right that has to be earned. These, as I know from my job, are places of public accommodation. EVERYONE is welcome. EVERYONE. And the dirty looks I might get that I interpret as not belonging could be any number of insecurities on the part of the person giving the look and should not reflect poorly on me.

emoticon I AM AN ATHLETE. I train for events like races. I take regular Zumba and boxing classes. I have increased my stamina, strength, and resistance. You can actually SEE the muscles in my arm. I, still in the severely obese category and over 300 pounds, have MUSCLE DEFINITION like most skinny chicks I grew up with would envy.

emoticon As Amanda said, every workout, healthy eating choice, and other small victory throughout the day is a reason to celebrate that I made a healthy choice. I CHOSE TO LIVE THIS WAY!

emoticon I can inspire others just by being me.

emoticon What I do best is what I should do. As Amanda said, if I give my all then I have NOTHING to be ashamed of. This Saturday I left all I had on that race course. My legs were bricks and I walked/ran with my heart. I let my ambition and DRIVE spur me forward and I crossed that finish line with tears knowing 100% that I put everything I had into it. I could have done no more. At the place I am now, in the frame of body and shape I am in, I gave 100% and that is EVERYTHING to be proud of!

emoticon I am beautiful. I see it in pictures. I see it in the mirror. I no longer shy away and run. I believe more clearly now that I am beautiful.

emoticon I have changed my life. In many respects I will always be a work in progress, but knowing that I'm less than a month from my 1 year with Spark, and knowing that I've lost nearly 150 pounds from my highest weight SEVEN years ago. I am no longer the person I was. I have changed. I CHANGED IT.

emoticon I am EXTREMELY flexible. Even people smaller than me envy this about me. But, what's more, I accept it as a part of who I am and who I always have been. I need to work with this strength to make it into a part of my accomplishments every day.

emoticon I have the right to read running magazines. Yes, I have the right. Not only does EVERYONE have this right, I do honestly feel that I have earned that right. I should not cut myself off from something that can help me to improve just because I have some crazy need to punish myself for something I never needed punishment for.

emoticon I am STRONG.

emoticon I will use EVERY opportunity to make myself a success.

emoticon I already am a success! Even if I stay exactly as I am right now, I cannot call what I have done anything OTHER than a success.

emoticon I am a good friend. I may not be perfect and I may not always know the right thing to say, but I am a good friend.

emoticon I am a much better friend to myself. I am selfish when I need to be, focusing on what I need in order to be complete and whole - not giving too much of myself of others so that I save enough for myself.

emoticon I belong. I have a place in this world and I know there would be sadness if I were to leave it suddenly.

emoticon I am a good mother. My most recent lesson has been teaching my boys the value of a healthy lifestyle.

emoticon I am a loving and caring wife. Again, I am not perfect. Sometimes I am selfish. Sometimes I demand more from him than I should. But, in every day, in every way, I love my husband with my entire heart and want nothing more than for him to feel complete and whole in this world, and happy. But not without sacrificing all of my happiness. I believe that makes me an even better wife.

emoticon I have the tools to succeed and I will use them.

emoticon I will only attempt to control what I CAN control. I cannot control results, I can only control action. Results will have to come...there is no denying them if the actions I take continue to be the right ones.

emoticon I will take care of my body. I will devote the time needed to healing my whole body. I will be nice to it and provide it with stretches that aid in recover, hot soaks in the bath, ice packs, ibuprofen when needed, and plenty of rest. I owe it that much after all it has given me.

emoticon I will stop diminishing my accomplishments for fear of coming off as conceited.

emoticon I will devote a respectful and just amount of time and energy to accepting, acknowledging and celebrating those accomplishments.

emoticon I will not let any number on the scale, any weight limit, any dirty look, any thought of what I could be "if" distract me from what I have become, what I have done and who I am. I will no longer let those aspects of the world define me. I will define myself.

emoticon I did not "only" run like 3 times on Saturday. I ran THREE TIMES! I limp-ran the finish line because my runner self could not be contained. I triumphed over every emotional and physical roadblock and ran. I RAN.

emoticon I will allow myself confidence without feeling it is arrogance.

emoticon I will demand respect from those around me when it isn't given freely. I will not suffer silently and assume of others things of which they do not intend. Instead I will demand that my pain be addressed, that my heart be healed, and that any miscommunication be corrected.

emoticon I will not feign happiness. Yes, sometimes we must "fake it 'til we make it," but when you're with friends, it should be okay to voice concerns and allow them to help build you back up so you can be truly happy.

emoticon I am exactly the person I am supposed to be RIGHT NOW.

emoticon I will work toward my goals with respect, reverence, and drive.

emoticon I will be hard on myself when I need to be, without beating myself into a painful place. "Pushing" is one thing. "Being pushy" is quite another.

emoticon I am a yoga-ite. I will no longer deny myself the joys of yoga because I have a false belief that the benefit is nominal. I will benefit from it greatly, therefore I will indulge in it.

emoticon And I will introduce myself properly - with verbs, not nouns. Verbs are alive. Nouns are dead.

My name is Esther.
I have LIVED for 30 years and continue to look forward to LIVING my life.
I EAT healthy foods and ENJOY their freshness in my mouth.
I ENJOY the way I FEEL when I am LIVING a healthy lifestyle.
I MOTHER two children and LOVE them completely.
I LOVE and ADORE a husband who sees me fully for who I am and what I want to be.
I COMPETE in races. I BEND into Yoga poses. I BOX to make me strong. I DANCE like a freak! I LOVE my friends. I CHALLENGE myself to new things. I TAKE ON new adventures.

And, here's a little thing to think about. AM is an action. TO BE. It's a verb. Be your action.

I AM a beautiful, strong, courageous, kind, and loving woman.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    you really are beautiful... and worthy and all those other things as well... print this out.. carry it with you next time you step out of your comfort zone... to remind yourself.. soooo loved this!

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EMOFORTRESS 3/24/2011 5:02PM

    I love this and I hope you don't mind, but I've printed it out, so when I'm feeling low about myself, I can turn to this to spur me on.

Thank YOU

Kat X

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GWENAEL 3/24/2011 3:45PM

  I love it! emoticon

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HARMONYBLUE 3/23/2011 11:46PM

    This was really beautiful. You have some incredible affirmations. Don't ever doubt them!

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HEATHER_TEACHAH 3/23/2011 11:39PM

    I LOVE this, Esther!!! Especially the last paragraph!
"And, here's a little thing to think about. AM is an action. TO BE. It's a verb. Be your action.

I AM a beautiful, strong, courageous, kind, and loving woman."

you ARE! :)

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SASXONTHEMOVE 3/23/2011 9:45PM


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_COSMOPAULATAN_ 3/23/2011 7:09PM

    I think this is the best of your brilliance yet. YOU shine through.

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MAGSA10 3/23/2011 6:49PM

    emoticonWOW!!! You leave me speechless. You have found all the right words, the right way to say them and you are doing it......YOU ROCK!!!!!!! So very glad to have your blogs coming our way all the time. You just know how to put all of our feelings into words that we have in each of us but just can't seem to get them out. Got to LOVE your power with words and actions.

Maggie j. emoticon

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ATREAT4ME 3/23/2011 6:19PM

    There is not a room big enough in my house to contain the smile you just put on my face. Thank you, Sweet Girl! This is one of the most beautiful blogs I've ever read. I am so grateful that you wrote this because you are all these verbs. You deserve all these rewards. You are a beautiful, strong, courageous, kind and loving woman. And you are a runner! Way to go Esther! Way to go!

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HEAVENSSHADOW 3/23/2011 4:56PM

    Awesome, Esther. Just awesome.
I think I can speak for everyone here when I say we are all so very proud of you!!

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KKINNEA 3/23/2011 4:38PM

    Rockin! All the haters were still in bed bemoaning their crummy health anyway while we were out earning our bananas and potato chips and cool medals! You started and you finished and you ran!

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SHARONA_P 3/23/2011 2:08PM

    Woot! Love this! remember to come back and read this when you need the reminder of how great you are.

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TIGERJANE 3/23/2011 2:02PM

    Oh I loved this! So much I can relate to. You're so insightful into yourself and the behaviors of others. Your affirmation at the end was especially moving.

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LULULUCY 3/23/2011 12:24PM

    I love this. You are all of those things and I am so happy to watch you succeed ! keep up the good choices and i'll keep cheering for you :)

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CREATINGAMANDA 3/23/2011 12:22PM

    This "And the dirty looks I might get that I interpret as not belonging could be any number of insecurities on the part of the person giving the look and should not reflect poorly on me" and this "I will stop diminishing my accomplishments for fear of coming off as conceited" = LOVE.

Actually, I can't even tell you how much I loved everything about this blog. Git it girl - you not only can do this, you ARE doing it.

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MAGPIE17 3/23/2011 12:18PM


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SPARKIN_REESIE 3/23/2011 12:16PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KT-NICHOLS-13 3/23/2011 12:07PM

    Insert ... FIST PUMPS here!

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KARVY09 3/23/2011 12:07PM


Please don't feel ashamed to go into that running store. I felt the same way when I was close to 300 and I sucked it up and went and told them my story and they were SO SUPPORTIVE. There are always going to be the a-holes that will diminish you, but I've learned that they will always diminish you for something, and weight is just one of those things.

Look at the year ahead of you!!!!!!!!!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 3/23/2011 12:06PM

    Thank you for sharing this second blog. It has encouraged me in ways you will never know. Many of the issues you address are universal regardless of size. Thanks for giving me a lift today.

May you continue to have awesome success on your journey. May negative thoughts take a hike and continue to be replace with affirmations and new truths. emoticon

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ERIN1128 3/23/2011 12:04PM

    Love this blog! Hugs to you!

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_TRIXIE_ 3/23/2011 11:55AM


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COCOMAC7 3/23/2011 11:45AM

    So freaking proud of you! I heart this blog. It reminded me of so many things that I still need to address in my own life. I find that there are times when I feel like I don't belong when out with a group of people. When I get that feeling I remind myself that I don't HAVE to - I belong at home, with my family and these other relationships are a bonus. If they don't work out that's ok. It doesn't necessarily mean it was "my fault" or because of who I am.

There are so many times where I suffer in silence and do things I don't want to because I think I should. I'm learning to just say no to these things and let go of the guilt.

And yes - I'm super jealous at how flexible you are - I am sooooo not. I have issues just sitting cross legged and should do more yoga but you know what? I don't really like yoga and that's ok - it's just not for me at this point in my life.

For a long time after I started running I still didn't think I was a "runner". But then someone said to me "you run, therefore you are a runner. There is no distance or speed that suddenly turns you into a runner"

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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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SASXONTHEMOVE 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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