Thursday, February 16, 2012
Losing weight and getting healthy and fit has made me care more about a lot of things - myself, other people, my job, etc. My heart is so full now that some days I feel like it might just burst. I try to focus on these things daily because it makes me appreciate my life and realize how lucky I am.
Yesterday, I realized I had stopped caring about a couple things. Really stopped caring. Not the "I don't care..." when in the back of my mind I really still do.
I don't care about the number on the scale.
I've said this before, but I always used to have this nagging need to know how much I weighed. Not anymore. Lately, I have been so busy that I forget to weigh myself. After a week of forgetting I weighed myself and found that I am back down to where I've been for a year. Not my ideal weight, but the holidays are officially gone. I realized that I just don't care. Sure, I have a goal weight, and I will probably weigh myself again at some point. My journey is not over (but honestly it never will be). I am comfortable where I am right now, and I have more important things to worry about.
Like my first marathon and getting certified as a trainer.
So, until I am done with those goals I'm not thinking about anything else. I'm not "falling off the wagon". The only time I've been on a wagon is at the hay rides at a local fair. I'm still eating clean and exercising. I'm doing what makes my body feel strong and healthy. I am fueling my workouts and training. I don't need a number to tell me that I am doing well. My body will do that for me.
I've also stopped caring about what others think of me. Really, actually stopped. When I was heavy I said I didn't care but obsessed about it constantly and probably made up things far worse than what anyone else was thinking. As I shed the weight, it was still hard to ignore the voice in my head saying that I was being judged, what will they think, you don't look like her, etc.
Everyone has struggles. Everyone. We're all so wrapped up in ourselves that we don't have time to pass judgement. If someone does, they're probably insecure and scared, and they should be pitied.
When you love yourself it doesn't matter what others think. When you are challenged and working hard to achieve a goal, it doesn't matter if someone thinks your goal is stupid. Two things recently helped push me to this point of not caring. They seem really small and insignificant, but when I internalized them I was freed from being judged because now I won't let anyone judge me.
The first was a line in a book about smart marathon training. The author was talking about people who run marathons and how they seem to take pride in being the weird outsider - because honestly everyone else thinks we're crazy. I know I've been called crazy a lot since committing to this, and I take it as a compliment. It made me feel good to read this. Like I had finally found something that fit me. I've always been a little different from everyone and often felt like an outsider, but it was never a good thing. Now it is. I'm doing something that a lot of people would never, ever consider doing. And, I like being different.
The second thing that really helped me is the quote "If you still look pretty when you're done, you're doing it wrong" - usually accompanied by a picture of a woman drenched in sweat and absolutely spent from a grueling workout. I love it. I do a lot of my workouts at the local high school and one thing I used to struggle with was staring teenagers. They can be incredibly rude, and it would immediately send me back to my high school days - which were not fun at all.
Lately, though, I just don't care. Fine. Stare if you want. Think what you want. I just destroyed my lifting session with some weights that I couldn't lift a month ago. I just ran some crazy hills on a 7 mile run, and that was my short run.
I just love who I am now. I love my body and its strength. I don't care that I have 20+ pounds left to lose. I don't care how I look when I'm walking around town soaked in sweat. I feel amazing. I am amazing.
I wish I could just give this feeling to everyone. It is so freeing. I know how hard it is to not love yourself and feel like the world is judging you. I wish self-acceptance was easy. All I can say is that you don't have to care about certain things. People only have the power to judge you if you let them. The scale can only ruin your day if you let it. You are so much more and worth every bit of love you give yourself. And the more love you have for yourself, the more others will love you.
I think you're awesome.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
I admit, I am pretty obsessed with my health, with exercise, and of course with food. Lately it seems like I have been focused solely on my new goals, eating clean, and exercise.
And, that's a good thing.
But, that's not all there is to life, and sometimes I have a hard time seeing past it all. Losing weight, getting healthy, training for a marathon - these are all huge, life-consuming things, but some times stepping back, relaxing a little, and enjoying something else can be just what is needed.
Tonight was absolutely amazing.
A little background info: I work for an after school program. I direct plays for middle school students in a small, rural town where there is no theatre program for that age group and not much for high school either. I created my part of the program about 7 years ago from nothing, and I work with basically no budget. It's not easy to create something out of nothing, but we manage to do it. This year I increased our shows to 3 because I had such an amazing group of kids.
Tonight was the last night of our 3rd show. I save money by writing my own scripts for the kids. Being a writer comes in handy when you can only afford performance rights for one show per year. I was really excited about this script as soon as it was finished. I shared it with a couple of my students last spring, and they got excited, too. By the time we had auditions in December my entire theatre group was excited.
This show has had so many problems it is mind-blowing. I won't list them all here, but for starters we had 5 weeks to rehearse (we meet twice a week for 2 hours at a time) and during our 5 weeks we had 2 vacations. Immediately after casting the show we had Christmas break. I asked the kids to learn their lines without really expecting them to do it.
They came back 70% off book.
The program closed for a week at the change of the quarter and then remained closed for a week after because a water pipe burst and destroyed the program's main office.
I got every single kid to come in during that week for rehearsals.
The week of the show, the state big wigs for the program came in, and we had to add a performance a day early.
The kids pulled it off amazingly.
Then came the shows. During our second performance (one we do during the school day for the entire middle school) a student threw up after doing her scenes. There is a nasty sickness going around the school. She pulled it together and made it back on stage for her last scene and the final bow. That night she was too sick to do the performance, so another student stepped in after learning the lines in an hour.
They're both in 5th grade.
Today, one of my leads was sick, but she rested all day, came in, and did an amazing job.
There is nothing like a play to bond a seemingly disjointed group of kids. They're not all friends outside of theatre, but when they are there they work together and support each other. Age, grade, sports, popularity - none of that matters. It is amazing to see.
My favorite thing is watching them succeed. They know when they're doing well, they respond to laughter from the audience, and it gives them even more energy. Their faces when they take their bows and afterward greet the audience are priceless. I feel so much pride in those kids, and tonight I was overwhelmed by their generosity when they gave me a really personal gift instead of the standard flowers.
Providing this experience for them is the greatest reward. Watching them grow in confidence makes me happy because I remember how difficult middle school can be. Giving the "weird" students a place to be accepted and be part of a group warms my heart.
Watching a middle school play and forgetting that they're kids because they are so completely their characters = amazing.
This week has been rough on my eating/exercising goals. Show weeks always are. I didn't have a lot of time to exercise, I had to miss some classes, I got stressed, and i didn't always make the best food choices.
But, this week has been extremely good for my soul.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Yesterday was a big day for me. Nothing overly exciting happened, and it wasn't anything that anyone else would have noticed. But, for me it was huge because I just put myself so far out of my comfort zone that I am still filled with butterflies this morning.
Thanks to our tax return, I was able to do 2 things that I have been wanting to do for quite some time.
1. I signed up for the marathon!!!!!!! And, I am a complete bundle of nerves and excitement. It's one thing to think about doing a marathon or even to tell people that you're going to do it. It's another to plunk down $100 (nonrefundable) and commit. My trainer is beyond excited and was rattling off everything I need to do to train properly (which immediately made wonder what I was thinking). My husband, who is always supportive, though not always vocal about it, has been very, very vocal and supportive. He's switched completely from "you're crazy" to "you can totally do this". I definitely appreciate it, since I am really feeling crazy and need to hear that I can do this. It's a huge commitment, but I also know that nothing will compare to the feeling of completing it (aside from having my kiddos - nothing will ever outrank that). I'm also pretty confident that I can do it (under all the nerves). I've got 3 months of complete focus, and then I can say I completed a marathon - how cool is that?
2. I also finally ordered the study materials for my ACE personal trainer certification, and I am so excited to get started. I'm so ready to learn more about it and to be able to train people for a living. I normally love the job I have now, but I am burned out right now. The idea of a job I love and can fit around my life sounds amazing. I get a week off next week, so I'm sure my love for my current job will return, but right now - change is looking pretty good. I got an email from ACE and it looks like I can complete the program in 3 months (it's going to be an interesting 3 months).
So, the next 3 months are going to be pretty intense, but I am excited. It's all new and interesting pursuits, and while it is scary to jump into something you only kind of understand, change is good. I'm ready for change.
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Yesterday I went for my first solo long run, and it was amazing! As I started out, the snow was falling and our road hadn't been plowed, yet. The snow was ankle deep, and I was questioning whether or not this was a good idea. Luckily, the next road I came to had been plowed, and running got a lot easier.
My first challenge came at mile 1 in the form of a huge hill that rose steeply for about a mile and a half. I knew it was going to be tough, but I hadn't planned on the snow. My feet were slipping, and the snow was blowing in my face. I started to get frustrated, but I remember the first time I ran in snow and that my trainer had said that you couldn't focus on speed when running in snow. It was just about doing it. So, I stopped being frustrated and just went. I got to the top and felt great. One major challenge was past, and I was feeling strong and ready for more.
After another short, flat stretch I started up the second hill. It was steeper than the first one and comprised of several steep, short rises in a row. These made me nervous because oncoming cars couldn't see me, and I had already encountered a couple drivers going way too fast on the slick road. So, I ran faster up the hills. It was hard, but I felt better when I reached a place where I could see what was coming.
This whole time the snow was falling, and it was gorgeous. I've always loved watching fat, fluffy flakes falling first thing in the morning, and being a part of it, instead of watching through a window was amazing. I felt like I was in a snow globe. I felt peaceful and happy as I ran. I was so glad I had decided to run that morning.
Around mile 4, I reached the top of the gigantic hill and also crossed the line of snow. The snow was not falling up there, and the sun was shining on the snow-covered trees. It was a beautiful sight and added more spring to my step. It's a sight that is beyond description. The sun was golden, and tree branched covered with a fresh dusting of snow is one of my favorite parts of winter. I was still feeling great and amazed at the beauty around me.
I reached mile 5, which was the place I had decided I could turn around if I felt I needed to. It was colder at the top, but I still felt pretty strong. I didn't want to turn around, yet. I wanted to do my 12 miles. I climbed another short hill and started back down. The 6 mile mark was halfway down the hill, so I had to turn around and start going back up mid-hill. It was tough, but I felt re-energized when I got to the top. As I started back, I was excited to be on the second half of my run, but I was beginning to feel the familiar ache in my back and I was worried I would have to walk soon.
Miles 7 & 8 were tough, but I kept going. I didn't really think. I just put one foot in front of the other. Just after mile 8, I crossed back down into the snow. It was gorgeous and no longer blowing in my face. I was feeling better. My aches had disappeared, and I felt strong. I was surprised by my thoughts at this point. Normally, I would be thinking about the aches and pains, my slipping feet, and food and a hot shower. This time was different. I was thinking about how lucky I am. I'm lucky to live in such a beautiful place. I'm lucky to have a healthy, strong body that is capable of running so far. I am incredibly lucky to have a husband who supports my goals and children who gave me kisses when I left and would run to embrace me when I got home. I kept thinking of all the wonderful things in my life. It was meditation in a snow globe.
The next 3 miles passed quickly. It was almost all downhill, and I was really enjoying every minute. There was a small hill at mile 11, but I did it with no problem. I started back toward my house feeling slightly achy and excited to be home soon. This was my only struggle. I started thinking about being done and tried to run faster. It worked fine when I could run on the road, but every time a car passed I had to move into the deeper snow at the edge. It slowed me down, and I slipped a lot. I was beginning to get frustrated, though I tried not to.
My final challenge was a small, steep hill about half a mile from my house. I had told myself that I could walk it if I wanted to. I was pretty amazed that I had run the whole distance without stopping to walk, but I was getting really sore. Every time I had to run in the snow, my feet slipped and pulled on my aching hip flexors. Walking sounded great.
But, then I thought about how good it would feel to run the whole thing without stopping. There was hardly any distance left, and I knew I could do it. So, I did. I powered up that hill, slipped my way along the road, and was thrilled to find that our road had been plowed. I ran home, waved to my neighbor, and stumbled inside, where I was immediately greeted with hugs and kisses. I felt amazing and accomplished. I had survived my first solo run, and I had pushed myself and run the whole distance. I felt a lot better than I had before, and I was confident that with consistent training I would be able to do a marathon. It no longer seems as frightening or impossible.
And, I enjoyed every bite of my guilt-free sushi afterward
Friday, February 03, 2012
I have a plan for Saturday that I am so excited about, yet I am also a little nervous and apprehensive, too. This week I have really started focusing on my goal of completing a marathon at the end of May, and I decided to do my long runs on Saturdays when I have time and my husband can watch the kids.
The thing that is exciting and scary about this, is that it will be my first solo long run. My trainer has been guiding me and pushing me when I needed it. She's waited for me and encouraged me, and I appreciate her so much. But, she's not training for a marathon. She's done several already and has no interest in doing another, and I wouldn't expect her to.
And, honestly, I kind of wouldn't want her to.
This is something I am doing for me. I want to test my limits, exceed them, and have that moment of pure satisfaction and pride. I want (and need) to do this on my own. I definitely needed the push and the support. I needed someone to plant the seed that a marathon was even possible and that I might be capable. But, now I need to let go.
I realized this week that I have been relying on her to go running. I was only running once a week when we scheduled a run together. If I am going to do this, and do it right, I need to run more often, and I need to run alone.
I'm excited. I picked a route and tracked the miles. There are a couple killer hills, but I'm kind of excited about tackling them. There are a couple huge hills in the marathon, too, so good training. Plus, the hills are in the beginning, so I get to look forward to almost all downhill running for the last 2 miles. I'm excited to go alone, go at my own pace, and push myself. I haven't really done that, and it sounds great. I'm looking forward to a little time alone.
I'm shooting for 12 miles this weekend. I know I can do it, and I don't want to push too hard too soon, especially not on my first solo long run. I've learned a lot about fueling and eating for recovery since the last 12.5 mile run, and I think I have a good plan for that, too. I'm bringing something small and high GI for the run. I have a drink and a shake that my trainer recommended for immediately after, and we're going out for sushi for lunch. I was discussing post-run meals with my trainer, and she said high GI and protein and that sushi is a good option. (She knows I love it.) We were planning to go out anyway, so this seems like it will work out well. I'll let you know how it goes.
I am already learning so much about myself and my body, and I find it all fascinating. The human body is such an amazing thing, and so is the mind. I can't wait to see how far I can go and what else I will learn during this process.
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