Sunday, August 25, 2013
BLC22 is in its last week and we’re being asked to reflect on our 12 week summer round for our Weekend Challenge.
If I allowed the number on the scale to dictate my evaluation of success, which admittedly is so easy to do, I’d have to be honest and say this round has not gone well for me. I am currently heavier than when I started the challenge and that certainly wasn’t my goal when I started. Fortunately, here at Spark I have learned that the number on the scale is certainly not the only, nor always the most important, measure of success.
What is the one thing I did right then in this round if my weight is up? It might be difficult to pin point just one thing I did right because I feel there are numerous things I have done right. However having to choose one I believe the most important thing I did right was to stay connected to my team through our chat thread as we encouraged, challenged, and recharged each other. Without the cheers and challenges of team members it would have been so much more difficult to get back on track when I found myself seriously falling into old habits twice over during these 12 weeks. I was inspired by team mates to dust myself off and get back on track.
Of course there is much I can improve on as is evidenced by the number on the scale so how do I choose just one thing I can improve or change. Well, without a doubt it’s related to my eating habits as I have continued to work out and remain physically fit. It’s throughout this challenge I have truly faced my first real struggle of falling back on poor eating habits from the past since I started Spark which reminded me that I always need to be on guard to stay on the course despite how strong I might feel in the moment. Yes, even though I determined not to lose sight of all I have learned over the last 19 months, I did. Yikes. So, it’s September and it’s back to basics when it comes to the foods I consume.
My goal for the period between BLC rounds is to start a downward trend on the scale once again so I can successfully reach goal weight by my second Sparkaversary in February. For me the key to reaching this goal is getting back to the basics of Reading, ‘Riting’ and ‘Rithmetic. When it comes to reading I will read labels on all foods to assist me in making good choices and to ensure I exercise portion control. ‘Riting will involve recording every single bite which goes into my mouth so I will avoid licking, tasting, and sampling thoughtlessly. Measuring every bite and ensuring that the total calories on the nutrition tracker add up to numbers within my recommended caloric range will keep me up on basic ‘Rithmetic skills.
Each one of us knows all too well the struggle of staying on track on this life journey of healthy living. Do you need to get back to basics? Without a doubt, I do! What are the basics you need to get back to? Is it healthy eating? Is it fitness minutes? Is it finding supports? Whatever it might be start September by getting back to basics and stay the course.
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
In August 2012 I posted this blog. Some may recall, but likely most won't remember. As a matter of fact I had almost forgotten until this morning when my memory jogged while looking for something to wear in my closet.So here is August' blog revisited.
Dreaming Big--Thinking Small
Today while shopping I had a moment when I was dreaming large. I was trying on some smaller sizes looking for a few pieces which fit. Overly optimistic, dreaming large, I pulled a size 14 capri off the rack, thinking small. What was I thinking? Tried it on anyways and of course it didn't fit. But then in that few split seconds I thought why not? For $6.50 it would be an investment in my future because in that moment I believed that by next summer I could be into those capris. But why? The realist in me battled with that large dream and doubted that it would be possible. The dream battled back and won. I know it's very possible to be into those capris next spring. So keeping the dream large and thinking small I went to the cash register with capris in hand confident that I will be wearing those capris. The challenge is on. Just for you to realize how big this dream is I haven't ever worn a size fourteen since junior high. Will keep you posted in the spring.
(June 2013 update)
Well summer is almost upon us and I got up this morning needing to find something in the closet that fit and was weather appropriate. There they were the size 14 capris. I was tempted to pass them over because most certainly they wouldn't fit. You see, I still struggle with the fact that I don't have to shop in the plus size shops and department anymore. However, I decided I'd try them on just to motivate me to get into them for later this season. Imagine my surprise when I could close the button. And well here is a photo of me sporting those very capris.
(With apologies for the orientation but I've just spent too much time trying to figure out how to rotate with it being taken on my ipod)
I'm wearing those capris today, yes all day, but to say I always believed I would be wearing them some day would not be truthful. It wasn't that easy. I'd looked at those capris throughout the winter months and thought to myself, "What was I thinking when I bought those?" I'd even tried them on a few times and just couldn't imagine that I'd ever dare let myself dream that I'd fit into those size 14s. I had times when the scale went up and I was convinced I'd been far too optimistic because I believed I'd never get into those capris ever.
I believe the key to getting into these size 14 capris today for me was to keep looking forward with positivity. I couldn't let the bump in the road, the mistake of a day or more of bad food choices hold me back by dwelling on the set backs. I needed to keep focussing on my belief that the lifestyle change is for me, is worth it, and I'm worth it even though I make poor and wrong choices along the way. I am determined not to let those type of choices bring me down, give me permission to beat myself up, and cripple me from moving forward. Each time I need to take back the control because I know I'm capable.
So I keep the dream large while thinking small. What's your dream? You may not dare to dream. You may not have dreamed in a long time. But you're worth a dream. So find your dream and start moving towards it today!
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
I just received a short video about the Run for Water Event in which I participated in the 5km race to raise funds for fresh water for residents in Ethiopia. Thought I would forward the link for the video for anyone interested in watching.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Saturday evening I went to bed a bit apprehensive yet about what exactly I had gotten myself into when I signed up for the Run for Water 5 km Fundraiser. I planned to be up early so as to get to the park on time so I could scope things out as I wasn't sure how everything would be set up and organized being as this was my first time ever participating in such an event.
Our 5 km run was scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday morning but we had been asked to be at the park by 8:15 to give ourselves time should we run into traffic jams and/or parking issues in getting ourselves to the event. Thousands of people would be participating throughout the morning in the half marathon, 10 km, and 5km races.
Waking up to rain throughout the night gave me concern over how that would effect my run. What was I to wear now that it could be raining, maybe even pouring? Should I bring a change of clothes with me to the park? Should I bring along an umbrella for the pre-race time in the park? But then what would I do with it when the race started? I had read about a bag check but how would that work? Could I check in my bag with my extra set of clothes and an umbrella? So much to consider knowing there was a good possibility we'd be running in the rain. Despite the concerns I did get a decent sleep.
I had arranged to pick up my young niece, who was also running the 5 km, at 7:45 a.m. As I was leaving the house to pick her up I started to become aware of an uneasiness in my stomach. You know that feeling down deep in the pit of your stomach. What was I doing? Here I am 55 years old, had never been a runner and I am off to run a 5 km. Sure I had trained and I had done a virtual 5km with Spark on the treadmill once but was I really ready? Was I really ready to run at such a public venue? The butterflies had come out in full force and I was still an hour away from the race.
Together my niece and I headed to the park; she as cool as a cucumber because she runs long distance in the fall for cross country and long distance for the track meets in the spring and me dealing with the butterflies of which more and more kept emerging I'm sure.
Once at the park we found things to be extremely organized so we were able to find where we needed to be very quickly. We were able to watch the 10 km runners start so understood how people would be started in waves so as to deal with the crowds who were running. At about this time I started to calm somewhat as all those little details I let myself become concerned with were resolved for me.
And then our cheering section arrived. My brother (niece's father), wife and 3 other young children, along with another brother met up with us.
These people knew me, would be there to watch for me, and would be cheering me on. I had signed up and this was really happening. No turning back. Yikes. All those butterflies hadn't left me yet.
As we walked towards the start with our family my niece and I realized we needed to part ways with them and get ourselves to our corrals as most runners were already corralled for the race. She met up with the group for under 25 minutes while I headed towards the back of the larger group to meet up with those anticipating to finish under 40 minutes. This was it. Yes, this was really it.
There I stood in amidst the crowd of people who would be running wondering what I had done. The music pumped through the loud speakers and runners started moving their bodies for final warm ups. The music took my mind off the butterflies and got me moving and warming up. Okay now, the race just needed to start. Enough waiting around, enough butterflies, let's just do it now!!! I realized I was as ready as I could be and for me the run just needed to begin.
Begin it did. The first wave was out of the starting gate at 9:00 sharp with each wave leaving 30 seconds later. As my wave was at the starting line all I could think about was the need to pace myself correctly so I could finish the race and run the entire course. I had never run with others and didn't want to let their run and pace effect my run.
As I crossed the start line, I felt an excitement to be participating in this event and knew this was another of those life changing moments. Dealing with the hundreds and hundreds of fellow runners while seeing the throngs of people ahead I knew I had to focus. I had to focus on my run and on my pace and not be distracted by those around me. And just then I looked down just in time to see a young boy step out in front of me. Where had he come from? Jumping to the side I avoided tripping over him and continued with my race trying to establish my pace.
Many had suggested to me to find someone to pace myself with. I tried but that didn't work. I set my pace, kept a steady pace according to my ipod and concentrated on just that and not the other runners around me. Okay, I did have to concentrate on moving on by some and avoiding young runners who I'd have to look down for in order to see in front of me and avoid colliding with.
By the end of the first km I had found my pace, the crowd had started to spread, and I had been encouraged by the many signs along the way reminding us of what we were running for, as well as, expressing supportive words for us the runners.
Ran that second km and was into the rhythm of the run. Excitement and determination had taken over those butterflies of the earlier morning. Now another 1/2 km and I'd be half way a significant mark for me. Yes, made it that far. My body was running like a fine tuned machine. The pace was steady, each breath supplying my body, and my spirits were flying because I knew I'd finish this race.
By the end of the third km we were approaching our watering station. I was ready for the hydration and knew at this point that I was seriously in the race when I was contemplating how to get that water while keeping the pace I had set. I grabbed that water cup, guzzled as I ran, and dropped that cup in the recycling bin all without breaking the rhythm of the run.
Now we were running around the lake approaching the final kilometre and people could be heard to say that as we rounded the next corner we were in for our final stretch. I started planning for that last stretch wanting to give it my all but knowing that it was all in the timing so as not to run out of steam before reaching the finish line. Knowing that finish line was within reach I picked up the pace ever so slightly in the last km and gave it my all for the last 50 meters or so.
It was in those last 50 meters that I was suddenly and out of no where overwhelmed with such extreme emotion. I could have burst into tears as I envisioned myself crossing that finish line which was now within reach. But wait, if I was to finish the race, I had to hold back all that emotion of moment because I would have fallen apart right then and there and never finished the race. While I focused all my attention back on the run I could get myself to the finish line without a hitch. I crossed that finish line with a pride I had never before experienced in my life!
I had struggled with the butterflies, I had felt an excitement like none before in running, I had choked back the tears and I now celebrated a victory I had never dared dream about and most certainly never believed I could accomplish!!!
My first and only medal ever for running!!!
So where did all that emotion come from? I'm not even sure I have the total answer to that yet but I do know for certain it was in that moment that I realized I had conquered so many of the lies I had bought into from my childhood and youth from messages I had received from classmates, peers, teachers, family and society about who I was or perhaps even more so who I was capable of being. Who would have thought chubby or fatso Maria would one day be capable and fit enough to run a 5 km. Yes, did you hear that? Maria finished the 5km, ran the entire course, and set a personal best record. She finished the race 46/126 female runners in her age category.
Believe it because it happened at the Run for Water 2013!
Spark Friends, don't let your dreams and aspirations be taken from you by believing the lies of the past. Determine your dreams, set your goals and you may be surprised at who you are capable of becoming. You may not run a 5 km but you too may discover some totally unknown ability you have because you are stronger than you belief you are.
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