Thursday, August 12, 2010
It is THE HOTTEST DAY EVER in Chicago today. I'm on lock down in my office in the air conditioning. I need to go home soon, but I don't even want to step foot outside right now. But all I can think about is running.
To my surprise, I got a message in my Spark inbox today from LOTUSFLOWER (Kathy) www.sparkpeople.com/mypage.as
p?id=LOTUSFLOWER - also from here in Chicago. She was inviting me to run the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K Race with her on November 6th.
The email exchange went something like this:
KATHY: I really want to run this one, although I've never run a 5k in November, I've heard it's easier than in the summer...I wanted to pass this along in case you wanted to run with me, or meet up, etc.!
Hot Chocolate 15k/5k
November 6, 2010
ME: Oh my gosh - my heart just started to race even reading that! Could I really do it? I don't know!!! I wasn't planning on signing up for any races until NEXT race season, but November could be doable...
Serendipitous really, but I got a seat on the bus yesterday with a copy of Chicago Athlete magazine sitting in it talking all about the Chicago Triathlon and I just ate it up - I am SO ready to be at the point where I can train but I'm trying to go easy on myself and not try to tackle this running thing too fast.
Let me think about it. I'm kind of excited - and I'd love to meet up and run with you!!!
KATHY: Well I totally think you could do it, but I understand wanting to wait until the next race season, too. If you started C25K this month, or even next month, you'd have 6 weeks to train - there's about 11 weeks until the race.
When I did my first 5k I was exactly 4 weeks out from the race, so I knew I wouldn't be done with C25K, but I ran all but 30 seconds of that race. Then I just finished my second one last week and ran the whole thing, due to my busy work schedule I still have one more session of C25K to run before I technically "graduate".
Just think it over and let me know, I'm 99% sure going to sign up for it, but am ready to run with you whenever YOU are ready. You know your body best. I'll be here for you to motivate you, inspire you, run with you, and cheer you on whenever you are ready.
ME: I just finished Week 1 of C25K actually, so I've already started, but I know because of the heat and my schedule I'm going to repeat Week 1 again until I feel like I've had a "good" run. I'm only running 2 days a week right now because of my swim and Zumba schedule as well. But when I read comments of other people who have started and can only get through 2 of the 8 intervals, I feel really good about where I am. I'm heavier than I wanted to be when I started, but I have been able to run all 8 intervals from the first day. Just worried about upping those intervals to more than 60 seconds right now!
I think I SHOULD sign up for it. It's 12 weeks away, so even if I repeat a couple of weeks, I could still do it. And so what if I have to walk part of it? I'd still be doing it. Plus - running my first race right before the end of race season will only make me that much more pumped to start next year! AND it's called the Hot Chocolate 5K...haha - yes please!
I think I'll do it. Eek! So what do I do - just email the address and request a sign up?
KATHY: Yaay! You CAN do it. You are doing awesome already with C25K. I SO want to try Zumba, there's a class at my gym, I've been a bit intimidated by it...I need to just try it.
I could only run 2x a week and sometimes 1x a week, but it's so worth it. You are doing awesome!
Here's the direct link to register for the 5k. AND you get a very cute chocolate brown sweatshirt!
I'm going to sign up today too! I run pretty slow, a 12 min. mile pretty much. We can always start off together and see what happens!
ME: OK - signing up right now! I think I decided to run it BECAUSE of those "Will run for chocolate" sweaters we get! Super cool. I have no idea what I run, so I just put in 12 min mile - hopefully I'll get there by that point.
Here's the deal - I sign up to run the 5K with you and you take the Zumba class! It's SO much fun. Well - I lie a bit there - it's a big ass kicking, but I love my instructor and I SWEAT like nobody's business, so I think that somehow equates to fun :)
So there you have it - 2 Chicago ladies, 2 challenges - I run the 5K with her, she goes to the Zumba class at her gym. Isn't this FUN??? We're going to need lots of support, so be sure to drop by her page and give her some Zumba love. And anyone who wants to come run with us in Chicago - the more the merrier! I even have room at my place if people want to come in from out of town! I'm all about making this an EVENT!
Ahhhh! I just signed up for a 5K!!! Holy crap. I'm a runner. I AM DOING THIS!!! Just not today on the hottest day of the summer! Today is for air conditioning and rest. Training starts tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
First and foremost, this is a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the wonderful Done Girls who have wished me continued success and who support me endlessly every day! Being Done Girl of the Day is an absolute honour and one of which I am very proud!
It wasn't an easy start to the day, but I successfully finished W1D3 of C25K! There will absolutely be a W1D10 at this point, but hey - I made it to 3 and that's what's important right now. It really was too humid to run this morning - almost 100% humidity at 7:30am. Holy crap Batman. My face was so red when I came inside to the air conditioning I thought I looked like an overgrown cherry tomato. But I survived and was then gifted with an amazing show of support from all of my wonderful friends.
Today I am also saying GOODBYE to one of my 2 student loans. I have officially paid off a $10,000 loan and I am SO EXCITED about that. That in and of itself feels like a 100 pound weight has been lifted. Only one more to go and I will have complete financial freedom! Something I have never felt since leaving home.
This looks like it's going to be my year. I have made so many personal advancements in my health, my wealth and my spirit. Look at me go! I really feel like the sky is the limit at this point. I have goals and ambitions and positivity in my life. And though things aren't perfect all the time, I don't feel as though the struggles are as bad as they were before I found Spark and started making all these life changes. When I think of what my life will look like a year from today I get excited. There are so many wonderful things in store and I can wait to experience each and every one of them - losing 100 pounds, paying off the second loan, starting to save for a house and a car, advancing in my career, shopping in regular sizes, running my first 5K, maybe 10K?...the list goes on and on.
Thank you - ALL of you, who are following me, cheering me on, supporting me and making this journey fun and enjoyable!
But I also want to thank ME for believing in myself. It's not easy to do sometimes, but when I look over my shoulder at the road behind me, it makes all of this SO worth it!
Friday, August 06, 2010
I woke up early this morning to do W1D2 of C25K. To be honest - it SUCKED. The only thing that keeps me doing this running thing right now is that when I'm not running, I think/feel like I want to run. But while I'm doing it - WHOLE other story. First of all - waking up earlier than 9am just isn't my thing. I'm a night owl, and I'm blessed to have a job that doesn't usually require my presence earlier than 10am (I've been pushing it to 11am lately because I tend to stay until 7pm or later most nights anyway). When I DO wake up early, I'm a grump. I get a big case of the "I don't wannas" that can carry forward into my day. So getting up this morning to RUN, no less, was tasking in and of itself. I also had no idea what to eat. I didn't want to eat anything heavy before running, but I knew I had to have something in my gut so as not to pass out half way through, so I gulped a glass of almond milk and threw myself out the door before I could change my mind.
Now I've been reading enough about running and lurking around the group pages long enough to have picked up on some of the "running dialect", but what didn't help this morning was that for whatever reason I got the word "Bonk" stuck in my head. At about sprint #6 of 8 all I could think was "Bonk, Bonk, Bonk". I know what bonking means - I wasn't bonking, the almond milk was doing its thing. This was just my brain's lovely way of telling me that I wanted to stop. But I didn't really want to stop. I didn't really HAVE to stop. I knew I could do it. So although part of my brain was yelling "BONK" through Robert's C25K Podcast, a smaller, more meaningful part of my brain was also yelling "Push", "You can do this", "Look how far you've come!" It was a noisy morning in my head.
After a shower, some real food, and pulling on my "skinny" jeans with ease (my 22s fit beautifully now, but are actually even starting to gape at the waist already), I found myself sitting on the bus on my way to work, the Glee soundtrack playing through my Ear Candy headphones - and I started to cry. Before, when I would get public rushes of emotion, I would choke them down, wall them up and bottle away whatever feeling was coming to the surface. But this morning, I just threw on my sunglasses and let the tears roll. I was happy. These were not tears of frustration, or loneliness, or need. These were real, honest tears of joy and personal satisfaction. Yes getting up at the butt crack of dawn is horrid. But look at what I did. Look at what I'm accomplishing. And look at how it's making me feel. (I did say previously that my version of exercise euphoria is cracked out - sometimes I giggle like a teenage girl - apparently this morning I felt the need to cry - random, but I dig it).
Since investing a lot of time and energy in personal counseling, I am careful to not choke down emotion anymore. When a feeling bubbles to the surface, it's important to recognize it, understand it, and let it have its moment - it's there for a reason, and it's like a gift from your subconscious to your conscious state with a card that reads "I'm here too". I have spent too many years fighting back tears (happy and sad) and walling up my feelings for fear of embarrassment or being singled out - and ironically enough, those years have brought me nothing but a fat exterior that both embarrasses me and singles me out on a daily basis. To think that all I ever had to do was FEEL to not eat instead of eating to try to feel something. I had it all backwards.
So I had a breakthrough on the bus. I'll take it. It means I'm healing. I'm getting better at this. I'm moving forward. And deep down there, somewhere in the sludge, the feeling bubbles are slowly coming to the surface.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Monday nights are my walk-home night. I get in my 2.5 miles before I succumb to the power of The Bachelorette on t.v.
Yesterday I was already having trouble with the whole idea of walking home. I was tired and I really didn't want to miss a second of the highly anticipated (by me) season finale. As I attempted to sneak out of the house without my running shoes in tow, the scientist says to me "Aren't you walking home tonight?"..."Yes" I say tentatively. He looks at my feet in my cute little gladiator sandals... "In those shoes?" Drat. Foiled. I grabbed my runners and a pair of socks, shoved them in my bag and went about my way.
Even though I realized by the time I got to the bus that I had also forgotten my iPod at home, by the time I got to the end of the day I had convinced myself that walking home would be the best thing for me anyway. It wasn't going to be that bad - I could hoof it and still make it there in time to watch Ali choose between her two dream guys. Decision made - I was walking home.
In roll the ominous looking storm clouds. Seriously? I had just finished convincing myself that I was going to get my exercise in and I was actually liking the idea for the first time all day. Did I mention they were ominous? I didn't have an umbrella, so disappointed, I opted not to risk a severe drenching and hopped on the bus home.
30 minutes later - no rain. In fact, by the time I got home, the skies seemed to have cleared. The sun wasn't exactly shining, but you couldn't call the few drops I felt on my head a "severe summer storm" - thanks a lot local weatherman. I could have walked and I would have made it home unscathed! But now it was 5 minutes to show time and there was no time left to exercise.
I felt guilty. I had to do something. I just started the "1000 Fitness Minutes in August Challenge" and so far I was doing poorly. Well...then I was just going to have to do something after watching t.v. But what? It was going to be 10pm by the time the show was over (with the special 'After The Final Rose' segment as well). It would be dark and I didn't want to be out in my neighbourhood after dark alone. Walking for only 30 minutes would be fine, but that's not much of a burn for the day.
I finally decided on the best and fastest option - W1D1 of C25K training. Despite my fear of starting the program, it seemed like the easiest choice and at that point in time I was out of other cardio options. I already had the program downloaded onto my iPod. It was something that I could do relatively quickly and still feel like I'd gotten a good workout in. And I could rope the scientist into going along with me so I wouldn't be alone! Perfect. I was doing it! I threw on my sports bra and workout pants and laced up my runners.
And then I did it! I officially started the Couch to 5K Running Program! No turning back now. And it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Granted I was sucking air like nobody's business by the time round 8 of 60-second runs came around, but I made it through. And my exercise euphoria afterward was ridiculous. The scientist thinks it's funny. He says it's like I'm high - literally. I get very giggly and think pretty much everything is HILARIOUS. Not a bad way to end the day :)
This is me becoming a runner. All because of a little rain. Or lack thereof!
Monday, August 02, 2010
Um, I do! :)
I was out for breakfast a few weeks ago with a friend of mine. She's about 30 years my senior, but also a big girl, and we have a fun camaraderie together. She's totally kooky like me and we seem to really get each other. I showed up for breakfast in one of my favorite summer shirts - a black and white, cap sleeve, printed v-neck. I was feeling particularly pretty that day. The sun was shining, I looked great, and I had the use of the car (which always makes for a good day). I was feeling very "Carrie" in my own City - all 280+ pounds of me.
"How cute are you?" she exclaimed as I walked to the table. "You look GORGEOUS!!!" and then "You're just so brave to show your arms like that...I could never do that".
I shrugged. I have always shown my arms. And legs. I stop at the belly because I won't go around wearing a midriff-bearing top with my multitude of rolls, but the rest of me is pretty fair game within reason. I buy nice, good clothing that FITS, and otherwise I have always felt that as long as I feel good in something, there's no reason to be ashamed. I'm a big girl. I have been for the majority of my life. I don't feel like covering up my fat and floppy arms with a t-shirt or long sleeved top on a HOT day in the middle of the summer is hiding much. The sweat from being too hot in my "too many layers for the weather" clothing would eventually give me away anyway!
I guess you can see it in one of two ways. Either I have continually showed my skin because I've been in denial for so long about how big I really am, or that it doesn't matter how big I am, I'm confident with the woman I put out in the world. Both are true, and depending on how I feel in front of the mirror every morning, I honestly do lean toward either one or the other.
A couple of years ago I was getting ready for a pretty big interview at work. My boss at the time had set up the interview (my position with her company was ending and she was trying to help me secure a new title with the new company) - but she was also one of those women who couldn't keep her opinions to herself and felt it necessary to make occasional comments about my chunky appearance. I was wearing my favorite red tank (the one I just took the photo in the other day) and was feeling very confident in myself and my abilities as a future employee of my now, current company. She gave me a look from head to toe and said quite emphatically "I hope you brought a jacket to wear over that." Now, I HAD brought a jacket (the voices of my mother and grandmother in my head wouldn't let me out of the house without one that day) - but what business it was of hers to question my fashion sense I have no idea. Yes, my arms were large (larger then than they are now for sure), but I was in enough denial about how my fat arms might look to a future employer and confident enough in my own ability to wow my future boss by my credentials alone that I left that conversation bruised. Why couldn't I get a job because of my weight? What did my being BIG have to do with my abilities as an employee? I had never let my weight get in the way of any of my job tasks with her in the past, so why should she care so much? Wasn't she the same woman who had marveled at my ability to run up and down a ladder to the roof to check out a problem with the HVAC just a few weeks ago? (Yes, she made a comment about that too from the bottom of the ladder - I may be big, but I've always been relatively fit). I was angry. Though other bosses had danced around the "issue" before, she was the first of my employers to actually ever call me out on my physical appearance. And it wasn't until that very moment that I realized that it actually COULD matter when it came to getting a new job.
Well - I nailed the interview, got the job, and sanctioned a 20% raise. But that didn't stop me from the realization that were it a different type of person interviewing me that day, were it the type of person that she was, my fat arms may have lost me that job.
I still feel the sting of her words when I catch a glimpse of my visible fat in a store window or hallway mirror. I still have a momentary flash of terror whenever I suit up at the pool and have to stand there with my saddle bags hanging out of my one piece with the gaggle of skinny girls waiting for the lifeguards to unlock the doors to the pool deck. But once I'm gliding through that water, once I'm breathing in rhythm with my fat-arm strokes, the fear goes away. And not ONE of those girls would dare make comment on my rolls when I show them who's boss in the water. I don't mess around during my swims and I think I have surprised more people than I have offended with my cellulite. And the same goes for my job. I'm smart. I'm capable. And I don't let the fat hold me back.
Today I'm sitting at my desk in an adorable blue halter top (the turquoise colour of the water in my background image to be exact) and short shorts. And I feel great. I wouldn't wear this outfit to an interview, but for a hot, summer day in Chicago, it's a perfectly acceptable outfit for a day at the office. (I DO love working in a casual atmosphere every day!)
At the end of the day - it's not about what you're wearing (as long as it's tasteful). It's about how much of the real YOU you allow people to see. I choose not to hide. I think it's disrespectful to the fabulous person I am inside. So what if my arms flap a little in the breeze, or if my thighs rub together - I'm growing more comfortable every day in my skin and that's something the whole world should see!
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