Friday, March 29, 2013
When I first began my weight loss journey I joined a health club that is part of a local hospital near me -- I loved it because there were people of all ages and sizes, and they didn't discriminate. The classes were amazing, the facility is beautiful, always voted one of the best in our area year after year. When I started attending classes there and getting to know the instructors, I thought to myself that I would love to work there someday -- now mind you, this is when I was morbidly obese and I don't know who or what reasoning put that thought into my head, but there it was.
As the membership dues are high, as I neared closer to my weight loss goal, I needed to stop my membership since we are a single income family and I couldn't justify the cost any more -- I began going to the YMCA and for a family we could join at a fraction of a cost of this health club. But I have to admit, it broke my heart a little. The instructors had become my family, my cheerleaders. This was the track where I started running at, this was where I learned what "boot camp" is really about. This is where I tried spinning, zumba and NIA for the first time. This was my place. I told my boot camp instructor at the time that it felt worse than a breakup. But when you are on a fixed income, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
When I became a Walk Leader about a year ago, and I reached out to the fitness director at this Wellness Center, who happens to be my old boot camp instructor, I thought it would be great to teach my classes there. We went back and forth, but the timing wasn't right, however I never gave up on the dream to teach at this amazing wellness center. I began classes at a local church, but I kept her in the loop on my classes, and offered to teach free demos, etc. Well I am happy to say that a year later I am now an instructor on staff at the wellness center! Last night I had a free demo to promote my class that starts next week.
It just goes to show -- never give up on yourself-- or your dreams! They really do come true. And sometimes that little voice in your head, the one that says you can, is worth listening to.
My dad on the left, my friend LaTannya, me and her daughter Taria
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I have been a certified Walk Leader for almost a year now, and every year a reunion is held. This year that reunion was also combined with Walk Concerts in The Villages, FL. I didn't know if I would be able to attend as being a single income family money is tight, but my husband and I talked it over and we decided it would be a great opportunity and I didn't want to miss it. I put all $ from my walk classes to be able to afford the trip, and I also found another walk leader to room with me so that it cut the cost of the hotel room in half.
Guys, I am SO HAPPY I went!
It was such an amazing experience. I got to see Ruth Hughes again, our instructor who certified us, and she is such a strong woman, and gives us all strength and motivation. The energy and enthusiasm I have taken away from this weekend with her will last me a whole year until the next reunion (if not more)!
I also got to see other Walk Leaders, most of whom I have never met except online. They are the most amazing group of women! Most are women of faith, and all of them are the most encouraging people.
My roommate, Jodi, was amazing and such a pleasure to room with.
Jodi in the pink shirt leading some walkers (all walk leaders are in the pink - or salmon)
I formed friendships I hadn't had before. I got really close to Paula Battle (who you may have seen in several DVDs and on QVC oh, about 12 times). She is AMAZING and was my dance partner every night! (The Villages is a retirement community and they have a DJ out on the square, where we led our concert, and he teaches line dances, it was so much fun!)
Paula on the left, I'm in the middle, and then another walk leader Jacqui
Me on left with Paula in the middle and Dorothy on the right, another amazing woman!
I also met Father Scott, who you may have seen in the latest DVD telling his story, he is so cool, very funny, and not what you'd expect in a Priest. In a refreshing way!
We had two walk concerts, one on Friday where all the walk leaders led the 2 mile walk, and then another Saturday where Leslie led it. I was fortunate to be picked to be on stage leading with Leslie, it was an amazing experience.
And the cherry on top? I got to meet LESLIE SANSONE my biggest inspiration! SHE is the lady who I sweated with at 300 lbs., not able to even last 5 minutes, but her positive attitude encouraged me to keep going, She is the one who showed me how to walk in such a way that I could add miles on - I even walked my first 5k with her! This was my dream come true.
It was an amazing experience to see so many walkers come together in one place, with us walk leaders and Leslie! It was just like one big party! (at one point Leslie and the other walk leaders on stage fist pumped to "Party Rock"!) I loved every minute of it. It was a dream of mine to become a walk leader to help others, and to meet Leslie after so many years of walking with her was just too good to put into words. The camaraderie of the other walk leaders was amazing, their energy is contagious, just like Leslie's. Every one of them has the heart to serve and to help others. It's just a wonderful family to be a part of. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
It was a sunny challenge last week to create a workout game, similar to Sparkpeople's Super Bowl game, to our favorite shows. I wanted to post here to share with spark friends.
THE WALKING DEAD GAME
Every time a zombie gets killed by a blade (knife, sword): do 25 jumping jacks
Every time Rick gets moody or throws a tantrum: do 25 jab punches
Every time Carl is on camera: jump in place/high knees
Any time a fire breaks out: do 25 push ups
Every time the gates are opened to the prison: do 25 sit ups
Every time someone kisses: do 25 knee lifts
Every time someone sobs: do double side steps
Every time the baby cries: do 25 kicks
Every time the Governor or his followers are on the scene: do a plank, 10 sets
Each time someone is bitten: run up and down the stairs
Each time Rick sees his dead wife's ghost: do 25 jump,kicks
Every time Meryl or Darryl swears: do 15 burpees
Every time a zombies skull is crushed: jog in place
Every time there is hand to hand combat: do 30 leg lifts, 15 ea leg
Every time Glenn and Maggie fight: 25 bicep curls
Every time Hershel gives a piece of wise advice or stitches someone up: overhead press
Every time Andrea gives a speech: 25 kickbacks
Every time the word "walker" is said: walk up and back, 10 sets
Every time Michonne gives a hard stare: boosted walking
Every time a gun jams or runs out of bullets: 15 triceps dips
Every time someone falls during a challenge: 25 crunches
Every time people go off to talk alone: 25 push ups
Any time someone is looking for the hidden immunity idol: jog in place for 30 seconds
Each time they are eating: bicep curls, 15 sets
Whenever they show the habitat/insects: side steps
Every time Jeff's name is said: 25 jump kicks
When Phillip is walking around in his underwear only: 25 bicycle crunches
Whenever there is a verbal fight: 25 jabs
Any time an alliance is made (or broken): 25 kicks
Every time someone lies: double side steps, 4 sets
Every time someone is talked about behind their back: run up and down stairs
When Jeff says "The tribe has spoken": do 25 jumping jacks
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
A year ago I told my very good friend Blaize (INSPIREBYNATURE), who I met here on Spark almost 3 yrs. ago, and who has been my partner on the Sunny Gals team for the past 2+ yrs., that I wanted to run a half marathon. Not just any half marathon, but a half marathon in Disney.
Back when I started running, about 3 yrs. ago, it was a dream of mine to run a 5k at Disney. I had never been to Disney, and it felt like a good goal. But after meeting Blaize, and for those of you who know her, you know what I am talking about, she makes you feel like bigger, better things are possible. In fact, when we first met online, one of the first pictures I saw of her was after she ran her own first half marathon, and I started to dream BIGGER.
So when I told her my plan, it should have been of no surprise to me at all that she said, immediately, without any hesitation (I love this girl), "I'll run it with you."
It was such a wonderful thing, such an offering up of herself, her time, well, everything. To tell someone you will run a half marathon with them is almost like getting engaged. Well, ok, not exactly, but you know what I mean. It's a commitment.
So throughout this year we had big training plans. And those plans, for both of us, fell a little short due to illness, life changes, and huge events beyond our control. Speaking for myself I had the flu 2 weeks prior, and that was followed by a terrible ear infection and two ruptured ears as a consequence. It was not the ideal conditions, and I wasn't able to go on my last two long runs. The furthest I had run was 10 miles, and that was about a month before the half.
Blaize's plan was to walk/run it, and mine was to run as much of it as I could.
But first, we had to meet!
We met at the expo, me with my family in tow (my 2 daughters, ages 3 and 6), and her with her mom and her 5 year old daughter.
Blaize and I after we first met!
Our daughters after meeting (new BFFs!) (My daughter Lucy on the left, Azali on the right)
At the expo we shopped, I lost my daughter for 10 scary minutes, and I think we were all ready to go back to the hotel to relax before dinner. For dinner we walked to Downtown Disney, but the Rainforest Cafe had a 3 hr. wait, so we had our pre-race dinner at Denny's. Hey, it wasn't that bad :) And we chose food that wasn't too fatty and had a good balance of carb/protein.
Then we went to bed by 10 PM, having an early morning wakeup call. The race had a 5 AM start, and we had to be in our corral by 4:30 AM, so we made plans to meet in Blaize's hotel room at 3:15 AM to give us time to eat a healthy breakfast of bread, natural peanut butter and a banana and then walk to the corral.
Us at 3:15 AM before the race!
Before the race
We both wore Sparkle Skirts, it was a gift from Blaize, she knew I wanted to wear a green one (thank you honey!) and of course we had to have Princess Bondi Bands, too. We looked super cute.
As we stood in the corral I was a ball of nerves. I was so nervous, I don't think I had ever been this nervous before the race. I didn't know what to expect, and the two weeks before the race being sick really rattled my confidence.
I had prepared some mantras the night before to help me in my run.
"God is Able." - I actually heard someone sing this on American Idol recently and it really stuck in my head. Where I am weak, He is strong.
"All Things are Possible Through Christ." - this is my favorite, and is even inscribed on my running ID bracelet.
Lastly, I read this one on the plane over to CA and I tore it out because I knew it was meant for me during this race.: "The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exhalt him." (Exodus 15:2)
My strength and my song. I loved that. I would praise him, even when it got hard for me. I would put my focus there, and hand that pain over to Him.
Soon it was our turn to go. Corral D stood for "Dreams Come True", and it couldn't have been more appropriate. I met one of my best friends for the first time after 3 yrs. of friendship, and we were doing something amazing together. I was running my first half marathon! I would have never thought I was capable of this.
During the Star Spangled Banner Disney lit fireworks off, and it was so breathtaking. I teared up. I was sharing this moment with Blaize, it was so surreal.
And we were off! The first 4.5 miles were through Disney, so it was nice scenery. We ran through Cars Land, past the castle, it was so cool.
Here's the most miraculous part. Blaize and I ran the entire first nine miles together!! She figured maybe 1-2 miles, and I was looking forward to running as much as we could together, but I didn't think it would be nine miles. I am so extremely proud of her. I don't recall exactly what her longest run was in her training, but I believe it was 6 miles. I know she was planning on walking much of the race, but she ran almost the whole thing! I had to take two bathroom breaks, and we walked through some of the water stations and along the course if we needed to. But at Mile 9 is when things got really hard for me. I knew that if I walked any more I would not finish running, and my goal was to run as much as I could. It was do or die. Blaize and I had agreed earlier that whenever I needed to go ahead that was fine, so I told her I needed to keep running and we agreed to try to meet up with again, and I had texts on my phone with her progress, so I would know where she was so we could meet up.
Little did I know that she would finish only 3 minutes behind me! She is just so amazing. She does not give up, and I have to tell you that her perseverance has truly changed me as a person, and as an athlete.
I finished at 2:58:54, which I am very proud of. It's funny, I got texts when Blaize hit mile markers, and so when my phone kept vibrating every mile we passed I thought someone was tracking me and it encouraged me, but it was me tracking Blaize! I didn't realize that until after the race ended, so it was like I had an imaginary cheering section, it helped me though :))
Almost to the finish line!
Me about to cross the finish line, waving to my kids after giving Minnie Mouse a high five.
A cheering sign my daughter Lucy made.
Right after finishing, and getting my "wings" medal.
Blaize and I with our medals!!! She finished in 3:01, woo hoo!!
After the race we went to the pool to relax.
And then we did something crazy - we went to Disney and walked a TON of steps. I think we logged over 30 miles on that day.
(We also had some margaritas)
And the next day? Yep. We went to Disney.
Like Walt Disney said, it's fun to do the impossible. I never, ever thought I would be a runner. I started walking, and then began the Couch to 5k program, and gradually after 5ks did an 8k, then a 10k, then a 15k, and now a half marathon. If I can do it, so can YOU!
Blaize, I'm glad I got to share this with you. Love you!
Us with our little Princesses. Just think what a good example we are setting for them!!
Saturday, January 05, 2013
I wanted to post this in my blog so that I could refer back to it:
Pay off all my credit cards by August 2013
Start saving money for next Christmas and adding to our emergency fund
Continue to save for retirement - meet with advisor, create a plan of attack.
Reach goal weight (10 lbs. to goal weight, but I may try for 20 lbs.)
Run the Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon and the Chicago Women's Half Marathon.
Balance on my work/family life.
Strength train 3x/wk.
Start going to the YMCA again.
Take a swimming class to learn proper form.
Enroll in a sprint Triathlon (either in 2013 or 2014).
Start a garden in the Spring.
Begin writing again and working on my drafts in progress.
Have more fun with the kids, don't be so serious (workaholic).
Watch less TV.
Start each day with prayer.
End each dat with one thing I am thankful for.
Eliminate clutter in my life.
Live within my means.
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