Sunday, May 22, 2011
Running my 3rd 5k took every ounce of my strength in every way imaginable this year. My 5k prep started late in the season but I pressed on with exuberance and hesitation. I endured interferences from snow and rain and stumbled my way through foot, ankle, knee and hip injuries, strains, pulls and side stitches. My hesitation was being afraid of failure. It bothered me to realize that injury could put me on the sidelines, or that during the race a side stitch would develop ultimately defeating me. I knew I would complete the task but to not do it well, my personal best, I was crushed before I started. Fear, it’s a small word but it can get to the best of us. With the support of family, friends and Sparkers I received support and encouragement from which I gained so much strength.
Strength is the quality or state of being strong, bodily or muscular power; vigor. It also defines mental power, force, moral power, firmness, or courage. I thrived on all of these components and it fueled my determination. For these reasons I chose my infinity circle for this race… STRENGTH.
Each and every time I ran the word strength loomed over me and it motivated me to keep moving, to put one foot in front of the other, to not give up and to have faith. A Sparkfriend commented on one of my status’ encouraging me to believe in myself, as she does me. My husband instilled in me to be satisfied with my accomplishments even if it were not to turn out as planned, or meet my PR time… to relish in the capability of doing something I have come to love and to enjoy the moment; live in the present. These comments echoed throughout me and it changed my focus. Yes, I was nervous and had pre-5k jitters all week but I pep talked my way through it. I can do this! I will do this!
Its race day and the weather was perfect, nearly 50 degrees… a runner’s delight, well at least mine! I felt strong and confident. I wore my serenity circles, inscribed the initials of my dearly departed friend and Sparkpeople on my wrist…I was on a mission! Then for some reason I decided to double check the 5k flyer time; call it paranoia? intuition? guardian angels? Maybe all of the above because race time was at 9am ~ not 10am (like it always has been)!! It was 8:15am and needless to say my daughter and I hustled and we had just enough time to walk to the race for our warm-up. All I could think was OMG this is not a good sign but I shook it off and only allowed positive thoughts. My daughter was by my side for our 3rd 5k. She inspires me in so many ways; she has a fun loving laid back disposition and through her actions she has taught me to not be afraid of challenges or obstacles; to face them head on and to let the chips fall where they may… and that’s the attitude I left the start line with.
My first incline was minutes from the start line and I took it slow and steady up the hill but then ran hard and strong and paced myself through the inclines on mile 2 and picked up the pace again through mile 3 and hurdled another incline toward the end and sprinted to the finish line. I’m so happy to say that I shaved 1 minute and 35 seconds off of my last year’s time; my PR was to make the same time as last year or at least sub-30. Today’s race time ~ 27:38.
Some pics to share from the day...
My daughter Megan & I Leaving Home
We Made It On Time!
End of Mile 2
Onto Mile 3
Finish Line You Never Looked So Good!
We Finished Strong!
Me & My Kids
Friday, April 15, 2011
I wrestled with my weight for as long as I can remember but not with trying diets and exercise; I played the blame game. I blamed anything and everything for my calorie intake and lack of exercise. “I’ll start tomorrow” was the 8th day of every week. I almost even questioned why I was not thinner from all the “virtual” workouts I did in my mind! This went on for years until I owned up to “I blame me”.
Twenty-two years ago I succeeded losing weight and a couple of dress sizes and I was happy with my results, but still, something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Life got busy and I maintained 90% of my weight loss for several years; even after two pregnancies.
Years later, as I squeezed into a pair of pants, I asked myself “what size is that!” and “how did you get here?” I know, I know, food – and food, and oh, did I mention food? Let’s not forget the contribution of no exercise; all those years of ignoring my health and fitness caught me. I blame me and that’s half the battle right there… no games, just do something about it!
As I expressed wanting to lose weight I was discouraged by comments “you are fine just the way you are”, “you don’t have to lose weight”, “it’s all in your head” and so on. I was surprised that anyone had a difficult time grasping how I felt about myself but those were my feelings and they belonged to me. “It’s in the eye of the beholder” I would explain. Everyone’s battle is different, no matter what their height, weight, shape or size. BMI does not measure your feelings even if you are considered to be in a healthy range.
I had that “ah ha” moment when I met Sparkpeople. I was a little skeptical at first but it could work, right? So it began, I tracked calories, spun the wheel and read articles but I was definitely too scared to post. Months later I came to terms with having to exercise, but what? My treadmill did not appeal to me any longer so I took it outdoors! I started walking using several routes to keep it interesting, reversed routes for different inclines, increased distances and walked 5 miles every day. After a few months I noticed the number on the scale started to drop and my clothing became loose and it was so encouraging! A friend caught on and started walking and then another friend started walking and so on; it was like dominoes and I was exhilarated! This not only held me accountable, but I really wanted to inspire others by my actions… so I kept walking!
In 2009 a friend expressed her desire to run a 5k, and before I knew it, her goal became mine and we started training. I was so excited because I never committed to a goal like this before; this was huge for me. We ran our first 5k with our daughters and I ran again with my daughter in 2010. The four of us then walked the 2010 Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk; events I will cherish forever. These accomplishments taught me the importance of fitness goals to help stay on track; it does not have to be a 5k, 10k or even a marathon. Just move it; the sky’s the limit!
I am a walker who loves to run. I never liked to run and I learned why; I didn’t know how to run! Once I learned proper form, breathing and how to sync them with my pace, I crave to run. When I run it makes the big stuff not feel so big and it makes the important stuff significant.
A quote from the movie “What Women Want” really speaks to me… “You don’t stand in front of a mirror before a run wondering what the road will think of your outfit. You don’t have to listen to its jokes and pretend they’re funny in order to run on it. It would not be easier to run if you dressed sexier. The road doesn’t notice if you’re not wearing lipstick. Does not care how old you are. You do not feel uncomfortable because you make more money than the road. And you can call on the road whenever you feel like it whether it’s been a day or even a couple of hours since your last date. The only thing the road cares about is that you pay it a visit once in a while. No games… just sports.”
Wow that says it all!
I exceeded my original goal weight which I never thought was even possible. I struggled this past winter with an injury and fitness minutes and now its payback time. I don’t play the blame game and I hold myself accountable for my actions. I am in the perils of maintenance and it is hard! I am hopeful with my determination and the entrance of Spring to tone back up, lose any extra pounds and keep the curse reversed! It’s time to rebuild.
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