Saturday, June 29, 2013

Seattle Half Marathon is Cleansing Every Time.....

Last weekend was my 3rd half marathon in Seattle. It was a beautiful day in my hometown city and another great day to celebrate who I've become in all of this. 

In April I was on a girls trip with several family members in California when running the Seattle Rock N Roll came up several times. It was a "healthy" girls weekend with lots of exercise, healthy food, (and not so healthy food) and just spending time together. We needed it, as we all live so spread out these days. I had mentioned I was running the Seattle race again this year and by the end of the weekend, several had committed to join in.

Saturday was fun to run it with so many people I knew and loved. There was just something special about it for me. Meeting up at the end and celebrating every ones accomplishments and commitments to living healthy,  coming from a family with a history of heart disease, was comforting to me. Just that we all have the desire to not let something that can be so life threatening and tragic, as we've seen it take the lives of people in our family, stop us from celebrating life and what our bodies are capable of doing.

As for me, really it was not my best race out of the three but that didn't seem to matter to me so much this time. (Surprise, surprise! I'm usually the competitive one.) My goal was to enjoy the run. Enjoy the journey. And I did just that. I wasn't fast. In fact, I had my share of hip, knee, and calf issues that slowed me down considerably but I focused on not getting discouraged, but only enjoying the journey. The course was beautiful, the people were great, so I was able to do just that. 

As far as the course goes-- it has yet to be the same. All three years it has been different. Even though this one had more hills and challenges than any of the others, the scenery was my favorite. Running down Rainer Avenue for miles with Mt. Rainer looking so massive right in front of me was beautiful. Then running along the waterfront and through the city was breathtaking. 

Having been born and raised in the Seattle area, every time I do this run I spend a good portion of the race reflecting on who I used to be and who I have become through my weight loss journey. It is a very cleansing process for me that unless you've been in my shoes, would have a hard time understanding just where I'm coming from. It's as if I renew who I've become every year on this run. Getting rid of a little bit more of the mental baggage I carried around for years that had a huge impact on who I was. And then just feeling FREE and able to celebrate who I've become and want to continue to be. I love Seattle. It is my hometown. I visit often. I don't want to associate my life while I lived there as being unhappy and fat, but yet a person who had the power within her to make a change, face it, do the work, and continue on. That my friends, is what it's all about. 

Race Expo Treats!

The whole gang!

Our shirts!
 My Sister-in-law and I                                    My cousin Tyler and I                                   

My Aunt Gail and I

                                             We did it!

                   We've run this race all three years together.....

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Monday, June 17, 2013

What's Done is Done...I have a Half Marathon to Run Saturday!

I promise I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Last week I was away at church camp with the youth from my church. It was a great week! I loved unplugging from the world, honing in on the spirit, and just enjoying the wonderful outdoor creations God has given us to enjoy. 

This week is it, as far as training for my 3rd half marathon. In other words, what I didn't fit in by now, won't be happening as I'm beginning my taper and will only run a couple miles tomorrow and Wednesday and then rest Thursday and Friday before the big day Saturday. 

Do I feel prepared and ready? Nope. Not at all. It's an interesting feeling really. I stuck to my training schedule for the most part but did manage to miss a few runs here and there. In fact this time around my long run milage bumped up much faster than in the past and I was running 9 mile long runs as well as 10,  2 and 4 weeks ago. I then missed two weeks of long runs with sporadic running during the week. Then it was off to camp and the conditions there were as such that a long run was not feasible. I came home and Saturday I hit 5 miles and it was probably a good thing I stopped when I did. My body was just tired and still trying to recoup from camp. You can imagine what this started to do to my brain though. Questioning if I had it in me to run 13.1 with having missed those runs. Knowing very well I am capable of running 13.1 miles Saturday, I forced myself to venture out on one last long run this morning. It's almost as if I needed to do it to turn the voice off in my head that was feeding me wrong information. Good news is....since about 7:40 this morning, not a negative doubting thought has entered my mind. Wahoo! 

I think part of the reason I feel so differently this time around is that I started out training with a heart rate monitor which had me running at a ridiculously slow pace. Then when things started to speed up as time went on, I found I wasn't enjoying myself and decided I need to be doing this to have fun and enjoy my body not to be miserable along the way. I'm not sure if it's because I trained for weeks having to run slow and keep within the heart rate I needed to be, that when I was able to run faster, I felt like it was beyond my reach (like my body got accustomed to running slower) but it seemed much harder and faster than I'd ever run. In reality though, it wasn't. In fact, both of my other half marathons I trained running faster than I am now. It's weird.

What's done is done. The most important factor for me come Saturday is to have fun. To me, coming from the girl who used to be 278 pounds and never laced up a pair of shoes and hit the pavement until a few short years ago, that is huge! I may not be the fastest one out there, in fact I very well may cross the finish line with my slowest time yet, but I'm hoping to say I enjoyed the journey along the way! 

A little mud football at camp!

Camp treats!

I loved having this little camper with me all week!

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Media vs Reality

I was cutting up an apple in the break room at work the other day when one of the gals that works in our building asked me how much fruit I eat. I can't remember my response exactly but it was something like, " I don't know, a lot. I love fruit!" She then went on to say she loved fruit too but had recently read (key phrase, RECENTLY READ) that eating fruit wasn't a good thing because of the sugar. Then she wanted to know about dairy products as she had heard (again, HEARD) that they can be good or also bad for you. The conversation went on for a few minutes about these things and in the end these were the thoughts that were going through my mind.
Everyone out there has tried things, heard things, and is interested in others results because they want to change something about themselves. Right? The problem I personally see (note, this is my own opinion) is that nine times out of ten we as human beings are wanting results immediately. We want a smaller size next week. We have procrastinated too long and the family reunion is in a month. Do any of these things sound familiar? They certainly do for me. In fact, for years I would read up on what others were doing to lose weight. The more enticing it sounded the more I wanted to try. (If they can do it like that, it will work for me too.)
The bottom line is this. None of those things work. If you are wanting to change your life, how you view food, and fall in love with exercise, that is where you need to put your energy and resources. I know for me, when I changed the way I was thinking and focused more on getting healthy and being happy, the weight loss was an added bonus. It was as if I was eating right and working out to make me a better me, and on the side the weight began to melt away. Yes, it was a slower process than what EVERYONE else is doing (it took over 2 years to lose 133 pounds) but that didn't matter and wasn't even an issue as I was trying to look at it from a different perspective than I had ever done before. My focus was not losing weight, my focus became getting healthy.
Food is to be used as a tool not the enemy. Life is meant to be able to incorporate and enjoy ALL foods. I never deprived myself of anything and I don't believe anyone out there trying to lose large amounts of weight should. If you can't lose the weight while enjoying all things in moderation and make it something that will be a part of you forever, you aren't ready to commit and make the change. I had to commit to being okay that it took years to become healthy. They key is learning to eat it in moderation and what seems to work for your body. Every single body out there is built differently and what some respond well to others may not. Find your own nitch and what is comfortable for you.
For me, that day in the break-room it was fruit. Yep, blueberries, a banana, apple, AND watermelon! 4 servings, and I'm just fine. In fact, my body loved it! Listen to your body, not what the media or the people in the break room may tell you. You are a far better gage of what YOU like and respond well to better than any professional out there. Remember, before you know it, you are going to be the professional of your body.  

Here was a shot after my run yesterday. Yep, Pebbles and Bamm Bamm out for a run!  

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Do You Have a Love/Hate Relationship?

Do you have a love/hate relationship with food? Maybe it's exercise? Commitment? I know each one of us have an area in our life that we struggle with. For me it boils down to running. 

I know in the past my relationship with food, exercise, and the feeling of being committed have been a challenge. In fact, some seasons in my life were better than others, but I somehow was always able to push through and get to the other side with very little pain and anguish as long as I buckled down and did my part. When I first started working with my trainer, Jacob, I knew it was going to be hard work, but for the most part I enjoyed what I was doing, and the food part for me was a breeze. It wasn't long before I was in auto pilot mode and I ate for fuel not fun and worked out because I enjoyed it not because anyone was forcing me to. It all became a way of life for me. 

After reaching my goal weight 2.5 years ago and decided I needed a new challenge, I committed to giving running a try. I trained and ran my first half marathon in June of 2011, trained and did it again last year in 2012, and now I'm down to the last couple weeks of training for the 3rd time for yet another half marathon. The clincher is, it hasn't come as easily as overcoming that relationship with food, finding a love for the gym, and making the commitment in my head to live a certain way and never look back. It's been hard! Harder than anything I've ever tried to do. Yes, running is WAY harder for me than losing 133 pounds was!

Running is a struggle for me. It boggles my mind how one minute I'm loving it and then in the very next moment, I'm miserable and wondering what in the world I am doing. Why I'm out there torturing myself, if you would. In some ways I think this is my trial in all of this. All the other things I went through to take the weight off were hard no doubt and took sacrifice and dedication, but it was a totally different kind of hard for me. 

My past two long runs have been a struggle. They were both 10 milers. Last week, I got to mile 8 and lost it. Literally. Had to stop dead in my tracks, walk a little ways, stop at the gas station even, get myself together, walk the rest of that mile, and push through miles 9 and 10. I honestly wish I knew what caused it, but yesterday was about the same story only slightly better. Same run, same route. In fact, I was really enjoying myself for the most part and then mile 7 hit. It wasn't my favorite road but I run it all the time.  I haven't had a problem on it before. But I could feel my body getting tense. By the time mile 8 hit I could feel the emotions starting to build. I was tired, my body wanted to quit, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes which then lead my breathing to be very off the wall. I remember having to close my eyes (literally), think of a friend of mine who is a runner and just committed to a running streak for 9 months (yes, never miss a day of running in 9 months), and count and breathe. If she can run everyday for 9 months straight, I can run 10 miles. After about a block I was okay again and kept on. Then mile 9 hit and the same thing. Tears, can't breathe, think of my running friend, count....and carry on. I thought rounding the corner on the last mile I would be fine but nope, happened again, and so I proceeded with my own little therapy to get me to the end. I felt like when my watch beeped at the 10 mile mark I was going to burst out in to tears, but I didn't. I was on the verge but somehow my body recouped and I was able to walk it off and cool down.

Why am I sharing all of this?  Because I am bound and determined to keep going and push through the hard to figure out a way to love running all the time and not just some of the time. It's the same with eating right, getting to the gym, or committing to change our lives and get healthy. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it seems impossible, but we can't give up! We must press on. Going through all of this has really made me appreciate my body and what it is able to do for me. If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I would have lost 133 pounds and soon to have run three half marathons, I would have never believed you. Not in a million years. In fact, my self esteem would have been such that I would have had no hope in even being able to lose 25 pounds. 

I know I can fall in love with running. I just need to figure out what parts about it I love and why I keep going back to it, and which parts I don't enjoy and how I can make those parts work better for me so I can enjoy it and look forward to it all the time and not just some of the time.

Whatever your love/hate relationship is with, never give up. You are worth far more than you could ever imagine and I'm convinced we need these trials to make us who we are intended to be. None of it is supposed to be easy but the parts I can tell you I have accomplished, have been so worth it. Someday I know I'll be able to say that about running too! 

Yep, Here she is! My running friend who just started a 9 month running streak! If she can love it that much, so can I! 

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