Sunday, May 19, 2013

Don't Give Up

Finish line... early before the race.
Hey readers!  I'm actually surprised I'm doing this right now.  I thought I wouldn't have the energy to hold my head up, but it seems I've caught my second wind so I might as well get my thoughts down while they are still fresh in my head.

Today was a big day for me.  A day that I thought would never come for me - considering where I was about a year and a half ago.  I did something I thought I'd never be able to do.  I completed a half marathon.

I'm honestly having trouble putting words to my feelings right now.  I knew this day was coming.  I remember back on January 11th, when my trainer and workout partner convinced me to change my race registration from the 10K to the half.  At that time, I wasn't sure I would be able to do it.  Then, when I started training in February, I had the idea that I'd be able to finish under 2 hours 50 minutes.  Today, my goal was to finish under 3 hours.  I now realize even the 3 hours goal was pretty ambitious.  I was able to keep that pace (about 13 min 40 sec mile) for about 6 miles, and then I started to poop out.  I knew at that point I wasn't going to make it.  I finished in 3 hours 17 minutes and 52 seconds.  What's even more important - I FINISHED.

I worked hard.  I trained hard. I ran in the snow.  I ran in the cold.  I ran through a sore hip and tender Achilles tendon.  I ran when I didn't want to run.  I ran when I was sick.  I knew that if I wanted to complete this race, I had to take it seriously and train seriously.  Increase my weight training sessions.  I had to drop Zumba - which is one of my favorite things to do. I had to sacrifice to get where I am today.  I completed a half marathon.  I didn't quit.

It was such an emotionally draining day.  I had the support of some many people - family and friends.  New friends I met during my run. Melissa, who said I inspired her to keep going when she felt she couldn't go any longer.  Gwen, from Black Girls Run, who ran with me for several miles.

Heather, my workout partner who convinced me to switch over to the half.  You ran with me for the first 2 miles.  You were waiting for me when I crossed the finish line.  You told me that you got goose bumps just thinking of how I've been preparing for this day. I'm so glad you were there to hug me after I crossed the finish line.

Mallory, my trainer.  You have played a huge part in my journey.  You push me.  You encourage me.  You barter with me.   You also convinced me to change to the half, and you told me that you knew I could do it. You were there for me when I finished today. You didn't have to wait around for two hours after your race to see me, but you did.  You were there for me.  I can't thank you enough, and I'm so glad that I have you in my corner. I'll be ready on Tuesday for more weights.  You best believe.

My family!  You woke up at 3 am to get on the road and travel 60 minutes to get to the race.  You cheered me on at the start and was there to wipe my tears when I finished.  You have been with me every step of the way.  We had a lot of fun today.  I'm so glad you were there to share this day with me.  Mom, I know you never thought this day would come where I would be able to do something like this.  I felt the same way.  Next year, you and sis will be doing it too!  Let's sign up!

All my friends and family. My bestie.  My Cool Girls!  My Fitness Instructors and Co-workers!  Chef, who gave me my 13.1 mile magnet for my car!  The support, the kind words. I thought about all of this when there were times when I didn't think I could go further.  It was hard.  You can train all you want for something like this, but you will never know what to expect until you step your foot over the start line and run across the finish.  Emotion wells inside of you.  You see all of these people. Strangers. People you will never see again in your life cheering for you, telling you not to give up and keep going.  Giving my major kudos for my Buttercup t-shirt.  The police officers, fire fighters, emergency staff, volunteers, Snipers (yes, we saw them).  All of you were there to keep us safe and protect us.  I thank you as well.

It's amazing.  As I'm sitting here and typing this, I sometimes wonder did I really do that?  Then I look down and see my major award.  It's pretty neat.  The guitar spins in the middle.  It's heavy. I've never got a medal before.  I earned that!

I don't know how many of you have experienced something like I did over the last year or so - culminating today.  You feel like you're fine with the "status quo," and all of a sudden something inside of you snaps, and you decide the "status quo" is not okay and you go for a dream.  You pursue it. You don't let your detractors derail you.  You fight.  You cry.  You hurt.  But, you Don't Quit.  You keep pushing even when you're hit and fall down.  Believe me, it pays off in ways you can't believe when you accomplish something that you'd never thought you could do in your wildest dreams.
The home stretch before the finish line.

I never thought I'd be a runner.  

And today, I ran.  

My aces!  You have no idea what you did for me today!
My family!  Thank you for being there!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

To Weigh or Not to Weigh?

Hey readers!  Sorry for not posting last week.  Nothing was wrong.  I just didn't have anything profound to share, and I'm thinking that's not a bad thing.  I feel like my new lifestyle is taking hold and cementing into place, and sometimes I don't have much to report. 

Or it could have been because I did my longest, long run as part of my 14 week training program for the Cleveland Half Marathon (TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY! YIKES!), and it completely tired me out.  10 miles.  I think it went well.  I felt like it would have been better if I had water available to drink though out.  I was quite dehydrated after finishing so I talked up on water to rehydrate. The half marathon has many water breaks so I feel I'll be okay.  Plus, when I finished I felt like I could still continue, and at that distance, I would only have 3 more miles left. I definitely feeling better about the Half.

This past Saturday, I ran my first 5K and I finished in about 43 minutes. I'm not sure of my official time.  The results will be posted soon, and I'll make sure to share those when available.  I'm glad I got a bit of practice running with a group because it does make you start off at a faster pace.  I was able to slow myself down and find my pace to finish the race comfortably.  I was hoping to beat my indoor treadmill time (42 minutes), but that last hill was tough, and with the wind against me, it slowed me down.  No worries.  I'm pleased with my finish. 

I am pleased.  Interesting.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm really pleased with what I've been able to accomplish so far.  I've lost a substantial amount of weight.  My energy is up.  My chronic conditions are under control.  I'm
building muscle.  I'm stronger and faster.  But... The scale isn't moving.  In fact, it hasn't moved for quite sometime.  I'm straddling between 210 - 220.  Not really moving.  So, should I be proud of that?  No movement.  My weight is stationary.  So, is that it?  I mean, should I throw in the towel since I'm not going to meet that 160 pound "Magic Number?"
And where did I get that number anyway?  How did I know 160 pounds was going to be my "Magic Number?"  I basically pulled that number out of my ass thinking I'd probably be most happy and healthy at that number.  It sounded good at the time.  I figured I'd look pretty hot, too.  I don't know.  I'm shrugging as I'm typing this. 
So, If I never reach that "Magic Number," does that mean I failed?  The scale doesn't lie, and that's what I've been using as my measuring stick.  What am I getting at?
Perhaps, I chose the wrong measuring stick.
Usually, I weight myself mid-week to see if I'm "on track."  If I see a one pound loss at that point, I'm super happy, and continue with the week.  If I don't, I'm sad for a bit and keep trucking along.  Lately, I've been indifferent and slightly disappointed that I've been all over the place.  I've tried so many things to try to keep my body in "weight loss mode," and it just won't cooperate.  And although the scale hasn't moved, other things have happened that makes me feel I'm still moving forward.
My run times are getting better. I've finally found my run pace. I deadlifted 225 pounds... an all-time best. I snatched 40 pound kettlebells on each hand... another all-time best. Push ups improving? Check.  Planks improving?  Yep.  Finished my first Metabolic class.  Check.  Do my clothes still fit?  Yes.  I'm wearing a size 14 comfortably. Yup.  All of that, and the scale still hasn't moved.
I made a huge mistake, and I think I finally accepted it this week.  On Thursday, after my Krazy Kettlebell workout with my Worldclass Trainer, we lied back on the lovely artificial turf outside on a beautiful Spring afternoon (I love working out outside).  I'm basking in the sunshine and enjoying the sweat of my labor (it was a kick ass workout).  I posed a question to her, and I value her advice greatly.  I told her I don't think I'm going to weigh myself anymore. I don't feel that my success should be measured by an arbitrary number pulled out of my ass.  Perhaps, my success should be measured in how fast I can run.  How high I can jump.  How heavy a kettlebell I can swing, and how much I can deadlift.
She came me the "DUH" look, which I surely deserve.  She said she doesn't weigh herself at all.  She doesn't own a scale.  The only time she gets on one is if she goes to the doctor.  Success is not measured my the scale.  It's measured by your accomplishments.  Set fitness goals...not weight loss goals.
She's right.  I can't throw everything I've accomplished away just because the scale says so.  My day shouldn't suffer because I gained a pound from yesterday.  My week shouldn't be an utter failure because I gained two pounds.  The scale only gives you a point in time measurement.  That's it.  That's all it does.  It doesn't measure how much water you are holding or how much muscle you've gained.  It just gives you a number, and I'm TIRED of living and dying by it.
I haven't weighed myself in two weeks.  Yes. I'm still freaking out a bit. I sometimes want to weight myself just to make sure that cookie I ate didn't make me gain 8 pounds.  And REALLY!  Is one cookie going to make me gain 8 pounds considering I work out hella hard SIX times a week?  That is unhealthy behavior, and I know it.  So, I'm stopping it.  No more scale.   I don't know when the next time will be.  One week?  One month?  Who knows.  I just know there is a Better Way, and the scale isn't it.

A true measure of success... Doing things you never thought you would be able to do.  

Update!  My official finish time 43 min 23.4 sec!