Run, Forrest, Run!

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” ~John Bingham

So, it seems like maybe, just maybe, it’s actually getting easier.  The running thing, that is.  I don’t know what it is, but my last two runs were really good.  Did I just want to stay in bed when the alarm went off?  Absolutely!  Did I feel like I was going to die during my Couch to 5K workouts?  You bet!  Did I feel absolutely amazing when I actually finished? Yes Yes Yes!  I feel like I have finally gotten my pacing down and even my uphill running didn’t bother me like it usually does.  My legs felt lighter and I felt like I could go for longer that I normally do.  All in all, I felt like maybe I was an actual runner, and not someone pretending to be one.

I’m not sure what the change was.  Maybe my body is finally getting used to the early mornings and the pounding of the pavement.  Maybe it’s the stretching I’m doing every night to help with the plantar fasciitis.  Maybe it’s the fact that I feel like I’m feeling getting somewhere with this running thing.  I just finished week 4 of couch to 5K.  Every other time I started this (cough 4 times) I never got past week 4 day 1 before I decided to quit running.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s because I have stopped putting so much pressure on myself about the whole thing.  A few weeks ago, when I was naive enough to think I knew what I was doing, I ran a 10 minute mile.  Of course, after that, I could barely walk a 20 minute mile because my body was soooooo tired.  When I couldn’t recreate that 10 minute mile every time I walked out of the house I started to get discouraged and really felt like giving up.  I was never going to beat that 10 minutes mile, so why try?  But, why do I have to “beat” any kind of time?  Why can’t I just run and enjoy myself?  In the grand scheme of the world, is the time of my mile important?  I have short legs and a short stride.  I am never going to be “fast”.  And this is OK.

Another example: A few days ago I started to get really nervous about The Color Run coming up in Baltimore on the 17th.  My goal was to be able to run the whole thing.  Now, I’m thinking I won’t quite be there yet.  I started to feel defeated and, quite honestly, like a failure.  But why?  Am I not going to attempt to run the whole thing?  Of course I am.  Am I going to be going at a snail’s pace?  Of course I am.  But I don’t have to feel bad if I have to walk part of it.  This whole “thing” is a process.  It’s not something I simply wanted to accomplish, check off a list, and then move on to something else.  I actually want to be in this for the long haul.  I want to be able to make this an integral part of my life for as long as I can.  And, you know what?  3.1 miles is 3.1 miles whether I walk it or run it.  It’s still 3.1 miles more than if I just stayed on the couch.

I have also been feeling defeated because the numbers on the scale ARE NOT moving.  It seems like no matter what I do, it really likes the number I’m on right now.  But then I saw a picture of me taken almost a year and a half ago.  Before I even considered working out.  Before I could run more than a minute without almost throwing up.  Before I could last more than 3 minutes on the elliptical (I kid you not, my actual first workout on the elliptical lasted 3 minutes and I was dying by the end of it).  I put it next to a picture I took on Sunday before my run.

And with this picture I realized that I really don’t care about the number on the scale or the number of my pants size.  Even when I don’t think I am getting anywhere, I am.  A picture it worth 1,000 words.  And I feel like most of mine, in this moment, have to do with feeling awesome for what I have accomplished.

Miles to go in the 100 Mile Challenge: 46.25

Image

For the days when you hate everything…

“When something bad happens you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.” ~Unknown

I actually had a pretty good day today. The day went smoothly.  My kids ACTUALLY got math today.  I got through everything in my lesson plan.  I received a compliment from my principal. I finally felt like things at work were going well for once.  I was excited that I was going to the gym after work.  I was going to get in the run I missed this morning and get in some weights.

Then I got to the gym and realized I forgot my headphones (I was even going to steal some from lost and found, but there were none). And then I realized I didn’t have my running shoes and the shoes I was wearing were NOT conducive to running.  I wound up putting in a lame 20 minutes on the elliptical and left.

I got home and the kids were in a mood from no nap.  I only get them early in the morning or at night and they seem to ALWAYS be in a mood. I checked the weather and realized it is supposed to rain tomorrow which means no morning run and no workout at the gym due to no car.  And at that moment, I just fell apart.  I mean, like literally lost it.  Big, fat crocodile tears, hiccuping sob lost it.

I didn’t get a real workout in.  The stupid f*cking scale isn’t moving.  The kids were screaming.  I was hungry.  I wasn’t going to meet my daily goals.  In a nutshell, I hated everything.

After I was finally able to calm down (with a little help, thank you husband and prosecco) I decided to try my best to see the bright side of things.  I was looking for any little glimmer of positive in my humdrum afternoon.  And this is what I came up with:

1. It is OK to take a day off.  It is OK to have an off day.  It is OK to have a day where you do nothing and just relax.

2.  Goals are goals.  They are meant to be there in order to guide you and motivate you, but they are not the end all, be all of your existence.  If you don’t meet your goal one day, it’s OK.  You have tomorrow to make it happen.  Work harder.  Focus more.  Improve upon yesterday.  I have to stop basing my happiness on whether or not I meet my goals.  That should not define me.

3. If you’re hungry, eat. I mean, if you are actually hungry.  Don’t eat because you’re bored, or depressed, or angry.  Eat if you need to, and if not, find an activity you can be excited about.

4. It takes work.  Everything takes work.  I am not going to run a half marathon tomorrow.  I am not going to run a 5K tomorrow.  But I can work towards that goal. Point it, I just have keep going.  Even when I want to give up.  Even when I think I am not getting anywhere.  Even when I hate everything.  I just HAVE TO KEEP GOING.

Maybe it’s good that I got so upset about missing a workout and not meeting my goals.  It means I care.  It means I am not ready to give up yet.  It means this is important to me.  And really, no matter what I do, the important thing is that I DO something.

Baby Steps and Little Goals

“What keeps me going is goals.” ~Muhammad Ali
Last week was a pretty good week.  I got back into my running (very slowly) and really began making some stride on getting my life back onto the healthy path.  Honestly, though, I could have done better.  I think what I lack overall is focus.  I need to pick a few goals to really set my sights on and try to accomplish them.   I’ve tried doing this before, with making monthly goals, but I got bored forgot about halfway through.
So, instead, I’ll pick a few items to focus on for the week.  The small goals might help me stay in check and ultimately feel more accomplished.  Here are this week’s goals:
1. No eating out.  I am always so tired when I get home from work and ultimately take the easy way out.  Unfortunately, this means not making healthy choices.  I really need to do better.  Now, I already have plans for one night this week that does involve eating out, so I will have to make sure during this evening, I make healthy choices.
2. Run 10 miles this week.  Last week I did 9.05.  This week, I want to make sure I get in two miles a day (for each of my 5 running days).  Even if I have to walk part of it, 2 miles a day is totally doable.
3. No Starbucks.  It’s time to cut out Starbucks.  I need to drink more water and I know I need to save money.  This seems like the perfect way to do it.
4. Take 30 minutes a day just for me.  No kids, no husband, no work, no stress.
5. Log 10,000 steps a day on my Fitbit.  I was able to do it the first few days, and then I didn’t for the next few.  Even if I need to take a short evening walk, I want to make sure I meet this goal.
They all seem pretty reasonable.  Now, I just need to make myself do them.

Accomplishments

“Always focus on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” ~Unknown

This has been a good, but trying week.  It’s been the “get back on the horse” week for me.  I’ve been trying to make sure I eat healthy, work out more, get back into my running.  I hadn’t run for almost 2 weeks before Monday.  This week, I wound up running five days and going to the gym once.  My times were dismal to say the least.  My distances were pretty bad as well, not up to what I had been doing at all before my “break”.  I was tired, cranky and sore all week.  On top of all the exercise, my weight wasn’t really moving, which was adding to the cranky.  As it turns out I was eating almost 1000 calories too little each day.  Now, I have to try to figure out what to eat, and when, and how to add lots of good calories, making this ordeal even more stressful.

I know it’s going to get better.  I know I will get used to the early mornings again.  I know I will not always feel this sore and tired as my body gets used to this “abuse”.  I know I will figure out when to eat so I am not so constantly hungry (which means reaching for the closest thing, which usually turns out as something bad for me).

I realized that part of the reason I was feeling “defeated” was the fact that I was, again, concentrating on the negative instead of the positive.  I was focusing on how far I still need go, instead of how far I’ve come.  And honestly, while I haven’t come as far as I like, or as far as I could have because of certain derailments, I’ve come pretty damn far.

Here is a list of things things that have changed, for me, for the better since January.

1. I’ve lost 45 pounds.  I’ve gained a little and lost a little, but bottom line, 45 pounds is amazing.  It’s the size of a four year old.  Whenever I feel down, I look at Max and realize…wow, I lost THAT.

2. I can touch my toes.  Without bending my knees.  For an extended period of time.  Not only that, I can go past my toes and touch the floor.  Awesome doesn’t begin to cover it.

3. I can run a mile.  While it’s a slow (and I mean SLOW) mile, I can run a mile without stopping.  Back in January, I couldn’t even run a minute without feeling winded.  I’m not joking.  I tried Couch to 5K and literally wanted to kill myself after day one.  And now, a whole freaking mile.  And hopefully, in November, a whole 3.1 miles.

4. I changed a very significant number in my weight.  The first number.  Details not needed, but I will never see that number at the beginning of my weight again.  Mark my words.  I won’t.

5. I can now wear shirts with just ONE X in the front.  I know that this means I still have work to do, but for me, this is huge (pun intended).

6. I now get more excited about buying running gear than I do about “regular” clothes.  I love running shoes and I actually buy them for more than just being pretty (though pretty helps).  I don’t care that my tight running pants probably don’t look that great on me.  When I am running in them, I feel great.  And that is really the only thing that is important.

7. I actually like running.  Granted, I kinda don’t like it when I’m in the middle of it, but the feeling I have at the end of running is priceless.  I can’t even describe the feeling (nor do I want to) but it’s better than any feeling I’ve ever had.  Sublime euphoria is an understatement…

8. Not only do I like exercise now (I KNOW!) I also understand the importance of it.  It’s no longer about trying to look pretty or or fit into certain clothes, but it’s about being healthy, being around longer for my boys, and genuinely just feeling good about myself.  It’s been too long since I have felt that way.

9. My confidence has definitely improved.  I no longer hide.  I no longer shy away from conflict.  I am no longer afraid of asking for what I want. I no longer think I don’t deserve good things to happen to me.

10. I’m inspiring others.  People are reading about my journey and following me, and it’s encouraging them to get moving.  And really, that is one of the things that is keeping me going.  Knowing there are people out there who are changing some small aspect of their life because of me, is humbling, heartwarming, and completely encouraging.

I’m sure there are 100 other things I am forgetting, but these are the top 10.  I’m pretty proud of them.

And for the first time, in probably my whole life, I’m pretty proud of myself.

Miles to go in the 100 Mile Challenge: 57.15
Pound to go by January 1st: 25 (haven’t weighed in)

And…of course, there’s this…(January to October)

993700_10101130983516945_286450311_n

Tomorrow: The Land of Mythical Opportunity

“Yesterday you said tomorrow.” ~Unknown

Today was a rather unusually productive Sunday and I was only about to get about 3 hours of sleep last night.  I finished most of the things done on my “to do” list and I managed to do them without complaining.  And, for a Sunday, I was in a rather good mood.  I don’t know what it is, but I feel almost as good as I did a few weeks ago.  For the first time in a long time I didn’t feel like I needed to put things off until tomorrow when I was bound to feel better, happier, or more energetic.

What is it about the idea of “tomorrow”?  We always know it’s coming, and therefor can always put things (ideas, concerns, activities) off until then.  But when Today becomes Tomorrow, how much of it actually gets completed?  And how much of it just gets put off until the next tomorrow?

I know I’m guilty of this.  Constantly thinking that today is the last day I’m going to (insert vice here). That tomorrow I’ll be able to really assert my willpower or make better choices.  As if Tomorrow is some magical land that we can visit that solves all our problems and helps us become more fulfilled and productive.  The people who we are “supposed” to be live in tomorrow while the people that we “are” live in today.

But for me, I hope this stops…tomorrow.  I’ve made my healthy meals and completed my almost entirely clean eating grocery shopping.  My running clothes are out and ready for the morning.  My lesson plans are done and my school bag is packed and ready to go.  I even bought a fitbit because I really want to take this myself seriously this time.  I know I might falter and fall.  I know I might make mistakes. I know I might give in to temptation.  I’m human after all.  But as long as I get right back on track, without waiting for “tomorrow” to come around I also know that I’ll be ok.

Tomorrow morning I head out for my first run in almost two weeks.  I’m not expecting it to go well.  I’m expecting it to be slow and painful.  But, you know what?  Even though I know that’s how it’s going to be, I’m still excited to go.

I’m in it for the long haul.  There’s no turning back now.

Miles to go in the 100 Mile Challenge: 66.2
Pound to go by January 1st: 25

How am I going to be an optomist about this?

“That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity.  So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.” ~Meredith Monk
 
I almost started this blog post with “Let me preface this with” but I feel like I’m always starting each post with that.  As if I need to have a preemptive explanation for each of my actions.  When, in actuality, what you see is what you get and that should be good enough for anyone.
 
In the spirit of staying consistent though, let me preface this post by saying that I’m pretty drunk.  And I don’t mean glass of wine drunk, I mean bottle of wine drunk.  So, really, I should probably reread this in the morning because in all actuality I have no idea what I am actually writing. I have so many thoughts running my through my head that I don’t even know what I am thinking right now.  This is so different from my usual “wine-drunk” self where I get giddy-excited and then sleepy.    Right now I am a jumble of emotions and feelings, and frankly, they are somewhat clarifying. 
 
I hate to do things in lists an bullet points, but I think, at this stage of the game, that’s what I need to do.
 
  • I’ve done many things in the past few months that I regret.  Things I shouldn’t have done, things I shouldn’t have dabbled in.  While they have made me not like certain aspects of myself, they have also brought me to where I need to be at this point, so my regrets really do have a positive outcome.  I just need to stop thinking of these things as regrets and start thinking of them as stops along the way to fulfillment.
  • Because of so many choices I have made over the past couple months, I feel like my family has been neglected.  I realize, I’ve made the choice to neglect them, but it doesn’t stop the hurt I feel about making them second in my life.  I need to do better.  There is nothing else that I need to say.  I simply need to be a better family member.
  • Jealousy, especially the jealousy I have felt over the past few months, has eaten me alive at times.  I have never really been a jealous person and I don’t know why it has been affecting me the way it does.  Is my ego bruised?  Am I feeling used?  even more so, am I just feeling unimportant?  I’m sure it is a combination of all of these factors, but I really hate feeling jealous of others.  That whole feeling of thinking that if I were simply someone else my life would be better is bullshit.  It doesn’t suit me well.
  • I’ve been feeling kind of stupid (for lack of a better word) lately because I wasted SO MUCH TIME on people who rarely made the time for me.  Why the hell did I do that?  I have no idea, but really, I can’t believe my self-esteem would be so low as to need to validate my worth through others.  Yet, that’s exactly what I did.  I spent so much time making mountains out of mole hills.  Making myself believe I was more important to people than I actually was, that I started to believe I was only as important as special as THEY made me out to be.  How sad.
  • It’s definitely time for a new job.  I love working in education.  I love working for the betterment of the families of East Baltimore (at least the ones that WANT to move forward) but I don’t know if the classroom is the place for me to be.  I feel like I need to work for a non-profit, or start a non-profit, or something!  But there has go to be something more than this.  This can not be where my career ends up.  I simply won’t let it.

I guess, except for the fact that I simply hate myself for not running this week, that’s it. 

There are no words left, I feel like I’ve said them all.  And I guess that’s better than them eating me up inside.

I guess.

Now is the time…

“Now is the time for guts and guile.” ~Elizabeth Taylor

I feel like I should preface this post with saying I haven’t given up.  I realize that I need to say that to myself more than I need to say it to anyone else, but really, I promise, I haven’t given up.  I completed my third 5k on Sunday.  Did I run the whole thing?  Nope.  Did I run a majority of it? Nope.  Did I run some of it?  Yep. And on that day, that was good enough for me.

Have I been running since Sunday?  Nope.  Have I been active at all since Sunday?  Nope.  Have I been eating the best I could over the past couple weeks?  Nope.  I could be doing better.  I should be doing better.  I know how to be doing better.  And yet I’m not.  I’m fucking not.  And I have no excuses whatsoever.  I’m just not.

I could blame this on the excruciating pain that my plantar fasciitis has been causing me.  But really, that’s bull.  Yes, my foot is killing me and at time it just hurts to stand, but what am I doing to make it better?  Am I doing the stretches I should be doing?  No.  Am I doing anything to help or prevent the pain at all besides taking some tylenol?  No.

I could blame the fact that it’s because I’m trying to spend more time with my family, but that’s bull too.  I am trying to spend more time with them, but I need to realize it’s quality over quantity and if I’m not all there and my mind is someplace else anyway, what’s the point.

I could blame it on the fact that I’ve been a little depressed lately.  New birth control plus a return of insomnia does not a happy person make.

And you’d think identifying the problem would be enough to get my butt into action.  But nope.  Not me.  Instead I complain.  And yell.  And act sullen.  You know, the mature 33 year old thing to do.  I’ve done such a good job my whole life putting all the blame on other people that I’ve seemingly let myself off the hook.

But not anymore.  It is time to take charge.  I ordered some anti-steroid cream and a night brace.  I will do my stretches twice a day and ice my foot twice a day.  I will make time, quality time, to spend with my family, while also leaving time for me.  I will stop making excuses. Bad decisions are exactly that…decisions.  I have no one to blame for all of the ones I have made, except myself.  I can continue to dwell on them or I reflect, learn, move on and hope I don’t make the same ones again.

I will stop complaining.  I will get back on track.  I will get through this.  I have come too far to give up now.

100 Mile Challenge Miles: 33.8
Pounds lost since starting 100 Miles Challenge: 8.2 pounds