Race Recap and a bunch of other randomness

“If you start soon enough, you won’t have to catch up.”

This week-end was absolutely gorgeous.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing and all that other wonderful spring-timeness that we know and love.  A friend and I completed the Port to Fort 6K this week-end in downtown Baltimore.  This was my first time ever running an event (not racing, because we all know I wasn’t going to win) that was more than a 5K.  The race itself was beautiful, but tough and had a lot of hills.  My friend walked, I ran (THE WHOLE THING!) and she beat me by a minute and a half.

I don’t know what it is about running races, but I am trying my hardest to get over the mental roadblock that I put up.  This race was a little under four miles.  I run that distance about twice a week, but I run it at home, alone, and in the dark.  This definitely felt a lot harder with crowds of people, time limits, and expectations.  I always feel like I am doing a great job and then the hoards of people start passing me.  And then the people who are miles ahead of me pass me on their way back to the finish line and I start to get defeated.

I know I am improving.  I know that running for four miles at any pace is an awesome accomplishment.  I also know that just 6 months ago I could barely run at all and it took me over an hour to finish a 5K.  But sometimes I forget that there is another part to the package.  I keep telling myself that I’m not a “real” runner so I don’t have to take myself seriously.  I keep telling myself that because I’m a real runner, I don’t have to do all that “extra” stuff.  I keep telling myself that because I’m not a real runner, I don’t have to push myself to improve.  And this is simply not true.  I am never going to be one of those runners that runs a 6 minute mile.  Hell, at this point I’m hoping for a 12 minute mile.  But I can get there if I try.  I can get  there if I stop making excuses.

I know that in order to get better I have to run more.  I know that in order to get better I have to make myself know that this is important.

I know that in order to get better I just have to keep going.

The view at mile marker 2 of the Port to Fort 6K

The view at mile marker 2 of the Port to Fort 6K

Color Us Amazing

“Family mean no one gets left behind or forgotten.” ~David Ogden Stiers

I took the Fitbit off for a week.  I wanted to let it run all the way out and start all over.  I was pushing myself too hard with it.  Suddenly, just reaching the 10,000 steps a day wasn’t enough.  Once I hit 100,000 for a seven day total I felt like I needed to stay there and I was putting way too much pressure on myself.  I finally put it back on today for the Color Run.

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Yesterday’s color run total. Today I was down to zero.

 

Today is Max’s 5th birthday.  In order to celebrate a little differently, we ran the Color Run in Baltimore as a family.  The kids had a blast and people seemed pretty impressed that they were running a lot of it, especially Ollie (the 3yo) and finished it without strollers, etc.  Mike had a lot of fun too!  We’re excited to do another one in the future.  The best part was, even after half walking, half running, I wasn’t tired or sore at all.  Not even after coming home and sitting for a while.  I can really feel a difference my running has made and I couldn’t be happier to share my new love and hobby with my family.

 

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Max with his color run gear before leaving

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Pre-Color Run Family Photo

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Oliver after all the color

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Max is tired, but colorful

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Post Color Run! We had a blast!

Reinvention

“I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents.  To not be like your friends. To be yourself.  To cut yourself out of stone.” ~Henry Rollins

I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic of reinvention lately, about how you can seemingly change yourself day in, day out, just in the blink of an eye.  You can be whoever you want to be, whenever you want to be, and while scary, this concept can also be breathtaking, life changing, and completely freeing.

But what about when the concept of reinvention is simply becoming who you really are when you are not afraid of the judgement of others?  I feel like this is where I am at this point of my life. I know I am too worried about being judged to be the person I feel like I am all the time, even around my closest friends.  Do I keep my mouth shut too much, simply to avoid confrontation and judgement? Do I gossip more than I should to fit in with those around me?  Do I hide that bit of weird and crazy we all have simply to avoid whispers behind the back? Of course I do.  Because, of course, I’m scared.

But really, why am I so afraid of it?  I’m a rather successful 33 year old wife, mother, and teacher who has a handful of wonderful friends and an amazing family. And yet, I can list literally a million examples of when I hid my true self simply to avoid other people’s judgement, whether it’s what I wear, what I say (or don’t say), or what I choose to do in my free time.

And frankly, I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of not wearing certain clothes, accessories, or make-up (though I’m not really a fan) for fear that it looks like I’m trying to bring attention to myself, or simply be judged because someone doesn’t like how I look.  I don’t talk up my accomplishments for fear that I’m seen as egotistical, arrogant, and a braggart.  I’m tired of being nice to people and others simply thinking I’m “flirting” or have ulterior motives.

I’m tired of being judged, and I’m tired of being a judger.

And most importantly, I’m tired of valuing what other people think about me over what I think about me.

 

 

The truth will set you free

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson

I began writing in this blog as a way to get all the random thoughts out of my head, but also as a way to tell my story.  But as I look back, I realize I haven’t necessarily been upfront and honest.  I haven’t necessarily given all the facts and explained the whole situation. Mostly, this is due to fear. And judgement from people.  And to be perfectly frank, I’m tired of hiding behind fear.

I guess you could say it all began with a trip to Oregon.  At first I was excited.  A trip to the West Coast with a bunch of friends from work and a few days off from the kids to go along with it.  What’s not to love?

Then I remembered that I would have to take an airplane.  Then I remembered I would have to fit into an airplane seat and buckle my seat belt.  Then I remembered every single article I have ever come across about airlines who kick people off the plane for being too fat.  Then I remembered that maybe I would miss my kids and I shouldn’t go after all.

I belonged to a gym, joined in some arbitrary moment of “I can do this!” but at that point my workouts consisted of the 5 minutes I could stand on the elliptical or treadmill and then 30 minutes on the sit down bike.  Throw in a couple of easy strength exercises on the machines, and I thought I was actually accomplishing something.  The fear of getting on the plane and being embarrassed in front of people I had to work with motivated me to do something I had never done before…buy a scale.

After searching for what seemed like hours at a K-mart next to the gym, I finally found one.  I raced home, carried it up to the bathroom, and after ripping off every ounce of clothing and all hair accessories that could add weigh, I gingerly stepped on the scale.

331.

No, that is not a typo.  That was the actual number.  And while I didn’t want it to be true, I knew it was.  I sat down on the bathroom floor and cried for about 10 minutes.  How had it gotten this bad?  How had I let myself get this far gone?  Once I got control of myself, I got up, got dressed, and came up with a plan.  That summer I worked my butt off and in two months (right before my flight) I had lost 20 pounds.  I know that’s not a lot, but to me it was everything.  It represented that I could actually do this.

Long story short, they didn’t kick me off the plane, though I did need a seat belt extender.  But the heart wrenching fear I felt as I approached that first plane was probably the worst in my life. I didn’t sleep for nearly a week.  I vowed that I would continue working out when I got home and would get myself to a healthy place.

And I did.  For awhile. Until once again, life got in the way.  That fall I worked out here and there, but nothing significant.  Between two kids under 3, teaching kindergarten, and trying to be a good wife and mother, I never seemed to find time for the gym.  Finally in January, after realizing I had gained back 12 pounds (bringing me back up to 321) a friend and I decided to sign up for the Y-fit challenge (the YMCA’s version of the biggest loser).  And through that I fell in love with working out.  I lost about 35 pounds, completed my first 5-K and began to gain back some of the confidence I so desperately needed.

And then, as most stories go, my world turned upside down.  During the summer (on my last day of school) my dad died.  We had a rather tumultuous relationship (see posts from then) and I didn’t think it would really affect me.  But it did.  In ways that I will never quite understand.  And the gym took a back burner yet again.  Luckily, I only gained about 5 pounds, but by the time school started again, I was a jumbled wreck.  I didn’t know what was up or down or right or wrong.  All I knew was that I needed something to change.  I needed to be saved.

So I went for a run.  And really, that is the true beginning of my story.  Because on that day I was reborn.  I learned that I can decide how my life is going to go.  I am in charge of myself, my decisions, and my happiness.  I can decide to begin to heal, and grow, and change for the better.  And I did. Or, at the very least I’m in the process.

Over the months I ran occasionally, went to the gym, got injured, and then began again and again.  In January, on the eve of my 33 birthday, I hit my 50 pound mark (60 if you count from my pre-plane freak out weight).  And I’m still going.

I was looking back on old pictures today.  Pictures from pre-kids, pictures from post-kids, pictures from last year, last week, last month and I can’t believe the difference.  It’s not even just the weight, but the confidence, the happiness, the fact that there are more pictures now than there were before.  These are all indicators that maybe this time is the right time.  Maybe I’m finally exactly where I need to be.

And at 269 pounds I am currently running 15 miles a week and training for my first half marathon in the fall.  While I still have so far to go, I’ve never felt better.  I’m ready to begin this new chapter in my life.

I had to start and stop, begin and end, give up and keep going, numerous times to get to this point.

But if I can do it, so can anyone.  If I can do it, so can you.

2009-2013

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The last 10 months…

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I’m feeling it.

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do you know what I love?

  • Running
  • My kids
  • My absolutely amazing friends
  • Super spicy food
  • Old school Project Runway
  • Salt and Vinegar potato chips
  • The color pink
  • Jeans
  • My crazy, curly hair
  • My house
  • The “greeness” of spring
  • Recycling
  • Men in suits
  • Glasses
  • Champagne
  • Scoop neck shirts
  • The scent of Vanilla
  • Cozy blankets
  • The kiddos in my class
  • Reading
  • Black and white photography
  • Twinkle lights
  • Peonies and hydrangeas
  • My iPhone
  • Quotes
  • Feta
  • Hard wood floors
  • Trivial Pursuit

And so many other things.  Being happier seems to agree with me. I think I’ll keep going.