The Truth Will Set You Free

“Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” ~Maria (The Sound of Music)

While I may not always see myself that way, people have told me I am inspiring and motivating.  Really, these are the best compliments I have ever gotten.  If me getting my lazy butt off the couch helps someone else get moving, that is awesome.  I tend to be an “over poster” on Facebook but I figured by starting another blog, a place where people can come to get inspired, it could help alleviate some of that traffic.

I’ve been trying to write this post for about a week now, but never seem to know how to start.  As with most major life changes, starting always seems to be the problem.  Running, writing, working out, completing projects…once I’m in the middle I know I’ll finish, but that’s only if I am able to get past “the starting”.

But here goes: my story.

I guess you could say it all began with a trip to Oregon.  I was heading out there for an educational conference. 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.  Images of Kevin Smith came swimming to the forefront of my consciousness.  Suddenly, 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 3 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 actually contemplated cutting my hair), 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 (walked) 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 and hadn’t communicated in years.  Because of this, I didn’t think his death 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. In January, on the eve of my 33 birthday, I hit my 60 pound mark.  And I’m still going.

Over the months I ran occasionally, went to the gym, got injured, and then began again and again.  I started and stopped so many times that I can’t even keep track.  The most important thing?  Every time I stopped, I started again.  I remember the first day I was able to complete one mile without stopping.  I remember the first 5k I was able to completely run.  Just recently I completed my first 10k.  

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.

Some days running feels so easy.  Others, I want to die.  I’m faster than I used to be, but still super slow.  But I am a real runner.  We all are.  Even those that don’t run because the potential to run is in there.

And at 263 pounds I am currently running about 20 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.

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What defines us…

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” ~ Walter Anderson

It’s been a long time since I wrote a post.  Too long.  I really have no excuse.  I seem to form a million posts in my head every day but they never make it down.  Things have been busy, school was ending, and a million little things kept piling up and it was hard to keep my head above water most days.

I did accomplish something though…I ran my first 10k.  I won’t go into too much detail here because that is a post in itself but it was hard, scary, amazing, wonderful and a million other things all rolled into one.  It was the most fantastic accomplishment I have to date and has actually made me a little excited about tackling the half marathon in October.

I posted a few pictures to Facebook earlier today and although I live with myself every day, it’s crazy to see the changes that are happening, especially within the last year.  I run everyday. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve never felt better.  I have made so many lifestyle changes that I can’t help but be proud of all I have accomplished.  And yet…

There are other things I know I still need to focus on.  Character, emotional instability, and simply overall personality.

I tend to get angry too easily, and sometimes for reasons even I can’t identify.  I yell too much, and usually at the people who love me the most. At times I can be completely and utterly selfish…forgetting that it’s not just me in my life anymore, but that I’m also a wife and a mother.  I tend to push people away and challenge them too much…and not in a good way. Most days I am simply too much; too overbearing, too emotional, too demanding.  A tornado when most people can only handle a rainy day.  A hurricane when most people only want a light breeze.

And the worst part of it all?  I know most people can’t handle it.  But I still fault them anyway.  And the ones that can handle it?  I don’t cherish them as much as I should.

I seem to have the physical changes down…but maybe it’s time I start working on the other aspects of my life.

Because what’s the point in moving forward if I have no one to share my life with?

Slow and steady…doesn’t win much of anything.

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” ~Winston Churchill

For those of you who think I’m all rainbows and unicorns when it comes to my running. I’m just in a stage of freaking out right now. Can I run 6.2 miles? Yes. Can I do it fast? With my current slow ass time I am going to be in the bottom 20 (I NEED to stop looking at race results). And yet there is still a chance I will be dead last.

This is my current inner dialogue:

The insecure person in me:
You have no right running this. You can barely run 5K. This is in public. In a giant park with billions of people. And you are slow. Like not 12 minute mile slow, but like, legit slow. It’s ok to sit this one out. And just think about how embarrassing it will be for you to come in last. I bet only the old ladies with the walkers come in last. Hell, they’ll probably even beat you too. I bet they run out of medals and all you’re left with is a shirt and maybe a stale bagel.

The warrior woman in me:
That is fear talking. Sure, you might be last, but so what? Someone has to be last. And while no one plans it, who the hell cares. It’s a fact of life and you will not die if you are last. You will finish 6 freaking miles. Correction: 6.2 freaking miles. In one of the most awesome places in the country: Central Park. How many miles could you run 5 months ago? None. That’s right. Now you are up to 6. Think of how bad ass you will feel when you can no longer say you only run 5Ks. Stop thinking anyone cares. No one will laugh at you. If anything they are going to be proud and motivated by all you’ve accomplished.