Breath in, breath out, let go.

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” ~Steve Maraboli

I haven’t posted in quite some time (almost 3 weeks!) and really, I have no good reason.  The truth is, I had a pretty sad few weeks in February.  I don’t know why, I never know why, it is what it is.  I barely ran at all…and when I did, it wasn’t good.  I couldn’t get in the mindset of it.  I couldn’t get past how tired my legs and feet were.  I couldn’t get past how slow I was going.  So in typical me fashion, I stopped.  And while my muscles may have felt better (I was still going to the gym), my mind didn’t.

Then Wednesday I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep.  So, I figured, why not go for a run.  Even if I wound up walking it, it was still a form of exercise.  But as soon as I stepped foot outside and started running, the world seemed to drift away and all my problems and worries and anxieties went with it.  After two miles I still felt great so I finished up another half mile before heading home to get ready for work.  And it felt so good to be out of my head for that amount of time, just me and my music in the dark morning, that I got up the next morning and did 3 more.  And then did more on the treadmill on the gym the following morning.  And then did another 3 today.

While I know this is beating a dead horse (as I seem to state it every 5 minutes), I can’t believe how far I’ve come.  I remember a almost a year ago taking part in my first 5K and not believing that I was able to complete it at all just by walking.  Now, I’ve signed up for a half-marathon, a feat I never thought I would accomplish.  I remember week three of couch to 5K and feeling like I was going to die when I had to run for a 5 minute stretch.  And now I’ve run at least 3 miles multiple times.  I remember, in the beginning, after any run, I would pretty much be immobile for the rest of the day.  And just today, I ran 3 miles, then walked another 2 with the littles later on in the afternoon.

With every step I could feel myself letting go of the things that have been weighing me down.  I could feel my strength returning, knowing I was going to be able to handle the new challenges that would come my way.  I could feel my head clearing, seeing answers that have been in front me me all along.

That doesn’t mean, my world has dramatically changed. There are going to be bad days and bad weeks and maybe even bad months.  My problems aren’t going to go away.  My stresses will probably be multiplied over time.  But I need to remember the feeling I am having this week.  The feeling that I can accomplish things.  The feeling that I can get out of my head and leave my worries behind, at least for a little while.  The feeling that I am the one who decides which way my life should go by the choices that I make.

Because every moment is filled with these choices.  Run or don’t run, move on or stay put, feel sad or feel happy, hold on or let go?

100 Mile Challenge Miles Completed: 46.7

Current Weekly Miles: 12

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What the F**k?

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now.  See the positive possibilities.  Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, and unstoppable determination.” ~Ralph Marston

Most of the time I try to stay positive.  Most of the time I try to simply find some sort of bright side or silver lining.  And usually I can.

I’ve worked out every day this week.  Gym 6 times, running 3 times.  Eaten pretty healthy (or at least I thought so, definitely healthier than I had been).  I could feel the changes (my muscles weren’t as tight, my knees didn’t hurt quite as much).  I knew I was doing it right.

But today, seriously, what the fuck?  I mean, really?!?!  I decided I should go ahead and get on the scale since it had been a week.  I wasn’t expecting much change.  Just a little, maybe, to let me know I was moving in the right direction.  I know I am moving in the right direction.  But do you know what ISN’T moving in the right direction?  The damn scale.  Because somehow, after all my hard work, I am UP two pounds.  So, I ask you again, WHAT THE FUCK?

I try not to let the numbers on the scale define me.  I try to tell myself to look at the overall picture.  Clothes are getting loser, energy level is going up, runs have become a lot easier (still hard, but easier than when I first started).  I *know* I am moving forward.  I know I am moving in a positive direction.  I know the numbers on the scale don’t paint the whole picture.  But come on.  Help me out a little.  Give me something tangible, something in “writing” to show me I am doing a good job.

I’m not going to let this moment define my day like I would have a long time ago.  I’m not going to give up and think “why bother now” like I would have a long time ago.  And that’s progress.  I know that’s progress.

But really, come on!

End rant.

Dear Me: Man Up!

“Those who say life is knocking them down and giving them a tough time are usually the first to beat themselves up. Be on your own side.” ~Rasheed Ogunlaru

Why do I keep doing this to myself?  I feel like I have written this blog post 1,000 times before.  I get on a good streak with my running (or “running” as I like to say) and realize I am feeling great, I am happier, I’m ready to move forward and forge ahead, and then all of the sudden…BAM!  I just stop.  I don’t go to the gym.  I don’t run.  I eat pretty crappy.  I make up excuse after excuse after excuse for why I’m not doing anything, and then get super pissed when I don’t see results, or the pounds move down, or I’m feeling tired and cranky.

I feel like I’m constantly on a “one week on, one week off” kind of cycle and it’s killing me.  Why was it so much easier in the beginning, when I was 45 pounds heavier, to say no to that piece of cake, or that glass of wine, or to get my butt to the gym?  Is it because the results were so much more glaring?  Is it because I had people noticing the results and commenting on them?  Is it because I don’t have anyone going through this ordeal with me this time?  I had so much support back in the beginning and now I just feel like I am going at it alone.  Have I not mastered the art of telling myself to get out the door?  Have I not mastered the art of telling myself to put down the damn fork?

I don’t know what it is, but I have to start inspiring myself.  I have to start motivating myself.  I have to start being my own inspiration.

Because I can do this.

I know I can do this.

I have to do this.

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

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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)

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