I think I can’t

After two long months of injury, I’ve started running again.  Every morning when my alarm wakes me up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am, I throw on my running clothes and head out the door…and it sucks.  Not just in a way that all running sucks, but in a very real, painful, and depressing way.

My shin and my knee is still killing me.  And because of that I’m running all kinds of crazy causing other muscles to hurt.  My pace time is abysmal…and I don’t mean in the “I run a 13 minute mile, I’m so slow” way, but in an actual “people walk faster than I run” way.  And it’s killing me inside.

I don’t know if it’s the extra stress I have going on at work or simply the extra street I have going on at home (or maybe it’s a combination of both), but I can’t seem to get motivated to go any faster or do anymore.  I literally plod on and on and on praying that I get finished the run soon.

Yes, I feel great after.  Yes, I feel accomplished.  But the before and during are worse than they were when I first started.

And to top it off, I have a hard marathon in 10 weeks and I and scared out of my fucking mind.  I’m already having anxiety attacks about it and it’s 2.5 months away. I don’t think I can do this.  I will be nowhere near ready.  I am going to fail.  And it’s going to suck.  Big time.

I hate this feeling of inadequacy.  I hate the lack of self confidence I have.

But I hate more that I’m pretty sure I’m right about this.

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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.

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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The Long Way Home

“You live but once, you might as well be amusing.” ~Coco Chanel

Do you ever get that feeling that you know you want to write but you have no idea what you are going to say?  That’s how I feel at this moment.  I feel like I’ve been writing this post in my head all week, but when I sit to write, nothing is actually coming out.

My workout schedule is going well and I have managed to follow it for two weeks.  Now that I’m running more and going to the gym less I know I need to work more on my stretching and strength training.  I neglected it this week, and after my run today I can definitely feel it.

I started talking up the fact that I signed up for the Baltimore Half Marathon to some friends at work and a lot of people seem really interested.  A few have even signed up already.  It really shows me how much I have grown during my running and since the summer.

6 months ago, if someone had said something about going running with me or running a race with me I would have laughed and tried to figure out some way to get out of it.  I would have been too embarrassed about my size, my ability, and my speed to even contemplate running near someone I know.  Even today when I decided to run this afternoon instead of tomorrow (too busy, more snow) I ran in broad daylight in my tight running pants singing along (rather softly) to my music.  I was super slow with all the snow and ice, I wore an old ratty t-shirt, and sweat was dripping down my face and I just didn’t care.

And the fact is, why should I?  I’m doing this for me, not for anyone else.  Sure, the more the merrier.  I love when I hear that I have motivated someone to run or workout, and I am still desperately searching for a (non-speedy) running buddy, but that’s not why I am doing what I do.  I have no problem being friend or a motivator or a cheerleader for anyone who needs it.  I don’t know what I would have done without mine.  But the days are gone where I always need someone to hold my hand and go with me as I jumped into the unknown abyss.  I no longer feel the need for the outside reassurance that I so constantly craved.

I stepped on the scale today for the first time since I hit my 50 pound mark.  And guess what.  I’m still at the 50 pound mark.  This would have bothered me before, but not now.  I know my clothes are getting looser, even the next size down for some of my items is too big.  The number on the scale doesn’t define me like it once did.  While it took me a long time to figure it out, that’s not what this running journey is about anyway.

Every day I remember why I started running in the first place.  August, and the summer in general, had been tough and one day I had had enough.  I was depressed, and moody, and couldn’t find joy in even the smallest things.  I didn’t want to feel like that anymore.  So I went for a run.  Or really, not even a run, as I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile without stopping for a break.  And while I didn’t get serious about it until January, it quite literally saved my life, and continues to do so every time I venture out.  The first mile is always the hardest, but once I hit it, I feel like there is no stopping me.

I know I’m still super slow.  I know I don’t look like all the other runners out there.  And frankly, I just don’t care.  Months ago I would have.  Months ago I wouldn’t have even thought to run when other runners, “real runners” might be out there.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself.  But with the smiles and waves I got today as I trudged along through the snow and slush, I know no one is judging me except for me.

And right now, I’m feeling pretty fabulous.

100 Mile Challenge Miles Completed: 24

Weeks to the Baltimore Half Marathon: 35

Current Weekly Miles: 9

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What Goes Up…

“We may encounter defeats, but we must not be defeated.” ~Maya Angelou

I guess I should start with the good.

I finally hit my 100 Mile Challenge miles.  On Martin Luther King Day.  I can’t believe I finally did it.  So what do I do to celebrate?  Made another challenge.  Now instead of running and walking 100 miles, I plan on running 100 miles by the end of April.  If I stick with the new training plan I’ve come up with, and it stops freaking snowing, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Also, I finally it my 5o pound mark.  I have officially lost 50 pounds as of January 25 (the eve of my 33rd birthday).  I can’t believe it.  It has done nothing but motivate me to lose another 50.

Plus, I ordered new running clothes from Old Navy in my normal sizes.  Which I now have to return because they are too damn big.

And yet…

I have to admit, it doesn’t take a lot to make me feel defeated.  More likely than not, it’s because I’m not used to failing.  I usually don’t try things that I know I might fail and because I have such a deep seated fear of failure, I usually accomplish everything I set out to, no matter the cost.  But on Wednesday, I went out for my run.  It was supposed to be 2 miles, but after a mile I decided to call it quits.  It was cold (as in literally 3 degrees), I was tired, I did over 3 miles on the elliptical at the gym the night before, and really, the list could go on and on.  I probably could have kept going for that two miles, but I didn’t want to, so I didn’t. And for the rest of the evening, I was in a funk, mad at myself that I didn’t finish what I was supposed to.

And you know what?  I haven’t been running since the night I quit early.  This is what I always do.  I do what I want to do, and don’t do things I don’t want to do.  Plain and simple.  It’s pretty selfish, if you think about it.  I have trouble pushing myself past the comfortable.  I have trouble pushing myself, period.  I don’t like pain, I don’t like to feel uncomfortable so I do everything in my power to avoid it, whether that be in my workouts, at my job, or in my personal life.  And because I don’t like to be uncomfortable and because I don’t like to fail, I don’t take risks. And I need to start.

So what does a girl who needs motivation and needs to take a big risk in order to push herself do?  She signs up for a half-marathon.

Oh yes, you read that right.  I signed up for the Baltimore Half-Marathon.  13.1 miles.  At one time. In front of other people.  With real runners who don’t “trot”.  I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to run the whole thing.  I can’t even guarantee that I’ll finish.

And I’m sure people will laugh when I tell them. But I like a good challenge.  And I’ve come this far.

Plus, you should see how motivated I am when people say I can’t do something…

So here’s a toast to new life choices, to challenges, to proving others wrong, and to simply proving to myself that I can do this.

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