Shit’s about to get real.

*I’m writing this post for both of my blogs because it is equally pertinent to both.*

It’s gotten to that point again…the point I never thought I would be at again.  The weight is slowly creeping up and has been for the last few years, ever since Charlie was born.

It comes so slowly that you don’t even notice it.  A pound here, a pound there.  Then you realize that you are tired all the time and you just don’t have the energy to do much.  Just thinking about doing something *anything* makes you feel more tired.  You’ll do anything to NOT step on the scale (I just ate, I just showered, I’m wearing too many clothes it won’t be accurate), but when you finally do the number staring back at you takes your breath away.  And not in a good way.  Not in a John Cusack holding a boombox outside of your window way.  A sickening way.

Your clothes start to get tighter.  It must have shrunk in the dryer. Then there is no denying it.  They just don’t fit.  You need new ones.  You promise yourself you’ll just get one or two things until the weight comes off again and then you’ll reward yourself with brand new clothes to celebrate your hard work and perseverance.  Waking up is a drag because you have no idea what to wear.  Nothing really fits and nothing really looks good.  Every outfit becomes a best effort, one that your throw an over-sized cardigan over and hope for the best.

Things hurt.  Your body that you worked do hard to get healthy is now betraying you and groaning under the extra snacks and libations.  Your knees hurt.  Your hips hurt.  It is hard to get comfortable and sleep well at night.  You used to run miles after mile each week, now you loathe walking down the block when you don’t get a close parking spot.

You make promise after promise to yourself.  You will get healthier.  You will have energy again.  You will stop hurting.  You are two young to feel this way.  37 is too young to be falling apart.

But you’ll do it tomorrow.  It’s always tomorrow.  Because we always feel like we will have tomorrow.

I’m supposed to run the NYC marathon in 177 days.  Fate, destiny, a higher power, luck, whatever you want to call it, has landed me this opportunity and I told myself this is what I needed to get back again.  This would be my comeback.  I would DO THIS.

But I have 177 days until this marathon and I haven’t run in weeks.  And even though I used to run 10 miles at a time (albeit slow, but I did it), I know I can’t even run one anymore.

It breaks my heart.  More than leaving my husband.  More than my impending divorce.  More than anything, this is what breaks my heart.  That idea that I’m not who I used to be anymore.  The idea that I am not who I am SUPPOSED to be anymore.  The idea that I’m not who I was MEANT to be anymore.

It’s sobering and humiliating that I let it get this bad.  That I crashed to the bottom once again only to feel that there is no way up at all this time.  That I’ll tell myself I WILL get up and run tomorrow.  And I WILL be healthier and happier for it.

And I don’t.

I want to but I don’t do it.

Even though I know I need to.  I truly need to.  To save myself before I’m swallowed up whole again.

Complacency, Love, and the Weather

As is too often with these posts, I start by saying…it’s been too long since I have written anything new.  I could blame work, school, kids, life,  but really that would only be the icing on a cake too tall to tackle.  The real problem is myself and even that is not enough to explain what has happened to me over the past few months.  As is usually the case I am torn between being happy (complacent) with the life I have and wanting (needing) something more.

While I feel like I say it every year, this one, by far, has been the hardest one to navigate.  Between friendships found, and lost, and found, the bumpy and panic inducing ride that is 11 years of marriage, losing and finding myself over and over again, and simply finding time to breathe through it all, I feel like I’ve been broken and put back together so many times that I wonder if all my pieces have survived.

 

I wonder, sometimes, if my biggest problem is more simple than I realize.  That maybe my expectations for people and their behaviors are simply too high. Mostly, I feel that people will never meet mine and am forever doomed to sit and silence and ponder if it’s them or me.  And yet, why ponder?  I know it’s me. I simply assume everyone puts forth the same amount of everything I do: love, effort, understanding, movement, change.  And when they don’t I am undoubtably dissapointed.  “They” say expectation is the root of all heartache and this is something I wholeheartedly believe.  But do we give up, accept this, and work to assimilate to the “others”; the ones that we feel are disappointing us?  Decide to live in quiet complacency, knowing we could have it worse?  That maybe if we just let things go, decide to give up what we feel we need, that we could live an almost happy life?

Or do we simply wait?  Wait for the changes we are asking for.  Wait for love we know we need and deserve. Wait for a life we know we are not going to simply exist in…but actually live in.

The conundrum exists: do you hope for the hurricane or simply enjoy the calm and still air of almost?  Sometimes, the hurricane is worth it.  It’s beautiful and perfect in its power and destruction, changing the landscape of your life forever, tearing down the extraneous walls you’ve built up to keep things out (or in).  Other times it simply destroys everything, coming and going in meer moments, leaving an empty hole where something stable (maybe not profound or amazing), but stable used to be.

I’m watching people take these leaps and bounds in their lives and am becoming completely envious. Picking up and moving away.  Finding a new and meaningful job.  Leaving behind a mediocre life for a great one. For a while, it was hard to watch their journey because of the jealousy.  What luck to get exactly what you want; what you’ve been hoping for. They made it looked so easy.  But now, I know it is their bravery I covet.  The sheer courage to say “This is what I want and I’m going to go for it.”  They decided take some action instead of sitting around and talking, wondering, or even writing about it.  Taking the risk in the hurricane, even if it destroys everything.

No matter how much back and forth I do in these situations, deep down, I know what it is that I want.

And it’s time to go and buy an umbrella.

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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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Why walk when you can fly

“Because that’s the thing, the day before your life changes forever, it’s just like any other day.”

Finally, finally, finally.

Saturdays are a dreaded day.  The day I get on the scale.  I was worried about it, to be honest.  I was sick this week and didn’t really give it all my all.  So, I screwed my eyes up tight, got on a peaked at the number.  And it was lower.  Not by a lot, but by 1.4 pounds.  Which puts me at the lowest weight I’ve been since before Max was born.  Which puts me at 2.4 measly pounds until I hit 50 pounds lost.

And it’s those 1.4 pounds that make me realize that I can do this.  Since May my weight has been pretty consistent, gaining 1 or 2, losing 1 or 2, but never really going anywhere.  Not that I could blame it.  I wasn’t really doing anything to help it along.  I’d work out here and there, eat healthy here and there, run here and there, but never enough to amount to anything, and never enough for it to stick.

After a rocky 6 months, I’m finally ready to get back on track…and I am getting back on track. I feel like within the past three weeks, something has really clicked.  I’ve been able to stay on the healthy eating train.  I’ve stopped drinking except for one week-end day or special occasions, and really, haven’t had the desire as much as before.  I’ve been able stick to my workout plan for the most part and I’ve also been able to not get (too) upset the few times I have had to deviate from the plan for reasons beyond my control.

Overall the running is going well.  I’m still slow, but it doesn’t bother me as much anymore.  The speed will come.  One of my January goals was to be up to running 3 miles by the end of January.  Last Sunday I actually ran 4 (I still can’t believe it) so I’ve definitely met that goal!  I had never run more than 2.5 before that and to say that I felt accomplished was a major understatement.  I’m actually going to start incorporating some speed work on Saturdays with a friend (Hi Sara!).  We found the most AMAZING running trail today and can’t wait to try it out again next week.

My other January goals are going well too.  I’m halfway through two new books, have been soda free for 19 days, and have done quite a few things that I would normally have been scared to do.  I’m excited to set some February goals soon.  I’m hoping to get back on my one race a month kick, and maybe even rev it up to something past a 5K eventually.

The best part of all this?  For the first time in a long time, I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Usually, when things are going well, I tend to get scared and worried, believing that it’s only a matter of time before things start to turn sour again.  I’m gaining confidence, learning to tune out the small stuff, and battling (and moving on from) past demons that were keeping me stagnant.

And let me tell you…it’s an absolutely amazing, wonderful feeling.  I just can’t get enough.

I feel like I’m ready to battle whatever comes my way, whether it be big, or small, or nothing at all.

Upcoming Races/Runs

  • March: Shamrock 5K
  • April: Baltimore Color Run with Max (on his 5th birthday!!!)
  • May: Color Run in Queens with the Maryland and Childhood BFFs!
  • June: Charles Village 5K? Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K?
  • July: Electric Run
  • August: Trail Run at Boordy Vinyards?
  • September: Color Me Rad

And of course…the 100 mile challenge

Miles accomplished in the 100 Mile Challenge: 97.95

Miles to go in the 100 Mile Challenge: 2.05

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Self-Congratulations

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~Lucille Ball

I was feeling kind of low this morning.  I went for a run and it was remarkably slow.  I really felt defeated that I wasn’t back at the mile time I was before my knee injury.  With the feeling of defeat came the feeling of self doubt.  Why am I even doing this?  I’m never going to be a “runner” so I should just stop now.  This is the fastest it’s going to get so I should probably get used to it.

Then, after much agonizing and self doubt I decided to change my perspective.  No, I’m not as fast as I used to be, but I’ve only gone for four short runs (in new shoes) since I began running again.  No, I’m not as fast as I used to be, but we just got 3-4 inches of ice and snow and it’s been close to 0 degrees and I still went out twice (and didn’t kill myself on the ice).  No, I’m not as fast as I used to be, but I’ve also been cross training like crazy (strength training, body weight exercises, additional cardio, yoga) so my body needs to catch up to what I’m doing to it.  No, I’m not as fast as I used to be, but who the hell cares.  I’m still out there.  I’m running.  And I feel wonderful.

And, really, I’ve accomplished quite a lot, even just since Christmas.  I’ve stuck with my running and gym workout plan.  I’ve completed every day of the plank, push-up, and squat challenges that I decided to work on this month, I’ve lost almost 5 pounds, and I’ve been eating quite a bit healthier and tracking it all on My Fitness Pal.  Plus, today, I put on my new pair of compression running pants I got on clearance at Dicks.  And they are an XL.  And they fit.  Yup, only one X in that size.  This time last year, there were three.

The best part is, I have no doubt that I will be able to keep this up.  Last year, had you told me I would love running and would be signing up for race after race, I would have told you you were crazy.  But now…

It’s amazing how things change and how even the bad things in our life can lead us to something good.

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Challenges: The Obligatory Resolutions Post

“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself.” ~Muhammad Ali

So, I guess this could be considered my obligatory New Years Resolution post.  I could bore you with my endless downpour of yearly recycled resolutions (drink less, eat more vegetables, be a nicer wife, be a better mother, etc.) but I won’t.  These are the same hundred or so plans that I make every year and every year I feel like a failure when I still occasionally suck at being a mom, when I still occasionally yell at my husband for no apparent reason, when I still occasionally have one too many glasses of wine, and when I still occasionally choose party mix over carrots.

And somehow, when I keep making the same resolutions year after year, I wonder why nothing changes; why I’m still depressed more than I’m happy, why I’m still not at the weight or fitness level that I want to be, why my home life is not as wonderful as it could be.  Part of this, of course, is that I never put forth enough effort.  For about two weeks I do everything in my power to change what I think needs to be changed, and then when things do change, I stop putting forth any effort and slack off…and things tend to go back to sucking. Shocking, I know.

Which is why, this year, I’m making monthly resolutions as opposed to yearly ones.  I’m hoping that this way I can keep things fresh, change things up when I need to, evaluate what’s working and what’s not, tweak and add and subtract when needed.  Also, I’ll be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I tend to loose focus or get discouraged or simply become complacent when I have too long to complete something.  And, of course, there is the procrastination aspect as well.  Why do today what you can do tomorrow instead?

A resolution, simply put, is the firm idea to do or not do something.  I guess, these ideas that I have for the month of January aren’t really resolutions so much as they are challenges and goals…things I am hoping to accomplish, though in the strict sense of the word I am resolute about accomplishing them.

So, long story short, each month I’ll come up with some sort of theme that encompasses the things I want to accomplish and at the end of the month evaluate how I did and make up new goals (or keep the same goals) for the next month.

January’s theme is simple: Take yourself seriously.  You are important. So many times I decide I can’t do things simply based on what other people would say if they found out I was doing them.  If I want to be a runner, I will.  If I want to learn a new language, I’ll do it.  If I want to dye my hair green, so be it.  Sometimes it’s ok to be selfish about things you want, especially if it will make you a better person in the long run.  And for those people who will judge, or be jealous, or try to bring you down, screw them.  I’ve got too much other crap going on. I don’t need any added negativity.

January’s Goals and Challenges

Body
1. Run 3-4 days a week

2. Be able to run 3 miles by the end of January

3. Complete the planking, squats, and pushup challenge (on pinterest)

4. Give up diet coke

Mind:
1. Take the opportunity to write at least twice a week

2. Read 2 new books

3. Learn a different knitting stitch than the only one that know

Soul:
1. NO cellphone, ipad, computer after 9:30 pm unless an emergency (or reading a book on the ipad, as I wind up downloading most of them).  No more mindless surfing and time wasting.

2. Do something scary each week: call someone on the phone, wear my running pants without feeling the need to hike shorts over them simply because I’m self conscious, etc.

3. Make an effort to be more world-conscious: shop more at local businesses, stop being so wasteful, etc.

4. Stop being so damn angry all the time: at my students, at my own kids, at my husband, at friends who have let me down.  I need to stop carrying this baggage every where I go.  It’s not solving any problems.

Honestly, these don’t seem so unreasonable (except maybe the diet coke :).

I know I can do it and I know there are people out there who will support me in this endeavor, and really, support me anything I decide to do.  And those are the people I really need to keep around.

Blast from the Past: 2012 New Year’s Post

Here is my New Years Resolution Post from 2012.  Oh how things change and still remain the same.

Each year I try and come up with a few (dozen) New Year’s resolutions, and every year I fail miserably when trying to follow them.  Maybe it’s because I know that 7 million other people are making the same exact ones (eat healthier, exercise more, yell at the kids less).  I don’t know.  The point is that this year I am only going to make one resolution: no regrets.  I have spent so many years regretting almost every decision I have made and I realize this is a giant waste of my time.  No matter what choice I made I always figured that it was the wrong one, that maybe the grass was greener on the other side of the fence.  Then I worry and complain and whine because yet again I didn’t get my way (when in fact, that’s exactly what I got).

I came up with this resolution a few nights ago when a friend asked me and my husband out for New Years Eve.  I had to decline because of the kids and I began to reminisce about what it was like before I had kids.  When M was first born I was too scared to ever think that way.  M was our little miracle baby after a bunch of mishaps so it felt almost blasphemous to feel tired and simply need a break.  Once O came along though, the weight of working full time and having two tiny kids really did start to take its toll and I began to remember what it felt like to sleep in, eat whenever/whatever I wanted, drive out to the beach on a moments notice, pick up and move to a different state, go out with friends when they invited…

I started to think where I would be if I hadn’t had kids.  Would I be teaching english in Chile?  Would I have joined the Peace Corps?  Would I be getting my Ph.D?  All these little thoughts begin to creep into my sub conscience and I start to feel jilted, like I would be so much happier and better off if I had waited for a few more years and really done these wonderful, un-kid friendly things.

And then O looks at me a cracks up and M comes over to give me a snuggle and I realize had I become that person, running around the world doing all these wonderful things, what I would be thinking is how wonderful I bet my life would be if I had children to share it with.

Here’s to no regrets in 2012.