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.

Starting Over

Don’t call it a comeback…

I’ve started going to the gym before work again.  On Monday when my alarm went off I immediately turned it off, rolled over, and went right back to sleep…just as I had done the last two weeks.  But after 5 minutes of laying there I knew I had to get up and go.  And I actually did.  I was so proud of myself for getting up on Monday that I was able to easily rise out of bed today.  Fingers are crossed for tomorrow and the rest of the week.

I’d forgotten how much better I felt during the day when I worked out in the morning. I feel calmer (though it’s probably just that I’m tired) and more focused.  I’m able to tone my anxiety down quicker and compartmentalize better (This is a school worry.  You are home with the kids.  Stop thinking about this).  And this is just after 2 days.

But 2 days seems to be the most I can do these days.  Usually by day 3 I convince myself I need a “break” and the one morning off turns into a week or more.

It’s amazing how much easier it was to work out when I was unhappy.  When it was hard to be at home or spend time with Mike I would always find time to take a break at the gym.  When my dad died and I spiraled into my summer of self destruction, running was the thing that was able to pull my back to the surface long enough to take a breath.

But now, bed and home are my safety nets.  I like being here.  It’s cozy and warm and far away from the anxieties of a bad marriage and an overly stressful job.  It’s hard to get up and go.  It’s hard to leave the place where I feel the safest.

But I’ve done it twice this week.  I managed to get myself up and go, even when I did it alone.  So I can do it again, I know I can.

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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.

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

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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In vino veritas…unless you’re giving it up

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

If you read my last post, you know I did something completely insane.  I signed up for a half marathon.  And I don’t just mean “signed up”.  I mean paid a rather large entrance fee to run with other people who are “real runners” and huff and puff for 13.1 miles…after which  I will promptly die.  I know I am NOWHERE close to being ready for it yet, but the half marathon isn’t until October, so I know I have time to get there.

After making the commitment, I decided that I should actually get serious about it.  Since I’ve only been running off and on for a few months, a couple times a week at most I still don’t know exactly what I’m doing.  I don’t know a lot about “training” or pacing or any of that other runner lingo, so I did what anyone else in my position would do…took to the computer.  So, after much internet (Pinterest) research I created a plan that includes running and cross training and takes me to June.  This is the first week in my training plan and I’m proud to say as long as I complete my short run tomorrow, I will have followed it every day.  It’s crazy to see that my first week I’m only running 8 miles, but by June, I’m up to about 25 per week.

With getting serious about the training plan, I feel like I also need to get serious about other things, such as food, getting enough sleep, and de-stressing.  And because of that, I think it’s time to say good-bye to the wine.  Now, you wouldn’t know if from my facebook account, but I actually don’t drink that much.  But, it’s probably more than I should, I know it’s taking the place of the water I should be drinking on certain nights.  Now, I’m not saying I’m completely giving it up.  There is nothing stopping me from having a glass out with friends after work, or toasting at a wedding, but I think it’s just time to take a break from it, especially at home, and see where this leads me.

Honestly, if I’m going to do this running thing, I want to really do it and I want to do it right.  I love it and it has changed me in more ways than most people know.

I can already see so many changes since picking running back up last month.  I can go for miles (yes plural) without having to stop.  I’m not as out of breath.  I’m not as sore afterwards.  2 miles no longer seems like an eternity (though that first mile is always the hardest), in fact, to me it feels super short.  Even tonight when I attempted to take the kids out with me on a 2 mile run, they got tired before I did.  I used to simply get tired watching them play.  And that was really the most amazing thing.

I’ve also seen changes in my mood.  I’m happier, less stressed, and have a more positive outlook.  Sure, I still vent and get upset, but not to the degree I used to.

So, a toast to how much I’ve put behind me and all the things I have to look forward to in the future.  A toast to say goodbye to a stress reliever I don’t need as much any more.

A final toast with a fancy bottle for a most important occasion.

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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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