Thoughts on Noom

I joined Noom at the end of September 2020. I weighed 179 pounds and set a goal to lose 34 pounds to end up at 145 pounds on my 5′ 6″ frame. Today, 11 January 2021, I weigh 169 pounds. Using the app, before the holidays, I weighed 163 pounds. I was still using the app in between. I just gained 6 pounds on the scale and most of it was fat. *I do body composition every 2 weeks with a store called Complete Nutrition.

The Basics

From the start, there were daily tasks in the app.

  • Weigh myself. I was asked to weigh myself daily at the same time. The intent was to take away the stigma of the scale.
  • Track my food. There was a calorie budget based on information given to the app upon signing up. My budget was 1200 calories per day with half of my workout calories added back if I logged a workout. The food diary was divided into red, yellow, and green foods. The basis for the color assignments was “caloric density,” or the volume of the foods in relationship to the calories they contained.
  • Read lessons based on the psychological aspect of weight loss. Each day, there was a set of lessons to read. Often, there was a larger theme to the lesson that went on for a week. Lessons included how to read food labels, how to deal with cravings, and other helpful things to assist with weight loss. I actually took notes and did some of my own research to help the information sink in. This part is basically dialectical behavioral therapy.
  • Take mini quizzes. These were set up to try to help the information sink in that had been learned. They tend to remind me of that often in the introduction to the quizzes.
  • Step Tracker and Fitness Encouragement: The app can automatically adjust steps and is helpful for people who are not regularly physically active. I did not find most of the advice particularly helpful since I was already active 6 days a week prior to getting the app.

A Goal Specialist and a Support Group with a Group Leader

The goal specialist uses private messages within the app to chat back and forth with a person individually. I would have a quick chat with her weekly and set small goals to help with my bigger goal. She would send me articles with lessons from Noom.

The support group was like a social feed dedicated to people on the app. I think we were matched based on where we were in the lesson plans. Some people posted daily, and some rarely. The lessons would encourage us to share things with the group, but I rarely did. Our group leader would post most weekdays with something that was to be interacted with. It was often a question posed like, “How do you plan to deal with challenges over the holidays?” Sometimes, she would post a helpful motivational photo along with her question.

Self Renewing Membership and Unhelpful Customer Service

Now I’ll share the reason I’m not on Noom anymore. I told my goal specialist I didn’t want to renew when the time came up [in May]. After my 7 day trial, I was charged $169 for 7 months that would automatically renew at the same cost and time frame. My request was sent and answered with a full refund and cancellation. I lost access to my group and my specialist, but could still view my lessons and my food diary. Confused, I got in touch with their customer service and explained the mistake. They apologized, but said I had to sign back up for the program at a discount for my troubles and they would cancel the automatic renewal immediately afterward. I signed up for a month, emailed to remind them to turn off automatic renewal, and received a refund and cancellation again. Upon telling them that this was a mistake, I declined to repeat signup.

My Conclusion

The program/application is somewhat costly, especially since the price is variable and not published anywhere. My cost was $24 a month, but I’ve known people to pay $20 per month. I found the lessons to be informative and helpful to me. There were some parts of the lessons that were annoying due to their repetition and attempts to be humorous. They use the word “nerd” often and themes from popular culture as attempts to be relevant or use entertainment to maintain attention. The cringe or eye roll factor at that and some typographical errors can take away from the lesson at hand. I didn’t feel like my Goal Specialist and I had a particularly meaningful relationship and I didn’t feel at all accountable to the smaller goals she gave me. I disagreed with the food journal colors and I felt like my calorie goal was too low. I tried to adjust my goals and Noom did not adjust my calories in the app. My hunger contributed to some of my slips back into eating binges. I got tired of supplementing with protein shakes, which could be anywhere from a green, yellow, or red food depending on the brand and flavor. Caloric density could be helpful in understanding which foods were more filling, but the colors used led me to feel “guilt” for eating red foods despite the necessity to eat them for nutrition. An example of similar foods with very different colors is grapes vs raisins. 100 calories of grapes is a green food and 100 calories of raisins is a red food. This is because the water content in the grapes makes them more filling than their dried counterpart. While this is helpful information, the system was flawed in other areas. They didn’t have the ability to enter and divide recipes and nor fully accurate listings of some foods.I have experienced a small amount of fat loss while using the program, but I was not 100% following it after about 6 weeks. I think Noom could work for people who have tried a lot of restrictive diets and need a brand new starting point. It might even help someone with disordered eating. It helped me with my relationship with food and my goal is no longer a number on the scale thanks to Noom, but the app wasn’t enough to keep me long term. I think it was helpful in stress management, but weight loss had proven to be complicated for the app to help me achieve.

Thanks for reading! I intend to continue tracking my food so I can ensure I’m getting the fuel I need for my fat loss and for my workouts. I wasn’t asked by Noom or anyone else to write this. I wanted to be open about my journey just as I always have been. Have you tried Noom? Other programs?

Carrots, Peppers, and Grapes are “Green” Foods
Naan is “Red,” but so is hummus.

Eleven Days to 40

I turn 40 on January 5th. I planned to run a 40 day streak leading to my birthday. That didn’t happen thanks to my foot tendons and nerves. I intended to do 40 “firsts” over the course of the year. My lofty plans included trying to jump out of an airplane with a parachute, considering another marathon, and my first trip to Germany.

I’m not worried about turning 40. In fact, this is the most “myself” I’ve ever been in my life. I’m the most assertive and comfortable in my skin than I can recall being in the entirety of my existence. I’m physically healthy and I’m working on my mental health daily.

Even so, I’ve felt the creep of my mental illness this week. I am fighting the ice cold waves of depression trying to flow into the flames of positivity I’ve been building up. I still can’t do a pull up despite working at it regularly. I get injuries from running every time I start gaining on my target speed. I love running too much to give it up. I hate not be able to run and release my stress. I don’t have time to train for a marathon even if I wanted to try again. I’m not good enough at crossfit to keep trying. Even if I enjoy doing it, my coaches and peers will never respect me because I can’t do all the movements [like freaking pull ups]. I did a shitty job competing in crossfit despite giving it my all. Other people who have been at it for much less time are surpassing me in strength and ability. I’ll never lose these last 15 pounds of fat and I’ll probably gain all the weight I’ve lost back anyway. I can be real with people and kind and they’ll turn around and deceive me anyway. I can’t make friends. I’m not exactly mother or wife of the year and being around everyone all of the time can really wear at me. That makes me feel guilty.

I’ve been learning positive affirmations. I posted supportive statements in the places I spend the most time. It’s hard not to roll my eyes at them when I’m not feeling well, but I can still start to believe the things I read. I feel pretty good about life most of the time, but negativity intrudes when I’m simply enjoying some quiet time or doing something mundane. I don’t want other people to feel like I do, so I radiate the positive when I’m feeling that way. If I find something that makes me smile, I instantly share it. I’m thanking people for saying things that make me feel good or especially laugh. I don’t feel as low as I have on my lows in the past. Maybe it’s the newer meds. Could be that I’m working on my my mental health more. Perhaps it’s a hybrid of those things.

This year, I experienced new things. This was my first pandemic and quarantine. I started and finished the One Year Bible for the first time. I’ve totaled 40 pounds lost since 2019 and I weigh as much as I did when I got married. I kept up with my fitness during the lockdowns and became close to my friends through that shared situation. I started working on my nutrition from a psychological stand and made a positive impact on not only my weight, but my attitude. I competed in my first crossfit style competition. I got to run a competitive half marathon and barely missed my best time, which is an accomplishment. I discovered the few close friends I have always support me even when the enemy is in my head. My husband is really supportive even when I’m being a brat [and I can be a total brat]. There are people who tell me I inspire them or somehow bring them joy and that’s all I can hope for by working hard and being positive. I’m finding beauty in the details that I took for granted. I’m not unhappy. The fact that some of these things are directly in opposition of one another doesn’t make either untrue. It makes it clear that the impermanent things of this life are unimportant in the larger picture. I yearn for greatness and miss the goodness of things. I have to work on that to reap more positivity from life.

Thanks for reading! I’ve been marinating on this for a few days and I couldn’t get how I would put all of these things into a readable length. Here’s a photo of me holding the gallon water bottle my husband gifted me for Christmas. Now I don’t need to refill my 32oz four times….

A gallon of water is heavy, guys…

Oh well, I like lemons

I had a nagging pain in my feet for months that I refused to give a name It was worse in my left foot than in my right. I was well aware that I had symptoms of plantar fasciitis. I tried stretches for my feet and legs. I used kinesiology tape, compression, soaking, and special massage tools for my legs and feet. I reduced my running mileage. I discussed it with the chiropractor as it ebbed and flowed with my half marathon training. My chiropractor suggested physical therapy. It started becoming too painful to walk at the end of the day, so I tolerated it a little longer. I finally called the podiatrist that took care of my 2016 injury and they found me a same day appointment.

The doctor ordered x-rays for my feet to ensure the pain wasn’t from a stress fracture. The pain was atypical for plantar fasciitis in that it increased through the day. Then, he offered me a few options to help me. His first option was to put my foot into a soft cast and use a boot for 6 weeks to allow it to “calm down” in there. He was clear that my ability to exercise would be limited to nothing on my feet. He also offered physical therapy, to which I was less excited about since I’d already been using therapy exercises. The option I went with was a cortisone shot into the most painful part of my heel. After discussing the risks, including rupturing the fascia, I asked for the shot. It was really unpleasant and that was how I described the pain to him as he performed the procedure.

I can’t run for at least 4 weeks. I miss the little trips the running took me on. I miss running with my dog. I’m sad that I lost progress that I made in my speed. I’m letting those feelings happen and pass. There isn’t anything wrong with having those emotions. Fortunately, I’ve been learning about that lately.

I have focused on what I can do with my body and what can be improved upon while I wait. I had pain during my workouts with a sore heel. I’ve been grateful that I have a coach who understood and explained to me what to do to deal with the injury and avoid aggravation. I’ve chosen to be optimistic about how I can improve with my fitness in the meantime.

I could really have let this deter me from being excited about the opportunity. I am pretty sure if running was my only sport, I would not have been as positive in this situation. There’s no way to know for sure because this is my reality.

Thanks for reading! I hope you are finding ways to enjoy the holidays. I hope to share some progress from my nutrition and psychological changes I’ve been doing in the near future.

A little humor regarding my feet.

Positivity Pathway

It seems like a platitude. Complaining is contagious. Negative draws negative. Fortunately enough, sharing positivity breeds positivity. The whole “your vibe attracts your tribe,” is mostly true. Although, I like to think that most people are drawn to positive people regardless of their own mindset. I want to be known and then remembered for positivity. I’m ensuring I reinforce my positive thoughts so those are the thoughts that grow and flourish within me.

I’ve been using Noom for 60 days. I lost weight and inches. I have yet to compare my most recent body composition numbers for fat versus muscle comparisons. I’ve taken photos of my progress and I didn’t see the difference in my body. My midsection has changed over the year. My clothes fit loose and I’ve started getting rid of things that are a couple sizes too big. I have a way to go, but my hard work has shown through my progress.

All three of those are me. I don’t see much change.
Natural Waist, Belly Button, Largest part of my hips, weight in pounds.

There’s proof I’ve changed over the last 60 days. I’m making positive changes toward my health and wellness in addition to losing fat. I’ve slipped up a few times. Technically the numbers could be better if I hadn’t backtracked. A lot of things could be different, though. Things don’t change based on “shoulda, coulda, woulda”. They change with taking steps toward my goal and staying the course. I am better equipped to deal with my setbacks than I was at the start. I’m also more aware of where to look for support and insight.

My lessons with Noom have given me tools to deal with thought distortions in this process. The thoughts that hit me and tell me I won’t be able to sustain changing permanently. My thoughts say “I deserve to eat this thing I want.” Sometimes, I think that I’ll just gain it all back anyway. I worry that I won’t make my goal and that my effort is all for nothing. None of that is true right now and likely ever. There is no way for me to know what my results will be, but the only way to know is to stay with it and see it through.

I feel that writing things helps me put them into action.

Not every day is going to be one where I do everything I should. That doesn’t mean that the bad days are the undoing of the whole journey. I just have to treat it like an opportunity to review what went wrong and what needs to happen to minimize the chances of it happening again.

Thanks for reading! I hope this helps you somehow along your own journey through life, fitness, or whatever. I’ve started the running streak and I have a nutrition “challenge” approaching, so I’ll probably talk about that next time.

Constant [Work In] Progress

The blog is called “Jenn’s Journey,” guys. I’ve been making progress since the start, I’ve had some digressions along the way. I’ve had some clear misses, but a lot more to celebrate.

Today, I hit 40 pounds lost on the scale. I actually lost 40 pounds of fat already, but due to muscle gain, it didn’t clearly say so on my bathroom scale. I can’t wait to have another “In Body” this week to tell me how my progress is on that.

I’m still using Noom. I enjoy it for help with eating well and managing the psychological aspect of weight loss. I study the daily lessons and I’m getting useful information from it. I’ve dealt with my cravings better and found ways to eat better while still eating whatever I want. Drawbacks within the app exist. The food tracking feature isn’t friendly to multi serving recipes and some foods are listed incorrectly. It also isn’t built around someone who is already athletic, so some lessons aren’t helpful because they revolve around adding physical activity to a sedentary lifestyle. I’ve utilized My Fitness Pal’s recipe feature to figure out calories for meals like chilli from scratch.

I haven’t been running as much since the half marathon. That’s not unusual in November of each year. I start back up at Thanksgiving for the holiday streak. I run a mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Years Day and end up stretching it to my January 5th birthday. Last year, that stretch was 39 days and I was turning 39, so I did it for that. This year, the stretch is 40 days. Obviously, I need to do it again. I ran a 5k last week that was a PR on my Garmin. I am really happy to see that my speed is improving even if my distance will be pulled back for a while. The streak keeps me running and getting fresh air; albeit very cold air.

I’ve been working out at the gym [Be Strong] nearly every day. I finally sat down with a coach and discussed how to address the things I want to improve upon. With a few key points and some direction, I have put more time into it each day and have improved in a couple areas. Some of it is simply spending a little extra time on warming up. Then, there are pull ups. I swear it’s a bad word. That hasn’t stopped me from working on being able to hang from the bar longer than before and working on the strength I need to do the movement.

I’m quite nervous about the competition that I signed up for. It happens in less than two weeks. I know I can do the workouts, but I’ve never had to do these things competitively. How do I know I won’t spaz out and mess everything up? Ugh. Mortified in front of people I know and some that I respect. That’s meant to be funny, so don’t read into it.

Anyway, pray for me. Wish me luck. Advise me with experience. Thanks for reading! I go back to work tomorrow for the first time since March. So many new things!!!

A Real Half Marathon

I got to run a real half marathon this weekend in Central Illinois. It was chip timed, Boston Qualifying, and there were other people there. The water stop was different since they were single use water bottles. Nutrition was the responsibility of the runners and was set on a self service table before the “gun.” The course was loops instead of an out and back or single loop. The race was put on by It’s Race Time, who provided bib boards to the participants in place of disposable pins. They had an app I used and received cheers from my adoring fans throughout the race. I loved the experience. A food truck stepped up and gave us a free post race meal. Healthy in a Hurry had really good food, by the way. I had the fish tacos, which were grilled fish, cole slaw, white cheese, and sauce on tortillas. Delicious.

I have no idea how the conversation started last week, but I was at the gym and the conversation went to the coming half marathon. I somehow agreed that I could PR despite my own reservations about being able to. I spent the next couple days trying to shift my “I’ll try,” into “I’ll do it.” I convinced myself that I had to do it instead of simply being able.

Sunday morning arrived and it was windy and chilly as expected. I knew exactly what to wear from experience. I would need a short sleeve shirt, fake sleeves, gloves, and my pants that are vented on the backs of the legs. My threshold for long vs short sleeves is about 40 degrees. I can run cold, but if I get too hot, it’s miserable. My start wave was 8:20, which was great for me because that meant I could eat a real breakfast (overnight oats) instead of a stroopwafel like I do for early morning runs. I run better on real food. I drank a caffeinated Nuun to fill up on electrolytes prior to the race. I made sure to use the bathroom as much as possible before heading out on my 20 minute drive to Lake Bloomington.

I got to the race site and parked on the rural road shoulder meaning my car was leaning into a ditch. I walked down to Judy’s car and sat inside the warm car chatting with her until my wave was about to start. I walked to the start and it seemed like nobody was there despite the announcement that the wave started in 4 minutes. I took a dot on the ground near the middle and saw very few people behind me. The horn sounded and we were off. I was running close to a 9 minute pace and trying to pull back so I wouldn’t burn out, but I felt like the effort was easy. I stopped looking down at my watch as more people passed. I think everyone in my heat got ahead of me. I tried to just run comfortably.

After the first mile, we were into the loop with short hills and a couple of longer ones. I was feeling good. The app on the phone said my estimated finish time was 2 hours 12 minutes. That was 5 minutes better than what I was planning. I slowly realized that the app was not as accurate as my watch as each mile ticked along. I took my first GU at 3.5 miles as planned. I walked as I took it and my water, also part of what I planned. The GU exploded all over my hand and face and I squeezed it into my mouth. It was chocolate flavored. I licked what I could off of my gloves and tried to wipe my face with my shirt. It distracted me a little bit. I asked someone at the water table whether I had GU on my face and explained I had to know since it was brown. I got through the first loop and the checkpoint (the start/finish line was a turnaround).

I went back toward the loop and I really felt confident and comfortable. I was on pace to finish in the time I’d planned and I was hearing cheers through the app at every mile I crossed. I was able to take another GU around 7 miles without getting it all over myself thanks to removing my gloves. My music was keeping me entertained and I knew the course from running in training. I turned the checkpoint again and took the energy of the people who cheered. I decided to take my final nutrition at 9 miles for a shot of energy. I saw sweat on my sleeves and pulled them off to tie them around my belt. I put the gloves back on because the wind was making my hands cold. I was still comfortable and my pace felt good.

With only four miles left, I ran a couple hills, looked at my pace and saw it slowing. I felt like it was out of control. I tried to move my feet faster, drop them more quickly, lean forward. None of my usual tricks were working. Inside of mile 11, I started feeling disoriented with nobody around. I thought I’d gotten off course despite having just passed a man I’d seen twice before taking race photos. I did the math and realized that I’d have to run 2 miles at less than 9 minutes each to beat my PR. I took 30 seconds and walked to try to regain my speed. My pace didn’t rebound when I started running again. I realized my mind was falling apart before my body and took my headphones off and prayed. I focused on nothing more than finishing the race because my mind would not stop telling me I needed to walk because I wasn’t going to get my time and it would be more comfortable to walk. I felt my eyes well up and no tears came. I felt angry. Once I could see the finish line, I sped up as much as I could and it wasn’t as fast as some of the times I finish a run. I crossed the finish line at 2 hours 20 minutes and 18 seconds. I was relieved. I knew before I got there I wasn’t going to PR that day. I didn’t even check my time when I crossed. My friend, Sandra brought me a water and congratulated me and chatted. I looked at my time after that. I finished my 9th half marathon with a time 22 minutes better than my Detroit time last October. I finished 2 minutes and 20 seconds from my best. That’s still pretty good and the best I’ve done since my injury in 2016.

That was not my intent. I wanted to PR my half marathon before turning 40 in January 2021. I had no idea there wouldn’t be races this year. My plan was to get that record out of the way in Missouri on October 4th. That was supposed to be my 10th half marathon. Oh well.

Now I’m signed up for a competition at my gym next month. I was reluctant to sign up, but somehow my own words were reflected in something and I felt like it was a sign that I should. I’d said in a photo caption after my race: “It isn’t about winning. Sometimes it’s just about being the best damn me I can be. I rocked that. I owned it.”

Thanks for reading! I can’t wait to tell you more about my adventures.

Another Weight Loss Attempt?

A couple weeks ago, I started Noom to lose weight. Since March 2019, I’ve lost about 30 pounds. I’ve been stuck at that weight and changing body composition. I lost fat and gained muscle slowly, but I was still looking at myself and seeing my soft stomach, arms I referred to as “baby fat,” and generally not being as fit looking as I’d wanted. I have tried other methods to increase my fat loss including counting macros. My issue was my relationship with food. I wouldn’t let myself eat enough calories to fuel my workouts and I’d feel weak and exhausted. I would diet strict and every slip would turn into a binge or into 3 meals of fast food in a row to make up for all I’d missed.

My reason for choosing Noom was that it said that it used psychology to help people change their habits. It referenced dialectical behavioral therapy as one of the methods. I signed on for a 2 week trial that ended today and I’m going to continue through the course of the program.

So far, I enjoyed cookies a couple times and it was within my acceptable calories and food types. I didn’t over indulge. I’ve lost about 5 pounds. My goal was initially to lose 30 pounds. My last body composition said that I should lose 25 pounds of fat. My body mass index stated that I need to lose about 16 pounds to be within a “normal” range.

While I’m really excited about the prospect of getting to my goal, I’m still in the early stages. I had moments where I doubted myself. I’ve gone over on calories. I ate too many fats in a day. I had to battle the voice inside that wanted me to give up and enjoy anything I wanted instead of what I needed for fuel. I had to look back on articles to find out how to deal with “I can’t ever do this.”

My husband has been supportive, but doesn’t totally understand that I can eat whatever I want to with planning. My friends that I told were not fully behind the idea of me paying for a program. I have hit a lot of walls looking for help with this for years. I joined my current gym after trying different types of cross training alongside my running for a few years. That was when I finally lost what I did, so who’s to say this won’t work?

My depression has improved. I’m not fully attributing that to dietary changes as I had the medication adjustment recently. I have been more sleepy than I’d like to be, but I’m aware that the cause is getting up at 5am after waking up a lot at night. I sure do enjoy working out at 6am, now. I feel like I have the rest of the day to get things done. The biggest thing on my mind lately is that I can’t be sure if my perception is messed up because of my mental illness or if people don’t like me, so I’m having a hard time communicating. I don’t want to annoy anyone, I suppose. That would be a talk therapy or workbook type of issue, though.

Athletically, I am probably at a plateau. I’m going to work on what I can and do my half marathon on the 25th. Then, I’ll scale back the weekend runs a little bit. I have been reading articles and saving them and I intend to work on myself and what I can fix.

Thank you for reading! I can’t wait to share progress with you. I also hope that I can bring something useful back to you from my half marathon. Please don’t hesitate to comment anything or even inbox me if you don’t want everyone to see.

I actually feel pretty confident here. Loved my dress!

I’m calling it a win because I’ve needed one…

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I’d been struggling with depression and would be requesting a medication adjustment from my doctor. She adjusted my current medication and scheduled an in person follow up for a month in the future. I’ve had my ups and downs. I was better for a couple weeks and then I reached a point where I had some really dark thoughts and was too deep in it to confide in anyone about it. I’m still struggling with darkness, but I’m not trying to think of ways to end my life anymore. I’m still not myself and I know it, but I can’t snap my fingers and bring myself back. Faking it until I make it, I suppose.

I was trying my hardest with workouts at the gym and coming out on the bottom most days. I began to feel like my best efforts weren’t worth it and considered quitting. I distanced myself from talking to people because I didn’t want to discuss what I’d already decided in my head. I didn’t want anyone to think they should have known. I haven’t been able to get my speed up on long runs. Despite my goal this year of getting a PR, I was coming up much slower. I wasn’t seeing anything in myself past mediocrity and wanted to be really good at something. I couldn’t see past comparison to find the joy in my own progress.

I don’t know how much I like sharing any of this. Truth is, I fell into this around the same time last year when I was off medication. I can’t believe it came back to haunt me. The thing that caused my PTSD didn’t happen until late November.

Anyway, I made my best efforts to just do things. Going through the motions would ensure I didn’t throw any red flags to anyone. Thursday, I decided to try to use a weight I didn’t think I would be able to use to do the workout. I was mostly proud of myself right after finishing. Later in the day, I wasn’t as proud. Thursday night, I saw there were box jumps on the workout the next day. I went out to my garage for an hour and practiced until dinner and then again for about 30 minutes. I banged my shins and knees on the edge. I had the box close to the wall so I wouldn’t fall forward and I knocked my knuckles into the wall multiple times catching myself. I never made it on top of the 20″ box that night. Friday, I did the workout stepping up to the box instead of jumping. I waited until most everyone was gone after class and I pulled out a box and practiced until I finally did box jumps. I took a video and posted it because I did it. Even the joy from that faded later in the day.

Saturday, I did a workout where a mile run was at the beginning and end of the workout. While it was my fault my team came in dead last because of my inability to put 95 pounds over my head [again], my first mile was 8:49 and that was fast for me to run without a warm up.

Sunday, my husband encouraged me to sleep in and run after church. I got ready and decided I would go run on another part of the trail instead of by my house. I set out for 11 miles while in the back of my mind wanting to run 13.1 miles. I felt so good, I had to slow myself down at times. Around 11 miles, the wheels started to fall off and everything in me told me to quit. Then, I remembered that quitting is conditioned and the more I quit, the more I’d become comfortable with it. I don’t quit. I never have. I paused a moment, put my arms over my head, took a drink of water, and set back off along the trail. Near my car, I still had a little over a half mile to go. I slowed a little looking back thinking that nobody knew I wanted to go 13.1 miles and nobody would know if I didn’t finish. Then, I realized that I knew and I had committed to myself. I ran to 13 miles and turned back to finish. That last .1 mile, I was flying. I couldn’t stop. I just wanted to go. My watch read 8:36 for my pace. I finished in 2:22:44 and my PR is 2:18. It was the fastest half marathon time I’ve put up since my November 2016 injury.

I also started a trial of a weight loss app that I’ll get more into soon. I started Wednesday and I’ve been more energetic and started losing weight.

I hope that I’m back to my normal, cheery self soon. I’m a little sick of my own shit. I’ve made an effort to still be kind and raise other people up, so I hope that my being down hasn’t affected other people too much.

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to find the wins along the journey. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. God has carried me through these times. He was definitely there on my long run pushing me through because He knew how much it would help. I believe it.

I WAS feeling pretty good about myself.

I took a nearly 200 mile drive to see my BEST friend, Liz in Missouri a couple weeks ago. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year and it was time to exchange Christmas and birthday gifts. It was exactly the renewal I needed heading into a school year starting off as no other ever has. We ate at my favorite BBQ place there, I got to hang out with her pets, and we went to a climbing gym.

I’d never really gotten to climb before. I’d tried and didn’t make it up the wall beyond my own height. This time, I tried out different walls and I even went up more than once if I couldn’t figure out something on the first try. The only thing I didn’t do was repel down. I climbed down hanging on for dear life even though I was connected to a cable.

Liz took this pic of me. At first I was like “I look fat,” to which she replied, “I figured you’d say that, so I’m showing you instead of posting it.” I posted it myself after realizing that there’s a lot of muscle showing there and the photo was taken in the spirit of my friend being proud of me. I actually did something I didn’t think I could.

I got back home and had to step back from working out of a few days because I wasn’t feeling great. Once I felt better, I had my long run on the weekend and felt like I was run over by a bus for skipping a key long run the weekend I spent with Liz, but was proud to finish 15k. The following week, I felt like I was doing really well in the workouts and was able to do the workout “as prescribed” or “Rx” most days, which was a big deal to me. I ran on the weekend and tried really hard to beat the previous 15k time, but I couldn’t bring my speed up. The run itself went by fast, but my pace didn’t.

I posted to my social media that I was disappointed in my time and that it hurt my ego. I later admitted that my complaining was premature and that I should have just been happy to have completed the run. I meant it. I’m being hard on myself because I wanted so badly to get a personal record at the half marathon I’d originally signed up to run in October that has been canceled already.

Monday, I tried my best at the gym to do the workout as Rx. I believed I could when I got to the round I was most concerned about. Then, I dropped a 95 pound loaded barbell from almost overhead behind my back while trying to jerk it overhead to squat. I got zero reps in because I couldn’t do it. Ouch. My feelings. Tuesday, I again tried by best. There were 100 double unders with a jump rope, which I was excited about because I’d been doing so well with that. Nope. I couldn’t string them together to save my life. I whipped the hell out of myself with the rope. Then, the workout had toes to bar, a pull up bar movement where you hinge and touch your toes to the bar you’re hanging from. I attempted to do a similar movement with knee raises and couldn’t. I had to scale down even more by lying on the floor and raising my toes to the post behind me. I completed the workout in a reasonable amount of time, but not the way I wanted to. Wednesday was more of the same and I again dropped a 95 pound load from eye level.

Yesterday, still Wednesday, I had a rough mental health day. I spent a lot of time with tears in my eyes and I couldn’t control it. I didn’t want to live anymore, but I didn’t want to take my own life. I mentioned that I wanted to cry out for help, but I didn’t want to come off as negative. I just felt like at my age, I should be great at something and I’m not. I don’t have a career, I’m not a great wife or mom, I’m mediocre at everything and there isn’t really time for me to be great at anything. I wound up napping for a couple hours, skipping lunch because I wasn’t hungry, and snapping at people I probably shouldn’t have that had no idea I was struggling.

I received so much support and encouragement despite nobody knowing I was struggling. I appreciated it and it made me feel good. I also felt guilty for feeling so bad knowing that I had so many good thing and people surrounding me.

Today, I called my dr and asked if it was time to increase my meds and await a call about that. It wasn’t all stemmed from my athletic challenges this week. This situation we’re all going through is tough. The lives we were accustomed to are long gone and there was no time to prepare or mourn that. I went on for too long being “okay” with it until I got sick, had to isolate, and found out I didn’t have the virus. The emotional damage might amplify as the sunshine starts to wane and we’re living in cold months. I want to be ready.

I have a little over a month until the half marathon. I want to, but don’t expect to have a new personal record at the finish.

Thanks for reading! I love hearing your feedback, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Who is this me?

Frequently, my husband gets to hear my commentary on my body while I change clothes or dry off after a shower. I call myself fatty. I pinch my waist and tell mirror me to try harder, eat better, etc. I try to be nice to myself, but I’ll never be satisfied with my appearance. Fine. It is what is is.

Yesterday, when I went on my run, I decided not to change into different clothes from the ones I’d worn when I worked out. I set out for a 6.6 km (4.1 miles) run in the noontime heat of the day. I have a virtual race time to turn in this week and that’s the distance.

I got a mile in and I was feeling the heat, so I pulled my shirt up and tucked the bottom underneath my sports bra. I typically won’t expose my belly, but I figured I could easily pull it back down. A little further on, I stopped completely and walked a moment before I decided to just take my shirt off and put it in my pocket. The skin I’d exposed felt cooler and my pace had actually picked up. I only fully stopped one more time to shove the shirt down the leg of my shorts so it would stop creeping out of my pocket.

I was not feeling super confident, though. As I ran, I occasionally put my hands over my belly and turned sideways. When there was a lot of traffic, I tried to completely cover my midsection with my hands. I finally stopped thinking about it until I got to 5k and stopped my watch to walk the rest of the way home deciding to do a 6.6 k later in the week instead.

As I walked home, I pulled my top from the leg of my shorts and tucked it into the band on my sports bra to soak up the pool of sweat that always starts pouring right after I stop running.

I felt a sense of pride as though I’d accomplished something. It wasn’t much, but I got over myself long enough to help myself out. I got uncomfortable to get comfortable. Who is that person?

I posted my picture to a fitness group I’m in and my personal social media pages. It wasn’t that I was proud of my body, which I actually kind of am looking at the photo. I was proud that I actually donned the sports bra while on a run.

So simple, but a statement of how far I’ve come.

I know I’m a huge dork for how exciting I find this. That’s ok, too. Thanks for reading! Drop me a comment any time or a message if you feel self conscious about the comments.