Just struggling…

My last blog post, I was feeling pretty down on myself. Low self esteem and body image will do that to a person. Major depressive disorder likes to rear its ugly head when it feels like being a jerk and I have very little control over when I’ll have a huge down swing despite the meds and exercise that keep it at a minimum. I didn’t suddenly start loving my body or feeling better about it. I’m actually still in the stupid down swing where I’m critiquing my existence and my impact. I just wanted to pass along some tidbits I’ve picked up since I’ve been trying to come back from having the cast and boot off of my ankle from the tearing and spraining I did 2 days before I planned to run my first marathon last November.

Yes, I find myself questioning my decision to sign up for another marathon after not completing the one I’d trained for last year. Of course I would feel ambivalent about it. I’m running much slower than I was this time last year and I feel like any distance takes me an eternity to complete.  I actually have the ability to run a mile in just under 11 minutes. I simply don’t have the endurance to sustain that speed for over a mile. I ran a 4 mile race this past weekend. I’d signed up to run the 15k (9.3 miles) race and asked to be moved down from the longer distance upon realizing I wasn’t in 9 mile shape.  I met up with people from Fleet Feet Bloomington to take a group pic before the race. One of the people in the group was Nikki, who I had run with a few times in the past. She started the race with me and I was starting to feel worn out and told her to just go ahead if she was feeling energetic. She assured me she wasn’t there to run fast, and we finished the first mile in under 11 minutes. We walked a little because that first mile was exhausting. The rest of the race went on in an erratic walk/run cycle. We picked up Barb (from our group) near mile 3, who had recently felt the sting of injury and needed some walking time as well. We went on to walk and run until the last half mile.  The three of us finished the end of the race running. My split times were crazy. Mile 1 was just under 11 minutes, mile 2 was over 12, mile 3 was 14 minutes, and mile four was 12 again. I somehow averaged in the 12 minute range, so that was impressive for my comeback race. I don’t think that I’d have started running again if Nikki wasn’t there to encourage me and ask if I was ready to pick up again after walking. So, that’s a testament to how I can really count on my running “family” to support and encourage me through this crappy time where I have no idea why I started running in the first place.

Sunday, I got up at 5 am. Some folks may think of 5 am and shrug. I think that’s the crack of dawn and there is very little that could convince me otherwise. I like staying up late reading, so waking early isn’t my jam. Anyway, I met up with a local marathon training group for the first time at a a park all the way on the north side of my town (I live pretty far south along the main strip). One person I’d met before was there. Denise has been running at least 1 mile every day for a few years now. She just needed to get her mile in, but she started out with me because I didn’t really have anyone my pace there to run my 6-7 miles with. The training plan dictated 7, but I accepted that I’d be happy with 6 if I made it. Anyway, Denise ran with me and I notified her when 1/2 mile passed and she said she’d go a little bit further. She ran the first mile with me before turning back. That mile averaged 14 minutes, and it settled me in for the rest of the run and helped me finish all 7 miles. Without starting out with someone, I probably would have set out to ‘just get it over with’ and blown all of my energy. I didn’t do that this time and I caught up to my training plan distance.

I’ve received a lot of encouraging words and offers for people to help me get back to running. I have tried new things to make it easier. I think running insoles have a little to do with having a good distance weekend. I am still hard on my body for being so much more round and heavy than before my injury. In a way, I wish I’d given myself time to work up to training for a marathon again. Most of it is nerves and self doubt which are purely mentality issues and not whether I’m physically able. I trust that with training, I’ll get there. I feel like it’s difficult to complete each run and that I don’t remember it being quite as hard to push through in the past.

Most people ask me how my ankle feels. The truth is, my ankle is fine. No pain with running [during or after]. My endurance could use some work. My attitude could use an adjustment. I could use a shot of self esteem. I’m getting there. My injury is gone. I’m just trying to make a comeback and I somehow forgot to exercise that toughness that I had in me when I started running distances. There aren’t really any foot holds on this incline and I’m trying to claw my way back up. It’s freaking hard. That’s all. I’m struggling. I’m not quitting. Screw that. I literally don’t know how to quit. Even when I joke that it looks like me laying down and waiting for the struggle bus to run me over….I doubt I’d even take a knee to try to lie down. My depression is truly a jerk sometimes, but I’m not going to let it get the best of me.

Thanks for reading! Marathon is October 8th. This will be my first. I’m fundraising for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation because my teen has Crohn’s. If you want to throw a few bucks at the cause, just go to my link. Click here

Here’s a pic of my ‘fluffy self’ finishing the 4 mile race:

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I was exhausted, but look at that hint of a smile at what I achieved. (Thanks for the photo Steamboat Classic)

Body Image Issues

I started on this journey running long distance to prove to myself that since my body isn’t exactly cooperative in looking how I wish it would, I’d show myself that it can still do amazing things. I’ve had some amazing experiences with that journey and I’m glad that I have shown myself that I can set goals and I can accomplish them. I don’t know that I would have imagined myself enjoying physical fitness and having it become an important part of my everyday life.

My injury and recovery has been a major setback in how I feel about myself and the way I look. I gained around 25 pounds. I’ve lost and gained 10 pounds a few times. I hate the number on the scale and my pants are a little snug lately. For some reason, I was doing much better with eating well at first than I have been eating lately. I hadn’t gained any weight until the first of this year. Then, it just piled on quickly and my confidence dropped. When the cast and boot went on and I was restricted from moving, I started to worry about whether I’d even be able to run my marathon this October. I have started training and easing back into running. I’ve been slower than I wish to be and I get tired much more quickly than I’d like to. It has had an effect on how confident I am in my ability to train for and complete my race.

Last week, I went to the Gulf Coast in Alabama for vacation. This was not good for my ego as I saw women walking by in their swimwear confidently as I wished I could just hide a little more of my chest or that my shorts were a little longer to hide my fat legs. I have never loved my body. Even at a slim 150 pounds and 5′ 7″, I wore a size 11 and I felt chubby. *I’ll have to cover my female influences as I grew up in a blog post [and probably a therapy session] at some point. Let’s just say that I’ve been trying to diet as long as I remember.

I sat behind my sunglasses in tears trying to battle my inner thoughts about how I looked fat and ridiculous and it wasn’t fair that I gained so much weight just over a matter of weeks. I thought about how I understand that I’m not 100% healthy eating and that I don’t work hard enough to look fit. I still don’t understand why I can’t seem to look the way I want or a way that I’m comfortable with. I was starting to feel good when the injury happened and I still did into this year. I felt like I’d made real progress and I wasn’t as focused on the scale. I was confident in myself. As much as I try to convince myself I’m the only person that sees what I see in the mirror, I can’t look out of my eyes from this body and feel okay with it. I get stuck on saying internally all of the things I think other people will think when they see me. I’m quite mean to myself despite knowing that I can run distances some people would only consider driving and I’m always trying to encourage others to “do the hard stuff.”

Tonight, I’m nervous that I need to train for a marathon and I’m not feeling the usual confidence that I have in the past. I want to run a marathon and I planned to last year. I don’t feel like I’m going to be capable of finishing. I am in a week where my long run should be 7 miles and I’ve run 4 miles at the most. I am lacking confidence and despite knowing that it is 100% something I need to change in my head, I wish I could change my body instead. I wish that it showed that I work hard to be this chubby woman and if I didn’t, I’d be larger. I wish I didn’t feel like crying when I see someone else having a good time in a 2 piece and not trying to cover herself or hide. I am pissed that I’m this person when I work so hard to be the person I feel like I should be.

I wrote the above paragraphs, took a little break, and went to the store. I spent time thinking about what I’d written here. To some degree, I feel this is just a mood that I get into at times. I am truly envious of people who have a slender build and I often get caught up in the “why can’t I just,” attitude about my body. The cure for this would seem to be plastic surgery or taking more extreme measures to aggressively shape myself into the woman I want to be. It isn’t the solution, though. This is a psychological issue. This is hating my body for just being the way it is. This is something that people struggle with and rarely talk about. People will encourage by commenting on other redeemable qualities, but truly, what you need to know is that you’re being too critical of yourself and it is great to want to take care of your body and your health to be healthy. Not because you think it will change what you look like. That is something I need to work on changing from within myself. I’ll continue training to run 26.2 miles because I know my body is capable. I’ll find a swimsuit that covers more of my chest so I feel more comfortable and spend less time tugging at it and looking down at my body and more time enjoying the moment I’m in. I’ll realize that I can’t really know what’s going on in the heads of those women who seem so comfortable in their own skin as they walk by and that I can’t compare myself to them. Also, I don’t mention these things in front of my kids and I hope that I can one day carry myself in a way that they find admirable and they find confidence in themselves.

Sorry that this one was kind of a downer. I plan to get out and run tomorrow as my schedule says. I figured out how to get intervals on my watch, so I’ll run/walk if needed. I am still fundraising. That’s another issue altogether with how hard I’ve been working on that. I’m $916 to my $2k goal.

Here’s a pic of me drinking wine on the balcony while on vacation. The Gulf Coast is gorgeous. I had a great time and I think my kids really enjoyed themselves as well.

 

Getting closer

I’m finally getting closer to running! At least I hope so. I saw the doc today again. Foot rotations, poking, and prodding were all painless to my ankle. I was impressed, but also very stiff when asked to move things around.

He said I could get fitted for a brace and no longer wear the cast that I’d been having changed weekly for the past 5 weeks. I’ve been through light blue (twice), pink, purple, and red for cast colors. So, he said that I’ll be wearing the brace with the boot full time (except shower and sleep) for the next week. After that, I’ll wean from the boot, but not the brace, for a week. I’ll slip out of the boot and wear my brace and an athletic shoe for increasing time increments until I’m fully out of the boot. Once out of the boot, I’ll still need to wear the brace full time (except showers and bed) for 6 weeks. Then, I’ll have to wear the brace every time I do anything where I could re-injure my ankle. I forgot to ask him if that meant walking to the bus stop, since that is actually how the injury occurred in the first place.

I tried to ask if I could go swimming, but he asked if I meant for exercise or pleasure and he said I could get in and do water aerobics, but not any lap swimming for awhile. He once again directed me to the stationary bike , which I explained the issue of the boot making one leg much longer than the other and me banging my knees or missing the pedals entirely. He agreed that as long as it didn’t hurt my ankle, I could wear an athletic shoe to operate the bike (with the brace on).

So basically, I didn’t exactly get the news I was hoping for. STILL….I get to shave the part of my leg that has been steadily growing hair for 5 weeks. I can take showers without that foot condom thing to protect the cast from getting wet.

I have a consultation with a physical therapist next week, so I’ll know more about my timeline with running then. I’ll probably know by the look on her face when I tell her I want to run a marathon in October whether or not I will be ‘cleared’ for it. I’m hoping that by saying I’ll train in intervals, the idea will be less likely to get ‘moved to the recycle bin’.

I miss running. Last week was spring break and I didn’t make time for the gym. I just kind of let the laziness flow into this week and now I feel bad that I haven’t worked out. I was kind of letting the situation get under my skin with having the boot and a harder time getting around. It’s hard to override the voice in my head that is like “f*ck it, let’s go eat chocolate and read a book,” instead of, “let’s change into fun workout clothes and see how many times I can lift heavy things.”

So I’m looking into my eating habits and I’m questioning them. I’m going to do something drastic soon. I’ve prepared by drinking a soda as a way of bidding it farewell. I will not give up chocolate because I’m not insane or delusional. I like it and I associate it with relaxation. So, I’m just going to clean up my nutrition a bit and weed out some bad habits I’ve developed.

All that might bore you to death. Or not. I don’t know. I know that I still plan to run a marathon in October until someone says that it is not in the cards. I will fundraise regardless. I will eventually have my shot at running a marathon, and then I will promptly avoid long distance running for awhile.

I went to a race this past weekend and watched my husband in his first half marathon race. I got to see a few people who I know through running cross the finish line as well. One person had her first half marathon that day, too and she was so elated to finish, it made the trip and the hobbling around totally worth it. Also, I saw Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln at Starbucks….lol. Photographic evidence:

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Thanks for reading! Consider donating to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for my fundraising efforts. I’ve got a little more than $1500 to go and I’m really excited at this opportunity to raise awareness about IBD. Thanks for reading! Questions and comments are always welcome!

Drawing in positive

I can hardly believe it, but this is week 15 of the 16 week marathon training program. I’ve persisted, practiced, and pushed my way to train for something that I’m just so happy to be able to do. I’m going to run my first marathon. At the start of training, I’d said it would be my only. Now, I’m already thinking that I know this isn’t the last. I also went and got pink hair last week and I love it.

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Before/After

 

I’m not suddenly healed of my depression. Working out hasn’t taken away my need to have daily medication. I still have anxiety, too. When I run, some of that goes away and I can clear my mind. It also shows me that I have something to be proud of and goals to strive for giving me a reason to live sometimes when I just don’t want to. The darkness sometimes envelops me more than I care for it to. I just try not to embrace it too much and look to my goals. My running friends also help me look forward to the long runs and things we can talk about or experience together during the journey. I’m thankful for them and for the time we have together. I get to go out and run.

I’m also thankful that I have a husband who is supportive and encouraging. I’m not always confident in my abilities. Considering the things that he and I go through as adults and as parents, it has been a blessing to have him to talk to and to lean on. My mom might not speak to me for whatever reason. My kids might say hurtful things when they don’t get their way. My husband is there with unconditional love to give freely, which is important to have when the depression hits and I don’t exactly feel loved or lovable.

All negativity aside because I’m about to accomplish something that I couldn’t do when I signed up to do it. I have trained and conditioned myself to do this and I am as physically prepared as I’m going to be. Mental strength will go a long way in getting to the finish line. Yesterday, I started seeking out inspirational quotes to help me during the 26.2 mile run November 5th. Many of the quotes didn’t have sources, but I’ll try to give credit where due. So here we go!

  • There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.
  • Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
  • Let Go, Let God
  • The race always hurts. Expect it to hurt. You didn’t train so it doesn’t hurt. You train so you can tolerate it.
  • When your legs get tired, run with heart
  • The miracle isn’t finishing. It’s that I had the courage to start.
  • She believed she could, so she did.
  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
  • In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take
  • Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations
  • You’re a diamond. They can’t break you.
  • Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain.
  • I believe in the person I want to become
  • Remember the time you thought you could never survive? You did and you can do it again.
  • Keep going. There’s cookies at the finish.
  • Penny gets winded walking to the bathroom (seriously, my friend Penny added this to my list)
  • HOPE – Hold On Pain Ends
  • A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort (Herm Albright)
  • Psalm 4:1 – Lord, be merciful and hear my prayer
  • The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is finished. The pain in your legs? Within days.  The glory of your finish is forever.
  • 26.2 = The triumph of will over reason
  • Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion. -Muhammed Ali
  • Be strong. You never know who you are inspiring.
  • Today, I will be one run stronger
  • I wasn’t planning on going for a run today, but those cops came out of nowhere. (ha, ha, ha)
  • One day, I won’t be able to do this. Today is not that day.
  • Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can. *This one really struck a chord with me.
  • Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up. (Dean Karnazes)
  • You’re not dead yet, you can’t quit. (Kyle Maynard)

 

That’s just a portion of the encouragement I found yesterday. I will still be looking and still be repeating the ones I’ve found. I’ll probably print some off and bring them with me to the race so I have them there.

I can’t control what others think of what I’m doing or how they view the work I’ve put into it. I can control how I feel about it and decide to be proud of my accomplishments. Today, I choose to ignore the people who think I’ve done anything but improve my character and celebrate my body. I choose to see that I’m setting an example to be healthy, strong, and resilient. I could drown in the negativity that is often tossed in my direction, but I choose to let the good and the positive pull me through and keep me afloat. I am succeeding at something and that’s going to ruffle some feathers of people who are not. It doesn’t change my success.

Thanks for reading! This weekend will be a long run of 8 miles, then on to pre race week! Wish me luck! Good luck on your endeavors and in case nobody has told you, I’m proud of your hard work! Keep it up! Every time you challenge yourself, you get a little stronger. Until you’re a lot stronger.

Here’s a picture of me after running 4 miles of speed work that I really didn’t feel like running. I’m so glad I did it anyway.

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Terrible mood. Great run!

 

Taper kick off

This week is number 14 of my 16 week training program to run a marathon. That leaves me breathless to think about how close I am to race day. I’m totally prepared as far as endurance goes. I know I am physically capable. That will be part of what I tell myself when I encounter the mental ones.

I realized I missed the opportunity to nod to Deadpool by naming my last blog post , “Should’ve Worn the Brown Pants.” It’s funny which ones get the most traffic and that one was certainly at the top of my visits. Thank you!

Near the start of our training program, I shared a photo that had the quote “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” We discussed how it would be a perfect saying to remember during the race and even a great logo for the t-shirts we get for being in the program. When I mentioned that I’d write it on my arm, Amy in my group suggested fake tattoos. I looked into it and the further in I got, the more I realized we weren’t getting tattoos unless I designed it myself in an almost unreadably small font. So, I found the stretchy band bracelets that can have anything you desire printed on them. I put in an order and they finally arrived last week, so I excitedly brought them to our Thursday run. While not every marathoner was there, the people who were put on the bracelets for a photo. I was filled with so much joy by how grateful and appreciative everyone was for the gesture. It really made my day. The bracelets were printed with the saying and ordered in the colors of the shirts that we get with the race logo on them.

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Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do!

This past weekend, I ran a 5k race on Saturday and a half marathon race on Sunday. I placed in a 5k race for the 2nd time ever. Both were during my marathon training. I got 3rd in my age group (30-39 year old female). My watch didn’t give me the PR, but I did technically beat my best time. I’ll take the win, though and work on the speed in a ‘chip timed race.’

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My award was this cool pint glass!

Sunday was the half marathon in Peoria. Last weekend, when Maureen, Jane, and I ran together, we agreed to run this race in 5:1 intervals. That is run for five minutes and walk briskly for 1 and repeat through the race. We skipped the first interval to break free from the crowd and complete a good warm up mile (which takes longer than 5 minutes…shocking!). We had a few comments from people like “Don’t stop now, you can do it,” to which most often Jane spoke up and told them that the walking was something we’d planned to do and then thanked them. My legs felt mostly fresh the entire time. The crowds around the race were incredible. There was a lot of music being played loud, organized [and disorganized] cheering, people holding signs, and people giving high fives. One group of frat guys even stood on both sides of the racers in a line of high fives. It was energizing to have such a supportive crowd. Towards the end, I was feeling a little out of breath. Jane and Maureen went on at one of the walk breaks and I used the time to take the walk, which separated us a little, but we were within the last mile of the race. When I picked back up, I was ready to finish and I was pushing myself forward while trying to encourage the people around me. Although, one of my cheers involved me saying, “Ugh, I can’t die with like 1/4 mile left, that would suck.” I’m pretty sure I got a laugh, though. My finishing time was 2:21 and my watch gave me credit for a personal record despite my best being 2:19. Again, I’ll take whatever accolades I can to pat myself on the back for a job well done. Honestly, that is a great time considering I only skipped the first and last intervals and I really did use my walk breaks and walked a few of the water/electrolyte beverage stops. Especially after I accidentally inhaled red Gatorade and spit it all over myself and everyone around me and was coughing out apologies with my red spit. I finished the race strong and actually like [most of] my race photos. Someone even complimented my physique and said that I look like I’m much healthier than I have in the past and that I look strong. I love hearing that.

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ROAR! Finishing my 5th half marathon!

No bathroom emergencies. Last weekend was a fluke, I hope. I overheard a few comments about my race belt where I carry my hydrations and gels. Yes, I’m prepared folks. I’m not sure I understand why you feel you need to mention it to your buddy next to you that “she looks really prepared [haha],” or “I don’t carry my own gels around like some people do.” I’m ignoring you to be polite,but it would also be polite to worry about yourself instead of checking out my arse while I’m trying to challenge and push myself. If you missed a gel, I might have a spare if you’re not a huge jerk about it.

I came near tears when I got separated from my other two running buddies. I was thinking about how I’d have to prepare to run alone in the full marathon if I got separated. I was thinking about how this was my last big race before the big event of the full marathon. I was thinking a lot. I got out of my head by talking to people around me who were kind enough to enjoy the small talk for a few moments. It was a day I’d expected rain, but instead had overcast skies and a warm and humid race that left my clothes completely sweat soaked by the end. I couldn’t even get my phone to unlock with the thumbprint because there was nowhere to wipe the sweat off of my hands on me. We had a couple of post race beers and chatted with other people we knew. It was an all around fun time, I’d say. There was very little negativity and it wasn’t enough to disqualify all of the positive things I experienced. I love racing in Peoria from the two races I’ve done there. I have had more fun with the crowds cheering and the support than any other town I’ve raced in. The thought crossed my mind that it was strange how much I enjoyed the crowds despite my anxiety when I’m out in public and there are crowds at the stores or festivals. I suppose its different when you need the energy to complete a task.

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We finished! *I’m working on not doing the huge eyes thing in photos.

The race is less than 20 days away. I’m into taper time where my miles pull back a little before race day. It still seems so far off, yet I feel like I need to plan out so many different things to ensure a good race day. I am more ready than I would be had I tried to do this alone. I am more nervous than I have been in the past, but I have the confidence that I’m physically prepared for this challenge and that the only thing left to overcome are mental and I’ll need to deal with them as they come.

I am going to run and finish a 26.2 mile race with friends by my side, my husband cheering me on, and a body that is prepared to cross a finish line. I am tough and I will prove it!

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, I’d love to answer them. I’m also open to suggestions on subject matters to write about. I love to share my experiences and I really appreciate any feedback you have.

Which race photo didn’t I like? This one….

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This one is growing on me, but that expression is laughable…go ahead and chuckle.

 

 

Emotional Outburst

Many of you have probably seen this post on my other blog . If not, go ahead and click, read, and come back here. At the time, I meant every word I said. I was feeling emotional and I didn’t wait for the emotion to pass to write about it. Sometimes, we call that passion. Often, we become embarrassed or regretful when we’ve given in to an impulse. I have experienced those emotions since then and I’ve had time to reflect on how I really feel about what I said and about all of the positive responses I’ve read. I have also had time to see a bigger picture and perhaps soothe some of my own aching emotions.

I’d first like to thank the people who offered me encouragement and reminded me who I am and how strong a person I have become. While I can’t stand the thought of drawing attention to myself, this was actually a positive experience when I stepped back and looked at it. Mental illness means that often, something in my head lets me feel alone in my struggles and too afraid to share them with anyone. Compound that with the fear of casting myself in a negative light and I’m generally a big old bully to myself.

Next, I’d like to address my concerns about my physical appearance. I weigh about the same as I did last year. I weigh 30 pounds less than I did a year before that. I wear 3 sizes (if you count by even numbers) smaller than I did back then. Somehow, I saw this as a memory on social media going back to when I was trying to get rid of my old clothes a couple of years ago. I haven’t seen that size since then. I get upset that I don’t look tight from my rib cage to knees. I have an idea in my head [that is probably unrealistic] of how I’m supposed to look and I’m not very kind to myself when I am reminded that is not how I look.

Additionally, my running habits are solid.  I run minutes per mile faster than I did just last year. While I am mad that I can’t seem to beat my 5k PR after my first race this year, I’m enjoying trying at the races or I wouldn’t be doing them. I’m also really enjoying being a mentor and sharing my love of running and my knowledge with other people. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be training to run a marathon. I was feeling down on myself and forgot that the reason I signed up to run my first 13.1 race was not because I wanted to lose weight, but because changing my focus from weight loss to endurance was something I needed to do for myself. I needed to prove to myself that this body was capable of amazing things. I am capable of moving forward for miles on end while pushing past fatigue and mental barriers that seemed impossible at one point.

I picked myself apart, folks. Parenting is hard. Working is hard. Being an adult is just plain difficult. There are challenges everywhere we turn. So, I’m not the ideal mom [that is also unrealistic] in my head. I love my husband and all 3 of my children fiercely and without apology. I do what I can to show them how to be an honest, loving, and caring person. I don’t always have an activity lined up and I don’t feed them organic everything. I lead by example the best I can and I admit when I’ve made a mistake. Those things are actually important. They’ll never know or care how I was in an office environment and it carries no weight in what happens in my future.

So, in conclusion, I had an adult tantrum. It was not very well thought out and not very well carried out; I misspoke about myself. You could even say that I trash talked myself. It in no way reflects the way other people really see me. It was simply my overreaction to things that I allowed to build up instead of addressing them. I appreciate the immense support and outreach from people who read it. I often need the reminder that I might actually be too hard on myself sometimes [often]. I have major depressive disorder. I always hope that by some miracle, I won’t need medication anymore because that somehow would make me label myself “normal”. One day, I’ll accept that “normal” is just a setting on the washing machine and a city in Central Illinois.

Thank you for reading and I hope that I’m making sense now. This is a good time to examine how we define ourselves and how we see success. Do we forget that once we’ve reached a goal, we raise the bar again? Do we forget to stop and celebrate the victories when we are constantly moving the goal posts?

Week 2 of marathon training is done and I rocked it. On to week 3, and trying not to forget to celebrate accomplishments the way to 26.2 miles.

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Oh, boy….I have a few things to address…

From the finish to another start and over

I finished the half marathon alive. I’ve started looking for training tips on running a full marathon. I’m thinking that is still going to be October of next year if I do it. I have things to work on.

I took a week off of running before setting out to keep up my training. I actually had to take the week off because my husband was travelling on business and I was caring for sick kids. Fitting time in to get out and run isn’t plausible in that type of situation. The following week, I did a pretty intense resistance session on Nike Training, an app I have on my phone. I went to the Monday night fun run and tried running as fast as I could go for 4 miles. Tuesday, I went out for a run I intended to go 8-10 miles on.  I ran 9, then walked the 10th mile. Thursday, I set out early for a 6 mile run that I wanted to give up on in the first mile. Somehow, I talked myself through it and realized exactly how much of getting myself to go requires mental strength and positivity. I did a lot of internal bargaining with myself just to get past the 3rd mile, but I didn’t regret the workout once done.

I relaxed the next 2 days for a 5k Oktoberfest run where I wanted to beat my personal best 5k race time of 30:12 from September 2014. I’ve beaten that time in practice, but not yet at a race. My goal is always to get below 30 minutes. In practice, I still haven’t gotten below 30 minutes, either. I pushed myself to stay with someone who I know is faster than me for a little past the first mile. About a quarter of a mile past that, I started losing pace with her and distancing myself. At one point, I stopped to walk and catch my breath next to a runner that was walking from an injury or strain. I took off too fast and I paid for it. The rest of the race was me slowing and sprinting. A friend caught up to me and told me to get going faster and I did. Then, from a couple of paces behind me she told me to “go, go, go!” I sprinted most of the last tenth of a mile and came in at 30:15. Son of a…. Oh well. I kind of knew I wasn’t going to make my time when I stopped to walk. Next time. I haven’t signed up for another 5k just yet, but I will and I’ll whip that time. The girl I started with finished in 26:02, so I was a little ambitious to try to stay with her. It doesn’t mean I won’t try to do that again. I just need to work on my speed and my breathing technique.

My current focus is the 15k I’ve signed up for in December. It is becoming a tradition for my friend and I to run a Superhero Dash 5k in June together and the Hot Chocolate race in December together. I’ll be holding on to the habit of the long run for a long time to come, but I don’t plan to give up on 5k racing. I still haven’t run a 10k, so I should probably do one of those so I have a time to beat with those races also.

I had been pretty steadily losing weight and getting noticed for looking healthier by people. The scale and I are now a little too close and I’m slightly obsessed with weighing more than once a day. I’ve been hard on myself about it, but I’m trying not to let it push me into poor nutrition choices either way. I’m not going to binge and say it doesn’t matter because my mean old body will get heavier anyway. I’m not going to skip meals as a way of ‘punishing’ myself for not losing as fast as I want to. I just have to keep making healthy choices. I’m trying to carry over into making healthy choices the mental strength that I’ve gained from pushing myself to run. It is exhausting and frustrating. It can also be rewarding to know that I’ve conquered something that I felt powerless to before.

I am pretty far from my desired size. I still set smaller goals that aren’t tied to the scale or the measuring tape so I can try to see the weight loss as a bonus to the other things I’m doing. I can run a half marathon. I can do one-legged squats with weights. I can resist eating fast food. I’ve made new friends to talk to and run with. I also happen to weigh 30 pounds less than I did at the start of the year and I fit into my smaller pants.

There is probably something you’re missing that you should be proud of yourself for. Perhaps you are faster or stronger than you were. Maybe you make better choices for your health. You could also be setting a healthy example for someone else in your life. Have you really thought about the positive impact of your own health and fitness journey?

July 2015

July 2015

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September 2015

Double Digit Miles

This week seemed to have passed by in a blur. I took a slow and easy run on Monday night with the fun run group. Tuesday night’s run was at the same place as the Monday fun run. Thursday, I met up with a different local group for their social run. Saturday, I ran 10 miles. Sunday was a day off instead of recovery run.

Tuesday, I ran with a mentor that I don’t think I had run one on one with before. I was trying hard to push myself and she made it easy to keep going by being positive and reassuring. The goal was to run hard for the 3 miles between a warm up and cool down mile. I made sure to do that, but am glad I had someone with me to reassure me that I could slow down once I completed 4 miles. When I mentally wanted to stop, I bargained with myself that I could once I reached that mark.

Thursday, I drove up to a nearby lake to run with a group that does their social runs on Thursdays. I was able to find someone in my training group to run with. We saw deer on the trail and the lake was a pretty backdrop for the run. It was a nice, new place to have a run. I got to have a post-run cheeseburger and beer with some other people who are runners. I saw some people I already knew and I met a couple of new people. I didn’t do or say anything embarrassing, so I say that is a win.

Friday, I was feeling nervous about the planned run for Saturday. 10 miles is a big deal. In the middle of the day, I prepared lasagna and put it in the fridge for later. I chopped veggies for salad. I even made a peach crisp for dessert. I was so excited about the lasagna that I’d used an italian pork that I typically use for larger groups. It was not good. I had a few bites of it, decided I didn’t want any, and ate mostly salad with garlic cheese bread for dinner. The peach crisp was a delicious way to complete dinner.

Saturday morning, I woke up early and ate my whole energy bar. My tooth was nagging me with pain and I’d discovered a small fracture along the back that was loose. It was unpleasant, but I set out to put my stuff in the car and heard rain start falling. I rolled my eyes , realized I needed to go back in for one last bathroom break to avoid having to use a portable bathroom, and then set out on my journey to do 10 miles. The course divided into a 6 mile run north from the park we met, and a 4 mile run south. The first 6 miles was with a group of 5 women. It was very much like when driving tired and you’re not sure how you got from one point to another except that auto pilot must have been on. This worked to my advantage for the next 4. Our group got separated at the meeting point. I went on with completing the next 4 miles with a mentor from my group and one from a different distance group. While we were running, we discussed my pace and I assured them that I’m usually breathing heavy and a good indicator that I’ve run too fast is if I pass out (I was joking, of course). I could still run at a good pace after the distance we’d run and I actually got my fastest mile [on my newer GPS watch] during my 8th mile. I went on to have an iced coffee with people from the group later. I went home, took something for my tooth and took a rather long nap.

I wouldn’t have started this group had it not been for the kindness of the owner of the running store I’d gone into to buy headbands. I was running casually and trying to train for a 5k race. I found out the store had the type of headband that didn’t slip. She invited me to come to a fun run. I showed up for the fun runs, then she invited me to come to their Ladies’ Night Fun Runs. I started doing that, then I found out they had programs to train for races of all kinds. This training program has been an amazing experience. I can’t believe it’s been 8 weeks already. I used to tell people I would never run for fun. Now that I do run, I can’t imagine not doing it. I want to go farther, faster, and be better at it. I’ve lost about 25 lbs since the beginning of the year. Most of it has been since the running program began. I do not have a slender physique. Many people wouldn’t peg me for someone who likes to work out. I don’t care about that. I have a runner’s body because I run. This is a runner’s body and it’s mine and you can’t diminish that.

Having said that, I’m not running 13.1 to lose weight or to get skinny. I am running it to take my focus off of how my body looks and see what it can do. I started running to lose weight. Now I do it for health. If I lose weight, that’s great. I want to celebrate that my body is capable of running 13.1 miles with training and I will celebrate that victory. I haven’t become a supermodel in 8 weeks and I won’t suddenly shed the pounds in the next 4. My body and I will have accomplished a feat that so many others haven’t. Of course I still have body image issues. I do think it stinks that I don’t look on the outside how I feel on the inside. I’m just trying to shed the “I wish” mentality and adopt a “I’m glad” one.

This week, I’m running hills on Tuesday and 11 miles on Saturday.

How did you do this week? Did you have any hurdles in the process of your fitness journey? Are you struggling with body image issues that impact your goals?

Putting together the miles

I ran 21.5 miles in my 5th week of this training program. From the time I started using Nike+ for tracking my runs in 2013, my longest run was 6 miles in one day. This Saturday, I ran 7. I didn’t run 7 miles without stopping. I didn’t run/walk 7 miles. I ran a 5k race, ran a mile with someone in a training program that only required they run 4 miles that day, then ran 3 miles with an owner of the running store that is hosting the training program I’m in (and a few others). I think that was pretty cool of her to do since she’d also run the same 5k race and I was late to return to the group to finish our miles as we’d planned to ahead of time.

That was the highlight of this week in training. I outran myself. I didn’t place in the 5k. I ran a time I usually do in 5k races, but wasn’t able to beat my record of 30:01. My goal has been to get under the 30 minute mark. I ran farther than I ever have before one day, then I got out and ran 3 miles the next day. I’m here to type about it today, so I’m capable of doing it.

There wasn’t much in the way of exciting moments on my other runs this week. I ran a little faster than my most recent averages on my 4.5 mile Tuesday run. I enjoyed the help of a mentor to bring me to the finish the last half mile. Sunday’s 3 mile run after Saturday’s 7 was rough at first, but I actually finished up feeling good about it. It was humid and I’m pretty sure there was a little misty rain that I was too sweaty to feel. I also ran a weird route because I didn’t plan and had to add a few loops to make the miles add up right.

I’ve lost 19 lbs over the past few months. Around 10 of those have been since I started my training. I’ve eaten better for a while and I’ve been more active. My goal isn’t focused on the scale now. Part of the reason for joining a program to run 13.1 miles was to take my focus off of the number on the scale.  It is working in that I’m focusing on getting better at running and pushing myself to go harder,faster, and farther. It hasn’t removed the negativity involved in my body image. I have a long way to go. I see myself in photos and feel ashamed of my midsection. I see nothing but my belly in the pictures. I wonder why this has taken me years to lose such a small amount weight and beat myself up over it.

If that doesn’t seem like the person I project myself as, then I’m glad for that. I don’t want to seem unhappy. I sometimes get caught up in being disappointed in my faults instead of relishing in my strengths. That explains why I don’t often miss the opportunity to pat other people on the back.

I’m more confident that I can run a half marathon. I’m a little concerned about my hill workout tomorrow since it involves no cool down between uphills and involves 4 total miles. I’m actually more concerned over that 4 miles than I am 8 miles on Saturday.

Good luck to you in your fitness journey! Did you surpass yourself in anything yet? Best time, heaviest weight, longest distance, most reps are all things to pat yourself on the back for. Don’t forget to celebrate your little wins.

Harsh critic

I tried going at weight loss hard and I quickly discovered that I was setting myself up for disappointment and for failure. I haven’t lost a measurable amount of weight or size. My pants are still snug and I can’t find many of my own clothes that fit me for the current season. Excluding clothes made of stretch material, I have almost nothing to wear. Stalled progress is not for lack of trying. I’ve stopped buying myself cases of soda to keep in the fridge, which lessens how much I drink. I have been mindful of getting in more steps on the pedometer. My steps have nearly doubled per day lately. I’m getting back into working out and running, but it is tough to find the time. So I’m depressed.

I’m certainly not the poster child for weight loss success. I’m mad that I seem to try hard and not get anywhere. I mean, genuinely angry. I often cry that I can’t run as fast as I did a few months ago or even a year ago. I often cry because I see my reflection in the mirror or a photograph someone took of me and I see someone fat. I can’t see past it and I can’t understand why I can’t succeed at something as simple as eating less and moving more.  That’s what people say is all it takes. I feel like every time I go out in public, people are seeing how fat I am and making snap judgements about who I am.

I have multiple friends that have lost a sizeable amount of weight and are so happy about it. I’d like to say I’m so happy for them. To a degree I am proud of them. I’m also jealous, though. While someone might look and say that I don’t try as hard, I try pretty darn hard. I spend more time with sore muscles than I do without. I go for walks just to get steps in for goals. I overlook foods that I enjoy to eat something healthy. I cook healthy foods. So why am I fat? Obviously, I’m going to have to go harder on myself. It seems unfair that I need to work so hard for nothing. This is what typically makes me quit when I’ve been going well for a long time. I weighed lbs less a few months ago. I haven’t been binge eating and sitting on my duff all day. Yet, I gain weight as if I’m eating nothing but Hostess Cakes. It gets old fast. As does climbing on the scale and seeing no movement. As does having people call you fat as if you don’t already feel that way about yourself.

What does fat mean to me? Obviously, it is more than something that I have on my body or something contained in many foods. It means I’m lazy. It means I’m not good enough. It means I’m not pretty. It means I’m not intelligent enough to make healthy choices. It feels like a weight on my chest. It feels like the reason I don’t want to go out with friends because they’ll see how fat I am and other people will see how big I am. It means nothing looks good on my body. It means I am less because I weigh more. It means I’m a failure.

I’m not calling anyone else these things. I’m saying this is how I feel my size defines me as a person. It isn’t something that I carry proudly. I don’t even consider it a feature about me. I feel that it envelops and defines me. I’m no longer the happy person I was years ago when I was a normal weight. I am looking out of my eyes and hoping nobody looks back at my body. I’m ashamed of how I look.

I haven’t said much of this before because I worry about how people will take it and what they’ll think of me. I hate thinking that people would think badly of me even though I think pretty harshly of myself without anyone else’s help. I just wish I could be on the outside who I feel like I am on the inside. I’m a woman who can run miles, lift weights, and cook most anything from scratch. Yet somehow, after 3 years of trying, I actually weigh more than I did at the start and I don’t know what to do about it.

I’m not asking for suggestions on anything mass marketed for weight loss. I have looked into some of the more popular things and I absolutely will not spend that kind of money on anything for myself. This is about how I feel and how hard this is for me. This is about how I’ve somehow managed to make myself feel this bad and how it is working against me.

Thanks for reading. I know I need to come back more often.

I’m signed up for a 5k on June 6th. I start half marathon training in July for 12 weeks and will be running a half marathon at the end of September.