Sunday, July 31, 2011

Anacortes Art Dash 5k

Another day another 5k! Saturday we met up with a friend and her daughter to drive out to Anacortes for their Art Dash. Again, my legs cramped up on me like they did during the first 5k I did. But I still managed to get through it with the help of my running buddy. (Thank you!!)

My time wasn't terrible, but I want to make it so much better. I really want to start getting my times down.

But the upside is that I had a really great time. Our friend and her daughter are wonderfully charming and friendly people. We had met up with them at the Do Life 5k on Wednesday, but didn't spend that much time with them. This time we had breakfast (and coffee) together, and ran together. It was a great time!

I ran in probably the last quarter mile (maybe not that far, but it was a distance!) and it felt good. There is nothing like the adrenaline of seeing the finish line in front of you. It was a beautiful run. Definitely worth it. And there are always such nice people running with you. Great 4th 5k of the year.... 4 down, 6 to go!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tiffany Does Life

A few months ago I stumbled across Ben Davis's blog, Ben Does Life. He lost over 100 pounds by running with his brother (who also lost a great deal of weight). I found someone who has done, and is still doing, exactly what I wanted to do. I am fat, but I wanted to run so badly.

So I started following his blog. He's funny, charming, and brutally honest about what he's doing. Then they announced in late May, early June that they were putting together a tour of the US with organized 5k runs at every stop. Needless to say.... I was giddy. Ben is a huge inspiration to me and I was going to be able to meet him (and Pa!) and do a race with all these people that are readers as well? Where do I sign up??

Everyone who showed up for the run. Photobombed by a kissy couple in the back! :)
Needless to say, when they got to Seattle I was giddy. We were the last stop on their tour and I think we sent them off with a bang. At one point Ben ran along-side me when I was having a really hard time with my pacing and breathing. He's good people.

I actually ran more of this race than I have my previous two, and managed to knock 4:22 minutes off my run-time. (Went from 53:43 to 49:21) And made some awesome friends in the meantime!
Start Line... which was about 10 feet from the finish line. Too bad I couldn't just run THAT bit.

And we're off! Look at that sweet pony-tail action I've got going on!

I look happy, and I'm running. Yes this was EARLY on in the race. And my friend in the purple is Mindi. Met her there and she stayed with me for most of the run. She is awesome!

Ben and me. He is just as awesome in person as you'd expect from reading his blog.

Couldn't leave without a picture with Pa. He is as much an inspiration as both of his sons are.

The Shirt. You can't run a race without getting The Shirt!

I'm dying and sore today. But it was worth it. I had a really great time. It was well worth every minutes of the run.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TMI Post: Naked Conversations

This may be too much information for some of my readers. If you don't want to read anything about nudity or women's locker rooms, please go to a place where you won't be nearly as scandalized.... like here.

Okay, now that all the squeamish are gone I can talk.

There is this strange phenomenon happening that kind of tweaks my brain. My M-W-F workouts are done with 3 other women that I am friends with and work with. We all get changed in front of each other and shower. At first it was strange. At first it wigged me out that I was completely clothes-less in front of people with which I would have to attend meetings later.

Over time this weirdness started going away. Now it doesn't phase me much and we have long drawn out conversations while getting our regular clothes on and out of our sweaty gear. I am completely comfortable around these women and I don't think much about body modesty or self-consciousness.

Today, however, I held an entire conversation, pre-shower, with a woman I had never met before. She was also in the middle of changing and we were having a really interesting conversation on losing weight and how it effects your shoe size. (Bonus, she says that she was a 10-11 and went down to about an 8 and a half... there's hope for me yet!)

For some perspective, I was always the girl who faced the corner while I changed. I always tried to get dressed (and undressed) without anyone seeing an inch of my body. I would creatively arrange my towel, take my bra off under my shirt and slide my new shirt on over my head quickly. But not so much anymore.

I'm beginning to learn to not care so much about what other people think about my body. I have come a long way from my days at 315 pounds. I'm still overweight. There is no possible way to hide that from anyone with eyes. So why should I worry myself over it? And concerning the naked locker room conversations? I assume that if the other person weren't comfortable they wouldn't continue the conversation. Until someone tells me otherwise, I don't see my behavior changing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

No More Whining

It's taken me an entire week to get past the news from the doctor. A week full of snippy remarks to friends and family. A week full of wanting to do nothing more than stay curled up in bed and not talk to anyone ever.

Yea, I was throwing a grown-up temper tantrum. I was pissed off. I was sad. I was angry at both myself for not doing better, and at my specialist for talking down to me. I was so unsure of what to do. I was scared and felt that no one understood just how terrifying it all was.

A week post-appointment, however, I am back in the gym. Today I went back with a vengeance. I was not going to let this beat me anymore. I wasn't told that I was going to die any time soon. These things are controllable. Why am I giving it all this power?

No more whining. Just moving and sweating and getting it done. Rawr!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Falling In

I am frustrated. The news from the doctor has the usual tailspin going on. I realize I am over-reacting and that I have all the power to change things... but right now it's pulling me into this deep emotional crater.

Working out seems useless anymore. I did the whole 8 week program, I did cardio 3 days a week, and I ran a 3.55 obstacle course. All of these things, and my health hasn't changed save for getting worse. What's the point, right?

This post isn't about a pity party. It's not about garnering sympathy or fishing for compliments. It's to show those of you who are on the same journey I am that we all have days like these. I am discouraged. I am sad. I am emotionally eating and snapping at my friends and loved ones. I feel like it's not only the scale, mocking me with its unmovable numbers, but now my vital bodily processes are joining in on the bullying.

There is nothing more I want right now than to just lie in bed, forget that life is happening outside my bedroom window and give up. I don't understand what the purpose is of all the sweating, all the pushing, and all the pain if I'm not getting results?

Today is a day of weakness. I am human and flawed just like everyone else. Not a rockstar today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Disappointing Check-Up

I went to the doctor today for my usual 3-month diabetes check-up. I knew that my blood sugar had been high recently due to being sick. But what ended up happening has thrown me for a huge loop. Not only did my blood sugar A1c numbers climb +0.3, but my cholesterol has jumped about 45 points from "perfectly normal" to "we want you to start taking meds for it".

Luckily, my doctor is amazing and doesn't jump to the "meds fix everything" conclusion all the time. She has given me the next 3 months to get things under control, but it has me in a tail-spin.

I don't know what to eat. I am afraid to eat. I know myself far to well, and if I don't get this tailspin under control, I may just stop eating altogether. Meds are always the very last option on my list. So I feel I need to get this under control, and that while I have the option to stay off meds, I want to keep it that way. I'm just at a loss right now as to what to put on my plate

I guess my problem right now is that I'm frustrated. I'm 30 years old and this year has been so up and down with my health that it's got me spinning. First the diabetes, then the cyst and surgery, and now my cholesterol is through the roof. All during the year that I have learned to cook, gotten settled in a new home and started working out on a regular basis.

Tonight I am carting myself off to my first Zumba class with Tonja, hoping it will work off some of the frustration and anger I am experiencing right now. Because the only other option is to emotionally eat. And that isn't so much an option after all.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Day After

Yesterday still seems like a dream to me. A painful, grueling, rain and mud-soaked dream. That is until I see the bruises showing up on my legs. Or until I catch a glimpse of my medal or bracelet... then I remember how real it was.

It's going to take me a while to come down from the high that yesterday created. I did a lot of things that I never thought that I could ever do. I conquered my squeamishness when it comes to getting dirty. I faced my fear of heights and falling only to overcome those as well.

Maybe I'm a freak of nature or maybe this is normal, but I am loving the fact I'm all battered and bruised. The pain isn't exactly fun, but the proof that I'm a badass is pretty awesome. These prove that I did something yesterday. I didn't wimp out. I didn't slack. I pushed myself until I could push no further. At no point during the race did I even consider giving up. It wasn't an option. Could I have gone to one of the medics along the route and told them I wanted to go back to the start line? Yup. I sure could have. But I was bound and determined to get this done.

It helps, tremendously, to have someone with you who is supportive and will keep you going. I was luck enough to have that in Tonja. This race, mentally, was easier than our first 5k. But it was still really tough in spots. Emotionally I wavered from pumped to depressed, from giddy to exhausted. She kept me going.

And now I have these bruises to prove I didn't give up. I didn't give in to the cold, the wet, the pain or the fear. I'm officially a Warrior. When the bruises heal, I have a medal to continue proving it!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Warrior Dash Day!

Today we did the Warrior Dash. I am bruised. I am battered. I had mud in places I had no idea mud could get into. Here are some pictures.

I will add more details when I'm not so extremely exhausted.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Returning to the Water

When I was a kid I spent nearly every day of the summer in the pool. My parents had a 3-foot to 10-foot gorgeous pool in their back yard from the time I was 6 years old. I would wake up in the morning, throw my bathing suit on and not take it off until the sky grew dark again. My parents would have to either bribe me with something I wanted, or threaten me with punishment to get me out of the pool. Some days I spent a great deal of the night in there as well.

Somewhere in my teenage years, though, I gave up on it. I'm not entirely sure if it was lack of security in my body, or just the lack of drive to get outside of my bedroom. But I gave up on something that I loved so deeply.

Today Tonja suggested we go to the hot tub to loosen our muscles up for Warrior Dash tomorrow. So we both threw on our suits and headed down to the cabana at our apartment complex. After sitting in the wonderfully hot water for a while and eyeing the lap pool, I decided to go for it.

Possibly the best decision I could have made. Up until that moment I'd forgotten the passion I had for the pool. But it all came rushing back to me. The second I dipped my head below the surface and kicked off the wall I knew I had found my passion again. It was the first time I have felt this at peace with myself and my body in a very long time.

I realize this isn't exactly a fitness post, but it is about loving movement. I had forgotten how active I used to be before all these years of sedentary living. And I plan on living in the pool as much as possible this summer!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quieting the Voice

If you would've told me a year ago that I would say what I'm about to say, I'd have laughed at you. But it's the truth.... I miss working out. I miss moving. I'm even losing the callouses I'd built up from the 8 weeks of weight lifting. All of this makes me incredibly sad.

I have been out of the gym for just over a week and a half now due to what is possibly turning into bronchitis. And it pisses me off. I have Warrior Dash on Saturday and I can't breathe at all. If it's not gone by Monday I'm mentioning it to the doctor during my checkup. I am not backing out of Saturday for love nor money. I will walk the damned thing if I have to, but I will do it.

And there is this voice in the back of my head that is evil and won't shut up. It is telling me that this time off is going to defeat me. It's telling me that I will lose all the results I'd obtained and I will have to start all over again. It's saying that I have ruined everything and that everything I've worked so hard for is gone again. And what's the point of starting all over again? Right?

Wrong. Totally completely wrong. That voice needs to disappear. I am sure if you've ever been overweight, you've heard this voice too. If you miss a day... a few days... a week or more... it's just all ruined! But it's not true. I am not going to gain back the 65 pounds I've lost in 2 weeks. I'm not going to lose all the definition I've gained in my calves and arms. I'm not going to balloon back up to a size 28.

This lesson was probably the hardest one I've ever had to learn. Just because a workout isn't perfect, or just because you miss a step or a day, it doesn't mean that everything is for naught. Tomorrow is always another day, and another chance to get back up there to get it done.

This is simply just another hurdle I need to get over. My body needed the time to heal. I gave it that time and will get back to working out as soon as I feel it's healthy to do so.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Down for the Count

I haven't worked out all week long. On Monday my allergies grabbed me by the face and have since refused to let me go. Today is the very first day I've felt even remotely human again... and that's still quite a stretch.

Technically, I could've worked out this week. My rule of thumb is that as long as it's not out of my head, it's safe to work out. Head colds, sinus infections, even maybe a tickle in the throat. Those are safe. You might want to dial the intensity down a few notches, but you should be alright.

If it's anything lower, though, I think I would stay away from working out completely. If you can't breath properly because you have bronchitis..... just take it easy.

Me, personally? If I'm feeling too cruddy to go to work, or just entirely too foggy-headed to think straight, working out is completely off the table. And the main reason for this is that I want to give my body the chance to rest. I want it to heal as quickly as possible so that I can get back to working out at my full intensity.

What can you do to keep yourself healthy while sick? Nutrition! Seriously, I know how I am when sick. Food is the last thing that is on my mind. But you have to keep yourself hydrated (I tend to stock up on G2 - Sugar Free) and feed yourself healthy snacks. Fruits, veggies and healthy proteins. I know that when I finally started snacking with watermelon, carrots and boiled eggs, I started perking up almost immediately.

Truth is, the lack of food in your system could be lending itself to the "fog" that a lot of people feel while sick and congested. The smaller the portions and more frequently I ate the clearer I felt. Give it a try next time you're feeling under the weather. See if it works for you too!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

True to Life Action Hero

My personal trainer (aka - best friend, roommate, and all around awesome chica) runs Action Hero Fitness, Inc. After seeing some really amazing videos about people overcoming their own challenges we bantered back and forth about having an "Action Hero of the Month" to write about on her blog. It was a great idea, but nothing was really decided on who she was going to choose for this month.

Then today, over IM, I started getting random questions. And of course, I didn't put 2 and 2 together (mostly because I'm sick right now and count myself lucky to remember my own name) until she posted her blog post for the day...

Action Hero Fitness Inc. - Blog

I'm the very first Action Hero of the Month!! Lookit me, Mrs. July! 

Little did she know that when she wrote this that I was feeling kinda bummed about not being able to work out this week. I've been sick since Monday night and not being able to breathe is a huge barrier to exertion, especially when you already have asthma to fight against. 

This honor made me feel so much better. I have come so far, and I have so much further to go. I am looking forward to the journey forward. One week of downtime due to my face imploding isn't going to keep me from where I'm trying to go. 

Now I just need to find out where I can buy a cape.....

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Power of F-A-T

You've seen me call myself "fat" here in nearly every entry. Hell, it's even in my blog's title. I am fat.

And when I call myself this, my beloved friends and family tend to jump to my side to defend me from myself:
"You're not fat!" 
"You're just big-boned!" 
"You're just fluffy." 
"You're not fat, you're Rubenesque."

I appreciate the thought. I appreciate that the people who love me most don't want me to be down on myself for my current body type. These are amazingly wonderful people who only want to spare me from the truth of what I am.

I am fat.

That being said, being fat doesn't define me. It's only a part of a whole. Yes, I am fat. I am also smart, stubborn, hard-working, lazy, and compassionate. None of these things are the one end-all be-all label for me.

The word "fat" has become this horribly dirty word in our society. And I get it. I really do. No one really wants to be fat. No one wants to be unhealthy and riddled with a laundry list of medical conditions due to being "morbidly obese". But why all the sugar-coating? Why are there so many euphemisms for this one little three-letter word? Why can't we just call it what it is?

I use the word simply to take away the power that we, as a society, have given to it. Fat is not a bad word. It has neither positive nor negative connotations. It just is. No different than being called tall, short, blonde or brunette. It is just a descriptive word that I find currently fits me. Fat is just a word. I refuse to let it have any power over me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Learning to Eat

For a very long time, food was my crutch. Food was what I turned to when I was hurting, or excited, or just plain bored. I would eat nearly anything in sight because there was just nothing better to do. Food was my best friend when I felt I could go to no one. Food always made me feel just a little less alone in my world.

If someone would have told me a year ago that I was going to have trouble getting the number of calories I need in a day, I would've thought them mad. But here I am. My body has moved into starvation mode because I am just not eating enough food in a day. I am not drinking enough water. I am not getting my vitamins like I should.

And it's not because I am trying to lose weight. This is not some pro-ana site, nor am I encouraging anyone to go and intentionally starve their bodies. I am not eating enough because food doesn't matter to me as much as it once did. I am not seeking from it love, or entertainment. I am not looking to it from comfort or compassion. I have wonderful people in my life now that are there for me when I need them.

Food has just become unimportant. If I don't workout on any given day, I don't tend to eat that much either. When I do workout though, I eat quite a bit. The volume of food, however, rarely matches up with the calorie content.

If I were to keep track of my food, it would probably be easier and beneficial for my health. However, doing so makes me incredibly neurotic about the food I get in during the day. So I am trying to listen to my body. I am trying to eat when I am hungry and only then. I am hoping this works itself out.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Breaking the Curse

Since getting serious about my weight loss back in the summer of 2009 I have started and stopped at least a handful of different workout programs. After about a year or so, I started noticing a fairly distinct trend. I would attack these programs/videos/routines. I would do them religiously and faithfully without fail.... least for the first 6 weeks. I don't know what it was about the number 6, but after that point the interest, drive and commitment would drop off and I would give up. I don't know what the psychology behind it is, but it happened over and over and over again.

However, with this last workout schedule, I have broken this 6 week curse. Yesterday, I finished my 8 week weight lifting routine. I moved from doing most of the moves with 3-5 pound weights to finishing up using an Olympic bar weighing anywhere from 65-75 pounds.

I am proud of myself. I have about 15 days off from weight lifting before I start another lifting schedule, but I cam going to enjoy my time doing all sorts of fun cardio, endurance, and functional workouts. Then... Warrior Dash!!!