Tag Archives: run

Listen

5 May

I’ve learned a lot over the last few months, and I don’t mean the plethora of information stuffed into my college-mode brain. I’ve learned to listen to my body, closely.

Change is hard, on so many levels. It’s hard to change the way I eat, hard to adjust to stress loads, and hard to slow down when my body is screaming at me to do so. I’ll start with the more prosaic lesson learned- and that’s my attempt at incorporating more grains into my diet…mostly due to added stress and seeking comfort in delicious food. It didn’t work. With my continued workout habits and more toast, sandwiches, and oatmeal, I gained inches in places I’d rather not. So the “here and there” bread has gone back to the “rare occasion.”

Then there’s this running thing I’ve been doing. To compensate for my ungainly gains, I decided that I needed a short term goal to keep my motivation up. About a month ago I signed up for my first half marathon. I purchased new shoes that would enable me to train and run on pavement. I ran more in that month than I had the previous three months combined. I saw improvements in my endurance as I ran farther and farther. I researched about fueling for long distance running, carb loading, paleo compatibility for distance runners, the works. I was prepared mentally and physically to finish the race. It wasn’t about getting an awesome time. Running the race was about finishing. If I didn’t absolutely hate it, then that time would be my base to improve upon for the next race. Six days before the race, I came down with strep throat. The first day, I was still optimistic that it was just one of those 24 hour bugs that I’d get over with and recover just fine. I stuffed myself full of OTC drugs and dragged my sick self to physics. I wasn’t going to miss a lab for some silly illness! The second day, that lovely streptococcal pharyngitis knocked me on my arse, to put it lightly. I do not recall ever feeling so miserable. I missed class the rest of the week, which was previously unthinkable. I’ve always been under the impression that there was no illness that could prevent me from attending class. Earning the best grade possible is a high priority and missing a class can severely harm any grade. I had to come to terms with being unable to attend; it was tough. Thankfully my husband took over care of the kids and myself- he was unwavering in his support.

When I saw a doctor and received my diagnosis, my husband mentioned that I would definitely not be running that Sunday. My doctor was sympathetic and said that it was possible that I could bounce back in time to run, but to listen to my body. I knew my outlook wasn’t good because my hydration had taken a dive once it became difficult to swallow anything. Three days later I felt much improved and I went to the marathon expo to pick up my packet. In my car, I stared at the blue and yellow tech shirt, emblazoned with the Tacoma City Marathon and it’s sponsors. I held my bib with my name on it. It stirred within me my illness-suppressed determination.

I wanted to run. My goal was one day away and I was mentally ready to take on the challenge. Unfortunately, mental toughness alone doesn’t run races. My severely dehydrated and undernourished body could not run thirteen miles. I had to listen to my body; I didn’t want to risk injury. I talked myself down from getting my hopes up and researched when the next closest half marathon will be.

Now my bib sits on my mantel- not mocking me for what I couldn’t do, but motivating me to recover and get back up to speed.

bib

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My Journey

13 Sep

I did and didn’t want to write this post. I don’t like a lot of “look at me! I want attention” stuff. That’s because of who I used to be. I’m only able to spout out my story here because I’m typing. I don’t have to directly confront anyone who doesn’t want to listen. I know if I tried to relay my journey to health and fitness in person, I’d stutter. I’d blush crimson and forget half of what I was going to say because all I can think about is how red my face must be. That’s because I’m still overcoming the person I used to be. See the first pic below. Always an introvert, I have struggled with my body image and self confidence for a decade. I’ve kept to myself, and kept very few close friends. I have a hard time coming up with the self-assurance to make new friends. That’s because of who I used to be.  I struggle with starting conversations among those that I am not already close to. I don’t expect everyone to understand how much of an affect one’s body image can have on certainty, courage, and determination; but I know some of you will. Even now, after my body image has dramatically changed, I have many days where I have to look in the mirror and remind myself of my capabilities. I have to remind myself that every little imperfection doesn’t change the fact that I have the potential and aptitude for great things. 

In August of 2012, I was married to my wonderful, loving husband. I weighed 177 pounds- the heaviest I’ve ever weighed. The summer before my wedding, I had gained weight and was a size 16.

On my honeymoon. 177 lbs.

On my honeymoon. 177 lbs.

For many years before that, I was a somewhat stable size twelve. I exercised, sometimes. I didn’t eat junk food, often. I wasn’t happy with my body; that’s for sure.

May 2012. 160 lbs

May 2012. 160 lbs

My entire outlook on life turned around when I walked into Jowers Training Systems a year ago. I wasn’t too sure anything would help me lose weight. But I had a yearning for confidence. I wanted to feel good about myself. What I have learned about my body, my mental and physical capabilities, and nutrition since then is enough to fill books. I figured out fairly quickly that before I had been exposed to this wonderful place, I had never really pushed myself. I didn’t know what it was to test my limitations.

Sometime around October, Jeff, the owner, asked me to keep a food log. After reviewing my week’s worth of food and drink, he’d ask me to change one thing. He’d say, “have less wine next week,” or “have less greek yogurt.” Slowly, I came to realize he was leading me toward the Paleo nutrition I had heard about and absolutely resisted. No pasta? No greek yogurt?? No sandwiches?? Cheese too? That sounds terrible. Honestly, I thought the whole Paleo thing was ridiculous. After several weeks of cutting out one thing, I decided to just try it. Something in a “Monday Motivation” newsletter from Jeff had me really thinking. He said something along the lines of I’ve been eating the way I eat my whole life, so trying something for one month isn’t that big of a deal. If I don’t like it, I can just go back to the way I want to eat. Through November and December of ’12, I eased my way into Paleo. I put my toes in the water to see if I liked it. By February, I was fully submerged and I haven’t looked back since. I had more energy and mental clarity. I slept 4,000 times better (that might be an exaggeration.) I could eat all I want and be full, and I was losing not only pounds, but inches. And inches. And inches. All I was doing was eating real food and showing up to JTS three times a week. I will be writing another post on how much paleo has affected my life.

Learning how to deadlift. January '13. 160 lbs.

Learning how to deadlift. January ’13. 160 lbs.

Then I thought, why don’t I try running? I’ve never, ever been good at running. It always felt like I couldn’t breathe and I was going to die. I’d noticed that after so long at JTS I wasn’t gasping for air…so maybe running wouldn’t be so bad. So I started slowly and kept going.

Then I thought, why don’t I try yoga? It’d be so beneficial and complement my movements in running and working out. After one sweaty session, I fell in love. Even after being unable to continue at the studio, I still roll my mat out onto my living room floor and turn on yoga videos on my laptop.

The picture below is a 35 pound loss between September and June.

35lbs side progress

142 lbs. June ’13..

From September of 2012 to August 30 2013, here are my numbers:

  • 41 pounds gone
  • Body fat from 33.4% to 22.5%. 10.9% gone.
  • From my chest, stomach, hips, (one)thigh, and (one)upper arm, 25.5 inches gone
  • Size 16 to 6

That’s results. That’s tenacity. Hard work. A lot of sweat and accomplishments. My confidence in my abilities has skyrocketed.

Here I am today, 135 pounds and still going strong.

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Why I did write this post- what I like hearing the most is “you’re so inspiring,” or “you’ve motivated me.” It’s a much better thing to hear than “you look amazing,” because I know what the struggle is like. No matter how corny it sounds, helping someone else on their journey is the biggest reward of my journey to fitness.

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